A Dictionary of Arts (supplement): Algarovilla.

(A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines; containing A Clear Exposition of Their Principles and Practice)
Recent improvements in
Arts, Manufactures, and Mines:
Being A supplement to his Dictionary
by Andrew Ure, M. D.,

Illustrated with one hundred and ninety engravings.

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

ALGAROVILLA. This substance is called by the Spaniards Algaroba, from the resemblance it bears to the fruit of the Carob (Ceratonia siliqua), which is a native of Europe, in the southern countries of Spain and Portugal. The substance lately analysed by me is the fruit of a tree which grows in Chile, of which the botanical name is Prosopis pallida, according to Captain Bagnald, R. N., who first brought a sample of it to this country in the year 1832. It consists of pods bruised and agglutinated more or less with the extractive exudation of the seeds and husks. According to a more recent determination, algarovilla is said to be the product of the tree Juga Marthæ of Santa Martha, a province of New Carthagena.

It is an astringent substance replete with tannin, capable, by its infusion in water, of tanning leather, for which purpose it possesses more than four times the power of good oak bark. Its active matter is very soluble in water a a boiling temperature. The seeds are merely nutritive and demulcent, but contain no astringent property. This resides in the husks, The seeds in  the entire pod constitute about 1-5th of the weight, and they are three or four in number in each oblong pod. Alcohol of 60 per cent. over proofs dissolves 64 parts in 100 of this substance. The solution consists chiefly of tannin, with a very little resinous matter. Water dissolves somewhat more of it, and affords a very styptic-tasted solution, which precipitates solution of isinglass very copiously, like infusion of galls and catechu. Its solution forms with sulphate of iron a black precipitate, which is kept floating by means of the gum present, and thereby constitutes good ink. My report to the merchant was written with a combination thus made, in proportions taken at random; and there is no doubt that by using a stronger decoction of the algarovilla, along with a proper proportion of copperas, an excellent black ink might be prepared without any other addition.

I find that a decoction of the algarovilla affords with cotton cloth, mordanted with tin solutions, as also with acetate of alumina liquor, a brilliant yellow die; the former being the brighter and fuller of the two.

A tincture of algoravilla might be used as an astringent in medicine; or probably a decoction of the hole substance would be preferable, on account of the demulcent quality of the seeds when bruised. As an article of commerce it can not be rated at a high price, nor should it pay much duty till its value as an article of manufactures or medicine be fully ascertained.

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