March 13, 2018 2 min read

If a Rock Bottom Vessel has ever reminded you of time spent in your high school science class, there’s a very good reason! The glass flasks that we use at Studio50 are made of “science glass” – that is, borosilicate glass (often referred to as  “boro” glass.) This glass was invented in 1891 by Otto Schott, a German chemist and glass technologist.  He discovered that when adding an element called boron trioxide to the usual glass-making ingredients of silica sand, sodium carbonate and lime, the glass became stronger and its thermal resistance was able to withstand extreme and fluctuating temperatures, yet still retain transparency and optical clarity. The addition of boron also made the glass chemically resistant, in that it does not react with other compounds.

This innovation proved to have boundless uses.  In addition to being standard in science labs all over the world, borosilicate glass is used in oven doors, floodlights, solar telescopes, and some brands of cookware. This glass even coated the thermal insulation tiles on the Space Shuttle. 

Our glass is manufactured in an ISO-certified facility in Europe and is supplied to us through a Canadian distributor and passes several inspections before it reaches our studio. It is important to remember that the flasks are not “fashion glass”. They are made with science applications in mind. While there may be small scratches from the moulds, or tiny bubbles present from the hand-blowing, the glass is structurally sound, and able to withstand a temperature variance of 165C (329F).

Though science glass can be found in many shapes and sizes in laboratories – think stubby beakers, triangular shaped beakers, flat-bottom beakers and stirring rods – the shape that works for us is the round-bottom flask with a long neck (often referred to as a Florence flask).  It’s designed for even heating and cooling – the bulk of the area is at the bottom of the flask, so when placed into a pre-chilled or heated concrete base, the temperature travels quickly and evenly to the liquid in the flask. The round shape makes a swirling motion effortless, which aids in the effective aeration of wine.

Though it all sounds rather scientific, it fits perfectly with our philosophy of pairing form and function. We strive to create furniture and homewares that look great in your surroundings – pieces that you feel comfortable using and can take the wear and tear of everyday living.