The device represented by this symbol symbol is also known as an "alembic" or "distillery tube" and plays an import role the discipline of alchemy.
There is a process in alchemy called distillation, in which an evaporated substance is brought into contact with something so cold that it quickly returns to a liquid state (for more details on this process, see the various symbols for 'Distillation'). The retort is a glass container used for the part of this process that requires heating, i.e. the first phase.
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Category: Alchemical Symbols.
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Alchemical symbols, originally devised as part of alchemy, were used to denote some elements and some compounds until the 18th century. Note that while notation like this was mostly standardized, sty… read more »
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"Retort (alchemy)." Symbols.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 24 Jan. 2020. <https://www.symbols.com/symbol/retort-%28alchemy%29>.