Test for White Leadby@scientificamerican

Test for White Lead

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Messrs. Editors:—I have read, with much interest, Dr. Chandler's colorimetric test of the purity of white lead, as published in the Scientific American sometime ago. I enclose another test, which, though not new, is of value to all using white lead on account of its simplicity and effectiveness. It has been in use here for nearly two years, and has been found reliable. Having never seen it in print, I have tried to put it in as simple words as possible. Felix McArdle, Analytical Chemist. St. Louis, Mo. Take a piece of firm, close grained charcoal, and, near one end of it, scoop out a cavity about half an inch in diameter and a quarter of an inch in depth. Place in the cavity a sample, of the lead to be tested, about the size of a small pea, and apply to it continuously the blue or hottest part of the flame of the blow pipe; if the sample be strictly pure, it will in a very short time, say in two minutes, be reduced to metallic lead, leaving no residue; but if it be adulterated to the extent of ten per cent. only, with oxide of zinc, sulphate of baryta, whiting or any other carbonate of lime, (which substances are now the only adulterations used), or if it be composed entirely of these materials, as is sometimes the case with cheap lead, it cannot be reduced, but will remain on the charcoal an infusible mass.
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