Töpler influence machine
The Töpler influence machine is a type of electrical machine created by August J. I. Töpler in 1865. In general, an influence machine produces an electrical charge by electrostatic induction, usually between two or more glass plates.
Töpler's machine contained two disks rotating in one direction on a shaft; electrical charges created by the disks could then be stored in, e.g., a Leyden jar.
The machine is mentioned on page 58 of Against the Day, when Professor Vanderjuice "having just emerged from another of the laboratory mishaps for which he was widely known" says to Merle Rideout " 'Small confrontation with the Töpler influence machine, nothing to worry about.' "