The Invisible Science
...present in your home and your office, in your motor car and the baby's rattle. Why everything you do has something to do with it and how salt can burn your fingers.
A RATHER curious thing about chemistry is that outside of the laboratory it isinvisible But its invisibility relies not upon a fair} tale's magic cloak but upon a system of nomenclature. Which sounds complicated but isn’t The lighting of a match is a chemical action there is a chemical formula for the syrup you give the baby; life itself is chemistry and the humai body may be measured in terms of phosphoru: or calcium. Like any science, chemistry has ¿ jargon of its own, but unlike most sciences domains of its study comprise all matter. Anc matter, as we remember from the schoolbooks, i:
everything, including gases and air and water.
Behind, then, the merest bauble of living is something which may be translated into chemical terms. Your shoes have known chemistry in their manufacture, your wines in their aging or tobacco in its curing. This has always been so. It was true when man lived by raw materials alone and it is as true today when increasingly he lives by synthetic materials. For you must remember that the twentieth century is essentially an age of new materials and new applica-
lion of materials. We have found that Fabrikoid will serve for leather and that houses may be built of glass and all the thrown stones will do them no harm.
It has been chemistry which has made this evolution possible. Which has made it and is making it possible. Your newspapers week after week record the findings of this restless science. One institution takes cornstalks and makes them into a knotless, grainless “ wood ” too hard for nails. Another creates a temperature of 459.4 Fahrenheit degrees below zero. Your civilization, which means your life, your home, your automobile, will in due time be changed accordingly.
For chemistry can be, and is, applied. The laboratories may be dim and unsuspected buildings and the test tubes break there and nobody the wiser. But they are dealing with the stuff of living. And if they find that one drop of “X” will colour one square inch of cloth, they can reason, and generally do, that tanks of it will colour miles of the cloth. All of which might mean a new dye industry and new employment.
and would almost certainly mean a new hue and cry in evening dresses.
It goes without saying that any institution or company which makes of chemistry its business and conducts that business well will be of importance to the nation in which it exists. And every country in the world has just such companies. In Great Britain one is Imperial Chemical Industries Limited; in the United States, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc. In the Dominion, it is Canadian Industries Limited. As matter of fact, there are links between the three but we shall examine only the Canadian. And in our examination we shall be concerned not with the company’s corporate structure or its financial status (which generally make for dull reading) but with its relation to you, sometimes known as the Public or the Consumer, a member of the human race dwelling in the Dominion of Canada. For, at one time or another, everyone of you has directly or indirectly been a customer of C-I-L.
THE story of Canadian Industries Limited starts with a bang, the diminutive bang of a pinch of black powder discharged one unidentified morning in Hamilton, Ontario. The year was 1862. The bang had no particular significance except that it was first of many which followed. For in Hamilton in that year was founded a powder company which managed to conduct a moderately profitable business by supplying its product mostly to Canada and in lesser degrees to the United States.
Early in the story of the Hamilton company occur the names of Dr. Thomas G. Brainerd, and Mr. Larnmot du Pont, whose family name for a hundred and thirty years has rung with authority in the history of United States industry. Dr. Brainerd came to Canada to occupy himself in the powder business and in time was president of the Hamilton enterprise. The company enlarged, it established plants at Beloeil, Quebec, and Nanaimo, British Columbia.
At this stage of the Company’s history, one Harry (now Sir Harry) McGowan in his turn used it as the vehicle for the Canadian development of the explosives business of the company in which he was the moving power at that time, i.e., Nobel’s Explosives Company Limited of Glasgow, Scotland. With the Hamilton Powder Company as the nucleus, this same Harry McGowan further brought about in 1910 a merger of four explosives companies and the Dominion Cartridge Company, in which merger the du Pont Company (a name famous in the powder history of the United States) also became associated. This merger wTas known as Canadian Explosives Limited and had as its first President Mr. William McMaster who contributed greatly to the building up of the enterprise in the first fifteen years of its history. Rivers were dammed and railroads built by virtue of its stormy wares.
But it is a curious thing that in the hands of able men explosives companies nearly always branch into the manufacture of not always obviously allied chemical products. In Great Britain, there were Alfred, Lord Melchett, head of the great Mond chemical interests, and Sir Harry McGowan, of Nobel Industries (primarily explosives). These two, one September day of 1926,
sailed from New York on the Aquitania. By the time the ship reached Southampton Imperial Chemical Industries Limited was founded.
Again in the United States, the du Pont Company had also been steadily expanding its activities in the chemical field.
Meanwhile in Canada, Canadian Explosives Limited, presided over since 1925 by Arthur B. Purvis as successor to Mr. McMaster, had followed suit and was becoming increasingly aware of the significance and potentialities of the Canadian chemical industry and the value of the technical background it enjoyed from its two great associates. To such a point in fact that by 1927 it changed its name to Canadian Industries Limited to denote the wider interests involved.
IT MAY be necessary here to venture a little ahead of the story lest the whole of Canadian Industries Limited be confused with the division of explosives. All C-I-L is divided into ten parts, of which the Explosives Division is simply one. There is definite chemical inter-relation between each division (for this, see chart at end of story), but so far as operation is concerned each unit might as well be independent. C-I-L is simply the sum of its parts, an Ottawa to its provinces. There is, of course, trade between the parts. Sulphuric acid from the Acids and General Chemicals Division at Copper Cliff, Ontario, helps make explosives at Beloeil, Quebec. So does ammonia from the Salt and Alkali Division at Sandwich, Ontario. That is one of the nice things that happen to large and well-organized companies. But, as usual, these nice things are neither luck nor coincidence. The chemical relation between the units is of more significance than the fact of their individual operation. It is this relation which makes it possible for C-I-L to maintain the apparently parodoxical position of producing dynamite as well as boudoir sets, or window shades as well as fertilizer. In the chemical formulae by which these products may be expressed, there is some-
where a refrain. C-I-L discovered the refrain and capitalized on it.
When Canadian Industries Limited was formed in 1927, it represented the absorption of a score or so of Canadian companies, each of which played or understudied a role in the chemical industry. The unification was logical and economical and the company was able in time to point with pride to reductions in production costs and reductions in selling price. There was another facet of the incorporation which is worthy of attention. Both Imperial Chemical Industries and du Pont had a hand in the reorganization and each owns important minority blocks of the company’s stock. The significance of that is that the research laboratories of both companies are open to C-I-L. With the, at the moment, greater wealth and facilities which the two older companies command, their affiliation with C-I-L is of utmost importance. Let du Pont discover its Duco—C-I-L may immediately be entitled to manufacture it in Canada. It is from rational arrangements such as these that companies prosper.
