Astronomical and navigational instruments, Herschel family, The Herschels as experimenters

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Astronomical and navigational instruments

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Object ID AST1030.5
Description Two fragments of mica in a bag. This pill box come from a 14-drawer cabinet found in the Herschel family home in the 1950s. The contents of this and a similar cabinet seem to suggest that they were used by successive generations of the family to store specimens, material and apparatus for carrying out experiments. Until the 19th century mica in Europe was rare and expensive, then large reserves were found and mined in Africa and South America. Today mica is mainly used in electrical equipment for its insulating properties and its chemical stability, but in the 19th century sheets of mica were often used in optical experiments. This mica was found with this note (also visible in the photograph) which reads: 'The Lenora of Burger has often been translated but ... not aware that the ... and pathetic tale which makes the subject of the following verses, has yet appeared in one ... though the translation was once favoured by a sight of it executed with equal ... and fidelity by' 'Lenora' by Gottfried August Burger (1747-94) was a ballad published in the late 18th century and popular with English Romantics in the 19th century. Burger was a teacher at the University of Gottingen and is probably best known for his stories of Baron Munchausen.
Date made

Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Herschel Collection
Materials mica
Measurements Bag: 6 mm x 130 mm x 90 mm
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