Imagens das páginas

2d Session.

No. 270.






Communication from the Chief of Engineers, asking an appropriation to pre

serve from decay the timber to be used in the dikes of the St. Clair Flats improvement.

APRIL 29, 1868.- Referred to the Committee on Commerce and ordered to be printed.


Washinglon City, April 23, 1868. Sir: I have the honor to send herewith, for the consideration of the proper committee, a communication of April 13 from the Chief of Engineers, recommending an appropriation of $27,300, to cover the expense of preserving from decay, by “creosoting,” all the wood above water which is to be put into the dikes of the St. Clair Flats improvement. Your obedient servant,


Secretary of War. Hon. SCHUYLER COLFAX,

Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Washington, D. C., April 13, 1868. SIR: I beg leave to transmit a copy of a communication from Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General T. J. Cram, corps of engineers, in relation to the protection from decay of the timber to be used above water in the dikes of the St. Clair Flats improvement, by the application of Seely's creosoting process.

The application of General Čram is approved, and an appropriation of $27,300 is respectfully recommended, to cover the additional expense. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigidier General of Engineers, Commanding. Hon. E. M. STANTOX,

Secretary of War.

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Detroit, April 6, 186S. Sir: I have the honor to suggest that we should be acting with great econ. omy by " creosoting” all the wood above water to be put into the dikes of the St. Clair Flats improvement. The original method of the process was by Bethell, in England. Professor Seely, of New York city, has improved the method of applying the creosote oil to wood. The proofs of the advantage of the process are numerous, and conclusively show that railway sleepers have borne the test, when creosoted, for 21 years, without decay, and were they found as sound as ever, and will continue to be sound

years. In our dikes there will be 182,000 cubic feet of timber, subject to natural decay just about as railroad sleepers are, and which do not last, "uncreosoted,” Inore than seven years before requiring to be renewed.

The cost of creosoting will be 15 cents per cubic foot. The cost of the timrer uncreosoted is 21% cents per cubic foot. The cost of framing and putting in is 9 jo per cubic foot. Creosoting the timber before putting it into the worx would bring the timber in the work to cost 46 cents per cubic foot. The measure of the economy may be estimated as follows:

We know that timber creosoted has, as before stated, lasted 21 years. Hence in 21 years we should save the difference between 46 and 93 cents* per cubic foot, or 47 cents, which applied to 182,000 cubic feet in the dikes gives us the total saving in 21 years of $85,540, which divided by 3 gives the saving of $28,513 for every period of seven years.

From this we perceive we should save more than enough in the first period of seven years to reimburse us for the first outlay of creosoting, which is for the whole 182,000 cubic feet only $27,300 ; and every succeeding period of seven years we should save in repairs $28,513, at least, and as long thereafter as the process will be found to preserve the timber. Mr. Brunell, in 1850, expressed his opinion that after 40 years the timber would be found as sound as ever if well creosoted before being put into the work.

In my original estimate of the cost of the work, I, having bad no time to investigate this method of creosoting, put in nothing for it. If it should be thought advisable to adopt the process it will be necessary to ask for an additional appropriation for this purpose to the amount of $27,300.

I have seen the gentlemant who is applying the process, and he assures me he can creosote the timber as fast as the contractor can put it into the work.

I respectfully submit the question for such action as you may deem proper to take upon the subject, merely adding, in conclusion, that if we adopt the process there is no time for delay in bringing it about, as we shall in a few weeks hence be framing the timber. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Engineers, Breret Major General. Brevet Major General A. A. HUMPHREYS,

Brigadier General, Chief of Engineers U. S. A.


Statements in regard to use of creosote for preserving wood in Europe. Mr. Brunell believed that longitudinal timbers, thoroughly creosoted and properly put together, were at least as durable as the iron rails, and he might even say that under certain circumstances the timber would last the longest. He

* Ninety-three cents is the cost of original and renewing twice.
W. T. Pelton, Esq.

believed that with fair usage the timber would be more durable than the iron, so that he did not agree in the desirability of abandoning timber and adopting iron for sleepers. He must expressly state his conviction that at the expiration of forty years well creosoted longitudinal timbers would be found in a sound and serviceable condition. (See 9th volume Institution of Civil Engineers' Minutes, pages 403 and 405.)

Mr. Hawkshaw had arrived at the conclusion that well creosoted longitudinal timber sleepers, with heavy malleable iron rails, formed the best and most durable line: it was the cheapest in the first cost and in subsequent maintenance, and was least injurious to the rolling stock. (See 9th volume Institution of Civil Engineers' Minutes, page 403.)

Mr. Hawkshaw said he had tried all the principle systems, and would not generally adopt any except creosoting: Kyan's was inefficient, Burnett's was not satisfactory, and Payne's rendered the wood brittle. He had certainly never seen an instance of decay in creosoted timber, even in the most unfavorable position (See 12th volume Institution of Civil Engineers' Minutes, page 230.)

