Helmholtz acoustic resonators

Contributed by The Hunterian

Helmholtz acoustic resonators

Shan Macdonald, Curatorial assistant for Scientific Instruments selected this object from the Hunterian Museum's collection. Shan writes - These brass acoustic resonators were made by the celebrated German physicist and maker of musical instruments Rudolph Koenig, renowned for the accuracy and clarity of pitch attained by his tuning forks.
In the mid-1850s, Hermann von Helmholtz invented these spherical resonators in order to identify the qualities of single tones contained in multi-tone sounds. The narrow end of the sphere would be held up to the ear, cushioned by soft wax, and the metal would resonate only to the tone to which it was tuned.
The Hunterian Museum owns a large set of these resonators, which are housed in sequence on a wooden support. Helmholtz resonators have many modern applications (both masking and accentuating sounds) in architectural structures, large engines, and acoustic equipment.

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