About three months ago, the possibility of obtaining crystallized sugar from the Chinese cane was publicly denied by a number of persons who had made experiments with the juice, some of whom were known as scientific men and practical sugar refiners. Such opinions naturally led astray those who had no means of making experiments for themselves. It is a curious fact, however, that at the very time when such opinions were being propagated, tho most effective shot and shell were being prepared for their demolition. We had thought, from what we have already published on this subject, that but little if anything useful could be added to our stock f of knowledge until experiments were made , with the future crop of this year, but in this opinion we have found ourselves agreeably mistaken. We had received some excellent samples of this sugar from various parties, bat no Certain iiata as to the quantity and quality of the sugar to be obtained from the cane per acre ; but we have now received very satisfactory information on this point. Mr. Joseph Lovering, of Oakhill, Philadelphia county, Pa,, a very scientific and practical sugar refiner, has sent us a box containing as beautiful samples of loaf, white, granulated and brown Sorgho sugars as any cane sugars whatever. He had planted half an acre of the seed on his farm, and with the stalks of this he made correct and scientific experiments. Before proceeding to refine the juice, he wisely examined'it with the polariscope to see ifit gave the usual indications of possessing crystallizable sugar. This examination afforded the proof that it contained 5'57 per cent of sugar; and from this data he went on, and made those experiments with the juice which resulted in tho samples of beautiful sugar he has sent us. Mr. L. has also given a detailed account of his efforts in a well written pamphlet, and from these he has arrived at the conclusions that an acre of this cane, in a good season, will yield about 1,466 pounds of sugar and 74 gallons of molasses—a result corresponding to that obtained on the Louisiana plantations with the real sugar cane. The experiments of Mr. Lovering are of a reliable character, because they were performed with care, and he is not a mere theorist, but one well acquainted with sugar-refining in all its branches. We apprehend, from the facts now spread out before the community regarding this plant, that it will be extensively cultivated during the next season. A convention of farmers was held on the 11th inst., at Springfield, 111., to consulton measures as to its future cultivation. All present expressed themselves gratified with their experence with the cane, and resolved to give it more attention next season. One farmer present stated that its seed made flour equal to buckwheat in every respect, and the yield was twenty-five bushels to the acre. It was also asserted that we had no plant equal to it, in all things, because it could feed us with bread made from its flour, as well as provide us with our sirups and sugars. In connection with this part of the subject, we would note a singular statement made by Dr. C. T. Jackson, at the meeting of the United States Agricultural Society, held at Washington on the 15th inst, viz., that about two years ago he had obtained a large percentage of crystallizable sugar from the juice of some Sorgho sugarcane grown at the United States Arsenal, Massachusetts. It is surprising that we never heard of this before, and that Dr. Hayes, of Boston, Mass., was unacquainted with it when he published his views as to the non-crystallizable character of the Sorgho juice. RIn our next number we will have some remarks to make on another sugar-producing plant, the African Imphee, regarding which we have a letter from Governor Hammond, of South Carolina.
This article was originally published with the title "Sorgho Sugar" in Scientific American 13, 21, 166 (January 1858)