New Oil Works in Linlithgow, 1885

type: Locations - individual

The Scotsman
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New Oil Works in Linlithgow

The erection of the works of the Linlithgow Oil Company (Limited), which was commenced about a year ago , has been rapidly pushed forward and operations have now been commenced for the manufacture of the crude oil. The works are situated about 2.5 miles to the east of Linlithgow , and they occupy over 100 acres of land on the Champfleurie and Ochiltree estates .

On the Champfleurie side a mine has been sunk , and out of which there has already been taken about 6000 tons of shale , which is of excellent quality . The shale is brought from underneath the ground to the mine head by " hutches" and tipped over into a breaker which has been constructed under the level of the ground surface . It is then passed up an incline to the top of the retorts Four benches of Henderson's patent retort have been erected, each bench consisting of 53 retorts, steam being supplied to these by means of four large boilers. This steam is also superheated before entering the retorts . The gases after leaving the retorts are passed through condensers composed of several miles of piping , and by this method reduced to the form of oil . The permanent gas which still remains is thrown out by an exhauster, and returned to the retorts for heating and lighting purposes, We should also state that the gases having passed through the exhauster is forced through what is called " a coke tower , " and thoroughly scrubbed to take out any traces of ammonia that might still remain in it . Ample provision has been made as a preventive of fire by means of a " fire trap , " which will prevent any explosion which might be threatened by the retorts firing back .

The spent shale from the retort having been thrown out into iron "hutches , is then passed through the "dipping hole , " where it is thoroughly quenched, and drawn by an endless chain to the "spent shale bing." The ammonia water which has been given off in the process of distillation in the retorts, is next passed on to an ammonia " still ;" which absorbs the ammonia held in the water. It is then passed through a charge of sulphuric acid , and this produces sulphate of ammonia . After this charge has taken up all the ammonia is deposited in evaporators, then crystallised out, and taken to the drying-bins, where it is thoroughly dried. These bins are kept at a hight temperature by means of hot water pipes laid under them . The sulphate of ammonia, then can be loaded into " hutches" and run out to the loading bank .

A water-course runs through the works which divides the Champfleurie estate from that of Ochiltree . Every precaution has been taken to prevent the pollution of the burn the field drains having been "cross cut" and the water , instead of finding its way to the burn has been diverted to large separators which have been erected in the ground . The water then passes from these separators into collecting basins, then to the pumping station, from which it is forced to a large reservoir capable of holding over one million gallons of water. This water is again used for condensing purposes, and then ultimately, by evaporation, it is got rid of. The works on the Ochiltree estate embrace a large pumping station , and on this side a second mine has been sunk to a depth of 60 fathoms, from which a good supply of shale is being taken. The works have all railway connection with the North British Railway , and already about four miles of rails have been laid in and around the works .

The Scotsman 18th May 1885