This area contains the earliest experimental apparatus from the Cavendish, dating back to the founding of the Laboratory in the 1870s.

Early Apparatus

The large display cabinet against the wall contains apparatus bought before 1877. Next to the cabinet is a bust of James Clerk Maxwell, and a guide to the museum.


Mounted on the exterior wall is a display about the buildings of the Cavendish Laboratory, including its many extensions. Maxwell's Viscosity of Gases Apparatus is free standing next to his original desk.

Maxwell's Experiments

The free standing display cabinet by the staircase contains apparatus belonging to Maxwell, much of which he used before becoming Professor. To the left of the cabinet is Rayleigh's Spinning Coil for the Determination of the Ohm. Click down the corridor to see more about Lord Rayleigh and J.J. Thomson's work in the Cavendish.

Standing against the far wall is a Wehrsen electrostatic machine.

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