a faint suspicion of spirits of niter and sod

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Tenos

Senior Member
Arabic
In an article entitled "Yesterday’s sweetmeats" about different kinds of candy that children used to buy in the old days. The author says "We can dismiss the Sunday drug-store candy with a word, for it was bought only once a week and then only for lack of something better. Its flavor was not enhanced by the fact that it was kept in tall glass jars, like appendixes, down at the end of the store where the prescriptions were filled, and consequently always had a faint suspicion of spirits of niter and sod. bicarb. about it." what does he mean by "consequently always had a faint suspicion of spirits of niter and sod. bicarb. about it."?
 
  • dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    Spirits of niter (nitric acid) and sod. bicarb. (sodium bicarbonate) are chemicals. Because the candy was stored near chemicals, the author is saying there was always a faint suspicion that the chemicals somehow tainted the candy. In reality, they wouldn't have because the jars and chemicals would all have been sealed. It was a perception, probably a child's perception.
     

    Tenos

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Spirits of niter (nitric acid) and sod. bicarb. (sodium bicarbonate) are chemicals. Because the candy was stored near chemicals, the author is saying there was always a faint suspicion that the chemicals somehow tainted the candy. In reality, they wouldn't have because the jars and chemicals would all have been sealed. It was a perception, probably a child's perception.
    is it nitric acid or potassium nitrate? because I checked it.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think nitric acid is the right word although I'm no chemist either. Nor am I interested in making bombs or fertilising fields: I just happen to know that nitric acid is used in those activities and that it's highly corrosive.
    I believe that what's referred to, is known as 'Sweet spirit of nitre' or 'Spiritus aetheris Nitrici'. There's also 'Potassci Nitras' used in making medicines.
    For details see 28.14 under N

    Household Physician, J. Crow Company, Health, Arthritis, Health and beauty, Health Food, Alternative medicine, Disease, Herbs, Self Help, Herbal medicine, Medical Journal, Folk Medicine, Arthritis Folk Medicine, Apple Cider Vinegar Honey, Traditional Healing, Lugol's Solution of Iodine, Kelp, Tibetan Medicine, Vermont Folk Medicine, Basics of Good Health and Well Being, Historic Documents,nutriceuticals, J.Crow Company"

    (Oh dear! I don't know how to make a less crazy looking link.)
     
    Last edited:

    Tenos

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    I don't think nitric acid is the right word although I'm no chemist either. Nor am I interested in making bombs or fertilising fields: I just happen to know that nitric acid is used in those activities and that it's highly corrosive.
    I believe that what's referred to, is known as 'Sweet spirit of nitre' or 'Spiritus aetheris Nitrici'. There's also 'Potassci Nitras' used in making medicines.
    For details see
    Household Physician, J. Crow Company, Health, Arthritis, Health and beauty, Health Food, Alternative medicine, Disease, Herbs, Self Help, Herbal medicine, Medical Journal, Folk Medicine, Arthritis Folk Medicine, Apple Cider Vinegar Honey, Traditional Healing, Lugol's Solution of Iodine, Kelp, Tibetan Medicine, Vermont Folk Medicine, Basics of Good Health and Well Being, Historic Documents,nutriceuticals, J.Crow Company"
    me too. thanks.:thumbsup:
     
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