I found this in a second hand store, and I think it has to do with freeze drying. Is there any validity to this assumption? What is this called? Also, the little tuberculina at the bottom are stuffed with fiberglass I believe.

glassware item

  • $\begingroup$ It does look like glass wool plugs in the tubes to trap and liquid droplets which might be formed, so the present purpose use for freeze drying seems reasonable. But the marks on the tubes would have no purpose in freeze drying. In the good old days, every chemistry lab had a glassblower on call who could repair glassware or build specialty glassware. I'd guess that this configuration was built out of some other manifold. A glass blower was expensive, so having something factory made as a starting point would probably be cheaper than building the whole thing by hand. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 0:12

2 Answers 2


It looks to me like tubes used to distribute gas flow.

If you work with substances that would react with the oxygen in air, you prevent that by working under an inert gas such as nitrogen, i.e. you fill all the flasks containing your substance with nitrogen gas, keeping up a steady flow of the nitrogen in order to prevent any from air leaking in.

The nitrogen is usually provided through a valve in the fume hood, and then distributed through the tubes you have there. The left end in your picture is connected to the valve, and on the ends on the right side you can attach tubes leading to your reaction flasks. The fibreglass is there to prevent air from getting into the nitrogen distributing system while there's nothing attached to the tube.

The ends of the glass tubes look weird to me though, so I might be entirely wrong.

  • $\begingroup$ This was my thought as well. A google image search for gassing station, a term I've heard microbiologists use to describe such a setup, shows several informative pictures of setups that have components similar to this. $\endgroup$
    – Curt F.
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ This is a very useful answer, although I have to wonder if it is correct. Every inert gas/vacuum manifold I can find (glass) have valves, and have an input on the side of the manifold. $\endgroup$
    – iDomo
    Commented Dec 12, 2015 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ @iDomo this may be a more 'fix/maintainance-friendly' version with separate individual valves. Also, if the rubber hoses have very thick walls, it was used to distribute vacuum, not gas flow. $\endgroup$
    – permeakra
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 0:07

I doubt it has much to do with freeze drying. That would be a glass manifold with rubber hoses leading out with syringe barrels stuck in the ends. The fiber glass is likely meant to either resist and equalize gas flow or to prevent liquids from boiling into the manifold.


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