This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
The analysis of water, or, rather, of the sub-stances which may be present in the water, involves a series of operations of so special and technical a character that no useful purpose would be served by describing them in a necessarily brief article intended solely for the general bottling trade. To ascertain the nature and amount of each of the dissolved solids will occupy the whole time of an expert chemist for several days. Such a complete analysis is sometimes required by beverage manufacturers and owners of mineral springs. The ordinary mineral substances in drinking waters not being impurities, the chemist analyzing water for drinking purposes does not take notice of them unless they are present in abnormal proportions. It is to the organic, that is, animal or vegetable matter present, that he devotes his attention. Even an analysis from this point of view occupies several hours. He ascertains the total amount of "dissolved solids" present; tests for the substances termed "nitrites," finds out how much nitre is in the water, or "nitrates;" "chlorides" also; detects the character and amount of "hardness," and, either by the "combustion" mode, "ammonia" method, or "oxygen" process, familiar to chemists, makes an estimate of the harm-fulness or harmlessness of the organic matter in the water. All this is done on the assumption that the sample of water is a fair sample, carefully collected in a cleansed and well-rinsed bottle closed by a clean and well-rinsed cork or stopper. With the instructions to analyze should be sent a statement as to whether the water is from a well, river, etc.; if a well, whether it is known to be a shallow or a deep well; and what is the general nature, if known, of the soil, sub-soil, and general surroundings of the well, etc. From all these chemical and general data the analytical chemist will be able to form an opinion respecting the quality of the water for manufacturing either fermented or carbonated beverages - an opinion that will be among the most trustworthy, and one enabling a bottler to treat his water intelligently.
Great care should be taken that water samples be placed in the hands of the analyst and their examination begun with the least possible delay after they have been collected. The changes which take place, sometimes rapidly, on keeping, may affect the results, especially in the case of waters much polluted by foul organic matter.
It is, however, often desirable that water should be speedily tested as to its fitness for use in the manufacture of carbonated beverages. The skilled analyst, with his well-appointed laboratory, is usually found only in the larger cities. The apparatus required for a complete scientific investigation, consisting of fine scales, burettes, retorts, condensers, graduated pipettes, etc., is somewhat expensive, and is not generally found in a country drug store, not to mention the slim resources of the bottling factory. The trouble incurred in preparing and preserving a comparatively large stock of reagents for volumetric analysis is almost sufficient to discourage the attempt at anything but the most rudimentary work, yet we think it is possible to obtain very useful and fairly exact results with much lessened labor and expense. Borrowing from such authorities as we could obtain access to, we have tried to devise a plan which, for the examination of drinking water, will give much satisfaction. Although it is not an easy matter to reduce the operations of water analysis to such simplicity that they may be readily used, and give accurate results, it is believed that the methods brought forward in these pages, if carefully and patiently applied, will give in most cases reliable information concerning the sanitary condition of water.