[NM021AAD], Technical Note, Thomas Alva Edison, July 1st, 1887


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[NM021AAD], Technical Note, Thomas Alva Edison, July 1st, 1887

Editor's Notes

Dyer-- Patent following-- The object of this invention is to provide an economical and satisfactory process for seperating fibres from the stalk & surrounding matter in fibrous plants. The process consists in packing the stalks [stems?] etc after barking or splitting as the case may be in tanks containing a coil of steam pipe-- Then allowing a hydrocarbon to percolate upwards through the mass until the whole is covered with the liquid. The tank being closed water is passed through the coiled piopes at various termperatures according to the material to be operated upon: for plants containing fibres surrounded by pulpy material like the agaves, the temperature should be about 130 Fahr but for flax etc a temperature of 175 is best, but many very pulpy plants ordinary temperatures will answer: after 1 to 3 weeks the action of the hydrocarbon liquid is such that it displaces the water from the material surrounding the fibres & destroys all the adhesive properties so that when the material is taken from the tank, running wate will carry off all the pulpy material and leave the fibres perfectly clean They will not be injured in the slightest by this operation, whereas by rotting, hacking & use of acids & alkalis as is now the case the fibre is very much broken and weakened-- Almost any liquid of the nature of a hydrocarbon, which is insoluable in water will answer for this reaction, but I prefer to use, petroleum oil being cheaper & as good as any Oxygenated Hydrocarbons insoluable in water Bisulphide Carbon & many others can be used-- [drawing] D is the tank holding a ton or more of material C' & C are plates perforated C' acting as false bottom, on this rests the material X on top of this is another perforated plate secured to a frame B & by which is mass of material is pressed down to occupy smaller spaces; an inlet pipe G. serves to force the hydrocarbon upwards through the mateiral when the action is finished G is shut off & water is forced through displacing the ydrocarbon upwards & from the material. The Hydrocarbon is drawn off through F & run back into the tank connected to G to be used over again; Time must be given the water to displace the oil so that a very small fraction will be wasted if care is taken in this respect the oil will perform an almost infinite amount of disintegration thus cheapening the process-- Claim process of seperated fibres from the plant by steeping in a material insoluable in water-- 2nd Use of a hydrocarbon-- 3 Heat, 4-- displacement. 5-- the apparatus--"




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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