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cooking is completed. They are then packed carefully in cases and are ready for shipment. Thus prepared, this delicious vegetable is shipped to all parts of the world, where it finds a ready and remunerative sale.

The process of gathering and canning the crop must be repeated every day while the season lasts. It is a novel and interesting sight to travel over this vast

plantation, and see the cultivation-cutting, harvesting, canninggrowing crops, the different processes of etc., requires arduous and varied human cultivation, the harvesting, and lastly, labor. The vegetable is cultivated in the canning, paçking, labeling, and shiplong rows-thrown up like a "windrow" ping methods. of hay after it has been cut and raked To produce asparagus of the highest together. After the asparagus com- degree of excellence, a certain peculiar mences to sprout, there is no end of con- kind of soil is required. That found on stant labor. Laborers go carefully along Bouldin island could not be surpassed these interininable rows, looking for the in the world for the purpose. The enfresh, tender shoots that are just peep- tire island is a reclaimed marsh originally ing above the soil. All these are cut lying below tide-level. This reclamation some distance below the surface, by was wrought by means of building a means of a sharp and peculiarly shaped dyke all around the banks. The soil is knife.

admirably adapted to asparagus culture In the course of the season, millions of consisting of a sort of peat and sedithe sweet sprouts constantly make their ment, and when perfectly dry burns like appearance and are cut off and harvested.

Chinese punk. This cutting goes on endlessly; for the More than 50,000 acres of this marshy patient cutters must go over the long tide land in San Joaquin county have rows several times every day. The been reclaimed by a system of dyking, sprouts must not be allowed to stand and brought to a high and productive long; they soon become tough and state of cultivation. In traveling through stringy.

that region, one may readily imagine he From these fields the fresh asparagus

is in Flanders. It has been appropriately is hauled in wagons into enormous cut- christened “The Holland of America." ting sheds, where the tender shoots are To dyke Bouldin island properly, more chopped off to uniform lengths; after than thirty miles of levees were conthis they are culled and sorted into dif- structed—costing a very large sum of ferent sizes. They are then ready for money. The growth of this industry has the canning process; are thoroughly been wonderful. For many years Gerwashed and placed in steam-heated salt many, the native home of asparagus, fur

, water and partly cooked. After this, the nished the world's vast supply; but even "scalers” place the shoots of different that country now recognizes the superior sizes into glass jars and cans made spe- merits of the Bouldin island vegetable, cially for the purpose. When the jars and takes it in preference to the home and cans are hermetically sealed, they product. are placed in immense iron tanks filled Asparagus cultivation has been carried with boiling water, when the process of on for a number of years on this island. Once it was maintained on a very small was 300 feet wide, and 85 feet deep. scale and by primitive methods. The After the immense break was finally first year's output in 1892 was only 2,- closed, the company was confronted with 700 cases. Compared with the present the stupendous work of pumping out 7,production, the increase has been mar- 000 acres of water averaging about 7 velous.


feet in depth. This colossal task was Large as is the scale on which the finally completed, though some weeks of cultivation is now carried on, it may still steady pumping was required. Four imbe said that the asparagus industry is as mense pumps were installed. These conyet comparatively in its infancy in Cali- sisted of two 44-inch and two 36-inch fornia. The time is not far distant when centrifugal pumps.

centrifugal pumps. The capacity of the many thousands of additional acres will two larger pumps was 65,000 gallons of be in cultivation—when California will water per minute, that of the two smaller be able to furnish the world's supply. was 40,000 gallons per minute. The Once asparagus was a luxury; now it has total capacity of the four pumps per

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become a necessity, and is within reach of every 24 hours' steady pumping, was all.

302,100,000. For more than a year past, no crop has When the water was all cleared out, been cultivated on this island, owing the work of getting the great asparagus to the fact that it has been completely beds in order went on rapidly, over 500 inundated. Early in March, 1904, a dis- Japanese 'aborers being employed. In astrous break occurred in the dyke. round figures the total expense entailed Through this breach the floods poured by the submergence of Bouldin island until all the 7,000 acres

were under reached almost the half-million dollar water from six to seven feet. It proved mark. a tremendous and costly piece of engi- Bouldin island is owned by the Voorneering to close up this wide and deep man Company of San Francisco, while break. Several months were required to the immense canneries and canning close the breach. It was about 1,500 feet plants belong to the Hickmott Asparagus long, the washout being from 105 to 20 Canning Company, also of San Franfeet in depth. Just at the dyke the break cisco. In every department of the cut

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NEW system has recently been very much smaller than the running rails, devised by two German engi- and the engines are provided with current neers, Pfirmann and Wendorf, collectors or brushes rubbing against the

of Frankfort, for the protection third rail, which may be located, as in of trains by engine cab signaling- the instances shown, between the tracks. that is, through the delivery, by means The current collector is connected with of an electric contact rail and other ap- the axles and the running rails through propriate devices, of audible or visible a battery and relay, the arrangement besignals in the locomotive cab. The track ing such that the armature is attracted construction is provided with a third rail anci closes a local circuit in the engine

cab when the intensity of the current reaches a predetermined limit. The closing of this local circuit operates a lamp signal or an audible signaling device such as gong, or the braking apparatus may be actuated as well.

In this manner it is possible for the locomotive engineer to be warned of danger caused by an open switch. UnJer ordinary conditions

the coil of the relay is Showing CENTRAL RAIL AND COLLECTOR OF NEW GERMAN, SYSTEM FOR PROTECT of the battery on the

not excited, the circuit




EXAMPLE OF DOUBLE-TRACK CONSTRUCTION IN GERMANY. Track at right is equipped with collector rail for protecting trains by engine cab signals.

engine being open in its normal condi- relay coils reaches the proper amount tion. A short circuit is made between to attract the armature, and the local cirthe running rail and the live third rail cuit is closed, giving the audible or visif a switch is open; and in case a locomo- ible signal in the engine cab, or applying tive passes onto this section of track, the the brakes, according to the arrangebattery-relay circuit is closed by the run- ment thought best under the conditions. ning rails and the third rail which are This new system of engine cab signalthus electrically connected by the open ing has been installed on several miles switch. The signal will not be given at of the German State Railway system, and once, as the armature of the relay of the is said to be operating successfully. safety apparatus in the locomotive cab The system, moreover, includes prowill not be attracted until the distance vision for the locomotive engineer on from the signal where the rails are connected is such that the intensity of the current is sufficient to close the local circuit. A resistance coil of several ohms is connected with the live rail at distances of between 300 and 400 feet. When the locomotive reaches a distance from the open switch such that the resistance of these coils together with the rails has fallen to a predetermined value, the cur




order that there may be no failure of the automatic signaling due to the apparatus on the two trains opposing each other as a result of the batteries being connected in series or in opposition, thus causing the relays in one case to fail to work, a commutator has been provided on the axles of the trains so that the current is reversed periodically; and therefore the batteries will be in series or opposition alternately as the speed of the two trains is never likely to be the same. When a train stops, the battery is disconnected, and a connection is made from the center rail through the relays with the axle. These connections are the same as though the open switch closed the circuit, and any train approaching a standing train would automatically give the


to be thoroughly practicable, and the

possibility of one engineer communione train communicating by telephone cating with another is certainly most with the engineer on another train. In unique and desirable.

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