Liquid Level Vases
|| The Liquid Level Vase is sometimes called Pascal's
Vase, although I have chosen to use this name for a device used for
Demonstrations with the Knott vase at the Smithsonian (left)
and the Queen Vase at Virginia Military Institute (right) start with the
large glass vase full of water. The stopcock is opened and the water flows
into the crooked tube. When equilibrium is reached, the water levels in
both the tube and the vase are the same.
|| The unmarked liquid level vase at the right is on display
at the University of Cincinnati physics department.
Liquid Level Vases with multiple tubes are shown in the
four examples below. The Cincinnati apparatus is by Queen and cost $12.00
in the 1881 catalogue. The St. Mary's apparatus is the economy model from
the same catalogue and cost $3.50. The apparatus in the Smithsonian collection
was made by the L. E. Knott Apparatus Co. of Boston, and cost $3.30 in
the 1916 catalogue. The demonstration is a hardy evergreen, and is still
in modern apparatus catalogues.
University of Cincinnati
St. Mary's College
| This is another example of a Queen equilibrium
vase, as it is referred to in the 1888 catalogue. There were originally
six vases, including a short one with a narrow orifice at the top that
shot up a tiny fountain. The top of the spray almost reached the
level of the large supply vase.
This apparatus is in one of the lecture demonstration rooms
in the physics department at the University of Texas in Austin. The original
color of the base was black, probably with concentric gold pinstripes.
|| At the left is a liquid level vase from the Millington/Barnard
Collection at the University Museum at the University of Mississippi in
It is unmarked, but in the second half of the 1950's Prof.
Frederick Barnard bought a good deal of apparatus from the firm of Lerebours
et Secretan of Paris.
This apparatus is in the Garland Collection of Classic Physics
Apparatus at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
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| The version of the liquid-level vase at the right is sometimes
called Haldat's Apparatus. The apparatus at the right very closely follows
an illustration in the 1875 edition of Ganot's Physics. The accompanying
quote is: "It consists of a bent tube [on the bottom] at one end of which
is fitted a stopcock, in which can be screwed two vessels, of the same
height, but different in shape and capacity, the first being conical and
the second nearly cylindrical. Mercury is poured into the [horizontal]
tube until its level nearly reaches [the top of the upward bend of the
tube]. The [conical] vessel is then screwed on and filled with water. The
pressure of the water acting on the mercury causes it to rise in the cylindrical
tube, and its height may be marked with a small collar which slides up
and down the tube. The height of the water in [the conical vessel] is also
marked. When this is done, [the conical vessel] is emptied by means of
the stopcock [seen projecting toward the viewer], unscrewed and replaced
by [a vessel of a different shape]. When water is now poured into this,
the mercury, which had resumed its original level in [the horizontal tube]
rises in the cylindrical tube, and when the water in the [new vessel] has
the same height as it had [before], ... the mercury will have risen to
the height it had before. ... Hence the pressure on the mercury in both
cases is the same. This pressure is therefore independent of the shape
of the vessels, and, consequently, also of the quantity of liquid."