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Author: Subject: Old Chemistry Lab Manual
International Hazard

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[*] posted on 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 ;)

“If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.
I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”
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[*] posted on 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 and here is the link:

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.
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The WiZard is In
International Hazard

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[*] posted on 18-2-2011 at 08:46
no good dead goes unpunished

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 and here is the link:

You can DL a copy from

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.
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[*] posted on 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...

If you see me running, try to keep up.
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