How To Write Special Feature Articles
by Willard Grosvenor Bleyer
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Despite the rigid discipline of the Pullman Company the porter's leeway is a very considerable one. His instructions are never to say "Against the rules!" but rather "I do not know what can be done about it"—and then to make a quick reference to the Pullman conductor, who is his arbiter and his court of last resort. His own initiative, however, is not small.

Two newspaper men in New York know that. They had gone over to Boston for a week-end, had separated momentarily at its end, to meet at the last of the afternoon trains for Gotham. A had the joint finances and tickets for the trip; but B, hurrying through the traffic tangle of South Station, just ninety seconds before the moment of departure, knew that he would find him already in the big Pullman observation car. He was not asked to show his ticket at the train gate. Boston, with the fine spirit of the Tea Party still flowing in its blue veins, has always resented that as a sort of railroad impertinence.

B did not find A. He did not really search for him until Back Bay was passed and the train was on the first leg of its journey, with the next stop at Providence. Then it was that A was not to be found. Then B realized that his side partner had missed the train. He dropped into a corner and searched his own pockets. A battered quarter and three pennies came to view—and the fare from Boston to Providence is ninety cents!

Then it was that the initiative of a well-trained Pullman porter came into play. He had stood over the distressed B while he was making an inventory of his resources.

"Done los' something, boss?" said the autocrat of the car.

B told the black man his story in a quick, straightforward manner; and the black man looked into his eyes. B returned the glance. Perhaps he saw in that honest ebony face something of the expression of the faithful servants of wartime who refused to leave their masters even after utter ruin had come upon them. The porter drew forth a fat roll of bills.

"Ah guess dat, ef you-all'll give meh yo' business cyard, Ah'll be able to fee-nance yo' trip dis time."

To initiative the black man was adding intuition. He had studied his man. He was forever using his countless opportunities to study men. It was not so much of a gamble as one might suppose.

A pretty well-known editor was saved from a mighty embarrassing time; and some other people have been saved from similarly embarrassing situations through the intuition and the resources of the Pullman porter. The conductor—both of the train and of the sleeping-car service—is not permitted to exercise such initiative or intuition; but the porter can do and frequently does things of this very sort. His recompense for them, however, is hardly to be classed as a tip.

The tip is the nub of the whole situation. Almost since the very day when the Pioneer began to blaze the trail of luxury over the railroads of the land, and the autocrat of the Pullman car created his servile but entirely honorable calling, it has been a mooted point. Recently a great Federal commission has blazed the strong light of publicity on it. Robert T. Lincoln, son of the Emancipator, and, as we have already said, the head and front of the Pullman Company, sat in a witness chair at Washington and answered some pretty pointed questions as to the division of the porter's income between the company and the passenger who employed him. Wages, it appeared, are twenty-seven dollars and a half a month for the first fifteen years of the porter's service, increasing thereafter to thirty dollars a month, slightly augmented by bonuses for good records.

The porter also receives his uniforms free after ten years of service, and in some cases of long service his pay may reach forty-two dollars a month. The rest of his income is in the form of tips. And Mr. Lincoln testified that during the past year the total of these tips, to the best knowledge and belief of his company, had exceeded two million three hundred thousand dollars.

The Pullman Company is not an eleemosynary institution. Though it has made distinct advances in the establishment of pension funds and death benefits, it is hardly to be classed as a philanthropy. It is a large organization; and it generally is what it chooses to consider itself. Sometimes it avers that it is a transportation company, at other times it prefers to regard itself as a hotel organization; but at all times it is a business proposition. It is not in business for its health. Its dividend record is proof of that. All of which is a preface to the statement that the Pullman Company, like any other large user of labor, regulates its wage scale by supply and demand. If it can find enough of the colored brethren competent and willing and anxious to man its cars at twenty-seven dollars and a half a month—with the fair gamble of two or three or four times that amount to come in the form of tips—it is hardly apt to pay more.

No wonder, then, the tip forms the nub of the situation. To-day all America tips. You tip the chauffeur in the taxi, the redcap in the station, the barber, the bootblack, the manicure, the boy or girl who holds your coat for you in the barber's shop or hotel. In the modern hotel tipping becomes a vast and complex thing—waiters, doormen, hat boys, chambermaids, bell boys, porters—the list seems almost unending.

The system may be abominable, but it has certainly fastened itself on us—sternly and securely. And it may be said for the Pullman car that there, at least, the tip comes to a single servitor—the black autocrat who smiles genially no matter how suspiciously he may, at heart, view the quarter you have placed within his palm.

A quarter seems to be the standard Pullman tip—for one person, each night he may be on the car. Some men give more; some men—alas for poor George!—less. A quarter is not only average but fairly standard. It is given a certain official status by the auditing officers of many large railroads and industrial corporations, who recognize it as a chargeable item in the expense accounts of their men on the road.

A man with a fat run—lower berths all occupied, with at least a smattering of riders in the uppers, night after night—ought to be able easily to put aside a hundred and fifty dollars a month as his income from this item. There are hundreds of porters who are doing this very thing; and there are at least dozens of porters who own real estate, automobiles, and other such material evidences of prosperity.

A tip is not necessarily a humiliation, either to the giver or to the taker. On the contrary, it is a token of meritorious service. And the smart porter is going to take good care that he gives such service. But how about the porter who is not so smart—the man who has the lean run? As every butcher and every transportation man knows, there is lean with the fat. And it does the lean man little good to know that his fat brother is preparing to buy a secondhand automobile. On the contrary, it creates an anarchist—or at least a socialist—down under that black skin.

Here is Lemuel—cursed with a lean run and yet trying to maintain at least an appearance of geniality. Lemuel runs on a "differential" between New York, Chicago and St. Louis. Every passenger-traffic man knows that most of the differentials—as the roads that take longer hours, and so are permitted to charge a slightly lower through fare between those cities, are called—have had a hard time of it in recent years. It is the excess-fare trains, the highest-priced carriers—which charge you a premium of a dollar for every hour they save in placing you in the terminal—that are the crowded trains. And the differentials have had increasing difficulty getting through passengers.

It seems that in this day and land a man who goes from New York to Chicago or St. Louis is generally so well paid as to make it worth dollars to him to save hours in the journey. It is modern efficiency showing itself in railroad-passenger travel. But the differentials, having local territory to serve, as well as on account of some other reasons, must maintain a sleeping-car service—even at a loss. There is little or no loss to the Pullman Company—you may be sure of that! The railroad pays it a mileage fee for hauling a half or three-quarter empty car over its own line—in addition to permitting the Pullman system to take all the revenue from the car; but Lemuel sees his end of the business as a dead loss.

He leaves New York at two-thirty o'clock on Monday afternoon, having reported at his car nearly three hours before so as to make sure that it is properly stocked and cleaned for its long trip. He is due at St. Louis at ten-fifteen on Tuesday evening—though it will be nearly two hours later before he has checked the contents of the car and slipped off to the bunking quarters maintained there by his company.

On Wednesday evening at seven o'clock he starts east and is due in New York about dawn on Friday morning. He cleans up his car and himself, and gets to his little home on the West Side of Manhattan Island sometime before noon; but by noon on Saturday he must be back at his car, making sure that it is fit and ready by two-thirty o'clock—the moment the conductor's arm falls—and they are headed west again.

This time the destination is Chicago, which is not reached until about six o'clock Sunday night. He bunks that night in the Windy City and then spends thirty-two hours going back again to New York. He sees his home one more night; then he is off to St. Louis again—started on a fresh round of his eternal schedule.

Talk of tips to Lemuel! His face lengthens. You may not believe it, white man, but Lemuel made fifty-three cents in tips on the last trip from New York to Chicago. You can understand the man who gave him the Columbian antique; but Lemuel believes there can be no future too warm for that skinny man who gave him the three pennies! He thinks the gentleman might at least have come across with a Subway ticket. It is all legal tender to him.

All that saves this porter's bacon is the fact that he is in charge of the car—for some three hundred miles of its eastbound run he is acting as sleeping-car conductor, for which consolidated job he draws down a proportionate share of forty-two dollars a month. This is a small sop, however, to Lemuel. He turns and tells you how, on the last trip, he came all the way from St. Louis to New York—two nights on the road—without ever a "make-down," as he calls preparing a berth. No wonder then that he has difficulty in making fifty dollars a month, with his miserable tips on the lean run.

Nor is that all. Though Lemuel is permitted three hours' sleep—on the bunk in the washroom on the long runs—from midnight to three o'clock in the morning, there may come other times when his head begins to nod. And those are sure to be the times when some lynx-eyed inspector comes slipping aboard. Biff! Bang! Pullman discipline is strict. Something has happened to Lemuel's pay envelope, and his coffee-colored wife in West Twenty-ninth Street will not be able to get those gray spats until they are clean gone out of style.

What can be done for Lemuel? He must bide his time and constantly make himself a better servant—a better porter, if you please. It will not go unnoticed. The Pullman system has a method for noticing those very things—inconsequential in themselves but all going to raise the standard of its service.

Then some fine day something will happen. A big sleeping-car autocrat, in the smugness and false security of a fat run, is going to err. He is going to step on the feet of some important citizen—perhaps a railroad director—and the important citizen is going to make a fuss. After which Lemuel, hard-schooled in adversity, in faithfulness and in courtesy, will be asked in the passing of a night to change places with the old autocrat.

