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MINING FOR TIGERS

281

for this tar, and it was sold for a
few dollars a carload, the
workers in time making
big hole in the soil which
filled with water, tar
and oil, and was called
tar lake.

There was one
drawback to this tar. It
was in places filled with
bones which in time
became so plentiful that
the demand for the tar
ceased. The pool was
supposed to be a menace,
a horse and wagon backed
in one day and disappeared
and calves, sheep, colts,
etc., were at times lost in it.
The surface is continually
broken with gas explosions
showing that it is over a
number of tar springs of
the kind found on the
surface.

A few years ago, some one noticed a tootli

of a "sa-
bre tooth
tiger" in a
Los An-
geles office
and recog-
nizing it as a
r a r i t y
traced it
up to "La
B r e a
r a n c h."
The atten-
tion of pa-
leontologists
was attracted
and the ex

traordinary discovery was made
that the tar that had been mined
by Mexicans for years and sold
for almost nothing contained the
skeletons and bones of animals
so rare and valuable
that the bulk thrown
away represented a
great fortune.

La Brea at once became the cynosure of the eyes of the scientific world. In the meantime the entire region had become a great oil field and the owners very

[graphic]

Remains Of Elephant Skui.l.

[graphic]

Skull Of Gigantic
Bison.

Some Of The Specimens Los Angeles High School

Children Discovered Beneath The Skeletons

Of Sabre Tooth Tigers, At La Brea Ranch.

iberally gave several schools and scientific institutions the privilege of mining for a certain number of months. With this understanding the Museum of the Los Angeles Normal College and High School began work by putting classes of young men and women volunteers at work and one day when the writer and John Muir arrived on the scene the sight was a strange one. Boys and girls in old suits were in a deep hole on the shores of the lake hard at work—one gang pumped out oil and water, another dug the gravel and tar that overaid the bones while sitting lirectly in the asphaltum and tar springs were a dozen or more youngsters digging and working with file point and knives into the most remarkable mausoleum ever uncovered in the United States.

It is a curious thing to learn how these bones came here. Here and there little circular outpourings of tar appear, black and shining. Often these are in circular shape, again they run into little gullies and form streams. The prevailing west wind blows dust, sand and gravel over it and verv soon the surface has the appearance of being hard. If rain falls it

collects on the tar and
stands in big or little
pools, a mouse or a
skunk comes to
drink, it steps in
and is imme-
diately caught
by the tar,
which is remark-
ably tenacious. The
animal struggles, falls
over, becomes completely en
tangled and in a day or two
completely disappears. A
skunk, a crow or raven, a
meadow lark, have been
known to be trapped within a
very short time. The same situ-
ation held true a half million or
a million years ago, though
perhaps the springs were bigger
and larger and certainly in the
Pleiocene time the animals were
different.

Long ago an earthquake or something had made a sharp fold in the rock and the mass of tar beneath had been forced upward by the gas and pressure forming the same traps until today the region is covered with tar

[graphic]

Skull Of A Sabre Tooth Tiger. With these fangs the great beast could disembowel elephants.

for the space of a quarter of a mile and is about fifteen feet deep.

Strange animals lived here in these days. Lions, a tiger with a long daggerlike tooth with a saw-like edge, ducks, geese, coyotes, wolves, rabbits, mice, giant ^wolves, condors, peacocks, bears, horses, bison, camels, the mammoth and huge ground sloths of a ton or more weight. Horses and camels indicating the middle of the great Pleiocene era. These animals lived in the adjacent mountains now known as the Sierra Santa Monica and roamed the plains and forests where Hollywood, Los Angeles and Pasadena now stand. They came down to the place to drink and met the fate we have seen that befell the skunk and the meadow lark.

The elephant wading into the innocent-look

[graphic]

LOS ANGELES SCHOOL CHILDREN AT WORK TAKING OUT THE BONES OF A GREAT SLOTH.

ing pool and sand, sank, without knowing it, up to its knees. But when it attempted to move it was trapped. Its mighty struggles, its trumpeting, its rage and fear can be imagined. At last it fell or stumbled and was held by the treacherous tar. Its struggles attracted the marauding animals of the

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ment, leaped and by throwing its mouth wide open, buried its terrible weapons in the body of the elephant, and then by pulling back disemboweled it with one motion.

But the elephant was not dead, and its struggles threw the sabre tooth tiger off. The tiger sank into the tar and was caught and in a moment the two were engaged in a life and death struggle. Slowly but surely the tar crept up over them, and their struggles became less and less, and at last they were smothered.

Long ago coyotes, wolves and other animals which gather about wounded animals have assembled at the feast. Venturing in they were caught. Vultures came and met the same fate.

Replace these animals with bison, camels, horses—colts were caught here as late as 1885—and some idea can be formed of how this extraordinary deposit of bones resulted.

One mine worked by a professor of geology in the University of California seemed a solid mass of bones for fifteen feet. In one place a mammoth had been found, on top of this several sabre tooth tigers were piled, together with them, a gigantic sloth, and it was evident that animals of all kinds had been piled in, one on top of another, until there were layers and heaps of tragedies spread out for a quarter of a mile, a trap so gigantic, so full of victims that it can hardly be comprehended.

A stable near these fields has been known to be piled with the bones, big long sloth heads, tusks, etc., representing thousands of animals. The Los Angeles high school students and professors are said to have taken out ten or twelve tons of bones, a mass which will take years to sort out and reassemble, but already a fine series of sabre tooth tigers have been secured from them and mounted.

EUROPE'S FASTEST EXPRESS

By F. C. COLEMAN

THE "Nord-Express" service connecting Paris with Brussels, Berlin, the Baltic seaboard and St. Petersburg, ranks as the fastest train schedule in Europe, and, with 400 tons coach load, the engine attains a speed of 75 miles per hour. By the French Northern Company's route, the distance between Paris and Berlin is 672^4 miles and the eastward journey is made in 15 hours 28 minutes, allowing for the difference between west and mid-European time. The 95^4 miles between Paris and St. Quentin is regularly covered in 93, 94 and 96 minutes, while the next run of 53^2 miles from St. Quentin to Erquellines—the Belgian frontier station—is booked at 55 minutes. Two engines of a most powerful type have been built for use in this service. Tests are being made as to their actual efficiency. Both these engines are fitted with apparatus for highly-superheated steam. Instead of constructing the ordinary type boiler for saturated steam and placing a water-tube boiler for superheated steam over a simple engine, according to the system of tests at present in vogue, the same system of compounding is here employed, thus narr o w 1 y

The previous largest engines in Europe are the "Pacific" type of the Belgian State Railways, which have four cylinders. The new Nord engines have, however, two high-pressure cylinders. While steam pressure in the Belgian engines is 200 pounds per square inch, the French engines carry a pressure of 227.5 pounds per square inch with direct admission from the boiler to all the cylinders, whenever it is found desirable for the first turn or two of the wheels when starting. Subsequently, of course, the boiler supplies only the two small cylinders.

These French engines, being very much more powerful in starting effort than the Belgian locomotives, are not only the same weight as the latter, but the boilers of the Nord engines have 23 per cent, more heating surface than the Belgian simple engines. But the chief interest in these new locomotives is the novel solution of the cylinder problem, which for years past has been an obstacle in the design of very powerful locomotives, the difficulty occurring when specially large cylinders are necessary, either for low-pressure saturated steam, superheated steam, or extra low-pressure in one-half of a compound engine. In running order, the engine weighs 102 tons. The ten

[graphic]

HUGE LOCOMOTIVE THAT MAKES SEVENTY MILES AN

TO BERLIN.

HOUR ON ITS RUN FROM PARLS

confining the test merely to the relative advantages of the ordinary and the watertube boiler.

der weighs 56^ tons, so that in working order these "Baltic" locomotives have a total weight on rails of I58yi tons.

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A N electric lighting' system can l\ be made a paying proposition / % on the farm. Ten years ago,

/ \ if a man had said that motor A. JL cars would be found on hundreds of farms, there would have been some danger of his having to face a court of inquiry. But as the demand has grown the price has decreased until today many farmers use the motor car for work as well as pleasure. The same will be true of farmers' electric lighting outfits. For demonstrating and experimental purposes, an outfit such as a farmer might care to buy has been installed in the department of electrical engineering at the Kansas State Agricultural College. During the last State Farmers' Institute more than four hundred farmers visited this outfit and listened to the explanations of the means of operation.

Since the perfection of the tungsten lamps, a small lighting plant has been possible. A tungsten lamp has a filament inside the glass bulb made of a metal, tungsten, in place of the carbon which is used in the common electric lights. A lamp with this tungsten filament gives

three times as much light for the amount of electricity used as the carbon lamp does. Tungstens cost more than the carbon lamps but they reduce the cost of the battery enough to make them a good investment.

The common rural lighting outfit offered for sale includes a dynamo to generate the electricity, a gasoline engine to run the dynamo, a switchboard, and a storage battery to store electrical energy to be used by the lamps and small motors without running the engine. A good, complete system can be purchased and installed for less than five hundred dollars, not much more than one of the dangerous gas plants cost. This can be lowered if the farmer has a gasoline engine or wires his house, himself. Electric lights will lower the insurance rate because there is not so much danger of fire when they are used as when gas, gasoline, acetylene, or coal-oil lamps are burned.

A one horse-power engine or an additional horse-power to any engine, will run a dynamo large enough for a tenampere outfit. A ten-ampere outfit is

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