The Pfeffer Zelle (Pfeffer Cell Apparatus), invented by Wilhelm Pfeffer in 1877, measured the minimum pressure needed to prevent a pure solvent from passing into a solution across a semi-permeable membrane, called osmotic pressure. The apparatus provided Pfeffer with a way to quantitatively measure osmotic pressure. Pfeffer devised the apparatus in the 1870s at the University of Basel in Basel, Switzerland, and he described the Pfeffer Cell Apparatus in his 1877 book Osmotische Untersuchungen: Studien Zur Zellmechanik (Osmotic Investigations: Studies on Cell Mechanics). Pfeffer relied on nineteenth century experiments of Moritz Traube in Germany, who constructed artificial copper ferrocyanide membranes to study osmosis. The apparatus enabled Pfeffer to study osmosis and osmotic pressure as plants grow, and later researchers used it to explain how plants develop.

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