RudolfKoenig

Rudolf Koenig (1832-1901)

Photo courtesy of University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments

© CHIN 2001


Rudolf Koenig (1832-1901) was one of the more colourful figures of nineteenth-century physics. Master violinmaker, innovative scientific instrument maker, prolific researcher and moderately successful businessman, Koenig made it possible, through his acoustical apparatus, for people around the world to study the science of music. When in Paris, scientists visited Koenig’s studio for his famous "musical séances." One of his best customers was James Loudon of Toronto, founder of the first physics laboratory in Canada (1878).

A few of his more popular instruments included his resonators for selecting specific frequencies from surrounding sounds, reed and organ pipes for sound production, manometric flame capsules for visualizing sound, tuning forks for precision tuning, and sound interference apparatus for comparing the properties of two sound waves.
Rudolf Koenig (1832-1901) was one of the more colourful figures of nineteenth-century physics. Master violinmaker, innovative scientific instrument maker, prolific researcher and moderately successful businessman, Koenig made it possible, through his acoustical apparatus, for people around the world to study the science of music. When in Paris, scientists visited Koenig’s studio for his famous "musical séances." One of his best customers was James Loudon of Toronto, founder of the first physics laboratory in Canada (1878).

A few of his more popular instruments included his resonators for selecting specific frequencies from surrounding sounds, reed and organ pipes for sound production, manometric flame capsules for visualizing sound, tuning forks for precision tuning, and sound interference apparatus for comparing the properties of two sound waves.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

InterferenceApparatus

Interference apparatus ca.1872 Made by Rudolf Koenig, Paris Department of Physics, University of Toronto Used to demonstrate the principles of interference of sound.

University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments
c. 1872
© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


SignatureStamp

Koenig's signature stamp on a tuning fork ca. 1876 Made by Rudolf Koenig, Paris Department of Physics, University of Toronto

University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments
c. 1876
© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


ReedPipe

Reed pipe 1858-1878 Made by Rudolf Koenig, Paris Department of Physics, University of Toronto The reed device, behind a glass window within a rectangular pipe, produces a note. Three prismatic resonators can be attached to the pipe, to demonstrate how different qualities of sound can come from the same fundamental note.

University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments
1858 - 1878
© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


TuningForks&Resonators

Set of tuning forks and resonators tuned to vowel sounds 1858-1878 Made by Rudolf Koenig, Paris Department of Physics, University of Toronto Five tuning forks and five resonators tuned to the characteristic notes of the vowels U, O, A, E, I. Used to study Helmholtz's theories on the nature and quality of vowel sounds. The resonators would pick up and magnify specific frequencies, in the vowel sounds. A struck fork would be placed before the mouth as a certain vowel had been spoken, resulting in a reinforcement of this sound in the oral cavity (acting as a resonator). Photo courtesy of University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments

University of Toronto Museum of Scientific Instruments
1858 - 1878
© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify and appreciate the way history and culture shape a society’s science and technology
  • Describe scientific and technological developments, past and present, and appreciate their impact on individuals and societies
  • Describe how Canadians have contributed to science and technology on the global stage

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