The following table, quoted from Boussingault, shows the results of some experiments made by M. Grauzac, of Dagny:—
Seed produced Oil obtained per per acre. acre, in lbs. Oil per Cake cwts. qrs. lbs. lbs. ozs. cent. per cent.
Colewort 19 0 15 875 4 40 54 Rocket 15 1 3 320 8 18 73 Winter rape 16 2 18 641 6 33 62 Swedish turnips 15 1 25 595 8 33 62 Curled colewort 16 2 18 641 6 33 62 Turnip cabbage 13 3 19 565 4 33 61 Gold of pleasure 17 1 16 545 8 27 72 Sunflower 15 3 14 275 0 15 80 Flax 15 1 25 385 0 22 69 White poppy 10 1 18 560 8 46 52 Hemp 7 3 21 229 0 25 70 Summer rape 11 3 17 412 5 30 65
The subjoined list will serve to exhibit the richness of the produce of different Indian seeds, from which varieties of oil are extracted; it gives the proportion of oil per cent. in weight:—
Sesame oil (Sesamum indicum) 46.7 Black til, coloured variety of ditto (Verbesena sativa) 46.4 Gingelie oil (S. orientale) 46.7 Ground nuts, produced by Arachis hypogoea 45.5 Wounded seeds obtained from the Poonnay-tree (Calophyttum Inophyllum), a bitter lamp oil 63.7 Karunj seeds, from the Pongamia glabra 26.7 Ram til, the seeds of the nuts Ellu, or Guizotia oleifera 35 Poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum) 43 to 58 Silaam, an oil seed from Nepaul 41 Rape seed (Brassica napus) 33
The foregoing are not all the seeds from which oil is extracted by the natives of the East. In addition to this there are cottonseed oil, used for their lamps. Castor oil and Argemone seed, similarly used. Oil obtained from the fruit of Melia Azadriachta, for medicine and lamps. Apricot oil in the Himalayas, sunflower oil, oil of cucumber-seed for cooking and lamps, oil of colocynth seed, a lamp oil.
The seeds of bastard saffron (Carthamus tinctorius) yield oil.
Mustard oil, the produce of various species of Sinapis, &c. Shanghae oil, from Brassica Chinensis. Illiepie oil, from Bassia longifolia, which is used for frying cakes, &c., in Madras; and Muohwa oil, from another species of the same genus in Bengal, B. latifolia. Oil is expressed from the seeds of Caesalpina oleosperma, a native of the East. The neem tree seeds afford a very clear or bitter oil, used for burning.
Wood oil is a remarkable substance, obtained from several species of Dipterocarpus, by simply tapping the tree.
The horse-eyes and cacoons of Jamaica (Fevillea scandens) yield a considerable quantity of oil or fat, as white and hard as tallow. It has been employed for similar purposes on the Mosquito shores.
The seeds of the Argemone mexicana, and of the Sanguinaria canadensis, also contain a bland, nutritious, colorless, fixed oil. The mass from which the seed is expressed is found to be extremely nutritious to cattle.
The Camelina sativa is cultivated in Europe, for the extraction of an oil used only by the soap makers, and for lamps.
A solid oil, of a pale greenish color, a good deal resembling the oils of the Bassia in character, though rather harder, and approaching more in properties to myrtle wax, was shown at the Great Exhibition, from Singapore. It is supposed to be the produce of the tallow tree of Java, called locally "kawan," probably a species of Bassia. It is very easily bleached; indeed, by exposure to air and light, it becomes perfectly white; if not too costly, it promises to become a valuable oil.
According to Mr. Low, there are several varieties of solid oil commonly used in the Islands of the Archipelago, and obtained from the seeds of different species of Dipterocarpus.
Piney tallow is obtained from the fruit of the Vateria Indica, a large and quick-growing tree, abundant in Malabar and Canara. It is a white solid oil, fusible at a temperature of 97 degrees, and makes excellent candles, especially when saponified and distilled in the manner now adopted with palm oil, &c. It has one great advantage over coco-nut oil, that the candles made of it do not give out any suffocating acrid vapors when extinguished, as those made with the latter oil do.
An oil is produced from the inner shell of the cashew-nut (Anacardium occidentale var. indicum), in the East.
In Japan a kind of butter, called mijo, is obtained from a species of the Dolichos bean (Dolichos soya).
The kernel of the seeds of the tallow tree of China, Stillingia sebifera, an evergreen shrub, contains an oil, which, when expressed, consolidates through the cold to the consistence of tallow, and by boiling becomes as hard as bees' wax. The plant also yields a bland oil. A similar fatty product is obtained from a shrub in British Guiana, the Myristica (Virola) sebifera.
Oil is obtained in South America from the sand box tree (Hura crepitans), and from the Carapa guianensis.
A fatty oil is obtained in Demerara from the seeds of the butter tree, Pekea (?) Bassia butyrosa, and also from the Saouari (P. tuberculosa).
The fleshy seeds contained in the woody capsules of the Monkey pot (Lecythis Tabucajo), which derive their generic name from their similarity to an oil jar, are common in the West India Islands and South America, and yield a considerable quantity of oil.
The seeds of the plants of the cucumber family frequently supply a bland oil, which is used in the East as a lamp oil and for cooking. Among the vegetable oils imported into Ningpo, and other Chinese ports, from Shantong, Leatong, and Teisin, are oil of teuss, obtained from green and dried peas; black oil of the fruit of the tree kin (?) and oil from the pea of suchau.
The seeds of Spergula saliva, a large, smooth-seeded variety of the common cow spurrey, which is cultivated in Flanders as a pasture grass and green crop, afford, on expression, a good lamp oil.
A pale brownish yellow oil is obtained from the seeds of Carthamus tinctorius, in Bombay; the seeds contain about 28 per cent. of oil.
Excellent oil is expressed in various parts of India from the seeds of different species of Sinapis, especially from the black mustard seed. S. glauca, S. dichotorna, and S. juncea are extensively cultivated in the East for their oil. The Erysimum perfoliatum is cultivated in Japan for its oil-seeds.
A beautiful pale yellow oil is procured from the seeds of the angular-leaved physic nut, Jatropha curcas, a shrub which is often employed in the tropics as a fence for enclosures. It is used by the natives in medicine and as a lamp oil. About 700 tons of this oil was imported into Liverpool in 1850 from Lisbon, for the purpose of dressing cloth, burning, &c.
A rich yellow oil, perfectly clear and transparent, is obtained from the seeds of Bergera koenigii.
RAPE OIL.—The imports of rape oil, from Brassica napus, into Liverpool, are about 15 to 20 tuns annually.
Rape oil has been found to be better suited than any other oil for the lubrication of machinery, when properly purified from the mucilage, &c., which it contains in the raw state. Rape oil is now used extensively for locomotives, for marine engines, and also for burning in lamps. It is stated that a locomotive consumes between 90 and 100 gallons of oil yearly; and the annual consumption of oil by the London and North-Western Railway, for this purpose alone, is more than 40,000 gallons. The oil obtained from good English rape seed is purer and of superior quality to that from foreign or colonial seed; and as an acre of land yields nearly five quarters of seed, which is worth at present 50s. per quarter, it is a profitable crop.
Rape seed is now largely imported for expressing oil. The imports, which in 1847 were but 87,662 quarters, weighing 17,532 tons, had reached, in 1851, 107,029 quarters, weighing 21,606 tons. The price of new seed is L25 to L27 the last of ten quarters. The oil is L34 per tun.
The refuse cake, after the seed is crushed for oil, is in demand as food for cattle, being worth L4 the ton.
We imported in 1851, from Trance, 289 tuns of rapeseed oil, worth about L17,000, on which there was no duty levied.
There are exported annually from Hesse Darmstadt, 34,660 cwts. of poppy and rape oils.
The oil of the colza is much used in Europe, and highly prized. In France it has been adopted for all the purposes of lighthouses. In this country it has lately come into extensive domestic use, for burning in the French moderateur lamps, being retailed at from 3s. 4d. to 4s. the gallon.
DOMBA OIL.—The Poonay or Palang tree (Calophyllum Inophyllum), the Alexandrian laurel, is a beautiful evergreen, native of the East Indies, which flourishes luxuriantly on poor sandy soils, in fact where scarcely anything else will grow. The seeds or berries contain nearly 60 per cent. of a fragrant, fixed oil, which is used for burning as well as for medicinal purposes, being considered a cure for the itch. As commonly prepared it has a dark green color. It is perfectly fluid at common temperatures, but begins to gelatinise when cooled below 50 degrees.
THE EARTH-NUT (Arachis hypogaea, or hypocarpogea).—This very singular plant has frequently been confounded with others, partly through the carelessness of travellers, and by the improper use of names, which tended to mislead and confuse. Its common appellative, the earth-nut, has led to the conclusion that it was a species of nut, such as is known in England under the name of "pig nut," "hawk nut," and "ground nut." This, as well as the "earth chesnut," belongs to a totally different genera. On the Continent and in the East Indies a similar confusion had long existed by the appellation of "ground pistachio," which caused the fruit to be confounded with the nut of the tree Pistacia vera. Some resemblance, on the other hand, existing between these—as well as from their being eaten by different nations, and used as an article of food, and also for producing oil—rendered the true description still more difficult. Botanists are, however, no longer at a loss, having well established the nature and character of all these plants. The Arachis "nut" partakes of the nature of the pea or bean of our own country, and is a low annual plant of the order Diadelphia decandria of Linn.; originally from Africa, but now extensively cultivated in every quarter of the globe. It has been naturalised in Europe, and with the climate of the South of France it may be turned to good account.
