A beaker is a type of laboratory glassware which consists of a cylindrical cup with a notch on the top to allow for the pouring of liquids. They are about as wide as they are tall. This makes beakers very stable and easy to handle. They may be made of plastic, glass, or Pyrex®. Some beakers have graduated markings, to allow an easy rough measure of liquid volume.
As a means to make solutions, they are probably the most used piece of laboratory glassware. Coupled with a good magnetic stirrer, they see frequent heavy use in a laboratory.
The concept of the "Beaker Folk", formerly taught in history lessons, has been gradually discredited, and it is now believed that the beaker and the assemblage of objects that go with it are indicative of the development of particular manufacturing skills, possibly by the influence of neighbouring peoples, rather than as a result of mass migrations.