HISTORY OF TEXAS. 151
weight, but also to the fact that it is the product
of a different period of geologic time,
and it may be that the development of the
bituminous matter differs in some way in
the two. Therefore, in any intelligent effort
to make it available for fuel, these considerations
must be taken into account and proper
allowances made for them. In Europe,
where fuel is scarcer. than here, lignites of
much poorer quality than our average deposits
are successfully used, not only as fuel
and domestic purposes, but also for smelting.
The fact that ignites have not been used
in the United States is taken by some as an
evidence of their worthlessness, but if we
turn to Europe we find that their usefulness
is of the highest character. Although the
German lignites are inferior to those of
Texas, as proved by numerous chemical
analyses, they are in use for every purpose
for which bituminous coal is available, and
for some to which such coal is not suited.
Their principal use is, naturally, as fuel.
They are used in the natural state, or " raw,"
in places for household purposes, and also to
a very large extent in Siemens' regenerator
furnaces; and, even in connection with coke
made from the lignites themselves, as much
as 40 to 70 per cent. of raw lignite is used
in the smelting of iron ores in furnaces of
suitable construction. Raw ignites are also
used in the conversion of iron into steel by
the Bessemer process, but require a small
addition of coke for this purpose.
For general fuel purposes, however, the
lignites are manufactured into briquettes, or
coal bricks, of different sizes, by pulverizing
them, evaporating the surplus water and
compressing them under presses similar to
those used in the manufacture of pressed
'brick. Many of the German lignites contain
as much as 30 to 40 per cent. of water, and
the heat which is necessary to drive this off
acts on the chemltical elements of the lignite
and develops the bituminous matter sufficiently
for it to serve as a bond or cement
under the semi-fusion caused by the heavy
pressure which is applied to make it cohere.
Such coals as do not form their own cement
in this way are made to cohere by the addition
of various cementing materials, such as
bitumen, coal tar, pitch, starch, potatoes,
Lignites prepared in this way are fully
equal to ordinary bituminous coal as fuel tor
all purposes, and possess, in addition, several
important advantages. They are more coinmpact,
and are in the regular form of blocks
which can be stored in four-fifths the amount
of space occupied by the same weight of coal.
They are much cleaner to handle, and the
waste in handling, which in the case of bituminous
coal is often as much as twenty per
cent., is 'very little. Owing to its physical
structure it burns with great regularity and
without clinkers, making it a very desirable
steam fuel. For these reasons it is often
preferred to bituminous coal.
Coke of excellent quality is made from
lignites in ovens properly constructed for the
purpose. These ovens are of various designs
suited to different characters of lignite, but
all accomplish similar results, and the coke
thus produced is used for all purposes for
which other cokes are adapted.
Illuminating gas of very superior quality
is manufactured from lignites, and is in use
in many German inanufactories.
Lignite also forms the base of many other
important industries. Up to the time of the
discovery of the oil fields of America and the
great deposits of mineral wax, or ozocerite,
the lignite was the principal source of supply
of paraffine and illuminating oils, and even
HISTO Y OFTEXYAS.
Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families. Chicago. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/. Accessed November 21, 2014.