The First Magnetic Stirrer
The first magnetic stirrer was patented by Richard Stringham of Utah in 1917. The inventor nicknamed the stir bar a “Flea” because of the way it jumped and spun in the flask. Even after a Century of technological advancement, today’s lab stirrers still resemble the original design. An electrical field under the base plate oscillates causing the magnetic stir bar to spin.
The stirrer quickly evolved once it hit the market. Integration with a hotplate was a bold step towards laboratory automation.