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.D. The cost of plant would be reduced in so far that the very costly copper cylinder row rendered necessary by the corrosive action of copper salts upon iron might be replaced by an iron cylinder.
4th. The experiments upon which my answer to the first question is based have been necessarily only in the nature of a preliminary and qualitative examination, applied only to the central parts of the wood. Specimens have, therefore, been reserved with a view to an exact and extended analysis of all parts of the specimens, should the matter prove to be of sufficient importance to demand it, favored by the better opportunity of the laboratory attached to the Surgeon-General's Office at Washington. Respectfully submitted.
J. H. KIDDER,
Surgeon, U.S. N., and Member of the Board. Boston, Mass., December 3, 1880.
No. 3.-REPORT OF JAMES F. BABCOCK.
Report on American Wood Preserving Company's process, commencing January 25,
and continuing until February 19, 1881, of James F. Babcock, analytical and consulting chemist, State assayer, late professor of chemistry, Boston University and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Established 1863. James F. Babcock, analytical and consulting chemist, State assayer and inspector of liquors ; late professor of chemistry in Boston University and Massachusetts College of Phar. macy, 4 State street. )
Bostox, February 22, 1881. GENTLEMEN: I have made a series of experiments and tests upon numerous samples of wood of different kinds, preserved by your process, at the company's works at the Charlestown pavy-yard, commencing January 25, and continuing with some intermissions until February 19, and the results and conclusions at which I have arrived are embodied in the following report :
I find that the process is adapted to the preservation of wood from rot and decay, in consequence of its impregnation with solution of sulphate of copper, followed by impregnation with chloride of barium in solution, the mutual action of these salts producing the chloride of copper and the sulphate of barimun (an insoluble substance) in the pores of the wood. I have obtained most satisfactory tests of the presence both of copper and barium at the heart of the wood, both in the cases of yellow pine and oak, and I herewith submit several phials containing copper in the metallic state, and barium as sulphate obtained from the heart of the sticks of timber which are referred to in this report, and the central portions of which are marked with my initials and placed in possession of Mr. J. H. Young.
The specimens of copper and barium were extracted from the central portion (lengthwise) of the heart of an oak stick 52 feet 17 inches by 17 inches, and from a pine stick 19 feet by 16 inches by 15 inches. The analysis of the pine stick was made from a section of the stick 6 inches by 8 inches. From each and every one of the sections of these sticks marked by me, and accompanying this report, I have no doubt that barium and copper will be found, as I have been able to find it in the central portion of the logs front which these exhibits were taken.
These tests and specimens show conclusively that by this process both barium and copper find their way to the central portions of timber, submitted to their action, and that the theoretical objection to this process, based upon the alleged formation of a wall of insoluble and impermeable sulphate of barium has no foundation whatever in the actual practice and carrying out of the process.
The merits of a solution of copper as a preservative of wood have been long known, and need no citation of authorities. I may, however, allude to a report of the jury of the French Exposition of 1855, extremely favorable to the use of copper, and to the fact that, in 1868, Boucherie, jr., exhibited to the French Academy specimens of wood, in sound condition,'which had been preserved by his father's process and exposed since 1847. (See the Comptes Rendus, vol. lxvii, p. 713.) My attention has also been called to a railway tie now at the office of the company, said to have been taken from the Euclid avenue crossing of the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railway, laid in March, 1870. The tie is of beech wood, and gives not the slightest evidence of decay after an exposure of eleven years.
I have also observed a walk of spruce plank preserved by this process, about 1,000 feet in length, laid down in the navy-yard at Charlestown, near the rope-walk, and said to have been laid down in July, 1879.
I am informed that portions of this walk, before the use of impregnated timber, required renewal at the end of two years, but in the present case there is no evidence of any decay or any tendency thereto. The iron spikes in this walk are in no case corroded, and furnish a very satisfactory practical answer to the theoretical objection, that wood preserved by this process would prove injurious to iron.
In conclusion, I have no hesitancy in saying
1st. That this process is well adapted to the preservation of timber of all kinds from rot and decay.
