Citation
The wonders of home

Material Information

Title:
The wonders of home in eleven stories
Creator:
Grey
Grant and Griffith ( Publisher )
Levey, Robson, and Franklyn ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Grant and Griffith
Manufacturer:
Levey, Robson, and Franklyn
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
2d ed.
Physical Description:
164, <4> p., <8> leaves of plates : ill. ; 16 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Science -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Technology -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Hand-colored illustrations -- 1852 ( local )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852 ( rbbin )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1852 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre:
Hand-colored illustrations ( local )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) ( rbbin )
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Baldwin Library c. 2 has hand-colored illustations.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding:
Brittle Books Program
Statement of Responsibility:
by Grandfather Grey ; eight illustrations.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026795501 ( ALEPH )
15344183 ( OCLC )
ALH1219 ( NOTIS )

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THE

WONDERS OF HOME.










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THE TEA-PLANTATION.



THE

WONDERS OF HOME:
Su Eleven Stories.

By GRANDFATHER GREY.
SECOND EDITION.

With Ciqht Mlustrations.

LONDON:
GRANT AND GRIFFITH,

(sUCCESssoRs TO JOHN HARRIS,)

CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.



MDCCCLII.






PREFACE.

—

I HAVE attempted in the following pages, with
what success it is not for me to determine, to tell
children about the Wonders of Science with which
they are surrounded. My belief is, that it is wise
to cultivate a wholesome spirit of inquiry in the
minds of the young-—to lead them to seek know-
ledge—rather than to drag them to their lessons ;
and I hope that my stories of common household
objects may be the means of directing the minds of
many young people to the consideration of the toil
and ingenuity, at the cost of which they enjoy so
many comforts in their modern home. Such studies,
prosecuted in a spirit of gratitude, must be power-



vi PREFACE.

ful for good. Indeed, home might be made to the
poetic minds of children a second fairy-land, if the
marvels of ingenuity and industry with which it
abounds, were laid bare to them. In the tea, coffee,
and sugar; the rice and flour; the chairs and
tables; the lamps and glasses; their frocks and
shoes,—children might be taught to read not only
interesting histories but powerful sermons, incul-
cating strength of will, diligence, and goodness.
Richter says well that “a good action, a noble
sacrifice, a galling wrong, are fit building-sites for
a child’s church.” In this belief I send forth my
stories. I trust that they may have the effect I
anticipate from them, and I ask no better success.

GRANDFATHER GREY.



CONTENTS.

Tue Srory or 4 Cup or Tra

Tue Srory or 4 Prece or Sugar
_ Tue Srory or 4 Mink-Juae

Tae Story or a Lump oF Coar .
Tue Story or some Hot Water
Tue Srory or 4 Pin .

Tue Story or JENNy’s Saso

Tue Story or Harry’s JACKET .
“Tue Srory or A TUMBLER .

Tue Srory or a Knire

Tue Srory or ras Boox

PaGE

27
45
53
67
81
98

. 118
. 127
. 137
. 147






THE

WONDERS OF HOME

THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA.

“‘ Our household dwells amidst ten thousand hills,
Where the tea, north and south of the village, abundantly grows;
From Chinshe to Kuhyii, unceasingly hurried,
Every morning I must early rise to do my task of tea.”
Chinese Ballad on Picking Tea.

THE story of the tea which is now being scalded
in the tea-pot is one with which few young readers,
and not many old ones, are acquainted. Most people
know that tea comes from China, but here the
general knowledge on the subject ends. Few peo-
ple in England, or indeed in Europe, are intimate
with the various processes which this fragrant leaf
undergoes before our merchant-ships convey it to
B



2 THE WONDERS OF HOME:

our docks, and thence to our tea-caddies. The im-
mense consumption of tea in this country—estimated
lately at fifty-eight millions of pounds yearly—
makes it imperative upon us all to know something
ofits manufacture, that we may be enabled to guard
ourselves and our friends against adulterations of
a character injurious to the constitution. This re-
mark applies more particularly to young people,
since they have a long earthly future to look for-
ward to; whereas old men like myself have, in all
human probability, but a short span of life to mea-
sure. Therefore, let me impress upon my young
readers the responsibility of their position; let me
beseech them to bear in mind that their duty to
their friends, and to those who in years to come will
depend upon them, as they now depend upon their
friends, for guidance and subsistence, should urge
them to garner up industriously all the knowledge
which they are enabled to obtain in the days of their
youth. Let them strive with all their might to
benefit by the instruction of their teachers. Let



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA, 3

them walk abroad with an inquiring spirit: let
their thirst for knowledge never be quenched. By
knowledge I do not mean only the information to
be gathered from their school-books, but also a fami-
liarity with the history of every thing about them.
I always indulge my grandchildren in this inquisi-
tiveness; and the attention with which they listen
to my stories, and the interest they always take in
them, induce me, at their earnest request, to print my
histories for the benefit of their schoolfellows and
the juvenile public. The first long story which I
told them was that ofa Cup of Tea. It was a frosty
night—the wind was howling without: we had
closed the shutters—the fire blazed upon the hearth,
the children’s mamma was making some delightful
hot tea, and the youngest of the family was scorch-
ing himself making toast, to his infinite delight,
when I began my story, which ran, to the best of
my recollection, as follows :—



4 , THE WONDERS OF HOME.

THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA.

The story of the tea which your mother has just
scalded in the tea-pot, is one, as I said before,
with which few people living beyond the frontiers of
China are familiar. Considerable obscurity envelopes
the ancient history of tea. It is supposed by some,
and, I think, with reason, to be the malabathrum of
the ancient Greeks, though Chinese accounts place
the discovery of the useful and delightful properties
of tea as far back as A.D. 315, and assert also that
it did not come into general use before the period
of the Tang dynasty, that is to say about the be-
ginning of the seventh century. The description
given of malabathrum by the author of the Periplus
favours the idea that it was the leaf of the tea-plant
prepared in a rude manner; -and if this be so, the
native country of the tea-plant is the romantic re-
gion of Assam and Yunnan, where it has recently
been found growing in a wild state.



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 5

When tea first became in general use among the
Chinese, they called it tu ; but their modern name
for it is cha. The English w.rd ‘tea’ is a corruption
of the Fuhkien dialect. The Fuhkien people, from
whom the plant was first obtained by Europeans,
pronounced it tay: the French version (thé) of the
word is therefore more correct than the English.
Botanists call tea, Thea ; and it is classed by scien-
tific men, and by the Chinese themselves, with the
Camellia. In China, the tea-plant varies in height
from three to six or seven feet. It usually presents a
dense mass of foliage on an infinite number of small
thin twigs, such as you will often find mixed with
the tea, if you examine it in the caddy. In Assam,
where, as I have already told you, it may be found
wild, it often grows to the height of thirty feet.
The twigs of the plant are carefully pruned, to
increase the quantity of leaves, and develope the
branches laterally, so that the shrubs are usually
of great circumference in comparison to their height.
The leaf in its natural state is of a dark-green



6 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

colour, and ofan oval shape. The flowers of the tea-
tree grow singly, and are white arid without scent.
The seeds of the tea-tree very much resemble hazel-
nuts, their kernels being enclosed in a hard husk,
and so oily as to decay soon after ripening. The
oil extracted from these seeds, though acrid and
bitter, is useful to the Chinese for various purposes.
The leaves are first gathered from the plant when
it is about three years old; though it is not full-
grown before it is six or eight years old. The
tea-plant is grown throughout the entire kingdom
of China. The demand for tea has become so great,
that the cultivation of cotton has been partially
abandoned in order to meet the demand for the fra-
grant leaves of the Bohea hills, Fuhkien, Chehkiang’,
and Kiangsu. Every cultivator of the soil in China,
be his land extensive or limited in extent to a mere
garden, cultivates a few dozen shrubs, and either
cures the leaves himself, or plucks them to sell to
his richer neighbour. Indeed, the cultivation of the
tea-plant is almost exclusively in the hands of small



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 7

cultivators. In China there are few extensive land-
owners; but each little farmer raises carefully his
proportionate crops of cotton, silk, rice, and tea, on
his own ground.

The seeds of the tea-shrubs are thickly planted
in nursery-beds. They are sown thickly, because
from their oily and acrid nature, as I have already
told you, many of them fail. When the nurslings
are a foot or more high, they are transplanted into
rows about four feet apart. A rich sandy earth
with a fair proportion of vegetable mould in it,
and in an elevated situation, is generally chosen for
the propagation of the tea-plant. It is also neces-
sary that the soil be plentifully watered. A loamy
soil, with a sandy, loose covering, generally produces
an abundant crop of leaves; and in the Ankoi-hill
plantations in the Fuhkien province, much of the
tea is coloured with the iron contained in the land.
No preparation of the ground is necessary, nor is
much care usually taken to preserve the shrubs in
a healthy state. The resultof this want of care is,



8 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

that in the neighbourhood of Canton particularly,
and in other parts of the empire, the tea-shrubs
are often covered with lichens, and sometimes bored
and destroyed by worms. The Chinese might, in
this matter, call to mind their excellent proverb, that
“ trouble neglected becomes still more troublesome.”
You must not, however, fall into the vulgar error of
supposing that this pig-tailed race, so jeered at by
ignorant persons, are the idle, barbarous, and ridicu-
lous people they are commonly represented to be.
I should indeed be sorry to hear my grandchildren
join in this ignorant outcry against a great and in-
dustrious people. I do not mention the carelessness
_ of the Canton tea-growers for the purpose of preju-
dicing you against Chinamen generally; on the
contrary, I am rather anxious to impress your
minds with the gigantic results of their untiring
industry. Not only have these people rendered
every available piece of land in their country use-
ful to the general good of the community, but they
have terraced their native hills almost to their sum-.



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 9

mits, and propagated cotton, tea, and rice, hundreds
of feet above the level of the sea. They practise
upon a vast scale all the rural and manufacturing
arts, and maintain in perfect internal harmony a
community which may be moderately computed at
about three hundred millions-of souls.

Their customs may at first appear ridiculous in
the eyes of foreigners ; nor is this to be wondered
at. The fundamental principle of their government
is self-dependence. The stupendous fabric they have
raised, their perfect internal harmony, and the pro-
gress of their arts and literature, are evidence of
the wisdom of their rulers. To a Chinaman, or to
a tsin jin, as they love to call themselves, China is
the world. Beyond the boundaries of their empire
is to them a void; and the general belief to this
day among the masses of the Chinese people is that
their country is Tien Hia, meaning Beneath the
Sky, and denoting the World. The common name
for their country in the present time is Chung
Kwoh, or Middle Kingdom, a name given to it



10 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

from an idea that it is centred in the middle of
the earth. These things certainly denote the igno-
rance of the people respecting their geographical
position; but they also account fully for the singu-
larity of their manners. Unaccustomed to mix
with foreigners, or even to admit them to the mys-
teries of their social customs, they have lived alto-
gether isolated from the great family of man, and
have, consequently, contracted habits and customs
differing essentially from those of other nations.
Let me, children, guard you from indulging in
ignorant raillery against a people to whose wisdom
the world owes the inventions of the compass, por-
celain, gunpowder, and printing.

Well, to return to the tea-plant : as I have told
you, when the tea-shrub is about three years old,
the Chinaman gathers his first crop of leaves from
it. Three crops of leaves are gathered from full-
grown shrubs during the season. The first picking
takes place about the middle of April, or whenever
the tender leaf-buds begin to open, and while the



THE STORY OF A-CUP OF TEA. 11

leaves retain their youthful down. These young
leaves produce the finest tea; and the down that
remains upon them has given rise to the erroneous
notion that they are the petals of the tea-flower.
The second gathering is made in the early days of
May, when the shrubs, if the weather have been
propitious, are densely covered with full-sized leaves.
The Chinese pay particular attention to the state of
the weather, as they believe that excessive dews, or
the entire absence of moisture, mildews or withers
the leaves, thereby affecting the quality and quan-
tity of the crop. The average annual produce of a
single full-sized plant is said to be from eighteen
to twenty-four ounces; and it is estimated that a .
thousand square yards of land devoted to tea-shrubs
generally contains between three hundred and four
hundred plants. The Chinese are very particular
as to the locality where their tea has been grown.
They have a decided preference for the produce of
the Bohea hills; and pretend to discriminate be-
tween the leaves of adjoining plantations. The



12 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

produce of esteemed nurseries is collected with the
most scrupulous care; and it is affirmed, on the
authority of native dealers, that the price of these
particular lots varies from 41. to 251. per pound.

The leaves are collected by handfuls. They are
stripped off the twigs with the utmost rapidity ; and
men, women, and children are indiscriminately em-
ployed to do this labour. Hach picker has a basket
slung round his neck, in which he conveys the leaves
he has plucked to the curing-house. One person
can, on an average, pick from twelve to fifteen
pounds of leaves in a day, for which labour the
wages are about sixpence. The third crop of leaves
is cu lected about the middle of July; and there is
also a fourth gleaning in August, called tsin lu, or
“ autumn dew,” from the name of the season in
which it takes place; the three previous crops are
called respectively first, second, and third springs.
The two last crops yield very inferior leaves, which
are seldom exported, but are probably reserved for
the use of the poorer Chinese.



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 13

Now, though it is reasonable to believe that the
tea-plant puts forth more healthy, and therefore
more valuable foliage in favourable situations, than
when planted in an unfavourable soil, or exposed
to the inclemencies of the weather, yet it appears
to me that the delicacy of the leaf and its flavour
depend to a great extent on the care bestowed
upon it after it is picked. Chinese authorities, in
fact, declare that the mode of curing the leaf has
as much to do with the delicacy and richness of
its flavour, as its age, or the nature of the soil
from which it has been nourished. A few of them
go so far as to assert that some sorts of tea are
quite changed from their original flavour by the .
curative processes to which they are subjected.
You will not fail to observe, children, that as the
leaf grows old, its flavour increases in strength and
loses in delicacy. Your mother will tell you that
the flavour of Pecco and other fine kinds of tea
is more delicate than that of Souchong and Congo.
Well, the cause of the superior qualities of Pecco



14 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

is its extreme youth. Pecco and all the fine kinds
of tea are produced from the leaf-buds of the tea-
plant; while Souchong and Congo are the full-
blown, mature leaf of the plant. No tea-grower
would cure the delicate leaf-buds of the tea-plant
on the hot-pans where the coarser, because older
leaves had been roasted.

After the leaves have been gathered and housed,
they are carefully assorted, and the yellow and
decayed ones thrown aside. The sound leaves are
then thinly spread upon bamboo trays and placed
in the wind upon frames, where they are left until
the leaves begin to soften; then, while lymg upon
the tray, they are gently rolled and rubbed until
red spots begin to appear, when they are tested. by
pouring hot water upon them. If the hot water
turn the colour of the edges of the leaves to a
pale yellowish tint, the leaves are considered to be
ready for firing. The process of working or rolling
is tedious and laborious ; so much so that the Chinese
call the tea so treated kungfu cha, or worked tea.



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA, 15

Congo is a corruption of kungfu cha. You may
then remember that Congo tea means rolled or
worked tea. The leaves having been properly rolled
and tested, are next subjected to the action of heat.
The iron pan having been previously heated, the
workman takes a handful of leaves and sprinkles
them carefully and thinly upon it, and waits till
each leaf has popped, when he dexterously brushes
them off into a basket, before they have had time
to become charred. The pans are the iron boilers
used. in cooking, set in mason-work in an inclined
position and at a convenient height; three or four
are put into the same form, and heated by means
of a flue passing lengthwise under the whole. The
testing and rolling, which I have described to you,
is dispensed with in the curing of very common
tea; and the fresh leaves are at once thrown upon
the hot pans, and then turned over and kept in
motion by a workman before each pan, while ano-
ther carefully attends to the fire.

The mouth of the man who is watching the



16 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

leaves is careful'y covered: this precaution is ne-
cessary to keep out the hot dust which rises in
clouds from the leaves. During the first firmg an
acrid greenish juice is forced out, and is partially
evaporated, or given off in the form of vapour ; but
as it is pressed out on the bamboo tables by the
workmen, it affects and irritates their hands. Four
or five minutes’ heating is sufficient for the first
firing.

When the leaves have undergone this first firing,
they are thrown upon tables made of split bamboos
laid alongside each other with their round sides
up. The workmen take a handful of the hot
leaves in their hands, and roll and knead them
upon the table, in order to drive the oily green
juice completely out. This juice is allowed to
run through the interstices of the table on the
ground.

When the leaves have been thus rolled and
kneaded, they are shaken out loosely upon basket,
trays, and exposed to the air to complete the dry-



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 17

ing; the object being to dry them gradually, that
they may not lose their brittleness, nor become too
crisp under the scorching rays of the summer sun.
When satisfactorily dried in this manner, the leaves
are thrown in large quantities into the pans to under-
goa second firing. This time the pans are heated
in a less degree than before; and the leaves are
thrown about constantly to prevent scorching. If
well rolled previously, this operation tends to make
the leaves shrivel and twist; and as they grow
hotter they are stirred with a brush, and tossed
about till they are completely dried. This second
firing is generally of an hour’s duration. The leaves
are sometimes placed in trays over a charcoal fire
covered with ashes, after exposure to the air, and
left for two or three hours. This process makes
them of a darker colour than when rapidly fired
in the pans.

These processes, however, are occasionally varied
For instance, after the leaves have undergone the
first firg, rolling, and drying in the air, they are

Cc



18 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

sometimes scattered upon a fine sieve and placed
over a charcoal fire covered with ashes, to prevent
the smoke from reaching the leaves. They are
then removed to a coarser sieve, and the fine and
coarse leaves are in this way partially separated
before they are packed for market. This mode of
drying gives the leaves a greenish hue, varying
in degree according to the length of time they are
exposed to the air and fire. The common sorts of
black tea are left in the sun a much longer time
than the finer teas are allowed to remain. Thus
common black tea is exposed to the air sometimes
as long as two days, until a partial decomposition
has begun from the effects of the heating and roll-
ing. When intended for exportation, this tea is
thrown a second time into the roasting-pans, and
rolled about till it is partially charred, to prevent
the possibility of its turning mouldy in the course
of its voyages.

I have described to you the common mode of
curing tea; but I must not omit to tell you that



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 19

the Chinese adopt many means to give peculiar
flavours to particular leaves. Thus, the fine leaves
of Hungumey are placed under cover till they al-
most begin to ferment, and then are exposed to
the sun before the first roasting. The round fillets
of gunpowder tea are rolled singly, while damp,
into compact balls. Scented tea is manufactured
by placing fresh flowers of the Olea, Aglaia, and
other odoriferous plants, in a basket under that in
which the fine tea is placed over the fire, for the
last drying, and then stirring them a little with-
out mixing the two. It is necessary to pack the
tea which is scented in this manner directly it is
cured, or it will lose its peculiar flavour. Only
the finer sorts of tea are thus treated; but Chinese
exquisites are extremely particular as to the kinds
of flowers used, and the degree of flavour imparted.
In fact, a Chinaman is as particular about the
quality of his tea as an Englishman is about the
age and beeswing of his port. Many people in
England affirm to this day that black and green



20 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

teas are made from different plants ;—that the shrub
from which green tea is plucked differs from that
whence black tea is gathered. Now this is un-
doubtedly a gross error. The Chinese, who are the
tea-growers, attribute the difference in the colour
of their teas to the mode of preparation. Green
tea is stronger and lighter than black tea for this
simple reason, that it is less worked and less roasted,
and therefore preserves more of its native oil,
strength, and colour, than black tea, which is al-
most charred for exportation. We might as well
hold that a baked potato and a boiled potato could
not possibly come from the same root, since the
baked potato was a dark brown, and the boiled
potato but the palest yellow. Green tea is made
by simply drying young leaves over a gentle heat,
and old ones over a hot fire, for about half an
hour. By this mode, it stands to reason, that
more essential oil will remain in the leaf than if
it were rolled, and roasted a second time.

All kinds of tea are repeatedly tested during



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 21

the various stages of manufacture, by pouring boil-
ing water upon a few leaves, in order to observe
the colour, aroma, taste, and other desirable quali-
ties of the infusion. As many—such is the origi-
nal strength of the leaf—as fifteen drawings can
be made from the best leaves before the infusion
produced. becomes limpid.

Chinese writers on tea are unanimous in direct-
ing the amateur to observe ten things in his choice
of green tea. They insist particularly that the leaf
must be green, firmly rolled, and pulpy; that there
must be no broken leaves or dirty twigs; that the
infusion should be greenish, oily, and send forth a
delicate aroma; that the weight of the parcels, the
taste and hue of the dry leaf, and its smell when
strongly breathed upon, should be carefully at-
tended to. Merchants are in the habit of testing
Ankoi teas with a loadstone; especially since the
rumour has gained ground that the effects some-
times felt upon the nerves after drinking green tea,
are owing to its being cured upon copper. This



92 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

notion is, however, in all probability, an erroneous
one. The injurious effect of green tea is, in my
opinion, to be attributed in part to the greater pro-
portion of oil remaining in the green tea; but far
more to the injurious nature of the substances used
to impart an artificial and uniform colour to it, in
order to make the lots present a marketable appear-
ance. You must understand, children, that the
operations of firing and rolling give various shades
to the leaves in proportion as they come more or
less in contact with the iron, or are exposed to the
sun; and it is the object of the manufacturer—with
the view of disposing of his property at a high price
—to render these tints uniform. Well, he does not
scruple to add to his means at the risk of his fel-
low-creatures’ health ; so when the leaves are in the
pans the second time, he causes them to be drugged,
first with turmeric powder, to give them a yellow
tint, and next with a mixture of gypsum and Prus-
sian blue, or gypsum and indigo firmly combined,.
which mixture imparts the desired bloom to the



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 23

yellow leaves. This imposition cannot be too se-
verely condemned. It appears that at Canton,
when there was an unexpected demand for some
particular descriptions of green tea, it was ascer-
tained that even black tea was coloured to simulate
the required article.

The names given to the various sorts of tea are
for the most part derived either from the place of
their growth, or from their peculiar property or
appearance. Thus, Bohea is the name of the place
where this tea is grown, and not a term for a par-
ticular sort among the Chinese; Sunglo is also a
general term for the green teas which come from
the hills of Kiangsu. Considering the great labour
of preparing tea, and the distance it has to travel
from the provinces to the capital of China (often a
thousand miles), it is surprising to find that good
tea may be had at Canton for about one shilling
per pound. The tea that is packed on the Bohea
hills, or in the fertile regions of Kiangsu, is seldom
disturbed till it is unpacked from those quaint,



24 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

rudely-painted cases, in which the Chinese dispose
of it, in New South Wales or in the Highlands of
Scotland. I believe that the manufacture of the
tea-cases you see in the windows of grocers’ shops
furnishes employment to thousands of poor China-
men at Canton. Very poor people in China, who
cannot afford to indulge in the national drink, sub-
stitute for it an infusion of the dried leaves of a
species of Rhamnus or Fallopia. The refuse of the
packing-houses is sold to the poor at a low rate,
under the names of “ tea-endings” and “ tea-bones;”
and if a few of the rarest sorts do not travel beyond
the boundaries of the Chinese Empire, but are mo-
nopolised by his Celestial Majesty, and his bald
mandarins and clump-footed ladies, neither are we
called upon to consume the poorest products of the
tea-plantations. You have listened so attentively
to the story of my cup of tea, that if your mother
has any left in the teapot, you shall all taste its
good qualities for yourselves. I know you are all
longing for your mother’s assent. Well, if she pro-



THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 25

mises to give you a treat for to-night, will you
think with equal indulgence of the people from
whom we derive this luxury?

You will promise me not to indulge in ignorant
laughter at the expense of this great and original
nation. Recollect this, that to them our customs
are as absurd and unaccountable as theirs are to
us. You laugh at their pigtails: well, depend
upon it, they, that is to say the ignorant and
thoughtless portion of them, would grin delightedly
at your abundant crop of hair. To them, my child-
ren, you would all be little unaccountable mon-
strosities: recollect this, and learn never to laugh
in ignorance.

See, the tea is made for you: drink it, and try
to remember how much labour and anxiety have
been gone through to fill those little cups.



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THE SUGAR-PLANTATION.



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR.

You will all be glad to hear the story of a Piece of
Sugar. You are too fond of the result to be in-
different as to the means employed to attain it.
The sugar which is used for domestic purposes in
England, and indeed throughout the world—except
perhaps in France —is, as I need scarcely tell you,
a sweet crystallised substance, extracted in a liquid
state from the sugar-cane, of which there are seve-
ral species. But sugar is also obtained, though in
smaller quantities, from beet-root. The French make
more beet-root sugar than any other nation. Sugar
may be obtained from many vegetable substances ;
in fact, i smaller or larger quantities, from almost
any species of the vegetable kingdom. The sap of
the maple, sycamore, and birch, for instance, con-
tains a large proportion of saccharine, or sweet





THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 20

grapes; but with little success. The sugar that
has been pressed from grapes has always been
found coarse, and much inferior to cane sugar in
every respect.

