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Author: Subject: Early chemists obtaining their reagents from nature.
Neil
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Caveman chemistry was already mentioned, but here is a link to most of it on Google books

Chestofbooks.com is one of my favorites

Here is a search for 'charcoal' in chestofbooks - tons of good stuff on metal refining and preservatives made from natural materials.

http://chestofbooks.com/search.html?cx=000348145676127462126...

As for noticing that red ants (Formica ants ) contain acid, they actually spray it from their abdomen. Try wafting smoke over a nest and watching their response, mind your eyes. You notice when you're working next to a nest of them when exposed skin begins to hurt and suffer from prickles of burning sensation.

If you really want to get down, dirty (how dirty?) really dirty, try this link
http://www.alchemywebsite.com/texts.html

If nothing else their random mixing of things like sulfur and Mercury will make you glad we live in an age of MSDS sheets.

There are a number of black smithing books pre-1900 but there is a distinct lack of literature about smelting via bloomeries.
this site http://iron.wlu.edu/ is a wealth of information - Good luck if you try it. You'll need it! For the most part if you have any sort of flowing water which moves into swamps, or aquifers which emerge in a lake, you likely have Bog iron just waiting to be picked up.

And if you get really bored/tired of good health you could always turn to "The Golden Book of Chemistry" by Robert Brent. Lots of neat ideas, lots of really bad practices. All meant to be done with readily available materials.

Edit: This is a neat one too
An encyclopædia of agriculture By John Claudius Loudon 1825(not 100% sure of the date)

[Edited on 25-4-2011 by Neil]
GreenD
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Mood: Totally f***ing high, man!

To the OP:

Firstly, there are many books I have read (but don't know the names of or anything) that contain what you're looking for - everything from biologically active materials - tryptamines, sedatives, vitamins & minerals, nootropics, analgesics, fertilizers, growth hormones, etc can be found in "Edible Plants" books. Look for ones where the author seems to care - ones with hand drawn pictures are always the best.

Secondly - I would suggest that you take advantage of the wastefulness of society. I don't buy much of my stuff - I find it around, or at a very reduced price (recyleing plants and junk yards). I would really recommend this. In order to get to the current chemical techniques employed today, you are going to have to take some short cuts from the men of old.

Such as finding a vacuum pump, finding old waste barrels (oils, terpentines, acids) etc. Asking friends & family for those weird chemicals in the basement - windshield washer fluid is 90%+ methanol, for example.

Beyond that, I don't really have any interest in obtaining inorganic materials from natural sources. Metals and complexes don't interest me. The chemistry of biology is all I care about, so for me I'll buy all the reagents I want - but I'd rather get the substrates from nature - a 100% renewable source, and preferably my own backyard.

Pine trees have turpentines and terpenes - good solvents and reagents for cyclic additions and such (lots of unsaturated bonds). Fruits (like the skin of an orange) has limonene - an important solvent.

The buds of willow trees have gallic (sp?) acid the most potent plant-growth hormone found.

Of course some of my favorite extractions are the aromatics from flowers. Oh god do I start to giggle when I enter a nice smelling greenhouse.

In some mosses and bog plants there are stimulants and caffeine (relevant to where I live). And of course there are other things to take from plants but they are very well documented on here.

I would say the suggestions so far are great, and the older the chemistry books you find - the better. I've recently been interested in buying antique pharmacology, chemistry, and biology books, as the writers were much more fascinating (and fascinated! back then).

"edible plants" will take you on some great journeys as well - don't underestimate the number of plants out there worth eating.
Neil
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 Quote: Originally posted by GreenD The buds of willow trees have gallic (sp?) acid the most potent plant-growth hormone found.

Do you perhaps mean Salicin which can be used to synthesis Salicylic acid?

The WiZard is In
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 Quote: Originally posted by GreenD I would say the suggestions so far are great, and the older the chemistry books you find - the better. I've recently been interested in buying antique pharmacology, chemistry, and biology books, as the writers were much more fascinating (and fascinated! back then).

My favorite book for Practical Chemistry in an British journal —

Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry.

A few back I was lucky to find Vol. I (1882) to XLVIII (1920) plus a few
index's &c., for sale at Abebooks.com. After I ordered them
received an email from the seller ... Just got them from the
warehouse - they are in poor condition, I am will to reduce the
price by US $500 (which in addition saved me$40 in sales tax) and
pay the shipping. (They weighed a bit over 300 lbs.) A few
volumes can be found at Google.com/books.

Watt's 1899, 4-volume Dictionary of Chemistry and others
I don't have time to list, can also be had at Google Books.

djh
----
At a Scottish wedding the bridegroom, as was
customary at a wedding breakfast, arose to
respond to the toast of the health of the bride. He
was not used to public speaking and, words
failing him, he contented himself with the response,
"Well, there's naething wrang with the woman" ; and
in proposing the toast of "Applied Science" he
should like to point the moral of this story, and say
that there was nothing wrong with it ; that it was in a
state of absolute health, and in this country, as well
as in others, it was in a state of marvelous fertility,
and as each branch of Applied Sciences was apparently
capable of producing any number of other branches of
Applied Science, as time went on they might expect
a somewhat numerous family.

