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To Keith Addison

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Journey to Forever

Fixed oils

From "The Household Cyclopedia" (1881)

To make Oil of Sweet Almonds

It is usually made from bitter almonds for cheapness, or from old Jordan almonds, by heat, the oil from which soon grows rank, while that from fresh Barbary almonds, drawn cold, will keep good for some time. The almonds are sometimes blanched by dipping in boiling water, or by soaking some hours in cold water, so as to part with their skin easily, but are more usually ground to a paste, which is put into canvas bags, and pressed between iron plates in a screw press, or by means of a wedge, 1 cwt. of bitter almonds, unblanched, produces 46 lbs. of oil; the cake pays for pressing.

Nut Oil

Is obtained from the kernel of the hazelnut, and is very fine. As it will keep better than that of almonds, it has been proposed to be substituted for that oil. It is drunk with tea in China, probably in lieu of cream, and is used by painters, as a superior vehicle for their colors.

Oil of Mace

Is obtained from nutmegs by the press. It is buttery, having the smell and color of mace, but grows paler and harder by age; 2 lbs. of nutmegs in Europe will yield 6 oz. of this oil.

True Oil of Mace by Expression

This oil is red, remains always liquid or soft, has a strong smell of mace, subacid taste, and is imported in jars or bottles, the lower part being rather thicker than the top; 1 1/2 lbs. of mace will yield in Europe 1 1/2 oz. troy of oil.

Olive, Salad, or Sweet Oil

This is the most agreeable of all the oils; it is demulcent, emollient, gently laxative, and is also used as an emetic with warm water; dose, 1 oz. troy, or a large spoonful; also externally, when warm, to the bites of serpents, and, when cold, to tumors and dropsies. Rank oil is best for plasters, but fresh oil makes the best hard soap.

Castor Oil

Is made by pressing the beans, cold or slightly warmed. It may be rendered colorless and odorless by filtering through animal charcoal and magnesia. It is soluble in strong alcohol, and is used as the basis of many hairoils. (See PERFUMERY.)

Oil of Croton

This oil is extracted from Molucca grains, or purging nuts. In its chemical qualities it agrees with castor oil, but is considerably more active, as a single drop, when the oil is genuine, is a powerful cathartic.

Rape Oil

This is made from rape-seed. It dries slowly and makes but a softish soap, fit for ointments. The mucilage it contains may be got rid of, in a great measure, by adding 1/2 ounce of oil of vitriol to 2 pts. of the oil.

To Purify Rape Oil

The following is a simple method of rendering rape oil equal to spermaceti oil, for the purposes of illumination:

Begin by washing the oil with spring-water; which is effected by agitating the oil violently with a sixth part of the water. This separates the particles of the oil, and mixes those of the water intimately with them. After this operation it looks like the yolk of eggs beat up. In less than 48 hours they separate completely, the oil swimming at the top, the water, with all feculent and extraneous particles, subsiding to the bottom. This may be very much improved, by substituting sea water in the place of fresh-water.

By the process of washing the oil does not lose a hundredth part. The experiment can at all times be made in a glass decanter, or in a churn, with a cock at the bottom, the water to come up very near to the cock, by which all the oil can be drawn off, after it has deposited its impurities.

Another Method.

To 100 parts of oil add 1 1/2 or 2 of concentrated sulphuric acid, and mix the whole well by agitation; when the oil will become turbid, and of a blackish-green color. In about three-quarters of an hour the coloring matter will begin to collect in clots; the agitation should then be discontinued, and clean water, twice the weight of the sulphuric acid, be added. To mix the water with the oil and acid, a further agitation of half an hour will be requisite. The mass may, afterwards, be left to clarify for 8 days, at the end of which time 3 separate fluids will be perceived in the vessel; the upper is the clear oil, the next is the sulphuric acid and water, and the lowest a black mud or fecula. Let the oil then be separated by a syphon from the acid and water, and filtrated through cotton or wool. It will be nearly without color, smell, or taste, and will burn clearly and quietly to the last drop.

To Purify Vegetable Oil

To 100 lbs. of oil add 25 oz. of alum, and mix, dissolved in 9 lbs. of boiling water. After stirring it about half an hour, add 15 oz. of nitric acid, still continuing to stir it. Let it stand 48 hours, when the fine oil will swim on the surface, and then draw it off. Such oil is used all over the Continent, and an equal quantity yields double the light of whale and fish-oil without its offensive odor.

