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@ the EyePoint
The Literature of Classical Microchemistry, Spot Tests, and Chemical Microscopy
by  John Gustav Delly, Scientific Advisor, Hooke College of Applied Sciences, Westmont, IL

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The 1930's


Again, there is considerable overlap when taking a decades approach, because of updates of older books and because of the historical links between those writing the books.  Still, some very important new books in the field were first published in the 1930's.


Fritz Feigl is an important name here.  His Qualitative Analyse mit Hilfe von Tupfelreaktionen [Feigl, Fritz (1931)]; published in 1931 is only one of this prolific writer's books.  The second English edition, Qualitative Analysis by Spot Tests [Feigl (1939)], translated from the Third German edition, was published in 1939 (Figure 46).  Another is his Chemistry of Specific, Selective and Sensitive Reactions [Feigl, Fritz (1949)], published in 1949 (Figure 47).  The more generally available, and highly recommended, books of his are the two spot test books, Spot Tests in Inorganic Analysis [Feigl, Fritz and Vinzenz Anger (1937, 1939, 1946, 1954, 1958)], and Spot Tests in Organic Analysis [Feigl, Fritz (1937, 1954, 1956, 1960)].  Here are the attractive front covers of the 1954 fourth edition (Figure 48, Figure 49).  I like these two books very much; they are not strictly microscopical tests; they are intended, as the titles suggest, to be conducted in spot plates; they are colorimetric/filter paper/spot plate tests.  Many of the described reaction products are deeply colored, and I have, on more than one occasion, successfully adapted the tests to microscopic scale, especially when my unknown was organic.  I, personally, would not be without these two books close at hand.  All of the editions going back to the 1937 translation are useful, but the latest editions have been completely revised and enlarged.


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Figure 46. Title page of Feigl’s Qualitative Analysis by Spot Tests (1939).
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Figure 47. Title page of Chemistry of Specific, Selective and Sensitive Reactions (1949).
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Figure 48. Front cover of Feigl’s Spot Tests in Inorganic Analysis (1954).
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Figure 49. Front cover of Feigl’s Spot Tests in Organic Analysis (1954).


In 1932, Emich's Microchemical Laboratory Manual [Emich, Friedrich (1932)], with a section on Spot Analysis by Fritz Feigl, was translated into English by Frank Schneider, and was published by Wiley.  Schneider was working in the microchemical field for a few years with A.A. Benedetti-Pichler, who was Emich's former assistant and co-worker.  The American edition of Emich's book was translated, partly, as a tribute to "that grand old master of microchemistry."


A.A. Benedetti-Pichler had been Privat Dozent at the Technische Hochschule in Graz, Austria; he and W.F. Spikes had both been Emich's students.  Together, Benedetti-Pichler and Spikes wrote, Introduction to the Microtechnique of Inorganic Qualitative Analysis [Benedetti-Pichler, A.A. and W.F. Spikes (1935)], in 1935, and dedicated the volume to Emich.  One of the features of this book is the use of empty 3-inch diameter circles throughout, in which the user is expected to draw the microscopical view of the crystals or reaction product being discussed.  In 1942, this book was replaced by, Introduction to the Microtechnique of Inorganic Analysis [Benedetti-Pichler, A.A. (1942 and 1950)], under the authorship of Benedetti-Pichler alone.  The 3-inch diameter circles for do-it-yourself drawing are not in this version.


Hotstage methods (fusion methods; thermomicroscopy) is another category which requires a separate survey; however, a few works may be mentioned here.  The techniques are traceable back to Otto Lehmann's works in the 1880's and after.  (I regard myself as extremely fortunate to have one of Lehmann's books, Die scheinbar lebenden Kristalle, that bears the library stamps -of the Technische Hoogeschule in Delft where Behrens taught).


In 1936, Kofler, Kofler, and Mayrhofer saw the publication of their Mikroskopische Methoden in der Mikrochemie [Kofler, L., A. Kofler and Mayrhofer, A. (1936)], Mayrhofer had previously (1923) published his Mikrochemie der Arzneimittel und Gifte [Mayrhofer, A. (1923)], Kofler and Kofler had their Thermomikromethoden [Kofler L., and A. Kofler (1954)], published in 1954.  And then Maria Kuhnert-Brandstätter, Professor of Pharmacognosy, University of Innsbruck, and close friend and colleague of the Koflers, saw her highly valuable Thermomicroscopy in the Analysis of Pharmaceuticals [Kuhnert-Brandstätter, Maria (1971)], published in 1971.  Her book is dedicated to Adelheid Kofler, widow of her highly esteemed teacher, Ludwig Kofler.


Walter McCrone used to tell the story that, both he and the Koflers were, unknown to each other, developing thermal methods for the study of fusible compounds, and neither knew that Otto Lehmann had already developed most of their procedures in the 1880's [Lehmann, Otto (1891)], McCrone published his work Fusion Methods in Chemical Microscopy [McCrone, W.C. (1956)], incorporating the Koflers' analytical tables in 1956.


In 1938, a little book appeared that was intended to introduce senior chemistry students to the methods of microchemistry; it was Cecil L. Wilson's An Introduction to Microchemical Methods [Wilson, Cecil L. (1938)].  This book also introduces the student to the tintometer, the calorimeter, the nephelometer, and the spectrograph, in addition to qualitative organic and inorganic analysis.



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