A marvel of colors and ingredients. The story of urine test strip

Kidney Int Suppl. 1994 Nov:47:S3-7.


The history of the urinary test papers does not being in the post-war period. As early as the 1880's some practitioners and pharmacists tried to replace the complicated wet-chemical procedures and apparatus by "dry chemistry." The first popular test paper for sugar and albumin originated in England in 1883. Dry reagents for proving hematuria have been available since the beginning of this century. Until the 1930s a wide palette of commercial urine tests with "modern" brand names was established. A methodological breakthrough was created by the spot test chemistry inaugurated by the Austrian, Fritz Feigl, about 1920. Using the capillary properties of filter paper in enhancing color reactions he founded a new area of analytical chemistry. Many of the pioneers were recruited from Jewish scientists. In this lecture is proposed that their emigration and banishment as well as the Second World War have stopped the development of urinary diagnostics on the European continent. In the post-war period the American industry succeeded to the leading position in the researching and marketing of test papers. In 1956, the triumphal progress of the "stick tests" began with the "Clinistix" (Ames Company, today Bayer Diagnostic).

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Color
  • Europe
  • Glycosuria / diagnosis
  • Glycosuria / history
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Paper
  • Proteinuria / diagnosis
  • Proteinuria / history
  • Reagent Strips / history*
  • United States
  • Urinalysis / history*
  • Urinalysis / methods


  • Reagent Strips