In his experiments to disprove the theory of spontaneous generation, Louis Pasteur used a swan-necked flask. One source implies that Pasteur invented it himself, but I haven't been able to find anything definite.

To address the criticism leveled at Spallanzani's early experiments, namely that boiling might destroy some "vital principle" in air, Pasteur devised a long swan-necked flask. Air could reach the flask through the opening but dust particles and microorganisms could not, because the curved neck served as a trap.


No, Pasteur did not invent swan necked bottles, he only invented a novel use for them as described in the quote. Venetian craftsmen produced swan necked glass bottles for decorative purposes back in 16th century. They were imported to Iran under the reign of Shah Abbas I (1587–1629) and became a traditional glassware there, the Persian name is ashkdān. Their necks are not as bent as Pasteur's however.

In 17th century some experimenters used inverted bottles to collect gas products of a chemical reaction, e.g. Boyle did in 1671 to collect hydrogen, which he called "certain kind of air". A major improvement was pneumatic trough, invented by Stephen Hales around 1727, which allowed collecting gases over water in a different vessel from the one where the reaction takes place. A swan necked bottle was part of the apparatus, and had a flexible neck, which was shaped more like Pasteur's. Lavoisier, Cavendish and Priestley used it among others.

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