Hello my fellow rockhounds and pebblepups of all stripes and spots! This is Mac coming to you alive from Rock Your World.
Here at the rock shop we occasionally get donations from old collections and collectors. Usually it’s a dusty old box of random rocks, slabs, an occasional treasure, and a whole lot of memories for someone. Not that long ago, we were gifted a couple pieces of very old lapidary equipment. Among the rusty dusty pieces of an ancient flat lap was this mystery box.
I asked the person dropping it off if they knew what it was. All they could tell me was that it came from an old rockhound and had been sitting untouched for decades.
Now, I like a mystery so I’ve been eager to jump into this one. First, lets take a look around and survey the condition of the box.
As you can see, time had not been kind and this box is in pretty rough shape. Those hinges are so badly rusted they only open this much, so we’ll need to take the hinges off.
Now that the hinges are off, we can take off the top and see what’s going on inside.
That’s a lot of cool old bottles! Let’s check them out!
Looks like there’s two kinds of acid, sodium bicarbonate, lamp alcohol, and a couple mystery things. Unfortunately, I don’t have the set up to test what those things are, but I think I know what this is already! We’ve still got a couple more pieces to look at, so let’s do that before I tell you what I think this is.
The top thing fell apart into rust as I tried to open it up. The second thing is a metal block of some kind, and the last thing is some kind of heat resistant material.
Have you figured it out yet? While I don’t know for certain myself, I believe this is a mineral testing kit. The different acids, mixing some of those powders into solution, the fuel for an alcohol lamp, and what look like testing surfaces are all strong indicators that the person who built this was doing some backyard chemistry, most likely on mineral specimens based on the size and quantity of the materials.
I’d live to hear your thoughts. Do you think I’m right? Do you think I’m wrong? Let me know with why!