Vick’s Magazine 11: 303 (1888)

As the inquiry is often made in regard to the possible use of the nuts of the Horse Chestnut, it may be interesting to some of your readers to know the statements of the Department of Agriculture on this subject, as given in its last Report, which is as follows:

They (the nuts) are sometimes boiled, which reduces the bitterness, and are then fed to poultry. When the nuts are dried and reduced to a coarse flour, the bitterness is removed by simply washing the flour with water. A paste made with the flour by washing is used by bookbinders and paste-board manufacturers, its bitterness saving it from the attack of insects. The bitter principle is called esculin.

The following products are obtained from the nuts in France: 1, an alkaline lye from the burnt seed-vessels; 2, a charcoal from the skin of the nut, which form the base of different printing inks; 3, from the amylaceous pulps the fecula is extracted, which can be transformed into dextrine, glucose, alcohol or vinegar; 4, a fatty matter which serves to make a kind of soap, and which, also, is employed to render certain mineral colors more fixed and solid; 5, a yellow coloring matter which serves for various purposes of dyeing; 6, the ashes of the burnt nuts contain 75 per cent. of potash; 7, the bark has been used as a substitute for cinchona; 8, tannin is found in all parts of the tree, leaves, bark and fruit; 9, water in which the nuts are boiled is used for bleaching hemp, flax and other fibers. — S.