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CHEMICAL TRADE JOURNAL
Publishing Offices: 32, BLACKFRIARS STREET, MANCHESTER.
SATURDAY, JULY 5, 1890.
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E often hear of German superiority in things chemical, but the argument generally has reference to the alleged superiority of German chemists over English ones, and, judging from controversies which have taken place in our earlier volumes, there are two opinions on this subject. Our present purpose, however, is to point to a different aspect of the question. Those of our readers who have had occasion to fit up a laboratory for the testing of their own or other people's materials, know, to a greater or less extent, that most if not all the delicate and intricate glasswork used in English laboratories is imported from Germany. We trust that our platform is broad enough to include sympathy for the German, and we are second to none in our admiration of his skill. Still we are English, and experience an ebullition of patriotic regret when we consider that this industry is entirely, or nearly so, in German hands. Who that has tried to do so could procure a Le Bel, Henninger tube, of English make, for fractionating benzol? or, again, who could procure English-made thin glass beakers, flasks, pipettes, potash bulbs, burettes, nitrometers, et hoc genus omne? Who, indeed? Alas, we can go through the whole country, from Dan to Beer-Sheba, and cry, "'tis all German." We have sought for a sufficient cause for this state of things, but with indifferent success. We can see little but the proverbial conservatism of English workmen for it. For, consider what there is, or is not, about a Liebig's potash bulb that an English workman could not do if he tried; or, again, a Geissler's bulb for the same purpose, or, to pass for a moment to other and somewhat different articles, what difficulty is there about a glass stopcock, a glass three way tap, or a burette accurately graduated and stoppered; or, again, any of the newer forms of nitrometer, such as the volumeter, etc., with its double-bored stopcocks? Surely, patience and a little manual dexterity are sufficient to accomplish the manufacture. We have been told that it is the low price of these articles that renders the labourer's task an unremunerative one, but, on looking over the prices at which the goods are sold, we fail to see this.
We have also heard that it is the peculiar quality of the German glass that enables this class of work to be better done there, but if this be so, English glass makers are at fault, for the same argument has been applied to the flasks and beakers, the hard glass which is a totally distinct thing from the soft workable glass. This amounts to an admission that the German is victorious all along the line, for have we not also heard of the superiority of Berlin, Meissen, and Dresden porcelain? These are not glass goods it is true, but considering that they form part of the materiel of the laboratory, we may be permitted to use them as an illustration of the tacit way in which English manufacturers appear to have allowed an important industry to be snatched out of their fingers. We would here point out that quite recently this industry has expanded very considerably. The idea that it was a trade not worth following, originated in the
days when chemists had either more time, or else less money -the days when they bought as little apparatus as possible, and made the rest out of Florence flasks and-the word has almost become obsolete-gallipots. But those were the good old days-"all days when old are good." We live under different conditions now, the growth of chemistry as a branch of our national system of education, has increased the demand for these goods; the development of technological chemistry has produced new forms of apparatus, and also created a demand for them. Any one who glances at the elaborate trade lists of the dealers to-day, and recalls what they were twenty or even ten years ago, will need no telling that the trade has increased enormously, and that while the English manufacturer might, in the old days above referred to, be content to allow the German glassworker to take root, even as a grain of mustard seed, the time has come when it is a seed no longer, and when an effort should be made to compete with Germany in this field of industry. We are not of those who believe it to be impossible for English workinen to compete with the Germans in this direction. On the contrary, we believe there is in him all that is necessary to achieve a victory. But where is the employer?
IN THE CHANCERY DIVISION OF THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE.
ON TUESDAY, Before MR. JUSTICE KEKEWICH.
RAWES v. CHANCE BROTHERS..
(From the Manchester Guardian.)
