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Astell Retrospective – 1917 autoclave

What were we selling 100 years ago? An electrically powered autoclave, with key features that are still of industry standard in today’s market.

As covered in more detail on the About Astell page, Astell Scientific can demonstrate a long running pedigree in the development and manufacture of autoclaves and steam sterilizers. Back in 1917, as Charles Hearson & Co. - who had already been in business for over thirty years, we were building a strong reputation as a leading supplier of laboratory apparatus and specialties. One such item was “Hearson’s Large Autoclave”. Heated by electricity and with a capacity of “about 40 litres”, this autoclave utilised electric heating elements to generate temperatures up to 200 degrees Centigrade, and pressure of up to ten Atmospheres (147 psi) to achieve sterilization. The same principle still applies in autoclaves of today, except we now have the benefit of modern technology and manufacturing to improve the process. The latest range of Astell autoclaves feature electro polished stainless steel chambers and digital colour touchscreen controllers as standard, offering benefits in cycle control and repeatability unheard of 100 years ago. However, key safety aspects listed for the 1917 model, such as an external pressure gauge, safety valve and exhaust blow-off valve, are still important features of a modern steam sterilizer and have remained so throughout the years.

A copy of the Chas. Hearson & Co. sales catalogue from 1917 is available online courtesy of Google and the New York Public Library at the following location: View full 1917 catalogue
The full catalogue entry is reproduced below.

Hearson's Large Autoclave
Heated by Electricity.
Capacity, about 40 litres.
For bacteriological and other purposes requiring boiling under pressure. Fitted with stirring gear, pressure gauge, safety valve, distillation fittings, man hole and cover, exhaust blow-off valve, etc. Made entirely of bronze and designed for pressures up to ten Atmospheres and temperatures up to 200 Centigrade. Electric elements, three circuits in parallel, surrounded by thermal insulation enclosed in a steel case, surrounded by mahogany lagging, mounted on stout wood table. Switchboard, switches, etc., etc.

In summary, this is just one example of how Astell Scientific reached the enviable market position it currently occupies and clearly demonstrates our claim to be ‘Leaders in Sterilization since 1884’.
For more information on the latest range of Autoclaves, Steam Generators and Effluent Decontamination Systems please Contact us.