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Dreiding Model Exchange

June 7, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 23

Dreiding models, the hard-metal push-and-click atoms or groups of atoms, have ceased to be available commercially. They have been replaced by plastic models, which in some ways are more versatile. Nonetheless, Dreiding models were particularly useful in viewing dihedral angles, interspace distances, and chair-boat ring inversions and thus served very well as an aid in the structural elucidation of organic molecules.

The models had one limitation: Lacking single-bond flexibility one needs special individual units to model cyclopropane and cyclobutane rings and their heterocyclic equivalents. However, these were all originally available in supplemental kits. An attempt to augment a kit that we have available in the department of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois, Chicago, has proven frustrating and fruitless. Appropriate Internet searches of “Dreiding” on Google and eBay immediately bring up the term Dreiding models and then take one to every other type of model one can imagine. But it yields nothing in terms of sourcing or exchanging models or components.

Although Dreiding models are not completely indestructible, they are about as close to it as models can be. Hence, a reasonable number of them must be lurking unused in offices, attics, or garages. If retired chemists would like to unload their past gems— and assuming that others are experiencing the same frustration as we are—we would like to act as an exchange to bring such individuals together.

If you have Dreiding models available, please send a list of atom types, numbers, and desired price. We suggest $3.00 apiece ($546 for a complete “Normal Set”). Or if you are anxious to purchase models, put together a list of requirements and in either case send it to Do not forget to include your e-mail and snail-mail addresses. We will compile a catalog from potential sellers and send it to all would-be buyers.

Jim McAlpine
Guido Pauli



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