Pear shaped glass bulb with a curved tube from the top, and a straight one from the bottom, both tube ends broken off, unsigned, United Kingdom, 1790-1819.
This item is part of the contents of the workshop that Scottish engineer James Watt developed at his home, Heathfield, at Handsworth, Birmingham. Although Watt is best known for his work on the steam engine, his workshop contains a wide variety of objects from many different projects, from chemistry to sculpture-copying.
The description of the item was written by Edward Collins, the land agent responsible for Heathfield when the workshop was given to the Science Museum in 1924. Collins could not always identify what he was looking at, but always described what he saw clearly. This has allowed his descriptions to form the basis of subsequent research. The exact purpose of this item is unclear, but it may be associated with Watt's experimental work in chemistry, being accompanied by a range of other items of glassware including tubes and thermometer glasses.