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Pasteur-Chamberland-type water filter, London, England, 1884-1900

This type of filter was invented in 1884 by Charles Chamberland (1851-1908), a French bacteriologist who worked with Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). He developed a porcelain filter that could be used to remove micro-organisms from pressurised water. Not only was it useful for sterilising techniques in the laboratory, it also filtered and purified water for drinking. Pasteur later modified the filter, which is why the design carries his name too. Filtering water was and is important as a number of diseases, such as cholera, can be transmitted by contaminated water .

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Glossary: water filter

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Glossary: cholera

A severe infection of the small intestine commonly contracted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to dehydration, which can be fatal.