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Citizen SpectatorArt, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America$
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Wendy Bellion

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833889

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838907_Bellion

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Theaters of Visuality

Theaters of Visuality

(p.23) 1 Theaters of Visuality
Citizen Spectator

Wendy Bellion

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes Charles Redheffer's unveiling of his invention—a perpetual motion machine. Such a discovery promised a technological marvel. The prospect of a self-renewing energy source was as much a hopeful desire of earlier centuries as it is today, and hence it was little surprise that Philadelphia's scientific and mechanic communities greeted the machine with wonder and excitement when it was exhibited at a house in Germantown, some ten miles outside the city. Eager to learn whether Redheffer's discovery could be replicated, a local group hired Lukens to construct a duplicate. Lukens was a clockmaker, a man practiced in the making of delicate things, and, turning an experienced eye on Redheffer's instrument, he quickly realized that his fellow mechanics had been fooled.

Keywords:   Charles Redheffer, perpetual motion machine, self-renewing energy source, Lukens

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