Humboldt State University
Robert A. Paselk Scientific Instrument Museum
Humboldt S-T-C; c.1935
The oldest optical method for chemical analysis, Bunsen and Kirchhoff introduced spectroscopy as a laboratory method in 1860. The basic features of the spectroscope (or spectrometer) include a slit and collimator to produce a parallel beam of light which then falls on the dispersive element (a prism or grating). The resulting spectrum is then observed through a telescope. Spectrometers are particularly valued in two types of studies: 1) The identitfication and quantification of elements by the observation of line spectra (emission or absorption), 2) The identification and quantification of substances by the observation of absorption bands.
Bennet, J. A. The Celebrated Phaenomena of Colours: the early history of the spectroscope. Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge (1984).
Brand, John C. D. Lines of Light: The Sources of Dispersive Spectroscopy, 1800-1930. Gordon and Breach Publishers (1995)
Minor, Ralph S., Physical Measurements, A Laboratory Manual in General Physics for Colleges: Part 2, Magnetism and Electricity, Sound and Light 3rd ed, Associated Student's Store, Berkeley (1956) pp. 118-121, 122-124, 158-159.