|Total number tons of||cane bought||3,840|
|"||seed tops bought||437|
|- - -|
|Total number tons of field cane||4,277|
There was something over 500 acres planted. Some of it failed to come at all, some "fell upon the rocky places, where they had not much earth, and when the sun was risen they were scorched;" so that, as nearly as we can estimate, about 450 acres of cane were actually harvested and delivered at the works. This would make the average yield of cane 9½ tons per acre, or $19 per acre in dollars and cents.
TOTAL PRODUCT OF THE SEASON, 1887.
|Sugar,||235,826 lb., @ 5¾c||$13,559 98|
|"||State bounty, @ 2c||4,716 53|
|- - - -||$17,276 50|
|Sirups,||51,000 gals,(estimated) @ 20c.||10,200 00|
|Seed (estimated)||7,000 00|
|Value of total product||$34,476 50|
|Cane, 3,840 tons,@ $2||$7,680|
|Seed, 967 tons, @ $3||1,934|
|- - -||$9,614 00|
|Labor bill from August 15 to October 15,|
including labor for department experiments
|Coal, including all experiments||1,395 77|
|Salaries, etc.||3,500 00|
|Insurance, sundries, etc.||1,500 00|
|- - - -|
|Total value||$34,476 50|
|Total cost||31,248 93|
|- - - -|
|To be paid by the department||6,534 75|
|- - - -|
|Total profit for season's work, 1887||$19,764 32|
As now developed, the processes of making sugar from sorghum are as follows:
First, The topped cane is delivered at the factory by the farmers who can grow it.
Second, The cane is cut by a machine into pieces about one and a quarter inches long.
Third, The leaves and sheaths are separated from the cut cane by fanning mills.
Fourth, The cleaned cane is cut into fine bits called chips.
Fifth, The chips are placed in iron tanks, and the sugar "diffused," soaked out with hot water.
Sixth, The juice obtained by diffusion has its acids nearly or quite neutralized with milk of lime, and is heated and skimmed.
Seventh, The defecated or clarified juice is boiled to a semi-sirup in vacuum pans.
Eighth, The semi-sirup is boiled "to grain" in a high vacuum in the "strike pan."
Ninth, The mixture of sugar and molasses from the strike pan is passed through a mixing machine into centrifugal machines which throw out the molasses and retain the sugar.
The process of the formation of sugar in the cane is not fully determined, but analyses of canes made at different stages of growth show that the sap of growing cane contains a soluble substance having a composition and giving reactions similar to starch. As maturity approaches, grape sugar is also found in the juice. A further advance toward maturity discloses cane sugar with the other substances, and at full maturity perfect canes contain much cane sugar and little grape sugar and starchy matter.
In sweet fruits the change from grape sugar to cane sugar does not take place, or takes place but sparingly. The grape sugar is very sweet, however.
Cane sugar, called also sucrose or crystallizable sugar, when in dilute solution is changed very readily into grape sugar or glucose, a substance which is much more difficult than cane sugar to crystallize. This change, called inversion, takes place in over-ripe canes. It sets in very soon after cutting in any cane during warm weather; it occurs in cane which has been injured by blowing down, or by insects, or by frost, and it probably occurs in cane which takes a second growth after nearly or quite reaching maturity.
To insure a successful outcome from the operations of the factory, the cane must be so planted, cultivated and matured as to make the sugar in its juice. It must be delivered to the factory very soon after cutting, and it must be taken care of before the season of heavy frosts.
The operations of the factory are illustrated in the large diagram. The first cutting is accomplished in the ensilage or feed cutter at E. This cutter is provided with three knives fastened to the three spokes of a cast iron wheel which makes about 250 revolutions per minute, carrying the knives with a shearing motion past a dead knife. By a forced feed the cane is so fed as to be cut into pieces about one and a quarter inches long. This cutting frees the leaves and nearly the entire sheaths from the pieces of cane. By a suitable elevator, F, the pieces of cane, leaves and sheaths are carried to the second floor.
The elevator empties into a hopper, below which a series of four or five fans, G, is arranged one below the other. By passing down through these fans the cane is separated from the lighter leaves, much as grain is separated from chaff. The leaves are blown away, and finally taken from the building by an exhaust fan. This separation of the leaves and other refuse is essential to the success of the sugar making, for in them the largest part of the coloring and other deleterious matters are contained. If carried into the diffusion battery, these matters are extracted (see reports of Chemical Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture), and go into the juice with the sugar. As already stated, the process of manufacturing sugar is essentially one of separation. The mechanical elimination of these deleterious substances at the outset at once obviates the necessity of separating them later and by more difficult methods, and relieves the juice of their harmful influences. From the fans the pieces of cane are delivered by a screw carrier to an elevator which discharges into the final cutting machine on the third floor. This machine consists of an eight inch cast iron cylinder, with knives like those of a planing machine.
