Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chemical Fun from 1921

What's more fun than historical documents? Historical chemistry documents! From one such document: the following tongue-in-cheek paragraph appeared in the April edition of the briefly-published and mostly-otherwise-serious quarterly departmental (U of I) magazine The Illinois Chemist 1921, 5(3), 12.

The text (written out):

CHEMICAL FUN. Procedure (to be followed with extreme carelessness): Select several choice cut medium sized hydrogen ions from a bottle and scour until thoroughly clean. Wipe and dry carefully. Avoid handling. Lay aside. Now soak a few large chunks of metallic sodium in a beaker of distilled water and allow to stand quietly. In the meantime be collecting a pailful of cathode rays. Filter these, using suction. Beat them to a froth with two and three-quarters pounds of green radium (the red variety is highly unsuitable for this experiment). Now stir in the hydrogen ions, one at a time. Drain the sodium and put it in above mixture. Grind up with T. N. T. and put in a mortar and add all at once. Thus the mixture will become catalyzed. -- Voodoo, M. I. T.

Chemical fun, indeed. Sounds like a job for Blog Syn!


  1. Voodoo was the MIT humor magazine. I'm guessing an old issue was your source.

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