<figcaption> Credit: COURTESY OF EPPENDORF AG</figcaption>

Near the end of 1962, Wilhelm Bergmann, an Eppendorf development engineer, designed the first successful disposable tube for handling microliter volumes. Employing the durability of polypropylene, which can withstand centrifugation speeds up to 30,000 times that of gravity (or more depending on the fit of the centrifuge), and designed with a tight-fitting, attached lid that can be opened and closed with one hand, the tube quickly became popular among clinical disciplines.

Now generally known as the Eppendorf tube, these formed the backbone of the so-called microliter system along with the piston-stroke pipette, the microliter centrifuge, and the thermomixer, and their use soon expanded into biology and biotechnology. Today, roughly three billion tubes are manufactured each year.

On the right is the blueprint for the 3810 model, the founding Eppendorf, which went from first drawing to final release in eight months (as seen through the signatures...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!