Polarized Light
Fresnel's Rhomb
 Glass Press
Jamin's Divided Circle
 Nicol Prism
 Norrenberg Doubler
 Polarization Model
 Polarization Samples
 Tourmaline Tongs

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   The study of polarized light is divided into two eras. In the last third of the 17th century double refraction by calcite was discovered, and the longitudinal theory of light applied to the phenomenon.

   In 1808 the modern era began, with the discovery of polarization by reflection. After a false start the transverse theory of light was applied to the observations. The subject of polarized light, including mechanical demonstrations of rather esoteric topics such as circular polarization, made its way into the curriculum of the Natural Philosophy course, and a number of instruments were designed to demonstrate and utilize its properties.

   At the right is a plate showing the consequence of viewing certain various crystals between crossed polarizers. This appeared in most editions of Ganot's Physics up to the early 20th century.