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.
This is prepared now largely for commerce from coniferin, a compound contained in the sap of coniferous trees. A process for the artificial preparation of vanillin from oil of cloves has also been devised.
The artificial vanillin is in all its properties perfectly equal to the natural vanillin contained in the vanilla bean, and can therefore be used instead, being a cheap substitute for the expensive vanilla bean, or natural vanillin.
Vanillin is largely used as a flavor, instead of the vanilla bean, and is considered harmless. As nearly, if not quite, all the vanillin used is made artificially, we feel safe in deeming it non-poisonous. Artificial vanillin has been examined and declared harmless by the Board of Health of Paris. According to Tieman and Haarmann, vanilla beans contain one and-one half to two and one-half per cent, of vanillin; one part vanillin is therefore equal to forty to sixty parts of vanilla bean.
"Vanillin prepared from vanilla bean " is offered to the trade for a price which indicates at once its origin, that it must be an artificial product. We advise to use the artificial product, to buy it as such as a substitute, and pay accordingly, and pay no fancy prices for offerings which are but of the same origin, and in properties not differing.