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Title: Makers of Many Things
Author: Tappan, Eva March, 1854-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE INDUSTRIAL READERS

_Book III_

MAKERS OF MANY THINGS

BY

EVA MARCH TAPPAN, PH.D.

_Author of "England's Story," "American Hero Stories,"
"Old World Hero Stories," "Story of the Greek People,"
"Story of the Roman People," etc. Editor of
"The Children's Hour."_


[Illustration]


HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

BOSTON    NEW YORK    CHICAGO



COPYRIGHT, 1916, BY EVA MARCH TAPPAN

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



The Riverside Press

CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS

U . S . A



PREFACE


The four books of this series have been written not merely to provide
agreeable reading matter for children, but to give them information.
When a child can look at a steel pen not simply as an article
furnished by the city for his use, but rather as the result of many
interesting processes, he has made a distinct growth in intelligence.
When he has begun to apprehend the fruitfulness of the earth, both
above ground and below, and the best way in which its products may be
utilized and carried to the places where they are needed, he has not
only acquired a knowledge of many kinds of industrial life which may
help him to choose his life-work wisely from among them, but he has
learned the dependence of one person upon other persons, of one
part of the world upon other parts, and the necessity of peaceful
intercourse. Best of all, he has learned to see. Wordsworth's familiar
lines say of a man whose eyes had not been opened,--

  "A primrose by a river's brim
  A yellow primrose was to him,
  And it was nothing more."

These books are planned to show the children that there is "something
more"; to broaden their horizon; to reveal to them what invention has
accomplished and what wide room for invention still remains; to teach
them that reward comes to the man who improves his output beyond the
task of the moment; and that success is waiting, not for him who works
because he must, but for him who works because he may.

Acknowledgment is due to the Diamond Match Company, Hood Rubber
Company, S. D. Warren Paper Company, The Riverside Press, E. Faber,
C. Howard Hunt Pen Company, Waltham Watch Company, Mark Cross Company,
I. Prouty & Company, Cheney Brothers, and others, whose advice and
criticism have been of most valuable aid in the preparation of this
volume.

EVA MARCH TAPPAN.



CONTENTS

     I. THE LITTLE FRICTION MATCH                                 1

    II. ABOUT INDIA RUBBER                                        6

   III. "KID" GLOVES                                             16

    IV. HOW RAGS AND TREES BECOME PAPER                          25

     V. HOW BOOKS ARE MADE                                       36

    VI. FROM GOOSE QUILLS TO FOUNTAIN PENS AND LEAD PENCILS      46

   VII. THE DISHES ON OUR TABLES                                 56

  VIII. HOW THE WHEELS OF A WATCH GO AROUND                      64

    IX. THE MAKING OF SHOES                                      73

     X. IN THE COTTON MILL                                       82

    XI. SILKWORMS AND THEIR WORK                                 92



THE INDUSTRIAL READERS

BOOK III

MAKERS OF MANY THINGS



I

THE LITTLE FRICTION MATCH


I remember being once upon a time ten miles from a store and one mile
from a neighbor; the fire had gone out in the night, and the last
match failed to blaze. We had no flint and steel. We were neither
Indians nor Boy Scouts, and we did not know how to make a fire by
twirling a stick. There was nothing to do but to trudge off through
the snow to the neighbor a mile away and beg some matches. Then was
the time when we appreciated the little match and thought with
profound respect of the men who invented and perfected it.

It is a long way from the safe and reliable match of to-day back to
the splinters that were soaked in chemicals and sold together with
little bottles of sulphuric acid. The splinter was expected to blaze
when dipped into the acid. Sometimes it did blaze, and sometimes it
did not; but it was reasonably certain how the acid would behave, for
it would always sputter and do its best to spoil some one's clothes.
Nevertheless, even such matches as these were regarded as a wonderful
convenience, and were sold at five dollars a hundred. With the next
kind of match that appeared, a piece of folded sandpaper was sold, and
the buyer was told to pinch it hard and draw the match through the
fold. These matches were amazingly cheap--eighty-four of them for only
twenty-five cents! There have been all sorts of odd matches. One kind
actually had a tiny glass ball at the end full of sulphuric acid. To
light this, you had to pinch the ball and the acid that was thus let
out acted upon the other chemicals on the match and kindled it--or was
expected to kindle it, which was not always the same thing.

Making matches is a big business, even if one hundred of them are
sold for a cent. It is estimated that on an average each person uses
seven matches every day. To provide so many would require some seven
hundred million matches a day in this country alone. It seems like
a very simple matter to cut a splinter of wood, dip it into some
chemicals, and pack it into a box for sale; and it would be simple
if it were all done by hand, but the matches would also be irregular
and extremely expensive. The way to make anything cheap and uniform
is to manufacture it by machinery.

[Illustration: THE ENDLESS MATCH MACHINE

The match splints are set in tiny holes like pins in a pincushion, and
the belt revolves, passing their heads through various chemicals.]

The first step in making matches is to select some white-pine plank of
good quality and cut it into blocks of the proper size. These are fed
into a machine which sends sharp dies through them and thus cuts the
match splints. Over the splint cutter a carrier chain is continuously
moving, and into holes in this chain the ends of the match splints
are forced at the rate of ten or twelve thousand a minute.

The splints remain in the chain for about an hour, and during this
hour all sorts of things happen to them. First, they are dipped into
hot paraffin wax, because this will light even more easily than wood.
As soon as the wax is dry, the industrious chain carries them over a
dipping-roll covered with a layer consisting partly of glue and rosin.
Currents of air now play upon the splint, and in about ten minutes the
glue and rosin on one end of it have hardened into a hard bulb. It is
not a match yet by any means, for scratching it would not make it
light. The phosphorus which is to make it into a match is on another
dipping-roll. This is sesqui-sulphide of phosphorus. The common yellow
phosphorus is poisonous, and workmen in match factories where it was
used were in danger of suffering from a terrible disease of the jaw
bone. At length it was discovered that sesqui-sulphide of phosphorus
would make just as good matches and was harmless. Our largest match
company held the patent giving them the exclusive right to certain
processes by which the sesqui-sulphide was made; and this patent they
generously gave up to the people of the United States.

After the splints have been dipped into the preparation of phosphorus,
they are carried about on the chain vertically, horizontally, on the
outside of some wheels and the inside of others, and through currents
of air. Then they are turned over to a chain divided into sections
which carries them to a packing-machine. This machine packs them into
boxes, a certain number in each box, and they are slid down to girls
who make the boxes into packages. These are put into wooden containers
and are ready for sale.

As in most manufactures, these processes must be carried on with
great care and exactness. The wood must be carefully selected and of
straight grain, the dipping-rolls must be kept covered with a fresh
supply of composition, and its depth must be always uniform. Even the
currents of air in which the splints are dried must be just warm
enough to dry them and just moist enough not to dry them too rapidly.

The old sulphur matches made in "card and block" can no longer be
bought in this country; the safety match has taken their place. One
kind of safety match has the phosphorus on the box and the other
igniting substances on the match, so that the match will not light
unless it is scratched on the box; but this kind has never been a
favorite in the United States. The second kind, the one generally
used, may be struck anywhere, but these matches are safe because
even stepping upon one will not light it; it must be scratched.

A match is a little thing, but nothing else can do its work.



II

ABOUT INDIA RUBBER


When you pick a dandelion or a milkweed, a white sticky "milk" oozes
out; and this looks just like the juice of the various sorts of trees,
shrubs, and vines from which India rubber is made. The "rubber plant"
which has been such a favorite in houses is one of these; in India it
becomes a large tree which has the peculiar habit of dropping down
from its branches "bush-ropes," as they are called. These take root
and become stout trunks. There is literally a "rubber belt" around the
world, for nearly all rubber comes from the countries lying between
the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. More than half of
all that is brought to market is produced in the valley of the Amazon
River; and some of this "Para rubber," as it is called, from the
seaport whence it is shipped, is the best in the world.

[Illustration: _Courtesy General Rubber Co._

TAPPING RUBBER TREES IN SUMATRA

The plantation on which this photograph was taken has 45,000 acres of
planted rubber trees, and employs 14,000 coolies.]

The juice or latex flows best about sunrise, and so the natives who
collect it have to be early risers. They make little cuts in the bark
of the tree, stick on with a bit of clay a tiny cup underneath each
cut, and move on through the forest to the next tree. Sometimes they
make narrow V-shaped cuts in the bark, one above another, but all
coming into a perpendicular channel leading to the foot of the tree.
Later in the day the collectors empty the cups into great jugs and
carry them to the camp.

When the rubber juice reaches the camp, it is poured into a great
bowl. The men build a fire of sticks, and always add a great many palm
nuts, which are oily and make a good deal of smoke. Over the fire they
place an earthen jar shaped like a cone, but without top or bottom.
Now work begins. It is fortunate that it can be done in the open air,
and that the man can sit on the windward side, for the smoke rises
through the smaller hole thick and black and suffocating. The man
takes a stick shaped like a paddle, dips it into the bowl, and holds
it in the smoke and heat, turning it rapidly over and over till the
water is nearly dried out of the rubber and it is no longer milky, but
dark-colored. Then he dips this paddle in again and again. It grows
heavier at each dipping, but he keeps on till he has five or six
pounds of rubber. With a wet knife he cuts this off, making what are
called "biscuits." After many years of this sort of work, some one
found that by resting one end of a pole in a crotched stick and
holding the other in his hand, a man could make a much larger biscuit.

For a long time people thought that rubber trees could not be
cultivated. One difficulty in taking them away from their original
home to plant is that the seeds are so rich in oil as to become rancid
unusually soon. At length, however, a consignment of them was packed
in openwork baskets between layers of dried wild banana leaves and
slung up on deck in openwork crates so as to have plenty of air. By
this means seven thousand healthy little plants were soon growing in
England, and from there were carried to Ceylon and the East.

On the rubber plantations collecting juice from trees standing near
together and in open ground is an altogether different matter from
cutting a narrow path and forcing one's way through a South American
or African jungle. The bark of the trees is cut in herringbone
fashion. The collector simply slices a thin piece off the bark and at
once milk begins to ooze out.

On the great plantations of the East the rubber is collected chiefly
by Chinese and Indians. They are carefully taught just how to tap the
trees. They begin four or five feet from the ground, and work down,
cutting the thinnest possible slice at each visit. When they have
almost reached the ground, they begin on the opposite side of the
trunk; and by the time they have reached the ground on that side the
bark on the first side has renewed itself. The latex is strained and
mixed with some acid, usually acetic, in order to coagulate or thicken
it. It is then run between rollers, hung in a drying house, and
generally in a smokehouse.

The rubber arrives at the factory in bales or cases. First of all
it must be thoroughly washed in order to get rid of sand or bits of
leaves and wood. A machine called a "washer" does this work. It forces
the rubber between grooved rolls which break it up; and as this is
done under a spray of water, the rubber is much cleaner when it comes
out. Another machine makes it still cleaner and forms it into long
sheets about two feet wide.

Having thoroughly wet the rubber, the next step is to dry it
thoroughly. The old way was to hang it up for several weeks. The new
way is to cut it into strips, lay it upon steel trays, and place it
in a vacuum dryer. This is kept hot, and whatever moisture is in the
rubber is either evaporated or sucked out by a vacuum pump. It now
passes through another machine much like the washer, and is formed
into sheets. The square threads from which elastic webbing is made may
be cut from these sheets, though sometimes the sheet is wound on an
iron drum, vulcanized by being put into hot water, lightly varnished
with shellac to stiffen it, then wound on a wooden cylinder, and cut
into square threads. Boiling these in caustic soda removes the
shellac. To make round threads, softened rubber is forced through a
die. Rubber bands are made by cementing a sheet of rubber into a tube
and then cutting them off at whatever width may be desired. Toy
balloons are made of such rubber. Two pieces are stamped out and
joined by a particularly noisy machine, and then the balloon is blown
out by compressed air.

Early in the nineteenth century it was known that rubber would keep
out water, but it was sticky and unmanageable. After a while a Scotch
chemist named McIntosh succeeded in dissolving rubber in naphtha and
spreading it between two thicknesses of cloth. That is why his name
is given to raincoats made in this way. Overshoes, too, were made of
pure rubber poured over clay lasts which were broken after the rubber
had dried. These overshoes were waterproof,--there was no denying
that; but they were heavy and clumsy and shapeless. When they were
taken off, they did not stand up, but promptly fell over. In hot
weather they became so sticky that they had to be kept in the cellar;
and in winter they became stiff and inelastic, but they never wore
out. How to get rid of the undesirable qualities and not lose the
desirable ones was the question. It was found out that if sulphur was
mixed with rubber, the disagreeable stickiness would vanish; but the
rubbers continued to melt and to freeze by turns until an American
named Charles Goodyear discovered that if rubber mixed with sulphur
was exposed to about 300° F. of heat for a number of hours, the rubber
would remain elastic, but would not be sticky and would no longer be
affected by heat or cold. This is why you often see the name Goodyear
on the bottom of rubbers.

