Re: Microtome/Cryostat inventions

The first "rotary" histotome (or microtome as we know it) was invented by 
George Richards Minot (1885–1950), American physician and pathologist in 
Boston around the turn of the 20th century. From 1928 to 1948, Dr. Minot was=20
professor of medicine at Harvard and director of the Thorndike Memorial 
Laboratory, Boston City Hospital. He specialized in diseases of the blood. 
For his research on the value of liver in treating pernicious anemia he 
shared with W. P. Murphy and G. H. Whipple the 1934 Nobel Prize in Physiology 
or Medicine. 

The first closed cryotome or cryostat by Leitz was not commercially available 
until 1954. The earliest invention was a Spencer or other type of hand held 
histotome affixed with a freezing attachment which was held onto the side of=20
the bench. Early prototypes were first introduced by the Spencer Lens 
Company. Spencer was founded by Herbert R. Spencer (1849-1900) and his 
associates in 1895. The company was the continuation of the firm established=20
in the 1840s by his father, Charles A. Spencer (1813-1881), who is considered 
the first American microscope maker. It is estimated that the company had 
produced about 10,000 laboratory instruments (microscopes and histotomes) in=20
the US by 1909. 

Richards, Oscar W.: The effective use and proper care of the microtome. 
Buffalo,NY, American Optical Co., 1949.

Eric C. Kellar
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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