Peters Saccharimeter

This half-shadow polariscope is marked "Julius Peters - Berlin NW 21" and "No. 696” and “NBS 3985." It has a Lippich polarizer, double quartz compensation, trestle stand, and thermometer. The National Bureau of Standards transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1960. The Bureau was established in 1901 and given responsibility for standardizing the saccharimeters and other apparatus that customs agents used to assess the saccharine quality of sugar coming into the United States.
Julius Peters displayed instruments of this sort at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904, and Bausch & Lomb imported them into the United States. G. W. Rolfe, an instructor in sugar analysis at M.I.T., described the special features: the mounting was designed for stability and rigidity, the wedges of the analyzer were enclosed in a dust-proof box, the pinion that moved the wedges was lengthened so that the observer could move it with his hand resting on the table, and the scales were made of an alloy named “nickelin” that was not affected by moisture and but little affected by temperature.
Ref: German Educational Exhibition. Worlds’s Fair, St. Louis, 1904, Scientific Instruments (Berlin, 1904), pp.103-104.
Bausch & Lomb Optical Co., Apparatus and Supplies for Chemical and Biological Laboratories (Rochester, N.Y., 1904), pp. 322-323.
G. W. Rolfe, The Polariscope in the Chemical Laboratory (New York, 1905), pp. 36-38.
Currently not on view
Object Name
saccharimeter, double wedge
Peters, Julius
overall: 17 in x 11 1/2 in x 7 in; 43.18 cm x 29.21 cm x 17.78 cm
place made
Deutschland: Berlin, Berlin
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
National Bureau of Standards
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
National Bureau of Standards
Additional Media

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