It has been said to be indigenous in Florida, Peru, Brazil, and Surinam; but the plant may be grown on a light sandy soil, under a moderate heat, equal to that of Italy or the South of France. The class to which it belongs approaches to the pea tribe; but its remarkable difference to this, as to the pulse we know as a bean, is the circumstance of its introducing its fruit or pod—if we may so call it—into the earth, for the purpose of ripening its seed. The Arachis, or earth nut, has obtained its name from this operation. The flowers, leaves, and stems are produced in the ordinary manner we see in the pea tribe. When the yellow flower has withered and the seed fertilised, there is nothing left but the bare stem which had supported it. This stem, in which is the germ of the future fruit and pod, now grows rapidly in a curved manner, with a tendency to arrive shortly on the surface of the ground, into which it penetrates this now naked stem, and sinks into the earth several inches. It is in this obscure position that the fruit takes its ripened form, and is either gathered from its hiding place or left to the future season, when its time of rising into new existence calls it from what was thought its unnatural position.
When mature, it is of a pale yellow color, wrinkled, and forms an oblong pod, sometimes contracted in the middle; it contains generally two seeds. The nuts or peas are a valuable article of food in the tropical parts of Africa, America, and Asia. They are sweetish and almond-like, and yield an oil, when pressed, not inferior in use and quality to that obtained from the olive. The leaf resembles that of clover, and, like it, affords excellent food for cattle. The cake, after the oil is expressed, forms an excellent manure.
The Arachis is usually sown in dry, warm weather, from May to June, and are placed at the distance of eighteen inches from each other. Insects are fond of them; and if the season is cold and unfavorable to them, or the growth retarded, they become musty and bad, or are eaten by insects.
The mode of obtaining the oil is nearly the same as for other pulse or seeds; and under favorable circumstances the Arachis will produce half its weight of oil. When heated and pressed the quantity is very considerably increased. This oil is good for every purpose for which olive or almond oil is used. For domestic purposes it is esteemed, and it does not become rancid so quickly as other oils. Experiments have been made on its inflammable properties, and it is proved that the brilliancy of light was superior to that of olive oil, and its durability was likewise proved to be seven minutes per hour beyond the combustion of the best olive oil, with the additional advantage of scarcely any smoke. In Cochin-China and India it is used for lamps. It is known as Bhoe Moong or Moong Phullee in Bengal, and as Japan or Chinese pulse in Java.
From China this plant was probably introduced into the continent of India, Ceylon, and the Malayan Archipelago, where it is generally cultivated.
In South Carolina the seed is roasted and used as chocolate. The leaves are used medicinally.
It is grown in Jamaica, and there called Pindar nut.
That the culture of the Arachis in warm climates, or even in a temperate one, under favorable circumstances, should be encouraged, there can be but one opinion. And when it is considered that its qualities are able to supersede that of the olive and the almond, which are but precarious in their crops—to which may be added, that as a plant it is greedily devoured in the green state by cattle—how much may it not serve to assist the new settler in regions of the world which have a climate suited to it.
It is known by various local names—such as mani manoti by the Spaniards, and has obtained also that of cacahuete in some countries. It has the additional term hypogea attached to it, which literally signifies subterranean. This is apt to mislead; for the plant grows above ground as other pulse, whereas only its seed and pericarp are inserted, after blooming, into the earth. Hence the better term hypocarpogea.
It appears to form an important article of cultivation along the whole of the west coast of Africa, and probably on the east coast, on several parts of which it was found by Loureiro ("Flor. Cochin," p. 430). It was doubtless carried from Africa to various parts of equinoctial America, for it is noticed in some of the early accounts of Peru and Brazil. 800 quarters of this nut were imported into Liverpool from the West Coast of Africa, in 1849, for expressing oil, and about half that quantity in 1850.
Eighty to 90 tuns of the expressed oil are now annually imported. The seeds contain about 44 per cent. of a clear pale yellow oil, which is largely used in India as food, and for lamps, particularly at Malwa and Bombay, &c. Two varieties are grown in Malacca, the white seed and the brown seed, and also in Java, in the vicinity of sugar plantations; the oil cake being used as manure. It is there known as katjang oil.
This plant, which seems to be a native of many parts of Asia, has within the last ten years been much cultivated about Calcutta. The seeds contain abundance of fixed oil, have a faint odor, and very mild agreeable taste; 1,950 parts of seed, separated from their coverings and blanched, give 1,405 of kernels, from which, by cold pressure, 703 parts of oil are procured. The seeds are consumed as a cheap popular luxury, being half roasted, and then eaten with salt. The oil is calculated to serve as an efficient and very cheap substitute for olive oil, for pharmaceutical purposes. It burns with little smoke, with a clear flame, and affords a very full bright light, answering perfectly in Argand lamps.
The oil cake affords, also, an excellent food for cattle.
The ground nut has of late become of considerable importance as an article of exportation, by English houses; yet more so by French houses at Ghent, Rouen, and Bordeaux; some of whom have contracted with the merchants of the African colonies for large quantities, sending shipping for the cargoes. One house alone contracted for 60,000 bushels in the years 1844 and 1845. This nut oil is so very useful to machinery that the naval steam cruisers on the coast have adopted it. A ground-nut oil factory exists in the colony of Sierra Leone; but from the want of steam power and proper machinery, and from bad management, together with the inferior attainments of the African artisan, when compared with the European mechanic, and their facilities in quantity or quality, there is abundant scope for improvement. The price in the colony is 4s. 6d. per gallon. It is capable of being refined so as to answer the purpose of a salad oil; the nut is prolific, and eaten by the natives and Europeans, boiled, roasted, or in its raw state; and frequently introduced at the table as we do the Spanish Barcelona nut at dessert. It grows in the rainy season, and is collected in the dry, and sold in the colony for one shilling to eighteen-pence per bushel, in goods and cash. Form of the nut, long, light shell, contains two kernels covered with a brown rind, when shelled white in appearance.
It is a low creeping plant, with yellow flowers; after they drop off, and the pods begin to form, they bury themselves in the earth, where they come to maturity. The pod is woody and dry, containing from one to three peas, or nuts, as they are called, hence the common names, ground-nut or pea-nut. They require to be parched in an oven before they are eaten, and form a chief article of food in many parts of Africa.
From a narrow strip of land, extending about 40 miles northerly from Wilmington (North Carolina), comes nearly the entire quantity of earth nuts (known as pea-nuts) grown in the United States for market. From that tract and immediate vicinity, 80,000 bushels have been carried to Wilmington market in one year.
The plant has somewhat the appearance of the dwarf garden-pea, though more bushy. It is cultivated in hills. The pea grows on tendrils, which put out from the plant and take root in the earth, where the nut is produced and ripened. The fruit is picked from the root by hand, and the vines are a favorite food for horses, mules, and cattle. From 30 to 80 bushels are produced on an acre. There are some planters who raise from 1,000 to 1,500 bushels a year.—("Hunt's Merchant's Magazine," vol. xv., p. 426.)
The ground-nut is exceedingly prolific, and requires but little care and attention to its culture, while the oil extracted from it is quite equal to that yielded by the olive. Almost any kind of soil being adapted for it, nothing can be more simple than its management. All that is required is the soil to be turned over and the seed sown in drills like potatoes; after it begins to shoot it may be earthed with a hoe or plough. In many parts of Western Australia they are now grown in gardens for feeding pigs, the rich oil they are capable of yielding being entirely overlooked. In regard to their marketable value at home, I will give a copy of a letter of a friend of mine, received from some London brokers, largely engaged in the African trade:—
"Wilson and Rose present compliments to Mr. N., and beg to inform him the price of African ground nuts is as under:—Say for River Gambia, L11 per ton here. Say for Sierra Leone, L10 per ton here. For ground nuts free on board at the former port, L8 per ton is demanded; these are the finest description of nut, the freight would be about L4 per ton; the weight per bushel imperial measure, and in the shell, is about 25 lbs."
The following, also, is an extract from a letter written in 1842, by Mr. Forster (the present M.P. for Berwick), an eminent African merchant. Speaking of the staple of Africa, he says:—
"I have lately been attempting to obtain other oils from the coast, and it was only yesterday I received from the hands of the oil presser the result of my most recent experiment on the ground nut, which I am happy to say is encouraging. I send you a sample of the oil extracted from them. They are from the Gambia. It is a pure golden colored oil, with a pleasant flavor, free from the frequent rancidity of olive oil."
Since then the cultivation has gone on, and the exportation largely increased. The French also have entered into the trade, and several vessels are exclusively employed in exporting this product from the river Gambia, conveying it to oil factors on the continent, who extract its oil. Seeing, then, the many advantages the cultivation of such a product bestows, and its adaptation to the soil and climate of Australia, I cannot refrain from expressing a hope that some of the influential landowners in the cultivated districts will give the matter their consideration.
I am informed by an American merchant that he cleared 12,000 dollars in one year, on the single article of ground or pea nuts obtained from Africa. Strange as it may appear, nearly all these nuts are transhipped to France, where they command a ready sale; are there converted into oil, and thence find their way over the world in the shape of olive oil; the skill of the French chemists enabling them to imitate the real Lucca and Florence oil, so as to deceive the nicest judges. Indeed, the oil from the pea nuts possesses a sweetness and delicacy that cannot be surpassed.
Advices from the West Coast of Africa to the 16th August, 1853, report that the ground nut season had closed; the quantity shipped during the season having exceeded 900,000 bushels. The yield has increased 20 per cent, each year for the last three years, and it is expected the increase will be still greater in the forthcoming season.
TEUSS OIL.—The Chinese use what is called teuss or tea oil, for food and other purposes. I have alluded to it under the head of pulse, at page 312. It is obtained, however, from a species of the ground nut, and is sold in Hong Kong, at 2s. 6d. the gallon, being imported from the main land. By a local ordinance it is imperative on every householder at Victoria, Hong-Kong, to have a lamp burning over his door at night. When burning, this oil affords a clear, bright light, and is not so offensive to the smell as train and other common lamp oils.
