Beaker

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Description (Brief)
This object is a Griffin beaker made from Pyrex glass. Short, squat beakers are referred to as Griffin beakers, differentiating them from taller, thinner beakers known as Berzelius beakers. The Griffin beaker’s name refers to John Joseph Griffin (1802–1877), an English chemistry enthusiast. His interest in bringing chemistry to the common man led him to publish popular works on the subject and eventually to begin supplying scientific apparatus, including his eponymous beakers.
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.
Sources:
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
Sella, Andrea. “Classic Kit: Griffin’s Beaker.” Chemistry World, 2011. http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2011/August/GriffinsBeaker.asp.
“University of Nebraska Omaha.” 2015. Accessed May 4. http://www.unomaha.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/chemistry/student-opportunities/scholarships.php.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1931-1985
maker
Corning Incorporated
Physical Description
pyrex (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 40 mm x 35 mm; 1 9/16 in x 1 3/8 in
overall: 1 5/8 in x 1 9/16 in x 1 1/2 in; 4.1275 cm x 3.96875 cm x 3.81 cm
ID Number
1985.0311.114
catalog number
1985.0311.114
accession number
1985.0311
Credit Line
Gift of Barbara A. Keppel
subject
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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