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1890's Gasogene

1890's Gasogene


SKU: 151183001

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Product Description

1890's Gasogene

Purchased from a collector of Sherlock Holmes-era items who had an entire room in his home made to look like the Baker Street home of the character. This Gasogene, is a Victorian era device used to carbonate water. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described 221B Baker Street, the residence of Sherlock Holmes, he mentioned several items including a gasogene.  Specifically in the story “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Watson stops by the Baker Street home. “ With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, (Holmes) waved me to an armchair, threw across his case of cigars, and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner."

These were popular at the time because the quality of the water was so terrible, people would carbonate it and mix it with gin or whiskey (which was thought to be healthy, or a ‘health
tonic’). This is the origin of the tradition of mixing booze with carbonated beverages. It also led to the popularization of soda fountains. This particular one is a French design. It’s about 17 inches tall and wrapped in wicker. They were wrapped in wicker and then later in metal, as they had a tendency to explode, and the wicker would contain the broken glass. It used tartaric acid and sodium bicarbonate to produce the carbon dioxide needed for carbonation and used a siphon to pour the mixture of water and gas into a glass. Gasogene could also be used to make sparkling wines, lemonade, cider, ginger ale or other ‘saccharine beverages’ (those containing sugar).  A quirky piece of history this piece is a beautiful antique and will make a great addition to any bar or kitchen!

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