) is a small glass sealed vial
which is used to contain or preserve a fluid.
Historically ampoules were used to contain a small sample of a person's blood after death, which was entombed alongside them in many Christian catacombs
. It was originally believed that only martyrs
were given this burial treatment, but many believe that it was a widely-practiced tradition.
In Naples, a centuries-old ritual takes place every year on the 19th of September: the Blood Miracle of San Gennaro. An ampoule, allegedly dating back to the year 305, allegedly filled with the blood of Saint Gennaro, bishop of Benevento, is placed next to his bust in the Naples Cathedral. After intense prayers by the parenti di San Geranno
, and vigorous shaking by the officiating bishop, the blood in the ampoule liquifies. The earliest records of this phenomenon date back to 313.
Another well known ampoule is the "sainte ampoule" which held the coronation oil of the French monarchs. The oil was allegedly passed down from the time of Clovis, kept for a time in the tomb of St. Remy, and was housed in the cathedral at Rheims. An order of knights named after the ampoule was created for the coronation of kings. During the revolution in 1793, the ampoule was smashed by revolutionaries, however, a portion was supposed to have been saved and was used in coronation of Charles X.
Modern ampoules are most commonly used to contain pharmaceutical hypodermic solutions or high purity chemicals that must be protected from air. They are hermetically sealed by melting the thin top with an open flame, and are designed with a (1) scoring around the neck (2) break ring around the neck or (3) a small cut on the neck. When pressure is applied, the top will break off and the medicine can be reached.
After opening the ampoule, the solution is filtered to remove any glass fragments which may have fallen in the solution when the ampoule was opened.
Ampoules are produced from tubing glass. Tubes are inserted in a carousel and heat is applied. By applying the right amount of heat and using gravity the shape of the ampoule is achieved. As many parameters will influence the production process, vision systems are introduced in the carousel and on the end of the production line.