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Specific gravity balance in a wooden frame with glass panels. The inscription on the ivory scale reads: “CHAINOMATIC / Christian BECKER, INC. / NEW YORK." "B 26493” is on the side of the base. The specific gravity scale is marked “PAT. NOV. 7, 1916.”
By using a chain weight instead of several small weights, the Chainomatic design permitted rapid weighing. Christian Becker’s son, Christopher A. Becker, did not invent the form, but he obtained a U.S. patent in 1916, and received the Edward Longstreth Medal of Merit from the Franklin Institute in 1917.
Ref: Arthur H. Thomas, Laboratory Apparatus and Reagents (Philadelphia, 1921), p. 56.
C. A. Becker, “Weighing Scale,” U.S. Patent 1,203,686 (Nov. 7, 1916).
John T. Stock, “Victor Serrin and the Origins of the Chainomatic Balance,” Bulletin of the History of Chemistry 3 (1990): 12-15.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
around 1920
Christian Becker, Inc.
place made
United States: New York, New York
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey
case: 15 in x 14 in x 8 1/2 in; 38.1 cm x 35.56 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Cornell University
Weights & Measures
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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