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This voltameter (or electrolysis apparatus) came from the Smithsonian Instrument Room, and was probably purchased by Joseph Henry, the physicist who served as the founding Secretary of the Institution. It is often termed a Hofmann Voltameter, in reference to the German chemist, August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818-1892). Hofmann probably did not invent or design the apparatus, but he did make it popular. Visitors to the Special Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus, held in London in 1876, could see 16 pieces of Hoffman’s apparatus—many of which were used for electrolysis demonstrations—that were manufactured by Warmbrunn, Quilitz & Co., in Berlin. The inscription on this example reads "Casella, London."
Ref: A. W. von Hofmann, Introduction to Modern Chemistry: Experimental and Theoretic; Embodying Twelve Lectures Delivered in the Royal College of Chemistry London (London, 1866).
Catalogue of the Special Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus (London, 1876), p. 570.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Electrolysis Tube
L. P. Casella
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
overall: 661 mm x 51 mm; 26 in x 2 in
overall: 26 1/2 in x 1 5/8 in; 67.31 cm x 4.1275 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Smithsonian Institution Instrument Room
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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