The torsion balance as an exploration instrument was invented by the Hungarian baron Eötvös Lóránd. In the first third of the 20th century, the torsion balance was the standard instrument for gravity exploration (Figure 1) but by the early 1930s it was replaced by less cumbersome instruments.

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The history of the Eötvös torsion balance has been described in TLE by Domenico (1994). My article relates to the physics of a whole class of instruments of which the torsion balance is but one, albeit important, member. These instruments detect features of the gravity field by observing the behavior of...

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