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TO JULIUS BORDIER, of Austin Friars, in the city of Lon
don, merchant, for certain improvements in preparing skins and hides, and in converting them into leather,being a communication.-[Sealed 13th January, 1842.]
This invention consists in a novel mode of conducting the process of tanning, and in the employment of certain mixtures or compositions, in place of the ordinary tanning liquid, by which means a very considerable economy in time, labour, and cost of material is effected; and another advantage resulting from this invention is, that skins or hides, prepared in the manner hereafter described, are rendered impermeable, or nearly so, to water; and, further, the cuttings and parings of skins and hides, dressed in this manner, and also the leather itself, after being used for various operations, may be applied to other useful purposes, whilst the cuttings and parings of skins and hides, prepared in the old manner, would be perfectly useless.
The skins and hides, after having undergone the operations of washing, removing the hair, and swelling, are submitted to the action of such metallic, saline, and earthy substances, as may be decomposed by the skins and hides, or may combine with the same. Among these substances, the one that seems preferable is the bibasic sulphate of sesquioxide of iron, or the basic red sulphate of iron, or the sub-sulphate of peroxide of iron.
The basic red sulphate is prepared by boiling 154 gallons, imperial, of water in a copper boiler, and dissolving therein 2 cwt. of green copperas, (protosulphate of iron,) in the following manner :-The copperas is pounded by beaters, and passed through a sieve, with apertures of about one inch square, and then the above quantity of pounded copperas is gradually introduced into the 154 gallons of water; the bottom of the boiler being stirred, and the ebullition being kept up. When the whole of the copperas is dissolved, and the liquor boiling, it is poured into a deal tub or vat, of the capacity of about 44 gallons, but not very deep, and to it about 41 lbs. of sulphuric acid, con
centrated at 66°, or sp. gr. 1.848, are added; the mixture is then agitated, and about 44 lbs. of finely pulverized peroxide of manganese are added by degrees. The agitation is continued until the swelling has ceased, and is repeated at intervals, until the mixture is cold; when cold, it is lowered to the degree required, by the addition of water.
Instead of using sulphuric acid at 66°, the 2 cwt. of copperas may be dissolved in a mixture of 66 lbs. avoirdupoise, of non-concentrated sulphuric acid, at 500, or sp. gr. 1.530, and 132 lbs. of water; but then the dissolution must be effected in a boiler made of lead, in order to resist the action of boiling sulphuric acid. This process may be also conducted in the following manner:-Pound the green copperas, sift through a sieve, with holes of about onethird of an inch square; take 22 lbs. of this copperas, put it in a great stone jar, and add thereto a mixture of 24 lbs. of nitric acid, at 36°, or sp. gr. 1.333, and about 3 lbs. 1 oz. of sulphuric acid, at 66°, or sp. gr. 1.848. Agitate with a wooden spatula, heat the jar by steam, continuing the agitation until the cessation of nitrous vapours, and the complete dissolution of the copperas take place; remove the jar, and continue to stir the mixture, from time to time, until it coagulates into a paste, or at least until it is perfectly cold; let it rest for about 24 hours; add to it water, and mix it carefully ; pour in a sufficient quantity of water to bring the mixture to the degree it ought to be for use ; add then to it a sufficient quantity or excess of hydrate of peroxide of iron, recently prepared; agitate the liquor well, every two hours, during two or three days, and then it may be employed for the preparation of skins and hides.
The yellow precipitate, obtained when the liquor is prepared by the first process, may be employed. instead of the hydrate of peroxide of iron, to finish the preparation of the liquor last described. This precipitate may moreover be easily converted into a solution of bibasic sulphate of red oxide of iron, by adding to it, when in a pasty state, a sufficient quantity of concentrated sulphuric acid; the mixture becomes very much heated, all the basic salt is dissolved, and, when cold, the liquor is brought to the proper density by diluting it with water; and enough of the yellow precipitate, or of hydrate of peroxide of iron, is added, to render it as much basic as possible. The mixture, after being stirred, at intervals, for two or three days, is allowed to settle, and the liquor, thus obtained, may be immediately used for the preparation of skins and hides. The liquor, from which the skins and hides have extracted all the bibasic sulphate of sesquioxide (red oxide) of iron, and which contains only sulphate of manganese, and a little protosulphate of iron, may be decomposed, either by milk of lime or magnesia, or caustic or carbonated soda ; by which means colors of various hues are produced ; and also saline substances, of low price, as chemical products, for which there is a daily demand.
