Collections › OSMG Collection › Hydrometer


Place Made:
Salem, North Carolina possibly
Date Made:
copper, glass
HOA: 8 1/8″
Accession Number:
A copper and glass hydrometer that stands upright on a large round base with a handle, a plunger with a ball at the end, and a rectangular glass window in the front.
The hydrometer was used for measuring the specific gravity of alcohol, sometimes called an alcoholmeter, used in an old Salem Brewery, which stood on the south side of what is now Academy Street, just west of Tar Branch.

“The hydrometer is an instrument for determining the specific gravity of liquids or solids. The common type consists of a graduated stem having a hollow bulb and a weight at its lower end, so as to float with the stem upright ina liquid, the specific gravity of which is induated by the depth to which the stem is immersed.” (Oxford Dictionary)

Although the principle of the hydrometer was intended for the proof of metals, for example the detecting of counterfeit coins. It is best known as a means of determining densities of liquids in particular spirituous liquors.

Credit Line:
Wachovia Historical Society Collection. Gift of Mr. Harry W. Petersen