Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Found a little piece of history

Texium - 17-5-2021 at 18:43

Yesterday in the chemical storeroom of the lab I work in, I found an old jar:

2025D641-205B-402A-BAB2-43B8A9A11C98.jpeg - 216kB

The company name, Columbia Organic Chemicals, may sound familiar. It was Max Gergel’s company! It’s too bad it wasn’t a kilo of isopropyl bromide. That would have been truly iconic!

draculic acid69 - 17-5-2021 at 20:16

Tetrabromide huh, is that better or worse?

j_sum1 - 17-5-2021 at 21:50

Yours might be the first gloved hand to ever touch that bottle.
Iconic indeed.

DraconicAcid - 17-5-2021 at 23:12

The isopropyl bromide would have evaporated by now.

rockyit98 - 18-5-2021 at 00:44

Quote: Originally posted by draculic acid69  
Tetrabromide huh, is that better or worse?

worse! because Br is much worse at poking holes in the O3 layer. it and its younger brother CCl4 is banned in most places.

[Edited on 18-5-2021 by rockyit98]

Texium - 18-5-2021 at 05:41

I beg to differ. CBr4 is quite safe to handle, as it is a non-volatile solid. I’ve used it many times in Corey-Fuchs reactions, and it is also useful for the Appel reaction, both of which rely on its ability to easily form dibromocarbene analogs in situ. So it’s more reactive than CCl4 while also being easier to handle, as a convenient crystalline solid.

arkoma - 18-5-2021 at 06:11

belongs on your shelf next to the chemical rubber book......

zed - 19-5-2021 at 00:09

I read Gergel's book. From back in the days of "no protective gear required".

Hard drinking, cigarette smoking, heavy chemical exposure, in a geographical area of scarce employment.

Chemists were noble and short lived breed.

Sulaiman - 19-5-2021 at 03:58

Quote: Originally posted by zed  
... Chemists were noble and short lived breed.

Were they short lived?
I thought that they had a longer than average lifespan.

BromicAcid - 19-5-2021 at 04:13

Max signed my copy of his book as "an old, bold chemist".

Along those lines some of the older chemists I work with insist they get 'pickled' and just cease to age.

draculic acid69 - 19-5-2021 at 07:45

Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Yours might be the first gloved hand to ever touch that bottle.
Iconic indeed.

Yeah they were pretty lax on the safety standards in that place.

Dr.Bob - 20-5-2021 at 13:03

He lived to be 95, I believe. My friend, Ed, is now 97, and physically healthy other than now having bad dementia. He was very sharp up until his mid 90's. Max had an incredible memory even into his 60s or 70's, being able to recall most people's name, address, and phone number from memory from practically every chemical company in the world.

I have only seen a few bottles from there in my career, so that is a pretty old find. Now if only you can find a bottle of phlogiston.


woelen - 21-5-2021 at 00:14

I stumbled upon this little bottle, a few years ago. A student had obtained it from an old lab, which was shut down. He was willing to sell it for a few tens of euros (don't remember the price anymore, 40 euros or so). The bottle was opened just a few times and it still is full of white powder. The white powder indeed is pure As2O3, and I'm quite sure it is the original contents of the bottle.

The price of DM 3,20 (appr. 1.6 euros) is from a time short after WW 2. The bottle must be 70 years old or so.

vintage_As2O3.jpg - 810kB

On the other side of the bottle there is a list of impurities and their maximum concentration, which all are in the order of 0.001%. So, this material must be really pure.
I myself added the orange sticker with the skull and bones symbol. I did not stick it over the original label, however.

I keep this nice bottle as a vintage object. I recently purchased some other As2O3, which I use for experiments. This bottle I want to keep as it is now, with its orginal contents.

[Edited on 21-5-21 by woelen]