Hydrometer

Hydrometer

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Description
Elijah Southworth (1759-1834) was a New York watchmaker who, in 1812, began making silver hydrometers suitable for gauging spirituous liquors. This instrument had one weight, and a scale so contrived that the alcoholic strength could be read directly, but only at temperature of 60° F. By 1818, Southworth’s hydrometer had become the standard for merchantable proof in New York. In 1820, Southworth requested compensation from the state of New York, for having invented a hydrometer and served as a revolutionary soldier. In 1821, Southworth received a federal patent for his hydrometer. William T. Gendar produced Southworth hydrometers in the 1840s. This silver hydrometer with graduated stem is based on Southworth’s design.
Ref: Southworth’s Patented Hydrometer (broadside).
Harrison Hall, The Distiller (Philadelphia, 1818), p. 322.
“Hydrometer Improved,” [New York] Evening Post (Aug. 18, 1812), p. 3.
“Legislature of New-York, House of Assembly,” [New York] Evening Post (Feb. 28, 1820), p. 2.
William T. Gendar, “Sole Manufacturer of Southworth’s Patent Hydrometer,” ad in The Cleveland Herald (Sept. 25, 1848).
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
hydrometer
Measurements
overall in container: 8 3/8 in x 1 9/16 in; 21.2725 cm x 3.96875 cm
ID Number
1992.0175.01
catalog number
1992.0175.01
accession number
1992.0175
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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