A Treatise on Soap-Making/Appendix
SPOILED HARD SOAP.
IN the preceding pages, we have supposed every thing to go right, with regard to the manufacturing of the different soaps. It may be proper, however, to mention, that a boiling of hard soap sometimes may misgive, or go wrong. It is then said to be a spoiled pan. In this state, much trouble and expence, to an inexperienced boiler, is the consequence, before such soap can again be brought right. By attending, however, to the rules already laid down, circumstances such as this will seldom happen. For the benefit and instruction of the reader, a case of the kind which once occurred to the certain knowledge of the author, may here be inserted, together with its unfortunate issue.
Indeed, instances of what are called spoiled pans of soap, or, soap, from inexperience, in the course of making, converted into an uncommon mass, so as to baffle the utmost skill of the manufacturer to redeem, or set to rights again, have frequently happened; though, with the experienced and well-informed soap-maker, such disasterous failures will seldom or never occur, the causes to him being evident. To illustrate these observations, the circumstances of the case alluded to are the following, viz.
One evening, accidentally meeting with an intimate acquaintance belonging to the Excise, he mentioned, that one of his traders (in the soap line) had been working with a pan of soap these three or four weeks, and had brought it into such a state that he seemed completely bewildered, and unable further to proceed. He begged I would step along with him, take a look at it, and give the poor man my advice, so as to help him on, if possible. This man's pecuniary circumstances were such, that, as represented by my friend, the failure of this pan of soap would ultimately work his ruin. Sympathy, therefore, for the poor man, induced me to comply with this request, and take a look of the soap in the boiler: but such a sight, in fact, I never before witnessed. I found the pan almost brimful; and, upon dipping in my finger, and applying it to the tongue, I discovered the pan to be completely choked or poisoned with salt. On inquiry I learned, that he had expended more materials upon this single pan of soap, than, with proper management, might have completed three such boilings. Leys had been added in their mild state, which always have the tendency to run the materials into a kind of entire mass, and preventing the possibility of extracting the leys therefrom, the whole being converted into a kind of thin soap. In this state of a soap pan, it is usual to add some common salt, to facilitate the separation of the leys from the other materials, which generally has that effect, (provided the leys boiled with were weak caustic ley): But, if the leys were mild, the fixed air not having been properly extracted, the common salt, in that case, fails of the desired effect, and rather confirms the disorder. This man had added salt in abundance, then strong mild ley, then salt again, and more strong ley, until his boiler was so filled, that want of room only prevented him from putting in more. He told me, he thought a fresh cave of strong ley would be necessary to cut her up. My opinion to him was, that too much of that had already been applied; but that, if he would submit to my advice, I thought his pan, in a day or two, might be again brought to rights. What is to be done, then? says he. In the first place, I told him to put in immediately two or three pails of water. This surprised him much; and with a kind of seeming reluctance, consented that should have my own way. As there was but little room in the pan for boiling, a very gentle fire could only be kept up. This, however, had the wished-for effect, of opening the pan, or causing a small separation of the leys in a short time, which was all that could at present be done. I intended next day to have drawn off as much of this salt ley as possible; consequently, procure a little more room to work in; and afterwards, by adding more water, the salt leys would by degrees be perfectly extracted, the pan sweetened, and brought into a fit trim for finishing. When I observed the above appearance of opening, I left him, with instructions to keep a slow fire for about an hour or so longer, when it might be drawn away; and to-morrow morning I should call, and inform him what further was to be done. Instead, however, of paying proper attention to my directions, which was, to avoid using any more ley, he, as soon as my back was turned, prepared more strong mild leys, and put them into the boiler; by which the soap was set back to its original close state. Upon my being informed of a conduct so preposterous and stupid, I declined my intended visit next morning, and allowed this infatuated man to exercise the freedom of his own will. The consequence was, that the pan never afterwards could, by any expedient he possibly might contrive, be again brought to rights; he at last gave it up; and the spoiled stuff was, with his utensils, &c. afterwards sold by the Excise for arrears.
