Description (Brief)
This object is a beaker made by Schott & Genossen. Tall, thin beakers are called Berzelius beakers, differentiating them from shorter, squatter beakers known as Griffin beakers. The Berzelius beaker’s name refers to renowned Swedish chemist Jons Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848). Berzelius worked with Bohemian glassmaker Frantisek Kavalir (1796–1853) to design new forms for chemical glassware in the mid-19th century.
Glastechnisches Laboratorium Schott und Genossen (Glass Technology Laboratory, Schott & Associates), later the Jenaer Glasswerk Schott & Gen. (Jena Glassworks, Schott & Associates), was founded in 1884 by Otto Schott (1851–1935), Ernst Abbe (1840–1905), Carl Zeiss (1816–1888), and Zeiss' son Roderick.
In 1881 Schott, a chemist from a family of glassmakers, and Abbe, a physicist with an interest in optics, formed a research partnership. Together they hoped to perfect a chemical glass formula for lenses in optical instruments like microscopes and telescopes. Their original goal was to develop glasses of high quality and purity with consistent optical properties. As their research expanded, they eventually developed the first borosilicate glasses. Their strength against chemical attack and low coefficient of thermal expansion made them better suited to the harsh circumstances of the chemical laboratory than any other glass.
Jena Glass quickly became a success among the scientific community, widely considered the best on the market until World War I.
This object was used at the Chemistry department at the University of Pennsylvania. Chemistry has been taught at the University since at least 1769 when doctor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush (1746–1813), became Professor of Chemistry in the Medical School. A Chemistry department independent of the Medical School was established by 1874.
“A Brief History of the Department of Chemistry at Penn.” University of Pennsylvania Department of Chemistry. Accessed March 20, 2015.
Baker, Ray Stannard. Seen in Germany. Chautauqua, N. Y.: 1908.
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.
Hovestadt, Heinrich. Jena Glass and Its Scientific and Industrial Applications. London, New York: Macmillan, 1902.
Langhamer, Antonín. The Legend of Bohemian Glass: A Thousand Years of Glassmaking in the Heart of Europe. Czech Republic: Tigris, 2003.
Pfaender, H. G. Schott Guide to Glass. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.
Walker, Percy H. Comparative Tests of Chemical Glassware. Washington, D.C.: 1918.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
after 1884
Schott and Genossen
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
overall: 10.2 cm x 5.4 cm; 4 in x 2 1/8 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 University of Pennsylvania Chemistry Lab

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