TOBACCO SEED OIL.—A discovery, which may prove of some commercial importance, appears to have been made by a British resident in Russia, namely, that the seed of the tobacco plant contains about fifteen per cent. of an oil possessing peculiar drying properties, calculated to render it a superior medium, especially for paints and varnishes. The process employed for the extraction of the oil is to reduce the seed to powder, and knead it into a stiff paste with quantum sufficit of hot water, and then submit it to the action of strong fires. The oil thus obtained is exposed to a moderate heat, which, by coagulating the vegetable albumen of the seed, causes all impurities contained in the oil to form a cake at the bottom of the vessel employed, leaving the oil perfectly limpid and clear.
POPPY OIL.—About 80 cwt. of poppy seed is imported annually into Hull, and small quantities come into other ports to be crushed into oil. The seeds of the poppy yield, by expression, 56 per cent. of a bland and very valuable oil, of a pale golden color, fluid to within ten degrees of the freezing point of water. It dries easily, is inodorous, and of an agreeable flavor like olive oil.
Dr. J.V.C. Smith, writing from Switzerland, to the editor of the "Boston Medical Journal," says:—
"Immense crops are raised here of articles wholly unknown to the American farmers, and perhaps the kinds best fitted to particular localities where grain and potatoes yield poorly under the best efforts. One of these is poppies. Thousands of acres are at this moment ready for market—which the traveller takes for granted, as he hurries by, are to be manufactured into opium. They are not, however, intended for medical use at all, but for a widely different purpose. From the poppy seed a beautiful transparent oil is made, which is extensively used in house painting. It is almost as colorless as water, and possesses so many advantages over the flax seed oil that it may ultimately supersede that article. Where flax cannot be grown poppies often can be, in poor sandy soil. Linseed oil is becoming dearer, and the demand for paint is increasing. With white lead, poppy oil leaves a beautiful surface, which does not afterwards change, by the action of light, into a dirty yellow. Another season some one should make a beginning at home in this important branch of industry. The oil may be used for other purposes, and even put in the cruet for salads."
TALLICOONAH or KUNDAH OIL, is obtained from the seeds of the Carapa Touloucouna (of the Flore de Senegambie). The tree grows to the height of 40 feet; the fruit is a large, somewhat globular five-celled capsule. The seeds (of which there are from 18 to 30 in each capsule), vary in size from that of a chesnut to a hen's egg. They are three-cornered, of a brownish or blackish red color. It is found abundantly in the Timneh country, and over the colony of Sierra Leone. It is manufactured in the following manner:—The nuts having been well dried in the sun, are hung up in wicker racks or hurdles, and exposed to the smoke of the huts, after which they are roasted and subjected to trituration in large wooden mortars, until reduced to a pulp. The mass is then boiled, when the supernatant oil is removed by skimming. The natives principally prepare the oil to afford light; the leaves are used by the Kroomen as a thatch. It is held in high estimation as an anthelmintic. The oil is sold in Sierra Leone at 2s. a gallon, and could be procured in abundance from the coast as an article of commerce.
CARAP or CRAB OIL (Carapa guianensis).—This is a sort of vegetable butter, being sometimes solid and sometimes half fluid, which is obtained from the seed of a large tree abundant in the forests of Guiana, and also found in Trinidad. It is said to turn rancid very soon when exposed to the air, but this is probably caused by the presence of impurities, arising from the crude and imperfect way in which it is prepared by the natives, who boil the kernels, leave them in a heap for a few days, then skim them, and lastly reduce them into a paste in a wooden mortar, which is then spread on an inclined board, and exposed to the heat of the sun, so that the oil may melt and gradually trickle down into a vessel placed below to receive it. A prize medal was awarded for this oil at the Great Exhibition in 1851.
Carap oil in Trinidad is highly esteemed as an unguent for the hair, and also for applying to the wounds of animals, for destroying ticks and other insects which infest cattle—also for the cure of rheumatism. An oil called Carap oil is also obtained in the East, from the almonds of Xylocarpus granatum, or Carapa Molluccensis, of Lanark, which is used by the natives to dress the hair and anoint the skin, so as to keep off insects.
Cacao fat, the butter-like substance obtained from the seeds of Theobroma cacao, is esteemed as an emollient.
The nuts of the Great Macaw tree (Acrocomia fusiformis), a majestic species of palm, furnishes much oil. This tree is the Cocos fusiformis, of Jacquin, and other intertropical botanists. It is a native of Trinidad and Jamaica, and is found also very commonly in South America.
The method of extracting the oil is as follows:—The nut or kernel is slightly roasted and cleaned, then ground to a paste, first in a mill, and then on a livigating stone. This paste, gently heated and mixed with 3-10ths of its weight of boiling water, is put into a bag, and the oil expressed between two heated plates of iron; it yields about 7-10ths or 8-10ths of oil. If discolored it can be purified, when melted, by filtration. It is then of the consistence of butter, of a golden yellow hue, the odor that of violets, and the taste sweetish. If well preserved it will keep several years without spoiling, which is known to have taken place by the loss of its golden hue and delightful aroma.
It is frequently sold in the shops as palm oil, and of late has entered largely into the composition of toilet soaps. As an emollient it is said to be useful in some painful affections of the joints; the negroes deem it a sovereign remedy in "bone ache." The nut itself is sometimes fancifully carved by the negroes, and is highly ornamental, being of a shining jet black, and susceptible of a very high polish. This tree may be increased from suckers.
A. sclerocarpa is the Macahuba palm of Brazil.
THE AGAITI, as it is called by the Portuguese, or napoota by the natives and Arabs (Didynamia Gymosperma?), much cultivated in all Eastern Africa for its oil, which is considered equal to that of olives, and fetches as high a price in the Indian market. The plant, which is as tall and rank as hemp, and equally productive, having numerous pods throughout the stems, is found everywhere in a wild as well as cultivated state.
The "Cape Shipping Gazette," of August, 1850, says:—
"The attention of the George Agricultural and Horticultural Society having been drawn to the fact that an excellent oil, equal to the olive oil of Italy, can be extracted from the kernel of the fruit known by the name of "T Kou Pijte" and "Pruim Besje," they have offered a reward of L10 for the best sample, not less than a half aum of this oil—and L15 if it shall be adjudged equal to the best oil of Italy. This fact is deserving of notice, as an instance of the advantages which are likely to result from the attention now being devoted to the natural productions of the colony."
Madia sativa is a handsome annual plant, native of Chili, which has been naturalised in Europe. It grows about two feet high, and produces flowers in July and August, of a pale yellow color.
The whole plant is viscid and exhales a powerful odor, which is somewhat like heated honey. It requires rather a rich soil, of a ferruginous character. The root is fusiform, the stem cylindrical, and furnished with sessile, three to five longitudinally-nerved leaves, which are apposite on the lower portion of the stem, and alternate on the upper. M. Victor Pasquier, who has written on the culture of the plant, analysed the seed, and found 100 parts to consist of 26.5 of testa, and 73.5 of kernel; 100 parts of the latter yielded 31.3 of vegetable albumen, gum, and lignine, 56.0 of fixed oil, and 12.5 of water. In dry seasons the oil is both more abundant and better than in damp seasons. The produce of oil, compared with that of the poppy, is equal; with colza, as 32 to 28; with linseed, 32 to 21; with the olive, 32 to 16.
The leaves and stems of this plant are rejected by cattle; but the oil-cake, which always contains a considerable portion of the oil, forms a nutritive food, of which they are very fond. The oil expressed without heat is transparent, of a golden yellow color, inodorous, rather fatter than the oil of rape or olives, and of a soft, agreeable, nutty taste. It is fit to be employed in the preparation of food, in salads, and for all the purposes of the best and mildest fixed oils. It burns with a brilliant, reddish-white flame, and leaves no residue. It is little liable to become rancid, and is completely decolorised by animal charcoal.
The oil of the seeds of this plant, now extensively cultivated in France, will yield, according to the observations of Braconnet, a solid soap, similar to that made from olive oil. Boussingault obtained from the oil a solid, as well as a fluid acid. The solid one is probably palmic acid, it fuses at exactly 140 degrees of Fahrenheit. The fluid acid in its properties resembles the oleic acid discovered by Chevreul, and seems to dry easily.
The following is the composition of each, as determined by his analysis:—
Solid acid. Fluid acid. Carbon 74.2 76.0 Hydrogen 12.0 11.0 Oxygen 13.8 13.0 ——— ——— 100. 100.
COCUM OIL, or butter, is obtained from the seeds of a kind of mangosteen (Garcinia purpurea), and used in various parts of India to adulterate ghee or butter. It is said to be exported to England for the purpose of mixing with bears' grease in the manufacture of pomatum. It is a white, or pale greenish yellow, solid oil, brittle, or rather friable, having a faint but not unpleasant smell, melting at about 95 degrees, and when cooled after fusion remaining liquid to 75 degrees.
An excellent solid oil, of a bright green color, is obtained from Bombay, having a consistence intermediate between that of tallow and wax, fusible at about 95 degrees, and easily bleached; it has a peculiar and somewhat aromatic odor. There is some uncertainty as to the plant from which it is obtained. It was referred to the Salvadora persica, and to the Vernonia Anthelminticea, a plant common in Guzerat and the Concan Ghats.
A pale yellow clear oil is obtained from the seed of Dolichos biflorus(?). Oil is also expressed in India from the seed of the Argemone mexicana, which is used for lamps and in medicine; and from the seeds of the cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale), from Sapindus marginatus, and the country walnut (Aleurites triloba.) The fruit of the Chirongia sapinda, (or Buchanania latifolia,) yields oil. From the seeds of the Pongamia glabra, or Galidupa arborea, a honey brown and almost tasteless oil is procured, which is fluid at common temperatures, but gelatinises at 55 degrees.
Other sources of oil are the Celastrus paniculatus (?) Balanites Egyptictca and the saul tree (Shorea Robusta).
