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Author Topic: Calcium Carbide  (Read 2497 times)

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Offline ohsoloco

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Calcium Carbide
« on: January 30, 2003, 08:46:06 am »
I just purchased a 10# can of calcium carbide for an old lamp I'd like to use.  It is in a metal can much like a coffee can.  I'm worried about this stuff reacting with the moisture in the air...how big of a threat is this?  What's the best way to store this stuff so I don't have to worry about acetylene gas building up  :o

Also, if anyone knows a place to buy flints for these lamps (it's a little brass Guy's Dropper lamp) I'd appreciate the help.  The flints for zippo's are too small (in diameter) and the ones I got from the welding shop are a hair too big   ???

Offline ohsoloco

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2003, 09:34:05 am »
Yes, this is an old carbide miner's lamp...the carbide (calcium carbide) goes in the bottom part, and the water sits in a little resiv...reserv...a little tank  ;) on the top, and the drip rate of the water is controlled by a lever on the top.  

A former co-worker of mine had a father that worked in the coal mines.  When he had a tooth that needed to come out, he used to pack a little carbide in there and wait for the pop  :o  

Any suggestions on storing this stuff?  

About the swamp fishing...did you mix the carbide and water together before fitting the lid?  No more waiting for a bite....nice    ;D

Offline Jeff

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2003, 10:38:14 am »
Guys, as much as I enjoy where this thread could potentially go, we gotta set an example as this is a resource for kids too. Continue the recreational uses of rapidly expanding products in the members area O.K.?
I don't need to know everything, I just need to know where to find it, when I need it - Albert Einstein
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Offline johncinquo

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2003, 12:25:20 pm »
Your are correct and I removed it.  I PMd ohso.  I can only imagine how I will react when I catch my boy wonder trying half of the stuff I used to try.  
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Offline Don P

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2003, 02:32:00 pm »
DanG, now I'm curious :D. I have a can that I keep losing around here for a lamp I got in about 1980. Last time I found both the lamp and the can they were in fine shape, what is that, twenty some years down south...hmm, I'm thinking its in the barn, I'll forget again by tomorrow :D Some of those dessicant packs (you know "do not eat") thrown in the can wouldn't hurt if you're worried. If you have trouble finding flints get  measurements and IM me, I think I know someone that might have a line on some. His device uses rapidly.. :-X
Have you guys seen the old time generators for making gas that used to sit outside and run the lights in rural homes? The byproduct gave Tom Sawyer a job to try to pawn off on his buddies.

Offline Don P

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2003, 04:01:32 pm »
Got me curious so I've been researching a little.

Found parts here: click on carbide lamp parts
http://www.4bobandbob.com/

Found this description of how carbide is manufactured, its that lime kiln again ;)
http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/ap42/ch11/final/c11s04.pdf

The light plants were like a drum with a funnel and inverted funnel on top. Was hoping to find a picture of one on the net but haven't so far. The carbide nuggets were put in the cone and the water went into the drum below, about 50 pounds of each. Beside this sat another drum with an inverted bottomless drum inside that floated in water. This was the gas storage. As the drum sank from the gas being used it operated a lever to drop more carbide into the water bath and start generation again. They were popular in relatively wealthy homes, like Tom Sawyer's "Aunt Polly's" around the turn of the century.

I found this article on the net from the 1933 Java Herald in Java SD; scroll down to 447, the double funeral, for a descrition of an accident with one of those old units.
http://pixel.cs.vt.edu/pub/newspapers/java33.txt
       
This is description of an early Town Gas plant
http://www.visi.com/~rmolson/vv6.html

Offline Mark M

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2003, 07:46:01 pm »
Here is a link for an MSDS sheet. Biggest thing is to keep it dry.