It is really three cylinders placed end to end in the same shaft, making the entire length eighteen inches. The knives are inserted in slots and held in place with set screws. The cylinder revolves at the rate of about twelve hundred per minute, carrying the knives past an iron dead knife, which is set so close that no cane can pass without being cut into fine chips. From this cutter the chips of cane are taken by an elevator and a conveyer, K, to cells, MM, of the diffusion battery. The conveyer passes above and at one side of the battery, and is provided with an opening and a spout opposite each cell of the battery. The openings are closed at pleasure by a slide. A movable spout completes the connection with any cell which it is desired to fill with chips.
The condition in which the sugars and other soluble substances exist in the cane is that of solution in water. The sweetish liquid is contained, like the juices of plants generally, in cells. The walls of these cells are porous. It has long been known that if a solution of sugar in water be placed in a porous or membraneous sack, and the sack placed on water, an action called osmosis, whereby the water from the outside and the sugar solution from the inside of the sack each pass through, until the liquids on the two sides of the membrane are equally sweet. Other substances soluble in water behave similarly, but sugar and other readily crystallizable substances pass through much more readily than uncrystallizable or difficultly crystallizable. To apply this properly to the extraction of sugar, the cane is first cut into fine chips, as already described, and put into the diffusion cells, where water is applied and the sugar is displaced.
as used at the Parkinson factory, consists of twelve iron tanks. (See diagram.) They are arranged in a line, as shown in diagram, Fig. 1. Each has a capacity of seventy-five cubic feet, and by a little packing holds a ton of cane chips. The cells are supported by brackets near the middle, which rest on iron joists. Each cell is provided with a heater, through which the liquid is passed in the operation of the battery. The cells are so connected by pipes and valves that the liquid can be passed into the cells, and from cell to cell, at the pleasure of the operator. The bottom of each cell consists of a door, which closes on an annular rubber hose placed in a groove, and filled with water, under a pressure greater than that ever given to the liquids in the cell. This makes a water tight joint whenever the trap door bottom is drawn up firmly against it. The upper part is of cast iron and is jug shaped, and is covered with a lid which is held with a screw on rubber packing. In the jug neck and near the bottom the sides are double, the inner plates being perforated with small holes to let water in and out. The bottoms are double, the inner plates being perforated like the neighboring sides, and for the same purpose.
The cells, of whose appearance a fair idea may be had from diagram, Fig. 2, are connected with a water pipe, a juice pipe, a compressed air pipe, and the heaters, by suitable valves. The heaters are connected with a steam pipe. This, and the compressed air pipe, are not shown in the diagram. The water pipe is fed from an elevated tank, which gives a pressure of twelve pounds per square inch The valve connections enable the operator to pass water into the cells at either the top or the bottom; to pass the liquid from any cell to the next, or to the juice pipe through the heater; to separate any cell from any or all others, and to turn in compressed air.
Now let the reader refer to Fig. 2.Fig. 2 - DIFFUSION PROCESS - MANUFACTURE OF SORGHUM SUGAR.
The cutters are started, and cell 1 is filled with chips. This done, the chips from the cutters are turned into cell 2; cell 1 is closed, and cut off from the others, and water is turned into it by opening valve, c, of cell 1 (see Fig. 2) until it is filled with water among the chips. When 2 is filled with chips, its valve, a, is raised to allow the liquid to pass down into the juice pipe. Valve a of 3 is also raised. Now the juice pipe fills, and when it is full the liquid flows through valve, a, of 3, and into the heater between 2 and 3, and into the bottom of 2, until 2 is full of water among the chips. (This may be understood by following the course of the arrows shown in the diagrams of 9 and 10). Valve a of 2 is now screwed down; c is down and b is opened. It will be readily seen by attention to the diagram that this changes the course of the flow so that it will no longer enter at the bottom, but at the top of 2, as shown by the arrows at cell 2.
