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

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Volcano dust

Astronomical and navigational instruments

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Object details:

Object ID AST1030.46
Description One sealed, corked phial containing volcanic dust and a slide with a sample of the volcanic dust. The phial is labelled: Volcanic powder from la Souffriere (Barbados) 1902' while the slide is labelled: '...dust, Barbados, May 7, 1902' The Souffriere volcano began errupting on 6 May 1902 and stopped on 30 March 1903 killing 1,565 people and causing extensive damage to the surrounding area. These samples of volcanic dust 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. This volcanic dust was probably collected for Alexander Herschel who had a keen interest in geology and was also working at a University with links to Corrington College, Barbados, allowing him access to such material.
Date made

Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Herschel Collection
Materials cork; wax; glass
Measurements Overall: 80 mm; Diameter: 15 mm
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