Sir William Ramsay K.C.B.. D.Sc., LL.D., IF.R.S.

Neil
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I love this book but can not find it as a PDF

http://bookdome.com/science/Glass-Manufacture/

title Glass And Glass Manufacture
Author Percival Marson
Publisher Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd
Year 1922
Copyright 1922, Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd

watson.fawkes
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 Quote: Originally posted by Neil title Glass And Glass Manufacture Author Percival Marson
http://www.archive.org/details/glassglassmanufa00marsuoft
food
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 Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog extracting potassium carbonate and potassium sulfate from wood ashes. ... SNIPPED ... weighed out 15kg of the resulting ash into a 30 gallon HDPE tub. To this I added 30kg of water.

I envy your large scale capabilities!

bbartlog
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 Quote: Originally posted by GreenD ...The buds of willow trees have gallic (sp?) acid the most potent plant-growth hormone found.

You are almost certainly thinking of gibberellic acid, not gallic acid; see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibberellic_acid .

Gallic acid is interesting in its own right but is not a plant hormone at all as far as I know. Once the sumac trees on my land leaf out in a month or two I'm going to try to get some gallic acid from them en route to pyrogallol:
- leach tannins/tannic acid (20% content in some sumac)
- hydrolyze to gallic acid and precipitate
- decarboxylate

 Quote: Originally posted by food I envy your large scale capabilities!

Thanks :-). It helps when you're dealing with extractions where the yield is expected to be in the low single digits. What's described there isn't even my limit; I have a discarded fuel oil tank (still sound) on my property that I might yet use for some similar operation, and it must have a volume of a couple thousand liters. I may also post sometime about my second attempt at a functioning nitre bed, which as of now contains nearly a ton of organic matter; but only if I get some nitrate out of it.

Random
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 Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog Gallic acid is interesting in its own right but is not a plant hormone at all as far as I know. Once the sumac trees on my land leaf out in a month or two I'm going to try to get some gallic acid from them en route to pyrogallol: - leach tannins/tannic acid (20% content in some sumac) - hydrolyze to gallic acid and precipitate - decarboxylate

How are you going to leach tannins from sumac and extract gallic acid from that exactly? I see some sumac trees waiting to get leached.
bbartlog
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Well, my guide at the moment is 'Wood products: distillates and extracts' (Paul Dumesny, J. Noyer, 1908) ... available on Google Books. Chapter VIII is titled 'Manufacture and Use of Sumac Extract' and seems detailed enough that I think I can implement the processes described, though I would still like to find a reference that describes the tannic acid content of the sumac species I have here, or that gives some hint as to when the leaves should be harvested for maximum yield.
As for the later steps, I'm assuming I can hydrolyze the (highly soluble) tannic acid to (only slightly soluble) gallic acid via dilute mineral acid, e.g. HCl, and then collect the precipitate. The pyrolysis I will have to read more about, I know Scheele did it but I haven't found a detailed treatment. On the other hand there's a lot of general information on this board and elsewhere about pyrolytic decarboxylation of aromatic compounds so I may just use that.
The WiZard is In
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 Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog Well, my guide at the moment is 'Wood products: distillates and extracts' (Paul Dumesny, J. Noyer, 1908) ... available on Google Books. Chapter VIII is titled 'Manufacture and Use of Sumac Extract' and seems detailed enough that I think I can implement the processes described, though I would still like to find a reference that describes the tannic acid content of the sumac species I have here, or that gives some hint as to when the leaves should be harvested for maximum yield. As for the later steps, I'm assuming I can hydrolyze the (highly soluble) tannic acid to (only slightly soluble) gallic acid via dilute mineral acid, e.g. HCl, and then collect the precipitate. The pyrolysis I will have to read more about, I know Scheele did it but I haven't found a detailed treatment. On the other hand there's a lot of general information on this board and elsewhere about pyrolytic decarboxylation of aromatic compounds so I may just use that.

Having a few ideal minuets before before a assume a supine
position on my bed to spend a hour reading (The Wall Street
Journal, New Scientist and the Economist are penciled in for
tonight) .... pulled my copy of Ettore Molinari's Treatise on General
and Industrial Organic Chemistry 1913 from the shelves...

You can access what I found at Google books.

http://tinyurl.com/444sr52

If it rains hard on the morrow and I have a few spare moments
I'll see what else my shelves yield.

Byda there is a second volume of Molinari with an obvious title.
The WiZard is In
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 Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog Well, my guide at the moment is 'Wood products: distillates and extracts' (Paul Dumesny, J. Noyer, 1908) ... available on Google Books. Chapter VIII is titled 'Manufacture and Use of Sumac Extract' and seems detailed enough that I think I can implement the processes described, though I would still like to find a reference that describes the tannic acid content of the sumac species I have here, or that gives some hint as to when the leaves should be harvested for maximum yield.

This ain't rocket science.....

