19 NOVEMBER 1921, Page 11


[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."1 SIR,—I read With great pleasure your well-informed article, " Work for the Unemployed," in your issue of November 5th, and I have now seen the letter signed " Managing Director " iu your last week's issue. The writer above this signature (which should denote extreme efficiency and knowledge) claims to be a colliery and coke-oven owner, and adds that he has spent, either in that capacity or as a managing director, some thousands of pounds, and will probably spend much more in low temperature carbonization processes.

I cannot understand anyone writing with such extreme igno- rance on the subject and yet stating that he has spent thousands of pounds in low temperature carbonization processes. What are the facts? In Engineering of October 28th, 1921, a seven-page article with full illustrations appeared, describing a plant which has turned out 100 tons of low temperature coke per week; and in nearly all newspapers a report by engineers of first- rate standing has appeared, showing a balance-sheet based on this small plant. The material facts are that out of one ton of slack or small coal 14 cwt. of the best solid smokeless low temperature coke, sold by the makers under the trade mark " Coalite," is prodnced. This material is quite different to high temperature coke or metallurgical coke. It lights more readily in an open grate than the best household coal. It gives from 30 per cent. to 40 per cent. more radiant heat than the best domestic household coal. It is clean and smokeless. From the same ton -of coal by actual tests there have been obtained 16 gallons of tar-oil containing 31 gallons of motor spirit—a higher grade spirit than Benzol—with one gallon of crude naphtha and from three to five gallons of lubricating oil and Diesel oil, in addition to fertilizers, Ac. There is not the least doubt that the erection of plants to produce these desirable results at the present time would largely tend to solve the unemployment problem in the engineering, firebrick, and allied trades and in our collieries.

If " Managing Director " really takes an interest in such processes and is anxious to obtain particulars, let him refer to Engineering of October 28th, 1921, when he will, I think, find all he requires, but, if not, I have no doubt those interested would send him additional particulars or give him leave to