A system for storing organic chemicals


Material Information

A system for storing organic chemicals
Physical Description:
Gertler, S. I
Schechter, Milton S
United States -- Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine ( Washington, D.C )
Publication Date:

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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 30364209
oclc - 783781968
System ID:

Full Text

August 1947 UI i(ET-240
United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Administration Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine


By S. I. Gertler and Milton S. Schechter Division of Insecticide Investigations

In every laboratory where considerable work with organic synthetic
chemicals is carried on, it becomes necessary to maintain a large stock
of organic chemicals. The storing and arranging of many bottles of varyIng sizes in a limited spa ce often present a problem when a general stock
of chemicals is arranged in alphabetical order, Some of them may be displaced, and bottles of the same chemical may be scattered among several
laboratories of any organization.

Several years ago the writers devised a system of storing chemicals
that made them easy to find, economized on space, and allowed for expansion. As the system has been used successfully for several years, it
appears to be worthy of description.

The arrangement consists in placing all bottles of approximately the
same size together and, for the sake of convenience, in keeping liquids
on separate shelves from the solids. The cabinets are of steel with movable shelves, which are adjusted to give just enough room for removing bottles of a certain size and height, thus using all available space to
maximum advantage.

The bottles are arranged on the shelves without regard to order.
They are placed in rows one behind the other as far as the depth of the
shelves will allow. The number of bottles in a row varies from two or three to as many as ten, depending upon the size. With the bottles of
2-ounce size or smaller it is advisable to separate the rows with strips
of cardboard about 1-1/2 inches high and cut to the depth of the shelf.
This keeps the bottles from sliding out of place. When a shelf is not completely filled by bottles of one size, the remaining space is left
vacant to allow for storing new bottles of this size. Thus the system
is flexible, since new shelves may be added when necessary.

It has been found impractical to store extra-large containers of
chemicals in the cabinets. A separate store room is set aside for them,
with a number of wooden shelves built to conform to the various sized
containers, which are arranged in the same way as the small bottles. It
is advisable to store volatile acidic compound% such as acid chlorides,
in separate cabinets from volatile basic compoundssuch as amines, to
avoid coating the shelves with reaction products. All sealed glass ampoules are also stored together.
As a means of identifying the bottles so that they can be found
quickly, each shelf is marked by a letter of the alphabet, starting with 'PJ ?~ :


A at the top and going down. A small gummed label is attached to each bottle under the regular name label. Each bottle on a shelf is numbered,, starting with the first bottle in the first row on the left, going from
front to back, and then continuing on to the next row. For example, the bottles on shelf A are labeled Al, A2# A3. etc.,, those on shelf B, B1, B2P B3. etc. Since there are more shelves than there are letters in the alphabet, after the Z shelf is reached, the alphabet is repeated but the numbers are put before the letters-lA, 2A., 3A. etc. If more shelves are needed the letters can be doubled-AAl, AA2, etc.

An alphabetical card index is used to find any chemical on the shelf. For this purpose plain white 3 x 5 cards are used. The workability of this sys tern hinges on the care with which these cards are prepared and how they are arranged, since no chemical can be found without consultizeg them, In order to make certain that no bottle was missed, the cards originally were typed in the order that the bottles were on the shelves, starting from Al and going through the entire series*

In every case the name of the chemical is copied exactlyv as on the label. In using the index., consideration should be given to possible variations in naming compounds. Cross-index cards are made when bottles of the same compound are labeled differently. Where there are a number of bottles of the same chemical, all are listed on one card. Isomers, such as ortho, meta, and para, normal and iso, and salts of a parent substance are also listed on the same card. In this way the index is not too bulky and permits rapid estimation of the approximate amount of any chemical on band. A typical index card is shown herewith&

C9 0c47 H37 E51 V23 1992

'U35 6w

p- Rl Hol Rol
010 Co4. v26 A2223 FF35

The name of the compound, in this case o-aminophenol,* is typed at the
top of the card. Directly underneath, the numbers of all bottles containIng this compound are listed across the card from left to right. Thus,
the card indicates that there were seven bottles of o-.aminophenol and one
of the oxalate. The bottles of each isomer are listed similarly on the same card. Salts of the compounds are Indicated by writing H01, H2SO4f,
oxalate, etc., directly above the numbers of the bottles concerned.

To determine whether o-aminophenol, for example, is available, the
alphabetical index is consulted. -It would show that there are seven
bottles of the compound in stock, in the places on the shelves represented by the numbers. When a chemist removes a bottle from the shelf, he place's
his-initials in pencil In the space directly under the number of the
bottle he takes out. When he finishes using the chemical, he replaces it
in Its correct place on the shelf and erases his initials from the card.

It Is advisable for one person to maintain the system and order the
chemicals; otherwise it is difficult to keep an accurate check on the

When a chemist uses up a chemical, he returns the empty bottle to the
person in charge. The number on the bottle Is crossed off the card and
placed on a separate list, so that when another chemical Is obtained in a
bottle of the same size the number and the space on the shelf can be used
over again.

This system also can be used to advantage in filing away vials con.
* taming small quatities of compounds prepared in the laboratory. For
this purpose filing-cabinet sections containing a number of drawers about 1-1/2 inches deep (so-called *legal sections") are very useful. In each drawer vials of one size are arranged lying down in rows, and each row is separated from the next by a strip of cardboard to prevent the vials from slipping when the drawer is opened. Each drawer and vial is given a code number similar to those on the bottles- on the shelves, and an index card
is prepared for each compound.

Th. system has been found to be very flexible. It can be expanded
to meet the requirements of any laboratory and will save the chemist a considerable amount of time in hunting for chemicals. The laboratory
that uses a large variety of chemicals can also effect a worthwhile savIng by avoiding duplication of chemicals and purchase of unnecessary
quantities of perishable compounds.


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 3 1262,09240 3871