A CASE was concluded on Monday last, in the Chancery Division
which has occupied Mr. Justice Kekewich's attention for six days, and was characterised by the Attorney General, as one of the most remarkable patent cases that had ever been before the courts. There appeared for the plaintiff, with the Attorney General (Sir R. Webster, Q.C., M. P.), Mr. Theodore Aston, Q. C., and Mr. Fletcher Moulton, Q.C., M. P., there being with them Mr. Lawson and Mr. Wallace; and for the defendants, Sir Horace Davey, Q.C., M.P., Mr. S. M. Warmington, Q.C., M. P., and Mr. Carpmael.
The plaintiff, Mr. Francis Bristow Rawes, the Attorney General said, brought the action against Messrs. Chance Brothers, carrying on business at Oldbury, in Worcestershire, and also by a considerable number of their licensees, for an infringement of the letters patent granted to him in respect of the utilisation of the waste products from the manufacture of soda. To the injuncton he thus asked for, he added a demand for an account, and the surrender to him or the destruction of sulphur or other products made in the infringement of the patent. Το these demands the defendants pleaded that the plaintiff's patent was bad for want of novelty, and that having been anticipated over and over again, it was not legally patentable. The speech of the Attorney General, opening the plaintiff's case, showed that for many years the manufacture of the soda of commerce had been an important industry in this country, involving annually the importation of hundreds of thousands of tons of sulphur in the form of pyrites. In the process of manufacture, vast quantities of waste were produced, proving not only an incubus to the manufacturers, but sometimes a nuisance to the inhabitants. For utilising this waste, many schemes had been tried, now for turning it into cement, and then for making it into bricks; but, above all, scientific investigation had been encouraged by the knowledge that these residuals contained some nine-tenths of the sul
phur used in the process of manufacturing the soda. The chemical laws bearing on the subject were well known, and there was quite an interesting literature attaching to it, extending certainly from 1837 down to 1876. The remarkable thing was that, despite this knowledge, the problem of successfully treating these residuals remained unsolved until the investigations and discoveries of the plaintiff in this action, on which he based the letters patent granted to him in 1882. Perhaps the nearest approach to success was obtained by a Mr. Gossage, whose discoveries were suggested by the defendants to have directly anticipated Mr. Rawes's process. Mr. Gossage died two or three years ago,, after having spent thirty years of his life and a fortune in endeavouring to solve the problem. Proceeding to explain the technical process of producing soda, by treating common salt with sulphuric acid in a furnace, and subjecting the product to a
great heat, leading to a crude soda which has to be purified, the Attorney General went on to say that there remained the insoluble residue known in all the districts of alkali manufacture by the enormous unutilised heaps of it, and called vat or alkali waste, consisting, roughly speaking, of one-third sulphide of calcium, onethird carbonate of calcium, and one third water, and involving in its treatment three substances-calcium, barium, and strontium. In the treatment of this waste Mr Rawes discovered three causes for Mr. Gossage's want of success. Perhaps the most important of these was a provision for suspension by agitation preventing the calcium or sulphide of calcium from settling down, which was effected by the use of carbonic acid gas; next he discovered that the air must be excluded; and lastly he found that there must be an intermedium in order to enable the carbonic acid to get at each of the particles by holding each molecule separate. It was in this way that the plaintiff claimed to have solved a problem of great interest and industrial importance, as making the process of extracting sulphur from alkali waste commercially successful, and he sought to restrain the defendants' infringement of his patented rights in it.
