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, 149 (4), 417-430

The Glass Micropipette Electrode: A History of Its Inventors and Users to 1950

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The Glass Micropipette Electrode: A History of Its Inventors and Users to 1950

Allan H Bretag. J Gen Physiol.

Abstract

Soon after the glass micropipette was invented as a micro-tool for manipulation of single bacteria and the microinjection and microsurgery of living cells, it was seen to hold promise as a microelectrode to stimulate individual cells electrically and to study electrical potentials in them. Initial successes and accurate mechanistic explanations of the results were achieved in giant plant cells in the 1920s. Long known surface electrical activity in nerves and muscles was only resolved at a similar cellular level in the 1930s and 1940s after the discovery of giant nerve fibers and the development of finer tipped microelectrodes for normal-sized cells.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Marshall Albert Barber (circa 1911). Image courtesy of the University of Kansas Medical Center Archives.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Barber method of pulling glass micropipettes. From the Philippine Journal of Science (Fig. 5 in Barber, 1914).
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Barber micropipettes and micromanipulator. Modified from the Philippine Journal of Science (Figs. 1 and 6 in Barber, 1914).
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Robert Chambers (1922). Image courtesy of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole.
Figure 5.
Figure 5.
Ida Henrietta Hyde in her laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany (circa 1896). Image courtesy of the Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.
Figure 6.
Figure 6.
Vorticella nebulifera, showing an ordinary cell with extended stalk at A, another with its stalk contracted at B, and other cells at various stages of fissiparous reproduction. From Fig. 537 in Carpenter and Dallinger (1891).
Figure 7.
Figure 7.
Tibor Péterfi. From Chambers and Maskar (1953). Image courtesy of S. Karger, AG, Basel.
Figure 8.
Figure 8.
Janse–Péterfi Micromanipulator (1927). Image courtesy of ZEISS Archives.
Figure 9.
Figure 9.
Charles Vincent Taylor. Image courtesy of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole.
Figure 10.
Figure 10.
Winthrop John Vanleuven Osterhout (1922). Image courtesy of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole.
Figure 11.
Figure 11.
Karl Umrath. Image courtesy of the Institute of Plant Sciences, Graz.
Figure 12.
Figure 12.
Samuel Gelfan with his stimulating electrode (circa 1930). Image courtesy of Carrie Gelfan, from the Gelfan Family Collection. Carrie Gelfan is a daughter of Samuel Gelfan.
Figure 13.
Figure 13.
Ralph Waldo Gerard (1952). Image courtesy of the Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.
Figure 14.
Figure 14.
Judith Ethel Graham (Pool) (1943). Image courtesy of Jeremy Pool. Jeremy Pool is a son of Judith Ethel Graham Pool.
Figure 15.
Figure 15.
Gilbert Ning Ling. Image courtesy of the Ling Family Collection.

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References

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