Scientific American Supplement No. 275

Part 3 out of 3

When I have stated my case in full it is for _you_ to disprove both the
theory and practice annunciated. So far as I am concerned I am responsible
for both.)

You will please bear with me for a few minutes in my attempt at theory.

The annulling of pain, and, in some cases, its complete annihilation,
can be accomplished in many ways. Narcotics, anaesthetics--local and
internal--direct action of cold, and mesmeric or physiological influence,
have all their advocates, and each _will surely_ do its work. There is one
thing about which, I think, we can all agree, as to these agencies; unless
the _will_ is partially and in some cases completely subjugated there can
be no primary or secondary effect. The voluntary muscles must become wholly
or partially paralyzed for the time. Telegraphic communication must be cut
off from the brain, that there be no reflex action. It is not necessary
there should be separate nerves to convey pleasure and pain any more than
there should be two telegraphic wires to convey two messages.

If, then, we are certain of this, it matters little as to whether it was
done by corpuscular poisoning and anaemia as from chloroform or hyperaemia
from ether.

I think we are now prepared to show clearly the causes which effect the
phenomena in "rapid breathing."

The first thing enlisted is the _diversion of the will force_ in the act of
forced respiration at a moment when the heart and lungs have been in normal
reciprocal action (20 respirations to 80 pulsations), which act could
not be made and carried up to 100 respirations per minute without such
concentrated effort that ordinary pain could make no impression upon the
brain while this abstraction is kept up.

Second. There is a specific effect resulting from enforced respiration of
100 to the minute, due to the _excess of carbonic acid gas set free from
the tissues_, generated by this enforced normal act of throwing into the
lungs _five times_ the normal amount of oxygen in one minute demanded, when
the heart has not been aroused to exalted action, which comes from violent
exercise in running or where one is suddenly startled, which excess of
carbonic acid cannot escape in the same ratio from the lungs, since the
heart does not respond to the proportionate overaction of the lungs.

Third.--Hyperaemia is the last in this chain of effects, which is due to
the excessive amount of air passing into the lungs preventing but little
more than the normal quantity of blood from passing from the heart into
the arterial circulation, but draws it up in the brain with its excess of
carbonic acid gas to act also directly upon the brain as well as throughout
the capillary and venous system, and as well upon the heart, the same as if
it were suspended in that gas outside the body.

These are evident to the senses of any liberal observer who can witness a
subject rapidly breathing.

Some ask why is not this same thing produced when one has been running
rapidly for a few minutes? For a very good reason: in this case the rapid
inhalations are preceded by the violent throes of the heart to propel the
carbonized blood from the overworked tissues and have them set free at the
lungs where the air is rushing in at the normal ratio of four to one. This
is not an abnormal action, but is of necessity, or asphyxia would instantly
result and the runner would drop. Such sometimes occurs where the runner
exerts himself too violently at the very outset; and to do so he is
compelled to hold his breath for this undue effort, and the heart cannot
carry the blood fast enough. In this instance there is an approach to
analgesia as from rapid breathing.

Let me take up the first factor--_diversion of will_--and show that nature
invariably resorts to a sudden inhalation to prevent severe infliction of
pain being felt. It is the panacea to childhood's frequent bruises and
cuts, and every one will remember how when a finger has been hurt it is
thrust into the mouth and a violent number of efforts at rapid inhalation
is effected until ease comes. By others it is subdued by a fit of crying,
which if you will but imitate the sobs, will find how frequently the
respirations are made.

One is startled, and the heart would seem to jump out of the chest; in
quick obedience to nature the person is found making a number of quick
inhalations, which subdue the heart and pacify the will by diversion from
the cause.

The same thing is observed in the lower animals. I will relate a case:

An elephant had been operated upon for a diseased eye which gave him great
pain, for which he was unprepared, and he was wrathy at the keeper and
surgeon. It soon passed off, and the result of the application was so
beneficial to the animal that when brought out in a few days after, to have
another touch of caustic to the part, he was prepared for them; and, just
before the touch, he inflated the lungs to their fullest extent, which
occupied more time than the effect of the caustic, when he made no effort
at resistance and showed no manifestation of having been pained.

In many cases of extraction of the temporary teeth of children, I make them
at the instant I grasp the tooth take _one_ very violent inhalation, which
is sufficient. Mesmeric anaesthesia can well be classified under diversion
or subjugation of the will, but can be effected in but a small percentage
of the cases. To rely upon this first or primary effect, except in
instantaneous cases, would be failure.

