History of Reichert Analytical Instruments

The Reichert tradition of precision instruments has a proud lineage of innovation that began with the first American-made microscope by Charles Spencer in 1838 and the founding of the C. Reichert Optical Company in Vienna in 1876. For the past 150 years, we have created almost every breakthrough in refractometry that has become a standard of the industry. Although our name has changed over the years, our commitment to innovation and quality continues in every product we design and build.


  • 1838 - Charles Spencer founds Spencer Optical in Canastota, NY. Builds the first American-made microscope. Wins gold medal in 1878 International Exposition in Paris for Excellence in Microscopy.
  • 1876 - C. Reichert Optical Company founded in Vienna for manufacturing microscopes.
  • 1890 - Spencer Lens Company opens shop in Buffalo, New York and begins manufacturing a full line of precision instruments in 1895.
  • 1935 - Spencer Lens is acquired by American Optical (AO), which had its beginning in 1833.
  • 1945 - Spencer Lens is renamed AO Scientific Instruments Division.
  • 1949 - Lighted hand-held refractometer
  • 1961 - Patented liquid-filled prism that adjusts automatically for temperature compensation
  • 1969 - First temperature-compensated hand-held refractometers
  • 1975 - First digital readout and temperature compensation on a benchtop refractometer, the Abbe Mark II
  • 1983 - Scientific Instruments becomes AO Reichert Scientific, a division of Warner Lambert.
  • 1985 - Introduced the Auto Abbe, a patented automatic refractometer with a linear scan array and multiple channel programmability.
  • 1986 - AO Reichert becomes part of Cambridge Instruments and is renamed Reichert Jung.
  • 1990 - Cambridge Instruments and Wild-Leitz merge, forming the Leica Group.
  • 1996 - Introduced the AR600 automatic refractometer with sapphire prism.
  • 1999 - Introduced the ARIAS 500 the first semi-automatic transmitted light refractometer.
  • 1999 - Introduced the patented Brake-Chek to measure the boiling point and % concentration of water in brake fluid.
  • 2001 - Introduced the AR200 as the first portable automatic refractometer with computer interface capability plus the accuracy and range of a laboratory instrument.
  • 2002 - Leica Analytical Instruments and Reichert Ophthalmic Instruments merge under new ownership as Reichert, Inc.
  • 2002 - Introduced the SR7000, an affordable benchtop Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) instrument for biotech and analytic chemistry that presents data in real time.
  • 2003 - Reichert establishes a bonded warehouse and service center for its Analytical Instruments in Seefeld, Germany in order to support our key markets in Europe.
  • 2004 - Reichert introduces the TS Meter-D clinical digital hand-held refractometer, the benchmark for measuring concentrations of USG and plasma protein.
  • 2005 - The Reichert UNISTAT Bilirubinometer provides point-of-care measurement for total serum bilirubin in neonatal infants.
  • 2007 - Reichert also introduces the pocket digital refractometer, the world’s most compact at 100g. From benchtop to hand-held, Reichert offers real performance and value. Brings to market the Abbe Mark III, which provides the features of a manual transmission Abbe as well as advanced digital and software features not found on other instruments in this class.
  • 2008 - Reichert introduces the r2i300 compact automatic digital benchtop refractometer that delivers exceptional performance at a remarkable value in this category.
  • 2011 - Reichert introduces a two-channel Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) spectrometer for the study of molecular interaction in biology and chemistry.
  • 2011 - SR7500 Dual Channel SPR system is introduced offering the highest precision of any Reichert SPR system for determining kinetics and affinities for a variety of biomolecular interactions.
  • 2015 - Reichert4SPR makes it's debut! Reichert SPR launched it's 4-channel surface plasmon resonance instrument.
  • 2016 - Reichert introduces 7 new analytical instruments to it's refractometry line. New refractometers, density meters and polarimeters acquired through a private label project.
  • 2016 - Multi-Chek7 digital, handheld automotive refractometer is ready for the marketplace.
  • 2016 - Reichert SPR launches new, improved, redesigned, intuitive software for the Reichert4SPR.

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