Re: paraffin survey

From:Rose Richardson

Brings to mind a paraffin mixture that I had to use for an experiment with a
collaborator a few years ago.  They used one ounce of beeswax to a pound of
Gulfwax for rabbit brains.  (and yes, you can still buy Gulfwax in some
stores during jelly making season!)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: paraffin survey

> Gulfwax?
> I've been a pathologist since - gack - 1964 - and, while there've been
> ups and downs, in general the slides are a great deal better than they
> when I was a resident. I have the abiding suspicion that improved
> media are the biggest single reason for this improvement.
> In 1964 tissue was embedded in paraffin - a complex and ill defined
> of natural aliphatic hydrocarbons (the word "paraffin" is a blend of two
> Latin words "parum affinis" literally meaning 'little related' - doesn't
> combine with anything). You could actually go to the grocery store and buy
> the wax that home canners used, and some labs did this.
> Today's embedding media are complex mixtures of organic molecules that may
> have been mentioned in my 1957 organic chemistry course some spring day
> I cut class to drink beer on the banks of the Charles. Their composition
> entirely trade secret, and even if it were revealed it wouldn't tell most
> it very much. This evolution occurred with little if any documentation in
> literature - for example, a review of embedding media in the J
Histotechnol a
> few years ago barely mentioned it.
> What happened? I've always wondered.
> Bob Richmond
> Samurai Pathologist
> Knoxville TN

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