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 Page: 173
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ISTI'SOR Y OF TEXAS.
at Idar, Oldenblurg, Germany, one of the
principal manufacturing cities of this material,
is about 25 cents per pound, and the
beauty of the varieties occurring in Texas
would add materially to that price.
Pudding Stone.--Of equal beauty with
the agates are some varieties of metamorphosed
pudding stones brought from the
lower mountains by Prof. Streeruwitz. They
take fully as fine a polish, and the variety of
color and shape of the inclusions are very
Serpentine.-Some of the serpentines of
west Texas will be valuable as ornamental
stones. So far no " precious serpentine" has
been found, but some of the red and green
varieties will come into use as the region is
developed. Central Texas also affords varieties
which may be utilized.
Alabaster.-Alabaster of fine grain and
translucency occurs both among the rocks of
the Cretaceous formation and in the gypsum
region of the Permian. Its uses in vases
and statuary are well known, and material
suitable for any of these purposes can be
secured in any desired quantity.
Pearls.-Texas is one of the principal
pearl-producing States of the United States.
Mr. Kunz, in "Gems and Precious Stones,"
mentions one from Llano valued at $95,
which was sold in New York. The pearls
are found in the Unios, or fresh-water mussels,
which abound in the Colorado, Llano
and Concho rivers, and many other streams
in Texas. They have been collected in large
numbers, and in collecting them great numbers
of the shell-fish have been destroyed.
In order to avoid this wholesale destruction
and leave the animal to propagate more valuable
progeny, it is recommended that instruments
similar to those used in Saxony
and Bavaria be introduced here. One of
these is a flat iron tool, the other a pair of
sharp-pointed plieps, both fashioned for the
purpose of opening the shells for examination
without injury to the animal, which, if
no pearl is found, is replaced in the shoal.
SilicifRed Wood.-While the greater part
of the silicified wood of the State is not of
much value as an ornamental stone, there are
certain horizons in the Fayette beds in which
the wood bas been opalized and presents a
pleasant variety of color and banding. These
will probably be used quite largely for various
purposes in ornamental work so soon as
their beauty is properly shown.
REFRACTORY MATERI ALS.
Refractory materials, or those which will
stand very high degrees of heat without injury,
are of the highest importance in manufacturing.
They enter into the construction
of all furnaces for iron, or steel, or pottery,
or glass, or the various other products of
high temperatures, and are an absolute necessity
in the proper development of such manufactures.
Of such substances fire clay is
doubtless the most important. The essentials
for a good fire clay are not so much the
proportions of silica and alumina, although
the larger the percentage of silica the greater
its refractory power seems to be, but its freedom
from materials such as lime, soda, potash,
magnesia, or oxide of iron, which could
unite with the silica and form a glass, and
thus cause fusion.
Fire Clays.--Of our Texas fire clays only
two or three have had any decided or extensive
trial. These are from the beds found in
Henderson, Limestone and Fayette counties.
The first two are found in connection with
the timber-belt beds, the third in the Fayette
beds. In use the brick made at Athens from
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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, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/178/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .