Ames Daily Tribune from Ames, Iowa on October 24, 1933 · Page 14
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Ames Daily Tribune from Ames, Iowa · Page 14

Ames, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 24, 1933
Page 14
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uw - »AttT Tinm-foai. AMES. IOWA, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2* 193? Corn Sy-Products Promise New Wealth to Agriculture Dr. 0. R. Sweeney of Iowa State College Sees Lumber, Paper, Motor Fuel and Heating Can Being Produced Commercially and Profitably From Corn Gobi and Corn Stalks Now Left in Fields. Harvesting cornstalks -with machinery perfected by agricultural engineering department at Iowa State college. < getting big meals, liis sleep and Ms appointments. I came to learn more of his work. For hours we talked. He took me through his laboratory, showed me the machinery he has there, told me what has already been accomplished, sent me away fired with the potentialities of agriculture's wealth, particularly Iowa's for it is in Iowa that he -works and Iowa of which he thinks and talks most. The Farmer 1 ! Problem Since the post-war depression of 1930, continuing on through the days of Industrial prosperity in the last decade and still today when the entire nation is in -the throes of economic doldrums, the farmers of the great food producing area of the central west have suffered financial distress. They sought relief through legislation. They pinned their faith on the federal farm BY THOMAS f. CROCKER Managing Editor. Tribune-Timw "Draw a circle with a three-mile radius anywhere on the map of the c«rn belt and within it you have the potential 1 source of 200,000 fe«t of- lumber per day, hard as teak, or lighter than cork. Draw another circle of eight miles radius, consider one-third of the land planted to corn and you have the potential source of a constant supply of heating gas for a city of 80,000 people." It was that statement made by a speaker at a luncheon club recently that sent me hurrying, to a .tiny ofiCe in a, laboratory building on the Iowa State college campus at Ames in quest of more information *bout -this marvel of Industrial chemistry and what it may mean to midwest farmers. Or. twttnty—Inventor There I aged man cupped hia hand behind bis- ear •when I talked, much after the fashion of an inventor whose name is familiar throughout America—Thomas A. Edison. This new sage of invention is Dr. O. R, Sweeney, head of the department of chemical engineering »t Iowa State college and father of plans and methods for utilizing agriculture's wastes. -. I had learned that he had served hii country as a producer of deadly gaases during the World war. that like Edison he is absorbed in his work to the point of for- met a kindly middle- wlth white hair, who "0,000.000 tons of wheat, oat and rye straw. 3,000,000 tons of fla* straw. 6,000,000 tona of oat hulls land 3,000,000 tons of cotto» hulU are produced in the United States every year. Millions of tons of all these are being burned annually. Corn Ccbs as Futl Corn cobs have been used (or fuel for a long time. They collect in great quamilies at grain elevators, where much shelling is done, and form a serious fire hazard, in IXictor Sweeney's laboratory at Iowa state college, cobs have produced charcoal, acetic acid, methoual. tar. Illuminating gas, formic acid, and acetone. The charcoal has been suitable for livestock feeding, for case hardening of steel and as a fuel, and for decolorizing as in sugar manufacturing. The corn cob tar is a shiny black material -varying from sort Piling baled cornstalks outside of Dr. Sweeneyg' laboratory at Iowa State college. . DR. R. SWEENEY fqnd, a federal marketing act, a Jl.500,000,000 revolving grain stabilization corporation but they saw their profits dwindle until in 1931 they were lucky to get enough to pay interest and taxes. Thousand* did not. The farm board advised curtailed production. It said that prices will remain low until the domestic surplu- is overcome. But the farmer looks out ^over his broad acrtr. All his life he has studied io"w to grow more and better corn per sere. He can't help but think hat there's something wrong with PRINCESS LINE TR1MNESS IS NOT EXCLUSIVE WITH SLIMRGURES! ly ••fnnting K«r eoirtowt *• *mfiu»nc« «f • fonnpt INNER-BELT GIRDLEIERE M'Udy cf mor» g»n»roui prop m«y acquire • iilhea*tf* that » bit «t authentic. Tk« comfortable inn«rb»lt doai mof« than smooth away tho»» annoying Irtti* raits »f *xc*fi fl««tiin«f— jt Itfldt a moit | helpful abdominal support. Ask t« b* fitted! TILDEN'S Dependable Since 1869 . DON'T TAKE CHANCESJ With Your Hair WE DQNT ... ., - . • We have the latest and best equipment ;;for.