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Mercury vapor power boilers!

VAsparky Member Posts: 23
I'm fascinated by weird old technologies, and concepts that didn't quite make it. Here's one of my favorites:


  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Wow! I had heard of the possibilities and improved efficiency of using mercury instead of water, but the difficulties of confining the mercury inside a working system, especially one working at temperatures high enough to evaporate mercury in sufficient quantities, and not leaking just boggled my mind. I have heard often that no such plants have ever been built. Seemed reasonable, but this shows what I heard was wrong.
  • VAsparky
    VAsparky Member Posts: 23
    edited January 2019
    From the March 1931 Popular Science Monthly article:
    At that time little thought had been given to the hazard of mercurial poisoning; hence, no precautions were taken during construction, operation, or reconstruction. Several workmen, therefore, were slightly poisoned by breathing mercury fumes. Light exercise in open air soon cured them. The most stubborn case lasted only four days.

    A touch of mercury poisoning? No problem, just walk it off!