Otto von Guericke
Otto von Guericke invented the first air pump and used it to study the phenomenon of vacuum. His demonstrations of air pressure earned him a lifetime pension! The strength of air pressure was shown through his famous "horses" demonstration: teams of horses (up to 24 horses) would attempt to pull "Magdeburg Hemispheres" (Copper spheres) apart which were held together by the force of atmospheric pressure created using his vacuum pump.<ref>About.com: Inventors</ref>
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