Erlenmeyer flask

Description (Brief)
This object is a modifed 250 mL Erlenmeyer flask, known as an iodine determination flask, made of Pyrex glass. The Erlenmeyer flask is named for Emil Erlenmeyer (1825–1909), a German organic chemist who designed the flask in 1861. The flask is often used for stirring or heating solutions and is purposefully designed to be useful for those tasks. The narrow top allows it to be stoppered, the sloping sides prevent liquids from slopping out when stirred, and the flat bottom can be placed on a heating mechanism or apparatus.
Pyrex has its origins in the early 1910s, when American glass company Corning Glass Works began looking for new products to feature its borosilicate glass, Nonex. At the suggestion of Bessie Littleton, a Corning scientist’s wife, the company began investigating Nonex for bakeware. After removing lead from Nonex to make the glass safe for cooking, they named the new formula “Pyrex”—“Py” for the pie plate, the first Pyrex product. In 1916 Pyrex found another market in the laboratory. It quickly became a favorite brand in the scientific community for its strength against chemicals, thermal shock, and mechanical stress.
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.
Dyer, Davis. The Generations of Corning: The Life and Times of a Global Corporation. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Jensen, William B. “The Origin of Pyrex.” Journal of Chemical Education 83, no. 5 (2006): 692. doi:10.1021/ed083p692.
Kraissl, F. “A History of the Chemical Apparatus Industry.” Journal of Chemical Education 10, no. 9 (1933): 519. doi:10.1021/ed010p519.
National Museum of American History Accession File #1985.0311
Ridley, John. Essentials of Clinical Laboratory Science. Cengage Learning, 2010.
Sella, Andrea. “Classic Kit: Erlenmeyer Flask,” July 2008.
“University of Nebraska Omaha.” 2015. Accessed May 4.
Currently not on view
Object Name
flask, Erlenmeyer
date made
Corning Incorporated
Physical Description
pyrex (overall material)
overall: 152 mm x 76 mm; 6 in x 3 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Science & Mathematics
Science Under Glass
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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