Page images

the blast furnace. Every school boy processes. So if the product is not as knows that the bulk of this is technically good as that which was made in the known as hematite—the stuff that looks charcoal furnaces of our fathers it pays like so much earth, as, piled in great the smelter better than to make a higher heaps in the stock yard, it is scooped up grade of metal unless needed for some by the big self-filling buckets and carried purpose where better iron must be had. to the furnace cupola by the trolley of But suppose the theories of Mr. Hill the tramway. Yes, over three-fourths of and those who agree with him are corthe millions of tons of pig iron which rect, and that the great banks and beds like liquid fire flow yearly from Ameri- of hematite are being exhausted, is there can furnaces is composed principally of not other ore? Yes, mountains of it that hematite—perhaps brown, perhaps red— would supply every furnace in America but hematite of some sort, a little of for centuries. Why, in the Adirondack another kind being mixed with it occa- mountains alone are deposits which might sionally if a certain grade of "pig" is make northern New York, the heart of wanted. Hematite is what they are America's iron industry instead of Pennshoveling up from the Superior ranges sylvania and the Ohio valley. Why is at the rate of 35,000,000 tons a year. it not smelted ? Because even in the Hematite feeds the furnaces of the South most modern blast furnace it cannot be and West. Yet the iron which comes reduced to metal profitably, since it confrom many of the smelters filled with it tains elements which injure the quality is of an inferior grade.

of the iron and are not expelled in the Why does the iron maker use so much chemical action which takes place. So hematite? There are two reasons. It these inexhaustible stores of ore rich in is so plentiful and the iron in it can be iron are lying useless, like just so much extracted by the simplest and cheapest common earth, at the present time.

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small]

Titaniferous ore, as it is generally experiments have been entirely successcalled, has been the despair of the iron ful. While but a few tons of iron were maker. Found in many parts of the run from the crucible it was practically country in such quantities that one bed free from any harmful element and of a could keep a score of furnaces in opera- remarkably high grade. Considering the tion, as has been stated, it remains un- many and diversified ways we have touched just as fortunes were throwni utilized electricity it seems strange that away in the old days of gold and copper the application of its intense heat in sepmining before machinery had been in- arating iron from the baser substances vented to separate the metal held in the of the ore, has not been successfully tailings that passed through the mill. undertaken before, since it has the power Some of it contains over seventy per of generating such an enormous number cent of pure metal, but run it through of heat units. But that it can perform the blast furnace and the resulting the work can be stated on the authority product usually contains sulphur, some- of the scientist who reduced the orestimes phosphorus in such quantities that Dr. Heroult, the noted French expert. it is not fit for use. These elements can- It may be added that Dr. Eugene Haanel. not be entirely removed even by the ter- superintendent of mines for the Canadian rific heat which turns the ore into liquid. government, who witnessed the tests,

But we may be on the eve of another corroborated Dr. Heroult's statements. great industrial revolution. Perhaps we The scene of this notable experiment may not need the consumption of the was Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where opporhematite beds, for electricity has come tunity was offered to secure an ample to our aid in trying to solve the problem current voltage from the plant of the of making these refractory ores of some Lake Superior Corporation, which gengood.

erates electricity from water power. During the past year experiments have With the appropriation of $15,000 genbeen made in converting them into iron erously made by the Dominion governfit for use, and it can be said at last that ment a furnace was designed and constructed especially for the purpose. This quettes made of coke dust and fire clay, furnace is worth describing. It consisted also charcoal as a substitute. The fluxof an iron casing bolted to a bottom plate ing agents were limestone and quartz. of cast iron forty-eight inches in diam- As less than half a ton of iron was eter. The casing was made in two cylin- made at a run, the furnace was kept drical sections to facilitate repairs. To almost continuously in operation until render the inductance as small as possi- one hundred and fifty casts had been ble the lines of magnetic force in the iron drawn off, giving fifty-five tons of metal. case were prevented from closing by the This was secured entirely from Canadian replacement of a vertical strip of ten ores noted for the high percentages of inches width of the casing by a copper sulphur and phosphorus they contained. plate. Carbon paste was rammed into They included varieties of magnetite, the lower part of the furnace up to the titaniferous ore and roasted pyrrhotite. bottom of the crucible. The lining con- Dr. Haanel states that such ores, high in sisted of common fire brick, which from sulphur and not used in the blast furthe bottom of the crucible up for a dis- nace, on account of the high percentage tance of a little above the slag level was of this element, could be smelted eleccovered with carbon paste to a thickness trically with perfect success, yielding a of a few inches. The crucible, there- pig-iron equal in value to and lower in fore, consisted entirely of carbon.

