Novy Anaerobe Bottle

Description (Brief)
This special glass vessel was designed by bacteriologist Frederick Novy (1864–1957) at the University of Michigan Medical School Hygienic Laboratory for culturing anaerobic bacteria which require an oxygen-free environment. Hydrogen gas was pumped into the bottle through the valve at the top, pushing the air (oxygen) out through the opposite opening. The glass valve was then rotated to seal off the bottle.
Novy describes the culturing of anaerobic bacteria and the design and use of this bottle in his laboratory manual for bacteriology students, published in 1899. The bottle was designed to accommodate standard culture tubes (test tubes) and a similar version was designed to accommodate a stack of six to eight Petri dishes. The inoculated culture tubes were placed into the bottle and the apparatus was then connected to a Kipp gas generator (see record CH*316259). A current of hydrogen gas was passed through the bottle for one to two hours. After this time, all of the oxygen had been replaced by the gas and the bottle was sealed by rotating the ground glass valve a quarter turn. The entire apparatus was then placed in an incubator for the cultures to develop.
The Michigan laboratory was established in 1887 under the direction of Dr. Victor Vaughan, professor of Hygiene and Physiological Chemistry and his assistant, Frederick Novy. The laboratory was one of the first in the country to offer courses in the new science of bacteriology. Aside from its teaching responsibility, the new laboratory was charged with investigating the causation of disease and carrying out analyses on food and drinking water.
Novy, Frederick G. Laboratory Work in Bacteriology. Ann Arbor, Mich.: G. Wahr, 1899. 306–14.
Currently not on view
Physical Description
glass (stopper with glass tube material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 11 3/4 in x 7 in x 4 1/2 in; 29.845 cm x 17.78 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of University of Michigan Medical School. Department of Microbiology
Science & Scientific Instruments
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Medicine and Science: Medicine
Science & Mathematics
Science Under Glass
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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