Sunday, December 21, 2008

Henry Pratt's Memories VI

More from Linda's 1965 history class paper:
Spraying of fruit was a relatively elementary operation compared to present spraying requirements.
"Until sometime after 1910, most spraying was done with a lime-sulfur solution and arsenated lead, with Bordeaux mixture or Paris green which was much less used".
The lime-sulfur solution was homemade. It couldn't simply be mixed, it had to be cooked.
"To do this my father set up what amounted to a small chemical plant. There were two large wooden vats and an eight horsepower steam boiler. Sulfur and lime were purchased in barrels, the lime being unslaked and in chunks. Measured amounts were put in the vats with a certain amount of water. Steam piped from the boilers came over the tops of the vats and down near the bottom. Steam was forced into the mixture to boil it. This produced a terrific noise".
"The vats were set on a raised platform and under it was a third vat into which the mixture was drained when it had reached a certain specific gravity, called the Baume' Scale. After the mixture had cooled and the solids settled out, a reddish-yellow liquid was drawn off into oaken barrels. The barrels, holding 50 gallons, weighed 600 pounds when filled".
"Few farms had their own lime-sulfur plants, and we sold many barrels of it to neighbors. When the farms at Watervliet were purchased, another plant was set up there. They were operated until 1913 or 1920 when big commercial plants began to supply the market". (emailed July 8)

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