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grids each eight feet by five feet by eleven feet high, upward through which the gas passes. A passage way for the gas from the top of one stack to the bottom of the next is made between them by means of partitions. A settling basin is provided at the bottom of each stack with the necessary overflow to an old, unused ammonia well. Al battery of rotary pumps will take the water from the bottom of one section pumping it to the top of the one following. It is intended to use the present water gas condensers to cool the circulating water. This condenser is expected to have a capacity of 6,000,000 feet of gas per day and in addition to taking the place of the present condensers and scrubbers it is hoped that it may eliminate the use of the P&A tar extractor at present used at the outlet of the boxes and which consumes 10 inches of water differential.
W. S. Blauvelt:
I am very much interested to note how much further some of my friends, notably Mr. Traver, would like to have us advanced in this development of a washer-cooler than we are. With us, it has been a question of getting something that would do the work quickly and economically, without an opportunity to go as far as we believe we can go and without an opportunity to really investigate and find out exactly what we are doing beyond the fact that we are condensing our gas. We realize that in many parts of the apparatus we can now see a good deal more room for improvement than we thought we could see when we first installed it.
Professor White is inclined to bring in one subject which purposely in this paper I have steered clear off. That is the use of this apparatus as an ammonia scrubber instead of purely and simply a condenser. What he intimates there with regard to napthalene is undoubtedly correct. When we get to the final scrubbing department in the ammonia scrubber, there is some trouble with napthalene. There is no tar there to absorb any napthalene which is condensed, and it collects in masses in the tank at the bottom of the apparatus. We have not gone into this at all fully. The difficulty is not serious, as the apparatus runs from six months to a year with no attention whatever. It is probably the case that where the operation is from coke ovens the gas carries a little less napthalene than coal gas from an ordinary horizontal retort would carry when made from the same coal. Our napthalene production is still further decreased by the use of low volatile coals. This probably helps us somewhat in our freedom from napthalene troubles.
Mr. Ball wished to know what percentage of tar was removed in the cooler. I will say about ninety to ninety-five per cent, of our tar is removed in the dydraulic main, almost all the rest of it being removed in the Doherty Washer-Cooler, and the foul material we get from the final scrubbers is napthalene, which is merely brown. There is at the present time enough tar still carried by the gas after this final ammounia scrubber to discolor a filter paper through which the tar is passed. That difficulty has been increased during the last three months, as the quantity of gas has increased, while our total scrubbing capacity has unfortunately been very considerably decreased, because we are removing some of our old apparatus to make room for a Doherty Washer-Cooler, to be used as a final ammonia scrubber.
As to the amount of liquor that is to be circulated, that is purely a question of mathematics. It can be calculated in advance within two or three per cent., figuring from the amount of water vapor that will be carried in a given quantity of gas, when it is saturated with water vapor at a given temperature. A complete saturation table will give very much of this data. I will say that for an apparatus to manufacture about 12,000,000 feet of gas every day, the theoretical requirement which approximates the actual operation is roughly about 700 gallons of liquor per minute in the primary and 300 gallons per minute in the secondary
Mr. Traver brought out the question as to the theoretical reason for condensation in several stages. It is a matter of very little commercial importance. The theoretical reason is that on account of the temperature of the saturation, if you pump enough liquor to cool it down in one stage, you have to pump the maximum quantity at the cool end of the operation, where a very much lesser quantity is needed, so that the total quantity of liquor circulated will increase materially, but the change in temperature of the liquor pumped will not be so great. Hence with a single treatment, you will have to use more cooling water and pump more circulating liquor. I think that that covers about all the points I am able to answer off-hand.
CONSUMERS' DEPOSITS, PREPAYMENT METERS AND METHODS OF SECURING PAYMENT OF
The title of the paper that our honorable Executive Committee has requested me to write, is certainly of imposing length and comprehensive in nature. So you are warned beforehand that the limitations of this paper will allow me to touch only the "high spots” of the subject.
We manufacture, we distribute, we sell gas, and finally we collect the money for it, but not always.