And the old autocrat, riding in the poverty of a lean run, will have plenty of opportunity to count the telegraph poles and reflect on the mutability of men and things. The Pullman Company denies that this is part of its system; but it does happen—time and time and time again.

George, or Lemuel, or Alexander—whatever the name may be—has no easy job. If you do not believe that, go upstairs some hot summer night to the rear bedroom—that little room under the blazing tin roof which you reserve for your relatives—and make up the bed fifteen or twenty times, carefully unmaking it between times and placing the clothes away in a regular position. Let your family nag at you and criticize you during each moment of the job—while somebody plays an obbligato on the electric bell and places shoes and leather grips underneath your feet. Imagine the house is bumping and rocking—and keep a smiling face and a courteous tongue throughout all of it!

Or do this on a bitter night in midwinter; and between every two or three makings of the bed in the overheated room slip out of a linen coat and into a fairly thin serge one and go and stand outside the door from three to ten minutes in the snow and cold. In some ways this is one of the hardest parts of George's job. Racially the negro is peculiarly sensitive to pneumonia and other pulmonary diseases; yet the rules of a porter's job require that at stopping stations he must be outside of the car—no matter what the hour or condition of the climate—smiling and ready to say:

"What space you got, guv'nor?"

However, the porter's job, like nearly every other job, has its glories as well as its hardships—triumphs that can be told and retold for many a day to fascinated colored audiences; because there are special trains—filled with pursy and prosperous bankers from Hartford and Rochester and Terre Haute—making the trip from coast to coast and back again, and never forgetting the porter at the last hour of the last day.

There are many men in the Pullman service like Roger Pryor, who has ridden with every recent President of the land and enjoyed his confidence and respect. And then there is General Henry Forrest, of the Congressional Limited, for twenty-four years in charge of one of its broiler cars, who stops not at Presidents but enjoys the acquaintance of senators and ambassadors almost without number.

The General comes to know these dignitaries by their feet. When he is standing at the door of his train under the Pennsylvania Terminal, in New York, he recognizes the feet as they come poking down the long stairs from the concourse. And he can make his smile senatorial or ambassadorial—a long time in advance.

Once Forrest journeyed in a private car to San Francisco, caring for a Certain Big Man. He took good care of the Certain Big Man—that was part of his job. He took extra good care of the Certain Big Man—that was his opportunity. And when the Certain Big Man reached the Golden Gate he told Henry Forrest that he had understood and appreciated the countless attentions. The black face of the porter wrinkled into smiles. He dared to venture an observation.

"Ah thank you, Jedge!" said he. "An' ef it wouldn't be trespassin' Ah'd lak to say dat when yo' comes home you's gwine to be President of dese United States."

The Certain Big Man shook his head negatively; but he was flattered nevertheless. He leaned over and spoke to Henry Forrest.

"If ever I am President," said he, "I will make you a general."

And so it came to pass that on the blizzardy Dakota-made day when William Howard Taft was inaugurated President of these United States there was a parade—a parade in which many men rode in panoply and pride; but none was prouder there than he who, mounted on a magnificent bay horse, headed the Philippine Band.

A promise was being kept. The bay horse started three times to bolt from the line of march, and this was probably because its rider was better used to the Pompeian-red broiler car than to a Pompeian-red bay mare. But these were mere trifles. Despite them—partly because of them perhaps—the younger brethren at the terminals were no longer to address the veteran from the Congressional merely as Mr. Forrest. He was General Forrest now—a title he bears proudly and which he will carry with him all the long years of his life.

What becomes of the older porters?

Sometimes, when the rush of the fast trains, the broken nights, the exposure and the hard, hard work begin to be too much for even sturdy Afric frames, they go to the "super" and beg for the "sick man's run"—a leisurely sixty or a hundred miles a day on a parlor car, perhaps on a side line where travel is light and the parlor car is a sort of sentimental frippery; probably one of the old wooden cars: the Alicia, or the Lucille, or the Celeste, still vain in bay windows and grilles, and abundant in carvings. For a sentimental frippery may be given a feminine name and may bear her years gracefully—even though she does creak in all her hundred joints when the track is the least bit uneven.

As to the sick man's tips, the gratuity is no less a matter of keen interest and doubt at sixty than it is at twenty-six. And though there is a smile under that clean mat of kinky white hair, it is not all habit—some of it is still anticipation. But quarters and half dollars do not come so easily to the old man in the parlor car as to his younger brother on the sleepers, or those elect who have the smokers on the fat runs. To the old men come dimes instead—some of them miserable affairs bearing on their worn faces the faint presentments of the ruler on the north side of Lake Erie and hardly redeemable in Baltimore or Cincinnati. Yet even these are hardly to be scorned—when one is sixty.

After the sick man's job? Perhaps a sandy farm on a Carolina hillside, where an old man may sit and nod in the warm sun, and dream of the days when steel cars were new—perhaps of the days when the platform-vestibule first went bounding over the rails—may dream and nod; and then, in his waking moments, stir the pickaninnies to the glories of a career on a fast train and a fat run. For if it is true that any white boy has the potential opportunity of becoming President of the United States, it is equally true that any black boy may become the Autocrat of the Pullman Car.

* * * * *

(The Independent)

THE GENTLE ART OF BLOWING BOTTLES And the Story of How Sand is Melted into Glass


Remedies for our manifold ills; the refreshment that our infant lips craved; coolness in time of heat; yes—even tho July 1st has come and gone—drafts to assuage our thirst; the divers stays and supports of our declining years—all these things come in bottles. From the time of its purchase to the moment of its consignment to the barrel in the cellar or the rapacious wagon of the rag-and-bone man the bottle plays a vital part in our lives. And as with most inconspicuous necessities, but little is known of its history. We assume vaguely that it is blown—ever since we saw the Bohemian Glass Blowers at the World's Fair we have known that glass is blown into whatever shape fancy may dictate—but that is as far as our knowledge of its manufacture extends.

As a matter of fact the production of bottles in bulk is one of the most important features of the glass industry of this country today. The manufacture of window glass fades into insignficance before the hugeness of the bottle-making business; and even the advent of prohibition, while it lessens materially the demand for glass containers of liquids, does not do so in such degree as to warrant very active uneasiness on the part of the proprietors of bottle factories.

The process of manufacture of the humble bottle is a surprizingly involved one. It includes the transportation and preparation of raw material, the reduction of the material to a proper state of workability, and the shaping of the material according to design, before the bottle is ready to go forth on its mission.

The basic material of which all glass is made is, of course, sand. Not the brown sand of the river-bed, the well remembered "sandy bottom" of the swimmin' hole of our childhood, but the finest of white sand from the prehistoric ocean-beds of our country. This sand is brought to the factory and there mixed by experts with coloring matter and a flux to aid the melting. On the tint of the finished product depends the sort of coloring agent used. For clear white glass, called flint glass, no color is added. The mixing of a copper salt with the sand gives a greenish tinge to the glass; amber glass is obtained by the addition of an iron compound; and a little cobalt in the mixture gives the finished bottle the clear blue tone that used to greet the waking eye as it searched the room for something to allay that morning's morning feeling. The flux used is old glass—bits of shattered bottles, scraps from the floor of the factory. This broken glass is called "cullet," and is carefully swept into piles and kept in bins for use in the furnaces.

The sand, coloring matter, and cullet, when mixed in the proper proportions, form what is called in bottle-makers' talk the "batch" or "dope." This batch is put into a specially constructed furnace—a brick box about thirty feet long by fifteen wide, and seven feet high at the crown of the arched roof. This furnace is made of the best refractory blocks to withstand the fierce heat necessary to bring the batch to a molten state. The heat is supplied by various fuels—producer-gas is the most common, tho oil is sometimes used. The gas is forced into the furnace and mixed with air at its inception; when the mixture is ignited the flame rolls down across the batch, and the burnt gases pass out of the furnace on the other side. The gases at their exit pass thru a brick grating or "checkerboard," which takes up much of the heat; about every half hour, by an arrangement of valves, the inlet of the gas becomes the outlet, and vice versa, so that the heat taken up by the checkerboard is used instead of being dissipated, and as little of the heat of combustion is lost as is possible. The batch is put into the furnace from the rear; as it liquefies it flows to the front, where it is drawn off thru small openings and blown into shape.

The temperature in the furnace averages about 2100 degrees Fahrenheit; it is lowest at the rear, where the batch is fed in, and graduates to its highest point just behind the openings thru which the glass is drawn off. This temperature is measured by special instruments called thermal couples—two metals joined and placed in the heat of the flame. The heat sets up an electric current in the joined metals, and this current is read on a galvanometer graduated to read degrees Fahrenheit instead of volts, so that the temperature may be read direct.

All furnaces for the melting of sand for glass are essentially the same in construction and principle. The radical differences in bottle manufacturing appear in the methods used in drawing off the glass and blowing it into shape.

Glass is blown by three methods: hand-blowing, semi-automatic blowing, and automatic blowing. The first used was the hand method, and tho the introduction of machines is rapidly making the old way a back number, there are still factories where the old-time glass blower reigns supreme.

One of the great centers of the bottle industry in the United States is down in the southern end of New Jersey. Good sand is dug there—New Jersey was part of the bed of the Atlantic before it literally rose to its present state status—and naturally the factories cluster about the source of supply of material. Within a radius of thirty miles the investigator may see bottles turned out by all three methods.

