Author Archive | SP Scienceware

Tipping the Scales


Tipping the Scales

When does a pumpkin go from big to giant? 100 lbs? 1000 lbs? More? In the 1980's, the heaviest pumpkin weighed in at just over 400 lbs. Now, pumpkin growers are aiming for 2000+ lbs, and getting heavier every year! Here are some interesting facts about these scale-tipping giants!

  • Virtually all giant pumpkins are descended from "Dill's Atlantic Giant" variety which took 30 years to cultivate.
  • High-pedigree hybrid seeds of prize-winning giant pumpkins can cost growers anywhere from $10-100 or more per seed.
  • The world record for the heaviest pumpkin is held by Mathias Willemijns of Belgium. The pumpkin weighed 1,190.49 kg (2,624.6 lb)
  • Bragging rights are not all you win for growing a giant: the recent winner of the 2017 Half Moon Bay Champion Pumpkin Weigh-Off in California took home $7 per pound for his 2,363 lb pumpkin (that's $16,541!)

Image:  GIANT Pumpkin

When weighing powders and not pumpkins (or other solid matters), SP Scienceware has a variety of sampling tools that double as weigh boats!

Image:  SP Scienceware Sample Handling - Sterileware, EcoTensil, Clear Polypropylene scoops and spoons

How to Choose a Desiccator

Things that are usually better kept dry: 

Bread, Crackers, Potato Chips (basically all the starchy carbs), Cosmetics, Cell Phones, Vinyl Records, Photographs, Tax Returns, Powder Chemicals...

And so we bring you: 

1. What Size Desiccator Do I Need?

2. What Shape Do I Need - Round or Cabinet Style?

3. Which Method of Desiccation is Right for My Application?

For an in-depth guide to these questions and more,

See the All About Dessicators Guide!

Sneak Peak: Methods of Desiccation

Economical; flexible; portable Requires monitoring
Desiccant is continuously regenerated; minimal monitoring; precise control Generally more expensive than standard desiccators
Gas Purge
Achieve desired humidity level faster; dust free; creates an ultra dry environment Requires access to inert gas (such as argon or nitrogen)
Best for total dry storage; can also be used for degassing techniques Requires access to vacuum pump; how long vacuum is maintained can vary from models

Now that you know how to choose a desiccator, check out the different models available from
Bel-Art - SP Scienceware:

Secador® Desiccator Cabinets

Image: Secador Desiccator Cabinets_standard, automatic, gas-ported desiccator

Standard, Automatic or Gas-Ported

Techni-Dome® Desiccators

Techni-dome_vacuum or gas-ported desiccator

Vacuum or Gas-Ported

Dry-Keeper™ Desiccators

Image: Dry-Keeper_standard or automatic desiccator

Standard or Automatic

Secador® Desiccator Cabinets

Image: Space Saver Desiccators - Standard or Vacuum

Standard or Vacuum



Lab Companion™ Vacuum Desiccators

Image: Lab Companion Vacuum Desiccators

Round or Cabinet

Funnel Cake Recipe

  • Image: Funnel Cake Batter

Ready in 20 minutes. Prep: 10m Cook: 10m 12 servings 263 calories


1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs

1/4 cup white sugar

2 cups milk

1 quart vegetable oil for frying, or as needed

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, or as needed


1.  Mix salt, baking powder, and half the flour in a bowl. Set aside.

2  Cream eggs, sugar, and milk in a large bowl. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Continue to add remaining flour, but use only enough to achieve desired consistency. Batter will be thin enough to run through a funnel.

3.  Heat the oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) in an 8-inch skillet.



4.  Put your finger over the bottom opening of the funnel, and fill the funnel with a generous 1/2 cup of the batter. Hold the funnel close to the surface of the oil, and release the batter into the oil while making a circular motion. Fry until golden brown. Use tongs and wide spatula to turn the cake over carefully. Fry the second side one minute.

5.  Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with sifted confectioners' sugar and serve.

Recipe courtesy of  The original recipe can be found here.



Funnels + Cake


Image: Funnels + Cake = A Tasty Treat

It's fair and carnival season here in the US which means plenty of fried foods, including funnel cake - a round pile of crispy fried dough usually covered in powdered sugar. But where did funnel cakes actually come from? And, would you believe this deep fried dough is actually considered a 'lower calorie treat'?!

      • The name 'funnel cake' comes from the way batter is poured through a funnel into hot oil.
      • These fried fritters date back to medieval times, but their modern U.S. origins are commonly associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch, who served funnel cakes to the masses at the Kutztown Folk Festival every year.
    • Similar delights (yep, we're fans!) can be found the world over including:
      • Spain - Churros
      • Canada - Beaver-tails
      • Brazil - Bolinho de chuvas
      • France - Bugnes
      • Portugal - Fartura
      • Germany - Strauben/Strieble
      • Lithuania - Skruzdėlynas

Image:  Funnel Cakes Being Made

But low calorie?! No way!

Yes way! An average 6-inch funnel cake contains less than 300 calories! The steam produced by the high water content in the batter allows it to puff up, resulting in the light and airy texture. Pile on the toppings like powdered sugar, chocolate, or jelly and it's another story...

Want to make your own funnel cakes at home*, or need funnels for the laboratory?

Vinnie Martorano, Channel Manager West

A Day in the Life

Having my office on the west coast of the U.S. while having customers in Europe and my main office on the east coast keeps my mornings fairly routine. I work my way across the globe.

4:45 A.M. PST, I’m up, have had my coffee in the darkness and moonlit sky of the early Pacific Northwest morning and am ready to follow up on any opportunities that arose while I was counting sheep. Typically this includes new sales leads and current business follow up as well as monthly business reviews via conference calls as a supplement to our face to face visits with customers in Europe and the U.S.

Image: Vinnie martorano, Channel West Manager - SP Scientific

Vinnie Martorano, Channel Manager West

By the time I’m finishing up with Europe, I turn my attention to our office in New Jersey. Right around this time the folks in N.J. have grabbed their coffee or tea and are getting to their desks at 8:30 A.M. EST. I proceed to conduct my usual/daily calls with my team members in pricing/quotations, product management, and marketing and sales. I also address any urgent requirements from the latter part of the previous day. After those calls, I focus on my to-do list in a reactive mode and address e-mails and return phone calls. This can vary in length of time based on the requirements of the customers.

Now the creative (fun) part of my day begins. I turn into a proactive machine and look to generate new revenue. These activities include nurturing existing customers and thanking them for new and existing business, following up on any open quotations and looking to close the order/sale. It never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn about my company’s capabilities and product offering by this activity.

Disclaimer: I travel about 55% of the month. Yes, United Airlines loves me. During that time my day is consumed with airport security, rental cars, and hotel shuttles. Often times my day to day calls and activities have been known to occur on the rental car shuttle bus, in noisy terminals and hotel parking lots. The light at the end of this tunnel is that I get to work “face to face, belly to belly” with the most fascinating people in the market: our customers and end users. I meet with them with preset agendas and frequently bring personnel and resources from our main office to assist in my efforts. This is enjoyable for the both the customer and our personnel as it gives them a chance to meet the individual they have been dealing with for sometimes years over the phone.

In conclusion I find my role and job very rewarding by supplying key products and services to an industry that is looking to learn more about and improve the human experience. I feel like I contribute to helping our most talented researchers doing drug discovery, quality control in the food and beverage industry, laboratory technicians in environmental testing, teachers in education and so on.

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