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  #1  
Old 11-11-2001, 11:16 AM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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Once upon a time there was a fixture in major league dugouts, at least on hot days, called "Florida water." Stored in an open bucket, Florida water is a solution of water, ice, and (I think) spirits of ammonia. Players would take towels drenched in the the stuff and drape it over their necks and upper bodies. It was said to leave the player "refreshed," I guess on the same principle that smelling salts (also ammonia-based, no?) snap one out of unconsciouness. Is this stuff still in use? Any thoughts on whether it is a dangerous thing to do? Does anyone know the preferred proportions of water and ammonia?

I tried researching this on the internet before posting here. Admittedly, my skills are not nearly as well honed as others, and I mostly came up with a lot of aquamarine sites, Florida oriented, of course. It was precisely this lack of success in finding any recent references that I came to suspect that the use of Florida water has been largely discontinued, perhaps for reasons of health and safety.

I promise not to drink the stuff.
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2001, 11:22 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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Quote:
Once upon a time there was a fixture in major league dugouts, at least on hot days, called "Florida water." Stored in an open bucket, Florida water is a solution of water, ice, and (I think) spirits of ammonia. Players would take towels drenched in the the stuff and drape it over their necks and upper bodies. It was said to leave the player "refreshed,"
It might help if you could give a source for this info. Or multiple sources.
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2001, 11:28 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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Well, here's Mathew's first cite for the term, but it had nothing to do with baseball.....

"Florida water, a proprietary name for a particular kind of toilet water; 1840, N.O. Picayune [Merchandise includes] lavender and Florida waters; perfumed toilet and pearl powders."
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Old 11-11-2001, 11:31 AM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by samclem
Quote:
It might help if you could give a source for this info. Or multiple sources.
Naturally I would if I could. Of course, if I had sources, I likely wouldn't need to have answered what I asked. I vaguely recall hearing references to it by broadcast announcers and play-by-play folks, circa 1960s-1970s, and I certainly have read references to it in one or more books about baseball, of which I've read too many to recall.
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2001, 11:33 AM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by samclem
Well, here's Mathew's first cite for the term, but it had nothing to do with baseball.....

"Florida water, a proprietary name for a particular kind of toilet water; 1840, N.O. Picayune [Merchandise includes] lavender and Florida waters; perfumed toilet and pearl powders."
Well, that's a start. Please don't think I don't appreciate the effort. I know we can get to the bottom of this.
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2001, 11:44 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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Those were the kinds of "references" for which I was looking.

What was your location in the US when you heard those references in the 60's 70's? I grew up in the 50's/60's listening to Washington Senator's baseball(sic) and never heard the term. Never remember it on a Nationally broadcast game. That doesn't mean you didn't.

Bob T will be along shortly to offer what Dickson has to say in the Baseball Encyclopedia
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2001, 11:59 AM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by samclem
Those were the kinds of "references" for which I was looking.

What was your location in the US when you heard those references in the 60's 70's
East coast. But the games, of course, would have been broadcast from anywhere. References to Florida water were by no means frequent, only occasional. Obscurity has never before been an obstacle to revelation here at SD, and I remain hopeful that my own ignorance (or "incomplete knowledge") on this matter can soon be stamped out.
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2001, 12:27 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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Google, "dugout ammonia ice". Hit #1.

http://asa12u2001.garlandgirlssoftba...lastminute.htm
Quote:
Get a small cooler, with ice water and rags so you may wipe down your players...Adding an ounce of ammonia spirits will also give the water a more improved cooling effect, but may not be wiped in the eyes as a burning sensation will then take place.
See, your problem is that you didn't check with the Garland Girls' Softball Association. Or with the Norfolk Tides.

http://www.pilotonline.com/sports/sp0810tid.html
Quote:
Nothing, it seems, can keep a catcher cool. Miller was draping towels soaked in ice and ammonia water between innings, as were most players, and was using alcohol towels to dry his hands.
Or with the Texas Rangers.

http://www.texnews.com/sports/heat081996.html
Quote:
On particularly hot nights, Wheat said he will fill a bucket of ice water. Then he will put in just a touch of aromatic ammonia and a couple of towels. A player will take a wet towel and wipe his face.
"It cools you down," Hamilton says, "cools you down and gets you ready."
I don't see any hits anywhere referring to it as "Florida water". Not up on all my history of Florida MLB, but I'm WAGing that maybe it was a 1950s/1960s thing, stemming from when the only time MLB was ever played in Florida was during spring training, and all those teams of Northerners needed extra help to cope with the unexpected spring heat, so "Florida water" was invented.