The evidence in support of the plaintiff's case, on the basis of the outline thus presented, consisted first of the testimony of Mr. George E Davis, consulting chemist, of Manchester, and editor of the Chemical Trade Journal, who described the plaintiff's process and specification, and its differentiation from preceding efforts to utilise the waste. He was cross-examined by Sir Horace Davey for the defendants through the greater part of the first afternoon of the hearing, all the following day, and for nearly a couple of hours on the third day. The next witness for the plaintiff was Professor Dupré, Government Examiner of Explosives, who, sketching in outline the efforts to utilise the waste, said some of the plans were tried for a time, but none were commercially successful until Mr. Rawes's. The cost of removing it had itself been heavy, but by Mr. Rawes's process it could be utilised. Another of the plaintiff's witnesses was Dr. T. Stevenson, vice-president of the Institute of Chemistry, lecturer in chemistry at Guy's Hospital, and official analyst to the Home Office. Mr. Rawes's specification he thought workable, a proper specification of the process of extracting sulphur from alkali waste, and an improvement upon all other systems of which he was aware. Yesterday Mr. Rawes himself entered the box with the view of showing the originality and effectiveness of his patent. Take his system out of the defendants' treatment, and he said there would be nothing left in Chance's. In cross-examination by Mr. Warmington plaintiff said that in 1882 he was engaged in chemical investigation, but was a private gentleman living on his means. He was not a practical chemist, although he had dabbled in chemistry for the last 40 years. The Court at this stage adjourned for luncheon. On their return into court it was announced that there was a prospect of their arriving at an agreement, and after some consultation,
The Attorney-General said he was pleased to say the parties had come to terms, which having been agreed to and endorsed on the briefs, it would be unnecessary to state. It was, however, right to say that the patent would become the property of Messrs. Chance, and that upon the terms offered by them in the month of January in the present year. He should also say that there was not the slightest ground for imputing to them-nor, his Lordship would bear him out in saying, had he attempted to impute-that they had been guilty of dishonourable conduct. The action, with the consent of his Lordship, would be withdrawn on the terms endorsed on the briefs, certain documents being prepared.
His Lordship intimated that he was glad to be relieved from deciding upon a case involving such issues as the present, and that the settlement was a proper one; and the proceedings concluded.
PETROLEUM CONTRACTS.-A SUGGESTION FOR
The Court of Queen's Bench recently decided the case of Noble Brothers' Petroleum Production Company v. P. Stewart & Co. This was a case which had arisen out of large contracts as to petroleum oil. The plaintiffs own petroleum wells in the Caucasus and elsewhere, and deal extensively in petroleum both in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The defendants were described as one of the largest importers of petroleum in Liverpool. In April, 1889, the parties agreed that the plaintiffs should confer on the defendants the exclusive right of import to all ports on the west coast of Great Britain between Cardiff and Carlisle, of their refined petroleum, for five years, and that the defendants should purchase as much refined petroleum as a steamer of about 3,000 tons would carry, running regularly between Batoum and the United Kingdom; and that in default of any special arrangement the cargo should be invoiced at the average market price at which the highest qualities of Russian refined petroleum in barrels had been selling in Liverpool during a period of six weeks before the arrival of the steamer, the defendants to have an allowance off the
price for expenses; and the defendants, it was alleged, expressly promised the plaintiffs that they would do their best to obtain for the plaintiffs a good position on the market, &c. Three cargoes of petroleum were duly shipped, and were taken by the defendants at specially arranged prices. A fourth cargo had also been shipped, and had recently arrived in the Mersey. As no special arrangement could be made as to the price, it was agreed that the defendants should payand they had paid-for the cargo at the price alleged by them to be the average market price. The price alleged by the defendants to be the average market price was, as the plaintiffs alleged, not the average market price at which the highest qualities of Russian refined petroleum had been selling in Liverpool during the six weeks before the arrival of the steamer, the average price being, as the plaintiffs stated, judging by actual quotations and sales, three-sixteenths of a penny per gallon more, so that the additional sum due to the plaintiffs for the cargo would, it was stated, be £804., and for this the plaintiffs sued, not only for the money loss, but for the injury to their business, and they complained that the defendants not only had not done their best to secure fair prices for the plaintiffs, but the reverse, and had worked the agreement unfairly against them. Other cargoes coming on, similar actions were contemplated or apprehended, and, indeed, the writ had been issued in another action in respect of another cargo for £887. Mr. Low moved on behalf of the defendants to refer the action to arbitration under the usual arbitration clause in the contract as arising out of "a dispute under the contract." Lord Coleridge said he thought the actions could not be compulsorily referred to arbitration, as they arose, not out of a dispute on the contract, but out of alleged unfair conduct, tending to defeat it -i.e., the alleged manipulation of the market soas unfairly to lower the market price, and so prejudice the plaintiffs in the working of the contract. That was a cause of action which did not come strictly within the terms of the arbitration clause in the contract as arising out of disputes under the contract, so that it should be compulsorily referred to arbitration. It appeared to be rather a case which was proper to be tried by a jury. Mr. Justice Wills concurred and the application, therefore, to refer the actions to arbitration was dismissed.
