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The instrument has a circular base with two metal rods rising vertically from it. One of these rods has a cylinder block attached to it with a glass slit going up through the middle of the cylinder. The second rod is used as a support for the other rod holding the cylinder block and also to adjust the height of the metal plate attached to it. This metal plate spans approximately 27cm across and on each end there is a wheel used for a pulley system.

Accession Number:

Alternative Name: Searle’s Viscometer

Primary Materials: Metal, string, glass


On the horizontal bar between the pulleys= “PYE” “W G PYE & Co LTD”

On the metal base: “W G PYE CAMBRIDGE”

On a white paper sticker, also on the base: “PHY863” this refers to the 1978 inventory number.

On each of the scales: “5 GRAMS”

Dimensions (cm): Height = 32, Width = 13.5, Length = 37


Used to measure the viscosity of very thick fluids.


Good: The object is in good condition and appears little used; It has all its parts.

Associated Instruments:


W.G. Pye & Co. Ltd., Cambridge, England

Date of Manufacture: c. 1920s


This object was likely used in teaching undergraduate physics in the U of T Physics Department.

Additional Information and References:

This item was designed by G.F.C. Searle. Searle was a professor at the Cavendish Laboratory who designed a variety of instruments for teaching and demonstration. His designs were made for sale by Pye & Co. Ltd., Cambridge.

Its purchase is recorded by Satterly in a ledger that records purchases made for the undergraduate laboratory between 1912 and 1934. The ledger is now kept at the University of Toronto archives.

See also the Pye & Co. Ltd 1910 catalogue, kept in the UTSIC catalogue collection.

Historical Notes: