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Hoffmann–La Roche Prototype Polarimeter

  • ca. 1960
  • Manufactured by Hoffmann–La Roche
    Made in Basel, Switzerland
  • 20 in. H x 58 in. W x 19 in. D
    Metal, plastic
  • Not on display
  • Gift of the Bodenseewerk Perkin-Elmer Museum of Instrumental Analysis, Überlingen, Germany
  • Bodensee Collection
  • 2002.003.012A-D


A polarimeter measures the amount of polarization in light. Chemical polarimeters evaluate how a chemical sample reacts to polarized light and are most often used on optically active liquids, such as sugar solutions. Because the food and drink industries often used polarimeters to analyze sugar solutions, specialized versions called saccharimeters were developed specifically to measure sugar levels.

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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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