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BDH Spot Test

Jowlabar · Chemical Engineering

Brown wooden box with hinged lid and a gold metal plate on the top engraved with “B.D.H. ‘Spot’ Test/ The British Drug House Ltd./ London”

Box contains small glass vials with black plastic lids around outer edges; 7 along the left side, 13 along the hinged side, and 7 along the right. In the centre of the box is a bag full of vials containing reagents, and a small book titled “The BDH ‘Spot’ Test Outfit Handbook.

Accession Number: 2014.che.1

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials:


top engraved with “B.D.H. ‘Spot’ Test/ The British Drug House Ltd./ London”

Inside lid of the box is a “List of Reagents Included in the B.D.H. ‘Spot’ Test Outfit.

Dimensions (cm):


The B.D.H. (British Drug House) Spot Test Outfit is a useful collection of reagents and equipment for testing the presence of metals and radicals in compounds. The legend on the inside lid of the box specifies which of the numbered reagents should be used to test for which elements, while the accompanying handbook provides step-by-step details for executing the spot test. The large centre area of the box would have originally contained equipment to perform the spot tests (including spot test plates to allow reagent mixing). The reagents themselves are colourful compounds, but more important is the colour they produce when combined with the substance in question. The handbook guides and helps interpret the chemical analysis according to the colour that would be produced by the reagent if the element is present in the sample. Additionally, the kit includes colourful litmus paper that was often part of the analytical process.



Large tear in “List of Reagents” paper on inside of lid. Tarnishing on front label.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: The British Drug House LtD.

Date of Manufacture: Mid. 20th Century


Donated by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes:


  • Donated to UTSIC