Tell Me A Secret

December 2014


Every one has their own little secrets, but some secrets, like recipes, are passed down from generation to generation. Many companies go to great lengths to guard their famous formulas. John Pemberton’s Coca Cola recipe is especially famous for it’s secret ingredient ‘merchandise 7X’. Only two executives at a time have access to the recipe. It is even said that the two never travel together to avoid the risk of being involved in an accident.
Tell me a secret is a new encoding system for these companies to keep their secret recipes without extreme precautions. Their secrets are pure chemistry based on precipitation reactions. Aqueous solutions which are brought together, may react and produce and insoluble product or ‘precipitate’. Before they are poured together, the solutions are often colourless. The five well plates have been topped with two different solutions. A third solution is then added to the drops and acts as a precipitate to solution 1 or solution 2. The drops in each row represent a letter corresponding to a binary code: suspension or no suspension. A suspension will often be white.
The booklet contains an inventory of the letters. As the solutions will evaporate within several hours (according to the temperature), the secret will only be visible for a short time.

Booklet with background information

Binary code of each letter

Adding the 'precipitant'

Well plates with revealed codes