The Red Room


Each half hour, DuPont's twin theaters funneled 600 visitors into the Red Room, a "stand up" theater which offered a 12-minute show of chemistry "magic."

Four casts, each with three actors, performed the demonstrations. Prepartations for the shows were made by a total of six "prep boys." A pool of 20 musicians took turns providing background music.

Chemical Wizardry display in the Red Room

Last year these "magic" shows consumed 15,275 lbs. of dry ice; 100,000 feet of "Dacron" polyester fiber; 9000 rubber balls; and 145 gallons of simulated tomato juice, in addition to copious quantities of more than 25 other chemicals.

Ray Dashner, tape recorder in hand, preserved the soundtracks of many of the New York World's Fair shows for his own enjoyment. Now, relive the sounds of the Fair through Ray's fabulous recordings!

Du Pont's

"Wonderful World of Chemistry" Demonstrations

Soundtrack 1965

LISTEN! (4.59MB)
Source: Ray Dashner Archives 2007 All Rights Reserved

Synopsis of Chemistry Demonstrations

"Wonderful World of Chemistry" Logo

  1. Freezing a Flower in Freon. In this demonstration a flower such as a carnation or a rose is dipped for a few moments in Freon. Since the Freon is at about 50 degrees below zero, the flower freezes instantly. The flower is removed from the Freon and when struck on the table top, it shatters like glass.

Source: Book "Science at the Fair"

02. Rubber vs. Adiprene Balls in Freon. A rubber ball frozen in Freon will shatter like glass when dropped on the floor. A ball made of DuPont Adiprene, on the other hand, retains its elasticity and bounces after its immersion in Freon.
  3. Disappearing Blue. In this demonstration a large flask containing a clear liquid changes to a deep blue color when the flask is shaken. This blue color slowly changes back into a clear solution again. This can be done repeatedly by simply shaking the flask. This demonstration is based on the fact that a certain indicating dye will turn deep blue when combined with air which is accomplished by the shaking. Another chemical in the flask reverses this situation and the liquid becomes colorless.
  4. Hindu Rope Trick. This demonstration features DuPont Stren which is a Nylon fishing line. It is so fine and transparent that we can reconstruct the well known Hindu Rope Trick by attaching the Stren to a piece of manila rope and using it to lift the rope, which then hovers in mid-air as though unsupported.
  5. Conductive Paint. A tape recorder is separated from its loud-speaker by a panel of transparent plastic sheet so that although the tape recorder is mechanically operating, no sound comes out of the loudspeaker since it is not electrically connected. An aerosol dispenser containing a paint which conducts electricity is used to "spray" 2 "wires" leading from the tape recorder to the speaker. Completion of the second "wire" electrically connects the speaker and it begins to play.
  6. Instant Nylon. A large container contains 2 liquids, one of them floating on the other. Where the two liquids meet, polymerization occurs and pure nylon is produced. This film of nylon can be lifted out of the liquids by wearing rubber gloves and reaching through the top liquid. this process is continuous and a cord of nylon can be drawn continuously from this container until one of the liquids is depleted.
  7. Dacron 88. A strand of unstretched Dacron 88 is held and stretched to over twice its length. When the strand is released, the stretched fiber bunches up or fluffs since each individual filament has now become crimped by the stretching process.
  8. Baymal. A tube about 3' long and 4" in diameter is partly filled with a thick white liquid, Baymal. This substance is thixotropic; i.e., the liquid gels or becomes firm in about 10 seconds so that if the cylinder is held vertically with the liquid Baymal at the bottom, in 10 seconds it can be turned over so that the Baymal stays at the top. The Baymal can be liquefied by simply shaking the tube after which it will gel again. This can be done endlessly.
  9. Lucite Paint. Lucite Paint is also thixotropic, which is the reason for its "no-drip" qualities. To prove this, we drape an expensive fur or orlon coat over a table using it as a drop cloth. The open can of paint is placed on the coat and a panel held above the coat is painted.

Showman's hand is shielded by "Tipersul" fibrous potassium titanate when he holds 1800°F. coupling.
Tipersul demonstration

10. Tipersul. A performer lays a piece of 1/8" Tipersul on his open palm and an assistant places a red hot bolt on the Tipersul. This thin sheet protects his hand and the performer shows the high temperature of the bolt by dropping it on a piece of wood which catches fire.

11. Mylar and Butacite Drum. Two drums about 3' in diameter have their ends covered with Mylar and Butacite respectively. A heavy solid Lucite bowling ball is dropped onto the plastic sheets from a height of about 3'. upon striking the Mylar, the ball rebounds sharply. The Butacite drum, however, cushions the blow and the rebound of the ball is substantially less.
12. Jacob's Ladder. A 50,000-volt arc up to a foot long is generated between two vertical rods in the form of a "V". A piece of wood placed in the gap catches fire immediately because of the intensity of the arc. A sheet of Mylar is then placed in the gap, power turned on, but the arc does not strike due to the high insulating ability of the Mylar. As soon as the Mylar sheet is removed, the arc is immediately generated.
13. Zepel. A piece of cloth is prepared with the letters Z-E-P-E-L printed on it with Zepel which cannot be seen. Stains of various sorts such as ink, tomato juice, salad oil, etc., are poured on the cloth and stain it completely except where the material has been treated with Zepel. The letters Z-E-P-E-L then stand out since they are unstained.
14. Iodine Clock. In this demonstration a small quantity of clear liquid is added to a large flask containing another clear liquid. In the order of 10 seconds the solution turns instantly black.

Dyes change liquid's color each time it's poured.
Color Sequence demonstration

15. Color Sequence. The black solution from the previous demonstration is then poured into 4 beakers. The black solution becomes colorless, then red, then wine colored and finally blue as it is transferred from one beaker to the other.

16. Parabolic Mirrors. Two highly polished parabolic mirrors 5' in diameter are mounted to face each other. A light source at the focal point of one mirror is used to reflect light from that mirror through a distance of about 50' to the other mirror. The second mirror refocuses the light at its focal point at which a match can be ignited.
17. Vortex Gun. A Vortex Gun 4' in diameter generates a vortex (concentrated jet of air) which is used to blow out a flame, rattle a sheet of paper, etc. (at a distance of 40' to 60')/
18. Chemiluminescence. A small amount of liquid is added to about a quart of liquid in a 6-qt. spherical flask. when the mixture is shaken, intense blue or yellow is produced. This light is generated completely by the chemicals in the flask.

Bill Cotter, World's Fair enthusiast, has been collecting images of the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair for many years. He shares with us here some excellent views of the DuPont Chemistry Demonstrations. If you would like to see more images of Bill's fabulous collection of World's Fair images, visit his website

Color Sequence Demonstration
Color Sequence
ZEPEL Stain Blocking Demonstration
ZEPEL Demonstration

Iodine Clock
Iodine Clock

Source: Above photos presented courtesy Bill Cotter Collection and are © Copyright 2007 Bill Cotter, All Rights Reserved


More Content