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For the American Agriculturist.
CULTIVATION OF MADDER, AND DYEING.--No. III.
There are some facts relative to madder, equally interesting to the cultivator and to the consumer. I think it necessary that these facts should be clearly understood by every person interested in madder-dealers as well as cultivators and colormen.
There is a great want of some paper issuing from the city of New York, as a vehicle by which new facts in the materia tinctoriu can be made known throughout our country. I can see no objection why your paper should not be the proper vehicle for this purpose. The price can be no objection to the poorest artist in our country; and, as agriculture would be essentially benefited by bringing to the notice of the consumer all new articles raised by onr farmers, both parties would soon become equally interested. The facts I shall make known in this article will be worth to any dyer twenty times the annual cost of your paper; and, should our dyers generally take it, I can promise to give them, from time to time, other facts
I equally important.
The object of this essay is to point out to our agriculturists the effect peculiar soils have on the quality of madder, and to our dyers the effect different waters have in developing the coloring matier, affecting its brilliancy and permanency.
The following is transcribed from A. Ure's late work on arts, manufactures, &c. :
• Madder contains so beautiful and so fast a color, that it has become of almost universal employment in dyeing; but that color is accompanied with so many other substances which mask and degrade it, that it can be brought out and fixed only after a series of operations more or less difficult and precarious. This dye is, besides, so little soluble, that much of it is thrown away in the dye-house--the portion supposed to be exhausted being often as rich as other fresh madder; hence it would be a most valuable improvement in this elegant art to insulate this tinctorial body, and make it a new product of manufacture.
“ Before the time of Haussmann, an apothecary at Colmar, the madder bath was subject to many risks, which that skilful chemist taught dyers how to guard against, by introducing a certain quantity of chalk into the bath. A change of residence led Haussmann to this fortunate result. After having made very fine reds at Rouen, he encountered the greatest obstacles in dying the same reds at Logelbach, near Colmar, where he went to live. Numerous trials, undertaken with a view of obtaining the same success in his new establishment, proved that the cause of his favorable results at Rouen existed in the water, which contained carbonate of lime in solution ; while the water of Logelbach was nearly pure. He then tried a factitious calcareous water, by adding chalk to his dye bath. Having obtained the most satisfactory results, he was not long producing here as beautiful and as solid reds as he had done at Rouen. This practice became soon general among the calico printers of Alsace, though in many dye works the chalk is now replaced by lime, potash, or soda. But when the madder of Avignon is used, all these antacid correctives become unnecessary, because it contains a sufficient quantity of carbonate of lime--an important fact first analytically demonstrated by that accurate chemist, M. Henri Schlumberger, of Mulhausen. Avignon madder indicates the presence of carbonate of lime in it by effervescing with dilute acids, which Alsace madder does not.
“ M. Kuhlman found a free acid resembling the malice in his analysis of madders; but his experiments were confined to those of Alsace. The madders of Avignon are, on the contrary, alkaline, as may be inferred from the violet tint of the froth of their infusions; whereas that of the Alsace madders is yellowish, and it strongly reddens litmus paper. This important difference between the plants of these districts depends entirely upon the soil; for madders grown in a calcareous, shelly soil, in Alsace, have been found to be possessed of the properties of the Avignon madder.
“ The useful action of the carbonate and the phosphate of lime in the madder of Avignon explains why madders treated with acids, which remove their calcareous salts without taking away their coloring matter, lose the property of forming fast dyes. Many manufacturers are in the habit of mixing together, and with advantage, different sorts of madder. That of Avignon contains so much calcareous matter, that, when niixed with the madder of Alsace, it can compensate for its deficiency. Some of the latter is so deficient as to afford colors nearly as fugitive as those of Brazil wood and quercitron. The Alsace madders, by the addition of chalk to their baths, become as fit for dying Turkey reds as those of Avignon. When the water is very pure, one part of chalk ought to be used to five of Alsace madder ; but when the waters are calcareous, the chalk should be omitted. Lime, the neutral phosphate of lime, the carbonate of magnesia, oxide and carbonate of zinc, and several other substances, have the property of caus ing madder to form a fast dye, in like manner as the carbonate of lime.