\tlie care of your hair—improved dryers, special new hair tints that are not liarinful to your hair in any way, and, best of all, we have had 11 years' experience in beauty work. You Are Not Taking a Chance When You Have Us Care for Your Hair t FIELD'S BEAUTY SHOP PHONE 1069 this new theory of reducing production. V Mutt Find More-Uses Doctor Sweeney says there is something wrong. "It's only a makeshift to raise less corn. The thing to do is to raise all we can and-.find jnpre us*'; **<L* wider market for it. Then the entire nation, including the grower, will benefit." For more than 10 years Doctor Sweeney has been patiently developing and working out his plans for utilizing com stalks, c-rt) cobs, oat hulls, corn husks, straw and other waste material for agriculture. Through years of painstaking research be has formulated' methods for converting those common materials intoT>asic chemical compounds from which some 2,000 products, ranging from embalming fluid to gun powders, mu.y be obtained. In h?s own laboratory he and his assistants have made or developed processes to make diabetic food, lumber substitutes, charcoal, heating gas, gun cotton, paper, oil cloth, linoleum, varnishes and lacquers, artificial silk, motor fuel, axle grease, laun- dr/ soap, printer's ink, insulating and plastic materials, pastes, incense, punk, "rubber heels"—the list of products is top long to repeat. A late bulletin issued by the college names more than 100. U. S. Gtv«i Aid i Recently the United States gov- eminent added its support to Doc- j tor Sweeney's work. A % 75,000 congressional appropriation became available and experts from, the department of agriculture, headed by Dr. P. B. Jacobs, arrived to work with Doctor Sweeney and members of his staff. Furfural, a magic product of corn cobs and oat hulls) which has already yielded an amating array of products, and which may be used successfully as a substitute for gasoline as an automobile fuel, will be studied to \7iden its field of utility, Sewage i \-ill be treated with corn stalk pulp. Bacteria working in that mass produce common heating gas in such quantities that sewage disposal plants in great cities may- some day become a source of substantial municipal income, replacing plants now .generating gas from coal. • : Doctor Sweeney pictures the day when- Iowa ;> will be dotted with factories' engaged in the processing of corn stalks, corn cobs and other agricultural waste products into" items of commercial value.' ' . ' . • . ~. It is foolish to cut down trees to buiia Houses or make paper," he says. "In fact, it is worse than that. It is. dangerous to the future of> our country." .Forest* Vanishing Then he points out that the original forest land in the United States has been reduced from 822,001,000 acres to about 470,000,000. and that the total available wood of all kinds is being reduced at a rate of 21.5 billion cubic feet annually. In addition, the prolonged heavy cutting of forest lands might change fertile agricultural areas into desert wastes, as has happened in old Asiatic countries. Iowa gets most of its rainfall ,'ro.n the Gulf of Mexico, Doctor Sweeney points out. The water from the gulf is taken up by the sun. then falls on southern ,. forests, is re-evaporated, falls again further north on more forests, is re-evaporated again and again and ultimately reaches Iowa. If southern forests are denuded, the neces sary rains which now make Iowa the" garden spot of the nation will no longer fall. • Wants Forest Reserve Reforestation for commercial purposes is economically unsound. Doctor Sweeney believes. Land is : too expensive. The cost of stocking with young trees and caring for them is high. Taxes must be paid many years. It takes 50 or 100 years to grow a lumber crop and private business cannot wait that long. Always there is the danger that" fire or disease will wipe out the stand before harvest time. Doctor Sweeney says that the gov eminent should hold great areas of land as. forest reserves, should reforest land unsuitable for other crops, and administer them to pre- serve the stability agriculture. of American ally would be thrown/away is well developed in many industries. "Almost anything we get from j Some of them could not operate trees and a lot of other things in i profitably except for the returns addition, we can get from com and it takes on- grow the corn stalks," he says, ly 90 days to stalks." . Paper has been produced in the chemical engineering laboratories at Iowa State college. Based on experiments there and elsewhere, a company to manufacture corn stalk paper on a commercial scale was started at Danville, III, in 1927. from The first paper was made a blend of wood and corn stalk pulp. That was too hard and non-absorbent for newsprint and cheap magazine use, but made a very good bond paper for letterheads, envelopes and similar uses. Later, satisfactory newsprint was made from corn stalk pulp alone. Tissue paper and book paper have also been produced and a satisfactory grade of rotogravure paper has been manufactured from 50 per cent corn stall* pulp and 50 per cent wood pulp. Net a New Venturt The manufacture of paper from agricultural waste is not a new thing. Straw was first used for paper making in the United States in 1825. For many years straw board for egg cases and other purposes has been produced in great quantities. Only the production of print and finer papers is a comparatively new development. Paper consumption in the United States increased from 3,000 tons in 1810 to 1,006,000 tons in 1928, a per capita increase from one to 200 pounds. The