Apparently it's just called "ammonia water" now.
http://asa12u2001.garlandgirlssoftba...eneralinfo.htm
Quote:
You may also want to prepare a small cooler with some clean rags, ice and water. To further help, a small amount (1 oz) of Ammonia Spirit may be added to the water. Eyes should not come in contact with ammonia water.
Spirits of ammonia should be distinguished from household cleaning ammonia.
http://www.bartleby.com/65/am/ammonia.html
Quote:
Ammonium carbonate, (NH3)2CO3·H2O, is a colorless-to-white crystalline solid commonly known as smelling salts; in water solution it is sometimes called aromatic spirits of ammonia.

<snip>

The ammonia sold for household use is a dilute water solution of ammonia in which ammonium hydroxide is the active cleansing agent.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2001, 04:15 PM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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Thank you DDGoose. That answers damn near every question I asked. Yes, it's still in use (especially in Texas, where I wouldn't expect references to Florida to be terribly commonplace), and apparently not thought to be particularly dangerous, as long as one keeps it out of one's eyes and, presumably, mouth. As for the recipe, it looks like an ounce of ammonia spirits or less to one gallon or so of ice water will work fine. Where, exactly, does one get spirits of ammonia? Sounds like a possible hardware store item, perhaps right next to spirits of turpentine? Any idea, anyone?
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2001, 05:59 PM
USCDiver USCDiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rmat
It was said to leave the player "refreshed," I guess on the same principle that smelling salts (also ammonia-based, no?) snap one out of unconsciouness.
Probably not. Smelling salts work by activating the ARAS Arousal system by irritating sensory fibers of Cranial Nerve V (Trigeminal Nerve). I suspect your formula keeps players cool by increasing the rate of evaporation.


Diver
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2001, 07:55 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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My guess would be that Walgreen's or Osco Drug would be a better bet than a hardware store for spirits of ammonia. Ask the pharmacist.
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  #12  
Old 11-11-2001, 08:38 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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There is no entry for "Florida Water" in the Dickson Baseball Dictionary.
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  #13  
Old 11-11-2001, 09:30 PM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Don't know about "Florida Water" but as to the safety concerns re: using ammonia, it may interest you to know that soda fountains in the South used to include "ammonia Cokes" on their bills of fare. Heck, you may still be able to find them.

(In case the caffeine isn't enough to wake you up.)

Ah, there's a reference to ammonia Cokes in this site:
Quote:
The ammonia cokes advertised on the Old Pharmacy Café and Soda Fountain’s menu as curing "vapors and other ills" sounded like just what we needed. We were definitely in possession of vapors--whatever they are--and other ills. Like a coke with extra effervescence, the beverage (and accompanying sandwich) did the trick.
...so it looks like someone is still serving them.
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  #14  
Old 11-14-2001, 10:51 AM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Duck Duck Goose
My guess would be that Walgreen's or Osco Drug would be a better bet than a hardware store for spirits of ammonia. Ask the pharmacist.
Pharmacist said ammonia carbonate or ammonium carbonate (aka ammonia spirits or spirits of ammonia) is no longer regarded as a pharmaceutical; rather it's now marketed as "baker's ammonia"--a leavening agent. He suggested I try a large grocery chain. I did. Safeway. No luck. Any other ideas where I might get this crap? A hardware store--my initial thought--now seems increasingly unlikely. Chemical supply? (I hope not; I 'm not interested in buying it by the metric ton.) Health food store? WHY is this so difficult??
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  #15  
Old 11-14-2001, 10:36 PM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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Okay, I've been researching this, and I have it figured out now. There's evidently no such thing as a bottle of liquid called just "spirits of ammonia", the way you can get "spirits of turpentine" or "mineral spirits".

What you want is definitely either "smelling salts" or the pure ammonium carbonate, if you can find it. "Baking ammonia" is evidently food-grade ammonium bicarbonate, which sounds different.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/d...tio202741.html

Quote:
Ammonia Spirit, Aromatic (Inhalation)
Available in the U.S. as generic name product.

Brand Names

Another commonly used name is smelling salts .

+ Not commercially available in Canada.

