To the majority of persons Alcohol connotes liquor. That it is used to some extent in the arts, that it is a fuel, is also common knowledge, but Alcohol as a source of power, as a substitute for gasoline, petroleum, and kindred hydrocarbons was hardly known to the generality of Americans until the passage of the "Denaturing Act" by the last Congress.
Then Alcohol leaped at once into fame, not merely as the humble servant of the pocket lamp, nor as the Demon Rum, but as a substitute for all the various forms of cheap hydrocarbon fuels, and as a new farm product, a new means for turning the farmer's grain, fruit, potatoes, etc., into that greatest of all Powers, Money.
That Alcohol was capable of this work was no new discovery accomplished by the fiat of Congress, but the Act of June 7, 1906, freed de-natured Alcohol from the disability it had previously labored under, —namely, the high internal revenue tax, and so cheapened its cost that it could be economically used for purposes in the arts and manufactures which the former tax forbade.
This Act then opens the door of a new market to the farmer and the manufacturer, and it is in v answer to the increased desire for information as to the source of Alcohol and its preparation that this book has been written. The processes described are thoroughly reliable and are such as have the approval of experience.
As was stated above, Alcohol is not a natural product, but is formed by the decomposition of sugar or glucose through fermentation. This leaves Alcohol mixed with water, and these in turn are separated by distillation.
The literature treating of the distillation of Alcohol from farm products is very scant. But due credit is here given to the following foreign works which have been referred to: Spon's Encyclopaedia of the Industrial Arts, which also contains an article on Wood Alcohol, Mr. Bayley's excellent Pocketbook for Chemists, and Mr. Noel Deerr's fine work on Sugar and Sugar Cane.
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