PREPARATION OF PICRIC ACID.
duction of picric acid from crude phenol. It is based upon the following observations :-(1) Phenol-sulphonic acids are much more easily nitrated than phenol itself. (2) The sulphonic acids of crystalline phenol are more readily formed than the corresponding compounds of cresol, &c. (3) The uncrystallisable constituents of crude phenol may be first nitrated and then removed, (a) by the use of the calculated quantity of acid, (b) by regulating the temperature. The residual pure phenol is then nitrated and treated in the usual manner. Following on the above observations two processes have been worked out. In the first, the crude phenol is treated with a quantity of sulphuric acid equivalent to the crystallised phenol present; the resulting sulphonic acid is dissolved in water, and decanted from oily impurities, and the solution treated with nitric acid. Should any cresol be present it will be unattacked, and may be separated by treating the picric acid with sulphuric acid, and afterwards washing with water. In the second process the crude phenol is treated with a large excess of sulphuric acid. The sulphonic acids are dissolved in water, and treated with sufficient nitric acid to nitrate the cresol compounds. On cooling, the nitro-cresol separates as an oil, and may be removed. This process may be varied by treating the mixed sulphonic acids with an excess of nitric acid. If the resulting compounds be then treated at 90°-100° C. with water containing 12 per cent. sulphuric acid, the trinitro-cresol will separate as an oil from the picric acid.
FOOD FROM WOOD FIBRE.
no modern science presents a wider field for speculation than that of chemistry, and more especially, perhaps, that branch of the science which treats of organic compounds. Since the day when Wohler overthrew for ever the notion that organic substances were exclusively the products of the operation of a so-called vital force, by his discovery of the synthesis of urea, a great number of bodies, hitherto obtained only in nature's laboratory, have been successfully built up as the result of a careful and most minute study of their exact nature. The discovery of the preparation of substances by artifice, more particularly the dyes, has, as a matter of course, influenced very considerably home and foreign industries. What shall be said, then, when chemistry promises to solve hard problems of political and social
In an address delivered at Heidelberg, by no less eminent an authority than Victor Meyer, it is announced that "we may reasonably hope
that chemistry will teach us to make the fibre of wood a source of human food " What an enormous stock of food, then, will be found, if this becomes possible, in the wood of our forests, or even in grass or straw. The fibre of wood consists essentially of cellulin. Can this be made to change into starch? Starch has exactly the same percentage in composition, but, as every one knows, it differs very much in its properties, and the nature of its molecule is probably much more complex. Cellulin is of little or no dietetic value, and is not altered, like starch, in boiling water. It readily gives glucose when treated with sulphuric acid, as is easily shown when cotton wool, which is practically pure cellulin, is merely immersed in it. Starch gives the same product when boiled with weak acid.
The author further quotes the researches of Hellreigel, which go to show beyond dispute that certain plants transform atmospheric nitrogen into albumen, and that this process can be improved by suitable treatment. The production, therefore, of starch from cellulin, together with the enforced increase of albumen in plants, would, he adds, in reality signify the abolition of the bread question. It must be borne in mind, however, that theory, fascinating and promising though it may be, is not always capable of being followed up by a practical result.-Kuhlow.
GERMAN v. SWISS ANTIPYRIN.
