Harvard University – Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments – USA

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The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments (CHSI) at Harvard University (http://chsi.harvard.edu/) preserves, documents, and cares for over 25,000 instruments portraying the history of science teaching and research at Harvard from the Colonial period to the 21st century.  A broad range of scientific disciplines are represented, including astronomy, navigation, horology, surveying, geology, meteorology, mathematics, physics, biology, medicine, psychology, and communication. Significant instruments, made obsolete by new technologies, continue to be incorporated. Many of the documents detailing the purchase and use of the instruments have been preserved, and are available for research in the Collection’s library.


CHSI has more than 500 meteorological instruments.  These include actinometers, anemometers, balloons, barometers, cameras, charts, cloud theodolites, dew point gauges, dust counters, evaporimeters, hydrometers, hygrometers, inks, kites, meteorographs, nephoscopes, parachutes,  pyrheliometers, radiosondes, rain and snow gauges, spectroscopes, sunshine recorders, thermometers, weather stations and cabinets, wind direction recorders, wind vanes, and wind screens.  Half of this collection comes from the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in Massachusetts.  In addition, CHSI holds photographs, blueprints, offprints, and archival manuscript materials.


To see some of the objects online, visit Waywiser (http://waywiser.rc.fas.harvard.edu/) and type “Blue Hill” or key words into the search box.




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