Kinnersley's Thermometer
   Kinnersley's Thermometer is a demonstration of the heating power of the electric spark and so is the ancestor of the apparatus to demonstrating the expansion of air by electrical heating. Inside the larger glass tube is a pair of discharge knobs, and water fills the tube up to the level of the bottom of the lower knob. Applying a spark to the system heats and expands the air in the larger tube, driving the water into the smaller tube. 

   Ebeneezer Kinnersley of Philadelphia was a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin, and one of a small group who investigated the properties of static electricity with him. He observed  that two types of electricity existed -- positive and negative or resinous and vitreous -- shortly after Charles duFay made the same observation in France. In the years before the American Revolution he started a lecture tour to demonstrate various electrical phenomena.

   The apparatus is in the collection of Transylvania University.

   This copy of Kinnersly's Thermometer is on display in the Millington/Barnard Collection in the University Museum at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. 

   It is unsigned, but is probably part of the large collection of European apparatus bought by the second Professor of Natural Philosophy, Frederick Barnard, in the second half of the 1850s.

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