Precipitating jar

Precipitating jar

Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
This object is a precipitation jar made by Whitall Tatum Company.
Precipitation reactions occur when the mixture of two solutions results in the formation of a solid, known as the precipitate. Precipitating jars are designed to facilitate the separation of the precipitate from the liquid. Their shape is similar to a beaker, but with the top of the vessel being narrower than the bottom. The sloping sides of the jar encourage the precipitate to settle at the bottom. In contrast, a traditional beaker’s vertical sides typically must be washed to collect all of the precipitate.
Whitall Tatum Company was among the first American glass companies to manufacture chemical glassware, starting as early as the late 1870s. Based in Millville, New Jersey, the company’s factory produced chemical and other glassware for over 150 years, finally closing its doors in 1999.
Whitall Tatum donated this object to the Museum in 1921, at the request of Charles Whitebread, assistant curator in the Division of Medicine. Whitebread planned to use the object as a part of an exhibit to illustrate pharmaceutical methods used in the manufacture of medicine. He hoped to “illustrate some of the operations to which crude drugs are subjected to get them into a form suitable for administration.” The methods he planned to display included: vaporization, distillation, sublimation, comminution, desiccation, sifting, levigation, precipitation, dialysis, expression, percolation, solution, lotion or displacement washing, decantation, collation or straining, filtration, and separation of immiscible liquids.
Crookes, William, J. Traill Taylor, William Blanchard Bolton, and Thomas Bedding. The British Journal of Photography. H. Greenwood, 1895.
Harrison, Charles. Cumberland County, New Jersey: 265 Years of History. The History Press, 2013.
National Museum of American History Accession File #67053
Remington, Joseph Price. The Practice of Pharmacy. J.B. Lippincott Company, 1917.
Rosenfeld, Louis. Four Centuries of Clinical Chemistry. CRC Press, 1999.
Whitall Tatum & Company. “Whitall Tatum & Co. Glass Ware,” 1879.
Currently not on view
Object Name
precipitating jar
date made
ca 1921
Whitall Tatum Company
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
overall: 9 1/2 in x 5 1/4 in; 24.13 cm x 13.335 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Whitall Tatum Company
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Science & Mathematics
Science Under Glass
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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