A brief notice of this valuable and extensive treatise appeared in our last issue under the head of New Publications. It was our intention at that time to give it a review commen- smate with its importance, but we find that to do this adequately would absorb more of our space than can be spared for the purpose. “Ve shall therefore content ourselves with an outline of the character and origin of the work, and some extracts from its pages, one of which will appear in connection with this notice and some others in future issues. The author tells us in his preface that before he began the present work it was thought that a simple re-editing of Overman's 'Treatise upon Iron, would be sufficient ; but that “ upon a thorough examination it was found impossible to make that work meet the wants of those who would justly expect a recognition of the many important inventions and discoveries since its last edition was published, and who would not wish to read of anything as a theory which had become a fact. or of procedures which had passed away before the advance of metallurgic science. The author has therefore written a work entirely different in manner and matter." The work is divided into four parts, the first of which treats of the theoretic metallurgy of iron. Under this head we arc presented with a chapter on “ the general principles of the chemistry of iron, another on the ores of iron, one on the special properties of iron and its compounds, a chapter on the theory of fluxes, and lastly an exhaustive chapter on fuel, in which the principal kinds of fuel used in the iron manufacture and in steam production are discussed, with remarks on wood, peat, coking of coals, manufacture of char. coal, and analysis of coals." In Part Second, the practical metallurgy iron is taken up and exhaustively treated in twelve chapters, in which all the approved processes are fully explained with detailed descriptions of the various furnaces, hot blast ovens, blast machines, etc., now employed in the smelting of iron ores. Part Third treats of the manufacture of malleable iron, recent improvements in the construction of puddling furnaces, present modes of refining, forging, rolling, reheating furnaces, shearing, piling, etc.; and Part Four is an essay on steel, in which the various kinds of steel and the numerous processes now employed in the steel manufacture are duly discussed, according to their importance. We find that in this work a common error of 'authors upon such subjects, has been avoided, and much of the merit of the work consists in the fact that no detail is supposed to be known by the reader, and nothing is jumped, or left to inference. The method adopted is a good one. 'The author sets out by a sufficiently elaborate discussion of the substances which have to be dealt with in the manufacture of iron and steel, and from the chemical knowledge thus obtained, the reader is led naturally and easily into the practical details of smelting, puddling, and refining iron, and the subsequent operations by which malleable iron is produced. We have selected the following extract as a fair example of the clear style in which the author writes, and as also giving a good idea of the important part which oxygen plays in the metallurgy of iron. ” Oxygen.—The air we breathe contains a large amount of oxygen, which plays an important part in the affairs of iron manufacture. It contains a large portion of nitrogen, with which, as metallurgists, we have but little to do, even supposing that steel contains a small amount—into which suppo- flition we may hereafter inquire. It contains a very small portion of carbonic acid gas, a compound of carbon and oxygen, the former of which two elements, also, plays an influential part, determining by its amount, as carbon in iron, whether that iron be cast iron or steel, and, by its absence from iron, that the metal in question is neither cast iron nor steel, but malleable irol'. ” Another fact: the atmosphere always contains more or less vapor of water. This water is composed of a large proportion of oxygen, and also a proportion, equal to twice the volume of this last-mentioned element, of another element and gas, hydrogen. The latter element is soon to become better known to the metallurgical world, but it is the oxygen of the vapor of water to which our attention is now called particularly. Here are four elements, important in the following order : oxygen, which is the supporter of 'Rll combustion, whether as flame or burning coal, and, like that which it supports, a splendid servant, but a labor-exacting master, ever waiting and watching, in its elementary loneliness, to unite with that for which it has affinity, either to help or perplex. Its union with iron forms that which we call the “ rust “ of iron, in which we see this affinity accomplished, for it has recalled the metal back to its primal state, namely, that o,f an ore, from which ore, or rust, it was made to become a n:etal only by the stronger affinity of the same element oxygen for carbon, whereby the act of rusting the carbon was followed by heat enough to expel oxygen from thp iron rust in the ore, and leave the metal pure. That rust of carbon is the carbonic acid gas of the chemist. However rapidly in the one case, or slowly in the other, this affinity of oxygen may be exhibited, it is an affinity always in entire subjection to a stronger law of proportion, which it never violates, whether in the long-continued processes