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Working in a Carbon Black Plant

Talking about X number of tons used worldwide, it’s easy to forget where all this carbon black comes from. Here is an interesting essay on the author’s experiences working in a carbon black plant in the late 1970s. It gives new meaning to the phrase getting down to the nitty gritty.

A gallon of loose blacks weighed fractions of an ounce due to the entrapped air. So efficient was it as a coloring agent that a teaspoonfull was enough to completely color one’s skin a brilliant shiny, dark black. And because it was such a fine dust, it leaked out of just the tiniest of holes. We moved it around the plant in pneumatic conveyors: big pipes with big blowers that moved a mixture of loose black and air. Under pressure. Tiny hole in pipe? Little plume of loose black. You walk past, notice a black speck on your skin, wipe it with your hand, and suddenly your whole forearm is black. We had a lot of leaks. We were all black.
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