Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I thought that this was common knowledge. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because I have know about this strange reaction for years. My sister and I used to do this all the time when we were kids. Why? Again, no idea. Some things kids just DO. I feel sorry for a lot of kids these days. Some are so schedulized and watched and kept near that they have no time to explore and experiment like we did as kids. You know who you are. You are the ones who wouldn't want your kids to do what you did when you were a kid. I some days have to take a deep breath and let my kids go when we are at my parents house. They live on a farm and there are all sorts of potential dangers. But there are all sorts of learning opportunities too. We ran wild from June to September and I survived. The things that I have to worry about out there are inanimate and not living breathing beings. Some people are scary. To all of you scary people, I say "GO AWAY".
But enough of that. The funny reaction that I mentioned earlier was the simple fact that you can clean pennies (and any copper) of corrosion with ketchup.
It is science fair project time and Mira finally decided what her project was going to be. She had made a battery with zinc washers, pennies, lemon juice, and paper towel a couple of years ago with her papa and decided that this was what she would do for her project. Bill decided to bump up the demo (and at the same time make a piece of equipment that he may be able to use in his first year lab as a demo) and make a battery cell using copper plates and zinc flashing all soddered together in a battery type cell structure (in reality, a pill case). I was helping to clean the copper and zinc plates and Bill wanted me to sand all of the copper plates to clean them. "Why don't I just use ketchup?" I asked. Well, I'm not going to get into the discussion that followed, but let us say that the sceptic was soon converted. Converted to the point that he told a few people at work today about the wonders of ketchup on copper as a cleaning agent and they were all amazed! Who knew? Just one of those useless bits of childhood information that actually turned out to be useful.
Don't believe me? Just dump some ketchup on some dirty, scuzzy pennies. It only takes a minute and they look shiny and new. Did you know this? Or are we New Brunswick farm girls just weird?
And you though that ketchup was just for fries!


Leigh said...

Well, I can honestly say that I have heard this before thanks to 11 years of homeschooling. However, I have to confess that I rarely have had occasion to use it. :)

Margene said...

What you learn on the blogs! I had no idea or maybe I did when I was a kid but now, I had no idea.

Valerie said...

Well, I'm not Canadian and I know that malt vinegar is for fries! So I always wondered what you Canadians thought ketchup was for. (giggle...)'re right about allowing kids to explore. One of my fondest grade school memories was filling fountain pens with lemon juice or milk to write invisible messages. Yep it was dangerous to decode them over the stove or over a flame. But delicious fun.