Portable charcoal water filter, England, 1890-1902

Made:
1890-1902 in England

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

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Portable charcoal water filter, in cylindrical nickel plated brass case, possibly used by troops in the Boer War, probably English, 1890-1920

This water filter could be easily assembled by inserting the metal rod into the charcoal cylinder. When not in use, the charcoal could be stored in the brass case. It is thought that this filter was intended for British troops during the Boer War (1899-1902) in Southern Africa.

Filtering water had two benefits: water from dirty streams could be drunk when fresh supplies had run out; and waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery could be avoided. Charcoal has long been used to filter and purify water, dating back to at least 2000 BCE in India.

Details

Category:
Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
1980-532
Materials:
case, brass (nickel plated) and filter, charcoal
Measurements:
overall (brass case): 84 mm 43 mm, 0.064 kg
overall (water filter): 215 mm 43 mm, 0.074kg
type:
water filter
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • filtration equipment - particulates
credit:
Bodenham, W.R.