Wednesday 21 December 2011: Alembic
This follows on from my other Joseph Black blip as I discovered it on another of those occasions where the name cropped up unexpectedly, at the museum when it reopened in July.
We were there again today for some Christmas shopping so I took the opportunity to revisit the display of Joseph Black's laboratory equipment. This is an alembic, a type of still; there is also a retort and flask of the same green glass, dated 1775, made locally in Leith. They appear coarse and cumbersome compared with modern mass-produced laboratory glassware. Black used these in demonstrations to the large audiences at his lectures.
I am always impressed by the ingenuity of laboratory workshop technicians who create specific equipment for their researchers, clearly the glassblowers met similar challenges for Professor Black.