Fireplace Colors, ca. 1960

As promised in yesterday’s post, here is the recipe for fireplace colors, as sent in to the 1960 edition of Maxine Mulvey’s “Hello, Neighbor” Book by a Mrs. Steve Shaball, P.O. Box 597, Rollinsville, Colorado. Don’t blame me if the purchase of any of the below mentioned chemicals puts you on some sort of watch list.


Pine cones or wood will burn with fascinating colors if they are first soaked in certain chemical solutions and then dried. Prepare some now to give your yuletide a glow in the fireplace.

Each of these solutions will make a different color of flame. Don’t dip a piece in more than one solution or try to mix solutions. Make some cones or wood for blue, some for purple, some for green, and some for red.

For blue flames—copper sulphate, 2 pounds to 1 gallon water
For purple flames—potassium permaganate, 2 pounds to 1 gallon water
For green flames—boric acid, 2 pounds to 1 gallon water
For red flames—lithium chloride or barium chloride, 1/4 pound to 1 gallon water

After dissolving the chemical, put the cones or wood into a large square of cheesecloth, gather up the corners and dip the bag into the liquid for about an hour. Remove it and let the cones or wood dry.

Old newspapers may be rolled up and tied into small “logs” and dipped too. They are good for starting a fire. Dry them thoroughly.

Be careful not to put hands into the solutions as they may stain or irritate the skin. Most of these chemicals are poison, so keep any left-over solutions well marked and safe from children and pets.


Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

2 Replies to “Fireplace Colors, ca. 1960”

  1. Dude this is awesome!
    I have about 6 months to gather those… ingredients? because it is Spring now and as such it is already a hundred million squillion degrees at -night- and having a fire would mean death for all. ^^ But when winter rolls around… oh yesh, I shall have the most Shiny And Awesome fireplace in the (entire tri state area!) street.


  2. Someone brought a tube of Assorted Chemicals for Fireplaces to a camping trip this season, and it made for a beautiful campfire. But here, it gets cold at night, even in the summer, as long as you go up into the mountains.

    You can find “color flame crystals” and “rainbow flame sticks” for sale online, for a lot less hassle than soaking your own pinecones. Of course, it isn’t as much FUN.


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