GPE Scientific Own J Young

GPE Scientific own J Young, including all intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, design rights and patents associated with J Young.

You can only get J Young NMR valves and other J Young products from GPE Scientific.

The purpose of this article is to invite you to purchase yours from us directly.


To order your J Young products from us, call

+44 (0)1525 382277

or email us

[email protected]

J Young - The story:

In the early 1960s Jim visited the head of Shell’s glass workshop, Ken Gee. As a teenager, Gee had been the Youngs’ babysitter and had obtained his first glassblowing job on Young’s recommendation. Gee showed Young a new Dutch ball joint that was equipped with an O-ring in place of ground glass making it interchangeable, greaseless and mercury-free. Could he make such a thing?

Jim started making prototypes, thinking about O-rings and how to make the grooves to seat them. He sent Gee the prototypes to test and Young’s soon had a new line of products to sell.

A few weeks later, one of the works’ hydraulic grinders failed. Keen to save money, Young and his son, now also a glassblower, took the machine apart. In the shaft, they spotted two O-rings that acted as a seal for the oil in the cylinder. It was a lightbulb moment.

Jim suddenly imagined a new kind of stopcock in which a cylindrical glass plug could be moved up or down in a precision bore barrel to open and close an opening in a straight piece of glass. The barrel was fitted with a brass flange equipped with a screw thread to drive the plug. But the first prototypes were too fragile and unbalanced to really work.

Then Young thought of Teflon, DuPont’s inert new wonder-polymer. All of the intuition Young had honed in his days making signs came together in an inspired design that could only have come from a master glassblower. The Teflon plug was equipped with three O-rings – one in Teflon seating on a delicate bulb of glass blown at the junction of the glass manifolds and two more sealing the gap between the barrel and the plug itself. To make the thread, the precision tubing was heated inside a threaded steel pipe turned on a lathe. The plug was equipped with a threaded green plastic head.

The result was a valve of elegant simplicity; clean, robust and reusable. When the green dye faded, Young asked the manufacturer to supply coloured plastic instead. They sent yellow. Though some users asked for colour-coded taps, yellow was the colour that stuck and that we lab rats would come to associate with the Young name.

Their patent appeared just in time. Within months Fischer·Porter in the US published an analogous, if less elegant design. At ICI in Welwyn, glassblower Donald Nightingale created a Teflon valve without O-rings but with an internal screw to compensate for thermal expansion: it would be marketed under the name Rotaflo.

Young continued to innovate, but the company struggled badly in the recessions of the 1980s and eventually went into receivership. The name Young still meant something, however, and the now orphaned yellow taps were quickly rescued by GPE Scientific. Today the stopcocks are as reliable and yellow as ever, with the name J Young standing proud on the cap. These are stopcocks I have known, depended on, and, yes, loved, for over 30 years. The orphan had made good.

Article Credit - Andrea Sella (@Sellathechemist) teaches chemistry at University College London, UK

J Young Range from GPE Scientific: Valves / Tubes & Taps



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