Scientific American Supplement, No. 613, October 1, 1887
Author: Various
1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse



Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XXIV., No. 613.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

* * * * *


I. BIOGRAPHY.—Dr. Morell Mackenzie.—Biographical note and portrait of the great English laryngologist—the physician of the Prussian Crown Prince.—1 illustration. 9794

II. BOTANY.—Soudan Coffee.—The Parkia biglobosa.—Its properties and appearance, with analyses of its beans.—8 illustrations. 9797

Wisconsin Cranberry Culture.—The great cranberry crop of Wisconsin.—The Indian pickers and details of the cultivation. 9796

III. CHEMISTRY.—Analysis of Kola Nut.—A new article adapted as a substitute for cocoa and chocolate to military and other dietaries.—Its use by the French and German governments. 9785

Carbonic Acid in the Air.—By THOMAS C. VAN NUYS and BENJAMIN F. ADAMS, Jr.—The results of eighteen analyses of air by Van Nuys apparatus. 9785

The Crimson Line of Phosphorescent Alumina.—Note on Prof. Crooke's recent investigation of the anomalies of the oxide of aluminum as regards its spectrum. 9784

IV. ELECTRICITY.—Electric Time.—By M. LITTMANN.—An abstruse research into a natural electric standard of time.—The results and necessary formulae. 9793

New Method of Maintaining the Vibration of a Pendulum.—Ingenious magneto-electric method of maintaining the swinging of a pendulum. 9794

The Part that Electricity Plays in Crystallization.—C. Decharme's investigations into this much debated question.—The results of his work described.—3 illustrations. 9793

V. ENGINEERING.—A New Type of Railway Car.—A car with lateral passageways, adapted for use in Africa—2 illustrations. 9792

Centrifugal Pumps at Mare Island Navy Yard, California.—By H.R. CORNELIUS.—The great pumps for the Mare Island dry docks.—Their capacity and practical working. 9792

Foundations of the Central Viaduct of Cleveland, O.—Details of the foundations of this viaduct, probably the largest of its kind ever constructed. 9792

VI. METALLURGY.—Chapin Wrought Iron.—By W.H. SEARLES.—An interesting account of the combined pneumatic and mechanical treatment of pig iron, giving as product a true wrought iron. 9785

VII. METEOROLOGY.—On the Cause of Iridescence in Clouds.—By G. JOHNSTONE STONEY.—An interesting theory of the production of prismatic colors in clouds, referring it to interference of light. 9798

The Height of Summer Clouds.—A compendious statement, giving the most reliable estimation of the elevations of different forms of clouds. 9797

VIII. MISCELLANEOUS.—The British Association.—Portraits of the president and section presidents of the late Manchester meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, with report of the address of the president, Sir Henry E. Roscoe.—9 illustrations. 9783

IX. PHYSIOLOGY.—Hypnotism in France.—A valuable review of the present status of this subject, now so much studied in Paris. 9795

The Duodenum a Siphon Trap.—By MAYO COLLIER, M.S., etc.—A curious observation in anatomy.—The only trap found in the intestinal canal.—Its uses.—2 illustrations. 9796

X. TECHNOLOGY.—Apparatus for Testing Champagne Bottles and Corks.—Ingenious apparatus due to Mr. J. Salleron, for use especially in the champagne industry.—2 illustrations. 9786

Celluloid.—Notes of the history and present method of manufacture of this widely used substance. 9785

Centrifugal Extractors.—By ROBERT F. GIBSON.—The second installment of this extensive and important paper, giving many additional forms of centrifugal apparatus—12 illustrations. 9789

Cotton Industries of Japan.—An interesting account of the primitive methods of treating cotton by the Japanese.—Their methods of ginning, carding, etc., described. 9788

Gas from Oil.—Notes on a paper read by Dr. Stevenson Macadam at a recent meeting of the British Gas Institute, giving his results with petroleum gas. 9787

Improved Biscuit Machine.—A machine having a capacity for making 4,000 small biscuits per minute.—1 illustration. 9787

Improved Cream Separator.—A centrifugal apparatus for dairy use of high capacity.—3 illustrations. 9787

The Manufacture of Salt near Middlesbrough.—By Sir LOWTHIAN BELL, Bart., F.C.S.—The history and origin of this industry, the methods used, and the soda ash process as there applied. 9788

* * * * *


The fifty-seventh annual meeting of the British Association was opened on Wednesday evening, Aug. 31, 1887, at Manchester, by an address from the president, Sir H.E. Roscoe, M.P. This was delivered in the Free Trade Hall. The chair was occupied by Professor Williamson, who was supported by the Bishop of Manchester, Sir F. Bramwell, Professor Gamgee, Professor Milnes Marshall, Professor Wilkins, Professor Boyd Dawkins, Professor Ward, and many other distinguished men. A telegram was read from the retiring president, Sir Wm. Dawson, of Montreal, congratulating the association and Manchester on this year's meeting. The new president, Sir H. Roscoe, having been introduced to the audience, was heartily applauded.

The president, in his inaugural address, said Manchester, distinguished as the birthplace of two of the greatest discoveries of modern science, welcomed the visit of the British Association for the third time. Those discoveries were the atomic theory of which John Dalton was the author, and the most far-reaching scientific principle of modern times, namely, that of the conservation of energy, which was given to the world about the year 1842 by Dr. Joule. While the place suggested these reminders, the time, the year of the Queen's jubilee, excited a feeling of thankfulness that they had lived in an age which had witnessed an advance in our knowledge of nature and a consequent improvement in the physical, moral, and intellectual well-being of the people hitherto unknown.


A sketch of that progress in the science of chemistry alone would be the subject of his address. The initial point was the views of Dalton and his contemporaries compared with the ideas which now prevail; and he (the president) examined this comparison by the light which the research of the last fifty years had thrown on the subject of the Daltonian atoms, in the three-fold aspect of their size, indivisibility, and mutual relationships, and their motions.


As to the size of the atom, Loschmidt, of Vienna, had come to the conclusion that the diameter of an atom of oxygen or nitrogen was the ten-millionth part of a centimeter. With the highest known magnifying power we could distinguish the forty-thousandth part of a centimeter. If, now, we imagine a cubic box each of whose sides had this length, such a box, when filled with air, would contain from sixty to a hundred millions of atoms of oxygen and nitrogen. As to the indivisibility of the atom, the space of fifty years had completely changed the face of the inquiry. Not only had the number of distinct, well-established elementary bodies increased from fifty-three in 1837 to seventy in 1887, but the properties of these elements had been studied, and were now known with a degree of precision then undreamt of. Had the atoms of our present elements been made to yield? To this a negative answer must undoubtedly be given, for even the highest of terrestrial temperatures, that of the electric spark, had failed to shake any one of these atoms in two. This was shown by the results with which spectrum analysis had enriched our knowledge. Terrestrial analysis had failed to furnish favorable evidence; and, turning to the chemistry of the stars, the spectra of the white, which were presumably the hottest stars, furnished no direct evidence that a decomposition of any terrestrial atom had taken place; indeed, we learned that the hydrogen atom, as we know it here, can endure unscathed the inconceivably fierce temperature of stars presumably many times more fervent than our sun, as Sirius and Vega. It was therefore no matter for surprise if the earth-bound chemist should for the present continue to regard the elements as the unalterable foundation stones upon which his science is based.


Passing to the consideration of atoms in motion, while Dalton and Graham indicated that they were in a continual state of motion, we were indebted to Joule for the first accurate determination of the rate of that motion. Clerk-Maxwell had calculated that a hydrogen molecule, moving at the rate of seventy miles per minute, must, in one second of time, knock against others no fewer than eighteen thousand million times. This led to the reflection that in nature there is no such thing as great or small, and that the structure of the smallest particle, invisible even to our most searching vision, may be as complicated as that of any one of the heavenly bodies which circle round our sun. How did this wonderful atomic motion affect their chemistry?


