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Title : Gyroscopes Gyroscopes View More Images
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Format : Toy
Dimensions : larger 90mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Donated by : Mrs Fay Ellis
Copyright : Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

The gyroscope is 'a most instructive instrument' (Instruction sheet). Interesting experiments can be conducted with it and it can be used to demonstrate the scientific principles of rotation and eqilibrium. It is a precision instrument and needs to be handled carefully to prevent any damage to the mechanism.

The gyroscope comes equipped with a tripod and when balanced on this illustrates the rotation of the planet: the inner wheel shows the daily rotation of the planet on its axis; the whole body moving round shows the yearly rotation of the planet around the sun; the thin circle is the equator, the thick one the meridian and the two pivots the north and south poles.

The gyroscope can also be balanced in equilibrium on a stretched string, and rotate suspended from a string.

The gyroscope was developed by Jean Foucault and he demonstrated it to the Royal Society in 1850. His work was disputed by Edward Sang who had spoken about gyroscopes 14 years previously, but it was Foucault's demonstration of a working model which associated his name with the 'invention'. In the 20th century the gyroscope was applied as a stabiliser and navigational aid.

Period : 1884-1913
Further reading :

Crabtree, Harold. An elementary treatment of the theory of spinning tops and gyroscopic motion, London: Longmans, Green, 1914

Gould, Douglas W. The top: universal toy, enduring pastime, Folkestone: Bailey and Swinfen, 1975

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