The oldest description in existence of the pro-
cess of extracting sugar from the cane, gives an
account of “sweet honied reeds” called Zucra,
which were found in great quantity about the
meadows of Tripoli by the Crusaders, about the
year 1108. These reeds were sucked by the Cru-
saders’ army, who were greatly pleased with their
sweet taste.

Most authorities on the subject agree in attri-
buting the first cultivation and manufacture of the
sugar-cane and sugar to the Arabs; and it is also
generally believed that sugar first came into exten-
sive use about the beginning of the eleventh cen-
tury. There are many conflicting statements made
by writers of various nations as regards the coun-
tries which may claim the sugar-cane as an indige-
nous or native plant; but, wherever the sugar-cane



80 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

may have been indigenous, there is no reason to
doubt the fact that the manufacture of sugar, de-
rived first from China or India, was introduced into
the western world by the Spanish and Portuguese.
The Venetians were the first Europeans who re-
fined sugar. The height to which the sugar-canes
usually grow, their colour, and the length of their
joints, vary, as you may well imagine, with the
character of the soil from which they derive their
nourishment, as well as with different species, and
the mode of culture to which they may have been
subjected. But I think I may safely tell you that
they vary in height from eight to twenty feet, and
are divided by short bulging joints at regular in-
tervals. Long narrow leaves sprout from each
joint, but as the canes become full-grown, the
leaves from the lower joimts wither and fall off.
The outer part of the cane is hard and brittle, as
many a schoolboy too well knows; but the inner
part consists of a soft pith which contains the sweet
juice. The juice in each joint has no connexion



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 3l

whatever with the juice in the joint immediately
above or below it. The canes are usually propa-
gated by cuttings or slips, consisting of the top of
the cane, with two or three of the upper joints, the
leaves being carefully plucked off. These slips are
planted in holes dug by hand, or in trenches made
by a plough, about eight to twelve inches deep,
the earth being banked up upon the margin and
well manured. The distance between the holes or
trenches must be such as to afford free access to a
current of air between the rows and plants, as well
as to allow room for the planters to weed the
ground between the canes. The planters generally
allow about four feet between the rows, and two
feet between the plants. Of course there are many
methods adopted by the sugar-planters of various
countries ; but in our own West Indian possessions,
where sugar is most extensively cultivated, the mode
of planting is generally as follows: two or more
slips are laid longitudinally or lengthways at the
bottom of each pole, and covered with earth to the.



32 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

depth of about two inches. In about a fortnight
the sprouts begin to appear above ground, when
they are again covered with earth, to give them
additional strength. The time required for bring-
ing the canes to perfection is usually about eight
months. In the British West Indies the slips are
generally planted from August to November; and
the canes are there cut about March or April. The
ripeness of the cane is known to the planter by the
outer part of it becoming dry, hard, and smooth ;
by the weight of the cane; by the greyness or
brownness of the pith, and the sweetness and thick-
ness of the sap or juice. The canes which grow
immediately from the slips are called plant-canes
by the planters; and the second crop of canes
reared in successive years from the slips are known
as rattoons. The plant-canes, however, are more
vigorous than the rattoons ; but the rattoons yield
juice which gives less trouble in clarifying and con-
centrating than that of the plant-canes. Some
planters have raised twenty annual crops of rat-



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 33

toons from one set of slips. The canes are cut as
near the ground as possible, because the richest
juice is found in the lower joints. One or two of
the top joints of the cane are cut off, and the re-
mainder is divided into pieces of about a yard in
length, tied into bundles, and at once conveyed to
the mill.

The operation of cutting the canes is so arranged
as to keep pace with the crushing-mill which presses
the juice out, so that the canes may be crushed or
ground while quite fresh. In the East Indies very
rude and imperfect crushing-mills are used; some
of them resembling mortars, made of the lower and
thicker parts of the trunks of trees, in which the
canes are crushed by the revolving and pressing
motion of a pestle, which rests in a slanting posi-
tion against the side of the mortar, and is moved
by oxen yoked to a bar attached to it. The juice,
as it is squeezed out, runs off through a hole in the
bottom of the mortar, and, running along a spout,
falls into another vessel placed to receive it. The

D



84 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

planters who use this rude mill are obliged to cut
their canes into very small pieces to make it ef-
fective.

The common cane-mills of the West Indies con-
sist of three rollers, mostly of wood, with narrow
bars of iron bound to their surface, so as to form,
by the spaces left between them, grooves extending
from end to end of the rollers. These rollers are
placed side by side in a strong frame, with contriv-
ances for varying, in a slight degree, their distances
from each other. The moving power is applied to
the middle roller, and communicated from it to the
others by the action of cogged wheels. Steam has
lately been introduced to the West Indies as the
moving power for the working of the sugar crush-
ing-mills, and with great success. When the mills
are in action, a negro applies the canes in a regular
layer or sheet to the interval between the first and
second rollers, which seize and squeeze them vio-
lently as they pass between them. ‘The ends of the
canes are then turned, either by a negro on the op-



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 35

posite side to the feeder, or by an ingenious frame-
work of wood, called a dumb-returner, so that they
may pass back again between the second and third
rollers. As these are placed nearer together than
the first and second, they squeeze the canes still
more; so that on coming out from this second press-
ing, they are reduced to dry splinters, which the
planters very appropriately call cane-trash, and are
used as fuel in heating the vessels for evaporating
the juice. Channels are placed under the rollers to
receive the juice as it is squeezed from the canes,
which conduct it to the vessels in which it is to
undergo succeeding operations. The mill I have
described to you is a very defective machine, since
it is impossible to supply the canes to the rollers
in so regular a layer as to prevent them crossing
each other. They become, therefore, broken, so
that the liquor is made foul, and the rollers are
exposed to irregular and destructive wear. You
must have often noticed pieces of cane mixed up
with the brown sugar; well, these pieces are the



36 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

result of the imperfect rolling of the sugar-canes.
But these rude mills will soon disappear before the
progress of science. Steam will make its way in
the West Indies, as it has already here; and then
let us hope that all nations will see the extrava-
gance, if not the disgrace, of manufacturing sugar
by the labour of slaves.

Cane-juice, as it comes from the crushing-mill,
is a thick, dull grey-green, sweet and balmy fluid.
It contains, when in this unmanufactured state,
particles of solid matter from the cane, which are
afterwards separated from it by filtration. Directly
this cane-juice runs from the crushing-mill, the pro-
cess of clarifying is commenced. The juice, as you
will recollect, is conducted by gutters from the crush-
ing-mill to a large flat-bottomed copper or pan,
called a clarifier, which is usually large enough to
contain from three to five thousand gallons. Un-
derneath this clarifier there is a fire; and when the
pan is full of cane-juice a little lime is mixed with
it, and the fluid is allowed to get hot, but not to



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 37

boil. The effect of the lime upon the cane-juice is
to make the solid portions of the cane-juice stick
together and rise to the surface in the shape of
scum. When the proper heat has been given to
the juice, the scum rises in blisters and breaks, which
is the sign for the attendant to close what is called
the damper, an apparatus made to extinguish the
fire rapidly. After an hour’s repose, the liquor is
ready for removal to the first of the evaporating
pans. It is drawn off by a cock in such a manner
as not to disturb the scum, which will remain be-
hind unbroken, and is, of course, removed from the
clarifier before another charge of cane-juice is put
into it. The clarified juice is bright, clear, and of
a pale colour.

From the clarifier the liquid is conveyed to the
largest of a series of evaporating pans, three or
more in number, in which it is reduced in bulk by
boiling, as you all know water is when boiled in
the kettle. The largest of these pans is sufficiently
capacious to hold the contents of the clarifier; but



38 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the others may become gradually smaller on ac-
count of the diminished bulk of the liquor by evapo-
ration—that is to say, by going off into vapour, as
it is removed into each of them in succession. These
evaporators are placed over a long flue, heated by a
fire of the cane-trash, or crushed and sapless cane,
at one end of which the teache, or smallest, and
consequently the last pan into which the cane-juice
is put, is placed. In the long process of successive
boilings, impurities which have escaped with the
liquor from the clarifier are thrown up in the form
of scum, which is carefully removed. If, during
the evaporation, it be perceived that the liquor is
not sufficiently clear, some lime-water is added to it,
for the same purpose as the temper or lime was ap-
plied to the cane-juice when in the clarifier, namely,
to make the solid particles adhere together and rise
in a mass to the surface. In the least and smallest
of the evaporating pans, called the teache, the liquor
is finally boiled down to a thick consistency—to
such a consistency as to admit of its being drawn



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 39

out like india-rubber to a considerable length with-
out breaking. To know when the liquor or syrup
is sufficiently thick and adhesive, a drop is taken
from the teache between the thumb and forefingers,
and drawn out till it snaps asunder. When it has
done so, the portion suspended from the finger
shrinks up, so as to remain at a greater or less
length, according to the degree to which the syrup
has been evaporated. When it is in the proper
state for withdrawal from the teache, the thread on
the finger should be from half an inch to a quarter
of an inch long. This is a most imperfect test.
Some planters try the state of the syrup by observ-
ing the change it will undergo on the back of a
ladle dipped in the teache. When the syrup is
reduced in the teache to the satisfaction of the
planter, it is put into coolers, where it remains to
cool and crystallise.

When the sugar is taken from the coolers, it is
brought to the state of a soft mass of crystals, im-
bedded in molasses, or treacle, which you children



40 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

will most likely think very delicious, but which peo-
ple generally consider to be very coarse and unfit
for use. The separation of this fluid, called mo-
lasses, or treacle, from the crystals, is the next pro-
cess, and is performed in a building called the
curing-house. This is an extensive building, the
floor of which is hollowed out to form a reservoir
for the molasses, which is carefully lined with ce-
ment or lead. Over this reservoir is an open fram-
ing of joists, upon which stand a number of empty
casks, called potting-casks. Tach of these has eight
or ten holes bored through the lower end, and in
each hole is placed the stalk of a plantain- leaf
which is long enough to descend a few inches be-
low the level of the joists, and to rise above the top
of the cask. The soft sugar, as it is taken from the
coolers, is removed into these casks, from which the
molasses gradually drains through the plantain-stalk
and falls into the reservoir below, leaving only the
crystallised sugar in the casks. With sugar of
average quality, three or four weeks are sufficient



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 4l

for this purpose. When it leaves the curing-house,
the sugar is packed in hogsheads or large barrels
for shipment, as raw, brown, or muscovado sugar ;
and in this state it is commonly brought to us from
our West Indian colonies. As by the process of
curing, which I have just described to you, the mo-
lasses is generally but partially separated from the
crystallised sugar, it follows that the remaining mo-
lasses will drain through the hogshead while on
board the ship; and so large is this drain after
shipment, that it is said, on good authority, that
one-twelfth part of the raw sugar is drained from
the hogsheads before they reach Europe. When
the raw sugar arrives in England it undergoes the
process of refining; that is to say, the process pur-
sued in the colonies is repeated with greater skill
and care, making the sugar, at last, that highly
crystallised white substance of which you all are
very fond, and for a lump of which you beg very
frequently.

Sugar-candy is the only kind of highly refined



42 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

sugar made in China and India. The Chinese ex-
port sugar-candy in very large quantities: they
have two sorts of candy, one which they call Chin-
chew, and another known as Canton; the former
being the produce of the province of Fokien, and
the latter of that of Canton. Of these, the Chin-
chew is by far the best. Sugar-candy is mostly
used by Europeans resident in the East. Candy
is a sugar which, after being refined, is suffered
to crystallise slowly upon strings or twigs.

I have described to you the processes which the
saccharine or sweet juice undergoes after it is
pressed from the cane, in order to make it avail-
able for our use; but I have not yet directed your
attention to the poor slaves at the cost of whose
unrewarded labour we, for a long time, enjoyed an
article which enters so largely into household con-
sumption among us. My dear children, your young
hearts would, I hope, be melted in pity were I to
describe to you these poor black creatures in the
misery and degradation to which their wicked and



THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 43

cruel owners have reduced them. Slaves are not
employed in any of our English colonies now ; but
human flesh and muscle are still bought and sold
in the Southern States of America. You should
be proud to know that every foot that presses an
English shore is that of a freeman: that a slave
cannot exist within the dominions of your Queen.
But this blessing is not universal. Slaves—amillions
of slaves—are still bartered for, and sold, and beaten
and worked to death, without reward, in many
foreign countries. England has spent many millions
of money and many valuable lives in a war against
these inhuman dealers in human flesh and blood,
and I trust that you will live to see the day when,
throughout the world, there shall not be a man
branded as the property of his fellow.



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THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG.



45

THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG.

THE potter’s art is of very ancient origin, for it was
known in Egypt, China, and Japan, at a very re-
mote date. Porcelain ornaments have been found
on mummies three thousand years old; and the
British Museum contains specimens of Egyptian
jars, in good preservation, of undoubted antiquity :
indeed, the potter’s wheel is perhaps one of the
most ancient machines on record. Nor has the art
of adapting clay to the domestic purposes of man
been confined to the civilised nations; on the con-
trary, it has been practised by the rudest savages
on the face of the earth. Vases have been found
among the native Indians on the Musquito shore,
and on the banks of the Black River in North
America. Although all vessels made of earth may
be fairly called earthenware, I think you would be



46 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

corrected if you ventured to call the milk-jug so, as
the particular ingredients of which it is compounded
have clarified or cleared the clay, and converted it
into china or porcelain. Before the beginning of
the eighteenth century, English potteries produced
only coarse earthenware ; and we are indebted for
our porcelain articles to the ingenuity and industry
of the Chinese. But in the last century the art
made rapid strides in this country; and we are
mainly indebted to Mr. Wedgwood for the vast
improvements in our ware, which have made it cele-
brated throughout the world, and welcome in every
European market.

English China, as manufactured in Staffordshire,
is a composition made by the admixture of China
clay with ground bones and Cornish granite. Well,
these materials are mixed together with water, and
reduced to the consistence of cream, in which state
the potters call them “ slips, or slops.” I must tell
you that, before the ingredients are mixed together,
they are separately reduced to a fluid state in vats



THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG. 47

sunk in the ground, whence they are sifted through
fine silk lawns into other vessels, and then more
water is added, until a pint measure of clay slip
weighs twenty-four ounces, and a pint of granite
or flint-slip, thirty-two ounces; so that the potter
mixes accurately by measure, as he knows that
when a pint of clay-slip weighs twenty-four ounces,
and a pint of granite or flint-slip weighs thirty-two
ounces, that the proper quantities of clay, flint, or
granite, are contained in the water. The mixture
of the various materials is then made in a vat, and
the quantity of each material to be used is marked
by notches on a rod, which the workman dips into
the vat, while the slip-maker pours in the slips, until
each rises to its proper mark on the mixing-rod.
When the proper quantities have been poured into
the vat, the whole is thoroughly stirred and incor-
porated, and is then pumped up into a higher vessel,
from which it descends through a tap into a silk
sieve, which is kept in constant agitation while the
fluid is passing through it. This process is repeated



48 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

two or three times, not only thoroughly to remove
all impurities, but also to ensure the perfect mix-
ture of the various ingredients. This combined and
strained slip is then pumped on to a boiler called a
slip-hiln, the bottom of which is paved with large
flat fire-bricks, under which the heat of the fire
passes by means of four or five flues. The boiling
heat thus imparted to the slip generates steam, which
is, as you know, water given off in minute particles,
and so the quantity of water in the slip is gradually
reduced ; and the slip, of course, gets gradually
thicker, till it is about the consistence of paste, when
the fires are put out, and it is allowed to cool. The
next process is to beat the slip to make it closer
and firmer, so that when cut it is smooth and close
like putty. It is necessary for the potter to be
very careful that this process is well performed, for
if the slip be not thoroughly beaten, the ware made
from it will crack and peel off, and, in short, be
utterly useless. Having described the operations
performed in the slip-house, let us at once proceed



THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG. 49

to notice what remains to be done to our milk-jug.
It is now only a lump of dense white paste.

A woman, called a baller, takes up the lump,
and makes it of the proper size for the jug, and then
hands it to the thrower; he receives the clay as
he sits at the thrower’s wheel,—a revolving circular
table, which is put in motion by the baller,—and
draws it up into a pillar, then depresses it into a
flat cake. He then opens the hollow of the vessel
with his thumbs, and continues to draw out the
clay, or press it inwards, according to the shape of
the vessel. When a rough outline of the shape is
obtained, the vessel is removed from the table,
placed on a board, and carried into a store-room to
harden. When it is sufficiently hardened, it is
turned upon a lathe resembling that used by wood-
turners. The turner holds the vessel in his hand,
and dexterously shaves away the clay (which is
now about the consistency of soap,) to the proper
thickness, and cuts the mouldings, &c., polishing
the whole with a steel burnisher. The shavings of

E



50 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

clay which the turner cuts away, are carefully
returned to the slip-vats to be remixed. The
milk-jug is then passed to the handler, who hav-
ing made a handle in a plaster mould, sticks it to
the jug with liquid clay. Our jug is now passed
to a workman who has a number of flat figures,
flowers, and other ornaments in clay, which he
carefully fixes round the jug, according to the
drawing of the pattern, by wetting the under part
of them with a camel-hair pencil. These orna-
mental figures are made out of flat moulds by
children.

The jug being now properly shaped and orna-
mented, is placed on a board to dry. It is next
placed in the biscuit-oven, and made white-hot, its
shape being preserved by being imbedded in flint-
powder. The jug is then dipped into a glaze of
finely-ground felspar (a mineral which may be found
in any part of the world, and is the metallic part of
granite) mixed with a little alkali. I have already
explained to you what alkali is; I therefore hope



THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG. 51

that it is not necessary for me to repeat the ex-
planation. It is then submitted to a second fire
of a moderate degree of heat, which not only
melts the glaze on the surface, but unites with
the entire body of the substance, and so hardens
it, and makes it semi-transparent. The jug is then
cooled.

Our milk-jug is now ready for use. We have
watched it through the many phases of its manu-
facture; we have seen how the skill and ingenuity
of the potter have blended the earths of his country
together, and fashioned from the rudest materials
this polished, elegant, and enduring vessel. Well,
we cannot too often repeat to ourselves that the
comforts of our home are the results of many
centuries of thought and toil; that the luxuries we
so often enjoy without a thought of their source,
are the witnesses of our fellow-creatures’ labour.

If we would look about our household in this
spirit, always thankfully owning our manifold debts
to the labour of bygone generations as well as of



§2 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the present generation, at least we should bear in
mind and seek to do away with the misery in which
our poorer brethren slave for us. So ends my Story
of a Milk-Jug.



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THE COAL-MINE.



538

THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL.

To tell you the Story of a Lump of Coal at length
would take many days; for it is a most wonderful
and varied story. Indeed it embraces a history
of all the wonderful inventions which have been
made within the last century. It is the mother
of steam ; since by its power the cranks and chains
and wheels which form the engine are fashioned,
and the water is converted to steam. By its aid,
as you have seen in our Story of a Milk-Jug, the
clays of the earth are formed into hard and polished
vessels; and we are indebted to it for warmth in
winter, and for dressing our food always. With-
out coal, how would the steam-engine weave fabrics
to clothe us, or carry us with fairy speed along our
iron roads? Without coal, how would our vessels
plough the deep, against wind and tide, and carry



54 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

our merchandise to the farthest corners of the earth,
defying the power of the elements? Without coal,
how should we see our way along the streets at
night, since from coal we extract the gas that
lights us on our journey homewards?

You would not understand me were I to at-
tempt to give you a technical analysis of coal; but
I will tell you that it is a vegetable substance which
is extracted from the bowels of the earth by long
and laborious exertions. How vegetable matter,
to the growth of which air and light are as neces-
sary as to human existence, became imbedded so
far below the present surface of the earth, is a ques-
tion which has puzzled many learned men; but it
is beyond doubt that our coal-fields are only so
many buried forests, converted by the gases of the
earth and the process of time to that inflammable
substance which we call coal. It is only very re-
cently that the existence of wood in the state of coal
has been found with the original texture of the
wood still preserved. Not only have the branches



THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 55

of trees been identified in the shape of coal, but their
genus has been distinctly traced.

All plants which have been traced in coal for-
mations are called ‘coal-plants.’ Ferns are the
most abundant of all plants in the shape of coal,
almost every yard of coal being marked by these
impressions, and very often containing them in great
multitudes ;—palms also occur occasionally. This
leads us to believe that at the period of the change
which must have taken place in the surface of the
earth, it was covered with a rich and dense vege-
tation; and that many plants grew then of which
no specimens exist in a vegetable form at the pre-
sent time.

An example of the most imperfectly formed coal
is afforded in what is called the brown or wood coal
of Germany, which exists in large quantities in
Hesse-Darmstadt and Salzhausen. This wood-coal
is coal only half formed, and is found in the shape
of trunks and branches of trees, as well as in other
forms of vegetable matter.



56 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

Beds of coal, which are found in many parts of
the world, but abound in England, are called ‘ coal-
fields.’ Coal is found in these fields in strata, or
layers, separated by seams of slate-clay and sand-
stone. Coal is esteemed according to the quantity
of bitumen which it contains. Bitumen, J should
tell you, such as is generally contained in coal, is
a dark-brown glutinous substance, and is only ano-
ther form of naphtha. It will burn readily, but gives
off a quantity of soot. And here let me also explain
to you, that the soot which lodges in the chimney
is simply so much charcoal given off from the coal
in a vaporous state; and a little thought will
enable you to trace the existence of this charcoal,
or charred wood, to the vegetable origin of coal.
Bitumen being more inflammable than charcoal, the
coal which contains the greatest quantity of bitumen
is the most valuable.

Let me now explain to you the mode of work-
ing coal-mines. The probable existence of beds of
coal having been first carefully considered, and per-



THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 57

haps the beds themselves having been traced by a
process called boring, the first thing that is done is
to sink, or, as you would say, dig a shaft or deep
hole like a well, so as to cut through the various
strata or layers between which the coal is im-
bedded. This shaft, or well, is usually circular, and
the upper part of it is generally securely bricked, to
prevent the earth from falling in upon the workmen
below. On reaching the first workable seam of coal,
the sinking of the pit is for a time suspended, and
a broad straight passage, called by the miners a bord
or gate, is dug into the seam in opposite directions.*
The breadth of the passage, varies from twelve to
fourteen or fifteen feet; but its height is regulated
by the depth of the coal-seam, and the height of
these passages is always made of the depth of the
seam:—the roof exposing the strata above the
seam, and the bottom, that immediately below the
seam, and called by the miners the thill. When

* Sketch of the Relations between the Three Kingdoms of Nature.
By Thomas Williams, Esq., M.B.



58 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

these bords have been excavated to some distance
on both sides of the shaft, narrow passages, called
head-ways, are driven from them at regular dis-
tances, and exactly at right angles, as you will find
them in my drawing.

IW JUILL
Wr a

When these headways have proceeded eight or
ten yards, they are made to communicate with an-
other bord, whichr uns parallel with the primary
bord; and on this system the mine is extended,
according to the quantity, depth, and extent of the
coal-seams. A coal-mine thus extended has been
likened to a regularly built town (if you can con-
ceive the houses one uninterrupted line of black
walls) ; the bords and headways being respectively
the principal streets and the connecting lanes and
alleys; while the intermediate masses of coal (left



THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 59

for the support of the roof) stand for the interme-
diate masses of buildings.

The water-springs, which are usually met with
more or less frequently in the course of the miner’s
operations, are drawn to the surface by the aid of a
very powerful steam-engine, erected near the shaft,
and in such a manner that it may be employed to
draw up the coal and rubbish from the mine in bas-
kets called corves.

If the operations I have attempted to explain
to you have been at all successful, that is to say,
if the quantity of coal found is sufficiently great to
promise a fair return for the money laid out in the
operations of the miners, another shaft will be im-
mediately sunk at some distance from the first, and

the passages and headways made till they com-
municate with those which diverge from the original
shaft. Thus a current of air is carried through the
mine. One shaft is the downcast shaft, and the
other is the upeast shaft. Through the downcast
shaft a current of air is sent into the mine, and is



60 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

made to penetrate every passage and headway, and
to carry away the foul air up through the upcast
shaft. This ventilation is absolutely necessary to
ensure not only the health, but also the immediate
safety of the miners. J dare say you have all
heard of the frightful accidents which have been
caused by the explosion of fire-damp, and of the
safety-lamp invented by Sir Humphrey Davy to
prevent this great sacrifice of life. Let me here ex-
plain to you that, fire-damp is a noxious and inflam-
mable or easily inflamed gas, emitted or given forth
from the coal; and that immediately it comes in
contact with the flame of a lamp, it explodes like
gunpowder, and kills all who are within its reach.
The word fire-damp has originated from dampf,
which is the German for vapour or exhalation. Sir
Humphrey Davy’s lamp is so arranged that the
flame is surrounded on all sides by an iron gauze,
through which flame will not pass, and which con-
sequently prevents the flame from coming in contact.
with the noxious vapour of fire-damp. This inven-



THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 61

tion has been and is perhaps one of the most valu-
able efforts of man’s ingenuity. It has saved many
thousand lives, and prevented the destruction of pro-
perty of untold value. While the workings on the
first seam of coal are thus rapidly and securely
going forward, shafts are generally sunk from the
first seam to one below, and afterwards to the third
and fourth seams, so that a mine extensively worked
has, as it were, three or four stories. These opera-
tions may be carried on so long as seams of coal
reward the miner’s labour.