OF THE ten which are C-I-L’s divisions, the Explosives, whose original charter antedated Confederation, is the eldest. Now companies, unlike poets, are both born and made and the thing that made the Explosives Division, that actually demanded that it be enormous and alert and intelligent, was Canada itself. Had the companies which are now the Division not known how to meet the challenge, other companies would have met it, and this story might have a different ending. Canada needed explosives. When British Columbia agreed to join the Confederation it did so after receiving the promise of a transcontinental railroad. You cannot build a railroad without explosives. In November 1887, at Craigellachie, Sir Donald Smith drove the last spike of the Canadian Pacific. There were cheers in the chill air and the workers waved their caps. Nobody set off any dynamite, but a courtesy explosion would have been in order. Dynamite had subdued the Rockies.
The companies prospered and there was a war. A war which turned the Company’s activities, in time of its Country’s need, to the explosives of destruction rather than construction. There were the French 75’s which needed ammunition of a certain kind and Canada was signally among the first of the Allies to be able to supply their petulant needs. And there were Canadian incendiary bullets that made things catch fire, and aircraft cartridges and such, also of a special kind.
Production was doubled, trebled, and headquarters demanded always more speed and expected always accuracy. And then there was an end to the war and over the world a sigh and a prayer from Istanbul to Halifax. The business of the world-at-peace was reparation of a monstrous useless damage; overnight the slogans turned gentle, the bands became orchestras and used less brass, and industry-at-peace was searching for its former or for new occupations. There were booms. There was a boom in the automobile industry and in the building industry. There were other booms too, but'these will bring the times to mind.
And what of the explosives companies? Grown large because it had been demanded of them,they
were now too large. It was necessary now that they economize, that the lesser companies be merged with the stronger. The world was thankful for the service they had rendered, but the world was disgusted with itself and the less it heard of its request for those services, the better it seemed. They say a saved drowning man often neglects to thank his rescuer; there must have been some explosives men who felt that something of this sort was happening to them. But
it was no question of ungratefulness. There is no such thing in industry. Either you supply a need or you don’t. And if you don’t, it is just too bad.
Well, there is always need for dynamite. You need it for blasting stumps and you need it for changing the courses of rivers. But the companies were geared high and the amalgamations we have briefly sketched took place. But still there was waste and it was not until 1926 that a satisfactory reorganization was planned and put
into efïect under the banner of Canadian Explosives Limited. This, as we know, became a C-I-L division in 1927.
Yes, you always need dynamite. Listen to a sample report. “The largest blast made in Canada to date (September 13, 1933) was made at the Flin Flon Mine of the Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Company. In this blast, 281,875 pounds were exploded instantaneously and broke approximately 583,750 tons of rock and ore.” Notice that one pound of dynamite broke more than two tons of rock and ore.* They drilled five miles of 6 in. holes in this blast and it took them twelve days to do the job and cost about $72,000.
This is spectacular and it makes for imaginative reading, but the explosives companies are best expressed by humbler demonstrations. Says the report further: “The greatest amount of commercial explosives is used in underground mining of metals and non-metallics. . . . Many thousands of blasts of this kind are made daily using from a few ounces to five pounds or more per charge. Approximately 30,000 such blasts are made daily.” And there are also the blasts needed for felling chimney stacks or demolishing walls, for breaking concrete engine beds or old castings; and the blasts which agriculture or aviation require when fields are studded with boulders or stumps. And many thousands of blasts of this kind are made daily, too.
THIS in brief is what the Explosives Division does for you ; remember some time when you look at your heirloom watch that a stick of dynamite started it ticking. They have precarious and delicate operations at such plants as Beloeil. The manufacture of explosives by no manual of industry is considered the safest of occupations. It is unwise, for instance, to allow too much friction to occur when you mix materials. And the lighting of matches is looked upon with disfavour. Delicacy is called for too in transportation, but there have been no recent premature explosions. There are more generally known industries that can boast no such records.
So the Explosives Division proved what it had suspected all the time, that the tops of peace spin as fast as those of war.
It also discovered (through its affiliate, du Pont) something else which made logical the formation of a C-I-L Paint and Varnish Division of which we shall later have occasion to speak. Mention of the discovery, however, is fitting here. At the close of the war, explosives companies, here as well as in the United States, found themselves not only overgrown but supplied with too many raw materials for estimated consumption. Of nitrocellulose which forms a base for cordite and pyro powder, there was an especial superabundance. So the chemists played and experimented with cellulose and they reduced it and thinned it and they found something which
•Another interesting figure taken from the actual report of a gold mine: 2.7 tons (86,400 oz. avoirdupoids) of rock were exploded by 5} 3 pounds (about 85 oz. av.) of explosive to yield La pound (10 oz. Troy) of gold.
they thought could be used as a varnish for finishing purposes. The automobile industry, (you remember there was a boom right after the war), and the furniture industry, which had a boom also, took instant liking to the new product which, besides other qualities, dried quickly (without it, or its equivalent, the mass production of automobiles would be impossible). The product was known as Duco, and, but for the grace of peace, it might have gone on being turned into explosives. There was smart chemistry behind that complete change.
/IT Sandwich, Ontario, too, ii there has been smart chemistry. For there is salt under the ground there, and above the ground are the tops of a group of wells, the salt plant, some office buildings and a laboratory, an ammonia plant and a plant to produce hydrogen, chlorine and caustic soda. Detroit River curves around all this and you can see the tall buildings on the other side if you have a notion to look.
There is rich history in the land; there were battles fought, and until 1801 the site was a Huron Indian Reserve. In that year an explicit document was drawn and signed which read in part: “Whereas we, the Principal Chiefs, Warriors and People of the Ottawa, Chippewa, Poutawatchie and Wyandotte Nations of Indians, being desirous for a certain consideration hereafter shown, of selling and disposing of a certain parcel of, or trail of land situate, lying and being to the Southeast side of the Detroit River, and known by the name of the Huron Church Reserve, unto His Britannic Majesty George the Third, our Great Father, now know Ye that we, the Principal Chiefs, Warriors and People of the Ottawa, Chippewa, Poutawatchie and Wyandotte Nations, for, and in consideration of the sum of Three Hundred Pounds . . . have given, granted, sold, disposed of and confirmed, and by these presents do give, grant, sell, dispose of and confirm forever unto Captain Thomas Affairs for and on behalf of his said Britannic Majesty King George the Third, his heirs, and successors ...” the land known as the Huron Church Reserve. Which simply meant that the British Government had bought, purchased, acquired, taken title of, a nice piece of property. It was from every point of view a good buy.
