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February 19, 2010

Learn Your Mid-Century Lesson – The Chemistry of a 1958 Home

While out shopping for Tom’s Valentine’s present the other day, I came across an amazing find at my local Salvation Army.  Now, I am not sure how many of you know this, but Tom is a chemist, which is why we live in Michigan (thanks, Dow!). So, when I came across a 1958 chemistry textbook called Chemistry, Man’s Servant, I was pretty excited.  Especially because said textbook had some awesome illustrations in it.  I gave Tom the book for Valentine’s Day, but then promptly stole it back to start scanning said awesome illustrations. Illustrations that I am planning on making into some fun t-shirt designs. But more on that later.

What does all this have to do with a Mid-Century Lesson?  Well, this cute book has tons of “practical” photos in it showing chemistry applied to everday life in 1958.  Want to see how they made soap flakes?  Ever want to see a mayonaise machine?  I know I do!

What kid sits that still when you pour iodine on them??? I have only had it done once, (thanks Grandma), but that stuff hurts. Buuuut it was still  an important part of a 1950’s home.


See??  And you didn’t think vintage science would be fun!

Linde Air still exsists today as Praxair.

Ewww….soap scum.

Is that a metal edge around that cutting board? Cute!

I mean…carbon dioxide is important stuff, people!

Sing it with me: Hot dogs! Armour hot dogs! What kinds of kids eat Armour hot dogs?

Sweet. I want to go to The Lobster!

I love this picture.

More soap!

Yes, drinking water is very important….

…but so is bleached cloth.

Hi cloth machine!  I would like 6 yards of tiki fabric and 4 yards of something kinda atomic to go, please.

Go homogenizer!

Wow.  That is…strangely fascinating. Look at it.  Reminds me of a soft serve machine.

Also known as soda pop.

Okay. Stop the jokes, hold everything. Stop, stop, stop.

Why don’t I have this Corning Blue Flameware? Why? I want them! Why did I just discover their existence now? 

Does anyone have some of these?  If you do I am dying of jealousy.

Ok, the jokes can continue now.

Is that corn in that coffee pot??

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3 Responses to Learn Your Mid-Century Lesson – The Chemistry of a 1958 Home

  1. Annie B. Reply

    February 19, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I am loving this post! Thank you, Ruth!! Better living through chemistry, you know! Ah, the good old atomic age when science was king! I remember it well. So many atoms; so little time.

    Perhaps Tom would enjoy the book I bought myself for Christmas this year: “Our Friend, the Atom”. It’s a Walt Disney book I remember checking out from the school library as a kid. The illustrations were even better than I remembered. I think it’s the same vintage as your cool chemistry text find; another mid-century classic.

    Thanks for another great post!

  2. Sara in AZ Reply

    February 19, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Wow, what a great book! I’ll bet Tom really loved it. I have never even heard of ‘Flameware’ before. I will have to check it out. Great post Ruth!

  3. sablemable Reply

    February 20, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Tom the Chemist! Now I know why he makes those expressions during the MCM meals; he’s analyzing it! LOL!

    I know of the Flameware and have seen it on Etsy. Just never bought any.

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