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Water testing kit, England, 1920-1940

The kit contains equipment needed to examine water supplies at their source. It includes a spirit lamp, measuring cylinders, a tripod, ceramic dish, filter paper, a range of chemicals and printed sheets to record results. This kit was sold under the brand name ‘Soloid’ for £105 pounds, a considerable amount of money at the time. The kit was probably produced for use by the water companies that supplied people’s homes. Such water testing shows a marked change from the situation a century earlier, when the quality of the water being drunk was of little concern to the companies selling it. Unfortunately, a number of diseases are transmitted through water including cholera and dysentery. In Britain a series of cholera outbreaks throughout the 1800s eventually led to major improvements in the quality of water supplied.

Object number:

1989-379

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Glossary:

Glossary: measuring cylinder

piece of laboratory glassware used to accurately measure out volumes of chemicals for use in reactions. They are generally more accurate and precise for this purpose than flasks.

Glossary: water testing kit

No description.

Glossary: filter paper

No description.

Glossary: cholera

A severe infection of the small intestine commonly contracted through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to dehydration, which can be fatal.

Glossary: dysentery

Infectious disease with symptoms including diarrhoea, bleeding, and abdominal cramps. It spreads in contaminated food and water, especially in the tropics.

Glossary: spirit lamp

A lamp, used in laboratory work, which burns alcohol as fuel.