There is a book in the United States that has dazzling ornate designs. The oddly beautiful images are a deadly danger to humans – read in the article of Atlas Obscura.
The “shadows from the wall of death”, which is just scary for its title, is not an everyday book. The work of 55.8 x 76.2 cm printed in 1874 is interesting in two respects: on the one hand because of its rarity, and partly because it can easily kill anyone , only enough to touch a single page.
We do not have a horror story or a mystical fiction book, the book contains only a minimal amount of text instead of dozens of wallpaper falling under the hard cover. The beautiful, colorful, calm moods, however, are passed through a deadly amount of arsenic.
Nice and deadly
The book was written by a Unionist surgeon in the US Civil War, dr. Edited by Robert M. Kedzie. Kedzie later became a chemist at the Michigan State Agricultural College (MSU) and later became a member of the State Health Committee in the 1870s, when he organized a campaign to warn of the dangers of wallpaper-colored dyes with arsenic.
If the arsenic is mixed with copper, we get a very attractive, vivid color of green. This color was used with paintings and wallpapers. Coloring with arsenic copper became so popular that towards the end of the 19th century
according to a survey by the American Medical Association, 65 percent of wallpapers made in the United States were painted with such a procedure.
Yet in the Victorian era it was known that arsenic could be a very deadly poison, not by accident it was called a “legacy of dust”: it was simply possible to put the old, aunts / uncles of the rich, but still good health, under foot.
Kedzie argued (we know right now) that arsenic-imbedded wallpapers have microscopic dust particles that can be easily breathed or swallowed. In the preface of the book, the author also warns that arsenic can kill not only quickly but slowly, causing symptoms of chronic poisoning in patients.
Many times even doctors did not know what caused these symptoms, so occasionally those who wanted to recover were sent to rooms with arsenic wallpapers.
There are only four of the 100 books left today
A total of 100 copies of this book were made, all of which were sent to Michigan libraries. There are very few texts in the work, only the title page, the Foreword, and the Health Committee’s note contain information on the dangers of arsenic and the safe use of the book. Throughout the 86 pages, they can only look at tapes purchased from ordinary merchants.
Today, only 4 of the 100 copies of the book have been destroyed and the rest have been destroyed because they did not want to threaten visitors to the libraries. Two of the remaining arsenic books can still be seen in Michigan, one being MSU and the other at the University of Michigan. The MSU’s book is stored in a special green box, and the sheets are covered with plastic to safely view the marvelous images.
However, this precaution was not taken until 1998,
only the protective gloves could be taken over in front of him, and the wallets could be seen for a limited time.
As for the other two copies, they can be found at the Harvard University Medical School and the National Medical Library. Kedzie’s work is also digitally available, but the computer or smartphone screen does not give up the amazingly-looking colors of the wallpaper after 150 years.