The second factor is the one upon which I can rely in such of the cases as
come into my care, save when I cannot induce them to make such a number of
respirations as is absolutely necessary. The _whole secret of success lies_
in the greatest number of respirations that can be effected in from 60 to
90 seconds, and that without any intermission. If the heart, by the _alow
method of respiration_, is pulsating in ratio of four to one respiration,
_no effect can be induced_.

When the respirations are, say, 100 to the minute, and made with all the
energy the patient can muster, and are kept up while the operation is going
on, there can hardly be a failure in the minor operations.

It is upon this point many of you may question the facts. Before I tried
it for the first time upon my own person, I arrived at the same conclusion
from a course of argument, that rapid breathing would control the heart's
action and pacify it, and even reduce it below the normal standard under my
urgent respirations.

In view of the many applications made I feel quite sure in my belief that,
inasmuch as the heart's action is but slightly accelerated, though with
less force from rapid breathing at the rate of 100 to the minute, there is
such an excess of carbonic acid gas set free and crowding upon the heart
and capillaries of the brain, without a chance to escape by the lungs, that
it is the same to all intents as were carbonic acid breathed through the
lungs in common air. Look at the result after this has been kept up for a
minute or more? During the next minute the respirations are not more than
one or two, and the heart has fallen really below, in some cases, the
standard beat, showing most conclusively that once oxygenation has taken
place and that the free carbonic acid gas has been so completely consumed,
that there is no involuntary call through the pneumogastric nerve for a
supply of oxygen.

If any physiological facts can be proven at all, then I feel quite sure of
your verdict upon my side.

There is no one thing that goes so far to prove the theory of Lavoisier
regarding the action of oxygen in the tissues and capillaries for
converting carbon into carbonic acid gas instead of the lungs, as held
prior to that time, and still held by many who are not posted in late
experiments. At the time I commenced this practice I must confess I knew
nothing of it. The study of my cases soon led me to the same theory of
Lavoisier, as I could not make the phenomena agree with the old theory of
carbonic acid generated only in the lungs.

When Vierordt was performing his experiments upon himself in rapid
breathing from six times per minute to ninety-six, I cannot understand
why he failed to observe and record what did certainly result--an extreme
giddiness with muscular prostration and numbness in the peripheries of the
hands and feet, with suffusion of the face, and such a loss of locomotion
as to prevent standing erect without desiring support. Besides, the very
great difference he found in the amount of carbonic acid retained in the
circulation, the very cause of the phenomena just spoken of.

One thing comes in just here to account for the lack of respiration the
minute after the violent effort. The residual air, which in a normal state
is largely charged with carbonic acid, has been so completely exhausted
that some moments are consumed before there is sufficient again to call
upon the will for its discharge.

As to hyperaemia you will also assent, now that my second factor is
explained; but it is so nearly allied to the direct effect of excessive
respiration that we can well permit it to pass without argument. If
hyperaemia _is present_, we have a more certain and rather more lasting

In conclusion, I will attempt to prognosticate the application of this
principle to the cure of many diseases of chronic nature, and especially
tuberculosis; where from a diminished amount of air going into the lungs
for want of capacity, and particularly for want of energy and inclination
to breathe in full or excess, the tissues cannot get clear of their
excrementitious material, and particularly the carbon, which must go to the
lungs, this voluntary effort can be made frequently during the day to
free the tissues and enable them to take nutritious material for their
restoration to their standard of health.

Air will be found of far more value than ever before as one of the greatest
of factors in nutrition, and which is as necessary as proper food, and
without which every organization must become diseased, and no true
assimilation can take place without a due amount of oxygen is hourly
and daily supplied by this extra aid of volition which has been so long

The pure oxygen treatment has certainly performed many cures; yet, when
compared to the mechanical mixture and under the direct control of
the will, at all times and seasons, there is no danger from excessive
oxygenation as while oxygen is given. When every patient can be taught to
rely upon this great safety valve of nature, there will be less need for
medication, and the longevity of our race be increased with but little
dread by mankind for that terrible monster consumption, which seems to have
now unbounded control.

When this theory I have here given you to-night is fully comprehended by
the medical world and taught the public, together with the kind of foods
necessary for every one in their respective occupation, location, and
climate, we may expect a vast change in their physical condition and a hope
for the future which will brighten as time advances.

I herewith attach the sphygmographic tracings made upon myself by another,
showing the state of the pulse as compared with the progress of the


Sphygmographic tracings of the pulse of the essayist. Normal pulse 60
to the minute. Ten seconds necessary for the slip to pass under the


A, A, normal pulse.

B, pulse taken after breathing rapidly for 15 seconds when
20 respirations had been taken.

C, rapid breathing for 30 seconds, 43 respirations.

