Spectrophotometer, Coleman Model 6B

Spectrophotometer, Coleman Model 6B

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The Coleman Electric Company of Maywood, Illinois, was organized by Edwin Dewitt Coleman in the 1930s, made “precision tools for the technologist” during World War II, and became Coleman Instruments in the 1940s. It was bought by Perkin-Elmer in 1964, and became the Coleman Instrument Division of that firm.
The spectrophotometers that Coleman Electric introduced in 1938 were designed by (or in conjunction with) Robert W. Wood, a noted professor of optical physics at The Johns Hopkins University, and they incorporated Wood’s replica diffraction gratings. By 1955, Coleman was boasting that over 10,000 of these instruments were in use in industrial, medical and academic laboratories all over the world.
Coleman boasted in 1947 that their 6A Junior spectrophotometer “offers today’s technologist an improved design of the famous ‘Army Clinical Model 6’—official with the British and American Army Medical Corps.” The 6B spectrophotometer, introduced in 1949, was designed to meet the requirements of the American Oil Chemists Association, an organization that had recently adopted spectrophotometry as the approved method for measuring and expressing oil color.
A tag on the front of this example reads “JUNIOR / SPECTROPHOTOMETER / PATENTS PENDING” and “PH COLEMAN” and “COLEMAN INSTRUMENTS INC. / MAYWOOD, ILLINOIS, U.S.A.” and “INST. NO. / 3744” and “MODEL 6B.”
Ref: Edwin D. Coleman, “Spectrophotometer,” U.S. Patent 2,339,053 (Jan. 11, 1944).
“Coleman Junior Spectrophotometers!” ad in Analytical Chemistry 19 (March 1947): 23A.
“Notice to Oil Chemists,” ad in Analytical Chemistry 21 (June 1949): 22A.
“Coleman Spectrophotometers,” ad in Analytical Chemistry 27 (March 1955): 14A.
“Two Ex-Wives Benefit From Coleman Will,” Chicago Tribune (Aug. 25, 1959), p. C5.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
place made
United States: Illinois, Maywood
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey
overall: 17 cm x 25.8 cm x 35.6 cm; 6 11/16 in x 10 3/16 in x 14 in
overall: 6 5/8 in x 10 in x 14 in; 16.8275 cm x 25.4 cm x 35.56 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Department of Chemistry, Lehigh University
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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