consumption of riewsprint alone jumped from 569,)00 tons In 1800 to 3,500,000 tons in 1928. Paper towels, paper boxes, paper cups, paper napkins, toilet paper and a multitude of other articles increasing constantly in use, are making a tremendous demand upon the paper mills of this country.. Is the face of that we have a steadily decreasing supply of suitable and accessible timber. Develop By-Products The utilization of by-products and waste materials • which norm- froni those by-products. Probably the greatest example at present ia agriculture is the fruit growing industry, where the culls of the crop are used in such products as citric acid, lemon extract, pectin.'cider, preserves and vinegar. Potatoes are used for the *production of alcohol in Germany and- industrial alcohol is produced *ery cheaply in the United States, f^om "black strap" molasses, a by-product from cane sugar and from corn. Agriculture waste materials such as corn stalks, corn cobs, straw, cotton stalks, oat hulls and peanut shells represent one of the largest sources of raw material in the world. Of these, the by-products of the corn etalk are of the greatest importance, particularly in the corn belt of this country. The acreage planted to corn every year in the United States is about 100.000,000 acres. A conservative yield of stalks is 1.5 tone per acre, about 150,000,000 tons annually in the country. In addition, there are about 20,000,000 tons of corn cobs. Iowa alone furnishes 15,000,000 tons of stalks and 3,000,000 tons of cobs. Most of that vast quantity of material is wasted or ruthlessly destroyed. Leading Farm Crop Corn is the single leading agricultural product in the United States and is perhaps the most highly developed and variously elaborated of any of the crop lants. The corn kernel has always been recognized as a valuable source of food for man and beast but the tremendous annual production of corn stalks hag been burned or destroyed with little or no thought of the valuable products of which it might he the source. Billion Dollar Fire "Iowa hast a billion dollar fire every spring when the farmers burn the\talks left over from the last year's crop," says Doctor Sweeney. < In addition to the corn stalks and cobs," it is estimated that over plastic to hard brittle material. Acetic acid, metiunol and formic acid are used in various industrial processes. Acetone i« u»«d as a solvent and in the production of smokeless powder. During the World war it was in great demand. Chemists have long known that a light yellow- oily material known as furfural could be obtained i'roni vegetable material but furfural remained a laboratory curiosity selling at $30 a pound until it was demonstrated that it could be produced from corn cobs and oat hulls. Today in the world's largest cereal mill, located at Cedar Rapids. la., oat hulls are segregated in immense quantitias. Furfural is produced at a very low price and shipped all over the world. U»e§ of Fui-fural Th* anatomy department in the j veterinary school at towa ftiat« j college Uas discovered ikat lwr» fural can be u*«4 to rvflMw Iw maldehyde in embalm!** flmid. H is an excellent varnish r«ms**f. (Continued OB Paf« Eight> New Sty Size LYDIA £. PINKHAM*S TABLETS FOR WOMEN Their relieve attd pnrttM periodic pain and lisociand disorders. No narcotics. Not josc a pain killer but a fltod*r* medkioe which sets apoo the CAUSE of TOUT trouble. Per* sisteot use brioj relict; GETS THE FACTS MARTIN: Goth, Mac, I're got a tough assignments City Hall—and just no energy to nee it through... MAC:' You've b*ro looking "low" lately. Marty. Why not we a doctor? MARTIN: I did. two months ago. He warned tgtinst constipation ... advised me to eat bran—for bulk. MAC: Then, liiten! Eat Poet's 40% BranPlak«! It Uites Jurt great! HERE-IN ONE DELICIOUS CEREAL BRAN . . . for benefits you need. OTHER PARTS OF WHEAT for flavor you'll love! Post's 40% Bran Flakes contains 40% bran for bulk most people need to keep food moving along the intestinal tract... to help ward off constipation due to insufficient bulk in the diet.* But—it contains other parts of wheat, too. And in this combination of bran and other parts of wheat is the secret of its marvelous flavor. And of its high nutritive value... its rich content of phosphorus, iron and its precious Vitamin B. So eat Post's 40% Bran Flakes regularly. You'll love it! And it costs so little. Your grocer has it—a product of General Foods. WAITER: Ton cure seem to enjoy that Pott's 40 % Bran Flakn, youaf fell*! E»t it er«y d»j-7 MARTIN: Sure, doitor'fordenl It's swell—and it dOM me good, toot ONE MONTH LATER lOrrOR: 'With ail this new " Wawn," Martin, you'll soon be on City Desk! MAtTIN: Steam is right! (To himself:—So Is Post'* 40 % Bran Flakw right—to help *«p me fit!) P O>-T 'S 4O% BRAN FLAKE S TES BETTER r I I l THIS AD IS WORTH 50 C in Trade OCT. 26. 27 and 28 i - . On any purchaie of $3.50 or over this ad is worth 50c on all ladies' and children's Slippers, Overshoes and Shoes. SHOE STORE! ^^^^^^^^H ^^^^^^M^OT ^^^^^w^^fc^^p ^^^^^^^^HH^^r '.. just toy tbetn > IMS, Lwotrr * Mm* TOMCOO Co,

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