of nature, or the more intense and rapid fires and reduction of the furnace. That stronger law is seen in this : oxygen unites with iron in the proportion of only one atom of oxygen to one of iron ; or, where a stronger cause exists, and larger affinity is exhibited, it is (never otherwise than as) one and the half of one atom of oxygen to one atom of iron (Ferric Acid excepted). Now, for the sake of brevity, the one-to-one proportion is called the one-oxide, or protoxide, and the other the one-and-a-half oxide ; or, using the convenient Latin term, sesqliioxide. ” Thus we have only two rusts, or oxides of iron, the protoxide and the sesquioxide. The latter is the highest affinity oxygen ever exhibits for iron, whatever higher affinities it may exhibit for other substances or elements. This oxide, therefore, may also be ca;led the “ high oxide,” or, again resorting to the convenient Latin syllable “ per,” the peroxide of iron ; so that the sesquioxide of iron, in this particular case of iron, is the peroxLe, as there is no greater affinity of oxygen for iron known. ” In the case of carbon, however, we know of an affinity of one atom of oxygen to one of carbon ; and again two atoms of oxygen to one of carbon. The former is always known as the oxide of carbon, or carbonic o.mds, and the latter, inasmuch as the gas partakes of such acid properties that it will readily redden litmus paper (the chemist's test for acids) is called carbonic acid, or carbonic acid gas. Carbon is consumable, and oxygen, as we have said, supports combustion ; all the conditions, therefore, of flame or fire, exist in carbonic oxide, and it is not remarkable that it is inflammable, and that the combustion should be attended by great heat. But an anomaly does present itself in the case of the other oxide of carbon, wherein the oxygen exists as the peraw'de, or two-oxide state. We can and need only state this anomaly, namely, that where two parts of oxygen with one of carbon exist, combustion no longer exhibits itself, nor wil.ll the gas of this composition allow any combustion to take place wherever its presence exists to any great degree. When, however, from any stronger attraction or affinity, one atom of oxygen is drawn off from the two which go to form carbonic acid gas, and the resultant gas becomes possessed of only halt as much oxygen as it previously possessed, the gas immediately becomes inflammable, and burns with great heat. Singular as it may seem, the addition of two atoms of the flame-supporting element, oxygen, to one of the combustible, element, carbon, produces a gas which ceases to burn, nor can any combustion take place where Its presence is abundant." Dredging In the Gulf Stream. Our readers are, perhaps, aware that a scientific examination of the ocean bottom in the Gulf Stream has been in progress under the direction of Professor Agassiz, assisted by M. de Pourtales. The Atlantic Monthly for October has an interesting article upon this subject, from which we collate some particulars of the method employed and the object of this examination. ” Dredging in great depths is a slow and rather tedious process, requiring not only patience but very accurate observation. M. F. de Pourtales, of the Coast Survey, has been engaged on board the Bibb for the last three years in making dredgings in the Gulf of Mexico. These dredgings have included every variety of depth, from the shore outward to soundings of six, seven, and eight hundred fathoms, eight hundred and sixty fathoms being the deepest. They have brought to light the most astonishing variety of tiny beings —especially crowded on rocky bottoms, but not altogether wanting in the deepest mud deposits. A report of the results obtained in his first two years' dredgings has been partially published by M. de Pourtales in the Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative ZoOlogy at Cambridge. They form a most valuable contribution to our knowledge of the animals existing in the deep sea. ” The dredge is a strong net about a yard and a half in length, surrounded by an outer hag of sail-cloth. Both are open at the bottom, but laced above around an oblong frame of iron. This frame has two arms, with a ring at the end of each. One of these arms is securely fastened to the line by which the dredge is let down; but the other, instead of being attached to the line, is simply tied by a weaker cord to tho first. This is in order that, in case the dredge should be caught on the bottom, as often happens, one of the arms may give way, allowing it thus to change its position slightly and be more easily freed. It is an important precaution ; for sometimes the dredge is caught so fast that it requires not only the force of the small engine to which the reel, holding seventeen hundred fathoms of line, is attached, but the additional strength of all hands on board, to disengage it. When the dredge is lowered—being of course weighted, so as to sink rapidly—a cord is tied around the bottom of the net, while the sail-cloth is left open ; thud allowing the free escape of water from the former, while the sail-cloth protects it from injury. When the dredge is lanued on deck, a tub o": bucket is placed under it,' into which all its contents fall the moment the cord around the bottom of the net is untied, Some combustion take place where Its presence is abundant ."
This article was originally published with the title "Osborn's New Treatise on the Metallurgy of Iron and Steel"