THE CANDLE-TREE or PALO BE VELAS, (Parmentiera cereifera, Seemann.)—This tree, in the valley of the Chagres, South America, forms entire forests. In entering them a person might almost fancy himself transported into a chandler's shop. From all the stems and lower branches hang long cylindrical fruits, of a yellow wax color, so much resembling a candle as to have given rise to the popular appellation. The fruit is generally from two to three, but not unfrequently four feet long, and an inch in diameter. The tree itself is about 24 feet high, with, opposite trifoliated leaves, and large white blossoms, which appear throughout the year, but are in greatest abundance during the rainy season. The Palo de Velas belongs to the natural order Crescentiaceae, and is a Parmentiera, of which genus hitherto only one species, the P. edulis, of De Candolle, was known to exist. The fruit of the latter, called Quauhscilote, is eaten by the Mexicans, while that of the former serves for food to numerous herds of cattle. Bullocks especially, if fed with the fruit of this tree, guinea-grass, and Batatilla (Ipomoea brachypoda, Benth.), soon get fat. It is generally admitted, however, that the meat partakes in some degree of the peculiar apple-like smell of the fruit, but this is by no means disagreeable, and easily prevented, if, for a few days previous to killing the animal, the food is changed. The tree produces its principal harvest during the dry season, when all the herbaceous vegetation is burned up, and on that account its cultivation in tropical countries is especially to be recommended; a few acres of it would effectually prevent that want of fodder which is always most severely felt after the periodical rains have ceased.—("Hooker's Journal of Botany.")
CINNAMON SUET is extracted by boiling the fruit of the cinnamon. An oily fluid floats on the surface, which on cooling subsides to the bottom of the vessel, and hardens into a substance like mutton suet. The Singhalese make a kind of candles with it, and use it for culinary purposes. It emits a very pleasant aroma while burning. According to the analysis of Dr. Christison, it contains eight per cent, of a fluid not unlike olive oil; the remainder is a waxy principle.
CROTON OIL is obtained by expression from the seeds or nuts of Croton Tiglium, an evergreen tree, 15 to 20 feet in height, belonging to the same order as the castor oil plant, producing whitish green flowers, and seeds resembling a tick in appearance, whence its generic name. It is a native of the East Indies. 100 parts of seeds afford about 64 of kernel. 50 quarters of croton nuts for expressing oil were imported into Liverpool from the Cape Verd Islands, in 1849.
The Croton Tiglium grows plentifully in Ceylon, and the oil, if properly expressed, might be made an article of trade. The best mode of preparing it is by grinding the seeds, placing the powder in bags, and pressing between plates of iron; allow the oil to stand for fifteen days, then filter. The residue of the expression is triturated with twice its weight of alcohol, and heated on the sand-bath from 120 to 140 degs. Fahrenheit, and the mixture pressed again. In this step the utmost caution is necessary in avoiding the acrid fumes. One seer of seed furnishes by this process rather more than eleven fluid ounces of oil, six by the first step, and five by alcohol.
The oil acts as an irritant purgative in the dose of one drop. In large doses it is a dangerous poison. When applied externally it produces pustules.
In 1845, eight cases of croton oil and six cases of the seed were exported from Ceylon.
Other species of Croton, as C. Pavana, a native of Ava and the north-eastern parts of Bengal, and C. Roxburghii, yield a purgative oil. The bark of C. Eleuteria, C. Cascarilla, and other species is aromatic, and acts as a tonic and stimulant. It forms the cascarilla bark of commerce already spoken of. When bruised, it gives out a musky odor and is often used in pastilles.
The oil obtained from the seeds of Jatropha curcas, a native of South America and Asia, is purgative and emetic, and analagous in its properties to croton oil. It is said to be a valuable external application in itch. In India it is used for lamps.
OIL OF BEN, known as Sohrinja in Bengal, and Muringo in Malabar is obtained from the seeds or nuts of the horseradish tree, Moringa pterygosperma, Burmann; the Hyperanthera Moringa, of Linnaeus. This clear limpid oil having no perceptible smell, is much esteemed by watchmakers and perfumers; it is expensive and not often to be procured pure, consequently the oil would be a very profitable export. It grows rapidly and luxuriantly everywhere in Jamaica, particularly on the north side of the island—as well as Trinidad and other quarters of the West. It is easily propagated either by cuttings from the tree (the branches) or by seeds, and bears the second year. The produce of each tree may be estimated at from one to two gallons. From the flowers a very pleasant perfume might be easily distilled.
The following account I derive from my friend Dr. Hamilton—
"It is a small tree, of about twenty feet in height, of most rapid growth, coming into flower within a few months after it has been sown, and continuing to produce seeds and blossoms afterwards throughout the year. The tree is now naturalised in the West Indies. The timber is said to dye a fine blue, and the gum, which, exudes from wounds in the bark, bears a strong resemblance to that obtained from the Astragalus tragacantha, for which it might, no doubt, be substituted.
The numerous racemes of white blossoms with which the tree is constantly loaded, are succeeded by long triangular pods, somewhat tourlose at the ends, and about two feet in length, when arrived at the full growth. These pods, while yet young and tender, are not unfrequently cooked and served up at the planter's tables like asparagus, for which they are not a bad substitute. The pods, when full grown, contain about fifteen seeds; each considerably larger than a pea, with a membraneous covering expanding into three wings, whence the specific name of pterygosperma. On removing the winged envelope the seeds appear somewhat like pith balls; but upon dividing them with the nail, they are found to abound in a clear, colorless, tasteless, scentless oil, of which the proportion is so large that it may be expressed from good fresh seeds by the simple pressure of the nail. Geoffry informs us, that he obtained 301/2 ounces of oil from eight pounds of the decorticated seeds, being at the rate of very nearly 24 lbs. of oil from 100 lbs. of seed.
Notwithstanding the great value of its oil, and the facility with which it can be obtained in the West Indies, the moringa has been hitherto valued merely as an ornamental shrub, and cultivated for the sake of its young pods or the horseradish of its roots, as luxuries for the table.
The oil is peculiarly valuable for the formation of ointments, from its capability of being kept for almost any length of time without entering into combination with oxygen. This property, together with the total absence of color, smell, and taste, peculiarly adapts it to the purposes of the perfumer, who is able to make it the medium for arresting the flight of those highly volatile particles of essential oil, which constitute the aroma of many of the most odoriferous flowers, and cannot be obtained by any other means, in a concentrated and permanent form. To effect this, the petals of the flowers, whose odor it is desired to obtain, are thinly spread over flakes of cotton wool saturated with this oil, and the whole enclosed in air tight tin cases, where they are suffered to remain till they begin to wither, when they are replaced by fresh ones, and the process thus continued till the oil has absorbed as much as was desired of the aroma; it is then separated from the wool by pressure, and preserved under the name of essence, in well stopped bottles.
By digesting the oil thus impregnated in alcohol, which does not take up the fixed oil, a solution of the aroma is effected in the spirit, and many odoriferous tinctures or waters, as they are somewhat inaccurately termed, prepared. By this process most delicious perfumes might be obtained from the flowers of the Acacia tortuosa, Pancratium carribeum, Plumeria alba, Plumeria rubra, and innumerable other flowers, of the most exquisite fragrance, which abound within the tropics, blooming unregarded, and wasting their odors on the barren air."
THE OIL PALM.
There are several species of this genus of beautiful palms of the tribe Cococinae, but that chiefly turned to account is Elais guineensis, a native of the Coast of Guinea to the south of Fernando Po, which furnishes the best oil.
There are three other varieties—E. melanococca, a native of New Granada, E. Pernambucana, common on the coast of Brazil, and J. occidentalis, indigenous to Jamaica. All the species grow well in a sandy loam and may be increased by suckers.
The value of the oil of this palm, as an article of commerce, is exemplified by the large annual imports, averaging more than 516,000 cwt. for many years past.
Our supplies of palm oil are almost wholly derived from the West Coast of Africa, of which it is the staple article of export.
Palm oil has the greatest specific gravity of any of the fixed vegetable oils. It is used principally in this country for making yellow soap. But the inhabitants of the Guinea coast employ it for the same purposes that we do butter.
The trade in palm oil has almost driven out the slave trade from the Bight of Benin, which was a few years ago one of its principal seats. The old slave traders at Whydah have generally gone into the palm oil trade, and are carrying it on to a very great extent. In August 1849, no less than twelve vessels were lying at that port taking in oil; whilst, only three years before, it was rare to see three vessels there at once, and of those in all probability two would be slavers.
This palm is called Maba by the natives about the Congo river. It is moneocious, which indeed Jacquin, by whom the genus was established, concluded it to be, although first described as dioecious by Gaertner, whose account has been adopted, probably without examination, by Schroder, Willdenow, and Persoon.
The average imports of this oil into Liverpool alone, have now been for some years upwards of 18,000 tons, worth nearly L800,000 sterling, and giving employment to upwards of 30,000 tons of shipping; thus proving that the natives who formerly exported their brethren as a matter of traffic, now find, at least, an equally profitable trade in the exportation of the vegetable products of their native soil.
Palm oil is produced by the nut of the tree, which grows in the greatest abundance throughout Western Africa. The demand for it, both in Europe and America, is daily increasing, and there is no doubt it will, ere long, become the most important article of African trade.
IMPORTS INTO LIVERPOOL. casks. tons. 1835 28,500 9,500 1836 33,500 11,000 1837 26,000 9,900 1838 27,520 10,320 1839 36,500 14,300 1852 about — 23,500
In the colony of Liberia, I notice the manufacture of a new article of African production, which is called "Herring's Palm Kernel Oil or African Lard." It is thus spoken of in the newspapers of that Republic :—
We had been for a long time impressed with an idea that the oil contained in the kernel of the palm nut, was superior both in quality and appearance to that of palm oil, which is obtained from the exterior part.
On making an effort to extract the oil from the kernel (which was by means of a little machine, of our own invention and contrivance), we found that our thoughts upon the matter were correct, that the oil possessed admirable beauty in its appearance, with a taste, when used for cooking purposes, unexcelled by that of the best lard.
