Dave’s Cool Toy of the Day: Hand Bubblers

hand bubbler
Green Spiral Hand Bubbler

One of my favorite toys is the Hand Bubbler, sometimes called Hand Boilers.

Not only do they look stunning sitting on a shelf, but they are addictive to play with.

They don’t really do too much, but what they do is really cool. You simply pick one up and hold the bottom bulb in your hand and the fluid expands up the tube and into the top bulb. After a bit, it starts bubbling in the top bulb, thus the name "Hand Bubbler".

I have one that sits on a shelf by my desk (shown here). While I’m working I like to take it down and bubble it. Every so often, I’ll be sitting here working and something catches my attention out of the corner of my eye. It will be my hand bubbler, slowly bubbling on it’s own. I’m not really sure why it does that.

They come in lots of shapes and sizes. There are even pens with little bubblers on the top. Dave’s Cool Toys carries an assortment of four colors and shapes. When you order, you will get a random selection. If you order more than one, we will ship different ones.

Hand Bubbler are also used as an experimental tool to demonstrate Charles’s Law and vapor-liquid equilibrium. The liquid’s boiling point in the bottom bulb is just above room temperature. When you hold it in your hand, it starts to boil and is forced up the tube as the gasses in the bottom bulb expand. When you release it, the gasses are able to condense and the liquid goes back down into the bottom bulb. You can speed this up by holding the top bulb in your hand.

They are sometimes also sold as "Love Meters".

Hand Bubblers are a great toy, but they are not really meant for children due to their all-glass construction as well as the volatile fluid inside.


4 Responses to “Dave’s Cool Toy of the Day: Hand Bubblers”

  • Dick says:

    I would like to have seen you hold the top and make it go back down.

  • angela says:

    I have a hand boiler that won’t bubble. None of us can get it to bubble – and I even put it on the stove (not directly on a burner) and it wouldn’t bubble. There is an air pocket in the liquid in the little coiled area, would that be why it doesn’t bubble?

    • Dave says:

      My guess would be that there is a crack or manufacturing defect in the glass. Air bubbles are common and they just move along with the fluid.

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