- The Quantum Story by Jim Baggott (2011) page 10 mentions:
Early examples of such cavities included rather expensive closed cylinders made from porcelain and platinum.and the footnote comments:
The study of cavity radiation was not just about establishing theoretical principles, however. It was also of interest to the German Bureau of Standards as a reference for rating electric lamps.
- 1859-60 Gustav Kirchhoff demonstrated that the ratio of emitted to absorbed energy depends only on the frequency of the radiation and the temperature inside the cavity
- 1896 Wien approximation seems to explain existing curves well
- 1900 expriments by Otto Lummer and Ernst Pringsheim show Wien approximation is bad for lower frequencies
- 1900-10-07 Heinrich Rubens visits Planck in Planck's villa in the Berlin suburb of Grünewald and informs him about new experimental he and Ferdinand Kurlbaum obtained, still showing that Wien approximation is bad
- 1900 Planck's law matches Lummer and Pringsheim's experiments well. Planck forced to make the "desperate" postulate that energy is exchanged in quantized lumps. Not clear that light itself is quantized however, he thinks it might be something to do with allowed vibration modes of the atoms of the cavity rather.
- 1900 Rayleigh-Jeans law derived from classical first principles matches Planck's law for low frequencies, but diverges at higher frequencies.