Lavoisier left unexplained the dynamics of combustion; but in 1843, before the chemical section of the association meeting at Cork, Dr. Joule announced the discovery which was to revolutionize modern science, namely, the determination of the mechanical equivalent of heat. Every change in the arrangement of the particles he found was accompanied by a definite evolution or an absorption of heat. Heat was evolved by the clashing of the atoms, and this amount was fixed and definite. Thus to Joule we owe the foundation of chemical dynamics and the basis of thermal chemistry. It was upon a knowledge of the mode of arrangement of atoms, and on a recognition of their distinctive properties, that the superstructure of modern organic chemistry rested. We now assumed on good grounds that the atom of each element possessed distinct capabilities of combination. The knowledge of the mode in which the atoms in the molecule are arranged had given to organic chemistry an impetus which had overcome many experimental obstacles, and organic chemistry had now become synthetic.

Liebig and Wohler, in 1837, foresaw the artificial production in the laboratories of all organic substances so far as they did not constitute a living organism. And after fifty years their prophecy had been fulfilled, for at the present time we could prepare an artificial sweetening principle, an artificial alkaloid, and salacine.


We know now that the same laws regulate the formation of chemical compounds in both animate and inanimate nature, and the chemist only asked for a knowledge of the constitution of any definite chemical compounds found in the organic world in order to be able to promise to prepare it artificially. Seventeen years elapsed between Wohler's discovery of the artificial production of urea and the next real synthesis, which was accomplished by Kolbe, when in 1845 he prepared acetic acid from its elements. Since then a splendid harvest of results had been gathered in by chemists of all nations. In 1834 Dumas made known the law of substitution, and showed that an exchange could take place between the constituent atoms in a molecule, and upon this law depended in great measure the astounding progress made in the wide field of organic synthesis.

Perhaps the most remarkable result had been the production of an artificial sweetening agent, termed saccharin, 250 times sweeter than sugar, prepared by a complicated series of reactions from coal tar. These discoveries were not only of scientific interest, for they had given rise to the industry of coal tar colors, founded by our countryman Perkin, the value of which was measured by millions sterling annually. Another interesting application of synthetic chemistry to the needs of everyday life was the discovery of a series of valuable febrifuges, of which antipyrin might be named as the most useful.

An important aspect in connection with the study of these bodies was the physiological value which had been found to attach to the introduction of certain organic radicals, so that an indication was given of the possibility of preparing a compound which will possess certain desired physiological properties, or even to foretell the kind of action which such bodies may exert on the animal economy. But now the question might well be put, Was any limit set to this synthetic power of the chemist? Although the danger of dogmatizing as to the progress of science had already been shown in too many instances, yet one could not help feeling that the barrier between the organized and unorganized worlds was one which the chemist at present saw no chance of breaking down. True, there were those who professed to foresee that the day would arrive when the chemist, by a succession of constructive efforts, might pass beyond albumen, and gather the elements of lifeless matter into a living structure. Whatever might be said regarding this from other standpoints, the chemist could only say that at present no such problem lay within his province.

Protoplasm, with which the simplest manifestations of life are associated, was not a compound, but a structure built up of compounds. The chemist might successfully synthesize any of its component molecules, but he had no more reason to look forward to the synthetic production of the structure than to imagine that the synthesis of gallic acid led to the artificial production of gall nuts. Although there was thus no prospect of effecting a synthesis of organized material, yet the progress made in our knowledge of the chemistry of life during the last fifty years had been very great, so much so indeed that the sciences of physiological and of pathological chemistry might be said to have entirely arisen within that period.


He would now briefly trace a few of the more important steps which had marked the recent study of the relations between the vital phenomena and those of the inorganic world. No portion of the science of chemistry was of greater interest or greater complexity than that which, bearing on the vital functions both of plants and of animals, endeavored to unravel the tangled skein of the chemistry of life, and to explain the principles according to which our bodies live, and move, and have their being. If, therefore, in the less complicated problems with which other portions of our science have to deal, we found ourselves often far from possessing satisfactory solutions, we could not be surprised to learn that with regard to the chemistry of the living body—whether vegetable or animal—in health or disease, we were still farther from a complete knowledge of phenomena, even those of fundamental importance.

Liebig asked if we could distinguish, on the one hand, between the kind of food which goes to create warmth and, on the other, that by the oxidation of which the motions and mechanical energy of the body are kept up. He thought he was able to do this, and he divided food into two categories. The starchy or carbo-hydrate food was that, said he, which by its combustion provided the warmth necessary for the existence and life of the body. The albuminous or nitrogenous constituents of our food, the flesh meat, the gluten, the casein out of which our muscles are built up, were not available for the purpose of creating warmth, but it was by the waste of those muscles that the mechanical energy, the activity, the motions of the animal are supplied.

Soon after the promulgation of these views, J.R. Mayer warmly attacked them, throwing out the hypothesis that all muscular action is due to the combustion of food, and not to the destruction of muscle.

What did modern research say to this question? Could it be brought to the crucial test of experiment? It could; but how? In the first place, we could ascertain the work done by a man or any other animal; we could measure this work in terms of our mechanical standard, in kilogramme-meters or foot-pounds. We could next determine what was the destruction of nitrogenous tissue at rest and under exercise by the amount of nitrogenous material thrown off by the body. And here we must remember that these tissues were never completely burned, so that free nitrogen was never eliminated. If now we knew the heat value of the burned muscle, it was easy to convert this into its mechanical equivalent and thus measure the energy generated. What was the result?

Was the weight of muscle destroyed by ascending the Faulhorn or by working on the treadmill sufficient to produce on combustion heat enough when transformed into mechanical exercise to lift the body up to the summit of the Faulhorn or to do the work on the treadmill?

Careful experiment had shown that this was so far from being the case that the actual energy developed was twice as great as that which could possibly be produced by the oxidation of the nitrogenous constituents eliminated from the body during twenty-four hours. That was to say, taking the amount of nitrogenous substance cast off from the body, not only while the work was being done, but during twenty-four hours, the mechanical effect capable of being produced by the muscular tissue from which this cast-off material was derived would only raise the body half way up the Faulhorn, or enable the prisoner to work half his time on the treadmill. Hence it was clear that Liebig's proposition was not true.

The nitrogenous constituents of the food did doubtless go to repair the waste of muscle, which, like every other portion of the body, needed renewal, while the function of the non-nitrogenous food was not only to supply the animal heat, but also to furnish, by its oxidation, the muscular energy of the body. We thus came to the conclusion that it was the potential energy of the food which furnished the actual energy of the body, expressed in terms either of heat or of mechanical work.

But there was one other factor which came into play in this question of mechanical energy, and must be taken into account; and this factor we were as yet unable to estimate in our usual terms. It concerned the action of the mind on the body, and although incapable of exact expression, exerted none the less an important influence on the physics and chemistry of the body, so that a connection undoubtedly existed between intellectual activity or mental work and bodily nutrition. What was the expenditure of mechanical energy which accompanied mental effort was a question which science was probably far from answering; but that the body experienced exhaustion as the result of mental activity was a well-recognized fact.


The phenomena of vegetation, no less than those of the animal world, had, however, during the last fifty years been placed by the chemist on an entirely new basis.

Liebig, in 1860, asserted that the whole of the carbon of vegetation was obtained from the atmospheric carbonic acid, which, though only present in the small relative proportion of four parts in 10,000 of air, was contained in such absolutely large quantity that if all the vegetation on the earth's surface were burned, the proportion of carbonic acid which would thus be thrown into the air would not be sufficient to double the present amount. That this conclusion was correct needed experimental proof, but such proof could only be given by long-continued and laborious experiment.

It was to our English agricultural chemists, Lawes and Gilbert, that we owed the complete experimental proof required, and this experiment was long and tedious, for it had taken forty-four years to give a definite reply.

At Rothamsted a plot was set apart for the growth of wheat. For forty-four successive years that field had grown wheat without the addition of any carbonized manure, so that the only possible source from which the plant could obtain the carbon for its growth was the atmospheric carbonic acid. The quantity of carbon which on an average was removed in the form of wheat and straw from a plot manured only with mineral matter was 1,000 lb., while on another plot, for which a nitrogenous manure was employed, 1,500 lb. more carbon was annually removed, or 2,500 lb. of carbon were removed by this crop annually without the addition of any carbonaceous manure. So that Liebig's prevision had received a complete experimental verification.


