The Great War Part 104, August 12th 1916

Triumphs o f British Science and Invention 85 A still more remarkable example of the British faculty of meeting a great need by inventiveness occurred in connec­tion with another German monopoly of a key industry. The most subtle and far-reaching of the enemys prepara­tions for war was his control of base metals and rare metals. Zinc for instance was badly needed by us as the chief naval Power and shipping Power. Our Army needed zinc for making cartridges but our large steamers and warships also required it in vast quantities. For instance a single Atlantic liner needed every year a supply of fifty-eight tons of zinc to protect her boilers from corrosion. The zinc she required every twelvemonths was sufficient to make the brass for seventeen million cartridges. The zinc in one of our latest fast battleships probably represents the base metal required for 20000000 cartridges. So as the war de­veloped zinc rose tenfold in price and became scarce. The Empire had an abundant supply of the metal in Australia, but there were no works either in Australia orin Britain, forgetting the spelter out of the ores. A German ring, with factories in Germany and in the occupied part of Belgium controlled this great key industry. The ring took the ore from the Australian mine roasted the zinc out of it and when war broke out kept the zinc in Germany. W e had no works of any importance for zinc-making. But an inventive Englishman Mr. Elliott Cumberland helped to save the use of zinc in the ordinary boilers of our land and marine steam-engines. It was known The German that the corrosion of boilers was due to spelter ring electro-chemical action. Mr. Cumberland introduced two iron points into a boiler, and sent a ten-volt current of electricity from point to point. It was such a current as could be obtained from a small dynamo used for lighting purposes— -something both small and cheap. But the electric current proved sufficient to take all the corrosive elements from the interior of the boiler and deposit them on the iron point together with all grease oil and other impurities from the boiling water. Instead of a large fast steamer needing fifty-eight tons of zinc a year to keep her boilers clean she required only a few iron points costing perhaps less than ten shillings annually. This great saving in one of the most useful of base metals related to our Navy and our mercantile marine and to all works in which power was derived from steam. Naturally, old-fashioned large boilers were easier to save from corrosion than the modern tubular boiler. But Mr. Cumberlands little anti-corrosion current promised to upset one of the most important markets of the German zinc ring. The German base-metal ring Was further defeated by another British invention. There was a large British factory troubled with a useless waste pro­duct consisting of calcium chloride. This Circumvented by firm used its waste as a source of chlorine British invention forgetting the zinc into a liquid form. The roasted ore was brought into contact with chloride waste, with the result that the mineral in it was dissolved. An electric current Was then sent through the chloride of zinc producing a superb result— a 9996 pure zinc. As at Broken Hill Australia there were the vastest zinc deposits in the world the new British method of smelting and refining which completely superseded the laborious German method of spelter-making broke the enemys monopoly, endowed us with a great key industry began to give us some of the zinc we needed and made things look very bad for the German metal ring. For the Prime Minister of Australia offered to arrange for zinc production to be established on a great scale in the Empire. Among the other key industries we recaptured from the enemy was tungsten-smelting. Most of the tungsten ore was obtained from British territory but the Germans, having patented a process for producing the tremendous heat of 3000 degrees Fahrenheit by the action of aluminium power on the oxides of metal smelted the tungsten by this thermit treatment. It may also be remarked that the aluminium powder and oxide process employed by Goldschmitt and the German metal ring for the production of pure metals was afterwards used against us in our homes in the shape of thermit incendiary bombs from Zeppelin airships. W e needed tungsten urgently for fine steel-making and electrical purposes. UNLIMITED SHE L LS: A WELCOME SIGHT FOR BRITISH SOLDIER SIN FRANCE .German officers reports on the British bombardment north of the Somme in July 1916 left no doubt as to its devastating character. This official photograph issued b they Press Bureau shows some of our soldiers watching the British shells bursting over the enemy lines.
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