Rubber overshoes were improved at once. As they now are made, the
rubber is mixed with sulphur, whiting, litharge, and several other
substances. An honest firm will add only those materials that will be
of service in making the rubber more easy to mould or will improve it
in some way. Unfortunately, substances are often added, not for this
purpose, but to increase the weight and apparent value of the
articles. That is why some rubber overshoes, for instance, wear out
so much faster than others.

To make an overshoe, the rubber is run through rollers and formed into
thick sheets for soles and thinner sheets for uppers. Another machine
coats with gum the cloth used for lining and stays. Rubber and
rubber-lined cloth go to the cutting-room, where all the different
parts of the shoes are cut out. They are then put together and
varnished. While still on the last, they are dipped into a tank of
varnish and vulcanized--a very simple matter now that Goodyear has
shown us how, for they are merely left in large, thoroughly heated
ovens for eight or ten hours. The rubber shoe or boot is now elastic,
strong, waterproof, ready for any temperature, and so firmly cemented
together with rubber cement that it is practically all in one piece.

During the last few years there have been frequent calls from various
charities for old rubber overshoes, pieces of rubber hose, etc. These
are of considerable value in rubber manufacturing. They are run
through a machine which tears them to shreds, then through a sort of
fanning-mill which blows away the bits of lining. Tiny pieces of iron
may be present from nails or rivets; but these are easily removed by
magnets. This "reclaimed" rubber is powdered and mixed with the new,
and for some purposes the mixture answers very well. Imitation rubber
has been made by heating oil of linseed, hemp, maize, etc., with
sulphur; but no substitute for rubber is a success for all uses.

[Illustration: _Courtesy U. S. Tire Co._

HOW RUBBER GOES THROUGH THE FACTORY

Splitting Para biscuits, mixing the rubber, rolling the rubber fabric
on cylinders, and building tires on the tire machines.]

There are many little conveniences made of rubber which we should
greatly miss, such as the little tips put into pencil ends for erasing
pencil marks. These are made by filling a mould with rubber. Rubber
corks are made in much the same manner. Tips for the legs of chairs
are made in a two-piece mould larger at the bottom than at the top,
and with a plunger that nearly fits the small end. Often on chair tips
and in the cup-shaped eraser that goes over the ends of some pencils
you can see the "fin," as the glassworkers call it, where the two
pieces of the mould did not exactly fit. Rubber cannot be melted and
cast in moulds like iron, but it can be gently heated and softened,
and then pressed into a mould. Rubber stamps are made in this way. The
making of rubber heels and soles is now a large industry; hose for
watering and for vacuum and Westinghouse brakes is made in increasing
quantities. The making of rubber tires for automobiles and carriages
is an important industry. The enormous and increasing use of
electricity requires much use of rubber as an insulator. Rubber gloves
will protect an electrical workman from shock and a surgeon from
infection. Rubber beds and cushions filled with air are a great
comfort in illness. Rubber has great and important uses; but we should
perhaps miss quite as much the little comforts and conveniences which
it has made possible.

Rubber and gutta-percha are not the same substance by any means.
Both of them are made of the milky juice of trees, but of entirely
different trees. The gutta-percha milk is collected in an absurdly
wasteful manner, namely, by cutting down the trees and scraping up
the juice. When this juice reaches the market, it is in large reddish
lumps which look like cork and smell like cheese. It has to be
cleaned, passed through a machine that tears it into bits, then
between rollers before it is ready to be manufactured. It is not
elastic like rubber; it may be stretched; but it will not snap back
again as rubber does. It is a remarkably good nonconductor of
electricity, and therefore it has been generally used to protect ocean
cables, though recently rubber has been taking its place. It makes
particularly excellent casts, for when it is warm it is not sticky,
but softens so perfectly that it will show the tiniest indentation of
a mould. It is the best kind of splint for a broken bone. If a boy
breaks his arm, a surgeon can put a piece of gutta-percha into hot
water, set the bone, bind on the softened gutta-percha for a splint,
and in a few minutes it will be moulded to the exact shape of the arm,
but so stiff as to keep the bone in place. Another good service which
gutta-percha renders to the physician results from its willingness
to dissolve in chloroform. If the skin is torn off, leaving a raw
surface, this dissolved gutta-percha can be poured over it, and soon
it is protected by an artificial skin which keeps the air from the raw
flesh and gives the real skin an opportunity to grow again.



III

"KID" GLOVES


There is an old proverb which says, "For a good glove, Spain must
dress the leather, France must cut it, and England must sew it." Many
pairs of most excellent gloves have never seen any one of these
countries, but the moral of the proverb remains, namely, that it takes
considerable work and care to make a really good glove.

The first gloves made in the United States were of thick buckskin, for
there was much heavy work to be done in the forest and on the land.
The skin was tanned in Indian fashion, by rubbing into the flesh side
the brains of the deer--though how the Indians ever thought of using
them is a mystery. Later, the white folk tried to tan with pigs'
brains; but however valuable the brains of a pig may be to himself,
they do not contain the properties of soda ash which made those of
the deer useful for this purpose.

[Illustration: CUTTING HIDES INTO GLOVES

The hides are kept in racks, and before cutting are stretched by hand.
Then the steel die cuts out the shape of the glove. Notice the
curiously shaped cut for the thumb.]

Years ago, when a man set out to manufacture gloves, usually only a
few dozen pairs, he cut out a pattern from a shingle or a piece of
pasteboard, laid it upon a skin, marked around it, and cut it out with
shears. Pencils were not common, but the glovemaker was fully equal
to making his own. He melted some lead, ran it into a crack in the
kitchen floor--and cracks were plentiful--and then used this
"plummet," as it was called, for a marker. After cutting the large
piece for the front and back of the glove, he cut out from the scraps
remaining the "fourchettes," or _forks_; that is, the narrow strips
that make the sides of the fingers. Smaller scraps were put in to welt
the seams; and all this went off in great bundles to farmhouses to
be sewed by the farmers' wives and daughters for the earning of
pin-money. If the gloves were to be the most genteel members of the
buckskin race, there was added to the bundle a skein of silk, with
which a slender vine was to be worked on the back of the hand. The
sewing was done with a needle three-sided at the point, and a stout
waxed thread was used. A needle of this sort went in more easily than
a round one, but even then it was rather wearisome to push it through
three thicknesses of stout buckskin. Moreover, if the sewer happened
to take hold of the needle too near the point, the sharp edges were
likely to make little cuts in her fingers.

After a while sewing machines were invented, and factories were built,
and now in a single county of the State of New York many thousand
people are at work making various kinds of leather coverings for their
own hands and those of other folk. Better methods of tanning have been
discovered, and many sorts of leather are now used, especially for
the heavier gloves. Deer are not so common as they used to be, and a
"buckskin" glove is quite likely to have been made of the hide of
a cow or a horse. "Kid" generally comes from the body of a sheep
instead of that of a young goat. Our best real kidskin comes from a
certain part of France, where the climate seems to be just suited to
the young kids, there is plenty of the food that they like, and, what
is fully as important, they receive the best of care. It is said that
to produce the very finest kidskin, the kids are fed on nothing but
milk, are treated with the utmost gentleness, and are kept in coops or
pens carefully made so that there shall be nothing to scratch their
tender skins.

Glovemakers are always on the lookout for new kinds of material, and
when, not many years ago, there came from Arabia with a shipment of
Mocha coffee two bales of an unknown sort of skin, they were eager to
try it. It tanned well and made a glove that has been a favorite from
the first. The skin was found to come from a sheep living in Arabia,
Abyssinia, and near the headwaters of the river Nile. It was named
Mocha from the coffee with which it came, and Mocha it has been ever
since. The Suède glove has a surface much like that of the Mocha. Its
name came from "Swede," because the Swedes were the first to use the
skin with the outside in.

Most of our thinner "kid" gloves are made of lambskin; but dressing
the skins is now done so skillfully in this country that "homemade"
gloves are in many respects fully as good as the imported; indeed,
some judges declare that in shape and stitching certain grades are
better. When sheepskins and lambskins come to market from a distance,
they are salted. They have to be soaked in water, all bits of flesh
scraped off, and the hair removed, generally by the use of lime. After
another washing, they are put into alum and salt for a few minutes;
and after washing this off, they are dried, stretched, and then are
ready for the softening. Nothing has been found that will soften the
skins so perfectly as a mixture of flour, salt, and the yolk of
eggs--"custard," as the workmen call it. The custard and the skins
are tumbled together into a great iron drum which revolves till the
custard has been absorbed and the skins are soft and yielding. Now
they are stretched one way and another, and wet so thoroughly that
they lose all the alum and salt that may be left and also much of
the custard.

Now comes dyeing. The skin is laid upon a table, smooth side up, and
brushed over several times with the coloring matter; very lightly,
however, for if the coloring goes through the leather, the hands of
the customers may be stained and they will buy no more gloves of that
make. The skins are now moistened and rolled and left for several
weeks to season. When they are unrolled, the whole skin is soft and
pliable. It is thick, however, and no one who is not an expert can
thin it properly. The process is called "mooning" because the knife
used is shaped like a crescent moon. It is flat, its center is cut
out, and the outer edge is sharpened. Over the inner curve is a
handle. The skin is hung on a pole, and the expert workman draws
the mooning knife down it until any bit of dried flesh remaining has
been removed, and the skin is of the same thickness, or, rather,
thinness throughout.

All this slow, careful work is needed to prepare the skin for cutting
out the glove; and now it goes to the cutter. There is no longer any
cutting out of gloves with shears and pasteboard patterns, but there
is a quick way and a slow way nevertheless. The man who cuts in the
quick way, the "block-cutter," as he is called, spreads out the skin
on a big block made by bolting together planks of wood with the grain
running up and down. He places a die in the shape of the glove upon
the leather, gives one blow with a heavy maul, and the glove is cut
out. This answers very well for the cheaper and coarser gloves, but to
cut fine gloves is quite a different matter. This needs skill, and it
is said that no man can do good "table-cutting" who has not had at
least three years' experience; and even then he may not be able to do
really first-class work. He dampens the skin, stretches it first one
way and then the other, and examines it closely for flaws or scratches
or weak places. He must put on his die in such a way as to get two
pairs of ordinary gloves or one pair of "elbow gloves" out of the skin
if possible, and yet he must avoid the poor places if there are any.
No glove manufacturer can afford to employ an unskilled or careless
cutter, for he will waste much more than his wages amount to. There
used to be one die for the right hand and another for the left, and
it was some time before it occurred to any one that the same die would
cut both gloves if only the skin was turned over.

[Illustration: CLOSING THE GLOVE

When sewing time comes, the glove goes from hand to hand down the
workroom, each stitcher doing a certain seam or seams.]

[Illustration: WHERE THE GLOVE GETS ITS SHAPE

After inspection the glove goes to a row of men who fit it on a
steam-heated brass hand, giving it its final shape and finish.]

Now comes the sewing. Count the pieces in a glove, and this will give
some idea of the work needed to sew them together. Notice that the
fourchettes are sewed together on the wrong side, the other seams on
the right side, and that the tiny bits of facing and lining are hemmed
down by hand. Notice that two of the fingers have only one fourchette,
while the others have two fourchettes each. Notice how neatly the ends
of the fingers are finished, with never an end of thread left on the
right side. The embroidery must be in exactly the right place, and it
must be fastened firmly at both ends. This embroidery is not a
meaningless fashion, for the lines make the hand look much more
slender and of a better shape. Sewing in the thumbs needs special care
and skill. There must be no puckering, and the seam must not be so
tightly drawn as to leave a red line on the hand when the glove is
taken off. No one person does all the sewing on a glove; it must pass
through a number of hands, each doing a little. Even after all the
care that is given it, a glove is a shapeless thing when it comes from
the sewing machines. It is now carried to a room where stands a long
table with a rather startling row of brass hands of different sizes
stretching up from it. These are heated, the gloves are drawn upon
them, and in a moment they have shape and finish, and are ready to be
inspected and sold.

The glove is so closely associated with the hand and with the person
to whom the hand belongs that in olden times it was looked upon as
representing him. When, for instance, a fair could not be opened
without the presence of some noble, it was enough if he sent his
glove to represent him. To throw down one's glove before a man was to
challenge him to a combat. At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, as of
many other sovereigns of England, the "Queen's champion," a knight in
full armor, rode into the great hall and threw down his glove, crying,
"If there be any manner of man that will say and maintain that our
sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, is not the rightful and undoubted
inheritrix to the imperial crown of this realm of England, I say he
lieth like a false traitor, and therefore I cast him my gage."



IV

HOW RAGS AND TREES BECOME PAPER


It was a great day for the children on the farm when the tin peddler
came around. He had a high red wagon, fairly bristling with brooms,
mop-handles, washtubs, water-pails, and brushes. When he opened his
mysterious drawers and caverns, the sunshine flashed upon tin pans,
dippers, dustpans, and basins. Put away rather more choicely were
wooden-handled knives, two-tined forks, and dishes of glass and china;
and sometimes little tin cups painted red or blue and charmingly
gilded, or cooky-cutters in the shape of dogs and horses. All these
rare and delightful articles he was willing to exchange for rags. Is
it any wonder that the thrifty housewife saved her rags with the
utmost care, keeping one bag for white clippings and one for colored?

