## History [Bioanalytics]

Mon capitaine!

» Ah, you mean something like "If we'd had properly working integration systems back in the 60'ies then you wouldn't have been born" or something along those lines?

Almost.
But due to mercy of a (little) more recent birth I hadn’t to fiddle around with strip-chart recorders, scissors and weighing of clipped peaks. My first HPLC was a Spectra Physics SP8000 (nice: ternary gradient, column oven, and roughly twenty 12" circuit boards making up the data system). We had one of these HP integrators connected to a GC as well. Both printed ‘integration marks’ on the chromatogram – no baseline. Theoretically it was possible to change the settings and look at new marks, change again, and get stuck in something like:

10 REM some stupid BASIC code without a BREAK 20 GOTO 10 30 END

If we were not satisfied with the integration we used a ruler and a sharpened pencil (for GLP conformity I would recommend a 0.5 mm permanent marker instead). First line connecting the integrator’s marks, second the ‘eye-ball-baseline’. Both heights measured, and Anew = Aold × Hnew / Hold. Voilà!

I think the first systems where you could actually see the baseline on screen were LDC/Milton Roy’s CCM and the Altex Scientific 324 introduced in the early 1980s. Microcassettes! Proprietary BASIC!! Moving around the chromatogram by means of arrow-keys (the mouse wasn’t invented yet…)!!!

BTW, this was also the age of the infamous WISP 712 (Waters Intelligent Sample Processor) – which was renamed by my friends at the Sandoz Research Institute to WUSP (Waters Unintelligent Sample Processor) because it was notorious for trying to slam the needle through the bottom of sample vials or into the back of the analyst’s hand changing the 48 (!) sample tray.

Dif-tor heh smusma 🖖
Helmut Schütz

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