National Geographic : 1951 Oct
560 National Geographic Photographer i. Anthony Stewart Tongues of Flame Form Carbon Black from the Incomplete Combustion of Natural Gas Next to heating, the carbon-black industry takes the biggest slice of natural gas. Tire manufacturers mix the product with rubber to increase toughness. Paints, printing inks, and cosmetics also require gas black. This sooty worker adjusts a scraper bar at United Carbon plant, Borger, Texas. others. Flame temperatures go as high as 3,2000, occasionally 3,700°, in some of these industries, and gas helps to control both the temperature and the direction of the flame. Gas baked or processed or molded the bricks, glass, cement, and steel in your house, the tires and enamel on your car, and the buttons on your coat (p. 556, 557, 559, 562). It dries alfalfa and tobacco and roasts coffee beans and nuts. It bakes bread (page 563) and ripens and sweetens bananas. It bakes enamel on prefabricated houses. It helps raise orchids, dehydrates fruits and vegetables, and plays a part in air condition ing, refrigeration, cremation, lumber drying, paint and varnish manufacture, candymaking, canmaking and detinning, newspaper print ing and the allied arts, shipbuilding, and the chemical industries. To those parts of the country where natural gas is being piped for the first time it is a brand-new story, whether used by household ers or by industries. But it is an old story in California, Texas, and the other sections. Despite shipment to other regions of in creasingly enormous amounts from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, these States still use nearly half of all natural gas produced. Its availability in Texas and neigh boring States is a major factor in the great wave of industrialization in that region in the last decade, especially in the chemical industries. In these States virtually all electricity is produced with natural gas as fuel. It is also used as fuel by the petroleum industry, by synthetic rubber plants, and to make carbon black, an essential ingredient of automobile tires; it is used in sugar refineries and in pulp and paper mills. Because of the mild climate and availability of low-cost natural gas, practically all house heating in California is by this type of fuel. Today 2,500,000 homes, plus 200,000 multiple dwellings and apartment buildings, are heated by gas.