The unfortunate issue of this pan of soap, plainly demonstrates the serious effects of inexperience and ignorance in the knowledge of the original materials. For had this man allowed the salt leys to have been washed off his soap, and then given a boil of a weak caustic ley, his soap might have been finished with propriety, and turned out well. The extracted salt leys, by being run through a lime cave, might have been converted into a good caustic ley, and used over again with advantage.
Soap-makers will do well to consider this case with attention. By so doing, disagreeable circumstances of a similar nature may be avoided; and, consequently, much time, expences, and an infinite quantity of trouble, saved. No soap-ley at any time ought to be used, but such as, by experiment, is proved to be a caustic ley, entirely freed from its fixed air. And it is with much satisfaction we present the reader, in the following Number, with the experiments of an able and justly celebrated chemist, made expressly with the view of ascertaining this important and fundamental requisite in soap-making, and therefore can with confidence be recommended to the practice of the manufacturer.
THE celebrated Dr. Joseph Black, professor of chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, in an experiment made with a view to investigate the nature and properties of the caustic alkali, proceeds thus:
"I made a caustic or soap-ley in the following manner:
"Twenty-six ounces of very strong quicklime, made of chalk, were slaked, or reduced to a sort of fluid paste, with eleven pounds of boiling water, and then mixed in a glass vessel with eighteen ounces of a pure fixed alkaline salt, which had been first dissolved in 2½ libs of water. This mixture was shaken frequently for two hours, when the action of the lime upon the alkali was supposed to be over, and nothing remained but to separate them again from one another. I therefore added 12 libs. of water, stirred up the lime, and, after allowing it to settle again, poured off as much of the clear ley as possible."
Another method of the same professor is, One part of a pure fixed alkaline salt to three parts of common limestone, fresh slaked and sifted, for a common or ordinary soap-ley. He then proceeds thus:
"The lime and alkali were mixed together, under the form of a very thick milky liquor, or fluid paste; because they are thus kept in perpetual contact and equal mixture, until they have acted sufficiently upon one another: whereas, in the common way, of using a larger quantity of water, the lime lies for the most part at bottom; and, though stirred up ever so often, cannot exert its influence so fully upon the alkali, which is uniformly diffused through every part of the liquor.
"The above ley was found, upon trial, to be saturated by acids, without the least effervescence, or diminution of weight."
The author, in the preceding parts of this treatise, has endeavoured to furnish the attentive reader with, what he trusts, an accurate and comprehensive idea, both of the materials proper for, and the process necessary to, the successful manufacturing of Hard and Soft Soap. One necessary piece of knowledge, however, to every soap-maker, and intimately connected with the present work, still remains to be taken notice of, viz. The Revenue Laws by which every soap manufactory must be strictly regulated. The want of such knowledge might frequently hazard mistakes, and ultimately incur penalties altogether undeserved. To guard him, therefore, against such serious consequences, the utility of annexing to this work a view of the principal of these laws, peculiar to hard and soft soap-makers, must appear highly proper: and moreover, it is also presumed, will be singularly acceptable to such traders as may not formerly have had an opportunity of supplying themselves with the statutes thereanent made and provided; and, by being concisely collected and brought under immediate review, every person interested may upon all occasions have it in his power to refer with greater facility and ease than to the printed detached acts themselves. What follows, therefore, are abstracts of these statutes, chiefly taken from an Abridgment of the Excise Laws. But as the act 24th Geo. III. for the better securing the duties on soap, is amongst the last general statutes upon the subject, containing much useful information to the soap maker, and the more worthy of his attention, as comprehending the substance of most of the former laws with regard to the manufacturing, &c. of soap, it has therefore been thought essential to subjoin, from the act itself, the whole of the clauses of that statute, in so far only as they are particularly connected with the soap-maker. (See sequel, p. 121.)
Allowances for Spoiled Soap, Cuttings, &c.
