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  • Description

    Animation by Joe Noble. Two cartoon characters representing ancient Greeks demonstrate how a piece of amber which is rubbed will cause an electric charge. One of the men holds out the charged stone and the charge it gives off pulls off the other man's toupee! Dr Gilbert, who was the Court Alchemist to Queen Elizabeth made the earliest electrical machine - a ball of sulphur, rubbed by the hand. C/U of a primitive device with a handle which turns. We then see an animated sequence showing what might have happened in Elizabethan times when the machine was demonstrated. Queen Bess says: "Beshrew me Gilbert, tis a wondrous engine. Have a care Gilbert, this smacks of witchcraft!" A spark flies out of the machine and hits the Queen on the nose. Words come out of her nose "This is the London Midland Regional calling!" The Queen runs after Dr Gilbert with a rolling pin. She hits him on the head. "Later, the ball of sulphur gave way to the glass cylinder machine - a great improvement." C/U of this machine being operated. "Close on the heels of the cylinder machine came the plate machine, producing electricity by friction between the glass disc and pads, covered by silken "aprons." This machine is demonstrated.

    "Later on, the well-known Wimshurst "influence' machine was born." This machine is demonstrated. A Leyden jar is demonstrated - a charge is "bottled". We see sparks flying. The bottled charge is held out and a man puts his hand close to the bottle. Sparks fly out and give him an electric shock. "With the aid of a glass-legged stool we can store electricity in a girl - !" The glass legged stool is shown to the camera. The stool is placed on the ground and a man in a white coat beckons the girl onto the stool with his finger (funny!) The girl holds out her hand and the scientist operates his machine to give the girl a shock. "The only thing to do now is to persuade some young man to try an electric kiss!" C/U of the man and woman approaching each other - the electric current springs between their lips. The "Rhumkorff coil" which is used in X-rays is demonstrated. Various shots of the scientist operating various machines which produce sparks. "But, it's a long way from the experimental frictional machines of long ago, to the million-volt "bolt" of the machines which owe so much to Faraday, today." Sparks which look like lightning in the dark are shown. Was an item in Pathe Pictorial issue 703.

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  • Data

    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    Media URN:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Film ID:
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:51:33:00 / 01:57:03:00
    EP 181
    Sort Number:
    EP 181
  • Appears in...

    Lightning Electricity History of scientific breakthrough Electrics Electricity Meters Electricity Experiments
  • Stills

    0:01 0:02 0:03 0:04

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