To make Pumpkin Oil

From the seeds of the pumpkin, which are generally thrown away, an abundance of an excellent oil may be extracted. When peeled they yield much more oil than an equal quantity of flax. This oil burns well, gives a lively light, lasts longer than other oils, and emits very little smoke. It has been used on the Continent for frying fish, etc. The cake remaining after the extraction of the oil may be given to cattle, who eat it with avidity.

Beech Nut Oil

Beech-nuts are not only an excellent food for pigs, but they are known to yield an oil, fit for common purposes, by the usual methods of extraction.


Hog's Lard

This is obtained like the rest of the animal fats, from the raw lard, by chopping it fine, or rather rolling it out, to break the cells in which the fat is lodged, and then melting the fat in a waterbath, or other gentle heat, and straining it while warm. Some boil them in water, but the fats thus obtained are apt to grow rank much sooner than when melted by themselves.

Neat's-foot or Trotter Oil

Obtained by boiling neat's-feet, tripe, etc. in water. It is a coarse animal oil, very emollient, and much used to soften leather.

To Purify Trotter Oil

Put 1 qt. of trotter oil into a vessel containing 1 qt. of rose-water, and set them over a fire till the oil melts and mixes with the rose-water. Stir well with a spoon. When properly combined take the vessel from the fire, and let it cool. Now take off the oil with a spoon, and add rosewater as before. When the oil is again separated and cleansed, set it in a cool place. The principal use of trotter oil is for the making of cold cream, in which its qualities exceed those of every other oil.

To Prepare Oil from Yolks of Eggs.

Boil the eggs hard, and after separating the whites break the yolks into 2 or 3 pieces, and roast them in a frying pan till the oil begins to exude, then press these with very great forge. Fifty eggs yield about 5 oz. of oil. Old eggs yield the greatest quantity.

Another Method.

Dilute the raw yolks with a large proportion of water, and add spirit of wine to separate the albumen, when the oil will rise on the top after standing some time, and thus may be separated by a funnel.

To Refine Spermaceti.

Spermaceti is usually brought home in casks, and in some cases has so little oil mixed with it as to obtain the denomination of head matter. It is of the consistence of a stiff ointment, of a yellowish color, and not tenacious. Besides the head matter, there is also a quantity of sperm obtained from the oil by filtration. Indeed, in all good spermaceti lamp oil, which is not transparent, particles of the sperm may be seen floating.

Having the head-matter, or filtered sperm, in order to purify it, first put it into hair-cloths, and with an iron plate between each cloth to the number of half a dozen or more, submit it to the action of an iron screw-press, and, as the oil does not separate very readily, it will in general be necessary to let the cakes of sperm be pressed three different times. The third time the cakes will become so dry that they may be broken in small pieces with little trouble, and then put in a furnace containing 1/3 water and 2/3 cake. Let the fire be raised sufficiently under the furnace to melt the cake, which it will do before the water begins to boil; after which boil the whole together for about 1/2 an hour, taking off during the boiling what scum and other extraneous bodies rise to the top, then let the whole be dipped out into a tub or other coolers. After it is completely cold take off the cake of spermaceti, which will be on the top of the water, and cut it into pieces. Suppose, for example, that the cake weighs 1 cwt., it will be necessary to have a furnace, or rather a movable kettle, where the light is thrown in such a way that the process can be observed. Having taken 1 cwt. of the unrefined spermaceti prepared as above, melt it together with about 3 galls. of water. As soon as it begins to boil add from time to time small portions of the following liquor, say 1/2 pint at a time: Take of the alkaline salt, or potash, 7 lbs.; pour on it 2 galls. of water; let them stand together 24 hours, and from the top dip off the lye as wanted, adding more water occasionally, till the alkali is exhausted. After boiling the spermaceti for about 4 hours, having during the process taken off the scum as it arose, let the kettle be removed from the fire; and after remaining about 1/4 hour, dip off the spermaceti into suitable coolers. This process must in general be repeated 3 times. The third time, if the processes have been properly conducted, the spermaceti will be as clear as crystal; and then, after it is cool, the only thing necessary to make it fit for sale, is to cut it into moderately small pieces, when it will break into that flakey appearance which it has in the shops.

