How to Set Up Your Chemistry Laboratory (Feb, 1932)

CHEMISTRY: An Exciting and Profitable Hobby

How to Set Up Your Laboratory


WITH simple equipment requiring surprisingly little financial outlay, you can build in your home a small chemical laboratory that will provide a fascinating hobby. Here you may amaze your friends with seemingly magical chemical tricks, as by the manufacture of paint that shines in the dark or of writing inks that disappear unless the secret of bringing them back is known. You can manufacture useful things for the home, as soap or liquid court plaster. You can test gold rings and ivory piano keys to see whether they are genuine. If you wish, you can investigate the chemical processes used in industry, with the ever-present possibility of an important discovery. To the real dyed-in-the-wool experimenter, chemicals in themselves are intriguing, and a beautifully colored precipitate or a startling formation of crystals is its own reward for the trouble of preparation.

Giant Explosions REPRODUCED IN MINIATURE by Home Chemists (Jul, 1933)

Giant Explosions REPRODUCED IN MINIATURE by Home Chemists

How Blasts of Grain Dust or of Gasoline Vapor Are Caused in Your Laboratory—Tests With Which to Prove a Burning Candle Is a Gas Plant


HARMLESS, miniature explosions make experimenting with combustibles a thrilling, yet safe, amusement for the amateur chemist. With inexpensive homemade apparatus, he can duplicate the explosions in a gasoline motor and amuse his friends by burning air. When we say a substance burns, we imply that it combines with oxygen to produce heat and sometimes light. Hydrogen and carbon, as well as many other substances containing these two elements, display this property. A candle, for instance, is made of paraffin, a combination of carbon and hydrogen. When the wick is lighted, the paraffin melts and produces hydro-carbon gases, which decompose to form other inflammable gases and carbon.

Wow! Now Chemcraft has ATOMIC ENERGY! (Dec, 1947)

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Magnesium the BANTAMWEIGHT METAL (Aug, 1946)


How Chemists Have Put It to Work as a Jack-of-All-Trades.


DURING the war magnesium was extensively used as a lightweight structural metal for aircraft parts and as pyrotechnic material for star shells, signal flares, tracer bullets, and flash and incendiary bombs. Strong, silvery white, and only two thirds as heavy as aluminum, it is the lightest of all construction metals. In the form of powder, thin sheets, or wire, it burns with a dazzling flame that water or even carbon dioxide will not put out. Never found alone in nature, magnesium is made on a tremendous scale by the electrolysis of its compounds. These compounds are among the most plentiful substances in the crust of the earth. Whole mountain ranges consist of dolomite, a double carbonate of magnesium and calcium. Asbestos, talc, and meerschaum are magnesium silicates. Epsom salts, named after the springs at Epsom, England, where they were first isolated in 1695, are magnesium sulphate. In the form of its chloride, there are nearly 6,000,000 tons of magnesium in every cubic mile of-the sea, a vast storehouse of supply.

Very Early Article about the Structure of DNA (Oct, 1954)

This was written by Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, about a year after they figured out it was a double-helix. In fact, in the article it’s still a bit of a hypothesis that DNA is a double-helix, they haven’t proved it yet.

The Structure of the Hereditary Material

An account of the investigations which have Led to the formulation of an understandable structure for DNA. The chemical reactions of this material within the nucleus govern the process of reproduction

by F. H. C. Crick

Viewed under a microscope, the process of mitosis, by which one cell divides and becomes two, is one of the most fascinating spectacles in the whole of biology. No one who watches the event unfold in speeded-up motion pictures can fail to be excited and awed. As a demonstration of the powers of dynamic organization possessed by living matter, the act of division is impressive enough, but even more stirring is the appearance of two identical sets of chromosomes where only one existed before. Here lies biology’s greatest challenge: How are these fundamental bodies duplicated? Unhappily the copying process is beyond the resolving power of microscopes, but much is being learned about it in other ways.

One approach is the study of the nature and behavior of whole living cells; another is the investigation of substances extracted from them. This article will discuss only the second approach, but both are indispensable if we are ever to solve the problem; indeed some of the most exciting results are being obtained by what might loosely be described as a combination of the two methods.

Building Blocks of Science (Nov, 1946)

If you are thinking of making this, keep in mind that 21 new elements have been discovered since it was printed. You can find out more at http://www.webelements…..

