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Specific gravity beads

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made in Edinburgh

Specific gravity beads
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Specific gravity beads are used to measure the density of a liquid at a given temperature and thus its alcohol content. These beads were made around 1805, probably by Edinburgh-based glass-blower P. Massino, who emigrated to Scotland from Italy.

The glass beads are contained in a wooden box. The box holds 8 of a set of 12 beads (the others are missing). A printed label inside the lid has the maker's name and directions to prove spirits with beads '22' to '32' and '34'.

From the late 18th century, immigrant Italians arrived in Britain in some numbers. The particular trades they brought with them were glass-blowing and carving and gilding, which extended naturally into looking-glass and barometer manufacture.

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