COWLES'S PATENT MOTH, MILDEW, AND WATERPROOFING TREATMENT AND THE U.S. ARMY, 1869–1876
Ann Cordy Deegan
In 1872 the Quartermaster's Office sent an officer to examine Cowles's factory where the solution was applied. This officer's clear commentary explains the application process:17
Large wooden tanks are provided to hold the solution in which the clothing is saturated. Boys get into these tanks with their bare legs and feet, and tread the clothing in order to thoroughly saturate it…The goods, after being thoroughly saturated in the solution, are placed (by hand) in a large wooden receptacle where they are allowed to remain for some time to drain. They are next placed in a large revolving wire frame surrounded by an iron bowl or basin separated [sic] from it by a space of some two or three inches. This bowl or basin is stationary, the wire frame revolving within it and with great velocity, making as I was informed, some 900 revolutions a minute. By this process the solution is thrown off from the clothing to the sides and bottom of the iron basin, escaping thence by a pipe attached to the bottom of the basin. It might be remarked that the clothing while in this wire frame lies perfectly still and motionless…This is known as the drying process and with this exception no machinery appears to be used.