« ПретходнаНастави »
plains this matter to the satisfaction of many scientists. Phenol, which is one of the products of the destructive distillation of wood is made into picric acid, which in turn is used in the manufacture of high explosives. Wood alcohol yields, in certain reactions with aniline and nitric acid, a substance known as tetryl, which is itself a powerful explosive. Aside from these, the solvents which are necessary in the manufacture of explosives, practically all come from wood. The most important of these are acetone, wood alcohol and grain alcohol. The latter is now manufactured successfully from wood as a by-product in the paper making industry. Shrapnel, which is used in such tremendous quantities in the war, requires rosin in the make-up of the shells and rosin is the by-product derived by distilling turpentine from the resinous exudation of the longleaf pine. The balls which are scattered when the shells burst are imbedded in this substance. No other product has been found which will melt so uniformly or will serve successfully as a substitute. So important is rosin that we read of the Prussian Minister of Agriculture suggesting such measures as increasing the supply within the German Empire by the distilling of resinous wood and collecting the oleoresin, which exudes from trees peeled by deer.
In the case of medicines, which are needed in large quantities during so great a war, we find that formaldehyde (which is the most successful known disinfectant against contagious diseases), can be secured commercially only from wood alcohol. Formaldehyde also has its uses in the control of fungous diseases, such as rust and smuts in corn and wheat, and in the case of cabbage and potato diseases. This one property of formaldehyde may save to the nation tremendous quantities of foodstuffs. This disinfectant is used widely in trenches, camps and hospitals and is even used in certain kinds of shells which are fired into the enemy's lines so that upon bursting they will cause tears, or if the gas is inhaled, death. Formaldehyde is combined with ammonia and used as an internal disinfectant in the case of dysentery, which is an extremely common disease among soldiers. Beechwood creosote is also an important internal disinfectant for diseases of the lungs, throat and intestines, and for disinfecting wounds. It is also used extensively in the preservation of meat, and thus does its part in the food supply of an army. Pine oil has been found by the Hygienic
- by Courtesy of "American Forestry" Of the Overseas Forestry Battalion Laboratory to be an excellent disinfectant. It has recently been discovered that powdered charcoal in bad wounds acts as a powerful disinfectant, absorbing the bacteria, and destroying them.
A substitute for absorbent surgical cotton has been manufactured from wood cellulose and two factories in Sweden are now making this material. Slings are being made from tough crepe paper and splints from fiber boards.
It takes quite a stretch of the imagination to figure out how wood is used for food, and yet there are several very common wood products
which are edible. The "Scientific American" tells of a German scientist who has recently made experiments with beechwood flour, feeding it along with other food to cattle and dogs, and discovering that these animals were able to digest a large portion of the material. He believes that bread can be made in which one-fifth to one-third of the solid ingredients would consist of wood flour. Glucose, fructose, mannose and glacatose, all of which are sugars with considerable food value, may be derived from wood. Acetic acid, or wood vinegar, is widely used in European countries and will, no doubt, help out our supply of this substance in case the food situation becomes acute during the war. Grain alcohol, which is used to a limited extent in some articles of food, also appears as a product which can be derived from wood. A substance known as viscose, which is derived from wood fiber, is somewhat digestible and is being used successfully to make sausage casings.
Paper shirts and socks made from wood pulp have become very common in the Austrian army and are also worn widely by civilians throughout Austria. The wooden shoe used for centuries throughout the Northern part of Europe, is again coming into a wider use. Viscose silk, which is a wood product, furnishes us with "near-silk" stockings and the silk sweaters which are so common in recent months. It will be seen, therefore, that clothing comes from wood to quite a notable extent.
This substance known as viscose is put to another important wartime use, and that is in the manufacture of aeroplane wings. It is tough, light, and altogether adaptable for this purpose. It is also used for automobile windows and photographic films.
Let us consider the part that the forest will play in reconstruction of the buildings which have been destroyed by artillery fire. Sporadic bits of news can give us only a suggestion of the terrible devastation throughout the war zone. Not only have houses been wiped away, but railroads, trestle work, and bridges have been almost entirely eliminated and, in spite of the fact that stone is used largely in construction in European countries, wood is always needed for finish, and there is no other substance which can take its place satisfactorily in railroad con
struction. Millions of ties will be needed to replace the worn out railway systems alone.
Wartime coal shortage may bring us to a heavy demand for wood as fuel, and we find the New Hampshire foresters urging at present the cutting of cordwood so that a good supply of dry wood may be on hand for next winter. It is not radical, so they say, to predict great delay in delivery of coal from now on, and consequent suffering unless there is some substitute available. Likewise, advice has recently been given out by The New York State College of Forestry suggesting that the present offers a peculiarly fitting time to work up crooked and dead trees in the woodlot and to have them ready for the winter's cordwood demand. Every effort of this kind by land owners, whether it be along the line of food conservation or toward relieving the pressure due to military necessity, either in transportation or otherwise, is patriotic service, and New York especially is fortunate that it has the woodlots upon which to draw.
Cutting off of imports has already necessitated the development of our own dye industry, and in considering the commercial uses of forest products during war times, their importance in this industry must not be overlooked. Osage orange has been made to yield a dye competing with that from fustic, which formerly had to be brought from Jamaica and Central America. It has been discovered that there are 50,000 tons of this wood available as waste, annually, whereas before the war only 15,000 tons of fustic were imported. Wood tar which has been used up to this time in the wood distillation only as fuel under the ovens, yields a beautiful sulphur brown and a violet dye.
State forests with a total of over 3,602,000 acres have been established in thirteen states. Of these New York has the largest forest, which comprises 1,826,000 acres. Pennsylvania is second with 1,808,000 acres, and Wisconsin third with 400,000 acres.
In Europe community forests have long been established and yield good returns on the investment they represent. The Swiss city of Zurich, for example, derives about $20,000 per year from a woodlot of 2,500 acres.