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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

Adulteration of Cement

Adulteration of Cement.

To the majority of our readers the statement "adulteration of cement is very generally practised by certain English and foreign makers for the purpose of cheapening the product" will appear almost incredible.

We have, nevertheless, before us a copy of "Proceedings of Manufacturers of Portland Cement," in connection with the meeting held 12th November, 1894, in London. The object of the meeting being contained in the following letter, which was addressed to the "Manufacturers of Portland Cement in England."

2 Suffolk Lane, London, E.C.,

Dear Sirs,

We are desired to call your attention to the following circumstances seriously affecting the trade in which you are engaged.

It is becoming notorious that several manufacturers of English Portland cement are largely adulterating their manufacture by the mixture of Kentish rag stone, other stone, furnace or oven ashes, disused or exhausted fire-bricks, or other inert material, and so bringing disrepute upon the good name English cement has hitherto borne in comparison for quality with cement of foreign manufacture. Such practices are so detrimental to the best interests of the cement trade, both by the discredit which is thereby attached to English manufactures, and the unfair competition in prices thereby rendered possible, that it is now proposed to establish an Association of English Cement Manufacturers for the purpose of dealing with, and, if possible, putting a stop to a practice so unprincipled and disreputable, and so calculated to perpetuate an injury to the trade.

We are instructed to enquire if you would be willing to join an Association of Cement Manufacturers for this purpose, and if so we shall be glad to hear your views on the subject, and to know if you would attend a meeting presently to be convened.

We are, gentlemen, your obedient servants,


Renshaw, Kekewich & Smith,


The principal object of the meeting held, as before stated, was to form an Association of Cement Manufacturers—eligible to those only who were prepared by statutory declaration to affirm that they had never wilfully adulterated their product, for the purpose of cheapening its cost, by the admixture of inert material.

page 14

The result of the meeting is still more unsatisfactory since [unclear: c] four cement makers made the declaration referred to.

We have great pleasure in publishing their names, viz:
(1)Messrs Knight, Bevan and Sturge
(2)The Wouldham Cement Company
(3)Messrs J. C. Barron and Co.

The Tower Portland Cement Company.

Shortly afterwards the

(5)Burham Brick, Lime and Cement Company
(6)Messrs William Lee, Sou and Co.

Messrs Weston and Co.

also made the declaration and joined the Association.

Beyond drawing attention to these facts, we have no wish [unclear: to] more than this: We have never added inert material of any [unclear: descrip] to our cement, although our trade has naturally suffered severely [unclear: fr] competition so grossly unfair.

That adulteration of Portland Cement is also practised in [unclear: Ger] may be gathered from the fact that Messrs R. and W. [unclear: Fresenius] eminent chemists) were employed by the Society of German [unclear: Cen] Manufacturers to investigate the subject, and to [unclear: determine] principal characteristics of pure cement which these authorities [unclear: fo] to be—
(1)Specific gravity of 3.125 (certainly not less than 3.1)
(2)The loss on ignition should be between 0.34 and 2.59 per cent.
(3)That 3 grammes of cement should absorb from 0 [unclear: to] milligrammes of carbonic acid.
(4)That the alkaline substances extracted by water [unclear: form] gramme of cement, should correspond to from 8 to [unclear: 12.5] centimetres of decinormal acid.
(5)One gramme cement treated with normal acid, [unclear: should] tralize between 18.8 and 21.67 C.C. of it.