Thanks in advance for looking at this post and for any help you can offer.
I'm currently writing a work of historical fiction, and I need help from someone who is familiar with the hazards of technology in the early 1860s.
If that's you, and you're interested in helping with the scenario below, please contact me.
The scenario goes like this:
A student has expressed concerns to authorities about the school's disregard for hazards in the lab.
The student's concerns have been ignored.
The student arrives in class and notices a hazard that can been seen in dim lighting from approximately 10-15 feet away.
Due to prior circumstances, the student has been forbidden to touch anything in the lab.
Irregardless of the prior instructions, the student puts on appropriate lab gear and tries to remedy the problem.
While the student is doing this, the headmaster who has been in prior conflict with the student arrives and an argument ensues.
The student ends up being kicked out of the school for insubordination, even though the student was right in the action taken.
In this scenario, the headmaster has a personal agenda against the student. That agenda plays into the professor's motivation, but it's still very important that the professor's actions are believably rational even though they're wrong. The professor has already been characterized as someone who is overseeing the science department without having adequate knowledge of the hazards.
I am thinking about possibly hydrogen gas from an early battery related to poor storage habits, and also about possibly having multiple types of experiments going on in the lab space at the same time to create the situation I'm hoping to portray. If hydrogen gas is the hazard then I'm thinking possibly the oil lamps in the room could be the trigger for a problem. But honestly, I'm way out of my league in trying to figure this out, and I am really hoping someone on this forum will be willing to help me.
I'm willing to pay an expert for time spent to help me iron out the details related to the scenario above.
Please PM me, or provide your contact information in a reply to this post, if you're interested!