The hand-blowing, while it is the slowest and most expensive means of making bottles, is by far the most picturesque. Imagine a long, low, dark building—dark as far as daylight is concerned, but weirdly lit by orange and scarlet flashes from the great furnaces that crouch in its shelter. At the front of each of these squatting monsters, men, silhouetted against the fierce glow from the doors, move about like puppets on wires—any noise they may make is drowned in the mastering roar of the fire. A worker thrusts a long blowpipe (in glassworkers' terminology a wand) into the molten mass in the furnace and twirls it rapidly. The end of the wand, armed with a ball of refractory clay, collects a ball of semi-liquid glass; the worker must estimate the amount of glass to be withdrawn for the particular size of the bottle that is to be made. This ball of glowing material is withdrawn from the furnace; the worker rolls it on a sloping moldboard, shaping it to a cylinder, and passes the wand to the blower who is standing ready to receive it. The blower drops the cylinder of glass into a mold, which is held open for its reception by yet another man; the mold snaps shut; the blower applies his mouth to the end of the blowpipe; a quick puff, accompanied by the drawing away of the wand, blows the glass to shape in the mold and leaves a thin bubble of glass protruding above. The mold is opened; the shaped bottle, still faintly glowing, is withdrawn with a pair of asbestos-lined pincers, and passed to a man who chips off the bubble on a rough strip of steel, after which he gives the bottle to one who sits guarding a tiny furnace in which oil sprayed under pressure roars and flares. The rough neck of the bottle goes into the flame; the raw edges left when the bubble was chipped off are smoothed away by the heat; the neck undergoes a final polishing and shaping twirl in the jaws of a steel instrument, and the bottle is laid on a little shelf to be carried away. It is shaped, but not finished.

The glass must not be cooled too quickly, lest it be brittle. It must be annealed—cooled slowly—in order to withstand the rough usage to which it is to be subjected. The annealing process takes place in a long, brick tunnel, heated at one end, and gradually cooling to atmospheric temperature at the other. The bottles are placed on a moving platform, which slowly carries them from the heated end to the cool end. The process takes about thirty hours. At the cool end of the annealing furnace the bottle is met by the packers and is made ready for shipment. These annealing furnaces are called "lehrs" or "leers"—either spelling is correct—and the most searching inquiry failed to discover the reason for the name. They have always been called that, and probably always will be.

In the hand-blowing process six men are needed to make one bottle. There must be a gatherer to draw the glass from the furnace; a blower; a man to handle the mold; a man to chip off the bubble left by the blower; a shaper to finish the neck of the bottle; and a carrier-off to take the completed bottles to the lehr. Usually the gatherer is also the blower, in which case two men are used, one blowing while the other gathers for his turn; but on one platform I saw the somewhat unusual sight of one man doing all the blowing while another gathered for him. The pair used two wands, so that their production was the same as tho two men were gathering and blowing. This particular blower was making quart bottles, and he was well qualified for the job. He weighed, at a conservative estimate, two hundred and fifty pounds, and when he blew something had to happen. I arrived at his place of labor just as the shifts were being changed—a glass-furnace is worked continuously, in three eight-hour shifts—and as the little whistle blew to announce the end of his day's toil the giant grabbed the last wand, dropped it into the waiting mold, and blew a mighty blast. A bubble of glass sprang from the mouth of the mold, swelled to two feet in diameter, and burst with a bang, filling the air with shimmering flakes of glass, light enough to be wafted like motes. When the shining shower had settled and I had opened my eyes—it would not be pleasant to get an eyeful of those beautiful scraps—the huge blower was diminishing in perspective toward his dinner, and the furnace door was, for the moment, without its usual hustling congregation of workers. I made bold to investigate the platform.

Close to me glared the mouth of the furnace, with masses of silver threads depending from it like the beard of some fiery gulleted ogre—the strings of glass left by the withdrawal of the wand. The heat three feet away was enough to make sand melt and run like water, but I was not unpleasantly warm. This was because I stood at the focus of three tin pipes, thru which streams of cold air, fan-impelled, beat upon me. Without this cooling agent it would be impossible for men to work so close to the heat of the molten glass.

Later, in the cool offices of the company, where the roar of the furnaces penetrated only as a dull undertone, and electric fans whizzed away the heat of the summer afternoon, I learned more of the technique of the bottle industry. Each shape demanded by the trade requires a special mold, made of cast iron and cut according to the design submitted. There are, of course, standard shapes for standard bottles; these are alluded to (reversing the usual practise of metonymy) by using thing contained for container, as "ginger ales," "olives," "mustards," "sodas" and (low be it spoken) "beers." But when a firm places an order for bottles of a particular shape, or ones with lettering in relief on the glass, special molds must be made; and after the lot is finished the molds are useless till another order for that particular design comes in. A few standard molds are made so that plates with lettering can be inserted for customers who want trademarks or firm names on their bottles; but the great majority of the lettered bottles have their own molds, made especially for them and unable to be used for any other lot.

All bottles are blown in molds; it is in the handling of the molten glass and the actual blowing that machinery has come to take the place of men in the glass industry. The first type of machine to be developed was for blowing the bottle and finishing it, thus doing away with three of the six men formerly employed in making one bottle. In appearance the bottle-blowing machine is merely two circular platforms, revolving in the same horizontal plane, each carrying five molds. One of the platforms revolves close to the furnace door, and as each mold comes around it automatically opens and the gatherer draws from the furnace enough glass for the bottle which is being made at the time, and places it in the mold. The mold closes, and the platform turns on, bringing around another mold to the gatherer. Meanwhile a nozzle has snapped down over the first mold, shaping the neck of the bottle, and beginning the blowing. As the mold comes to a point diametrically opposite the furnace door it opens again, and a handler takes the blank, as the bottle is called at this stage, and places it in a mold on the second revolving platform. This mold closes and compressed air blows out the bottle as the platform revolves. As the mold comes around to the handler again it opens and the handler takes out the finished bottle, replacing it with a new blank drawn from the mold on the first platform. This operation necessitates only three men—a gatherer, a handler, and a carrier-off. It is also much faster than the old method—an average of about forty bottles per minute as against barely twenty.

A newer development of this machine does away with the gatherer. A long rod of refractory clay is given a churning movement in the mouth of the furnace, forcing the molten glass thru a tube. As enough glass for one bottle appears at the mouth of the tube a knife cuts the mass and the blob of glass falls into a trough which conveys it to the blank mold. By an ingenious device the same trough is made to feed three or four machines at one time. As many as fifty bottles a minute can be turned out by this combination blowing machine and feeder.

But the apotheosis of bottle-making is to be seen in another factory in the south Jersey district. Here it is the boast of the superintendents that from the time the sand goes out of the freight cars in which it is brought to the plant till the finished bottle is taken by the packer, no human hand touches the product; and their statement is amply confirmed by a trip thru the plant. The sand, coloring matter and cullet are in separate bins; an electrical conveyor takes enough of each for a batch to a mixing machine; from there the batch goes on a long belt to the furnace. At the front of the furnace, instead of doors or mouths, is a revolving pan, kept level full with the molten glass. Outside the furnace revolves a huge machine with ten arms, each of which carries its own mold and blowpipe. As each arm passes over the pan in the furnace the proper amount of glass is sucked into the mold by vacuum; the bottle is blown and shaped in the course of one revolution, and the mold, opening, drops the finished bottle into a rack which carries it to the lehr on a belt. It passes thru the lehr to the packers; and as each rack is emptied of its bottles the packers place it again on the belt, which carries it up to the machine, where it collects its cargo of hot bottles and conducts it again thru the lehr. The entire plant—mixing, feeding, actually making the bottles, delivery to the lehr, and packing—is synchronized exactly. Men unload the cars of sand—men pack the bottles. The intermediate period is entirely mechanical. The plant itself is as well lighted and ventilated as a department store, and except in the immediate vicinity of the furnace there is no heat felt above the daily temperature. The machines average well over a bottle a second, and by an exceedingly clever arrangement of electrical recording appliances an accurate record of the output of each machine, as well as the temperatures of the furnaces and lehrs, is kept in the offices of the company. The entire equipment is of the most modern, from the boilers and motors in the power-plant and producer-gas-plant to the packing platforms. In addition, the plant boasts a complete machine shop where all the molds are made and the machines repaired.

It is a far cry from human lung-power to the super-efficient machinery of the new plants; but it is the logical progress of human events, applying to every product of man's hands, from battleships to—bottles.

* * * * *


(New York World)

One illustration, a half-tone reproduction of a photograph of the exterior of the theater.



The piece is the Biblical "Jephthah's Daughter," adapted from the Book of Judges. The hero, "a mighty man of valor," has conquered the enemies of his people. There is great rejoicing over his victory, for the tribe of Israel has been at its weakest. But now comes payment of the price of conquest. The leader of the victorious host promised to yield to God as a burnt sacrifice "whatsoever cometh forth from the doors of my house to meet me when I return from battle." And his daughter came forth.

In the last act, the girl herself, young and beautiful, advances toward the altar on which fagots have been piled high. In her hand is the lighted torch which is to kindle her own death fire.

