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Columbus Instruments is a private manufacturer of instrumentation for monitoring behavior and physiology in lab animals (non-human) as well as instrumentation for Environmental Research. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio and sells its products world-wide both directly and through a number of private foreign representatives. Columbus Instruments offers over 70 products but is most known for its Oxymax line of gas analyzers, Comprehensive Lab Animal Monitoring System (CLAMS), respirometers, activity monitors, grip strength meters, Rotarods, and rodent treadmills.


Columbus Instruments was founded by Dr. Jan Czekajewski, Ph.D., who designed and produced one of the first cardiac output computers based on the thermodilution method. Originally designed to be used with Swanz-Ganz catheters, larger companies locked up the human market and forced Columbus Instruments into pre-clinical research applications. This is where Columbus Instruments found its niche and subsequent successes. Columbus Instruments soon expanded on its line of cardiac output computers with the first commercially available photocell activity monitor for measuring locomotor activity in rodents and was awarded a US patent for its design.

Eventually, the animal activity meter would lead the way for standardized tests for measuring activity levels and anxiety such as the Open Field Test, Light/Dark Transition test, and Exploratory Hole Poke test. In 1985, after 3 years of development, Columbus Instruments further diversified their catalog by creating the Oxymax Indirect Calorimeter for measuring basic metabolism. Over time the system was further refined since then for use with rodents. Today the Oxymax System can accommodate a wide range of animal sizes up to cows and horses (Oxymax-XL).

Scientists in a laboratory
Scientists in a laboratory

In 1989, in response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Columbus Instruments was contacted by the EPA to develop a more sensitive version of its Oxymax System to measure respiration of microbes in oil-contaminated samples in which to aid the research behind the site’s remediation and cleanup. The Micro-Oxymax Respirometer was the result of that effort and was awarded a patent for its Closed-Loop measurement method. In 2001 Columbus Instruments further developed its Oxymax Indirect calorimeter to also measure other parameters such as food consumption and activity levels as they relate to energy expenditure.

Oxymax-CLAMS has evolved since that time to offer many additional parameters beyond food and activity and has become the premier system used by pharmaceutical companies and universities for rodent metabolism research.


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