The mode in which the miner detaches the coal
is by cutting a narrow way on each side of the huge
piece he wishes to excavate, and then blasting it
out by firing shot at the top of the seam. As much
as one hundred tons of coal is often brought down
at once by this process; and the coal is put into
corves, or baskets, drawn along a tram-road to the
shaft, and then raised to the surface by the steam-
engine.

I think I have now explained to you with sufli-



62 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

cient minuteness the operations which are carried
on underground for the purpose of supplying our
manufacturers and ourselves with fuel. Let me
now tell you what becomes of the thirty-five millions
of tons which, it is estimated, are annually raised
from the mines of England. The coal-field of North-
umberland and Durham supplies nearly all the coal
consumed in London, the eastern and southern
counties, and the neighbourhood of the mines.
Shields, Stockton, Seaham, and Sunderland are the
ports from which the coal is shipped: the Tyne
vessels being the larger, are laden for the London
market. The Lancashire coal-field supplies Man-
chester, Liverpool, and the surrounding district; the
South Staffordshire or Dudley coal-field the nu-
merous iron-works in its neighbourhood, and the
manufactories of Birmingham and the neighbouring
counties. The coal-field of South Wales (to give
you an idea of the extent of these fields,) is upwards
of one hundred miles in length, its breadth averag-
ing from eighteen to twenty miles. Ireland and



THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 63

Scotland also contain coal-fields, but of less import-
ance than those of England. To give you some
notion of the amount of human labour expended
in bringing coals to our markets, I will tell you that
London alone consumes upwards of three million
four hundred thousand tons every year, for the con-
veyance of which eleven thousand nine hundred and
eighty-seven ships are kept in constant activity.
It is estimated also that the iron-works of England
(into which, as you recollect I told you in the Story
of a Knife, coal enters largely) consume, in the
operations of smelting, more than seven million tons
of this valuable fuel every year. In 1841 the num-
ber of persons employed in coal-mines was one hun-
dred and eighteen thousand two hundred and twenty-
three.

Having thus briefly given you some idea of the
enormous quantities of coal consumed, let me point
out to you the various benefits which we derive from
the use of it. In the first place, coal is, as I have
already noticed, the mother of steam. We have



64 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

already heard the Story of Steam, so that it is un-
necessary for me to repeat my observations on that
subject; but you have heard nothing hitherto of the
manner in which gas is extracted from coal. I will
explain the process to you.

The existence and inflammability of coal-g'as may
be said to have been known for nearly two hundred
years; but although its existence and properties
were known so far back, it was not till the year 1792
that any attempt was made to turn this knowledge
to useful account. In this year, Mr. Murdoch, an en-
gineer living at Redruth in Cornwall, erected a little
apparatus, which produced sufficient gas to light
his dwelling and offices; and in 1798 he erected
extensive gas-works to light the premises of Messrs.
Boulton and Watt at Soho. This was the first
application of gas in a large way; but it attracted
little attention till 1802, when Messrs. Boulton and
Son used it for their illumination in commemora-
tion of the peace. The wonderful brilliancy of their
illumination, as compared with those produced by



THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 65

the dull flame of oil, made a great sensation through-
out England, and gas from that time began to be
gradually introduced throughout the country. In
1807, Pall Mall was lighted up by gas, and for some
years this was the only street in London so illumin-
ated ; but its use was gradually extended, till not an
alley in the metropolis was left dark to shield the
doings of dishonesty. Gas has been very properly
called the city’s most vigilant policeman. Coal-gas
is distilled by placing a quantity of coal in a elosed
vessel, and subjecting it to the action of a fire, when
a dark oily substance is given off through a tube
into another vessel made to receive it. This dark
oily substance consists of water, coal-tar, and spirit,
or gas. To get rid of the water and tar, the
mixture is allowed to cool, when the water and tar
settle and run off, leaving the spirit behind. This
spirit is still impure, as it contains a gas which is in-
jurious to health and of an unpleasant smell, called
sulphuretted hydrogen gas. To get rid of this gas,
the spirit is passed through vessels containing lime, to
F



66 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

which it is the property of the sulphuretted hydro-
gen to adhere, leaving the spirit to pass off in the
shape of the pure gas. which is now in use through-
out the civilised world.

You now know the two great purposes to which
coal is applied. We might follow it into every in-
dustrial occupation of man. Its use is universal.
To stop the supply of coal would be to bring our
manufactories to a stand-still, to darken our streets,
to stop the railway-engine, and the paddles of our
steamboats. You will, by pursuing this train of
thought to its utmost bearings, see how the opera-
tions of mankind, like the steam-engine, though
complicated and apparently independent of one
another, are one unbroken chain of dependent
actions, which the absence of the minutest crank or
wheel may bring to a dead stop. So ends our Story
of a Lump of Coal.



i

ro



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER.



67

THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER.

My children, the Story of Hot Water is perhaps
the most wonderful history in the world. It is as
interesting and startling as the most marvellous tale
in the Arabian Nights; and it is, let me assure you,
one with which all young persons should be ac-
quainted, for it is destined, in all probability, to
have great influence over the progress towards good
of the rising generation. I have lived to behold
the accomplishment of many scientific wonders: I
can remember the first steamboat, and the first rail-
way; and Harry can remember the first electric
telegraph. A few years ago it was impossible to
travel from London to Paris in less time than five
days; now the journey may be performed in twelve
hours, or half one day. You may now breakfast in
London and sup in Paris. A message, by means of



68 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the electric telegraph, may be sent from Paris to
London in less time than five minutes. These are
among the wonders which have been revealed to the
world through the labour and ingenuity of learned
men. And now we are progressing towards greater
discoveries. You, children, will most likely live to
see the day when a message from China will be
delivered in London in the course of five minutes ;
and you will enjoy daily communication with people
living at the remotest corners of the earth.

We are told, by men whose learning entitles
them to our belief, that the power of steam was not
entirely unknown to the ancients. I hope you all
know that steam is water made into vapour, or, as
J heard one of you the other day call the vapour
that was rolling out in large white clouds from a
kettle of boiling water, into smoke, by the action of
heat. For the future, do not let me hear any of you
be guilty of such a blunder. Know that smoke is
the gas which proceeds from burning coals or wood,
‘and that steam is the vapour which rises from boil-



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. 69

ing water. Among the ancients, steam was a power
very little understood; and the only evidence of its
subjugation to the purposes of man before the Chris-
tian era, is given to us by Hero of Alexandria, who
has left us the description of a machine in which a
continued movement is given to a wheel by a blast
of steam playing upon it.

It was about the beginning of the seventeenth
century that De Caus, a French engineer, invented
a machine by which a column of water might be
raised by the pressure of steam confined in the ves-
sel above the water to be elevated; and in 1629,
an Italian named Branca contrived a plan of turn-
ing mills by a blast of steam. These projectors,
though their inventions were rude, and possessed
little power or usefulness, served to turn the atten-
tion of thinking men to the means of making the
immense power of steam useful to the human race.
So far back as 1668, the celebrated Marquis of
Worcester gave to the world an account of the ex-
pansive force of steam. Let me read to you the



70 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

passage from his book, called “A Century of In-
ventions.” “I have taken a cannon, and filled it
three-quarters full of water, stopping firmly up
both the touch-hole and the mouth; and having
made a good fire under it, within twenty-four hours
it burst, and made a great crack.” With this ex-
perience the marquis contrived a rude machine,
which, he tells us, drove up water to the height of
forty feet.

The next name which I shall mention to you in
connexion with the application of steam to useful
purposes, is that of Denis Pepin, 2 Frenchman.
You understand that if. you fill a kettle full of
water, stop up every hole, and then put it on the
fire, directly it boils, steam will be produced; and
the kettle that is only large enough to hold the
water cannot also contain the steam, which occupies
fifty times the space it takes up in the shape of
water, and that therefore the steam, pressing with
great force on all sides of the kettle, will at length
cause it to burst with a loud noise. Well, the great



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. il

discovery which Pepin made was that of obtaming
the sudden return of the steam to water, or, as it
is generally called, its condensation by cold. As
heat turns water into steam, so cold again reduces
steam to water. The result of Pepin’s studies was
the idea of obtaining a moving power by means
of a piston (A) working in a |
cylinder or tube (6). To ob-
tain this, he constructed a tube
or cylinder, into which he in-
troduced a rod or piston, fit-
ting nicely, as one joint of an
opera-glass fits imto the other |
in our days. Well, at the c. Steam. p. Water. E. Fire.
bottom of this cylinder he placed some water, and
under the water a fire: the consequence was, that
directly the water boiled, and steam was made, the
steam, wanting room to expand, forced the rod or
piston up. When the piston had been raised, Pepin
removed the fire, and so, as by the action of cold
the steam again became water and returned to its





72 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

compact body at the bottom of the cylinder, the
piston fell. Though Pepin did not live to perfect
his ingenious invention, his labour produced the
basis upon which all our steam-power has been ob-
tained. If you go into any of the factories where
steam is employed as a power, or examine the en-
gine of a steamboat, you will see that piston and
cylinder invented by Pepin producing the power of
the engine by the rising and falling of the piston,
as it is raised by the introduction of steam into the
cylinder, and made to fall by the reduction of the
steam to water.

The first actual steam-engine of which we have
any undeniable record was constructed by Captain
Savery, an Englishman, for the purpose of rais-
ing water. This was in the year 1699. Captain
Savery’s engine, however, from the expense of work-
ing it, and the constant danger of explosion, soon
fell into disuse. It was, in fact, a very rude ma~-
chine, as the eondensation of the steam was not suf-
ficiently ensured. These discoveries and inventions,



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. v3

however, served to turn the attention of very many
clever men to the improvement of the steam-engine.
In 1705 Thomas Newcomen, an ironmonger, and
John Cawley, a plumber and glazier, constructed
an engine in which the condensation of the steam
was effected by the application of cold water outside
the cylinder. The improvement of their first engine
is due to Newcomen, who having noticed that the
piston rose and fell three or four times with great
rapidity without the application of cold water, ex-
amined this piston, and found a hole in it, through
which the water intended by him to keep the cylin-
der air-tight, issued in a little jet or fountain, and -
instantly condensed the steam under it: this led
him to introduce a pipe, stopped by a cock, into the
bottom of the cylinder, through which cold water
was supplied from a reservoir. This engine, known
as Newcomen’s engine, required the constant at-
tendance of some person to open and shut the con-
densing cocks or valves, a duty which was gene-
rally fulfilled by boys, called cock-boys. When I



74 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

tell you that we owe a most important improvement
in the steam-engine to the desire of a boy named
Humphrey Potter to join his comrades at play when
he should have attended to the condensing cock, I
shall not, I trust, make any of you hope to do good
by neglecting your duty. You know that the pri-
mary action of the steam-engine is the rise and fall
of the piston or rod in the cylinder or tube; I have
explained to you that in Newcomen’s engine the
condensing or reducing of the steam was brought
about by the introduction of cold water through a
pipe at the bottom of the cylinder; and I have also
said that this cold-water pipe was stopped by a
cock. Well, the duty of the cock-boy was to turn
the cold water on through the pipe at the bottom of
the cylinder directly the steam had forced the piston
up. This must have been very irksome duty for the
poor boys; at least it appears that Humphrey Pot-
ter found it so; and, in order to be able to leave the
engine without stopping it, he tied the handle of
the cock by a string to the piston, so that when the



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. 79

piston rose the cock was turned on, the water en-
tered the cylinder, the piston fell, and the cock
closed again; and in this way the steam-engine
was first made a self-acting machine.

T must now tell you about a man who will make
no mean figure in the annals of your country,—I
allude to James Watt. It was in repairing a work-
ing model of a Newcomen’s steam-engine for the
lectures of a learned professor of Glasgow Univer-
sity, that Watt’s attention was first seriously called
to mechanical invention. At the time of which I
speak, Newcomen’s engine was the most perfect
one in existence. The moving power was the.
weight of the air pressing on the upper surface of
a piston or rod working in a cylinder or tube;
steam being used to raise the piston with its load
of air up again, and then to form a vacuum, or
empty space, by its condensation when cooled by
a jet of cold water, which was thrown into the
cylinder when the piston was raised. The great
improvement which Watt introduced was the con-



76 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

densation of the steam in a separate vessel. He
perceived that as it was necessary in Newcomen’s
engine to introduce cold water into the cylinder in
order to condense the steam, the cylinder must ne-
cessarily be cooled also, and that consequently when
the next blast of steam came, much of it was wasted
by the coolness of the cylinder, which in fact con-
densed the steam, and therefore weakened its power.
Watt at once perceived that the only method to do
away with this defect was to draw the steam off
directly the piston was raised, by making a vessel
void of air, near the cylinder, communicate with it,
into which the steam could be drawn off, leaving
the cylinder perfectly empty, and so giving more
force to the descent, or, as it is called, the down-
stroke of the piston ; and at the same time keeping
it warm for the next blast of steam. These im-
provements gave additional power to the engine,
and prevented the waste of steam. In Newcomen’s
engine, not only was the cylinder cooled by the in-
troduction of cold water, but it was allowed to be



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER, 77

full of air and partially condensed steam, so that
the fall, or drown-stroke of the piston, lost much of
its force. Watt improved upon this also, and emp-
tied the cylinder of air, so that in his engine the
interior of the cylinder offered a perfect vacuum, or
empty space, to the fall of the piston. In the mi-
nuter, though important parts of the engine, Watt
made many improvements. He perfected the con-
struction of his engine, so as to regulate its power
with great exactitude, by introducing a certain
quantity of steam, and no more, for each up-stroke .
of the piston. He is, in short, justly esteemed as a
man who contributed largely to the progress of his-
fellow-creatures. He died at his house at Heath-
field, in the county of Stafford, on the 25th of Au-
gust, 1819, in the eighty-fourth year of his age,
having made a large and well-deserved fortune by
his noble labours.

My children, were I to attempt to trace for you
a history of the various applications of the steam-
engine to the different branches of industry, we



78 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

should find ourselves involved in a story of the pro-
gress of the world for the last thirty years. Such
a subject is one too grave and too important to you
to be chatted about round the fire. It is a subject
which you will have to study seriously in your
books: I shall not therefore touch upon it. To give
you an account of the wonders steam has achieved,
would be to count almost every comfort and luxury
which we enjoy. Dr. Lardner, whose book on the
steam-eng'ine you shall all read when you are a few
. years older, tells us that the steam-engine has in-
creased the sum of human happiness, not only by
calling new pleasures into existence, but by so
cheapening former enjoyments as to render them
attainable by those who before could never have
hoped to share them ; the face of the land and the
surface of the waters are crossed with equal facility
by its power; and by thus encouraging and help-
ing the intercourse of nation with nation, and the
commerce of people with people, it has knit together
countries far away from each other by bonds of



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. 79

friendship not likely to be broken. Knowledge and
affection are kept up by its power between people
thousands of miles away from one another; those
more advanced in learning shedding the blessings
of knowledge over their barbarous and distant bro-
thers. By this means,—by the subjugation of the
force of hot water to the will of man,—has the pro-
gress of this century been brought about; and you
may be thankful, my dear children, that you are
born in a time when the tree of knowledge is shed-
ding its fruit all over the world, making men friends,
and nations welcome neighbours. This is the story,
the great story of some Hor Waren.






81

THE STORY OF A PIN.

Very few children know how much ingenuity and
labour are spent upon a pin. They are accustomed
to see hundreds of pins every day, yet they never
pause to inquire how they are made, or who makes
them. Yet, I can tell them, the story of that little
instrument called a pin is a very interesting and in-
structive.one. There is no account in existence of
the first pin that was ever made; but this is very
certain, that it was made long before the time of
Henry the Eighth,—who, my young readers I trust
remember very well, reigned about three hundred
years ago,—for he would not allow any to be made
that were not properly pointed. In the olden time,
pins were made of many substances,—of boxwood,
bone, or silver ; now they are usually made of brass.
Ten persons are generally employed to make one
G



82 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

pin; and it is well known that these ten people can,
within the space of eight hours, make five thousand
five hundred pins. It may at first appear very
astonishing to you, that so many pins may be made
within this short space of time; but if you take the
trouble to think upon the subject, and to consider
how, by dint of persevering practice, a little girl
will learn to knit with marvellous quickness, you
will cease to feel any surprise at the rapidity and
dexterity of practised pin-makers.

The first thing to be done in the making of a
pin is, to draw out a quantity cf brass to a wire of
the thickness of the pin to be made. This opera-
tion, though it would seem to be more properly the
business of a wire-drawer than of a pin-maker, is
generally performed in the pin-factory, as it is found,
for some particular reason, to be more conducive to
the interests of the proprietor to draw his own wire
to the requisite thickness. When the wire has been
properly drawn out, it is wound up into coils of a
certain and equal size; and then, to burn off any



THE STORY OF A PIN. 88

dirt or impure substance that may cling to it, it is
dipped into a mixture of acid and water, which has
the effect of instantaneously removing any thing
that may adhere to the metal. In the same way,
if you dip a dirty brass rod into vinegar, or rub it
with vinegar, the action of the sour or acid liquid
will cause all the dirt to come from the brass, leav-
ing the rod quite bright and clean. Well, when
the wire that is to be made into pins has been
cleaned, it is straightened and cut into pieces of
equal length. .A number of these lengths are then
taken together, and by means of a large and power-
ful pair of shears or scissors, which are worked by °
the foot, they are cut into shorter pieces, each piece
being a little longer than six pins joined together.
The next thing to be done is to point these pieces of
wire ; and for this purpose two revolving wheels, like
those you see the knife-grinders use in the streets,
only much smaller, and made of steel instead of
stone, are provided. The man whose business it is
to point the wires, places himself before these steel



84 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

wheels, and taking several of these pieces of wire in
his hand, applies their end to the first wheel, which
has the coarser surface of the two wheels, in order
to prepare the way for the action of the finer wheel ;
and while he holds the ends of the wires to the first
wheel, contrives, by a dexterous movement of the
thumb and first finger, to make the wires revolve in
his hand, so that every side is presented to the action
of the wheel, and a rough round point is made. The
next step is to submit these rough points to the ac-
tion of the fine wheel, which polishes them to the
smooth sharp points which pins generally have.
Having done this, the same workman who makes
the points takes a powerful pair of shears or scissors,
and cuts the wire the length of a pin from the points
he has made, and then proceeds to sharpen the end
of the remaining wire to make the stem of another
pin, and so on till he has made six stems, to the
length of which, my little readers will bear in mind,
the wires are generally cut. The stems of the pins
are now complete, and in a state to receive their



THE STORY OF A PIN. 85

head. For this purpose they pass into the hands
of another workman, whose sole employment is to
fasten the heads on to the stems. But first of all,
we must follow the operations of the man who makes
the heads. Here I must beg that my young readers
will follow me with great attention, as the process
I have to explain to them is a very troublesome
and difficult one. Well, in the first place a piece of
wire called the mould, the same size as that used
for the stems, is attached to a small revolving axis.
At the end of the wire nearest the axis is a hole,
through which is placed the end of a smaller wire,
so that when the wire that is attached to the axis
is made to turn round, it twists the thin wire round
it; and when this has taken place, the workman cuts
the thin wire, and allows the head which has been
formed by the winding of the thin wire to fall from
the thick wire into a compartment made to receive
it. You may see for yourselves, by examining the
head of a pin attentively, that it is made of a thin
wire wound carefully, neatly, and smoothly round



86 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the stem of the pin; and you may judge for your-
self how dexterously the workman must perform
his labour, when I tell you, that in the course of an
hour he makes five thousand five hundred pins’
heads.

When a quantity of heads have been properly
prepared, another workman takes them, together
with an equal quantity of stems, and proceeds to
fasten the heads upon the stems in the following
manner. The workman is provided with a small
upright stake, upon which is fastened a steel die,
containing a hollow the exact shape of half the
head. Above this die is suspended a moving die,
containing another hollow exactly the size of the
other half of the head, which, when at rest, remains
suspended about two inches above the lower one.
Well, being thus provided, the workman takes one
of the stems between his fingers, and dipping the
pointed end into a bowl containing a number of
heads, catches one upon it, and slides it to the other
end. The head when first slipped on in this way is



THE STORY OF A PIN. 87

simply a piece of thin twisted wire; well, to give it
its proper shape, and make it even and smooth as
you see the heads of pins, he places it in the lower
hollow, which, as you know, is exactly the size and
shape of half the head; he then causes the upper
die, containing the mould for the other half of the
head, to fall on the lower half, and so quite close
the pin’s head in, and press it to its proper shape.
This he repeats two or three times, for the purpose
of fastening the head firmly on the stem of the pin.
The pin is now finished.as regards shape, but it
is still an ugly, dark, dirty colour, and quite unfit
to pin ladies’ ribands. To cleanse and whiten it,’
therefore, is the next business of the manufacturer.
When a quantity of pins are finished, they are boiled
in what the workmen call “a pickle,” which is a
mixture of sulphuric acid and water, similar to
that which I have described to you in a previous
page. This mixture has a large proportion of acid,
because it is necessary by its action so to bite into
and roughen the pins as to make them take easily



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THE

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THE TEA-PLANTATION.
THE

WONDERS OF HOME:
Su Eleven Stories.

By GRANDFATHER GREY.
SECOND EDITION.

With Ciqht Mlustrations.

LONDON:
GRANT AND GRIFFITH,

(sUCCESssoRs TO JOHN HARRIS,)

CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.



MDCCCLII.
PREFACE.

—

I HAVE attempted in the following pages, with
what success it is not for me to determine, to tell
children about the Wonders of Science with which
they are surrounded. My belief is, that it is wise
to cultivate a wholesome spirit of inquiry in the
minds of the young-—to lead them to seek know-
ledge—rather than to drag them to their lessons ;
and I hope that my stories of common household
objects may be the means of directing the minds of
many young people to the consideration of the toil
and ingenuity, at the cost of which they enjoy so
many comforts in their modern home. Such studies,
prosecuted in a spirit of gratitude, must be power-
vi PREFACE.

ful for good. Indeed, home might be made to the
poetic minds of children a second fairy-land, if the
marvels of ingenuity and industry with which it
abounds, were laid bare to them. In the tea, coffee,
and sugar; the rice and flour; the chairs and
tables; the lamps and glasses; their frocks and
shoes,—children might be taught to read not only
interesting histories but powerful sermons, incul-
cating strength of will, diligence, and goodness.
Richter says well that “a good action, a noble
sacrifice, a galling wrong, are fit building-sites for
a child’s church.” In this belief I send forth my
stories. I trust that they may have the effect I
anticipate from them, and I ask no better success.

GRANDFATHER GREY.
CONTENTS.

Tue Srory or 4 Cup or Tra

Tue Srory or 4 Prece or Sugar
_ Tue Srory or 4 Mink-Juae

Tae Story or a Lump oF Coar .
Tue Story or some Hot Water
Tue Srory or 4 Pin .

Tue Story or JENNy’s Saso

Tue Story or Harry’s JACKET .
“Tue Srory or A TUMBLER .

Tue Srory or a Knire

Tue Srory or ras Boox

PaGE

27
45
53
67
81
98

. 118
. 127
. 137
. 147
THE

WONDERS OF HOME

THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA.

“‘ Our household dwells amidst ten thousand hills,
Where the tea, north and south of the village, abundantly grows;
From Chinshe to Kuhyii, unceasingly hurried,
Every morning I must early rise to do my task of tea.”
Chinese Ballad on Picking Tea.