The chorus chants old Hebraic melodies. Even the audience joins in the singing. The play takes on the aspect of an ancient religious ceremonial. Old men and women are in tears, moved by the sad history of their race, forgetful of the horror of human sacrifice in the intensity of their religious fervor.

Such is the artistry of the piece; such the perfection of its production.

Yet this is no professional performance, but the work of amateurs. It is the opening night of the new community theatre of New York's densely populated East Side.

At No. 466 Grand Street it stands, far away from Broadway's theatrical district—a low-lying, little Georgian building. It is but three stories high, built of light red brick, and finished with white marble. All around garish millinery shops display their showy goods. Peddlers with pushcarts lit by flickering flames, vie with each other in their array of gaudy neckties and bargain shirtwaists. Blazing electric signs herald the thrills of movie shows. And, salient by the force of extreme contrast, a plain little white posterboard makes its influence felt. It is lit by two iron lanterns, and reads simply, "The Neighborhood Playhouse."

The Misses Irene and Alice Lewisohn of No. 43 Fifth Avenue have built this theatre. It is their gift to the neighborhood, and symbolizes the culmination of a work which they have shared with the neighborhood's people.

Eight years ago the Henry Street Settlement started its scheme of festivals and pantomimes, portraying through the medium of color, song, and dance such vague ideas as "Impressions of Spring." It was the boys and girls of the Settlement who performed in these pantomimes. It was they who made the costumes, painted the necessary scenery, sang and danced.

And both daughters of the late Leonard Lewisohn were always interested and active in promoting this work.

Out of it, in due time, there developed, quite naturally, a dramatic club. Plays were given in the Settlement gymnasium—full-grown pieces like "The Silver Box," by John Galsworthy, and inspiring dramas like "The Shepherd," a plea for Russian revolutionists, by an American author, Miss Olive Tilford Dargan. Such was the emotional response of the neighborhood to this drama that four performances had to be given at Clinton Hall; and as a result a substantial sum of money was forwarded to "The Friends of Russian Freedom."

Then, in 1913, came the famous Pageant, which roused the entire district to a consciousness of itself—its history, its dignity and also its possibilities.

That portion of the East Side which surrounds the Henry Street Settlement has seen many an invasion since the days when the Dutch first ousted the Indians. English, Quakers, Scotch have come and gone, leaving traces more or less distinct. The Irish have given place to the Italians, who have been replaced by the Russians. In the Pageant of 1913 all these settlers were represented by artistically clad groups who paraded the streets singing and dancing. No hall could have held the audience which thronged to see this performance; no host of matinee worshippers could have rivalled it in fervor of appreciation.

When the Misses Lewisohn, then, built their new playhouse in Grand Street, it was not with the intention of rousing, but rather of satisfying, an artistic demand among the people of the neighborhood. And in the new home are to be continued all the varied activities of which the Henry Street Settlement festival and dramatic clubs were but the centre. It is to be a genuine community enterprise in which each boy and girl will have a share. Miss Alice Lewisohn herself thus expresses its many-sided work:

"The costume designers and makers, fashioners of jewelry, painters and composers, musicians and seamstresses, as well as actors and directors, will contribute their share in varying degree.

"Putting aside for a moment the higher and artistic development which such work must bring, there is the craftsman side, too, which has practical value. The young men will become familiar with all the handiwork of the theatre, the construction and handling of scenery, the electrical equipment and its varied uses. It will be conceded, I think, that in this respect the community playhouse is really a college of instruction in the craft of the stage."

It is a college with a very efficient and well-trained staff of professors. Mrs. Sarah Cowell Le Moyne, already well known as a teacher of elocution and acting, will be one of its members. Miss Grace Griswold, an experienced co-worker of the late Augustine Daly, will act as manager.

The pupils of this novel school are to have amusement as well as work. The third floor has been planned to meet many more requirements than are usually considered in a theatre. Across the front runs a large rehearsal room, large enough to make a fine dance hall when occasion demands. Here, too, is a kitchenette which will be used to serve refreshments when social gatherings are in progress or when an over-long rehearsal tires out the cast. In warm weather the flat-tiled roof will be used as a playground. It will be the scene, too, of many open air performances.

The Neighborhood Playhouse has been open only a few weeks. Already it is in full swing. On the nights when the regular players do not appear the programme consists of motion pictures and music. There is a charming informality and ease about these entertainments; there is also genuine art, and a whole-hearted appreciation on the part of the neighborhood's people.

* * * * *

(New York Evening Post)



"Now you just hold up a minute"—the bungalow-owner waved an indignant hand at the man in the little car chug-chugging over the bumpy road. "Now I just want to tell you," he protested, "that a mosquito got into my room last night and bit me, and I want you to know that this has happened three times this week. I want it to stop."

The man in the car had jumped out, and was turning an animated, and aggressive, but not at all provoked, face on the complainer.

"Are you certain your drains are not stopped up?" he asked.

"Oh, those drains are all right. It's that damp hollow over in Miss K's woods that's making the trouble."

"I'll go there immediately," said the aggressive one. "She promised me she would fill that place this week."

"All right, then," answered the placated bungalow-owner, "I thought you'd fix it up if you found out about it. I certainly wouldn't have bought around Darien if you had not cleared this place of mosquitoes."

The aggressive one plunged into the Connecticut woods and began his search for possible mosquito-breeding spots. He was the "Mosquito Man," the self-appointed guardian of the Connecticut coast from Stamford to Westport.

He was not born a Mosquito Man at all—in fact, he did not become one until he was forty years old and had retired from business because he had made enough money to rest and "enjoy life." But he did not rest, and did not get enjoyment, for the mosquitoes had likewise leased his place on the Sound and were making good their title.

Came then big fat mosquitoes from the swamp. Came mosquitoes from the salt marshes. Some lighted on the owner's nose and some looked for his ankles, and found them. Three days of this sort of rest made him decide to move away. Then, because he was aggressive, he became the Mosquito Man. The idea occurred to him when he had gone over to a distant island and was watching the building of houses.

"This place," he said to the head carpenter, "is going to be a little heaven."

"More like a little other place," growled the head carpenter. "Here they've dug out the centre of the island and carted it to the beach to make hills for the houses to be built on. One good rain will fill their little heaven with mosquitoes. Why don't the people around here drain their country?"

That night the Mosquito Man telephoned to a drainage expert in New York and demanded that he come out the next day.

"I don't like to work on Sunday," the expert objected.

"It is absolutely essential that you come at once," he was told. "Can you take the first train?"

The first train and the expert arrived in Darien at 5:51. Before the day was over a contract had been drawn up to the purport that the expert would drain the salt marshes between Stamford and South Norwalk for $4,000.

The Mosquito Man now began to talk mosquitoes to every one who would listen and to many who did not want to listen. "That bug," the old settlers called him at the time—for old settlers are very settled in their ways. The young women at the Country Club, whenever they saw him coming, made bets as to whether he would talk mosquitoes—and he always did. Every property-owner in the township was asked for a subscription, and some gave generously and some gave niggardly and some did not give at all. The subscriptions were voluntary, for no one could be forced to remove a mosquito-breeding nuisance from his property. This was in 1911, and only in 1915 has a mosquito law been passed in Connecticut. The Mosquito Man was forced to use "indirect influence," which does not expedite matters.

A subscription of $1,000 came from the big land corporation of the neighborhood, after the "indirect influence" had rather forcibly expressed itself.

"I want $1,000 from you," said the Mosquito Man to the representative of the president—the president was in South America. The representative laughed, so the Mosquito Man spent several days explaining to him why property is more valuable when it is not infested with pests. But every time that the $1,000 was mentioned, the representative could not restrain the smile.

"Well," the Mosquito Man said, at last, "I will make the drainage on your property anyway, and it will cost me $2,000. If you want it left you will have to pay me every cent of the $2,000, not just the $1,000 that I am asking now. Otherwise I shall fill up my ditches and let you enjoy your mosquitoes."

The representative did not laugh at this, but cabled the president in South America. As the president had just been at Panama, and had seen the mosquito extermination work, the $1,000 subscription came back by return cable.

The Darien Board of Health also was a spot against which in direct influence was knocking, for it was a rich Board of Health with $150 at its disposal—and the Mosquito Man wanted that appropriation to flaunt in the faces of the old settlers.

"God sent mosquitoes," objected one member of the Board of Health, "and it is going in the face of Providence to try to get rid of them."

All in all, the money was raised. Some whom he asked for $100 gave $25, and some whom he asked for $25 gave $100, and some millionaires did not give at all—but a sail-maker is still telling proudly of how he gave $5, and "I haven't regretted a cent of it since."

The draining now commenced, and the expert and the Mosquito Man were of the same stripe. The work was completed in six weeks. Just about this time people stopped calling the Mosquito Man "a bug," and the members of the Country Club even tried to make him talk mosquitoes to them, while the sail-maker felt sure that his $5 had done the whole job. Hammocks were swung out in the yards—and a hammock hung outside of the screens is the barometer of the mosquito condition.

The Mosquito Man was feeling very satisfied the night he went to a dance at the Country Club. But the east wind blew in the mosquitoes from the Norwalk marshes.

"It was the most embarrassing experience I have ever had," said the Mosquito Man. "I sat right behind a big fat lady whose dress was very low and I watched the mosquitoes bite her; her whole back was covered with red lumps. That night I telegraphed to the man who had done the draining and he telegraphed back that all of Norwalk township must be drained."

