United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 224-227 online

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was quite sufficient, and, further, that the air chamber, instead of
being located at the front end of the furnace, should be at the rear
or farther end from the door, where the heat is most intense and
whence the current in the grate bars is injected forward — that is, in
a direction opposite to the draft of the furnace itself. The hollow
grate bars are of cast iron, made in sections about 3 feet in length,
with pierced flanges which enable them to be bolted together at the
ends, so that the bar may be lengthened to fit any furnace. Being
protected by the current of air, the bars are practically indestructible
by fire; those in use since September being still in good condition.

With an apparatus so simple and natural in principle as this, some
surprising results have been already obtained, although the practi-
cal application of the process is in its infancy. The proprietor of



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SMOKE CONSUMPTION AND ECONOMY OF FUEL. 493

the hotel, who has had the apparatus in use since December, gives
it the highest approval, stating deliberately in his certificate that it
has reduced by three-fourths his outlay for fuel, worked with effi-
ciency at all times, and completely eliminated' the smoke and soot
which formerly, when the best Silesian lump coal was used, black-
ener! the walls and floor of the hotel court and formed a nuisance of
which his guests frequently complained. It was in fact for the pur-
pose of abating the smoke and soot plague, rather than of saving
expense of fuel, that the system was adopted for trial. The coke
dust used as fuel contains a high percentage of inorganic matter and
the yield of ashes is thereby necessarily increased; but, all elements
duly considered — cost of fuel, labor of removing ashes, etc. — the fuel
cost of running the engine, month by month, as compared with the
previous year, has been less than one-fourth of the fuel cost for the
same boiler, engine, and electric current, generated with Silesian
lump coal.

At the cloth works in Guben, the problem was somewhat different:
(i) To get rid of the smoke and soot which poured from the fur-
nace chimney and defiled the premises, and (2) to use as fuel a kind
of brown coal found in large abundance near the factory, which con-
tains about 2,400 calorics, and is therefore a fuel of too low a grade
to be used by ordinary means. For this reason, the market price of
this brown coal delivered at the factory was only 6 cents per cent-
ner, or $1.20 per metric ton (2,200 pounds) — a very cheap fuel, in-
deed, for Germany — but with the Cornelius grate bars it was so
absolutely smokeless and otherwise so satisfactory that after three
weeks' experience with one boiler, the managers had their three boiler
furnaces converted to the new system, and after eight months* con-
stant use certify that —

(i) Their saving in fuel by the use of brown coal, instead of Sile-
sian steam coal, has been no marks ($26.18) per week.

(2) The smoke and soot from which they previously suffered have
been entirely suppressed.

(3) The grate bars remain in as good condition as when first used,
and the fire burns easily and under perfect control, so that no injury
has resulted to boilers or furnace walls.

Exhaustive tests of the new system have been made by Mr.
Gustav Diirr, directing engineer of a large tubular boiler factory at
Diisseldorf, who writes in most convincing terms, declaring that the
Cornelius system of furnace construction will bring into use as
fuel for steam and many other heating purposes, not only the vast
product of coke dust from the Westphalian coal and iron district,
which has hitherto been used for road making and ballast for rail-
way tracks, but also the immense brown coal and peat deposits of



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494 SLATE IN BELGIUM.

Germany. This, in many manufacturing districts of this country,
will revolutionize the whole economy of heating for steam and other
purposes, and German economists are already counting upon the
sudden advantage that this new method will give to certain of their
industries, which now have to use expensive coal brought from long
distances.

Another series of tests, extending over a period of six weeks,
has just been made in Berlin by M. Ternberg, chief engineer of the
Government of Sweden, as a result of which negotiations are now
in progress for the sale of the Cornelius Swedish patents to the
Government of that country, in order to enable the people to utilize
the vast deposits of peat, which cover thousands of square miles in
Scandinavia, where little or no coal exists and almost the entire
supply has to be imported from Great Britain.

From the standpoint of general utility, the advantages which
seem to have been secured by this system, and which will render it
important to the United States, may be summarized as follows:

(i) The smokeless consumption of bituminous slack and other
waste of mines and coke works in cities and towns.

(2) The use for steam and heating purposes of the lowest grades
of western bituminous coals, peat, sawdust, etc., and the vast mounds
of anthracite waste that now encumber the mining districts of Penn-
sylvania.

