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Officials say the hearth may have been designed for John Emmet, the school's first professor of natural history, to use along with a nearby classroom.
"This may be the oldest intact example of early chemical education in this country," Brian Hogg, the university's senior historic preservation planner, said in a news release.
Science students used the five workspaces in the primitive lab setting to perform chemical experiments, the release said. Like a modern lab, the hearth contained heat sources and a ventilation system to remove fumes.
the hearth contained heat sources and a ventilation system to remove fumes.