A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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Sub-order 1.—Workers in Chemical Processes

142.—Distillers and Stillmen

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wood acid maker
see acetic acid maker.
acetate of lime maker
a distiller q.v. who distils crude acetic acid run in from wood distilling plant and controls by means of valves, passage of purer product of distillation into pans of milk of lime; allows acetate of lime to settle, opens valve to run off liquid and lets in steam to jacket of pan in order to dry the product, which is removed by labourer.
acetic acid maker ; wood acid maker
a distiller q.v. who heats a mixture of crude calcium acetate (cf. acetate of lime maker) with sulphuric acid of known strength, by means of steam coils to make pure acetic acid; shovels or empties sacks of lime acetate into tank; opens valves and starts and stops mechanical stirrer; removes residue from tank with shovel.
acetone maker
a distiller q.v. who distils acetone from solid calcium acetate by heating it in perforated trucks in a retort; shovels acetate into trucks; pushes trucks into arches in retort; closes doors and opens dampers; acetone vapour is evolved and condensed in condenser; on completion of distillation, re-opens door, withdraws bogeys with long iron hook and empties them.
acetone recovery man, acetone recoverer ; solvent recovery man
in cordite manufacture , is in charge of plant for absorbing acetone vapour from fumes given off from cordite drying stoves; controls switch of fan driving fumes through towers down which sodium bisulphate solution (forming, with vapour, an acetone solution), flows into collecting tank ready for distilling; regulates flow of solution in tanks; in artificial silk spinning , attends stills for recovery of acetone, process similar to that in cordite manufacture.
acetone rectifying man, acetone rectifier, acetone purifier ; solvent rectifying man
a distiller q.v. who distils solution of acetone in sodium bisulphate to recover acetone.
alcohol recovery worker
a distiller q.v. who in a variety of manufacturing processes, in which alcohol is used, takes residue or marc, mixes it with water or other solvent and collects alcohol in condenser of steam-jacketted still.
anthracene maker (distiller)
a distiller q.v. who distils crude anthracene, deposited from coal tar when cool, with lime and caustic potash; further purifies distillate by sublimation.
benzene collas maker
a distiller q.v. who distils a mixture of benzene and nitric and sulphuric acids to make nitrobenzene, used as perfume and as base for aniline dyes.
benzol extractor, benzol maker
a distiller q.v. who extracts commercially pure benzene from coal tar distillate by fractional distillation, i.e. collects in separate vessel all distillate from still between certain narrow temperature limits.
chloroform maker
a distiller q.v. engaged in preparation of chloroform from acetone and chloride of lime (bleach).
coker, wood
a distiller q.v. who loads wood blocks, by band, into a retort, closes and controls heating of retort by dampers so that all volatile matter is driven off, and wood coke, or charcoal left in retort; opens valve to allow vapours to pass through condenser in -which wood tar is deposited; controls by valve passage of non-condensable gas to burners beneath retort where it burns to heat retort.
concentrating acid man (explosives) ; de-nitrator (guncotton), de-nitrating acid man
pumps or opens valve to allow to run from tank, weak waste acid, after nitration of cotton or glycerine, into highest of a series of pans set in furnace flue; top pan when filled overflows into next below, and so on, thus as acid falls lower in series it becomes gradually hotter, causing water and nitric acid to boil off, finally leaving sulphuric acid to run out from lowest pan into storage tank.
creosote maker
opens valve to run coal tar heavy oils into tank; allows oils to settle; opens valves to run off creosote and re-distils, see distiller; runs out residue oils from tank, crude benzol maker.
crude benzol man
a distiller q.v. who distils off benzol in steam from creosote solvent, in which benzol is dissolved from coal gas or coke oven gases in benzol scrubbers; opens and shuts valves controlling flow of steam and creosote oil to still, and process of distillation.
de-nitrator (guncotton), de-nitrating acid man
(i) extracts nitric acid from waste acid left after nitrating guncotton, cf. nitrator (guncotton) (143), by running waste acid into still and opening valve admitting steam to steam jacket or tending furnace to heat still direct, thus heating up and driving off nitric acid; controls by a valve, passage of water through outer jacket of condenser; runs off condensed nitric acid into lead or porcelain-lined or glass vessels;
(ii) see concentrating acid man (explosives).