It is to be observed that the water is continually pressing in at the top of 1, and driving the liquid forward whenever a valve is opened to admit it to another cell, heater, or pipe. When cell 3 is full of chips, its valves are manipulated just as were those of 2. So as each succeeding cell is filled, the manipulation of valves is repeated until cell 6 is filled with liquid. After passing through six cells of fresh chips, this liquid is very sweet, and is drawn off into the measuring tank shown at p in diagram, Fig. 1, and is thence conveyed for subsequent treatment in the factory. To draw this juice from 6, valve a of 7 is raised to connect the heater between 6 and 7 with the juice pipe. A gate valve in the juice pipe is opened into the measuring tank, and the pressure of water into the top of 1 drives the liquid forward through the bottom of 1, through the heater, into the top of 2, out from the bottom of 2, through the heater into the top of 3, out from the bottom of 3, through the heater into the top of 4, out from the bottom of 4, through the heater, into the top of 5, out from the bottom of 5, through the heater, into the top of 6, and now out from the bottom of 6, through the heater, into the juice pipe, and from the juice pipe into the measuring tank. It will be understood that the liquid which is drawn from 6 is chiefly that which was passed into 1 when it was filled with chips. There is doubtless a little mixing as the pressure drives the liquid forward. But the lighter liquid is always pressed in at the top of the cells, so that the mixing is the least possible. The amount of liquid, now called juice, which is drawn from 6 is 1,110 liters, or 291 gallons. When this quantity has been drawn into the measuring tank, the gate valve is closed, and the valves connecting with 7 are manipulated as were those of 6, a measure of juice being drawn in the same way.
All this time the water has been passed into the top of 1, and this is continued until the juice has been drawn from 9. Valve c to cell 1 is now closed, and compressed air is turned into the top of 1 to drive the liquid forward into 10. After the water has thus been nearly all expelled from 1, valve a of cell 2 is lowered so as to shut off communication with the juice pipe, and b, of cell 2 is closed. a and b of cell 1 have, it will be observed, been closed or down from the beginning. Cell 1 is now isolated from all others. Its chips have been exhausted of sugar, and are ready to be thrown out. The bottom of 1 is opened, and the chips fall out into the car, o (see diagram, Fig. 1), and are conveyed away. Immediately on closing valves a and b of cell 2, c is opened, and the water presses into the top of 2, as before into the top of 1, and the circulation is precisely similar to that already described, 2 having taken the place of 1, 3 of 2, and so on.
When 2 is emptied, 3 takes the first place in the series and so on. When 12 has been filled, it takes the l3th place. (The juice pipe returns from the termination of the series, and connects with 1, making the circuit complete.) The process is continuous, and the best and most economical results are obtained if there is no intermission.
One cell should be filled and another emptied every eight minutes, so that in twenty-four hours the number of cells diffused should be one hundred and eighty.
For the purpose of illustration, let us assume that when it has been filled with chips just as much water is passed into the cell as there was juice in the chips. The process of osmosis or diffusion sets in, and in a few minutes there is as much sugar in the liquid outside of the cane cells as in the juice in these cane cells; i.e., the water and the juice have divided the sugar between them, each taking half.
Again, assume that as much liquid can be drawn from 1 as there was water added. It is plain that if the osmotic action is complete, the liquid drawn off will be half as sweet as cane juice. It has now reached fresh chips in 2, and again equalization takes place. Half of the sugar from 1 was brought into 2, so that it now contains one and a half portions of sugar, dissolved in two portions of liquid, or the liquid has risen to three quarters of the strength of cane juice. This liquid having three fourths strength passes to 3, and we have in 3 one and three fourths portions of liquid, or after the action has taken place the liquid in 3 is seven eighths strength. One portion of this liquid passes to 4, and we have one and seven eighths portions of sugar in two portions of liquid, or the liquid becomes 15/16 strength. One portion of this liquid passes to 5, and we have in 5 one and fifteen sixteenths portions of sugar in two portions of liquid, or the liquid is 31/32 strength. It is now called juice. From this time forward a cell is emptied for every one filled.
Throughout the operation, the temperature is kept as near the boiling point as can be done conveniently without danger of filling some of the cells with steam. Diffusion takes place more rapidly at high than at low temperatures, and the danger of fermentation, with the consequent loss of sugar, is avoided.
