Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Book of the Lantern. Being a Practical Guide to the Working of the Optical (or Magic) Lantern. With Full and Precise Directions for Making and Coloring Lantern Pictures.
Hepworth, T. C.
who some years ago was killed by such an explosion of an 
oxygen retort. 
Many old-fashioned operators use an iron mercury 
bottle as a retort, and this, I believe, was the invariable 
custom when oxygen was procured from manganese per¬ 
oxide alone. The heat required was so great that a thick 
and lasting receptacle was necessary. But now-a-days, 
when chlorate is used so universally, the gas comes off at a 
much-reduced temperature, and a thin retort will last, with 
care, for about fifty charges. My lantern assistant prefers 
to use a kitchen digester, which he has had fitted with 
a pipe and safety cap, and which he regards as a triumph 
of art, which will not only last his own life-time, but will 
be handed down to his descendants as an heir-loom. One 
more word on the subject of retorts. Do not buy a copper 
one ; it is very expensive, and quickly wears out, and has 
no advantages whatever. In case a retort should be 
wanted in a hurry, and cannot be obtained, a common 
cast-iron kettle is a capital substitute for one. Put the 
chlorate mixture in the kettle, and fasten on the lid with 
a luting of white lead or clay ; cut a piece of firewood 
to the correct size, to fit tightly between the lid and 
the inside of the handle of the kettle, so that no pressure 
will force it open. Use the spout as a delivery tube of the 
The retort is charged with a mixture of chlorate of potash 
and oxide of manganese, and the most usual proportions 
are four parts by weight of the potash to one part of the 
This is the mixture as given in the various chemical text-


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