D, " " 45 " 76 "

E, " " 60 " 96 "
F, pulse taken after rapid breathing for one minute, as in E, where no
respiration had as yet been taken after the essayist had kept it up for
that one minute. This was after 10 seconds had intervened.

G, the same taken 50 seconds after, and still no respiration had been
taken, the subject having no disposition to inhale, the blood having been
over oxygenated.

The pulse in E shows after 96 respirations but 14, or 84 per minute, and
the force nearly as in the normal at A, A1.

The record in B shows the force more markedly, but still normal in number.

F and G show very marked diminution in the force, but the number of
pulsations not over 72 per minute; G particularly so, the heart needing the
stimulus of the oxygen for full power.

The following incident which has but very recently been made known, gives
most conclusive evidence of the truth of the theory and practice of rapid

A Mexican went into the office of a dentist in one of the Mexican cities to
have a tooth extracted by nitrous oxide gas.

The dentist was not in, and the assistant was about to permit the patient
to leave without removing the tooth, when the wife of the proprietor
exclaimed that she had often assisted her husband in giving the gas, and
that she would do so in this instance if the assistant would agree to
extract the tooth. It was agreed. All being in readiness, the lady turned
on as she supposed the gas, and the Mexican patient was ordered to breathe
as fast as possible to make sure of the full effect and no doubt of the
final success. The assistant was about to extract, but the wife insisted on
his breathing more rapidly, whereupon the patient was observed to become
very dark or purple in the face, which satisfied the lady that the
full effect was manifested, and the tooth was extracted, to the great
satisfaction of all concerned. While the gas was being taken by the Mexican
the gasometer was noticed to rise higher and higher as the patient breathed
faster, and not to sink as was usual when the gas had been previously
administered. This led to an investigation of the reason of such an
anomalous result, when to their utter surprise they found the valve was so
turned by the wife that the Mexican had been breathing nothing but common
air, and instead of exhaling into the surrounding air he violently forced
it into the gasometer with the nitrous oxide gas, causing it to rise and
not sink, which it should have done had the valve been properly turned by
the passage of gas into the lungs of the patient.

No more beautiful and positive trial could happen, and might not again by
accident or inadvertence happen again in a lifetime.

* * * * *


When a bottle of any liquor charged with carbonic acid under strong
pressure, such as champagne, sparkling cider, seltzer water, etc., is
uncorked, the contents often escape with considerable force, flow out, and
are nearly all lost. Besides this, the noise made by the popping of the
cork is not agreeable to most persons. To remedy these inconveniences
there has been devised the simple apparatus which we represent in the
accompanying cut, taken from _La Nature_. The device consists of a hollow,
sharp-pointed tube, having one or two apertures in its upper extremity
which are kept closed by a hollow piston fitting in the interior of the
tube. This tube, or "tap," as it may be called, is supported on a firm base
to which is attached a draught tube, and a small lever for actuating the
piston. After the tap has been thrust through the cork of the bottle of
liquor the contents may be drawn in any quantity and as often as wanted by
simply pressing down the lever with the finger; this operation raises the
piston so that its apertures correspond with those in the sides of the top,
and the liquid thus finds access to the draught tube through the interior
of the piston. By removing the pressure the piston descends and thus closes
the vents. By means of this apparatus, then, the contents of any bottle of
effervescing liquids may be as easily drawn off as are those contained in
the ordinary siphon bottles in use.


* * * * *


PROF. H.E. ROSCOE, President, in the Chair.

Mr. Vivian Lewes read a paper on "_Pentathionic Acid_." In March last the
author, at the suggestion of Dr. Debus, undertook an investigation of
pentathionic acid, the existence of which has been denied. The analyses
of the liquid obtained by Wackenroder and others, by passing sulphureted
hydrogen and sulphur dioxide through water, are based on the assumption
that only one acid is present in the solution, and consequently do not
establish the existence of pentathionic acid; as, for example, a mixture of
one molecule of H_2S_4O_6 and one molecule of H_2S_6O_6 would give the same
analytical results as H_2S_5O_6. Moreover, no salt of pentathionic acid has
been prepared in a pure state. The author has succeeded in preparing barium
pentathionate thus: A Wackenroder solution was about half neutralized with
barium hydrate, filtered, and the clear solution evaporated _in vacuo_ over
sulphuric acid. After eighteen days crystals, which proved to be barium
pentathionate + 3 molecules of water, formed. These crystals were
separated, and the liquid further evaporated, when a second crop was
obtained intermediate in composition between the tetra and pentathionate.
These were separated, and the mother-liquor on standing deposited some
oblong rectangular crystals. These on analysis proved to consist of baric
pentathionate with three molecules of water. This salt dissolves readily in
cold water; the solution is decomposed by strong potassic hydrate, baric
sulphite, hyposulphites, and sulphur being formed. By a similar method of
procedure the author obtained potassium pentathionate, anhydrous, and with
one or two molecules of water. The author promises some further results
with some other salts of the higher thionates.

