Coal Tar

Coal Tar -

A by-product of the manufacture of coal-gas and coke, was first noted in the latter part of the sixteenth century by a German chemist named Johann Joachim Becher. For a long time it was though practically a waste substance, ill-smelling, black and sticky, of no market value and difficult to dispose of in any way, as it polluted rivers and destroyed vegetation.

Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, the pitch and lighter oils obtained by distilling it became of importance in the roofing, paving and chemical industries, eventually being used for making briquets and for wood preservation, waterproofing, preservative coatings, etc., but its real history commences with the founding of the Coal Tar chemical industry by Sir Henry Perkin in 1856. Since that date science has produced from it an innumerable variety of chemical compounds of the most diverse characters and uses - comprising dye-stuffs, antiseptics, explosives, medicines, some of the most fragrant of perfumes, saccharin (a substance 300 times sweeter than sugar), flavoring extracts, etc., etc.

The flavoring extracts produced include vanillin or artificial vanilla, cinnamon oil, oil of bitter almonds, coumarin, oil of wintergreen, essence of orange blossoms, essence of rhubarb, etc. The list might be indefinitely extended, for it has been stated by a prominent chemist that a majority of the foods listed on the average bill of fare, could be counterfeited in flavor by the use of Coal Tar preparations.

Arround Coal Tar in The Grocer's Encyclopedia

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