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Make: Technology on Your Time Volume 31 by Mark Frauenfelder

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REMAKING HISTORY

By William Gurstelle, Workshop Warrior

OTTO VON GUERICKE AND THE MAGDEBURG HEMISPHERES

Make an impressively effective low-tech vacuum pump.

In the spring of 1654, German scientist Otto von Guericke staged a dramatic demonstration of his new invention, the vacuum pump. Guericke was the mayor (Bürgermeister) of Magdeburg, and he arranged for a public demonstration in the town square. Two teams of 15 horses would try to pull apart two 20"-diameter metal hemispheres.

The hemispheres were not bolted, welded, glued, or otherwise mechanically connected to one another. Instead, the air inside the sphere had been evacuated by means of ...

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