These peddlers were the great dependence of the paper mills, for the
finest paper is made from linen and cotton rags. When the rags reach
the factory, they are carefully sorted. All day long the sorters sit
before tables whose tops are covered with coarse wire screens, and
from masses of rags they pick out buttons, hooks and eyes, pins, bits
of rubber, and anything else that cannot possibly be made into paper.
At the same time they sort the rags carefully into different grades,
and with a knife shaped like a small sickle fastened upright to the
table they cut them into small pieces. Some of the dust falls through
the screen; but to remove the rest of it, the cut-up rags are tossed
about in a wire drum. Sometimes they are so dusty that when they come
out of the drum they weigh only nine tenths as much as when they go
in. The dust is out of them, but not the dirt. To remove that, they
are now put into great boilers full of steam; and here they cook and
turn over, and turn over and cook for hours. Lime and sometimes soda
are put with them to cleanse them and remove the coloring material;
but when they are poured out, they look anything but clean, for they
are of a particularly dirty brown; and the water that is drained away
from them looks even more uninteresting. Of course the next step is to
wash this dirty brown mass; and for at least four hours it is scrubbed
in a machine which beats it and rolls it and chops it and tumbles it
about until the wonder is that anything is left of it. All this while,
the water has been flowing through it, coming in clean and going out
dirty; and at length the mass becomes so light a gray that making
white paper of it does not seem quite hopeless. It is now bleached
with chloride of lime, and washed till it is of a creamy white color
and free from the lime, and then beaten again. If you fold a piece of
cheap paper and tear it at the fold, it will tear easily; but if you
do the same thing with paper made of linen and cotton, you will find
it decidedly tough. Moreover, if you look closely at the torn edge of
the latter, you will see the fibers clearly. It is because of the
beating that the fibers are so matted together and thus make the paper
tough. While the pulp is in the beater, the manufacturer puts in the
coloring matter, if he wishes it to be tinted blue or rose or lavender
or any other color. No one would guess that this white or creamy or
azure liquid had ever been the dirty rags that came into the mill and
were sorted on the wire tables. Besides the coloring, a "filler" is
usually added at this time, such as kaolin, the fine clay of which
china is made. This fills the pores and gives a smoother surface to
the finished paper--a good thing if too much is not put in. A little
sizing is also added, made of rosin. Save for this sizing, ink would
sink into even the finished paper as it does into blotting paper.
After this, more water is added to the pulp and it is run into tanks.

Now the preparation is completed, and the pulp is pumped to large and
complicated machines which undertake to make it into paper. It first
flows through screens which are shaken all the while as if they were
trembling. This shaking lets the liquid and the finer fibers through,
but holds back the little lumps, if any remain after all the beating
and straining and cutting that it has had. The pulp flows upon an
endless wire screen. Rubber straps at the sides keep it in, but the
extra water drops through the meshes. The pulp is flowing onward, and
so the tiny fibers would naturally straighten out and flow with it,
like sticks in a river; but the wire screen is kept shaking sideways,
and this helps the fibers to interlace, and the paper becomes nearly
as strong one way as the other.

If you hold a sheet of paper up to the light, it will show plainly
what is next done to it. Sometimes you can see that it is marked by
light parallel lines running across it close together, and crossed by
other and stouter lines an inch or two apart. Sometimes the name of
the paper or that of the manufacturer is marked in the same way by
letters lighter than the rest of the sheet. Sometimes the paper is
plain with no markings whatever. This difference is made by what is
called the "dandy," a cylinder covered with wire. For the first, or
"laid" paper, the small wires run the length of the cylinder and the
stouter ones around it. Wherever the wires are, the paper is a little
thinner. In some papers this thinness can be seen and felt. For the
second kind of paper the design, or "watermark," is formed by wires a
little thicker than the rest of the covering. For the third, or "wove"
paper, the dandy is covered with plain woven wire like that of the
wire cloth; so there are no markings at all. This work can be easily
done because at this point the paper is so moist.

The paper is now not in sheets, but in a long web like a web of cloth.
It passes between felt-covered rollers to press out all the water
possible, then over steam-heated cylinders to be dried, finally going
between cold iron rollers to be made smooth, and is wound on a reel,
trimmed and cut into sheets of whatever size is desired. The finest
note papers are not finished in this way, but are partly dried,
passed through a vat of thin glue, any excess being squeezed off by
rollers, then cut into sheets, and hung up to dry thoroughly at their
leisure.

Paper made of properly prepared linen and cotton is by far the best,
but there are so many new uses for paper that there are not rags
enough in the world to make nearly what is needed. There are scores of
newspapers and magazines where there used to be one; and as for paper
bags and cartons and boxes, there is no limit to their number and
variety. A single manufacturer of pens and pencils calls for four
thousand different sorts and sizes of boxes. School-children's use of
paper instead of slates, the fashion of wrapping Christmas gifts in
white tissue, and the invention of the low-priced cameras have
increased enormously the amount of paper called for. In the attempt to
supply the demand all sorts of materials have been used, such as hemp,
old rope, peat, the stems of flax, straw, the Spanish and African
esparto grass, and especially wood; but much more paper is made of
wood than of all the rest together. Poplar, gum, and chestnut trees,
and especially those trees which bear cones, such as the spruce, fir,
balsam, and pine are used. There are two methods of manufacturing wood
pulp; the mechanical, by grinding up the wood, and the chemical, by
treating it chemically. By the mechanical method the wood is pressed
against a large grindstone which revolves at a high speed. As fast as
the wood is ground off, it is washed away by a current of water, and
strained through a shaking sieve and a revolving screen which drives
out part of the water by centrifugal force. In a great vat of pulp a
drum covered with wire cloth revolves, and on it a thin sheet of pulp
settles. Felting, pressed against this sheet, carries it onward
through rolls. The sheets are pressed between coarse sacking. Such
paper is very poor stuff. In its manufacture the fiber of the wood is
so ground up that it has little strength. It is used for cardboard,
cartons, and packing-papers. Unfortunately, it is also used for
newspapers; and while it is a good thing for some of them to drop to
pieces, it is a great loss not to have the others permanent. When we
wish to know what people thought about any event fifty years ago, we
can look back to the papers of that time; but when people fifty years
from now wish to learn what we thought, many of the newspapers will
have fallen to pieces long before that time.

[Illustration: _Courtesy S. D. Warren Co._

WHERE RAGS BECOME PAPER

The vat where the rags cook and turn over, and the big room where the
web of finished paper is passed through rollers and cut into a neat
pile of trimmed sheets.]

There is, however, a method called the "sulphite process," used
principally in treating the coniferous woods, by which a much better
paper can be made. In all plants there is a substance called
"cellulose." This is what gives strength to their stems. The wood is
chipped and put into digesters large enough to hold twenty tons, and
is steam-cooked together with bisulphite of magnesium or calcium for
seven or eight hours. Another method used for cooking such woods as
poplar and gum, is to boil the wood in caustic soda, which destroys
everything except the cellulose. Wood paper of one kind or another is
used for all daily papers and for most books. Whether the best wood
paper will last as long as the best rag paper, time only can tell.

The Government of the United States tests paper in several ways
before buying it. First, a single sheet is weighed; then a ream is
put on the scales to see if it weighs four hundred and eighty times
as much. This shows whether the paper runs evenly in weight. Many
sheets are folded together and measured to see if the thickness is
regular. To test its strength, a sheet is clamped over a hole one
square inch in area, and liquid is pressed against it from below to
see how much it will stand before bursting. Strips of the paper are
pulled in a machine to test its breaking strength. A sheet is folded
over and over again to see whether holes will appear at the corners
of the folds. It is examined under the microscope to see of what
kind of fibers it is made and how much loading has been used in its
manufacture. To test blotting paper, strips are also put into water
to see how high the water will rise on them.

Besides writing and wrapping papers and the various kinds of board,
there are many sorts which are used for special purposes. India paper,
for instance, is light, smooth, and strong, so opaque that printing
will not show through it, and so lasting that if it is crumpled, it
can be ironed out and be as good as new. This is used for books that
are expected to have hard wear but must be of light weight. There are
tissue papers, crêpe papers for napkins, and tarred paper to make
roofs and even boats water-tight. If tar is brushed on, it may make
bubbles which will break afterwards and let water in; but if tar is
made a part of the paper itself, it lasts. Paper can easily be waxed
or paraffined, and will then keep out air and moisture for some time.
Better still, it can be treated with oil and will then make a raincoat
that will stand a year's wear, or even, if put on a bamboo frame, make
a very good house, as the Japanese found out long ago. Paper coated
with powdered gum and tin is used for packing tea and coffee. Transfer
or carbon papers so much used in making several copies of an article
on the typewriter are made by coating paper with starch, flour, gum,
and coloring matter. Paper can be used for shoes and hats, ties,
collars, and even for "rubbers." It has been successfully used for
sails for light vessels, and is excellent made into light garments
for hospital use because it is so cheap that it can be burned after
wearing. Wood pulp can be run through fine tubes into water and made
so pliable that it can be twisted into cord or spun and woven into
"silk." Not only water but also fire can be kept out by paper if it is
treated with the proper substances. An object can be covered with a
paste of wood pulp, silica, and hemp; and when this is dry, a coat of
water-glass will afford considerable protection. There has been some
degree of success in making transparent paper films for moving
pictures; and if these are coated with water-glass, they will not
burn. Paper can be so treated that it will either conduct electricity
or become a nonconductor, as may be desired. In Germany, a "sandwich
paper" has been made by pressing together four layers--felt, pulp,
cotton, pulp--which is cheap and strong and useful for many purposes.

When we come to papier maché, there is no end to the kinds of articles
that are made of it. The papier maché, or _paper pulped_, is made by
kneading old newspapers or wrapping papers with warm water into a
pulp. Clay and coloring are added and something of the nature of glue;
and it is then put into a mould. Sometimes to make it stronger for
large mouldings, bits of canvas or even wire are also used. The best
papier maché is made of pure wood cellulose. The beautiful boxes and
trays covered with lacquer which the Japanese and Chinese make are
formed of this; but it has many much humbler uses than these. Paper
screws are employed in ornamental wood work, and if a hole is begun
for such a screw, it will twist its way into soft wood as well as
steel would do. Barrels of paper reinforced with wire are common. Gear
wheels and belt pulleys are made of papier maché, and even the wheels
of railroad coaches; at least the body of the wheels is made of it,
although the tire, hub, and axle are of cast-steel. Circular saws of
pulp are in use which cut thin slices of veneer so smoothly that they
can be used without planing. Papier maché is used for water pipes,
the bodies of carriages, hencoops, and garages. Indeed, it is quite
possible to build a house, shingle it, decorate it with elaborate
mouldings and cornices, finish it with panels, wainscoting, imitation
tiling, and furnish it with light, comfortable furniture covered with
imitation leather, silk, or cloth, and spread on its floors soft,
thick carpets or rugs woven in beautiful designs--and all made of wood
pulp. Even the window panes could be made of pulp; and if they were
not perfectly transparent, they would at least let in a soft,
agreeable light, and they would not break. Pails, washtubs, bathtubs,
and even dishes of paper can be easily found. There are not only the
paper cups provided on railroad trains and the cheap picnic plates
and saucers, but some that are really pretty. Ice cream is sometimes
served in paper dishes and eaten with paper spoons. Milk bottles are
successfully made of paper, with a long strip of some transparent
material running up and down the side to show how much--or how
little--cream is within. Napkins and tablecloths made of paper thread
woven into "cloth" are cheaper than linen and can be washed as easily.
Paper towels and dishcloths are already common; but when paper shall
fully come to its own, it is quite possible that there will be little
washing of dishes. They can be as pretty as any one could wish, but so
cheap that after each meal they can be dropped into the fire. Indeed,
there are few things in a house, except a stove, that cannot be made
of some form of paper,--and perhaps that too will be some day.



V

HOW BOOKS ARE MADE


The first step in making ready to print a manuscript is to find out
how many words there are in it, what kind of type to use, how much
"leading" or space between the lines there shall be, and what shall
be the size of the page. In deciding these questions, considerable
thinking has to be done. If the manuscript is a short story by a
popular author, it may be printed with wide margins and wide leading
in order to make a book of fair size. If it is a lengthy manuscript
which will be likely to sell at a moderate but not a high price, it
is best to use only as much leading as is necessary to make the line
stand out clearly, and to print with a margin not so wide as to
increase the expense of the book. The printer prints a sample of the
page decided upon, any desired changes are made, and then the making
of the book begins.

[Illustration: _Courtesy The Riverside Press._

WHERE THIS BOOK WAS SET UP

The monotype girl wrote these words on her keyboard, where they made
tiny holes in a roll of paper. The roll went to the casting-room where
it guided a machine to make the type much as a perforated music-roll
guides a piano to play a tune.]

