hist-brewing: Hydrometers

Jerry Harder mastergoodwine at alltel.net
Tue Jan 18 11:24:25 PST 2000

OxladeMac at aol.com wrote:

> Anyone know about when hydrometers were invented?

Apparently after 1559.  Another secondary source I have says 1800 but does not
give specifics.  I think I saw the inventor's name in a dictionary like an OED
one time but I no longer have that info. The Closet of Sir Kinelm Digby printed
in 1669 has multiple recipes that use eggs comparing the amount that is above
the water to coins of the time giving a scale of sorts.  He was quite the mead
maker and alchemist as well.  I am sure if Hydrometers were known to him he
would have wanted and used one.  He comments on using new laid hen's eggs and
also suggests in one recipe to use several and take an average.  He also says
they needed to be fresh and makes a comment like "An egg a fortnight old floats
as high as (?some coin) while a fresh one floats only as high as a(?some other
coin)"  ...So they knew that egg density changed.

Please let me know on any more info you find.


Master Goodwine.

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