2d. That those portions of timber most liable to decay are the most readily penetrated by the materials used.
3d. That I know of no practical or valid theoretical objection to this process for the preservation of timber for all purposes.
4th. And that I am not acquainted with any process for preserving wood which is superior to that employed by your company, namely, copper and barium. Respectfully,
JAS. F. BABCOCK,
Chemistry in the Boston University. THE AMERICAN WOOD PRESERVING COMPANY,
No. 4.-REPORT OF BOARD-SURGEON J. M. FLINT AND OTHERS.
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 8, 1881. SIR: I bave the honor to transmit herewith the report of the board convened under your order of the 230 June, 1881, for the examination of the process of preserving timber for naval purposes by the American Wood Preserving Company. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES M. FLINT,
Surgeon, V. S. N., President of the Board. Hon. WILLIAM H. HUNT,
Secretary of the Nary, Navy Department, Washington, D. C.
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 8, 1881. Sir: In accordance with your letter of instructions (a copy of which is herewith appended, marked A), we have carefully considered the several points of inquiry to which our attention was therein directed, and beg leave to report as follows:
1. It is manifestly impossible to determine the practical" value of the process for the preservation of wood as practiced by the "American Wood Preserving Company” from theoretical considerations alone. Only by actual comparative tests of the durability of treated and untreated wood, both being subjected to the same conditions, can any positive conclusion be reached.
Such evidence of this kind as has been brought before this board, consisting of wood impregnated by this process, and authenticated to have been in actual use, will be found in the fifth section of this report. This evidence, though limited, is favorable to the efficacy of the process.
The board has also had before it the reports of numerous and prolonged experiments made in Europe with wood impregnated with sulphate of copper by a method similar to, if not identical with, that used by the American Wood Preserving Company.
These reports prove satisfactorily that so much, at least, of this process as consists in impregnation with sulphate of copper, is of practical value for the preservation of wood against rot and decay.
The testimony is equally conclusive that the sulphate of copper alone is only temporarily protective against the teredo (ship-worm).
2. Numerous sections of pine and oak timber which had been treated and cut in the presence of the board have been submitted to repeated and careful analyses. Copper has been found in all the specimens examined. 'It seems readily to have penetrated the sap wood, but with greater difficulty the heart of both oak and pine, being found in very small quantity in the sound heart wood of both species of timber, except in two specimens, which contained copper in considerable quantity.
The barium salt penetrates less completely than the copper. Traces of barium were found in the greater number, but not all, of the sections. In the sound heart wood, when found, it was only in the minutest appreciable quantity.
3. The chemical compounds formed in the wood by this process are: First. Compounds of copper with the organic constituents of the wood. Second. Cupric chloride and baric sulphate, wherever the solutions of copper and baricum meet.
The compounds of copper with the organic matters of the wood strongly resist putrefaction. The cuprio chloride, and any excess of cupric sulpbate not acted on by the baric chloride, would also “tend to the preservation of wood.”
The barie sulphate is a practically insoluble salt, and, so far as any chemical action on the wood, or poisonons action on organisms is concerned, is inert. Its action, if any, must be mechanical only. That it does not, to any appreciable extent, occlude the pores of the wood is evident from microscopic examination as well as from the minute quantity present. It is not apparent, on any theoretical grounds, that the barium salt in this process would “tend to the preservation of wood.”
4. A salt of copper in solution brought in contact with iron tends to the deterioration of the latter. But it is probable that in this instance the quantity of copper salt present in the impregnated wood is insufficient to effect any practical injury to the bolts and spikes which would be used in it. So long as the wood is kept dry no action apon the iron would take place.
5. Three specimens of wood, said to have been treated by the process of the American Wood Preserving Company, have been brought before the board.
First. A spruce railroad tie, from Germany, bearing the seals of the United States legation, said to have been in use sixteen years. The wood is still in a good state of preservation and serviceable.
Second. A beech railroad tie, said to have been in use nine years. It is also well preserved and fit for further use. A copy of a letter authenticating these specimens will be found appended (marked B). Third. A plank walk in the navy-yard, Boston ; letter from Civil Engineer U. S. G. White, U. S. N., in reference to the walk, is appended (marked C).