Mark

http://msds.pdc.cornell.edu/msds/msdsdod/a80/m39501.htm#Section7

Offline ohsoloco

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2003, 11:19:37 am »
Thanks for all the help, and the leads, everyone   ;)

Offline whitepe

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2003, 01:07:42 am »
Ohsoloco,
There ought to be a lot of spelunking supply shops
that would have parts to fit your calcium carbide lamps.
Several years ago, I used to go crawl around in caves
in southern Indiana near Bloomington.
OWW, the two caves were Sullivan's Cave and Salamander Cave. We used to spend the whole day 6-8 hours in Sullivan's
cave.  One time we were about 3 hours into the cave
and I had stopped to refill my lamp and got too much
gas built up in the lamp before I struck the flint to light it.
When I did strike the flint, boom, it blew the replaceable ceramic jewel out of the front of the lamp.

On another trip we were following an underground stream
and were wading along in about 2 feet of water. I got cold
from walking in the water so I decided to walk along the
ledge. Eventually I fell off the ledge and landed funny
on my ankle.  We were three hours from the entrance
so we returned and I waded in the stream to keep the
swelling down. By the time I got back to the car I had
a wonderfully colorful black, blue, and purple ankle.

I don't have my lamps and helmets any longer. I loaned
them to a friend once so he could take some friends
to Sullivan's cave.  At that time he was living in Champaign
Illinois and before we could cross paths, he had moved to China, literally. He's still there and has been there about 10-15 years.  He only comes back to the states for his wife
to have kids. He now has four kids but I don't think any of them were born in McDonald's parking lots.   :D :D
The last time he was here, he took back a whole suitcase
full of catsup.   Yep, they don't have catsup in China.  8)
blue by day, orange by night and green in between

Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2003, 05:07:21 am »
Sullivan's and Salamander - been in both.  Way back when during my college years I would go spelunking as often as I could.  Helped cure me of any claustophobia!  I always used an electric lamp and carried an extra battery and bulb.  You don't know what darkness is until you have lost your light deep in a cave. :o
About fifteen years ago I revisted Buckner's cave.  I hardly knew the place - graffitti was everywhere >:( - I guess the old code of do not disturb got lost somewhere - many of the paths had been dug out during rescue attempts to pull out injured cavers.  One of my favorite passages was called the 'Oh S!!!' hole.  It was called that because when people realized that little hole lead to the next room they would always exclaim Oh S!!!.  Once you squeezed through you found yourself in a huge chamber called the volcano room 'cause it looked like the inside of a volcano.  Well someone apparently got hurt on the wrong side of that hole because it was a whole lot bigger ::)
Ain't been in a cave since.
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Offline ohsoloco

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2003, 08:33:10 am »
I've had my eye on several caps and hard hats with the lamp bracket on them (on ebay).  Problem is, some people are willing to pay a whole lot more for these things than I am  :-/

My dad is retired now, and I've been thinking about taking his hard hat and making my own bracket to put on there.  There's lots of caves and caverns around here (even some the lime companies didn't make  ;)  )   My brother has been in one that is in Pleasant Gap, PA just a few miles from the house.  Other people that have been in there said there's rooms you could fit a football field in.  I have a little of the claustrophobia, so I don't know if I'll crawl through the pipe to get into this cave.

No ketchup in China   :o   I'm not goin' then.  When I went to Russia I made sure I packed a few jars of peanut butter...darn glad I did   :)

Offline whitepe

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2003, 12:29:06 am »
Ohsoloco,
Another co-worker went on a missions trip to Russia
back in 1999 or 2000.  Based on the advice of people who had been there before, he took a suitcase full of toilet paper to give out as gifts.  It's amazing how much that was appreciated by those folks. He also brought back one of those
yellow/black books titled "Windows for Dummies". We got a big kick out of that. By the way,  what was the purpose of the trip to Russia? Business or pleasure?  :)
PU-PEW
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Offline ohsoloco

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Re: Calcium Carbide
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2003, 08:12:36 am »
Y'know, my grandmother tried to convince me to take toilet paper with me when I went.  They do have TP there, although it wasn't as squeezably soft as the stuff we have here  ;)

I went to Russia on an exchange program when I was still in college.  Took several Russian language classes at Lock Haven University, so I figured I knew enough (I wasn't even close to knowing enough!).  I wanted to travel and see some of the world while I was still taking student loans out for the whole thing.  Ended up in Siberia for several months in a city called Kemerovo.  Just wish I could get a hold on some of that vodka I could get over there  ;D