Camphor


Camphor -

Is a tough and crystalline stearoptene from the wood of the camphor Laurel or camphor tree, native to China, Japan and Borneo. It is generally obtained by chopping the wood into fragments and placing in a "still" with a certain quantity of water, the steam generated carrying the camphor off in vapor. After various processes, it resolidifies as a yellow-brown, semi-transparent mass, which is then refined and pressed into various shapes.

In addition to its household use in wardrobes and clothes-trunks to keep away insects, camphor is employed in the manufacture of celluloid and explosives, to make the stars and fire of the pyrotechnists, by the varnish-maker to increase the solubility of copal and other gums, etc. Mixed with six times its weight of clay and distilled, it suffers decomposition and yields a yellow, aromatic volatile oil, smelling strongly of thyme and rosemary, which is much used to adulterate some of the more costly essential oils and to perfume fancy soaps.

Synthetic camphor is now made from fine white turpentine. It is more resinous than gum camphor and less aromatic, but possesses the same general merits and qualities and is equally good for medicinal and most commercial purposes. Its sale commercially depends upon the comparative market values of gum camphor and turpentine. If turpentine is high in price and gum camphor low, the synthetic is not able to compete with the natural product.


Arround Camphor in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


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