Tiberius Cavallo

Tiberius Cavallo, 1790, National Portrait Gallery, London
The Burdett Coutts memorial, Old St Pancras - Cavallo's name is towards the bottom

Tiberius Cavallo (also Tiberio) (March 30 1749 – December 21 1809) was an Italian physicist and natural philosopher.


    He was born at Naples, where his father was a physician.

    In 1771 he came to England with the intention of pursuing a mercantile career, but he soon turned his attention to scientific work. He made several ingenious improvements in scientific instruments. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1779, and gave annual Bakerian Lectures from 1780 to 1792.

    Cavallo was often cited in the literature of his time as inventor of Cavallo's multiplier, a device he used for the amplification of small electric charges, making them observable and measurable in an electroscope. He also worked on refrigeration, and his work influenced pioneer balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard. He published on musical temperament.

    He died in London on 21 December 1809.

    He is buried in Old St Pancras Churchyard. The grave is lost but he is listed on Baroness Burdett Coutts monument of 1879 to the many important persons buried therein.


    He published numerous works on different branches of physics, including:

    • A Complete Treatise on Electricity (1777)
    • Treatise on the Nature and Properties of Air and other permanently Elastic Fluids (1781)
    • History and Practice of Aerostation (1785)
    • Treatise on Magnetism (1787)
    • Elements of Natural and Experimental Philosophy (1803)
    • Theory and Practice of Medical Electricity (1780)
    • Medical Properties of Factitious Air (1798).

    For Rees's Cyclopædia he contributed articles on Electricity, Machinery and Mechanics, but the topics are not known.


    •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cavallo, Tiberius". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

    External links

    • "An Account of some new Electrical Experiments by Mr. Tiberius Cavallo communicated by Mr. Henley, F. R. S." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Vol. 67 December 1777 pages 48–55