News Briefs and Old Advertisements from the Capper’s Farmer August 1927 Issue

At Capper’s Farmer, we’re proud that the magazine has been around since the late 1800s.

| Summer 2018

The Chemist and Cotton

The chemist is the miracle worker of this age. What has been done with cotton is enough to convince the most dubious of skeptics that this is true. Today, we use a hundred products we little dream could come from cotton fiber. Camera films, automobile lacquer, spectacle rims, umbrella handles, combs, fountain pens – all are made from cotton.

The cotton fiber contains cellulose, a starch-like substance found in the solid framework of all plants. The chemist extracts this and changes it into a material known as “pyroxylin,” from which hundreds of articles are made.

Many makes of motor cars are finished with a pyroxylin lacquer, which gives long service, has a pleasing appearance, and can be made in a great range of attractive colors and shades that do not fade easily in the sunlight. Ten years ago, no one dreamed of motor cars being virtually finished in cotton. With the vogue for colored furniture came a cotton lacquer that could be applied with a brush, and in hundreds of homes today, old furniture is being refinished in brilliant and fascinating colors.

Great quantities of cotton are used in gunpowder, blasting powder, dynamite, and other explosives.

The millions of feet of motion picture films, as well as the rolls and film packs used in ordinary cameras, are made from pyroxylin. A pyroxylin in plastic form is molded into combs, brush and mirror backs, and other toiletry articles. More than 500,000 pounds of this plastic are used each year in making frames for eyeglasses.

Much of the leather substitute manufactured today is finished with a pyroxylin compound, which makes it as durable for many purposes as leather itself. Airplane wings are coated with pyroxylin to make them waterproof. Window shades are treated with a chemically transformed cotton, which makes them waterproof and gives them a color that will not fade when subjected to intense sunlight. These are only a few of the varied uses being made of the South’s most important crop. The day of miracles has not passed.

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