Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Old Chemistry Lab Manual

Magpie - 18-12-2007 at 12:04

I have a 1923 high school chemistry laboratory manual, "Laboratory Studies in Chemistry," by Robert H. Bradbury. I frequently enjoy perusing it.

It is amazing what experiments and lack of safety precautions were in place at that time. (A time before the nanny state, when people were responsible for their own actions.)

For example, Exercise 99 is "HYDROGEN FLUORIDE." In this experiment HF is generated by moistening 2 mL of fluorspar with con H2SO4 and then gently warming it with a small flame. There is no mention of hazards or use of a hood. The experiment goes on to ask the student to etch a glass plate covered with a paraffin film, exposing some words written with a pin.

Exercise 54 is "CYANIDE PROCESS FOR EXTRACTING GOLD." Here the student dissolves gold leaf in 2% KCN. There is a single warning: "CAUTION. Potassium cyanide is intensely poisonous."

In another experiment the student makes his own nitric acid, and in another, chlorine.

bio2 - 18-12-2007 at 12:29

We've come a long way since those days mostly
for naught.

Even in the '60's ninth graders were using mercuric chloride, titanium tetrachloride, sodium peroxide etc. in high school lab.

Nowadays if a kid were to open a bottle
of benzene in chemistry class they would be terrified of contracting cancer, but sadly it's probably no longer allowed, yet NaF added to the water supply and
thimerisol in vaccines is "good" for you.

A few years ago at work a technician dropped a mercury
thermometer in the parking lot (it broke). The company safety man was summoned and before it was all over
the states hazmat team arrived, in full regalia, to
dig out the asphalt and dirt in a five car radius.

Everyone that wasn't laughing must have felt real safe that day.

Sobrero - 18-12-2007 at 12:59

Great :D. I love those old laboratory manuals too! This remembers me I found one dating back from the 40's; it is from the first year of civil engineering at the university of Leuven (Belgium):

- A 'recommendations' paragraph at the beginning:
"1. Arrive at the right hour. 2. Undertake all the experiments and ONLY the indicated experiments. 3. Take care of the precautionary measures so as to avoid explosions, sputterings, and other accidents. 4. No solids, strong bases, strong acids in the sink. 5. Check the apparatus before the practicum. Clean the apparatus afterwards and clean the table. 6. Silence and calm - don't smoke.

- Absolutely no hazards mentioned at the chlorine synthesis from manganese dioxyde and hydrochloric acid. Let alone a fume hood!

- Idem for the phospine (!) production from white phosphorus and potassium hydroxide! Damn!

- Lots of arsenicum related experiments: arsine AsH3, arsenic anhydride, arsenicum(III) sulphide,... and the ONLY warning is one at the cacodyl (!) synthesis:
"As soon as the disgusting smell of cacodyloxyde is noticed, the heating should be discontinued due to the toxicity of the gas". :D

- That HF-experiment is present too. No mention indeed of a fume hood. The only safety related sentence was the very last one of the paragraph: 'The HF vapours should not be inhaled; the aquous solution of HF causes painful wounds which heal very slowly'. :P
- And wow, those guys love KCN! Forming of KCN from chloroforum, for Cyane production, HCN production, cyanic acid, you call it. Perhaps you won't believe me but... not one warning AT ALL!

- and lots more...

This can't be true! I think I may assume that the teacher gave them some, er, additional info, otherwise my grand uncle wouldn't have survived his studies ^^.

[Edite le 18-12-2007 par Sobrero]

[Edite le 18-12-2007 par Sobrero]

The_Davster - 18-12-2007 at 13:28

Another lover of old manuals!:D

I know you Magpie, have seen the Norris book in the library that I scanned a long time ago(and Polverone OCRd). That is the oldest manual that I am posession of, and I own several from the 50s/60s, and many more from between now and then, the more recent ones being far less usefull and interesting than the older ones. The old manuals are usually intended for indroductory level courses, yet today the experiments there are more advanced than what I have done in my university's so called 'advanced organic chemistry' courses.