To Sweeten, Purify, and Refine Greenland Whale and Seal Oil.

The oil, in its raw state, is filtered through bags about 41 inches long, with circular mouths extended by a wooden hoop about 15 inches in diameter, fixed thereto. These bags are made of jean lined with flannel, between which jean and powdered charcoal is placed, throughout, to a regular thickness of about 1/2 inch, for the purpose of retaining the glutinous particles of the oil and straining it from impurities; and the bags are quilted, to prevent the charcoal from becoming thicker in one part than another, and to keep the linings more compact. The oil is pumped into a large funnel made of tin, annexed to the pump through a perpendicular pipe, and passed from the funnel into another pipe placed over the bags horizontally, from whence it is introduced into them by cocks. The oil runs from the filteringbags into a cistern about 8 feet long by 4 feet broad, and 4 1/2 deep, made of wood and lined with lead and containing water at the bottom about the depth of 5 or 6 inches, in which are dissolved about 6 oz. of blue vitriol, for the purpose of drawing down the glutinous and offensive particles of the oil which have escaped through the charcoal; and thereby rendering it clean and free from the unpleasant smell attendant upon the oil in the raw state; and in order to enable the oil thus to run from the bags, they are hung in a frame or rack made like a ladder, with the spokes or rails at sufficient distances to receive the hoop of the bag between two; and such frame or rack is placed in a horizontal position over the cistern. The oil is suffered to run into the cistern until it stands to the depth of about 2 feet in the water, and there to remain for 3 or 4 days, (according to the quality of the oil), and is then drawn off by a cock which is fixed in the cistern a little above the water, into a tub or other vessel, when it will be found to be considerably purified and refined; and the oil after having undergone this operation, may be rendered still more pure by passing a second or third time through similar bags and cisterns. But the oil after such second and third process, is drawn off into and filtered through additional bags made of jean lined with flannel, inclosed in other bags made of jean, doubled, when the process is complete.

Clarifying Coal-Oils

In a close vessel are placed 100 lbs. of crude coaloil, 25 qts. of water, 1 lb. of chloride of lime, 1 lb. of soda, and 1/2 lb. of oxide of manganese. The mixture is violently agitated, and allowed to rest for 24 hours, when the clear oil is decanted and distilled. The 100 lbs. of coaloil are to be mixed with 25 lbs. of resin-oil; this is one of the principal points in the manipulation; it removes the gummy parts from the oil, and renders them inodorous. The distillation spoken of may terminate the process, or the oils may be distilled before they are defecated and precipitated.

To Bleach and Purify Fixed Oils

Fish and other fat oils are improved in smell and color by passing hot air or steam through them. Dunn's method is to heat the oil by steam to 170° or 200°, and force a current of air through it, under a chimney, till it is bleached and purified. Mr. Cameron's method of bleaching palm oil is to keep it at 230°, with continual agitation, by passing into it high pressure steam through leaden pipes of 2 inches diameter. Four tons of oil require 10 hours' straining. Palm oil is also bleached by chloride of lime. Take from 7 to 14 lbs. of chloride of lime, triturate in a mortar, adding gradually 12 times the quantity of water, so as to form a smooth cream. Liquefy 112 lbs. of palm oil, remove it from the fire, add the solution of chloride of lime, and stir well with a wooden stirrer. Allow it to cool, and when become solid break it into small fragments, and expose it to the air for 2 or 3 weeks, then put into a cast-iron boiler lined with lead, diluted with 20 parts of water. Boil with a moderate heat till the oil drops clear from the stirrer; then let it cool. To remove the foetor from fish oils, treat them in the same way (except the exposing to the air), using only 1 lb. of chloride of lime to 112 lbs. of oil, It does not remove the natural smell of the oil.

Calcined magnesia has been used to deprive oils of their rancidity.

Mr. Griseler finds that the addition of a few drops of nitric ether will prevent oils from becoming rancid.

