Franz Schmidt & Haensch Saccharimeter


This is a half shadow saccharimeter marked “Franz Schmidt & Haensch, Berlin S. No. 4645” and “D.R.P. No. 82523.” This firm began in business in Berlin in 1864 making saccharimeters and other optical instruments. It trades today as Schmidt & Haensch.

The two screws below the eyepiece indicate that this instrument has a double-quartz wedge compensation, a feature that relieves the observer from the necessity of checking the instrument against a standard solution or quartz plate. The German patent 82523, granted in 1895, describes the polarizer that enables the observer to equalize the darkness (rather than the color) of the various parts of the image.

The graduated scale, viewing scope, and 400 mm observation tube are missing. The additional inscription–“BS 482”–refers to the National Bureau of Standards, the organization that purchased this instrument in the early 1900s and transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1960. For many years the Bureau standardized the saccharimeters and other apparatus that customs agents used to assess the saccharine quality of sugar coming into the United States.

Ref: Franz Schmidt & Haensch, “Halbschatten-Polarisationsapparat,” German patent 82523 (1895).

Eimer & Amend, Illustrated Catalogue with Prices Current of Chemical & Physical Apparatus (New York, 1895), p. 392.

Geo. Stade, “Modern Polariscopes,” International Sugar Journal 1 (1899): 65-72.

Date Made: after 1895

Maker: Franz Schmidt & Haensch

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Germany: Berlin, Berlin

Subject: OpticsSugar


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences, Saccharimeters, Measuring & Mapping


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: National Bureau of Standards

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PH.318124Catalog Number: 318124Accession Number: 231765

Object Name: saccharimeter

Physical Description: brass (overall material)Measurements: overall: 15 in x 29 in; 38.1 cm x 73.66 cmoverall: 15 5/8 in x 11 1/4 in x 29 in; 39.6875 cm x 28.575 cm x 73.66 cm


Record Id: nmah_1184336

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