Water testing kit, England, 1920-1940

1920-1940 in England
Burroughs Wellcome and Company Limited

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Science Museum Group Collection
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Water testing kit, in wooden carrying case by Burroughs Wellcome and Co., England, 1920-1940

The kit contains equipment needed to examine water supplies at their source. It includes a spirit lamp, measuring cylinders, a tripod, ceramic dish, filter paper, a range of chemicals and printed sheets to record results. This kit was sold under the brand name ‘Soloid’ for £105 pounds, a considerable amount of money at the time. The kit was probably produced for use by the water companies that supplied people’s homes.

Such water testing shows a marked change from the situation a century earlier, when the quality of the water being drunk was of little concern to the companies selling it. Unfortunately, a number of diseases are transmitted through water including cholera and dysentery. In Britain a series of cholera outbreaks throughout the 1800s eventually led to major improvements in the quality of water supplied.


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), ceramic (unspecified), cork, cotton (fibre), felt, glass, incomplete, leather, mahogany (wood), metal (unknown), paper (fibre product) and rubber (unidentified)
overall - closed: 120 mm x 317 mm x 275 mm, 3.25 kg
overall - open: 347 mm x 317 mm x 293 mm, 3.254 kg
water testing kit
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • scientific equipment
  • laboratory apparatus
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument
  • measure - volume
  • furnishing and equipment
  • furnishing - artefact
  • lighting device
  • lamp - lighting device
D.H.S.S. (Russell Sq.)