Mr. Watt's patented method of bleaching oil is by chromic acid. For palm oil it is thus used: The oil is heated in a steam vessel, allowed to settle and cool down to 130° Fahr., then removed into wooden vessels, taking care that no water or sediment accompany it. For a ton of palm oil make a saturated solution of 25 lbs. of bichromate of potash; add 8 lbs. of sulphuric acid, and 60 lbs. of muriatic acid (or an equivalent quantity of salt and sulphuric acid). Put the mixture into the oil, and let it be constantly stirred till it becomes of a light-green color. If not sufficiently decolored, add more of the mixture. Let the oil settle for half an hour, then pump it into a wooden vat, boil it for a few minutes with fresh water, by means of a steam pipe, and let it settle. For linseed, rape and mustard oils a dilute solution of chromic acid is used, with a little muriatic acid; for olive, almond, and castor oils no muriatic acid is required. Fish oils and fats are first boiled in a steamapparatus with a weak soda lye (1/2 lb. of soda for every ton of fat) for half an hour; then 1/2 lb. Of sulphuric acid, diluted with 3 lbs. of water, is added, the whole boiled for 16 minutes, and allowed to settle for an hour or more, when the water and sediment are drawn off, and the oil further bleached by a solution of 4 lbs. of bichromate of potash and 2 lbs. of sulphuric acid, properly diluted.

Mr. Davidson treats whale oil first with a solution of tan, next with water and chloride of lime, and lastly with diluted sulphuric acid and warm water. Rape and other seed oils are also refined by means of sulphuric acid and twice as much water. Mr. Gray directs 2 lbs. of oil of vitriol to 112 lbs. of oil. The oil should be carefully washed from the acid and filtered.

Mr. Bancroft's process for refining common olive oil, lard oil, etc., for lubricating purposes, is to agitate them with from 3 1/2 to 8 per cent. of caustic soda lye, of 12 specific gravity. If, on trial of a small quantity, the lye he found to settle clear at the bottom, enough has been added. The oil is allowed to rest for twenty-four hours for the soapy matter to subside: the supernatant oil is then filtered.

Another plan of purifying oils (especially lamp oils) is to agitate them with a strong solution of common salt.

Purification of Castor Oil

Mix 1000 parts of the oil with 25 parts of animal charcoal, and 10 parts of calcined magnesia, and leave them together for 3 days at a temperature of 68° to 78° Fahr., often stirring or shaking the mixture. The oil is then filtered off, and is found to be limpid, colorless, without taste, and easily soluble in alcohol. It congeals, too, at a lower temperature than before, and is in that respect superior to the ordinary oil.

Oil of Brick

Used by lapidaries, is made by saturating fragments of brick with oil and distilling at a red heat.

Watchmaker's Oil

1. Expose the finest porpoise oil to the lowest natural temperature attainable. It will separate into two portions, a thick, solid mass at the bottom, and a thin, oily supernatant liquid. This is to be poured off while at the low temperature named, and is then fit for use.

2. Put into a matrass or glass flask, a portion of any fine oil, with 7 or 8 times its weight of alcohol, and heat the mixture almost to boiling; decant the clear upper stratum of fluid, and suffer it to cool; a solid portion of fatty matter separates, which is to be removed, and then the alcoholic solution evaporated in a retort or basin, until reduced to one-fifth of its bulk. The fluid part of the oil will be deposited. It should be colorless and tasteless, almost free from smell, without action on infusion of litmus, having the consistence of white olive oil, and not easily congealable.

3. Take a white glass bottle of pure olive or almond oil, put into it a coiled strip of lead, and expose it to the sun's rays until a white curdy matter ceases to be deposited.

To Prevent Fats and Oils from becoming Rancid

Heat the oil or melted fat for a few minutes with powdered slippery-elm bark, in the proportion of 1 dr. of the powder to 1 lb. of fat. The bark shrinks and gradually subsides, after which the fat is poured off. It communicates an odor like that of the hickory-nut. Butter thus treated has been kept unchanged for a year.

Biofuels at Journey to Forever
En español -- Biocombustibles, biodiesel
Biofuels Library
Biofuels supplies and suppliers

Make your own biodiesel
Mike Pelly's recipe
Two-stage biodiesel process
FOOLPROOF biodiesel process
Biodiesel processors
Biodiesel in Hong Kong
Nitrogen Oxide emissions
Biodiesel resources on the Web
Do diesels have a future?
Vegetable oil yields and characteristics
Biodiesel and your vehicle
Food or fuel?
Straight vegetable oil as diesel fuel

Ethanol resources on the Web
Is ethanol energy-efficient?

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