“DIANA”: The First Domestically Produced Multi-Purpose General X-Ray System Manufactured from 1918 to about 1936

This system is composed of some key devices, such as the high-voltage power supply, an X-ray fluoroscopic stand, the X-ray generator, a controller, X-ray tubes, and a heating regulator. The power supply realized the high-voltage direct current necessary for shortening the time taken for radiography. Despite being made in Japan at a time when there was a general bias for imported products, it was overwhelmingly accepted in the market due to its versatility as a general-purpose system that could be used for multiple applications. It established Shimadzu’s reputation for expertise in X-ray technology.


Wooden Compound Microscope Made in JapanMade in 1781 by Kiemon Kobayashi (in Osaka)

Said to be the oldest microscope made in Japan still in existence.
With a wooden main body, a paper lens barrel, and three objective lenses, this microscope was named the “Mushi-Aitai (glasses for observing worms and insects)” and was used as a high-end toy.


Illustration of Balloon Trial Flight

As a result of much painstaking effort, Genzo Senior succeeded in building a hydrogen balloon commissioned by the Kyoto prefectural government. The balloon was launched on December 6, during the Shokon-sai festival in 1877, from the Sento Imperial Palace grounds in Kyoto. It was the first successful manned flight by the private sector.


Early G.S. Storage Battery(Reproduction of portable S2 model)

Genzo Shimadzu Junior successfully made this small lead storage battery with a capacity of about 10 Ah in 1897. This marked the beginning of the industrial production of storage batteries in Japan. Here, the letters “G.S.” are the initials of Genzo Shimadzu.


Wooden Treadle Lathe

This is the oldest wooden treadle lathe still existing in Japan.
Reportedly, Dr. Wagener brought it to Japan from the Vienna World’s Fair in 1875, then gave it to Genzo Senior when he left Kyoto in 1881.


Shimadzu Science Equipment Catalog List

Published in 1882.
This is the oldest product list in Shimadzu’s collection. It shows that Shimadzu already offered about 110 types of equipment by that time. At the end of the catalog it states, “We will gladly undertake the manufacture of whatever you may request of us,” indicating the company’s confidence in its manufacturing ability.


Compact Fan

Manufactured in 1913, the fan has the function of switching its air flow levels.
It was not used widely because of the high price by the lacquered base and the limited availability of electricity at the time.


Vacuum Tube (with phosphorescent flowers)

This Crookes tube (high-vacuum discharge tube) features an artificial flower coated with phosphorescence positioned between electrodes. The vacuum discharge causes electrons to collide with the phosphorescence on the surface of the artificial flower, causing the flower to glow.


Wimshurst Electrostatic Generator

In September 1884, Umejiro (Genzo Junior) completed Japan’s first Wimshurst electrostatic generator. The device was used to generate high voltages based on electrostatic induction, and it became known as “Shimadzu Electricity.”


Educational X-Ray Generator

This instrument was for X-ray experiments and housed all the components necessary for the experiments in a compact design.
It was manufactured to teach students the principle and mechanism of X-ray generation.


Human Anatomical Model

Shimadzu manufactured human anatomical models using Japanese-made paper from around 1891. These materials have numerous characteristics, for example, resistance to dry or humid air, and ease of handling and bonding. After improving the manufacturing method using paper, the new method was patented in 1911 and used to make many Shimadzu models that were labeled “Made of Shimadzu Fiber,” which became a key feature of Shimadzu specimens.


GC-1A Gas Chromatograph (The first domestically-produced gas chromatograph)

Produced in 1957
This instrument was used to separate and analyze fine chemical components. For about 10 years after World War II, Japan lagged far behind Europe and the United States. The instrument made a big impact in the Japanese analytical industry at the time. Since then, Shimadzu has been playing the role of leader in the areas of chemical separation and analytical instruments.

Request for Cooperation in Preserving Physics and Chemistry Instruments

SFMM is proud to have Japan’s largest collection of physics and chemistry instruments and specimens, totaling about 1150 items donated to and archived by the museum.
These instruments serve as more than a record of Shimadzu’s history. They also serve as an important historical archive that speaks eloquently of the history of science, technology, and education in Japan.
SFMM will continue collecting and investigating instruments and then exhibiting them, as well as sharing the results of its research widely. If you have information about Shimadzu products that you plan to discard (industrial machinery, physics/chemistry instruments, specimens, or product catalogs), please contact us.

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