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Late Victorian seltzogene made by British Syphon

The gasogene (or gazogene or seltzogene) is a late Victorian device for producing carbonated water. It consists of two linked glass globes: the lower contained water or other drink to be made sparkling, the upper a mixture of tartaric acid and sodium bicarbonate that reacts to produce carbon dioxide. The produced gas pushes the liquid in the lower container up a tube and out of the device. The globes are surrounded by a wicker or wire protective mesh, as they have a tendency to explode.[1]

The earliest occurrence of the word noted in the Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1853, quoting a reference in Practical Mechanic's Journal on "Gaillard and Dubois' 'Gazogene' or Aerated Water apparatus".[2]

In popular culture[edit]

A gasogene is mentioned as a residential fixture at 221B Baker Street in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia": "With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, he waved me to an armchair, threw across his case of cigars, and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner." One is also mentioned in "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone". The device plays a key role in Bernard Shaw's 1905 comic play Passion, Poison, and Petrifaction, Or The Fatal Gazogene.[3]

The word is also used in Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's novel Brimstone, published in 2005, on page 106,[4] and in their 2010 novel Fever Dream on page 362.[5]

A gasogene is mentioned, on page 13, as being in the forensic laboratory of Dr. Kingsley, consultant forensic examiner of Scotland Yard in Alex Grecian's 2012 novel The Yard.[6]

A gasogene is mentioned and its use described in Sherry Thomas's novel A Study in Scarlet Women (Book 1 of the Lady Sherlock series) on pages 244 to 246. (Ebook ISBN 9780698196353)

Amelia Peabody pulls a bottle of whiskey, a gasogene, and glasses from a hamper in order to make herself a whiskey and soda after getting her family on a train to Luxor in the novel The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters, a pen name of Barbara Mertz.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mixing it up: A Look at the Evolution of the Siphon-Bottle
  2. ^ "gazogene", Oxford English Dictionary (subscription required).
  3. ^ Shaw, pp. 1113–19
  4. ^ Preston, Douglas; Child, Lincoln (2005). Brimstone. New York: Warner Vision Books. p. 106. ISBN 9780446612753.
  5. ^ Preston, Douglas; Child, Lincoln (2010). Fever Dream (1st ed.). New York: Grand Central Pub. p. 362. ISBN 978-0-446-55496-1. OCLC 455421005.
  6. ^ Grecian, Alex (2012). The Yard. St. Ives, UK: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780241958919.


  • Shaw, Bernard (1934). The Complete Plays of Bernard Shaw. London: Odhams. OCLC 2606804.

External links[edit]