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Microflash, Model P509
Named collection: Harold E. Edgerton Collection
Object type: microflash
Maker: General Radio Company
Date made: circa 1957
Materials: metal; glass
Measurements: 23' x 12" x12"
Nomenclature: photographic tools and equipment - high speed photographic equipment
Classification: tools and equipment
Very high-speed photographs, like those of bullets in flight, are made with a microflash. A high-voltage spark sent into the flash tube causes an arc of electricity to jump between the electrodes on the outside of the tube. The arc displaces the air around it, much like the lightning in a summer storm, and the microflash produces its own thunder, sounding like a gun shot. Unlike most electronic flash lamps, which are filled with xenon, the microflash operates in air. This produces a very short afterglow. Serial number 130. Strobolux model 648-A.