(3) In naval vessels, notably torpedo boats, to secure such com-
plete consumption of bituminous fuel as to eliminate smoke, which
serves to indicate the presence and location of a war vessel to an
enemy.

It will be understood that while any fuel — lump or nut coal, for
instance — burns fiercely on a Cornelius grate, perfect combustion
with consumption of smoke gases requires the fuel to be pulverized,
so that for naval purposes lump coal would have to be crushed in
order to secure the best results.

Frank H. Mason,

Berlin, April 2j, iS^g. Consul- General.



SLATE IN BELGIUM.

In reply to a Pennsylvania correspondent (to whom the original
letter has been forwarded). Consul Le Bert writes from Ghent,
April 25, 1899, in part as follows:

In this district, which comprises East and West Flanders, slate
is not manufactured for any purpose and is used only for roofing.
All public buildings — Government, municipal, churches, theaters,
schools, etc. — have for the past twenty-five years been roofed with



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SLATE IN BELGIUM.



495



slate. Its use on stores, residences, etc., does not date back quite
that far. It is only within the past eight years that it has been gep-
erally employed, and it is now rapidly gaining favor as a rooimg
material. To-day, few buildings of the better class are constructed
without slate roofs. Wood shingles are unknown; the prevailing
material has been clay tiling. This is very cheap, and the poorer
classes of buildings will probably be roofed with tiling for many
years.

Slate blackboards are little used ; wooden boards appear to give
satisfaction. Slate mantels are unknown; granite and marble are
said to be cheaper, more durable, and capable of better finish. Slate
floor tiles are not used. School slates are manufactured in Belgium,
and are also imported from Germany.

The following tables will show the trade in slate in 1897, the
latest year for which statistics are available:

Importation of roofing slate ^ '^97-



Country.



Pieces.



Value.



England

France

Grand Duchy of Luxemburg..
Other countries

Total



338,700

37,251,683

1,105,400

57,725



38,753.508



$1,372.81

130,981.01

4,480.10

234.11



157,068.03



Exportation of roofing slate ^ '^97-



Country.



Pieces.



Value.



Germany

England

Austria..

France.

Grand Duchy of Luxemburg...

Holland ~

Switzerland

Other countries

Total



8,804,620


168,666.50


373.885


2,886.31


71,000


548.12


670,250


5,174.33


4.307.870


33.256.79


668,346


5,15966


2,024,570


15.629.53


293,020


2,262.15


17.303.561


133.583.3^





Production of slate in


Belgium.








1897.


1896.


Locality.


Pieces.


In cubic

meters (35.316

cubic feet).


Value.


Pieces.


Value.


Namur


4,740,000
36,682,000




1319,279.90
4,747.80


35,980,000
1. 150


1255,242.50
4,825.00


LuxcmburflT .•.•.••...




Do


1.445
1.445




41,422,000


324,027.70


35,981,150




Total


260,067.50





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496 SLATE INDUSTRY IN FRANCE.

Recapitulation of roofing slate imported^ ex1>orted, and produced for the year tScyj.



Description.



Importation

Production

Total

Less exportation...

Surplus



Pieces.



38.753t5o8
41,422,000



80,175,508
"7.903.561



62,871,947



Value.



$157,068.03
319,279.90



476.347-93



342.764 54



The duty on slate is 77 cents per 1,000 pieces. Prices obtained
by contractors are from 67.55 to 86.85 cents per square meter (10.76
square feet), according to quality, laid on roof.

The principal dealers in slate in Ghent are: P. Van den Heede,
rue Basse No. 20; F. De Bruyn, Ledeberg; G. Casteleyn, Digue
des Blanchisseurs No. 10.



SLATE INDUSTRY IN FRANCE.

In reply to a Pennsylvania firm,* Consul-General Gowdy, of Paris,
writes, on April 11, 1899:

Slate is produced in France to a very large extent and is taken
from both open and closed quarries. The best of these quarries are
located in the neighborhood of Anger, Department of Maine et
Loire. The slate extracted is principally used for roofing tiles;
from certain quarries, for large slabs, billiard tables, and public
toilet rooms.

