Sunday, August 4, 2013

"All life is an experiment.

The more experiments you make the better." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Retailers constantly are experimenting.  Will this display work?  Does it create interest?  Is it unique, or are you just repeating the same thing but expecting a different result?  It is the paint everything white or whatever color motif.  At some point, things just blend boring.  (Hey...there's a reality show title...Blend Boring!)

I thought about experiments because it seems apothecary/scientific equipment has garnered great interest in the shop this summer.  And, I came upon a box of test tubes and beakers at auction.  As I pulled things out to investigate...really repurpose...I wondered about who invented that tiny little tube that has founded so much.
Interestingly, prior to the early 1800s, special items did not exist in research, and then only for rich scientists (again...that echo chamber of rich having it all).  It is thought that Antoine Lavoisier who lived in France from 1743-1794 may have been the creator of glass vessels that could be described as test tubes.  The actual words test tube date to 1846 though, but Lavoisier is said to be the "Father of Modern Chemistry", and from the look on his face in the portrait below, in more ways than one!
Anyway, Lavoisier discovered that oxygen played a role in combustion, and he named both oxygen and hydrogen.  He helped to construct the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and reformed chemical nomenclature.

He was involved in political and economic activities which helped him fund his scientific research, and he used his findings to push for better public health.  His drive to help the poor came at the height of the French Revolution, and for any aristocrat it was a dangerous time; however, it appears Jean-Paul Marat, a fellow scientist and doctor, and a leader in the Reign of Terror, targeted Lavoisier because Lavoisier had mocked one of Marat's inventions. 

Lavoisier was arrested during the French Revolution and accused of selling watered-down tobacco, but his real crime may have been as an investor in a private tax collection company (Ferme Générale). The company had not been popular with the general public in France as it made its profits from the collection of taxes. This put him in a very difficult position during the Revolution. 

 According to my research, it is probable that once arrested Lavoisier had little chance of avoiding the guillotine. Marat portrayed him as a man who, as an investor in the Ferme Générale, had bled the poor. Appeals for his life were ignored. A revolutionary judge stated that Revolutionary France had no need for scientists. 
Where have we heard that?

So, there is the story behind the test tube...now what we have in the shop is not at all revolting...some neat beakers...talk about fun bar items...a stash of test tubes...


 and couple neat holders for test tubes...
You could fill every spot with a test tube...neat for flowers...rooting plants...or maybe you area a closet chemist!  The ultimate repurposing...that is what this new antique/vintage world is all about...not just buy it, sit it, stash it.  Experiment...make the world your test tube!  As Walter Lippman said, "When all think alike, then no one is thinking."

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