Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Turpentine, though originally the name of the oleo-resin of the terebinth (q.v.), which is still known as Chian turpentine, is now a general name for the oleo-resins of the Coniferae. They are yellowish, very viscid, translucent, acid substances, with a strong smell, and consist of various resins dissolved in essential oils which have the formula C10H16. By distillation they are separated into rosin or colophony and oil, or spirit of turpentine (known in retail trade as "turps"), a colourless oily liquid, soluble in alcohol, ether, and oils, and acting as a solvent for resins and rubbers. It is largely used in the manufacture of varnish, and in painting. When oxidised in the presence of water it gives off hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, a reaction employed in the manufacture of the disinfectant "sanitas." The chief European turpentine is that of Bordeaux, obtained by stripping off the bark of the cluster pine, Pinus maritima (P. Pinaster). In Northern Europe it is obtained from the Northern pine or Scots fir (P. sylvestris); in Austria and Corsica from P. Laricio. Venice turpentine, used in making sealing-wax, and formerly in veterinary medicine, is the product of the larch, Larix europaea, and the less abundant Strassburg turpentine, of the silver fir, Abies pectinata. Turpentine is also obtained from the stone pine, P. pinca the mountain pine, P. Pumilio, and the Aleppo pine, P. halepensis. We import from 18,000 to 21,000 tons of oil of turpentine, chiefly from the Southern United States, where it is the produce of the pitch or swamp pine, P. australis (P. palustris) and the loblolly pine, P. Taeda. Canada balsam (q.v.) only differs from other turpentines in being more fragrant.