Stinky resistors was Re: Stinky screwdrivers

Charles Dickman chd at
Mon Jan 9 16:30:32 CST 2017

On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 3:30 PM, Ethan Dicks <ethan.dicks at> wrote:
> I have some Xcelite tools from the early 1980s.  They have been stinky
> for over 30 years.

Same experience. I have some in a drawer on my work work-bench that
were purchased in the early 80s and they still smell.

>   Definitely a butyrate stink (I used to
> run chemistry shows at The Center of Science and Industry - one was on
> Esters... we mixed a variety of alcohols with a variety of fatty acids
> and let the audience smell the results... it was all fun and games
> until I spilled 200ml of Butyric Acid on myself...  :-P  )

In high school chemistry we did some experiments with that stuff. I
think the teacher just liked to stink up the school every year.

Now I also have a bunch of drawers filled with Allen-Bradley carbon
composition resistors from around 1970. All the leads have a whitish
film on them that has a peculiar odor. They've been in the electrical
lab at work, in an office environment since that time. I've always
been a little curious about what caused it.


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