Dangerous duality of Kerosene.

Dangerous duality of Kerosene.

The following is a simple and infallible test to ascertain exactly the quality and explosive point of any sample of kerosene oil, no matter by what fancy, attractive name it may be designated in specious advertisements. Take a common tin pan of water, or an ordinary tin pail, say seven inches in diameter and five inches deep; fill the vessel with water and place it on the stove, or over a lamp, so as to heat very gradually; put an ordinary thermometer upright in the water, to indicate the gradual rise of temperature; take a little pan, such as is used to bake small parties, sold for one cent each; in the putty-pan put a tablospoonful of kerosene and let it float on the surface of tho gradually heating water. When you see the thermometer begin to indicate seventy, seventy-five, or eighty degrees, apply a lighted match to the kerosene in the tin pan. If the oil is safe, no flash will ensue, hut if it is impure, and therefore dangerous, a flash Like the ignition of gas will appear. In case a flash occurs while the thermometer indicates a temperature below 100 degrees, it is sate to assume that the oil is highly dangeootis and utterly unfit for use; being more dangerous than gunpowder, which cannot he ignited by a flame at such a temperature. No oil should he purchased for illuminating purposes whose flashing or igniting point is at all helow 110 degrees, and it should bo remembered that the greater the heat it will endure above that temperature the greater is the proportional increase in its safety for burning in lamps. While 110 degrees Fahrenheit is a fair test, it does not guarantee indiscriminate or reckless handling. Even with the beHt brands of oil a lamp should never he filled while •lighted, or while near one that is lighted. As the oil burns down in the lamp a highly’ inflate -ahlo gas gathers over the surface, increasing as as tho oil decreases, and not infrequently forcing its way to the flame at tho edge of tho wick and threatening an explosion. There are various tricks currant among dealers in kerosene to prove that even naphtha is not explosive at seventy degrees. The usual test is to hold a lighted match over an open vessel containing it. But let a small portion he put in a can ami shaken up and a light introduced, when an explosion instantly occurs, showing that the inflammable stuff becomes explosive upon mixing with the oxygen of the atmosphere. Indeed, it may bo saihly said that every lamp in the land, when burning iu a room, steamboat cabin, or other apartment, whoso temperature is seventy-five or eighty degrees, is liable to explosion, even if burning tho standard kerosene of 110 degrees flashing point. Many scientific man have been led into the fallacy that the flashing point of keroseno at 110 degroes is the point of safety, but it has been recently demonstrated by an eminent chemist that thirty-fivo degrees below the igniting point oil, after burning twenty minutes or half an hour, will genodate an explosive gas. It has been also demonstrated by the same authority that oil with an igniting or flashing point of 150 degrees is in an explosive condition when burned inclosed in lanterns on shioboard and railway cars, It is claimed that until oil shall stand a test of 300 degrees there will be no guarantee against tho dreadful loss of life and property which its use regularly entails.

No posts to display