5B10.30 - Electrostatic Chimes and Franklin's Bells

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Electrostatic Chimes and Franklin's Bells
Area of Study:
Electricity & Magnetism
Wimshurst Generator and Bell Chimes.

Connect the generator to the bell chimes and separate the spark gap to at least 2".  Slowly turn the Wimshurst generator to build up charge.  If the balls do not start hitting the chimes on their own when the charge is built up, you may have to slightly shake the apparatus.  When operating properly the balls should go back and forth between negative and positive chimes creating a ringing sound.

  • Harry Cook and Scott C. Dudley, "High Voltage and Franklin’s Bells at Low Cost", TPT, Vol. 57, #5, May 2019, p. 290.
  • Dan MacIsaac, "How Spiders Fly: Ballooning Spiders Use E Field for Lift", TPT, Vol. 56, #6, Sept. 2018, p. 414.
  • Thomas B. Greenslade Jr., "A Christmas Book from 1875", TPT, Vol. 47, #9, Dec. 2009, p. 579.
  • Marvin Ohriner and Steve Machtinger, "From Our Files: Two Electroscopes are Better Than One", TPT, Vol. 43, #1, Jan. 2005, p. 52.
  • Wojciech Dindorf, "Parallel Plate Capacitor at Home", TPT, Vol. 42, # 4, April 2004, p. 250.
  • Akio Saitoh, "Toy Moved by Frictional Electricity", TPT, Vol. 27, #5, May 1989, p. 402.
  • Robert J. Krohl, "Electrostatic Pong", TPT, Vol. 20, #5, May 1982, p. 330.
  • Marvin Ohriner and Steve Machtinger, "Two Electroscopes are Better than One", TPT, Vol. 7, #6, Sept. 1969, p. 343.
  • R. V. Krotkov, M. T. Tuominen, and M. L. Breuer, "'Franklin's Bells' and Charge Transport as an Undergraduate Lab", AJP, Vol. 69, #1, Jan. 2001, p. 50.
  • R. D. Redin, "Demonstration of Dipole Lines of Force", AJP, Vol. 45, #8, Aug. 1977, p. 772.
  • Kazutoshi Asano, "On the Theory of an Electrostatic Pendulum Oscillator", AJP, Vol. 43, #5, May 1975, p. 423.
  • D. H. Martin, R. L. Longbrake, "An Electrostatic Oscillator Experiment", AJP, Vol. 40, #3, March 1972, p. 395.
  • "E-060: Ball Dance and Bell Ringer", DICK and RAE Physics Demo Notebook.
  • George M. Hopkins, "Frictional Electricity", Experimental Science, p. 383.
  • David Kutliroff, "80, The Oscillating Charge Carrier", 101 Classroom Demonstrations and Experiment For Teaching Physics, p. 177.
  • Rudolf F. Graf, "The Swinging Grain", Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments, p. 23.
  • Rudolf F. Graf, "Making the Static Electricity Pendulum", Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments, p. 24.
  • Joseph Frick, "# 257 - Experiments with the Electrical Machine - The Electrical Chime", Physical Technics: Or Practical Instructions for Making Experiments in Physics and the Construction of Physical Apparatus with the Most Limmited Means, p. 277.
  • "Electrical Bells", Pike's Illustrated Catalogue of Scientific & Medical Instruments, 1984, p. 273.
  • The Queen Catalogues Vol. II, Catalogue of Physical Instruments, No. 5275, p. 86.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.