Caveman Chemistry: 28 Projects, from the Creation of Fire to the Production of Plastics

Front Cover
Universal-Publishers, 2003 - Education - 409 pages
5 Reviews
Half a million years ago our ancestors learned to make fire from scratch. They crafted intricate tools from stone and brewed mind-altering elixirs from honey. Their descendants transformed clay into pottery, wool into clothing, and ashes into cleansers. In ceramic crucibles they won metal from rock, the metals lead to colored glazes and glass. Buildings of brick and mortar enshrined books of parchment and paper. Kings and queens demanded ever more colorful clothing and accessories in order to out-class clod-hoppers and call-girls. Kingdoms rose and fell by the power of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal. And the demands of everyday folk for glass and paper and soap stimulated the first round of chemical industrialization. From sulfuric acid to sodium carbonate. From aniline dyes to analgesic drugs. From blasting powder to fertilizers and plastics. In a phrase, From Caveman to Chemist. Your guides on this journey are the four alchemical elements; Fire, Earth, Air and Water. These archetypical characters deliver first-hand accounts of the births of their respective technologies. The spirit of Fire, for example, was born in the first creature to cultivate the flame. This spirit passed from one person to another, from one generation to another, from one millennium to another, arriving at last in the pages of this book. The spirit of Earth taught folks to make tools of stone, the spirit of Air imparted knowledge of units and the spirit of Water began with the invention of spirits. Having traveled the world from age to age, who can say where they will find their next home? Perhaps they will find one in you.
 

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This is a great introduction to the history of chemistry and to general chemistry itself. I have used this as a high school chemistry text in a home school environment and we had SOOO much fun - the young lady that I was tutoring was able to create fire based on the plans from this book - I can't say enough about how much fun we had working through the projects. Keep the MEMES coming!!!! 

Contents

Prologue
ix
Chapter 1 Lucifer Charcoal
1
Chapter 2 Unktomi Silicates
18
Chapter 3 Hammurabi Units
32
Chapter 4 Samson Mead
47
Chapter 5 Athanor Ceramics
60
Chapter 6 Venus Textiles
73
Chapter 7 Adam Metathesis Reactions
87
Chapter 20 Leblanc Soda
247
Chapter 21 Volta Batteries
260
Chapter 22 Perkin Aniline Dyes
274
Chapter 23 Eastman Photography
289
Chapter 24 Solvay Ammonia
304
Chapter 25 Dow Electrochemicals
317
Chapter 26 Bayer Pharmaceuticals
331
Chapter 27 Badische Fertilizers
344

Chapter 8 Job Alkali
99
Chapter 9 Vulcan Metals
109
Chapter 10 Vitruvius Lime
121
Chapter 11 Pliny Redox Reactions
131
Chapter 12 Marie Dyes
142
Chapter 13 Theophilus Glass
152
Chapter 14 Tsai Lun Paper
164
Chapter 15 alRazi Stoichiometry
177
Chapter 16 Adelard Alcohol
189
Chapter 17 TzuChhun Gunpowder
205
Chapter 18 Spot and Roebuck Acid
218
Chapter 19 Bath Soap
231
Chapter 28 DuPont Plastics
358
Epilogue
373
Appendix A Back Cover
381
Appendix B The Laboratory Notebook
382
Appendix C Measuring and Mixing
384
Appendix D Supplies and Suppliers
386
Appendix E Atomic Weights
389
Inspirations
390
Bibliography
392
Glossary
399
Index
404
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