THE story of the tea which is now being scalded
in the tea-pot is one with which few young readers,
and not many old ones, are acquainted. Most people
know that tea comes from China, but here the
general knowledge on the subject ends. Few peo-
ple in England, or indeed in Europe, are intimate
with the various processes which this fragrant leaf
undergoes before our merchant-ships convey it to
B
2 THE WONDERS OF HOME:

our docks, and thence to our tea-caddies. The im-
mense consumption of tea in this country—estimated
lately at fifty-eight millions of pounds yearly—
makes it imperative upon us all to know something
ofits manufacture, that we may be enabled to guard
ourselves and our friends against adulterations of
a character injurious to the constitution. This re-
mark applies more particularly to young people,
since they have a long earthly future to look for-
ward to; whereas old men like myself have, in all
human probability, but a short span of life to mea-
sure. Therefore, let me impress upon my young
readers the responsibility of their position; let me
beseech them to bear in mind that their duty to
their friends, and to those who in years to come will
depend upon them, as they now depend upon their
friends, for guidance and subsistence, should urge
them to garner up industriously all the knowledge
which they are enabled to obtain in the days of their
youth. Let them strive with all their might to
benefit by the instruction of their teachers. Let
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA, 3

them walk abroad with an inquiring spirit: let
their thirst for knowledge never be quenched. By
knowledge I do not mean only the information to
be gathered from their school-books, but also a fami-
liarity with the history of every thing about them.
I always indulge my grandchildren in this inquisi-
tiveness; and the attention with which they listen
to my stories, and the interest they always take in
them, induce me, at their earnest request, to print my
histories for the benefit of their schoolfellows and
the juvenile public. The first long story which I
told them was that ofa Cup of Tea. It was a frosty
night—the wind was howling without: we had
closed the shutters—the fire blazed upon the hearth,
the children’s mamma was making some delightful
hot tea, and the youngest of the family was scorch-
ing himself making toast, to his infinite delight,
when I began my story, which ran, to the best of
my recollection, as follows :—
4 , THE WONDERS OF HOME.

THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA.

The story of the tea which your mother has just
scalded in the tea-pot, is one, as I said before,
with which few people living beyond the frontiers of
China are familiar. Considerable obscurity envelopes
the ancient history of tea. It is supposed by some,
and, I think, with reason, to be the malabathrum of
the ancient Greeks, though Chinese accounts place
the discovery of the useful and delightful properties
of tea as far back as A.D. 315, and assert also that
it did not come into general use before the period
of the Tang dynasty, that is to say about the be-
ginning of the seventh century. The description
given of malabathrum by the author of the Periplus
favours the idea that it was the leaf of the tea-plant
prepared in a rude manner; -and if this be so, the
native country of the tea-plant is the romantic re-
gion of Assam and Yunnan, where it has recently
been found growing in a wild state.
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 5

When tea first became in general use among the
Chinese, they called it tu ; but their modern name
for it is cha. The English w.rd ‘tea’ is a corruption
of the Fuhkien dialect. The Fuhkien people, from
whom the plant was first obtained by Europeans,
pronounced it tay: the French version (thé) of the
word is therefore more correct than the English.
Botanists call tea, Thea ; and it is classed by scien-
tific men, and by the Chinese themselves, with the
Camellia. In China, the tea-plant varies in height
from three to six or seven feet. It usually presents a
dense mass of foliage on an infinite number of small
thin twigs, such as you will often find mixed with
the tea, if you examine it in the caddy. In Assam,
where, as I have already told you, it may be found
wild, it often grows to the height of thirty feet.
The twigs of the plant are carefully pruned, to
increase the quantity of leaves, and develope the
branches laterally, so that the shrubs are usually
of great circumference in comparison to their height.
The leaf in its natural state is of a dark-green
6 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

colour, and ofan oval shape. The flowers of the tea-
tree grow singly, and are white arid without scent.
The seeds of the tea-tree very much resemble hazel-
nuts, their kernels being enclosed in a hard husk,
and so oily as to decay soon after ripening. The
oil extracted from these seeds, though acrid and
bitter, is useful to the Chinese for various purposes.
The leaves are first gathered from the plant when
it is about three years old; though it is not full-
grown before it is six or eight years old. The
tea-plant is grown throughout the entire kingdom
of China. The demand for tea has become so great,
that the cultivation of cotton has been partially
abandoned in order to meet the demand for the fra-
grant leaves of the Bohea hills, Fuhkien, Chehkiang’,
and Kiangsu. Every cultivator of the soil in China,
be his land extensive or limited in extent to a mere
garden, cultivates a few dozen shrubs, and either
cures the leaves himself, or plucks them to sell to
his richer neighbour. Indeed, the cultivation of the
tea-plant is almost exclusively in the hands of small
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 7

cultivators. In China there are few extensive land-
owners; but each little farmer raises carefully his
proportionate crops of cotton, silk, rice, and tea, on
his own ground.

The seeds of the tea-shrubs are thickly planted
in nursery-beds. They are sown thickly, because
from their oily and acrid nature, as I have already
told you, many of them fail. When the nurslings
are a foot or more high, they are transplanted into
rows about four feet apart. A rich sandy earth
with a fair proportion of vegetable mould in it,
and in an elevated situation, is generally chosen for
the propagation of the tea-plant. It is also neces-
sary that the soil be plentifully watered. A loamy
soil, with a sandy, loose covering, generally produces
an abundant crop of leaves; and in the Ankoi-hill
plantations in the Fuhkien province, much of the
tea is coloured with the iron contained in the land.
No preparation of the ground is necessary, nor is
much care usually taken to preserve the shrubs in
a healthy state. The resultof this want of care is,
8 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

that in the neighbourhood of Canton particularly,
and in other parts of the empire, the tea-shrubs
are often covered with lichens, and sometimes bored
and destroyed by worms. The Chinese might, in
this matter, call to mind their excellent proverb, that
“ trouble neglected becomes still more troublesome.”
You must not, however, fall into the vulgar error of
supposing that this pig-tailed race, so jeered at by
ignorant persons, are the idle, barbarous, and ridicu-
lous people they are commonly represented to be.
I should indeed be sorry to hear my grandchildren
join in this ignorant outcry against a great and in-
dustrious people. I do not mention the carelessness
_ of the Canton tea-growers for the purpose of preju-
dicing you against Chinamen generally; on the
contrary, I am rather anxious to impress your
minds with the gigantic results of their untiring
industry. Not only have these people rendered
every available piece of land in their country use-
ful to the general good of the community, but they
have terraced their native hills almost to their sum-.
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 9

mits, and propagated cotton, tea, and rice, hundreds
of feet above the level of the sea. They practise
upon a vast scale all the rural and manufacturing
arts, and maintain in perfect internal harmony a
community which may be moderately computed at
about three hundred millions-of souls.

Their customs may at first appear ridiculous in
the eyes of foreigners ; nor is this to be wondered
at. The fundamental principle of their government
is self-dependence. The stupendous fabric they have
raised, their perfect internal harmony, and the pro-
gress of their arts and literature, are evidence of
the wisdom of their rulers. To a Chinaman, or to
a tsin jin, as they love to call themselves, China is
the world. Beyond the boundaries of their empire
is to them a void; and the general belief to this
day among the masses of the Chinese people is that
their country is Tien Hia, meaning Beneath the
Sky, and denoting the World. The common name
for their country in the present time is Chung
Kwoh, or Middle Kingdom, a name given to it
10 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

from an idea that it is centred in the middle of
the earth. These things certainly denote the igno-
rance of the people respecting their geographical
position; but they also account fully for the singu-
larity of their manners. Unaccustomed to mix
with foreigners, or even to admit them to the mys-
teries of their social customs, they have lived alto-
gether isolated from the great family of man, and
have, consequently, contracted habits and customs
differing essentially from those of other nations.
Let me, children, guard you from indulging in
ignorant raillery against a people to whose wisdom
the world owes the inventions of the compass, por-
celain, gunpowder, and printing.

Well, to return to the tea-plant : as I have told
you, when the tea-shrub is about three years old,
the Chinaman gathers his first crop of leaves from
it. Three crops of leaves are gathered from full-
grown shrubs during the season. The first picking
takes place about the middle of April, or whenever
the tender leaf-buds begin to open, and while the
THE STORY OF A-CUP OF TEA. 11

leaves retain their youthful down. These young
leaves produce the finest tea; and the down that
remains upon them has given rise to the erroneous
notion that they are the petals of the tea-flower.
The second gathering is made in the early days of
May, when the shrubs, if the weather have been
propitious, are densely covered with full-sized leaves.
The Chinese pay particular attention to the state of
the weather, as they believe that excessive dews, or
the entire absence of moisture, mildews or withers
the leaves, thereby affecting the quality and quan-
tity of the crop. The average annual produce of a
single full-sized plant is said to be from eighteen
to twenty-four ounces; and it is estimated that a .
thousand square yards of land devoted to tea-shrubs
generally contains between three hundred and four
hundred plants. The Chinese are very particular
as to the locality where their tea has been grown.
They have a decided preference for the produce of
the Bohea hills; and pretend to discriminate be-
tween the leaves of adjoining plantations. The
12 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

produce of esteemed nurseries is collected with the
most scrupulous care; and it is affirmed, on the
authority of native dealers, that the price of these
particular lots varies from 41. to 251. per pound.

The leaves are collected by handfuls. They are
stripped off the twigs with the utmost rapidity ; and
men, women, and children are indiscriminately em-
ployed to do this labour. Hach picker has a basket
slung round his neck, in which he conveys the leaves
he has plucked to the curing-house. One person
can, on an average, pick from twelve to fifteen
pounds of leaves in a day, for which labour the
wages are about sixpence. The third crop of leaves
is cu lected about the middle of July; and there is
also a fourth gleaning in August, called tsin lu, or
“ autumn dew,” from the name of the season in
which it takes place; the three previous crops are
called respectively first, second, and third springs.
The two last crops yield very inferior leaves, which
are seldom exported, but are probably reserved for
the use of the poorer Chinese.
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 13

Now, though it is reasonable to believe that the
tea-plant puts forth more healthy, and therefore
more valuable foliage in favourable situations, than
when planted in an unfavourable soil, or exposed
to the inclemencies of the weather, yet it appears
to me that the delicacy of the leaf and its flavour
depend to a great extent on the care bestowed
upon it after it is picked. Chinese authorities, in
fact, declare that the mode of curing the leaf has
as much to do with the delicacy and richness of
its flavour, as its age, or the nature of the soil
from which it has been nourished. A few of them
go so far as to assert that some sorts of tea are
quite changed from their original flavour by the .
curative processes to which they are subjected.
You will not fail to observe, children, that as the
leaf grows old, its flavour increases in strength and
loses in delicacy. Your mother will tell you that
the flavour of Pecco and other fine kinds of tea
is more delicate than that of Souchong and Congo.
Well, the cause of the superior qualities of Pecco
14 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

is its extreme youth. Pecco and all the fine kinds
of tea are produced from the leaf-buds of the tea-
plant; while Souchong and Congo are the full-
blown, mature leaf of the plant. No tea-grower
would cure the delicate leaf-buds of the tea-plant
on the hot-pans where the coarser, because older
leaves had been roasted.

After the leaves have been gathered and housed,
they are carefully assorted, and the yellow and
decayed ones thrown aside. The sound leaves are
then thinly spread upon bamboo trays and placed
in the wind upon frames, where they are left until
the leaves begin to soften; then, while lymg upon
the tray, they are gently rolled and rubbed until
red spots begin to appear, when they are tested. by
pouring hot water upon them. If the hot water
turn the colour of the edges of the leaves to a
pale yellowish tint, the leaves are considered to be
ready for firing. The process of working or rolling
is tedious and laborious ; so much so that the Chinese
call the tea so treated kungfu cha, or worked tea.
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA, 15

Congo is a corruption of kungfu cha. You may
then remember that Congo tea means rolled or
worked tea. The leaves having been properly rolled
and tested, are next subjected to the action of heat.
The iron pan having been previously heated, the
workman takes a handful of leaves and sprinkles
them carefully and thinly upon it, and waits till
each leaf has popped, when he dexterously brushes
them off into a basket, before they have had time
to become charred. The pans are the iron boilers
used. in cooking, set in mason-work in an inclined
position and at a convenient height; three or four
are put into the same form, and heated by means
of a flue passing lengthwise under the whole. The
testing and rolling, which I have described to you,
is dispensed with in the curing of very common
tea; and the fresh leaves are at once thrown upon
the hot pans, and then turned over and kept in
motion by a workman before each pan, while ano-
ther carefully attends to the fire.

The mouth of the man who is watching the
16 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

leaves is careful'y covered: this precaution is ne-
cessary to keep out the hot dust which rises in
clouds from the leaves. During the first firmg an
acrid greenish juice is forced out, and is partially
evaporated, or given off in the form of vapour ; but
as it is pressed out on the bamboo tables by the
workmen, it affects and irritates their hands. Four
or five minutes’ heating is sufficient for the first
firing.

When the leaves have undergone this first firing,
they are thrown upon tables made of split bamboos
laid alongside each other with their round sides
up. The workmen take a handful of the hot
leaves in their hands, and roll and knead them
upon the table, in order to drive the oily green
juice completely out. This juice is allowed to
run through the interstices of the table on the
ground.

When the leaves have been thus rolled and
kneaded, they are shaken out loosely upon basket,
trays, and exposed to the air to complete the dry-
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 17

ing; the object being to dry them gradually, that
they may not lose their brittleness, nor become too
crisp under the scorching rays of the summer sun.
When satisfactorily dried in this manner, the leaves
are thrown in large quantities into the pans to under-
goa second firing. This time the pans are heated
in a less degree than before; and the leaves are
thrown about constantly to prevent scorching. If
well rolled previously, this operation tends to make
the leaves shrivel and twist; and as they grow
hotter they are stirred with a brush, and tossed
about till they are completely dried. This second
firing is generally of an hour’s duration. The leaves
are sometimes placed in trays over a charcoal fire
covered with ashes, after exposure to the air, and
left for two or three hours. This process makes
them of a darker colour than when rapidly fired
in the pans.

These processes, however, are occasionally varied
For instance, after the leaves have undergone the
first firg, rolling, and drying in the air, they are

Cc
18 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

sometimes scattered upon a fine sieve and placed
over a charcoal fire covered with ashes, to prevent
the smoke from reaching the leaves. They are
then removed to a coarser sieve, and the fine and
coarse leaves are in this way partially separated
before they are packed for market. This mode of
drying gives the leaves a greenish hue, varying
in degree according to the length of time they are
exposed to the air and fire. The common sorts of
black tea are left in the sun a much longer time
than the finer teas are allowed to remain. Thus
common black tea is exposed to the air sometimes
as long as two days, until a partial decomposition
has begun from the effects of the heating and roll-
ing. When intended for exportation, this tea is
thrown a second time into the roasting-pans, and
rolled about till it is partially charred, to prevent
the possibility of its turning mouldy in the course
of its voyages.

I have described to you the common mode of
curing tea; but I must not omit to tell you that
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 19

the Chinese adopt many means to give peculiar
flavours to particular leaves. Thus, the fine leaves
of Hungumey are placed under cover till they al-
most begin to ferment, and then are exposed to
the sun before the first roasting. The round fillets
of gunpowder tea are rolled singly, while damp,
into compact balls. Scented tea is manufactured
by placing fresh flowers of the Olea, Aglaia, and
other odoriferous plants, in a basket under that in
which the fine tea is placed over the fire, for the
last drying, and then stirring them a little with-
out mixing the two. It is necessary to pack the
tea which is scented in this manner directly it is
cured, or it will lose its peculiar flavour. Only
the finer sorts of tea are thus treated; but Chinese
exquisites are extremely particular as to the kinds
of flowers used, and the degree of flavour imparted.
In fact, a Chinaman is as particular about the
quality of his tea as an Englishman is about the
age and beeswing of his port. Many people in
England affirm to this day that black and green
20 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

teas are made from different plants ;—that the shrub
from which green tea is plucked differs from that
whence black tea is gathered. Now this is un-
doubtedly a gross error. The Chinese, who are the
tea-growers, attribute the difference in the colour
of their teas to the mode of preparation. Green
tea is stronger and lighter than black tea for this
simple reason, that it is less worked and less roasted,
and therefore preserves more of its native oil,
strength, and colour, than black tea, which is al-
most charred for exportation. We might as well
hold that a baked potato and a boiled potato could
not possibly come from the same root, since the
baked potato was a dark brown, and the boiled
potato but the palest yellow. Green tea is made
by simply drying young leaves over a gentle heat,
and old ones over a hot fire, for about half an
hour. By this mode, it stands to reason, that
more essential oil will remain in the leaf than if
it were rolled, and roasted a second time.

All kinds of tea are repeatedly tested during
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 21

the various stages of manufacture, by pouring boil-
ing water upon a few leaves, in order to observe
the colour, aroma, taste, and other desirable quali-
ties of the infusion. As many—such is the origi-
nal strength of the leaf—as fifteen drawings can
be made from the best leaves before the infusion
produced. becomes limpid.

Chinese writers on tea are unanimous in direct-
ing the amateur to observe ten things in his choice
of green tea. They insist particularly that the leaf
must be green, firmly rolled, and pulpy; that there
must be no broken leaves or dirty twigs; that the
infusion should be greenish, oily, and send forth a
delicate aroma; that the weight of the parcels, the
taste and hue of the dry leaf, and its smell when
strongly breathed upon, should be carefully at-
tended to. Merchants are in the habit of testing
Ankoi teas with a loadstone; especially since the
rumour has gained ground that the effects some-
times felt upon the nerves after drinking green tea,
are owing to its being cured upon copper. This
92 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

notion is, however, in all probability, an erroneous
one. The injurious effect of green tea is, in my
opinion, to be attributed in part to the greater pro-
portion of oil remaining in the green tea; but far
more to the injurious nature of the substances used
to impart an artificial and uniform colour to it, in
order to make the lots present a marketable appear-
ance. You must understand, children, that the
operations of firing and rolling give various shades
to the leaves in proportion as they come more or
less in contact with the iron, or are exposed to the
sun; and it is the object of the manufacturer—with
the view of disposing of his property at a high price
—to render these tints uniform. Well, he does not
scruple to add to his means at the risk of his fel-
low-creatures’ health ; so when the leaves are in the
pans the second time, he causes them to be drugged,
first with turmeric powder, to give them a yellow
tint, and next with a mixture of gypsum and Prus-
sian blue, or gypsum and indigo firmly combined,.
which mixture imparts the desired bloom to the
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 23

yellow leaves. This imposition cannot be too se-
verely condemned. It appears that at Canton,
when there was an unexpected demand for some
particular descriptions of green tea, it was ascer-
tained that even black tea was coloured to simulate
the required article.

The names given to the various sorts of tea are
for the most part derived either from the place of
their growth, or from their peculiar property or
appearance. Thus, Bohea is the name of the place
where this tea is grown, and not a term for a par-
ticular sort among the Chinese; Sunglo is also a
general term for the green teas which come from
the hills of Kiangsu. Considering the great labour
of preparing tea, and the distance it has to travel
from the provinces to the capital of China (often a
thousand miles), it is surprising to find that good
tea may be had at Canton for about one shilling
per pound. The tea that is packed on the Bohea
hills, or in the fertile regions of Kiangsu, is seldom
disturbed till it is unpacked from those quaint,
24 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

rudely-painted cases, in which the Chinese dispose
of it, in New South Wales or in the Highlands of
Scotland. I believe that the manufacture of the
tea-cases you see in the windows of grocers’ shops
furnishes employment to thousands of poor China-
men at Canton. Very poor people in China, who
cannot afford to indulge in the national drink, sub-
stitute for it an infusion of the dried leaves of a
species of Rhamnus or Fallopia. The refuse of the
packing-houses is sold to the poor at a low rate,
under the names of “ tea-endings” and “ tea-bones;”
and if a few of the rarest sorts do not travel beyond
the boundaries of the Chinese Empire, but are mo-
nopolised by his Celestial Majesty, and his bald
mandarins and clump-footed ladies, neither are we
called upon to consume the poorest products of the
tea-plantations. You have listened so attentively
to the story of my cup of tea, that if your mother
has any left in the teapot, you shall all taste its
good qualities for yourselves. I know you are all
longing for your mother’s assent. Well, if she pro-
THE STORY OF A CUP OF TEA. 25

mises to give you a treat for to-night, will you
think with equal indulgence of the people from
whom we derive this luxury?

You will promise me not to indulge in ignorant
laughter at the expense of this great and original
nation. Recollect this, that to them our customs
are as absurd and unaccountable as theirs are to
us. You laugh at their pigtails: well, depend
upon it, they, that is to say the ignorant and
thoughtless portion of them, would grin delightedly
at your abundant crop of hair. To them, my child-
ren, you would all be little unaccountable mon-
strosities: recollect this, and learn never to laugh
in ignorance.

See, the tea is made for you: drink it, and try
to remember how much labour and anxiety have
been gone through to fill those little cups.
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THE SUGAR-PLANTATION.
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR.

You will all be glad to hear the story of a Piece of
Sugar. You are too fond of the result to be in-
different as to the means employed to attain it.
The sugar which is used for domestic purposes in
England, and indeed throughout the world—except
perhaps in France —is, as I need scarcely tell you,
a sweet crystallised substance, extracted in a liquid
state from the sugar-cane, of which there are seve-
ral species. But sugar is also obtained, though in
smaller quantities, from beet-root. The French make
more beet-root sugar than any other nation. Sugar
may be obtained from many vegetable substances ;
in fact, i smaller or larger quantities, from almost
any species of the vegetable kingdom. The sap of
the maple, sycamore, and birch, for instance, con-
tains a large proportion of saccharine, or sweet
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 20

grapes; but with little success. The sugar that
has been pressed from grapes has always been
found coarse, and much inferior to cane sugar in
every respect.

The oldest description in existence of the pro-
cess of extracting sugar from the cane, gives an
account of “sweet honied reeds” called Zucra,
which were found in great quantity about the
meadows of Tripoli by the Crusaders, about the
year 1108. These reeds were sucked by the Cru-
saders’ army, who were greatly pleased with their
sweet taste.

Most authorities on the subject agree in attri-
buting the first cultivation and manufacture of the
sugar-cane and sugar to the Arabs; and it is also
generally believed that sugar first came into exten-
sive use about the beginning of the eleventh cen-
tury. There are many conflicting statements made
by writers of various nations as regards the coun-
tries which may claim the sugar-cane as an indige-
nous or native plant; but, wherever the sugar-cane
80 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

may have been indigenous, there is no reason to
doubt the fact that the manufacture of sugar, de-
rived first from China or India, was introduced into
the western world by the Spanish and Portuguese.
The Venetians were the first Europeans who re-
fined sugar. The height to which the sugar-canes
usually grow, their colour, and the length of their
joints, vary, as you may well imagine, with the
character of the soil from which they derive their
nourishment, as well as with different species, and
the mode of culture to which they may have been
subjected. But I think I may safely tell you that
they vary in height from eight to twenty feet, and
are divided by short bulging joints at regular in-
tervals. Long narrow leaves sprout from each
joint, but as the canes become full-grown, the
leaves from the lower joimts wither and fall off.
The outer part of the cane is hard and brittle, as
many a schoolboy too well knows; but the inner
part consists of a soft pith which contains the sweet
juice. The juice in each joint has no connexion
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 3l

whatever with the juice in the joint immediately
above or below it. The canes are usually propa-
gated by cuttings or slips, consisting of the top of
the cane, with two or three of the upper joints, the
leaves being carefully plucked off. These slips are
planted in holes dug by hand, or in trenches made
by a plough, about eight to twelve inches deep,
the earth being banked up upon the margin and
well manured. The distance between the holes or
trenches must be such as to afford free access to a
current of air between the rows and plants, as well
as to allow room for the planters to weed the
ground between the canes. The planters generally
allow about four feet between the rows, and two
feet between the plants. Of course there are many
methods adopted by the sugar-planters of various
countries ; but in our own West Indian possessions,
where sugar is most extensively cultivated, the mode
of planting is generally as follows: two or more
slips are laid longitudinally or lengthways at the
bottom of each pole, and covered with earth to the.
32 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

depth of about two inches. In about a fortnight
the sprouts begin to appear above ground, when
they are again covered with earth, to give them
additional strength. The time required for bring-
ing the canes to perfection is usually about eight
months. In the British West Indies the slips are
generally planted from August to November; and
the canes are there cut about March or April. The
ripeness of the cane is known to the planter by the
outer part of it becoming dry, hard, and smooth ;
by the weight of the cane; by the greyness or
brownness of the pith, and the sweetness and thick-
ness of the sap or juice. The canes which grow
immediately from the slips are called plant-canes
by the planters; and the second crop of canes
reared in successive years from the slips are known
as rattoons. The plant-canes, however, are more
vigorous than the rattoons ; but the rattoons yield
juice which gives less trouble in clarifying and con-
centrating than that of the plant-canes. Some
planters have raised twenty annual crops of rat-
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 33

toons from one set of slips. The canes are cut as
near the ground as possible, because the richest
juice is found in the lower joints. One or two of
the top joints of the cane are cut off, and the re-
mainder is divided into pieces of about a yard in
length, tied into bundles, and at once conveyed to
the mill.