The type is kept in a case at which the compositor stands. This case
is divided into shallow compartments, each compartment containing a
great many e's or m's as the case may be. The "upper case" contains
capitals; the "lower case," small letters. Those letters which are
used most often are put where the compositor can reach them most
readily. He stands before his case with a "composing stick" in his
hand. This "stick" is a little iron frame with a slide at the side,
so that the line can be made of any length desired. The workman soon
learns where each letter is, and even an apprentice can set the type
in his stick reasonably rapidly. On one side of every piece of type
there is a groove, so that he can tell by touch whether it is right
side up or not. He must look out especially to make his right-hand
margins regular. You will notice in books that the lines are all of
the same length, although they do not contain the same number of
letters. The compositor brings this about by arranging his words and
spaces skillfully. The spaces must be as nearly as possible of the
same length, and yet the line must be properly filled. If a line is
too full, he can sometimes place the last syllable on the following
line; if it is not full enough, he can borrow a syllable, and he can
at least divide his space so evenly that the line will not look as if
it were broken in two.

Not many years ago all type was set in this manner; but several
machines have now been invented which will do this work. In one of the
best of them the operator sits before a keyboard much like that of a
typewriter. When he presses key _a_, for instance, a mould or matrix
of the letter _a_ is set free from a tube of _a_'s, and slides down to
its place in the stick. At the end of the line, the matrices forming
it are carried in front of a slot where melted type metal from a
reservoir meets them. Thus a cast is made of the matrices, and from
this cast the printing is done. This machine is called a linotype
because it casts a whole line of type at a time.

Most book work is done on the monotype machine. When a manuscript
goes to the press to be set up in this way, the copy is given to the
keyboard operator who sets it up on a machine which looks much like
a typewriter. Instead of writing letters, however, the machine punches
tiny holes in a strip of paper which is wound on a roll. When the
roll is full it goes to the casting room where it is put on another
machine containing hot type metal and bronze matrices from which the
letters of the words are to be cast. The holes in the paper guide the
machine to make the type much as a perforated music roll guides a
piano to play a tune. The reason why the machine is called a monotype
is that the letters are made one at a time, and _monos_ is the Greek
word for _one_.

By the linotype and monotype machines type can be set in a "galley,"
a narrow tray about two feet long, with ledges on three sides. When a
convenient number of these galleys have been filled, long slips are
printed from them called "galley proofs." These have wide margins, but
the print is of the width that the page of the book will be. They are
read by the proof-readers, and all such mistakes as the slipping in
of a wrong letter, or a broken type, the repetition of a word, or the
omission of space between words are corrected. Then the proof goes to
the author, who makes any changes in his part of the work which seem
to him desirable; and it is also read by some member of the editorial
department. If there are many changes to be made, another proof is
usually taken and sent to the author.

The reason for this extreme carefulness is that it costs much less to
make changes in the galley proof than in the "page proof." This latter
is made by dividing the galley into pages, leaving space for the
beginnings of chapters and for pictures, if any are to appear on the
printed pages, and setting up the numbers of the pages and their
running titles. Page proof also goes to proof-readers and to the
author. Corrections on page proof are more expensive than on galley
proof because adding or striking out even a few words may make it
necessary to change the arrangement on every page to the end of the
chapter.

Years ago all books were printed directly from the type; and some are
still printed so. After printing, the letters were returned to their
compartments. If a second edition was called for, the type had to be
set again. Now, however, books are generally printed not from type,
but from a copper model of the type. To make this, an impression of
the page of type is made in wax and covered with graphite, which will
conduct electricity. These moulds are hung in a bath of copper
sulphate, where there are also large plates of copper. A current of
electricity is passed through it, and wherever the graphite is, a
shell of copper is deposited, which is exactly like the face of the
type. This shell is very thin, but it is made strong by adding a heavy
back of melted metal. From these plates the books are printed. A
correction made in the plate is more expensive than it would have been
if made in the galley or in the page, because sawing out a word or a
line is slow, delicate work; and even if one of the same length is
substituted, the types spelling it have to be set up, a small new
plate cast, and soldered in.

[Illustration: _Courtesy The Riverside Press._

WHERE THIS BOOK WAS PRINTED

The girls are feeding big sheets of paper into the presses, thirty-two
pages being printed at one time. The paper is fed into many modern
presses by means of a machine attached to the press. The pressmen see
that the printing is done properly.]

Printing one page at a time would be altogether too slow; therefore
the plates are arranged in such a way that sixteen, thirty-two, or
sometimes sixty-four pages can be printed on one side of the paper,
and the same number on the other side. Every page must come in its
proper place when the sheet is folded for binding. Try to arrange a
sheet of even sixteen pages, eight on each side, so that when it is
folded every page will be in the right place with its printing right
side up, and you will find that it is not very easy until you have had
considerable experience. If the sheet is folded into four leaves, the
book is called a "quarto," or "4to"; if into eight, it is an "octavo,"
or "8vo"; if into twelve, a "duodecimo," or "12mo." Books are
sometimes advertised in these terms; but they are not definite,
because the sheets of the different varieties of paper vary in size.
Of late years, publishers have often given the length and width of
their books in inches.

After the sheets come from the press, they are folded to page size.
Sometimes this is done by hand, but more often by a folding machine
through which the sheet of paper travels, meeting blunt knives which
crease it and fold it. If you look at the top of a book you will see
that the leaves are put together in groups or "signatures." These
signatures usually contain eight, sixteen, or thirty-two pages. If
the paper is very thick, not more than eight leaves will be in a
signature; if of ordinary thickness, sixteen are generally used. The
signatures are piled up in order, and a "gatherer" collects one from
each pile for every book.

The book is now gathered and "smashed," or pressed enough to make it
solid and firm for binding. Next the signatures are sewed and the book
is trimmed so the edges will be even. If the edges are to be gilded,
the book is put in a gilding press and a skillful workman covers the
edges with a sizing made of the white of eggs. Gold leaf is then laid
upon them and they are burnished with tools headed with agate and
bloodstone or instruments of various sorts until they are bright.
Sometimes the edges are "marbled," and this is an interesting process
to watch. On the surface of a vat of thin sizing the marbler drops a
little of many colors of paint. Then he draws a comb lightly across
the surface, making all sorts of odd figures, no two alike. The book
is held tight and the edges are allowed to touch the sizing. All these
odd figures are now transferred to the edges of the leaves and will
stand a vast amount of hard use before they will wear off.

Thus far the book is flat at the edges of the leaves and at the back.
Books are sometimes bound in this way, but the backs are usually
rounded into an outward curve, and the fronts into an inward curve.
This is done by a machine. At each end of the outward curve a deep
groove is pressed to receive the cover. To make the covers of a
cloth-bound book, two pieces of pasteboard of the right size are cut
and laid upon a piece of cloth coated with glue. The edges of the
cloth are turned over and pressed down, as you can often see if the
paper lining of the cover is not too heavy. The cover needs now only
its decorations to be complete. A die is made for these, and the
lettering and ornamentation are stamped on in colors. If more than one
color is used, a separate die has to be made for each. If this work
is to be done in gold, the design is stamped on lightly and sizing
made of white of eggs is brushed on wherever the gold is to come. Gold
leaf is laid upon this sizing, and the cover is stamped again. The
same die is used, but this time it is hot enough to make the gold and
egg stick firmly to the cover. To put the cover on, a piece of muslin
called a "super" is glued to the back of the book with its ends
projecting over the sides, and a strip of cartridge paper is glued
over the super. Then the book is pasted into the cover. It is now kept
under heavy pressure for a number of hours until it is thoroughly dry
and ready to be sent away for sale.

So it is that a well-made cloth-bound book is manufactured.
Leather-bound books are more expensive, not only because their
materials cost more, but also because the greater part of the work of
binding and decorating has to be done by hand. If a book is to be
illustrated, this must also be attended to, the number and style of
the pictures decided upon, and the artist engaged before the book is
put in press, in order that there may be no delay in completing it.

Many publishers do not print at all, but have their work done at some
printing establishment. Where all the making of a book, however, from
manuscript to cover, is in the hands of one firm, there is a certain
fellow-feeling among the different departments, and a wholesome pride
in making each one of "our books" as excellent as possible in every
detail. As one of the women workers in such an establishment said to
me, "I often think that we become almost as interested in a book as
the author is."



VI

FROM GOOSE QUILLS TO FOUNTAIN PENS AND LEAD PENCILS


Whenever there was a convenient goosepond on the way to school, the
children of less than one hundred years ago used to stop there to hunt
for goose quills. They carried these to the teacher, and with his
penknife--which took its name from the work it did--he cut them into
the shape of pens. The points soon wore out, and "Teacher, will you
please mend my pen?" was a frequent request.

When people began to make pens of steel, they made them as nearly like
quill pens as possible, with pen and holder all in one. These were
called "barrel pens." They were stiff, hard, and expensive, especially
as the whole thing was useless as soon as the pen was worn out, but
they were highly esteemed because they lasted longer than quills and
did not have to be mended. After a while separate pens were
manufactured that could be slipped into a holder; and one improvement
after another followed until little by little the cheap, convenient
writing tool that we have to-day was produced.

A pen is a small thing, but each one is worked upon by twenty to
twenty-four persons before it is allowed to be sold. The material is
the best steel. It comes in sheets five feet long and nineteen inches
wide, and about one fortieth of an inch thick, that is, three times
as thick as the finished pen. The first machine cuts the sheet
crosswise into strips from two to three inches wide, varying according
to the size of the pen to be made. These strips are put into iron
boxes and kept at a red heat for a number of hours to anneal or soften
them. Then they pass between heavy rollers, a process which not only
helps to toughen them, but also stretches the steel so that it is now
fifty inches long instead of nineteen.

At least six or seven people have handled the material already, and
even now there is nothing that looks like pens; but the next machine
cuts them out, by dies, of course. The points interlap; and the
cutting leaves odd-shaped openwork strips of steel for the scrap-heap.
This part of the work is very quick, for the machine will cut
thousands of pens in an hour. Now is when the little hole above the
slit is punched and the side slits cut. To make the steel soft and
pliable, it must be annealed again, kept red hot for several hours,
and then cooled. Thus far it has looked like a tiny fence paling, but
at length it begins to resemble a pen, for it is now stamped with
whatever letters or designs may be desired, usually the name of the
maker and the name and number of the variety of pen, and it is pressed
between a pair of dies to form it into a curve. The last annealing
left the metal soft so that all this could be done, but too soft to
work well as a pen; and it has to be heated red hot again, and then
dropped into cold oil to harden it. Centrifugal force, which helps in
so many manufactures, drives the oil away, and the pens are dried in
sawdust. They are now sufficiently hard, but too brittle. They must be
tempered. To do this, they are placed in an iron cylinder over a fire,
and the cylinder revolved till the pen is as elastic as a spring.

The pen is of the correct shape, is tough and elastic; and now it is
put into "tumbling barrels" which revolve till it is bright and ready
for the finishing touches. If you look closely at the outside of a
steel pen just above the nib, you will see that across it run tiny
lines. They have a use, for they hold the ink back so that it will
not roll down in drops, and they help to make the point more springy
and easier to write with.

The pen must be slit up from the point. This is done by a machine, and
a most accurate one, for the cut must go exactly through the center of
the point and not reach beyond the little hole that was punched. Only
one thing is lacking now to make the pen a useful member of society,
ready to do its work in the world; and that is to grind off the points
and round them in order to keep them from sticking into the paper.

After so much careful work, it does seem as if not one pen out of a
thousand could be faulty; but every one has to be carefully examined
to make sure that the cutting, piercing, marking, forming, tempering,
grinding, and slitting, are just what they should be. These pens carry
the maker's name, and a few poor ones getting into the market might
spoil the sale of thousands of boxes; therefore the examiner sits
before a desk covered with black glass and looks at every pen. The
faulty ones are heated so that they cannot be used, and they go to
the scrap-heap.

Now the pens are ready so far as usefulness goes, but people have
preferences in color. Some prefer bronze, some gray, and some black;
so off the pens go to the tempering-room, their last trip, and there
are heated in a revolving cylinder till the right color appears; then
they are chilled and lacquered, put into boxes, labeled, packed, and
sold for such low prices that the good folk of a century ago, who
paid from twenty-five to fifty cents for a pen, would have opened
their eyes in amazement. When the typewriter was invented, some
people said, "That will be the death of the steel pen"; but as a
matter of fact, it has greatly increased its sale. The typewriter
makes writing so easy and so quick that many more letters are written
than formerly. All these letters have to be answered, and few people
compared with the whole number own typewriters, and therefore the pen
still holds its place.

The lacquer on a steel pen protects it until it has been used for a
while. After that, it will rust, if it is not wiped, and it will wear
out whether it is wiped or not. All that the gold pen asks is not
to be bent or broken, and it will last almost forever. It has the
flexibility of the quill, but does not have to be "mended." Gold pens
are made in much the same way as are steel pens; but just at the point
a tiny shelf is squeezed. Upon this shelf a bit of the alloy of two
exceedingly hard metals, iridium and osmium, is secured by melting
the gold around it; and it is this bit which stands all the wear of
rubbing on the paper. When gold pens were first made, tiny bits of
diamonds or rubies were soldered on for points; but they were
expensive, and they had a disagreeable fashion of falling off.

