Plattner's Blowpipe

ID: IMG_2430 or IMG_2430Blowpipe

Creator: Turner, Steven

Form/Genre: Object

Date: 1820

Citation: National Museum of American History, History of Chemistry Collection

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A Plattner's blowpipe was an instrument used by 18th and 19th century chemists. The blowpipe is the type of instrument used by James Smithson (1765-1829), a chemist, mineralogist, and founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution. Blowpipes were made in different sizes and designs. The Plattner's blowpipe was made to be used for long periods without a break. The trumpet shaped mouthpiece helped keep the lips from getting tired and a reservoir on the end collected saliva. It also had a small platinum tip, which kept it from melting when held in a flame for long periods.


Smithson, James 1765-1829


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


This blowpipe is from the National Museum of American History chemistry collection.

Contained within

National Museum of American History, History of Chemistry Collection

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,



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  • Artifacts
  • Chemistry
  • Equipment
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Blowpipe
  • Experiments
  • Chemical apparatus
  • Research--Equipment and supplies
  • Chemistry--Experiments


  • Object
  • Digital Image

ID Number

IMG_2430 or IMG_2430Blowpipe

Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Color ; Size: 4.8w x 3.6h ; Type of Image: Object; Medium: Digital Image

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