After being made and set by, it assumes a consistence like that of hard butter, and has to be cut out with a knife or spoon; its appearance in this state is very beautiful, presenting such richness, clearness, and adaptedness to table purposes, that one would not suppose that this oil is obtained from the same tree from which palm oil is, for there is as much disparity both in their appearance and taste as there is between lard and butter.
The exquisite transparency which the kernel oil bears in a liquid state, especially when undergoing the purifying process, is a cause of admiration. On showing some of it to several foreigners, I was asked in two instances which was the oil and which the water, or whether it was oil or water; thus you may have an idea of its clearness. We make two qualities of this oil, differing however in taste only, the one being for table uses and the other for exportation and for whatever use they may choose to put it to abroad.
There have been many conjectures in respect to the uses to which this oil might he put in foreign countries; but that it will be a useful article, and especially in our trade, when made more extensively, there can be no doubt, for the quantity in which it might be had would undoubtedly introduce it to a respectable rank among the other commodities of our productive country so eagerly sought after.
There is nothing, to my knowledge, that can be turned to as good account and at the same time so abundant and easily obtained, as the palm kernel, for they are as common as the pebbles of stony land, especially in this section of the country, where we have palm orchards of spontaneous growth for miles together, and interspersing the surrounding country in almost innumerable numbers.
According to statistical ascertainment, there is on an average exported from this port, thirty thousand gallons of palm oil annually, from which fact we ascertain demonstratively that the palm kernels which are thrown away here (leaving out the whole leeward coast of our possessions) are sufficient to make thirty thousand gallons of oil, more or less. This is not at all a problematical speculation of ours, but we feel authorised to advance this assertion from the fact that one bushel of kernels, completely worked up, will make two gallons of oil. But to work them up is the thing, plentiful as they are; we however, hesitate not to say, that it can be done and probably will be.
Having now so far conquered the difficulties attending the manufacture of this oil, as that we can safely vouch a reasonable supply for home consumption, we most cheerfully recommend it to the citizens of this Republic, whose demands for it, for eating purposes, we doubt not can be supplied, and on very reasonable terms.
We will assure our customers that there will not be an ounce of dirt or sediment in a hundred pounds of our oil.
The recent abolition of the soap duty, by stimulating the demand for palm oil, will have an instant effect on the trade and commerce of Western Africa, by confirming the suppression of the slave trade, and giving an additional impetus to negro improvement. It will also increase the production for England of ground nuts, whence the oil so largely used in making continental soaps is expressed. "When (observes a recent writer) the Portuguese first treated with that coast, they found palm oil and ground nuts articles of native food, and so they remained down to a period within living memory. So used, they neither required any cultivation nor gave rise to any notions of property. Though whole tracts of country are crowded by the oil-palm tree, little care was taken of what was, in fact, superabundant; and as for ground nuts, they were simply dug up as prudence or necessity dictated. Some thirty years ago a cask or two of palm oil was sent home from the Gold Coast; it met so ready a sale that it was further inquired after, and the total amount now imported into England ranges from 25,000 to 30,000 tons annually. The exportation of ground nuts is even larger; but, owing to our excise on soap, they had heretofore gone principally to France—-to Marseilles especially.
"Of these two articles, it is to be observed, the Western Coast of Africa appears to have a monopoly; and with respect to palm oil, it is further to be remarked, that it is exactly behind those ports and up those rivers, which were formerly the great nests of the slave trade, that its production is largest; and just as the slave trade there has been crushed, a commerce in palm oil has sprung up and replaced it. There are men alive who recollect the slave trade flourishing on the Gold Coast; it has long been extinct there, and palm oil is now largely exported. It is but a very few years ago since that traffic appeared to be irrepressible at the mouths of the Niger: it is now expelled, and thence Liverpool obtains, instead, its supplies of palm oil. So also, later still, at Whydah, and the other ports of the kingdom of Dahomy, and along the Lagoon, which connects Dahomy with the Benin River, there the Spanish slave dealers are themselves inaugurating a commerce in palm oil. Already the trade in that quarter is considerable, and it would have extended much more rapidly than it has done, were it not that disorder and warfare in the interior have been promoted and prolonged by the indiscreet zeal of some of our own naval officers and by the desire of some of our missionaries to rule at Abeeokutu, at Lagos, and at Badagray. When, however, order and tranquillity are restored, a most important trade will undoubtedly arise there. A generation ago, when palm oil was merely an article of food, there was, we have said, no property in palm trees. Since, however, a large foreign demand has arisen for this oil, the plantations, as already they are called, begin to be cared for; and lately the title to some of them has been disputed in our courts on the Gold Coast: a contention which constitutes the first evidence we have received of the value of land, not actually under their own cultivation, being recognised by the natives. Thus the feeling of property and the desire for accumulation are springing up out of the palm oil trade; and they are everywhere the germs of nascent civilisation. It is no light question, therefore, thus involved in an increased demand for this article; it may produce African consequences of incalculable importance to the whole human race. It is in France hitherto that the great consumption of ground nut oil has occurred. It is there used in the manufacture of soaps, which, though preferred abroad, are little used in England—very much because of the Excise laws. The specific gravity of the soap made out of ground nut oil is higher than those laws permitted; in consequence we could neither make it for our own use nor for foreign exportation; and thus France has substantially the soap trade of the world. By the repeal of the duty, England will be enabled to compete—in this, as in all other trades—with France abroad."
The price, in Liverpool, for palm oil, in October, 1853, was L38 10s. to L39 per ton.
We export annually nearly four million gallons of oil made from linseed, hemp seed, and rape seed.
PALM OIL RETAINED FOR HOME CONSUMPTION cwts. 1835 242,733 1836 234,357 1837 211,919 1838 272,991 1839 262,910 1840 314,881 1841 300,770 1842 353,672 1843 377,765 1844 363,335 1848 510,218 1849 493,331 1850 448,589 1851 493,598 1852 408,577
The quantity of the four principal vegetable oils annually imported into Great Britain, is shown by the following figures:—
Palm oil. Coco-nut oil. Castor oil. Olive oil. cwts. cwts. cwts. tuns. 1848 510,218 85,463 4,588 10,086 1849 493,331 64,452 9,681 16,964 1850 448,589 98,040 — 20,738 1851 608,550 55,995 — 11,503 1852 623,231 101,863 — 8,898
THE OLIVE-TREE (Olea Europea).—There are several varieties of this plant, two of which have been long distinguished—the wild and the cultivated. The former is an evergreen shrub or low tree, with spiny branches and round twigs; the latter is a taller tree, without spines, and with four-angled twigs. The fruit is a drupe about the size and color of a damson. Its fleshy pericarp yields by expression olive oil, of which the finest comes from Provence and Florence. Spanish or Castile soap is made by mixing olive oil and soda, while soft soap is made by mixing the oil with potash.
The wild olive is indigenous to Syria, Greece, and Africa, on the lower slopes of Mount Atlas. The cultivated species grows spontaneously in Syria, and is easily reared in Spain, Italy and the South of France, various parts of Australia and the Ionian Islands. Wherever it has been tried on the sea-coasts of Australia, the success has been most complete. There are several fine trees near Adelaide, some of them fourteen feet high, bearing fruit in abundance. Unfortunately no one has attempted to cultivate the plant on a large scale, but in a few years Australia ought to suply herself with olive oil.
The olive tree is also grown in Hong-Kong.
There are five or six varieties of O. Europoea, or sativa, grown in the south of Europe, of which district they are for the most part natives.
The entire exports of olive oil from the kingdom of Naples have been estimated at 36,333 tuns a year, which, taken at its mean value when exported at L62 per tun, is equivalent to the annual sum of L2,252,646.
There are one or two distinct species, natives of the East Indies and the Cape of Good Hope. This genus of plants, besides their valuable products of oil and fruit, are also much admired for the fragrance of their white flowers. There is a yellow-blossomed variety, native of China, O. fragrans, the Lan-hoa of the Chinese, which is used to perfume their teas.
Olive oil now forms an article of export from Chili, being grown in most parts of that republic, particularly in the vicinity of St. Jago, where trees of three feet in diameter, and of a proportionate height, are common. The olive was first carried from Andalusia to Peru in 1560, by Antonio de Ribera, of Lima. Frezier speaks of the olive being used for oil in Chili, a century and a half ago.
The culture of the olive has been recommended for Florida and most of the Southern States of America. Formerly, on account of its slow growth, the olive was not considered very useful; but some years since a new variety was introduced into France, and into some parts of Spain and Portugal, which yields an abundant crop of fruit the second year after planting. They are small trees or rather shrubs, about four or five feet high. The fruit is larger than the common olive, is of a fine green color when ripe, and contains a great deal of oil, The advantages accruing from this new mode of cultivating the olive tree, are beyond all calculation. By the old method an olive tree does not attain its full growth, and consequently does not yield any considerable crop under thirty years; whereas the new system of cultivating dwarf trees, especially from cuttings, affords very abundant crops in two or three. An acre of land can easily grow 2,500 trees of the new variety, and the gathering of the fruit is easy, as it can be done by small children. At Beaufort, South Carolina, the olive is cultivated from plants which were obtained in the neighbourhood of Florence, Italy.
A gentleman in Mississippi is stated, by an American agricultural journal, to have olive trees growing, which at five years from the cutting bore fruit, and were as large at that age as they usually are in Europe at eight years old. The olive then, it is added, will yield a fair crop for oil at four years from the nursery, and in eight years a full crop, or as much as in Europe at from fifteen to twenty years of age.
The lands and climate there are stated to be as well adapted to the successful cultivation of the olive for oil, pickles, &c., as any part of Europe. Some hundreds of the trees are grown in South Carolina, and the owner expressed his conviction that this product would succeed well on the sea-coast of Carolina and Georgia. The frosts, though severe, did not destroy or injure them, and in one case, when the plant was supposed to be dead, and corn was planted in its stead, its roots sent out shoots. It is well known to be a tree of great longevity, even reaching to 1,000 or 1,200 years; so that, when once established, it will produce crops for a great while afterwards. The expense of extracting the oil is also stated to be but trifling.