Touching us as human beings even still more closely than the foregoing was the influence which chemistry had exerted on the science of pathology, and in no direction had greater progress been made than in the study of micro-organisms in relation to health and disease. In the complicated chemical changes to which we gave the names of fermentation and putrefaction, Pasteur had established the fundamental principle that these processes were inseparately connected with the life of certain low forms of organisms. Thus was founded the science of bacteriology, which in Lister's hands had yielded such splendid results in the treatment of surgical cases, and in those of Klebs, Koch, and others, had been the means of detecting the cause of many diseases both in man and animals, the latest and not the least important of which was the remarkable series of successful researches by Pasteur into the nature and mode of cure of that most dreadful of maladies, hydrophobia. The value of his discovery was greater than could be estimated by its present utility, for it showed that it might be possible to avert other diseases besides hydrophobia by the adoption of a somewhat similar method of investigation and of treatment.

Here it might seem as if we had outstepped the boundaries of chemistry, and had to do with phenomena purely vital. But recent research indicated that this was not the case, and pointed to the conclusion that the microscopist must again give way to the chemist, and that it was by chemical rather than biological investigation that the causes of diseases would be discovered, and the power of removing them obtained. For we learned that the symptoms of infective diseases were no more due to the microbes which constituted the infection than alcoholic intoxication was produced by the yeast cell, but that these symptoms were due to the presence of definite chemical compounds, the result of the life of these microscopic organisms. So it was to the action of these poisonous substances formed during the life of the organism, rather than to that of the organism itself, that the special characteristics of the disease were to be traced, for it had been shown that the disease could be communicated by such poisons in the entire absence of living organisms.

Had time permitted, he would have wished to have illustrated the dependence of industrial success upon original investigation, and to have pointed out the prodigious strides which chemical industry in this country had made during the fifty years of her Majesty's reign. As it was, he must be content to remark how much our modern life, both in its artistic and useful aspects, owed to chemistry, and therefore how essential a knowledge of the principles of the science was to all who had the industrial progress of the country at heart. The country was now beginning to see that if she was to maintain her commercial and industrial supremacy, the education of her people from top to bottom must be carried out on new lines. The question how this could be most safely and surely accomplished was one of transcendent national importance, and the statesman who solved this educational problem would earn the gratitude of generations yet to come.

In welcoming the unprecedentedly large number of foreign men of science who had on this occasion honored the British Association by their presence, he hoped that that meeting might be the commencement of an international scientific organization, the only means nowadays existing of establishing that fraternity among nations from which politics appeared to remove them further and further, by absorbing human powers and human work, and directing them to purposes of destruction. It would indeed be well if Great Britain, which had hitherto taken the lead in so many things that are great and good, should now direct her attention to the furthering of international organizations of a scientific nature. A more appropriate occasion than the present meeting could perhaps hardly be found for the inauguration of such a movement. But whether this hope were realized or not, they all united in that one great object, the search after truth for its own sake, and they all, therefore, might join in re-echoing the words of Lessing: "The worth of man lies not in the truth which he possesses, or believes that he possesses, but in the honest endeavor which he puts forth to secure that truth; for not by the possession of truth, but by the search after it, are the faculties of man enlarged, and in this alone consists his ever-growing perfection. Possession fosters content, indolence, and pride. If God should hold in his right hand all truth, and in his left hand the ever-active desire to seek truth, though with the condition of perpetual error, I would humbly ask for the contents of the left hand, saying, 'Father, give me this; pure truth is only for thee.'"

At the close of his address a vote of thanks was passed to the president, on the motion of the Mayor of Manchester, seconded by Professor Asa Gray, of Harvard College. The president mentioned that the number of members is already larger than at any previous annual meeting, namely, 3,568, including eighty foreigners.

* * * * *


Crookes has presented to the Royal Society a paper on the color emitted by pure alumina when submitted to the electric discharge in vacuo, in answer to the statements of De Boisbaudran. In 1879 he had stated that "next to the diamond, alumina, in the form of ruby, is perhaps the most strikingly phosphorescent stone I have examined. It glows with a rich, full red; and a remarkable feature is that it is of little consequence what degree of color the earth or stone possesses naturally, the color of the phosphorescence is nearly the same in all cases; chemically precipitated amorphous alumina, rubies of a pale reddish yellow, and gems of the prized 'pigeon's blood' color glowing alike in the vacuum." These results, as well as the spectra obtained, he stated further, corroborated Becquerel's observations. In consequence of the opposite results obtained by De Boisbaudran, Crookes has now re-examined this question with a view to clear up the mystery. On examining a specimen of alumina prepared from tolerably pure aluminum sulphate, shown by the ordinary tests to be free from chromium, the bright crimson line, to which the red phosphorescent light is due, was brightly visible in its spectrum. The aluminum sulphate was then, in separate portions, purified by various processes especially adapted to separate from it any chromium that might be present; the best of these being that given by Wohler, solution in excess of potassium hydrate and precipitation of the alumina by a current of chlorine. The alumina filtered off, ignited, and tested in a radiant matter tube gave as good a crimson line spectrum as did that from the original sulphate.

A repetition of this purifying process gave no change in the result. Four possible explanations are offered of the phenomena observed: "(1) The crimson line is due to alumina, but it is capable of being suppressed by an accompanying earth which concentrates toward one end of the fractionations; (2) the crimson line is not due to alumina, but is due to the presence of an accompanying earth concentrating toward the other end of the fractionations; (3) the crimson line belongs to alumina, but its full development requires certain precautions to be observed in the time and intensity of ignition, degree of exhaustion, or its absolute freedom from alkaline and other bodies carried down by precipitated alumina and difficult to remove by washing; experience not having yet shown which of these precautions are essential to the full development of the crimson line and which are unessential; and (4) the earth alumina is a compound molecule, one of its constituent molecules giving the crimson line. According to this hypothesis, alumina would be analogous to yttria."—Nature.

* * * * *



During the month of April, 1886, we made eighteen estimations of carbonic acid in the air, employing Van Nuys' apparatus,[1] recently described in this journal. These estimations were made in the University Park, one-half mile from the town of Bloomington. The park is hilly, thinly shaded, and higher than the surrounding country. The formation is sub-carboniferous and altitude 228 meters. There are no lowlands or swamps near. The estimations were made at 10 A.M.

[Footnote 1: See SCI. AM. SUPPLEMENT No. 577.]

The air was obtained one-half meter from the ground and about 100 meters from any of the university buildings. The number of volumes of carbonic acid is calculated at zero C. and normal pressure 760 mm.

+ + + Vols. CO_{2} Date. Bar. in 100,000 State of Weather. Pressure Vols. Air. + + + April 2 743.5 28.86 Cloudy, snow on ground. " 5 743.5 28.97 " " " " " 6 735 28.61 Snowing. " 7 744.5 28.63 Clear, snow on ground. " 8 748 27.59 " thawing. " 9 747.5 28.10 " " " 12 744 28.04 Cloudy. " 13 744 28.10 Clear. " 14 743.5 28.98 " " 15 750.5 28.17 Raining. " 19 748 28.09 Clear. " 20 746 27.72 " " 21 746 28.16 " " 22 741.5 27.92 " " 23 740 28.12 " " 24 738.5 28.15 " " 25 738.5 27.46 " " 28 738 27.34 " + + +

The average number of volumes of carbonic acid in 100,000 volumes of air is 28.16, the maximum number is 28.98, and the minimum 27.34. These results agree with estimations made within the last ten or fifteen years. Reiset[2] made a great number of estimations from September 9, 1872, to August 20, 1873, the average of which is 29.42. Six years later[3] he made many estimations from June to November, the average of which is 29.78. The average of Schultze's[4] estimations is 29 2. The results of estimations of carbonic acid in the air, made under the supervision of Munz and Aubin[5] in October, November, and December, 1882, at the stations where observations were made of the transit of Venus by astronomers sent out by the French government, yield the average, for all stations north of the equator to latitude 29 deg. 54' in Florida, 28.2 volumes carbonic acid in 100,000 volumes air, and for all stations south of the equator 27.1 volumes. The average of Claesson's[6] estimations is 27.9 volumes, his maximum number is 32.7, and his minimum is 23.7. It is apparent, from the results of estimations of carbonic acid of the air of various parts of the globe, by the employment of apparatus with which errors are avoided, that the quantity of carbonic acid is subject to slight variation, and not, as stated in nearly all text books of science, from 4 to 6 volumes in 10,000 volumes of air; and it is further apparent that the law of Schloesing[7] holds good. By this law the carbonic acid of an atmosphere in contact with water containing calcium or magnesium carbonate in solution is dissolved according to the tension of the carbonic acid; that is, by an increased quantity its tension increases, and more would pass in solution in the form of bicarbonates. On the other hand, by diminishing the quantity of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, some of the bicarbonates would decompose and carbonic acid pass into the atmosphere.

