Article ID: CBB849444285

Tools for Chemists: The Desreux-Bischoff Viscosimeter (2015)


The previous paper in this series was devoted to the so-called Dean-Stark trap, used to remove water from a solvent or a solution (1). The name of the glassblower, Mr. Demuth, who actually made the apparatus, was absent from the roster of authors, even though his contribution was acknowledged at the end of the article. This was not an oversight. As a rule, glassblowers, and technicians more generally, were not included in print. It was a social class distinction. Laboratory technicians, during that period of the 1920s, were like blue-collar workers in industry. They were deemed mere manual workers. Authorship of scientific publications was reserved for scientists, typically those with a Ph.D. degree, whose contributions were recorded in a laboratory notebook, prior to possible transfer to journal pages (2). Such an inferior status of technicians endured into the 1950s, as the present paper will showcase. Another glassblower, Mr. Wenig, was the “invisible man” in the paper I am about to describe and comment upon (3). Since I was professionally acquainted with this gentleman, this article also draws on personal recollections.

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Authors & Contributors
Levere, Trevor H.
Holmes, Frederic Lawrence
Jackson, Catherine M.
Holmes, Frederic Lawrence
Anderson, Robert G. W.
Newman, William Royall
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Rittenhouse: Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise
Chemical Heritage
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
NTM: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Technik und Medizin
The MIT Press
Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)
Royal Society of Chemistry
Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft
Società Napoletana di Storia Patria
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Laboratory notebooks
Laboratory technicians
Laboratory techniques and procedures
Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent
Polanyi, Michael
Beckmann, Arnold O.
Langley, Samuel Pierpont
Rutherford, Ernest, 1st Baron
Allington, Robert W.
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
18th century
17th century
20th century, early
Rome (Italy)
Naples (Italy)
Beckmann Instruments Inc.
McGill University
Medical Research Council (Great Britain)
Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin

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