Man's physical universe

xanabras

UNIT IX

SECTION 7

COAL HAS BECOME A PROLIFIC SOURCE OF "BETTER

THINGS FOR BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY"

Introduction.

There's hardly a thing that a man can name

Of use or beauty in life's small game

But you can extract in alembic or jar

From the "physical basis" of black coal tar—

Oil and ointment, and wax and wine,

And the lovely colors called aniline;

You can make anything from salve to a star,

If you only know how, from black coal tar.

— Punch, London.

In 1919 the United States Senate Finance Committee held hearings

on the serious question: Should the United States Government "promote

the establishment of the manufacture of coal-tar products in the

United States?"

Marston Taylor Bogert, Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University,

testified before the committee that " a well-developed synthetic

dye-stuffs industry is absolutely necessary for the security of our

country." Twenty years later, as the result of an intensive program of

chemical research, we find the United States one of the leaders in the

production of a host of new synthetic dyes, pharmaceuticals, flavors,

perfumes, and other products which have caused some people to designate

the present as the Chemical Age.

cent of our dyes, while in

In 1914 we made only 10 per

1940 we produced about 95 per cent of our

dyes and exported more than 25,000,000 pounds.

Among the outstanding better things for better living which are

made from coal through chemistry are the synthetic plastics, discussed

in Section 6. The other types of products made from coal will be discussed

in this Section.

Coal Tar Is the Main Raw Material for Many Synthetic P>roducts.

When soft (bituminous) coal is heated in the absence of air to produce

coke, tar is one of the by-products.

688

Previous to the World War

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