This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
We give in the accompanying figures the arrangement of the different apparatus necessary for the manufacture and compression of illuminating gas on the system of Mr. Pintsch, as well as the arrangements adopted by the inventor for the lighting of railway cars and buoys. This system has been adopted to some extent in both Germany and England, and is also being introduced into France.
ELEVATION AND PLAN.
The Pintsch gas is prepared by the distillation of heavy oils in a furnace composed of two superposed retorts. The oil to be volatilized is contained in a vertical reservoir B, which carries a bent pipe that enters the upper retort, A. The flow of the oil is regulated in this conduit by means of a micrometer screw which permits of varying the supply according to the temperature of the retorts. In order to facilitate the vaporization, the flow of oil starts from a cast-iron trough, C, and from thence spreads in a thin and uniform layer in the retort. The residua of distillation remain almost entirely in the reservoir, O, from whence they are easily removed. The vapor from the oil which is disengaged in the vessel, A, goes to the lower retort, D, in which the transformation of the matter is thoroughly completed. On leaving the latter, the gas enters the drum, E, at the lower part of the furnace. To prevent the choking up of the pipe, R, the latter is provided with a joint permitting of dilatation. The gas on leaving E goes to the condenser, G G, where it is freed from its tar. The latter flows out, and the gas proceeds to the washer, J, and the purifiers, I and I, to be purified. The amount of production is registered by the meter, L.
When the gas is to be utilized for lighting railway cars or buoys, it is compressed in the accumulators, T, which are large cylindrical reservoirs of riveted or welded iron plate.
Compression is effected by means of a pump, F or F', which sucks the gas into a desiccating cylinder, M, connected with the gasometer of the works The pump, F, which is used when the production is larger than usual, has two compressing cylinders of different diameters, one measuring 170 millimeters and the other 100. The piston has a stroke of 320 millimeters. The two compressing cylinders are double acting, and communicate with each other by valves so arranged as to prevent injurious spaces. The gas drawn from the gasometer is first compressed in the larger cylinder to a pressure of about 4 atmospheres; then it passes into the second cylinder, whence it is forced into the accumulators under a pressure varying from 10 to 12 atmospheres.
For a not very large production, the small pump suffices. This has a single compressing cylinder connected directly with the piston rod, upon which acts the steam coming from the boiler, K. This pump compresses the gas to a pressure of 10 atmospheres, and is capable of storing seven cubic meters of it per hour.
The carburets of hydrogen which separate in a liquid state through the effect of the compression of the gas are retained in a cylindrical receptacle, V, which is located between the pump and the accumulators, T.
Besides the necessary safety apparatus, there is disposed in front of the condensers a special valve, N, which allows the gas to escape into the air if the retorts or the purifying apparatus get choked up.
When the oil gas is not compressed it possesses an illuminating power four times greater than that obtained from coal gas; and, while the latter loses the greater part of its luminous power by compression, the former loses only an eighth. It is this property that renders the oil gas eminently fitted for lighting cars, and it is for this reason that several large European railway companies have adopted it.