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  • Bizarre substances, abuse ?

    Not wanting to hijack the cutting copper thread, but the references to cows milk made me think of some other bizarre substances used in industry in the past.

    Here are a few I know of -

    Urine
    As a cleaning fluid & in the textile trade ( bleaching & dyes) due to its ammonia content.

    Used to make saltpeter crystals for gunpowder & food preservation.

    Urine baths were used for hardening steel blades (hi nitrate content ? ).


    Horse dung
    with hi-straw content was used to line the foundation pits for forging hammers, also used as a lagging on steam engine cylinders (bet that smelt nice).

    For making cores in foundries. Still used today @ the Whitechapel bell foundry


    Goose fat, cream, butter for tapping copper with carbon steel taps.

    Lard /tallow is still used in the few hand rolling mills left, for lubrication.

    Lard mixed with red lead was a popular cutting paste in the 19th century.

    Bunches of twigs thrown onto red-hot metal as it’s being rolled, so the mill scale explodes off the surface instead of being pressed into the plate. (Spectacular sight )

    Mole skin used to make “wiped solder” joints.

    I've got some notes somewhere of other weird stuff.

    Thank goodness technology has moved on.

    Any other things you guys know of ??

    john
    John

    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure , but I'm not a complete idiot - some bits are still missing

  • #2
    Well if you consider a government to be a industry (They are the largest employer) Then B.S. seems to be the only required nessisity.

    As to your post, salt was/is used for heat treating metal. Some really deadly chemicals were/are? also used.

    Pete

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jugs
      Urine baths were used for hardening steel blades (hi nitrate content ? ).
      Urine quench doesn't add nitrates. It's just a brine quench -- quite a bit faster than water quench:



      Theophilus wrote that the urine from a red-haired child or a goat fed ferns for three days was best
      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lazlo

        Theophilus wrote that the urine from a red-haired child or a goat fed ferns for three days was best
        I thought that was virgins blood, mind you the chances of finding any of that round here is a bit remote so I'll go with the ferns.
        .

        Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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        • #5
          Heard this the other day on a radio program about chlorine, That chlorine is a byproduct from Aluminum smelting.
          Think that,s what they said. Seems odd that would be used in drinking water if that is the same thing?

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          • #6
            Horse Manure is also as a binding agent when mixed with molasses and clay for casting bells.

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            • #7
              "They" are using fish waste (heads, tails, guts etc) which is rotted until liquid in giant tanks to make biodiesel fuel. I'll bet that doesn't smell like french fries.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                Originally posted by John Stevenson
                I thought that was virgins blood, mind you the chances of finding any of that round here is a bit remote so I'll go with the ferns.
                LOL! Not even 11 year old ones??
                TexasTurnado

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                • #9
                  Careful, you'll get on Bruce's "pervert list".
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by John Stevenson
                    I thought that was virgins blood, mind you the chances of finding any of that round here is a bit remote so I'll go with the ferns.
                    There was a ridiculous thread on British Blades (UK bladesmithing forum) discussing increasingly amusing quenchants. At one point, it there was a suggestion of using Virgin's milk. It went on for several pages wondering about how you could get virgins to lactate
                    Last edited by lazlo; 01-15-2011, 10:07 PM.
                    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                    • #11
                      old remedies

                      I thought that it was horse urine that was used to temper knives and swords because it was higher in nitrates.

                      It was rumored that better swords were quinched by running the blade through a sacrifical servant.
                      Byron Boucher
                      Burnet, TX

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Boucher
                        I thought that it was horse urine that was used to temper knives and swords because it was higher in nitrates.

                        It was rumored that better swords were quinched by running the blade through a sacrifical servant.
                        I can see it now.

                        Sir, Sir, pick me, pick me.

