| I took the picture of this small piece of apparatus in
the Fall of 1979 during a visit to Colby College in Waterville, Maine to
set up a small museum of historical physics apparatus. I was unable to
identify it, and left with a question mark next to it on my list.
Six months later, I was browsing through L. Casella's Catalogue of Standard Instruments (1860) in the Kenyon College Library, and happened to stray into the chemistry section, and there was the "Spirit Lamp or Blow-Pipe, self-acting, on the Russian principle, with copper ball."
Alcohol in the copper ball is vaporized, travels out of the top of the ball through the pipe and is shot horizontally under the ball and into the flame. There it ignites, and the flame shoots out to the side.
The blowpipes below are designed to raise the temperature of a candle or burner flame to a high enough value to heat a small bead of material to incandescence. Air from the mouth is blown through the flame, and the resulting hot flame is directed at the sample. The design with the bulb to catch moisture from the breath is due to Axel Fredrik Cronstedt. In the 1928 Welch catalogue the plain model sold for twenty four cents, and the Cronstedt style for thirty cents. They are in the Greenslade Collection.
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