This substitute for the product of sugar-cane was first made in 1747 in Germany
by Marggraf, who discovered that excellent sugar could be obtained from the common beet.
In 1830 efforts were made in the United States
to establish the beet-sugar industry, but it was not until 1876 that an adequately equipped factory was erected for the purpose, in Alvarado
, Cal. Since that year many similar ones have been built, mostly in the Western States
, and the industry may now be said to be firmly established.
Federal and State governments have greatly aided in bringing about this result through the offer of bounties on production.
Beet-roots yield an average of about 10 per cent. of saccharine matter, and sugar-cane about 18 per cent. The white Slevig beet is the richest among the varieties.
In manufacturing, the roots are compressed into a pulp by machinery; the pulp is put into bags, and the juice forced out by presses.
After the juice has been clarified by the use of lime or sulphuric acid, it is filtered till no deposit is apparent, and then boiled for the purpose of concentrating it. When the density of 25 Beaume has been reached, the juice is strained through flannel, becoming a dark-colored syrup, which in turn is filtered through animal charcoal, or bone-black, to free it of its mucilage and coloring matter.
The filtered juice is then treated with lime-water and the whites of eggs, and stirred till it is slightly alkaline.
It is then placed in copper pans, and while boiling is constantly stirred and scummed.
After sufficient concentration the substance is placed in a warm room for several days till it crystallizes.
The juice or molasses which remains is drained off, and the solid part is raw sugar.
This may be further refined by dissolving again and using albumen and blood.
Experiments in beet sugar production were stimulated by the United States
bounty law, in operation from July 1, 1891, to Aug. 27, 1894.
In the period 1890-1900 the output in the United States
was increased from 2,800 tons to 74,944 tons.
The following table shows the production, in long tons, in the United States
in the season of 1899-1900: