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                            The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Handbook of Soap Manufacture, by W. H. Simmons and H. A. Appleton.
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Page 1



W. H. SIMMONS, B.Sc. (Lond.), F.C.S.




[All rights reserved]

Transcriber's note:
Footnotes have been moved to the end of the chapter and minor typos have been corrected.

[Pg iii]


In the general advance of technical knowledge and research during the last decade, the Soap Industry has not
remained stationary. While there has not perhaps been anything of a very revolutionary character, steady
progress has still been made in practically all branches, and the aim of the present work is to describe the
manufacture of Household and Toilet Soaps as carried out to-day in an up-to-date and well-equipped factory.

In the more scientific portions of the book, an acquaintance with the principles of elementary chemistry is
assumed, and in this we feel justified, as in these days of strenuous competition, no soap-maker can hope to
compete successfully with his rivals unless he has a sound theoretical as well as practical knowledge of the
nature of the raw materials he uses, and the reactions taking place in the pan, or at other stages of the
manufacture. We also venture to hope that the work may prove useful to Works' Chemists and other Analysts
consulted in connection with this Industry.

At the same time, in the greater part of the book no chemical knowledge is necessary, the subject being treated
in such a way that it is hoped those who are not directly engaged in the manufacture of soap, but who desire a
general idea of the subject, will find it of value.

In the sections dealing with the composition and analysis of materials, temperatures are expressed in degrees
Centigrade, these being now almost invariably used in scientific work. In the rest of the book, however, they
are given in degrees Fahrenheit (the degrees Centigrade being also added in brackets), as in the majority of
factories these are still used.


Page 2

As regards strengths of solution, in some factories the use of Baumé degrees is preferred, whilst in others
Twaddell degrees are the custom, and we have therefore given the two figures in all cases.[Pg iv]

In the chapter dealing with Oils and Fats, their Saponification Equivalents are given in preference to
Saponification Values, as it has been our practice for some years to express our results in this way, as
suggested by Allen in Commercial Organic Analysis, and all our records, from which most of the figures for
the chief oils and fats are taken, are so stated.

For the illustrations, the authors are indebted to Messrs. E. Forshaw & Son, Ltd., H. D. Morgan, and W. J.
Fraser & Co., Ltd.

W. H. S.
H. A. A.

London, September, 1908.

[Pg v]




Introduction. 1

Definition of Soap—Properties—Hydrolysis—Detergent Action.


Constitution of Oils and Fats, and their Saponification 6

Researches of Chevreul and Berthelot—Mixed Glycerides—Modern Theories of Saponification—Hydrolysis
accelerated by (1) Heat or Electricity, (2) Ferments, Castor-seed Ferment, Steapsin, Emulsin, and (3)
Chemical Reagents, Sulphuric Acid, Twitchell's Reagent, Hydrochloric Acid, Lime, Magnesia, Zinc Oxide,
Soda and Potash.


Raw Materials used in Soap-making 24

Fats and Oils—Waste Fats—Fatty Acids—Less-known Oils and Fats of Limited Use—Various New Fats and
Oils Suggested for Soap-making—Rosin—Alkali (Caustic and Carbonated)—Water—Salt—Soap-stock.


Bleaching and Treatment of Raw Materials intended for Soap-making 41

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Handbook of Soap Manufacture, by W. H. Simmons and H. A. Appleton.


Page 85

Peru balsam oil, the oily portion (so-called "cinnamein") obtained from Peru balsam. Specific gravity at 15°
C., 1.100-1.107; optical rotation, slightly dextro-rotatory up to +2°; refractive index at 20° C., 1.569 to 1.576;
ester, calculated as benzyl benzoate, 80-87 per cent.; soluble in 1 volume of 90 per cent. alcohol.

The oil consists chiefly of benzyl benzoate and cinnamate, together with styracin, or cinnamyl cinnamate, and
a small quantity of free benzoic and cinnamic acids.

Petitgrain oil, obtained by distillation of the twigs and unripe fruit of Citrus bigaradia. There are two varieties
of the oil, the French and the South American, the former being the more valuable. Specific gravity at 15° C.,
0.886-0.900; optical rotation, -3° to +6°; refractive index at 20° C., 1.4604-1.4650; esters, calculated as linalyl
acetate, 40-55 per cent., for the best qualities usually above 50 per cent.; soluble as a rule in 2-3 volumes of 70
per cent. alcohol, but occasionally requires 1-2 volumes of 80 per cent. alcohol.

Among its constituents are limonene, linalyl acetate, geraniol and geranyl acetate.

Pimento oil (allspice), distilled from the fruit of Pimenta officinalis, which is found in the West Indies and
Central America. Specific gravity at 15° C., 1.040-1.060; optical rotation, slightly lævo-rotatory up to -4°;
refractive index at 20° C., 1.529-1.536; phenols, estimated[Pg 105] by absorption with 5 per cent. potash
solution, 68-86 per cent.; soluble in 1-2 volumes of 70 per cent. alcohol.

The oil contains eugenol, methyl eugenol, cineol, phellandrene, and caryophyllene.

Rose oil (otto of rose), distilled from the flowers of Rosa damascena, though occasionally the white roses
(Rosa alba) are employed. The principal rose-growing district is in Bulgaria, but a small quantity of rose oil is
prepared from roses grown in Anatolia, Asia Minor. An opinion as to the purity of otto of rose can only be
arrived at after a very full chemical analysis, supplemented by critical examination of its odour by an expert.
The following figures, however, will be found to include most oils which can be regarded as genuine. Specific
gravity at 30° C., 0.850-0.858; optical rotation at 30° C., -1° 30' to -3°; refractive index at 20° C.,
1.4600-1.4645; saponification value, 7-11; solidifying point, 19-22° C.; iodine number, 187-194; stearopten
content, 14-20 per cent.; melting point of stearopten, about 32° C.

A large number of constituents have been isolated from otto of rose, many of which are, however, only
present in very small quantities. The most important are geraniol, citronellol, phenyl ethyl alcohol, together
with nerol, linalol, citral, nonylic aldehyde, eugenol, a sesquiterpene alcohol, and the paraffin stearopten.

Rosemary oil, distilled from the herb Rosemarinus officinalis, and obtained from France, Dalmatia, and Spain.
The herb is also grown in England, but the oil distilled therefrom is rarely met with in commerce. The
properties of the oils vary with their source, and also with the parts of the plant distilled, distillation of the
stalks as well as the leaves tending to reduce the specific gravity and borneol content, and increase the
proportion of the lævo-rotatory constituent (lævo-pinene). The following figures may be taken as limits for
pure oils:—

French and Dalmatian.—Specific gravity at 15° C., 0.900-0.916; optical rotation, usually
dextro-rotatory, up to +15°, but may occasionally be lævo-rotatory, especially if stalks have been distilled
with the leaves; ester, calculated as bornyl acetate, 1-6 per cent.; total borneol, 12-18 per cent.; usually soluble
in 1-2 volumes of 82.5 per cent. alcohol.

Spanish.—The properties of the Spanish oil are similar to the others, except that it is more frequently

Rosemary oil contains pinene, camphene, cineol, borneol, and camphor.

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Handbook of Soap Manufacture, by W. H. Simmons and H. A. Appleton.


Page 86

Sandalwood oil, obtained by distillation of the wood of Santalum album (East Indian), Santalum cygnorum
(West Australian), and Amyris balsamifera (West Indian). The oils obtained from these three different sources
differ very considerably in value, the East Indian being by far the best.

East Indian.—Specific gravity at 15° C., 0.975-0.980; optical rotation, -14° to -20°; refractive index at
20° C., 1.5045-1.5060;[Pg 106] santalol, 92-97 per cent.; usually soluble in 4-6 volumes of 70 per cent.
alcohol, though, an old oil occasionally is insoluble in 70 per cent. alcohol.

West Australian.—Specific gravity at 15° C., 0.950-0.968; optical rotation, +5° to +7°; alcohols,
calculated as santalol, 73-75 per cent.; insoluble in 70 per cent. alcohol, but readily dissolves in 1-2 volumes
of 80 per cent. alcohol.

West Indian.—Specific gravity at 15° C., 0.948-0.967; optical rotation, +13° 30' to +30°; insoluble in
70 per cent. alcohol.

In addition to free santalol, the oil contains esters of santalol and santalal.

Sassafras oil, distilled from the bark of Sassafras officinalis, and obtained chiefly from America. Specific
gravity at 15° C., 1.06-1.08; optical rotation, +1° 50' to +4°; refractive index at 20° C., 1.524-1.532; soluble
in, 6-10 volumes of 85 per cent. alcohol, frequently soluble in 10-15 volumes of 80 per cent. alcohol.

The chief constituents are safrol, pinene, eugenol, camphor, and phellandrene. The removal of safrol, either
intentionally or by accident, owing to cooling of the oil and consequent deposition of the safrol, is readily
detected by the reduction of the specific gravity below 1.06.

Thyme oil, red and white, distilled from the green or dried herb, Thymus vulgaris, both French and Spanish
oils being met with. These oils are entirely different in character.

French.—Specific gravity at 15° C., 0.91-0.933; slightly lævo-rotatory up to -4°, but usually too dark to
observe; phenols, by absorption with 10 per cent. aqueous caustic potash, 25-55 per cent.; refractive index at
20° C., 1.490-1.500; soluble in 1-1.5 volumes of 80 per cent. alcohol.

Spanish.—Specific gravity at 15° C., 0.955-0.966; optical rotation, slightly lævo-gyrate; phenols, 70-80
per cent.; refractive index at 20° C.; 1.5088-1.5122; soluble in 2-3 volumes of 70 per cent. alcohol.

In addition to the phenols, thymol or carvacrol, these oils contain cymene, thymene and pinene.

The white thyme oil is produced by rectifying the red oil, which is generally effected at the expense of a
considerable reduction in phenol content, and hence in real odour value of the oil.

Verbena Oil.—The oil usually sold under this name is really lemon-grass oil (which see supra). The
true verbena oil or French verveine is, however, occasionally met with. This is distilled in France from the
verbena officinalis, and has the following properties: Specific gravity at 15° C., 0.891-0.898; optical rotation,
slightly dextro- or lævo-rotatory; aldehydes, 70-75 per cent.; soluble in 2 volumes of 70 per cent. alcohol.

The oil contains citral.

Vetivert oil, distilled from the grass, Andropogon muricatus, or Cus Cus, and grown in the East Indies.

Specific gravity at 15° C., 1.01-1.03; optical rotation, +20° to[Pg 107] +26°; saponification number, 15-30;
refractive index at 20° C., 1.521-1.524; soluble in 2 volumes of 80 per cent. alcohol.

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Page 169

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