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Carwardine type saccharometer, England, 1894-1930

A saccharometer determined the quantity of sugar in urine. This condition is known as diabetes. Doctors in ancient Greece recognised some people’s urine was sweet-smelling. A chemical test was devised late in the 1800s to estimate the amount of sugar present. Urine was mixed with a chemical called Fehling’s solution and heated. Sugar quantity was then assessed by comparison with a chart. This saccharometer was introduced by Thomas Carwardine, a physician at the Middlesex Hospital around 1894. It was used in the consulting room or at the patient’s bedside. It produced a result in minutes. The box contains a graduated measure, three test tubes, two ring grips and instructions.

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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.

Glossary: saccharometer

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