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Electrically-Driven Tuning Fork

Unidentified · Physics

A long rectangular metal plate attached to a large tuning fork mounted parallel to the plate.

At one end of the rectangular metal plate, the plate turns at right angles where there is a circular metal plate with four heavy metal ring connectors affixed in a square in a square formation. Each of these has a screw knob that passes through the rim of the rings, allowing a tube rod to be fixed securely within the ring and the apparatus to be attached to a tube or rod in two orientations.

Connected parallel to the main plate via an inner plate fitted between two metallic parallel -edges and a wooden support riding on this, there is a large tuning fork. This has a small cylindrical coil fixed between its tines. Connected to the drum beneath one of the tines there is a small electrical terminal. On the other side, a slim strip of metal connects the other tine to another terminal with screw adjustments.

The tines are tipped with brass sections. At the end of one of the tines there is a piece of metal that juts out in between the two tines. It is connected to a long piece of white string that is currently wound up many times around the tines for storage. There is a knot at the end of the string.

Underneath the main plate there is a short length of plastic-coated wire connected to a screw.

Accession Number:

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials:

Metal: Copper Alloy, Metal: Iron Alloy, Wood, String (Cotton?)


Written on the length of plastic coated wire: “CANADA”

Dimensions (cm): Height = 14, Width = 12 , Length = 46


Electricity is used to activate a tuning fork at a set pitch for an extended period of time in order to create a level tone for conducting acoustical demonstrations and experiments.


Good: Although dirty, the brass components of the instrument are in good condition, with few scratches and little sign of oxidation. The metal plate is painted black on its base and on the attachment rings; this paint has a shiny surface. The surface is chipped off in multiple places revealing duller paint underneath, but this i not rusty. The wooden support of the fork is worn on the corners and edges.

The fork itself is rusty across its surface. Tape wound around the coil is very dirty and worn in places, but mainly intact.

Associated Instruments:


Date of Manufacture: Early 20th Cent.


Department of Physics, University of Toronto

Additional Information and References:

Compare this fork with an example at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Historical Notes: