Items of Interest

"Palm kernels and the palm kernel oil trade in Africa have been hard hit by the present war in Europe," says a statement issued by the National Geographic Society at Washington. "Palm kernel oil manufacture has hitherto been among those industries of which the world seldom hears. Modern civilization, however, consumes vast quantities of this article, and its demands for the oil are steadily and rapidly growing. The oil palm is a native of west tropical Africa, and its exploitation has remained almost entirely in the hands of the Germans and the British.

"The West African natives extracted the oil, and used it for food, for toilet purposes, and for barter with the white man. Their method of obtaining it was wasteful and tedious, and in recent years the natives have practically lost all part in the commerce. For a long time palm kernel oil was brought into commerce for the exclusive uses of the soapmaker and the chandler. Today, it has scores of uses, and its field for employment is widening steadily. The annual West African turnover of this little-known business has reached twenty-six million dollars.

"Deodorized by hydrogen, palm oil is used in the preparation of 'nut butters,' while the glycerine constituents of nitroglycerine are being derived more and more from it. It is employed in the arts, and in the manufacture of soap, metal polish, and lubricants. Palm kernel cake and meal, the by-product, has been found to be an exceptionally good feed for dairy cattle. One ton of kernel produces one thousand pounds of oil."

Recognizing One's Enemy
March 20, 1915

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