[Footnote 2: Comptes Rendus, 88, 1007.] [Footnote 3: Comptes Rendus, 90, 1144.] [Footnote 4: Chem. Centralblatt, 1872 and 1875.] [Footnote 5: Comptes Rendus, 96, 1793.] [Footnote 6: Berichte der deutsch chem. Gesellschaft, 9, 174.] [Footnote 7: Comptes Rendus, 74, 1552, and 75, 70.]

Schloesing's law has been verified by R. Engel[8].

[Footnote 8: Comptes Rendus, 101, 949.]

The results of estimations of bases and carbonic acid in the water of the English Channel lead Schloesing[9] to conclude that the carbonic acid combined with normal carbonates, forming bicarbonates, dissolved in the water of the globe is ten times greater in quantity than that of the atmosphere, and on account of this available carbonic acid, if the atmosphere should be deprived of some of its carbonic acid, the loss would soon be supplied.

[Footnote 9: Comptes Rendus, 90, 1410.]

As, in nearly all of the methods which were employed for estimating carbonic acid in the air, provision is not made for the exclusion of air not measured containing carbonic acid from the alkaline fluid before titrating or weighing, the results are generally too high and show a far greater variation than is found by more exact methods. For example, Gilm[10] found from 36 to 48 volumes; Levy's[11] average is 34 volumes; De Luna's[12] 50 volumes; and Fodor's,[13] 38.9 volumes. Admitting that the quantity of carbonic acid in the air is subject to variation, yet the results of Reiset's and Schultze's estimations go to prove that the variation is within narrow limits.

[Footnote 10: Sitzungsher. d. Wien. Akad. d. Wissenschaften, 34, 257.] [Footnote 11: Ann. d. l'Observ. d. Mountsouris, 1878 and 1879.] [Footnote 12: Estudios quimicos sobre el aire atmosferico, Madrid, 1860.] [Footnote 13: Hygien. Untersuch., 1, 10.]

Indiana University Chemical Laboratory, Bloomington, Indiana. —Amer. Chem. Journal.

* * * * *


Alkaloids or crystallizable principles:

Per Cent. Caffeine. 2.710 Theobromine. 0.084 Bitter principle. 0.018 Total alkaloids. ——- 2.812 Fatty matters: Saponifiable fat or oil. 0.734 Essential oil. 0.081 Total oils. ——- 0.815 Resinoid matter (sol. in abs. alcohol) 1.012

Sugar: Glucose (reduces alkaline cuprammonium). 3.312 Sucrose? (red. alk. cupram. after inversion)[1]. 0.602 Total sugars. ——- 3.914

Starch, gum, etc.: Gum (soluble in H2O at 90 deg. F.). 4.876 Starch. 28.990 Amidinous matter (coloring with iodine). 2.130 Total gum and fecula. ——- 35.999 Albuminoid matters. 8.642 Red and other coloring matters. 3.670 Kolatannic acids. 1.204

Mineral matter: Potassa. 1.415 Chlorine. 0.702 Phosphoric acid. 0.371 Other salts, etc. 2.330 Total ash. ——- 4.818 Moisture. 9.722 Ligneous matter and loss. 27.395 ———- 100.000

[Footnote 1: Inverted by boiling with a 2.5 per cent. solution of citric acid for ten minutes.]

Both the French and German governments are introducing it into their military dietaries, and in England several large contract orders cannot yet be filled, owing to insufficiency of supply, while a well-known cocoa manufacturing firm has taken up the preparation of kola chocolate upon a commercial scale.—W. Lascelles-Scott, in Jour. Soc. Arts.

* * * * *


By W.H. SEARLES, Chairman of the Committee, Civil Engineers' Club of Cleveland, O.

Notwithstanding the wonderful development of our steel industries in the last decade, the improvements in the modes of manufacture, and the undoubted strength of the metal under certain circumstances, nevertheless we find that steel has not altogether met the requirements of engineers as a structural material. Although its breaking strain and elastic limit are higher than those of wrought iron, the latter metal is frequently preferred and selected for tensile members, even when steel is used under compression in the same structure. The Niagara cantilever bridge is a notable instance of this practice. When steel is used in tension its working strains are not allowed to be over fifty per cent. above those adopted for wrought iron.

The reasons for the suspicion with which steel is regarded are well understood. Not only is there a lack of uniformity in the product, but apparently the same steel will manifest very different results under slight provocation. Steel is very sensitive, not only to slight changes in chemical composition, but also to mechanical treatment, such as straightening, bending, punching, planing, heating, etc. Initial strains may be developed by any of these processes that would seriously affect the efficiency of the metal in service.

Among the steels, those that are softer are more serviceable and reliable than the harder ones, especially whereever shocks and concussions or rapidly alternating strains are to be endured. In other words, the more nearly steel resembles good wrought iron, the more certain it is to render lasting service when used within appropriate limits of strain. Indeed, a wrought iron of fine quality is better calculated to endure fatigue than any steel. This is particularly noticeable in steam hammer pistons, propeller shafts, and railroad axles. A better quality of wrought iron, therefore, has long been a desideratum, and it appears now that it has at last been found.

Several years since, a pneumatic process of manufacturing wrought iron was invented and patented by Dr. Chapin, and an experimental plant was erected near Chicago. Enough was done to demonstrate, first, that an iron of unprecedentedly good qualities was attainable from common pig; and second, that the cost of its manufacture would not exceed that of Bessemer steel. Nevertheless, owing to lack of funds properly to push the invention against the jealous opposition which it encountered, the enterprise came to a halt until quite recently, when its merits found a champion in Gustav Lindenthal, C.E., member of this club, who is now the general manager of the Chapin Pneumatic Iron Co., and under whose direction this new quality of iron will soon be put upon the market.

The process of manufacture is briefly as follows: The pig metal, after being melted in a cupola and tapped into a discharging ladle, is delivered into a Bessemer converter, in which the metal is largely relieved of its silicon, sulphur, carbon, etc., by the ordinary pneumatic process. At the end of the blow the converter is turned down and its contents discharged into a traveling ladle, and quickly delivered to machines called ballers, which are rotary reverberatory furnaces, each revolving on a horizontal axis. In the baller the iron is very soon made into a ball without manual aid. It is then lifted out by means of a suspended fork and carried to a Winslow squeezer, where the ball is reduced to a roll twelve inches in diameter. Thence it is taken to a furnace for a wash heat, and finally to the muck train.

No reagents are employed, as in steel making or ordinary iron puddling. The high heat of the metal is sufficient to preserve its fluidity during its transit from the converter to the baller; and the cinder from the blow is kept in the ladle.

The baller is a bulging cylinder having hollow trunnions through which the flame passes. The cylinder is lined with fire brick, and this in turn is covered with a suitable refractory iron ore, from eight to ten inches thick, grouted with pulverized iron ore, forming a bottom, as in the common puddling furnace. The phosphorus of the iron, which cannot be eliminated in the intense heat of the converter, is, however, reduced to a minimum in the baller at a much lower temperature and on the basic lining. The process wastes the lining very slightly indeed. As many as sixty heats have been taken off in succession without giving the lining any attention. The absence of any reagent leaves the iron simply pure and homogeneous to a degree never realized in muck bars made by the old puddling process. Thus the expense of a reheating and rerolling to refine the iron is obviated. It was such iron as here results that Bessemer, in his early experiments, was seeking to obtain when he was diverted from his purpose by his splendid discoveries in the art of making steel. So effective is the new process, that even from the poorest grades of pig may be obtained economically an iron equal in quality to the refined irons made from the best pig by the ordinary process of puddling.

Numerous tests of the Chapin irons have been made by competent and disinterested parties, and the results published. The samples here noted were cut and piled only once from the muck bar.

Sample A was made from No. 3 mill cinder pig.

Sample B was made from No. 4 mill pig and No. 3 Bessemer pig, half and half.

