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Wine glass possibly used as a culture glass by Joseph Lister, United Kingdom, 1860-1877

Glassware of the type that fills laboratories today was rare in Joseph Lister’s time (1827-1912). Lister would have used glassware from his kitchen for his microbiological experiments on blood and urine. In the 1870s, he found that samples of blood and urine stored in uncovered glasses decomposed. He concluded that something in the air caused decomposition, rather than the air alone. The wine glass is shown here with similar examples.

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Glossary: microbiology

Branch of biology that deals with micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and their effects.

Glossary: wine glass

Drinking glasses for wine, made in various shapes (usually stemmed), sizes, and styles; those in modern times are each said to be most suitable for a particular type of wine.