One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pair of copper or brass hemispheres joined to form a hollow globe from which the air can be extracted to demonstrate the pressure of the atmosphere, which then prevents them from being pulled apart.
- ‘n this demonstration 16 horses could not pull apart the two halves of an evacuated sphere, which became known as Magdeburg hemispheres.’
- ‘Magdeburg hemispheres from the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were rarely marked with the name of the maker.’
Early 19th century: named after the city of Magdeburg, home of the inventor, Otto von Guericke (1602–86).
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