A glass alembic

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A glass alembic

An alembic was a domed vessel used in distillation. It was designed to collect distilled liquid, which would run down the sides of the dome, gathering in the channel at its bottom before draining through a glass tube into a receiver. The vessel dates to the 15th or early 16th centuries. In this instance the thin and fragile dome of the vessel has perished, leaving the spout and the distinctive recurving form of the channel. A vessel such as this could have been used in industrial processes but the most popular use of such vessels was in preparing medicines.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum Exeter Archaeology

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