distiller ; stillman
in charge of process of distillation; charges still by shovelling in solids or running in liquids previously prepared or mixed, controls temperature of still by opening or shutting valves regulating passage of (1) furnace gases to still, (2) secondary air to producer gas, and also, of producer gas itself, (3) oil to oil burners, (4) steam to steam coils or steam jacket by which still may be heated, (5) cold water to cooling coils by which temperature of action is kept low, and thus regulates flow of gaseous product of distillation from still to condenser; usually also regulates flow of water through condenser, by means of a valve, so that temperature of gases leaving condenser is constant; instructs labourers as to nature of vessel to be placed at outlet of condenser to collect liquid coming therefrom, e.g. glass or lead-lined vessels for certain acids, and so on; in steam distillation , controls valves regulating passage of steam to still through contents of which it is allowed to bubble, thus carrying off volatile product; in fractional distillations , controls temperature of distillation as above, and by means of valve diverts products of distillation to various containers, after leaving condenser, so that products distilled, between certain fixed temperatures are kept separate from each other: continuous process , by means of valves regulates rate of flow of cooling liquid, controls fall of temperature of gases to be condensed, collecting products of condensation at intervals along condenser according to, temperature at which they condense; instructs labourers as to discharging of solid residues from still, and cleaning of still before re-use; conditions under which distillation take place, temperature, method of application of heat, nature of condensing apparatus, material of which still and rest of plant is made, vary according to products made; sometimes specifically designated by raw material distilled or by product of distillation, e.g. acetic acid distiller, benzol distiller, benzoline distiller, essence distiller, essential oil distiller, fatty acid distiller, naphtha distiller, oil distiller, pitch distiller, resin (or rosin) distiller, shale oil distiller, tar distiller, wood distiller.
dynamite glycerine maker ; glycerine worker (explosives)
a glycerine stillman q.v. in explosives manufacture who re-distils a very pure glycerine for use in making nitro-glycerine and dynamite.
ether maker
a distiller q.v. who distils carefully prepared mixture of exact proportions of alcohol and sulphuric acid in steam jacketted lead-lined stills: the ether is collected in leaden vessels.
evaporator man (manure)
runs solution of animal grease in benzene into closed evaporating pan and distils off benzene from grease to recover it for further me; cf. distiller.
glycerine process man
see glycerine stillman.
glycerine stillman, glycerine refinery stillman ; glycerine process man
a distiller q.v. who distils crude glycerine in vacuo with superheated steam; cf. glycerine maker (143).
glycerine worker (explosives)
see dynamite glycerine maker.
see shale burner.
motor spirit plant attendant
as for rectifier.
naphthalene still fireman
shovels coal or coke into, and rakes out ashes from furnace beneath still for purifying naphthalene by sublimation; sometimes also controls flow of gases by valves.
petroleum oil maker
as for distiller.
process man (glycerine refining)
as for glycerine stillman.
recoverer, solvent (collodion)
a distiller q.v. who re-distils solvent in recovery of collodion, the principal constituents of which are ether, collodion and guncotton.
rectifier ; redistiller, refiner
a distiller q.v. who further purifies a chemical product by distillation, or a series of distillations, or by fractional distillation, i.e., separating various constituents according to the temperatures at which they distil; sometimes specifically designated according to product of rectification, e.g. , benzol rectifier, petrol rectifier, petroleum rectifier.
see rectifier.
refined benzol maker
as for distiller.
see rectifier ; sometimes specifically designated according to chemical refined, e.g. , benzol refiner, glycerine refiner, oil refiner, petrol refiner, petroleum refiner.
refiner, carbolic acid
runs caustic soda solution into tank containing lower boiling point liquor, obtained from the fractional distillation of coal tar; mixes liquids by mechanical mixer or by hand stirring, and allows sodium phenate formed to separate out as lower layer of liquid; runs off latter solution: runs in gradually, sulphuric acid till phenol separates out as a light oil, which he distils fractionally; cf. distiller, collecting purest phenol between 180 to 190 C.; cools phenol causing it to crystallise and dries off crystals: cf. carbolic acid process worker (143).
retort attendant, retort man (shale)
see shale burner.
shale burner ; heatsman, retort attendant, retort man (shale)
controls process of distillation of oil shale in vertical retorts; charges shale into retorts, by shovelling or tipping, and operates valves controlling flow of producer gas and air to heat retort, and flow of steam into retort to form ammonia from nitrogen in the shale; also controls outflow of vaporised shale oil and ammonia gases from retort to condensers.
solvent recovery man
see acetone recovery man.
solvent rectifying man
see acetone rectifying man.
still attendant (celluloid)
as for still man (xylonite).
still attendant (shale burning)
controls, by means of a valve, flow of ammonia liquor from condensers, cf. shale burner, through still against powerful current of steam which he turns on as required; regulates by another valve flow of liberated ammonia gas to saturators where it is treated by sulphate house man (143) q.v.
still fires attendant
as for distiller.
see distiller ; sometimes specifically designated according to product distilled, e.g. alcohol stillman, ammonia stillman, benzol stillman, carbolic acid stillman, glycerine stillman, oil stillman, tar stillman.
stillman, bleach
in charge of stills in which hydrochloric acid gas and steam are passed into heated manganese dioxide mild, controls valves regulating inflow of gas and steam and outflow of chlorine gas made; instructs labourers as to cleaning out of stills at intervals, and recharging with manganese mud by shovelling.
stillman (xylonite)
a distiller q.v. who distils alcohol that has been used in manufacture of celluloid, ready for further use; runs into tank impure alcohol and adds powdered chemicals by hand; opens and shuts valves, admitting steam to jacket and alcohol vapour to condensing vat.
tar rectifier, tar refiner
as for distiller.
tar still fireman
a distiller q.v. who also regulates temperature of tar still by feeding furnaces heating still and adjusting dampers; removes ashes from furnace with iron rake and shovels them into barrow.
turpentine distiller
as for distiller.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.