A century ago, writers would have thought it the height of luxury to
have a gold pen; but now they are not satisfied unless they can be
saved the trouble of dipping it into an inkstand, and they look upon
the fountain pen as their special friend. The fountain pen carries its
supplies with it. The pen itself is like any other gold pen, but the
barrel is full of ink. A little tube carries the ink to the point, and
the slight bending back of the pen as one writes lets it run out upon
the paper. At the end of the slit, at the back of the pen, is a hole
to let air into the barrel as the ink runs out. A perfect fountain pen
ought to be prepared to write--without shaking--whenever the cap is
taken off, and not to refuse to work so long as a drop of ink remains
in the barrel. It should never drop ink at the point and, whether the
point is up or down, it should never leak there or anywhere else.

The stylographic pen is quite a different article. There is no pen to
it; the writing is done with the end of a needle which projects
through a hole at the point. The barrel and point are full of ink; but
even if the pen is held point down, it will not leak because the
needle fills up the hole. When you press the point on paper to write,
the needle falls back just enough to let out what ink is needed. The
flow stops the instant the pen ceases to touch the paper. The special
advantage of the stylographic is that the mere weight of the pen is
sufficient pressure, and therefore many hours of writing do not tire
the muscles of the hand. The advantage of the fountain pen is that it
has the familiar action of the gold pen, and that it will adapt itself
to any style of handwriting.

A pen of almost any kind is a valuable article, but for
rough-and-ready use we should find it hard to get on without its
humble friend, the lead pencil. A lead pencil, by the way, has not a
particle of lead in it. The "lead" is all graphite, or plumbago. Years
ago sticks of lead were used for marking, and made a pale-gray line.
When graphite was introduced, its mark was so black that people called
it black lead, and the name has stuck. No one who has ever tried to
use a pencil of real lead could fail to appreciate graphite, and when
a graphite mine was discovered in England, it was guarded by armed men
as watchfully as if it had been a mine of diamonds. That mine was
exhausted long ago, but many others have been found. The best graphite
in the world comes from Ceylon and Mexico.

When graphite was first used for pencils, it was cut into slabs and
these slabs into small strips. The broken and powdered graphite was
not used until it was discovered that it could be mixed with clay and
so made into sticks. In a lead pencil there are only three substances,
graphite, clay, and wood, but a really good one must be manufactured
with as much care as if it were made up of twenty. First of all, the
graphite is ground and ground and ground, until, if you take a pinch
of it between your thumb and finger, you can hardly feel that anything
is there. It is now sifted through fine silk and mixed with water and
finely powdered clay, and becomes a wet, inky mass. This clay comes
from Austria and Bohemia and is particularly smooth and fine. The
amount put in is carefully weighed. If you have a hard pencil, it was
made by using considerable clay; if your pencil is soft, by using very
little; and if it is very soft and black, it is possible that a little
lampblack was added.

This inky mass is ground together between millstones for several
weeks. Then it goes between rollers, and at length is squeezed
through a die and comes out in soft, doughy black strings. These are
the "leads" of the pencils. They have been thoroughly wet, and now
they must be made thoroughly dry. They are laid on boards, then taken
off, cut into pieces the length of a pencil, and put into ovens and
baked for hours in a heat twenty times as great as that of a hot
summer day. They certainly ought to be well dried and ready for the
wood. The red cedar of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama is
the best wood for pencils because it is soft and has a fine, straight
grain. It is cut into slabs about as long as one pencil, as wide as
six, and a little thicker than half a pencil. Every piece must be
examined to make sure that it is perfect, and it must be thoroughly
seasoned and kiln-dried to free it from oil. Then it goes through a
grooving-machine which cuts out a groove half as deep as the lead.
The lead is laid into one piece, another is glued on top of it; and
there is a pencil ready for work.

[Illustration: _Courtesy Joseph Dixon Crucible Co._

HOW THE LEAD GETS INTO A PENCIL

(1) The cedar slab. (2) Planed and grooved. (3) The leads in place.
(4) Covered with the other half of the slab. (5) The round pencils cut
out. (6) The pencil separated and smoothed. (7) The pencil varnished
and stamped.]

Such a pencil would be useful, but to sell well it must also be
pretty; and therefore it goes through machinery which makes it round
or oval or six-sided, as the case may be, rubs it smooth, and
varnishes it, and then, with gold leaf or silver leaf or aluminum or
ink, stamps upon it the name of the maker, and also a number or letter
to show how hard the lead is.

The pencil is now ready for sale, but many people like to have an
eraser in the end, and this requires still more work. These erasers
are round or flat or six-sided or wedge-shaped. They are let into the
pencil itself, or into a nickel tip, or drawn over the end like a cap,
so that any one's special whim may be gratified. Indeed, however hard
to please any one may be, he ought to be able to find a pencil to suit
his taste, for a single factory in the United States makes more than
six hundred kinds of pencils, and makes so many of them that if they
were laid end to end they would reach three times across the continent.

There are many exceedingly cheap pencils, but they are expensive in
the end, because they are poorly made. The wood will often split in
sharpening, and the lead is of poor materials so badly mixed that it
may write blacker in one place than another, and is almost sure to
break. Good pencils bearing the name of a reliable firm are cheapest.



VII

THE DISHES ON OUR TABLES


If any one should give you a lump of clay and ask you to make a bowl,
how should you set about it? The first thing would be, of course, to
put it on a table so you could work on it with both hands. You would
make a depression at the top and push out the sides and smooth them as
best you could. It would result in a rough, uneven sort of bowl, and
before it was done, you would have made one discovery, namely, that if
the table only turned around in front of you, you could see all sides
of the bowl from the same position, and it would be easier to make it
regular. This is just what the potter's wheel does. It is really two
horizontal wheels. The upper one is a disk a foot or two in diameter.
This is connected by a shaft with the lower one, which is much larger.
When the potter was at work at a wheel of this sort, he stood on one
foot and turned the lower wheel with the other, thus setting the upper
wheel in motion. This was called a "kick-wheel." As wheels are made
now, the potter sits at his work and turns the wheel by means of a
treadle.

Almost any kind of clay will make a dish, but no one kind will make
it so well that the addition of some other kind would not improve it.
Whatever clays are chosen, they must be prepared with great care to
make sure that not one grain in them is coarser than any other.
Sometimes one will slip through, and you can see on the finished dish
what a bad-looking place it makes. Even for the coarsest earthenware,
such as flower-pots, the moist clay is forced down a cylinder and
through a wire sieve; and for stoneware and porcelain it has to go
through several processes. When flint and feldspar are used, they are
ground fine at the quarry. On reaching the factory, they are mixed
with the proper quantities of other clays--but in just what proportions
is one of the secrets of the trade. Then they go into "plungers" or
"blungers," great round tanks with arms extending from a shaft in the
center. The shaft revolves and the arms beat the clay till all the sand
and pebbles have settled on the bottom, and the fine clay grains are
floating in the water above them. These pass into canvas bags. The
water is forced out through the canvas, and on every bag there is left
a thin sheet of moist clay. If this is to be used for the finest work,
it is ground and pounded and washed still more, until it is a wonder
that any of it survives; then it is sifted through a screen so fine
that its meshes are only one one hundred and fiftieth of an inch
across. Now it becomes "slip," and after a little more beating and
tumbling about, it is ready to go to the man at the wheel.

This man is called the "thrower," because he lifts the lump of clay
above his head and throws it down heavily upon the center of the
wheel. The things that happen to that lump of clay when he touches it
and the wheel revolves seem like the work of magic. He presses his
thumbs into it from above and draws the walls up between his thumbs
and fingers. He clasps his hands around it, and it grows tall and
slender. He lays his finger on the top of the little column of clay,
and it flattens in a moment. He points his finger at it, barely
touching it, and a little groove appears, running around the whole
mass. He seems to be wasting considerable time in playing with it, but
all the while he is making sure that the clay is perfectly uniform and
that there are no bubbles of air in it. He holds a piece of leather
against the outside surface and a wet sponge against the inside, to
make them perfectly smooth; and in a moment he has made a bowl. He
holds his bent finger against the top of the bowl, and it becomes a
vase. With another touch of his magical finger the top of the vase
rolls over into a lip. If he makes a cup or a mug, he models a handle
in clay and fastens it in place with slip. When it is done, he draws a
wire deftly between the article and the table, and puts it on a board
to dry.

When you watch a potter at work, it all looks so simple and easy that
you feel sure you could do it; but see how skillfully he uses his
hands, how strong they are, and yet how lithe and delicate in their
movements. See into what odd positions he sometimes stretches them;
and yet these are plainly the only positions in which they could do
their work. See how every finger does just what he wishes it to do.
Notice all these things, and you will not be so certain that making
pottery is the easiest thing in the world.

No two pieces of hand work are exactly the same; and skillful as the
potter is, his pieces are not precisely alike. Many of them therefore
are passed over to the turner for finishing. He uses an ordinary
lathe, and with this he thins any place that may be a little too
thick, rounds the edge, and smooths it. The article is partly dried
when he takes it, and so its walls can be cut thinner. When it leaves
his lathe, all signs of hand work have vanished, but the dish is
exactly like the others of the set, and this is what the greater
number of people want. In some potteries there is hardly a throwing
wheel in use, and articles are formed in plaster of Paris moulds.
There are two ways of using these moulds. By one method, the mould is
put upon a "jigger," a power machine which keeps it revolving, and
clay is pressed against its walls from within. Above the mould is a
piece of iron cut in the shape of the inside curve of the bowl or
whatever is being made. This skims off all the extra clay from the
inside of the walls. Plates and saucers are made on a jigger. The
mould used for this work is a model of the top of the plate. The
workman makes a sort of pancake of clay and throws it upon the mould.
A second mould, shaped like half of the bottom of the plate, is
brought down close and revolves, cutting off all the extra clay and
shaping the bottom of the plate.

When the very finest ware is to be made, the mould is used in quite
another fashion. If a pitcher, for instance, is to be cast, the mould
is made in two sections and tied tightly together. Then the slip is
poured into it and left for a while. The plaster of Paris absorbs the
water and a layer of clay is formed all about the walls. When this
is thick enough, the liquid is poured out, and after the pitcher has
dried awhile, the mould is carefully opened and the pitcher is very
gently taken out. The handle is made in a little mould of its own and
fastened on with slip. "Eggshell" porcelain is made in this way. The
clay shell becomes smaller as it dries, so there is no trouble about
removing it from the mould--if one knows how. If a large article is to
be cast, the mould is made in sections. Of course this fine ware must
all be made by hand, especially as machines do not work well with the
finest clays; but cheap dishes are all made by machinery.

After any clay article is thrown, or moulded, or cast, it is passed
through a little doorway and set upon a shelf in a great revolving
cage. The air in this cage is kept at about 85° F.; but this heat is
nothing to what is to follow; and after the articles are thoroughly
dry, they are placed in boxes of coarse fire-clay, which are called
"saggers," piled up in a kiln, the doors are closed, and the fires are
lighted. For a day and night, sometimes for two days and two nights,
the fires burn. The heat goes up to 2000° or 2500° F. Every few hours
test pieces, which were put in for this purpose, are taken out. When
they are found to be sufficiently baked, the fire-holes are bricked up
and the furnace is left for two days longer to cool. The ware is then
called "biscuit."

Biscuit is dull and porous. It is soon to be glazed, but first whatever
underglaze decorating is desired may be done. Sometimes the decorations
are painted by hand, and sometimes they are printed on thin paper, laid
upon the ware, and rubbed softly till they stick fast. After a while
the paper is pulled off, but the colors remain. Gold must be applied
over the glaze, and the article fired a second time.

After this decorating, the ware is generally passed to a man who
stands before a tub of glaze, and dips in each article, though
sometimes he stands before the pieces of ware and sprays them with an
air brush. Many different kinds of glaze are used, made of ground
flint, feldspar, white clay, and other substances. Common sea salt
works exceedingly well, not in liquid form, but thrown directly into
the fire. The chief thing to look out for in making a glaze is to see
that the materials in it are so nearly like those in the ware that
they will not contract unevenly and make little cracks. This glaze is
dried in a hot room, then looked over by "trimmers," who scrape it off
from such parts as the feet of cups and plates, so that they will not
stick to the saggers in firing. Besides this, little props of burned
clay are used to hold the dishes up and keep them from touching one
another. These props have fanciful names, such as "spurs," "stilts,"
"cockspurs," etc. Often you can see on the bottom of a plate the marks
made by these supports.

[Illustration: IN THE POTTERY

Pieces of coarse pottery being delivered to the kiln for firing.]

The articles now are sent to a kiln to be fired. When they come out
there is another chance for decorating, for colors may be put on, and
another firing will make them look like underglaze painting If the
decorator wishes the ware to have the appearance of being ornamented
with masses of gold, he can trace his design in yellow paste, fire it,
cover it with gold, and fire it again. To make the "gilt-band china"
so beloved by the good housewives of the last century, the decorator
puts the plate upon a horizontal wheel, holds his brush full of gold
against it, and turns the wheel slowly. Sometimes the outlines of a
design are printed and the coloring put in by hand. When broad bands
of color are desired to be put around a plate or other article, the
decorator sometimes brushes on an adhesive oil where the color is to
go, and paints the rest of the plate with some water-color and sugar;
then when the oil is partly dry, he dusts on the color in the form of
powder. A plunge into water will wash away the water-color and leave
the oil with the powder sticking to it. Shaded groundwork is made with
an atomizer. Indeed, there are almost as many methods of decorating
wares of clay as there are persons who work at it. The results are
what might be expected from the prices; some articles are so cheap and
gaudy that any one will soon tire of them. Others are really artistic
and will be a "joy forever"--until they break.



