Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus

Made by Faraday in his laboratory in the basement of the Royal Institution in August 1831, thus creating the first ever electric transformer.

  • Faraday's ring coil appratus
    Credit: Paul Wilkinson
  • Date

    August 1831
  • Place made

    Basement Laboratory of the Ri

  • Alternative name

    Ring-coil apparatus, transformer, induction ring
  • People

  • Materials

    Copper wire, cotton, iron Ring

  • Measurements

    H: 32mm, diameter: 170mm

  • Key words

    Michael Faraday, Faraday apparatus, electricity, transformer

Description

During the 1820s Faraday sought to discover how to make electricity from magnetism. He achieved success with the device pictured above on 29 August 1831. It's made from everyday materials such as wire made for bonnets, although the iron ring seems to have been specially made.

Making the induction ring was a tedious process since Faraday had to wind the coils of wire on opposite sides of the ring and insulate them with cotton. He doesn't mention the time taken in his diary but it was probably about ten working days.

When he passed an electric current through one coil he induced an electric current in the other coil, which flowed for a very brief period of time.

More images

  • Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus

    Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

  • Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus - detail

    Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus - detail

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

  • Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus - detail

    Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus - detail

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

  • Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus - detail

    Michael Faraday's ring-coil apparatus - detail

    Credit: Paul Wilkinson

Where can I view this?

This object is currently on display in the Lower Ground Floor of the Royal Institution in the Faraday Museum.

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