Abbé Refractometer

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Warren P. Valentine began making refractometers when World War I limited the import of European instruments into the United States. By 1920 the National Bureau of Standards had reported that his precision refractometer was "the most accurate Abbé refractometer we have so far tested." In 1928, Valentine received the Edward Longstreth Medal of the Franklin Institute in "consideration of the meritorious work shown in the improvement of the mechanical and optical parts of the Abbé refractometer, thereby increasing its accuracy."
By that time, these instruments were used in the paint, oil and drug industries, and in chemical and physical laboratories. In dispensaries they measured the quantity of albumin or protein in blood serum and urine. They were also used to determine the oil content of flax, cotton, and other oil-bearing seeds, to control the melting point in the hardening of vegetable and mineral waxes and the hydrogenation of soap stock, to measure the total solids in tomato juice and catsup and the concentration of sugar syrups as in sugar manufacture and the sugar content of fruit jellies and preserves. This example is marked "WARREN P. VALENTINE, HADDONFIELD, N.J. U.S.A. No. 334." The National Bureau of Standards transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1960.
Currently not on view
Valentine, Warren P.
place made
United States: New Jersey, Haddonfield
overall in case: 8 5/8 in x 18 9/16 in x 7 in; 21.9075 cm x 47.14875 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
National Bureau of Standards
National Bureau of Standards
Franklin Institute
World War I
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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