penicillin culture vessel

penicillin culture vessel

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Rectangular slip-cast ceramic (porcelain) culture vessel used for the batch production of penicillin by the University of Oxford research team. The vessel was designed by Dr. Norman G. Heatley and made by James Macintyre and Co. Ltd, Burslem, England. The first lot of culture vessels was produced in December, 1940.
Each culture vessel was about 11 inches long by 9 inches wide by 2 1/2 inches deep, made of impervious stoneware or porcelain, and glazed on the inside to allow for sterilization. Each vessel held a liter of broth at 1.5 cm deep. The vessels could be efficiently stacked during the fermentation process and when emptied and cleaned they could be placed vertically (upright) in a sterilization chamber.
Dr. Heatley obtained this vessel for the Smithsonian in 1953 for the museum's exhibition on antibiotics.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Culture Vessel, Penicillin
penicillin culture vessel
date made
James Macintyre and Company
place made
United Kingdom: England, Burslem
Physical Description
ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
body (without spout): 2 1/2 in x 9 in x 11 in; 6.35 cm x 22.86 cm x 27.94 cm
overall: 9.5 cm x 22 1/2 in x 34 in; 3 3/4 in x 57.15 cm x 86.36 cm
overall: 3 1/2 in x 9 in x 13 1/2 in; 8.89 cm x 22.86 cm x 34.29 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, through Dr. N. G. Heatley; Accession 199422 (1953)
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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