Sample C was made from No. 3 Bessemer pig, with the following results:

Sample. A B C Tensile strength per sq. in. 56,000 60,772 64,377 Elastic limit. 34,000 .... 36,000 Extension, per cent. 11.8 .... 17.0 Reduction of area, per cent. 65.0 16.0 33.0

The tensile strength of these irons made by ordinary puddling would be about 38,000, 40,000, and 42,000 respectively, or the gain of the iron in tensile strength by the Chapin process is about fifty per cent. Not only so, but these irons made in this manner from inferior pig show a higher elastic limit and breaking strain than are commonly specified for refined iron of best quality. The usual specifications are for refined iron: Tensile strength, 50,000; elongation, 15 per cent.; elastic limit, 26,000; reduction, 25 cent.

Thus the limits of the Chapin iron are from 12 to 20 per cent. above those of refined iron, and not far below those of structural steel, while there is a saving of some four dollars per ton in the price of the pig iron from which it can be made. When made from the best pig metal its breaking and elastic limits will probably reach 70,000 and 40,000 pounds respectively. If so, it will be a safer material than steel under the same working strains, owing to its greater resilience.

Such results are very interesting in both a mechanical and economical point of view. Engineers will hail with delight the accession to the list of available building materials of a wrought iron at once fine, fibrous, homogeneous, ductile, easily weldable, not subject to injury by the ordinary processes of shaping, punching, etc., and having a tensile strength and elastic limit nearly equal to any steel that could safely be used in the same situation.

A plant for the manufacture of Chapin iron is now in course of erection at Bethlehem, Pa., and there is every reason to believe that the excellent results attained in Chicago will be more than reached in the new works.—Proceed. Jour. Asso. of Eng. Societies.

* * * * *


Professor Sadler, of the University of Pennsylvania, has lately given an account of the development and method of the manufacture of celluloid. Alexander Parkes, an Englishman, invented this remarkable substance in 1855, but after twelve years quit making it because of difficulties in manipulation, although he made a fine display at the Paris Exposition of 1867. Daniel Spill, also of England, began experiments two years after Parkes, but a patent of his for dissolving the nitrated wood fiber, or "pyroxyline," in alcohol and camphor was decided by Judge Blatchford in a suit brought against the Celluloid Manufacturing Company to be valueless. No further progress was made until the Hyatt Brothers, of Albany, N.Y., discovered that gum camphor, when finely divided, mixed with the nitrated fiber and then heated, is a perfect solvent, giving a homogeneous and plastic mass. American patents of 1870 and 1874 are substantially identical with those now in use in England. In France there is only one factory, and there is none elsewhere on the Continent, one in Hanover having been given up on account of the explosive nature of the stuff. In this country pure cellulose is commonly obtained from paper makers, in the form of tissue paper, in wide rolls; this, after being nitrated by a bath of mixed nitric and sulphuric acids, is thoroughly washed and partially dried. Camphor is then added, and the whole is ground together and thoroughly mixed. At this stage coloring matter may be put in. A little alcohol increases the plasticity of the mass, which is then treated for some time to powerful hydraulic pressure. Then comes breaking up the cakes and feeding the fragments between heated rolls, by which the amalgamation of the whole is completed. Its perfect plasticity allows it to be rolled into sheets, drawn into tubes, or moulded into any desired shape.—Jewelers' Journal.

* * * * *


Mr. J. Salleron has devised several apparatus which are destined to render valuable service in the champagne industry. The apparently simple operation of confining the carbonic acid due to fermentation in a bottle in order to blow the cork from the latter with force at a given moment is not always successful, notwithstanding the skill and experience of the manipulator. How could it be otherwise?

Everything connected with the production of champagne wine was but recently unknown and unexplained. The proportioning of the sugar accurately dates, as it were, from but yesterday, and the measurement of the absorbing power of wine for carbonic acid has but just entered into practice, thanks to Mr. Salleron's absorptiometer. The real strength of the bottles, and the laws of the elasticity of glass and its variation with the temperature, are but little known. Finally, the physical constitution of cork, its chemical composition, its resistance to compression and the dissolving action of the wine, must be taken into consideration. In fact, all the elements of the difficult problem of the manufacture of sparkling wine show that there is an urgent necessity of introducing scientific methods into this industry, as without them work can now no longer be done.

No one has had a better opportunity to show how easy it is to convert the juice of the grape into sparkling wine through a series of simple operations whose details are known and accurately determined, so we believe it our duty to recommend those of our readers who are particularly interested in this subject to read Mr. Salleron's book on sparkling wine. We shall confine ourselves in this article to a description of two of the apparatus invented by the author for testing the resistance of bottles and cork stoppers.

It is well, in the first place, to say that one of the important elements in the treatment of sparkling wine is the normal pressure that it is to produce in the bottles. After judicious deductions and numerous experiments, Mr. Salleron has adopted for the normal pressure of highly sparkling wines five atmospheres at the temperature of the cellar, which does not exceed 10 degrees. But, in a defective cellar, the bottles may be exposed to frost in winter and to a temperature of 25 deg. in summer, corresponding to a tension of ten atmospheres. It may naturally be asked whether bottles will withstand such an ordeal. Mr. Salleron has determined their resistance through the process by which we estimate that of building materials, viz., by measuring the limit of their elasticity, or, in other words, the pressure under which they take on a new permanent volume. In fact, glass must be assimilated to a perfectly elastic body; and bottles expand under the internal pressure that they support. If their resistance is insufficient, they continue to increase in measure as the pressure is further prolonged, and at every increase in permanent capacity, their resistance diminishes.

The apparatus shown in Fig. 1 is called an elasticimeter, and permits of a preliminary testing of bottles. The bottle to be tested is put into the receptacle, A B, which is kept full of water, and when it has become full, its neck is played between the jaws of the clamp, p. Upon turning the hand wheel, L, the bottle and the receptacle that holds it are lifted, and the mouth of the bottle presses against a rubber disk fixed under the support, C D. The pressure of the neck of the bottle against this disk is such that the closing is absolutely hermetical. The support, C D, contains an aperture which allows the interior of the bottle to communicate with a glass tube, a b, which thus forms a prolongation of the neck of the bottle. This tube is very narrow and is divided into fiftieths of a cubic centimeter. A microscope, m, fixed in front of the tube, magnifies the divisions, and allows the position of the level of the water to be ascertained to within about a millionth of a cubic centimeter.

A force and suction pump, P, sucks in air through the tube, t, and compresses it through the tube, t', in the copper tube, T, which communicates with the glass tube, a b, after passing through the pressure gauge, M. This pump, then, compresses the air in the bottle, and the gauge accurately measures its pressure.

To make a test, after the bottle full of water has been fastened under the support, C D, the cock, s, is opened and the liquid with which the small reservoir, R, has been filled flows through an aperture above the mouth of the bottle and rises in the tube, a b. When its level reaches the division, O, the cock, s, is closed. The bottle and its prolongation, a b, are now exactly full of water without any air bubbles.

The pump is actuated, and, in measure as the pressure rises, the level of the liquid in the tube, a b, is seen to descend. This descent measures the expansion or flexion of the bottle as well as the compression of the water itself. When the pressure is judged to be sufficient, the button, n, is turned, and the air compressed by the pump finding an exit, the needle of the pressure gauge will be seen to redescend and the level of the tube, a b, to rise.

If the glass of the bottle has undergone no permanent deformation, the level will rise exactly to the zero mark, and denote that the bottle has supported the test without any modification of its structure. But if, on the contrary, the level does not return to the zero mark, the limit of the glass's elasticity has been extended, its molecules have taken on a new state of equilibrium, and its resistance has diminished, and, even if it has not broken, it is absolutely certain that it has lost its former resistance and that it presents no particular guarantee of strength.

The vessel, A B, which must be always full of water, is designed to keep the bottle at a constant temperature during the course of the experiment. This is an essential condition, since the bottle thus filled with water constitutes a genuine thermometer, of which a b is the graduated tube. It is therefore necessary to avoid attributing a variation in level due to an expansion of the water produced by a change in temperature, to a deformation of the bottle.

The test, then, that can be made with bottles by means of the elasticimeter consists in compressing them to a pressure of ten atmospheres when filled with water at a temperature of 25 deg., and in finding out whether, under such a stress, they change their volume permanently. In order that the elasticimeter may not be complicated by a special heating apparatus, it suffices to determine once for all what the pressure is that, at a mean temperature of 15 deg., acts upon bottles with the same energy as that of ten atmospheres at 25 deg.. Experiment has demonstrated that such stress corresponds to twelve atmospheres in a space in which the temperature remains about 15 deg..