Another book I absolutely love is 'Chemical Recreations' Available on the ftps, it is a book from the 1850s aimed at advanced students to preform the experiments at home, and it has such jems as distilling white phosphorus.:o:D

[Edited on 18-12-2007 by The_Davster]

JohnWW - 18-12-2007 at 14:07

That sounds like valuable ingformation, hard to find in modern practical chemistry or laboratory books. Can you scan that 1923 book, "Laboratory Studies in Chemistry," by Robert H. Bradbury, and upload it for us, please, Magpie?

Magpie - 18-12-2007 at 15:36

JohnWW, I would be happy to if I had a scanner. Say, that sounds like a good item to put on my Christmas list! ;)

Victorian Experimental Chemistry

Xenoid - 18-12-2007 at 15:59

I'll throw "A Young Man's Book of Amusement" into the brew, it's definitely a "must have" ... ;)

http://www.lateralscience.co.uk/ymboa/ymboa.html

This wonderful book was published in 1854 and within its 384 pages are Gems of Victorian Science.

This is part of the extremely entertaining Lateral Science site;

http://www.lateralscience.co.uk/index.html

If you haven't already visited this site, you should. Many Victorian accomplishments have gone un-noted, especially those of the little known scientist Ernest Glitch... ;)

Rosco Bodine - 19-12-2007 at 00:04

bio2 ,

You mention thimerosol ......( merthiolate )
and there was another related compound merbromin
(mercurochrome) that was a lot more "ouchless" on
application to an open cut or abrasion .

Those two harken back to the days of pink stained
skin around scrapes and cuts , the days before
widespread use of antibiotics has replaced such "dangerous" antiseptics so we can have
more resistant strains of flesh eating bacteria as
the more ecofriendly alternative to such toxic antiseptics .

The present information saying those antiseptics were
ineffective is horse shit IMO . They were effective and also
were broad spectrum , killing with residual effect not
only bacteria , but fungi and virus , even warts !
Yes that was the stuff that was good for what ails you :P
And new skin would always grow around the area ,
a week or so after the old skin just sort of crumbled and fell off in the aftermath . And nowadays people pay big money for a chemical peel .

Iodine tincture and betadine were two other antiseptics
which left a yellow brown stain .

Sulfa (sulfanilamide) powder was another thing you see no more .

An effective ointment , maybe still around , and the best thing for burns was Furacin , ( nitrofurazone ? )

I have actually had wounds sutured using a cocaine local
squirted in from a syringe . Not only didn't it hurt a bit ,
I almost wanted to go get hurt again , so I could get some more stitches , and for a couple of hours for some strange reason couldn't stop smiling and just loved everybody :D

Ethyl chloride ? was also commonly used to "freeze cuts numb" for suturing . Was sort of like freon , a liquifed gas
in an amber glass pressure bottle having a dip tube and
a thumb actuated lever valve for dispensing a stream like from a wash bottle . Of course it was freezing cold , but also
was an anesthetic by chemical mechanism also IIRC .

[Edited on 19-12-2007 by Rosco Bodine]

quicksilver - 19-12-2007 at 04:31

I grew up with a Gilbert Chemistry set that today would contain "List 1 & 2" materials..... Back in the 1960's they used one warning and believed that was sufficient. "The materials contained within are poisonous"....period. The makers of the materials believed that people didn't want to harm themselves and during that time many folks didn't blame others for their stupid mistakes.
Today, we have lawyers and we have no mistakes; only victims.

Phosphor-ing - 19-12-2007 at 08:41

@Xeniod Thanks for that web link! There is some great reading on those pages. I especially like "EDISON The Menlo Park DRUGS BARON". It talks about Edison's accounts of some of the accidents and mishaps that happened in his lab.

bio2 - 19-12-2007 at 12:45

Yes, I remember mercurochrome and etc. being applied to superficial cuts
and as a topical treatment was (is) more or less innocuous. It certainly
kills any living thing it contacts.

What I was referring to, regarding thimerosol, was it's use as preservative in injectable vaccines. As a kid in the '60's maybe we got 3 or 4 standard vaccinations and for her own reasons my mother wouldn't let us take the polio vaccine.

There is some evidence that the mercury in vaccines is a cause of autism which
has skyrocketed in recent years. Injecting organic mercury into infants surely can't
be harmless and now literally hundreds of times more thimerosol can be potentially administered compared to 40 years ago.