Norwalk proved to be a much severer task than Darien. In Darien the Mosquito Man had found only indifference and prejudice; in Norwalk he met active opposition. Property owners and city councils seem to be afraid that the value of property will be brought down if any sanitation scandal is advertised. It really appeared to be simpler and better business to ignore the fact.

To do away with this opposition, the Mosquito Man handled his campaign in a popular manner. The cooperation of the newspapers was gained and every day he published articles on the mosquito question; some of the articles were educational and others were facetious—while one came out that brought the property owners crying "murder" about his ears. This was the article in which he gave the statistics of Norwalk's health rate in comparison with other Connecticut towns. The smallest subscriptions were encouraged, for, after a man has given a dollar to a cause, that cause is his. Many a child was received with a welcoming smile when he brought to the campaign offices a ten-cent donation.

True, ten-cent donations were not suggested to adult contributors, and the Mosquito Man did much to induce the well-to-do citizens to subscribe according to their means. He still tells with relish of the club of women which took up a collection, after his talk, and presented him with two dollars, in small change.

"The women, though, were my greatest help," he adds; "I found that the women are as a rule better citizens than the men and are glad to be organized to fight the mosquito and fly menace. Of course, I found some uneducated ones that owned a piece of property a foot square, and were afraid that I would walk off with it in my pocket if I came to look it over—but, as for the educated women, I could not have managed my campaign without them."

A large contributor to the fund was the monastery at Kaiser Island. For years this had been a summer resort for the monks, who filled the dormitories in the old days before the mosquitoes took the island. Only one priest was there when the Mosquito Man visited the place to ask for a subscription.

"Very few come any more," said the priest. "It is because of the mosquitoes."

"Will you contribute $500 to get rid of them?" asked the Mosquito Man.

Briefly, the Mosquito Man offered to repay the $500 himself if he did not exterminate the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes went; the monks came back to Kaiser Island.

Yet, in spite of the occasional generous giver, the $7,500 was never quite raised, and the Mosquito Man himself had to make up the deficit. The citizens of Norwalk, for instance, contributed only $150.

This all happened three years ago, and now not a child in the twelve miles but can tell you all about mosquitoes and how a community can avoid having them. The Mosquito Man is appreciated now, and the community understands what he has done for them and what he is still doing—for the contract merely drained the salt marshes, doing away with the salt-water mosquitoes. There were still the fresh-water mosquitoes, and there was still much work for some one to do. That some one has been the Mosquito Man.

During the three years, he has made it his business to drain every inland marsh within his territory, to turn over every tub which may collect water, to let the plug out of every old boat which is breeding mosquitoes, and to convince every ancestor-encumbered autocrat that his inherited woods can breed mosquitoes just as disastrously as do the tin cans of the Hungarian immigrant down the road. The Mosquito Man has an assistant, paid by the towns of Darien and Norwalk—and together they traverse the country.

"It was difficult finding a man who would go into mud to the waist when need was," said the Mosquito Man, "but I finally found a good man with the proper scorn of public opinion on the clothes question, and with a properly trained wife who cleaned without scolding."

You can find traces of the two men any place you go in the woods of Darien or Norwalk. In a ferned dell where you are quite sure that yours is the first human presence, you come upon a ditch, as clean and smooth as a knife—or you find new grass in a place which you remember as a swamp. Perhaps you may even be lucky enough to come on the two workers themselves, digging with their pick and spade—for all summer long the Mosquito Man is working eight hours a day at his self-appointed task.

You might even find him in New York some off-day—and you will know him, for surely he will be telling some rebellious apartment-house owner that the tank on his roof is unscreened. For they do say that he carries his activities into any part of the world where he may chance to be; they do say that, when he was in Italy not so very long ago, he went out to investigate the mosquitoes which had disturbed his rest the night before.

"Now you must oil your swamp," said he to the innkeeper.

That night there was no salad for dinner, for the innkeeper had obeyed the order to the best of his ability. He had poured all of his best olive oil on the mosquito marsh.

* * * * *

(Country Gentleman)

Five half-tone illustrations, with the following captions: 1. "A Traction Ditcher at Work Digging Trench for Tile." 2. "Ditch Dug With Dynamite Through Woods." 3. "Apple Packing House and Cold Storage at Ransomville." 4. "Nelson R. Peet, County Agent and Manager of the Niagara County Farm Bureau, New York." 5. "Part of the Crowd Listening to the Speakers."




You've got to look into the family closet of a county and study its skeletons before you can decide whether that county's farming business is mostly on paper or on concrete. You've got to know whether it standardizes production and marketing, or just markets by as many methods as there are producers.

As a living example of the possibility of tightening up and retiming the gears of a county's economic machinery to the end of cutting out power losses, Niagara County, New York, stands in a distinct class by itself.

Here is an area of 558 square miles, with Lake Ontario spraying its northern line. A network of electric and steam railways and hundreds of miles of splendid state highways make up a system of economic arteries through which the industrial life-blood of the county circulates.

Forty-eight hours to Chicago's markets, the same distance to New York's; three wealthy industrial and agricultural cities within the county itself—Lockport, Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda—operating with a wealth of cheap electric power generated at Niagara Falls—these are some of the advantages within and without the county, the value of which is self-evident.

Beginning with the southern plain section, Niagara's agriculture changes in type from general hay and grain farming to a more intense fruit-growing industry as the northern plain section is approached, until within the zone of Lake Ontario's tempering influence the fruit industry almost excludes all other types of farming.

There is hardly a more favored fruit section in the country than the northern half of Niagara County. Apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, quinces make up the county's horticultural catalogue. The latest available figures rank Niagara County first among the counties of New York in the number of fruit trees; second in the total number of bushels of fruit produced; first in the quantity of peaches, pears, plums and prunes, quinces and cherries; third in the number of bushels of apples.

Yet there are things about the county which no statistics will ever show, such things, for instance, as the condition of the orchards, the market value of the fruit, the earning capacity of the land as a whole—in other words, the bedrock rating of the county. You have to get at these things by a different avenue of approach.

A rather close auditing during 1914 of the accounts of some eighty-seven typical good farms in perhaps the best section of Niagara County brought out the fact that labor incomes from these farms, on the whole, could not be classed as strictly giltedge. One diagnosis made by a Niagara County investigator is recorded in these words:

"Though Niagara County has many of the best fruit farms in New York State, there are numbers of orchards that have been abandoned to the ravages of insects and disease. There is also a tendency toward extensive rather than intensive fruit growing, which has resulted in many large plantings being made.

"Niagara County does not need more orchards, but rather cultivation and spraying of the present orchards; it does not need to produce more fruit, but rather to insure better grading and marketing of the present production."

This observation is dated 1914, one year after leading farmers and business men of the county, convinced that all was not so well with them as the lifeless census figures would have one believe, made the move to set up and operate for the county a farm bureau. New York is the national hotbed of farm-bureau enthusiasm and propaganda.

Almost six years to the day after the inauguration of this bureau, I went into Niagara County. And before I left I was able to sketch a rather vivid mental picture of what a farm bureau really can do for a county, be the raw material with which it must work good, bad or indifferent.

Up in the office of the Niagara County Farm Bureau at Lockport I waited some two hours for an interview with its manager, Nelson R. Peet. That wait was an eye-opener.

Three women clerks and stenographers and the assistant manager occupied this room. The clerks were trying to typewrite, answer the continuous ringing of the phone, respond to buzzer summons from Manager Peet's private office and talk with a stream of visitors, all at the same time.

I spent two whole days and half a night in these offices and not once save at night was there a let-up in this sort of thing. It was business all the time; the business of service! Niagara County farmers are using the bureau.

Nelson Peet, manager, is a spectacled human magneto. His speech and his movements fairly crackle with energy; his enthusiasm is as communicable as a jump spark. A young man in years, yet mature in the knowledge of men and the psychology of service, he never wastes a minute dilating upon the philosophy of farm management; but he has worked twenty hours a day to see that Niagara County farmers got all the labor they needed during rush seasons.

This man has been with the bureau three years. When he came to it the bureau had a paid-up membership of 325. In March this year, when I was in Niagara County, the membership stood at 2185, and was increasing daily. It led by a good margin, I was told, the fifty-five New York county farm bureaus. These, in 1918, had a total membership of 60,000. More than half the farmers in Niagara County are members of the Niagara Bureau.

When Peet first took charge there were two broad courses open to him. He might have planned a program of paternalistic propaganda in behalf of the farmers of the county. Such a program calls for a tremendous amount of talking and writing about cooeperation and community interests, better economics and better social conditions, but too often results in the propagandist doing the "coing," while the "operating" is left to somebody else.

The other course was to find out what the farms and farmers in the county needed most and then set to work with little ado to get those things. Peet chose the latter course. And in so doing he has staged one of the best demonstrations in rural America. He has shown that a farm bureau can be made into a county service station and actually become the hub of the county's agricultural activities.

With the aid of state-college men, one of Peet's foremost lines of bureau work has been that of taking inventories of the farming business of Niagara County. For four years these records have been taken on some 100 typical farms. Group meetings are regularly held at the homes of the bureau's community committeemen. Here, with the records they have been keeping, the farmers assemble. Here they work out their own labor incomes and compare notes with their neighbors. The farm bureau helps the men make these business analyses—it does not do the work for them. Now the farmers ask for the blank forms and are themselves as enthusiastic over farm-management records as the men who specialize in such.

