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Christmas at the Polytechnic, 1858.

Christmas at the Polytechnic, 1858.
2 9 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm


Engraving taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. Demonstrations of scientific discoveries became popular entertainment at institutions such as the Royal Polytechnic Institution, founded in 1838 by George Cayley (1773-1857) and famed for its 'abominable smells and of the odd explosion' and the Regent's Street Polytechnic which combined 'magical' illusion with scientific realism. Electricity provided a number of entertainments including giving mild electric shocks, the demonstration that electricity may be conducted through the body, and 'Profesor' Pepper's (1821-1900) giant induction coil, which produced a 'flash of lightening' 29 inches long.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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