VIII

HOW THE WHEELS OF A WATCH GO AROUND


If an electric automobile could be charged in fifteen seconds and then
would run for forty hours without recharging, it would be looked upon
as a great wonder; but to wind a watch in fifteen seconds and have it
run for forty hours is so common that we forget what a wonder it is.
When you wind your watch, you put some of the strength of your own
right hand into it, and that is what makes it go. Every turn of the
key or the stem winds up tighter and tighter a spring from one to two
feet long, but so slender that it would take thousands to weigh a
pound. This is the main spring. It is coiled up in a cup-shaped piece
of metal called a "barrel"; and so your own energy is literally
barreled up in your watch. The outer end of this spring is held fast
by a hook on the inside of the barrel; the inner end is hooked to the
hub of a wheel which is called the "main wheel," and around this hub
the spring is coiled.

This spring has three things to do. It must send the "short hand,"
or hour hand, around the dial or face of the watch, once in twelve
hours; it must send the "long hand," or minute hand, around once an
hour; and it must also send the little "second hand" around its own
tiny circle once a minute. To do this work requires four wheels. The
first or main wheel is connected with the winding arrangements, and
sets in motion the second, or center wheel, so called because it is
usually in the center of the watch. This center wheel revolves once
an hour and turns the minute hand. By a skillful arrangement of cogs
it also moves the hour hand around the dial once in twelve hours. The
center wheel moves the third wheel. The chief business of the third
wheel is to make the fourth turn in the same direction as the center
wheel. The fourth wheel revolves once a minute, and with it turns
the tiny second hand.

Suppose that a watch has been made with only the main spring, the four
wheels, and the three hands, what would happen when it was wound? You
can tell very easily by winding up a mechanical mouse or a train of
cars or any other toy that goes by a spring. It will go fast at first,
then more and more slowly, then it will stop. This sort of motion
might do for a mouse, but it would not answer for a watch. A watch
must move with steadiness and regularity. To bring this about, there
is a fifth wheel. Its fifteen teeth are shaped like hooks, and it has
seven accompaniments, the balance wheel, the hair spring, and five
others. This wheel, together with its accompaniments, is able to stop
the motion of the watch five times a second and start it again so
quickly that we do not realize its having been stopped at all. A tiny
arm holds the wheel firmly, and then lets it escape. Therefore, the
fifth wheel and its accompaniments are called the "escapement." This
catching and letting go is what makes the ticking.

A watch made in this way would run very well until a hot day or a cold
day came; then there would be trouble. Heat makes metals expand and
makes springs less elastic. Therefore in a hot day the watch would go
more slowly and so lose time; while in a cold day it would go too fast
and would gain time. This fault is corrected by the balance, a wheel
whose rim is not one circle, but two half-circles, and so cunningly
made that the hotter this rim grows, the smaller its diameter becomes.
In the rim of the wheel are tiny holes into which screws may be
screwed. By adding screws or taking some away, or changing the
position of some of them, the movement of the watch can be made to
go faster or slower.

All this would be difficult enough to manage if a watch was as large
as a cart wheel, with wheels a foot in diameter; but it does seem a
marvel how so many kinds of wheels and screws and springs, one hundred
and fifty in all, can be put into a case sometimes not more than an
inch in diameter, and can find room to work; and it is quite as much
of a marvel how they can be manufactured and handled.

Remembering how accurate every piece must be, it is no wonder that in
Switzerland, where all this work used to be done by hand, a boy had to
go to a "watch school" for fourteen years before he was considered
able to make a really fine watch. He began at the beginning and was
taught to make, first, wooden handles for his tools, then the tools
themselves, such as files, screw drivers, etc. His next work was to
make wooden watchcases as large as dinner-plates. After this, he was
given the frame to which the various wheels of a watch are fastened
and was taught how and where to drill the holes for wheels and screws.
After lessons in making the finer tools to be used, he was allowed to
make a watch frame. All this took several years, for he had to do the
same work over and over until his teachers were satisfied with it.
Then he was promoted to the second room. Here he learned to adjust the
stem-winding parts, to do fine cutting and filing, and to make watches
that would strike the hour and even the minute. Room three was called
the "train room," because the wheels of a watch are spoken of as "the
train." The model watch in this room was as large as a saucer. The
young man had to study every detail of this, and also to learn the use
of a delicate little machine doing such fine work that it could cut
twenty-four hundred tiny cogs on one of the little wheels of a watch.
In the fourth room he learned to make the escapement wheel and some
other parts; and he had to make them, not merely passably, but
excellently. In the fifth and last room, he must do the careful,
patient work that makes a watch go perfectly. There are special little
curves that must be given to the hair spring; and the screws on the
balance wheel must be carefully adjusted. If the watch ran faster when
it was lying down than when it was hanging up, he learned that certain
ones of the bearings were too coarse and must be made finer. In
short, he must be able to make a watch that, whether hanging up or
lying down, and whether the weather was hot or cold, would not vary
from correct time more than two and a half seconds a day at the most.
Then, and not till then, was the student regarded as a first-class
watchmaker.

The graduate of such a school knew how to make a whole watch, but he
usually limited his work to some one part. Every part of a watch was
made expressly for that watch, but sometimes a hundred different
persons worked on it. The very best of the Swiss watches were
exceedingly good; the poorest were very bad, and much worse to own
than a poor American watch because it costs more to repair a Swiss
watch than an American watch.

[Illustration: _Courtesy Waltham Watch Co._

WHERE WATCHES ARE MADE

Once a single man made a whole watch by hand. Now one watch may be
the product of a hundred hands, each man doing his particular part.]

Even though in America the parts of watches are made by machinery,
an apprentice has to undergo just as careful and just as extended
training here as in Switzerland. A poor watch is worse than none at
all, and careless work would not be tolerated in any watch factory.
Of late even Switzerland has been importing American machinery in order
to compete with the United States. These machines do such careful,
minute, intricate work that, as you stand and watch them, you feel
as if they must know what they are about. One of them takes the
frame,--that is, the plates to which the wheels are fastened,--makes
it of the proper thinness, cuts the necessary holes in it, and passes
it over to the next machine, which is reaching out for it. The feeder
gives the first machine another plate; and so the work goes on down
a whole line of machines. At length the plate is taken in hand by a
machine, or rather a group of machines, which can do almost anything.
Before they let it go, they actually perform one hundred and forty-two
different operations, each bringing it nearer completion. These
machines are automatic, but nevertheless they must be constantly
watched by expert machinists to keep them in order and make sure of
their turning out perfect work.

While one line of machines has been perfecting the plate, others have
been at work on screws and wheels and springs. As many of these as are
needed for one watch are put into a little division of a tray and
carried to another room for its jewels and the rest of its outfit.
The jewels, which are pieces of rubies, sapphires, garnets, or even
diamonds, are very valuable to a watch. When you know that the little
wheels are in constant motion, and that the balance wheel, for
instance, vibrates eighteen thousand times an hour, it is plain that
a vast amount of wear comes upon the spot where the pivots of these
wheels rest. No metal can be made smooth enough to prevent friction,
and there is no metal hard enough to prevent wear. The "jewels" are
smoother and harder. They are sawed into slabs so thin that fifty of
them piled up would measure only an inch. These are stuck to blocks
to be polished, cut into disks flat on one side but with a little
depression on the other to receive oil, bored through the center,
and placed wherever the wear is greatest--provided the purchaser is
willing to pay for them. A "full-jeweled" watch contains twenty-three
jewels; that is, in twenty-three of the places where the most severe
wear comes, or where friction might prevent the watch from going with
perfect smoothness, there will be practically no wear and no friction.
A low-priced watch contains only seven jewels, but if you want a watch
to last, it pays to buy one that is full-jeweled.

And now these plates and wheels and screws are to be put together, or
"assembled," as this work is called. This is a simple matter just as
soon as one has learned where the different parts belong, for they are
made by machinery and are sure to fit. After the assembling comes the
adjusting of the balance wheel and the hair spring. There is nothing
simple about this work, for the tiny screws with the large heads must
be put into the rim of the balance wheel with the utmost care, or
else all the other work will be useless, and the watch will not be
a perfect time keeper; that is, one that neither loses nor gains more
than thirty seconds a month.

It is said that the earliest watches made in Europe cost fifteen
hundred dollars and took a year to make. There has always been a
demand for a cheap pocket timepiece, and of late this demand has been
satisfied by the manufacture of the "dollar watch." Properly speaking,
this is not a watch at all, but a small spring clock. It has no
jewels, and its parts are stamped out of sheets of brass or steel by
machinery. The hair springs are made in coils of eight and then
broken apart; and the main springs are made by the mile. Twenty holes
are drilled at a time, and the factory in which "dollar watches" were
first manufactured is now able to turn out fifteen thousand a day.



IX

THE MAKING OF SHOES


Did you ever stop to think how many different qualities you expect
in a shoe? You want the sole to be hard and firm so as to protect
your feet in rough walking; and also soft and yielding so as to
feel springy and not board-like. You want the upper leather to
keep the cold air from coming in; and also porous enough to let the
perspiration out. Your feet are not exactly like those of any one
else; and yet you expect to find at any shoe store a comfortable shoe
ready-made. You expect that shoe to come close to your foot, and yet
allow you to move it with perfect freedom. You expect all these good
qualities, and what is more remarkable, it does not seem difficult for
most people to get them. There is an old saying, "To him who wears
shoes, the whole earth is covered with leather"; and although many
different materials have been tried in shoemaking, leather is the only
one that has proved satisfactory, for the sole of the shoe at least.
Of late, however, rubber and rubber combinations and felts and felt
combinations have been used.

Most hides of which soles are made come from the large beef
packing-houses or from South America. Goatskins come from Africa and
India. The greater part of a hide is made up of a sort of gelatine.
This easily spoils, and therefore it has to be "tanned"; that is,
soaked in tannin and water. When a man set out to build a tannery, he
used to go into the woods where he could be sure of enough oak trees
to supply him for many years with the bark from which tannin is made;
but it has been found that the bark of several other kinds of trees,
such as larch, chestnut, spruce, pine, and hemlock, will tan as well
as that of oak. Tannin is now prepared in the forest and brought to
the tanners, who put their tanneries where they please, usually near
some large city. The hides are first soaked in water, and every
particle of flesh is scraped away. They are laid in heaps for a while,
then hung in a warm room till the hair loosens and can be easily
removed, then soaked in tannic extract and water. The tannin unites
with the gelatine; and thus the hide becomes leather. This process
requires several months. Hides are also tanned by the use of
chemicals, in what is called "chrome" tanning. This process requires
only a few hours, but it is expensive.

In earlier times the shoemaker used to go from house to house with his
lapstone, waxed end, awl, and other tools. The farmer provided the
leather, which he had tanned from the hides of his own cattle. Now,
however, manufacturers can buy the soles of one merchant, the heels of
another, the box toe and stiffenings of another, and so on. In the
United States there are many factories which do nothing but cut soles,
or rather stamp them out with dies, a hundred or more in a minute.
These soles and also the less heavy inner soles go through machines
that make all parts of them of a uniform thickness. The traveling
shoemaker always hammered his sole leather to make it wear better; but
now a moment between very heavy rollers answers the same purpose.
Another machine splits the inner sole for perhaps a quarter of an inch
all the way around, and thus makes a little lip to which to sew the
welt. A number of layers or "lifts" of leather are cemented together
for the heel, and are put under heavy pressure.

The upper parts of a shoe, the "uppers," as they are called, are the
vamp or front of the shoe, the top, the tip, and (in a laced shoe)
the tongue. Nearly all the upper leather that shows when a shoe is
on is made from the hides of cattle, calves, goats, and sheep; but
besides the parts that show there are stiffeners for the box toe
and the counters to support the quarters over the heel; there are
linings, and many other necessary "findings," forty-four parts in all
in an ordinary shoe. Much experimenting and more thinking have gone
into every one of these forty-four parts; and much remembering that
shoes have harder wear than anything else in one's wardrobe. The
cotton linings, for instance, must be woven in a special way in order
to make them last and not "rub up" when they are wet with water or
perspiration. They are bleached with the utmost care not to weaken
them, and they are singed between red-hot copper plates to remove
all the nap.

Then, too, a good deal of metal is used in making a shoe, not only the
ornamental buckles on dress shoes and the heavy, useful buckles on
storm boots, but various pieces that help to make the shoe strong and
enduring. There are nails, shanks to strengthen the arch of the shoe,
metal shanks to the buttons, and eyelets. Not many years ago, eyelets
soon wore brassy, and then the shoe looked old and cheap. They are now
enameled, or the top of them is made of celluloid in a color to match
the shoe. The tags on lacings and the hooks for holding lacings are
also enameled. A "box-toe gum" is used to support the box-toe
stiffening. Cement covers the stitches; and many sorts of blacking
are used in finishing the work. It is by no means a simple operation
to make a pair of shoes.