Some "jurisdictions" in this day and age recommend almost 70 different vaccines for
children with many saying they are "required" for school attendance. See the recent
Maryland court proceedings which "forced" parents to inoculate their children under threat of non-existent law. The actual law used to prosecute the forced vaccinations was truancy after the school district expelled the unvaccinated kids. The prosecutor
even admitted publicly that he did not allow his children to receive all the so called "required" vaccinations.

A little off topic but take a look at this video. A real eye opener. The laughter in
the background is actually part of the original interview with Mercks chief
scientist for vaccines. At first I thought it was poorly dubbed in but then it is
explained as coming from those present during the interview.

........................This stunning censored interview conducted by medical historian Edward Shorter for WGBH public television (Boston) and Blackwell Science was cut from The Health Century due to its huge liability--the admission that Merck drug company vaccines have traditionally been injecting cancer viruses (SV40 and others) in people worldwide.............

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=327_1195303011

contrived - 19-12-2007 at 15:20

Quote:
Originally posted by Magpie
JohnWW, I would be happy to if I had a scanner. Say, that sounds like a good item to put on my Christmas list! ;)


We've got an old Epsom you can have for shipping cost, where do you live?

contrived - 19-12-2007 at 15:21

Quote:
Originally posted by quicksilver
I grew up with a Gilbert Chemistry set that today would contain "List 1 & 2" materials.....


We want the list of chems from one of those old sets to show our rep.

Magpie - 19-12-2007 at 15:28

Ebay had some Gilbert or Skilcraft sets where you could read the labels. They are probably gone by now though.

I may take you up on your offer of the "Epsom" scanner - let's see what shakes out of Christmas first. Is that the type that has the automatic desiccating feature? :D

MagicJigPipe - 19-12-2007 at 18:21

I like the promotional stickers on the old gilbert chemistry sets. It shows some kid mixing the contents of 2 test tubes and he's not wearing gloves or goggles and he has his face right up to it! Ha!

gilbertset.jpg - 44kB

quicksilver - 20-12-2007 at 05:42

The above chemistry set was possibly one of the original ones. Circa 1958-9 IIRC. Look at the containers. The one I had contained unshielded glass bottles. Someone made a Molotov cocktail for a lamp there too.

You can tell it's age also by the promo of the youth mixing chems...First of all [he is] male, white, and there are no group of other students of differing nationalities in the picture. "He" should be a "she" (an EMPOWERED woman!) with a small group of males of differing nationalities adoringly looking on. Can't you just see it? The strong, vital, intelligent WOMAN making a fantastic discovery while males of all nations look on in awe...

I'll see if I can get an accurate list of the chemicals contained in Gilbert's original sets.

Magpie - 20-12-2007 at 11:05

Those look like wooden bottles and I'm thinking it may indeed be one of the earliest ones. My set had amber glass bottles and I'm guessing it was 1956 or 1957 vintage. I also had a Gilbert erector set. You are right about the male orientation. I do remember the phrase "Hello Boys!" being prominently displayed on the picture label.

MagicJigPipe - 20-12-2007 at 16:37

Actually, IIRC it's a 1936 set.

I'm kicking myself in the ass for not getting it because it only went for $20.

I found this on the bottom of the Wikipedia "Chemistry Set" page:

Quote:

Concerns have been raised over the safety of chemistry sets, so many omit flammable chemicals, or else contain them in such small amounts that they pose relatively little danger. Likewise, they may also lack heat sources, breakable glass, and strong acids and bases. There has also been controversy over the possibility of chemistry sets being used to create illegal drugs, such as methamphetamine. Many experts criticize these movements, claiming that they "remove the fun and interest" from chemistry, rendering the sets bland and ineffectual.


I can't even start to list the things wrong with that. Bullshit I say. Bullshit.

[Edited on 20-12-2007 by MagicJigPipe]

alphacheese - 20-12-2007 at 18:05

The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments from the 60s was a children's chemistry experiment book. It's got all sorts of great stuff in it but was later taken off the shelf of libraries for it's level of danger.



Polverone - 20-12-2007 at 18:15

I got that Golden chemistry book some years back from my grandmother, who found it at a garage sale. As far as I can tell its removal from libraries by the government is only an urban legend. The experiments it contains are not particularly dangerous or unusual for the time it was published.

