The Chemistry Collection

  • 101 drying towers
  • 103.a-f test glasses
  • 108.a glass washing bottle
  • 108.b.i glass washing bottles
  • 110.b.ii-viii test glasses
  • 116.a-c swan necked glassware
  • 126.i Filter flasks
  • 126.ii filter flask
  • 127 Gas washing bottle
Preparation and Purification

Preparation and purification: items 101, 103, 108, 110, 116, 126, 127 


The swan neck retorts would have been used for the distillation of liquids, with the various fractions being collected in the test glasses shown. The shape of the swan neck retort (item 116) dates back to the days of alchemy, when a similarly - shaped piece called an alembic was used to distil and collect liquid fractions, often for medicinal or perfumery applications in the apothecaries’ laboratories of medieval Europe and the Near East.

Gases prepared by reactions would have been either dried in the drying towers (item 101) or washed in the wash bottles (item 108, 127) before being collected.



Solids precipitated during chemical preparations would have been filtered out of the reagent solutions using the filter flask, item 126. A cone of filter paper would have been placed in the top, and the side arm connected to a water pump to provide suction and hasten the filtration. The test glasses, items 103, 110, would have been used to collect liquid samples for chemical testing.

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