At a busy shoe factory it is always "tag day," for when an order is
received, the first step in filling it is to make out a tag or form
stating how the shoe is to be made up and when it is to be finished.
These records are preserved, and if a customer writes, "Send me 100
pairs of shoes like those ordered October 10, 1910," the manufacturer
has only to read the record in order to know exactly what is wanted.

[Illustration: _Courtesy United Shoe Mchy. Co._

THE GOODYEAR PULLING-OVER MACHINE

This machine cost $1,500,000 and five years of experiment to perfect.
It shapes the forepart of the upper of a shoe over a wooden last.]

Next, the leather is selected, first grade or second grade, according
to the price to be paid. The patterns for the uppers are now brought
into play--and, by the way, it is no small matter to prepare the
hundreds of patterns needed for a new line of shoes in all the
different widths and sizes. In some factories the cutting is done by
machinery; in others the "upper cutter" lays the leather on a block
and cuts around the pattern with a small but very sharp knife. It
needs skill and judgment to be a cutter; for a careless workman can
easily waste the skins badly by not laying the patterns on to the best
advantage. While this work is going on, the linings, trimmings, soles,
and other parts are also being prepared, and all these many pieces now
meet in the "stitching-room." At the first glance, it does not seem as
if the right ones could ever come together, even though they are
marked, and sometimes it does happen that a 4a vamp, for instance, is
put with 5a quarters, and nobody knows the difference until the
experienced eye of the foreman notices that something is wrong with
the shoe. The uppers of the shoe are now stitched up, and after a
careful inspection, they are sent on to the "lasting-room." The "last"
of the earlier times was roughly whittled out, and it was the same for
both feet; but the last of to-day is almost a work of art, so
carefully is it made and polished. The shoe manufacturers jokingly
declare that lasts must be changed three times a day in order to keep
up with the fashions. Feet do not change in form, save when they have
been distorted by badly shaped shoes; but in spite of this, people
insist upon having their shoes long and narrow, or short and wide,
with high heels or with low heels, with broad toes or with pointed
toes, as the whim of the moment may be. It really is a big problem
for the shoe manufacturers to suit people's fancies and yet give them
some degree of comfort.

While the uppers are being stitched, the soles and inner soles and
counters have been made ready and brought to the lasting-room. The toe
stiffeners and also the counters are now cemented into their places.
The inner sole is tacked to the last, and the uppers are put in place
and held there by a tack at the heel. This is done by machines; but
their working is simple compared with that of the machine which now
takes charge of the half-made shoe. This machine puts out sturdy
little pincers which seize the edge of the uppers, pull it smoothly
and evenly into place, and drive a tack far enough in to keep it from
slipping. Now comes the welting. A welt is a narrow strip of leather
which is sewed to the lower edge of the upper all the way around the
shoe except at the heel. This brings the upper, the lip of the inner
sole, and the welt together. The inside of the shoe is now smooth and
even, but around the outside of the sole is the ridge made by the welt
and the sewing, and within the ridge a depression that must be filled
up. Tarred paper or cork in a sort of cement are used for this. The
shank is fastened into its place and the welt made smooth and even.
The outer sole is coated with rubber cement, put into position under
heavy pressure to shape it exactly like the sole of the last, and then
sewed to the welt. If it was not for the welt, the outer sole would
have to be sewed directly to the inner sole. The nailing and pegging
of the old-fashioned shoemaker are also reproduced by the modern
machine.

The shoe is still open at the heel; but now the heel parts of both
sole and uppers are fastened together; the edges have been nicely
trimmed, and next the heels are nailed to the shoe by another machine
which does the work at a blow, leaving the nails standing out a little
below the lowest lift. Another lift is forced upon these; and that
is why the heel of a new shoe shows no signs of nails. The heel is
trimmed, and then come the final sandpapering and blackening. The
bottom of a new shoe has a peculiar soft, velvety appearance and
feeling; and this is produced by rubbing it with fine emery paper
fastened upon a little rubber pad. A stamping-machine marks the sole
with the name of the manufacturer. Last of all, the shoe is put upon
a treeing machine, where an iron foot stretches it into precisely
the shape of the wooden last on which it was made.

This is the method by which large numbers of shoes are made, but
there are many details which differ. Laced shoes must have tongues
as well as eyelets, while buttoned shoes must have buttons and
buttonholes. "Turned" shoes have no inner sole, but uppers and
outer sole are sewed together wrong side out and then turned. In
shoemaking, as in all other business, if a manufacturer is to
succeed, he must see that there is no waste. He has of course no
use for a careless cutter, who would perhaps waste large pieces of
leather; but even the tiniest scraps are of value for some purpose.
They can be treated with chemicals, softened by boiling, and pressed
into boards or other articles or made into floor coverings. At any
rate, they must be used for something. No business is small enough
or large enough to endure waste.



X

IN THE COTTON MILL


If you ravel a bit of cotton cloth, you will find that it is made up
of tiny threads, some going up and down, and others going from right
to left. These threads are remarkably strong for their size. Look at
one under a magnifying glass, in a brilliant light, and you will see
that the little fibers of which it is made shine almost like glass.
Examine it more closely, and you will see that it is twisted. Break
it, and you will find that it does not break off sharp, but rather
pulls apart, leaving many fibers standing out from both ends.

Cotton comes to the factory tightly pressed in bales, and the work of
the manufacturer is to make it into these little threads. The bales
are big, weighing four or five hundred pounds apiece. They are
generally somewhat ragged, for they are done up in coarse, heavy jute.
The first glance at an opened cotton bale is a little discouraging,
for it is not perfectly clean by any means. Bits of leaves and stems
are mixed in with the cotton, and even some of the smaller seeds which
have slipped through the gin. There is dust, and plenty of it, that
the coarse burlap has not kept out. The first thing to do is to loosen
the cotton and make it clean. Great armfuls are thrown into a machine
called a "bale-breaker." Rollers with spikes, blunt so as not to
injure the fiber, catch it up and tear the lumps to pieces, and
"beaters" toss it into a light, foamy mass. Something else happens to
the cotton while it is in the machine, for a current of air is passing
through it all the while, and this blows out the dust and bits of
rubbish. This current is controlled like the draft of a stove, and it
is allowed to be just strong enough to draw the cotton away from the
beater when it has become light and open, leaving the harder masses
for more beating. When it comes out of the opener, it is in sheets or
"laps" three or four feet wide and only half an inch thick. They are
white and fleecy and almost cloudlike; and so thin that any sand or
broken leaves still remaining will drop out of their own weight.

In this work the manufacturer has been aiming, not only at cleaning
the cotton and making it fluffy, but also at mixing it. There are many
sorts of cotton, some of longer or finer or more curly or stronger
fiber than others, some white and some tinged with color; but the
cloth woven of cotton must be uniform; therefore all these kinds must
be thoroughly mixed. Even the tossing and turning and beating that
it has already received is not enough, and it has to go into a
"scutcher," three or four laps at a time, one on top of another, to
have still more beating and dusting. When it comes out, it is in a
long roll or sheet, so even that any yard of it will weigh very nearly
the same as any other yard. The fibers, however, are lying "every
which way," and before they can be drawn out into thread, they must be
made to lie parallel. This is brought about in part by carding. When
people used to spin and weave in their own houses, they used "hand
cards." These were somewhat like brushes for the hair, but instead of
bristles they had wires shaped much as if wire hairpins had been bent
twice and put through leather in such a way as to form hooks on one
side of it. This leather was then nailed to a wooden back and a handle
added. The carder took one card in each hand, and with the hooks
pointing opposite ways brushed the cotton between them, thus making
the fibers lie parallel. This is just what is done in a mill, only by
machinery, of course. Instead of the little hand cards, there are
great cylinders covered with what is called "card clothing"; that is,
canvas bristling with the bent wires, six or seven hundred to the
square inch. This takes the place of one card. The place of the other
is filled by what are called "flats," or narrow bars of iron covered
with card clothing. The cylinders move rapidly, the flats slowly, and
the cotton passes between them. It comes out in a dainty white film
not so very much heavier than a spider's web, and so beautifully white
and shining that it does not seem as if the big, oily, noisy machines
could ever have produced it. In a moment, however, it is gone
somewhere into the depths of the machine. We have seen the last of the
fleecy sheet, for the machinery narrows it and rounds it, and when it
comes into sight again, it looks like a soft round cord about an inch
thick, and is coiled up in cans nearly a yard high. This cord is
called "sliver."

[Illustration: IN A COTTON MILL

The "sliver" coming through the machine, and the "roving" being
twisted and wound on bobbins.]

The sliver is not uniform; even now its fibers are not entirely
parallel, and it is as weak as wet tissue paper. It now pays a visit
to the "drawing-frame." Four or six slivers are put together and run
through this frame. They go between four pairs of rollers, the first
pair moving slowly, the others more rapidly. The slow pair hold the
slivers back, while the fast one pull them on. The result is that
when the sliver comes out from the rollers, its fibers are much
straighter. This process is repeated several times; and at last when
the final sliver comes out, although it looks almost the same as when
it came from the carding-machine, its fibers are parallel. It is much
more uniform, but it is very fragile, and still has to be handled
with great care. It is not nearly strong enough to be twisted into
thread; and before this can be done, it must pass through three other
machines. The first, or "slubber," gives it a very slight twist, just
enough to suggest what is coming later, and of course in doing this
makes it smaller. The cotton changes its name at every operation, and
now it is called "roving." It has taken one long step forward, for
now it is not coiled up in cans, but is wound on "bobbins," or great
spools. The second machine, the "intermediate speeder," twists it a
very little more and winds it on fresh bobbins. It also puts two
rovings together, so that if one happens to be thin in one place,
there is a chance for it to be strengthened by a thicker place in
the other. The third machine, the "fine speeder," simply makes a
finer roving.

All this work must be done merely to prepare the raw cotton to be
twisted into the tiny threads that you see by raveling a piece of
cotton cloth. Now comes the actual twisting. If you fasten one end
of a very soft string and twist the other and wind it on a spool, you
will get a spool of finer, stronger, and harder-twisted string than
you had at first. This is exactly what the "ring-spinner" does.
Imagine a bobbin full of roving standing on a frame. Down below it are
some rolls between which the thread from the bobbin passes to a second
bobbin which is fast on a spindle. Around this spindle is the
"spinning-ring," a ring which is made to whirl around by an endless
belt. This whirling twists the thread, and another part of the machine
winds it upon the second bobbin. Hundreds of these ring-spinners and
bobbins are on a single "spinning-frame" and accomplish a great deal
in a very short time. The threads that are to be used for the "weft"
or "filling" go directly into the shuttles of the weavers after being
spun; but those which are to be used for "warp" are wound first on
spools, then on beams to go into the loom.

Little children weave together strips of paper, straws, and
splints,--"over one, under one,"--and the weaving of plain cotton
cloth is in principle nothing more than this. The first thing to do
in weaving is to stretch out the warp evenly. This warp is simply
many hundreds of tiny threads as long as the cloth is to be,
sometimes forty or fifty yards. They must be stretched out side by
side and close together. To make them regular, they are passed
between the teeth of a sort of upright comb; then they are wound upon
the loom beam, a horizontal beam at the back of the loom. Here they
are as close together as they will be in the cloth. With a magnifying
glass it is easy to count the threads of the warp in an inch of
cloth. Some kinds of cloth have a hundred or even more to the inch.
In order to make cloth, the weaver must manage in some way to lower
every other one of these little threads and run his shuttle over
them, as the children do the strips of paper in their paper weaving.
Then he must lower the other set and run the shuttle over _them_.
"Drawing in" makes this possible. After the threads leave the beam,
they are drawn through the "harnesses." These are hanging frames, one
in front of the other, filled with stiff, perpendicular threads or
wires drawn tight, and with an eye in each thread. Through these eyes
the threads of the warp are drawn, the odd ones through one, and the
even through the other. Then, keeping the threads in the same order,
they pass through the teeth of a "reed,"--that is, a hanging frame
shaped like a great comb as long as the loom is wide; and last, they
are fastened to the "front beam," which runs in front of the weaver's
seat and on which the cloth is to be rolled when it has been woven.
Each harness is connected with a treadle. The weaver puts his foot on
the treadle of the odd threads and presses them down. Then he sends
his shuttle, containing a bobbin full of thread, sliding across over
the odd threads and under the even. He puts his foot on the treadle
of the even threads and sends the shuttle back over the even and
under the odd. At each trip of the shuttle, the heavy reed is drawn
back toward the weaver to push the last thread of the woof or filling
firmly into place.

