A monochromator selects and then transmits light of a narrow band of wavelengths. This example, a double monochromator with two prisms, was designed by Pieter Hendrik Van Cittert (1889-1959), a Dutch physicist and, in time, founding director of the Utrecht University Museum. The “KIPP / DELFT HOLLAND” inscription at the slit refers to the maker, an old instrument firm that worked closely with the Dutch scientific community.

A tag on one foot reads “IMPORTED BY / JAMES G. BIDDLE / PHILADELPHIA.” Biddle boasted that this instrument “gives monochromatic light of great purity” and could be used to measure the distribution of energy through a spectrum.” It was also useful for absorption measurements, calibration of standard lamps, and control of the sensitivity of photographic plates for different colors. And it measured wavelengths as narrow as 15A. It could be had with flint glass prisms or, for much more money, with quartz prisms of the Cornu form.

Some small pieces are missing.

Ref: P. H. van Cittert, “Un Monochromateur de grande Luminosité et avec peu de Lumière Diffuse,” Revue d’Optique 2 (1923) 57-60.

P. H. van Cittert, “Zur Theorie der Doppelmonochromatoren, Zeitschrift für Instrumentenkunde 46 (1926): 557-563.

P. J. Kipp & Zonen, Glass Double Monochromator.

James G. Biddle Co. ad in Science 74 (Oct. 9. 1931): 13.

K. S. Gibson, “Apparatus for Accurate and Rapid Measurement of Spectral Transmission and Reflection,” Journal of the Optical Society of America 18 (1929): 166.

Date Made: 1920s

Maker: Kipp & Zonen

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Netherlands: South Holland, Delft

Subject: Science & Scientific Instruments


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: National Bureau of Standards

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PH.318116Catalog Number: 318116Accession Number: 231765

Object Name: spectrometermonochromator

Measurements: overall: 12 1/2 in; 31.75 cmoverall: 12 5/8 in x 17 3/4 in x 11 1/2 in; 32.0675 cm x 45.085 cm x 29.21 cm


Record Id: nmah_1817470

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