IF NOTHING ELSE
WORKS TRY SULFUR!
By Norris Chambers
By Norris Chambers
Later when I went to school I learned to spell the name of the
yellow stuff sulphur,
but now the proper spelling is sulfur.
I guess that isnít too bad since it shortens the word and makes
writing it a little quicker and easier.
The powdered sulfur was used for dusting vegetable crops to keep
insects away. It was also sprinkled in chicken nests to keep the hens
free of mites, fleas and other undesirable parasites. At an early age I
learned that sulfur was a valuable tool for the farmer. The yellow stuff
is a primary ingredient of gun powder. Sulfur and lard was also a sure
cure for the seven year itch when applied continually for nine days!
Cows require salt. Salt was available in either bulk granules or
hard blocks about a foot in diameter. The blocks were not eaten, but
were licked by the cow until she thought she had enough. The block
slowly grew smaller, but not uniformly. The surface was covered with
holes of various depths where the tongues had scoured away the salt.
There were also salt blocks that contained sulfur. These blocks were a
pretty yellow in color instead of the plain white of the pure salt ones.
I suppose the sulfur was to help keep flies, ticks and other blood
suckers away from the livestock.
A small bottle of sulfur was a necessary item on any hunting trip.
When working in the oil field I learned that engines, compressors
and other heavy machines that were mounted on concrete slabs were often
held in place by bolts that were secured in the concrete with a mixture
of salt and sulfur. When we mounted something we took about equal
amounts of sulfur and salt and melted them together. They both melt at a
reasonably low temperature and mix together to form a metallic colored
substance that looks like melted lead. The melted mixture cools and
forms a very hard compound. I had always assumed that lead was the best
thing to use when setting a bolt in concrete but the old timers said the
salt and sulfur was much better. It worked well.
Someone else knew about the mixture and its solder-like texture
because it was advertised and sold as a simple solder for leaky pots and
pans. To use the wonder solder all that was required was to heat the pan
and rub the solder stick over the hole. The hole was closed with a
metallic appearing solder and worked well as long as the utensil was
used with a liquid inside. Of course it would melt away if a pan were
heated without a cooling liquid. These solder sticks worked well when
used as directed.
All of this talk about sulfur is leading up to the true tale I am
about to tell concerning
He carefully sanded the ends of the nails and placed them end to
end on the anvil. Taking the soldering iron in his right hand and the
stick of solder in his left, he touched the iron and the solder at the
junction of the nails. He jumped back suddenly, coughing and strangling
and using a few unprintable words. When the hot iron touched the solder
smoke and fumes flashed in his face. Not many things smell worse than
Although it was quite funny, I didnít dare laugh. There was a
difference of opinion about whether it was fun or not. I do not advise
anyone to try it for fun Ė just stick to the instructions and donít
use a hot soldering iron when you use sulfur solder.