The planks of this walk appear to be perfectly sound and unaffected by exposure to the elements. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES M. FLINT,
W. M. MEW,
FRED, W. TAYLOR,
Chemist, Simthsonian Institution. Hon. WILLIAM H. Hunt,
Secretary of the Mary.
APPENDIX. The undersigned desires to remark, in connection with section 3, that the expression it is not apparent, &c.," used at the close of the section is accurate in so far as (1) it refers to the baric sulphate, an insoluble salt, formed during the process, and (2) the small amount of the baric salt found by the analyses, and no farther. Regarding it as quite possible to impel a much larger amount of the baric chloride into timber than was done for the present occasion, it is equally possible, and in that event probable, that some of the barie chloride would escape contact with the cupric sulphate. It would then be quite free to combine with the same kinds of organic matter of the wood as the copper (as has been stated in the text) does. Such a compound would be quite as insoluble and quite as efficient a preservative agent as the copper salt. And as a further illustration of the probable value of the baric salt, it is the opinion of the undersigned that a compound may be formed with the cellulose of the wood. This is an hypothesis yet to be verified. And in connection with section 4 he desires to say that, from the statements therein made, it might be inferred that should the timber become wet some electrolytic action tending to decompose the iron might result, however immaterial as to extent, for the reasons there given, it may be from a practical point of view. While in section 3 it is stated that the compounds formed in the reactions with the capric sulpbate are(1) Organic compounds, and (2) Baric sulphate and cupric chloride. It should be stated here that the organic compounds are insoluble in water, and are formed (1) by reaction with the cupric chloride, and (2) by any excess there may be of cupric sulphate, that is, as much of the latter as is not acted upon by the baric chloride. Since, then, the organic compounds are insoluble, and cannot therefore become electrolytes, the allusion to the possible slight decomposition of the iron assumes the possible partial failure
of the cupric salts to combine with the organic matter to
form insoluble compounds with it, and, as a matter of course, the existence of free soluble copper salts.
The undersigned, in signing the report, grants this assumption, remote though the possibility may be. We have, then, by the terms of the assumption, free copper salts within the timber.
For purposes of explanation, it may be further assumed that they are present in sufficient qnantity to injure the iron under favoring conditions. It is the opinion of the undersigned, ist, that the conditions required, viz, a free solution of the salt and freedom of the iron from contact with protecting matter could not exist, and, 2d, that, admitting their existence, the means whereby the solution would be effected wonld prove the means of preventing the decomposition by removing the cause, for an affirmation of an ingress of the solvent in this case predicates an egress of the solution by diffusion in the surrounding menstruum, in obedience to well known laws.
W. M. MEW, Acting Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A.
Washington, June 23, 1881. Sir: You are hereby appointed president of a board, to consist of yourself, Dr. W. M. Mew, of the Surgeon-General's Office of the Army, and Dr. F. W. Taylor, of the Smithsonian Institution, to assemble at the navy-yard, Boston, on the 28th instant, to examine into the process of preserving timber for naval purposes by the American Wood Preserving Company. The duties of the board will be to determine and report:
First. Whether the impregnation of wood, as practiced by the American Wood Preserving Company in the Charlestown navy-yard is a practical preventative of rot and decay in those parts of the wood which are liable to such action by the elements, and the ravages of the organism which, in common language, powderposts the wood.
Second. How far the salts of copper and barium, by this process, are made to penetrate the wood for such purpose.
Third. Whether the chemical compounds formed in the wood by this process are such as, upon well sustained chemical theory, would tend to such preservation.
Fourth. Whether there is anything in the process which would tend to the deterioration of the iron bolts and spikes which go into the wood; and
Fifth. To examine such specimens of the wood, so preserved, as may be authenticated to them to have been in actual use, and report the condition in which they are found, the time of such use and exposure to the elements.
For this purpose you will proceed to Boston in season to organize the board at the time herein indicated, and return to Washington when the duties of the board are completed.
The commandant of the navy-yard will be instructed to afford the board such facil-
WILLIAM N. JEFFERS,
Acting Secretary of the Navy.
