Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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COLLIER, Peter, chemist, born in Chittenango, New York, 17 August, 1835. He studied at the Yates Polytechnic institute in his native place, was graduated at Yale in 1861, and in 1870 received his medical degree from the University of Vermont. Subsequent to his graduation at Yale he spent several years in the Sheffield scientific school, studying chemistry, and for a time was assistant in the laboratory, receiving in 1866 the degree of Ph.D. In 1867 he was called to the chair of analytical chemistry, mineralogy, and metallurgy in the University of Vermont, becoming at the same time professor of general chemistry and toxicology in the medical department, of which faculty he was also dean. These offices he held until 1877. and from 1872 till 1876 he was secretary of the State board of agriculture, mining, and manufacture, and prepared the annual reports of the board during these years. In 1873 he was appointed one of the scientific commissioners to the world's exposition, held in Vienna, and contributed a report on "Commercial Fertilizers" to the government series. From 1877 till 1883 he was chemist to the department of agriculture in Washington. During his administration the efficiency of the work was greatly improved, and its scientific value received universal commendation. Numerous investigations were undertaken at his suggestion and continued under his supervision. The most important of these was concerning sorghum sugar. By a long series of carefully planned experiments, Prof. Collier succeeded in showing the possibility of producing sorghum-sugar economically in the United States. The practical establishment of the industry, though successful at several localities, has never been fostered by the government, and the depreciation in value of the cane-sugar, owing to the large production of beet-sugar in Germany and Austria, still prevents capitalists from making it an American product. The United States imports sugar at an expense of $200,000,000 per an-hum, and this sum could be retained within our country, provided the demonstrations of Prof. Collier were accepted. In 1883 he invented and patented an apparatus for recovering sugar from begasse9 or refuse, of the sugar-cane and sorghum. He has published many reports and articles on fertilizers and on sorghum, and has lectured before scientific associations on these topics. Prof. Collier has edited the "Reports of the Department of Agriculture" (Washington, 1877-'83), and published " Sorghum" its Culture and Manufacture Economically Considered, and as a Source of Sugar, Syrup, and Fodder" (Cincinnati, 1883).
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