The president said that the society had to thank the author for a very
complete research on the subject of pentathionic acid. He, however, begged
to differ from him as to his statements concerning the researches of
Messrs. Takamatsu and Smith; in his opinion these authors had proved the
existence of pentathionic acid. He hoped that the crystals (which were very
fine) would be measured.

Dr. Debus said that no one had previously been able to make the salts of
pentathionic acid, and expressed his sense of the great merit due to the
author for his perseverance and success. The paper opened up some highly
interesting theoretical speculations as to the existence of hexathionic
acid. If potassium tetrathionate was dissolved in water it could be
re-crystallized, but potassium pentathionate under similar circumstances
splits into sulphur and tetrathionate; but a mixture of tetrathionate and
pentathionate can be re-crystallized. It seemed as if the sulphur when
eliminated from the pentathionate combined with the tetrathionate.

Dr. Dupre asked Dr. Debus how it was that a molecule of pentathionate could
be re-crystallized, whereas two molecules of pentathionate, which should,
when half decomposed, furnish a molecule of tetra and a molecule of
pentathionate, could not.

Dr. Armstrong then read a _"Preliminary Note on some Hydrocarbons from
Rosin Spirit."_ After giving an account of our knowledge of rosin spirit,
the author described the result of the examination of the mixture of
hydrocarbons remaining after heating it with sulphuric acid and diluting
with half its volume of water and steam distilling. Thus treated rosin
spirit furnishes about one-fourth of its volume of a colorless mobile
liquid, which after long-continued fractional distillation is resolved into
a variety of fractions boiling at temperatures from 95 deg. to over 180 deg.. Each
of the fractions was treated with concentrated sulphuric acid, and the
undissolved portions were then re-fractionated. The hydrocarbons dissolved
by the acid were recovered by heating under pressure with hydrochloric
acid. Besides a cymene and a toluene, which have already been shown to
exist in rosin spirit, metaxylene was found to be present. The hydrocarbons
insoluble in sulphuric acid are, apparently, all members of the C_nH_{2n}
series; they are not, however, true homologues of ethylene, but hexhydrides
of hydrocarbons of the benzene series. Hexhydro-toluene and probably
hex-hydrometaxylene are present besides the hydrocarbon, C_10H_20, but it
is doubtful if an intermediate term is also present. It is by no means
improbable, however, that these hydrocarbons are, at least in part,
products of the action of the sulphuric acid. Cahours and Kraemer's and
Godzki's observations on the higher fractions of crude wood spirit, in
fact, furnish a precedent for this view. Referring to the results obtained
by Anderson, Tilden, and Renard, the author suggests that rosin spirit
perhaps contains hydrides intermediate in composition between those of
the C_nH_{2n-6} and C_nH_{2n} series, also derived like the latter from
hydrocarbons of the benzene series. Finally, Dr Armstrong mentioned that
the volatile portion of the distillate from the non-volatile product of the
oxidation of oil of turpentine in moist air furnishes ordinary cymene when
treated in the manner above described. The fact that rosin spirit yields a
different cymene is, he considers, an argument against the view which
has more than once been put forward, that rosin is directly derived from
terpene. Probably resin and turpentine, though genetically related, are
products of distinct processes.

The next paper was _"On the Determination of the Relative Weight of Single
Molecules,"_ by E. Vogel, of San Francisco. This paper, which was taken as
read, consists of a lengthy theoretical disquisition, in which the author
maintains the following propositions: That the combining weights of all
elements are one third of their present values; the assumption that equal
volumes of gases contain equal numbers of molecules does not hold good;
that the present theory of valency is not supported by chemical facts, and
that its elimination would be no small gain for chemistry in freeing it
of an element full of mystery, uncertainty, and complication; that the
distinction between atoms and molecules will no longer be necessary;
that the facts of specific heat do not lend any support to the theory of
valency. The paper concludes as follows: "The cause of chemical action is
undoubtedly atmospheric pressure, which under ordinary conditions is equal
to the weight of 76 cubic centimeters of mercury, one of which equals 6.145
mercury molecules, so that the whole pressure equals 467 mercury molecules.
This force--which with regard to its chemical effect on molecules can be
multiplied by means of heat--is amply sufficient to bring about the highest
degree of molecular specific gravity by the reduction of the molecular
volumes. To it all molecules are exposed and subjected unalterably, and
if not accepted as the cause of chemical action, its influence has to be
eliminated to allow the introduction and display of other forces."