These figures serve the bureau as an index to the county's progress. More than once Peet has referred to them and discovered where leaks could be plugged. For example, these records showed an average labor income of $182 a farm for the four years ending 1916.

"This fact," Mr. Peet explained, "we put to work as the reason for doing something to benefit the fruit industry. What could be done? The answer in other highly specialized fruit sections seems to have been central packing houses. We held a meeting, inviting one very influential fruit grower from each loading station in the county. We showed charts of the farm-management records. It didn't take long for the meeting to go on record as favoring the central-packing-house plan.

"Later meetings were held in each community, the farm-management charts were again shown, and at every loading station the meetings went on record as favoring central packing houses. To make a long story short, sites and methods of financing these houses were worked out. There were already two old central packing houses in operation. They took on new life. Five new ones have been formed. All were incorporated and federated into a central parent association, which owns the brand adopted and makes the rules and regulations under which the fruit is packed.

"From the very beginning the proposition has been pushed not as a means of beating the selling game by selling cooeperatively, but as a means of securing the confidence of the consuming public, which must ultimately result in a wider distribution and better prices. In fact, the matter of selling has not been fostered from the farm-bureau office. We have concerned ourselves solely with uniform grading and central packing. We believed from the start that the selling of properly graded and packed fruit will take care of itself, and this stand has been justified.

"Each association makes its own arrangements for selling, and in every case has secured better prices than the growers who sold under the old system. The most satisfactory feature of this work centers round the fact that the best and most influential growers are heart and soul behind the proposition. The personnel of cooeperative movements, I believe, is the main feature."

When I visited Niagara County the seven central packing associations were doing a splendid business, handling about $1,000,000 worth of apples between them. Only two of the associations were more than one year old. Many of the associations were dickering for additional space for packing and for extensions for their refrigerator service. Other communities in Niagara and in other counties were writing in for details of the plan, to the end of getting the same thing started in their sections. And inquiries were coming in from states outside of New York.

Even with the best of selling methods, no commodity will bring a profit to the producer unless the greater portion of it is eligible to the A-1 class. Too many seconds or culls will throw any orchard venture on the rocks of bankruptcy. It came to Manager Peet's attention early in 1917 that the farm bureau had a golden opportunity to put on another service, which alone, if it worked out in practice as well as it did on paper, would justify the existence of the bureau.

He noticed that though orchardists were following spraying schedules—the best they could find—some had splendid results in controlling apple scab and other pests, but others got results ranging between indifferent and poor. This seemed paradoxical, in view of the fact that one man who followed the same spraying schedule as his neighbor would have more scabby apples than the other.

At that time L.F. Strickland, orchard inspector for the state department of agriculture, had paid particular attention to a limited number of apple orchards in Niagara County with a view to controlling scab by spraying. He discovered that, though the average spraying calendar is all right, climatic conditions in different parts of the same county often upset these standard calculations, so that a difference of one day or even a few hours in time of spraying often meant the difference between success and failure. In other words, it was necessary to study all contributing factors, watch the orchards unremittingly and then decide on the exact day or even hour when conditions were right for a successful spray treatment. He found that one must strike the times between times to get the optimum of results.

So Mr. Strickland, in conjunction with his regular work, kept an eagle eye on a few orchards and would notify the owners when it seemed the moment for spraying had come. It worked out that those favored orchardists had magnificent yields of A-1 fruit; others in the same sections, following the rather flexible spraying calendars, didn't do nearly so well.

All this set Manager Peet to thinking. "Strickland hasn't got an automobile and has lots of other work to do," he reasoned; "but why, if he had a car and could give all the time necessary to such work, couldn't the same results be had in orchards all over the county? Why can't this farm bureau put on a spraying service?"

He put the idea up to the executive committee of the bureau. The idea was good, they agreed, but it would cost at least $500 to try it out the first year. The bureau didn't have the available funds.

"Tell you what," they finally said: "If you want to get out and rustle up 500 new members at one dollar each to pay for this thing, we'll authorize it."

Peet was telling me about it. "Here the bureau had been working for four years with a paid-up membership of about 375," he said, "and if I believed in my idea I had to get 500 more by spring. It was February eighth when the committee gave me this decision. Well, I did it in time to start the ball that spring!"

He got the new members because he had a service to sell them. Arrangements were made whereby the county was divided into six zones, varying in soil and topographic conditions. Criterion orchards were selected in each zone. The inspector, with the aid of daily telegraphic weather reports and through constant inspection of the criterion orchards, decided when the hour struck for the most effective spraying of these orchards.

In the meantime Manager Peet and the inspector had worked out a code system for spraying instructions and put this into the hands of the growers in the six zones. When it came time to spray, the telephones from headquarters in Lockport were put to work and the code message sent to certain orchardists; these in turn repeated the instructions to a number of other orchardists agreed upon, until every member had received the message.

The scheme has worked. The first year there were 800 members who took this service; the second year—1918—there were 900; this year there are 1500. It is paying for itself many times over. One central packing house with nine grower members reports that eight of the members used the spraying service and that none of these had more than five per cent of their fruit to cull out. The ninth member sprayed, but not through the service. He culled forty-five per cent of his crop. There are scores of similar instances.

Seeing how quickly he could get the support of the Niagara farmers for any move which had practice and not theory to recommend it, Manager Peet next began to agitate for an improvement in city-marketing conditions in Lockport. Up to August, 1915, the system—if system it might be called—of distributing farm produce for Lockport's consumption consisted of sporadic visits by producers to the city with produce to be sold at prices largely controlled by the local grocerymen. Likewise retail prices to consumers were chiefly regulated by the same standard.

A grower might drive into Lockport with 100 quarts of strawberries. He would stop at a grocery and offer them.

"No," the grocer would say, "I don't want any. Say, how much do you want for them anyhow?"

"Ten cents a quart."

"Too high; I'll give you six."

Whereupon the man would drive on to see the next grocer. But the man who offered six cents might go straight to his phone, call up the rest of the trade and inform it that there were 100 quarts of strawberries on the streets for which he had offered six cents against ten asked. The result would be that the farmer would get no better offer than six cents.

So Manager Peet joined hands with the Lockport Board of Commerce and went at the job of righting this condition. He proposed a city market for farmers. The nearest approach to a market was a shelter for teams which the local food dealers had rented.

To 700 farmers in the vicinity of Lockport Manager Peet wrote letters, calling their attention to these conditions and offering the city-market idea as a remedy. And he used publicity among Lockport's population of consumers, showing them the economy of such a move. The farmers held a get-together meeting, decided on a location for a market in Lockport, decided on market days and market hours. After this the farm bureau got the city's common council to pass an ordinance prohibiting the huckstering of farm produce on the streets during market hours; also an ordinance setting the market hours, marking off a street section which should be used as a market stand, and putting the superintendent of streets in charge.

That was all. Not a cent of appropriation asked for. The market opened August 10, 1917, with fifty farm wagons in place. Before the summer was over it was common to find more than 100 at their stands. The local war-garden supervisor acted as inspector. He looked over the produce, advised the farmers how to pack and display it, and used every energy in the direction of popularizing the market among producers and consumers alike.

Between Manager Peet and the inspector a scheme was worked out whereby every Thursday was bargain day in market. They would get a certain number of farmers to agree to pack and offer for sale on those days a limited number of baskets of their finest tomatoes, say. Or it might be corn. In the case of tomatoes the bargain price would be ten cents for baskets which that day were selling regularly for eighteen to twenty-five cents. To each of these baskets—no farmer was asked to sacrifice more than ten—was attached a green tag noting that it was a bargain.

Each bargain day was advertised in advance among Lockport consumers. Thursday mornings would see an early rush to the market. The bargains would be cleaned out and then business at normal prices would continue at a brisker rate than usual.

The first year of its operation this market was held on fifty-one days. During this period 1300 rigs sold out their produce for a total of $13,000. This simple move has resulted in stabilizing prices in Lockport and has encouraged the bringing in of farm produce. Prices automatically regulate themselves. If they begin to get too low in Lockport, the supply in sight is immediately reduced through action by the producers in shipping the stuff to Niagara Falls or Buffalo by motor trucks.

The distribution of Lockport's milk supply, as happens in hundreds of cities, has been attended by considerable waste and expense as a result of duplication of delivery routes, breakage of bottles and uneconomic schedules.

The first night I was in Lockport, Manager Peet was holding a meeting of the milk producers supplying the city for the purpose of settling this inequity once and for all. A little agitation had been carried on ahead of this meeting, but only a little. Peet had a plan.

"It's all wrong to plan for a municipally owned central distributing system," he was explaining to me the next morning; "these are too likely to get mixed up in politics. So last night we just about clinched our arrangement for having our city distributing system owned by the producers themselves. In the past we have had eight distributors with fifteen wagons handling the milk supplied from fifty dairy farms. There has been a big loss in time and money as a result of this competition.

"The farm bureau got the producers together on the plan of securing options on these distributors' interests, and last night we just about wound up all the preliminaries. We already have our limited liability corporation papers. We're incorporating under the Membership Corporation Law. Our organization comes under the amendment to the Sherman Antitrust Law, you know, following closely the California law under which the California fruit growers' associations operate.

