< 1 of 1 > Back

probably made in London

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 example (pictured here in its wooden case) was made around 1790, probably by Edward Troughton, a scientific instrument maker based in London. It was designed by John Richardson of York.

Richardson's hydrometer, is seen here in its fitted box, with a small ivory scale and six weights (two are missing from a set of eight), all marked with the set number '143'. The gilded brass hydrometer is marked 'Richardson Invt.' on one side of the stem, and 'Troughton fecit / No 143' on the other. The box is stamped on the wood beside the instrument 'No 143'.

Richardson published the first practical use of a device to measure the specific gravity of a liquid in brewing in 1788.

Record details

To search on related items, click any linked text below.

Online ID: 000-100-104-298-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1986.687
Date: Around 1790
c. 1790
What: Hydrometer, Richardson's
Who: Richardson (Eponym)
Troughton, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Richardson's hydrometer by Troughton of London, c. 1790
  • For Edward Troughton, see Anita McConnell, Instrument makers to the World: A History of Cooke, Troughton & Simms, York, 1992, pp.14-23. 
  • John Richardson, The Philosophical Principles of Brewing, York, 1788. Francis G.H. Tate and George H. Gabb, Alcoholometry an Account of the British Method of Alcoholic Strength Determination, London, 1930, pp.xii-xiii. 
Related Records:
< 1 of 1 > Back
Powered by Scran