Set of six test tubes used by Joseph Lister, United Kingdom, 1875-1878

1875-1878 in United Kingdom
Set of six test tubes used by Joseph Lister, United Kingdom, 1875-1878 (test tube)

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Set of 6 test-tubes, each with a glass cap, upright in a test-tube stand made from glass and wire, used by Lister in his experiments with Lactic fermentation, circa 1877

This set of six test tubes held in a glass stand by wire was used by Joseph Lister (1827-1912) for his experiments on lactic fermentation. Lister studied fermentation because he thought it might give him information about human diseases, such as specific fevers, that are similar to fermentation. Lister chose to study lactic fermentation as it is simple to recognise (by the curdling of milk) and can be easily tested. The open test tubes were used to mimic open wounds. Lactic fermentation is also rare so could not be caused accidentally by experimental error. The test tubes are shown here with a glass slab (A645135).


Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
test tubes, glass, caps, glass and stand, glass
overall: 75 mm x 85 mm x 70 mm, .04kg
test tube