Recording spectrophotometer made in the USA in 1960.

Made in United States, North and Central America, 1960-1985.

One of the most useful methods of chemical analysis is based on the amount of absorption of electromagnetic radiation by the sample material. Spectrophotometers are the instruments used to detect the amount of absorption of various wavelengths of light by samples.

The Cary 14 spectrophotometer was the world’s first commercial dual beam spectrophotometer to operate over the wide spectral range of ultraviolet, visible and near infrared wavelengths. It was considered the most reliable, accurate an...


Object No.


Physical Description

Recording spectrophotometer, Cary 14 dual beam ultraviolet (UV)-visible-near infrared, metal / plastic / glass / paper, chart recorder, lamp power supply, instruction manual and accessories, used by Biochemistry Department, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1960 to c. 1980, made by Applied Physics Corporation, United States of America, 1960

The unit is contained in a grey metal box, with a built-in chart recorder located over the spectrophotometer controls and lamp housing. The unit was operated while mounted on a standard desk type metal leg table with one drawer (not acquired), with the power unit for the lamp on a lower shelf of the support table. The lamps are water cooled and the lamp coolant flow switch assembly is included although disconnected from the unit. The internal valve based electronics of the chart recorder are reached by a rear hinged door. The university had a large and heavy refrigeration unit (weighing c100 kgs - not acquired) to control the sample temperature. The unit is otherwise complete and presumably in working order once the lamp cooling assembly is reconnected.

A detailed manual, titled "Cary Model 14 Recording Spectrophotometer Instruction manual", is with the unit. The title page of the manual lists the unit as a "Model 14-PM-50N, serial no. 332". Schematic drawings in the manual are printed with the date 9.10.1959 (being drawn in the USA this presumably means September 9, 1959).

Accessories include:
Spare slide wire unit, with cables, for the chart recorder - in cardboard box
2 x 40mm quartz monochromator prisms - in small cardboard box
Partial roll of chart paper - in cardboard box
2 x plastic containers of blue ink
Spare chart recorder pen with attached ink reservoir
2 x double channelled [monochromator prism holder]
1 x single channelled [monochromator prism holder]
Box of assorted fuses and bolts

Specific types of molecules can be identified by the characteristic wavelengths of light they absorb or transmit. The spectrophotometer is used for measuring the absorbance or transmittance as a function of wavelength. The key components of any spectrophotometer include a light source, dispersion device, sampling area and one or more detectors. In recording (or scanning) spectrophotometers, a double-beam design permits measurement with continuous change in wavelength. A sample beam and a reference beam (aimed through a blank) are monitored continuously so that absorbance (or transmittance) can be calculated at each wavelength.


Two lines of black embossed self-stick plastic labelling tape is affixed above a knob located to the bottom left of the sample chamber. The first line reads, "IN FOR I.R." The second line reads, "OUT FOR VIS/U.V.".

One line of red embossed self-stick plastic labelling tape is affixed near the top of the door of the chart recorder and reads, " PLEASE FILL IN LOG BOOK".

The outside of the box containing the spare slide wire unit has the writing,
"0 - 0.1
0.1 - 0.2



900 mm


1200 mm


840 mm



Manufactured by Applied Physics Corp, Monrovia, California. Purchased new by the Biochemistry Department of the University of Sydney in 1960 for £ Sterling 7000. The 2004 current price for equivalent model Cary 6000i is A$120,000. At that time, the Cary 14 was state of the art 'cutting edge ' technology, being the first commercial spectrophotometer to cover the whole spectrum range from ultraviolet to near infrared. The Cary 14 was first made in 1954.

Howard Cary (1908-1991) was one of four founders of Applied Physics Corp in 1946, renamed Cary Instruments in 1966. The company (of only 12 employees) produced the world's first recording UV-visible spectrophotometer in 1947. In 1954 the first Cary 14 UV-visible-NIR was brought to market. In 1966 Cary merged with Varian and in 1972 the Cary operation moved from Monrovia to Varian's main facilities in Palo Alto, California. In 1982 the Cary operation was moved to the Varian Techtron facility in Melbourne.





The Cary 14 was purchased new in 1960 from Applied Physics Corp, Monrovia, California by the Biochemistry Department of the University of Sydney . This model spectrophotometer was the world's first commercial dual beam spectrophotometer (with dual monochromators) to operate over the wide spectral range of UV, visible, and near infrared wavelengths.

The Cary 14 was used in the 1960s and 1970s in the Biochemistry Dept. of University of Sydney for general biochemistry research.

The accuracy of the Cary 14 is such that it is still being used widely into the beginning of the 21th century. Later versions of the Cary 14 had been updated to enable it to show 3-D absorbance wavelength scans. The second generation UV-visible-NIR spectrophotometers, the Varian Cary 6000i, cover wavelengths from 175 to 1800 nm.


Credit Line

Gift of Biochemistry Department, University of Sydney, 1997

Acquisition Date

27 September 2005

Cite this Object


Recording spectrophotometer made in the USA in 1960. 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2018, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Recording spectrophotometer made in the USA in 1960. |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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