Not sure if this is precisely on-topic, but I'll risk some reputation and give it a try.
I got a chemistry set as a kid in the early 1970s, and the subject really captured my interest. I grabbed every chemistry book I could find from our libraries. They ranged from college textbooks to "Chemical Magic" collections of demonstrations. These latter tended toward pyrotechnics, and were pretty appalling safety-wise.
There were several favorites, but there was one book in particular that stuck with me, found in a rural Virginia county library around 1976 or so. It featured adolescents in coats and ties (and maybe one in blouse and skirt) demonstrating experiments, but the experiments were a couple of levels beyond what I found elsewhere.
The ones I definitely remember:
- Removing stains by soaking clothes in potassium permanganate solution, then removing the manganese-dioxide residual stain with sodium bisulfite
- Preparing white phosphorus by heating red phosphorus in a test tube, and condensing the vapors onto a cold test tube nested inside it
- Preparing lithium metal by melting a lithium salt in a crucible and electrolyzing it
- Synthesizing Bakelite from phenol and formaldehyde
There were probably a dozen or so others. I think one involved generating chlorine gas from an aqueous solution in the bottom of a beaker, then dropping in pellets of calcium carbide to watch the acetylene spontaneously combust.
I've searched using Google, but can't seem to get past The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments -- yes, that's another treasured memory from the time, but it's not the one I have in mind. (For one thing, the one I'm asking about had no color plates at all.)
Another near miss that's quite familiar to me is Leonard A. Ford's Chemical Magic (I remember the 1959 original). I don't have it in hand, but Google's preview let me read far enough to see familiar material -- including pyrotechnic mixes using potassium chlorate instead of perchlorate, which got me in no small amount of trouble some years later. The book I'm searching for was more oriented toward science, rather than showmanship.
If the book I've described sounds familiar, please post an answer with any additional information you find -- title and publisher would be great, but additional experiment descriptions would also be helpful. If you have a favorite book from that period that doesn't seem to match this description, I'd be interested in hearing about it as well.
Finally, if this is a bad question, I welcome guidance on turning it into a good one, or why it's not worth pursuing. Thanks!