charcoal defined in 1909 yearcharcoal - Charcoal;
charcoal - The simplest form of kiln for charcoal burning is that shown by Fig. It is formed by sticking one or more poles in the ground separated by wedges; the wood being cut to uniform lengths is stacked round this with an inclination to the centre, with a top layer of pieces laid horizontally, the interstices being carefully packed up with smaller pieces. A small tunnel is left at the bottom to facilitate the lighting, and the whole is then covered with a thick layer of clay or turfs carefully laid so as to be as air-tight as possible. A small pile of dry shavings or sticks is put at the bottom of the chimney formed by the poles with which to ignite the pile. On first lighting a good draught is required to make a good heat, to drive off the moisture from the wood, and give the fire a good start, and then the opening must be closed over to limit the air supply so that the combustion shall be as slow as possible, and constant attention is also required to keep the covering intact as the wood burns away.
As the distillation progresses the water is evaporated, and the heavy smoke turns to a light vapour as the tarry matters are driven off; when the smoke becomes a pale blue in colour, it is evidence that the process is nearing completion, and all openings must be tightly closed to stop the combustion of the charcoal itself, and to enable the whole mass to cool off.
When this stage is reached the outside cover is removed, and any glowing charcoal must be quenched with water. This process is somewhat wasteful owing to the large proportion of half-burnt ends of wood that remain, and to the fact that charcoal quenched with water easily breaks up, but it is so simple that it is almost universally used where no outlay is possible for a better apparatus.
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