July 5, 1881. Sir: In compliance with the request of the board, I berewith hand you three sections of a beech tie, preserved by the American Wood Preserving Company's process, laid on the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad in March, 1870, in use nine years when taken up; it is certified to by J. R. Conrad, assistant superintendent and treasurer, ou page 14 of the American Wood Preserving Company's circular, also by Charles H. Strong, city civil engineer of Cleveland, Ohio, on page 15.
I also hand you three sections of a sprace tie, impregnated by the American Wood Preserving Company's process, which was taken up after being down sixteen years in Germany, certified to under the seal of the legation of the United States at Berlin, which tie with the seals were examined by the board at our works, Charlestown navy-yard. I have the honor to be, your friend and servant,
JAMES H. YOUNG Managing Director American Wood Preserving Company. Dr. J. M. FLINT, U. S. N.,
President Board, United States Navy-Yard, Boston, Mass.
Civil Engineer's Office, July 5, 1881. Sir: In September, 1879, I put down a plauk walk along the rope-walk building, from lumber treated by the Thilmany process for the preservation of wood, and so far the results have been entirely satisfactory. The walk is in a position which exposes it much to rot and decay, and before I put down the treated wood I was continnally making repairs which amounted to a renewal at least once in two years. Respectfully,
W. S. G. WHITE,
Chief Engineer, U. S. N. Dr. J. M. FLINT,
Surgeon, C. $. N , Nary-Yard, Boston.
No. 5.-REPORT OF DR. WILLIAM N. MEW.
General Benj. F. Butler to Dr. Wm. N. Mew, analytical chemist, A. A. surgeon
U. S. A., in charge of laboratory, Army Medical Museum, relative to his conclusions as one of the board of experts appointed by order of the Secretary of the Navy, 23d June, 1881, on American Wood Preserving Company's process. Washington, D. C., December 23, 1881, Dr. Wm. N. Mew to General Benj. F. Butler.
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 22, 1881. Dear Doctor: I bave read your report in the matter of the American Wood Preserving Company's process as practised in the Boston navy-yard, and while it is perfectly satisfactory to a scientist I doubt not, yet to the common comprehension of those to whom your report would have weight if the American Wood Preserving Company should be allowed to publish it for public information, the scientific results to which you arrive may not be fully appreciated. Will you therefore state in plain language your opinion upon the following questions :
First. Whether the process of impregnation of wood for the purpose of preservation by copper and barium as used by the American Wood Preserving Company in the uavy-yard at Boston is, upon well approved scientific principles, adapted to its preservation from rot and decay.
Second. Whether, from all the evidence that was placed before you, you believe that practically such process does preserve wood from rot and decay.
Third. It has been objected to the process that it might deteriorate the iron so as to materially lessen its strength, which should be used in fastening the timber. I should like your opinion on that point, and as corollary to this question: Whether if such preserved timber should be used either as a covering or lining for iron ships, there would be any appreciable deterioration of the iron because of such impregnation ?
Fourth. Whether as a governmeut officer you are of the opinion that the process should be applied to the timber of vessels for the perpose of preserving them at least until the actual use of such timber demonstrates the usefulness of the process ?
Fifth. What, in your opinion from all your examination, will be the result of such an experiment when put into practice? I am yours, truly,
BENJ. F. BUTLER. Dr. Wm. N. MEW,
Washington, D. C.
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 23, 1881. DEAR GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, requesting me to give, in unscientific language, my opinion upon certain points therein stated, covering substantially the problems submitted to the board, of which I had the honor to be a member, which met in Boston in June last to examine into the value of the American Wood Preserving Company's process.
ist. Whether the process is, upon well-approved scientific principles, adapted to the preservation of wood from rot and decay.
I answer this affirmatively, and that it depends for its value mainly upon the formaation of insoluble and, therefore, as to putrefactive changes, indestructible organic metallic compounds. 2. Whether, from the evidence placed before me, I believe that practically the process does preserve wood from rot and decay? To this I answer that I have not the shadow of a doubt of it; the evidence was con