Under the present conditions, the French tariff on slate coming
from the United States is: For slabs and tables (broken or sawn) in
the rough or polished, 4 francs (77 cents) per 100 kilograms (220
pounds) gross; for roofing, 1.40 francs (27 cents) per 100 kilograms
gross; for framed school slates and for drawing, 5 francs (96 cents)
per 100 kilograms.

I give herewith a table of statistics of exports and imports for
1897, being the last official figures on the subject. The terms
'* special*' and ** general" mean special commerce and general com-
merce, defined as follows:

In imports, general commerce includes all merchandise of this
nature entering France from foreign countries or colonies, whether
by land or by sea, and whether intended for consumption in France
or for reexportation or transmission to other countries. Special
commerce means all merchandise of this nature subject to duty
withdrawn during the year for consumption from the entrepot (or

*To whom AdvAiiQc §he«u have been. sent.



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SLATE INDUSTRY IN FRANCE.



497



warehouse) on payment of duty. In the line of exports, general com-
merce includes merchandise of every description, whether of foreign
or domestic origin, exported from France. The term ** special com-
merce" embraces only merchandise of national origin and that of
foreign origin which has been admitted free of duty or has been
nationalized by the payment of duties.

Exports.





Description.





Quantity. .


Value.


Building slabs and ta

General

Special


ibles:


Met. quint.*
869
861


Francs.
19,118
18,942


$J,689
3.655


Total


1.730


38,060


7,344








Roofing:

General


485,182
477.357


4,124,046
4.057.532


795,940
783.103


Special -








Total


962,539


8.181,578


1.57Q.043




rawing slates:




Framed school and d
General


9.731
9.318


194,630
186,361

380,991


.37,561
35.967


Special








Toul


19,049


73.530






♦ I metrical


quintals 2,204
Imports.


.6 pounds.








Description.




Quantity.


Value.


Building (rough):


Met. quint.
2.175
2,057

♦4.232

6,385
5.595

tii,98o


Francs.
10,875
10,285

21,160


$2,098
1,985


Special








Total


4.083








Slabs and tables:
General ..


127,702
111.896


24,646
21,595


Special








Total ..«


239.598

161,402
94.888


46.241








Roofing:

General .


18,988
11,163


31.150
18.303


Special -








Total


t3'>.i5i


256,290


49,453




rawing slates:




Framed school and d
General


1,775
1,418

§3.193


35,506
28,357

63,863


6,852
5.473
12,325


Special


Total





* Belgium supplies 954 metric quintals; Italy, 1,207.

t Italy supplies5,336metricquintals; Germany, 215; England, 214; Belgium, 169; United States, ifu.

X From England and Belgium.

% From Germany and Switzerland.

No. 226 7.



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498 USE OF PHOSPHORUS IN MATCHES.



USE OF PHOSPHORUS IN MATCHES.

Ambassador Choate sends from London, under date of March 18,
1899, copy of a recent blue book embodying reports on the use of
phosphorus in matches, together with an article bearing thereon
from the London Times of March 17, 1899. The latter reads:

A blue book issued yesterday corftains the reports of Professor Thorpe, Pro-
fessor Oliver, and Dr. Cunningham upon the use of phosphorus in the manufacture
of batches, together with a digest in the form of an introductory memorandum by
Mr. Whitelegge, the chief inspector of factories. The reports contain many inter-
esting details concerning legislation in other countries where attention has been
called to the danger of phosphorus poisoning, and also concerning the methods in
use elsewhere for averting these dangers and reducing by the use of machinery the
number of human beings exposed to phosphorus vapor or the products of phos-
phorus oxidation. But, while they will supply the Home Secretary with an author-
itative basis for legislation, it can not be said that they materially add to or modify
what may be called common knowledge concerning the poisonous action of ordi-
nary phosphorus, the part it plays in the manufacture of matches, or the direction
in which improvement of factory conditions must be attempted. Phosphorus is one
of the elements which, like sulphur and carbon, are capable of assuming more than
one form, marked by widely dissimilar physical properties. Its allotropic modifica-
tion, known as red phosphorus, is as difficult to identify with its ordinary fom as
is carbon flashing in a lady's diamonds with carbon showered upon the unfortunate
population of London in the shape of "blacks." Ordinary phosphorus is highly
poisonous, is inflammable at a temperature far below that of boiling water and at
the ordinary temperature of a room if exposed to the slightest friction, and gives oflF
poisonous fumes at ordinary temperatures when in contact with air containing any
moisture. Red phosphorus is not poisonous even in large quantities, and gives off
no fumes in ordinary conditions, but unfortunately requires a relatively high tem-
perature to bring about ignition. It is used in the manufacture of matches that
strike only on the box, or, rather, it is an ingredient of the prepared surface on
which they strike; but no means have yet been discovered of using it to replace
white phosphorus in matches meant to strike anywhere. However convenient
safety matches may be in our homes, where the appropriate striking surface is
always at hand, there are obviously a great many situations in which a match that
strikes anywhere is incomparably more convenient. Hence, the ordinary phos-
phorus occupies a large place in match manufacture which the red variety can not
fill in the present state of our knowledge and invention. How large that place is
may be judged from the fact that some 60 tons of white phosphorus are annually
used in making matches, while the consumption of red phosphorus is under 4 tons.
As matches arc exported in large quantities, it is obvious that undue interference
with the use of the poisonous, but convenient, variety would deprive the country of
a valuable trade and throw large numbers of people out of employment.