MagicJigPipe - 20-12-2007 at 18:27

I have that book on PDF if anybody wants to take a look.

I love this quote from the book. It's talking about producing chlorine gas in the home lab (for kids!).
Quote:

Have a bottle of diluted household ammonia (90% water, 10% household ammonia) on hand. Sniff this if you get too strong a whiff of chlorine.


And it shows an illustration of someone waving their hand in front of a test tube that is spewing out Cl2! You would never see this nowadays.

[Edited on 20-12-2007 by MagicJigPipe]

[Edited on 20-12-2007 by MagicJigPipe]

The_Davster - 20-12-2007 at 18:58

It gets better;)

1933, Popular Science article.

Attachment: Make Chlorine at home popular sceince 1933.pdf (873kB)
This file has been downloaded 922 times


Sauron - 21-12-2007 at 06:27

Right clicking then "Save Target As" worked fine for me.

Normal left clicking appears to take longer than usual, so I gave up and right clicked.

Sauron - 21-12-2007 at 06:33

It's just the rise of the nanny state, the environmental priesthood, the rule of lawyers as opposed to the rule of law, and the general decline of western civilization.

Nothing to fret about.

franklyn - 22-12-2007 at 23:46

Quote:
Originally posted by bio2
Nowadays if a kid were to open a bottle
of benzene in chemistry class they would be terrified of contracting cancer,


In middle school we had " shop class " one of which was Letter press printing on
a motorized platen press , clean up and removing ink from fingers was done with
benzene.




In high school " shop class " was the foundry where sand casting molten aluminum
was done from the patern you made in a yet another carpentry shop that provided
a table saw and planner. Some how we all managed to survive these perils.


Quote:
Originally posted by Sobrero

- Idem for the phospine (!) production from white phosphorus and potassium hydroxide! Damn!

- Lots of arsenicum related experiments:
" As soon as the disgusting smell of cacodyloxyde is noticed, the heating should be
discontinued due to the toxicity of the gas ". :D

- That HF-experiment is present too. No mention indeed of a fume hood. ' The HF vapours
should not be inhaled; the aquous solution of HF causes painful wounds which heal very slowly '. :P


I also posted this tidbit before _
When I was in middle school the practice at the time was to demonstrate the
action of nitric acid on copper in the open , often in winter in a closed classroom.
That wing of the school over the course of those few days would reek of NOx.
Needless to say the effects on people were palpable with marked pulmonary
symptoms. I wonder now if the asthma I had around this time was attributable
to this.

.

len1 - 23-12-2007 at 23:48

As a child I had an old chemistry experimentation book for kids, one experiment was to investigate the properties of uranium salts - glow in the dark, etc. It pointed at the local chemist (drug store if youre in the US) as a source for these salts. Today such a request at my local chemist, after a polite no, is likely to be followed by a call to the national security line. We have frequent TV ads here, if you see anything suspicious (and in the background you can hear a housewife saying 'I think I saw something unuooo-sual') - call the national security 24hr hotline (set up at your expense) where you can remain anonymous.

JohnWW - 24-12-2007 at 00:10

That would have been an uranyl salt, most likely the nitrate, UO2(NO3)2. Soluble uranyl salts, which are fluorescent yellow-green in color (with strong absorbance of light on the violet and ultraviolet), and usually made from "depleted uranium" (consisting almost entirely of U-238, from which nearly all the U-235 has been removed for use as nuclear reactor fuel), are used as analytical reagents, and for sensitization of other substances to UV light.

quicksilver - 24-12-2007 at 05:29

The UK and the Colonies are really quite alike. Or more alike than different.

Each postures that they have a harder time with lawyers, laws, government censors, or whatever but in the end we are all quite alike in what we face on a day-to-day basis.
If we don't have exactly the same censors that they have in the UK here in the US today, that model will be available to copy once the "law-makers" get around to working around any Constitutional protections.
If NZ doesn't quite have some of the restrictive laws of AUS; just wait, they have the model to create some when the proper "emergency" gives cause.... We all share a common language and common clowns in office that are there as a permanent job keeping themselves re-elected.
The professional politician is really one of the most effective enemies of self determination & self government.

I don't watch TV that much but I'd bet we have some "public service" announcements to tell people to call HomeLand Security from some mindless paranoid reaction.

