Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"The weight of alcohol required in making the best smokeless powder..."


The Removal of Revenue Tax
from Alcohol Will Stimulate Industries.

    A measure introduced in the house of representatives by Mr. Marshall of North Dakota has for its purpose the removal of the internal revenue tax on alcohol, and its passage is of vast importance, especially to such agricultural states as Minnesota. Not only will it benefit the farmer who produces the raw material from which alcohol is made, but it will contribute to his further advantage in a cheap and safe motive power for use on the farm as well as light and heat for his home.

    At present alcohol for beverages and industrial alcohol are subject to a tax of more than $2 a gallon. Industrial alcohol, according to the department of agriculture, could be sold profitably, were there no tax on it, for about fifteen cents a gallon and under the increased demand that would be sure to follow, it is possible it could be sold profitably for 10 cents a gallon.

    The use of Alcohol as an industrial material figures prominently in the manufacture of nearly one hundred different articles. These range from articles of household use and necessity to electrical machinery, ammunition and firearms.

    Take the item of soap, for instance. Alcohol is used in the manufacture of soap, as a solvent for clarifying. Transparent soap is made by mixing fat and soda to form a soap mixture in the usual way. Alcohol is then added and an emulsion formed by violent agitation, thus bringing the alcohol into contact with every particle of the soap. The alcohol is then allowed to evaporate and the now transparent soap is run into moulds and pressed into the shapes in which it is sold.

    The sales of transparent soap thru-out the world are enormous, the annual sales of one foreign manufacturer in the United States alone being about 14,400,000 cakes. Very little is made in this country owing to the fact that the manufacture is increased over $5 a gross on account of the internal revenue tax of $2.07 per gallon on alcohol.

    What is true of soap is in a large measure true of smokeless powder. The weight of alcohol required in making the best smokeless powder is 1.4 times the weight of the finished powder. The internal revenue on this alcohol is $2.08 a gallon, making the tax on the quantity necessary to use in making a pound of the best smokeless powder 37 cents. The result is that the sportsman must either be satisfied to use an inferior powder, with the danger of excessive fouling and corroding, or pay an excessive price for the best.

    The government secures the best powder for the army and navy at the lowest price allowing the manufacturers to use tax-free alcohol in manufacturing powder for government account. For all other parties tax paid alcohol must be used.

    The importance of cheap alcohol is now so well appreciated in Europe that in all of the leading countries exhibitions to promote its industrial uses are held annually. In a special report on the exposition held in Berlin, United States Consul-General F.H. Mason referred to the use of alcohol for lighting and heating and other domestic purposes as follows:

    "The department of lighting and heating apparatus includes a vast and varied display of lamps, chandeliers, street and corridor lights, in which alcohol vapor burns with an incandescent flame which rivals arc lights in brilliancy and requires to be shaded to adapt it to the endurance of the human eye. There has been a great improvement in the lamps and chandeliers for alcohol lighting, which are up to the best standard of modern fixtures for gas and electricity, with which alcohol lighting is now competing with increased success in this country.

    "The ordinary shade lamp for everyday use is made of bronze with white porcelain shade and costs from $1.50 to $2.50, according to size and design, giving a light of 30 candles at a cost for alcohol of one-third of one cent an hour.

    "Similarly attractive and interesting is the large display of alcohol heating stores, which, for warming corridors, sleeping rooms and certain other locations are highly esteemed. They are made of Japanned iron plate in decorative forms with concave copper reflectors, are portable, and furnish a clean, odorless and convenient heating apparatus. Cooking stoves of all sizes, forms and capacities, from the complete range with baking and roasting ovens, broilers, etc., to the simple tea and coffee lamp, were in display."

    Alcohol burns readily under all conditions without smoking, and is free from disagreeable odors.

    The man who stands in line for the greatest benefit of free alcohol is the farmer, A greater demand will be created for the products of the farm, and in return he will be able to buy a motor fuel at a cost so low that power will be utilized very liberally in connection with the work on the farm.

    The rapid growth in the demand for liquid fuels has more than doubled the past five years, and the fuel bill for a five-horse-power engine, ten hours a day, has increased from $100 to $150 a year. With gasoline as the only available motor fuel its cost must advance with the steady increase in the number of engines used, since the supply is limited, and cannot be increased in proportion to the growing demand for it.

    It has been estimated that making alcohol available as fuel by removing the tax would double the power uses in this country. This would mean an aggregate increase of engines of over ten million horse-power, and if these were employed one-third of the time an addition to the working force of the country of a thousand million horse-power hours. At one tenth of a gallon per horsepower this would require the annual consumption of one hundred million gallons of alcohol.

    The farmer has interest in alcohol and the movement for the removal of the tax for another reason: He is the producer of the raw material from which it is distilled. Corn is the principal raw material in the country from which alcohol is made. It can also be made from other materials, such as potatoes, beets, unmarketable fruits, damaged grain, etc. A large industrial consumption of alcohol would guarantee a sure market for surplus and otherwise unsalable crops. Furthermore, the nature of the fluid permits of its being kept for years if necessary, hence when a large crop is raised which tended to create a surplus and depress prices, the surplus could be easily converted into alcohol and stored to prevent any marked reduction in prices in case of failure from short crops the following year.

    Based upon figures furnished by the department of agriculture at Washington, D.C., the humble corn-stalk of the crop raised in Iowa the past season would produce 1,500,000 gallons of alcohol. In a recent letter to a friend bearing on this subject, Secretary Wilson said:

    "During the past twenty-five years experiments have been frequently made in this country which show that the cornstalk at the time when the grain is hardening contains from 12 to 15 per cent of sugars and other fermentable matters. If these sugars could be fermented at this time, it is easy to see that they would produce an amount of alcohol far in excess of all that is used in the world for technical purposes and beverages.

    "It is evident that as natural gas, oil and coal become, scarcer, some other source must be found for fuel and light. It seems probable from a careful study of all the conditions of agriculture that alcohol is destined to be the fuel of the future. It is part of wisdom, therefore, in those connected with the agricultural interests of the country to exploit as far as possible all the various sources of supply. In this country the stalk of Indian corn, the yam and the sweet and Irish potato are promising sources of alcohol in the future."

[Warren Sheaf, Warren, Marshall County, Minnesota, March 08, 1906. Volume 26. Number 13. Pg. 5]

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