The olive is of slow growth; trees 80 years of age measure only from 27 to 30 inches in circumference at the lower part of their trunks. An olive tree is mentioned by M. Decandolle as measuring above 23 feet in circumference, which, judging from the above inferences, may be safely estimated at 700 years old. Two other colossal olives are recorded, one at Hieres, measuring in circumference 36 feet, and one near Genoa, measuring 38 feet 2 inches. The produce in fruit and oil is regulated by the age of the trees, which are frequently little fortunes to their owners. One at Villefranche produces on an average, in good seasons, from 200 to 230 pounds of oil. The tree at Hieres, above-mentioned, produces about 55 imperial gallons.
The olive is found everywhere along the coast of Morocco, but particularly to the south. The trees are planted in rows, which form alleys, the more agreeable because the trees are large, round, and high in proportion. They take care to water them, the better to preserve the fruit. Oil of olives might be here plentifully extracted were taxation fixed and moderate; but such has been the variation it has undergone, that the culture of olives is so neglected as scarcely to produce oil sufficient for domestic consumption.
Olive oil might form one of the most valuable articles of export from Morocco. It is strong, dark, and fit only for manufacturing purposes. This is, perhaps, not so much the fault of the olive as of the methods by which it is prepared. No care is taken in collecting the olives. They are beaten from the trees with poles, as in Portugal and Spain, suffered to lie on the ground in heaps until half putrified, then put into uncleaned presses, and the oil squeezed through the filthy residuum of former years. Good table oil might be made, if care were taken, as in France and Lucca, to pick the olives without bruising them, and to press only those that were sweet and sound. But such oil would ill suit the palate of a Maroqueen, accustomed to drink by the pint and the quart the rancid product of his country.
The olive is the great staple of Corfu, which has, in fact, the appearance of an extensive olive grove. It produces annually about 200,000 barrels. Olive oil is also produced for the purposes of commerce, and for local consumption, by France, Algiers, Tuscany, Spain, Sardinia, Portugal, Madeira, and South Australia.
Olive plantations are extending considerably both in Upper and Lower Egypt. Large quantities of trees were planted under the direction of Ibrahim Pasha.
The olive tree might be expected to be quickly matured at the Cape. The native olive, resembling the European, is of spontaneous growth and plentiful, so that if the Spanish or Italian tree were introduced, there is no doubt of its success. The wood of the olive is exceedingly hard and heavy, of a yellowish color, a close fine grain, capable of the highest polish, not subject to crack nor to be affected by worms. The root, in consequence of its variety of color, is much used for snuff-boxes and similar bijouterie.
The wood is beautifully veined, and has an agreeable smell. It is in great esteem with cabinet makers, on account of the fine polish of which it is susceptible.
The sunny slopes of hills are best suited to its natural habits. Layering is the most certain mode of propagating this fruit, although it grows freely from the seed, provided it has first been steeped for twelve hours in hot water or yeast.
Olives intended for preservation are gathered before they are ripe. In pickling, the object is to remove their bitterness and preserve them green, by impregnating them with a brine. For this purpose various methods are employed. The fruit being gathered are placed in a lye, composed of one part of quicklime to six of ashes of young wood sifted. Here they remain for half a day, and are then put into fresh water, being renewed every 24 hours; from this they are removed into a brine of common salt dissolved in water, to which add some aromatic plants. The olive will in this manner remain good for twelve months. For oil, the ripe fruit is gathered in November; the oil, unlike other plants, being obtained from the pericarp, and immediately bruised in a mill, the stones of which are set so wide as not to crush the kernel. The pulp is then subjected to the press in bags made of rushes; and, by means of a gentle pressure, the best or virgin oil flows first. A second, and afterwards a third quality of oil is obtained, by moistening the residuum, breaking the kernel, &c., and increasing the pressure. When the fruit is not sufficiently ripe, the recent oil has a bitterish taste, and when too ripe it is fatty.
The following are the present market prices of olive oil in Liverpool, (October, 1853,) and they are 40 per cent, higher than a few years ago:—Galipoli, per tun of 252 gallons, L68; Spanish, L64; Levant, L60. French olives, in half barrels of two gallons, are worth L3 to L4; Spanish, in two gallon kegs, 9s. to 10s.
The preserved or pickled olives, so admired as an accompaniment to wine, are, as we have seen the green unripe fruit, deprived of part of their bitterness by soaking them in water, and then preserved in an aromatised solution of salt.
The marc of olives after the oil has been expressed, indeed, the refuse cake of all oil plants, is most valuable, either as manure or for feeding cattle.
More than 29,000 acres are under culture with the olive in the Austrian empire, Venice, Dalmatia, Lombardy, Carinthia, and Carniola. The climate of Dalmatia is highly suitable for the olive, and the oil is better than that produced in most parts of Italy. Nearly 17,000 cwt. are annually obtained.
In 1837 there were 11,526 acres of ground under cultivation with olives in Southern Illyria, which yielded 261,800 gallons. Olives and sumach form the principal crops of the landholder. I have not been able to get any recent correct statistics of the culture and produce. The oil of Istria is considered equal to that of Provence. The stones and refuse are used there for fuel. The olive is also extensively cultivated in the Quarnero Islands, especially Veglia and Cherso, and in Corfu. There were in 1836, 219,339 acres under cultivation in the Ionian Islands, producing 113,219 barrels. The olive is gathered there in December. The average price of the barrel of olive oil was 48s. 3d. Nearly two millions of gallons of olive oil were exported from Sicily in 1842. Naples alone shipped five millions of gallons in 1839, and about 2,500 cwts. of oil is shipped annually from Morocco. Russia imports about 500,000 poods (40 lbs. each) of olive oil annually.
"Provence oil, the produce of Aix, is the most esteemed. Florence oil is the virgin oil expressed from the ripe fruit soon after being gathered; it is imported in flasks surrounded by a kind of network formed by the leaves of a monocotyledonous plant, and packed in half chests; it is that used at table under the name of salad oil. Lucca oil is imported in jars holding nineteen gallons each. Genoa oil is another fine kind. Galipoli oil forms the largest portion of the olive oil brought to England, it is imported in casks. Apulia and Calabria are the provinces of Naples most celebrated for its production; the Apulian is the best. Sicily oil is of inferior quality; it is principally produced at Milazzo. Spanish oil is the worst. The foot deposited by olive oil is used for oiling machinery, under the name of' droppings of sweet oil.'"—("Pereira's Materia Medica.")
The manufacture of olive oil in Spain has undergone very considerable improvement during the last few years; in particular, the process for expressing the oil has been rendered more rapid and effectual by the introduction of the hydraulic press, and thus the injurious consequences which resulted from the partial fermentation of the fruit are avoided.
There are four different kinds of oil known in the districts where it is prepared.
1. Virgin oil—A term which is applied, in the district Montpellier, to that which spontaneously separates from the paste of crushed olives. This oil is not met with in commerce, being all used by the inhabitants, either as an emollient remedy, or for oiling the works of watches. A good deal of virgin oil is, however, obtained from Aix.
2. Ordinary oil.—This oil is prepared by pressing the olives, previously crushed and mixed with boiling water. By this second expression, in which more pressure is applied than in the previous one, an oil is obtained, somewhat inferior in quality to the virgin oil.
3. Oil of the infernal regions.—The water which has been employed in the preceding operation is in some districts conducted into large reservoirs called the infernal regions, where it is left for many days. During this period, any oil that might have remained mixed with the water separates and collects on the surface. This oil being very inferior in quality, is only fit for burning in lamps, and is generally locally used.
4. Fermented oil is obtained in the departments of Aix and Montpellier, by leaving the fresh olives in heaps for some time, and pouring boiling water over them before pressing the oil. But this method is very seldom put in practice, for the olives during this fermentation lose their peculiar flavor, become much heated, and acquire a musty taste, which is communicated to the oil.
The fruity flavor of the oil depends upon the quality of the olives from which it is pressed, and not upon the method adopted in its preparation,"—(French "Journal de Pharmacie.")
The price of olive oil is sufficiently high to lead to its admixture with cheaper oils. The oil of poppy seeds is that which is usually employed for its adulteration, as it has the advantage of being cheap, of having a sweet taste, and very little smell. M. Gobley has invented an instrument which he calls an areometer, to detect this fraud. It is founded on the difference between the densities of olive oil and oil of poppies.
The imports, which in 1826 were only 742,719 gallons, had risen in 1850 to 5,237,816 gallons. The following figures show the progressive imports and consumption:—
Imported. Retained for home consumption. gallons. gallons. 1827 1,028,174 1,070,765 1831 4,158,917 1,928,892 1835 606,166 554,196 1839 1,793,920 1,806,178 1843 3,047,688 2,516,724 1847 2,190,384 — 1848 2,541,672 — 1849 4,274,928 — 1850 5,860,806 — 1851 2,898,756 2,749,572 1852 2,242,296 1,066,400
The imports of olive oil into the port of Liverpool were 9,815 tuns in 1849, and 10,038 tuns in 1850. It was brought from Manila, Malaga, and Corfu, but chiefly from Barbary, Palermo, Gallipoli, and the Levant. In 1850 we imported from France 259,646 imperial gallons of olive oil, officially valued at L34,638; the average in ordinary years is only about 20,000 gallons from the continent.
ALMOND OIL.—To the south of the Empire of Morocco there are forests of the Arzo tree, which is thorny, irregular in its form, and produces a species of almond exceedingly hard. Its fruit consists of two almonds, rough and bitter, from which an oil is produced, very excellent for frying. In order to use this oil it requires to be purified by fire, and set in a flame, which must be suffered to die away of itself; the most greasy particles are thus consumed, and its arid qualities wholly destroyed. "When the Moors gather these fruits they drive their goats under the trees, and as the fruit falls the animals carefully nibble off the skins, and then greedily feed.
