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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/485

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1. Simplicity of apparatus. It can be made in a few moments by any one who can bend a glass tube.
2. Simplicity of manipulation. A manufacturer, asked to try it, obtained concordant and accurate results at the first trial.
3. Trustworthiness of the results, which are independent of arbitrary conditions, and have a significance wholly wanting in methods based upon other principles. The flashing-point determined is the lowest.

The lowest flashing-point for illuminating oils in New York is fixed by law at 100° Fahr., and this is as determined by a modification of the Wisconsin tester, an instrument which demands all the precautions so emphatically given by Engler and Haass. In Massachusetts, method and flashing-point are apparently both left to the wisdom and discretion of the inspector.

And yet we have seen that 116° Fahr. is the very lowest flashing-point consistent with safety, and this should mean the minimum flashing-point determined by some fully reliable method. We must not be misled in this matter by the statement that our best kerosenes are "150° or 160° test" oils; for this has reference, not to the flashing-point, but to the fire-test, or burning-point, which, as has already been shown, gives little indication of the character of an oil. The best oils sold flash at about 109° Fahr., while the cheaper grades have much lower flashing-points—at least as low as 85° Fahr.

We need not be surprised, then, at the numerous accidents; they will not diminish until a much more efficient and intelligent system of inspection is enforced than now. We are far too much inclined to take our risk, even in the midst of constant warnings; we leave our kerosene to the ignorant and careless handling of our servants; we buy, perhaps, a cheaper grade from motives of economy, only to find that the oil in which we thoughtlessly trusted has occasioned loss of property, horrible suffering, or even death.

As long as unsafe kerosene is offered for sale, we may be sure purchasers will be found. The only safe way is to banish the dangerous stuff from the market.




IN its scientific aspect, then, as indicated by processes of evolution, conduct is good in proportion as it tends to increase the quantity and the fullness of life, bad in proportion as it exerts a contrary influence. Conduct may tend to increase life in its fullness directly or indirectly, proximately or remotely; and again conduct may in one