Building Blocks of Science


Science Editor, The Associated Press

THE periodic table of the elements—the 96 metals, nonmetals and gases that form everything in the material universe— is the blueprint of the atomic future.

This table states a very simple fact: Everything material is made of three kinds of particles; namely, neutrons, protons and electrons. The difference between any two elements, iron and oxygen, for example, is in the number of particles.

On a map, specific places are always at specific points. The periodic table is like that. It tells facts about the elements that never change.

Although the table does not show where to look for uranium, it indicates the likely mineral formations. It shows that the kind of chain reaction that makes uranium bombs cannot be achieved without uranium’s aid. It also gives the limits of the uranium reaction and guarantees that it will not explode the earth.

Firefly Chemistry (Oct, 1937)

Firefly Chemistry

By Raymond B. Wailes

AMONG the most mysterious and beautiful of chemical experimerits are those producing substances that glow in the dark. With the aid of your home laboratory, you can make any number of common household products self-luminous. Coffee, tea, pepper, chili powder, mustard, cocoa, ginger, and many other groceries will produce a really visible light in a dark room, after you have treated them with the proper chemicals. You may even be able to make a flower from your garden emit enough illumination to allow you to read a few letters of print, and you will find that oil of bergamot, an ingredient of inexpensive perfumes, gives an especially strong glow.

All that you will need to produce these strange effects is a little grain or J denatured alcohol, a common alkali such as lye, hydrogen peroxide from the drug store, and one of the newer, “made with electricity” bleaching liquids and laundry whiteners. There are several of these liquids, widely advertised and obtainable at any grocery store. They are solutions of sodium hypochlorite, and you will find that this statement appears on the labels of the bottles.

Suppose you start in by purchasing about an ounce of oil of bergamot at the drug store. Add half a teaspoonful of it to an ounce of grain alcohol, rubbing alcohol, or radiator alcohol. Also dissolve in the liquid several pieces of solid sodium hydroxide (ordinary household lye will do), or potassium hydroxide. Now add about half a teaspoonful or so of drug-store hydrogen peroxide, and a like amount of the sodium hypochlorite solution. Darken the room, or take the mixture into a dark closet.

Chemistry Spins a Yarn (Dec, 1947)

Chemistry Spins a Yarn

By Kenneth M. Swezey

TRANSFORMATION of tree fibers or cotton linters into rayon fabrics is one of the greatest achievements of modern industrial chemistry. Chemically, rayon is almost pure cellulose, the same as cotton and linen. But instead of using cellulose as found in nature, the rayon chemist starts with cheap and plentiful spruce and hemlock trees, or the fuzz that clings to cotton seed after it has been ginned. He chops these up, dissolves them, and then causes the cellulose to reappear in silky filaments that may be spun, twisted, knit, or woven into forms that compete successfully with cotton, silk, linen, or wool.

Mercury … THE LIQUID METAL (Sep, 1944)


Important Alike to Science, Medicine, and Industry, This Fluid Element Is So Heavy That Iron Floats in It


MERCURY, the only metal that is liquid at ordinary temperatures, solidifying at its freezing point of —39 deg. C, is one of the most fascinating elements. Because of its wide distribution and the simplicity of its metallurgy, it was known to the ancients. It was the principal substance the alchemists believed could be changed into gold and silver. Since then it has found wide use in medicine and in the arts.

Both the common term “quicksilver” and the Latin chemical name hydrargyrum, “water of silver,” eloquently describe the elusive liquid metal that does not wet glass and that is so heavy that iron nuts, bolts, and washers float in it like corks. Because of its weight, mercury is an ideal liquid for barometers and suction pumps. Its high boiling point (357 deg. C.) and even thermal expansion make it a fine fluid for thermometers. Although mercury actually can be changed into gold now by the miracle of atom smashing, the transmutation will never make anyone rich, for the cost far exceeds the value of the final product.

Silver (Mar, 1945)


. . . most useful precious metal, it is prized for coins, jewelry, plate, photography, and medicine.


OF THE precious metals, gold, silver, and platinum, silver is both the most common and the most useful. Beauty, malleability, sonorousness, and resistance to atmospheric oxygen have put it in demand for coins, jewelry, tableware, ornaments, and bells since the beginning of history. Because it has the highest electric conductivity of any substance, it is prized in electric equipment. Silver nitrate, its most common salt, is used in making indelible ink and hair dyes, in photography and silver plating, and in medicine as an antiseptic and germicide taken both internally and externally.