Collection of historical objects of the Department of Experimental Physics

The historical objects in the collection date from the period 1754 to 1975 and come from the original Experimental Cabinet, the subsequent physics institutes ('Physikalisches Museum', Physikalisches Institut, Institut für Experimentalphysik), the 'Elektrotechnisches Institut', founded in 1907 but abandoned in 1946, and the 'Institut für Strahlenforschung', founded by Victor F. Hess in 1931, which was incorporated into the then Physikalisches Institut as a department in 1938. The collection comprises more than 1,100 objects and is divided into the 'classical' categories 'mechanics', 'acoustics', 'thermodynamics', 'optics' and 'electricity and magnetism'. Particularly valuable historical objects, unique specimens and gifts are grouped together in the category 'The Treasures'. Since the complete inventory of the collection, which has now been built up over more than 260 years, created by Ignaz v. Weinhart in 1751 and the subsequent inventory books or inventory lists have been preserved completely, the history of almost all objects could be documented exactly: Supplier or 'name of the artist', date of purchase and purchase price. In addition, in the case of physical demonstration devices, information about the inventor or manufacturer is also noted. It is noteworthy that in times of low financial means "institute production" is frequently noted as the manufacturer; for example, in 1820 the presumably first still existing institute production is documented: a seconds pendulum with a lens made of brass, made by Trenkwalder "here". Master wood turner Joseph Trenkwalder was an aide at the Physical Museum.

Objects by Peter Anich, which were created under the guidance of Ignaz v. Weinhart, date back to the early days of the Armarium: the two large globes (1756, 1758), each with 'more than three Innsbruck shoes' in diameter, the two-part Atlas Tyrolensis (1775) and some geodetic measuring instruments (1766); these also include the portraits of Peter Anich (1765) and Blasius Hueber (1768), oil on canvas painted by Phillip Haller. The probably oldest preserved instrument is a cone mirror with associated anamorphoses (1754). The most valuable object is a gift from Empress Maria Theresa to the then 'Physical Museum' in 1776: the astronomical-chronological pendulum clock of the Augustinian monk Aurelius à Sancto Daniele. In 1807, the collection of the then 'Physikalisches Cabinet' of the Bavarian University of Innsbruck was enriched by a gift from King Maximilian I Joseph: a microscope after Wilson, a dioptric level after Bion and a sextant after Hadley, all from the famous workshop of G. F. Brander in Augsburg. Furthermore, there are several gilded or platinum-plated precision weight sets (1861...1905), a large 'electric perpetual motion machine' (around 1817), the jacket ring dynamo (1883) by Johann Kravogl, a large friction-electrical machine of 20 Viennese inch disc diameter (1856) and a double loop electrometer from Hess' Institute for Radiation Research (1933).

In contrast to 'modern' demonstration devices, many of these historical objects also have a great didactic value: in almost all of them, their function can be recognized simply by 'looking' or 'grasping' them.



Department of Experimental Physics
Technikerstrasse 25 / 4th floor
6020 Innsbruck

Opening hours of the exhibitions in the foyer of the Victor-Franz-Hess-Haus: Mo-Fr: 8-19 o'clock and in the anteroom of lecture hall A by appointment

Collection of historical objects of the Department of Experimental Physics

Overview of the historical instruments collection

Collection management

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Armin Denoth
Department of Experimental Physics
T: +43 512 507 52512

Literature on the collection

Denoth A., 2008, Eine kurze Chronik der Entwicklung der Experimentalphysik in Innsbruck 1738-1946, Proc. 1st EHoP Conference Graz / Austria, 2006, pp 107-116, ISBN 978-3-901585-10-4

Denoth, A., 2012, Die Experimentalphysik in Innsbruck, 1809-1909: Vom Lyceum zum Physikalischen Institut. Proc. 2nd EHoP Conference, Innsbruck/Austria 2009, pp 173-192, ISBN 978-3-901585-18-0

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