To Keep Wood From Burning.
Nicholas T. Nelson of Chicago is the latest man to advance a new idea that promises to prove a boon to humanity. He is a chemist by occupation and claims to have discovered a process by which all kinds of wood can be rendered incombustible. The process is a secret one, and is best described in his own words:
“I have spent the last year in the great libraries of the East, gathering information upon this important subject, and I am convinced that I have at last discovered a process by which wood of all characters can be made incombustible and thus the terrible loss of life and property incident to fires resulting from railroad wrecks and in large buildings can be averted. My theory is to saturate the wood with certain chemicals which, on being heated to a degree necessary to decompose the timber and cause it to burst into flame, will liberate a gas that will not support combustion and will, therefore, smother out the fire. Nitrogen is one of these gases and my process is intended to saturate the wood with a solution that will produce nitrogen gas sufficient to prevent the wood from burning, no matter how great the heat applied.
“ The solution is very cheap, costing about four cents a galIon, and it will require about twenty-four hours’ emersion of the heaviest timbers to render them impervious to the heat.
In support of his statements Mr. Nelson made some interesting experiments with his process. Ordinary pine wood, which had been trealed with the solution, was subjected to intense heat, but refused to ignite and remained simply charred. Even when soaked in kerosene the wood only burned until the oil was consumed. Untreated wood under the same conditions blazed fiercely. The application of the solution makes no change in the appearance or fibre of the wood.
Mr. Nelson has received some encouragement from the Pullman company that his process would be used in the construction of passenger coaches, and will take out patents to protect his rights in the matter.