THE establishment of the tung oil industry in the United States has been so successful during the last few years that a move is now being made to expand it on such a scale that America will cease to be dependent on China for even small quantities of this commodity. Dr. H. A. Gardner has recently described the position in a paper before the American Chemical Society (Science Service, Washington). Tung oil is essentially an oriental product, used through the ages by the Chinese for making native lacquer and ink. It is manufactured from the seeds of a deciduous tree, Aleurites, native to China, on much the same principle as peanut oil is produced by milling from peanuts in that country. Seeds were first introduced into America through the agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1905, and planted at the Government Experimental Station then at Chico, California. Extensive plantings, however, were not made until some eight years ago in the southern States, which were so successful that already 25,000 acres of land have been given over to the industry. The American Paint and Varnish Association is particularly concerned with this venture, as the oil is a valuable ingredient of varnishes and varnish paints. Apart from these uses, the American industries have extended considerably the application of tung oil, and it is now employed in the manufacture of insulating compounds, brake linings, linoleum, waterproofing fabrics, as a binder for wall board and plastic synthetic lumber, primers, synthetic resins, battery jar compounds, aeroplane tubing fillers, and so on.
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Tung Oil in the United States. Nature 130, 199 (1932). https://doi.org/10.1038/130199b0