Duboscq-Soleil Saccharimeter

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Jean Baptiste François Soleil, a leading optical instrument maker in Paris, invented the saccharimeter in 1845, described it to the Académie des Sciences, and received a gold medal from the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale. This new instrument was a form of polariscope that determined the saccharine strength (or purity) of a sugar solution by measuring the extent to which that solution rotated the plane of polarization of polarized light passing through it.
This example is marked "SACCHARIMETER-SOLEIL J. Duboscq, rue de l’Odeon 35 a Paris" and "No. 133." The signature refers to Jules Duboscq, an instrument maker who apprenticed with Soleil, married his daughter, and assumed control of the scientific side of the business following Soleil’s retirement in 1849. The address is that of Soleil’s shop where Duboscq remained until 1864.
This saccharimeter used a Nicol prism to polarize the light and a pair of quartz wedges to analyze it. A linear scale developed by the French chemist Clerget (missing in this example) indicated the optical rotation of the liquid in the observation tube. The vertical cylinder in the tube held a thermometer.
Currently not on view
date made
Duboscq, Jules
place made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 16 3/4 in x 16 1/2 in x 8 in; 42.545 cm x 41.91 cm x 20.32 cm
overall: 19 5/8 in x 8 3/4 in x 8 in; 49.8475 cm x 22.225 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History