“ In a memoir published by the Society of Mulhausen, in September, 1835, some interesting experiments upon the growth of madders in factitious soils are related by M. M. Kæchlin, Persoz, and Schlumberger. A patch of ground was prepared, containing from 50 to 80 per cent. of chalky matter, and nearly one-fifth of its bulk of good horse dung. Slips of Alsace and Avignon madders were planted in March, 1834, and a part of the roots were reaped in November following. These roots, though of only six months' growth, produced tolerably fast dyes; nor was any difference observable between the Alsace and the Avignon species; while similar slips or cuttings, planted in a natural non-calcareous soil, alongside of the others, yielded roots which gave fugitive dyes. Others were planted in the soil of Palud, transported from Avignon, which contained more than 90 per cent. of carbonate of lime, and they produced roots that gave still faster dyes than the preceding. Three years are requisite to give the full calcareous impregnation to the indigenous madders of Avignon."
It appears to me, from the above-stated facts, that the highly beneficial effect of calcareous soils on madder is owing to the oxygen furnished to the plant by the carbonic gas so abundant in such soils; or why should oxide of zinc answer as well as the carbonates in raising the dye in the kettle, and making the color permanent?
Our farmers will observe that limestone soils are the best for madder, and that it cannot be too highly impregnated with carbonaceous matter. In such soils, two years will be all-sufficient time to raise a crop.
From the Farmers' Cyclopedia. The species of sinapis, generally grown in the kitchen garden for domestic purposes, are the white mustard, (S. alba,) and the common or black mustard, (S. nigra.) The first is the one grown for salads; but the seed of both is employed in the manufacture of mustard.
The soil they succeed in best, is a fine, rich, mouldy loam, in which the supply of moisture is regular; it may much rather incline to lightness than tenacity. If grown for salading, it need not be dug deep; but if for seed, to full the depth of the blade of the spade. In early spring, and late in autumn, the situation should be sheltered ; and, during the height of summer, shaded from the meridian sun. For salading, the white may be sown throughout the year: from the beginning of November to the same period in March, in a gentle hot bed appropriated for the purpose, in one already employed for some other plant, or in the corner of a stove. From the close of February to the close of April, it may be sown in the open ground, on a warm sheltered border; and from thence to the middle of September, in a shady one. Both the white and the black, for seed, may be sown at the close of March, in an open compartment.
For salading, it is sown in flat-bottomed drills, about half an inch deep, and six inches apart. The seed cannot well be sown too thick. The mould which covers the drills should be entirely divested of stones. Water must be given occasionally in dry weather, as a due supply of moisture is the chief inducement to a quick vegetation. The sowings are to be performed once or twice in a fortnight, according to the demand. Cress (lepidium sativum) is the almost constant accompaniment of this salad herb; and, as the mode of cultivation of each is identical, it is only necessary to remark, that, as cress is rather tardier in vegetating than mustard, it is necessary, for the obtaining them both in perfection at the same time, to sow it five or six days earlier.
It must be cut for use while young, and before the rough leaves appear, otherwise the pungency of the flavor is disagreeably increased. If the top is cut off, the plants will, in general, shoot again; though this second produce is always scanty, and not so mild or tender. For the production of seed, whether for manufacture of mustard or future sowing, the insertion must be made broadcast, thin, and regularly raked in. When the seedlings have attained four leaves, they should be hoed, and again after the lapse of a month, during dry weather-being set 8 or 9 inches apart. Throughout their growth, they must be kept free from weeds; and if dry weather occurs at the time of flowering, water may be applied with great advantage to their roots. The plants flower in June, and are fit for cutting when their pods have become devoid of verdure. They must be thoroughly dried before threshing and storing. For forcing, the seed is most conveniently sown in boxes or pans, even if a hot bed is appropriated to the purpose. Pans of rotten tan are to be preferred to pots or boxes of mould. But, whichever is employed, the seed must be sown thick, and other restrictions attended to, as for the open ground crops. The hot bed need only be moderate. Air may be admitted as abundantly as circumstances will allow.-G. W. Johnson's Kitchen Garden.
