Boiling flask

Description (Brief)
This object is a boiling flask made from Fry glass. The boiling flask, also known as a round bottom flask, is a chemical vessel with a spherical body and a cylindrical neck. It is most often used when heating solutions, particularly for distillation.
After years of work in the glass industry, Henry Clay Fry (1840–1929) started his own successful glass company, the Rochester Glass Company, in Rochester, Pennsylvania, in 1901. By 1903 he had renamed it the H. C. Fry Glass Company. Fry made cut glass dinner sets and tableware, and later expanded into other fields of glassware. In 1915, with the supply of German heat resistant borosilicate glasses (particularly useful for the lab and the kitchen) cut off by World War I, the company began selling scientific glassware made from its own Fry Resistance Glass. Although the Fry Company saw a period of success, financial mismanagement led to its closure in 1933.
This object is part of a collection donated by Barbara Keppel, wife of C. Robert Keppel. Robert Keppel taught at the University of Nebraska-Omaha after receiving his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from M.I.T. The glassware in the Keppel collection covers the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Cauwood, J.D., and W.E.S. Turner. “The Attack of Chemical Reagents on Glass Surfaces, and a Comparison of Different Types of Chemical Glassware.” Journal of the Society of Glass Technology 1 (1917): 153–62.
H. C. Fry Glass Society. The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Fry Glassware. Collector Books, 1990.
Hawkins, Jay W. Glasshouses and Glass Manufacturers of the Pittsburgh Region. iUniverse, 2009.
The Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry 10, no. 2 (1918). American Chemical Society.
National Museum of American History Accession File #1985.0311
“University of Nebraska Omaha.” 2015. Accessed May 4.
Walker, Percy H. Comparative Tests of Chemical Glassware. Washington, D.C.: 1918.
Currently not on view
Object Name
flask, boiling
date made
H. C. Fry Glass Company
overall: 15.8 cm x 6.3 cm; 6 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
Science & Mathematics
Science Under Glass
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Science Under Glass
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Barbara A. Keppel

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