The next communication was _"On the Synthetical Production of Ammonia,
by the Combination of Hydrogen and Nitrogen in Presence of Heated Spongy
Platinum (Preliminary Notice),"_ by G. S. Johnson. Some experiments, in
which pure nitrogen was passed over heated copper containing occluded
hydrogen, suggested to the author the possibility of the formation of
ammonia; only minute traces were formed. On passing, however, a mixture of
pure nitrogen (from ammonium nitrite) and hydrogen over spongy platinum at
a low red heat, abundant evidence was obtained of the synthesis of ammonia.
The gases were passed, before entering the tube containing the platinum,
through a potash bulb containing Nessler reagent, which remained colorless.
On the contrary, the gas issuing from the platinum rapidly turned Nessler
reagent brown, and in a few minutes turned faintly acid litmus solution
blue; the odor of NH_3 was also perceptible. In one experiment 0.0144
gramme of ammonia was formed in two hours and a half. The author promises
further experiment as to the effect of temperature, rate of the gaseous
current, and substitution of palladium for platinum. The author synthesized
some ammonia before the Society with complete success.

The President referred to the synthesis of ammonia from its elements
recently effected by Donkin, and remarked that apparently the ammonia was
formed in much larger quantities by the process proposed by the author of
the present paper.

Mr. Warington suggested that some HCl gas should be simultaneously passed
with the nitrogen and hydrogen, and that the temperature of the spongy
platinum should be kept just below the temperature at which NH_3
dissociates, in order to improve the yield of NH_3.

_"On the Oxidation of Organic Matter in Water"_ by A. Downes. The author
considers that the mere presence of oxygen in contact with the organic
matter has but little oxidizing action unless lowly organisms, as bacteria,
etc. be simultaneously present. Sunlight has apparently considerable
effect in promoting the oxidation of organic matter. The author quotes the
following experiment: A sample of river water was filtered through paper.
It required per 10,000 parts 0.236 oxygen as permanganate. A second portion
was placed in a flask plugged with cotton wool, and exposed to sunlight for
a week; it then required 0.200. A third portion after a week, but excluded
from light, required 0.231. A fourth was boiled for five minutes, plugged,
and then exposed to sunlight for a week; required 0.198. In a second
experiment with well water a similar result was obtained; more organic
matter was oxidized when the organisms had been killed by the addition of
sulphuric acid than when the original water was allowed to stand for an
equal length of time. The author also discusses the statement made by Dr.
Frankland that there is less ground for assuming that the organized and
living matter of sewage is oxidized in a flow of twelve miles of a river
than for assuming that dead organic matter is oxidized in a similar
flow.--_Chem. News._

* * * * *



This celebrated perfume is the volatile essential oil distilled from the
flowers of some varieties of rose. The botany of roses appears to be in a
transition and somewhat unsatisfactory state. Thus the otto-yielding rose
is variously styled _Rosa damascena, R. sempervirens, R. moschata, R.
gallica, R. centifolia, R. provincialis_. It is pretty generally agreed
that the kind grown for its otto in Bulgaria in the damask rose (_R.
damascena_), a variety induced by long cultivation, as it is not to be
found wild. It forms a bush, usually three to four feet, but sometimes six
feet high; its flowers are of moderate size, semi-double, and arranged
several on a branch, though not in clusters or bunches. In color, they are
mostly light-red; some few are white, and said to be less productive of

The utilization of the delicious perfume of the rose was attempted, with
more or less success, long prior to the comparatively modern process of
distilling its essential oil. The early methods chiefly in vogue were the
distillation of rose-water, and the infusion of roses in olive oil, the
latter flourishing in Europe generally down to the last century, and
surviving at the present day in the South of France. The butyraceous oil
produced by the distillation of roses for making rose-water in this country
is valueless as a perfume; and the real otto was scarcely known in British
commerce before the present century.