[Edited on 24-12-2007 by quicksilver]

MagicJigPipe - 27-12-2007 at 19:54

The colonies? Surely you mean colonies of Britain and not the US by itself. It's been over 230 years since we were colonies.

Xenoid - 27-12-2007 at 21:04

Quote:
Originally posted by MagicJigPipe
The colonies? Surely you mean colonies of Britain and not the US by itself. It's been over 230 years since we were colonies.


Off COURSE he means the UK and the colonies of Australia and New Zealand!...:P

Only an American would assume he was talking about the US!

It's this self centred attitude of Americans that is getting them into so much trouble around the world with their inept foreign policies!

MagicJigPipe - 27-12-2007 at 21:12

Tsk tsk... It's the condescending attitudes of people like you that made me think he was trying to insult the US by referring to them as colonies. Especially in relation to the UK since we started out as their colonies.

Shame on you for your generalizations. Do you think that makes you, your country or other countries look any better?

[Edited on 27-12-2007 by MagicJigPipe]

JustMe - 4-1-2008 at 10:19

Ah, found "The Golden Book of Chemistry" as a PDF download that isn't a torrent.

OMG, I remember reading this in the library as a kid!

http://chemistry.about.com/b/2007/12/07/the-golden-book-of-c...

muriaticacid - 20-2-2008 at 16:57

In my pre-chemistry course my teacher said we used to use more sulfuric acid and other "dangerous" chemicals. two of the science teachers I've had said they used to play with mercury but I shouldn't. both of them are fine in the head. I don't understand how something "safe" a couple of years ago could become "dangerous" now. o wait, lawsuit happy parents and such.

-jeffB - 22-2-2008 at 11:32

Quote:
Originally posted by muriaticacid
I don't understand how something "safe" a couple of years ago could become "dangerous" now.


You mean, like cigarettes? Asbestos? Tetraethyllead? X-rays as acne treatment, or for fitting shoes?

Over time, we learn new things.

MagicJigPipe - 23-2-2008 at 17:28

My Mom told me about how she and her brothers used to play with the mercury from thermometers all the time. She's in her 40s and in perfect health.

I think society tends to sensationalize the toxicity of certain compounds. It sounds much cooler for something to be "DEADLY TOXIC" than for it to be "extremely hazardous". I know that's an oversimplification but, you get the jist.

JohnWW - 23-2-2008 at 19:33

Quote:
Originally posted by MagicJigPipeMy Mom told me about how she and her brothers used to play with the mercury from thermometers all the time. She's in her 40s and in perfect health.

Bulk Hg metal is not very toxic, because it is relatively unreactive. The compounds of mercury are what is really toxic.

psychokinetic - 3-8-2010 at 01:02

*creaks the coffin open*

I've just claimed a few nice old lab manuals. No one else in my classes wanted them - they just want the right answers.
Me on the other hand, I'm loving them. 1953, 1970s, etc. Some of them are very useful for what I could do myself - barring the cyanide one similar to the one in the original post.

I'm not getting any study done for a few days, it looks like :D

MagicJigPipe - 3-8-2010 at 08:48

Quote:

I have actually had wounds sutured using a cocaine local
squirted in from a syringe . Not only didn't it hurt a bit ,
I almost wanted to go get hurt again , so I could get some more stitches , and for a couple of hours for some strange reason couldn't stop smiling and just loved everybody :D


Placebo effect. Cocaine making you smile and love everybody... Ha!

zed - 3-8-2010 at 14:49

Ah.... In the early 70s, when I signed on as a lab tech in the Chem Storeroom of my JC Alma Mater, the supplies were a sight to behold. A vast array of chemicals, accumulated over generations, were jammed on the numerous shelves.

There were a lot of exotic and dangerous things that were no longer in vogue, but by God, we had 'em if we needed them.

When I returned for a visit in the early 80s, I was shocked. It was all gone. What was once a cornucopia of useful and expensive reagents, had by then become a sterile wasteland. There were very few chemicals present.

Lab tech seemed rather proud of himself. "Got rid of it all, too dangerous!"

