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"The furnace at which the test was made produces from one hundred to one hundred and ten tons per day when running on the ordinary mixture. The charging of briquettes was begun with a percentage of 25 per cent., and was carried up to 100 per cent. The following is the record of the results:
RESULTS OF WORKING BRIQUETTES AT THE CRANE FURNACE Quantity of Phos- Man- Date Briquette Tons Silica phorus Sulphur ganese Working Per Cent. January 5th 25 104 2.770 0.830 0.018 0.500 January 6th 37 1/2 4 1/2 2.620 0 740 0.018 0.350 January 7th 50 138 1/2 2.572 0.580 0.015 0.200 January 8th 75 119 1.844 0.264 0.022 0.200 January 9th 100 138 1/2 1.712 0.147 0.038 0.185
"On the 9th, at 5 P.M., the briquettes having been nearly exhausted, the percentage was dropped to 25 per cent., and on the 10th the output dropped to 120 tons, and on the 11th the furnace had resumed the usual work on the regular standard ores.
"These figures prove that the yield of the furnace is considerably increased. The Crane trial was too short to settle the question to what extent the increase in product may be carried. This increase in output, of course, means a reduction in the cost of labor and of general expenses.
"The richness of the ore and its purity of course affect the limestone consumption. In the case of the Crane trial there was a reduction from 30 per cent. to 12 per cent. of the ore charge.
"Finally, the fuel consumption is reduced, which in the case of the Eastern plants, with their relatively costly coke, is a very important consideration. It is regarded as possible that Eastern furnaces will be able to use a smaller proportion of the costlier coke and correspondingly increase in anthracite coal, which is a cheaper fuel in that section. So far as foundry iron is concerned, the experience at Catasauqua, Pennsylvania, brief as it has been, shows that a stronger and tougher metal is made."
Edison himself tells an interesting little story in this connection, when he enjoyed the active help of that noble character, John Fritz, the distinguished inventor and pioneer of the modern steel industry in America. He says: "When I was struggling along with the iron-ore concentration, I went to see several blast-furnace men to sell the ore at the market price. They saw I was very anxious to sell it, and they would take advantage of my necessity. But I happened to go to Mr. John Fritz, of the Bethlehem Steel Company, and told him what I was doing. `Well,' he said to me, `Edison, you are doing a good thing for the Eastern furnaces. They ought to help you, for it will help us out. I am willing to help you. I mix a little sentiment with business, and I will give you an order for one hundred thousand tons.' And he sat right down and gave me the order."
The Edison concentrating plant has been sketched in the briefest outline with a view of affording merely a bare idea of the great work of its projector. To tell the whole story in detail and show its logical sequence, step by step, would take little less than a volume in itself, for Edison's methods, always iconoclastic when progress is in sight, were particularly so at the period in question. It has been said that "Edison's scrap-heap contains the elements of a liberal education," and this was essentially true of the "discard" during the ore-milling experience. Interesting as it might be to follow at length the numerous phases of ingenious and resourceful development that took place during those busy years, the limit of present space forbids their relation. It would, however, be denying the justice that is Edison's due to omit all mention of two hitherto unnamed items in particular that have added to the world's store of useful devices. We refer first to the great travelling hoisting-crane having a span of two hundred and fifteen feet, and used for hoisting loads equal to ten tons, this being the largest of the kind made up to that time, and afterward used as a model by many others. The second item was the ingenious and varied forms of conveyor belt, devised and used by Edison at the concentrating works, and subsequently developed into a separate and extensive business by an engineer to whom he gave permission to use his plans and patterns.
Edison's native shrewdness and knowledge of human nature was put to practical use in the busy days of plant construction. It was found impossible to keep mechanics on account of indifferent residential accommodations afforded by the tiny village, remote from civilization, among the central mountains of New Jersey. This puzzling question was much discussed between him and his associate, Mr. W. S. Mallory, until finally he said to the latter: "If we want to keep the men here we must make it attractive for the women--so let us build some houses that will have running water and electric lights, and rent at a low rate." He set to work, and in a day finished a design for a type of house. Fifty were quickly built and fully described in advertising for mechanics. Three days' advertisements brought in over six hundred and fifty applications, and afterward Edison had no trouble in obtaining all the first-class men he required, as settlers in the artificial Yosemite he was creating.
We owe to Mr. Mallory a characteristic story of this period as to an incidental unbending from toil, which in itself illustrates the ever-present determination to conquer what is undertaken: "Along in the latter part of the nineties, when the work on the problem of concentrating iron ore was in progress, it became necessary when leaving the plant at Edison to wait over at Lake Hopatcong one hour for a connecting train. During some of these waits Mr. Edison had seen me play billiards. At the particular time this incident happened, Mrs. Edison and her family were away for the summer, and I was staying at the Glenmont home on the Orange Mountains.
"One hot Saturday night, after Mr. Edison had looked over the evening papers, he said to me: `Do you want to play a game of billiards?' Naturally this astonished me very much, as he is a man who cares little or nothing for the ordinary games, with the single exception of parcheesi, of which he is very fond. I said I would like to play, so we went up into the billiard- room of the house. I took off the cloth, got out the balls, picked out a cue for Mr. Edison, and when we banked for the first shot I won and started the game. After making two or three shots I missed, and a long carom shot was left for Mr. Edison, the cue ball and object ball being within about twelve inches of each other, and the other ball a distance of nearly the length of the table. Mr. Edison attempted to make the shot, but missed it and said `Put the balls back.' So I put them back in the same position and he missed it the second time. I continued at his request to put the balls back in the same position for the next fifteen minutes, until he could make the shot every time--then he said: `I don't want to play any more.' "
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Edison, His Life and Inventions -by- F. L. Dyer and T. C. Martin