Klein Bottle

 By Shamus May 5, 2007 13 comments

This site is where you can buy a Klein Bottle, a one-sided three-dimensional container with a volume of zero. (It doesn’t specify if the zero is in liters or gallons, though. A disappointing oversight. I don’t want to end up having to perform metric-to-imperial conversions while calculating how much nothing the thing can’t contain.)

They have to cheat a bit to get the thing into three-dimensional space. The nexus where the handle / neck intersects is displeasing, but it’s a necessary compromise because because most glassblowers refuse to work in four dimensions.

(Yes, I can see this site is ages old, almost prehistoric by internet standards. It’s so old it’s new again. Anyway, I’ve never seen it before.)

1313 comments. That's a baker's dozen.


  1. Browncoat says:

    Came across that a while ago. It’d make a great present for me, if anyone I know is watching. My favorite pic is the one with all the m&ms in the bottle.

  2. Dave Brown says:

    Dude! That’s Cliff Stoll! That’s totally awesome!

    (If you don’t know who Cliff Stoll is, you need to catch up on some reading material.)

  3. Patrick the Evil Twin says:

    hmmm… during my younger, darker and more irresponsible youth i think I invented a “klein bong” using some beakers, pipe filters, a few weird aqarium pieces and an apple.

    I wonder if I coould have patented it?

  4. I can highly recommend kleinbottle.com. It’s almost worth it just for the documentation you get with your bottle.

  5. (and I’m re-reading The Cuckoo’s Egg right now, as it happens!)

  6. Nathaniel says:

    You saw the warnings, and the unconditional guarantee, right? That’s the best part of the site.

  7. My wife once knit a Klein toque. I cannot describe the feeling I got when wearing it – but for some inexplicable reason, it kept my head warm.

  8. Eric Meyer says:

    Rustybadger: not really inexplicable– look at the diagram on http://www.kleinbottle.com/klein_bottle_hats.htm. You can see the heat given off by your head would be returned to the part surrounding your head, forming a heated layer. It’s really quite efficient. I’m seriously considering getting one now for just that reason.

  9. Sartorius says:

    Clifford Stoll also wrote “Silicon Snake Oil”, about which I’ll bet he is not particularly proud these days. (A 1996 work arguing that the Internet was a silly passing fad.)

  10. Elton says:

    I went on a klein bottle kick in 2001 and ordered three different ones, PLUS the klein bottle mug, PLUS the klein bottle knit hat. I was at top of the geek heap.

  11. Roxysteve says:

    [Shamus] I’m with you on the lamentable lack of precision when it comes to the units the damn bottle is calibrated in. You should write to the site owners and tear them off a mobius strip.

    Steve.

  12. Soris says:

    Cliff Stoll. That’s amazing. Coincidentially, I moved residences last month and found my copy of “The Cuckoo’s Egg” in transit. I re-read it and passed it off to two friends, who both read and enjoyed it, in the last week. Too, too funny. What a small world. I just might have to buy a Klein bottle from him. ;-)

    Thanks Shamus!

  13. Julia says:

    I want a Klein bottle. (Maybe I should put that on my birthday wishlist.)

    And I think I have a copy of The Cuckoo’s Egg around here somewhere….

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