Bottle, supposedly used by Joseph Black

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Postcard of Bottle, supposedly used by Joseph Black.
© National Museums Scotland

Bottle, supposedly used by Joseph Black

This stoppered glass bottle was supposedly used by Professor Joseph Black (1728-99) in classroom demonstrations at Edinburgh University of his experiment to produce carbon dioxide. It is possible, however, that it dates from a slightly later period.

The pear-shaped bottle is made from clear glass. It has a ground glass stopper. The white deposit inside is largely calcium carbonate.

With his separation and identification of the first gas distinct from air, Black may be considered the father of pneumatic chemistry. Other gases, notably oxygen and nitrogen, were discovered in quick succession by other scientists.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-044-138-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1858.275.36
Date: c. 1775
Possibly late 18th century
What: Bottle, acid preparing
Subject: 4. CHEMISTRY, Apparatus and instruments, general (Departmental Classification)
Who: Edinburgh University (Owner)
Joseph Black (Probable owner)
Where: Scotland
Description: One of a collection of apparatus and instruments from Edinburgh University used by Professors Black, Hope and Gregory - a bottle supposedly used by Dr Joseph Black in preparing carbonic acid
  • Anderson, R. G. W. & Simpson, A. D. C., Edinburgh and Medicine: A Commemorative Catalogue of the Exhibition held at the Royal Scottish Museum. Edinburgh: 1976, p 40 
  • Anderson, R. G. W., The Playfair Collection. Edinburgh: 1978, pp 133-4 
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