Monday 20 October 2014

Chemistry Course Bound to Maim or Kill

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In 1837, the Magazine of Popular Science, and Journal of the Useful Arts, published a popular course of chemistry. Those following the course, and actually performing the experiments, would have quickly lost interest in chemistry after section twelve.

This loss of interest would immediately follow the loss of their fingers, sight or lives.

Section twelve is presented below, The author describes the production of nitrogen trichloride, but doesn't do very well with safety. At all.

I can imagine a Victorian enthusiast, following the instructions to the letter, poking his home-made glass and copper wire syringe into a large globule of nitrogen trichloride with abandon. He is completely unaware of the monumental danger he is in.

He has, after all, followed the safety procedures. His glassware is scrupulously clean and he's wearing his fencing mask......

He could, however, have his hand explosively rearranged at any moment. Please don't attempt any of the below procedures! There are many errors; the risk of explosion is very high, even experienced chemists could end up like Davy or Dulong (below) - horrendously injured!

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Unrelated to this post, below is an example of
eclectic science esoterica 
The Gold Fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria by Robert Brough Smyth, 1869

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WARNING - Many subjects outlined within this site are extremely dangerous and are provided here for information only. Please don`t experiment with high voltages or chemicals unless you are fully conversant with safe laboratory practices. No liability will be accepted for death, injury or damage arising from experimentation using any information or materials supplied.