Speakeasy Science

Tag archives for Lewisite

Remembering mustard gas

Last week, the U.S. Army announced that its excavation old chemical munitions dump – unfortunately located in one of Washington D.C.’s more elegant neighborhoods – had turned up remnants of two of the ugliest weapons developed in World War I. By which I mean compounds used in the production of mustard gas and the arsenic-laced…

Digging up our chemical past

In the forensic laboratories of the 1920s, a chemist checking for poison could make a beaker glow with the brilliance of a gemstone.  Color tests, as they were called, derived from the fact that many toxic materials turn a specific hue if exposed to the right mixture of heat, cold, acid and base. The results…