Loving Vintage Lab Glassware

I’m a big fan of repurposing stuff, though I often lack the imagination to see how things could be adapted. Some folks can look at a pile of old junk and see diamonds in the rough. I wish I had that creative bent! But I will say that repurposing vintage scientific lab glass beakers, flasks and test tubes, seems so easy and natural. Here are a few common uses…

As Vases

I love the look of a few posies sticking out of a lab flask–such a fresh, modern, fun vibe.

From an Ike Kligerman Barkley kitchen.

Here’s one on my mantel. I had trimmed this small branch off my kumquat tree and decided it’d be perfect for this beaker.

Here it is with some of my favorite things.

For Drinks

Or how about using old beakers for libations? Wouldn’t these be perfect to use for a Halloween party?

Photo courtesy of Novikov.

For Storage

And these are a perfect fit for bathroom lotions, potions and notions.

As Halloween Decor

I just love the creative use of this tall scientific cylinder…it’s filled with vintage doll eyes! Etsy store owner Karen of VintageArcheology has some of the coolest stuff and a delightful way of photographing it.

From VintageArcheology

Finding Lab Glassware

Over the years I’ve found a few pieces here and there at thrift stores and estate sales, in fact I recently picked up 20 test tubes for $2 at an estate sale, but in general I don’t see it often when sourcing. Then the other day I spotted this ad on Facebook Marketplace for a huge lot of lab glassware for…$10!

Ad photo.

Jinkies! I’ve NEVER bought anything from FB Marketplace and the ad had been up for six days, but I immediately contacted the owner and we made arrangements to meet at his house (just three miles away) the next morning. My husband joked as I left, “Call me if you get kidnapped.” Ha, ha, ha.

The transaction couldn’t have been easier and I was a happy camper. The pieces range in size from 50 ml to 1000 ml. A few were too damaged to sell but overall these were good. I gave them a soak in hot water with dishwashing liquid to remove any dust and residue. The owner (young enough to be my son) said they had belonged to his sister who had acquired them through a lab she’d worked at. Apparently they were throwing them out! The boxes indicated they were from a university herbarium. A few have handwritten notations on them.

So now I have a lot of lab glassware! Is it worth anything? Alas, most is not valuable. This glassware is common and was/is produced in great quantities. Still, older and/or more uncommon pieces can command a healthy price. This huge 6000 ml beaker recently sold for $80.

But by putting together groupings, I think my glassware will be worth the effort to sell online. For example, I’ll be putting the 100 ml flasks in lots of three for $24 plus free shipping.

One of these flasks is marked “chlorophyll.”

While these won’t be big money makers, I’ll enjoy selling them.

Wishing you happy hunting,



  1. Those are cool. And, bravo to you for trying Marketplace!! The whole idea of it freaks me out a little, but so did Craig’s List when it first came out. Ha ha. Pretty awesome that it was only 3 miles from you. Love how you use beakers as vases.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Jessica. I’ve been lucky that the few interactions I’ve had on Craigslist have gone really well too! Though I did nix meeting a seller at his remote cottage up in the hills that had no cell phone connection. In the end we met at a public car park and he turned out to be a nice guy and gave me a great deal. – Karen


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