No doubt, he was just following orders. But, I'm wondering what experiments students can do now, in an era with no chemicals?


psychokinetic - 3-8-2010 at 22:01

Proud? Oh dear.

benzylchloride1 - 12-8-2010 at 10:12

I took general chemistry in the year of 2006 through 2007. The labs were very similar to those that were conducted prior to 1960. We made hydrogen fluoride from fluorspar, sulfuric acid and etched glass with it, we did use a fume hood. We made large quantities of nitrocellulose, open bench, and got to take most of it home. We frequently worked with mercury salts in several qualitative analysis labs. Our teacher filled the classroom up with chlorine gas during a demonstration where acetylene was allowed to combust in the presence of chlorine gas under water. Chairs were routinely bugged with a red phosphorus - potassium chlorate mixture to get students attention. We ran several organic labs also such as the synthesis of aspirin, and methyl salicylate, along with the more usual titrations. The University that I attended where several of the chemistry professors had taken this general chemistry class from the same teacher twenty or thirty years ago was completely different. There general chemistry labs were dismal, mostly dry labs and very little chemicals. Organic lab was slightly different, the most dangerous chemical handled was sulfuric acid. Advanced inorganic lab was much better, chemicals such as pentacarbonyl iron were frequently worked with. Now I am heading to graduate school in the field of organic chemistry at the age of 19. From what I have heard, my high school AP chemistry teacher is probably the last teacher in the country that ran these types of labs. He influenced many of his students to major in chemistry.

Polverone - 12-8-2010 at 11:45

I was lucky too when I took my first formal chemistry class. It was at a private high school in the 1990s. Not only was the teacher a bit of a pyrotechnic enthusiast herself, she was also the aunt of one of my friends who was a chemistry fellow traveler. When she cleaned out the stock room of old materials, we got to take them home.

We saw and participated in many spectacular demonstrations involving (e.g.) the alkali metals, chemiluminescence, halogens, and pyrophoric materials. Of course, I already knew from texts and photographs what to expect when sodium comes in contact with water. Seeing it first hand was something different, though. It did not convey any new facts, but I think I and the other students would have missed out if we had only read about it in a book or even seen a video tape of it. I am enthusiastic about the possibilities that electronic resources bring for independent and education, but without the hands-on component I find it difficult to believe that many students will have the enthusiasm to pursue learning through such resources.

The principal of the school was herself actually a degreed chemist, and in the 1970s she had run a special after-hours class about the chemistry of pyrotechnics. While I was in school she looked into reviving the class, but the liability insurance would have been crippling.

I do not think the push for improved health and safety regulations has been all bad: I am pretty sure that chemistry classes are generally safer now than 40 years ago, and your health is nothing to take lightly. But especially in the US, where the legal system tends to punish accidents more than prevent them, I fear the balance has been tipped too far. There are still fascinating and fairly safe activities that chemistry classes can pursue, like chromatography of household materials or synthesis of coordination complexes, but then the ugly budgetary beast raises its head. Lab activities are expensive compared to spreadsheets and paper exercises.

The same principal who wanted to run the pyrotechnics class once told me that she had received a $50,000 grant for buying educational technology from Hewlett Packard. She wanted to get oscilloscopes, a laser, and uv/vis spectrometers for the physics and chemistry labs. But it turned out that according to the grant terms "technology" only meant "personal computers, software, and accessories."

psychokinetic - 12-8-2010 at 13:10

Quote:
"received a $50,000 grant for buying educational technology from Hewlett Packard. She wanted to get oscilloscopes, a laser, and uv/vis spectrometers for the physics and chemistry labs. But it turned out that according to the grant terms "technology" only meant "personal computers, software, and accessories."


So, she got one license for Win ME, MidTown Madness, and half a printer, then?

Back on topic, I quite enjoy the way my university does undergrad labs - they're dangerous and 'pretty' enough to be cool, while not exposing us to salts of Hg etc. This is mainly because first year chemistry students are usually just taking the papers as they are pre requisites for their non-chemistry BScs.

The paper staff however, are so enthused and in to chemistry that I'm sure each year they suck a few non chemistry majors over to the dark side. They're stuck with me whether they like it or not though - I decided to major in chemistry before I even started :P

DDTea - 12-8-2010 at 23:30

I have a friend whose father studied chemistry in Russia in the 1960's. She was telling me a story of how he was helping his professor with a demonstration using mercury (about 1 L or so). He was holding a paper funnel while the professor poured it. They managed to spill it all over the place. They cleaned it up as best as they could and then went on with their lives.

