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Capillary Rotator (Carl Zeiss)

University College

Box: faded leather with silver hinge closure; marked on lid “CAPILLAR-ROTATOR” at center and “C. ZEISS JENA” in lower proper left corner. Box in poor condution, requires shoe strings to hold the bottom together. Instrument: grey steel plate with a round, flat glass insert plate framed by a clamp mechanism over a bisecting groove; groove leads into a very fine hole, probably extending into telescope projection; entire end mechanism can be twisted 360 deg. or more, the instrument has a ring scale marked 0-34 every 3 units.

Accession Number: 2009.uc.24

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials:

metal (instrument), leather, wood, felt (box)


Old Inventory Number = “uc24”; engraved “CARL ZEISS JENA”.

Dimensions (cm):

Instrument: Height = 0.2, Width = 2.5, Length = 14.8


Fibers were placed inside a liquid-filled capillary which was held by this device. When the capillary was placed inside more of the same liquid, the width of the fiber could be determined by examining the effects of its birefringence, and comparing them with those of the fiber rotated 90 degrees.


Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Carl Zeiss, Jena

Date of Manufacture: c. 1900


Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes: