Invisible College II - The Blind Spot <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Friday, January 21, 2005

1889 Patent
Van Houten & Ten Broeck
Morton - Wimshurst - Holtz
Static Generator

I have had this machine since 1975 and it should now have a new home. Made by Van Houten & Ten Broeck of New York probably in the early 1890's. It has 10 discs 29 inches in diameter. It was sold through San Francisco and was used in a Sacramento hospital as an X-Ray power source in the Radiology department for many years. It was taken home by a doctor there when it was retired. It sat in his garage for many years until I came along and snatched it up. I have never run this but I have spun the discs with the very old, and possibly original, motor that comes with this. There is no indication that this was ever set up for hand crank. The case is solid quarter sawn golden oak. Original finish shows some age.

Please note that the very top piece is copied from the original. Due to unforeseen circumstances when I first got this the original top was lost. However I was able to find the correct type and age wood in a Berkeley architectural salvage yard. At the time here in Petaluma was a very experienced and expert craftsman who did a very accurate reconstruction of the top using photographs and drawings from books and photos that I had taken before moving it from Sacramento. I have the correct type finish on it but the shade is a little off due to lack of aging. The original motor speed control is gone but the included Variac works fine. Also, the last time I moved this, one of the glass separators broke in half. (cont.)

posted by DW  # 2:25 PM


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