Laboratory glasware, 1960.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Glas has been the esential material in laboratory apparatus for hundreds of years, due to its versatility in terms of the shapes it can be worked into. In addition, glas is resistant to chemical action, durable, transparent and able to be used over a wide range of temperatures. Modern manufacturing proceses have produced laboratory glasware that is stronger, more chemically resistant, and usable at much higher temperatures than before. Standardisation of shapes, sizes and joints mean that elaborate apparatus can be asembled quickly and cheaply. This particular example is for carrying out a distillation under reduced presure.