Some Old Ways of Testing


In 1945, when my diabetes was diagnosed, I used test tubes and Benedict’s Solution to test my urine. Color changes in the test tube would indicate the approximate amount of urine sugar. In 1954 Tes-Tape was available so you could place urine on the strip, and observe color changes to determine the amount of urine sugar present.
I was not told about Tes-Tape and did not start using it until the late 1960s. I used Tes-Tape until 1985, when I purchased my first glucometer, an early AccuChek model.


We used to have an “old diabetes photos” section of the old tudiabetes website. I’m guessing that’s lost forever. The best photos long predated my time… pictures of diabetes camp in the 1950’s, insulin vials from the 1920’s, etc.

They taught me the tablet-in-test-tubes-with-urine, I used the tes-tape for a few years, but pretty soon after diagnosed they started me on Chemstrips read visually. With the “Autolet” lancet!


On another thread about this I mentioned I couldn’t remember my first glucose meter, just that I got it in the early 90s after a goodly number of years with Chemstrips. So you inspired to go on a little Google-powered sentimental journey, because I know it wasn’t the Accu-Check II you’ve got above. So I found this article–

–scrolled down a few images and–BINGO!

I don’t recall having the snazzy carrying case on the left. Still, that is the beast right there, the LifeScan One Touch. Just seeing the thing brought back a wave of nostalgia. Weird thing to feel nostalgic about, but I guess we go with what reminds us of our past, positive or negative…


And along with the One Touch, I had one of those evil looking devices as well.

“Ve haf vays auf making you talk…”


That one was called the guillotine. I used it for many years. OUCH!


I started on the BG Chemstrips color comparison test strips that only gave you a range. “Good, I’m somewhere between 80 and 120.”

The first digital meter I remember was the one pictured below, except for mine was brown in color. I think it took 60 seconds to read the color intensity of the strips. You hand to start a timer, wipe the blood off at a certain time and then insert into the meter for reading. I’m thinking this was perhaps in 1988 or so. Very high-tech at the time.

It was the size of a check-book but about 3/4" thick.

I used this meter along with the “guillotine” autolet finger puncture device shown upthread. The visual was worse than the effect.


I have that exact meter, too (in the attic). took a ton of blood!


Really is hard to imagine how they could have come up with a scarier looking design if they’d wanted to. Imagine being a parent of a kid with T1 and using this for the first time. “Now just put your finger on the target and hold still, honey…” Might as well just hand 'em a tack hammer and a small nail.


After the test-tubes and benedicts solution I got the original accu-chek which just read the Chem-strips (that we used to have to hold up to a chart to match. Then I got an accu-chek II like the one posted above… This was in late 70’s early 80’s. Hated the gullotine, was so happy when the enclose pen type lancets came out.


My family called this one The Guillotine, and it is actually one of my favorite lancet devices of all time! I lost mine about 25 years ago, and wish I still had it :slight_smile:


I remember this one well… Man, it seemed so high-tech, at the time!


The spec in the article reminds me that the wait time for your result was 45 seconds. I’m tempted to snort derisively but then I recall that this was still the era of Texas Instruments pocket calculators, and the IBM Selectric II held sway over the offices of the land. So yeah, not so bad. I really don’t remember having that carrying case though. I wonder if mine was a physician’s sample.

Re The Guillotine: what did you like about it? If it had come along at a different period in my life I might have been enamored of its terrifying medieval torture-device appearance. They could have marketed 'em to adolescent boys that way. “Test your BG and terrify your friends!” I’d have put a death’s head sticker on mine.


the guillotine was my first lancing device, it was truly scary and also used very thick lancets. I also remember when the One Touch II came out & I had the carry case. Remember having to CLEAN the test area because you inevitably got blood around the thing that held the test strip? what fun!! I still felt it was too big to carry with me in my purse, I didn’t start doing that until I get a Precision QID meter, which was really small.


OMG, I had forgotten that. It’s all coming back to me now…


Color me an adolescent boy :wink: I think this is exactly what I liked about it.


My first one was the Glucometer. It had the added benefit of being able to cut the test strips in half and still read the blood sugar!


Thanks, Jim. I have seen that Glucometer online, but never saw it beforehand. It would not fit in your pocket, right Jim? lol


Lol!! Not a chance.


that was my first meter too!! It was as big as a brick. thanks for finding the picture.


My first test kit from the early 80s:
Test strips with a color chart and “the guillotine”.