The cultivation of camphor trees in the Malay States was begun in 1904 in Batu-Tiga, Selangor. For this purpose the seeds had been obtained from Yokohama. The plants flourished and in 1909 the first camphor was distilled. The distillation material consisted of the shoots of five year old trees. The results of the experiment are shown in the following table: 1) Journ. Ind. Eng. Chem. 4 (1912), 33; Journ. Soc. chem. Industry 31 (1912), 149.
*) Camphor from Cinnamomum Camphora (The Japanese camphor tree), cultivation and preparation in the Federated Malay States. Department of Agriculture. Bulletin Mo. 15. February 1912.
Yield computed with reference to fresh material.
Cut leaves, green.....................
. 1,17 to 1,22 p.c.
Small stems, green.............................
. 0,06 „ 0,45 „
. 1,25 „ 1,47 „
Fresh leaves and stems......................
. 1,25 „ 1,58 „
. 1,10 „ 1,16 „
„ „ mouldy leaves ...
.... 1,54 „
In all cases the distillate consisted of camphor with very little oil.
The experiments were repeated on a larger scale with a larger apparatus. As material for distillation the parts of an entire 5 year old tree were used.
Yield in p.c.
Stems less than 1,3 cm. in diameter.........................
„ more „ 1,3 „ „ ...........................
In the main the distillate consisted of camphor, the roots, however, yielded an oil that had a mixed odor of camphor and lemons. Later, numerous further experiments were conducted, partly with modified apparatus. All of these have been accurately described by Eaton, who gave several illustrations of the apparatus.
In Java also leaves have been distilled on an experimental scale1). From 3560 kg. of fresh.leaves 31,15 kg. of camphor and 14,1 liters of oil were obtained. 376 kg. of branches (presumably without leaves) yielded but a trace of oil. The vapors were passed into a box of galvanized iron, inside of which 3 cylindrical condensers, filled with water, were placed. In addition, the bottom and sides were flooded with water to effect better condensation. The bottom of the box was provided with a stopcock for drawing the water off. The distillation being concluded, the condensers were withdrawn from the box and the distilled camphor collected.
1) A. W. K. de Jong, Teysmannia, Batavia 1912, Mo. 2, p. 125; Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1912, 29.
In order to give a clearer idea, the results of the principal experiments for the production of camphor are tabulated below.
Distillation conducted in by
Yield in p.c.
Properties of the distillate
Schimmel & Co.
Willis and Bamber
leaves and small stems
I The distillate contained from 10 to 75p.c. of camphor
German East Africa
branches and twigs shoots dry leaves wood
0,06 to 1,5 0,22 1,55 0,49 0,61
Camphor and oil Camphor Oil
branches green leaves dry leaves dead leaves green leaves
0,05 2,37 2,52 1,39 1,32 0,54
Emerson and Weidlein
dry leaves green branches dry branches wood
1,57 0,46 0,58 0,26 0,54 0,61
Watts and Tempany
wood leaves and branches leaves and branches
0,5 0,5 0,7
Camphor and oil
green leaves dry leaves branches
1,2 to 1,5
2,4 to 3,0
0,02 to 0,25
Hood and True
fallen leaves trees grown in shady places trees grown in poor soil in shady places
Camphor and oil
green leaves thin green stems mouldy leaves fresh leaves and stems air-dried leaves
l,17 to l,22 0,06 to 0,45 1,25 to 1,47 1,25 to 1,58 l,10tol,l6
Camphor and very little oil
The oil from the leaves appears to differ in composition from the oils obtained from other parts of the tree. At all events the absence of safrol in the leaf oil has been definitely proved several times1). An oil distilled in Amani from leaves and twigs (yield 1 to 1,3 p. c.) contained appreciable amounts of camphor but no safrol2). Whether this technically important substance is always absent in the leaf oil, further investigations will have to demonstrate.
Production. At the present time by far the largest percentage of camphor and camphor oil is produced in Formosa, japan occupies the second position, China the third. Whereas in times of high camphor prices China produced considerable quantities, it now either consumes its own product or, at most, exports some of it to India, and hence does not come into consideration so far as the European and American markets are concerned.
In Japan the production of camphor stands on a higher plane technically than the former industry in Formosa or in China to-day. The method is described in a most comprehensive manner by Grassmann3).
On the slope of a hill near a supply of water a sufficient area is levelled. On this a stove is erected with crude stones having a height of about 1 m. and an inner diameter of 0,70 m. The opening for the fuel supply is rather small, 0,40 x 0,30 m., and is covered with a roof. On this roof the distilled chips (fig. 39, b) are dried to be used later as fuel. A shallow pan provided with a strong, perforated wooden cover is placed on top of the stove (fig. 40, b) and over this a barrel or tub. This has the shape of a truncated cone (fig. 39, c) and is 1,15 m. high: the upper diameter being 0,30 m., the lower 0,87 m. The cover of the pan fits as a bottom to the tub. On one side, just over the cover of the pan there is a rectangular opening in the tub, 0,30 m. high and 0,25 m. wide (fig. 40, e). The head-piece of the barrel or tub consists of a removable, well fitting cover provided with an opening that can be closed by a plug. The tub is coated with a layer of clay 0,15 m. thick and held together by a net work of bamboo. Near the top a bamboo tube (f) 2 m. long is carefully inserted air-tight and connected with a condenser further up on the slope. This condenser, in its simplest form (fig. 41), consists of two boxes, one placed within the other, of which the upper one serves for the condensation of the camphor and the lower receptacle for the cooling water. The upper box is 1,60 m. long, 0,90 m. wide and 0,42 m. high. Its inverted bottom is covered with water, the sides projecting 10 - 12 cm. over the bottom. The camphor vapors enter the box over the surface of the water. To pass them through the water has not proved successful. By means of partitions, 18,5 cm. apart, the condenser is divided into sections. These partitions are each provided with a rectangular opening at the top, one in the right, the next in the left corner, and so forth, so that the camphor vapors must pursue a circuitous path. From the last chamber the vapors can pass out through a bamboo tube loosely plugged with straw. A lateral tube allows the water to flow from the bottom (= cover) of the upper box into the lower receptacle. The upper box inverted with its opening downward is placed into the lower box which is somewhat longer and wider but not so high, so that the water in the latter rises to about one-half of the height of the former on all sides. A lateral exit tube allows the excess of water to flow out. In order to avoid a rapid heating of the water in the condenser, this is protected by a light roof made of boards.
1) Comp. e.g. Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1906, 21.
2) Observation made in the laboratory of Schimmel & Co.
3) D. E. Grassmann, Der Campherbaum. Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft fur Natur- u. Volkerkunde Ostasiens, Tokio, 6 (1895), 277 to 328.