Baroque painting The Gold Weigher by Salomon Koninck, Amsterdam 1654

Mass Spectrometry: A Historical Perspective

This timeline contains PDFs and other pages that provide deeper context to the history of Mass Spectrometry.


Metabolomics Timeline


The History of Mass Spectrometry in Australia by Kevin M. Downard and John R. de Laeter (PDF)

The Uranium Bomb, the Calutron, and the Space-Charge Problem by William E. Parkins (PDF)


A Mass Spectrometry Timeline by Stu Borman, Hailey Russel, and Gary Siuzdak (PDF)


Mass spectrometry (MS)and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) applied to biological macromolecules from The Official Web Site of The Nobel Foundation (PDF)


A New Generation of Weights and Measures by Michael Peel, Oxford University

Early History of Mass Spectrometer Ionization Methods by Charles M. Judson, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 66045

The history of the mass spectrometry of peptides and protein in the USSR by Boris V. Rozynov (PDF)


A History of the Mass Spectrometer by Keith A. Nier


A Brief History of Mass Spectrometry Instrumentation by Stu Borman


ASMS Posters on the History of Mass Spectrometry:


Timeline of Industrial Developments:

Robert Finnigan leaves EAI to start FINNIGAN INSTRUMENTS and commercializes Quadrupole GC/MS.
PERKIN ELMER introduces first magnetic double focusing GC/MS, Model 270.
First pre-packaged Magnetic Sector mass spectrometer with Helium enrichment jet separator by Ragnar Ryhage of the Karolinska Institute, sold by LKB INSTRUMENTS.
GC/MS designed and built by Ragnar Ryhage of the KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE in Stockholm, Sweden.
First commercial Quadrupole mass spectrometer sold by ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATES, INC. to NASA as residual gas analyzer for space chamber research.
First Magnetic Sector mass spectrometer sold by HITACHI for GC/MS research.
Total ion monitoring invented by Donald Damoth and Roland Gohlke for GC/MS.
First mass spectrometer with solids injection probe sold to UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE LABORATORIES in Cincinnati, OH. Used by Dr. Richard Kupel to study the decomposition of Teflon.
Multiple ion monitoring invented on TOF mass spectrometer by Donald Damoth of BENDIX RESEARCH LABORATORY
Solids inlet probe on mass spectrometer invented by Donald Damoth of BENDIX RESEARCH LABORATORY. Used for first MS confirmation of molecular weight of cholesterol for Dr. Djerassi of Wayne State University.
First GC/MS assembled by Roland Gohlke and Fred McLafferty at DOW CHEMICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY in Midland, MI, using a Model 12-101 Time-of-Flight mass spectrometer by Bendix Corp. Direct coupling of GC effluent using a needle valve.
First Knudsen cell/mass spectrometer system for high temperature thermodynamics research/ NUCLIDE ASSOCIATES (State College, PA).


Introduction to Mass Spectrometry and Its Applications Excerpts from a book by: Robert W. Kiser, Associate Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, Kansas State University. Includes "...perhaps the greatest achievement that can be claimed by mass spectrometry."


The Evolution of the Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer by Mike Grayson, Washington University, St. Louis:

D.B. Harrington describes the Bendix TOFMS at the 1st International Conference on Mass Spectrometry held in London ("Advances in Mass Spectrometry, Vol. 1", J.D. Waldron, Ed., McMillan Co., New York (1959), 249-265.)
Katzenstein and Friedland publish the design for linear TOFMS and used it to determine ionization efficiency curves (Rev. Sci. Instrum., 26(4), 324-327)
Wiley and McLaren publish the linear TOFMS design which became the first commercial instrument (Rev. Sci. Instrum., 16(12), 1150-1157)
Wolff and Stephens publish the design and spectra for linear TOFMS (Rev. Sci. Instrum., 24(8), 616-617)
Lincoln G. Smith describes the modification to Goudsmit's magnetic field TOFMS design that obviates the need for helical ion path (Rev. Sci. Instrum., 22, 115-116)
Goudsmit et. al. publish the spectra for magnetic field TOFMS and demonstrated mass measurement accuracy to the third decimal place for Xenon Isotopes (Phys. Rev., 84(4), 824-829)
A.E. Cameron and D.F. Eggers publish the first design and mass spectra for the linear TOFMS in the Laboratory and Shop Notes (Rev. Sci. Instrum., 19(9), 605-607)
S.A. Goudsmit presents the concept of magnetic field TOFMS in a letter to the editor of the Physical Review (Phys. Rev. 74, 622-623)
William Stephens presents the concept of linear Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (TOFMS) at the American Physical Society meeting in Cambridge,MA (Phys. Rev. 69, 691; Bull. Am. Phys. Soc. 21(2), 22)


Who was John Dalton? from the Bruker Daltonics site