[StBernard] HOW THE WHITE AND BLACK "FUMATE" ARE PRODUCED
westley at da-parish.com
Tue Mar 12 18:04:25 EDT 2013
HOW THE WHITE AND BLACK "FUMATE" ARE PRODUCED
Vatican City, 12 March 2013 (VIS) - Beginning with the Conclave in 2005, in
order to better distinguish the colour of the "fumate" (smoke signalling the
election or non-election of a pontiff), a secondary apparatus is used to
generate the smoke in addition to the traditional stove in which the
Cardinal electors' ballots are burned. This device stands next to the
ballot-burning stove and has a compartment where, according to the results
of the vote, different coloured-smoke generating compounds can be mixed. The
result is requested by means of an electronic control panel and lasts for
several minutes while the ballots are burning in the other stove.
For a black "fumata" the chemical compound is made of potassium perchlorate,
anthracene, and sulphur. The white "fumata" is a mixture of potassium
chlorate, lactose, and rosin. The rosin is a natural amber resin obtained
from conifers. Prior to 2005 the black smoke was obtained by using smoke
black or pitch and the white smoke by using wet straw.
The stove-pipes of the stove and the smoke-producing device join up and exit
the roof of the Sistine Chapel as one pipe leading to the chimney installed
on the ridge of the roof, which is visible from St. Peter's Square. To
improve the airflow the pipe is pre-heated by electrical resistance and it
also has a backup fan.
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