Vintage Wimshurst Hand Cranked Static Generator Machine


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Vintage Wimshurst Hand Cranked Static Generator Machine

This wonderful looking gadget is a Wimshurst electrostatic generator. Similar devices were used to power machines during the Industrial Revolution. This particular item is a handmade reproduction of an original specification and was made in the 1980s.
As this Wimshurst is not currently producing an electrostatic discharge, we are selling it as a display item only, (for delivery in the UK mainland only or for collection by the buyer), and the price has been significantly reduced accordingly.

Approximate dimensions:
Width of Frame: 25″
Height Including brass spheres: 26″
Depth of the Frame: 10″

The Wimshurst has proven quite difficult to photograph. I have taken range of images under different lighting conditions using two different cameras, hence the variation in colour.

Vintage Wimshurst Hand Cranked Static Generator Machine
Vintage Wimshurst Hand Cranked Static Generator Machine

We acquired this machine back in the 1990s. It is exquisitely made in hard wood (oak), glass and brass. One of a kind, it was hand made by a Physics lecturer friend of an elderly gentleman as he loved antique scientific equipment and had space on his dining room sideboard for a scientific curio! You turn the hand crank causing the glass discs to contra-rotate. The metallic brushes, (pick up combs), in contact with the plates, generate an electrostatic charge which is then dissipated by moving, (using the glass handles!), the brass spheres at the top of the machine in close proximity with one another. This example does have Leyden jars.

Unfortunately, post a house move and storage, although in excellent cosmetic condition, the machine seems to have lost its spark and is no longer working when you use the hand crank. This is probably because the two glass discs are no longer as clean and dry as they were. Someone with a little more time and patience may get it working again: the static sparks literally used to fly! A real talking point at dinner parties!

Shipping Restrictions

The machine is made from wood, brass, and glass, and is extremely heavy and a delicate piece of equipment to ship. Hence, delivery will be via either:-
a. a specialist courier within the UK mainland only (depending on the final packed weight, size, and destination)
We have estimated £60 for UK mainland delivery but please contact us for a quote if interested in purchase.
b. collection-in-person
Please note that it can’t be easily dismantled.

Unfortunately, I am unable to ship this item outside the UK mainland.

For more vintage technology, please click on the following link.

According to Wikipedia

“The Wimshurst influence machine is an electrostatic generator, a machine for generating high voltages developed between 1880 and 1883 by British inventor James Wimshurst (1832–1903).
It has a distinctive appearance with two large contra-rotating discs mounted in a vertical plane, two crossed bars with metallic brushes, and a spark gap formed by two metal spheres.”

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Additional information

Weight 21 kg