Our attention has been called to the following recipe which our correspondent informs us has been sold largely in the section where he resides, but not used to a very large extent through fear of explosions: Recipe and Directionsfar Manufacturing the Sun-Light Oil— To make one gallon, take 3 quarts of Benzine, 1 ounce pulverized Alum, 11-2 ounces Alcohol, 2 ounces Cream Tartar, 2 ounces Sal Soda, 1 pint of Potatoes (cut fine), 2 table spoonfuls of fine Salt, 2 drachms Oil of Sassafras, 4 drachms of Gum Camphor. Dissolve the Alum in the Alcohol as much as possible, then add the Gum Camphor, stir for a few minutes, then add to one pint of the Benzine, stir it well for ten minutes, then add all the other ingredients except the Benzine, stir well until it foams, then add the remainder of the Benzine; leave it open and exposed to the air; shake it occasionally, and in two hours' time it will be fit to use, although it should stand if convenient, for 48 hours before using. This is the proportion for one gallon, and the person who purchases the ingredients of a retail druggist for a sing-le gallon will be charged much more in proprotion than if hoborjght in larger quantities, andmnst expect that by some druggisthe will be rharged two or three times the wholesale price for a single gallon of Benzine, as many retail druggists often buy but a few gallons at a time and have to pay about twice the wholesale price. You are to use Benzine of 65 or 72 gravity, which costs but 12 1-2 cents per gallon in New York, Chicago, or Cleveland, and but 8 cents in Pittsburgh. The ingredients used in one gallon will answer for ten gallons by adding 8 1-2 gallons of Benzine, one quart Potatoes and one pint fine Salt. The Sun-Light Oil should always be used with a patent or Sun-Light Burner. _ Any individual detected making or selling the Sun-Light. oil without a right from us will be prosecuted as an infringer' This recipe contains a large proportion of hydrocarbon oil of a highly inflammable charaster, in which certain substances are dissolved, ostensibly, to make it a safe material for consumption in lamps, for illuminating purposes. The public may rest assured that they cannot either use this or any similar mixture with safety, and we warn them against imposi tion from men, whose only excuse for making such compounds, if they have any excuse at all, is their ignorance. Let any one who wishes to try the following experiment put a little of this oil into a watch-glass, in a room heated to about 90, or into any other shallow vessel, and hold a lighted match over it. If the vapor takes fire, it is dangerous. On the contrary if the match can be smothered out in the oil without igniting it, it is safe. All good kerosene should stand this test. No oil is explosive in and of itself, it is only when the vapor arising therefrom becomes mixed in the proper proportions with air, that it will explode. There should be no inflammable vapor from aDy oil used for burning in lamps at ordinary temperatures. A volatile oil is unfit for the purpose, and men who would, knowing the nature of their wares willfully peddle through the country such vile and dangerous compounds, deserve the fate of other incendiaries. We have understood that this or similar oils are sold in different parts of the country by the gallon at a price ranging from seventy-five cents to a dollar. Any one can figure for themselves from the data given in the above recipe, the large profits made upon the sale of the villainous stuff. When thesa people wish to sell you such compounds in future, show them the door at once.
This article was originally published with the title "An Arrant Humbug" in Scientific American 21, 7, 105 (August 1869)