Distillation Tube

Distillation Tube

Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
This is a Snyder distillation column. Distillation is the process of separating a mixture of liquids with different boiling points through evaporation and condensation. Liquids with lower boiling points vaporize first, rise through the distillation apparatus, and recondense to be collected in a separate container.
The Snyder column could also be referred to as a dephlegmator, which is a specific kind of distillation column. It utilizes separate chambers to promote multiple condensations and vaporizations during the distillation process, leading to a more efficient separation of the mixture’s components. Snyder’s dephelgmator features lightbulb-shaped glass bubbles as separations between its chambers.
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. https://www.chem.upenn.edu/content/penn-chemistry-history.
Currently not on view
Object Name
distilling tube, Snyder's
Distillation Tube
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
overall: 673 mm x 152 mm x 25 mm; 26 1/2 in x 6 in x in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of University of Pennsylvania
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Chemistry
Science & Mathematics
Science Under Glass
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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This isn't just a distilling tube. It has an integral distillation head and the angle implies it was probably meant to be used with a Graham condenser, which is very efficient, but needs horizontal orientation. The long tube on top, where a thermometer port goes, is probably there to act as an air condenser to establish a reflux ratio as is done today with adjustable PTO heads like the Hennion design. It is even possible it was meant to take a long thermometer and act as both condenser and thermometer port like the upper tube on ACE 14/10 microscale spinning band stills today. The joints appear to be 24/40 size standard taper. if this is so then the piece must date from the after WWI. (unless these were added later) However given the other details it is likely at least 60 years old.

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