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Magpie
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[*] posted on 18-12-2007 at 12:04
Old Chemistry Lab Manual


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.




The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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]




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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 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]
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[*] posted on 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?
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 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! ;)



The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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[*] posted on 18-12-2007 at 15:59
Victorian Experimental Chemistry


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... ;)
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[*] posted on 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]
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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
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[*] posted on 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?
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[*] posted on 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.
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 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




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[*] posted on 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




"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
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[*] posted on 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.
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[*] posted on 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.



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MagicJigPipe
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[*] posted on 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]




"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
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[*] posted on 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.


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[*] posted on 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.



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MagicJigPipe
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[*] posted on 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]




"There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. ... We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it and that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. And we know that as long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost, and science can never regress." -J. Robert Oppenheimer
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[*] posted on 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 833 times

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[*] posted on 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.




Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc.
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[*] posted on 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.




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[*] posted on 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.

.
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