For beneath this property, as we have already stated, there is salt. There is enough salt, by a recent estimate, in the 3,000 square miles which
TO BE SEATED ABOVE THE SALT
. . . was an old world mark of distinction. The family “saler” of massive silver was placed near the head of the table and you could tell your social position by whether or not you could reach it. It was a rather rough era but it did not lack for books of etiquette which contained among other injunctions these: “Please do not wipe your hands on the coat of the dog” and “Do not dip your meat in the salt cellar.” Royal guests brought their own “nesses,” a receptacle of gold or silver, bearing their coat of arms, a salt cellar, a towel and table cutlery. The custom (very necessary in those days) of washing one’s hands before and after meals has to a certain extent prevailed until today. It is no longer customary (as it was then) always to announce dinner by blowing trumpets.
constitute the salt beds of Southwestern Ontario, to supply mankind’s needs for 90,(XX) years. The salt was discovered by accident. A syndicate was digging for oil and a large quantity of fairly useless sulphur water gushed unpleasantly all over the place. Two enterprising business men, however, conceived the idea of launching a health resort, and for a while the boats plied a merry trade across the river and people tried the baths and found them good. The development might have ended there if it had not been for another neighbouring digger for oil, who dug farther and with more pertinacity and discovered the salt bed. There was plenty of salt in
There was plenty of salt in Canada at the time but it was not accessible, nor did it show commercial promise. The discovery of the huge Ontario salt beds did two immediate things. It showed such astute business men as Sir William Van Horne that here was opportunity for a good industrial enterprise (he became the first President of The Canadian Salt Company, now part of C-I-L’s Salt and Alkali Division), and because of the soon apparent vastness of the bed, it changed salt—so far as concerned—from a non-metallie chemical. The question was no longer how to get salt, but how best to use it. When there’s enough for 90,(XX) years you can put off worrying about the source of supply.
It is possible to get salt, as Ghandi used to, by simply evaporating it from sea water, and in certain parts of California you will see mountains of the stuff, recovered in precisely this way. But the salt at Sandwich is 1,600 feet below tlie surface of the earth. The system used here is simpler and quicker.
As you may see from the diagrams on the facing page, water is pumped down to the 1.600 ft. level, where it dissolves the salt into salt brine (which is nothing other than the chemist’s name for salt dissolved in water). The brine is forced to the top, where it is led to storage tanks (in the United States a very similar system is used for the recovery of sulphur). F rom storage the brine goes to three vacuum evaporator tanks whose duties, as the name implies, are simply to evaporate the water from the salt. The use of a vacuum shows a pretty application of a physical law. It is known that liquids will boil more readily than under ordinary circumstances if a partial vacuum is maintained in their containers. So the brine is boiled in the first tank, precipitating salt and generating steam. The steam is led to the second tank (which is in partial vacuum) where it boils more brine, precipitates more salt, generates more steam. This steam goes to the third tank (in which there is a still greater vacuum) and the same thing goes on all over again. It is as simple as that. The salt is then washed and dried and either goes to screens which sort it according to size of grains—fine salt is therefore no more expensive than coarse—or to a block press which forms it into a large hard cube for cattle licks (Contrary to popular suspicion, by the way, salt is good, not bad, for hogs).
There are, of course, other things you can do with brine. You can simply let it evaporate without acceleration and recover a sort of hopperlike crystal. Or, once you have the salt itself, you may treat it with a touch of iodine as a
preventative for goitre. Or, by passing it through a bath of hickory smoke, smoke it. This means that when you make smoked meats you have simply to treat them with this salt, eliminating the custom of a smoke-house.
Now the uses of salt are legion (you can estimate 1,400 in contemporary life) and its history links with the history of man. Roman legionnaires used to receive part of their pay in salt—their salarium, which gave its name to the august institution of salaries. It has been used for coin of the realm, and possibly with less success applied to the tails of birds. Job found occasion to mention it and a recent American authority opined that if the salt were removed from the human system, life would be extinct in two days. It is admitted excellent for teeth and gums and gargles. It will prevent spontaneous combustion in the storing of hay. It will keep ants away, freeze ice cream, and remove ink spots if it is applied soon enough. It is a valuable non-metallic mineral and it is also pleasant to know there is so much of it at Sandwich.
But the importance of salt is greater as a chemical than as a commodity. Broken up by electrolysis it engenders in one way or another chlorine, hydrochloric acid, caustic soda, ammonia. The water which made your morning bath was, like as not, purified with salt’s chlorine, your leather in its curing knew salt, there is caustic soda in the making of soap, and rayon stockings, and in the panes of your living room windows.
HERE, with peculiar felicity, does salt exemplify Chemistry’s (and hence C-I-L’s) ubiquitous invisibility. It is one of the odd things about chemical companies, as we have somewhere suggested that their products must often go unrecognized. When you buy a package of Salt produced in Sandwich you will recognize the company’s oval trademark, you will know whom to congratulate or condemn in case you should be prompted to do either. But the textiles you have in your home bear no acknowledgment to the chlorine which bleached them, or the dyes which dyed them. Nor is it necessary that they should. The list is too long of the secondary and tertiary manufactures that go into the products the consumers see. But some-
times these hidden manufactures should be permitted to come into the open and take their unaccustomed bows. It is easy to remember that the salt pumped out of the earth by the gaunt wells there in Sandwich is the same salt that flavours the meat of Sunday’s dinner; you are rather more than likely, on the other hand, to forget the saltborn chlorine which purifies the water in your taps, or the caustic soda which is eleven percent of your soap. It is evidently not for nothing that the salt of the earth is plentiful.
SALT, Canada has in abundance. And lumber.
And gold and copper, and even radium. She lacks little. But nowhere in Canada is there any free sulphur. And sulphur is important. Canada imported some $2,226,000 worth of it from the United States as of fiscal March, 1932. It is the S in H,SO,— and II.,SO, is sulphuric acid, perhaps the most widely used acid in industry, and known to man ever since some dim Arabian chemists first produced it by burning sulphur-bearing minerals and choking unpleasantly for their pains.
A few years ago a man might have turned a pretty fortune if he found comparatively free sulphur jaundicing the pit of his mine. It still would be no inconsiderable find; but it would be less important today because Canada can produce almost all the sulphuric acid it needs. The chemists have been at it again.
It is as well, no matter what JeanJacques Rousseau had to say about it, that men do not emulate everything they see in nature. For, to whatever system of morals, chemistry is an offender. We shall here endeavour to trace the story of a few of its peculations; we shall see grandchildren siring their grandparents, a thought sufficiently absurd to make us drop immediately all efforts towards personalizing. Hut in chemistry there is a sort of perpetual motion, the graph of chemical reactions can be, and often is, as endless and repetitious as a circle, or better perhaps,
with a nod to C-I-L’s trademark, as an oval.