By the first action of water in 1, ½ of the sugar was left in cell 1; by the second ¼ was left, by the third 1/8 was left, by the fourth 1/16 was left, by the fifth 1/32 was left, by the sixth 1/64 was left, by the seventh 1/128 was left, by the eighth 1/256 was left, by the ninth 1/512 was left. The fractions representing the strength of the juice on the one hand and the sugar left in each cell on the other hand, after the battery is fully in operation, are not so readily deduced. The theory is easily understood, however, although the computation is somewhat intricate. Those who desire to follow the process by mathematical formula are referred to pages 9 and 10, Bulletin No. 2, Chemical Division U.S. Department of Agriculture, where will be found the formula furnished by Professor Harkness, of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
For the sake of simplifying the explanation, it was assumed that the water added is equal in volume to the juice in a cellful of cane chips. In practice more water is added, to secure more perfect exhaustion of the chips, and with the result of yielding about thirteen volumes of juice for every nine volumes as it exists in the cane, and of extracting 92.04 per cent. of all the sugars from the cane, as shown by the report of Dr. C.A. Crampton, Assistant Chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In the experiments at Fort Scott in 1886, much difficulty was experienced on account of inversion of the sugar in the diffusion battery. The report shows that this resulted from the use of soured cane and from delays in the operation of the battery on account of the imperfect working of the cutting and elevating machinery, much of which was there experimental. Under the circumstances, however, it became a matter of the gravest importance to find a method of preventing this inversion without in any manner interfering with the other processes. On the suggestion of Prof. Swenson, a portion of freshly precipitated carbonate of lime was placed with the chips in each cell.1 In the case of soured cane, this took up the acid which otherwise produced inversion. In case no harmful acids were present, this chalk was entirely inactive. Soured canes are not desirable to work under any circumstances, and should be rejected by the chemist, and not allowed to enter the factory. So, also, delays on account of imperfect machinery are disastrous to profitable manufacturing, and must be avoided.
But for those who desired to experiment with deteriorated canes and untried cutting machines, the addition of the calcium carbonate provides against disastrous results which would otherwise be inevitable.
Immediately after it is drawn from the diffusion battery the juice is taken from the measuring tanks into the defecating tanks or pans. These are large, deep vessels, provided with copper steam coils in the bottom for the purpose of heating the juice. Sufficient milk of lime is added here to nearly or quite neutralize the acids in the juice, the test being made with litmus paper. The juice is brought to the boiling point, and as much of the scum is removed as can be taken quickly. The scum is returned to the diffusion cells, and the juice is sent by a pump to the top of the building, where it is boiled and thoroughly skimmed. These skimmings are also returned to the diffusion cells.
This method of disposing of the skimmings was suggested by Mr. Parkinson. It is better than the old plan of throwing them away to decompose and create a stench about the factory. Probably a better method would be to pass these skimmings through some sort of filter, or, perhaps better still, to filter the juice and avoid all skimming. After this last skimming the juice is ready to be boiled down to a thin sirup in
These consist of two large closed pans provided within with steam pipes of copper, whereby the liquid is heated. They are also connected with each other and with pumps in such a way as to reduce the pressure in the first to about three fifths and in the second to about one fifth the normal atmospheric pressure.
The juice boils rapidly in the first at somewhat below the temperature of boiling water, and in the second at a still lower temperature. The exhaust steam from the engines is used for heating the first pan, and the vapor from the boiling juice in the first pan is hot enough to do all the boiling in the second, and is taken into the copper pipes of the second for this purpose. In this way the evaporation is effected without so great expenditure of fuel as is necessary in open pans, or in single effect vacuum pans, and the deleterious influences of long continued high temperature on the crystallizing powers of the sugar are avoided.
From the double effects the sirup is stored in tanks ready to be taken into the strike pan, where the sugar is crystallized.
At this point the juice has just reached a condition in which it will keep. From the moment the cane is cut in the fields until now, every delay is liable to entail loss of sugar by inversion. After the water is put into the cells of the battery with the chips, the temperature is carefully kept above that at which fermentation takes place most readily, and the danger of inversion is thereby reduced. But with all the precautions known to science up to this point the utmost celerity is necessary to secure the best results. There is here, however, a natural division in the process of sugar making, which will be further considered under the heading of "Auxiliary Factories." Any part of the process heretofore described may be learned in a few days by workmen of intelligence and observation who will give careful attention to their respective duties.
This operation is the next in course, and is performed in what is known at the sugar factory as the strike pan, a large air tight iron vessel from which the air and vapor are almost exhausted by means of a suitable pump and condensing apparatus. As is the case with the saccharine juices of other plants, the sugar from sorghum crystallizes best at medium temperature.