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                        • #13
                          Always heard that horse poo was a good radiator sealant because of undigested oats. Also black pepper.
                          mark costello-Low speed steel

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                          • #14
                            Quenching, apart from going into liqid gas quenching, Salt in it various forms increases the specific heat capaciy of the quench media, Sodium Chloride was the mainstay of severe quenching but slightly less was Urea, not well loved due to the stench, however Uric acid was added to liquid steel as recently as the 70s to make renitrogonised steel at Nitrided ferro Manganese is now the preferred route, still smells like pee though, but oddly enough Manganese also has the musky odour of pee, its also heavy to shovel!
                            http://heraeus-electro-nite.com/medi...itris_1995.pdf
                            The media for the Reduction of Aluminium Oxide is Cryolite, Sodium Aluminium Flouride, this is the flux used, also used as a feedstock for the production of flouride for the floridation of water.
                            Blood was a traditional ingredient in Mortar during the middle ages, Lime, Ash Blood, Hair Straw and clay, they belived the mortar would be stronger, this also [the belief] worked its way into metal founding, the earliest foundries cast bells so that would tally up with historical reference.
                            it is also rumoursed that allthough Britain was at least in the most part Christian that during the transition between Pre Christian belief and Christian Church building that it was common to make sacrifices to the gods before building a tall church, just in case.
                            Temaxol, the thread cutting grease, high pressure grease was made of whale oil, this was true up to again about 1970, when the synthetic version was launched as a replacement they had to add chemicals to duplicate the smell!
                            toolmakers and tradesmen apparently liked the smell of the stuff, it a rather aqquired stench in my opinion
                            Hand cleaner [Swarfega] is still a favourite for ali as its a high kerosine content water soluable emulsion.
                            Cyanide salt is still used for hardening steel, if you handle CN regularly you realise that apart from eating it its really not that dangerous unless you get it in a cut, but thats if you were really stupid, if you were that dull you maybee shouldent be handling the stuff!, the antidote for the unpleasent effects of CN poisoning [turns your blood to a kind of jellow] is the famed and beloved of the gay community, the 'popper' or Amyl Nitrate!, sniffed, but then you get to shove an autoinjector of Sodium nitrate in your leg.
                            During the training you for CN in a lab you get to do that to yourself with Saline, just press against your leg, press the button and OWCH, you didnt tell me it would be that painful, well would you have done it if i had moment.
                            Humans were regularly put to the Sword as a test for the blade in Europe and in particular Japan, they didnt have a part in heat treatment as the rate of heat extraction is too low.
                            I went to an Exibition of Japanese Swords at THe Victoria and Albert Museum in London, ono of the blades of one of the big famalies like Mitsibushi had engraved on it that it had cleaved 2 men with ease, they were apparently live before the test!
                            Palm oil still used to roll steel [well was yesterday]
                            Tallow still in use for saw lubrication [solidified aka hydrogenated sheep fat]
                            One of the biggest problems the Nazis had when they build the crematoria to dispose of bodies during the Holocaust [God bless them all] was the rapid build up of human fat, it clogged the furnaces so a method of dealing with the problem was sought, it turned out that the builders [Toft engineering gmbh, still in existance] came up with hydrogenation, the fat could be solidified and furthur processed to make, lubricants for guns, soap for the german troops and the one i have not been able to sustatiate but seems plausable, margerine for the troops, its horrific and i hope its not true but it would be very out of charecter for land locked germans to waste anything, i hope they didnt do that
                            Read the book 'Five Chimneys', or avoid it if you have a weak stomach and are prone to nightmares
                            there must be more, i collected some corkers [burnt ones for camoflage blacking] but to be honest my memory is not what it used to be.
                            Allthe best
                            mark
                            Last edited by boslab; 01-16-2011, 01:37 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Cryolite is NOT used for reducing aluminum, (or aluminium.) It is actually the electrolyte and/or solvent. Aluminum reduction is a misnomer. It is actually electrowinning. The alumina is dissociated into aluminum metal, which sinks to the bottom of the cell and oxygen, which reacts with the carbon electrode to form carbon monoxide. This flares at the top of the cell. The cryolite also breaks down, to a much lesser degree, releasing fluorine, which instantly reacts with ANYTHING forming mostly aluminum fluoride.
                              Another oldie is the use of dog feces in the treatment of hides in the tanning process. I believe it was used in the "baiting" or hair removal.
                              Many different peoples, certainly our Native Americans, used animal brains to tan hides. Apparently Mother Nature worked it out so that there is enough brain matter to tan the hide. I understand that the only exception to this rule is Politicians. They NEVER have enough brains to tan their own hide!
                              Some of the early electroplating recipes had strange "additives" like cheese. The plater claimed that his "special ingredient" improved the brightness, or minimized smut, or whatever. The stuff apparently worked.
                              Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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