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Case (detail), for saccharometer

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probably made in Edinburgh

Case (detail), for saccharometer
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This is a detail of a case containing a gilded brass instrument, known as Bates saccharometer, used to ascertain the quantity of sugar in liquids, and thus the alcohol content of beer. The instrument was made bought in 1879 from Peter Stevenson, a scientific instrument maker based in Edinburgh between 1836 and 1900.

The label on the outside of the case reads 'No. [Royal Arms] 7/BATE'S SACCHAROMETER/ P.STEVENSON. MAKER. EDINBURGH'.

Saccharometers were developed at the end of the 18th century for determining the strength of sugar solutions, in particular in brewing, to measure the alcohol content for taxation. Thomas Thomson (1773-1852), who opened the first practical chemical laboratory in Edinburgh, devised a saccharometer for use in the brewing industry. Used by the Scottish Excise from 1805, it was legally adopted in 1815, but later disallowed in favour of R.B. Bates' instrument.

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