Stormer Viscosimeter

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This instrument was designed by E. J. Stormer, chief chemist of the Case Threshing Machine Co. in Racine, Wisconsin. In 1909 it was described as “distinctly new in design, and since it comes from a practical chemist who has found it superior to other forms in making a large number of determinations daily, it may be expected to appeal to other practical men.” And indeed it did. Stormer viscosimeters were soon being used for paint, clay slips, and pyroxylin solutions, as well as for corn, catsup, and cod liver oil.
Stormer’s original viscosimeter consisted of a falling weight that caused something to rotate at constant speed through a viscous liquid held at a constant temperature. Viscosity would be expressed either in terms of the number of rotations in a given time, or the time needed to make a number of rotations. By 1914, Arthur H. Thomas was offering Stormers with a rotating cylinder, and this basic form remains available to this day.
This example is marked “ARTHUR H. THOMAS CO. PHILADELPHIA, PA.” and “FISHER SCIENTIFIC CO. PITTSBURGH, PA. USA.” The Metal Products Division of Koppers Co., Inc., donated it to NMAH in 1976.
Currently not on view
Arthur H. Thomas Company
Fisher Scientific Company
Arthur H. Thomas Company
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
birch (overall material)
aluminum (overall material)
non-ferrous metal (overall material)
knurl knob: 60 mm x 25 mm; 2 3/8 in x in
large cylinder: 75 mm x 97 mm; 2 15/16 in x 3 13/16 in
indicator: 24 mm; 15/16 in
base, support: 36 cm x 17.2 cm x 26.5 cm; 14 3/16 in x 6 3/4 in x 10 7/16 in
case: 40 cm x 21 cm x 29.5 cm; 15 3/4 in x 8 1/4 in x 11 5/8 in
dial: 32 mm; 1 1/4 in
overall in box: 15 13/16 in x 8 in x 11 5/8 in; 40.16375 cm x 20.32 cm x 29.5275 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Koppers Co., Inc., Metal Products Division
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Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History