The operation of cutting the canes is so arranged
as to keep pace with the crushing-mill which presses
the juice out, so that the canes may be crushed or
ground while quite fresh. In the East Indies very
rude and imperfect crushing-mills are used; some
of them resembling mortars, made of the lower and
thicker parts of the trunks of trees, in which the
canes are crushed by the revolving and pressing
motion of a pestle, which rests in a slanting posi-
tion against the side of the mortar, and is moved
by oxen yoked to a bar attached to it. The juice,
as it is squeezed out, runs off through a hole in the
bottom of the mortar, and, running along a spout,
falls into another vessel placed to receive it. The

D
84 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

planters who use this rude mill are obliged to cut
their canes into very small pieces to make it ef-
fective.

The common cane-mills of the West Indies con-
sist of three rollers, mostly of wood, with narrow
bars of iron bound to their surface, so as to form,
by the spaces left between them, grooves extending
from end to end of the rollers. These rollers are
placed side by side in a strong frame, with contriv-
ances for varying, in a slight degree, their distances
from each other. The moving power is applied to
the middle roller, and communicated from it to the
others by the action of cogged wheels. Steam has
lately been introduced to the West Indies as the
moving power for the working of the sugar crush-
ing-mills, and with great success. When the mills
are in action, a negro applies the canes in a regular
layer or sheet to the interval between the first and
second rollers, which seize and squeeze them vio-
lently as they pass between them. ‘The ends of the
canes are then turned, either by a negro on the op-
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 35

posite side to the feeder, or by an ingenious frame-
work of wood, called a dumb-returner, so that they
may pass back again between the second and third
rollers. As these are placed nearer together than
the first and second, they squeeze the canes still
more; so that on coming out from this second press-
ing, they are reduced to dry splinters, which the
planters very appropriately call cane-trash, and are
used as fuel in heating the vessels for evaporating
the juice. Channels are placed under the rollers to
receive the juice as it is squeezed from the canes,
which conduct it to the vessels in which it is to
undergo succeeding operations. The mill I have
described to you is a very defective machine, since
it is impossible to supply the canes to the rollers
in so regular a layer as to prevent them crossing
each other. They become, therefore, broken, so
that the liquor is made foul, and the rollers are
exposed to irregular and destructive wear. You
must have often noticed pieces of cane mixed up
with the brown sugar; well, these pieces are the
36 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

result of the imperfect rolling of the sugar-canes.
But these rude mills will soon disappear before the
progress of science. Steam will make its way in
the West Indies, as it has already here; and then
let us hope that all nations will see the extrava-
gance, if not the disgrace, of manufacturing sugar
by the labour of slaves.

Cane-juice, as it comes from the crushing-mill,
is a thick, dull grey-green, sweet and balmy fluid.
It contains, when in this unmanufactured state,
particles of solid matter from the cane, which are
afterwards separated from it by filtration. Directly
this cane-juice runs from the crushing-mill, the pro-
cess of clarifying is commenced. The juice, as you
will recollect, is conducted by gutters from the crush-
ing-mill to a large flat-bottomed copper or pan,
called a clarifier, which is usually large enough to
contain from three to five thousand gallons. Un-
derneath this clarifier there is a fire; and when the
pan is full of cane-juice a little lime is mixed with
it, and the fluid is allowed to get hot, but not to
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 37

boil. The effect of the lime upon the cane-juice is
to make the solid portions of the cane-juice stick
together and rise to the surface in the shape of
scum. When the proper heat has been given to
the juice, the scum rises in blisters and breaks, which
is the sign for the attendant to close what is called
the damper, an apparatus made to extinguish the
fire rapidly. After an hour’s repose, the liquor is
ready for removal to the first of the evaporating
pans. It is drawn off by a cock in such a manner
as not to disturb the scum, which will remain be-
hind unbroken, and is, of course, removed from the
clarifier before another charge of cane-juice is put
into it. The clarified juice is bright, clear, and of
a pale colour.

From the clarifier the liquid is conveyed to the
largest of a series of evaporating pans, three or
more in number, in which it is reduced in bulk by
boiling, as you all know water is when boiled in
the kettle. The largest of these pans is sufficiently
capacious to hold the contents of the clarifier; but
38 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the others may become gradually smaller on ac-
count of the diminished bulk of the liquor by evapo-
ration—that is to say, by going off into vapour, as
it is removed into each of them in succession. These
evaporators are placed over a long flue, heated by a
fire of the cane-trash, or crushed and sapless cane,
at one end of which the teache, or smallest, and
consequently the last pan into which the cane-juice
is put, is placed. In the long process of successive
boilings, impurities which have escaped with the
liquor from the clarifier are thrown up in the form
of scum, which is carefully removed. If, during
the evaporation, it be perceived that the liquor is
not sufficiently clear, some lime-water is added to it,
for the same purpose as the temper or lime was ap-
plied to the cane-juice when in the clarifier, namely,
to make the solid particles adhere together and rise
in a mass to the surface. In the least and smallest
of the evaporating pans, called the teache, the liquor
is finally boiled down to a thick consistency—to
such a consistency as to admit of its being drawn
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 39

out like india-rubber to a considerable length with-
out breaking. To know when the liquor or syrup
is sufficiently thick and adhesive, a drop is taken
from the teache between the thumb and forefingers,
and drawn out till it snaps asunder. When it has
done so, the portion suspended from the finger
shrinks up, so as to remain at a greater or less
length, according to the degree to which the syrup
has been evaporated. When it is in the proper
state for withdrawal from the teache, the thread on
the finger should be from half an inch to a quarter
of an inch long. This is a most imperfect test.
Some planters try the state of the syrup by observ-
ing the change it will undergo on the back of a
ladle dipped in the teache. When the syrup is
reduced in the teache to the satisfaction of the
planter, it is put into coolers, where it remains to
cool and crystallise.

When the sugar is taken from the coolers, it is
brought to the state of a soft mass of crystals, im-
bedded in molasses, or treacle, which you children
40 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

will most likely think very delicious, but which peo-
ple generally consider to be very coarse and unfit
for use. The separation of this fluid, called mo-
lasses, or treacle, from the crystals, is the next pro-
cess, and is performed in a building called the
curing-house. This is an extensive building, the
floor of which is hollowed out to form a reservoir
for the molasses, which is carefully lined with ce-
ment or lead. Over this reservoir is an open fram-
ing of joists, upon which stand a number of empty
casks, called potting-casks. Tach of these has eight
or ten holes bored through the lower end, and in
each hole is placed the stalk of a plantain- leaf
which is long enough to descend a few inches be-
low the level of the joists, and to rise above the top
of the cask. The soft sugar, as it is taken from the
coolers, is removed into these casks, from which the
molasses gradually drains through the plantain-stalk
and falls into the reservoir below, leaving only the
crystallised sugar in the casks. With sugar of
average quality, three or four weeks are sufficient
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 4l

for this purpose. When it leaves the curing-house,
the sugar is packed in hogsheads or large barrels
for shipment, as raw, brown, or muscovado sugar ;
and in this state it is commonly brought to us from
our West Indian colonies. As by the process of
curing, which I have just described to you, the mo-
lasses is generally but partially separated from the
crystallised sugar, it follows that the remaining mo-
lasses will drain through the hogshead while on
board the ship; and so large is this drain after
shipment, that it is said, on good authority, that
one-twelfth part of the raw sugar is drained from
the hogsheads before they reach Europe. When
the raw sugar arrives in England it undergoes the
process of refining; that is to say, the process pur-
sued in the colonies is repeated with greater skill
and care, making the sugar, at last, that highly
crystallised white substance of which you all are
very fond, and for a lump of which you beg very
frequently.

Sugar-candy is the only kind of highly refined
42 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

sugar made in China and India. The Chinese ex-
port sugar-candy in very large quantities: they
have two sorts of candy, one which they call Chin-
chew, and another known as Canton; the former
being the produce of the province of Fokien, and
the latter of that of Canton. Of these, the Chin-
chew is by far the best. Sugar-candy is mostly
used by Europeans resident in the East. Candy
is a sugar which, after being refined, is suffered
to crystallise slowly upon strings or twigs.

I have described to you the processes which the
saccharine or sweet juice undergoes after it is
pressed from the cane, in order to make it avail-
able for our use; but I have not yet directed your
attention to the poor slaves at the cost of whose
unrewarded labour we, for a long time, enjoyed an
article which enters so largely into household con-
sumption among us. My dear children, your young
hearts would, I hope, be melted in pity were I to
describe to you these poor black creatures in the
misery and degradation to which their wicked and
THE STORY OF A PIECE OF SUGAR. 43

cruel owners have reduced them. Slaves are not
employed in any of our English colonies now ; but
human flesh and muscle are still bought and sold
in the Southern States of America. You should
be proud to know that every foot that presses an
English shore is that of a freeman: that a slave
cannot exist within the dominions of your Queen.
But this blessing is not universal. Slaves—amillions
of slaves—are still bartered for, and sold, and beaten
and worked to death, without reward, in many
foreign countries. England has spent many millions
of money and many valuable lives in a war against
these inhuman dealers in human flesh and blood,
and I trust that you will live to see the day when,
throughout the world, there shall not be a man
branded as the property of his fellow.
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THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG.
45

THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG.

THE potter’s art is of very ancient origin, for it was
known in Egypt, China, and Japan, at a very re-
mote date. Porcelain ornaments have been found
on mummies three thousand years old; and the
British Museum contains specimens of Egyptian
jars, in good preservation, of undoubted antiquity :
indeed, the potter’s wheel is perhaps one of the
most ancient machines on record. Nor has the art
of adapting clay to the domestic purposes of man
been confined to the civilised nations; on the con-
trary, it has been practised by the rudest savages
on the face of the earth. Vases have been found
among the native Indians on the Musquito shore,
and on the banks of the Black River in North
America. Although all vessels made of earth may
be fairly called earthenware, I think you would be
46 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

corrected if you ventured to call the milk-jug so, as
the particular ingredients of which it is compounded
have clarified or cleared the clay, and converted it
into china or porcelain. Before the beginning of
the eighteenth century, English potteries produced
only coarse earthenware ; and we are indebted for
our porcelain articles to the ingenuity and industry
of the Chinese. But in the last century the art
made rapid strides in this country; and we are
mainly indebted to Mr. Wedgwood for the vast
improvements in our ware, which have made it cele-
brated throughout the world, and welcome in every
European market.

English China, as manufactured in Staffordshire,
is a composition made by the admixture of China
clay with ground bones and Cornish granite. Well,
these materials are mixed together with water, and
reduced to the consistence of cream, in which state
the potters call them “ slips, or slops.” I must tell
you that, before the ingredients are mixed together,
they are separately reduced to a fluid state in vats
THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG. 47

sunk in the ground, whence they are sifted through
fine silk lawns into other vessels, and then more
water is added, until a pint measure of clay slip
weighs twenty-four ounces, and a pint of granite
or flint-slip, thirty-two ounces; so that the potter
mixes accurately by measure, as he knows that
when a pint of clay-slip weighs twenty-four ounces,
and a pint of granite or flint-slip weighs thirty-two
ounces, that the proper quantities of clay, flint, or
granite, are contained in the water. The mixture
of the various materials is then made in a vat, and
the quantity of each material to be used is marked
by notches on a rod, which the workman dips into
the vat, while the slip-maker pours in the slips, until
each rises to its proper mark on the mixing-rod.
When the proper quantities have been poured into
the vat, the whole is thoroughly stirred and incor-
porated, and is then pumped up into a higher vessel,
from which it descends through a tap into a silk
sieve, which is kept in constant agitation while the
fluid is passing through it. This process is repeated
48 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

two or three times, not only thoroughly to remove
all impurities, but also to ensure the perfect mix-
ture of the various ingredients. This combined and
strained slip is then pumped on to a boiler called a
slip-hiln, the bottom of which is paved with large
flat fire-bricks, under which the heat of the fire
passes by means of four or five flues. The boiling
heat thus imparted to the slip generates steam, which
is, as you know, water given off in minute particles,
and so the quantity of water in the slip is gradually
reduced ; and the slip, of course, gets gradually
thicker, till it is about the consistence of paste, when
the fires are put out, and it is allowed to cool. The
next process is to beat the slip to make it closer
and firmer, so that when cut it is smooth and close
like putty. It is necessary for the potter to be
very careful that this process is well performed, for
if the slip be not thoroughly beaten, the ware made
from it will crack and peel off, and, in short, be
utterly useless. Having described the operations
performed in the slip-house, let us at once proceed
THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG. 49

to notice what remains to be done to our milk-jug.
It is now only a lump of dense white paste.

A woman, called a baller, takes up the lump,
and makes it of the proper size for the jug, and then
hands it to the thrower; he receives the clay as
he sits at the thrower’s wheel,—a revolving circular
table, which is put in motion by the baller,—and
draws it up into a pillar, then depresses it into a
flat cake. He then opens the hollow of the vessel
with his thumbs, and continues to draw out the
clay, or press it inwards, according to the shape of
the vessel. When a rough outline of the shape is
obtained, the vessel is removed from the table,
placed on a board, and carried into a store-room to
harden. When it is sufficiently hardened, it is
turned upon a lathe resembling that used by wood-
turners. The turner holds the vessel in his hand,
and dexterously shaves away the clay (which is
now about the consistency of soap,) to the proper
thickness, and cuts the mouldings, &c., polishing
the whole with a steel burnisher. The shavings of

E
50 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

clay which the turner cuts away, are carefully
returned to the slip-vats to be remixed. The
milk-jug is then passed to the handler, who hav-
ing made a handle in a plaster mould, sticks it to
the jug with liquid clay. Our jug is now passed
to a workman who has a number of flat figures,
flowers, and other ornaments in clay, which he
carefully fixes round the jug, according to the
drawing of the pattern, by wetting the under part
of them with a camel-hair pencil. These orna-
mental figures are made out of flat moulds by
children.

The jug being now properly shaped and orna-
mented, is placed on a board to dry. It is next
placed in the biscuit-oven, and made white-hot, its
shape being preserved by being imbedded in flint-
powder. The jug is then dipped into a glaze of
finely-ground felspar (a mineral which may be found
in any part of the world, and is the metallic part of
granite) mixed with a little alkali. I have already
explained to you what alkali is; I therefore hope
THE STORY OF A MILK-JUG. 51

that it is not necessary for me to repeat the ex-
planation. It is then submitted to a second fire
of a moderate degree of heat, which not only
melts the glaze on the surface, but unites with
the entire body of the substance, and so hardens
it, and makes it semi-transparent. The jug is then
cooled.

Our milk-jug is now ready for use. We have
watched it through the many phases of its manu-
facture; we have seen how the skill and ingenuity
of the potter have blended the earths of his country
together, and fashioned from the rudest materials
this polished, elegant, and enduring vessel. Well,
we cannot too often repeat to ourselves that the
comforts of our home are the results of many
centuries of thought and toil; that the luxuries we
so often enjoy without a thought of their source,
are the witnesses of our fellow-creatures’ labour.

If we would look about our household in this
spirit, always thankfully owning our manifold debts
to the labour of bygone generations as well as of
§2 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the present generation, at least we should bear in
mind and seek to do away with the misery in which
our poorer brethren slave for us. So ends my Story
of a Milk-Jug.
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THE COAL-MINE.
538

THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL.

To tell you the Story of a Lump of Coal at length
would take many days; for it is a most wonderful
and varied story. Indeed it embraces a history
of all the wonderful inventions which have been
made within the last century. It is the mother
of steam ; since by its power the cranks and chains
and wheels which form the engine are fashioned,
and the water is converted to steam. By its aid,
as you have seen in our Story of a Milk-Jug, the
clays of the earth are formed into hard and polished
vessels; and we are indebted to it for warmth in
winter, and for dressing our food always. With-
out coal, how would the steam-engine weave fabrics
to clothe us, or carry us with fairy speed along our
iron roads? Without coal, how would our vessels
plough the deep, against wind and tide, and carry
54 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

our merchandise to the farthest corners of the earth,
defying the power of the elements? Without coal,
how should we see our way along the streets at
night, since from coal we extract the gas that
lights us on our journey homewards?

You would not understand me were I to at-
tempt to give you a technical analysis of coal; but
I will tell you that it is a vegetable substance which
is extracted from the bowels of the earth by long
and laborious exertions. How vegetable matter,
to the growth of which air and light are as neces-
sary as to human existence, became imbedded so
far below the present surface of the earth, is a ques-
tion which has puzzled many learned men; but it
is beyond doubt that our coal-fields are only so
many buried forests, converted by the gases of the
earth and the process of time to that inflammable
substance which we call coal. It is only very re-
cently that the existence of wood in the state of coal
has been found with the original texture of the
wood still preserved. Not only have the branches
THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 55

of trees been identified in the shape of coal, but their
genus has been distinctly traced.

All plants which have been traced in coal for-
mations are called ‘coal-plants.’ Ferns are the
most abundant of all plants in the shape of coal,
almost every yard of coal being marked by these
impressions, and very often containing them in great
multitudes ;—palms also occur occasionally. This
leads us to believe that at the period of the change
which must have taken place in the surface of the
earth, it was covered with a rich and dense vege-
tation; and that many plants grew then of which
no specimens exist in a vegetable form at the pre-
sent time.

An example of the most imperfectly formed coal
is afforded in what is called the brown or wood coal
of Germany, which exists in large quantities in
Hesse-Darmstadt and Salzhausen. This wood-coal
is coal only half formed, and is found in the shape
of trunks and branches of trees, as well as in other
forms of vegetable matter.
56 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

Beds of coal, which are found in many parts of
the world, but abound in England, are called ‘ coal-
fields.’ Coal is found in these fields in strata, or
layers, separated by seams of slate-clay and sand-
stone. Coal is esteemed according to the quantity
of bitumen which it contains. Bitumen, J should
tell you, such as is generally contained in coal, is
a dark-brown glutinous substance, and is only ano-
ther form of naphtha. It will burn readily, but gives
off a quantity of soot. And here let me also explain
to you, that the soot which lodges in the chimney
is simply so much charcoal given off from the coal
in a vaporous state; and a little thought will
enable you to trace the existence of this charcoal,
or charred wood, to the vegetable origin of coal.
Bitumen being more inflammable than charcoal, the
coal which contains the greatest quantity of bitumen
is the most valuable.

Let me now explain to you the mode of work-
ing coal-mines. The probable existence of beds of
coal having been first carefully considered, and per-
THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 57

haps the beds themselves having been traced by a
process called boring, the first thing that is done is
to sink, or, as you would say, dig a shaft or deep
hole like a well, so as to cut through the various
strata or layers between which the coal is im-
bedded. This shaft, or well, is usually circular, and
the upper part of it is generally securely bricked, to
prevent the earth from falling in upon the workmen
below. On reaching the first workable seam of coal,
the sinking of the pit is for a time suspended, and
a broad straight passage, called by the miners a bord
or gate, is dug into the seam in opposite directions.*
The breadth of the passage, varies from twelve to
fourteen or fifteen feet; but its height is regulated
by the depth of the coal-seam, and the height of
these passages is always made of the depth of the
seam:—the roof exposing the strata above the
seam, and the bottom, that immediately below the
seam, and called by the miners the thill. When

* Sketch of the Relations between the Three Kingdoms of Nature.
By Thomas Williams, Esq., M.B.
58 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

these bords have been excavated to some distance
on both sides of the shaft, narrow passages, called
head-ways, are driven from them at regular dis-
tances, and exactly at right angles, as you will find
them in my drawing.

IW JUILL
Wr a

When these headways have proceeded eight or
ten yards, they are made to communicate with an-
other bord, whichr uns parallel with the primary
bord; and on this system the mine is extended,
according to the quantity, depth, and extent of the
coal-seams. A coal-mine thus extended has been
likened to a regularly built town (if you can con-
ceive the houses one uninterrupted line of black
walls) ; the bords and headways being respectively
the principal streets and the connecting lanes and
alleys; while the intermediate masses of coal (left
THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 59

for the support of the roof) stand for the interme-
diate masses of buildings.

The water-springs, which are usually met with
more or less frequently in the course of the miner’s
operations, are drawn to the surface by the aid of a
very powerful steam-engine, erected near the shaft,
and in such a manner that it may be employed to
draw up the coal and rubbish from the mine in bas-
kets called corves.

If the operations I have attempted to explain
to you have been at all successful, that is to say,
if the quantity of coal found is sufficiently great to
promise a fair return for the money laid out in the
operations of the miners, another shaft will be im-
mediately sunk at some distance from the first, and

the passages and headways made till they com-
municate with those which diverge from the original
shaft. Thus a current of air is carried through the
mine. One shaft is the downcast shaft, and the
other is the upeast shaft. Through the downcast
shaft a current of air is sent into the mine, and is
60 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

made to penetrate every passage and headway, and
to carry away the foul air up through the upcast
shaft. This ventilation is absolutely necessary to
ensure not only the health, but also the immediate
safety of the miners. J dare say you have all
heard of the frightful accidents which have been
caused by the explosion of fire-damp, and of the
safety-lamp invented by Sir Humphrey Davy to
prevent this great sacrifice of life. Let me here ex-
plain to you that, fire-damp is a noxious and inflam-
mable or easily inflamed gas, emitted or given forth
from the coal; and that immediately it comes in
contact with the flame of a lamp, it explodes like
gunpowder, and kills all who are within its reach.
The word fire-damp has originated from dampf,
which is the German for vapour or exhalation. Sir
Humphrey Davy’s lamp is so arranged that the
flame is surrounded on all sides by an iron gauze,
through which flame will not pass, and which con-
sequently prevents the flame from coming in contact.
with the noxious vapour of fire-damp. This inven-
THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 61

tion has been and is perhaps one of the most valu-
able efforts of man’s ingenuity. It has saved many
thousand lives, and prevented the destruction of pro-
perty of untold value. While the workings on the
first seam of coal are thus rapidly and securely
going forward, shafts are generally sunk from the
first seam to one below, and afterwards to the third
and fourth seams, so that a mine extensively worked
has, as it were, three or four stories. These opera-
tions may be carried on so long as seams of coal
reward the miner’s labour.

The mode in which the miner detaches the coal
is by cutting a narrow way on each side of the huge
piece he wishes to excavate, and then blasting it
out by firing shot at the top of the seam. As much
as one hundred tons of coal is often brought down
at once by this process; and the coal is put into
corves, or baskets, drawn along a tram-road to the
shaft, and then raised to the surface by the steam-
engine.

I think I have now explained to you with sufli-
62 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

cient minuteness the operations which are carried
on underground for the purpose of supplying our
manufacturers and ourselves with fuel. Let me
now tell you what becomes of the thirty-five millions
of tons which, it is estimated, are annually raised
from the mines of England. The coal-field of North-
umberland and Durham supplies nearly all the coal
consumed in London, the eastern and southern
counties, and the neighbourhood of the mines.
Shields, Stockton, Seaham, and Sunderland are the
ports from which the coal is shipped: the Tyne
vessels being the larger, are laden for the London
market. The Lancashire coal-field supplies Man-
chester, Liverpool, and the surrounding district; the
South Staffordshire or Dudley coal-field the nu-
merous iron-works in its neighbourhood, and the
manufactories of Birmingham and the neighbouring
counties. The coal-field of South Wales (to give
you an idea of the extent of these fields,) is upwards
of one hundred miles in length, its breadth averag-
ing from eighteen to twenty miles. Ireland and
THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 63

Scotland also contain coal-fields, but of less import-
ance than those of England. To give you some
notion of the amount of human labour expended
in bringing coals to our markets, I will tell you that
London alone consumes upwards of three million
four hundred thousand tons every year, for the con-
veyance of which eleven thousand nine hundred and
eighty-seven ships are kept in constant activity.
It is estimated also that the iron-works of England
(into which, as you recollect I told you in the Story
of a Knife, coal enters largely) consume, in the
operations of smelting, more than seven million tons
of this valuable fuel every year. In 1841 the num-
ber of persons employed in coal-mines was one hun-
dred and eighteen thousand two hundred and twenty-
three.

Having thus briefly given you some idea of the
enormous quantities of coal consumed, let me point
out to you the various benefits which we derive from
the use of it. In the first place, coal is, as I have
already noticed, the mother of steam. We have
64 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

already heard the Story of Steam, so that it is un-
necessary for me to repeat my observations on that
subject; but you have heard nothing hitherto of the
manner in which gas is extracted from coal. I will
explain the process to you.

