A new departure has also recently taken place in the adoption of oil for gas making purposes. This, of course, is more fraught with danger to the coal master than to gas companies, inasmuch as, should this prove to be a more economical raw material from which to produce illuminating gas than coal, our present coal gas works could be easily remodeled and turned into oil gas works. This process has recently been introduced into a village in Fifeshire. And I have made it a point to visit and inspect the works, which have been converted into an oil gas works, so that I might be able to lay a few particulars before you. The process, however, has not been in operation long enough to enable me to give you much information on the subject, especially in the way of details of cost, working expenses, or permanency of the gas under varying and low temperatures. The patentees claim that they can produce 100 cubic feet of 60 candle gas from a gallon of oil, or at a cost of 3s. 11d. per 1,000 cubic feet for oil, fuel, and labor; no more expense being incurred, as the gas does not require purification.
At Colinsburgh (the village alluded to), I was informed that the man sent by the patentees could produce 100 cubic feet of gas per gallon of oil; but they had no means of testing the illuminating power. The gas company's own servant, however, only produced 80 cubic feet per gallon, which they attributed to his want of experience in knowing the proper heat at which to work the retorts. Whether or not this was so I cannot tell; but of this I am certain, that the statement made that the gas does not require purification will not bear investigation. When I tested it for sulphureted hydrogen and for ammonia, both were indicated in such an unmistakable manner as none of us would care to see in our coal gas as sent out to the consumer.