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The Yale Peabody Museum’s Division of Historical Scientific Instruments has received 3 cameras that were used to determine the reciprocal lattice of a single crystal exposed to monochromatic X-rays. Originally invented by Martin J. Buerger, a professor at the Massachussets Institute of Technology sometime in the late 1930s and 1940s, until the present these cameras had a vitally important role in the determination of crystal structure. Today, however, they are used mainly for crystal orientation prior to study with an automated X-ray system.

The 3 cameras in the Division’s collections were made by the Charles Supper Company in 1968, 1970 and 1972. Supper started out as an instrument maker in Buerger’s MIT lab and then went on to develop his own company to make these cameras, among other things. The company still exists today, but no longer makes the cameras.

At Yale in about 1970, Professor Brian Skinner purchased one camera to use on minerals in rock specimens from the moon. Emil Makovicky, a former Yale geology student, now a professor at the University of Copenhagen, also used these cameras to work on the crystal structures of a family of minerals called sulfosalts. Makovicky’s work has become the standard in mineralogy for that family of compounds. Professor Horace Winchell possibly used the cameras as well. Winchell was curator of minerals and also well known for his work on a family of minerals called the amphiboles.

The Yale Peabody Museum’s collections are available to legitimate researchers for scholarly use. Loans are issued to responsible individuals at established institutions. Loans and access to the collection can be arranged through the Collections Manager.

YPM catalog no. 90036

 

Equi-inclination Weissenberg camera for studying crystal structures using monochromatic X-rays.

Crystral is placed inside a cylinder through a narrow slot aperature that runs the length of the cylinder. The cylinder moves along a horizontal track while the crystal remains stationary. Photographic film is placed inside the cylinder and the X-rays are focused on the crystal using the same device that holds the crystal in place (currently broken off on this apparatus). Diffracted beams from single equatorial lines impinge on the film; one film is used for each equatorial line.

Made by Charles Supper Company. The attached motor made by Bodine and operates on 115 volts AC. The serial number indicates that the apparatus was made in 1971.

YPM catalog no. 90037

 

Precision X-ray camera for the study of crystal structures using monochromatic X-rays.

X-rays are focused onto a crystal with screen and photographic film set behind it. Base includes a turntable so the apparatus can be freely orientated. Base can also move along horizontal tracks to create more room between crystal, screen and film. Used by Professor Brian Skinner for the study of minerals in moon rocks.

Made in 1970 by Charles Supper Company, with motor made by Bodine.

YPM catalog no. 90038

 

Precision X-ray camera for the study of crystal structures using monochromatic X-rays.

X-rays are focused onto a crystal with screen and photographic film set behind it. Apparatus has two counterweights on one side, opposite dials. Includes a turntable on the base. Base also has horizontal tracks so space can be created between the crystal and the screen or film.

Made in 1968 by Charles Supper Company, with motor made by Bodine.