The latest Aldrichimica Acta is out- No. 2 of volume 41. This publication was started by a friend, teaching colleague, mentor, and former boss who spent some of his best years working for Alfred Bader. He eventually retired as a VP of something or other at Aldrich. A truly great guy. For a while, the task of catalog publishing was his job. He bought paper by the rail car. Their job was to increase the size of the collection by 15 % per year.

He also invented the coffee pot kugelrohr system that Aldrich sold for a long time. It has now morphed out of recognition. But he showed me the prototype motor assembly. It consisted of a reciprocating air motor built for automotive windshield wipers wired onto some pegboard. The air motor used either air pressure or vacuum and had a metal tube that connected the vac line from one side of the motor axially to the other.  The reciprocating motor got around the need for a sealed vacuum bearing. To one side of the reciprocating tube was connected a vacuum line via flexible rubber hose, and to the other via hose and barbed connector, a series of bulb tubes and pot. 

The coffee pot came from a West Bend coffee pot plant down the road in Milwaukee. Aldrich bought the reject pots and paid a guy to refit them for kugelrohr duty in his garage. It was a very successful product. When I went to grad school we had a Buchi kugelrohr for bulb-to-bulb short path distillation. But I still remember with some fondness having to sit at the bench twiddling the Aldrich kugelrohr by hand while feeding dry ice onto the receiver. Sometimes we would drip dichloromethane in the receiver and let the evaporative cooling do the trick. We’d use the air motor for lengthy distillations.

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