The existence and inflammability of coal-g'as may
be said to have been known for nearly two hundred
years; but although its existence and properties
were known so far back, it was not till the year 1792
that any attempt was made to turn this knowledge
to useful account. In this year, Mr. Murdoch, an en-
gineer living at Redruth in Cornwall, erected a little
apparatus, which produced sufficient gas to light
his dwelling and offices; and in 1798 he erected
extensive gas-works to light the premises of Messrs.
Boulton and Watt at Soho. This was the first
application of gas in a large way; but it attracted
little attention till 1802, when Messrs. Boulton and
Son used it for their illumination in commemora-
tion of the peace. The wonderful brilliancy of their
illumination, as compared with those produced by
THE STORY OF A LUMP OF COAL. 65

the dull flame of oil, made a great sensation through-
out England, and gas from that time began to be
gradually introduced throughout the country. In
1807, Pall Mall was lighted up by gas, and for some
years this was the only street in London so illumin-
ated ; but its use was gradually extended, till not an
alley in the metropolis was left dark to shield the
doings of dishonesty. Gas has been very properly
called the city’s most vigilant policeman. Coal-gas
is distilled by placing a quantity of coal in a elosed
vessel, and subjecting it to the action of a fire, when
a dark oily substance is given off through a tube
into another vessel made to receive it. This dark
oily substance consists of water, coal-tar, and spirit,
or gas. To get rid of the water and tar, the
mixture is allowed to cool, when the water and tar
settle and run off, leaving the spirit behind. This
spirit is still impure, as it contains a gas which is in-
jurious to health and of an unpleasant smell, called
sulphuretted hydrogen gas. To get rid of this gas,
the spirit is passed through vessels containing lime, to
F
66 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

which it is the property of the sulphuretted hydro-
gen to adhere, leaving the spirit to pass off in the
shape of the pure gas. which is now in use through-
out the civilised world.

You now know the two great purposes to which
coal is applied. We might follow it into every in-
dustrial occupation of man. Its use is universal.
To stop the supply of coal would be to bring our
manufactories to a stand-still, to darken our streets,
to stop the railway-engine, and the paddles of our
steamboats. You will, by pursuing this train of
thought to its utmost bearings, see how the opera-
tions of mankind, like the steam-engine, though
complicated and apparently independent of one
another, are one unbroken chain of dependent
actions, which the absence of the minutest crank or
wheel may bring to a dead stop. So ends our Story
of a Lump of Coal.
i

ro



THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER.
67

THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER.

My children, the Story of Hot Water is perhaps
the most wonderful history in the world. It is as
interesting and startling as the most marvellous tale
in the Arabian Nights; and it is, let me assure you,
one with which all young persons should be ac-
quainted, for it is destined, in all probability, to
have great influence over the progress towards good
of the rising generation. I have lived to behold
the accomplishment of many scientific wonders: I
can remember the first steamboat, and the first rail-
way; and Harry can remember the first electric
telegraph. A few years ago it was impossible to
travel from London to Paris in less time than five
days; now the journey may be performed in twelve
hours, or half one day. You may now breakfast in
London and sup in Paris. A message, by means of
68 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the electric telegraph, may be sent from Paris to
London in less time than five minutes. These are
among the wonders which have been revealed to the
world through the labour and ingenuity of learned
men. And now we are progressing towards greater
discoveries. You, children, will most likely live to
see the day when a message from China will be
delivered in London in the course of five minutes ;
and you will enjoy daily communication with people
living at the remotest corners of the earth.

We are told, by men whose learning entitles
them to our belief, that the power of steam was not
entirely unknown to the ancients. I hope you all
know that steam is water made into vapour, or, as
J heard one of you the other day call the vapour
that was rolling out in large white clouds from a
kettle of boiling water, into smoke, by the action of
heat. For the future, do not let me hear any of you
be guilty of such a blunder. Know that smoke is
the gas which proceeds from burning coals or wood,
‘and that steam is the vapour which rises from boil-
THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. 69

ing water. Among the ancients, steam was a power
very little understood; and the only evidence of its
subjugation to the purposes of man before the Chris-
tian era, is given to us by Hero of Alexandria, who
has left us the description of a machine in which a
continued movement is given to a wheel by a blast
of steam playing upon it.

It was about the beginning of the seventeenth
century that De Caus, a French engineer, invented
a machine by which a column of water might be
raised by the pressure of steam confined in the ves-
sel above the water to be elevated; and in 1629,
an Italian named Branca contrived a plan of turn-
ing mills by a blast of steam. These projectors,
though their inventions were rude, and possessed
little power or usefulness, served to turn the atten-
tion of thinking men to the means of making the
immense power of steam useful to the human race.
So far back as 1668, the celebrated Marquis of
Worcester gave to the world an account of the ex-
pansive force of steam. Let me read to you the
70 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

passage from his book, called “A Century of In-
ventions.” “I have taken a cannon, and filled it
three-quarters full of water, stopping firmly up
both the touch-hole and the mouth; and having
made a good fire under it, within twenty-four hours
it burst, and made a great crack.” With this ex-
perience the marquis contrived a rude machine,
which, he tells us, drove up water to the height of
forty feet.

The next name which I shall mention to you in
connexion with the application of steam to useful
purposes, is that of Denis Pepin, 2 Frenchman.
You understand that if. you fill a kettle full of
water, stop up every hole, and then put it on the
fire, directly it boils, steam will be produced; and
the kettle that is only large enough to hold the
water cannot also contain the steam, which occupies
fifty times the space it takes up in the shape of
water, and that therefore the steam, pressing with
great force on all sides of the kettle, will at length
cause it to burst with a loud noise. Well, the great
THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. il

discovery which Pepin made was that of obtaming
the sudden return of the steam to water, or, as it
is generally called, its condensation by cold. As
heat turns water into steam, so cold again reduces
steam to water. The result of Pepin’s studies was
the idea of obtaining a moving power by means
of a piston (A) working in a |
cylinder or tube (6). To ob-
tain this, he constructed a tube
or cylinder, into which he in-
troduced a rod or piston, fit-
ting nicely, as one joint of an
opera-glass fits imto the other |
in our days. Well, at the c. Steam. p. Water. E. Fire.
bottom of this cylinder he placed some water, and
under the water a fire: the consequence was, that
directly the water boiled, and steam was made, the
steam, wanting room to expand, forced the rod or
piston up. When the piston had been raised, Pepin
removed the fire, and so, as by the action of cold
the steam again became water and returned to its


72 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

compact body at the bottom of the cylinder, the
piston fell. Though Pepin did not live to perfect
his ingenious invention, his labour produced the
basis upon which all our steam-power has been ob-
tained. If you go into any of the factories where
steam is employed as a power, or examine the en-
gine of a steamboat, you will see that piston and
cylinder invented by Pepin producing the power of
the engine by the rising and falling of the piston,
as it is raised by the introduction of steam into the
cylinder, and made to fall by the reduction of the
steam to water.

The first actual steam-engine of which we have
any undeniable record was constructed by Captain
Savery, an Englishman, for the purpose of rais-
ing water. This was in the year 1699. Captain
Savery’s engine, however, from the expense of work-
ing it, and the constant danger of explosion, soon
fell into disuse. It was, in fact, a very rude ma~-
chine, as the eondensation of the steam was not suf-
ficiently ensured. These discoveries and inventions,
THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. v3

however, served to turn the attention of very many
clever men to the improvement of the steam-engine.
In 1705 Thomas Newcomen, an ironmonger, and
John Cawley, a plumber and glazier, constructed
an engine in which the condensation of the steam
was effected by the application of cold water outside
the cylinder. The improvement of their first engine
is due to Newcomen, who having noticed that the
piston rose and fell three or four times with great
rapidity without the application of cold water, ex-
amined this piston, and found a hole in it, through
which the water intended by him to keep the cylin-
der air-tight, issued in a little jet or fountain, and -
instantly condensed the steam under it: this led
him to introduce a pipe, stopped by a cock, into the
bottom of the cylinder, through which cold water
was supplied from a reservoir. This engine, known
as Newcomen’s engine, required the constant at-
tendance of some person to open and shut the con-
densing cocks or valves, a duty which was gene-
rally fulfilled by boys, called cock-boys. When I
74 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

tell you that we owe a most important improvement
in the steam-engine to the desire of a boy named
Humphrey Potter to join his comrades at play when
he should have attended to the condensing cock, I
shall not, I trust, make any of you hope to do good
by neglecting your duty. You know that the pri-
mary action of the steam-engine is the rise and fall
of the piston or rod in the cylinder or tube; I have
explained to you that in Newcomen’s engine the
condensing or reducing of the steam was brought
about by the introduction of cold water through a
pipe at the bottom of the cylinder; and I have also
said that this cold-water pipe was stopped by a
cock. Well, the duty of the cock-boy was to turn
the cold water on through the pipe at the bottom of
the cylinder directly the steam had forced the piston
up. This must have been very irksome duty for the
poor boys; at least it appears that Humphrey Pot-
ter found it so; and, in order to be able to leave the
engine without stopping it, he tied the handle of
the cock by a string to the piston, so that when the
THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. 79

piston rose the cock was turned on, the water en-
tered the cylinder, the piston fell, and the cock
closed again; and in this way the steam-engine
was first made a self-acting machine.

T must now tell you about a man who will make
no mean figure in the annals of your country,—I
allude to James Watt. It was in repairing a work-
ing model of a Newcomen’s steam-engine for the
lectures of a learned professor of Glasgow Univer-
sity, that Watt’s attention was first seriously called
to mechanical invention. At the time of which I
speak, Newcomen’s engine was the most perfect
one in existence. The moving power was the.
weight of the air pressing on the upper surface of
a piston or rod working in a cylinder or tube;
steam being used to raise the piston with its load
of air up again, and then to form a vacuum, or
empty space, by its condensation when cooled by
a jet of cold water, which was thrown into the
cylinder when the piston was raised. The great
improvement which Watt introduced was the con-
76 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

densation of the steam in a separate vessel. He
perceived that as it was necessary in Newcomen’s
engine to introduce cold water into the cylinder in
order to condense the steam, the cylinder must ne-
cessarily be cooled also, and that consequently when
the next blast of steam came, much of it was wasted
by the coolness of the cylinder, which in fact con-
densed the steam, and therefore weakened its power.
Watt at once perceived that the only method to do
away with this defect was to draw the steam off
directly the piston was raised, by making a vessel
void of air, near the cylinder, communicate with it,
into which the steam could be drawn off, leaving
the cylinder perfectly empty, and so giving more
force to the descent, or, as it is called, the down-
stroke of the piston ; and at the same time keeping
it warm for the next blast of steam. These im-
provements gave additional power to the engine,
and prevented the waste of steam. In Newcomen’s
engine, not only was the cylinder cooled by the in-
troduction of cold water, but it was allowed to be
THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER, 77

full of air and partially condensed steam, so that
the fall, or drown-stroke of the piston, lost much of
its force. Watt improved upon this also, and emp-
tied the cylinder of air, so that in his engine the
interior of the cylinder offered a perfect vacuum, or
empty space, to the fall of the piston. In the mi-
nuter, though important parts of the engine, Watt
made many improvements. He perfected the con-
struction of his engine, so as to regulate its power
with great exactitude, by introducing a certain
quantity of steam, and no more, for each up-stroke .
of the piston. He is, in short, justly esteemed as a
man who contributed largely to the progress of his-
fellow-creatures. He died at his house at Heath-
field, in the county of Stafford, on the 25th of Au-
gust, 1819, in the eighty-fourth year of his age,
having made a large and well-deserved fortune by
his noble labours.

My children, were I to attempt to trace for you
a history of the various applications of the steam-
engine to the different branches of industry, we
78 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

should find ourselves involved in a story of the pro-
gress of the world for the last thirty years. Such
a subject is one too grave and too important to you
to be chatted about round the fire. It is a subject
which you will have to study seriously in your
books: I shall not therefore touch upon it. To give
you an account of the wonders steam has achieved,
would be to count almost every comfort and luxury
which we enjoy. Dr. Lardner, whose book on the
steam-eng'ine you shall all read when you are a few
. years older, tells us that the steam-engine has in-
creased the sum of human happiness, not only by
calling new pleasures into existence, but by so
cheapening former enjoyments as to render them
attainable by those who before could never have
hoped to share them ; the face of the land and the
surface of the waters are crossed with equal facility
by its power; and by thus encouraging and help-
ing the intercourse of nation with nation, and the
commerce of people with people, it has knit together
countries far away from each other by bonds of
THE STORY OF SOME HOT WATER. 79

friendship not likely to be broken. Knowledge and
affection are kept up by its power between people
thousands of miles away from one another; those
more advanced in learning shedding the blessings
of knowledge over their barbarous and distant bro-
thers. By this means,—by the subjugation of the
force of hot water to the will of man,—has the pro-
gress of this century been brought about; and you
may be thankful, my dear children, that you are
born in a time when the tree of knowledge is shed-
ding its fruit all over the world, making men friends,
and nations welcome neighbours. This is the story,
the great story of some Hor Waren.
81

THE STORY OF A PIN.

Very few children know how much ingenuity and
labour are spent upon a pin. They are accustomed
to see hundreds of pins every day, yet they never
pause to inquire how they are made, or who makes
them. Yet, I can tell them, the story of that little
instrument called a pin is a very interesting and in-
structive.one. There is no account in existence of
the first pin that was ever made; but this is very
certain, that it was made long before the time of
Henry the Eighth,—who, my young readers I trust
remember very well, reigned about three hundred
years ago,—for he would not allow any to be made
that were not properly pointed. In the olden time,
pins were made of many substances,—of boxwood,
bone, or silver ; now they are usually made of brass.
Ten persons are generally employed to make one
G
82 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

pin; and it is well known that these ten people can,
within the space of eight hours, make five thousand
five hundred pins. It may at first appear very
astonishing to you, that so many pins may be made
within this short space of time; but if you take the
trouble to think upon the subject, and to consider
how, by dint of persevering practice, a little girl
will learn to knit with marvellous quickness, you
will cease to feel any surprise at the rapidity and
dexterity of practised pin-makers.

The first thing to be done in the making of a
pin is, to draw out a quantity cf brass to a wire of
the thickness of the pin to be made. This opera-
tion, though it would seem to be more properly the
business of a wire-drawer than of a pin-maker, is
generally performed in the pin-factory, as it is found,
for some particular reason, to be more conducive to
the interests of the proprietor to draw his own wire
to the requisite thickness. When the wire has been
properly drawn out, it is wound up into coils of a
certain and equal size; and then, to burn off any
THE STORY OF A PIN. 88

dirt or impure substance that may cling to it, it is
dipped into a mixture of acid and water, which has
the effect of instantaneously removing any thing
that may adhere to the metal. In the same way,
if you dip a dirty brass rod into vinegar, or rub it
with vinegar, the action of the sour or acid liquid
will cause all the dirt to come from the brass, leav-
ing the rod quite bright and clean. Well, when
the wire that is to be made into pins has been
cleaned, it is straightened and cut into pieces of
equal length. .A number of these lengths are then
taken together, and by means of a large and power-
ful pair of shears or scissors, which are worked by °
the foot, they are cut into shorter pieces, each piece
being a little longer than six pins joined together.
The next thing to be done is to point these pieces of
wire ; and for this purpose two revolving wheels, like
those you see the knife-grinders use in the streets,
only much smaller, and made of steel instead of
stone, are provided. The man whose business it is
to point the wires, places himself before these steel
84 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

wheels, and taking several of these pieces of wire in
his hand, applies their end to the first wheel, which
has the coarser surface of the two wheels, in order
to prepare the way for the action of the finer wheel ;
and while he holds the ends of the wires to the first
wheel, contrives, by a dexterous movement of the
thumb and first finger, to make the wires revolve in
his hand, so that every side is presented to the action
of the wheel, and a rough round point is made. The
next step is to submit these rough points to the ac-
tion of the fine wheel, which polishes them to the
smooth sharp points which pins generally have.
Having done this, the same workman who makes
the points takes a powerful pair of shears or scissors,
and cuts the wire the length of a pin from the points
he has made, and then proceeds to sharpen the end
of the remaining wire to make the stem of another
pin, and so on till he has made six stems, to the
length of which, my little readers will bear in mind,
the wires are generally cut. The stems of the pins
are now complete, and in a state to receive their
THE STORY OF A PIN. 85

head. For this purpose they pass into the hands
of another workman, whose sole employment is to
fasten the heads on to the stems. But first of all,
we must follow the operations of the man who makes
the heads. Here I must beg that my young readers
will follow me with great attention, as the process
I have to explain to them is a very troublesome
and difficult one. Well, in the first place a piece of
wire called the mould, the same size as that used
for the stems, is attached to a small revolving axis.
At the end of the wire nearest the axis is a hole,
through which is placed the end of a smaller wire,
so that when the wire that is attached to the axis
is made to turn round, it twists the thin wire round
it; and when this has taken place, the workman cuts
the thin wire, and allows the head which has been
formed by the winding of the thin wire to fall from
the thick wire into a compartment made to receive
it. You may see for yourselves, by examining the
head of a pin attentively, that it is made of a thin
wire wound carefully, neatly, and smoothly round
86 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the stem of the pin; and you may judge for your-
self how dexterously the workman must perform
his labour, when I tell you, that in the course of an
hour he makes five thousand five hundred pins’
heads.

When a quantity of heads have been properly
prepared, another workman takes them, together
with an equal quantity of stems, and proceeds to
fasten the heads upon the stems in the following
manner. The workman is provided with a small
upright stake, upon which is fastened a steel die,
containing a hollow the exact shape of half the
head. Above this die is suspended a moving die,
containing another hollow exactly the size of the
other half of the head, which, when at rest, remains
suspended about two inches above the lower one.
Well, being thus provided, the workman takes one
of the stems between his fingers, and dipping the
pointed end into a bowl containing a number of
heads, catches one upon it, and slides it to the other
end. The head when first slipped on in this way is
THE STORY OF A PIN. 87

simply a piece of thin twisted wire; well, to give it
its proper shape, and make it even and smooth as
you see the heads of pins, he places it in the lower
hollow, which, as you know, is exactly the size and
shape of half the head; he then causes the upper
die, containing the mould for the other half of the
head, to fall on the lower half, and so quite close
the pin’s head in, and press it to its proper shape.
This he repeats two or three times, for the purpose
of fastening the head firmly on the stem of the pin.
The pin is now finished.as regards shape, but it
is still an ugly, dark, dirty colour, and quite unfit
to pin ladies’ ribands. To cleanse and whiten it,’
therefore, is the next business of the manufacturer.
When a quantity of pins are finished, they are boiled
in what the workmen call “a pickle,” which is a
mixture of sulphuric acid and water, similar to
that which I have described to you in a previous
page. This mixture has a large proportion of acid,
because it is necessary by its action so to bite into
and roughen the pins as to make them take easily
88 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

the coating of tin which is afterwards given to
them.

After being boiled for half an hour, they are
washed, and then placed in a copper vessel with a
quantity of grain tin, that is to say, powdered tin,
and a mixture of tartar. The mixture of tartar,
acting upon the tin and upon the pins, causes the
tin to adhere or stick to the pins, so that when they
are taken out of the copper vessel, they are quite
covered with the tin, and present a brilliantly white
appearance. They are next sifted or shaken in a
sieve to disengage any loose tin that may adhere to
them, and then carefully washed. To dry them,
the workman throws them into a bag half-full of
bran, in which he shakes them for some time, when
he throws them into a wooden tray, and for the
second time shakes them well for the purpose of
disengaging the bran, which flies off, leaving them
beautifully bright, quite clean, and, in fact, ready
for use.

You will see, by this story, that a great amount
THE STORY OF A PIN. 89

of labour is requisite to produce a pin; and that
you owe the use of this little but most useful in-
strument to the combined strength and ingenuity
of many people. Women and poor little children,
as well as men, are employed to make pins; and
perhaps, if you reflect upon this, and remember that
every pin wasted by you has been made with much
trouble and weariness by a little boy not bigger
than yourselves, you will feel less inclined to waste
wantonly what has been produced with so much
labour, and, may be, at the cost of a fellow-crea-
ture’s health.

You have noticed that when your mother has
lost any body very dear to her, she has worn black
clothes, and dressed you in black also; and I should
think that the black pins which she used on those
sad occasions did not escape your attention. I
think you would be glad to know how these pins
are made: I will tell you. The best black pins,
that is to say, those that have a dark, very dark
purple hue, are made of steel tempered to a deep
90 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

colour, instead of brass; while those which look
perfectly black, but which, after a severe rubbing,
become white, losing their outer coat, are common
pins dipped in a black varnish instead of the solu-
tion of tartar and tin. You now know the exact
difference between the manufacture of a common
pin and a mourning-pin. May you, children, sel-
dom have occasion to use a black pin, or forget the
poor little workmen whose hard toil provides you
with a white pin. The poor little fellows who work
from morning till night in the pin-factory barely
earn sixpence a-day. We are told, and on very
good authority, that the number of pins made. daily
in Iingland alone is more than fifteen millions.
This astonishing number, I am inclined to think,
is rather below than over the actual number manu-
factured; I am rather led to believe that as many
as twenty millions are made every day in this coun-
try. Be this as it may, I think I have told you
enough to interest you in the Story of a Pin: and
I do hope, that for the future you will bear in mind,
THE STORY OF A PIN, 91

what is so often told to children, that the most in-
significant thing is the result of industry, and that

even a pin is made at the cost of much labour and
ingenuity.


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THE STORY OF A SASH.
93

THE STORY OF A SASH.

I am glad to see Jenny with her new sash. She
deserves the very pretty present her mother has
made her. She has been a very good girl. I like
to see children behave well, not for the sake of get-
ting a reward in the shape of a present, but for the
delight of knowing that they are doing their duty
to their parents as well as to themselves. I am
very happy to hear that Jenny is so pleased with
her mother’s gift. She is very proud of the sash,
I dare say; but can she tell us all about it? No!
Well then, children, gather round the fire, throw
on a shovelful of coals, and let me tell you

THE STORY OF JENNY’S SASH.

I hope you all know that silk comes from the
silkworm. You recollect that when Harry kept
94 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

silkworms, they used, when they had grown to a
certain size, to retire into a corner of their box, and
gradually cover themselves with a fine yellow silk
thread. You noticed them moving their heads to
and fro, from one corner of their little prison to the
opposite corner; and you could, I should think, see
the thread of silk which they seemed to be unwind-
ing from two holes in their head. Well, of that
thin and brilliant web Jenny’s strong sash is made.
The processes which that thin and frail thread has
to undergo before it is strong enough to be worn
are, as you may imagine, manifold, and I think
very interesting. Well, as you have seen, when
the silkworm has grown to a certain size, it seeks
a corner in which to form its nest, or, as silk-mer-
chants call it, its cocoon. Bear in mind the mean-
ing of the word cocoon, as I shall use it frequently
in the course of my story. This cocoon is formed
by the labour of the worm, as you have also seen.
Gradually the worm becomes quite hidden from
sight, but still it labours on, spinning more and
THE STORY OF A SASH. 95

more length of filament, or silk, from the two holes
in its head, and disposing the rich and glossy thread
round the interior of its hollow dwelling. This nest,
Harry knows, assumes the form of an egg. At
length the worm inside becomes exhausted, and
ceases to spin: its nest or cocoon is finished. Let
me not forget to tell you that the two threads spun
out from two holes in the worm’s head are, by a
peculiar movement of its mouth and front legs,
fastened together, and fixed by a gummy liquid
which comes from its mouth. The worm, if not
interrupted, usually spins out the whole quantity of
its silk in one thread of enormous length.

Silkworms are reared in large quantities in Italy,
France, India, and China. Harry can tell you that
they are fed upon mulberry-leaves: and I dare say
he remembers Cowley’s verses on the mulberry-tree,
where he says:

“ Her fruit is rich, but she doth leaves produce

Of far surpassing worth and noble use.
* * * * A
96 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

They supply
The ornaments of royal luxury :
The beautiful they make more beauteous seem,
The charming sex owe half their charms to them;
To them effeminate men their vestments owe ;—
How vain the pride which insect worms bestow!”

Do you hear that, Jenny ?

‘“« How vain the pride which insect worms bestow!”

Always remember, when you feel proud of your
sash, when you look with joy upon its beauty, that
you owe it to the labour of a poor worm. In Italy
and China, the rearing of silkworms is the occupa-
tion of one class of persons, while the winding of
the silk from the cocoons is the occupation of ano-
ther distinct class of people. Those persons who
rear silkworms sell the cocoons to the winders or
reelers. All cocoons, however, are not of equal
value; the cocoon proprietor therefore separates
them into different qualities, to which he gives
separate names. Jor instance, the most perfect
cocoons he calls “ good cocoons ;” next in point of
THE STORY OF A SASH. 07.

value come the “ pointed cocoons,” which are infe-
rior in worth to “ good cocoons,” because they are
apt to break in the winding; then come “ conca-
lons,” or large loose cocoons; then “ doublets,” so
called from imperfection in the thread; then “ souf-
flons,” which are very imperfect cocoons; and so
on, each kind bearing a value proportionate to its
soundness, or the facility with which it is likely to
yield an untangled silken thread.

