Manufacturer and builder 11, 1881
Chemists, says the British Mail, are steadily revolutionizing old processes and ruining old industries by their synthetic methods of making the counterfeits of natural products. The madder industry of France was the first to feel the power of modern chemistry, and now madder is a comparatively useless crop. The coloring principle which was so valuable to the dyer was analyzes by the chemist, and spearated into its elements. But the chemist went farther; he found a comparatively waste substance which, by a little manipulation, would yield just the same proportions. Consequently it must, except under special circumstances, be identical in constitution with the natural product. The indigo planters of India are threatened with a similar extinction, for the coloring matter known as indigo has been synthetically prepared in the chemist's laboratory, and only awaits a cheaper raw material than the indigo plant to gradually bring about the decline of one of the most profitable crops of India. Citric acid is another notable instance of the triumph of synthetical chemistry; and latterly a process of preparing canillin, the essential oil of vanilla, has been patented in this country. By and by chemistry will make for us the most delicate perfumes and the most costly flavors out of the waste substances of other industries.