Saturday, January 21, 2012

Convention of Sorghum Sugar Manufacturers

We have received a report of a very large and interesting convention of sugar cane growers and manufacturers, held at Adrian, Michigan, on the 16th and 17th ult.  Representatives from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa were present, and many interesting facts were related in connection with the culture of the cane, and the treatment of its juice to obtain sirup [sic] and sugar.  Many specimens of sirup and samples of sugar were exhibited.  There was also an exhibition of seven evaporators, namely that of H. G. Bulkley, Kalamazoo, Michigan, C. Cory, Lima, Indiana, Eagle Works Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois, O. N. Brainard, Marion County, Iowa, D. D. Tooker, Napoleon, Michigan, John Miller, Rolling Prairie, Indiana, Cook’s portable, by J. Richards, Raisin, Michigan.  A committee of the convention was appointed to examine these evaporators and decide upon their merits.  C. Cory’s apparatus called “Cook’s Evaporator with Cory’s Improvement,” received the preference of the judges.  The nature of this invention as described in a previous volume of the Scientific American, consists in the arrangements of an elevated partition extended from one side of the pan to the other in combination with a gate, in such a manner that the circulation of the evaporationg fluid can be detained or regulated at pleasure, and that the sirup in its clarified state, and while separated from its scum by continuous active ebullition, can pass into the finishing part of the pan.  We have received two samples of beautiful pale yellow sugar made in this evaporator, they formed parts of parcels for which prizes were awarded.

Mr. Cory, in a communication to the convention, gave some useful information respecting the culture of the sorghum and the treatment of its juice.  He stated that light sandy soils produce lighter colored and better flavored sweets, but for the sake of larger gains his preference is for richer soil, abounding in good corn growing qualities.  The opinion often published, that Chinese cane is best for sirup and imphee for sugar, is probably correct.  Early planting is desirable, the seeds should be first moistened and nearly sprouted, they should be thinly covered and lightly pressed down, as planted, and the ground, if inclined to be wet, should be ridged, the crop is most easily tended when in rows, nearly four feet apart each way, early and frequent cultivation is desirable, a mixture of ashes, lime, gypsum applied to the hills in suitable quantities during the early stages of its growth, is beneficial, stimulating its growth, and destroying and preventing the existence of multitudes of parasites.  When the crop is gathered before proper maturity it should remain a few days protected from the heat and cold, to ripen, before the cane is crushed.

The juice of the samples of sugar exhibited was pressed from the cane by rollers in the ordinary manner.  It was then passed to the receiving tub at the head of the evaporating pan, and a small amount of freshly slacked lime added in a diluted state to neutralize, in part, the acidity of the juice, and to aid in its defecation.  The pan used is of copper, three feet eight inches wide and ten feet long.  This is placed on a stationary brick arch, and is divided into apartments.  In the first division a most perfect defecation is secured, after which, in a clarified state, and entirely freed from scum, the sirup is passed into the finishing portion of the pan and subjected to continued intense heat, till sufficiently cooked at the farther end of the pan, at which point it is passed off at the speed of from eight to twelve gallons per hour through the day.  Nothing but the small quantity of lime added to the juice was employed in treating the sugar we have examined.

Samples of sorghum sirup, analyzed at Belcher’s refinery in Chicago presented the following results.

Cane sugar
Liquid sugar
Other substances


Judging from the interest now taken in the cultivation of sorghum, imphee and beet root by our Western agriculturalists, and from the energy and ingenuity displayed to invent improved apparatus for manufacturing sirup and sugar, we conclude that a new and profitable branch of industry is about to be established in our country. –{Scientific American

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 31, 1862, p. 1

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