This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
These are prepared after processes differing slightly from one another, but all based on the original formula of Welsbach—the impregnation of vegetable fibers with certain mineral oxides in solution, drying out, and arranging on platinum wire.
Lanthanum oxide... 30 parts
Yttrium oxide...... 20 parts
Burnt magnesia..... SO parts
Acetic acid......... 50 parts
Water, distilled..... 100 parts
The salts are dissolved in the water, and to the solution another 150 parts of distilled water are added and the whole filtered. The vegetable fiber (in its knitted or woven form) is impregnated with this solution dried, and arranged on platinum wire. In the formula the acetic acid may be replaced with dilute nitric acid. The latter seems to have some advantages over the former, among which is the fact that the residual ash where acetic acid is used has a tendency to ball up and make a vitreous residue, while that of the nitric acid remains in powdery form.
A fabric of platinum wire and cotton thread is sewed or woven into the tissue of the incandescent body; next it is impregnated with a solution of thorium salts and dried. The thorium nitrate in glowing gives a very loose but nevertheless fireproof residue. A mixture of thorium nitrate with platinic chloride leaves after incandescence a fire-resisting sponge possessing to a great extent the property of igniting gas mixtures containing oxygen. Employ a mixture of 1 part of thorium nitrate to 2.5 Darts of platinic chloride.