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Esbach type albumenometer, Europe, 1895-1905

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Esbach’s albumenometer used a simple chemical test to measure the amount of the protein albumen in urine. The instrument is made of glass and wood. It is contained in a wooden case. Urine was filled to the ‘U’ mark and a chemical reagent to the ‘R’ mark. The substance stood for 24 hours before the protein levels were assessed. Unusual levels of albumen in the urine can indicate kidney problems. It is named after its inventor, French physician, G H Esbach (1843-90) Urine was one of the first substances to be scientifically scrutinised in the 1800s. It could be examined easily and could show obvious signs of disease.

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Glossary: clinical diagnosis

A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.

Glossary: albumenometer

An instrument for determining the amount of albumen in a patient's sample of urine