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The Humble Hand Boiler

One of the more intriguing products we carry in the store are the Hand Boilers. The concept is actually kind of tricky, but first let’s see one in action!

The Hand Boiler (sometimes called a ‘Love Tester’ or other awkward names) is actually a bit of a deceptive name: There is no boiling taking place. If there was the expansion from liquid to gas would shatter the glass quickly, sending shards all over. Not a great toy.

So what does happen? Well when you palm your hand around the base of the handboiler (as in the picture or the video)

the heat from your hand expands the air inside the Handboiler. When it expands the air pushes the liquid up the glass tubes and into the top reservoir. As it gets warmer the expanding air cannot all fit in the bottom reservoir so some of it ‘escapes’ up through the liquid to the upper reservoir, causing the liquid to seem to ‘boil’ when in fact the liquid is simply bubbling the way a soda would when you blow into it with a straw!

The Handboiler can actually be a little tricky for some folks: if you have cold hands it might not work as fast as other folks. If you look at our video you may notice that he use both hands to make the HandBoiler ‘boil’ since he had poor circulation. (he still got it to work though) .

What fools some folks into thinking that the liquid is actually boiling is that the liquid is actually not water but a much thinner colored liquid (its an alcohol). But while such liquids may evaporate quickly when they touch your skin they are unlikely to boil in such quantities in the Handboiler.

The Handboiler is a nifty gift  and a fun fidget toy, but it is even more fun when you know what is going on!


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