Menu Close

Chladni Plate

Koenig Acoustical · Physics

This piece consists of a rectangular brass plate secured in the center to an iron arm and base with a screw-tightened clamp. This clamp is controlled by a large brass knob at the top of the arm and by a second smaller brass knob underneath the plate affixed to the base.

Accession Number:

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Brass, iron


“157” marked on the underside of the base in yellow paint or marker.

Dimensions (cm): 12×15.5×30


This piece was used for the visual demonstration of nodal lines of sound. Sand would be sprinkled on the brass plate which would then be activated by a violin bow. The sand would then collect at the places of no vibration, or nodal lines.


Good/fair. The paint on the iron base is chipped. The brass plate is slightly tarnished and shows many fingerprints.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Unknown

Date of Manufacture: Circa nineteenth century


University of Toronto Physics Department

Additional Information and References:

Pantalony, David. Altered Sensations: Rudolph Koenig’s Acoustical Workshop in Nineteenth-Century Paris. New York: Springer, 2009, 268-270.

Historical Notes:

This object appears in Altered Sensations: Rudolph Koenig’s Accoustical Workshop in Nineteenth-Century Paris by David Pantalony (New York: Springer, 2009). Pantalony states that the experiments with nodal lines on brass plates “derive from the work of Ernst Chladni, the German scientist who published original vibration studies in his 1802 book ‘Die Akustik’ which became a foundation for modern experimental acoustics.”