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Lot 249
AYRTON, HERTHA. 1854-1923.
Collection of manuscript, typescript and printed materials, consisting of the following:
22 October 2014, 13:00 EDT
New York

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AYRTON, HERTHA. 1854-1923.

Collection of manuscript, typescript and printed materials, consisting of the following:
1. 27-page typescript, with extensive manuscript corrections and additions, of Ayrton's lecture "Sand ripples and oscillating water" [1911?]. Creased along folds, some soiling.
2. 2-1/2 page manuscript critique, by an anonymous Royal Society referee, of Ayrton's paper "On some new facts connected with the motion of oscillating water" (1911). Creased along folds, some soiling, a few tears.
3. 12-page typescript, with holograph corrections, of Ayrton's paper "Primary and residual vortices in oscillating fluids--Their connection with skin friction," left unpublished at her death. Dated "ca. 1915" in pencil on the first leaf. Creased along folds, minor soiling.
4. 2 partially filled notebooks concerning her research on fans, 1918-23. Quarter leather and quarter cloth, hinges weak.
5. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series A, vol 96, no A 676 (1919), containing Ayrton's paper "On a new method of driving off poisonous gases." Orig. printed wrappers; sheet of Ayrton's manuscript notes, on United Suffragists stationery, laid in.
6. Collection of 7 mimeographed and carbon typescripts, on legal-size paper fastened with brads, pertaining to the claim made by Ayrton's estate for an award for the Admiralty's use of her negative carbons (1924). A few leaves loose, creased along folds, some soiling & chipping. 2 of the documents bear the pencil signature of C. E. Greenslade, Ayrton's research assistant.
7. Hertha Ayrton: A Memoir, by Evelyn Sharp. London: Arnold, 1926. 8vo. xiv, 304 pp. 5 plates. Orig. cloth, shaken, some leaves loose.

Ayrton (born Sarah Phoebe Marks) was a British physicist and electrical engineer who made important contributions to the study of electric arcs and of the physics of waves in water with obstacles and boundaries. "Her research on electricity demonstrated a deep understanding of the non-intuitive characteristics of electricity conducted in arc discharges and led to significant improvement in the operation of arc lighting systems. ... Her later research about the characteristics of wave motion in liquids and about how the wave motion influences the contours of underwater surfaces have withstood the passage of time" (Grolier Club Extraordinary Women in Science & Medicine p 44). Ayrton's research on the properties of electric arcs led to her being the first woman elected to the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and her monograph The Electric Arc, published in 1902, remained the standard textbook on the subject until the 1920s. She was the first woman to read a research paper at a Royal Society meeting, and the first (and still only) woman to receive the Society's Hughes Medal, awarded for original discoveries relating to the generation, storage and use of energy.
This collection of original manuscripts and typescripts documents 3 of Ayrton's major areas of research: the formation of sand ripples under water by ripple-forming vortices (nos 1-3); the creation of satisfactory specifications for the carbons used in searchlight projectors, as requested by the Admiralty (no 6); and the invention of the Ayrton Fan for dispelling clouds of poison. The work for which Ayrton is perhaps best known is her Ayrton Fan, a simple hand-held device she invented during the First World War to repel clouds of poison gas. This device, adopted by the British armed forces only after much delay and prevarication, was still responsible for saving many lives. Grolier Club Extraordinary Women in Science & Medicine pp 42-46. Ogilvie Women in Science pp 32-34.

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