FLASH-POINT OF OIL.
Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
So many deaths and had fires have recently occurred from the use of oil of illegal grade— that is, below the required test of 110°, that the agitation against the sale of such stuff, which had died down, partly because the law in the matter had been better observed, and partly because of the apathy of the public in seeing that the law was observed and the neglect or inadequacy of the inspection. In Connecticut, it seems, has been such a let-up, and the insurance people are now keeping a sharp lookout for the detection of offenders in this respect. A recent large explosion at Middletown in this State resulted in the death of a child. The State’s attorney and the coroner at once set on foot an inquiry, in consequence of which John Boylan, local agent for the Standard Oil company, was arrested, the charge being the violation of the general statutes regarding the quality of illuminants. It was then discovered that most of the illuminating oil sold in the State, as was found out lw purchases made at retail stores, was below IIO°. I11 consequence of the fatality at Middletown, Professor V. P. Bradley, of Wesleyan University, was employed to make an analysis of a specimen of the oil used in the lamp which exploded. The flash-point—that is, the degree of heat at which oil gives off gases, which, under the usual conditions, will explode—was found to he only 87° Falir., instead of no°, and the oil was, therefore, highly* explosive and unsafe for use. A local newspaper states that a pint of the oil was analysed, and that in every test the oil flashed at 87.88 degrees, or 22.12 degrees below the limit allowed bythe law of the State. In order to make further examinations the experts obtained quantities of oil from local stores. In every test the oil flashed at 87.88 degrees. and a further examination as to the component parts of the oil showed that all the specimens contained gasoline, paraffine and a lubricating oil, which must have been added to bring the specific gravity of the oil to the required standard. Professor Bradley said that it was not remarkable that the lamp exploded, but rather that there have not been dozens of similar explosions in the city. For selling oil below IIO° flash-test Unlaws of the State prescribe a penalty of not more than $200 line and imprisonment for not more than three years. T he coroner said that he did not find any one culpably guilty in the sale of the oil, for the reason that he felt sure that tin retail dealers had no personal knowledge of the quality of the oil they were handling. The dealers buy from one producer, and oil sold in town is for the most part from the same distributor. The last tests made, on being returned to the office of the coroner, showed a flash-test of only 85°. The men higher up, J. D. Rockefeller & Co., who sell such adulterated stuff are those who should be prosecuted—not the smaller fry. the retail dealers, who buy and sell it in good faith and have not the time, money, or knowledge to analyse it on receiving it from the Standard Oil company. T. M.