The Chinese pay great attention to the condition
and feeding of their silkworms, and are particular
as to the time of preparing them for spinning their _
cocoons. They allow the worms three days to spin ;
and in six days they stifle the worm, which, during
that time, has been changed to a chrysalis, or, as
Harry says, a grub. This is done by burying
the cocoons in a jar underground, lined with mats
and leaves, interlaying them with salt, which kills
the grub, and keeps the silk strong and bright.
Packed in these jars, the cocoons can be carried any
distance without receiving injury, and may be kept

H
98 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

unwound for some time. Another mode of destroy-
ing the grub, is by steaming it. The steam not
only destroys the grub, but prepares the silk for
the winder. The Italians kill the grub by exposing
the cocoon to the burning rays of the summer sun.
Some rearers destroy the poor silkworm by putting
the cocoon in a moderately heated oven. This is a
terrible end for the poor silk-makers! How many
worms must have been baked, Jenny, to make your
sash! When the insect is killed, the external loose
covering of the cocoon, better known to you as
floss silk, is opened, and the hard cocoon is pressed
through the opening.

When the winder, or reeler, has purchased the
cocoons from the rearer, he proceeds to prepare
them for the process of unwinding, and forming
them into hanks or skeins. With this view, the
cocoons are thrown into a vessel full of warm
water, and there left till the gum, which the worm
uses as a cement to keep the cocoon together, is so
far softened as to permit the thread to come off.
THE STORY OF A SASH. 99

The reeler then takes a whisk of fine twigs bound
together, and cut off evenly at the ends; and with
this she (for the reelers are generally women) presses
and stirs the cocoons till the loose ends of the silk
adhere to its points; she then gently raises the
whisk with the threads of silk clinging to it, dis-
engages them one by one from it, and draws their
ends through her fingers, to remove any floss or
dirt that may cling to them. Then, supposing the
thread which she is about to form to consist of ten
filaments, she collects the threads of ten cocoons,
and passes them through small eyes or holesina |
reeling-machine. The first, we will suppose, forms
two groups of five threads each, each group passing’
through one eye, which is presently combined with
the other group of five threads, making one solid
thread of ten filaments. This solid thread is then
wound upon a square reel; the cocoons, still im-
mersed in the warm water, being carefully soft-
ened, which will allow them to yield their filaments
freely. As fast as the cocoons are exhausted, others
100 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

are thrown into the water, and their threads ga-
thered up, and united to the solid thread. You
now know how the silk leaves the form of cocoons,
and becomes a skein, or, as the manufacturers calk
it, a hank. Well, in the form of hanks or skeins
what manufacturers call “raw” silk is imported
into this country to be woven into ribands, satins,
and velvets.

The Chinese assert, and they have abundant
proof of their assertion, that silkworms were reared,
and silk was manufactured into clothes, as far back
as 780 years before the Christian era. Indeed,
many of their learned men are bold enough to
maintain that the silk of the silkworm was manu-
factured by the Empress Siling, wife of the Em-
peror Hwangti, 2602 years before the Christian
era. An old Chinese record is said to contain these
lines :

“The legitimate wife of Hwangti, named Siling shé, began to rear

silkworms:
At this period Hwangti invented the art of making clothing.”
THE STORY OF A SASH. 101

The Chinese esteemed the produce of the silk-
worm so highly, that they worshipped a goddess of
silkworms. We are also told by old Chinese writers,
that in ancient times emperors did not disdain to
plough the lands, nor empresses to cultivate the
mulberry-tree to feed the silkworms, as an example
of industry to their people. There can be no doubt
that the Chinese were the original manufacturers of
silken goods; and at the present day, perhaps a
third of the population of that immense country is
clothed with the filaments of the useful silkworm.
The finest silk in the world comes from China, and ~
is called toatle by the Chinese.

The hanks or skeins of silk brought over to this
country vary considerably in size, shape, weight,
and colour. The Chinese silks are the whitest.
Indian silks are imported in small skeins; Italian
raw silk in larger skeins; and the Persian silks,
which are the least valuable of all the silks that
come to our English market, are imported in skeins
weighing: usually a pound each.
102 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

We must now carefully follow these skeins (or
raw silk) through the processes called silk-throwing,
which they must undergo to be brought into a
proper state for the use of the weaver and the
stocking-maker. Formerly silk-throwing was an
art in the hands of foreigners only, until John
Lombe, an English workman, went to Italy, and
by bribing the men engaged in the silk-throwing
mills there, gained sufficient knowledge of the ma-
chinery used by the Italians to guide him in the
construction of the famous old Derby mill, which
he built in 1717 at a cost of 30,0007. This was the
first silk-throwing mill ever erected in England;
and so well did it succeed, that it did great harm
to the Italian silk-throwers, who, in revenge for
John Lombe’s forbidden visit among them, are re-
ported to have bribed two Italians to poison him
with slow poison. John Lombe lingered two or
three years in agony after the arrival of two Ita-
lians at his mill, and then died, as people supposed,
killed by these foreigners.
THE STORY OF A SASH. 108

Derby, ever since Lombe’s time, has maintained a
great reputation for its silk manufactures. Lombe’s
machinery has been improved by degrees; so that
now some of the silk-mills are great examples of
factory economy. You have all heard of the poor
Spitalfields men; but you must not confound their
employment with the silk-throwsters. Spitalfields is
famed for the weaving of silk, while Manchester,
Derby, Macclesfield, and Congleton are noted for
silk-throwing mills. Let us now follow some skeins
of silk through a throwing-mill. You must first
understand that the hanks or skeins of raw silk are
taken to the mill in bales or bundles. The appear-
ance of these bales when opened is very brilliant,
from the brightness and richness of the silk. The
process which these skeins undergo depends, of
course, on the purposes to which they are to be
applied afterwards. For instance, there is a kind
called dumb singles, which is silk simply wound and
cleaned ; this is used principally in the weaving of
gauze, and other light fabrics: another kind is
104 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

known as thrown singles ; this is a silk which has
been wound, cleaned, and thrown, and is then used
in the weaving of sashes and common silks. This
is, then, the process which Jenny’s sash has under-
gone. Tram is silk which, besides being wound,
cleaned, and thrown, is ‘ doubled,’ that is, two or
more threads are twisted into one; this thick thread
is used for the weft, or cross threads, of velvets,
and flowered silks, and what are called corded silks.
You will understand, from what I have told you,
that the operations to which silk is submitted differ
according to the purposes to which it is to be ap-
plied. For instance, when the weaver wants a thick
cord, the silk is wound, cleaned, and doubled or tre-
bled; if, on the contrary, he wants a thin thread to
make gauze and very fine silk material, the silk is
only wound and cleaned.

So that you will see the operations to which the
raw silk is submitted before it is given to the weaver
may be classed as cleaning, winding, doubling, and
twisting or throwing. After a slight washing or
THE STORY OF A SASH. 105

soaking, comes the process in which the winding-
machine is used. The term ‘ winding’ refers, let
me remind you, to the hanks or skeins of raw silk,
as well as to the manufactured article. You have
often held skeins of silk for your mother to unwind ;
well, in silk-mills, instead of using little children’s
hands to wind from, the manufacturer uses a wooden
contrivance. This wooden frame is called a swift
in the mill, though its movements are slow when
compared with the quick motions of those reels on
to which the silk is wound.

You recollect that the hanks or skeins which
come from various countries are not: all of the same
size. I hope Harry recollects, for example, that
the Persian skeins are the largest of all foreign
skeins, and that the silk is of inferior quality. The
swifts are therefore made of different sizes, to suit
the diameter of the skeins. The skeins of raw silk
are opened and spread separately round these swifts;
but when the manufacturer wants to make a thick
skein from the raw hank, he twists several skeins
106 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

round one another, so that they form one thick
thread on the reel below. To shew you, my children,
to what a wonderful state of perfection machinery
has been brought in your own country, I will tell
you, there is in some parts of the operations I have
described to you, a very pretty little contrivance,
which refuses to work when any thmg is going
wrong. It is a dumb tell-tale, a warning which
immediately tells the woman that something requires
her attention. When the delicate silks of thread
are passing from the revolving swift to the revolv-
ing reel, if the thread happens to be bad or weak
at any part, it will probably break, and if this
breakage were to remain unnoticed, it would seriously
injure the manufactured artiele. For instance, sup-
pose four skeins from the swift are being turned
into one, and one of the four break, the other three,
if not instantly stopped, would continue to form a
threefold thread only, which would of course be
much thinner than the fourfold thread previously
made. Well, the little tell-tale guards against
THE STORY OF A SASH. 107

this, by stopping all the bobbins of one group
instantly, when any one of the threads breaks.
Each thread passes through an eye in the end of
a short lever; and when a thread breaks, the lever
loses a temporary support, falls, and by means of a
sort of catch stops the movement of the reel or bob-
bin on which the doubled thread is being wound.
This stoppage of course attracts the notice of the
person who is watching the machine, who mends
the broken thread; and the ingenious tell-tale then
allows all to go on smoothly till another breakage
calls for its attention and warning.
Hand-twisting is not yet quite supplanted by the
giant steam. There are some kinds of twisted silk
which are required to be thicker and stronger than
the ordinary varieties: this strong and compact silk
is generally manufactured by a process called hand-
twisting. This operation is performed by young
active boys about Harry’s age, but by poor little
fellows less fortunate than he, who have to work
hard for their dinner and supper, and only get very
108 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

coarse food after all their labour, while he has the
best of every thing, and has nothing to do for it.
Well, these poor boys are employed in running
to and fro, carrying silken threads in their hands.
At one end of a very long room is a large wheel,
turned by aman. On one face of the wheel, near
the circumference, are about a dozen hooks ranged in
a circle. Several threads of silk, twelve or a lesser
number, are fastened to these hooks, and the other
ends of the twelve threads are carried to the distant
end of the room by the boys. At that end they are
fastened to hooks attached to a machine made to
move very slowly along the floor, so as to enable
the threads to twist without breaking. Matters
being in this way prepared, the wheel is turned,
by which the hooks on the wheel are made to go
round very fast, and so the threads fastened on them
become twisted one round another very closely,
making at last a strong cord.

All silk is either dyed or bleached at some stage
of the processes which it undergoes while in the
THE STORY OF A SASH. 109

manufacturer's hands; but it is generally either
bleached or dyed soon after the twisting is finished.
Before it is dyed, it is made up into hanks a second
time, and scoured, to remove the gum which may
still stick to it. Before this scouring, the silk is
rough and unpleasant to the touch, and is unfit to
receive dye. It is boiled for three or four hours in
strong soap and water; by which means the gum
is got rid of, and the silk comes out soft and glossy,
as you find it in the shape of riband. The silk is
next washed in a current of clear water, to remove
the soap. It is now ready for the weaver; either
in the shape of thin thread called warp and weft for —
weaving, as yarn or thick thread for hosiery and
gloves, as sewing silk, or in thread fit for the
weaving of velvets, &c. It is not possible at the silk-
throwing mills to manufacture all the silk brought
to this country.

You recollect, when we were talking about the
cocoon of the silkworm, that I told you about its
outer covering being of a coarse and harsh quality
110 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

of silk, and that this coarse silk was called floss-silk.
As this floss-silk has no connected thread, it is sent
to the silk-spinning mills, which are situated chiefly
in Manchester, where it is spun into yarn (like hemp
for ropes), to be manufactured into inferior silk
articles. ‘The process of manufacturing floss-silk
has not been long carried on; but it now forms a
large trade in the country. Jenny’s sash was not
made of floss silk: certainly not. It was wound
and twisted on the spinning-machine I have drawn
for you, and most likely woven by a weaver at
Coventry. You have seen poor weavers in the
streets plying their trade to move the charity of
passers-by ; well, by one of those weavers, probably,
Jenny’s sash was made, There is a large body of
them at Coventry. You know that most woven
fabrics consist of threads crossing each other at
right angles; the long threads (for instance) of
Jenny’s sash being called the warp, and the cross
threads the woof. If Harry keeps silkworms next
summer, I hope he will take more care of them
THE STORY OF A SASH. lll

than he took with the last he had; and be the
more mindful of them, from knowing how greatly
they contribute to the delight and comfort of his
mother and sisters.
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SHEEP-SHEARING.
1138

THE STORY OF HARRY’S JACKET.

You will be surprised to hear that Harry’s jacket
was stolen from the back of a sheep; that what
once formed a great winter-coat for one of these
gentle creatures has been altered to a jacket for
young Harry. This is, however, literally the fact.
Whether a sheep has been clipped to clothe a lamb,
or a lamb has been denuded to adorn a sheep, it
remains for Harry by his conduct to determine.
You may well imagine that the wool passes
through many hands after it is sheared from the
back of the sheep, and before it comes home in the
shape of a jacket. Many, many hours of hard la-
bour have been employed to furnish Harry with his
new blue jacket. Yet he puts it on gaily and
thoughtlessly, without for a minute pausing to re~
member the points of its wonderful story. When
I
THE STORY OF HARRY’S JACKET. 118

bear again has a coat of strong thick fur: on the
other hand, those animals which-possess less strength,
as the leopard, the hare, the otter, and others, have
furs of the finest and smoothest texture. This pe-
culiarity is not less remarkable in the human species,
among whom you will generally know the strongest
man by the coarseness and quantity of his hair.
Formerly we derived the greater part of the
wool employed in our cloth manufacture from the
Spaniards, whose flocks produced the finest wool to
be procured. Afterwards, the Spanish sheep were
introduced into Germany and Saxony, and then the
German wool gradually supplanted that of Spain;
and now both the German and Spanish markets are
threatened with total annihilation by the superiority
of the wool of our Australian sheep. These sheep
are commonly considered to be one of the handsom-
est races in existence, and form the chief property
of the farmer in that part of the world. German
wool is still extensively used for fine fabrics; but
Australian wool, on account both of its cheapness
THE STORY OF HARRY’S JACKET. 117

When I tell you that the wool-sorter will some-
times take up one lock of wool, and in the course of
a minute distribute it in fifteen compartments, each
compartment containing wool of a quality or colour
different from the rest, you will not be surprised to
hear that it takes long hours of practice before the
sorter can instantaneously, by simply passing a lock
of wool through his fingers, separate the soft fibre
from the strong, the regular from the irregular, the
soft from the rough, and the clean from the dirty.
If you or I were to take up the same lock, and pass
it through our fingers, it would be with the utmost
difficulty that we should be able to divide it into
two sorts; whereas the practised sorter, as I have
told you, will, without hesitation, find wool of twelve
or fifteen different and distinct qualities in the self-
same lock. This is another instance of the many
useful results which are purchasable only by perse-
vering industry. As the sorter separates the vari-
ous qualities of the wool, he throws them on a wire
grating, subdivided to separate the distinct varieties,
118 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

and the dust and dirt shaken from the wool during
the sorting fall through the grating into a trough
beneath, and are afterwards sold for manure. The
wool thus sorted into distinct qualities is next
scoured in a mixture of hot water and pearlash, as
a means of removing some of the grease which it
retains from the sheep.

The first process, by which the locks of wool are
separated, and the fibres loosened one from another,
is performed by a machine called a willy, or by the
workmen, a devil. This willy is simply a number
of combs fixed in a hollow receptacle, which catch
the wool as it revolves within the machine, and tear
them open, fibre from fibre. Before, however, the
wool is submitted to this rough combing, it is oiled,
to render it soft and easy to work.

‘When the wool has undergone the processes I
have described to you,—that is, when it has been
sorted, scoured, oiled, and combed,—it is conveyed
at once to the spinning-room. Here the clatter of
wheels, and the rapid and intricate movements of
THE STORY OF HARRY’S JACKET. 119

machinery, will at first bewilder the stranger on his
entrance, and make the seene appear but a vast confu-
sion of cranks and wool and workmen. But should
he remain to examine and analyse the activity and
labours which go forward in the spinning-room, he
must be struck at last with the beautiful harmony
and simplicity of the means which effect such rapid
and wonderful results. He will see young children
directing the mighty machines in their potent la-
bours, and with their tiny fingers bidding the levi-
athan to work, or cease working. In the spinning-
room the wool undergoes three processes: being’
submitted to the action of the scribbling-machine,
the carding-machine, and the slubbing-machine. The
scribbling-machine consists of several cylinders, or
rollers, on the surface of which are innumerable points
(precisely similar to those you have seen on the roller
of a musical-box). Well, these cylinders are so.
placed, that the teeth or points of one cylinder,
while revolving, nearly touch the teeth of its neigh-
bour, so that any thing placed on the first cylinder
THE STORY OF HARRY’S JACKET. 121

wool equally on all parts of the surface of the apron;
and can only be entrusted to a girl whose fingers,
by dint of long practice, have acquired a nicety of
touch almost equal to that which I have shewn you
to be necessary to the wool-sorter. The action of
the carding-machine, which is too intricate for you
to understand without the aid of a model, is to lay
the fibres of the wool in what are called pipes of
equal size. These pipes are in the shape of small
skeins of thread, and are joined together by means
of the slubbing-machine, which catches the pipes,
or as they are sometimes called, cardings, at one
end, draws out a small portion, pulls out that small
portion to many times its former length, and winds
the “slubbing” or soft twist which it has thus made
on a spindle or reel. Children, called “ pieceners,”
are employed to join fresh cardings to the old ones
as the machine gradually consumes them; so that
the spindles become filled with an unbroken thread
of slubbing, one ounce of wool yielding from one
to two hundred yards.
122 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

The wool has now reached that state when it is
ready to be spun into yarn for the weaver. This
is done by machines called mule-spinning-machines,
which repeat the process of the slubbing-machine,
drawing out the slubbing to a thinner thread, and
then twisting it as cotton-yarn and silk are twisted,
and which process I have explained to you in the
Story of a Sash.

We now have the wool in the state of spun
yarn, and it now remains for us to follow it to the
weaver’s. Some of the yarn is for weft or cross
threads, the rest for warp or long threads. Some
of the yarn is dipped into a warm size, made of
parchment or leather cuttings, to stiffen it. The
process of weaving cloth is much the same as that
of silk and cotion; and as I trust that you have
not forgotten our Story of a Sash, I shall not weary
you by stopping to explain the matter over again.
Cloth-weaving is still generally performed by hand-
loom weavers: the steam giant has not yet relieved
cloth-weavers from their hard labours.
THE STORY OF HARRY’S JACKET. 1238

In regulating the width of the cloth, attention
is paid to the remarkable shrinkage which takes
place after the weaving is completed. For instance,
a piece of cloth to be sixty inches wide when sold
to the tailor, must be woven nearly one hundred
inches wide; and the length must be allowed for
in the same proportion.

So far the manufacture of cloth has presented
no very material difference from the processes em-
ployed to adapt cotton and silk to the purposes of
man: I must now draw your attention to the mill-
ing, fulling, or felting, which the woven cloth un-
dergoes, and which gives to it it: peculiar texture,
concealing the weft and warp, and presenting to the
eye a smooth, even, and silken surface. ulling
consists in beating the fibres of the cloth until they
become so locked in each other that they appear
one solid mass. This process is performed by full-
ing-stocks, which are receptacles in which a huge
oaken hammer rises and falls with immense force,
by the power of a steam-engine. Before the cloth
124 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

is placed beneath these hammers, it is copiously
sprinkled with liquid soap; it is then folded up into
a pile, and submitted to the action of the hammer
for the space of three entire days, bemg taken out
twice each day to be re-soaped. This long process
is necessary to make the fibres thoroughly interlock :
it also narrows and thickens the cloth. It is now
scoured, and stretched out to dry.

The cloth is now in a rough state; and it under-
goes many finishing processes before being ready
for use. The chief of these are cutting and raising.
The process of raising is performed with teazle-
heads, which are rubbed sharply over the cloth, and
have the effect of raising the nap more speedily and
thoroughly than any brush that has been devised
for the purpose. This process is sometimes per-
formed by a steam-engine; and in this case the
teazle-heads are fixed upon a cylinder, and the cloth
made to pass over them.

The nap of the cloth being thus raised, it is cut,

or cropped, to produce an even surface. This used
THE. STORY OF HARRY’S JACKET. 125

to be performed with marvellous dexterity by man-
ual labour, but it is now generally effected by steam-
power. The process is simple enough; the sur-
face of the cloth being made to pass a revolving
spiral cutter, which mows the uneven surface, and
makes it smooth and even as you behold it in Harry’s
jacket. According to the quality of the cloth, the
raising and cropping are repeated more than once, so
as to produce different degrees of fineness of surface.

I have omitted to mention the dyeing process.
Cloth is dyed either before it is spun, or after it
comes from the weaver’s hands: in the latter case
it is called piece-dyed cloth. There are many more
processes used to perfect cloth: such as boiling it
to impart a certain glossiness; burling, or picking
it to remove dirt and other imperfections; inking
any little white hairs and fibres that may have es-
caped the action of the dye; pressing it between
hot plates and mill-board; steaming it, or passing
it over cylinders covered either with brushes or a
kind of plush, &e.
126 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

And now the cloth is ready for the tailor: the
tailor is prepared for orders; Harry’s father gives
him directions to make Harry a jacket, and he sits
diligently to work. I shall not describe the opera-
tions of the tailor ; you have all seen patterns of
dresses, and frocks, and jackets, and know how the
tailor takes his measure, and cuts his cloth to the
shape of the customer. And as for sewing, I hope
that Harry and all his companions have often, very
often, seen their sisters with needles in their hands.
Thus ends our Story of Harry’s Jacket.

And when he puts it on, let him give a passing
thought to the skill and labour of those who manu-
factured it.
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THE STORY OF A TUMBLER.

I HAVE promised to tell you the Story of a Tum-
bler; and, I can assure you, it is a very interesting
one. I dare say you have often seen glass-blowers,
with the gentlest breath, blow glass into all sorts of
graceful shapes; and you have, in common with
most people who know nothing of the manufacture
of this proverbially hard and unbending substance,
wondered to behold the workman bending, cutting,
and twisting it like so much paste. But I must
first tell you to what accident we are said to owe
the invention of glass. The story is marvellously
did, and very romantic. It is said that some an-
cient mariners who had a cargo of salt in their ves-
sel, having landed on the banks of the river Belus,
a small stream at the base of Mount Carmel in
Palestine, and finding no stones to rest’ their pots
128 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

on, placed under them some lumps of salt, which
being heated by the fire, mixed with the sand of the
beach, and produced a liquid, clear, and transparent
stream of glass. Be this as it may, it is very cer-
tain that the Egyptians were acquainted with the
art of glass-making for many centuries, since many
glass ornamental beads have been found on mum-
mies, which had been embalmed more than two
thousand years ago. Though the art of glass-mak-
ing has been so long known, its application to the
useful purposes of life is of comparatively recent
date. It is not long that the poor of the country
have, in their humble dwellings, enjoyed the bless-
ings of light. Two hundred years ago, glass was
so little used in Scotland, that only the upper win-
dows of the royal palaces were furnished with it,
the lower part having only wooden shutters to admit
or exclude the air at pleasure. Several attempts
were made in the sixteenth and seventeenth cen-
turies to introduce the manufacture of glass into
England, but without success; and it was not till
THE STORY OF A TUMBLER. 129

the latter end of the last century, that a company
was established for the manufacture of cast-plate
glass in the country. I give you this history of
the art of glass-making, because it appears to me
that all young people should be as far as possible
conversant with the progress of the arts which con-
tribute to their personal comfort; for they are likely
to be proportionately thankful for the luxuries which
they enjoy in this civilised and enlightened age,
when they are able to contrast the comfort of their
homes with the rude, dark, and cheerless abodes of
their ancestors.

