Michael Munas (michaelboy) wrote,
Michael Munas
michaelboy

A Long Soaking Rain

This was my dad's carbide lantern. These lanterns use a controlled water drip that is fed onto a charge of calcium carbide. The reaction causes production of acetylene gas.



CaC2 + 2 H2O → C2H2 + Ca(OH)2

Pre-electric miner's lamps used carbide and even some early residential applications were produced. I've personally seen the remnants of a home carbide-acetylene gas generating system in an abandoned farmhouse (Speers, for those who know the place). A large tank was built into the ground outside in the back yard of the home where then the acetylene was piped into the house as you might see in any typical natural gas installation.

As kids, we had carbide cannons, but more often would take a few carbide 'rocks' (about the size of a crack rock), place them on the ground, drip water on them and then cover it all with a coffee can. After a sufficient charge was collected, we'd touch a lit match to a small hole punched in the top of the can for a good explosion. Probably not the safest thing to depict. Do I need a disclaimer?

Anyhow that was dad's lantern and sometimes on nights after a long soaking rain, he would take us up under the apple tree with the lamp to look for night-crawlers together. There was a great dirt spot under our rope swing where they'd always be. He did a lot of fun things with us.

* * *

I had a dream that a mouse was living in my bicycle seat. There was a small hole in the side of the saddle where he could enter and leave.
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