40 years ago

40 years ago in Chemistry in Britain

elgar in lab

In the early part of the 20th century, the composer Sir Edward Elgar invented and claimed to have patented a device for making hydrogen sulfide. 

The device is about as small as a hand. There is an inner chamber with a small hole at the top connecting it to the outer vessel. The bottom of the outer vessel is perforated with a series of about 15 small drilled holes. 

Unfortunately, no information has come to light as to how the device worked, although I have been told that the ’Elgar sulfuretted hydrogen apparatus’ was used until recently in Hereford schools.

Edited version of a letter from G Auckland, BBC Education (December 1966)

Ed: Chemistry was Elgar’s favourite diversion: he had a laboratory in a converted shed, which he nicknamed ’The Ark’.


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