The Gems of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry

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Some of the greatest studies of spirits ever published have appeared in the journal Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. I’ve read and shared quite a few articles but always from poor scannings.

A phenomenal resource that recently crossed me desk has been the Silesian University of Technology’s digital library. I used it to find a few German titles listed in Olbrich’s bibliography. From the library, I found flawless scannings of papers from IEC with clear photos and tables that will help some other author some day.

Editorial: Bootleggers vs industry, 1926. This one is quite fascinating and I did not understand the relationship between varnish makers and other users of industrial alcohol and bootleggers. A portrait starts to get painted of the complex role of methanol as a denaturent and its present day reputation in spirits.

Rapid Determination of Alcohol in Distilled Spirits and in Color of Whisky, 1926 by John F. Williams. A minor paper.

Editorial: The Attitude of Industry Toward Prohibtion, 1928. More framing of the role of industrial alcohol users, their relationships to denaturents and industry.

Preparation of Banana Vinegar, 1929 by Harry Von Loesecke. A fascinating paper that shows how basic science studies were extensively used to jump start industry. Hipster craft pickle products in Brooklyn mostly suck because they have no foundation of this basic science. Making these works easily findable and freely available is very important.

Some Unusual Alcoholic Fermentations, 1929 by John R. Eoff, Howland Buttler, and William Melchior. This displays the breadth of projects published in IEC. I know many people that have tried making crude Pineapple wines, but none knew it may push the limits of alcohol content. A fun curiosity. Could you duplicate this and be confident in your results? Did they err anywhere?

Adjustment of Acidiy of Cane-Molasses Fermentations for Maximum Alcohol Yields, 1929 by F.M. Hildebrandt. This is important because it reinforces Miniac’s concept of using Δ Acidity because of all the buffering that happens in molasses fermentations. The Δ Acidity concept needs to be given a ton of future attention.

Determination of Artificial Color in Whiskey, 1934 by G.E. Mallory and Peter Valaer. This is a minor paper, but why not be complete.

Changes in Whiskey Stored for Four Years…, 1936 by Peter Valaer and W.H. Frazier. The photos! Killer!

Distillery Wastes Chemical and Filtration Studies, 1936 by C.R. Hoover and F.K. Burr. A minor paper, but there is a growing interest in distillery wastes.

Foreign and Domestic Rum, 1937 by Peter Valaer. This is easily one of the most important things ever written on rum. If you’ve already seen my crumby copy, you may enjoy revisiting it with this crystal clear version.

Acid Content of Whiskey, 1937, by S.T. Schicktanz and Aruthur D. Etienne. An important simple paper. Automatic titration should be the minimum of any distillery lab.

Silver in the Artificial Aging of Brandy, 1937 by E. Arthur Beavens, Harry E. Goresline, and E.K. Nelson. This is fascinating and I don’t completely understand it and I’ve also never seen it mentioned in any other surveys of accelerated or artificial maturation. Is silver here a solid state catalyst like platinum? [David Wondrich gave the tip that it was developed by the Soviets as a treatment for Vodka.]

Whisky Verdigris Analysis, 1937 by Robert H. Baker and Charles Barkenbus. I’ve covered this paper in 2017, but here is a better scanning.

Controlling Gin Flavor, 1937 by H.F. Willkie, C.S. Boruff and Darrel Althausen. The most important paper ever written on gin. I’ve referenced it numerous time but here’s a much better scanning.

Distillery By-products, 1938 by L.C. Cooley. Fascinating for the sheer massive scale of their operation.

Brandy, 1939 by Peter Valaer. A blockbuster survey of Brandy. The industry needs new comprehensive surveys with the same amount of rigor and broad understanding that can translate to actionable advice for producers.

Scotch Whisky, 1940 by Peter Valaer. Another blockbuster paper from Valaer. This will excite a few people.

Whisky Losses During Aging, 1942 by Milton Gallagher, Paul Kolachov, and Herman F. Willkie. I had covered this in 2017 when I framed the transition from practical distillers to the science dorks to the era of guided traditional practices.

Changes in Whiskey While Maturing, 1943 by A.J. Liebmann and Maurice Rosenblatt. This was in the bibliography of The Document.

Activated Carbon Treatment of Raw Whiskey, 1943 by G.C. Williams and E.A. Fallin. This may help out a few people.

Water for Grain Alcohol Distilleries, 1943 by C.S. Boruff, Bernand Smith and M.G. Walker. I didn’t actually read this, but recently I’ve heard murmurs of an interest in water.

Charcoal Treatment of Brandy, 1943 by N.E. Tolbert and M.A. Amerine. I think I had seen this Amerine paper before, but here ya go!

Molasses Stillage, 1945, by Gustave T. Reich. This is a war years paper. A lot of unique stuff was tried to help the war effort. Cuba still does a lot of research, but its not for improving rum, its all for extracting value from byproducts and they’ve developed some great stuff.

If you’ve got the time, it is absolutely fascinating to browse issues of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. The country was absolutely abuzz with scientific investigation and process development of the most diverse sorts. It raises the question; where the hell are we now? I live in the hub of the universe between Harvard and MIT and all I hear about is bitcoin (which is evil besides being a ponzi scheme) and dumb apps. Do we still have generalist thinkers and creators that read as broadly as IEC or is our best only reading the extra light advertorials we see in Wired and Pop Sci? Some of the op-eds even talk about my recent favorite subject which is anti-trust.

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