However, in subsequent years, students would get sick after going into the lecture hall. About 10-20 years later (it was a long time afterward, but I don't remember exactly how long), my friend's father reported the spill (after the dangers of mercury had been revealed). In true Russian fashion, the lecture hall was demolished and paved over :D

Rich_Insane - 16-8-2010 at 15:23

That's awesome. I wish the government would still let us do experiments like that..... Living is an enormous liability, and taking risks with precaution is life.

I'm about to go into 9th grade, and I can say that I am not looking forward to any of the science classes, because since our government/school board grows dumber and dumber every year, there are too many "liabilities" in science experiments. For fuck's sake, there's liabilities everywhere. It shouldn't be the school's fault if some stupid kid got a chemical burn from playing table hockey with a beaker of concentrated HCl.

entropy51 - 18-8-2010 at 11:40

Experimenting with Chemistry: Experiments for the Home Lab

Burton L. Hawk's 1957 book by this title is now up on Google books. The full PDF is available for download.

The author's book "Organic Experiments for the Home Lab" is also listed there, but the full view is not available.

gregxy - 18-8-2010 at 12:34

When I was growing up in the late 60s in Los Angeles,
there was a store called "Student Science Service" where
you could buy almost any chemicals that you wanted,
(although you needed to be 18 to buy chlorates). They
even had copies of COPAE for sale on the counter for $10.
My friend bought a copy and I later bought if from him.
I used to save my coins and buy 2oz bottles of
chemicals for $0.75. The toy store also carried 1oz bottes
as refills for chemistry sets, and the drug store carried
sulphur, KNO3 and KMNO4.

Chemistry sets, model airplanes and hobbies in general are
disappearing due to concerns over safety and the growth
of video games.

How do you get the PDF?

Gearhead_Shem_Tov - 19-8-2010 at 18:30

I tried this link, but no PDF in sight. Has it changed?

-Bobby

Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
Experimenting with Chemistry: Experiments for the Home Lab

Burton L. Hawk's 1957 book by this title is now up on Google books. The full PDF is available for download.

The author's book "Organic Experiments for the Home Lab" is also listed there, but the full view is not available.

entropy51 - 20-8-2010 at 04:59

The PDF is there, at least for me. Google doesn't seem to like an IP address from certain countries.

SWilkin676 - 14-9-2010 at 09:13


Quote:

I think society tends to sensationalize the toxicity of certain compounds. It sounds much cooler for something to be "DEADLY TOXIC" than for it to be "extremely hazardous". I know that's an oversimplification but, you get the jist.


I think that is related to the MSDS "hazardous water" phenonmena. Lawyers probably have a lot to do with it. If you can sue tobacco companies for nicotine what can't you sue for?

I think a lot of the "hazardous" labelling came from OSHA as well - related to people have heavy exposure to chemicals on a daily basis. It starts out as some factory with poor practices who have workers with unusually high cancer rates and information gets lost tile it becomes simplified to "Benzene causes cancer".

psychokinetic - 14-9-2010 at 12:59

The toxicology paper I took last semester was brilliant for the use of buzz words.
If a chemical didn't sound dangerous enough, they used the most dangerous version they could. I even caught them making some up names that didn't make any sense. Turns out it was a social science paper, not a college of sciences paper. They aren't used to chemistry majors taking toxicology ;)

virgil - 18-2-2011 at 04:14

When I first read this thread, it set off alarms in my head. I knew that I had a copy of this book (actually had it for over 40 years) - it was just a matter of finding it. I finally found it, I have scanned it (probably rather poorly, but it IS legible. I have uploaded it to hotfile.com and here is the link:
http://hotfile.com/dl/105761222/f3ed83a/Experimenting_With_C...

Apologies to the forum if hotfile is not approved, but it was quick and I am getting ready for work.

