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Help identify this mystery machine from the darkest recesses of our lab

The mystery machine

While cleaning out our lab the other day, we discovered this mysterious piece of equipment buried deep within a cabinet. After querying several dozen scientists of different eras, we have determined only that it was manufactured in the early 20th century and no one has any idea what it is. The optics were made by Bausch and Lomb, the motor was made by Dunmore. We have a few guesses about its intended purpose.

This machine is massive, it weighs about 50 pounds and is forged from Bakelite and steel. The drum is clearly some kind of centrifuge and the optics point into the center of the spinning drum. No one has yet been willing to plug it in and turn it on. There are two patent numbers listed on the plate – patent # 1,648,369 and patent # 1,907,803.

If you have any guesses or actually know what this is, please leave a comment below. Some sort of appropriate prize will be awarded to the first person to ID it or, if no one can, the most entertaining guess.

The view from the front.

close up of the patent plaque

close up of the motor plaque


Marine science and conservation. Deep-sea ecology. Population genetics. Underwater robots. Open-source instrumentation. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.

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