The oil of almonds is more fluid than olive oil, and of a clear, transparent, yellowish color, with a very slight odor and taste. It is occasionally employed for making the finer kinds of soap, and also in medicine.
In manufacturing it the fruit are first well rubbed or shaken in a coarse bag or sack, to separate a bitter powder which covers their epidermis. They are then pounded to a paste in mortars of marble, which paste is afterwards subjected to the action of a press, as in the case of the olive.
About 80 tuns of almond oil are annually imported into this country, the price being about 1s. per pound. Five-and-a-half pounds of almond oil will yield by cold expression one pound six ounces of oil, and three-fourths of a pound more if the iron plates are heated.
SESAME OR TEEL.—Of this small annual plant there are two or three species. Sesamum orientale, the common sort; and S. indicum, a more robust kind, cultivated at a different season, are both natives of the East Indies. S. indicum bears a pale purple flower, and S. orientals has a white blossom. It is the latter which is chiefly grown, and the seeds afford the Gingellie oil or suffed-til, already extensively known in commerce in the East. The expressed oil is as clear and sweet as that from almonds, and probably the Behens oil, used in varnish, is no other. It is called by the Arabs "Siriteh," and the seed, "bennie " seed, in Africa. S. orientals is grown in the West Indies under the name of "wangle." It is said to have been first brought to Jamaica by the Jews as an article of food. 1,050 bags of gingelly teel, or sesame seed, were imported into Liverpool, in 1849, from the East, South America, and Africa, for expressing oil, and 3,700 bags in 1850. There are two kinds of seed, light and dark, and it is about the same size as mustard seed, only not round.
A hectare of land in Algeria yields 1,475 kilogrammes of seed, which estimated at 50 cents the kilogramme, amounts to 737 francs, whilst the cost of production is only 259 francs, leaving a profit of 478 francs (nearly L20). The oil obtained from this seed is inferior to good olive oil, but is better adapted for the manufacture of soap.
This plant is not unlike hemp, but the stalk is cleaner and semi-transparent. The flower also is so gaudy, that a field in blossom looks like a bed of florist's flowers, and its aromatic fragrance does not aid to dispel such delusion. It flourishes most upon land which is light and fertile. The fragrance of the oil is perceptibly weaker when obtained from seed produced on wet, tenacious soils. A gallon of seed seems to be the usual quantity sown upon an acre. In Bengal, S. orientale is sown during February, and the crop harvested at the end of May; but S. indicum is sown on high, dry soil, in the early part of the rains of June, and the harvest occurs in September. About Poonah it is sown in June and harvested in November. In Nepaul two crops are obtained annually; one is sown as a first crop in April and May, and reaped in October and November; the other as an autumn crop, after the upland rise in August and September, and reaped in November and December.
In Mysore, after being cut it is stacked for a week, then exposed to the sun for three days, but gathered into heaps at night; and between every two days of such drying, it is kept a day in the heap. By this process, the pods burst and shed their seeds without thrashing.
The seeds contain an abundance of oil, which might be substituted for olive oil; it is procured from them in great quantities, in Egypt, India, Kashmir, China, and Japan, where it is used both for cooking and burning. It will keep for many years and not acquire any rancid smell or taste, but in the course of a year or two becomes quite mild, so that when the warm taste of the seed, which is in the oil when first expressed, is worn off, it is used for all the purposes of salad oil. It possesses such qualities as fairly entitle it to introduction into Europe; and if divested of its mucilage, it might perhaps compete with oil of olives, at least for medicinal purposes, and could be raised in any quantity in the British Indian Presidencies. It is sufficiently free from smell to admit of being made the medium for extracting the perfume of the jasmine, the tuberose, narcissus, camomile, and of the yellow rose. The process is managed by adding one weight of flowers to three weights of oil in a bottle, which being corked is exposed to the rays of the sun for forty days, when the oil is supposed to be sufliciently impregnated for use. This oil, under the name of Gingilie oil, is used in India to adulterate oil of almonds.
The flour of the seed, after the oil is expressed, is used in making cakes, and the straw serves for fuel and manure.
The oil is much used in Mysore for dressing food, and as a common lamp oil. From 200 to 400 quarters under the name of Niger seed are imported annually into Liverpool for expressing oil.
Three varieties of Til are extensively cultivated throughout India, for the sake of the fine oil expressed from their seeds, the white seeded variety, the parti-colored, and the black. It is from the latter that the sesamum or gingelly oil of commerce is obtained. Sesamum seed contains about 45 per cent. of oil. Good samples of the oil were shown at the Great Exhibition from Vizianagram, Ganjain, Hyderabad, Tanjore, the district of Moorshedabad, and Gwalior. The gingelly seed is stated to be worth about L4 per ton in the North Circars.
An oil resembling that of sesamum is obtained from the seed of Guizotea oleifera and Abyssinica, a plant introduced from Abyssinia, and common in Bengal. The ram til, or valisaloo seeds, yield about 34 per cent, of oil. The oil is generally used for burning, and is worth locally about 10d. per gallon.
BLACK TIL (Verbesena sativa).—This is known as kutsela or kala til, in the Deccan. It is chiefly cultivated in Mysore and the western districts of Peninsular India, as well as in the Bombay presidency.
About Seringapatam, as soon as the millet crop has been reaped the field is ploughed four times, and the seed sown, a gallon per acre, during the month of July or August, after the first heavy rain. No manure or weeding is required, for the crop will grow on the worst soils. It is reaped in three months, being cut close to the ground, and stacked for a week. After exposure to the sun for two or three days, the seed is beaten out with a stick. The crop in Mysore rarely yields two bushels per acre, but about Poonah the produce is much larger. The seed is sometimes parched and made into sweetmeats, but is usually grown for its oil. This is used in cooking, but it is not so abundant in the seed, nor so good as that of the sesame. Bullocks will not eat the stems unless pressed by hunger.
About 5,000 maunds are exported annually from Calcutta. 3,703 bags were imported into Liverpool in 1851. The price per quarter of eight bushels, in January, 1853, was from 30s. to L2; of teel oil, in tins, weighing 60 to 100 pounds, L2 to L2 4s.
Bombay linseed was worth L2 11s. to L2 12s. the quarter of eight bushels, in January, 1853. Bengal ditto 2s. less. The imports into Liverpool were 68,468 bags and 54,834 pockets in 1851, and 14,490 bags and 33,700 pockets in 1852. About 9,000 bags of mustard seed and from 18,000 to 20,000 bags of rape seed are also imported thence. The price of the latter is about L2 the quarter.
NATIVE OIL MILLS.—The principal native oil mill of India, of which, however, there are some varieties, consists of a simple wooden mortar with revolving pestle. It is in common use in all Belgaum and Bangalore. Two oxen are harnessed to the geering, which depends from the extremity of the pestle,—a man sits on the top of the mortar, and throws in the seeds that may have got displaced. The mill grinds twice a day; a fresh man and team being employed on each occasion. When sesame oil is to be made, about seventy seers measure, or two and a half bushels of seeds are thrown in; to this ten seers, or two quarts and three-quarters of water, are gradually added; this on the continuance of the grinding, which lasts in all six hours, unites with the fibrous portion of the seeds, and forms a cake, which, when removed, leaves the oil clean and pure at the bottom of the mortar. From this it is taken out by a coco-nut shell cup, on the pestle being withdrawn. Other seed oils are described by Dr. Buchanan, as made almost entirely in the same way as the sesamum. The exceptions are the hamlu, or castor oil, obtained from either the small or large varieties of Ricinus. This, at Seringapatam, is first parched in pots, containing something more than a seer each. It is then beaten in a mortar, and formed into balls; of these from four to sixteen seers are put in an earthenware pot and boiled with an equal quantity of water, for the space of five hours; frequent care being taken to stir the mixture to prevent it from burning. The oil now floats on the surface, and is skimmed off pure. The oil mill made use of at Bombay, and to the northward, at Surat, Cambay, Kurrachee, &c., differs a little from that just described, in having a very strong wooden frame round the mouth of the mortar; on this the man who keeps the seeds in order sits. In Scinde a camel is employed to drive the mill instead of bullocks.
Castor oil seed is thrown into the mill like other seeds, as already described; when removed it requires to be boiled for an hour, and then strained through a cloth to free it from the fragments of the seed.
It is a curious fact, and illustrative of the imperfect manner in which the oil is separated from the seeds, that while the common pressman only obtained some 261/4 per cent., Boussingault, in his laboratory, from the same seeds, actually procured 41 per cent. When the oil cakes are meant for feeding stock, this loss is of little consequence, inasmuch as the oil serves a very good purpose, but when the cake is only intended to be used as a manure, it is a great loss, inasmuch as the oil is of little or no use in adding any food for crops to the soil.
The chief oil made on the sea board of India, is that yielded by the coco-nut palm. The nut having been stripped of the husk or coir, the shell is broken, and the fatty lining enclosing the milk is taken out. This is called cobri, copra, or copperah in different localities. Three maunds, or ninety pounds of copperah, are thrown into the mill with about three gallons of water, and from this is produced three maunds, or seven and three-quarter gallons of oil. The copperah in its unprepared state is sold, slightly dried in the market. It is burned in iron cribs or grates, on the top of poles as torches, in processions, and as means of illumination for work performed in the open air at night. No press or other contrivance is made use of by the natives in India for squeezing out or expressing the oil from the cake, and a large amount of waste, in consequence of this, necessarily ensues.—Bombay Times, June 5, 1850.
Oil, of the finest kind, is made in India by expression from the kernels of the apricot. It is clear, of a pale yellow color, and smells strongly of hydrocyanic acid, of which it contains, usually, about 4 per cent.