So, if you download it - enjoy! I have loved this book since I first got it. If I have to re-upload it somewhere else, just let me know where.

no good dead goes unpunished

The WiZard is In - 18-2-2011 at 08:46

Quote: Originally posted by virgil  
When I first read this thread, it set off alarms in my head. I knew that I had a copy of this book (actually had it for over 40 years) - it was just a matter of finding it. I finally found it, I have scanned it (probably rather poorly, but it IS legible. I have uploaded it to hotfile.com and here is the link:

http://hotfile.com/dl/105761222/f3ed83a/Experimenting_With_C...


You can DL a copy from Google.com/books

http://tinyurl.com/4c4oxtf


djh
----
What matters in chemistry is not thermodynamic stability, but
kinetic persistence. Chemistry is the land of thermodynamically
stable or (more interesting) unstable molecules that have high
barriers to going to where they (or we) want to go. For example,
nearly every molecule in our bodies—with the exception of H2O,
CO2, phosphate and some other small ions—is thermodynamically
unstable in the presence of oxygen. Were it not for the water in
us, and the high barriers to oxidation, we should burn very nicely.
Literally, not just with passion.

http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/2011/2/one-shock...

Intergalactic_Captain - 27-2-2011 at 03:30

Although I don't own the book in the title, a few posts down I noticed Norirs's "Experimental Organic Chemistry" - That sparked some memories. A few years ago, I was perusing ebay to see if I could find anything interesting and found a 1st edition copy - I think I paid all of $10 for it, and it's been a valued addition to my collection. From the time I opened the box until the last time I cracked it open I've been amazed at just what we've all missed out on living in the generation we do... Off the top of my head, one of the striking examples is the hippuric acid syntheisis; In a nutshell, it was 3 steps - 1; Consume a quantity of benzoic acid. 2; Collect one's urine the next morning. 3; Isolate hippuric acid from said urine and characterize it.

...That one experiment, I believe, is a simply beautiful example of the shift in our attitudes, as a society on the whole, towards "chemicals"... Benzoic Acid - That just SOUNDS dangerous, why would you WANT it? Do you NEED it for anything? What in the hell are you going to DO with it? You're going to EAT it, then examine your URINE, and LEARN something from it? Why on earth would you even consider thinking about doing something like THAT? That's just GOT to be DANGEROUS, you'd be INSANE to even consider it!

...Well, an entire generation of scientists received their education from that book and others like it. Hell, many of them probably performed that exact experiment with more than just curiosity, even an insatiable desire to figure out just what the hell was happening...

That said, I've been collecting old books for at least 15 years. Old chemistry books in particular. My first was "The National Standard Dispensatory", 1917 edition - Absolutely fascinating book, and a perfect example of the way things have been going for far too long. I find the evolution of peoples ways of thinking to be well worth studying - Books on the expeimental sciences are the most revealing. Attitudes towards safety and acceptability aside, the way that chemistry was understood and practiced at the time compared to where we are now is, to be repetive, simply fascinating.

The oldest chem book I have currently is "Chemistry," by Ira Remsen, c1898 - It's in a box right now, along with the rest, awaiting a suitable bookshelf... That in mind, the most striking element was the Periodic Table therein - IIRC, it consisted of 86 or 89 elements in a layout that no highschool student today would even recognize. Much of the "knowledge" contained in the remaining pages consists of empirical observations of the properties of the elements and REAL experimental preparations of tens of thousands of inorganic compounds. Quite often, one notices a line such as this; "There is no agreed upon molecular structure for the X compound, but it may be represented as X2Y3 or X4Y6"... Further, many compounds that we find "simple" to understand and "put together" today are totally wrong in terms of our modern understanding of chemical bonding...

...That's one of the gems of the collection, but I pick up anything I can get my hands on. Without counting, I've got easily 100 textbooks spanning from 1898 to 2008. Understanding of the current state of the arts aside, the most striking shift occurs from the 70's to the 80's - This is where the shift from preperative to theoretical as a focus is most easily seen, as well as the shift from "examples" that can be done by the average chemist to those necessitating an academic lab (in the US at least) are most noticable. Want something that will keep you occupied for a while? Go to your local library and find an organic chemistry textbook from the 60's and one from the 90's - Set them side by side, and ask yourself, "Which of these experiments could I do in my kitchen?" - I will guarantee you that the percentages will be directly inverted over that 30 year gap... It gets more interesting when you go further back or further forward and put yourself in the shoes of the intended audience of the day... As I said, absolutely fascinating...