Balance, probably used by Joseph Black

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Postcard of Balance, probably used by Joseph Black.
© National Museums Scotland

Balance, probably used by Joseph Black

This balance was probably used in classroom demonstrations or experiments by Professor Joseph Black (1728-99) at Edinburgh University. It was made in the late 18th century.

The beam, pans and suspension arm are made of iron, the base of wood. The drawer in the base contains five compartments, one of which can accommodate the balance. A paper label on the base is inscribed 'Balance used in experiments by Dr Joseph Black.

It has been said that it was Joseph Black who 'first provided examples of reasoned sets of chemical experiments in which the balance was used at almost every stage'.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-044-104-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1858.275.3
Date: c. 1760
Late 18th century
Dimensions: 665 mm H x 570 mm x 270 mm
What: Balance, chemical
Subject: 4. CHEMISTRY, Apparatus and instruments, analytical methods (Departmental Classification)
Who: Edinburgh University (owner)
Joseph Black (owner)
Where: Scotland
Description: One of a collection of apparatus and instruments from Edinburgh University used by Professors Black, Hope and Gregory - a balance used in his chemical experiments by Dr Joseph Black
  • Anderson, R. G. W. & Simpson, A. D. C., Edinburgh and Medicine: A Commemorative Catalogue of the Exhibition held at the Royal Scottish Museum. Edinburgh: 1976, p 40, item 185 
  • Anderson, R. G. W., The Playfair Collection. Edinburgh: 1978, p 73 
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