This is the way cloth is woven in the hand looms which used to be in
every household. The power loom used in factories is, even in its
simplest form, a complicated machine; but its principle is exactly the
same. If colors are to be used, great care is needed in arranging warp
and woof. If you ravel a piece of checked gingham, you will see that
half the warp is white and half colored; and that in putting in the
woof or filling, a certain number of the threads are white and an
equal number are colored. If you look closely at the weaving of a
tablecloth, you will see that the satin-like figures are woven by
bringing the filling thread not "over one and under one," but often
over two or three and under one. In drilling or any other twilled
goods, several harnesses have to be used because the warp thread is
not lowered directly in line with the one preceding, but diagonally.
Such work as this used to require a vast amount of skill and patience;
but the famous Jacquard machine will do it with ease, and will do more
complicated weaving than any one ever dreamed of before its invention,
for it will weave not only regular figures extending across the cloth,
but can be made to introduce clusters of flowers, a figure, or a face
wherever it is desired. By the aid of this, every little warp thread
or cluster of threads can be lifted by its own hooked wire without
interfering with any other thread. Cards of paper or thin metal are
made for each pattern, leaving a hole wherever the hook is to slip
through and lift up a thread. After the cards are once made, the work
is as easy as plain weaving; but there must be a separate card for
every thread of filling in the pattern, and sometimes a single design
has required as many as thirty thousand pattern cards.

The machines in a cotton mill are the result of experimenting, lasting
through many years. They do not seem quite so "human" as those which
help to carry on some parts of other manufactures; but they are
wonderfully ingenious. For instance, the sliver is so light that it
seems to have hardly any weight, but it balances a tiny support. If
the sliver breaks, the support falls, and this stops the machine.
Again, if one of the threads of the warp breaks when it is being wound
on the beam, a slender bent wire that has been hung on it falls. It
drops between two rollers and stops them. Then the workman knows that
something is wrong, and a glance will show where attention is needed.
Success in a cotton mill demands constant attention to details. A mill
manager who has been very successful has given to those of less
experience some wise directions about running a mill. For one thing,
he reminds them that building is expensive and that floor space
counts. If by rearranging looms space can be made for more spindles,
it is well worth while to rearrange. He tells them to study their
machines and see whether they are working so slowly that they cannot
do as much as possible, or so fast as to strain the work. He bids them
to keep their gearings clean, to be clear and definite in their
orders, and to read the trade papers; but above everything else to
look out for the little things, a little leak in the mill dam, a
little too much tightness in a belt, or the idleness of just one
spindle. Herein lies, he says, one of the great differences between
a successful and an unsuccessful superintendent.

Weaving as practiced in factories is a complicated business; but
whether it is done with a simple hand loom in a cottage or with a big
power loom in a great factory, there are always three movements. One
separates the warp threads; one drives the shuttle between them; and
one swings the reed against the filling thread just put in.



XI

SILKWORMS AND THEIR WORK


About silk there is something particularly agreeable. There are few
people who do not like the sheen of a soft silk, the sparkle of light
on a "taffeta," and the richness of the silk that "can stand alone."
Its delicate rustle is charming, and the "feel" of it is a delight.
It has not the chill of linen, the deadness of cotton, or the
"scratchiness" of woolen. It pleases the eye, the ear, and the touch.

The caterpillars of a few butterflies and of many moths are spinners
of fibers similar to silk. Among these last is the beautiful
pale-green lunar moth. Spiders spin a lustrous fiber, and it is said
that a lover of spiders succeeded, by a good deal of petting and
attention, in getting considerable material from a company of them.
Silkworms, however, are the only providers of real silk for the world.
Once in a while glowing accounts are published of the ease with which
they can be raised and the amount of money which can be made from them
with very small capital. This business, however, like all other kinds
of business, requires close attention and skill if it is to be a
success. An expert has said that it needs more time to build a spool
of silk than a locomotive.

The way to begin to raise silkworms is first of all to provide
something for them to eat. They are very particular about their bill
of fare. The leaf of the osage orange will answer, but they like much
better the leaf of the white mulberry. Then send to a reliable dealer
for a quarter of an ounce of silkworm eggs. That sounds like a small
order, but it will bring you nine or ten thousand eggs, ready to
become sturdy little silkworms if all goes well with them. Put them on
a table with a top of wire netting covered with brown paper, and keep
them comfortably warm. In a week or two, there will appear some little
worms about an eighth of an inch long and covered with black hairs.
These tiny worms have to become three inches or more in length, and
they are expected to accomplish the feat in about a month. If a boy
four feet tall should grow at the silkworm's rate for one month, he
would become forty-eight feet tall. It is no wonder that the worms
have to make a business of eating, or that the keeper has to make a
business of providing them with food. They eat most of the time, and
they make a queer little crackling sound while they are about it. They
have from four to eight meals a day of mulberry leaves. The worms from
a quarter of an ounce of eggs begin with one pound a day, and work up
to between forty and fifty. Silkworms like plenty of fresh air, and if
they are to thrive, their table must be kept clean. A good way to
manage this is to put over them paper full of holes large enough for
them to climb through. Lay the leaves upon the paper; the worms will
come up through the holes to eat, and the litter on their table can
be cleared away. As the worms grow larger, the holes must be made
larger. It is no wonder that their skins soon become too tight for
them. They actually lose their appetite for a day or two, and they
slip away to some quiet corner under the leaves, and plainly wish
there were no other worms to bother them. Soon the skin comes off,
and they make up for lost time so energetically that they have to drop
their tight skins three times more before they are fully grown. Wet
mulberry leaves must not be given them, or they will become sick and
die, and there will be an end of the silkworm business from that
quarter-ounce of eggs. They must have plenty of room on their table as
well as in their skins. At first a tray or table two feet long and a
little more than one foot wide will be large enough; but when they are
full-grown, they will need about eighty square feet of table or
shelves. At spinning time, even this will not be enough.

After the worms have shed their skins four times and then eaten as
much as they possibly can for eight or ten days, they begin to feel
as if they had had enough. They now eat very little and really become
smaller. They are restless and wander about. Now and then they throw
out threads of silk as fine as a spider's web. They know exactly what
they want; each little worm wants to make a cocoon, and all they ask
of you is to give them the right sort of place to make it in. When
they live out of doors in freedom, they fasten their cocoons to twigs;
and if you wish to give them what they like best, get plenty of dry
twigs and weave them together in arches standing over the shelves.
Pretty soon you will see one worm after another climb up the twigs and
select a place for its cocoon. Before long it throws out threads from
its spinneret, a tiny opening near the mouth, and makes a kind of net
to support the cocoon which it is about to weave.

The silkworm may have seemed greedy, but he did not eat one leaf too
much for the task that lies before him. There is nothing lazy about
him; and now he works with all his might, making his cocoon. He begins
at the outside and shapes it like a particularly plump peanut of a
clear, pale yellow. The silk is stiffened with a sort of gum as it
comes out of the spinneret. The busy little worm works away, laying
its threads in place in the form of a figure eight. For some time the
cocoon is so thin that one can watch him. It is calculated that his
tiny head makes sixty-nine movements every minute.

The covering grows thicker and the room for the silkworm grows
smaller. After about seventy-two hours, put your ear to the cocoon,
and if all is quiet within, it is completed and the worm is shut up
within it. Strange things happen to him while he sleeps in the quiet
of his silken bed, for he becomes a dry brown chrysalis without head
or feet. Then other things even more marvelous come to pass, for in
about three weeks the little creature pushes the threads apart at one
end of the cocoon and comes out, not a silkworm at all, but a moth
with head and wings and legs and eyes. This moth lays hundreds of
eggs, and in less than three weeks it dies.

This is what the silkworm will do if it is left alone; but it is the
business of the silk-raiser to see that it is not left alone. About
eight days after the cocoon is begun, it is steamed or baked to kill
the chrysalis so that it cannot make its way out and so spoil the
silk. The quarter of an ounce of eggs will make about thirty pounds
of cocoons. Now is the time to be specially watchful, for there is
nothing in which rats and mice so delight as a plump, sweet chrysalis;
and they care nothing whatever for the three or four thousand yards of
silk that is wound about each one.

To take this silk off is a delicate piece of work. A single fiber is
not much larger than the thread of a cobweb, and before the silk can
be used, several threads must be united in one. First, the cocoon is
soaked in warm water to loosen the gum that the worm used to stick its
threads together. Ends of silk from half a dozen or more cocoons are
brought together, run through a little hole in a guide, and wound on a
reel as one thread. This needs skill and practice, for the reeled silk
must be kept of the same size. The cocoon thread is so slender that,
of course, it breaks very easily; and when this happens, another
thread must be pieced on. Then, too, the inner silk of the cocoon is
finer than the outer; so unless care is taken to add threads, the
reeled silk will be irregular. The water must also be kept just warm
enough to soften the gum, but not too hot.

The silk is taken off the reel, and the skeins are packed up in bales
as if it were of no more value than cotton. Indeed, it does not look
nearly so pretty and attractive as a lap of pure white cotton, for it
is stiff and gummy and has hardly any luster. Now it is sent to the
manufacturer. It is soaked in hot soapy water for several hours, and
it is drawn between plates so close together that, while they allow
the silk to go through, they will not permit the least bit of
roughness or dirt to pass. If the thread breaks, a tiny "faller," such
as are used in cotton mills, falls down and stops the machine. The
silk must now be twisted, subjected to two or three processes to
increase its luster, and dyed,--and if you would like to feel as if
you were paying a visit to a rainbow, go into a mill and watch the
looms with their smooth, brilliant silks of all the colors that can
be imagined. After the silk is woven, it is polished on lustering
machines, singed to destroy all bits of free fibers or lint, freed of
all threads that may project, and scoured if it is of a light color;
then sold.

[Illustration: _Courtesy Cheney Bros._

HOW SPUN SILK IS MADE

Every manufacturer saves everything he can, and even the waste silk
which cannot be wound on reels is turned into a salable product]

The moth whose cocoon provides most of our silk is called the "bombyx
mori." There are others, however, and from some of these tussah silk,
Yamamai, and Shantung pongee are woven. These wild moths produce a
stronger thread, but it is much less smooth than that of the bombyx.

There is also a great amount of "wood silk," or artificial silk, on
the market. To make this, wood pulp is dissolved in ether and squirted
through fine jets into water. It is soon hard enough to be twisted
into threads and woven. It makes an imitation of silk, bright and
lustrous, but not wearing so well as the silk of the silkworm.
Nevertheless, for many purposes it is used as a substitute for silk,
and many braids and passementeries are made of it. Then, too, there
are the "mercerized" goods, which often closely resemble real silk,
although there is not a thread of silk in them. It was discovered many
years ago that if a piece of cotton cloth was boiled in caustic soda,
it would become soft and thick and better able to receive delicate
dyes. Unfortunately, it also shrank badly. At length it occurred to
some one that the cloth might be kept from shrinking by being
stretched out during the boiling in soda. He was delighted to find
that this process made it more brilliant than many silks.

The threads that fasten the cocoon to the bush and those in the heart
of the cocoon are often used, together with the fiber from any cocoons
through which the worms have made their way out. This is real silk, of
course, but it is made of short fibers which cannot be wound. It is
carded and spun and made into fabric called "spun silk," which is used
extensively for the heavier classes of goods. Then, too, silks are
often "weighted"; that is, just before they are dyed, salts of iron or
tin are added. One pound of silk will absorb two or three pounds of
these chemicals, and will apparently be a heavy silk, while it is
really thin and poor. Moreover, this metallic weighting rubs against
the silk fiber and mysterious holes soon begin to appear. A wise "dry
cleaner" will have nothing to do with such silks, lest he should be
held responsible for these holes. It is this weighting which produces
the peculiar rustle of taffeta; and if women would be satisfied with
a taffeta that was soft and thin, the manufacturers would gladly leave
out the salts of iron, and the silks would wear much better. Cotton
is seldom mixed with the silk warp thread; but it is used as "filling"
in a large class of goods with silk warp. The custom has arisen of
advertising such goods as "silk," which of course is not a fair
description of them. Advertisements sometimes give notice of amazing
sales of "Shantung pongee," which has been made in American looms and
is a very different article from the imported "wild silk" pongee.

With so many shams in the market, how is a woman to know what she is
buying and whether it will wear? There are a few simple tests that are
helpful. Ravel a piece of silk and examine the warp and woof. If they
are of nearly the same size, the silk is not so likely to split. See
how strong the thread is. Burn a thread. If it burns with a little
flame, it is cotton. If it curls up and smells like burning wool, it
is probably silk. Another test by fire is to burn a piece of the
goods. If it is silk, it will curl up; if it is heavily weighted, it
will keep its shape. If you boil a sample in caustic potash, all the
silk in it will dissolve, but the cotton will remain. If the whole
sample disappears, you may be sure that it was all silk. Soft, finely
woven silks are safest because they will not hold so much weighting.
Crêpe de chine is made of a hard twisted thread and therefore wears
well. Taffeta can carry a large amount of weighting, and is always
doubtful; it may wear well, and it may not. There is always a reason
for a bargain sale of silks. The store may wish to clear out a
collection of remnants or to get rid of a line of goods which are no
longer to be carried; but aside from this, there is usually some
defect in the goods themselves or else they have failed to please the
fashionable whim of the moment. Silk is always silk, and if you want
it, you must pay for it.



Transcriber's Note

Some illustrations have been moved from their original locations
to paragraph breaks, so as to be nearer to their corresponding text,
or for ease of document navigation.





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