Camera, with Tripod and Dry Plates

This is a wooden camera, made about 1895. Dry plates (glass plates coated with a light-sensitive emulsion) were used instead of film. The lens was made in France and includes a disk-like shutter. A photographer focused the camera on the image projected onto the ground glass while he covered his head with a black cloth.


Edison’s Paraffin Roller Phonograph

Edison invented a device for recording the vibrations of sound waves onto a rotating cylindrical surface coated with wax (wax cylinder) using a needle. The sound can be reproduced by tracking the recorded groove with the needle. The natural voices of celebrities are recorded in the wax cylinder, and you can still hear the voices of people from over 100 years ago.


Sectional Model of Steam Engine

This is a timber cutaway model for demonstrating the principle of operation of a steam engine. By turning the handle, you can understand the mechanisms of the steam valve and piston, the cam that converts reciprocating motion into rotational motion, and the rotational speed regulator. The steam engine was the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution that began in the mid-18th century.


Analyzer for Carbon Dioxide in Air

This instrument was used for quantitative measurement of carbon dioxide in exhaled air or the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide is absorbed in an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide (KOH) and measured. Because the instrument was portable, it was used for a wide range of applications, such as environmental measurements.


Body Rolling Upward

When a spinning top is placed on the two rails, the top appears to move upward. However, if you focus on the position of its center of gravity at the top, you can see that it is moving downward little by little. Gravity causes objects to move in the direction that lowers their center of gravity.


Magdeburg Hemispheres

This historical laboratory apparatus demonstrated how strongly the air presses against a container (atmospheric pressure). When the two hemispheres are placed together and a vacuum is created inside the sphere, the two hemispheres cannot be easily pulled apart.


Astatic Galvanometer

Two magnetic needles with opposite magnetic poles and a non-magnetic indicator needle are connected in parallel on the same axis and suspended; the lower magnetic needle is placed within a coil and the other one outside it to cancel out the torque due to the earth’s magnetism. This enables the weak electric current flowing in the coil to be accurately measured by balancing the torque in the suspension thread.


Norremberg’s Polarization Apparatus

When light is incident on a glass surface at a certain angle (Brewster’s angle), only the linearly polarized component of the light parallel to the surface is reflected. Based on this physical property, this apparatus, composed of two glass plates and a mirror, enables the emitted polarized light component to be adjusted. It was also used as a saccharimeter for measuring sugar concentration.


Water Batteries

These are primary batteries using a salt solution as the electrolyte. Lead chloride (or silver chloride) is used in the positive electrode, and magnesium is used in the negative electrode. These are used even today as the power supply in ocean monitoring equipment and life jacket lights.


Circular Slide Rule for Aviation

This is a calculator that determines the ground speed of an aircraft, taking into consideration the effect of airspeed from the direction of the nose of the aircraft and the speed relative to the air indicated by a Pitot tube. It was used in flights over the ocean where there were no landmarks or when visibility was poor.


Apparatus showing a Balance Wheel for a Clock

A balance wheel or pendulum is used to adjust the rate of advance of a mechanical clock. Portable clocks use a mechanism consisting of a balance wheel and hairspring with a constant rotational vibration period. This was also adopted in precision clocks for marine use.



When you look through the glasses, the photos appear to have three dimensions. The reason we can perceive three dimensions or obtain a sense of perspective is because we look at a single point with our left and right eyes, and there is a slight difference in angle. When a pair of photographs taken of the same object simultaneously from positions that are separated horizontally is viewed in a stereoscope, the flat photographs appear three-dimensional. This is known as a stereoscopy.

Request for Cooperation in Preserving Physics and Chemistry Instruments

SFMM is proud to have Japan’s largest collection of physics and chemistry instruments and specimens, totaling about 1150 items donated to and archived by the museum.
These instruments serve as more than a record of Shimadzu’s history. They also serve as an important historical archive that speaks eloquently of the history of science, technology, and education in Japan.
SFMM will continue collecting and investigating instruments and then exhibiting them, as well as sharing the results of its research widely. If you have information about Shimadzu products that you plan to discard (industrial machinery, physics/chemistry instruments, specimens, or product catalogs), please contact us.

the Visitors Navigation App


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