Whenever stale, or rotten soap, or cuttings, for which the duties have been charged, shall be, in presence of the officer, put again into the copper or pan to be renewed, he shall make an allowance of the duty of the same, and certify every such allowance upon his report of charges to be returned: But if previous notice, in writing,—of twelve hours in the mortality-bill limits—twenty-four hours elsewhere—of the time intended for such putting thereof into any making of soap, be not given to the proper officer, he shall not certify such putting in.—A false certificate by him incurs a penalty of 10s. per lib. and the maker the like sum, for what quantity he claims any benefit for.
The aforesaid Allowance repealed.
5th Geo. III. Sect. 16. 20. P. 44. 53.
The aforesaid allowance, with respect to hard soap only, repealed; and in lieu thereof, the makers of hard soap shall be allowed, in the officer's returns or reports of the charges of hard soap made upon them, one lib. in every 10 lib. thereof, in full compensation for all waste, losses, or damages whatever: And if any hard soap (whether perfectly made or not), after being cleansed or framed, shall be put again, on any pretence, into the copper or other utensil for boiling or reworking the same, shall be again charged with the duty.
Legal Frames for Hard Soap, and also to be entered.
Act 5th Geo. III. C. 43, Sect. 19. P. 51.
No maker of hard soap shall use any other kind of vessel for cleansing, or putting his hard soap (whether perfectly made or not) into, when taken out of the copper or other utensil wherein boiled or prepared, than regular square or oblong frames only; and of each such frame, the bottom, sides, and ends, shall respectively be at least two inches thick, and the length shall not exceed 45 inches, nor the breadth 15 inches: Nor shall he use any such frame, till he give notice thereof in writing at the office next to the place where such soap shall be made, nor before it be marked and numbered by direction of the surveyor or supervisor, at such maker's expence; under the penalty of L. 20 for every such respective offence.
Legal Casks for Soft Soap.
Act 10th Ann, C. 19. Sect. 8. and C. 26. Sect. III. V. II. P. 274. 398.
All soft soap (only), upon the making thereof, shall be put by the maker into casks of the following respective contents only, viz. barrels to contain 256 lib; half barrels, 128 lib.; firkins, 64 lib.; and half firkins 32 lib. all avoirdupois, besides the weight or tare of the cask, on pain of forfeiting L. 5 for every offence or neglect therein.
And by 12th Ann, St. 2. C. 9. Sect. 19. V. II. P. 439, To prevent the fraudulent practices of making soap in secret places, and sending it out in small casks; all soft soap that shall be filled in any other cask less than barrels, half-barrels, firkins, and half-firkins, shall be forfeited, and also L. 5 by the maker of it; half thereof to the seizer or informer, and half to the poor of the parish where such offence shall be committed.
Who are not qualified to be Makers of Soap, though making Entry.
Notwithstanding the laws already made for securing the soap-duties, and protecting the fair trader, many gross frauds are daily practised by evil-minded and indigent persons, who make soap, and abscond before the duties can be recovered, and by other methods have evaded the duty; and having been encouraged thereto from the great length of time allowed by 10th Ann, c. 19. sect. 9. 11. (Vol. II, p. 275. 278.) for making entry of their soap, and payment of the duty, and for want of further regulations; the said recited two clauses are hereby repealed, and no person whatever shall be permitted to make any soap,—if residing within the limits of the head Excise-office in London, unless occupying a tenement or tenements of the yearly value of at least L. 10, and for which assessed in his own name, and paying to the parish rates; in any other part of Great Britain where there are rates to church and poor, unless assessed and paying to church and poor in the parish or place wherein residing;—and no entry already, or hereafter made, of any soap-house, workhouse, or place for making soap, shall be of any avail to any person or persons not so qualified, or for longer time than so qualified: And every person making soap, and not so qualified, shall, notwithstanding any entry by him or them made, be deemed and taken to be persons making soap without entry, and shall be subject to the like penalties and forfeitures, by the former statutes, as persons making soap without entry.
For better securing the Duties on Soap.
Act 24th Geo. III. Sect. 7th—14th, inclusive.