The process of boiling to grain may be described as follows: A portion of the sirup is taken into the pan, and boiled rapidly in vacuo to the crystallizing density. If in a sirup the molecules of sugar are brought sufficiently near to each other through concentration - the removal of the dissolving liquid - these molecules attract each other so strongly as to overcome the separating power of the solvent, and they unite to form crystals. Sugar is much more soluble at high than at low temperatures, the heat acting in this as in almost all cases as a repulsive force among the molecules. It is therefore necessary to maintain a high vacuum in order to boil at a low temperature, in boiling to grain. When the proper density is reached the crystals sometimes fail to appear, and a fresh portion of cold sirup is allowed to enter the pan. This must not be sufficient in amount to reduce the density of the contents of the pan below that at which crystallization may take place. This cold sirup causes a sudden though slight reduction in temperature, which may so reduce the repulsive forces as to allow the attraction among the molecules to prevail, resulting in the inception of crystallization. To discover this requires the keenest observation. When beginning to form, the crystals are too minute to show either form or size, even when viewed through a strong magnifying glass. There is to be seen simply a very delicate cloud.
The inexperienced observer would entirely overlook this cloud, his attention probably being directed to some curious globular and annular objects, which I have nowhere seen explained. Very soon after the sample from the pan is placed upon glass for observation, the surface becomes cooled and somewhat hardened. As the cooling proceeds below the surface, contraction ensues, and consequently a wrinkling of the surface, causing a shimmer of the light in a very attractive manner. This, too, is likely to attract more attention than the delicate, thin cloud of crystals, and may be even confounded with the reflection and refraction of light, by which alone the minute crystals are determined. The practical operator learns to disregard all other attractions, and to look for the cloud and its peculiarities. When the contents of the pan have again reached the proper density, another portion of sirup is added. The sugar which this contains is attracted to the crystals already formed, and goes to enlarge these rather than to form new crystals, provided the first are sufficiently numerous to receive the sugar as rapidly as it can crystallize.
The contents of the pan are repeatedly brought to the proper density, and fresh sirup added as above described until the desired size of grain is obtained, or until the pan is full. Good management should bring about these two conditions at the same time. If a sufficient number of crystals has not been started at the beginning of the operation to receive the sugar from the sirup added, a fresh crop of crystals will be started at such time as the crystallization becomes too rapid to be accommodated on the surfaces of the grain already formed. The older and larger crystals grow more rapidly, by reason of their greater attractive force, than the newer and smaller ones on succeeding additions of sirup, so that the disparity in size will increase as the work proceeds. This condition is by all means to be avoided, since it entails serious difficulties on the process of separating the sugar from the molasses. In case this second crop of crystals, called "false grain" or "mush sugar" has appeared, the sugar boiler must act upon his judgment, guided by his experience as to what is to be done.
He may take enough thin sirup into the pan to dissolve all of the crystals and begin again, or, if very skillful, he may so force the growth of the false grain as to bring it up to a size that can be worked.
The completion of the work in the strike pan leaves the sugar mixed with molasses. This mixture is called malada or masscuite. It may be drawn off into iron sugar wagons and set in the hot room above mentioned, in which case still more of the sugar which remains in the uncrystallized state generally joins the crystals, somewhat increasing the yield of "first sugars." At the proper time these sugar wagons are emptied into a mixing machine, where the mass is brought to a uniform consistency. If the sugar wagons are not used, the strike pan is emptied directly into the mixer.
From the mixer the melada is drawn into the centrifugal machines. These consist, first, of an iron case resembling in form the husk of mill stones. A spout at the bottom of the husk connects with a molasses tank. Within this husk is placed a metallic vessel with perforated sides. This vessel is either mounted or hung on a vertical axis, and is lined with wire cloth. Having taken a proper portion of the melada into the centrifugal, the operator starts it to revolving, and by means of a friction clutch makes such connection with the engine as gives it about 1,500 revolutions per minute. The centrifugal force developed drives the liquid molasses through the meshes of the wire cloth, and out against the husk, from which it flows off into a tank. The sugar, being solid, is retained by the wire cloth. If there is in the melada the "false grain" already mentioned, it passes into the meshes of the wire cloth, and prevents the passage of the molasses. After the molasses has been nearly all thrown out, a small quantity of water is sprayed over the sugar while the centrifugal is in motion. This is forced through the sugar, and carries with it much of the molasses which would otherwise adhere to the sugar, and discolor it. If the sugar is to be refined, this washing with water is omitted.
