Grinnell College Physics Museum


105 items

Ulysse Nadin Chronometer

This chronometer is five inches in diameter. It is mounted in a box with a glass lid (below the wooden lid) and is in gimbals for use on a ship. The lettering on the face reads Ulysse Nardin Locle Suisse A tag with the chronometer says that it was checked by the US Naval Observatory on September 28, 1945.

Solar Microscope

A solar microscope was placed in a hole in a window shutter with the mirror outside and the barrel extending into a room. Sunlight was reflected by the mirror through condensing lenses, a slide carrying an object to be observed, and projection lenses. The image was projected on a screen in the room. This microscope has no maker's name on it, and its date is unknown. The solar microscope was invented in 1740 and remained popular into the next century. This instrument probably is older than Grinnell College, possibly dating to the late 18th century and certainly no later than the early 19th century.

Early Phonograph

This "talking machine" is on loan to the museum by the family of Professor Ben Graham. They used it in Massachusetts in the late 1890's. The recording is on a wax cylinder instead of a flat disk. The horn is not original; the original horn was much larger.


This small chronometer, about three inches in diameter, was made by Northwest Instrument Company of Seattle, Washington. The date of manufacture is unknown. It is mounted in gimbals for use on a ship.

Early Transistor

Sent to Grant Gale at Grinnell by John Bardeen at Bell Telephone Labs in 1950

Leitz Microscope No. 42935

Has a rotary stage, no eyepieces, and 3 objectives but is one missing.

Microscope No. 53724

This microscope has 3 objectives. It belonged to Dr. O.F. Parish.

Kim-1 single-board computer

First single-board computer used in electronics course

Polaroid Camera

Model 110A


Model Universal