Page images

of course, the more like tar it is, the greater the friction. We do not want any thing which is so hard to pull apart as tar or resin. Resin itself is never quite solid. If you put a mass of resin as big as your fist on this table, in the course of time it will flatten out. It adheres quite as much to any other body as itself. If we let it spread out on this table, we cannot get it off again without using a great deal of force; whereas oil will pull apart very readily. The particles of resin, so to speak, felt together, interlock each other, and make a tough mass; whereas the particles of oil seem to be spherical, and roll over each other with ease.

Mr. ATKINSON. I understand that in some of these mineral oils, although no gum is put in, a certain apparently resinous, gummy residuum is to be found, according to the manner in which the petroleum has been converted into lubricating oil. Am I right, there?

Professor ORDWAY. That is the case. All the petroleum oils that we have examined, I think, show, when treated with Roth's liquid, a slight amount of matter which is gummy, sticky. It forms a black film on the surface of the acid. Whether this exists in petroleum in such a form as to interfere with its lubricating qualities, I cannot say. The amount is commonly so slight that I think it can be entirely neglected. In most of the oils that we have examined in the last three months, we have found the amount very small: but it is always there; and, owing to its presence, we can generally detect petroleum in an oil if it is there to the extent of ten per cent. Of course, if there is only a very small amount, it takes an experienced eye to see it.

QUESTION. Has there not been an improvement since this investigation was started?

Professor ORDWAY. I am very happy to say that there has been a great improvement in oils since this investigation was started. I think it argues very well for the wisdom of starting this investigation.

A MEMBER. Crude petroleum must have grown better! [Laughter.]

Professor ORDWAY. Let us throw the veil of charity over the matter. The poorest oils are nearest the surface; and, the more we draw of the deep oils, the better oils we shall get. The producers are getting deeper down, and perhaps that is the explanation.

QUESTION. Do you find a different proportion of gum in the different oils? And what is the difference in that respect between mineral and animal oils?

Professor ORDWAY. This particular substance, which occurs in mineral oil, is quite different from what is shown in the others. Gum occurs in the animal and vegetable oils only when they have been exposed to the air for some time, and become oxidized. In petroleum oils it exists as soon as they are manufactured; it is there all the time. I am not aware, that, in the case of petroleum oils, it is increased by exposure to the air. That is a point I have not been able to determine yet.

QUESTION. Do you find it is increased in the other?

Professor ORDWAY. We have not used it long enough to find out. In all our experiments with the machines, we have only run them a short time. The machines that we have are calculated for a fifteen or twenty minutes' run: we cannot answer that question until we get better machines.

A MEMBER. As I understand you, the further you go with these frictional experiments the less satisfaction you get.

Professor ORDWAY. That is about the way, really. As I said in the outset, we have been making empirical trials: we have yet to make trials which will give us a scientific basis. It was necessary to make these empirical trials, because we found some oils that were known to be pretty bad, and it was suggested to me that we must make as many trials as possible soon. We have therefore been contented with empirical, or practical, trials at first. Results from experiments on a scientific basis are harder to get. As I mentioned with reference to these two young men who are experimenting with sperm oil, we want to know what sperm oil is. They have been at work some three months, and they ought to have two or three months more. Their results will be of value; but I do not think they will exhaust the subject, in the time they have to spend upon it. In the same way a hundred matters come up, each of which requires, for its scientific investigation, months of close study and careful experiment. In any such matter, the little light we get serves to make the surrounding darkness the more apparent. But we have this satisfaction, that we have swept away a great deal of rubbish; and, when we have cleared the ground, I hope we shall be able to build up something.

QUESTION. Is this gum, which is found in oil, what is known in the market as paraffine wax?

Professor ORDWAY. As a general thing there is more in the high-grade oils than in low grades, but we have had some highgrade oils which show but very little indeed: there is a difference in the method of manufacture, I suppose. It exists, I suppose, in all the oils; but in distilling and filtering it seems to be got out, to a great extent. It is barely possible that some of the oils, which show a small quantity, may be from different wells. We have no means of judging whether the oils that are brought to us come from Canada, or Pennsylvania, or from any particular wells. We have no information on that point; but we have had oils of very high grade that showed very little of it, and others of a moderately high grade which showed it much more distinctly. There is something, also, no doubt, in the care which is used by the manufacturers. Whether it is paraffine wax, or not, is more than I can say. We have found so very little of it in our trials, that it is difficult to make out what it is. "Paraffine wax" is an indefinite term, nobody knows precisely what it is. There is a substance which is called "petrocene." I can hardly say whether this is petrocene. What they call "petrocene" is a substance of a very pale yellow color. This is pretty dark, and I presume it is not quite the same thing: it probably contains some oxygen. Most of the substances from petroleum are free from oxygen: they are simply hydrocarbons. Even kerosene oil will show some of this stuff.

