Sunday, January 26, 2014

"A lot of people like snow.

I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”   ~ Carl Reiner

OK...that is enough winter...there is something about seeing "3 degrees" on your car's dashboard, and it is not the Sirius music informational site for the song and group playing on the radio.

But, life goes on, and I am working in the shop even if snow and ice keep it closed to the public.  So, back to frozen water...a.k.a ice cubes...that is where frozen water belongs!  And, with that in mind, I have some seltzer bottles so let us explore.  

In the late 18th century, scientists made important progress in replicating naturally carbonated mineral waters. In 1767, Englishman Joseph Priestley first discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide to make carbonated water when he suspended a bowl of distilled water above a beer vat at a local brewery in Leeds, England. His invention of carbonated water (also known as soda water) is the major and defining component of most soft drinks.

Priestley found that water treated in this manner had a pleasant taste, and he offered it to friends as a refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he describes dripping oil of vitriol (or sulfuric acid as it is now called) onto chalk to produce carbon dioxide gas, and encouraging the gas to dissolve into an agitated bowl of water.

Another Englishman, John Mervin Nooth, improved Priestley's design and sold his apparatus for commercial use in pharmacies. Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman invented a generating apparatus that made carbonated water from chalk by the use of sulfuric acid. Bergman's apparatus allowed imitation mineral water to be produced in large amounts. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius started to add flavors (spices, juices, and wine) to carbonated water in the late eighteenth century.
Carbonation was introduced in 1790 in France, but the modern "syphon" as selzter was originally called, was invented in 1829.  Again, in France, a couple men invented a hollow corkscrew that could be inserted into a soda bottle, and a valve would allow small contents to be dispersed but would keep pressure inside the bottle so the soda would not go flat.
Soda syphons were popular in the 1920s and 1930s, but many of the plants that produced the bottles in Europe were destroyed in WWII.   The procedure for these bottles which were refilled required their being cleaned out with a vacuum pump and a rubber hose slipped over the nozzle.  The bottle is then held upside-down under the surface of a tub of carbonated water which is drawn into the bottle by the vacuum once the valve is opened.

Antique seltzer bottles are not useable.  The fittings were designed for commercial facility recharging so the bottles become collectible for their ancestry.
 Modern bottles are made of aluminum with heavy fittings and solid metal parts.  One of the modern ones or new machines for making your own soda...
Convenient and modern...and useful...but sometimes the "un"useful just has a little bit more appeal! 
"The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence." ~Rabindranath Tagore


Anonymous said...

Yum Yum Yum!
I love the little bubbles so much!
Thanks for this excellent post Dutch Rose :)


Guernsey Girl said...

Really enjoyed reading this - I just love to know how things evolved... Great blog!