Experiments You Can Do at Home - But Probably Shouldn't

Chapter 3
Raw Power » Playing with Poison

Mercury used to be lots of fun- before we knew how toxic it was. Here's how several pounds of it made the first electric motor spin. There are great things to come in the future, jet cars and all that. But the past held a few wonders too-for example, jars of mercury available at the corner apothecary.

Just 50 years ago, people treated the shiny liquid metal like a toy. Sadly, I'll never experience the strange sensation of sticking my entire arm into a barrel of mercury, as kids once did during factory tours.

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