Retort

Description (Brief)
This object is a retort made by Josef Kavlier. Retorts are among the oldest forms of glassware used in chemistry. With their bulbs and long necks, they are suitable for distillation—the separation of one material from another through heating. The bulb containing the sample is heated and the resulting gases travel along the neck to a second collecting vessel.
The chemical glassware of Josef Kavalier (1831–1903) of Bohemia was considered to be among the best available for the lab in the mid- to late- 19th century. The Kavalier brand started with Josef’s father Frantisek Kavalir (1796–1853) (the family later added an “e” to make the name easier for international customers). In the 1830s Frantisek developed a very hard, resistant glass which he used to produce chemical glassware at his glassworks in Sázava. He worked with renowned Swedish chemist Jons Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848) to design new forms and shapes to replace earlier flasks and alembics, and became one of the first exporters of specially made chemical glass. Frantisek’s sons, including Josef, continued the business after his death.
Sources:
Langhamer, Antonín. The Legend of Bohemian Glass: A Thousand Years of Glassmaking in the Heart of Europe. Tigris, 2003.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
retort
maker
Kavalier, Josef
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 12.8 cm x 8.3 cm x 43.8 cm; 5 1/16 in x 3 1/4 in x 17 1/4 in
place made
Czechoslovakia
ID Number
CH*316874.10
catalog number
316874.10
accession number
222983
subject
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 Stevens Institute of Technology

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