A Dictionary of Arts: Gum.

A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines; containing A Clear Exposition of Their Principles and Practice

by Andrew Ure, M. D.;
F. R. S. M. G. S. Lond.: M. Acad. M. S. Philad.; S. PH. DOC. N. GERM. Ranow.; Mulh. Etc. Etc.

Illustrated with nearly fifteen hundred engravings on wood
Eleventh American, From The Last London Edition.
To which is appended, a Supplement of Recent Improvements to The Present Time.

New York: D Appleton & company, 200 Broadway. Philadelphia: George S. Appleton, 148 Chestnut St.


GUM, (Gomme, Fr.; Gummi, Pflanzenschleimm Germ.) is the name of a proximate vegetable product, which forms with water a slimy solution, but is insoluble in alcohol, ether, and oils; it is converted by strong sulphuric acid into oxalic and mucic acids.

There are six varieties of gum: 1. gum arabic; 2. gum senegal; 3. gum of the cherry and other stone fruit trees; 4. gum tragacanth; 5. gum of Bassora; 6. the gum of seeds and roots. The first five spontaneously flow from the branches and trunks of their trees, and sometimes from the fruits, in the form of a mucilage which dries and hardens in the air. The sixth kind is extracted by boiling water.

Gum arabic and gum senegal consist almost wholly of the purest gum called arabine by the French chemists; out native fruit trees contain some cerasine, along with arabine; the gum of Bassora and gum tragacanth consist of arabine and bassorine.

Gum arabic flows from the acacia arabica, and the acacia vera, which grow upon the banks of the Nile and in Arabia. It occurs in commerce in the form of small pieces, rounded upon one side and hollow upon the other. It is transparent, without smell, brittle, easy to pulverize, sometimes colorless, sometimes with a yellow or brownish tint. It may be bleached by exposure to the air and the sun-beams, at the temperature of boiling water. Its specific gravity is 1.355. Moistened gum arabic reddens litmus paper, owing to the presence of a little supermalate of lime, which may be removed by boiling alcohol; it shows also traces of the chlorides of potassium and calcium, and the acetate of potash. 100 parts of good gum contain 70.40 of arabine, 17.60 of water with a few per cents. of saline and earthy matters. Gum arabic is used in medicine, as also to give lustre to crapes and other silk stuffs.

Gum senegal is collected by the negroes during the month of November, from the acacia senegal, a tree 18 or 20 feet high. It comes to us in pieces about the size of a partridge egg, but sometimes larger, with a hollow centre. Its specific gravity is 1.436. It consists of 81.10 arabine; 16.10 water; and from 2 to 3 of saline matters. The chemical properties and uses of this gum are the same as those of gum arabic. It is much employed in calico-printing.

Cherry-tree gum consists 53.20 arabine; 54.90 cerasine; 12 water; and[] matter.

Gum tragacanth is gathered about the end of June, from the astragalus tracantha of Crete and the surrounding islands. It has the appearance of twisted ribands; is white or reddish; nearly opaque, and a little ductile. It is difficult to pulverize, without heating the mortar. Its specific gravity is 1.384. When plunged in water, it disoolves inpart, swells considerably, and forms a very thick mucilage. 100 parts of it consist of 53.30 arabine; 33.30 bassorine and starch; 11.0 water; and from 2 to 3 parts of saline matters. It is employed in calico printing, and by shoemakers.

Gum of Bassora; see BASSORINE.

Gum of seeds as linseed, consists of 52.70 arbine; 28.9 of an insoluble ma[] water; and 7.11 saline matter. Neither bassorine nor cerasine seems to be present in seeds and roots. For British Gum, see STARCH.

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