This is how people passed the time of day during the last depression.
This is probably a good time to resurrect the Depression Plant since it is a good time to figure out ways to use up your time as they did in the last depression. One of the ways they devised was a bit of alchemy they called the depression plant. Oh well it beats the heck out of watching the grass grow!
To make a depression plant you will need the following ingredients:
One piece of coke or coal placed in a shallow dish such a saucer.
Pour the following over the piece of coal or coke.
2 tablespoons of clear ammonia (not the sudsy type)
5 tablespoons of water
6 tablespoons of laundry bluing (this is available as a laundry supply product)
6 tablespoons of non-iodized salt
2 drops of red food coloring
After you have added all of the ingredients place the dish in a window or some other place promoting evaporation.
Keep adding water so as to keep the level below most of the piece of coal so that the chemicals will crystallize on the coal making a growth appear above the level of the water resembling coral.
It is obvious that during the last depression that they had available all the ingredients for making a depression plant. It is painfully obvious that we no longer have most of the ingredients available today!
No Diet Coke won’t work coke is bituminous coal that has been cooked in an oven driving off the volatiles from the coal and leaving behind an almost pure mass of carbon. Coke is used for making iron and steel. A lump of charcoal would work as well since it too is mostly porous carbon.
The bluing presents more of a problem however as it is no longer commonly available from your corner grocery as it was in the last depression.
Bluing is a solution of blue dye such as synthetic ultramarine of gentian violet that in a very concentrated form where a few drops was added to water containing white clothes to make them look cleaner. It can be fabricated by using a blue dye bought from a chemical supply house.
Variations of the depression plant can be made using any porous material. The use of blue dye isn’t necessary since what the crystals are composed of is salt, just about any dye will work as all it does is to add color to the depression plant.