Three sets of opacity tubes, England, 1915-1925

1915-1925 in England
Burroughs Wellcome and Company Limited

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Three containers of opacity tubes, c 1920. Three quarter top view. White background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Three containers of opacity tubes standardisation of bacterial vaccines by Burroughs Wellcome & Co., c.1920. Each contains glass tube with solution, one dated in pencil as 1943

Opacity tubes were used to standardise anti-bacterial vaccines from 1915 onwards. The opaque appearance of a vaccine of unknown concentration is compared to a standard tube of known concentration. A light is shone through the unknown tube and is compared to each of the ten standard glass tubes in the kit to determine which one it matches most closely. Provided with the kit is a list of how much bacteria per millimetre is in each tube for certain types of bacteria.


Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
glass and leather
opacity tube
  • drug
Unknown source

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