LAWSUIT concerning the infringement of the patent for "Dr. Knorr's antipyrin which is held by the dyeworks " formerly Meister, Lucius, and Bruning," in Höchst-on-Maine, has just been decided by the " Landgericht" of Hamburg. The complainants were the holders of the patent, and the defendant Mr. Erwin Kunhardt, proprietor of the wholesale drug firm of G. Lippmann and Geffcken, in Hamburg. The case against Kunhardt was that he had been in the habit of ordering "antipyrin " from a firm in Basle, Switzerland, who also manufacture the article, and sold the Swiss drug to customers of his in Germany, thereby infringing the rights of the holders of Dr. Knorr's patent. The value of Swiss antipyrin purchased by Kunhardt in the course of about a year was said to be from 7,000m. to 8,000m. The Basle drug is cheaper than the German, but it is regarded in Germany as a pirate article, and may not be sold there. Mr. Kunhardt's defence was that he purchased the Basle antipyrin for export only, and kept it stored at his bonded warehouse, and that, moreover, he was not aware that Dr. Knorr's antipyrin was protected by patent in Germany. It was shown, however, that the defendant's firm had supplied the Basle antipyrin to a pharmacist in Kiel, Germany, who had secured a contract of medicines for the Navy, and that the packages sent to Kiel bore the inscription "May not be sold in Germany." The public prosecutor demanded that the defendant should be fined 1,000m. and that the sentence should be publicly advertised. The counsel for the Höchst factory demanded an additional fine of 700m. on behalf of that firm. The defence suggested that there was no case, and demanded acquittal. In the end Mr. Kunhardt was found guilty and fined 300m., or in default thirty days' imprisonment. He was also condemned to pay the costs, and an indemnity of 700m, to the Höchst factory, and to the advertising of the sentence in a Hamburg public journal. The stock of Swiss antipyrin was confiscated.
QUICKSILVER IN THE ZEERUST DISTRICT.-Mr. W. J. Smith, of Zeerust, is at present in Cape Town, and advantage was taken by an Argus reporter to ask him a few questions about the alleged valuable deposit of quicksilver at Marico, in the Zeerust district. The substance of Mr. Smith's statement is that some time ago, whilst inspecting Witkop Farm, his attention was attracted by a peculiar formation of rocks there, and also by the colour-vermillion-of the rock itself, indicating, as it did, the presence of quicksilver. Since then operations have been carried on by Mr. Lemmert, jun. (whose father owns the farm), and specimens of the rock have been submitted to experts, including Dr. Hahn, with the result that a rich mineral discovery has been made. Quicksilver exists in very large quantities and of excellent quality, The whilst silver, zinc, lead, and other minerals are abundant. Witkop mine is at present worked by a syndicate with successful results; and this success led to prospecting operations on the adjoining farm of Buffelshoek, where precisely similar conditions were observed, and where a scratching of the surface has revealed the fact that there are equally good results to be anticipated from the mine being worked. A syndicate has been formed to work this mine as well as that of Witkop; and a movement is also in progress for further exploration in the district, where quicksilver is evidently abundant. Professor Hahn has expressed an opinion that the quicksilver mine at Witkop is one of the richest in the world. Mr. Smith's statements were borne out by Mr. B. D. Mudie, of Zeerust, and also by Mr. A. C. de Villiers, of the Paarl, both of whom are well acquainted with the properties.
our readers another of the specialities of this enterprising manufacturer of chemical plant. The "Special" Plumbers' Air Pump and Machine, shown in the figures, are well known in the North of England as convenient apparatus for lead burning, particularly chamber work. Those familiar with this class of work and the older apparatus used by chemical plumbers will not need to be reminded of the frequency with which the plumber has been discovered, in a remote part of the chambers, waiting for his lad who has " gone to the shop for strip," or for the scraper, etc.; the said waiting being due to the fact that the blowing apparatus has no means of maintaining pressure when the pump is stopped. In the apparatus of Mr. Cortin, this defect is remedied. Instead of pumping air direct to the burner, the necessary pressure is obtained by means of two chambers or compartments placed
PUMP No. 1.
one over the other, as shown in " pump No. 1" in the figure, and connected by means of a pipe shown by the dotted lines passing from the bottom of the upper to within a short distance of the bottom of the lower chamber, through which pipe water can pass freely.
