Nature 19, 122-122 (12 December 1878) | doi:10.1038/019122e0

The Bunsen Flame a Sensitive Flame



IT is not generally known, if it has ever been noticed before, that the Bunsen lamp gives a flame sensitive to sounds. A lamp should be chosen which has a tendency to “burn below;” this may usually be secured by opening the air passages to the utmost and lessening the supply of gas. The flame should burn quietly. My most sensitive flame is four inches high; the gas at about one inch pressure of water. A smart tap with a penholder on a glass cylinder a yard from the flame causes the characteristic “ducking”, which is sometimes so energetic as to extinguish the flame or to cause it to burn below. The acute sound of rattling bottles, of a glass rod against a beaker, and many such familiar sounds of the laboratory, are the most effective. This may explain burning below without obvious cause. A tap on a mortar with the pestle twenty feet distant from a well-adjusted flame causes it, and So, often unintentionally, we may have the same result.