The story may as well start chronologically. Some forty years ago, in Copper Cliff, in the Sudbury Basin of Northern Ontario, a plant was built to produce copper. But when the first load was shipped to the refiners, a quantity of nickel was discovered in combination with the copper. The question was, how to separate them —and the answer, though distant, was prompt.
Nitric acid was manufactured in the United States and Canada from nitrate of soda (Chili saltpeter) and produced (as a by-product) a compound called nitre cake. And the nitre cake
efficiently separated the copper from the nickel. Thus was founded the International Nickel Company’s huge operations in the Sudbury district.
So everything was fine. Tons of nitre cake were shipped to the plant; copper and nickel were produced in decorous independence, and for miles from the plant’s tall chimneys churned industry’s weighted smoke.
But sulphuric acid is necessary and here was this sulphurous smoke and why couldn’t something be done about it? Something was. At Copper Cliff now stands a plant of C-I-L’s Acids and General Chemicals Division, and its chief function is to retrieve sulphur from the smoke. And all of this was as pretty and logical
a gesture of economy as anybody could desire.
The thing is simple to tell, but it is not simple to look at and if you ponder about it you cannot explain it at all. Even chemists can’t. The plant is about 200 feet long, 75 feet high, with its storage tanks in the background. The inside writhes with a ganglia of pipes, vats, tanks and other unlikely containers. It hums and sputters and it is portentous. This plant is connected with International Nickel’s plant by a large steel pipe, 1,000 feet long. Through this pipe flows the smoke.
THIS smoke consists of sulphur dioxide (S02) air and impurities such as dust and arsenic. So they clean the smoke—dry it, shock it from its impurities with 50,000 volts of electricity and lead it to another pipe that contains a few granules of platinum. This last is a catalyst. And the 50,000 volts are directed particularly against the arsenic because arsenic poisons the catalyst, and a poisoned catalyst is just exactly what it sounds like.
In case you do not remember: a catalyst is an element or compound which takes part in and fosters a chemical reaction without losing its own identity or in any way doing damage to itself. And the mj^stery of the catalyst is the mystery of chemistry. No man has explained it. In this case the sulphur dioxide passes over the platinum, takes unto itself an extra atom of oxygen, and emerges as sulphur trioxide (S03). Without the presence of the platinum, it won’t do it. And through it all the platinum remains
completely unchanged, and probably unconcerned. You can’t explain it either.
Well, water is 11,0. And 11,0 plus SO, give H,S04 and that is how sulphuric acid came from smoke. One hundred and fifty tons of it a day from 39,000,000 cubic feet of smelter smoke.
You remember that the separation of nickel and copper requires nitre cake. Well, there was plenty of nitre cake while nitric acid was being made by the old process from Chilean nitrate, but chemists discovered a way of extracting nitrogen from the air and that was bad news for Chile. Because what was the use of sending to Chile for nitrate when you could make nitric acid directly from the bracing atmosphere of your
own home town. The only trouble with that, as far as International Nickel was concerned, was that when you extract nitrogen from air you do not make nitre cake as a by-product. And as the production of nitric acid from Chilean nitrate sank so did the price of nitre cake rise.
At this point, Horseshoe Lake, Saskatchewan, receives a cue and struts upon the stage. In Saskatchewan is a large natural deposit of sodium sulphate. And by treating this sulphate with sulphuric acid you can make nitre cake (actually cakes, six inches long and four inches wide). So the Saskatchewan sulphate is shipped by train to Copper Cliff and about fifty percent of the Copper Cliff sulphuric is diverted to treat the sulphate which makes nitre cake, which, as we know, divorces the copper from the nickel.
AND if this chemical chain docs not seem endless l\. enough we might point out that some of the sulphuric can be mixed with nitric acid (produced from synthetic ammonia made from the sal t brine of Sandwich), and that this mixture of sulphuric and nitric can be (and is) applied to glycerine at the Explosives Division plants, and the result of that is dynamite (which is a very handy explosive) and is used to mine the ores from which the sulphur dioxide and hence the sulphuric acid is derived. And
again, you are at the beginning or at the end.
All this groaning and heaving and bubbling. The delicate temperature charts tracing the difference between 450 and 451 degrees when either degree is monstrous. A few men and a few controls and millions of cubic feet of smoke suffer an acid change. Or another method in Hamilton. Sulphuric acid or acetic acid. Muriatic acid, nitric acid. And at home the lights go on when the evening comes, the starter worked the second time although the engine was cold as sin, and the plated silver and the china that Mother gave are spotless on the dinner table cloth. For acids, whether you know who made them or not, are present in all of this.
They make acids and they sell acids. There is a C-I-L Division which wall even sell diethylammoniumdiethyldithiocarbamate if you ask for it, but they’ll help you and give it an easier name. But probably you’re lucky and you won’t ask for it. You’ll simply use something
Original painting by
... helped to build it
AT 34, he became President and Managing Director of Canadian Explosives Limited (1925) the name of which company was in 1927 changed to Canadian Industries Limited, a position for which an early business training with Sir Harry McGowan especially fitted him. His was the hand that organized C-I-L with its many, but well-knit ramifications. "Who’s Who” lists him on eight directorates. Winters, he skiis in the Laurcntians. In summers, he sails; at all seasons, he listens to music and reads widely. H e is married, has one son.
BACK in Queen Victoria’s reign he was an office boy in a Nobel’s Explosives Company plant in Glasgow. Today he is chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries Limited which includes Nobel's. Autumnal skies and gilt staterooms of the Southampton-bound “Aquitania" saw him and Alfred Mond determine the merger which created I.C.I. (Nobel companies welded to Brunner, Mond companies). A director of C-i-L, he has been in the forefront of its development.
BRILLIANT son of a brilliant father (Ludwig Mond, farsighted Victorian founder of British chemical concerns), barrister, Cabinet Minister, and apostle of Imperial economic unity. Not least, a kindly gentleman. At his death, in 1930, he was Chairman of I.C.I. Pride and faith had he in C-I-L and in other extensive Canadian interests. He was perhaps better known as Sir Alfred Mond.
SURGEON, U.S. Army, turned business man. Married into a family of powder-makers, and became one. Became President, Hamilton Powder Company, in 1878, sixteen years after the company’s incorporation and eleven years after the Canadian Fathers had made Confederation. He died with the Edwardian era, aged 73. Left five sons, of whom one, Winthrop, is C-I-L’s Vice-President.
SAGACIOUS Canadian to whom was entrusted the care of the infant explosives merger in 1910 (the year His Majesty the King succeeded Edward VII). President from then on throughout the hurly-burly of the war days to 1925. From 1925 until his death in the early spring of 1930, he was Chairman of the Board. Active besides in banking, glass, textiles, asbestos, motors and carpets, amongst other t hings.