The upper chamber is charged with water, which serves to displace the air in the lower chamber when the air tap is opened, and this at a pressure corresponding to the head of water. The air tap, of course, is connected with the burner. As the water level falls in the upper compartment, the air pump fixed as shown in the figure, at the side of the lower chamber, is used to force the water up again by pumping air into the lower chamber, the important feature being that when this has been done, and the upper and lower chambers are full of water and air respectively, the apparatus is capable of working for a considerable interval without attention. The pump shown in the figure is capable of supplying four plumbers working with heavy lead.
The hydrogen generator, or "machine," as it is technically called, is a well-made substantial machine, consisting, as shown in the figure "Machine No. 1," of two compartments communicating with each other by a pipe, by means of a handhole the lower vessel is charged with cake zinc, and then made air tight, and dilute sulphuric acid introduced from the upper vessel. The evolved hydrogen expels the air and passes out through the safety box or "trap," shown on the right-hand side of the space between the upper and lower vessels, and thence to the burner.
VASELINE HARNESS COMPOSITION.-Prussian blue, in fine powder, 34 oz.; lampblack, 4 oz. ; treacle, 2 oz.; soft soap, 2 oz. Mix together in a large Wedgwood mortar, previously warmed, and add :Vaseline, 6 oz. ; cerasin, 5 oz.; yellow resin, 1⁄2 oz. Melted together; then sufficient turpentine to give the composition the proper consistency. Mix thoroughly.
THE POLLUTION OF THE IRWELL BY MANUFACTURERS.
CORRESPONDENT in the Manchester Guardian says:-"The present deplorable state of the river Irwell arises mainly from two causes-the discharge into the river of town sewage, and the pollution from works and manufactories of every description. Within the watershed of the Irwell, an area of over 300 square miles, it is computed that there are more than a million inhabitants, whose sewage passes into the river, while the banks of the river and its contributory streams are lined with innumerable manufactories, discharging their waste water, ashes, and chemical refuse into it in enormous quantities. Dr. Burghardt, who has made extensive investigations into this subject, comes to the conclusion that half of the total pollution of the Irwell before it reaches Throstle Nest weir is due to the manufacturers. The Salford Corporation has availed itself of the provisions of the Rivers
MACHINE No. 1.
Pollution Act, and in the last few years has induced many of the local authorities in the watershed to deal with the sewage portion of the pollution; and from the reports of the various Local Government Board inquiries and descriptions of sewage schemes the public has been made acquainted with the progress in this direction. Little attention, however, has been directed to the equally important advances which have been made in inducing private individuals to prevent as far as possible the pollution of the river from the discharge of their waste products. It would be impossible to enumerate here one half of the instances of this public spirit, but the following cases will serve to show that the manufacturers are awakening to the knowledge that it is to their own interest to discharge only clear water, in order that they may ultimately derive the same benefit from their neighbours higher up the stream. As one manufacturer put the case, if he could only receive water as pure as he sent it out, he should be well paid for his trouble.' At the paper works of Messrs. Yates, Duxbury and Son, Hall-i'th'-Wood, Bolton, an extensive series of settling tanks has been constructed in order to allow the solid impurities to precipitate from the waste water before turning it into the Tottington Brook. The tanks are six in number, ranging in length from 56 to 128 feet, and are of a uniform width of 22 feet. Before entering the first tank the waste water is passed through three strainers, formed of perpendicular iron bars, which arrest all the larger refuse. A portion of the impurities settles to the bottom of the first tank, and the top stratum of comparatively clear liquid flows over sluices into the second tank, where the process of settling is again carried on; and in like manner through the whole series of tanks. In addition, two special filters have been constructed for dealing with the lime dregs produced in the works. The refuse liquid is discharged into two iron tanks, each 13 feet square, in which is placed a layer of fine coke 18 inches in thickness, with a space below for the filtered liquid to collect before flowing away. The surface of the coke is cleared of the deposited lime by scraping, and to