Episode 90: Useful Waste

Jell-O Cookbook

Quick and Easy Jell-O Wonders, a cookbook published circa 1930. CHF Collections/Gregory Tobias

What’s better than recycling? Reducing waste! OK, maybe not better, but equally important. In this week’s episode of Distillations we learn about industrial-waste reduction. First we find out about one of the oldest waste products for which we’ve found a use—carbon black. Next up, discover the truth about Vaseline. Also a by-product. And finally, we talk with Roger Horowitz about gelatin and its history. Horowitz is currently a Gordon Cain Fellow at CHF, and he is also the associate director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library. Chemical Agent: Carbon Black.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:31 Introduction
01:11 Chemical Agent: Carbon Black
03:04 Chemistry in Your Cupboard: Vaseline
05:49 Conversation with Roger Horowitz
10:55 Closing Credits


This show was written and researched by Victoria Indivero, Michal Meyer, and Maggie Wood.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music from the PodSafe Music Network. Additional music includes “Poor Man’s Train,” by Gerry Wall and The Jell-O Instant Pudding Song, posted to YouTube by user Becktionary.

This week’s image is the cover of Quick and Easy Jell-O Wonders, a cook book published circa 1930. It is housed in CHF’s collections. The photo was taken by Gregory Tobias, and you can find it on CHF’s Flickr site.

Posted In: History | Society

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