January 29, 2014

Do you know what this is?

The Oskaloosa Herald


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.

The Bunsen Burner was invented by Robert Bunsen for the University of Heidelberg in 1852. The new laboratory at the University was to have gas for heating and lights. Bunsen and the university’s mechanic, Peter Desaga, created a small, efficient burner that generated a hot, sootless, non-luminous flame fueled by the gas lines in the new lab. Their successful design rapidly spread throughout medical and chemical laboratories worldwide.

The Oskaloosa Herald and the Nelson Pioneer Farm are teaming up to test your knowledge of historical artifacts.

The Nelson Pioneer Farm has about 15,000 artifacts in its collection spanning in age from the 1840s to the present.

The Herald will take a picture of an artifact and publish it in the Herald section of the Oskaloosa Shopper, The Oskaloosa Herald an the Herald's Web site, www.oskaloosa.com. People can make a guess on what they think the object could be.

People can either email their guess to oskynews@oskyherald.com or mail their guess to The Oskaloosa Herald, P.O. Box 530, Oskaloosa, IA 52577. You can vote from Wednesday through Saturday.

The identity of the artifact and the vote breakdown will be announced in each Wednesday's Herald Shopper along with the week's new artifact.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com