Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/504

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partly due to the use of Albertite instead of naphtha as an enricher, which, as already shown, is more expensive, and partly to greater cost of common coal, labor, and distribution, and smaller receipts for residuals. The leakage, for instance, is only seven per cent, with the New York Mutual, while it is eight and one-half per cent, with the Boston company. The commissioners, however, believe that the gas of this company ought not to cost the consumers more than $2 or $2.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Examination of the gas of the New York Mutual showed it to be very pure, and of a high illuminating power. It contained of ammonia about one-quarter of a grain in 100 cubic feet, and less than nine grains of sulphur. Its specific gravity averaged 0.729, and its illuminating power between 20 and 21 candles. The London companies, as before stated, are prohibited by law from allowing the amount of ammonia in each 100 feet to exceed two and one-half grains, and of sulphur twenty grains, and from permitting the candlepower to fall below 16. The amount of ammonia in the Philadelphia gas was found to be 52 grains per 100 cubic feet. "The candle-power," say the commissioners, "is always within the control of the company, and it ought in no case to be allowed to fall below the London standard." In regard to the charges of smokiness made against the gas of the New York Mutual Company, the commissioners, after a thorough investigation, ascertained that where smoke occurred it was due to the ignorance or carelessness of consumers in using unsuitable burners.

All the principal water-gas works were visited, and found to be producing gas of good quality. The cost by the Harkness process, used at New London, Connecticut, exclusive of the cost of labor, purifying, and fuel for the petroleum-retort, which, by this process, requires a separate fire, was found to be about 75 cents per 1,200 feet. The Lowe process, in use in Utica until the works were burned, requires but one fire for decomposing both steam and petroleum, so that it possesses an advantage over the other in regard to the cost of production. The friends of this process claim that, manufacturing at the rate of 200,000 cubic feet per day, the gas can be made (coal being at seven dollars a ton, and petroleum at twelve and one-half cents a gallon) at a cost of 53 cents per 1,000 feet, exclusive of labor, fuel, and purifying. For the Gwynne-Harris process, in use at Poughkeepsie, New York, it is claimed that the cost, under like conditions, is only 37.3 cents per 1,000 feet.

The relation of a gas company to a municipality, the commissioners say, is a peculiar one in many respects, and the company ought not, therefore, to be viewed in the same light with other manufacturing corporations. It supplies a commodity which is not a luxury but a necessity; the sale of its product is a limited one, being confined to the city or district which it supplies; and it is expected to lay its