Who Invented Lab Coats?

As makers of some of the finest science lab coats for adults and children, it’s fair to say that the Makerspace Lab team is pretty “geeky” for science-related stuff. But that’s not to say that we don’t enjoy other kinds of learning too. For instance, we recently took a look at the history behind scientist coats to learn more about why they were invented, by whom, and how they’ve changed over the decades since.

If you’re planning a science-themed party or educational event, our science lab coats for students are a must buy item. Not only will our scientist coats bring a level of authenticity to the event, it will also add a layer of protection for clothing and skin.

As part of your part, we’d suggest announcing some fun facts about the history of science lab coats, or perhaps hosting a trivia contest in which guests are challenged to answer questions about where lab coats come from and why they’re still used today.

Of course, you’ll need to be well versed in the answers to these questions (with citations, we’re scientists after all!), so Makerspace Lab put together a brief guide to the history of science lab coats below.

Science Lab Coats First Appeared In The 1800s

Most medical and historical experts agree that the physicians first started wearing white lab coats in the early 19th century. It’s unknown who was the first person to make them. Even so, they weren’t the first “uniforms” ever worn by doctors and scientists. Prior to the emergency of the white lab coat, beige or black garments were traditionally worn by people in these professions. The problem with these common colored clothes was that it made scientists and doctors largely indistinguishable from snake-oil salesmen and others who would seek to mislead the public with their “expertise.” It’s no wonder that people often distrusted scientists and physicians!

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The Emergence Of The Official Science Lab Coat

To distinguish real medical and scientific professionals from those who were just “faking” it, a new uniform was needed. Since the 19th century was also the time when developed countries started to become aware of the role that germs played in the transference of disease, white was chosen for modern lab coats.

The color white not only made doctors and scientists more easily identifiable, but it also allowed any sort of dirt or contamination to be noted at once, thus helping to keep labs and operating rooms more sanitary.

According to the Globe and Mail, “Surgeons became the first to wear the white coat, followed by hospital doctors and then in-office general practitioners. By 1915, it had become the norm, though doctors doing home visits still dressed formally.”

In fact, white science lab coats are now so common, that we expect them from our medical professionals and researchers (even though they don’t typically wear them on a daily basis). The sight of a white science lab coat makes us feel that we’re in the presence of an educated and qualified professional.

In popular culture, the white lab coat is still quite dominant, helping us to identify the newly minted doctor (on TV shows like Scrubs) or the mad scientist (in classic movies like Frankenstein).

Lab Coats Make Your Science Event Official!

If you’re planning a science-themed event, such as a mad scientist birthday party or a Maker event for people who are into 3D printing, our science lab coats will be the icing on the cake. When everyone dons a white lab coat–whether a child or adult–they’ll feel like they’ve officially put their “thinking caps” on, and it’s time to innovate!

Looking for science lab coats that can be purchased in bulk at an affordable price? Check out our online store right now!