Chemical flask

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probably made in Leith

Postcard of Chemical flask.
© National Museums Scotland

Chemical flask

This flask is one of several pieces of glassware which came from the Department of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh. However, this piece - along with a few others - appears to be later than that associated with the famous teacher, Joseph Black (1728-99).

The round-bottomed flask in thin pale-green glass, with a carefully-made rim, is sometimes used as the lower part of an alembic - used for distillation purposes - called a cucurbit.

Joseph Black had apparently acquired his chemical glassware from the Leith Glassworks, and there is no reason to suppose that T.C. Hope could not have acquired later material from there too. However, there were a number of other glasshouses locally from which this sort of item, which appears to be made of bottle glass, could have been obtained.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-008-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1858.275.41
Date: 1766 - 1799
19th century
Material: Glass
Dimensions: 340 mm H x 135 mm Dia
What: Alembic / portion / cucurbit
Subject: 4. CHEMISTRY, Apparatus and instruments, general (Departmental Classification)
Who: Edinburgh University (Owner)
Joseph Black (Owner)
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh, Leith
Description: One of a collection of apparatus and instruments from Edinburgh University used by Professors Black, Hope and Gregory - lower portion of an alembic or a cucurbit, used by Dr Joseph Black, 1766 - 1799
  • Anderson, R.G.W. The Playfair Collection and the teaching of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, 1713 -1858. Edinburgh, 1978, p 138. 
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