In addition, the elasticimeter is capable of giving other and no less useful data. It permits of comparing the resistance of bottles and of classifying them according to the degree of such resistance. After numerous experiments, it has been found that first class bottles easily support a pressure of twelve atmospheres without distortion, while in those of an inferior quality the resistance is very variable. The champagne wine industry should therefore use the former exclusively.

Various precautions must be taken in the use of corks. The bottles that lose their wine in consequence of the bad quality of their corks are many in number, and it is not long since that they were the cause of genuine disaster to the champagne trade.

Mr. Salleron has largely contributed to the improving of the quality of corks found in the market. The physical and chemical composition of cork bark is peculiarly favorable to the special use to which it is applied; but the champagne wine industry requires of it an exaggerated degree of resistance, inalterability, and elasticity. A 11/4 inch cork must, under the action of a powerful machine, enter a 3/4 inch neck, support the dissolving action of a liquid containing 12 per cent. of alcohol compressed to at least five atmospheres, and, in a few years, shoot out of the bottle and assume its pristine form and color. Out of a hundred corks of good quality, not more than ten support such a test.

In order to explain wherein resides the quality of cork, it is necessary to refer to a chemical analysis of it. In cork bark there is 70 per cent. of suberine, which is soluble in alcohol and ether, and is plastic, ductile, and malleable under the action of humid heat. Mixed with suberine, cerine and resin give cork its insolubility and inalterability. These substances are soluble in alcohol and ether, but insoluble in water.

According to the origin of cork, the wax and resin exist in it in very variable proportion. The more resinous kinds resist the dissolving action of wine better than those that are but slightly resinous. The latter soon become corroded and spoiled by wine. An attempt has often been made, but without success, to improve poor corks by impregnating them with the resinous principle that they lack.

Various other processes have been tried without success, and so it finally became necessary simply to separate the good from the bad corks by a practical and rapid operation. A simple examination does not suffice. Mr. Bouche has found that corks immersed in water finally became covered with brown spots, and, by analogy, in order to test corks, he immersed them in water for a fortnight or a month. All those that came out spotted were rejected. Under the prolonged action of moisture, the suberine becomes soft, and, if it is not resinous enough, the cells of the external layer of the cork burst, the water enters, and the cork becomes spotted.

It was left to Mr. Salleron to render the method of testing practical. He compresses the cork in a very strong reservoir filled with water under a pressure of from four to five atmospheres. By this means, the but slightly resinous cork is quickly dissolved, so that, after a few hours' immersion, the bad corks come out spotted and channeled as if they had been in the neck of a bottle for six months. On the contrary, good corks resist the operation, and come out of the reservoir as white and firm as they were when they were put into it.

Fig. 2 gives a perspective view of Mr. Salleron's apparatus for testing corks. A reservoir, A B, of tinned copper, capable of holding 100 corks, is provided with a cover firmly held in place by a clamp. Into the cover is screwed a pressure gauge, M, which measures the internal pressure of the apparatus.

A pump, P, sucks water from a vessel through the tubulure, t', and forces it through the tubulure, t, into the reservoir full of corks. After being submitted to a pressure of five atmospheres in this apparatus for a few hours, the corks are verified and then sorted out. In addition to the apparatus here illustrated, there is one of larger dimensions for industrial applications. This differs from the other only in the arrangement of its details, and will hold as many as 10,000 corks.—Revue Industrielle.

* * * * *


The accompanying illustration represents a combined biscuit cutting, scrapping, and panning machine, specially designed for running at high speeds, and so arranged as to allow of the relative movements of the various parts being adjusted while in motion. The cutters or dies, mounted on a cross head working in a vertical guide frame, are operated from the main shaft by eccentrics and vertical connecting rods, as shown. These rods are connected to the lower strap of the eccentric by long guide bolts, on which intermediate spiral springs are mounted, and by this means, although the dies are brought quickly down to the dough, they are suffered to remain in contact therewith, under a gradually increasing pressure, for a sufficient length of time to insure the dough being effectually stamped and completely cut through.

Further, the springs tend to counteract any tendency to vibration that might be set up by the rapid reciprocation of the cross head, cutters, and their attendant parts. Mounted also on the main shaft is one of a pair of reversed cone drums. These, with their accompanying belt and its adjusting gear, worked by a hand wheel and traversing screw, as shown, serve to adjust the speed of the feed rollers, so as to suit the different lengths of the intermediate travel or "skip" of the dough-carrying web.

Provision is made for taking up the slack of this belt by mounting the spindle of the outer coned drum in bearings adjustable along a circular path struck from the axis of the lower feed roller as a center, thus insuring a uniform engagement between the teeth of the small pinion and those of the spur wheel with which the drum and roller are respectively provided.

The webs for carrying forward the dough between the different operations pass round rollers, which are each operated by an adjustable silent clutch feed, in place of the usual ratchet and pawl mechanism. Movement is given to each feed by the connecting links shown, to each of which motion is in turn imparted by the bell crank lever placed beside the eccentric. This lever is actuated by a crank pin on the main shaft, working into a block sliding in a slot in the shorter or horizontal arm of the lever, while a similar but adjustable block, sliding in the vertical arm, serves to impart the motion of the lever to the system of connecting links, the adjustable block allowing of a longer or shorter stroke being given to the different feeds, as desired.

The scraps are carried over the roller in rear of the cutters, and so to a scrap pan, while the stamped biscuits pass by a lower web into the pans. These pans are carried by two endless chains, provided with pins, which take hold of the pans and carry them along in the proper position. The roller over which these chains pass is operated by a silent clutch, and in order to give an additional motion to the chains when a pan is full, and it is desired to bring the next pan into position, an additional clutch is caused to operate upon the roller. This clutch is kept out of gear with its pulley by means of a projection upon it bearing against a disk slightly greater in diameter than the pulley, and provided with two notches, into which the projection passes when the additional feed is required.

The makers, H. Edwards & Co., Liverpool, have run one of these machines easily and smoothly at a hundred revolutions per minute, at which speed, and when absorbing about 3.5 horse power, the output would equal 4,000 small biscuits per minute.—Industries.

* * * * *


A hand separator of this type was exhibited at the Royal Show at Newcastle by the Aylesbury Dairy Company, of 31 St. Petersburg Place, Bayswater, England.

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the machine, Fig. 2 being a vertical section. The drums of these machines, which make 2,700 revolutions per minute for the large and 4,000 for the small one, have a diameter of 27 in. and 151/2 in. respectively, and are capable of extracting the cream from 220 and 115 gallons of milk per hour. These drums are formed by hydraulic pressure from one piece of sheet steel. To avoid the possibility of the machines being overdriven, which might happen through the negligence of the attendant or through the governing gear on the engine failing to act, an ingenious controlling apparatus is fixed to the intermediate motion of the separator as shown in Fig. 3. This apparatus consists of a pair of governor balls pivoted near the center of the arms and attached to the main shaft of the intermediate gear by means of a collar fixed on it. The main shaft is bored out sufficiently deep to admit a steel rod, against which bear the three ends of the governor arms. The steel rod presses against the counterbalance, which is made exactly the right weight to withstand the force tending to raise it, when the intermediate motion is running at its designed speed. The forks between which the belt runs are also provided with a balance weight. This brings them to the loose pulley, unless they are fixed by means of the ratchet. Should the number of revolutions of the intermediate increase beyond the correct amount, the extra centrifugal force imparted to the governor balls enables them to overcome the balance weight, and in raising this they raise the arm. This arm striking against the ratchet detent releases the balance weight, and the belt is at once brought on to the loose pulley.

The steel drum is fitted with an internal ring at the bottom (see Fig. 2), into which the milk flows, and from which it is delivered, by three apertures, to the periphery of the drum, thus preventing the milk from striking against the cone of the drum, and from mixing with the cream which has already been separated. The upper part of the drum is fitted with an annular flange, about 11/2 in. from the top, reaching to within one-sixteenth of an inch of the periphery. After the separation of the skim milk from the cream, the former passes behind and above this flange through the aperture, B, and is removed by means of the tube, D, furnished with a steel tip projecting from the cover of the machine into the space between the top of the drum and the annular flange, a similar tube, F, reaching below this flange, removing the cream which collects there. The skim milk tube is provided with a screw regulator, the function of which is to enable cream of any desired consistency to be obtained, varying with the distance between the skim milk and cream points from the center of the drum. Another point about these tubes is their use as elevating tubes for the skim, milk and cream, as, owing to the velocity at which the drum is rotating, the products can be delivered by these tubes at a height of 8 or 10 feet above the machine if required, thus enabling scalding and cooling of either to be carried on while the separator is at work, and saving hand labor.—Iron.