THE C.P.R.’S first President. Faced by a waste of forest, rock and muskeg, not to speak of the truly-named Rockies, he subdued them, and drove the shining lines of steel West to East and East to West until they met in a golden spike at Craigellachie. He had courage, and determination — and dynamite was his strong right hand. First President of The Canadian Salt Company, now part of C-I-L.
THE dogged and resourceful Swede who discovered dynamite and thereby placed in man’s hands an instrument of mighty power. And by the same token rolled the progress of the years on ast. Perpetually remembered , too, by the Prize Fund he founded, and by the village on Georgian Bay named after him. Loved peace as he loved life. Abuse of someof hisinventions caused deep grief.
that used it and be none the wiser though possibly somewhat the happier.
You’ll walk in the buildings of steel, and the steel industry is an important user of sulphuric acid. And you can eat vegetables that sulphuric acid helped to fertilize, or look at engravings that were etched by nitric.
That is C-I-L-’s visible invisibility, if you want to play with a paradox. The Division, which, insofar as the retail customer can see its direct wares, might not be existing at all.
CANADIAN INDUSTRIES LIMITED is, however, no ghost. Not all its products are acids we do not surmise, or alkalies we do not think about. For we have actually seen the pumped salt, neatly packaged and appropriately labelled. And the gold miners can purchase the blasting powder with the instructions and the booklets.
We have looked at Sandwich and Copper Cliff; and Beloeil, where the wide-apart plants are built with high embankments lest some day there be an accident. Let us now glance at Tor-
onto and, most unlikely of things, the manufacture of leather cloth.
We are still with the same Company—another Division, as you expected. Drive along the wide road with Lake Ontario to your left. You’ll reach New Toronto and presently there’ll be a sign proclaiming the whereabouts of the Fabrikoid Division and you’ll present yourself, if you have a permit, and see the plant.
Well, here we run into cellulose again. Cellulose comes from (it actually is) nothing more
extraordinary than cotton or w’ood. You can make nitrocellulose from it if you know how, and it was nitrocellulose, if you remember, that made the explosives for the careful men at Beloeil. And it was also from nitrocellulose that chemists made Duco and other finishes after the war. So perhaps it does not seem extraordinary that artificial leather should be made from it too.
As A matter of fact, C-I-L has yet another L Division, the Pyralin, which makes boudoir sets and tooth-brush handles, and even, during the brief moment of their popularity, those agile toys called Yo-Yo. Pyralin is made from pyroxylin and pyroxylin is a product of cellulose. The foreman of the Fabrikoid plant will explain it all to you, patiently. And you will understand it, you will have a glimpse of the appalling simplicity of the entire chain of manufacture. But it remains disconcerting. Psychologists have studied and stressed the importance of association. But, no matter how patient the foreman, it is still difficult to associate Pyralin baby rattles, dynamite, and leatherette coats for rainy days. Yet there they are, all cellulose in one form or another.
The Fabrikoid plant itself is a sinuous affair and in a sense an unbelievable affair. Because
Fabrikoid, which, as everyone knows, looks and feels like leather, starts its transmutatory journey as nothing but a bolt of grey cotton cloth. You will be told that the cloth is carefully selected, and tested in laboratories and you will know this is true; the cloth will still look like a quite ordinary and commonplace bolt of grey cotton cloth. And then, before your amazed and unbelieving eyes, you wall see that cloth dyed to an approximation of the colour it will eventually wear, run through a series of rollers, and emerge as an end-
less strip of “leather,” grained, perhaps, or plain. While it was going through the rollers, of course, you saw the coloured coating applied to it. Or a rubbery mixture which actually is part rubber and coats it. But the transformation seems so quick and simple that you are inclined to doubt it. It is reassuring to hear the foreman tell you of the difficulties of exactly matching colours, of the thousands of colour formulae that are stored somewhere in the plant, of the fact that it is not always sufficient merely to run the cloth through rollers, that sometimes it has to be stamped by a sort of embossing press. One is inclined to feel that that is better, that it should be difficult to convert a piece of grey cloth into a sort of leather. You are glad that it takes skilled labour to man the machines and trained eyes to spot minute flaws that may show up during any operation. Psychologists may also be able to explain why you feel this way.
C-I-L, of course, manufactures only the Fabrikoid and kin products; others fashion it into shoes and purses, upholstery, Tontine window shades (their boast: you can wash and scrub them, they never crack or fade or “pinhole”), “ Muralart” wall covering, golf bags . . . possibly only the catalogues would have space to continue.
The advertisements delight to show rooms in which only the people and the fire are not made of Fabrikoid. Your chairs may be covered with it, it is used effectively as a wall-covering, it firmly binds many modern books.
Fabrikoid is not expensive. It is one of countless twentieth century innovations which have been designed to meet the increasing demand for cheaper and more efficient materials. And to this demand the material has been giving
a sturdy answer. Your bibliophile, for instance, may still prefer his Essays of Elia bound in calf. But the covers will fall off eventually and have to be repasted, and probably an insect with the "engaging name of “silver fish” will start eating them one of these days. Silver fish do not like Fabrikoid.
Fabrikoid is not expensive. In a day when the low-priced car is the manufacturer’s fortune, watch his upholstery. Watch the purses on the streets, the suitcases returning from the weekend, the bindings on the latest school-books. Watch the composite window shades in new buildings and the wall paper. You do not have to look far to find samples of this cellulose product that rolls in yards from the smooth machines in Toronto.
THERE is another story of cellulose and it concerns waterproofing. But it is not a piece of grey cotton cloth that is waterproofed, but a shot-shell. The story is one they tell in Brownsburg, Quebec, where is the Dominion Ammunition Division of C-I-L.
Duco did the waterproofing but it was not a matter of simply dipping a shell into the stuff and letting it dry. There were various moistureproofing processes incident to it and there had to be a special preparation of the shell before the Duco
would adhere. The shell emerged with a hard glistening finish, now familiar everywhere in the Dominion. Than the discovery of smokeless powder no single development in ammunition manufacture has been of greater importance. It was an answer to a very ancient and far from maidenly sportsman’s prayer; it was the impossibility of taking a shell from the bottom of a
blind or the wet pocket of a shooting jacket and having it fit the breech with smoothness and shoot with perfection. And it was a complete preservation of factory ballistics. There was no ammunition maker but had tried to discover just such a shell; that it was Dominion Ammunition which succeeded is perhaps its dearest boast of all.
