National Geographic : 1917 Sep
Photograph by Alfred Heinicke WEIGHING THE ONE-POUND IUMPS FOR THE FARMER: OPIUM CULTIVATION SHIRAZ, PERSIA "Opium in February last had jumped to $19.05 a pound as compared with $8.05 in 1913 and $11.o5 in 1915. . . . The tremendous use of anodyne medicine to relieve the pain of the millions of wounded has undoubtedly had a stimulating effect on the price of opium and morphine" (see text, page 234). to $2 the pendulum oscillated. Now it is cheap once more at about 75 cents a pound, not more than 200 per cent higher than in 1914! The war bore heavily on bald-headed and nervous people. Practically all hair tonics nowadays contain resorcin-a coal tar product we have always allowed Ger many to make for us, and another cousin to carbolic acid. From $2 to $32 rose the price of a pound of resorcin, putting a sudden damper on the enthusiasts of intensive scalp culture. And the bald found it costly to be nervous over this advance, since bromide of potassium, long used to calm excited nerves, ad vanced from 50 cents to several dollars, and at one time it touched $12 a pound! These excessively high prices were spec ulative phenomena, and did not hold at the maximum level, though bromides are still $1.20 a pound and resorcin $24 a pound. Practically all remedies for the round- worm of children contain santonin. San tonin ballooned to dizzy heights in a few months-from $13 to $75 a pound. It is now relatively cheap at about $50 a pound. But as a pound would supply about I I,ooo doses, we do not need this drug in carload lots! ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL Some chemicals have advanced more recently for indirect reasons. For in stance, a rise in sulphuric acid is attrib uted to the fact that iron pyrites come largely from Spain, and the war has had a sinister effect upon Spanish commerce. As pyrites are used to manufacture sul phuric acid, their price and the price of the acid rose proportionately to the ef fectiveness of the underseas boats. The rise in copper had an indirect effect on certain phases of the chemical industry, as copper and sulphuric acid were largely used to generate sulphuretted hydrogen, a very valuable reagent in the laboratory.