Mr. ATKINSON. I would state, on this point, that the oilmanufacturers have admitted that they have not yet discovered any method of treating petroleum which will enable them to remove entirely this dark-brown, gummy, adhesive substance; but they say that the quantity is much less in one kind of oil than another.

QUESTION. In this oil which is called "stainless oil," which is made from paraffine, has any of this gummy substance been found?

Professor ORDWAY. Yes, sir, it is found in that as in the others. We have found none that was entirely free. Every thing of petroleum origin, which we have reason to suppose comes from petroleum wells, we have found to contain it, more or less.

Mr. ATKINSON. It is my function not to fear to present deductions before this Association from the investigations going on. Whether they be worth much or little, they will perhaps

set you thinking, and it is for those who are skilful to avail themselves of even hints that those who know little may present to them. You observe, undoubtedly, that an attempt is made to reach an absolutely scientific point in these investigations, and that is wise and well in their conduct: but all your practice, and all our practice as manufacturers, is, of necessity, empirical; we do the best that our knowledge of the science, bearing on the question, will permit. Now, as these attempts at reducing this subject of friction to an absolute science have been going on, I have been observing them from the stand-point of the spinner, who must avail himself of science just as far as circumstances will permit, and who can go no further; and, although absolute scientific results have not been reached, there have been some points made manifest, which, with my limited practical knowledge of spinning, have seemed to me important to be presented to you, who are practical spinners, to see just what they are worth.

The experiments with the machines, constructed for the purpose of testing the lubricating qualities of oil, have not, as has been stated by Professor Ordway, yielded definite results, for which scientific accuracy can be claimed; nor does it appear that any of the machines that we have tried can be made to do So. But certain deductions can be made from these trials, and by a comparison of the results with those obtained by Mr. Woodbury on our small spinning-frame, by means of the application of thermometers to the step and bolster of each spindle, I think we got some facts that are valuable.

It appears that fluidity is an important factor in a good lubricant for small bearings and high speed, and that many oils, that are not among the best at the start, become good, when either the heat of the room or the heat of the bearing causes them to become fluid.

On the other hand, some of the oils that are very fluid, and also very volatile, cease to be good lubricants, as they evaporate, and can only be kept good by constant renewal and the use of an excess in quantity.

In respect to one kind of heavy or non-fluid mineral oil possessing a high fire-test and a low rate of evaporation, the step of the spindle heated about nine and a half degrees, and the bolster rail about eight degrees; and, when thus heated, the spindles ran smoothly, and at a certain rate of power.

A lighter or more fluid oil, also possessing a high fire-test and a low rate of evaporation, worked a heat of the step six degrees, and bolster seven degrees, and as far as we could ascertain at the same rate of power as the oil first named. Both these oils were safe and durable, and are used in mills working at a minimum of cost and quantity.

The work of the oil on the spindles, measured by the heat developed, therefore, confirms the deductions made from the use of the regular testing-machines; viz.,

That in respect to a good lubricant and safe oil for use on spindles there are now three factors determined.

1st, A high fire-test, not less than three hundred degrees flashing-point.

2d, A low rate of evaporation, not exceeding five per cent in twelve hours, at one hundred and forty degrees.

3d, Fluidity.

These qualities can all be obtained in the same oil, and are all to be found in some of the best oils now in the market.

Fluidity, to a sufficient degree, can also be imparted to a heavy or non-fluid mineral oil by the admixture of pure winter sperm, or pure neat's-foot oil.

If I am wrong in calling special attention to these points, Professor Ordway will correct me.

Now, I wish to call your attention to some questions in this connection, that seem to me of great importance. I submit the theory, and you will say whether your experience confirms it or


I have always been under the impression, that the excess of power often required in starting in the morning, and the bad work that often ensues on damp mornings, or on mornings following cool, damp nights, were to be attributed to the contraction of cotton spindle-banding. In all the discussion of this question of banding, reference has been made to an assumed contraction of the bands, by every one with whom I have conversed on the subject. You may, therefore, be surprised, when Mr. Woodbury proves to you, that neither humidity nor dryness. contracts a cotton spindle-band of any common kind, except perhaps in a very small degree, and for a very short time; but that the exposure of the banding to humidity causes the band to stretch, and to remain stretched, so that the bad work must be attributed to the want of tension in the bands, and not to an

« PreviousContinue »