Thursday, January 30, 2014

Maker Alert: Very Cool 1870s Weather Prediction Device

This 1870 home-made weather glass (shown below) looks like fun to try...but could I do it by shopping on Amazon for all the chemicals and the bottle?  And, not having taken chemistry, can I do it without poisoning myself?

The answer looks to be YES to both concerns.  The chemicals are used in cooking...and blowing up stuff.  That is kind of cool by itself!

As a licorice lover, the fact that one of the chemicals, sal ammoniac, is used in the Nordic countries in a salty licorice candy opened a new world of treats to me. (And, yes, Amazon has that, too :-)  You could kill yourself with the chemicals if you were really dumb or determined, but it seems highly unlikely. I found a 12 inch glass hydrometer test tube for sale that was the right shape to substitute for the fascinating bottle illustrated below.  I wonder what that shape bottle was made for in 1870.  

The only problem is the cost gets to about $ I am out.  Sheesh...I wanted to see the star shaped precipitate rising and falling with the weather changes!!!!  Time to start looking around for friends with a bit of this and that laying around...maybe someone cures meat with saltpetre. I have a tube already from aborted wine making...that gets it down to 40ish.  I think I need to retire to have the time to pursue all this.

The last question is - does it work?  No clue.