sulphur than the metal obtained in the The electrodes, imported from Swe- blast furnaces from ores free from sulden, were prisms of square cross-section, phur and costing three dollars and sixteen by sixteen inches by six feet long. seventy-five cents per ton in Canada. The contact with the cables carrying the The resulting metal was not only nearly electric current to the electrode consisted free from phosphorus, but contained only of a steel shoe riveted to four copper a trace of sulphur, while the titaniferous plates which ended in a support for a iron contained only sufficient titanium pulley. The electrode with its contact to increase its quality. was supported by a chain passing under The conclusions reached by the exthe pulley, one end of the chain being perts were that magnetite can be as ecofastened to the wall, the other end pass- nomically smelted by the electric process ing over a winch operated by a worm as hematite. Ores of high sulphur conand worm-wheel. This formed a con- tent not containing manganese can be venient arrangement for regulating the made into pig iron containing only a few electrode by hand. The electrical energy thousandths of a per cent of sulphur. was furnished by one phase of a three The silicon content can be varied as rephase, 2,400 volt, alternating current gen- . quired for the class of pig to be produced. erator coupled to a 300 H. P., 500 volt, Charcoal which can be cheaply produced direct current motor. A current of 2,200 from mill refuse or wood which could volts was delivered to transformer of 225 not otherwise be utilized, can be substiK. W, capacity, designed to furnish cur- tuted for coke as a reducing agent, withrent to the furnace at fifty volts. The out being briquetted with the ore. A transformer was placed in a separate ferro-nickel pig can be produced pracroom in the furnace building, close to tically free from sulphur and of fine the furnace. From the transformer the quality from roasted nickeliferous pyrcurrent was led to the bottom plate con- rhotite. The experiment made with a tact of the furnace and to the electrode titaniferous iron ore containing 17.82 per contact by conductors consisting each of cent of titanic acid permits the conclusion thirty aluminum cables, five-eighths inch that titaniferous iron ores up to perhaps in diameter. To determine the exact five per cent titanic acid can be successamount of current needed for the elec- fully treated by the electiic process. In trodes used in smelting the plant was short the electric current makes availprovided with voltmeters, an ammeter able an enormous supply of ore which and a recording watt meter.

cannot be successfully reduced to iron by tion of material for reducing the ores the ordinary blast furnace method. was important, as coking coal was not The question of what it costs, however, available. It was decided to use bri- is a most important one. In answering

The ques

this we must take into consideration the it can be smelted for about six dollars. quality of the metal which comes from The Northern furnaces using range ore the electrical furnace. Less porous and from Superior cannot produce iron for more compact, it is far more durable and probably less than seven dollars and fifty has such tensile strength yet hardness cents a ton. Consequently the cost of that it is especially suitable for car this electrically made metal was not much wheels, crushing rolls and other ma- higher than the No. 1 blast furnace chinery where a very high quality of grade, remembering that it averages metal is essential. Those who examined twenty per cent better in quality. But the product of the Sault Ste. Marie fur- the expense of generating the electric nace agree that it is fully twenty per cent current differs greatly. It is supplied better than the high grade pig usually in some parts of the country as low as sold in the great cities of the East, seven dollars and fifty cents per horse though made from ore considered little power per year. The invention of more better than worthless in comparison with economical water wheels, generators and the favored hematite.

other apparatus is steadily decreasing The cost of one electrical horse power the expense of producing the current. It per year at Sault Ste. Marie is calculated is worth noting that near the great ore to be ten dollars, or two and three-quar- bodies' in the Adirondacks are numerous ters cents per day. In reducing one ton of water powers of such extent that they ore, electrical energy equalling ninety- could undoubtedly be employed to create three and one-half horse power was used electrical energy at a low cost and in at a cost of two dollars and fifty-seven quantities sufficient to establish the smeltcents. The total expense of making a ing industry on a large scale. Eastern ton of iron, including ore at one dollar Tennessee and other parts of the South and fifty cents per ton, and all other also have abundant water power near items, was ten dollars and sixty-nine beds of ores which cannot be successcents. The cost of making pig iron in fully treated by the ordinary blast furthe modern blast furnace varies consider- nace. Therefore the prediction that we ably. While the figures are kept secret may be on the verge of another industrial by most manufacturers, it is claimed that revolution with the aid of electricity, is ore in Alabama is so cheap that a ton of by no means imaginary.

A Sunset Fantasy

The sun drops low behind the hill,

Like some full tropic bloom
Whose sensuous and baleful light
Seems smitten with the sudden blight

Of passion's rayless doom.

But now across the field of space,

Like one with sacred power,
Pure Evening, clad in hodden-gray,
Comes like a priest to shrive the Day

And bless his dying hour.
-William H. HAYNE, in Munsey's Magazine



Fire, Axe and the Oregon Fir

By Day Allen Willey


NE of the greatest ing the greatest forests of the world. stories ever written, as True, human beings are not the victims those who have read it of the attacks with fire and the axe, but well know, is the tale woodlands containing trees which are which gives a true but among the most valuable known to man terrible picture of the and which may well be called monarchs desolation wrought in of the forest, since they are actually

Europe's greatest em- equal in dimensions to any which spring pire by fire and the sword. And this is from the earth, and for human use. are the title of the book-a fitting title, be- more valuable than any others that grow cause in every chapter, the work done by in America. these weapons of war is thrillingly de- We have heard so much about the scribed.

"show trees” of California that the great Some time the American novelist will firs, or Oregon pines as they are called write a book which will be entitled "With in the state of Oregon, are but little Fire and Axe." It will also be a true known to people who live east of the title, for it will describe the havoc and Rocky Mountains. The enterprising addesolation which are being wrought in vertising agents have flooded the country the Northwest by the timbermen in fell- with pictures of the famous sequoias

« PreviousContinue »