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Leyden Jars


Leyden jars

The "mature" Leyden jar with a thin metallic coat outside and inside. A chain link charges the inner armature. Thinner the glass wall, more electricity can be stored.




At right, a pioneering Leyden jar. Two "type" of endings were tried for the charging conductor: a spherical end (thought to promote an "afflux" of electricity) and a brushy ending for the efflux. The outside of the bottle is carefully coated with lead. The inside is filled with iron shavings.

small Leyden jar by Wistar


Small Leyden jar with a size reference

The repeat picture above is intended to provide an idea on the usual sizes of the Leyden Jars.



At right, a really old looking Leyden jar. Lead coating and iron fillings (probably mid 18th century). The ball at the end of the conductor appears to be hardened wax.

Large Leyden


Conductor Leyden paire

The elementary electric charges in nature are almost as enigmatic as light. Every point on a conductive body, indifferent of its shape, is at the same electric potential. Knowing that there are strong repulsive forces between charges of same sign, it is fun to figure-out the distribution of electrons on the conductor at the left and on the interior armature of the Leyden jar at right in the picture abouve. If you need my help in understanding this, email me your question.


At right a large diameter Leyden Jar. I hate to think one of those discharging through somebody's body. It can be lethal and for sure very unpleasant. Trust me; I went through such an experience.



Holtz electrostatic Leyden jar

A quite little Leyden jar used in demonstration electrostatic machines. Why so small? You should know. If you can't answer this, ask your physics teacher. He/she has to know.

Large mouth

Leyden conductor paire


Prisley battery
A Priestley battery of capacitors (Leyden Jars)


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