The last process, that of extracting from a not-unsophisticated and not-unsuspecting public, good legal tender or its equivalent in payment of the amount of our comfort-bringing and moneysaving product they have used, is by no means the incidental and non-important function of our business, that the lack of papers and discussions on same, at the various conventions of the members of our profession, would lead one to believe it is.
As your Executive Committee, judging from the modest title adorning this paper, evidently expected me to produce a sample of three for one, permit me to divide my rambling observations into three sections, properly labelled.
CONSUMERS' DEPOSITS. The policy of requiring Consumers' Deposits to secure the payment of gas furnished, is an almost universal practice among Gas Companies. If properly exercised, it is not only a good policy for the Company, but one that is entirely tenable as between the company and its consumers.
In my opinion, the axiom, “That it is better not to sell your product, than to sell it and not to get your money for it," is a sound and safe principle in the conduct of our business or any other business.
In the conduct of our business, we have to take a certain risk—that of not being able to collect the selling price for our product. This is true to a greater or lesser degree of any business, except street car companies. The nature of our business makes it impossible to establish same on a cash basis, except by the exclusive uses of prepayment meters, and even if this extreme should be resorted to, the risk is by no means eliminated. If the policy of setting prepayment meters is not favored, then the risk of Bad Debts can be reduced by the requirement of a Deposit or the guarantee of a responsible second party. An indiscriminate and blindfold enforcement of deposits or guarantees has an inflammatory effect on the public and depreciates the Company's good assets. Whoever passes on applications should be tactful and thoroughly competent to act as credit man for the Company. A good credit man is more essential and valuable to a public utility company than to a mercantile establishment. I feel sorry for the gas company that has no competent credit man to act on applications for gas.
The Company should carefully compile and maintain a credit record of its own, made up from past experience and this is best compiled and maintained by the collection department. Assuming a good credit man to pass on application, either a deposit or a guarantee should be exacted from two classes of applicants for gas, viz.,
Ist. Applicants who are unknown to the credit man and to other responsible and available employes of the Company.
2nd. Applicants who have the reputation and record of being poor pay or deadbeats.
As a rule the larger the number of consumers and the larger the city, the more necessary it is to be careful when furnishing gas without either a deposit or a guarantee. A good, tactful credit man can make the planking down of a cash deposit by a prospective consumer, if not a performance of unalloyed bliss, at least an
action not too severely painful, and such a clerk, believe me, is a valuable employee, not to be lightly discarded.
The amount of gas the applicant is likely to consume per month should be estimated as nearly as possible by questioning the applicant, and a deposit sufficient to cover at least twice that amount of gas should be required. This is imperative, as our consumers usually owe at least one and one-half month's gas before the last discount day, and if a consumer fails to pay on that day and has to pay the discount, he usually owes for nearly two months' gas by the time the persistent collectors succeed in getting the delinquent bill paid, whether by moral persuasion, dogged persistency, or by the persuasive powers of a grimy gasfitter, armed with the always-handy Stillson wrench.
A consumer is also apt to be out of town and to owe for more gas than intended by the Company. Every month an inspection should be made of each consumer's account to compare gas bills with deposits and consumers whose deposits are too small in proportion to their monthly bills, should be tactfully and courteouly requested to increase their deposit. I advise you to do this through the medium of a gentlemanly, urbane employee rather than by means of a cold type request. You are not so apt to ruffle the temper of your valuable consumers and will in many cases avoid the disturbance of your own peace of mind.
Before requiring such an increase of deposit, careful inquiry should be made as to whether the consumer, since he made his first deposit, has established a reputation of honesty and good credit with the Company. If so, do not require an increase of deposit. Take your chances on him. Some companies establish a more or less fixed set of rules governing deposits, usually requesting no deposit of applicants who own, or at least profess to own, the property where they desire to have the gas supplied to. This I do not consider either a safe or reasonable rule to be adhered to rigidly. It is better to take your chances with an honest man who rents, than with a dishonest one who owns his property.
Rigid rules or requirements in regard to deposits are productive of a good deal of ill feeling among our consumers, which feeling will manifest itself at unexpected times. The best policy is to exercise great caution in this direction, and use good com