Erlenmeyer flask

Description (Brief):

This object is a stoppered 125 mL Erlenmeyer 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.

Description (Brief)

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.

Description (Brief)

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.

Description (Brief)

Sources:

Description (Brief)

Dyer, Davis. The Generations of Corning: The Life and Times of a Global Corporation. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Description (Brief)

Jensen, William B. “The Origin of Pyrex.” Journal of Chemical Education 83, no. 5 (2006): 692. doi:10.1021/ed083p692.

Description (Brief)

Kraissl, F. “A History of the Chemical Apparatus Industry.” Journal of Chemical Education 10, no. 9 (1933): 519. doi:10.1021/ed010p519.

Description (Brief)

National Museum of American History Accession File #1985.0311

Description (Brief)

Ridley, John. Essentials of Clinical Laboratory Science. Cengage Learning, 2010.

Description (Brief)

Sella, Andrea. “Classic Kit: Erlenmeyer Flask,” July 2008. http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2008/July/ErlenmeyerFlask.asp.

Description (Brief)

“University of Nebraska Omaha.” 2015. Accessed May 4. http://www.unomaha.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/chemistry/student-opportunities/scholarships.php.

Date Made: after 1916Date Invented: 1861

Inventor: Erlenmeyer, Richard August C. E.Maker: Corning Incorporated

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Science & Scientific Instruments

Subject:

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Chemistry, Science Under Glass, Science & Mathematics

Exhibition:

Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Barbara A. Keppel

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1985.0311.068Catalog Number: 1985.0311.068Accession Number: 1985.0311

Object Name: flask, Erlenmeyer

Physical Description: pyrex (overall material)Measurements: overall: 101 mm x 64 mm; 4 in x 2 1/2 in

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a0-ea6b-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1212

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.