It was a happy discovery and in Brownsburg there must have been a shot or two in celebration. The sporting stores soon showed glasses of water in their windows and in the glass a shiny red shell. And there was greater fame than before (and greater demand) for such familiar Canadian stand-bys as Canuck or Imperial.
In the far north the hunter and trapper is finicky when he chooses his ammunition. For on one cartridge life may depend. The Rockies grizzly or the wounded bull moose wait not often for a second shot. Dominion must assure that the first, if fired truly, will reach its mark.
It is not an easy thing to make ammunition for guns vary and the same type cartridge must function as well in the chill north as in the south where the heat is humid. Dominion’s ammunitions have met these and other tests and the sportsmen and hunters speak long of its wares. There is the “super-clean” priming and the softnosed bullet, or the pneumatic bullet. And in the smallest of calibres, there are the Whiz Bang 22’s
which have changed the 22 rifle into a weapon that hits the mark at one hundred yards or more. And the Bisley 22’s have a trophy room of records that few like cartridges may boast.
There is a group of men in Brownsburg, Quelle, who do nothing but shoot all day. Not for the sport of it, but in deadly and meticulous earnest. They shoot not at game or marauders but at a series of targets, and all they arc doing is testing cartridges and shells. Because of that incessant staccato shooting, the Dominion Ammunition Division is as certain as any company can be that its wares leave its factory in perfect condition. And “perfect” is an exacting adjective.
These shooting men, it is reported, consume between seven and ten percent of the factory’s total production. That means seven out of every hundred cartridges, seventy thousand out of every million. You could scarcely ask for greater testing. The slightest misfire or hangfire, and an entire batch is scrapped.
That is why men in Brownsburg shoot and shoot. And why other men at Brownsburg use the chronograph that measures the speeds of bullets and pressure guns that tell the breech pressures. And the gauges that can report an inaccuracy of one ten thousandth of an inch.
Throughout Canada Dominion Ammunition
has organized marksmen clubs for boys whose memberships now approximate 50,000. And under Dominion auspices the police of the several Provinces hold annual shooting competitions for annual prizes. And there exists than the company no more eloquent spokesman for the preservation of game. That none of these activities are calculated to lessen the business of the company should not detract from their social value. Dominion seeks and fosters its business where it may, but it also has a reputation to keep and it keeps it jealously.
The world knows Canada for its sport and there are those who visualize it only in terms of flying geese and suspicious moose. And this company has taken that renown to heart and throughout Canada its name and the names of its ammunition come easily to the lips.
WHEN the chemists developed it they called it Pyralin as a euphonious reminder of its chemical origin, pyroxylin. It was a plastic manufactured from cotton treated with acid (again the cotton, the cellulose) but it looked like jade, or tortoise shell, or mother-of-pearl, or ivory. It had beauty and it was a beauty of infinite variety. It could be opaque or transparent, tinted or white, mottled or plain, glisten-
ing or dull in its finish—and its glittering uses were legion. You have seen it in fountain pens and soap boxes, in eye-shields or tooth-brush handles, combs, and perhaps most important of all, boudoir sets.
Now the chemists can do these things and the processes whereby they succeed remain mystery to the ordinary man. And the chemist is content to say “this is a plastic”; it remains for others to fashion it into its limitless manifestations. Into the boudoir sets or gaily coloured “zippers” (as the public is apt to call all slidefasteners) for the fronts of blouses, or buttons and for other uses which are a thousand.
Now these materials, these “plastics”, are a chemist’s secret. They couch their origins in chemical terms we do not understand, but the company gives them trade names and these we understand and we use. And wre have seen these new materials, this “Pyralin” of multiple appearances, displace with its gloss and colour, other materials of more familiar origins. And our lives have been enriched by its colourations, we have come to demand its brilliancies. It is cotton, they say, treated with acid, but we are wiser than they. We accept it as Pyralin as wre have accepted marble as marble or jade as jade.
For this, to great extent, is a chemical age and plastics are part of our living.
Time was when boudoir sets were accumulated piece by piece; the bristles were soft on the brush when the mirror joined it. And there was the incessant polishing and cleaning. And pity the set in the guest room which was probably wood, and blistering at that!
The appearance of Pyralin in the popular world of feminine articles held within itself the seeds of an interesting revolution. For one thing it was low-priced. And for another it had colour and if the guest room were blue the set could be blue, and if your room were green, there was a green set too. And there was no polishing, and the material remained shiny and (although women would have more cogent reasons of their own for approving of it) its co-efficient of expansion is so low that to date it is considered probably the most successful material on the market for holding the bristles of brushes (hair or tooth.)
Like most plastics, it is practically unbreakable and it can be worked into almost any desired shape. For it is not only boudoir sets. It is buttons. And combs and rattles and soap boxes and umbrella handles and ferrules. And fountain pens and pencils. “Shatter-proof” glass is two sheets of glass with a sheet of Pyralin between them. And the now disappearing side curtains of automobiles are made almost exclusively from it. The material has its homely utilities too. But the uses it will have in the future, no man can predict. It is no undue stretch of the imagination, for instance, to visualize it widely used in architecture. Or in interior decoration. Its sheen and its colour, alone, should carry it far. But it surely is safe to predict that there will always be some on the boudoir table. And in the guest room. And in the odd hundred or so other places where you find it today.
AFTER the lustre of Pyralin, we ask you: l \ consider the lowly tin can. Or the bottle top painted white and bearing the name of the beverage maker in red or in green or in blue. Or, if you like, the gaily-painted pail the youngsters take to the beach and fill with mud
while an inch of a Great Lake wets their naked toes. The colours these flaunt are paint and it is paint subjected to trying circumstances. Because the patterns are “rolled” on the tin when it is a long and flat sheet. And the tin is then punched into pail or bottle cap. And the paints must not crack.
And consider the fender of a car painted here and the body painted there and remember that when the car is assembled these colours may to no degree vary. Matters such as these furrow the brows of paint men. But it must be said that the brows in the Paint and Varnish Division of C-I-L are fairly free of furrows. The business is well organized.
The Division will tell you that the automobile is its greatest single user of paints. It will also speak, as we have already done, about Duco, the importance of which is primarily its quickdrying qualities. You can finish the body of a car with it in one day, if you really want to. Generally it takes two or three. Previously it took three or four weeks of waiting for the finish to dry. The difference between them is simple; paints dry by the slow oxidation of the oils within them; Duco (a cellulose product, as you remember) dries by the evaporation of its solvent. And that takes comparatively no time at all. A later and still newer development is Dulux (Prof. Auguste Piccard’s stratosphere gondola was finished with Dulux—a new high for finishes). This is a synthetic resin enamel, used largely on trucks and buses and some 1934 passenger cars.