At a meeting at the Institution of Civil Engineers, April 5, 1859, Mr. T. E. Harrison said that the entrance of the gates of the Monk Wearmouth docks at Sunderland, which had been constructed of yellow pine, creosoted twenty years ago, were quite sound, but portions of kyanized timber, used in the same works, had been attacked by the worm to a considerable extent.

Durch Rhenish Railway,

Driebergen, April 4, 1858. In answer to your inquiry relative to the timber prepared according to the so-called creosoting process, I beg to inform you that in the year 1844, during the construction of our line, 10,561 cubic metres of timber were creosoted at Utrecht anà Veenendaal. In 1855 and 1857, with the extension of our line to Germany, in connection with the Cologne and Minden railway, and consequent alteration to the narrow gauge, the timber creosoted and laid in 1844 was taken up, and found as sound and perfect as when first laid, and consequently used over again, while uncreosoted timber, close by, has been obliged to be renewed two or three times during the same period. Your obedient servant,

G. FREEM, Chief Inspector.

A letter from Henry Woodhouse, of the London and Northwestern railway dated July 17, 1856, says:

About 17 miles of the railway from Manchester to Crewe, belonging to this company, are laid with the creosoted American for sleepers ; part of these were laid in 1840, and the rest in 1812, since which we have not had one instance in which decay has been detected in these creosoted sleepers, and upon relaying the line we have used over again all the old creesoted sleepers that were not split, instead of new ones.

Samuel Dawson, superintendent of the Eastern Counties railway, in a letter dated July 16, 1856, says, “ that the whole of the creosoted sleepers laid down in May, 1840, are now as sound and perfect as when laid down, and the creosote oil seems as fresh in them now as ever."

John Dyer, superintendent of wood bridges on the Bristol and Exeter railway, in a letter dated August 28, 1856, says:

In many of these bridges a great deal of creosoted timber was used, which has been in use now upwards of fourteen years, and I can testify that every piece of creosoted wood in them is now perfectly sound and free from decay.

The reports of the Paris Exposition for 1867 say:

In the French section of the Exhibition are shown railway sleepers which have been in use for several years. One of these sleepers which was put down in March, 1859, and taken up in February, 1867, appeared as sound as when first cut. In the English collection is a sleeper from the Great Western railway which had been down for 21 years; one from the Lancashire and Yorkshire line which had been down for 19 years, and one from the London and Northwestern railway which had been in use for 20 years. They are all perfectly sound, showing that the preservative liquid had penetrated through each sleeper.


August 20, 1857. I am very glad to bear testimony to the very satisfactory result the creosoting process has had upon the hundreds of piles used in the construction of the piers of the tidal basin for the entrance to the Grimsby docks, which has been done for seven years. None of the timber which was creosoted is in the least decayed or affected by the worm, whereas other piles which were driven alongside by mistake, and not having undergone the process of creosoting, have been nearly destroyed by the worms, and are also considerably decayed. I can highly recommend the process as being a most sure and perfect preventative against all sea worms and decay in timber, but much depends upon the oil being properly injected into the timber to produce a satisfactory effect. Yours, truly,


Dock Engineer.

Statements of American chemists. Professor John Torrey, of the United States Assay Office, in a letter dated March 12, 1868, says :

You have supplied the chief desideratum in the use of timber for pavements, namely, the preservation of the material from decay. By your processes the thorough penetration of the wood by the well-known antiseptic and preservative substances, coal oil and carbolic acid, is fully established.

Professor R. Ogden Doremus, of the Medical College of the city of New York, in a letter dated March 11, 1868, says:

DEAR SIR: I have carefully examined the Stafford pavement, treated by Professor Seely's creosoting process. I find that even a few hours after the operation the whole section of wood is deeply colored with the dark oil, and by appropriate tests that the effective antiseptic and disinfecting agent, the carbolic or phenic acid, bas permeated every portion of each block. The benefits of the treatment are three-fold :

1. The prolonged influence of heat, as the sections are immersed in boiling oil, tends to preserve the wood by its action on the nitrogenized or fermenting principles.

2. The thorough soaking of the ends and sides of each block with oil prevents the entrance of moisture and of the impurities which would be associated with it in the streets of a city, and which, should they gain admittance, would facilitate its decay not only, but would act mechanically by absorption, swelling the wood, and by frost in our severe winters marring the evenness of the pavement. Should the pavement act as a sponge to hold moisture, and gradually yield it up to the atmosphere, it would not only prove destructive to the blocks, but most deleterious to the air.

3. Though the oil alone would not preserve the blocks from destruction, the carbolic acid united with it is a most efficient agent for accomplishing this desirable end. This is not based on mere theories and speculations, but is the result of many years of experimenting, not only by individual chemists and investigators, but nearly all the prominent governments of the civilized world have conducted examinations with this particular agent on an extensive scale, and with great success. Besides preventing decay, this impregnation confers additional hardness on the wood, most evident on boring or cutting the blocks. This will doubtless add to the durability of the pavement.

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