Happily, there is no need to resort to heroic measures, since there are no
dangers connected with the use of while phosphorus which can not be met by the
use of common-sense precautions. The stuff gives off fumes which are injurious
to the health of susceptible subjects, though they are far from producing the gen-
eral havoc which some suppose them to cause. It follows that precautions should
be taken to carry off these fumes by ventilation of a specially thorough kind, and



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WOOD SEASONING BY ELECTRICITY. 499

also to prevent or limit their production by the use of substances, like turpentine,
which hinder oxidation of the phosphorus. Oxidation, again, goes on only in the
presence of moisture, even pure oxygen failing to combine with phosphorus when
perfectly dry. From this, we may infer that every effort should be made to dry the
matches thoroughly as soon as they are dipped; and. further, that the dipping
ought to be done by machinery in closed chambers. There is already machinery
for the purpose, and there is no doubt at all that ingenuity enough exists to
improve it to any required point. Then, ignition of matches in the process of man-
ufacture, of course, produces fumes in vast volume, and such ignition very com-
monly occurs in the crosscutling of double-ended matches. That crosscutting in
this country is largely done by means of pivoted knives worked by hand. There
is no reason why it should not be effected by machinery, or avoided altogether by
invention of improved methods of single-end dipping. In these and other ways,
the production of phosphorus fumes and the actual handling of phosphorus paste
by the work people might be very greatly reduced.

It remains to deal with the work people themselves — perhaps the hardest part
of the task. Decayed teeth are held to increase indefinitely the risks of phosphorus
poisoning. Some say there is no poisoning without them; but that is probably
putting the thing too high, because it is quite easy to poison a man with phosphorus
in the form of pills, which can not affect him through his teeth. In any case, cari-
ous teeth either open a way for the poisonous action of the fumes or they indicate
a condition of body in which these fumes are peculiarly dangerous. It follows
that every effort should be made to exclude persons having unsound teeth. Work
people can rarely be got to understand the importance of cleanliness, and, whether
they work in phosphorus or in lead, they will insist, unless sharply looked after,
upon eating their food with unwashed hands. The remedies for this are obvious.
All the indicated precautions are of quite a simple kind and could be carried out
without appreciable cost, and, in some cases, with actual gain in new factories.
They will, no doubt, bear rather hardly upon the owners of old and badly con-
structed factories, but that is a thing which we can not help. A bill drawn up upon
the lines of these reports would promote the survival of the fittest among match
manufacturers, and also the introduction of improved methods which in the long
run would cheapen production, while guarding the health of the community.



WOOD SEASONING BY ELECTRICITY.

In a recent issue of a European trade journal, there is a descrip-
tion of a new process of seasoning wood and timber by electricity,
known as the Nodon-Bretoneau process, which must be a commer-
cial success, for it is claimed that the company's shares are now at
a premium of nearly 600 per cent. The effect of the electrical treat-
ment seems to be to expel the sap and replace it by insoluble matter
which will not putrefy, and to increase the tenacity of the wood and
its resistance to vertical compression.

