National Geographic : 1919 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE combed and softened, the slivers are car ried to the spinning room. Here they enter a machine which has a bobbin so placed that as it revolves it twists the sliver and converts it into twine. When the bobbins are full they are re moved and sent to the balling machine. This machine takes the twine from the bobbin and by a peculiar winding oper ation makes the balls of twine one sees in the harvest field. In the whole twine factory, with a ca pacity of 200 tons a day, there is no dust to be seen, for suction ventilators draw it away and keep the plant, which otherwise would be dustier than an old fashioned grist-mill, as clean as a pin. As the twine is spun and balled, it is initialed by the operatives to show who had charge of the several machines em ployed in its making. Random balls se lected by inspectors are unwound on reels, so that every strand may be exam ined for defects and tested for tensile strength. For when a ball of twine goes to the harvest field it must be good or a twine manufacturer's reputation is ruined. If, after all these precautions, a ball that is bad should get into the market, the sys tem of records kept at the mill will en able the manufacturer to trace the defec tive product back to its beginning and tell the bale from which the fiber came, who inspected it, who spun the ball, who wound it, and all. It has often been asked why twine manufacturers do not use other fibers instead of going to far-off Yucatan or farther-away Manila. For answer one must go to the cricket and the grasshop per. Those little creatures can tell why they eat every other sort of fiber known except manila and sisal. One manufac turer spent more than a million dollars trying to make a flax twine that did not taste good to grasshoppers and crickets. But he found their appetites versatile, and that with them only sisal and manila are taboo. Would you measure the size of the world's grain crop? Then, remembering that there are still vast areas in the back ward regions of the earth that have not yet heard the merry music of the binder, you should pause to reflect that the an nual harvest in the lands where binders do operate requires 150,000 tons of twine, and that each pound of this makes 700 feet. A little problem in arithmetic shows that the whole amounts to forty million miles. Think how small an item twine is in the making of our daily bread, and yet the annual use of it calls for enough to make sixteen hundred strands reach ing around the earth. TItE DEATH MARCH OF THE ANIMAL ARMY Chicago's hold on the slaughtering and packing of meat is only less striking than its supremacy in the harvester and twine industries. One-fourth of all the meat animals that leave the farms and ranches of the United States are bound for the butcher's blocks of the lakeside metrop olis. Would you visualize the vast size of the animal army that annually marches into Chicago to pay the bloody sacrifice that the human appetite requires of it? Then pause and watch it pass by, single file. Here comes the cattle contingent, two and a half million strong; head to tail the line would reach from Chicago through the North Pole to the Russian coast. Then follow the hogs, seven mil lion of them-a solid procession of pork long enough to reach from the southern shores of Lake Michigan via Mexico City and Panama to the mouth of the Amazon River. Even the sheep brigade is not a mean one, for the bell wether of the flock would be coming up to the Chi cago Drainage Canal when the last one in the line was leaving the Panama Canal. The stockyards of the city have a ca pacity of 75,000 cattle, 300,000 hogs, and 125,000 sheep. More than 60,000 people find employment in Packingtown, and a million dollars change hands on the aver age day in the barter and trade of the stockyard. The story of the conversion of the live animal into meat and the hundred and one by-products is too well known for repetition here. No need the pros and cons of costs and profits in the meat in dustry be considered. But certain it is that when Gustavus Swift and Philip D.