The profitable cultivation of roses for the preparation of otto is limited
chiefly by climatic conditions. The odoriferous constitutent of the otto
is a liquid containing oxygen, the solid hydrocarbon or stearoptene, with
which it is combined, being absolutely devoid of perfume. The proportion
which this inodorous solid constituents bears to the liquid perfume
increases with the unsuitability of the climate, varying from about 18 per
cent. in Bulgarian oil, to 35 and even 68 per cent. in rose oils distilled
in France and England. This increase in the proportion of stearoptene is
also shown by the progressively heightened fusing-point of rose oils from
different sources: thus, while Bulgarian oil fuses at about 61 deg. to 64 deg.
Fahr., an Indian sample required 68 deg. Fahr.; one from the South of France,
70 deg. to 73 deg. Fahr.; one from Paris, 84 deg. Fahr.; and one obtained in making
rose-water in London, 86 deg. to 891/2 deg. Fahr. Even in the Bulgarian oil, a
notable difference is observed between that produced on the hills and that
from the lowlands.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the culture of roses, and extraction
of their perfume, should have originated in the East. Persia produced
rose-water at an early date, and the town of Nisibin, north-west of Mosul,
was famous for it in the 14th century. Shiraz, in the 17th century,
prepared both rose water and otto, for export to other parts of Persia, as
well as all over India. The Perso-Indian trade in rose oil, which continued
to possess considerable importance in the third quarter of the 18th
century, is declining, and has nearly disappeared; but the shipments of
rose-water still maintain a respectable figure. The value, in rupees, of
the exports of rose-water from Bushire in 1879, were--4,000 to India, 1,500
to Java, 200 to Aden and the Red Sea, 1,000 to Muscat and dependencies, 200
to Arab coast of Persian Gulf and Bahrein, 200 to Persian coast and Mekran,
and 1,000 to Zanzibar. Similar statistics relating to Lingah, in the same
year, show--Otto: 400 to Arab coast of Persian Gulf, and Bahrein; and 250
to Persian coast and Mekran. And Bahrein--Persian Otto: 2,200 to Koweit,
Busrah, and Bagdad. Rose-water: 200 to Arab coast of Persian Gulf, and
1,000 to Koweit, Busrah, and Bagdad.

India itself has a considerable area devoted to rose-gardens, as at
Ghazipur, Lahore, Amritzur, and other places, the kind of rose being _R.
damascena_, according to Brandis. Both rose-water and otto are produced.
The flowers are distilled with double their weight of water in clay stills;
the rose-water (_goolabi pani_) thus obtained is placed in shallow vessels,
covered with moist muslin to keep out dust and flies, and exposed all night
to the cool air, or fanned. In the morning, the film of oil, which has
collected on the top, is skimmed off by a feather, and transferred to a
small phial. This is repeated for several nights, till almost the whole of
the oil has separated. The quantity of the product varies much, and three
different authorities give the following figures: (_a_) 20,000 roses to
make 1 rupee's weight (176 gr.) of otto; (_b_) 200,000 to make the same
weight; (_c_) 1,000 roses afford less than 2 gr. of otto. The color ranges
from green to bright-amber, and reddish. The oil (otto) is the most
carefully bottled; the receptacles are hermetically sealed with wax, and
exposed to the full glare of the sun for several days. Rose water deprived
of otto is esteemed much inferior to that which has not been so treated.
When bottled, it is also exposed to the sun for a fortnight at least.

The Mediterranean countries of Africa enter but feebly into this industry,
and it is a little remarkable that the French have not cultivated it in
Algeria. Egypt's demand for rose-water and rose-vinegar is supplied from
Medinet Fayum, south-west of Cairo. Tunis has also some local reputation
for similar products. Von Maltzan says that the rose there grown for otto
is the dog-rose (_R. canina_), and that it is extremely fragrant, 20 lb.
of the flower yielding about 1 dr. of otto. Genoa occasionally imports a
little of this product, which is of excellent quality. In the south of
France rose gardens occupy a large share of attention, about Grasse,
Cannes, and Nice; they chiefly produce rose-water, much of which is
exported to England. The essence (otto) obtained by the distillation of the
Provence rose (_R. provincialis_) has a characteristic perfume, arising, it
is believed, from the bees transporting the pollen of the orange flowers
into the petals of the roses. The French otto is richer in stearoptene than
the Turkish, nine grammes crystallizing in a liter (13/4 pint) of alcohol at
the same temperature as 18 grammes of the Turkish. The best preparations
are made at Cannes and Grasse. The flowers are not there treated for the
otto, but are submitted to a process of maceration in fat or oil, ten
kilos. of roses being required to impregnate one kilo. of fat. The price of
the roses varies from 50c. to 1 fr. 25c. per kilo.

