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Hydrometer, 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.

Object number:

A70756

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Glossary:

Glossary: hydrometer

A hydrometer is an instrument used to measure the specific gravity (or relative density) of liquids; that is, the ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water. A hydrometer is usually cylindrical and made from glass.

Glossary: clinical diagnosis

A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.