Urinometers are used to measure the specific gravity of urine, a measurement of its density. Specific gravity of urine fluctuates with the concentration of dissolved substances contained in the sample. Urine with low specific gravity can be a sign of diabetes or kidney problems.
The urinometer has a graduated scale divided into four divisions. The upper most division is marked with the letter W: this is the level where the instrument rests in pure water. The next division is maked by the letter H: this is the level where the instrument rests when immersed in urine from a healthy person. The letter S indicates strong but not as healthy as H. Diabetes is indicated when the instrument rests in the lower most division.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
late19th century
late19th century
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 5 7/8 in x 1 1/4 in; 14.9225 cm x 3.175 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift from Miss. E.P. Custis
Additional Media

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