Although, as already remarked, the law in this country permits the use even of pure alcohol duty-free for industrial purposes, yet in practice such use is very limited, so far as ethyl alcohol is concerned. The fact is that the manufacturing operations requiring ethyl alcohol are practically non-existent in which either a neutral substance such as benzene, acetone, or petroleum cannot be employed as a denaturant, or else some ingredient, reagent, or product of the manufacture itself utilised to render the alcohol at least temporarily unpotable. Hence so far as manufactures are concerned the provision is almost inoperative in respect of ethyl alcohol, though a considerable quantity of methyl alcohol is used in a pure state free of duty.

The authorities, however, interpret ' arts ' in the statute as including teaching and scientific research carried out at public institutions, and for these purposes alcohol is allowed to be used duty-free without denaturing. A substantial quantity of pure alcohol (ethyl and methyl) is issued under this provision to universities, colleges, and other educational institutions, the number of proof gallons during the year 1913-14, for instance, being 7,84!).

It may be mentioned that much misconception has existed respecting the privileges which German manufacturers have enjoyed with regard to the use of pure alcohol free of duty. This point was specially inquired into by a sub-committee for the information of the Departmental Committee on Industrial Alcohol, and they state emphatically that, with the exception of explosives, "no article can be manufactured in Germany with duty-free spirit, unless it be subjected before use to some process of denaturing." As in this country, alcohol may in Germany be used in a pure, undenatured state in public scientific institutions. It may also be used in public hospitals, and for making smokeless powder, fuses, and fulminates. "For all other purposes, without exception, duty-paid spirit must be used, unless the spirit be subjected to some authorised process of denaturing prior to use."

Possibly the misconception alluded to arose from the fact that at one time apothecaries, doctors, and others were allowed to use pure alcohol duty-free in the preparation of some eighty tinctures, spirits, and liquors made according to the formulae of the German pharmacopoeia and other authorised formulae, and also for compounding doctors' prescriptions. Abuses, however, crept in; and the privilege was withdrawn in 1902. "All medicines have now to be prepared with duty-paid spirit."