And whereas, notwithstanding the laws now in force for securing the duties on soap, many frauds are still frequently practised, to the great loss of the revenue, and to the injury of the fair trader, and some better regulations in the manner of carrying on the soap-making business are still wanting; for remedy thereof, be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the 20th day of September 1784, all and every the officers of Excise shall at all times, by day or by night, and without waiting for the presence of a constable or peace-officer, be permitted, upon his or their request, to enter into the house, boiling-house, warehouse, or other place whatsoever, belonging to or used by any maker or makers of any soap whatsoever, and, by gauging or weighing of the soap, or otherwise, as to such officer shall seem most proper and convenient, to take an account of the just quantity of the soap which shall have been made by such maker or makers of soap from time to time; and also to take an account of all materials for the making of soap, in the possession or custody of such maker or makers of soap; and all and every the officers of Excise shall be permitted to stay and remain in such house, boiling-house, warehouse, or other place, belonging to or used by such maker or makers of soap, or in any of such places, so long as such officer or officers shall think fit.
And, for the better preventing the frauds frequently committed by divers makers of soap, be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said 20th day of September 1784, no maker of soap shall have or keep any pipe or other conveyance from or to any copper or pan made use of in the boiling or making of soap, save and except one moveable pump for taking out salt or spent leys, which pump shall be taken out of such copper or pan before the copper or pan shall be locked down by the officer; and that no maker of soap shall have any cock, or perforation, or hole, in the side or curb, or bottom or cover of his or her boiler or copper, nor shall have any part of the curb moveable, nor shall use any syphon, crane, or trinket, but shall take out all leys, soap, or other ingredients, contained in the said copper or boiler, by a pump, or by a ladle only; on pain that any maker of soap, having or keeping any pipe or other conveyance from or to any copper or pan made use of in the boiling or making of soap, save and except such pump as aforesaid, or having any cock, or perforation, or hole, in the side or curb, or bottom or cover, of his or her boiler or copper, or having any part of the curb moveable, or using any syphon, crane, or trinket, shall forfeit and lose, for every such offence, the sum of L. 500: Provided always, That it shall be lawful for every maker of soap to have, in the cover of his or her copper or boiler, small holes, not exceeding one-eighth of an inch in diameter, for the steam to escape through the same.
And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said 20th day of September 1784, the cover and furnace door, and ash-hole door of every copper, pan, or other utensil used by any maker of hard soap for the boiling or making of soap, shall, and they are hereby required, to be securely locked, fastened, and sealed down, by the officer or officers of Excise who survey such trader, at all times, except when such copper, pan, or other utensils, shall be at work, or shall be opened for repairing the same, or for the inspection of an officer or officers of Excise; and proper locks and keys, and all other necessary fastenings, for securing and sealing the said covers and furnace and ash-hole doors of every such copper, pan, or other utensil, shall be provided by the respective surveyors and supervisors of Excise of the respective districts or divisions in which such makers of soap shall respectively reside, at the expence of the respective makers in each division or district; and whenever such maker of soap shall be desirous of opening such copper, pan, or other utensil, or the furnace or ash-hole door thereof, and shall have given to the officer of Excise of the division or district twelve hours notice thereof, if such maker of soap shall reside within the limits of the chief office of Excise in London, or twenty-four hours notice thereof, if such maker of soap shall reside in any other part of Great Britain, then the officer of Excise shall attend to open such copper, pan, or other utensil, or the furnace or ash-hole door thereof; and if, by any means, art, device, or contrivance whatsoever, any person shall open any such copper, pan, or other utensil, or the furnace or ash-hole door thereof, after the same shall have been locked and secured as aforesaid, before the same shall have been unlocked and opened by the officer of Excise, or shall wilfully damage or hurt any such lock or other fastening, every such person shall, for every such offence respectively, forfeit and lose the sum of L. 100.
And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said 20th day of September 1784, if any maker or makers of soap shall obstruct or hinder any officer of Excise in the execution of the powers or authorities given to him or them by this or any other act for the ascertaining or securing the duties upon soap, the person or persons offending therein shall, for every such offence, forfeit and lose the sum of L. 50.
