Article from the 1884 Hermon Union School News

The Hermon Union School Purchased a New Toepler Holtz Electric Machine

Hermon Schools and Education

The Hermon Union School had an advanced Science Curriculum for 1884; the study of electricity in High Schools was not common. The use of sophisticated Static Electricity Machines like this Toepler-Holtz instrument to study electricity was rare. Universities, mainly, had access to this type of equipment. The cost of $50.00 in 1884 is equivalent to several thousand dollars now. After the invention of the Roentgen Tube in 1890, the Toepler-Holtz instruments became popular for supplying the high voltages used in making X-ray images.

Electrostatic machines are electromechanical devices that produce "static electricity", or electricity at continuous (DC) high voltage. They were fundamental in the early studies of electricity, which started in the 17th century. This development of scienific electrical instruments culminated at the end of the 19th century with the construction of powerful "influence machines" like the Toepler-Holtz machine in the Hermon Union School. Today, some specialized uses for them continue to exist, but they are mostly seen as demonstration devices in physics laboratories with much of their history forgotten.


More information on these instruments is available at: