Smithsonian museums continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Read a message from our director, and check our website and social media for updates.

Westphal Specific Gravity Balance

Westphal Specific Gravity Balance

A specific gravity balance is used to measure the buoyancy of an object by weighing that object in air and then in water. The form was devised by a German pharmacist, Karl Friedrich Mohr, and improved by Georg Westphal (1836-1902), a balance and philosophical apparatus maker in Celle.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Westphal, Georg
plummet glass: 83 mm x 10 mm; 3 1/4 in x 3/8 in
stand and balance arm: 20 cm x 21 cm x 5.7 cm; 7 7/8 in x 8 1/4 in x 2 1/4 in
cylinder: 5 in x 1 15/16 in; 12.7 cm x 4.99999 cm
box: 7.6 cm x 22.9 cm x 16.5 cm; 3 in x 9 in x 6 1/2 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Bowdoin College
Weights & Measures
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Note: Comment submission on our collection pages is temporarily unavailable. Please check back soon!

If you have a question or require a personal response, please visit our FAQ or contact page.