The Division knows automobiles and it knows the popular colours in automobiles. Its representatives watch the motor shows, hold long conferences with manufacturers. And each month’s preference in colours is carefully recorded. Black has always been the public’s favourite for automobiles. Blue, for the last four years, was second in importance. But as of December, 1933, it appeared that grey (which includes blue-greys or green-greys) had surpassed blue. Green too is popular, maroon is fifth on the list. It is with information such as this that the Division prepares its range of colours. When automobile manufacturers make their selection and place their orders, they do not like to wait to have them filled. And the charts multiply in the Division’s plants and the public’s changing preferences are each month recorded and prophesied.
Paints and varnishes, it seems, may come from anything: fossilized saps from Zanzibar or the Congo, Kauri trees in New Zealand, manilla gum from the East Indies. The oils are linseed from flax in the prairies or the Argentines or China wood oil from the nut of the tung tree. Lately, of course, there have been the synthetic resins, of which the “alkyd” type is produced by cooking glycerin and phthalic acid which is a derivative of naphthalene which in turn is an intermediate of dyes. The pig-
ments are mostly manufactured. Your blues come from potassium, the bright reds use dyestuffs (and are expensive; about SI2 a pound, whereas the red for a barn will cost only a few cents). White lead has always been used in paints or zinc oxide but recently lithopone (zinc sulphide plus barium sulphate) is being substituted, and avoids the familiar danger of lead poisoning. It is, as you may see, not easy to imagine the complicated chemical equations that hide within a can of paint.
MERE are the plants of the Paint and Varnish Division at Toronto and Regina. There are the vats and the mixers, the bright spilled paints, the innocent cotton linters which will form the Duco since they were not formed into explosives. And on the roof is the “paint farm” which you reach through a skylight and by a slight ladder. Here some 1,500 painted shingles of wood or metal face south at an angle of forty-five degrees. South—because exposure is worse from the south. Through night and day (and light is the worst enemy of paint), and snow and heat the shingles stay there and every week they are examined. Before C-I-L advertises the outdoor qualities of its paints it has tested them thoroughly. You will see shingles so old that they are falling apart, still a trace of paint clings to them and a note will be made to that effect. It is a wicked ordeal and impressive.
The business of the Division falls logically into four categories; it goes to the manufacturer of automobiles, it goes to the garages which repair and refinish automobiles, it goes to other industries like the manufacturers of furniture, it goes through dealers directly to customers who want to paint a house or a kitchen chair. The colours they sell are myriad; in the office all paints are numbered and catalogued, but the public will forever prefer a “Chrome Yellow” to “Yellow
No.....” so a named yellow it receives. And
the public, .since the advent of quick-drying enamels (Cilux, a brother of Dulux, is C-I-L’s pet) has taken to painting its furniture with an enthusiasm ordinarily reserved only for major athletic contests.
Within the last ten years or so the use of colour in the Dominion and the United States has enormously advanced. Broom handles have turned crimson, even ash cans maybe baby blue. The rainbow has chased the dingy and gloomy from our homes. This cheerful trend was in no wise calculated to dishearten the paint companies. But the paint men sell chiefly protection. The painted fence lasts where the other tumbles. Even the gilt tint in the inside of a sardine can is a special paint and that too is protection. It is to improve that protection that the farm faces South on the plant roof and that the chemists in the laboratory try every day to find yet another synthetic resin that will have yet another new quality.
"EWEST and most glittering of C-I-L’s Divisions is the Cellophane. You have seen it on the packages of cigarettes and covering the shirts in the stores. Perhaps you did not know that it is being made for Canada in a plant at Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, for it has no way of proclaiming this when you tear it from the package and crumple it and watch the light catch the bright folds. But you know Cellophane.
There were three eras in merchandising and Cellophane is the last and the best. The first was an era of bulk, of the barrel of cookies in the grocery store and the dust and the crumbs and the mixed odours of many different commodities. The scale and the scoop. And then came the era of packages and that was sensible. But it had one drawback. At least, with the barrel you could see what you were buying, and sometimes, simply because you saw it, you bought it. That didn’t happen with the packages. You asked for the package you wanted, and never bothered with the others, one box from the outside, is much like another. And the last era was Cellophane and you can see the rest. Cellophane made possible “visible merchandising,” it placed what was tantamount to a flexible glass case over the product. Furthermore, Cellophane had a peculiar brilliance of its own. And so it happened that package after package came to look the better for it, until it seemed indeed that all that glittered was Cellophane.
LL was not, however. There are still plenty of things that are not wrapped in Cellophane. But you do not see them so often. Merchants by preference and by canniness display those that are wrapped in it. The proof of the Cellophane pudding is in the seeing. It is the greatest stimulus to merchandising in a decade.
Cellophane was not found overnight; prior to 1900 experiments had been carried out in manufacturing transparent films for wrappings but it was not until 1912 that anything was evolved reasonably approaching Cellophane as it is known today. And until 1924 there was no Cellophane manufactured outside of France. And in France it was expensive and used only on the most luxurious of luxuries, or for eyepieces of gas masks. Which is a fairly complete study in contrasts.
It came, patented and protected, to du Pont in 1923 and du Pont thought it good. But it was not until 1927 that moisture-proof Cellophane was developed. Du Pont found that and they meant to.
It came to Canada a few years ago, patented and protected, of course, and Canadian Industries Limited built a modern plant at Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, and started to manufacture it, under contract with the Du Pont Cellophane Company, Inc.,
of the United States. l^
Then you and I got it, not caring a hoot whose patent it was but more than a little interested in what it was protecting.
The appreciation grew with familiarity. Some of the most valuable of Cellophane’s qualities were not discovered until after it had been in common use a six-months or so. It had first to become a national plaything, and part of its charm (oh, loveliest of celluloses!) is that it will no doubt remain so. It is grateful to the touch and the eye.
But it is more. It is a protection that even a hospital will respect. And in that uncompromising protection lies the seed of Cellophane’s permanence. For this civilization has learned about cleanliness from advertisements and now demands it. And it has heard too about freshness and hermetic sealing. And these Cellophane gives. And these are more important, if not as readily clear as its sparkling transparency.
You probably know the rest about Cellophane, that it comes in different weights and six different colours, that there is a moisture-proof kind and a non-moisture-proof. You may know it is a cellulose and made from wood and caustic soda, sulphuric acid and glycerol, and that there is no difference at heart between Cellophane and rayon. You too must have played with it after you tore it from the packages and you have seen and heard of the sales mounting after it was used. And you have tasted of the freshness and the cleanliness of the foods it wrapped. So you really know the story of Cellophane, youngest of C-I-L’s Divisions, as it has been told here.
