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made in Dundee

Postcard of Hydrometer.
© National Museums Scotland


A hydrometer is used to measure the density of a liquid and thus its alcohol content for taxation purposes, at a given temperature. This early-20th-century Sikes hydrometer was sold by James Urquhart, a scientific instrument maker based in Dundee.

The brass hydrometer (pictured here in its box) is signed 'J. URQUHART BALTIC ST. DUNDEE'. The accessories include a set of nine weights (marked 10-90), a stem end cap, a wooden slide rule and a thermometer signed 'W. REEVES & CO, 26 MINORIES LONDON'.

The Sikes hydrometer is named after its designer Bartholomew Sikes (1731-1803). Sikes won a competition held to find the best hydrometer design.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-721-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1972.5
Date: Early 20th century
Material: Brass, wood slide rule / red fabric-lined box. Inscription: J. URQUHART BALTIC ST. DUNDEE; 48618; W. REEVES & Co. 26 MINORIES LONDON; W. REEVES & CO. 26 MINORIES LONDON; 19703
Dimensions: 100 mm x 125 mm x 15 mm
What: Hydrometer, Sikes / box
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Hydrostatics (Departmental Classification)
Who: J. Urquhart, Baltic Street, Dundee, Scotland (Maker)
Sikes (Eponym)
W. Reeves and Co. (Inscribed on the hydrometer)
Where: England, London (26 Minories)
Scotland, Angus, Dundee
Description: Sikes hydrometer in a red fabric-lined box, signed by James Urquhart, Dundee, early 20th century
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