When the sugar has been sufficiently dried, the machine is stopped, the sugar taken out, and put into barrels for market.
Simple as the operation of the centrifugals is, the direction of the sugar boiler as to the special treatment of each strike is necessary, since he, better than any one else, knows what difficulties are to be expected on account of the condition in which the melada left the strike pan.
A plant having a battery like that at Fort Scott, in which the cells are each capable of containing a ton of cane chips, should have a capacity of 180 tons of cleaned cane, or 200 tons of cane with leaves, or 240 tons of cane as it grows in the field, per day of twenty-four hours. Those who have given most attention to the subject think that a battery composed of one and a half ton cells may be operated quite as successfully as a battery of one ton cells. Such a battery would have a capacity of 360 tons of field cane per day.
This consists of modifications of appliances which have long been used. Simple as it is, and presenting only mechanical problems, the cutting, cleaning, and evaporating apparatus is likely to be the source of more delays and perplexities in the operation of the sugar factory than any other part.
The diffusion battery in good hands works perfectly; the clarification of the juice causes no delays; the concentration to the condition of semi-sirup may be readily, rapidly, and surely effected in apparatus which has been brought to great perfection by long experience, and in many forms; the work at the strike pan requires only to be placed in the hands of an expert; the mixer never fails to do its duty; there are various forms of centrifugal machines on the market, some of which are nearly perfect. If, then, the mechanical work of delivering, cutting, cleaning, and elevating the cane can be accomplished with regularity and rapidity, the operation of a well adjusted sugar factory should proceed without interruption or delay from Monday morning to Saturday night.
An acre of land cultivated in sorghum yields a greater tonnage of valuable products than in any other crop, with the possible exception of hay. Under ordinary methods of cultivation, ten tons of cleaned cane per acre is somewhat above the average, but under the best cultivation the larger varieties often exceed twelve, while the small early amber sometimes goes below eight tons per acre. Let seven and a half tons of cleaned cane per acre be assumed for the illustration. This corresponds to a gross yield of ten tons for the farmer, and at two dollars per ton gives him twenty dollars per acre for his crop. These seven and a half tons of clean cane will yield:
750 pounds of sugar.
1,000 pounds of molasses.
900 pounds of seed.
1,500 pounds of fodder (green leaves).
1,500 pounds of exhausted chips (dried). A total of 5,650 pounds.
The first three items, which are as likely to be transported as wheat or corn, aggregate 2,650 pounds per acre.
Sorghum will yield seven and a half tons of cleaned cane per acre more surely than corn will yield thirty bushels or wheat fifteen bushels per acre.
In the comparison, then, of products which bear transportation, these crops stand as follows:
Sorghum, at 7½ tons, 2,650 pounds per acre.
Corn, at 30 bushels, 1,680 pounds per acre.
Wheat, at 15 bushels, 900 pounds per acre.
The sugar from the sorghum is worth say 5 cents per pound; the molasses, 1¾ cents per pound; the seed, ½ cent per pound.
The sorghum products give market values as follows:
750 pounds sugar at say 5 cents,2 $37.50.
1,000 pounds molasses at say 1¾ cents,2 $17.50.
900 pounds seed at say ½ cent,2 $4.50.
Total value of sorghum, less fodder, $59.50.
The corn crop gives 1,680 pounds, at ½ cent $8.40.
The wheat crop gives 900 pounds, at 1 cent, $9.
Thus it will be seen that the sorghum yields to the farmer more than twice as much per acre as either of the leading cereals, and as a gross product of agriculture and manufacture on our own soil more than six times as much per acre as is usually realized from either of these standard crops.
For this improvement Prof. Swenson obtained a patent Oct. 11, 1887, the grant of which was recently made the subject of congressional inquiry.
The sugar sold this year at 5¾ cents per pound, the molasses at 20 cents per gallon, and the seed at - - per bushel of 56 pounds. The seed is of about equal value with corn for feeding stock.
A new process for producing iron and steel direct from the ore has been brought out in Russia. Under the new process iron ore, after being submitted to the smelting processes, is taken direct from the furnace to the rolling mill and turned into thin sheets of the finest charcoal iron. At present the process has only been commercially applied with charcoal fuel, but experiments are stated to have shown that equal success can be obtained with coke. The secret of the process lies in the construction of the furnace, which is said to be simple and inexpensive.