In voltaic electricity, apparatus which should accurately indicate the dynamic effect of a current has long been a desideratum. The instruments hitherto used are objectionable for some one of the following reasons:—being either very delicate and expensive in their construction, requiring tedious manipulation, or giving results which at best are only approximative, or which require considerable powers of calculation to reduce their indications to a real value. I believe that the little instrument I have the pleasure of introducing is not liable to any of these objections, that it will assist the mathematician in obtaining the data he may require, and enable the experimentalist easily to record the power which he employs. Prior to describing my galvanometer, it may not be uninteresting to you, particularly to those who are not much versed in voltaic science, to describe the instruments and processes by which voltaic currents have hitherto been estimated.
I make use of the term “current” to express the effect which is communicated by conductors, through which electricity is supposed to pass. There is no science in which greater difficulty has been found in using appropriate and unexceptionable names and terms than in electricity. The terms which have been used in most sciences have been such as expressed, or were supposed to be in accordance with, the then theories and ideas. Such theories have since, in many cases, been found incorrect; and the terms have consequently proved not only inapplicable, but detrimental, from their conveying false ideas, which, when ...
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