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Set of thirteen spirit bubbles, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1801-1900

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Spirit bubbles are sometimes used in the context of scientific research, but historically they have mainly been used in the brewing industry. They are placed into a measure of spirits such as gin, whisky, rum, or brandy to test the alcohol content or proof. For example, the bubbles numbered 22 and 23 are used to test the proof of a double whisky; if it is the correct proof the glass ball sinks to the bottom. The set was made by A Lovi, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Glossary: spirit bubble

A bubble of air trapped within an enclosed tube filled with liquid. When the tube is placed on top of surface and the bubble is lined up in the middle, the surface is level.