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Bausch & Lomb Duboscq-Type Colorimeter

  • 1920s
  • Bausch & Lomb Optical Company
    New York, New York, United States
  • 12.5 in. H x 5.5 in. W x 4.75 in. D
    Iron, steel, glass
  • On display in Making Modernity
  • Found in Collections
  • 2003.514


Before the era of spectrophotometers, chemists used color in their research. With their eyes and with equipment like this colorimeter, chemists could crudely identify substances and measure their concentration by comparing the color of a reference sample with that of an unknown. The method was simple but imprecise and subjective. With the eye as a “detector,” colorimetry relied on individual perceptions of hue, saturation, and brightness.

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Arnold O. Beckman

CHF’s Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry was started with a generous grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1987.



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