M. Hamel lately delivered an address before the Imperial Academy of Russia, on the subject of Flax Cotton, in which he gives a different account of its invention to what is generally supposed. According to him, a native of Holstein, named Ahnesorge, by trade a dyer and bleacher, had applied himself for several years to improving flax spinning, as well as to turn to account the tow, which is of little value. For this purpose he made several journeys, and in 1838 went to St. Petersburgh with a sample of about a dozen pounds of a cottony material from flax tow. In 1846 the king of Denmark, having been informed of M. Ahnesorge's industrious efforts, sent him a sum of money to help in establishing a manufactory, but just as he had begun, at Neu- meistler, the manulacture of cotton and woolen fabrics, mixed with his cotton from flax tow, the disastrous war of the Duchies broke out, and M. Ahnesorge sought refuge in London, where he arrived in October, 1848. Having applied to one of the principal pa tent agents for advice, on what steps he should take to procure a patent for his invention, he was introduced to M. Claussen, who, delighted with his project, made an agreement with him, by which he was to take out the patent in his name. Ahnesorge commenced his labors in M. Claussen's house, in London. His articles were highly spoken of, but he wanted the necessary funds to develope the manufacture. A native of Hamburgh, named Auguste Quitzow, settled at Bradford, under the name of Quitzow, Schlesinger&Co., and to whom Ahnesorge had been recommended in Holstein, .resolved to carry on the manufacture in large way Yorkshire. He bought a place at Apperley Bridge, between Bradford and Leeds, and with the consent of Claussen, en gaged Ahnesorge to prepare the flax, and make the cotton according to his method. M. Hamel says that all the samples, both white and dyed, exhibited at the Crystal Palace in the nam? . of Claussen, as well as in that of Quitlow,Schelennger&Co. , were made at Apperley Bridge by M. Ahnesorge ; the public were not informed of this circumstance. The attempts to card and spin Ahnesorge's products were made near Rochdale, in a factory that Mr. Bright, the well-known politician had placed at the disposal of M. Claussen, who had, in fact, taken out the patent in his own name. The high price of cotton, at the time of the Great Exhibition, had led to the hope that a project for substituting flax would easily find purchasers, and this was the reason why M. Claussen, described, in this patent, a process for cutting the cotton flax into small pieces, of the same length as the cotton rovings, so as to be able to card and spin them on the machines constructed for cotton. Besides, he wishes it to be supposed that, by placing this flax thus cut up, after it has been boiled in a solution of bi-carbonate of soda, into sulphuric acid diluted with water, it will split, from developing carbonic gas, in appearance resembling cotton. M. Claussen has started a company with a capital of £250,000 to £500,000, to carry on the manufacture, and he exerts every possible effort to obtain purchasers for his patent. To exhibit his patented process of splitting the flax, he has rented a place at London, where M. Ahnesorge (who is never named) has first to prepare the flax or tow by boiling it in a solution of soda, and where, afterwards, the experiment ot chemical effervescence is made before visitors. This is called the splitting process. M. Hamel declares it to be impossible to change the flax into a fibrous matter resembling cotton, which is the work of nature. He is decidedly opposed to the project of cutting up the dressed flax into a sort of tow. The superiority of flax: over cotton consists, in a great measure, in the greater length of its fibres. The result,?therefore, would be to convert a primary valuable material into a very inferior one. But there are no signs of habitations such as ours, no vestige of architectural remains, to show that the moon is or ever was inhabited by a race of mortals similar to ourselves. No water is Visible, no sea, no river ; all seems desolate.
This article was originally published with the title "Flax Cotton"