Thursday, 30 January 2014

Gas pipe


The geography of the room was such that when Lawrence sat at the desk he had his back to the window and his face to the door; nobody had ever been clever enough to arrange the room differently; but some daring and ingenious person had carried an india-rubber pipe from the gas chandelier in the centre of the ceiling to a movable lamp which could be placed on the desk when necessary, mingling its tube with the speaking-tubes. In this apartment Lawrence spent nearly a third of his life.

Arnold Bennett - Whom God Hath Joined (1906)

When I came across this passage with its description of a desk gas lamp connected to the ceiling supply by a length of rubber tubing, I was reminded of laboratory Bunsen burners.

Do schools still use Bunsen burners in the age of health n'safety? Do kids know how to use them to bend glass tubing or make a crude thermometer?


Michael said...

Bunsen Burner?

In my case, solidifying some brown gunk, and shooting the whole lot at the wall by accident!

But we also managed to fill a chap's jacket pocket to the brim with distilled water before he noticed, so it wasn't all bad...

Mac said...
"In some cases children have never really switched on a Bunsen burner." Switched on?

A K Haart said...

Michael - those squeezy bottles were just made for pockets weren't they?

Mac - maybe they can't find the app to control it!

Mark In Mayenne said...

We did some wonderful stuff in chemistry. There was one experiment that the teacher warned us might cause the cork and attachments to come flying out of the test tube. So we made sure that it was pointing at a window.

And you could send maggots up the gas taps, (biology), wait a bit then turn them on, to fire the maggots along the bench.

James Higham said...

We used to call that a Bunting Burner as our Chem teacher was Mr Bunting. Only difference is we attached it to the water tap and it made a delightful pattern on the lab floor.

A K Haart said...

Mark - we never tried maggots but it sounds like fun. Did you light the gas too?

James - that rings a bell - I'm sure we did the same. The rubber tubing would have fitted both types of tap.