Celebrating 24 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.”
more quiz questions >>


“Silica fiber” is the name given to a product being manufactured by the Crystal Chemical Works, of Alexandria, Ind., from a hydrous limestone quarried in that neighborhood. The discoverer of the process is C. C. Hall, a chemist and mechanical engineer of experience in the management of steel works. The name given the product is expressive of its substitution for the purposes for which the commercial product known as mineral wool is adapted, and differs from most articles of that character in being entirely free of sulphur or metallic slag. It is said over 90 per cent, of its composition is the limestone material.

This limestone, or cement rock, as it might more clearly be denominated, carries sufficient silica, alumina, lime and magnesia to form a fluid slag, when subjected to a temperature of about 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The other ingredients, which are the secrets of the invention, are employed to give the "fluid slag" the desired properties to enable it to be torn into fine shreds by the action of a high-pressure steam jet. No artificial, or refuse material enters into its composition, and no corrosive, destructive or unstable elements are absorbed in its manufacture. Air, moisture or heat are powerless to add to, take away from, or modify its composition; consequently there are no chemical changes to be expected that would form corrosive compounds and break up the fibers of the material, destroying the air spaces and causing shrinkage in volume.

Most mineral wools made from furnace slag contain sulphur, and this is added to from the coke used in melting the slag. Sulphur, as is well known, is corrosive of all metallic substances, and its presence in mineral wool, it is claimed by Mr. Hall, tends to disintegrate its fiber and thus impair its value as an insulating material. It was these defects which started Mr. Hall to experimenting for a process in which crude materials absolutely free of sulphur could be employed under conditions and by agencies that would exclude all possibility of introducing it into the fluid matter. After many weeks of experimentation, and the building of several furnaces, it was successfully accomplished. The limestone, of which it is almost entirely composed, is used directly as it comes from the quarry. The process employs the use of two furnaces, one of which is kept at a low temperature and the other at a high temperature. The slag-making qualities of the stone were discovered by Mr. Hall during an analysis he was making to ascertain its value as a flux in steel making.

The manufacture of silica fiber has been carried on since the first of November last. It is white in color, light for its bulk, a cubic foot weighing when packed about eight pounds. It is soft to the touch, elastic, and warranted indestructible. A patent on it has been applied for.

For readability, paragraph breaks not in the original text, have been added at ΒΆ above. From: Stone; an Illustrated Magazine (Feb 1897), 16, No. 3. 264. Publ. The D.H. Ranck Publishing Co. (source)

See also:

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)

Thank you for sharing.
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.