"On inquiring into the use made of the sunflower, we were given to understand that it is here (in Tartary) raised chiefly for the oil expressed from it. But it is also of use for many other purposes. In the market places of the larger towns we often found the people eating the seeds, which, when boiled in water, taste not unlike the boiled Indian corn eaten by the Turks. In some districts of Russia the seeds are employed with great success in fattening poultry; they are also said to increase the number of eggs more than any other kind of grain. Pheasants and partridges eat them with great avidity, and find the same effects from them as other birds. The dried leaves are given to cattle in place of straw; and the withered stalks are said to produce a considerable quantity of alkali."—Bremner's Interior of Russia.
658 barrels linseed oil were brought down to New Orleans from the interior in 1849, and 1009 in 1848.
During the period of the Great Exhibition special enquiry was made by many manufacturers as to the different oils of Southern India, suitable for supplying the place of animal fat in the manufacture of candles, and generally adapted for various other purposes. Enquiries should be directed to the specific gravity, the boiling point, the per centage of pure oil in the seeds, and the means of obtaining a regular supply. The demand for vegetable oils in European commerce has been steadily on the increase for several years past, and the quantities consumed are now so large that the oleaginous products of India and the colonies must sooner or later have a considerable commercial importance, from the value which they are likely to acquire. Indeed some have already established a footing in the home market, and Drs. Hunter, Cleghorn, and others in India, have specially directed the attention of the natives and merchants to the subject.
MARGOSE, OR NEEM OIL.—From the pericarp or fleshy part of the fruit of the Melia Azederachta, the well known Margosa oil is prepared; which is cheap and easily procurable in Ceylon. Dr. Maxwell, garrison surgeon of Trichinopoly, states that he has found this oil equally efficacious to cod-liver oil in cases of consumption and scrofula. He began with half-ounce doses, morning and evening, which were gradually reduced.
ILLEPE OIL.—The seeds of three species of Bassia, indigenous to India, yield solid oils, and are remarkable for the fact, that they supply at the same time saccharine matter, spirit, and oil, fit for both food and burning in lamps. The Illepe( B. longifolia) is a tree abundant in the Madras Presidency, the southern parts of Hindostan generally, and the northern province of Ceylon. In Ceylon the inhabitants use the oil in cooking and for lamps. The oil cake is rubbed on the body as soap, and seems admirably adapted for removing the unctuosity of the skin caused by excessive perspiration, and for rendering it soft, pliable, and glossy, which is so conducive to health in a tropical climate. The oil is white and solid at common temperatures, fusing at from 70 to 80 degrees. It may be advantageously employed in the manufacture of both candles and soap; in Ceylon and some parts of India this oil forms the chief ingredient in the manufacture of soap.
Mahower (B. latifolia) is common in most parts of the Bengal Presidency. The oil a good deal resembles that last described, obtained from the Illepe seeds; and may be used for similar purposes. It is solid at common temperatures, and begins to melt at about 70 degrees.
Vegetable butter is obtained from the Choorie (B. butyracea). This tree, though far less generally abundant than the other two species, is common in certain of the hilly districts, especially in the eastern parts of Kumaon; in the province of Dotee it is so abundant that the oil is cheaper than ghee, or fluid butter, and is used to adulterate it. It is likewise commonly burnt in lamps, for which purpose it is preferred to coco-nut oil. It is a white solid fat, fusible at about 120 degrees, and exhibits very little tendency to become rancid when kept.
Shea, or galam butter, is obtained in Western Africa from the Bassia Parkii, or Pentadisma butyracea, a tree closely resembling the B. latifolia, and other species indigenous to Hindostan. According to Park, the tree is abundant in Bambara, the oil is solid, of a greyish-white color, and fuses at 97 degrees. Its product is used for a variety of purposes—for cooking, burning in lamps, &c.
This tree has much of the character of the laurel, but grows to the height of eighteen or twenty feet. Its leaf is somewhat longer than the laurel, and is a little broader at the point; the edges of the leaf are gently curved, and are of a dark sap green color. The nut is of the form and size of a pigeon's egg, and the kernel completely fills the shell. When fresh it is of a white drab color, but, if long kept, becomes the color of chocolate. The kernel, when new, is nearly all butter, which is extracted in the following manner:—The shell is removed from the kernel, which is also crushed, and then a quantity is put into an earthen pot or pan, placed over the fire with a portion of water and the nut kernels. After boiling slowly about half an hour the whole is strained through a grass mat into a clean vessel, when it is allowed to cool. Then, after removing the fibrous part from it, it is put into a grass bag and pressed so as to obtain all the oil. This is poured into the vessel along with the first-mentioned portion, and when cold is about the consistence of butter.
The nuts hang in bunches from the different boughs, but each nut has its own fibre, about seven or eight inches long, and about the thickness and color of whip-cord. The nut is attached to the fibre in a very singular manner. The end of the fibre is concealed by a thin membrane, about half an inch wide and three-quarters of an inch long. This membrane is attached to the side of the nut, and, when ripe, relinquishes its hold, and the nut falls to the ground, when it is gathered for use. A good-sized healthy tree yields about a bushel of nuts, but the greater number are not so prolific. The trees close to the stream present a more healthy appearance, probably on account of being better watered, and the fire being less powerful close to the stream.
THE CANDLE NUT TREE (Aleurites triloba, of Foster) grows in the Polynesian Islands, and is also met with in some parts of Jamaica and the East Indies. In the latter quarter it is known as the Indian Akhrowt. A very superior kind of paint oil is produced from the nut, and the cake, after the expression of the oil, forms an excellent food for cattle, and a useful manure. 311/2 gallons of the nut yield ten gallons of oil, which bears a good price in the home markets.
The yearly produce of this oil in the Sandwich Isles, where it is called kukui oil, is about 10,000 gallons. It has been shipped to the markets of Chili, New South Wales, and London, but not as yet with much profit. It realized about L20 per imperial ton in the port of London. In 1843, about 8,620 gallons were shipped from Honolulu, valued at 1s. 8d. per gallon.
In Ceylon the oil is known as kekune oil, and a good deal of it might be obtained there from the district of Badulla. From the trials made it appears that it cannot be used as a drying oil, but will probably answer best as a substitute for rape oil. Samples have been sent to several clothiers, and the nature and quality of the oil renders it most applicable to their purposes.
COLZA (Brassica oleracea), a variety of the common cabbage, is much grown in the South of Europe and other parts, for the oil obtained by pressure from its seeds, and which is used for lamps and other purposes. The plant will not thrive on sand or clay, but requires a rich light soil. After the ground has been well ploughed and manured, the seed should be sown in July, in furrows eight or ten inches asunder. The plants are transplanted about October. When ripe the stalks are reaped with a sickle, and the seeds threshed out with a flail. The cake, after the oil is expressed, is an excellent food for cattle.
Like all the oleaginous plants cultivated for their seed, colza greatly impoverishes the soil.
In Peru the caoutchouc is used as a substitute for candles. A roll of it (which is generally about a yard long and three inches in diameter) is cut lengthways into four parts, but before it is lighted the piece is rolled up in a green plantain leaf, to prevent it from melting or taking fire down the sides. The natives of Peru also bruize the beans of a species of wild cacao after they have been well dried, and use the substance instead of tallow in their lamps.
Mr. Dearman, writing from Dacca, to Dr. Spry, Secretary to the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies of India, in 1839, says—"I will send you some seeds from a tree, which resemble chestnuts. One of these seeds, after taking off the shell, being stuck on the point of a penknife, and lighted at a candle flame, will burn without the least odor for four or five minutes, giving a light equal to two or three candles. From the flower of the tree (he adds), I am told, is distilled a delightful scent." [I presume this must be the candle-nut tree.]
At the Feejee and Hawaian islands, the seeds of the castor oil plant and of the candle-nut tree (Aleurites triloba) are strung together and used for candles. Species of torches are also made from the candle wood in Demerara.
THE CANDLEBERRY MYRTLE (Myrica cerifera) abounds in the Bahama Islands. The shrub produces a small green berry, which, like the hog plum, puts out from the trunk and larger limbs. Much patient labor is required in gathering these berries, and from them is obtained a beautiful green wax, which burns very nearly, if not fully, as well as the spermaceti, or composition candles imported from abroad. Not long since Mr. Thos. B. Musgrove, of St. Salvador (or Cat Island), obtained about 80 lbs. of this wax, and made some excellent candles of it. The method of procuring this wax is by boiling the berries in a copper or brass vessel for some time. Iron pots are found to darken and cloud the wax. The vessel after a sufficient time is taken from the fire, and when cool the hardened wax, floating on the top of the water, is skimmed off.
MYRTLE WAX.—According to the experiments of M. Cadet and Dr. Bostock, myrtle wax differs in many respects from bees' wax, Specimens of it assume shades of a yellowish green color. Its smell is also different; myrtle wax, when fresh, emitting a fragrant balsamic odor. It has in part the unctuosity of bees' wax, and somewhat of the brittleness of resin. Its specific gravity is greater, insomuch that it sinks in water, whereas bees' wax floats upon it; and it is not so easily bleached to form white wax. The wax tree of Louisiana contains immense quantities of wax.
Mr. Moodie ("Ten Tears in South Africa") says,—
"I occasionally employed my people, at spare times, in gathering wax berries that grow in great abundance upon small bushes in the sand hills, near the sea, and yield a substance partaking of the nature of wax and tallow, which is mixed with common tallow, and used by the colonists for making candles. The berry is about the size of a pea, and covered with a bluish powder. They are gathered by spreading a skin on the sand, and beating the bush with a stick. When a sufficient quantity of the berries are collected, they are boiled in a great quantity of water, and the wax is skimmed off as fast as it rises; the wax is then poured into flat vessels and allowed to cool, when it becomes hard and brittle, and has a metallic sound when struck. The cakes thus formed are of a deep green color, and are sold at the same price as tallow. The wild pigs devour these berries when they come in their way, and seem very fond of them."