MUSTARD_FLOUR OF. The seeds of both black and white mustard are employed in making the ordinary flour of mustard for dietetical use. In the dry state, mustard is inodorous; and, were it possible to taste without the aid of moisture in the mouth, it would also be tasteless; the principle of its odor and taste not existing ready formed in the mustard, but requiring water for its development. The principles which exist in the mustard are two-one an acid, which has been named myronic acid, and is a compound of carbon, sulphur, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen; the other a substance resembling vegetable albumen, which has been named emulsin or myrosene. When the myrosene and the myronic acid (which is united with potassa in the form of a myronate or potassa iu the mustard) act upon each other by the aid of water, the volatile oil of mustard is formed, and odor and pungency given to the mustard. It is the volatile oil which reddens and blisters when mustard poultices are used; and it is important to know that vinegar checks the acrimony of the poultice, and should not be used. Tepid water only is applied.
From the United States Dispensatory. Medical properties and uses.--Mustard seeds, swallowed whole, operate as a laxative, and have recently enjoyed great popularity as a remedy for dyspepsia, and in other complaints attended with torpid bowels and deficient excitement. The white seeds are preferred, and are taken in the dose of a table spoonful once or twice a day, mixed with molasses, or previously softened and rendered mucilaginous by immersion in hot water. They probably act by mechanically stimulating the bowels. The bruised seeds . or powder, in the quantity of a large table spoonful, operate as an emetic. Mustard, in this state, is applicable to cases of great torpor of stomach, especially that resulting from narcotic poisons. It rouses the gastric susceptibility, and facilitates the action of other emetics. In smaller quantities, it is useful as a safe stimulant of the digestive organs; and, as it is frequently determined to the kidneys, has been usefully employed in dropsy.
From the Farmers' Cabinet.
PHILADELPHIA, 9th mo. 28, 1844. TO THE EDITOR:
We have recently purchased from J. H. Parmelee, of Ohio, a part of his crop of brown mustard seed, raised, as he informs us, on 27 acres of good rich land, prepared with as much care as is usually bestowed upon wheat land. The seed, he says, was planted in rows, one foot apart one way, and two feet the other. The crop was well worked during the season; and when near ripe, was cut with sickles, laid on sheets or wagon covers, ed to the barn in the sheets, and there threshed out and fanned.
He has delivered to us, as a part of the product of 27 acres of land, 114 barrels, containing 382 bushels 45 lbs. of brown mustard seed, weighing
523 lbs. per bushel, making 20,100 lbs.; for which we paid him
8 cents per lb., making And he has, he says, 100 bushels of tailings, which he estimates
will clean up 75 bushels—say 50 lbs. per bushel, making 3,750* lbs., at 8 cents
Product of 27 acres of brown mustard seed
1,908 or $70 66 per acre.
The time is not far distant, if not already at hand, when the interests of the American farmers will be best promoted by devoting a portion of their time and land to the raising of many crops which are now imported from countries refusing (except when their own crops fail) the surplus of the American farms, and thus not only raise the prices of their grain crops by diminishing their quantity, but secure to themselves a large amount of money which is annually sent out of the country to purchase these crops. Mustard seed is one of them, which can be raised here to a profit; and for which, if the seed is delivered clean and in good order, the demand will be found very active and certain.
C. J. FELL & BROTHER, Mustard manufacturers, 64 S. Front street.
PHILADELPHIA, October 21, 1844. ESTEEMED FRIEND: We are to-day in receipt of your favor of the 19th instant, asking for the residence of J. H. Parmelee, from whom we purchased the mustard seed, as stated in our communication published in the Farmers' Cabinet of the 15th instant. We regret we are not at present able to answer your inquiry satisfactorily. The information we have given in that paper was drawn from him during a conversation had at the time we purchased his seed. At the time that gentleman was here, we had no intention of publishing any thing on the subject of the culture of the seed, but, on mentioning the crop to several farmers of the interior of our State, who subscribed to the Cabinet, they requested us to put the information in sich form as they could scan and ponder on at their leisure, and we promised them to give a communication to the Cabinet; and we shall be pleased if it should be productive of any good to any part of our citizens.
In answer to your question as to the danger of overstocking the market with mustard seed: If its culture is gone into with a “multicaulis" energy, the demand for the manufacture at the present “infant state” will not be equal to the supply; but if, on the contrary, the farmers move with their usual caution and prudence, and sow each but a few acres, we think there is no fear of overstocking the market. The seed produced upon American soil always commands a preference over the imported; and if the manufacturer can rely upon a supply of seed of American growth, even at one cent per pound or fifty cents per bushel over the cost of importing it, no orders for foreign seed will be sent out by them. The manufacture of mustard in this country is yet in its infancy, and has only been undertaken on a large