The past is truly a foreign country. From the letters to the editor page of Chemistry and Industry, December 19th, 1964 (page 2096):
Ingenuity in the Laboratory
SIR, — In the far-distant days of my youth, I once formed part of a group of young chemists newly recruited to a laboratory in the very early stages of its fitting-out. The equipment was then so sparse that although well stocked with reagents, the available apparatus lacked those necessities which enter into the brewing of the cup that cheers. I still remember, oddly enough, that a large weird-looking tripod stand, bearing a rotatable numbered ring, subsequently identified on later arrival of the missing parts as an immersion refractometer, was adapted for use as an exciting roulette and served to mitigate the boredom of our enforced idleness.
The traditional “elevenses” being denied us, youthful ingenuity soon led to the discovery of a satisfactory ersatz assuagement in the form of a mixture of absolute alcohol and ethyl acetate, suitably diluted with a solution of chloroform in water. Fortunately for us, the arrival of Bunsen burners, flasks, etc. coupled with an official check on the stock of alcohol, soon saved us from premature addiction to the morning cocktail.
Years later, a visit to the U.S.A. during prohibition days gave me the opportunity of vividly recalling the potency and special bouquet of our tipple.
Yours faithfully,A. DE WAELE 8 Fairgreen Court, Cockfosters, Herts.
Emphasis mine. As though breathing solvents isn’t bad enough.