WHEN Cellophane is coloured it is coloured by dyes. And the dyes, with the nicely co-ordinated interplay between Divisions which we have observed, come from C-I-L’s Division of Dyestuffs.
It is customary also to decorate the boxes of ammunition with hunting scenes, or at least with a picture of a shell. And these are invariably bright red.
And if they are bright red, the chances are great that the printing inks have been made from dyestuffs. Which again means that very probably the C-I-L Dyestuffs Division supplied the colour. But this Division does more than supply only C-I-L’s needs.
The Division does not manufacture in Canada but its dyes, imported from Imperial Chemical and du Pont, are flamboyantly spread throughout the Dominion. It also distributes in lesser quantities products which are called “intermediates” (mostly coal tar derivatives), which are used in the early stages of making dyes. The three most important of these have an almost Biblical swing to their names : benzene, naphthalene and anthracene. They go largely to the paint and varnish industry for conversion into pigments (it is impossible, without dyes, to obtain such colours as scarlet or Dutch blue; the ordinary pigments lack required brilliancy). Some are used as a flotation agent in the mining of gold, some go to the textile industry, and some, oddly enough, must sometimes be present to fix a dye completely on textiles and fabrics.
The finished dyes constitute by far the greater part of business. Dyes, of course, go to the textile industry, to hosiery (which, to a dye man, means anything that is knitted), to leather, to paints, to inks, to Cellophane and Fabrikoid for the colouring thereof. The paper industry is an exceptionally large user. All paper is dyed, whether it is newsprint, or tissue, wrapping or writing, and whether it is orchid in colour or white. And more than ninety percent of furs sold in the United States or Canada have been dyed to a varying degree. Which may be a surprise but should not be it blow.
In 1931 the dyeing industry in Canada accounted for some $2,000,000 worth of business. How much of that was Canadian Industries’ is not revealed. But its dyes are well known and C-I-L has an efficient sales organization. One of their points of pride: all their salesmen are technicians, they know the dyeing industry in its complicated entirety. In fact, they constitute a sort of free bureau of informa-
tion and the day rarely goes by that dye users do not need some sort of technical advice. In ways like these, customers are found and kept.
The Dyestuffs Division is alert and well organized. It is another whose products are never labelled when they reach the ultimate consumer (the little packages of dyes you buy for use-athome may, however, have been made from C-I-L intermediates), and its existence is therefore often unsuspected. Which has in no wise affected its quiet efficiency. Or, it will hasten to assure you, the fastness or brilliance of its dyes.
nnnERE are the farms in Canada and the long 1 rolling fields. And the hay to be mown and the milking and the shorthorn Dull that may win the prize at the fair. And this is the most of Canada. And for this there is the Fertilizer Division.
Nor is this a small Division, for it produces annually about 60,000 tons of fertilizer, as well as other farm and garden products. It sells, for instance, Plant Food and Nicotine Sulphate for your garden and mixed fertilizer for your fields. It sells insecticides and superphosphate, nitrate of soda and soluble mineral stock food. It answers questions daily and helps a thousand farmers. The list of its products is long. Bui there are two things that become apparent in the fertilizer business: one is that it has to have phosphates and the other is that it has to have sulphuric acid. Because of this latter need, it was to be expected that C-I-L would be in the business.
You could get sulphuric acid in Victoria in 1899. A fertilizer company was accordingly launched there, and in 1911 it was acquired by Canadian Industries Limited. At a later date C-I-L developed sources of sulphuric at the Acids plant at Hamilton and the Explosives at Beloeii. At both these points C-I-L built fertilizer plants (there was a fourth at Halifax, a dry-mixing plant, hence not dependent on sulphuric).
The management of the plants shows as pretty a correlation of industries as did the recovery of acid from the fumes of International Nickel. Both Hamilton and Beloeii occasionally have surplus sulphuric. That surplus goes to the Fertilizer Division. And in each case, the crews, power and even machines are staggered so that the
Fertilizer may make use of them during the
There are three plant foods apt to become depleted in the soil: nitrogen, phosphoric acid (generally as superphosphate which is in a sense the base of all fertilizer) and potash. Canada is well supplied with its nitrogen requirements; the potash, once virtually a German monopoly, now comes from the United States, Europe, Palestine and phosphate rock is imported from the States or northern Africa.
OF THE three, phosphoric acid is the most important. It represents roughly fifty percent of the material used by Canadian fertilizer companies. And most of it is imported. C-I-L saw reason, therefore, in manufacturing the acid at home (by importing phosphate rock, treating it with sulphuric) and not only using it itself but selling it to other fertilizer companies. A thorn has been, however, that there is no duty on the importation of superphosphate as a raw material. Consequently, Holland and the U.S., anxious to keep the Canadian market, cut prices, making it difficult on the whole for a Canadian factory to operate.
The whole theory of fertilization is somewhat akin to rendering unto Caesar the things that are his. The earth is generous and gives freely to the crops that feed upon her. Hence there is rotation of crops. And hence fertilization which is nothing other than nutrition. Fertilizer simply supplies to the earth the ingredients that a crop has sucked away. In insular countries like Britain, with only a limited amount of farming land at its disposal, fertilizing is of serious importance. And to such a science have Britain’s methods been developed that her fields are reputed to produce four times the average Canadian yields.
There is also in this a lesson to the small farmer. Many a field benefits by being quartered and raising four different crops instead of one. Not only does it benefit the field but it is sure to benefit the farmer. The sad phenomenon of over-production has been witnessed several times and in several places during the past few years. Any farmer should be able to tell you that it is not always safe to put all your crops in one basket.
Mixed fertilizer for general field crops . . .phosphate for the prairie wheat ... it is a superfluity to stress the far-flung need for fertilizer. But a remark of one of C-l-L’s officials bears repetition. “Fertilizer is interesting,” he said. ”It is not only a mixing. It has a chemical future
even as cotton linters did.” The linters that were explosives and Duco and toiletware.
FARMERS are the security of nations and the long trains carry no more precious cargoes than their grains and their livestock, their vegetables and poultry. The cities which sometimes forget them live by their rigorous and solitary labour, and though the towering skies and the fields that touch the horizons seem sometimes to dwarf them, they remain the giants of the nation. The companies that minister to their needs have an importance which is basic. And such is the importance of this Division.
THERE were the tales of childhood in which the hero (only it was generally the villain) could change himself at will into anything he wanted. On retrospect there is something like that, something that brushes the legendary, in this company. But the more amazing fact is that the company is fact, meeting payrolls, paying its dividends and issuing its annual statements, and competing, and experimenting, and electing officers, and going to conventions.
Thus this Canadian company and its ten parts. And the chemicals that can change into anything. Which you have used or purchased or seen or profited by and only in certain cases recognized. The End