This is said to be the first industrial application of the principle
of electric osmose, viz, if the electrodes in an electrolytic solution
are separated by a porous partition and a current passes, the volume
of the liquid in contact with the positive pole diminishes, while that
in contact with the negative pole increases.



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500 STUDY OF TROPICAL PISEASES IN GREAT BRITAIN.

The process is about as follows: The positive pole of a dynamo is
connected with a lead grating, upon which the wood to be treated
is placed. A solution, which is kept at the uniform temperature of
ioo° F. by means of a steam pipe underneath the grating, is poured
into the vat so as to almost cover the log of wood treated. At a pub-
lic demonstration, the solution used contained lo per cent of borax,
5 per cent of resin, and three-fourths of i per cent of carbonate of soda,
the borax being used on account of its antiseptic properties and the
carbonate of soda to help dissolve the resin. A porous tray, the bot-
tom of which consists of two sheets of canvas with a sheet of felt
between, is placed over the log, and a sheet of lead connected with
the negative pole of the dynamo is placed above this.

When the current is turned on, the solution is drawn from the
bottom and the sap is driven out, and its place taken by the borax and
resin; the time required for a lo-inch log is about seven or eight
hours, and then the wood is slowly dried, which takes in the open
air in summer several weeks or even months. It was stated that a
unit of electrical energy was required for every 6 cubic feet of timber
treated.

E. Theophilus Liefeld,

Freiburg, April 7, i8gg. Consul.



THE STUDY OF TROPICAL DISEASES IN GREAT

BRITAIN.

A movement has recently been started in England for the special
study of tropical diseases, and, now that it has developed into con-
crete form, there is an endeavor to give it an international character.
The originator of this humane project is the Hon. Joseph Chamber-
lain, the British Colonial Secretary. The advancement of commerce
with tropical regions, particularly Africa, has brought civilization
face to face with diseases peculiar to those countries, which sci-
ence has -so far not been able to successfully combat, first, because
of lack of exact knowledge as to their nature and, second, because of
the inadequacy of the remedial agencies employed. These diseases
are of a malarial type, but it has been found that they differ some-
what from those known as belonging to that class in Europe and in
North America, although to a certain extent they are similar to the
malarial diseases existing in the swampy districts in several of
the Southern States.

There are now two organizations in England that have taken up
the work of the study of tropical diseases, one at London and one at
Liverpool. The Colonial Nursing Association, of LondoH, has also



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STUDY OF TROPICAL DISEASES IN GREAT BRITAIN. 50I

identified itself with the movement. The organization at Liverpool
is independent of governmental control and has not as yet received
any financial aid from the Government, while that at London is, to
a certain extent, under Government auspices. The Liverpool school
was started by the head of a large shipping firm, and the project has
received the enthusiastic support of the local business community
and medical profession. Both the London and Liverpool institutions
are working together harmoniously for the same end, and it is con-
fidently expected that the Liverpool enterprise will be given Govern-
ment support. It is claimed that no other city offers such facilities
as Liverpool does for the study of tropical diseases, largely because
of the fact that, owing to its enormous tfaffic with the Tropics, there
are more cases of these diseases here than in any other European
city. Last year, there were in one of the Liverpool hospitals (the
Royal Southern) nearly three hundred cases of malaria, and quite a
number of cases of beriberi, tropical anaemia, yellow fever, scurvy,
etc. All these cases were brought to Liverpool by ships trading
with tropical countries.

The Liverpool School of Tropical Diseases is in connection with
University College and the Royal Southern Hospital. Students
must be qualified medical men of this or foreign countries, or fifth-
year students. In other circumstances, special application must be
made. A separate ward has been set apart at the hospital for the
treatment of tropical diseases, and there is a ward laboratory for
the immediate examination of blood and excreta. At the University
College there are the Thompson-Yates laboratories, opened by Lord
Lister last October, and probably the most complete in the United
Kingdom, where ample facilities will be given for the special scien-
tific study of the subject.

The managers of the Liverpool school urge that their work is
not a local one, nor even limited to the British Empire in its benefi-
cent scope. They plead that all countries having commerce in trop-
ical regions should interest themselves in the work, as, quite apart
from humatiitarian considerations, tropical diseases are one of the
greatest barriers at present to the extension of commerce in the coun-



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 224-227 → online text (page 59 of 92)