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POTATO FIELD IN AROOSTOOK COUNTY, MAINE.
ULTIMATE END OF SMALL POTATOES.
end with "potato-digging time.” Then grating and from wooden troughs with the starch factories open for business, perforated iron bottoms, which extend at and long strings of heavily laden teams intervals over and across the screen along await their turn to dump their loads into which it has traveled. This water serves the vast basement reservatories, from to wash the starch through the screen to which the "graters" are being fed day a tight platform below, whence it flows and night.
to a spout, just back of the one which The tubers must be immediately receives the washed pulp, whereby it is worked up, for 40-degree-below-zero conducted to the settling vats. weather is coming soon, and the cellar These settling vats are great, rectangucapacity of the county is sore taxed to lar tanks, some twenty feet across and six hold those of the higher grades, which feet deep, grouped about one or more are being reserved for winter shipment. smaller vats, called “stirring tanks.”
From the great basement where the One settling vat having been filled, the potatoes are temporarily stored, they are stream of starch-laden water is turned, shoveled into one end of a semi-cylin- by means of a gate similar to that used drical trough, about three feet across in irrigating furrows, into another; while and some ten feet long, which is kept the first is allowed to stand for a time, constantly full of water by a stream to permit the starch to settle. The time entering, clear, at the farther end, and required for this varies somewhat, acoverflowing, dirt-laden, at this. Along cording to the temperature, and it somethe center of this trough, at the top, ex- times becomes necessary to add ice, not tends a slowly revolving shaft, from so much to save time, as to prevent the which project round spokes, or arms, mass from souring. arranged helically in such manner that, After several hours, a plug is lifted while they constantly stir the potatoes from a short spout which extends about and loosen the adhering dirt so that the six inches upward, through the bottom of water may take it away, they push them the vat; and the water is drained off, slowly along toward the other end, where leaving a compact mass of somewhat imseveral of the spokes are broad and flat, pure and dirty starch, overlaid with a serving to lift the now thoroughly thin coat of sediment partaking of the cleansed tubers over the side of the color of potato skins. trough; whence they fall onto an in- This sediment is scraped off with clined surface the lower edge of which shovels, and the remaining mass is shovalmost touches the grater.
eled into the stirring tank, in which it is This grater consists of a cylinder about again thoroughly mixed with clean water four feet long and two feet in diameter, by means of upright revolving shafts, on the wooden surface of which are with long blades crossing their lower nailed strips of sheet steel, perforated in ends at right angles, and is then allowed exactly the same way as
to settle once more. The top of the grater our mother used to use in the resultant mass being scraped off and kitchen. Against this rapidly revolving copiously washed, there remains comrasp the potatoes are held by their own mercially pure starch, only needing to weight on the inclined plank, till they be dried in order to be ready for marare reduced to a pulpy mass and drop ket. onto the higher end of a long, slightly The snow-white mass,of about the coninclined screen of fine brass wire. This sistency of cheese, is shoveled into basscreen, by a longitudinal, reciprocating kets, elevated to a floor near the roof, and motion, gently urges the pulp along its thence taken in great two-wheeled barslight incline till it drops, some twelve rows, along an elevated platform, to the feet from where it first fell from the upper floor of the dry-house, which-grater, into a spout leading to the com- with a view to lessening the fire risk-post heap. In outward appearance the is placed some hundred yards away from pulp remains much the same as when it the other buildings. started, but it has been freed from its This floor, on either side, is composed starch by the constant shower of clean of wooden slats spaced an inch or more water that has fallen on it during the apart, there often being wide shelves, composed of similar slats above; and the The dry starch is tightly packed in chunks of starch, looking for all the casks like flour barrels, only of about world like blocks shoveled from a hard- twice the capacity, holding 500 pounds packed snow-drift, are spread thereon. each, and so shipped to the large textile
was the tin
Some two feet below this floor, an- manufacturers, who are, in this country, other rack, spaced a trifle less openly, practically the only consumers. receives the starch as it dries and crum- The mass of pulp which remains after bles; while below this is another, and the starch is washed out consists of little still another-till, passing through but woody fiber; and, though it may be spaces only a quarter of an inch wide, used to feed stock, is of no practical the now thoroughly dried and granulated value in Aroostook, where feed is cheap, product rests upon a tight shelf from and is consequently allowed to flow into which it is drawn off, with hoe-like the brook or river which always passes scrapers, into a trough extending the near the factory. This seeming waste whole length of the building at a con- appears small indeed when it is rememvenient height from the floor to allow of bered that starch and water constitute 96 the starch being shoveled into casks. per cent of the potato.
All these racks are enclosed by walls, The process of making potato starch is occupying a space about twenty feet of the simplest, and any housewife can wide by fifty or sixty feet long, and make it by merely placing the grated leaving an alley about eight feet wide potato on a piece of cheese cloth, pouring between them and the outer walls of the
water through it, and allowing the rebuilding. Below the racks, in the older sultant milky fluid to settle. The sedifactories, are placed four large stoves, or ment, dried, is practically pure starch. furnaces, with doors opening out of Prepared by a New England cook, it the ends of the enclosure, and with the makes a palatable dish, though not as smoke-pipes extending to a chimney in pleasing to the taste corn
starch ; the middle. By this arrangement the while, in the laundry, it does not give the driest starch and the dry pine boards of desired gloss and stiffness. Its superior which the lower shelf is composed, come adhesive and penetrating qualities, howvery close to the heated stoves and pipes, ever, together with its great elasticity, leading to frequent fires—so frequent, in- make it much better than any other for deed, that in practically all the newly giving a smooth surface, with just the built dry-houses (and many of them are required texture, to the yarns used in newly built, for good cause) steam pipes weaving. Hence potatoes have a part in replace the furnaces.
clothing, as well as in feeding us.
Proverbs Reflected On
“ Beauty is only skin deep"-Well, that's as far as
If you will play with fire, do it with a hose.
Not to let one hand know what the other does is good
That you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear seems the
“Two heads are better than one'- especially if they are on American dollars.
"What is worth getting is worth trying for"-unless you can get it without.
HE Swinemünde Bridge, situated to uring sixty feet, forty feet are taken up
the east of Gesundbrunnen Station by the roadway and ten feet by each of in Berlin, was inaugurated in November the footpaths. last year and has been popularly termed The bridge is remarkable for its effi"Million Bridge" on account of the cient electric lighting plant, including ten enormous cost of its construction. Its arc-lamps and twenty intense Nernst heavy iron structures terminate in four lamps, six arc lamps and ten Nernst slender pillars, between which lengthy lamps being lighted all night. Four arc
arcs are arranged, giving the building lamps are located at the entrance portal, the appearance of a suspended bridge; in artistically designed lanterns, while it, however, really is a structure resting the remaining six have been mounted on stationary pillars. Being intended to above the middle of the roadway on connect Swinemünde Street and Beller- transversal arcs. The Nernst lamps are mann Street across the tracks of Gesund- suspended above the footpath on iron brunnen Station, thus opening up to the arms, agreeing as to their design with inhabitants of Berlin a hitherto little the character of the bridge. On account populated quarter to the north of the of the exceedingly convenient arrangerailway, the bridge is not less than 700 ment of the lamps, both the roadway and feet in length, being by far the longest footpaths are remarkable for their satisin Berlin.
The span between the two factory lighting.-Dr. Alfred Gradenpillars is 500 feet. Of the breadth, meas- witz.
HIGH WATER MARK OF THE REBELLION. This clump of trees was the concentration point of Pickett's charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa. In this charge 15,000 men were destroyed. This battle marked the beginning of the end of the Confederacy. The open bronze book contains the record of the commands engaged.