The History of Microplate Readers

Microplate readers are essential in many labs because this piece of critical equipment measures a sample's chemical, physical or biological reactions. If you’ve ever been curious about how this mighty piece of equipment got to your lab, explore the history of microplate readers.

The Invention of Microplate Readers

Dr. Gyula Takatsy invented the microplate reader in the early 1950s. The Hungarian microbiologist's community faced an outbreak of influenza, meaning Takatsy and his colleagues needed a better solution for batch blood tests. In response to this requirement, he discovered the benefit of using glass plates with wells and calibrated spirals to replace tubes and pipettes. While these original microplate readers were invented in 1951, further advancements improved the device's design. 

In America, inventor John Liner was also working on his own model. By 1953, he had developed a 96-well, disposable vacuum styrene-based panel, quickly moving into mass production and commercialization. This development led to the microplate's introduction into labs everywhere in America and Europe. 

The 1970s saw a boom of inventions in the field. The molded 96-well plate was created, as were the black 96-well plate and the 96-well plate filter. Crucially, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were developed in 1974, which established a need for microplate readers. The first modern microplate reader was built shortly after by LabSystems, which is now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific.

How Have Microplate Readers Changed Over Time? 

Dr. Takatsy’s first microplates enabled researchers to complete more blood tests faster, and innovations in microplate readers have allowed for the testing of blood, genomes and more.

The 1990s saw a rapid evolution of microplates, with companies rolling out 864-well plates, unifilter 92-well plates, 1536-well plates and the 9600-well plates. 

Advancements allowed companies to create microplate readers that could handle higher-density liquids and even enable genome screening with RNA interference (RNAi) technology.

More recent advances have seen machines that combine reagent dispensers and microplate washers in one device, saving lab techs that all-important lab space. Today’s microplate readers help with producing cancer-indicating drugs and have high throughput to allow for better drug discovery. 

Browse Our Used Microplate Readers

Choose New Life Scientific for Affordable Microplate Readers

Microplate readers are an important addition to many labs, but you have more options than buying a shiny new reader. New Life Scientific has an extensive selection of used lab equipment, including microplate readers, that has been tested by our tech shop.

You can see what we have in stock and order right away to avoid waiting around for new equipment. We also have a friendly team who are here to help. Once you receive your microplate reader, our after-sales warranty and support mean you can get right to work with peace of mind, knowing your lab equipment will work as intended. 

Find your next microplate reader with New Life Scientific today.