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Leyden jar

noun, Electricity.
a device for storing electric charge, consisting essentially of a glass jar lined inside and outside, for about two-thirds of its height, with tinfoil.
Origin of Leyden jar
First recorded in 1815-25; so called because invented in Leyden Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Leyden jar
Historical Examples
  • Let us look at the familiar illustration of charging a Leyden jar.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • This is an example of the “quick discharge” of a Leyden jar.

  • Then he connected the crown by a long wire with the Leyden jar.

  • Next, he took his Leyden jar and collected the electricity in that.

  • It indicates that Franklin had subjected them to a scrutiny hardly less close than that which he had fixed upon the Leyden jar.

  • Not less than three professors invented the famous Leyden jar in the year 1795.

    The Story of Mankind Hendrik Van Loon
  • In order to collect the electricity thus generated a vessel called a Leyden jar is used.

    Electricity for Boys J. S. Zerbe
  • The discharge of a Leyden jar or of another condenser sets up ether waves that have the speed of light.

    Physics Willis Eugene Tower
  • He believed that the electricity in the bottle, or Leyden jar, was the same thing as the lightning we see in a thunder-storm.

  • They caught him—they even bottled him, like ordinary spirits, and called his prison a Leyden jar.

    The Battery and the Boiler R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for Leyden jar

Leyden jar

(physics) an early type of capacitor consisting of a glass jar with the lower part of the inside and outside coated with tin foil
Word Origin
C18: first made in Leiden
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Leyden jar

1755, phial used for accumulating and storing static electricity, from Leyden (modern Leiden), city in Holland; so called because it was first described (in 1746) by physicist Pieter van Musschenbroek of Leyden (1692-1761). The place name is said to be from Germanic *leitha- "canal."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Leyden jar in Science
Leyden jar
An early device for storing electric charge that uses the same principle as a modern capacitor. It consists of a glass jar with conductive metal foil covering its inner and outer surfaces, with the glass insulating these surfaces from each other. The inner surface is charged (by an external source) through an electrode penetrating the top of the jar; the inner and outer foil layers can then hold an equal and opposite charge.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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