"We figure that we will need between $20,000 and $30,000 for the purchase of buildings, wagons, equipment and good-will now in the hands of the distributors. At first we thought it would be a good plan to have every member of the association subscribe to the amount proportioned by the number of cows he keeps or the amount of milk he has for sale. But for several reasons this wouldn't work. So we hit on the scheme of having each man subscribe to the amount he personally is able to finance.

"We already have $24,000 subscribed in sums between set limits of $100 and $1000. We're issuing five-year certificates of indebtedness bearing six per cent interest. Our producers will have about $9000 worth of milk a month to distribute. We plan to deduct five per cent every month from these milk checks to pay off the certificates. Then later we'll create a new set of certificates and redistribute these in proportion to the amounts of milk produced on the members' farms."

Manager Peet and the producers are making it perfectly plain to Lockport consumers that this is no move contemplating price control. In fact, they expect to sell milk for a cent a quart under the old price.

The farm-labor shortage which antedated our entrance into the war became a national menace about the time our selective draft began to operate. New York farmers were as hard hit as any other farmers, particularly in the fruit sections, where a tremendous labor supply falls suddenly due at harvest time. Niagara County came in for its full share of this trouble and the Niagara County Farm Bureau went its length to meet the emergency.

In 1917 Western New York produced the biggest crop of peaches in its history, and in the face of the greatest labor famine. There were nearly 8000 cars of the fruit in danger of spoiling on the trees and on the ground. Peet anticipated the crisis by converting the farm bureau into a veritable county labor department. He was promised a good number of high-school boys who were to help in the peach harvest and who were to be cleared through a central office in Buffalo.

Manager Peet worked out arrangements for the care of these boys in forty-two camps strategically located. The camps were to accommodate thirty boys each. The farmers had asked Peet for 4500 hands. He applied for 1500 boys and had every reason to expect these. But at the critical moment something went wrong in Buffalo headquarters and of the 1500 asked for he got only 200!

"I was in Buffalo at the time the news was broken," Manager Peet was saying to me, "and my first impulse was to jump off one of the docks!"

Here was a nice kettle of fish! The fruit was ripening on the trees, and the phones in the bureau offices were ringing their plating off with calls from frantic farmers. Peet didn't jump off a Buffalo dock; he jumped out of his coat and into the fray. He got a Federal Department of Labor man to help him. They plastered appeals for help all over Western New York—on the walls of post offices, railroad stations, on boarding houses. They worked on long-distance phones, the telegraph, the mails. They hired trucks and brought city men and boys and women and girls from cities to work in the orchards over week-ends. Labor, attracted by the flaring posters, drifted into the bureau's offices in Lockport and immediately was assigned to farms; and hundreds of laborers whom Peet never saw also came.

By working seven days a week and often without meals and with cat naps for sleep the bureau cleared 1200 laborers through its office, to say nothing of the loads brought overland by motor truck and which never came near the office. Business houses in the towns closed down and sent their help to the orchards. Lockport's organization of "live wires"—lawyers, doctors, bankers—went out and worked in the orchards.

"Well," was Peet's comment, "we saved the crop, that's all!"

Last year the bureau placed 1095 men and four women on farms in Niagara County. In addition, 1527 soldiers were secured on two-day furloughs from Fort Niagara to help harvest the fruit crops. "We did this," said Manager Peet, "mainly by starting early and keeping persistently at it with the War Department, in order to cut the red tape."

This fall there will go into effect in New York State an amendment to its drainage law which is going to do more properly to drain the state than all the steam diggers that could have been crowded on its acres under former conditions. This action came out of Niagara County, through the farm bureau.

To realize the importance of drainage in this county one must remember that it lies in two levels broken by the ridge which forms the locks at Lockport, the falls at Niagara Falls, and which extends across the county from east to west. In each plateau the land is very level, there being but few places in the county having a difference in elevation of twenty feet within a radius of a mile. Good drainage is very necessary and in the past has been very hard to secure.

"Practically no man can secure adequate drainage without being concerned in the drainage of his neighbor's land," said Mr. Peet. "If the neighbor objects the situation is complicated. And our drainage laws have been woefully inadequate to handle these problems."

But recently the farm bureau put it up to a conference of county agents of New York to get the "state leader" to appoint a state committee to work this thing out and persuade the state legislature to make the necessary amendments to the drainage law. The plan went through, and one of the laws passed compels an objecting property owner to open drains which are necessary for the relief of his neighbors. This law goes into effect next fall.

Farmers are looking to the farm bureau for help in the cleaning and repairing of some sixty drainage ditches constructed in the past under the county-commissioner plan. But the records on file in the county clerk's office are in bad shape. The farm bureau has taken it upon itself to arrange all this material so that it is available on a minute's notice, and as a result has drawn up petitions to the supervisors for the cleaning out of three of these ditches.

Cooperating with the New York State Food Commission, the farm bureau had a power-tractor ditcher placed in the county last summer. Peet placed his assistant in full charge, and the machine never lost a single day as a result of lack of supervision. It has dug over 4000 rods of ditch for tile on twenty-eight farms.

For four years Niagara County farmers had not made expenses in growing tomatoes for the canneries. The farm bureau called a meeting of some fourteen growers and together they figured the cost of production. The average cost for 1917 was found to be $85 an acre; the estimated cost for 1918 was $108 an acre. The average crop was set at six tons to the acre. A joint committee went out of the conference and laid these facts before the canners. The result was that the growers got $20 a ton for their crops in 1918.

These are some outstanding features of the service rendered its farmers by the Niagara bureau. Here are some of its "lesser" activities:

Taking an agricultural census by school districts of each farm in the county and completing the job in one week.

Effecting an interchange of livestock and seed.

Distributing 1000 bushels of seed corn among 383 farmers, twenty-two tons of nitrate of soda at cost among sixty-two farmers, and securing and distributing six tons of sugar to fifty beekeepers for wintering bees.

Indorsing 200 applications for military furloughs.

Assisting in organizing Liberty Loan campaigns, especially the third.

Assisting in the delivery of twenty carloads of feed, fertilizer, farm machinery and barrels, which had been delayed.

Holding twelve demonstration meetings, attended by 602 farmers.

Conducting two tractor schools, attended by 125 farmers.

Arranging eight farmers' institutes, attended by 900 farmers.

Organizing a Federal Farm Loan Association which has loaned $125,000 to nineteen farmers.

The bureau keeps its members posted on what is going on in the county and what the bureau is doing through the medium of a well-edited monthly "News" of eight pages. The best feature of the handling of this publication is that it costs neither bureau nor members a cent. The advertisements from local supply dealers pay for it, and two pages of ads in each issue settles the bill.

The bureau's books show that last year it spent five dollars in serving each member. The membership fee is only one dollar. The difference comes from Federal, state and county appropriations.

The success of this bureau comes from having at the head of it the right man with the right view of what a farm bureau should do. Manager Peet sees to it that the organization works with the local chamber of commerce—the one in Lockport has 700 members—which antedates the farm bureau and which always has supported the bureau. Peet's policy has been to keep the bureau not only before the farmers but before the city people as well.

The "live-wire" committee of the Lockport chamber, composed of lawyers, doctors, bankers, merchants, and the like, has made Manager Peet an ex-officio member. The Niagara Falls and Tonawanda Chambers of Commerce get together with the Lockport chamber and the farm bureau and talk over problems of inter-county importance. These conferences have worked out a unified plan for road development, for instance. The Niagara Farm Bureau helped the Niagara Falls city administration to secure the services of a Federal market inspector. In this way all rivalry between different sections and towns in Niagara County is freed of friction.

About the only criticism I heard against the farm bureau of Niagara County was that Peet was the wrong man. The farmers want a man who will stay manager. But some of the best members hinted that Peet will not stay because he's just a bit too efficient. They seem to fear that some business corporation is going to get him away. And when you look over the record of his work as organizer and executive, you must admit there's something in this.

* * * * *

(Detroit News)

Four half-tone illustrations: 1. The Settling Basin at the Water Works. 2. Interior of the Tunnel Through which the Water is Pumped. 3. Where Detroit's Water Comes From. 4. Water Rushing into the Settling Basin.




"COLON." The city chemist spoke the one significant word as he set down the test tube into which he had been gazing intently. The next morning the front page of all the city papers displayed the warning, "Citizens should boil the drinking water."

Every morning, as the first task of the day, the city chemist uncorks a curious little crooked tube containing a few spoonsful of very ordinary bouillon, akin to that which you might grab at the quick lunch, but which has been treated by the admixture of a chemical. This tube begins in a bulb which holds the fluid and terminates in an upturned crook sealed at the end. Into this interesting little piece of apparatus, the chemist pours a small quantity of the city drinking water, and he then puts the whole into an incubator where it is kept at a temperature favorable to the reactions which are expected if the water is contaminated.

After a sufficient time the tube is inspected. To the untrained eye nothing appears. The bouillon still remains in the little bulb apparently unchanged. Its color and clearness have not been affected. But the chemist notices that it does not stand so high in the closed end of the tube as it did when placed in the incubator. The observation seems trivial, but to the man of science it is significant.

