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open in fear and trembling, hoping to find a piece of fine stone in the center. Needless to say this kind of gambling often leads to heavy loss and disappoint
Red spinels, pale sapphires, and other inferior stones, are not sent away, but are put into the Mogok sale with polishing corundum, garnets, tourmalines, beryls, and crystals. All this is sold at fifteen dollars per vis, a Burmese weight of 8,100 carats. And these stones are made into cheap jewelry for all Asia's millions-always excepting the Burmans, who know too much about it.
All the working troubles of the ruby monopoly are over now, but they were surely numerous enough at first. Thus it cost too much to haul coal from the river by buffalo cart, so they tried firewood. But this covered acres of precious ruby ground; was constantly pilfered or set on fire, or else eaten by the voracious white ants. And as to the mines, floods would come bursting from powerful springs deep down in the limestone and wreak damage it would take months to repair. But gradually all the strategic points of the natives were won by purchase, and the working grew easier. One ancient Shan asked $5,000 for his water rights and ditch, and promptly got it.
Today the main ruby mine is twelve hundred yards long and two hundred wide, with an average depth of forty-five feet. But as I have shown, the natives also may mine on their own account, pay
ing licenses of $9.60 per man for each miner employed. The native merchant does what he pleases with his own finds; but a watchful monopoly employs a large staff of European inspectors to see that the Burmans do not employ more hands than they pay for.
There is an immense local native trade in rubies in the town. In every other house you will see Burmese, Shan or Hindoo dealers squatting round a metal plate full of the rich crimson stones. And in little thatched sheds outside the city a regular ruby bazaar is held every after
But no industry is more uncertain than winning fine rubies in Burmah. One tunnel was supposed by the local engineers to contain fifteen million dollars' worth, yet it seemed to fizzle out suddenly. The monopoly abandoned it, after spending much time and money, and then came along a few gentle almond-eyed Shans and made an immense fortune out of the derelict mine. A very few fine rubies enormously out-value a great quantity of rough pale stones. But when all is said rubymining is slow and disappointing work and rarely averages more than $15,000 for each acre treated. It is shrewdly suspected by the white men in Mogok that the richest mines of all are at this moment growing scratch crops of poor grain belonging to fanatical natives, who literally place "above rubies," as the Bible has it, the land and manners of their forefathers.
Railroad Creeps Out to Sea
By Frederic Blair
XACTLY three years ago were begun the preliminary surveys of the Flagler railroad across the Florida Keys from Miami to Key West. Early the following spring. construction gangs started work in the jungle swamps of mangrove from Homestead, the beginning of the extension, to Land's End, or the point at which the proposed railroad should leave the mainland of the Florida peninsula.
In January, 1906, active work commenced at ten different camps scattered throughout the entire distance of the Floridian archipelago. Men labored night and day through the balmy season of semi-tropical winter, through the torrid, blistering heat of summer and
through the dreaded hurricane season of the early fall months.
In the May, 1906, number of the TECHNICAL WORLD MAGAZINE this early work was described. Today work trains are in operation over the route for about seventy miles, or more than half of the entire distance from Miami to Key West. On all of the keys the line of grade is built and ready to receive the track. Between the keys the fills are rapidly being pushed across the intervening stretches of water and the viaduct work is being erected spanning the larger bays and channels.
The track is now laid on the mainland for twenty-nine miles, thence it penetrates nineteen miles of mangrove tangle through which dredges ate their way,
piling what material they dug, in making their own channel, on the embankment upon which the track now rests. embankment crosses the swamp, on one side of which is Blackwater Sound, with Barnes Sound on the other, and spans Jewfish Creek, continuing on Key Largo. Two arms of this creek have been filled by the embankment and a steel drawbridge, which is now in operation, crosses the third.
On Key Largo, the largest of the islands, the track continues for sixteen miles, its embankment built entirely of coraline limestone, as is the case of every one of the railroad embankments crossing the Keys. At the southwestern end of Key Largo, Tavernier Creek, which separates it from Plantation Key, is crossed by a steel bridge with concrete piers and abutments.
Completely obstructing the line of grade on Key Largo was found an inland lake not encountered in the preliminary survey, half a mile wide and with six feet depth of water, the bottom of which was wholly composed of peat. In order to displace this peat and sink a more staple foundation for the embankment two dredges worked constantly for fifteen months.
After crossing Tavernier Creek the road is now laid across Plantation Key to Snake Creek, which separates Planta
tion Key and Windly's Island. Snake Creek is the present terminus of the railroad and from this point a daily work train runs to Miami.
A line of fill crosses this creek and about 1,500 feet of the fill between Windly's Island and Upper Matacumbe Key yet remains to be placed. Between Upper and Lower Matacumbe Keys, a distance of two and a half miles, the fill is of rock, rip-rapped, and is practically completed. The four-mile fill between Lower Matacumbe and Long Keys will be of the same construction, but the hurricane of last October impaired seriously the progress of this work. As much of the embankment was completed then as there is now, the high water during the storm having washed all of it away and necessitating its reconstruction.
On Long Key the line of grade is completed and at its southern extremity the first of the viaduct work is progressing rapidly. This viaduct will, when completed, consist of one hundred and eightyfour concrete arches reinforced with steel, fifty feet on centers, and will span the arm of the ocean between Long and Grassy Keys. It is undoubtedly the most interesting construction work of the extension. At present there are about twenty of these arches completed and some ten or twelve more are well under way. Located on Long Key is a camp
forcing rods are placed in position, the upper ends protruding from the top of the concrete pier. The arch-bent piles are then ready to receive the arch forms.
When the erection of the spandrel wall forms is completed on each side of the arch; the reinforcing rods are joined by means of heavy wire to those protruding from the pier and the reinforcing continues inside the spandrel wall in the ring of the arch. The next step is to fill the forms and spandrel walls with concrete and tamp it into position, and the whole is allowed twenty-eight days to set. The removal of the spandrel walls is followed by the dislodgment of the arch forms from the arch-bent piles. These are floated away on barges and used over
pleted arches were entirely demolished. Of the viaduct construction there will be altogether about six miles, the longest single one being between Knight's and State Keys, crossing in its continuance the small Pigeon Keys, having a total length of 15,100 feet. Forty-seven hundred feet more of this arch work crosses the open harbor of Bahia Honda. Both this and the Knight's Key channel viaduct are unprotected from the force of the Atlantic Ocean.
From Bahia Honda the route crosses to West Summerland Keys and then to Big Pine Key, in which the grading is all completed. South of this point large land forces are assembled and the work is progressing as rapidly as possible. Two