Muir, M. M. Pattison
A light journey through the history of chemistry, from its start in the obscure mysteries of alchemy to what was, for the author, the cutting edge of the development of modern atomic theory ... and whose developing blind ends we can now see with the advantage of hind sight.
This is a good basic introduction to gemstones and their analysis. Admittedly a lot of the scientific tests have been superseded, but the basic properties never change. The first part of the book concentrates on physical properties of most common gems, then outlines the cutting process and ends with several chapters on each of the gemstone families. A useful little book if you are interested in gems.
The Scientific American claims to be the oldest continuously published periodical in the United States, have launched its first publication in 1845. It has been a mainstay of popular science with in depth articles across a broad spectrum of scientific fields. In this supplement are short articles ranging through such topics as Insanity from Alcohol, Discovery of Ancient Church in Jerusalem, Preparation of Lard for Use in Pharmacy, and The New Russian Torpedo Boat.
“The Letters contained in this little Volume embrace some of the most important points of the science of Chemistry, in their application to Natural Philosophy, Physiology, Agriculture, and Commerce. Some of them treat of subjects which have already been, or will hereafter be, more fully discussed in my larger works. They were intended to be mere sketches, and were written for the especial purpose of exciting the attention of governments, and an enlightened public, to the necessity of establishing Schools of Chemistry, and of promoting by every means, the study of a science so intimately connected with the arts, pursuits, and social well-being of modern civilised nations.” –Justus Liebig, August 1843
Slosson, Edwin E.
Slosson reviews the transformation of alchemistry from an obscure and imprecise practice to the science of chemistry. Along the way, he explains how the modern industrial world now relies on fertilizers, explosives, textile materials, polymers and metals.
By exploring the properties of a once undervalued element, the high strength of vanadium steel made the Ford car possible. Another element, cerium, appears in butane lighters and was once seen as a threat to the match industry in France.
In his chapter on oils, Slosson reviews the development of hydrogenated oils, especially during WWII, in the search for a way to reuse otherwise discarded components of corn and cottonseed. Through the revolutionary reaction of hydrogenation, waste materials became a stable product that wouldn't spoil when packaged or carried without refrigeration. Once thought of as a miracle, shoppers were once willing to pay more for fully hydrogenated oils than their natural, unsaturated forms. Only in recent years has evidence of health risks checked their popularity and given them the image of cheap, unhealthy fillers.
A. T. Anderson
While a bit outdated in many of the more complex descriptions of several of the phenomena described, this book is nonetheless still fun and relevant for a person interested in basic chemistry or physics tricks, and the devices built in the book can be easily replicated with more modern materials. The book is split up into many little experiments, tricks, with an explanation on how it works, what's happening, and how to reproduce the effects at home.
Joseph Priestley, FRS (13 March 1733 (O.S.) – 6 February 1804) was an 18th-century English theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who published over 150 works. In “Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air,” he reviews experiments with gases. A common theme in this work is measuring the volumes of gases held in glass tubes, and their increase or decrease when exposed to other substances. He also tests the effects of gases on mice, plants and insects.
Priestley demonstrated that fixed air (now known as CO2) can be produced from several reactions including alcoholic fermentation, combustion and a mixture of oil of vitriol and chalk (sulfuric acid and calcium oxide). He also showed that it is soluble in water, and that its toxic effects can be reduced when agitated in water. In other experiments, he showed that combinations of gases can mix to form a smaller volume than the sum of both separate gases, as when he combined common air (atmospheric air) with nitrous air (nitric oxide, NO).
For some experiments, Priestley tests whether the properties of gases change when stored. He finds that inflammable air (hydrogen, H2 or a mixture of hydrocarbons) becomes less flammable but retains its toxic properties.
Also interested in electricity, Priestley tests the effects of gases on sparks. While he finds that gases are generally good insulators, he also finds that some gases change the colors of electric sparks. He also discovers that some mixtures of air explode in their entirety, while others must be combined with common air in order to burn.
Priestley uses several terms common to the study of natural philosophy, or chemical experiments as known today. Some of the terms are parts of obsolete theories or are old names for chemicals now given standard names. To better understand Priestley's observations, the following terms are defined according to their present names.
Alice A. Ball
The Chemical Constituents of Piper Methysticum or The Chemical Constituents of the Active Principle of The Ava Root is the text of a Master’s Degree thesis presented in June 1915 by Alice A. Ball. Ms. Ball was the first woman and African American to receive a Master’s Degree from the University of Hawaii. Her thesis includes some history of the use of the ava (kava) root in the South Pacific islands along with the isolation and analysis of the extracts of the kava root and some preliminary observations of its effects when administered to animals.