* * * * *


At the twenty-fourth annual meeting of the Gas Institute, which was recently held in Glasgow, Dr. Stevenson Macadam, F.R.S.E., lecturer on chemistry, Edinburgh, submitted the first paper, which was on "Gas from Oil."

He said that during the last seventeen years he had devoted much attention to the photogenic or illuminating values of different qualities of paraffin oils in various lamps, and to the production of permanent illuminating gas from such oils. The earlier experiments were directed to the employment of paraffin oils as oils, and the results proved the great superiority of the paraffin oils as illuminating agents over vegetable and animal oils, alike for lighthouse and ordinary house service.

The later trials were mainly concerned with the breaking up of the paraffin oils into permanent illuminating gas. Experiments were made at low heats, medium heats, and high heats, which proved that, according to the respective qualities of the paraffin oils employed in the trials, there was more or less tendency at the lower heats to distill oil instead of permanent gas, while at the high heats there was a liability to decarbonize the oil and gas, and to obtain a thin gas of comparatively small illuminating power. When, however, a good cherry red heat was maintained, the oils split up in large proportion into permanent gas of high illuminating quality, accompanied by little tarry matter, and with only a slight amount of separated carbon or deposited soot.

The best mode of splitting up the paraffin oils, and the special arrangements of the retort or distilling apparatus, also formed, he said, an extensive inquiry by itself. In one set of trials the oil was distilled into gaseous vapor, and then passed through the retort. In another set of experiments, the oil was run into or allowed to trickle into the retorts, while both modes of introducing the oil were tried in retorts charged with red hot coke and in retorts free from coke.

Ultimately, it was found that the best results were obtained by the more simple arrangement of employing iron retorts at a good cherry red heat, and running in the oil as a thin stream direct into the retort, so that it quickly impinged upon the red hot metal, and without the intervention of any coke or other matter in the retorts. The paraffin oils employed in the investigations were principally: (1) Crude paraffin oil, being the oil obtained direct from the destructive distillation of shale in retorts; (2) green paraffin oil, which is yielded by distilling or re-running the crude paraffin oil, and removing the lighter or more inflammable portion by fractional distillation; and (3) blue paraffin oil, which is obtained by rectifying the twice run oil with sulphuric acid and soda, and distilling off the paraffin spirit, burning oil, and intermediate oil, and freezing out the solid paraffin as paraffin scale. The best practical trials were obtained in Pintsch's apparatus and in Keith's apparatus.

After describing both of these, Dr. Macadam went on to give in great detail the results obtained in splitting up blue paraffin oil into gas in each apparatus. He then said that these experimental results demonstrated that Pintsch's apparatus yielded from the gallon of oil in one case 90.70 cubic feet of gas of 62.50 candle power, and in the second case 103.36 cubic feet of 59.15 candle gas, or an average of 97.03 cubic feet of 60.82 candle power gas.

In both cases, the firing of the retorts was moderate, though in the second trial greater care was taken to secure uniformity of heat, and the oil was run in more slowly, so that there was more thorough splitting up of the oil into permanent gas. The gas obtained in the two trials was of high quality, owing to its containing a large percentage of heavy hydrocarbons, of which there were, respectively, 39.25 and 37.15 per cent., or an average of 38.2 per cent., while the sulphureted hydrogen was nothing, and the carbonic acid a mere trace. Besides testing the gas on the occasion of the actual trials, he had also examined samples of the gas which he had taken from various cylinders in which the gas had been stored for several months under a pressure of ten atmospheres, and in all cases the gas was found to be practically equal to the quantity mentioned, and hence of a permanent character.

By using Keith's apparatus the results obtained were generally the same, with the exception that an average of 0.27 per cent. of carbonic acid gas and decided proportions of sulphureted hydrogen were found to be present in the gas. Dr. Macadam devoted some remarks to the consideration of the question as to how far the gas obtained from the paraffin oil represented the light power of the oil itself, and then he proceeded to say that, taking the crude paraffin oil at 2d. a gallon, and with a specific gravity of 850 (water = 1,000), or 81/2 lb. to the gallon, there were 264 gallons to the ton, at a cost of L2 4s. per ton. The sperm light from the ton of oil as gas being 3,443 lb., he reckoned that fully 6 lb. of sperm light were obtained from a pennyworth of the crude oil as gas.

Then, taking the blue paraffin oil at 4d. per gallon, and there being 255 gallons to the ton, it was found that the cost of one ton was L4 5s., and as the sperm light of a ton of that oil as gas was 5,150 lb., it was calculated that 5 lb. of sperm light were yielded in the gas from a pennyworth of the blue oil. The very rich character of the oil gas rendered it unsuitable for consumption at ordinary gas jets, though it burned readily and satisfactorily at small burners not larger than No. 1 jets.

In practical use it would be advisable to reduce the quality by admixture with thin and feeble gas, or to employ the oil gas simply for enriching inferior gases derived from the more common coals. On the question of dilution, he said that he preferred to use carbonic oxide and hydrogen, and most of the remainder of his paper was devoted to an explanation of the best mode of preparing those gases (water gases).

He concluded by saying: The employment of paraffin oil for gas making has advantages in its favor, in the readiness of charging the retorts, as the oil can be run in continuously for days at a time, and may be discontinued and commenced again without opening, clearing out residual products, recharging and reclosing the retorts. There is necessarily, therefore, less labor and cost in working, and as the gas is cleaner or freer from impurities, purifying plant and material will be correspondingly less. Oil gas is now employed for lighthouse service in the illumination of the lanterns on Ailsa Craig and as motive power in the gas engines connected with the fog horns at Langness and Ailsa Craig lighthouse stations. It is also used largely in the lighting of railway carriages. Various populous places are now introducing oil gas for house service, and he felt sure that the system is one which ought to commend itself for its future development to the careful consideration and practical skill of the members of the Gas Institute.

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Abstract of paper read before the Institution of Civil Engineers, May 17, 1887.]


The geology of the Middlesbrough salt region was first referred to, and it was stated that the development of the salt industry in that district was the result of accident. In 1859, Messrs. Bolckow & Vaughan sank a deep well at Middlesbrough, in the hope of obtaining water for steam and other purposes in connection with their iron works in that town, although they had previously been informed of the probably unsuitable character of the water if found. The bore hole was put down to a depth of 1,200 feet, when a bed of salt rock was struck, which proved to have a thickness of about 100 feet. At that time one-eighth of the total salt production of Cheshire was being brought to the Tyne for the chemical works on that river, hence the discovery of salt instead of water was regarded by some as the reverse of a disappointment. The mode of reaching the salt rock by an ordinary shaft, however, failed, from the influx of water being too great, and nothing more was heard of Middlesbrough salt until a dozen years later, when Messrs. Bell Brothers, of Port Clarence, decided to try the practicability of raising the salt by a method detailed in the paper. A site was selected 1,314 yards distant from the well of Messrs. Bolckow & Vaughan, and the Diamond Rock Boring Company was intrusted with the work of putting down a hole in order to ascertain whether the bed of salt extended under their land. This occupied nearly two years, when the salt, 65 feet in thickness, was reached at a depth of 1,127 feet. Other reasons induced the owners of the Clarence iron works to continue the bore hole for 150 feet below the bed of salt; a depth of 1,342 feet from the surface was then reached. During the process of boring, considerable quantities of inflammable gas were met with, which, on the application of flame, took fire at the surface of the water in the bore hole. The origin of this gas, in connection with the coal measures underlying the magnesian limestone, will probably hereafter be investigated.