Grabbed off la shelf my copy off —

A Handbook of Industrial Organic Chemistry
JB Lipincott 1900

This from the 1910 ed at Google Books

Sumach consists of the powdered leaves, peduncles, and young
branches of Rhus coriaria, Rhus cotinus, and other species of
Rhus. Thus, Sicilian sumach, the most esteemed variety, is from
R. coriaria; Spanish sumach is from several species of Rhus, and
comes in three varieties, Malaga, Molina, Valladolid; Tyrolean
sumach from R. cotinus; French from Coriaria myrtifolia; American
from R. glabra, R. Canadense, and R. copallina. The leaves are
collected while the shrub is in full foliage and cured by drying in the
sun. They are then ground under millstones and the product
baled. The sumach contains from sixteen to twenty-four per cent.
of a tannin whieh seems to be identical with gallotannic acid. The
American variety contains usually six to eight per cent. more than
the European, but also contains more of a dark coloring matter,
which renders it inferior to the Sicilian sumach for white leathers.
bbartlog
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Thanks Wiz! That second reference is more useful than Molinari (who would however be a great help if I were actually looking to tan leather with my extract), but both are interesting.
The WiZard is In
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 Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog Thanks Wiz! That second reference is more useful than Molinari (who would however be a great help if I were actually looking to tan leather with my extract), but both are interesting.

Luck day for U. Google books has this so I am not tempted to
scan my copy.

Chemistry, theoretical, practical, and analytical: as applied and ... V.2
By Sheridan Muspratt, Eben Norton Horsford

Tanning Materials P. 492-512

http://tinyurl.com/6gbj4vj

NB — p. 507 Table of the average quantity of tannin in different substances.

Byda - Muspratt in toto is 1668 pages.

There is a most complete list of Tanning Materials in —

Chemistry as Applied to the Arts & Manufactures
By Writers of Eminence
nd

V. VI p.314-15

Neb neb; Cutch; Samak; Gaub; Boomah, &c., &c.

Before you tan... you got's to.....

Bating

Perhaps the most curious of all the processes involved in making leather is that
of bating. Little is known of it origin because it was a secret process, but it is at
least some centuries old. After the skins are taken from the lime liquors,
unhaired, scudded, and washed, they will contain lime in the form of carbonate
and in combination with the skin proteins. At this stage they are plump and
rubbery and tanners have experienced many difficulties due to putting the stock
directly into certain types of vegetable tan liquors when it was in this condition.
The object of bating it to prepare the unhaired skins for tanning and originally
consisted in keeping them in a warm infusion of the dung of dogs or fowls until all
plumpness had disappeared and the skins had become so soft as to retain the
impression of thumb and finger when pinched and sufficiently porous to permit
the passage of air under pressure. When hen of pigeon manure was used, the
process was called bating, and when dog dung was used, it was called puering,
but the tem bating is now applied to the process generally, regardless of the
material used. The difference in terminology naturally disappeared with the

A common method for treating light skins was to put them into a vat filled with a
liquor containing about 100 grams of dog dung per liter, kept at a temperature of
45o C. by means of steam. A paddle wheel kept the liquor and skins in motion.
During the action , the skins gradually lost plumpness acquired in the lime liquors
and became soft and raggy. The completion of the process was determined by
the attainment of a certain degree of flaccidity, which the workmen could judge
only after long experience. Hen or pigeon manure was sometimes used for light
skins, but was more commonly applied to heavy hides because it penetrates
more rapidly than dog dung, due apparently to the fact that it contains also the
urinary products, especially urea.

John Arthur Wilson
The Chemistry of Leather Manufacture
ACS Monograph Series
The Chemical Catalog Company
New York, 1923

---------
Alumed Calf Skins for Bookbinding

To alum them, put into a large vat three or four pails of dog’s turd (this dogs’ turd
is called alum) ; on this they fling a large pail of water to dilute it ; this done, the
workman goes into the vat, and with his wooden shoes, tramples it, filling the vat
half full of water. The “alumer”, on his part, pours water out of his boiler into this
vat, mixing it with the cold water, after which he flings in the skins, string them
and turning them for some moments with great sticks.

Morocco Leather

The river work finished, the skins are put into the “dogs’ confit, or mastering” ; for
every four dozens of skins they add one bucket of dogs’ excrement, containing
fourteen or fifteen quarts, which is worked up with their hands into a kind of pap
and well diluted. The skins are flung in, stirred and worked in the “mastering” for
some minutes, then turned and left to rest.

The Art of Tanning and Currying Leather, with an Account of all the Different
Processes made use of in Europe and Asia for Dying Leather Red and Yellow,
Collected and Published at the Expense of the Dublin Society, to which are
added Mr. Philippo’s Method of Dying the Turkey Leather as approved of by the
Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc., and for which he had a reward of
£100, and their Gold Metal, for the Secret. Also the New Method of Tanning
invented by the late David Macbride, M.D., London. Reprinted for J. Nourse, on
the Strand, Bookseller to His Majesty. 1780.

In :—
Joseph Turney Wood
The Puering, Bating & Drenching of Skins
E. & F. N. Spon, Ltd. London, 1912

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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Chemistry in General » Early chemists obtaining their reagents from nature. Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues