Original Dobsonian research by Tristan Shuddery. This blog includes quotations from Dobson and is intended as a humble tribute to Frank Key, the greatest living Dobsonist.

20 March, 2006

Blodgett's Apparatus

Open any catalogue of laboratory equipment and you will be disappointed to see Blodgett's contribution to the art of scientific instrument-making all but expunged.

In the fifty or so years since his descent into infamy and unexplained death, the scientific community has forgotten about Blodgett the Inventor. We remember only Blodgett the misanthrope, Blodgett who led a legion of assassins, Blodgett whose nefarious schemes held a nation to ransom.

How could the same man who once blessed us with subtle glittering devices of bronze and filligree, have dealt us such woe?

In his heyday, Blodgett produced a dazzling series of inventions. Many believe his spurt of creativity begin during a winter internship with the bird anatomist Blotzman. Blodgett (who had been studying at the University at or near the exciting field at Ack), had won this prestigious role as a result of a distinctive dissertation on Gnats, Epauletts and Gum.

On arrival at Blotzman's bird laboratory cum aviary, Blodgett noted the dishevelment and general disarray of Blotzman's Kleigland Sieves. Scrutinizing a flawed implement with his coddington lens, he theorised that it could be improved a thousand fold.

That night, he set about constructing a prototype. The standard Kleigland Sieve, while dazzlingly efficient was a woefully fragile device. The merest glance or sudden movement might cause it to crack, or perhaps self-immolate into a puff of vapour.

Blodgett re-enforced a sieve with struts of bauxite and and gutta-percha. The device you know as the Kleigland-Blodgettt Sieve is virtually unmodified from the one which Blodgett presented to Blotzman all those years ago.

Of course, Blodgett graduated and and grew wealthy refining other laboratory devices. The leading brands of crucible, alembic and retort all bear his name. But alas every scientist knows that his success begat pride, and his pride begot malcontent... and Blodgett could no longer allow himself to refine the inventions of others.

Blodgett devoted three years to the confinement of newts and newt like creatures. Herpetologists swear by on Blodgett's patented newt confinement vats, tubs and pods. Blodgett's reputation as a Newt confinement expert brought him to the attention of the age's foremost newt boffins:

The records show that Vilem Laufberger commissioned the manufacture of such as a vessel for his “axolotl transformations”. Laufberger coaxed the neotinous amphibian to assume an adult aspect, and in doing so revealed a newt so dazzlingly beautiful, the likes of which no man has seen before or hence.

After the experement was concluded, Laufberger begged Blodgett to make no more of these devices, and despite the overwhelming desire from the newt fancying community Blodgett complied. What advantage over Blodgett did Laufberger hold that would make him abandon this most lucrative invention?

It seems that Laufberger's experiments has come to the attention of a stern group of Jesuits, who threatened both the newt-scientist and his vat-boffin with swift retribution if they ever dared to reveal what God himself had hidden.

Blodgett, a man who threatened Kings and generals, daren't cross the Jesuits.

In any case, this set-back hardly seemed to matter, as he had discovered a new source of income; the preparation of pigments:

His device for the extraction of hued tinctures from vapours and ethers won best in show at the Hooting Yard exposition of baffling scientific curiosities.

This lithograph from the event shows the audience in rapture and awe as they gaze upon Blodgett as he workes the knurled flanges, levers and capstans of his smoking contraptions. We see smoke rise from the furnace, We see the device oozing a series of colourful goops from spigots arranged at it's perimeter. Blodgett, you have brought colour and joy to our lives.

A modified version of this contraption is still commonly used by mezzotintists and gouashists today. Whenever mezzotintists and gouashists gather it is certain that the final toast will be dedicated to Blodgett.

And are we not all matchless exemplars of those artistic disciplines? Do not our tint and gouache adorn the palace walls of Potus, Pontiff and Potentate? And is this Saint's feast almost at an end? Then will you all raise your tankards one last time to the memory of Blodgett.


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