Aerated water apparatus

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made in England

Postcard of Aerated water apparatus.
© National Museums Scotland

Aerated water apparatus

This apparatus to produce solutions of carbon dioxide in water (aerated or 'soda' water) was devised around 1775 by John Nooth (1737-1828), who took his M.D. in Edinburgh in 1766. This example was probably made in England, although items of this nature were also made by the Leith Glass Works.

Nooth recommended partly filling the bottom vessel with diluted acid, the middle vessel full of water, with the upper vessel, empty, placed on top. Chalk placed in the base would effervesce through a valve into the middle vessel and force water into the top part. This process would be repeated several times and the water in the middle vessel would become progressively impregnated.

Great interest was shown at the end of the 18th century in the healthy effects of aerated mineral waters, and Joseph Priestley first suggested an apparatus in 1772. The Leith Glass works advertised such devices in 1787.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-254-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1974.212
Date: Around 1775
c. 1775
Material: Glass
Dimensions: 29.00" H x 9.50" base D
What: Apparatus / aerated water
Subject: 4. CHEMISTRY, Apparatus and instruments, applied chemistry (Departmental Classification)
Who: John Nooth (Describes the process in print)
Description: Aerated water apparatus designed to produce solutions of carbon dioxide in water, c. 1775
  • Exhibited in Edinburgh & Medicine, 1976, see Anderson, R. G. W. & Simpson A. D. C., Edinburgh & medicine: A commemorative catalogue of the exhibition. Edinburgh: Royal Scottish Museum, 1976 
  • Nooth, John Mervin, 'The description of an apparatus for impregnating water with fixed air and of the manner of conducting that process' in Philosophical Transactions 65 (1774), 59-66 
  • See also Campbell, W. A. 'Joseph Priestley's soda water' in Endeavour 7 (1983), pp 141-3 
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