And for the better preventing the elandestine making of soap, without payment of the duties for the same; be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said 20th day of September 1784, it shall be lawful for any officer or officers of Excise to take an account from time to time, as often as he or they shall think fit, by gauging, weighing, or otherwise, as to him or them shall seem most proper and convenient, of all tallow, oil, rosin, and grease of every kind, and of all materials for making soap, which any maker of soap shall at any time have in his possession; and such maker of soap shall provide proper scales and weights, and assist the officer in weighing and taking such account, on pain of forfeiting L. 20: And in case such officer shall find any decrease of any such materials for making soap, and shall not receive a satisfactory account thereof, such officer shall charge such maker of soap with duties for such decrease, according to the rates and proportions following, (that is to say);
For every fourteen hundred weight, or two hundred and ten gallons of oil, so missing, such officer shall charge any maker of hard soap with the duties on twenty hundred weight of hard soap:
For every thirteen hundred weight of rendered tallow so missing, such officer shall charge any maker of hard soap with the duties on twenty hundred weight of such soap:
For every thirteen hundred weight and two quarters of kitchen-stuff and tallow so missing, such officer shall charge any maker of hard soap with the duties on twenty hundred weight of such soap;
For every fourteen hundred weight of tallow, rosin, and oil, so missing, such officer shall charge any maker of yellow, brown, or rosin soap, with the duties on twenty hundred weight of such soap.
And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every maker and makers of soap, before he, she, or they shall charge his, her, or their copper or boiler with any materials for making of soap, shall give to the officer of the division or place where such soap is intended to be made, notice in writing of the particular time and hour when such maker of soap intends to charge his or their copper or boiler, as herein-after mentioned; (that is to say) If such soap is intended to be made, at any place within the limits of the head office of Excise in London, then such notice shall be by the space of twelve hours next before the time of charging such copper or boiler; and if such soap is intended to be made at any other place, out of the limits aforesaid, then such notice shall be by the space of twenty-four hours next before the time of charging such copper or boiler; on pain of forfeiting and losing the sum of L. 100 at every time when any maker of soap shall begin to charge his or her copper or boiler without first giving such notice as aforesaid: And if such maker of soap shall not begin to charge his or her copper or boiler within the space of three hours next after the particular time or hour mentioned in such notice, then such notice shall be void; and every maker of soap who, after the expiration of the said time, shall begin to charge his or her copper or boiler, without having first given a new or other like notice as aforesaid, shall forfeit and lose the sum of L. 100.
And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every maker of soap shall, before charging his or her copper or boiler with any materials for making of soap, weigh, in the presence of the officer, all the rosin, tallow, grease, or other materials, with which such maker of soap intends to charge his or her copper or boiler, and all such rosin, tallow, grease, or other materials, shall be put into the copper or boiler in the presence of the officer; and in case the quantity of hard soap, afterwards produced therefrom, shall be found by the gauge in the frames to be less than ought to have been produced according to the rates and proportions herein before mentioned, then the deficiency therein shall be charged with the duties thereupon, according to the rates and proportions herein before mentioned: Provided always, That if any maker of soap shall have charged the copper or boiler with rough fat or rough kitchen grease, then eight pounds of rough fat shall be deemed equal to seven pounds of tallow, and five pounds of rough kitchen grease shall be deemed equal to four pounds of clean kitchen grease.
And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That no maker or makers of hard soap shall, after the 20th day of September 1784, sell any hard soap but in the shape or form of cakes or bars, or what is commonly called or known by the name of ball-soap; and that all scraps and parings of hard soap shall be returned into the copper or boiler, in the presence of the officer, immediately after the soap that has been put into the frames from any one boiling shall have been cut up for sale; on pain that every maker of hard soap, selling any such hard soap in any other form than as aforesaid, or not returning all scraps or parings of hard soap into the copper or boiler, in the presence of the officer, immediately, as aforesaid, shall forfeit the sum of L.100 for each offence.
- See his Experiments upon Magnesia Alba, Quick-lime, and other Alkaline Substances.