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E&MP 39.007

 1932- ELECTRIC PALATE developed by R.C.Hitchcock, Electronic Engineer of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company

Electric Testing

ca. 1932

New York -- An Electrynx or "electric palate" that tastes and gives readings of the acidity or juice character and also indicates the ripeness of apples, oranges, lemons and other fruits and vegetables, together with the recording of the acid contents of tea and coffee, has been developed by R.C.Hitchcock, Electronic Engineer of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, and was demonstrated for the first time here yesterday.

This latest scientific achievement is so sensitive that it records the action of one-millionth of an ampere or about one-tenth the "wing power" of an ordinary house fly and is 100% more sensitive than any of its type now on the market. Previous recording meters of this sensitivity were expensive and not readily portable.

The Electrynx was primarily designed for the measuring of the minute currents that flow in photoelectric tube circuits or "electric eyes" that are used in sound-motion picture projectors or other light and sound sensitive devices.

With this new instrument it is possible to check the current constantly.

similar to 039.006

Original Caption by Science Service
© Westinghouse Atmosphere Photographs

Additional Information:

2/4/2008 Courtesy TIME < http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,744748,00.html >

Westinghouse last week demonstrated in Manhattan an electric fruit taster.

The inventor, Richard C. Hitchcock, Westinghouse electronic engineer, originally built the device to measure the minute" variations of currents which flow through radio, photoelectric and other vacuum tubes.

It records the action of one-millionth of an ampere, a force about one-tenth the "wing power" of a house fly.

The principle involved is the one Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) discovered 133 years ago when he placed two pieces of dissimilar metal in an acid solution: that an electric current circulates between the metals.

While Engineer Hitchcock was sitting at lunch in his laboratory recently, "it suddenly occurred to me that an ordinary apple contained a certain amount of electrical energy. Out of curiosity I inserted the two dissimilar pins of the recording meter into an apple that was lying on the table. I got the shock of my life when the meter began to register."

Tart fruits register higher microamper-age than sweet fruits on the device, which Westinghouse calls an electrynx. No. 1 pears show 14 microamperes, small pears 9, sweet pears 6. Other fruits: Delicious apple 10, Rome Beauty apple 8, big tart apple 10½, large Sunkist orange 7, ordinary orange 5½, California lemon 19, Italian lemon 15, Florida grapefruit 9, Porto Rico grapefruit 13.

The device tastes tea. coffee and other materials with an acid content, provides samplers with a constant gauge of quality.

National Museum of American History


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