But the one commercially important source of otto of roses is a
circumscribed patch of ancient Thrace or modern Bulgaria, stretching along
the southern slopes of the central Balkans, and approximately included
between the 25th and 26th degrees of east longitude, and the 42d and 43d of
north latitude. The chief rose-growing districts are Philippopoli, Chirpan,
Giopcu, Karadshah-Dagh, Kojun-Tepe, Eski-Sara, Jeni-Sara, Bazardshik, and
the center and headquarters of the industry, Kazanlik (Kisanlik),
situated in a beautiful undulating plain, in the valley of the Tunja. The
productiveness of the last-mentioned district may be judged from the fact
that, of the 123 Thracian localities carrying on the preparation of otto in
1877--they numbered 140 in 1859--42 belong to it. The only place affording
otto on the northern side of the Balkans is Travina. The geological
formation throughout is syenite, the decomposition of which has provided a
soil so fertile as to need but little manuring. The vegetation, according
to Baur, indicates a climate differing but slightly from that of the Black
Forest, the average summer temperatures being stated at 82 deg. Fahr. at noon,
and 68 deg. Fahr. in the evening. The rose-bushes nourish best and live longest
on sandy, sun-exposed (south and south-east aspect) slopes. The flowers
produced by those growing on inclined ground are dearer and more esteemed
than any raised on level land, being 50 per cent. richer in oil, and that
of a stronger quality. This proves the advantage of thorough drainage. On
the other hand, plantations at high altitudes yield less oil, which is of a
character that readily congeals, from an insufficiency of summer heat. The
districts lying adjacent to and in the mountains are sometimes visited
by hard frosts, which destroy or greatly reduce the crop. Floods also
occasionally do considerable damage. The bushes are attacked at intervals
and in patches by a blight similar to that which injures the vines of the

The bushes are planted in hedge-like rows in gardens and fields, at
convenient distances apart, for the gathering of the crop. They are seldom
manured. The planting takes place in spring and autumn; the flowers attain
perfection in April and May, and the harvest lasts from May till the
beginning of June. The expanded flowers are gathered before sunrise,
often with the calyx attached; such as are not required for immediate
distillation are spread out in cellars, but all are treated within the day
on which they are plucked. Baur states that, if the buds develop slowly,
by reason of cool damp weather, and are not much exposed to sun-heat, when
about to be collected, a rich yield of otto, having a low solidifying
point, is the result, whereas, should the sky be clear and the temperature
high at or shortly before the time of gathering, the product is diminished
and is more easily congealable. Hanbury, on the contrary, when distilling
roses in London, noticed that when they had been collected on fine dry
days the rose-water had most volatile oil floating upon it, and that, when
gathered in cool rainy weather, little or no volatile oil separated.

The flowers are not salted, nor subjected to any other treatment, before
being conveyed in baskets, on the heads of men and women and backs of
animals, to the distilling apparatus. This consists of a tinned-copper
still, erected on a semicircle of bricks, and heated by a wood fire; from
the top passes a straight tin pipe, which obliquely traverses a tub kept
constantly filled with cold water, by a spout, from some convenient
rivulet, and constitutes the condenser. Several such stills are usually
placed together, often beneath the shade of a large tree. The still is
charged with 25 to 50 lb. of roses, not previously deprived of their
calyces, and double the volume of spring water. The distillation is carried
on for about l1/2 hours, the result being simply a very oily rose-water
(_ghyul suyu_). The exhausted flowers are removed from the still, and the
decoction is used for the next distillation, instead of fresh water.
The first distillates from each apparatus are mixed and distilled by
themselves, one-sixth being drawn off; the residue replaces spring water
for subsequent operations. The distillate is received in long-necked
bottles, holding about 11/4 gallon. It is kept in them for a day or two, at a
temperature exceeding 59 deg. Fahr., by which time most of the oil, fluid
and bright, will have reached the surface. It is skimmed off by a small,
long-handled, fine-orificed tin funnel, and is then ready for sale. The
last-run rose-water is extremely fragrant, and is much prized locally for
culinary and medicinal purposes. The quantity and quality of the otto are
much influenced by the character of the water used in distilling. When
hard spring water is employed, the otto is rich in stearoptene, but less
transparent and fragrant. The average quantity of the product is estimated
by Baur at 0.037 to 0.040 per cent.; another authority says that 3,200
kilos. of roses give 1 kilo. of oil.

Pure otto, carefully distilled, is at first colorless, but speedily becomes
yellowish; its specific gravity is 0.87 at 72.5 deg. Fahr.; its boiling-point
is 444 deg. Fahr.; it solidifies at 51.8 deg. to 60.8 deg. Fahr., or still higher; it
is soluble in absolute alcohol, and in acetic acid. The most usual and
reliable tests of the quality of an otto are (1) its odor, (2) its
congealing point, (3) its crystallization. The odor can be judged only
after long experience. A good oil should congeal well in five minutes at
a temperature of 54.5 deg. Fahr.; fraudulent additions lower the congealing
point. The crystals of rose-stearoptene are light, feathery, shining
plates, filling the whole liquid. Almost the only material used for
artificially heightening the apparent proportion of stearoptene is said to
be spermaceti, which is easily recognizable from its liability to settle
down in a solid cake, and from its melting at 122 deg. Fahr., whereas
stearoptene fuses at 91.4 deg. Fahr. Possibly paraffin wax would more easily
escape detection.

