To give a ghastly hue to the faces of the actors, the best light is that produced by some salt of soda, common salt being very good. We have succeeded well in this way: A piece of wire gauze such as ash-sifters are made of, and about a foot square, was supported at a height of about a foot from the floor, which was protected by a sheet of iron. On the wire gauze were laid twenty-five wads of cotton waste which had been soaked in a solution of common salt, dried and dipped in alcohol just before being laid on the wire. "When these were ignited we had twenty-five powerful flames all tinged with sodium and burning freely, as the air rose readily among them through the wire grating. Such a flame produces quite a powerful light and gives a death-like appearance to even the most rosy-cheeked girl.
The following give a strong light and produce a most ghastly effect:
1. Nitrate of soda, 10; chlorate of potash, 10; sulphide of antimony, 3; shellac, 4 The materials must be warm and dry, and as the nitrate of soda attracts moisture rapidly, it must be well dried, then finely powdered as quickly as possible and kept in well-corked bottles. As this gives off a good deal of sulphurous fumes, the following may be preferred where the ventilation is not good:
2. Nitrate of soda, 10; chlorate of potassa, 15; white sugar finely powdered, 5; lycopodium, 2.
In using chlorate of potassa the greatest care is necessary. It may be powdered and otherwise handled safely when alone, but when combustible matter of any kind is added to it, the mixture becomes highly explosive and must be very gently handled. It must therefore be powdered separately and only mixed with the other ingredients after they have been powdered. The mixing should be done on a large sheet of paper, very gently, but very thoroughly, with a thin, broad-bladed knife. \
Mixtures of chlorate of potash with sulphur, sulphurets, and especially phosphorous, are liable to explode spontaneously after a time, and should never be kept on hand. They should be made as wanted.
Flowers of sulphur are very liable to contain a trace of sulphuric or sulphurous acid, which, acting upon chlorate of potash causes spontaneous ignition. This may be obviated by pouring a few drops of liquid ammonia on the sulphur, mixing it up thoroughly and allowing it to stand for some time. A safe way also is to use powdered roll brimstone instead of flowers of sulphur.