Reference numberAP/42/2/1
TitleUnpublished manuscript, 'The intensification of sound through solid bodies by the interposition of water between them and the distal extremity of hearing tubes' by S [Somerville] Scott Alison
CreatorAlison; Somerville Scott (1813-1877); Scottish physician
DescriptionAlison gives an account of various experiments made on sounds proceeding through solid bodies. He finds that sounds which are faint, when heard by a hearing-tube applied directly to solid sounding bodies, become augmented when water is interposed between these bodies and the distal extremity of the hearing-tube. He has been able, by the employment of water, to hear the sound of a solid body, such as a table, which, without this medium, has been inaudible. Experiments have been made upon water in various amounts and in different conditions. Thus a very thin layer, a mere ring round the edge of the hearing-tube, masses of water in larger or smaller vessels, and a bag of water, have been employed. The results have been the same as regards augmentation. The degree of augmentation was greatest when the hearing-tube was immersed freely in water. In experimenting upon water in vessels, it was found necessary to close the extremity of the tube to be immersed, by tying over it a piece of bladder or thin rubber; for the entrance of water into the interior interfered greatly with the augmentation. The effect of water in augmenting sound is materially reduced if even a small amount of solid material be interposed between the water employed and the mouth of the hearing-tube. A piece of wood, not much thicker than a paper-cutter, materially interferes with the augmenting power of water.

Annotations in pencil and ink throughout. Includes 11 plates illustrating Alison's experiments.

Subject: Physics

Received 20 January 1859. Communicated by [John] Tyndall.

Whilst the Royal Society declined to publish this paper in full, an abstract of the paper was published in volume 10 of the Proceedings of the Royal Society as 'On the intensification of sound through solid bodies by the interposition of water between them and the distal extremities of hearing-tubes'.
Physical descriptionInk and graphite pencil on paper
Access statusOpen
Related materialDOI: 10.1098/rspl.1857.0130
Fellows associated with this archive
NA8293Tyndall; John (1820 - 1893); natural philosopher1820 - 1893
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