Hydrometer, France, 1810-1820

1810-1820 in Paris
Hydrometer, metal, in wooden case

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Hydrometer, metal, in wooden case
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Hydrometer, metal, in wooden case, by Marcelen Compagnie, ? Palais Egalite No. 13, a cote du caffe Italian, Paris, France, 1810-1820.

A hydrometer measures the specific gravity (or relative density) of liquids. This means the ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water. Instruments such as this were used in the chemical analysis of substances such as urine, which could diagnose disease within the body. This type of hydrometer was designed by chemist Joseph Louis Gay Lussac (1778-1850). It is made of metal and comes in a wooden case and was made by Marcelen Compagnie of Paris. We know it was repaired in the 1820s by Jean Gabriel Augustine Chevallier of Paris because it is accompanied by a receipt.


Clinical Diagnosis
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
wood (unidentified), leather, chamois, metal, silver (plated) and incomplete
overall (case-previous): 39 mm x 202 mm x 65 mm,
overall (case-as displayed): 82 mm x 202 mm x 89 mm, .186 kg
overall (instruction as displayed): 1 mm x 122 mm x 194 mm, .042 kg
overall (hydrometer-previous): 183 mm
Grise, M.