Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Robert A. Paselk Scientific Instrument Museum

From the Analytical/Physical Chemistry Lab, c. 1963

Richard A. Paselk, curator

In 1963 the analytical and physical chemistry laboratory had an extraordinary collection of chemical apparatus, representing some of the finest apparatus available at teh time. Much of this equipment had been purchased between 1960 and 1962 as a result of the Chemistry department's move to new facilities in the newly completed east-wing of Science A in 1961. The new facilites for Chemistry and Physics are proudly featured in the HSC brochure Training for CAREERS IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE, where the back of the new building is shown on the cover. Some of the new equipment shownSo what equipment did Humboldt have at this timein the "chemistry" photo is on display in this exhibit. Other items obtained at this time may be seen in the Chemist's Balance at Humboldt exhibit, and in the main museum display in the Library (north case).

So what apparatus comprizes the analytical/physical chemistry collection created with the new building? For electrochemistry the department obtained one of the legendary, and state-of-the-art, Leeds & Northrup (L&N) Type K-3 potentiometers, a research-grade L&N precision reflecting galvanometer with lamp and stand, an L&N enclosed lamp and scale galvanometer and a NBS Certified Weston Model 4 Standard Cell (again, the best). Other instruments included the top-quality, research-grade Rudolph & Sons Precision Polarimeter, the top-of-the-line Mettler M5 S/A Micro Analytical balance, Mettler H15 Analytical balance, Mettler H16 Semi-micro Analytical balance, and two NBS certified M-class weights for calibrating balances. Earlier growth had brought (1959) a Beckman DU spectrophotometer with fluorescence and flame photometry accessories-again a research grade instrument.

And all of these instruments were intended for undergraduate classroom use. Over a decade later, when I arrived in 1976, these intruments continued to be more common in reseach labs than teaching labs, and I was surprized to see them at Humboldt. There is little doubt that the ability of the chemistry faculty to provide their students with top quality equipment for hand-on use contributed to the remarkable success of these students in graduate and professional schools as well as industry in later life.


Analytical/Physical Chemistry Lab Exhibit Catalog

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© R. Paselk

Last modified 20 August 2010