Glass may be briefly described as a compound of
silex or flint, and an alkali, such as pearl-ash, barilla,
soda, &e. Iam afraid that you would scarcely be
able to understand me, if I attempted to explain to
you the chemical properties of alkalies; suffice it,
therefore, that I inform you to this extent, namely,
that pearl-ash, from which flint-glass is always
made, is a substance extracted from burnt wood,
which has the power of combining: itself with silex

K
130 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

or sand; thereby forming a liquid and transparent
substance through the action of intense heat. A
very strong and long-continued heat is necessary to
purify the glass, and cast off any impurities which
may be found either in the silex or the pearl-ash.
When all these impurities have been thrown off by
the action of the intense heat, the glass or metal, as
it is called by the workmen, appears colourless and
transparent; and the temperature of the furnace is
gradually abated, when, as fast as the glass cools,
it gets thicker and thicker till it assumes the consis-
tency of paste, in which state it is used by the
blowers, it being just soft enough to yield to the
slightest pressure without cracking or breaking.
Throughout the wide range of manufacturing won-
ders, there is, perhaps, no process which excites so
vividly the surprise and admiration of the beholder
as that of modelling flint-glass into all the various
objects of convenience, utility, and ornament, for
which it is employed. To see a substance which,
when it is sent home in the shape of some useful
THE STORY OF A TUMBLER. 131

domestic article, is proverbially brittle, blown with
the faint force of the human breath, pulled, twisted,
cut with a common pair of scissors, and then joined
again in a moment, never fails to excite the utmost
astonishment in all who behold the operation for
the first time. Glass of every kind would be even
much more brittle than it is; so brittle indeed, as
to crack and break with the least heat or cold, if it
were not subjected, immediately after it is fashioned
into the shape it is always to keep, to the process
which is called annealing.
Annealing consists, with respect to glass, in
heating it below the point at which it softens, in
what are called annealing ovens, which are hotter at
one end than at the other, and gradually passing
the glass from the hotter end of the ovens to the
cooler end. By this process the glass is gradually
cooled, and made as hard as you find it in the shape
of a tumbler. You have most probably noticed that
when boiling water is suddenly poured into a glass
vessel, it often cracks, or quite breaks that vessel ;
THE STORY OF A TUMBLER. 138

discover them, wonders far surpassing any you have
read of in fairy tales. The great book of nature is
full of wonders, which can only be penetrated and
brought to light by dint of perseverance and study.
Around you, behold the results of the laborious
ponderings and labours of your forefathers! The
comforts you enjoy have all been purchased at the
price of many lives, of anxiety, trouble, and perse-
cution. The marvellous wonders of your home are
so many monuments of perseverance and martyrdom
in the cause of art or science; they are wonders
that should make you humble, thankful, and anxious
to contribute your full share towards the happiness
of your fellow-creatures. To produce this tumbler,
how many weary hours have been spent, how many
people ruined! You are accustomed to use these bril-
liant vessels daily ; well, all I ask is that you some-
times bestow a thought upon the weary workers at
the cost of whose labour you are enabled to possess
them. A tumbler, after all, is but a lump of sand
and burnt wood mixed up together: but it is also
THE STORY OF A TUMBLER. 185

when your turn comes, to go abroad into the world,
to contribute your part to the welfare of your fellow-
creatures. While in your youth you reap the bene-
fit of your ancestors’ toil, you must study diligently
that you may presently be able, in your turn, to
accomplish some useful work for the benefit of those
who will be children when you are old and grey.
Think of this, children, and remember the good les-
sons contained in our Story of a Tumbler. .
187

THE STORY OF A KNIFE.

A KNIFE is perhaps, without exception, the most
useful implement used by man. The rudest savages
as. well as the most civilised nations are indebted
largely to the ancient discoverer who found that a
hard substance with a thin edge would divide a
softer substance ; that keen-edged iron divided wood,
and wood divided earth. Indeed we must have in-
herited this knowledge from our first parents, who
were sent forth to earn their bread by the sweat of
their brow. Knives have been made of wood, stone,
and iron; but in modern times those made of iron
have altogether superseded both wooden knives and
stone knives. England has long been famous for
the keenness and strength of her blades. The In-
dians roaming in the wilds of America, and the
aborigines of New Zealand, both set a high value
138 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

upon the cutlery of Sheffield, and shape their bar-
gains with Europeans accordingly.

I need scarcely tell you that the knives which
are used at table are made of iron; that is to say,
of iron which has undergone a certain process, and
is known to most people as steel. I cannot, for it
would take up too much time, pause to describe to
you the mining processes by which iron-ore is ex-
tracted from the bowels of the earth ; I will simply
tell you now, that when iron is first brought to light,
it is mixed up with a quantity of earth, from which
it is afterwards detached by the operation of smelt-
ing-furnaces, from which the pure metal runs in a
liquid state into a vessel placed to receive it, leav-
ing the earthy matter that was mixed with it be-
hind. This pure metal is rolled into bars and rods.
Steel is made by combining carbon, or charcoal, with
the iron. You may wonder to hear that it is pos-
sible to make this combination: but if you will take
the trouble to examine the plumbago in a pencil,
you will find that there is a large proportion of
THE STORY OF A KNIFE. 139

charcoal mixed up with the metal. It is, in fact,
the charcoal which marks, while the metal imparts
brilliancy to the mark. Well, then, in steel there is
a larger proportion of iron than charcoal; while in
plumbago there is more charcoal than iron. Eng-
lish manufacturers are very particular in their selec-
tion of iron for the manufacture of steel; and the
metal which they esteem most valuable for this pur-
pose is Oregund iron, which comes from Danne-
mora, in Sweden. Our finest cutlery is made from
the metal extracted from the Dannemora mine.
Nearly all the produce of this mine finds its way te
Sheffield, to be made into steel. When the iron
arrives in Sheffield, it is first taken to the steel-
works, where it is placed in a converting furnace.
This furnace contains two long troughs, each mea-
suring about twenty feet in length; and they are
so placed that an intense fire may be kept continu-
ally in contact with them, and so raise whatever
may be placed in them to a high heat. On the
bottom of each trough is strewn a layer of coarsely
140 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

powdered charcoal, then a layer of bars; then ano-
ther layer of charcoal and another of bars, and so
on till the troughs are full, when they are covered
over with a clayey substance called wheelswarf to
exclude the air, and so prevent the charcoal from
burning away. A fierce fire is then kindled, and
kept up for many days without intermission. Dur-
ing this time the iron is almost in a state of white
heat, the charcoal is equally heated, and the iron
seems gradually to absorb the particles of charcoal
into the very heart of the bar. The harder the steel
is required, the longer is this heat maintained ; and
it is necessary that the workmen should exercise
great judgment in order to make the steel of the
exact hardness demanded.

When the bars are removed from the converting-
furnace, they are called blister-steel, because their
texture is coarse and uneven. The next process is
called shearing. Shearing is performed in a tilt or
tilt-house, a building firmly built to resist the vibra-
tion caused by the heavy falls of the shearing-ham-
THE STORY OF A KNIFE. 141

mers. Within the ¢i/t-house are furnaces for heating
the blister-steel, to prepare it for the huge and mas-
sive shear-hammers. These hammers are of an
enormous size and remarkable construction, con-
sisting of a mass of iron faced with steel, with a
heavy iron-bound wooden handle, which is moved
rapidly up and down by a steam-engine. The bars
of blister-steel, before they are heated, are broken
up into pieces about a foot long. Having been
broken, they are raised to a white heat, and then
placed under the tilt-hammer, which is smaller and
less heavy than a shear-hammer, by which they are
beaten out to thirty inches in length. To change
these pieces into shear-steel, that is to say, into steel
of close particles,—half-a-dozen are piled one upon
another, and fixed firmly at one end in a groove or
handle. This group is then placed in a furnace
moderately heated,—and is afterwards transferred
to a second furnace, when a fierce fire brings it
to a white heat. The workman attends scrupu-
lously to the equalisation of the heat, as the value
142 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

of the steel greatly depends upon the nicety with
which this part of the manufacture is conducted.
When sufficiently heated, the group is taken out by
the handle, and placed under the largest or shear-
hammer, where it is beaten on all sides till it forms
one dense, solid, compact bar of steel. To effect
this, the force of the hammer’s blows must be tre-
mendous. In some cases, when the steel is required
to be of particularly fine quality, this process is re-
peated. The shear-steel thus beaten is found to
have lost all the flaws and blisters which it contained
as blister-steel. Of this shear-steel, ordinary table-
knives are made. ;

To make a knife, a length of steel is cut off from
a bar sufficient to make a blade, and forged, that is
to say, heated and beaten into shape; much in the
same way as you have watched the farrier heat a
lump of iron, and beat it into the form of a horse-
shoe. Well, the piece of steel is heated in the fire,
and beaten into the form of a blade. When this has
been done, the rudely formed blade is welded by
THE STORY OF A KNIFE. 143

heat and pressure to a rod of iron, of sufficient
length to form what is called the shoulder of the
knife, and the “tang,” or part which goes into the
handle. The end of the iron is heated, and beaten
into the shape of a tang; and the shoulder (which is
the thick part immediately touching the handle) is
next brought into proper shape by hammering it
into a die or stamp, called a swage. This being
finished, the whole is heated a second time, and is
further shaped. The blade is then made red-hot,
and being plunged perpendicularly into cold water;
is suddenly cooled, which has the effect of instan-
taneously compressing the particles of the steel more
closely together, and so hardening them; and a
gradual heating afterwards, to a certain point, gives
the “temper,” or elasticity, best fitted for the pur-
pose to which the blade is to be applied. When the
blades are thus prepared, they are ground all over
on a large revolving grinding-wheel, till the surface
is made level, the edges straightened, the point
rounded, and the edge made finer. The knives are
144 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

ground a second time upon a finer grindstone,
called the whitening-stone. In some of the larger
Sheffield houses, these grinding-stones are turned by
steam-power. Well, when the knives have been
sufficiently ground, they are ready for glazing, or
polishing. This process is performed on a wheel
called a glazer, made of a circular piece of wood,
and coated on the edge either with leather, or with
a hoop of a metal made of lead and tin mixed.
The knife is now ready to be fixed in a handle, or,
as the Sheffield people say, a haft. The manufac-
ture of hafts is a separate business. Ivory hafts for
table-knives are made by sawing up elephants’
tusks into the most useful pieces they can make, by
means of a circular revolving saw. The saw cuts
the ivory into long pieces, which are afterwards
cut to the requisite shape, polished, and pierced,
for the reception of the tang by hand. Into a han-
dle so prepared, the blade is fastened with glue; and
the knife is ready for use.

You will have noticed that a table-knife goes
THE STORY OF A KNIFE. 145

through many hands before it is placed on the dinner-
table for our use. Even so far back as Chaucer’s
time, Sheffield was famous for the quality of its
cutlery ; for the poet mentions a Sheffield ¢hytal in
one of his poems. In the present time, there is
scarcely a civilised man who has not heard of the
perfection to which the manufacture of steel goods
has been brought in this wonderful hive of human
industry. Perseverance, ingenuity, and indefati-
gable labour have won the battle; and Sheffield
is now famous, through the unflagging labour of
many generations. Thus ends our Story of a Knifé,
147

THE STORY OF THIS BOOK.

AND now, my dear children, for the Story of this
Book :—the story of all books is the same; the ma-
terials and processes, at least, differ so little, that
the story of the book you hold in your hands will
give you, with some few slight exceptions, a fair
notion of the history of all.

The first person concerned in the production of
the book is the author. His labours vary much in
their nature and severity: some books are entirely
works of fiction and imagination; some contain facts,
the result of great reading ; some speculations on
Scientific matters; and some are translations from
other languages, or compilations from other books,

The author having completed his manuscript,
takes it to the publisher, who arranges the matters
necessary for its production.
148 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

The paper is the first thing required for our
book: and before telling you about the modern
process by which the beautiful leaves in your book
are produced, I will say a few words about the
ingenious substitutes used by those who lived in the
darker ages, to transmit their history and laws to
their descendants. The Egyptians, of whom you
have read and heard, used the inner bark of a kind
of reed which grows on the banks of the Nile;
this reed is called the Papyrus, and from it we
derive the word paper.

Many materials have been used, from time to
time, for the manufacture of paper; but the best
of all has been found to be linen rag, of which the
paper you have in your book is made; and I think
that some description of the processes by which
dirty rags of all colours and thicknesses are made
into the beautifully white substance you see before
you, will interest you much.

Linen rags are not only collected in this country
for this purpose, but also imported in large quan-
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 149

tities from abroad; and some of them being in a
very dirty state, the first processes, when taken to
the mill, are to cut them to pieces and wash them.
The latter is done by putting them into a large
copper with a mixture of carbonate of soda and
quick-lime; in this they are boiled for eight hours
or more, according to their quality. When cool,
they are taken to the engine-house to be reduced
into pulp. They are here placed in vats, in which
a large roller with projecting iron teeth is made to
revolye over a plate or block of wood, also provided
with teeth; and a good supply of pure water passing
through the vat,—the roller being set in motion,—
the rags are again cleansed and cut and torn by the
teeth till they are at last reduced to a pulp, which
then flows through a pipe into the bleaching-house,
and is left for a time in what is called the draining-
chest, for the superfluous water to run off.

It is then placed in stone chests and subjected
to the action of the gas called chlorine, which is
possessed of great bleaching properties; and after
150 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

being thoroughly acted upon by it, and all colour
removed, it is taken to an hydraulic-press, where
the liquid is pressed out. It is then again washed
by an engine like the former one, and passes through
the beating-machine, where it comes into what is
called stuff, and is ready to be made into paper.

Paper is made from the stuff by two processes.
The oldest, which I will describe first, is called
making by hand. The pulp is placed in a vat—a
stone vessel about six feet square and four deep,—
and is kept in a proper consistence by means of a
small revolving-wheel called a hog, which is kept
warm by means either of a steam-pipe or a stove.
The moulds into which the pulp is received, and
where it first assumes the character of a sheet of
paper, are of two sorts,—laid and wove.

A laid mould is a mahogany frame with wooden
bars running across it, at the distance of about an
inch and a half from each other; across these are
laid a number of wires about fifteen or twenty to
the inch, and a raised wire laid along each of the
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 151

cross-bars interlaces the other wires, and gives to
the latd paper its ribbed appearance. In a wove
mould, the only difference is that its surface is co-
vered with wire cloth, wove for the purpose, and
containing from forty-eight to sixty-four wires to
the inch. The water-mark which you have often
noticed in paper, when you have held it up to the
light, is produced by wires bent to the shape re-
quired and sewn to the surface of the mould.

Both moulds are furnished with a deckle, or
movable raised edging, which prevents the pulp
from flowing over and leaving a rough edge. The
stuff in the vat being properly prepared, one of the
workmen, who is called a vat’s-man, takes one of the
moulds and plunges it four or five inches into the
vat; and taking up a quantity of the stuff upon it,
he raises it to a level, shaking it so as to distribute the
stuff and form a uniform fabric :—in this process,
the mould being raised, the water runs through the
wires, and the superfluous stuff escapes over the sides,
More water having been drained from it by the
152 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

mould being placed in an inclined position, the sheet
of paper is then placed on a piece of felt; and so the
operation goes on till many sheets have accumulated.
They are then taken to a press, where more water
is squeezed out; after this the paper is pressed as
many times as may be required by its quality, to
remove the impressions of the wires, and being
then sent to the lofts to be dried, it is there hung
upon hair ropes, called tribbles. The next process
is sizing, as until that is done the paper is soft and
unfit to write on; this is done by dipping the sheets
in a hot gelatinous solution, when they are again
taken to the drying-room. When dry, the paper is
conveyed to the salle, or finishing-room, where it is
sorted. After this it is again pressed, and then
made up into reams of twenty quires each, and once
more put into the press, where it is allowed to re-
main for ten or twelve hours. It is then packed, and
is ready for use.

But the invention of a most beautiful, though
very complicated machine has to a great extent
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 1538

superseded the old and slow process of making by
hand:—by its means a continued flow of pulp is
kept up, made into paper, dried, polished, and each
separate sheet cut round the edges and made ready
for use. This wonderful machine is the invention of
M. Louis Roberts, and was introduced into this
country about forty years ago, and here brought to
perfection by the exertions of a few spirited indivi-
duals, who have reaped little or no advantage from it.

The operation by which the author’s writing is
multiplied, and produced in even and uniform letters
on the paper in any number of copies required, is, as
you know, called printing. Before its invention all
records, poems, or works of any kind, had to be
written and copied, and re-copied, with much labour
and a great loss of time. From this cause know-
ledge could not be diffused as it now is, and was
consequently confined to the monks and others who
possessed manuscripts, and kept them solely for
their own use, or only made such copies as they
thought fit. The invention of printing is now gene-
154 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

rally ascribed to Gutenberg of Mayence, a city in
Germany, in the year 1441; but the origin of it
is surrounded by some mystery, arising from the
desire of the early printers to keep their art a
secret. The first printing done in England was at
Oxford, in the year 1468, but it was with wooden
types:—William Caxton introduced metal types,
such as are now used, in 1474.

I will now give you some account of a printing-
office, and the different operations carried on in it.
The size of the page and type in which the book is
to be printed having been settled, the manuscript
is placed in the hands of the overseer of what is
termed the case department, who takes it into the
composing-room and distributes it to the composi-
tors. Each compositor stands at a sort of frame,
on which are placed two cases divided into unequal
compartments, containing the letters according to
the proportions in which they are required; for of
course you know that there are a great many more
of some letters wanted than of others. The com-
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 155

positor places the part of the manuscript, or copy,
as it is termed, that is given to him, on the upper
part of the case, and takes in his left hand the com-
posing-stick—a, small iron or brass frame, one side
of which is movable, so that it may be adjusted to .
the width of the page required. He then, one by
one, places the letter of each word in his stick, re-
ceiving them with the thumb of his left hand. The
letters are arranged on a thin slip of polished brass,
of the same height as the type, called a setting-rule;
which, as each line is completed, is shifted from be-
hind to receive the next. In each letter there is a
nick, which must be placed outwards in the com-
posing-stick. A good and well-practised composi-
tor is always distinguished by the uniformity of the
spacing in his lines—the words must not be too
close together in some instances, or too far apart
in others ; and this task of equalising the spaces is
often very troublesome. When the compositor has
filled his composing-stick, he lifts out the lines by
the aid of the setting-rule, and places them in what
156 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

is termed a galley. In lifting the type, a handful,
as it is called, is occasionally broken,—in which
state it is termed pie, when the whole has to be
re-set. The compositors have sometimes among
them one who is termed a clicker, whose duty it is
to form into pages the type as it is set up by his
companions. When a sufficient number of pages
are made up to constitute a sheet, they are arranged
on the imposing-stone in their proper order; and a
stout iron frame, called a chase, being placed round
the whole, each page is firmly wedged between
pieces of wood or metal—to regulate the margin,—
called furniture. This is now termed a form; and
such is its compactness, that though composed of
perhaps 50,000 or more pieces, it may be moved
about with ease and security. A proof is now
pulled —that is, a single impression is taken at the
press.

It can hardly be expected but that, in the course
of composing, some mistakes will arise. It is the
duty of the reader (corrector of the press) to mark
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 157

these on the proof-sheet; which is then placed in
the hands of the compositor for correction, who pro-
ceeds, with the aid of a sharp instrument called a
bodhkin, to change wrong letters; also to insert any
words which may have been omitted, and remove
such as may have been superfluously introduced—
in which latter processes, the lines will require being
re-adjusted in the composing-stick. Sometimes the
omission of a sentence will involve the re-arrange-
ment of one or many pages. The corrections now
being’ completed, the reader has another proof,
termed a revise; this he compares with his jirst-.
proof, and so ascertains that all his corrections have
been properly made. A proof is now sent to the
author, by whom it is seldom returned without many
alterations :—the process of correction and revision
has then again to be gone over. When approved
by the author, the proof-sheet is finally read, and
placed in the compositor’s hands for correction, as
a press-proof ;—then comes the press-revise, and
the labour of the compositor is ended. I must tell
158 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

you that the cémpositors are a very intelligent class
of men, very much more so indeed than any one
who has not had to do with them would believe ;
and the readers are often men of very superior edu-
cation, of high classical attainments, and great
general knowledge.

We must now go to the press-room :—the busi-
ness here is to produce clean and well-printed sheets
from the forms prepared by the compositors. I dare
say you will think this is not a very difficult job,
and that the pressman is as much a machine as the
instrument with which he works; but this is not
the case—the pressman must have an eye for colour,
or the sheets will be of unequal blackness. Equality
of colour depends not only on the equal distribu-
tion of the ink, but on the evenness of the impres-
sion, the production of which is termed making-
ready : — these combined operations test the skill of
the workman. . Where pictorial illustrations on
wood, &e., are introduced, with the ordinary quali-
fications of the pressman must be combined an
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 159

eye for artistic effect, to do justice to the de-
signs.

In the process of printing, the paper having
been brought from the wetting-room, where it had
been wetted down to facilitate its receiving the ink, is
placed on a wooden stage termed a horse. The form
being made ready, and inked by means of a roller
—composed of a soft elastic substance,—a sheet is
taken from the heap by one of the pressmen and
laid on an iron frame, covered with stretched parch-
ment, termed a tympan ; at the top of this is a slight
iron frame, so far covered with paper as to protect
the margin from any ink which may have lodged
on the furniture in the process of rolling, termed a
frisket ; which being turned down upon the tympan,
and both on the form, the whole is passed beneath
the platten or pressing surface; when, by pulling
the handle of the lever, an impression on one side
is produced. In printing the second side, great
accuracy is required in the backing or register of
the pages :—in this process the pressman is aided
160 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

by two small steel points fixed to the tympan, which,
in printing the first side, or white paper, pierce the
sheets, thus furnishing an index for perfecting ;
as, in working the second side, or reiteration, the
sheets are replaced on the points, which indicate
the position of the pages on the first side.

There is, however, a more rapid and wonderful
mode of taking impressions from the forms :—this is
by machine-printing. If paper is made by machi-
nery with a rapidity and perfection scarcely credi-
ble, the mode of printing by steam seems almost,
from its wondrous rapidity, correctness, and equality
of colour, the work of magic:—thousands of im-
pressions are thrown off in an hour, with only a boy
to feed the machine with paper, and another to re-
ceive the sheets as they are printed. So elaborately
curious is this application of mechanism in its con-
struction, that you must see it, fully to understand
its operation.

The number required of each sheet being printed,
the heaps are, after inspection by the press overseer,
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 161

passed to the hanger-up ; who, by the aid of what
is termed a peel, places the sheets on poles to dry.
This being effected, the heaps are placed in succes-
sion, according to the letters of the alphabet, termed
signatures, printed at the foot of the first page of
each sheet, on a long bench, to be gathered; lads
are employed to do this, which is an operation re-
quiring care and cleanliness. After the gathering
is completed, the duty of the collater commences.
The heap being placed before him, he, with a sharp-
pointed bodkin lifts the sheets separately, to ascer-
tain that one only of each has been taken, and that
none have been omitted. The gatherings, when
passed by the collater as correct, are folded in the
centre, and pressed by the ordinary screw-press ;
unless the sheets have, for greater smoothness, been
previously placed between glazed boards, and sub-
mitted to the far greater power of the hydraulic-
press. The books are then warehoused ; ready for
delivery to the publisher’s order, which is usually
presented by the book-binder, whose duty it is to
M
162 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

prepare the book for sale, by putting it into a neat
strong cover, such as you see on this book; or some-
times in a more expensive and elegant one. Now
I will tell you something of the process by which
he does it.

If you were to see a sheet of this book as it
came from the press, you would find that the pages
do not follow one another in regular order; so that
the first thing to be done is to have the sheets
folded :—this is usually done by females, who use a
bone or ivory knife to press the folds as they are
made. The next thing is to collect the folded sheets
into a volume :—they must be placed, of course, in
proper order; this is ascertained by the segnature at
the bottom of the first page of every sheet, as de-
scribed in the account of printing. When the book
is thus placed together, it is ready for sewing:
in sewing, a kind of press is used, called a sewing-
press, which has two upright bars rismg out of a
flat board, these being connected at the top by a cross-
bar; from this bar a number of strings are drawn
THE STORY OF THIS BOOK. 163

tightly down, and fastened at the bottom; the sheets
are laid with their backs close to the strings, having
been previously pressed, and an incision made with
a saw for the reception of each string, or band, as it
is called; the sewer then passes the needle back-
wards and forwards through the centre fold of each
sheet, twisting the thread round each band. The
book being sewed, the next thing is the cover or
case: it consists of two parts; the board which
stiffens it, and the cloth or leather which hides the
board from sight. When cloth binding is adopted,
the case is completed before the book is placed in it:
prior to which process the book has a thin coat of
glue on the back, to strengthen it, the edges are
trimmed, and the back is rounded while the glue
is damp; after which it is lined with linen, and
grooves being made for the reception of the boards,
it has then a final lining of paper. When bound
in leather, the boards are first fixed on the book,
and then the material is placed over them. Some
books have their edges marbled, some have them
164 THE WONDERS OF HOME.

sprinkled with different colours, and some have
them gilt, the edges having been first cut smooth
with an instrument called a plough; the sides and
backs are also ornamented in different ways, accord-
ing to the expense to be incurred in getting up the
volume. Our book being now ready for sale, my
task is ended.

And now, my young friends, I must say fare-
well. There still remain many more Stories re-
lating to the “ WonpErs oF Home” which I could
have told you, but these may suffice to awaken in
your minds an interest in the objects by which you
are surrounded, and to cause you to think of those
to whose skill and labour you are indebted for so
many comforts and pleasures.

THE END.

LONDON: PRINTED BY ROBSON, LEVEY, AND FRANKLYN,
Great New Street, Fetter Lane.


NEW, INSTRUCTIVE,

AND

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PUBLISHED BY

GRANT AND GRIFFITH,

SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERRY AND HARRIS,

CORNER OF ST. PAUL’S CHURCHYARD.



Good in Every Thing ;
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NE




PUBLISHED BY GRANT AND CRIFFITH. 3

Fanny and her Mamma;

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*,* The Illustrations bound with the Letterpress, 3s. col. ; 2s. 6d. plain.





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