What has happened? The water contained some minute organisms which when acted upon by the chemical in the tube have set up a fermentation. Gradually, one by one in the little bulb, bubbles of gas have formed and risen to the surface of the liquid in the closed upper end of the tube. As this gas was liberated, it took the place of the liquid in the tube, and the liquid was forced downward until there was quite a large space, apparently vacant but really filled with gas.

It was this phenomenon that had attracted the attention of the chemist. What did it mean? It was the evidence that the water which was being furnished to the city for half a million people to drink contained some living organism.

Now that, in itself, was enough to make an official of the health department begin to take an interest. It was not, however, in itself a danger signal.

Not all bacterial life is a menace to health, the chemist will tell you. Indeed, humanity has come to live on very peaceable terms with several thousand varieties of bacteria and to be really at enmity with but a score or more. Without the beneficent work of a certain class of bacteria the world would not be habitable. This comes about through a very interesting, though rather repulsive condition—the necessity of getting rid of the dead to make room for the living.

What would be the result if no provision had been made for the disintegration of the bodies of all the men and animals that have inhabited the earth since the beginning? Such a situation is inconceivable. But very wisely providence has provided that myriads and myriads of tiny creatures are ever at work breaking up worn-out and dead animal matter and reducing it to its original elements. These elements are taken up by plant life, elaborated into living vegetable growth and made fit again for the nourishment of animal life, thus completing the marvelous cycle. And so we must not get the notion that all bacteria are our mortal foes. We could not live without them, and our earth, without their humble services, would no longer be habitable.

Neither need we fear the presence of bacterial life in our drinking water. Drinking water always contains bacteria. We, ourselves, even when in the best of health, are the hosts of millions upon millions of them, and it is fair to suppose that they serve some useful purpose. At any rate, it has never been demonstrated that they do us any harm under normal conditions.

And so, the chemist was not alarmed when he discovered that the formation of gas in his crooked tube gave indication of bacteria in the drinking water. He must ascertain what type of bacteria he had entrapped. To this end, he analyzed the gas, and when he determined that the fermentation was due to the presence of colon bacilli in the water, he sent out his warning. Not that the colon bacilli are a menace to health. The body of every human being in the world is infested with millions of them. But the presence of colon bacilli in drinking water is an indication of the presence of a really dangerous thing—sewage.

Thus, when the city chemist turned from his test tube with the exclamation, "Colon!" he did not fear the thing that he saw, but the thing that he knew might accompany it.

There has been much discussion of late of the possibility that the great lakes cities may suffer a water famine. The rapid increase of population along the borders of these great seas, it has been said, might render the water unfit for use. This fear is based upon the assumption that we shall always continue the present very foolish practice of dumping our sewage into the source of our water supply. The time may come when we shall know better how to protect the public health and at the same time husband the public resources. But even at that, the city chemist says that he hardly expects to see the time when the present intake for water near the head of Belle Isle will not be both safe and adequate.

No doubt he makes this statement because he has confidence that the purification of water is both simple and safe. There are two principal methods. The first, and most expensive, is nature's own—the filter. The application of this method is comparatively simple though it involves considerable expense. The trick was learned from the hillside spring which, welling up through strata of sand and gravel, comes out pure and clear and sparkling. To make spring water out of lake water, therefore, it is merely necessary to excavate a considerable area to the desired depth and lead into it the pipes connected with the wells from which water is to be pumped. Then the pit is filled with successive layers of crushed stone graduated in fineness to the size of gravel and then covered with a deep layer of fine sand. This area is then flooded with the water to be filtered, which slowly percolates and comes out clear and pure. The best results in purification of contaminated water supplies have probably been attained in this way; that is, as measured by the improvement of health and the general reduction of the death rate from those diseases caused by the use of contaminated water.

But when the alarm was given this spring by the city chemist there was no time to excavate and build an extensive filtering plant. The dreaded typhoid was already making its appearance and babies were dying. Something had to be done at once.

If some afternoon you take a stroll through Gladwin park your attention may be attracted to a little white building at the lower end of the settling basin. It is merely a temporary structure yet it is serving a very important purpose. Approach the open door and your nostrils will be greeted by a pungent odor that may make you catch your breath. The workmen, too, you will notice, do not stay long within doors, but take refuge in a little shelter booth outside. Strewn about here and there are traces of a white, powdery substance which seems to have been tracked down from a platform erected on the roof. This is hypochlorite of lime, the substance used for sterilizing the city drinking water.

This is so powerful a disinfectant that it destroys all bacteria in water even in an extremely dilute solution. The method of applying it is interesting. The city water comes in from the river through a great tunnel about 10 feet in diameter. The little chlorinating plant is situated on the line of this tunnel so that the solution is readily introduced into the water before it reaches the pool called a settling basin.

The hypochlorite reaches the plant in iron cylinders containing 100 pounds. These are carried up to the roof and poured into the first mixing tank through a hopper fixed for the purpose. There are within the building four of these mixing tanks. In the first, up near the roof, a very strong solution is first made. This is drawn off into a second tank with a greater admixture of water and thence passes into the third and fourth. From the last it is forced out into the main tunnel by a pipe and mingles with the great flood that is pouring constantly into the wells beneath pumping engines. And this is the strength of the chemical: five pounds of it mingled with one million gallons of water is sufficient to render the water fit for drinking purposes. Nearly 98 per cent of the bacteria in the water is destroyed by this weak solution. The water is tasteless and odorless. Indeed, probably very few of the citizens of Detroit who are using the city water all the time, know that the treatment is being applied.

But the chemist continues his tests every morning. Every morning the little crooked tubes are brought out and filled and carefully watched to ascertain if the telltale gas develops which is an index of "death in the cup." Thus is the city's water supply guarded.

No more important work can devolve on the board of health. Before science had learned to recognize the tiny enemies which infest drinking water, typhoid and kindred diseases were regarded as a visitation of divine providence for the sins of a people. We now know that a rise in the death rate from these diseases is to be laid rather to the sins of omission on the part of the board of health and the public works department.

* * * * *

(The Outlook)



The nerve specialist leaned back in his chair behind the great mahogany desk in his consulting-room and studied the features of the capitalist as that important factor in commerce and industry explained the symptoms that had become alarming enough to drive him, against his will, to seek medical assistance. The patient was under fifty years of age, though the deep lines in his face, with his whitening hair—consequences of the assiduity with which he had devoted himself to the accumulation of his millions and his position in the Directory of Directors—made him appear ten years older. An examination had shown that he had no organic disease of any kind, but he told the physician that he was suffering from what he called "inward trembling," with palpitation of the heart, poor sleep, occasional dizziness, pain in the back of the neck, difficulty in concentrating his attention, and, most of all, from various apprehensions, such as that of being about to fall, of losing his mind, of sudden death—he was afraid to be alone, and was continually tired, worried, and harassed.

"You present merely the ordinary signs of neurasthenia," said the specialist. "These symptoms are distressing, but not at all serious or dangerous. You have been thinking a great deal too much about yourself and your feelings. You watch with morbid interest the perverted sensations that arise in various parts of your body. You grow apprehensive about the palpitation of your heart, which is not at all diseased, but which flutters a little from time to time because the great nerve of the heart is tired, like the other great nerves and nerve-centers of your body. You grow apprehensive over the analogous tremor which you describe as 'inward trembling,' and which you often feel all through your trunk and sometimes in your knees, hands, and face, particularly about the eyes and mouth and in the fingers."

The capitalist had started at the mention of the word neurasthenia, and had seemed much relieved when the physician had declared that the symptoms were not dangerous. "I had been under the impression that neurasthenia was practically an incurable disease," he said. "However, you have described my sensations exactly."

"One hundred per centum of cases of neurasthenia are curable," responded the specialist. "Neurasthenia is not, as is usually supposed, an equally diffused general exhaustion of the nervous system. In my opinion, it is rather an unequally distributed multiple fatigue. Certain more vulnerable portions of the nervous system are affected, while the remainder is normal. In the brain we have an overworked area which, irritated, gives rise to an apprehension or imperative idea. By concentration of energy in some other region of the brain, by using the normal portions, we give this affected part an opportunity to rest and recuperate. New occupations are therefore substituted for the old habitual one. A change of interests gives the tired centers rest."

"I have heard the 'rest cure' advocated in cases like mine," suggested the capitalist.

"In the treatment of neurasthenia we must take the whole man into consideration," said the physician. "We must stimulate nutrition, feed well the tired and exhausted organism, and, above all, provide some sort of rest and distraction for the mind. The mind needs feeding as well as the body. The rest cure is a kind of passive, relaxing, sedative treatment. The field is allowed to lie fallow, and often to grow up with weeds, trusting to time to rest and enrich it. The 'exercise and occupation cure,' on the other hand, is an active, stimulating, and tonic prescription. You place yourself in the hands of a physician who must direct the treatment. He will lay out a scheme with a judicious admixture of exercise which will improve your general health, soothe your nervous system, induce good appetite and sleep, and of occupation which will keep your mind from morbid self-contemplation. One of the best means to this end is manual occupation—drawing, designing, carpentry, metal-work, leather-work, weaving, basket-making, bookbinding, clay-modeling, and the like—for in all these things the hands are kept busy, requiring concentration of attention, while new interests of an artistic and aesthetic nature are aroused. The outdoor exercise, taken for a part of each day, if of the right sort, also distracts by taking the attention and creating interest."

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse