|Abstract of Article "Kingsport, Tennessee, and Its Chemical Industries-II", Chemical and
Metallurgical Engineering, Vol. 20, No. 12, June 15, 1919 pp. 639-641:
|Union Dye and Chemical Corporation, Kingsport, Tennessee-1919
|The plant now owned and controlled by the Union Dye & Chemical Corporation was built by the Federal Dyestuff & Chemical Co. in 1915-16. Operations were
begun in 1916, and after a brief career, the Federal Co. went into the hands of a receiver in 1918. On Aug. 15, the same year, the plant was sold iy the receiver
to the Union Dye & Chemical Corporation, Chester A. Jayne, president, J. F. White, general manager, and James J. Bajda, technical director. The company is
capitalized for $3,000,000 and has offices at 2 Rector St., New York, N. Y.
The new company is not only manufacturing the products of its predecessor, but is planning and preparing to greatly expand its scope, and to place on the
market a line of chemicals, dyestuffs and intermediates far more extensive than the limited variety produced by the former owners of the plant. Buildings and
equipment are being overhauled and remodeled, and new machinery is being installed, preparatory to instituting substantial economies in operating
methods, and to producing the best grade of goods at lowest possible cost.
The principal colors now being manufactured are sulphur black, sulphur blue, sulphur red, sulphur brown, sulphur green, sulphur yellow and sulphur maroon.
Other chemicals now being produced for sale are: Aniline and its derivatives, ortho- and para-toluidine, azo colors, intermediates, caustic soda,
monochlorbenzol, bleaching powder, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, and alizarine dyes.
It should be understood that on account of the keen competition in the dye industry, it is impossible to publish very many of the details of equipment or of
processes in this plant. As some of these processes have been worked out after much painstaking and expensive research work, necessarily the nature of
the materials used and of the chemical reactions involved in the dye-making processes cannot be fully disclosed.
All power used at this plant, as at all the industrial plants of Kingsport, is obtained from the Kingsport Utilities Corporation. No interruptions to this power are
experienced, but in case for any reason this power should fail, the dye company could generate its own power. The company has two air compressors, and
is now installing an ice plant, the manufactured ice and the cold circulating brine to be used in its chemical processes. The boiler house is equipped with two
Henry Vogt Machine Co. boilers, 300 hp. each, and these furnish steam for heating and drying purposes.
SULPHUR BLACK AND SULPHUR BLUE
Sulphur black is made in the dinitrochlorbenzol nitrating building. Monochlorbenzol is treated with a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids of high
concentration in nitrators (of which three have been installed), heated with steam coils. The product of this treatment is dinitrochlorbenzol. This is blown into
fusion kettles, and from there to oxidizing kettles, where it undergoes further treatment, and is then filter-pressed and dried by vacuum and steam. The
product, known as crude sulphur black, is sent to the standardization department, and here it is analyzed and brought to standard strength. This dye, known
as standard sulphur black, is then packed in strong wooden barrels, containing about 500 Ib. each, for shipment. It is used for dyeing cotton or wool, but not
The process for the manufacture of sulphur blue is practically a duplication of the sulphur black process, with, of course, the necessary substitution of
chemicals. The starting point for sulphur blue is indophenol. This is blown first into fusion kettles, then into oxidizing kettles, where it is oxidized, and is then
filter-pressed. From the filters, the crude sulphur blue is sent to the drying room, where it is placed on trays, which are arranged on shelves in the hot air
cupboard, and subjected to a blast of hot air, which passes over and under the shelves. The dried dye is then sent to the standardizing department, where it
is standardized, and is then placed in ball mixers (revolving steel drums containing iron balls), where the dye is crushed to powder. Sulphur blue is used for
dyeing cotton, wool and silk. The capacity for the manufacture of sulphur blue or black is practically unlimited, the output being determined by the demand.
NITROBENZOL AND NITROSOPHENOL
Nitrobenzol is manufactured by the usual process of mixing benzol with a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids of high concentration. The acid mixture
consists of 29 per cent nitric acid, 61 per cent sulfuric acid, and 10 per cent water. The chemicals are heated in steam jacketed nitrators, each provided with
an agitator, manufactured by the Buffalo Foundry & Machine Co. There are four of these nitrators, each 10 ft. high by 6.5 ft. in diameter. The reaction takes
place at 140 to 150 deg. C. When the reaction is completed, the nitrobenzol is blown to the nitrobenzol wash-house. Here the nitrobenzol is washed four
times in a wooden vat provided with an agitator. The washed nitrobenzol is then drawn off into a blowcase, and blown to the aniline plant, where it is received
in twelve feed tanks, supplying twelve reducers. The latter are steel cylinders on end, 10 ft. high by 8 ft. in diameter, each heated by a steam coil and provided
with an agitator. The nitrobenzol is fed into the reducer, along with iron borings screened to 40-mesh size. Heat is applied and the reaction starts
immediately. The mixture is agitated continuously for from 24 to 36 hours. As the reaction proceeds, the temperature is gradually increased, and the aniline
vapors pass off through a 6-in. pipe to condensers, which are steel cylinders, 25 ft. high by 6 ft. in diameter. Here the vapors are condensed, and the liquid is
collected in receiving flasks.
Nitrosophenol is manufactured as follows: Phenol and caustic soda are mixed in one tank, and water, sodium nitrite and sulphuric acid in another. The two
liquid mixtures are then agitated together in a tank provided with a mechanical stirrer revolving at the rate of 38 r.p.m. The product, nitrosophenol, is filtered,
then centrifuged. The time required for the manufacture is about six hours. Nitrosophenol must be handled in containers made of steel or other non-
combustible material. Indophenol is made by combining nitrosophenol, sulphuric acid and orthotoluidine in condensation tanks equipped with agitators and
brine coils. When the reaction is completed the indophenol is allowed to flow into tanks, where it is precipitated by means of sodium carbonate. After
precipitation is completed, the indophenol (an intermediate used in the manufacture of sulphur blue) is filter-pressed. After filtering, the indophenol still
carries about 50 per cent of moisture. It is placed in buggies and used in the sulphur blue department. The total time required for the manufacture of
indophenol is eight hours.
Chlorine for making the monochlorbenzol used in the manufacture of sulphur black is made in the electrolytic cell house. A solution of common salt is
electrolyzed in the Allen-Moore cell, manufactured by the Electron Chemical Co., 347 Madison Ave., New York City. There are three series of cells, 136 cells to
a series, or 408 cells in all. Caustic soda is made here as a by-product. The caustic solution goes to evaporators, where it is concentrated to a strength of 30
per cent. The strong solution is then pumped to cooling tanks, cooled, and the salt settled out. The caustic solution then passes to storage tanks, and thence
to the finishing department, where the caustic is brought to the solid state, and packed in drums for shipment.
In the still house, containing three stills, liquid residues from the various manufacturing operations go through a fractionating process for the recovery of
benzol, monochlorbenzol and dichlorbenzol.
In the chlorination house benzol and chlorine come into contact with each other in counter current, in Lummus chlorination columns, of which there are six.
The product, monochlorbenzol (used in the manufacture of sulphur black) is pumped to a washer and washed, and is then pumped to storage tanks for use
as needed. The exit gas escaping from the top of the chlorination columns goes through a cooler, then to the hydrochloric acid house. The latter contains
three towers, arranged in series, built of acid-proof stoneware furnished by the United States Stoneware Co. of Akron, Ohio, and packed with acid-proof brick
and 6-in. spiral rings. The liquid flows from tower to tower in a direction opposite to that taken by the gas. The liquid is elevated to the tops of the towers by
pulsometers made of chemical stoneware (likewise furnished by the United States Stoneware Co.), through 1-in. glass tubes. All of the hydrochloric acid
manufactured is placed on the market.
NITRIC ACID DEPARTMENT
In the nitric acid department there are four retorts now operating, and four more will soon be installed. The retorts, manufactured by the Pratt Engineering
Company of Atlanta, Ga., take a charge of 7000 Ib. of nitrate of soda each. Sulphuric acid 66 deg. B., recovered from the spent acids used in other
manufacturing processes, is added to the retorts, and the mixture is distilled. The fumes are condensed in S-shaped Duriron pipes sprayed with water, and
the gases uncondensed there go through a series of five chemical stoneware towers, the five towers serving as a common condensing system for the four
retorts. The last tower of the series is fed with water, and the liquid then goes from tower to tower in a direction opposite to that taken by the gas. As in the
hydrochloric acid plant, the liquid is pumped to the tops of the towers by means of chemical stoneware pulsometers through 1-in. glass tubes.
The nitric acid condensed in the S-condensers, after passing through Duriron bleachers, is received in Duriron flasks. Two grades of nitric acid are made—a
strong acid, made in the condensers, and a weak one made in the towers. The strong grade is used in the sulphur black process, where only 4 per cent of
water is allowable in the acid mixture; while the weaker grade is used for the manufacture of nitrobenzol, where the water in the acid mixture may be as high
as 10 per cent.
To make the mixed acid used in the dye-making processes, the nitric acid is pumped into a steel mixer equipped with an agitator, and is there mixed with
oleum, which is purchased from the General Chemical Co., of Pulaski, Va.
The spent acid recovery plant is for the recovery ofsulphuric acid from the spent acids used in other manufacturing processes. The spent acid is fed into a
tower made of acid-proof brick, and packed with chemical brick and 6-in. spiral rings, up which pass the combustion gases from the furnaces used to heat
two benches of pan concentrators. The acid discharged from the tower divides, and goes to both of these two benches, each of which consists of three cast-
iron pans arranged in cascade and in series. The 66 deg. acid flows from the lowest pan of each series into a cooler, and this is sent to the nitric acid
department to be used in the manufacture of nitric acid.
|Union Dye and Chemical Corporation
|Historic Photos of the Union Dye and Chemical Corporation Plant in Kingsport, Tennessee, 1918. Click to Enlarge.
(Former Federal Dyestuff and Chemical Corporation Plant)
View of Union Dye & Chemical Co. 1918 James. J. Bajda, Technical Director in Lab Two Unidentified Men in Lab
Vacuum Dryer Chain-Driven Equipment Worker at Horizontal Tank
Worker Oiling Machinery Worker at Pump James J. Bajda, Technical Director on Right
Company Men with Horses. James J. Bajda on Horse Group of Five Company Men Near Tanks
James J. Bajda in Center
Note from ColorantsHistory.Org
Picric acid and TNT were produced in the Roundhouse building during World War I. The Edgewood Arsenal had invested more than $500,000 to produce
toxic gases (tear gas) for munition shells at the plant. The plant stopped making explosives before the signing of the armistice in 1918. After the war a ton
or two of toxic gas remained at the plant in steel cylinders. The U.S. government had committed to the purchase of $437, 700 of toxic gas. The cessation of
war production led to Union Dye & Chemical filing a claim with the government for $2,000,000, representing spending on labor and raw materials. In June
1919 the cash shortage and lower demand for dyes resulted in the shut down of the plant for at least six weeks, laying off 180 men, but retaining the
chemists and foremen. The company expected to resume production of sulfur black and blue dyes once the textile market improved.
The company came under the direction of B.R. Armour, president of the American Aniline Products Corporation, but continued to struggle. When a child was
electrocuted by a high voltage fence, the company faced a $30,000 lawsuit. In early 1921, Union Dye & Chemical defaulted on interest bearing bonds and
James J. Bajda (1888-1966), also known as J. J. Bajda, was a chemist and Technical Director of the Union Dye and Chemical Corporation. After the
company closed, Bajda moved to South Orange, New Jersey and started a chemical company in 1925. He held at least three patents:
1) USP 1317262, 1919, Condenser
2) USP 1929466, 1933, Process for Silver Thiosulphate
3) USP 2004497, 1935, Treating Cacao Beans
1) Margaret Ripley Wolfe, Kingsport, Tennessee: A Planned American City, University Press of Kentucky, 1987, p. 61
2) "Union Dye Holds Up Operation in Portion of Plant", Kingsport Times, June 10, 1919
3) Second Deficiency Appropriation Bill: 1919, Hearings of the 65th Congress, 3rd Session: Repeal of Appropriations, United States Congress, 1919, p. 338
Agitated Wood Tank on Platform Hot Air Dryer and Wood Barrels Air Compressor?
Electric Motor Control Center Steam Engine for Equipment Drive Shaft Rotary Mixers
Two Unidentified Men in Lab Lab Supervisor? at Desk Lab Supervisor and Technician Pouring
Liquid Lab Supervisor (L) and Chemist?
Unidentified Man (L) and Lab Supervisor? Lab Equipment on Bench Unidentified Woman at Desk
Distillation Tower Outside Building Workers Discharge Product Worker Inside Equipment
Worker at Chain Sprocket Drive Worker Near Belt Drive Worker Posing at Clarification Filter Press
Worker at Pipe Valve Worker Atop Hot Air or Vacuum Shelf Dryer Worker at Horizontal Tank
Equipment on Upper Platform
View of Reactor Top
Tanks on Upper Platform Worker at Platform Railing Worker Looking Down at Equipment
Tanks and Wood Barrels Small Horizontal Tubs Worker Standing on Platform
Foreman? at Steam Turbine Foreman? and Workers at Coal-Fired Boiler Horizontal Tank with Chain Drive
Vertical Chute to Horizontal Dryer Below Bee Hive Shaped Equipment Insulated Reactors
Filter Press to Collect Wet Dye Swieco Compressor View of Process Piping
|Union Dye & Chemical Corporation Stock Certificate
Dated November 18, 1919
Photo Courtesy of Susan Sanders. Click to Enlarge.
|Union Dye & Chemical Corporation Work Check Tag No. 494
Issued to James S. Martin, an Employee During 1918-1920
Photo Courtesy of David Martin
Copyright © 2004-2008 by ColorantsHistory.Org. All Rights Reserved.
|Union Dye & Chemical Corporation Scenes ca. 1920. Click to Enlarge.
Photos Courtesy of David Martin
ColorantsHistory.Org Thanks David Martin for Contributing These Historic Photographs