Local News

January 29, 2014

Do you know what this is?


This past week's artifact from the Nelson Pioneer Farm is a Clark Jewel Burner and stand.

Some people took a guess at the identity of the artifact.

Pam Howard wrote on Facebook: “a burner from a gas stove?”

Eric Boetger also wrote on Facebook: “Bunson burner for labs.”

Crisis Intervention Services wrote on FaceBook: “Is it a bunson burner?”

Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert did some research on the artifact. She wrote: “Clark Jewel Burner and Stand

This small burner and stand are from the offices of Dr. Francis A. Gillett. He practiced medicine in Oskaloosa for 50 years during a time when the doctor was also the pathologist and sometimes the pharmacist as well. A medical student at the University of Iowa and Drake University Medical Schools, he served in the medical department during WWI. He first worked in Fremont for about four years, later moving to Oskaloosa to practice in the old Abbott Hospital.

In the early 1900s a doctor often had to perform basic medical diagnostic tests in order to best help their patients. These tests were performed to detect or identify the presence of substances in the body or to determine the nature of a disease. Laboratory tests can be quite simple or extremely sophisticated. Thermal tests use heat or cold to diagnose disease. In modern medical practice they are commonly used to help establish or confirm a diagnosis and often aid in the management of disease.

Dr. Gillett’s burner was made by the Clark Jewel Company, a division of the American Stove Company. The fuel, either natural gas or propane, fed through a hose into the base of the burner. The gas mixed with air from the room as it passed up the tube to the burners. The mix of air and gas determined the heat of the flame, a clear blue flame being the hottest. The Clark Jewel burner has six arms with three jets each creating 18 small flame openings. This increased the surface area that could be heated. Beakers and flasks were placed on the stand to heat. The burner is very similar to the Bunsen Burner used in labs and classrooms around the world.

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