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Compressed charcoal filter

In the days of poor water supply and poor sanitation, a water filter filled with charcoal was an important household device to purify drinking water.


Object No.


Object Statement

Water filters (7), 'Compressed Charcoal Filter', stoneware, Slack & Brownlow, Manchester, England, c. 1880

Physical Description

Water filters (7), made of stoneware.



This design was awarded a "First degree of Merit" at the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879. The catalogue for the exhibition records these details: "Speed of filtration per gallon, 12 minutes; degree of purity, very bright and clear; price, 21s 6d. These filters discharge salt from sea-water almost perfectly, arrest soap and dirt from soap-suds almost entirely" (p.221)

Made by Slack and Brownlow at their canning works in Manchester, England.



This set of filters appeared in the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879. This particular filter appeared in the exhibition marking the centenary of the Sydney International Exhibition in 1979, and in the "Sydney Celebrates" Exhibition held at the Hyde Park Barracks in 1984.


Credit Line

Presented by Slack & Brownlow, 1883

Acquisition Date

20 November 1883

Cite this Object


Compressed charcoal filter 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 May 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Compressed charcoal filter |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 May 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.