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Specific gravity beads

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probably made in Greenock

Postcard of Specific gravity beads.
© National Museums Scotland

Specific gravity beads

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 1820, probably by Greenock glass-blower, Joseph Manticha, who emigrated to Scotland from Italy.

The glass beads are contained in a wooden box. The box holds 11 of a set of 12 beads ('29' is 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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Online ID: 000-100-044-621-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1974.122
Date: Around 1820
Material: Wooden box / glass beads. Inscription: Made and Sold, / Wholesale and Retail, / By JOSEPH MANTICHA, GREENOCK
Dimensions: Box 33 mm L x 75 mm D
What: Bead, philosophical / box
Subject: 22. PHYSICS, Hydrostatics (Departmental Classification)
Who: Joseph Manticha, Greenock (Maker)
Where: Scotland, Renfrewshire, Greenock
Description: Philosophical beads, in a wooden box, made by Joseph Manticha of Greenock
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