For raising the salt, recourse was had to the method of solution, the principle being that a column of descending water should raise the brine nearly as far as the differences of specific gravity between the two liquids permitted—in the present case about 997 feet. In other words, a column of fresh water of 1,200 feet brought the brine to within 203 feet of the surface. For the practical application of this system a hole of say 12 inches in diameter at the surface was commenced, and a succession of wrought iron tubes put down as the boring proceeded, the pipes being of gradually decreasing diameter, until the bottom of the salt bed was reached. The portion of this outer or retaining tube, where it passed through the bed of salt, was pierced with two sets of apertures, the upper edge of the higher set coinciding with the top of the seam, and the other set occupying the lower portion of the tube. Within the tube so arranged, and secured at its lower extremity by means of a cavity sunk in the limestone, a second tube was lowered, having an outer diameter from two to four inches less than the interior diameter of the first tube. The latter served for pumping the brine. The pump used was of the ordinary bucket and clack type, but, in addition, at the surface, there was a plunger, which served to force the brine into an air vessel for the purposes of distribution. The bucket and clack were placed some feet below the point to which the brine was raised by the column of fresh water descending in the annulus formed between the two tubes. In commencing work, water was let down the annulus until the cavity formed in the salt became sufficiently large to admit of a few hours' pumping of concentrated brine. On the machinery being set in motion, the stronger brine was first drawn, which, from its greater specific gravity, occupied the lower portion of the cavity. As the brine was raised, fresh water flowed down. The solvent power of the newly admitted water was of course greater than that of water partially saturated, and being also lighter it occupied the upper portion of the excavated space. The combined effect was to give the cavity the form of an inverted cone. The mode of extraction thus possessed the disadvantage of removing the greatest quantity of the mineral where it was most wanted for supporting the roof, and had given rise to occasional accidents to the pipes underground. These were referred to in detail, and the question was started as to possible legal complications arising hereafter from new bore holes put down in close proximity to the dividing line of different properties, the pumping of brine formed under the conditions described presenting an altogether different aspect from the pumping of water or natural brine.

The second part of the paper referred to the uses to which the brine was applied, the chief one being the manufacture of common salt. For this purpose the brine, as delivered from the wells, was run into a large reservoir, where any earthy matter held in suspension was allowed to settle. The clear solution was then run into pans sixty feet long by twenty feet wide by two feet deep. Heat was applied at one end by the combustion of small coal, beyond which longitudinal walls, serving to support the pan and to distribute the heat, conducted the products of combustion to the further extremity, where they escaped into the chimney at a temperature of from 500 deg. to 700 deg. Fahr. On the surface of the heated brine, kept at 196 deg. Fahr., minute cubical crystals speedily formed. On the upper surface of these, other small cubes of salt arranged themselves in such a way that, in course of time, a hollow inverted pyramid of crystallized salt was formed. This ultimately sank to the bottom, where other small crystals united with it, so that the shape became frequently completely cubical. Every second day the salt was "fished" out and laid on drainers to permit the adhering brine to run back into the pans. For the production of table salt the boiling was carried on much more rapidly, and at a higher temperature than for salt intended for soda manufacture. The crystals were very minute, and adhered together by the solidification of the brine, effected by exposure on heated flues. For fishery purposes the crystals were preferred very coarse in size. These were obtained by evaporating the brine more slowly and at a still lower temperature than when salt for soda makers was required. At the Clarence works experiments had been made in utilizing surplus gas from the adjacent blast furnaces, instead of fuel, under the evaporating pans, the furnaces supplying more gas than was needed for heating air and raising steam for iron making. By means of this waste heat, from 200 to 300 tons of salt per week were now obtained.

The paper concluded with some particulars of the soda industry. The well-known sulphuric acid process of Leblanc had stood its ground for three-quarters of a century in spite of several disadvantages, and various modes of utilizing the by-products having been from time to time introduced, it had until recent years seemed too firmly established to fear any rivals. About seven years ago, however, Mr. Solvay, of Brussels, revived in a practical form the ammonia process, patented forty years ago by Messrs. Hemming & Dyar, but using brine instead of salt, and thus avoiding the cost of evaporation. This process consisted of forcing into the brine currents of carbonic acid and ammoniacal gases in such proportions as to generate bicarbonate of ammonia, which, reacting on the salt of the brine, gave bicarbonate of soda and chloride of ammonium. The bicarbonate was placed in a reverberatory furnace, where the heat drove off the water and one equivalent of carbonic acid, leaving the alkali as monocarbonate. Near Middlesbrough, the only branch of industry established in connection with its salt trade was the manufacture of soda by an ammonia process, invented by Mr. Schloesing, of Paris. The works were carried on in connection with the Clarence salt works. It was believed that the total quantity of dry soda produced by the two ammonia processes, Solvay's and Schloesing's, in this country was something under 100,000 tons per annum, but this make was considerably exceeded on the Continent.

* * * * *


The cotton plant principally cultivated in Japan is of the species known as Gossypium herbaceum, resembling that of India, China, and Egypt. The plant is of short stature, seldom attaining a growth of over two feet; the flower is deciduous, with yellow petals and purple center, and the staple is short, but fine. It is very widely cultivated in Japan, and is produced in thirty-seven out of the forty-four prefectures forming the empire, but the best qualities and largest quantities are grown in the southern maritime provinces of the mainland and on the islands of Kiusiu and Shikoku. Vice consul Longford, in his last report, says that the plant is not indigenous to Japan, the seed having been first imported from China in the year 1558. There are now many varieties of the original species, and the cultivation of the plant varies in its details in different localities. The variations are, however, mostly in dates, and the general grinding principles of the several operations are nearly the same throughout the whole country. The land best suited for cotton growing is one of a sandy soil, the admixture of earth and sand being in the proportion of two parts earth to one of sand. During the winter and spring months, crops of wheat or barley are raised on it, and it is when these crops have attained their full height during the month of May that the cotton is sown. About fifty days prior to the sowing a manure is prepared consisting of chopped straw, straw ashes, green grass, rice, bran, and earth from the bottom of the stagnant pools. These ingredients are all carefully mixed together in equal proportions, and the manure thus made is allowed to stand till required for use. Ten days before the time fixed for sowing, narrow trenches, about one inch in depth, are dug in the furrows, between the rows of standing wheat or barleys and the manure is liberally sprinkled along them by hand. For one night before sowing the seed is steeped in water. It is then taken out, slightly mixed with straw ashes, and sown in the trenches at intervals of a few inches. When sown, it is covered with earth to the depth of half an inch, and gently trampled down by foot. Four or five days after sowing, the buds begin to appear above the earth, and almost simultaneously the wheat or barley between which they grow is ripe for the sickle. While the latter is being harvested, the cotton may be left to itself, but not for very long. The buds appear in much larger numbers than the soil could support if they were allowed to grow. They have accordingly to be carefully thinned out, so that not more than five or six plants are left in each foot of length. The next process is the sprinkling of a manure composed of one part night soil and three parts water, and again, subsequent to this, there are two further manurings; one of a mixture of dried sardines, lees of oil, and lees of rice beer, which is applied about the middle of June, when the plant has attained a height of four inches; and again early in July, when the plant has grown to a height of six or seven inches, a further manuring of night soil, mixed with a larger proportion of water than before. At this stage the head of the plant is pinched off with the fingers, in order to check the excessive growth of the stem, and direct the strength into the branches, which usually number five or six. From these branches minor ones spring, but the latter are carefully pruned off as they appear. In the middle of August the flowers begin to appear gradually. They fall soon after their appearance, leaving in their place the pod or peach (momo), which, after ripening, opens in October by three or four valves and exposes the cotton to view. The cotton is gathered in baskets, in which it is allowed to remain till a bright, sunshiny day, when it is spread out on mats to dry and swell in the sun for two or three days. After drying, the cotton is packed in bags made of straw matting, and either sold or put aside until such time as the farmer's leisure from other agricultural operations enables him to deal with it. The average yield of cotton in good districts in Japan is about 120 lb. to the acre, but as cotton is only a secondary crop, this does not therefore represent the whole profit gained by the farmer from his land. The prefectures in which the production is largest are Aichi on the east coast, Osaka, Hiogo, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi on the inland sea, and Fukui and Ishikawa on the west coast. Vice-consul Longford says that the manufacture of cotton in Japan is still in all its stages largely a domestic one. Gin, spindle, and loom are all found in the house of the farmer on whose land the cotton is grown, and not only what is required for the wants of his own family is spun and woven by the female members thereof, but a surplus is also produced for sale.

1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse