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Leyden jar

noun, Electricity
1.
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
1815-1825
1815-25; so called because invented in Leyden
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Leyden jar

Leyden jar

noun
1.
(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
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Word Origin and History for Leyden jar
n.

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
  (līd'n)   
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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Encyclopedia Article for Leyden jar

device for storing static electricity, discovered accidentally and investigated by the Dutch physicist Pieter van Musschenbroek of the University of Leiden in 1746, and independently by the German inventor Ewald Georg von Kleist in 1745. In its earliest form it was a glass vial, partly filled with water, the orifice of which was closed by a cork pierced with a wire or nail that dipped into the water. To charge the jar, the exposed end of the wire was brought into contact with a friction device that produced static electricity. When the contact was broken, a charge could be demonstrated by touching the wire with the hand and receiving a shock. In its present form, the inner and outer surfaces of an insulating jar are coated with sheets of metal foil. The outer coating is connected to earth, and a suitable connection is made with the inner coating through a central brass rod that projects through the mouth of the jar. In addition to its use for classroom demonstrations, the Leyden jar is of importance as a prototype of capacitors, which are widely used in radios, television sets, and other electrical and electronic equipment.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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