The adulterations by means of other essential oils are much more difficult
of discovery, and much more general; in fact, it is said that none of the
Bulgarian otto is completely free from this kind of sophistication. The
oils employed for the purpose are certain of the grass oils (_Andropogon_
and _Cymbopogon spp._) notably that afforded by _Andropogon, Schoenanthus_
called _idris-yaghi_ by the Turks, and commonly known to Europeans as
"geranium oil," though quite distinct from true geranium oil. The addition
is generally made by sprinkling it upon the rose-leaves before distilling.
It is largely produced in the neighborhood of Delhi, and exported to
Turkey by way of Arabia. It is sold by Arabs in Constantinople in large
bladder-shaped tinned-copper vessels, holding about 120 lb. As it is
usually itself adulterated with some fatty oil, it needs to undergo
purification before use. This is effected in the following manner: The
crude oil is repeatedly shaken up with water acidulated with lemon-juice,
from which it is poured off after standing for a day. The washed oil
is placed in shallow saucers, well exposed to sun and air, by which it
gradually loses its objectionable odor. Spring and early summer are the
best seasons for the operation, which occupies two to four weeks, according
to the state of the weather and the quality of the oil. The general
characters of this oil are so similar to those of otto of roses--even the
odor bearing a distant resemblance--that their discrimination when mixed is
a matter of practical impossibility. The ratio of the adulteration varies
from a small figure up to 80 or 90 per cent. The only safeguard against
deception is to pay a fair price, and to deal with firms of good repute,
such as Messrs. Papasoglu, Manoglu & Son, Ihmsen & Co., and Holstein & Co.
in Constantinople.

The otto is put up in squat-shaped flasks of tinned copper, called
_kunkumas_, holding from 1 to 10 lb., and sewn up in white woolen cloths.
Usually their contents are transferred at Constantinople into small gilded
bottles of German manufacture for export. The Bulgarian otto harvest,
during the five years 1867-71, was reckoned to average somewhat below
400,000 _meticals, miskals_, or _midkals_ (of about 3 dwt. troy), or 4,226
lb. av.; that of 1873, which was good, was estimated at 500,000, value
about L700,000. The harvest of 1880 realized more than L1,000,000, though
the roses themselves were not so valuable as in 1876. About 300,000
_meticals_ of otto, valued at L932,077, were exported in 1876 from
Philippopolis, chiefly to France, Australia, America, and Germany.

--_Jour. Soc. of Arts._

* * * * *



The author adds in small portions five parts metanitro-benzaldehyd to nine
parts of phosphorus pentachloride, avoiding a great rise of temperature.
When the reaction is over, the whole is poured into excess of cold water,
quickly washed a few times with cold water, and dissolved in alcohol. After
the first crystallization the compound melts at 65 deg., and is perfectly pure.

* * * * *

A catalogue, containing brief notices of many important scientific papers
heretofore published in the SUPPLEMENT, may be had gratis at this office.

* * * * *




Sent by mail, postage prepaid, to subscribers in any part of the United
States or Canada. Six dollars a year, sent, prepaid, to any foreign

All the back numbers of THE SUPPLEMENT, from the commencement, January 1,
1876, can be had. Price, 10 cents each.

All the back volumes of THE SUPPLEMENT can likewise be supplied. Two
volumes are issued yearly. Price of each volume, $2.50, stitched in paper,
or $3.50, bound in stiff covers.

AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT, one year, postpaid, $7.00.

A liberal discount to booksellers, news agents, and canvassers.



* * * * *


In connection with the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Messrs. MUNN & Co. are
Solicitors of American and Foreign Patents, have had 35 years' experience,
and now have the largest establishment in the world. Patents are obtained
on the best terms.

A special notice is made in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN of all Inventions
patented through this Agency, with the name and residence of the Patentee.
By the immense circulation thus given, public attention is directed to the
merits of the new patent, and sales or introduction often easily effected.

Any person who has made a new discovery or invention can ascertain, free of
charge, whether a patent can probably be obtained, by writing to MUNN & Co.

We also send free our Hand Book about the Patent Laws, Patents, Caveats.
Trade Marks, their costs, and how procured, with hints for procuring
advances on inventions. Address


Branch Office, cor. F and 7th Sts., Washington, D. C.


Back to Full Books