MATRASS (mod. Lat. malracium), a glass vessel with a round or oval body and a long narrow neck, used in chemistry, etc., as a digester or distiller. The Florence flask of commerce is frequently used for this purpose. The word is possibly identical with an old name " matrass " (Fr. maleras, matelas) for the bolt or quarrel of a cross-bow. If so, some identity of shape is the reason for the application of the word; " bolthead " is also used as a name for the vessel. Another connexion is suggested with the Arabic matra, a leather bottle.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)