From these various compositions results a reddish liquor, which is to be lowered down to the proper density by the addition of water; and in it the skins and hides are immersed, after having been washed, swollen, and freed from hair, by the ordinary processes. The skin and hides are immersed in the liquor for periods varying according to their thickness, (thus three days will suffice for thin skins, such as calf skins, while ox skins will require from six to eight days,) and, when removed from it, are completely imputrescible; but they are as permeable to water as the leather tanned by ordinary processes.
The currier's process, and other known means of rendering the leather impermeable, must now be employed to give to the skins, prepared as above stated, what they still want,namely, the proper degree of tenacity, solidity, and impermeability.
Thus, in fifteen or twenty days, or even, if necessary, in a shorter space of time, leather of all kinds may be obtained, and especially thick leather for soles of shoes and boots, which is more durable than that produced by the ordinary means.
The skins, thus prepared, have, besides, this advantage, that when worn out by use, they may be easily freed from the basic salts and the fatty substances which render them
imputrescible and impermeable, and may then be used for the making of glue, as is now done with the parings and cuttings of raw skins and hides, before they are tanned.
In conclusion, the patentee claims the preparation and application of the above-mentioned combination of chemicals to the preparation of skins and hides, in the place of the tanning liquor heretofore employed.-[Inrolled in the Petty Bag Office, July, 1842.] Specification drawn by Messrs. Newton and Son.
ON THE LAWS RELATING TO LETTERS
PATENT FOR INVENTION.
Of all the countries of Europe, or in fact of the civilized world, none is perhaps so little known in England as the immensely extensive and overgrown empire of Russia. Many causes may be assigned for this, but none perhaps has had so great an influence in thus, as it were, severing this great and mighty empire from intercourse with other nations, as the want of legitimate and certain protection for the industry and ingenuity of its inhabitants, and the despotic and arbitrary manner in which the laws, or rather the decrees of the Emperor, are administered and carried out by the Government officials.
The consequence of this mal-administration of the various manifestos and orders from St. Petersburg, amounting sometimes to extreme rigour, and at other times to extraordinary laxity, has been, that the natural energy and enterprise is damped, and all tendency to improvement and amelioration is checked, in such a manner as to leave the people far behind their neighbours in the advantages that are usually derived from civilization. This want of security, patronage, and protection, has induced many of the more enterprising to invest both capital and talent in neighbouring states; where, under better administered, although sometimes more stringent laws, they could calculate upon a cerVOL. XXII.
tain protection and security. That the Russian people are not behind other nations in the genius and enterprise required to devise and carry out important mechanical inventions, the lists of patents granted in our own country in which the name of Russian inventors frequently occur,) will abundantly testify; it is therefore a matter of surprise that such a country, the inhabitants of which liave shewn themselves to be possessed of considerable skill in the arts and manufactures, should not have, until lately, possessed a law by which inventions or discoveries might, by patent or privilege, be secured to the original inventor. It was not until the year 1812, that the Russian Government even condescended to think of this subject; and when, after repeated petitions from various bodies in different parts of the empire, a law. of some kind was ultimately drawn up for the protection of inventors, this law was neither properly understood nor carried out by the officers to whom its operation was entrusted. In consequence of this laxity, both on the part of the people as well as the Government officers, it was found necessary, in the year 1829, to make certain regulations in council, and issue proper instructions for the modus operandi of the law, in order to remedy and prevent the confusion that had arisen in the bureaux.
The Russian law, as enacted, may be justly termed a good and useful law, the Government tax not being excessive; but the official forms and regulations, together with the extra fees, it is sometimes found necessary to pay, and lastly, the uncertainty of obtaining a patent or privilege at all, render the application an extremely harassing affair. As we before stated, it is not always by the letter of the law that its utility and practical working are to be considered, as although the law distinctly states that patents may be obtained for three, five, or ten years, and gives no power to the minister to refuse either term that an inventor may select, yet a foreigner can very seldom obtain a longer term than
years. The following is a translation of the law of 1812, together with the Report of the Council of the Empire ; and an Imperial Ukase, issued in 1829, relating thereto, is also given.
ALEXANDER, by the Grace of God, EMPEROR AND AUTOCRAT OF ALL THE Russias. — Having taken into consideration the petitions presented to us, relative to privileges granted for divers inventions and discoveries in the arts and manufactures, and