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.
The necessary connections are effected with a cement made by melting Burgundy pitch with three or four per cent of gutta percha. It is indispensable that the cement when cold should be so hard as completely to resist taking any impression from the finger nail, otherwise it is certain to yield gradually and finally to give rise to leaks. The connecting tubes are selected so as to fit as closely as possible, and after being put into position are heated to the proper amount, when the edges are touched with a fragment of cold cement which enters by capillary attraction and forms a transparent joint that can from time to time be examined with a lens for the colors of thin plates, which always precede a leak. Joints of this kind have been in use by me for two months at a time without showing a trace of leakage, and the evidence gathered in another series of unfinished experiments goes to show that no appreciable amount of vapor is furnished by the resinous compound, which, I may add, is never used until it has been repeatedly melted. As drying material I prefer caustic potash that has been in fusion just before its introduction into the drying tube; during the process of exhaustion it can from time to time be heated nearly to the melting point: if actually fused in the drying tube the latter almost invariably cracks. The pump in the first instance is to be inclined at an angle of about 10 degrees, the tube of the gauge being supported by a semicircular piece of thick pasteboard fitted with two corks into the top of the cylinder. This seemingly awkward proceeding has in no case been attended with the slightest accident, and owing to the presence of the four leveling-screws, the pump when righted returns, as shown by the telescope of the cathetometer, almost exactly to its original place. In the inclined position the exhaustion of the vacuum bulb is accomplished along with that of the rest of the pump. The exhaustion of the vacuum-bulb when once effected can be preserved to a great extent for use in future work, merely by allowing mercury from the reservoir to flow in a rapid stream at the time that air is allowed to re-enter the pump. During the first process of exhaustion the tube of the gauge is kept hot by moving to and fro a Bunsen burner, and is in this way freed from those portions of air and moisture that are not too firmly attached. After a time the vacuum-bulb ceases to deliver bubbles of air; it and the attached tube are now to be heated with a moving Bunsen burner, when it will be found to furnish for 15 or 20 minutes a large quantity of bubbles mainly of vapor of water. After then production ceases the pump is righted and the exhaustion carried farther. In spite of a couple of careful experiments with the cathetometer I have not succeeded in measuring the vacuum in the vacuum bulb, but judge from indications, that is about as high as that obtained in an ordinary Geissler pump. Meanwhile the various parts of the pump can be heated with a moving Bunsen burner to detach air and moisture, the cement being protected by wet lamp-wicking. In one experiment I measured the amount of air that was detached from the walls of the pump by heating them for ten minutes somewhat above l00° C., and found that it was 1/1,000,000 of the air originally present. I have also noticed that a still larger amount of air is detached by electric discharges. This coincides with an observation of E. Bessel-Hagen in his interesting article on a new form of Töpler's mercury-pump (Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 1881, vol. xii.). Even when potash is used a small amount of moisture always collects in the bends of the fall tube; this is readily removed by a Bunsen burner; the tension of the vapor being greatly increased, it passes far down the fall-tube in large bubbles and is condensed. Without this precaution I have found it impossible to obtain a vacuum higher than 1/25,000,000; in point of fact the bends should always be heated when a high exhaustion is undertaken even if the pump has been standing well exhausted for a week; the heat should of course never be applied at a late stage of the exhaustion. Conversely, I have often by the aid of heat completely and quickly removed quite large quantities of the vapor of water that had been purposely introduced. The exhaustion of the vacuum-bulb is of course somewhat injured by the act of using the pump and also by standing for several days, so that it has been usual with me before undertaking a high exhaustion to incline the pump and re-exhaust for 20 minutes; I have, however, obtained very high vacua without using this precaution.
During the process of exhaustion not more than one-half of the mercury in the reservoir is allowed to run out, other wise when it is returned bubbles of air are apt to find their way into the vacuum-bulb. In order to secure its quiet entrance it is poured into a silk bag provided with several holes. When the reservoir is first filled its walls for a day or two appear to furnish air that enters the vacuum-bulb; this action, however, soon sinks to a minimum and then the leakage remains quite constant for months together.