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Colorimeter Table (Klett Bio)

Mount Sinai Pathology Lab · Health Sciences

A metal instrument with a black textured finish. The base of the instrument has a rectangular footprint. A socket for an incandescent bulb with an electrical cord attached protrudes from the right side of the base. A knob on the right side of the instrument permits the user to read calibration tables by scrolling a ribbon of text past a glass window.

The base supports a rectangular pillar consisting of an optical element. At either side of the pillar is a knurled knob. Each knob adjusts the height of a small platform joined to the corresponding side of the pillar. The bases of these platforms are exposed to light from the electric lamp in the base through a rectangular opening on the top surface of the base. The platforms support a sample and a colour standard.

At the very top of the instrument are two optical openings. One is a round ocular that permits the user to compare the colour of the contents of each pillar. The second is a rectangular widow that shows two scales showing the current height of each platform.

Two glass elements that protrude into the sample chambers on the pillars are attached to optical element at the top of the instrument. One of these is broken. The cylindrical broken section is retained.

Two glass sample chambers are held on the adjustable platforms. These are labelled “Left” and “Right” respectively. The right chamber is broken. The broken section is missing.

Accession Number: 2023.MTS.7

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Glass, Iron Alloy.


A gold-coloured sticker on the front of the pillar reads as follows: “PAT’D// APR 24, 1928// NO 1,667,476// KLETT BIO// KLETT MFG CO. Inc// NEW YORK// USA”.

Stamped underneath the base of the instrument: “17925 B”

Dimensions (cm): Height = 33.5, Width = 20, Length = 15.


This colorimeter is used to measure the absorption of particular wavelengths of light by test solutions. (See the archived Science History Institute catalogue entry cited in the References field for a detailed description and historical context.)


The instrument is in reasonable cosmetic condition, though important elements are broken. The finish of the instrument is damaged in several small patches, especially on the lower portion of the base. One of the two glass elements suspended above the sample is broken. One of the two sample holders placed on the adjustable platforms is broken.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Klett Manufacturing Co. New York, NY

Date of Manufacture: c. 1920s.


The Mount Sinai Pathology Lab collection was transferred from a display case on the 6th floor of Mount Sinai Hospital (600 University Ave. Toronto, On) over several days in mid-December 2020.

Additional Information and References:

The same model of this instrument, in better condition than this example, is well catalogued by Science History Institute of Philadelphia, PA. (Webpage archived September 15, 2023)

Historical Notes:

  • Donated to UTSIC