Research laboratory

Instruments for measuring time

Time: an important variable in a research laboratory!

Timing periods of centrifugation is indispensable and therefore timers are now integrated into the fully electronic control systems of modern centrifuges.

However, timers are still required in research laboratories to control incubation times of a solution, for example.

Discover a part of the evolution of a laboratory tool: the timer.

Timer used during Dr Frappier’s time.ZoomZoom
© Armand-Frappier Museum

Timer used during Dr Frappier’s time.

On an archival photograph taken between 1938 and 1958, showing the interior of the centrifugation laboratory of the Institut de Microbiologie et d'Hygiène de l'Université de Montréal, we see a small black clock with a timer placed very prominently on the counter behind three large centrifuges. The small clock speaks to us about a different era. Its exterior black Bakelite coating is a testament to the evolution of plastic materials, still rare in 1958.

Measurements of the device
Height: 15 cm
Width: 13 cm
Depth: 6 cm

Plastic modelZoomZoom
© Armand-Frappier Museum

Plastic model

Measurements of the device
Height: 10.5 cm
Width: 10 cm
Depth: 5.5 cm

Today’s timerZoomZoom
© Catherine Vamos

Today’s timer

Today, these tools are equipped with a stand, a pocket clip, and a magnet. They are easy to handle and can be taken anywhere without encumbering the researcher.

This model has several programmable channels so several experiments can be timed simultaneously.

Measurements of the device
Height: 6.4 cm
Width: 7 cm
Depth: 2 cm