Aromatic ammonia spirit is available without a doctor's prescription in the following dosage forms:

Inhalation
Inhalants (U.S.)
Solution (U.S.)
The Rangers coach says "just a touch". I'm guessing that he's using the liquid that surrounds the crystalline ammonium carbonate in the little glass bottle of smelling salts. Which is water.

http://www.bartleby.com/65/am/ammonia.html
Quote:
Ammonium carbonate, (NH3)2CO3·H2O, is a colorless-to-white crystalline solid commonly known as smelling salts; in water solution it is sometimes called aromatic spirits of ammonia.
Okay, so go back to the pharmacy, get a big bottle of "smelling salts", use the water that surrounds the ammonium carbonate crystals, that presumably has ammonium carbonate dissolved in it. Top up the bottle with distilled water.
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  #16  
Old 11-14-2001, 10:50 PM
Hemlock Hemlock is offline
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Florida Water was very popular among colonial types in old Shanghai - the 1920s posters advertizing the stuff are hot property among collectors. And they still make it...

http://www.rcc.or.jp/china/company2/sdcc/sdcc06.html
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  #17  
Old 11-14-2001, 10:50 PM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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DDGoose:

Damn you're good. Thanks.
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  #18  
Old 11-14-2001, 11:00 PM
Rmat Rmat is offline
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Now I'm confused. Smelling salts don't come in a bottle. They come in tiny, TINY glass ampules, "socked" in a mesh netting. There is no way that product can be effectively diluted in a gallon of ice water. It vaporizes immediately when the ampule is crushed.
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  #19  
Old 11-15-2001, 09:42 AM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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Hmm. This is turning into GoogleQuest, Part III: The Return of the Queen.

Back in the 1960s, smelling salts came in a little glass bottle. My mother had one in her purse. To activate it, you removed the cap and sniffed the bottle.

Google, "aromatic ammonia inhalants". Okay, it looks like there are two forms--the "inhalant", which is the little crushable capsules, and something called "aromatic ammonia spirit USP", which it doesn't mention crushing, and which is available in a 100 ml size.
http://www.campstuff.com/acatalog/C_...cation_45.html
Quote:
A cloth covered glass vial of aromatic ammonia for use as a respiratory stimulant. For inhalation only to prevent or treat fainting. Crush between the fingers, hold to nostrils and carefully inhale vapor.
Can't get this ugly link to hyperlink, sorry.
http://www.oncology.com/v2_MainFrame/1,1614,_12%7C00328%7C00_21%7C002%7C00_04%7C001%7C00_29%7C00z%7C00lib_id%7C001211,00.html
Quote:
AROMATIC AMMONIA SPIRIT INHALANT

Inhalation, inhalant should be held away from the face and crushed between the fingers. The inhalant should then be held approximately four inches from the nostrils, and the vapor slowly inhaled until the patient awakens or no longer feels faint.

Strength(s) usually available
U.S. -- 0.33 mL (OTC) [GENERIC (ammonia 15%; alcohol 35%)]. Canada -- Not commercially available.

AROMATIC AMMONIA SPIRIT USP

Inhalation of vapor until the patient awakens or no longer feels faint.

Strength(s) usually available
U.S. -- 100 mL (OTC) [GENERIC (total ammonia 1.9 grams; ammonium carbonate 4 grams; lemon oil; lavender oil; nutmeg oil; alcohol 65%)]. Canada -- Not commercially available.
I notice that both these forms have alcohol in them as well as, presumably, water. Dunno why that is.

I'm thinking you need a serious pharmaceutical supply type of place, and ask them for "aromatic ammonia USP". Or maybe ask your doctor? Or the Garland Girls' Softball coach?

Here's an online hit for "AMMONIA AROMATIC SPIRIT USP 2 oz", but I have absolutely no clue as to whether they're (a) legit and (b) still in business.

http://abc.eznettools.net/D303115/X337921/FirstAid.html

So the stuff IS out there, the big bottle of smelling salts. If you need it in really huge quantities, Sri Lanka is evidently the place to go.

http://www.chemexcil.org/tenders/shrilanka/tenderno.htm
Quote:
STATE PHARMACEUTICALS CORPORATION OF SRI LANKA
TENDER NO.: SPC/3/2001 CLOSING ON: 29TH MARCH 2001.

Aromatic Ammonia Spirit BP OR Aromatic Ammonia Spirit USP

500ML in amber-colour, air-tight glass bottles

5,000 bottles In two equal instalments.
1st lot 2,500 bottles in October, 2001.
2nd lot 2,500 bottles-will notify later.
What, you don't need a whole truckload?

P.S. It occurs to me that you could crush the ampule underwater, and presumably the powdered ammonium carbonate would then go into the water. Maybe that's all the Garland Girls' Softball coach does.
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