Henry Harrisse.

Britain at work; a pictorial description of our national industries online

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used as exhauster in some works.

After being scrubbed, the gas is made to
pass through thick layers of fresh slacked
lime in tanks to free it from the evil-smelling
sulphuretted hydrogen, bisulphide of carbon,
and carbonic acid. Other substances beside
lime are sometimes used, such as slightly
moist iron oxide, mixed with sawdust, or
chaff, to render it porous. The object which
must be obtained, however, is to bring up
the gas to the Parliamentary standard of

The freedom from sulphuretted hydrogen
should be shown, not only by the absence of
its very unpleasant odour, but by the fact
that ten cubic feet of gas shall not show a
stain on lead paper ; furthermore, not more
than twenty-two grains of sulphur, or four
grains of ammonia, must be traceable in a
hundred cubic feet.

Passing from the lime tanks, the gas
goes to the station meter house, where it is
measured, and where the pressure instruments
are kept ; it is then at last allowed to escape

to those immensely large round gas-holders
which form the most prominent object of
any gasworks. These huge vessels are built
over great tanks of water, and in them
the gas is stored and kept ready for

It is important to notice that the lime
purifiers are so constructed that when one
part is saturated with impurities, the stream
of gas can be directed to a freshly renewed
portion, while the impure lime is removed.
Indeed, this principle applies throughout, the
apparatus being so arranged that some parts
can be thrown out of action while other parts
are continuing the work.

The ingenuity of chemists and of engineers
has enabled manufacturers to increase the
volume and enrich the illumination by the
use of water-gas and of vapour from mineral
oils. The combination of these two products
is known as carburetted water-gas, and it may
be said without exaggeration that the pre
paration of this compound now enters very
largely into the manufacture of gas. And so
long as the product is up to the Parliamentary
standard of fifteen or sixteen sperm candles in
illuminating power and is free from poisonous

I hola: Casse/l & Co., I./d.




vapour, there is, of course, no fraud in thus
producing the illuminant.

More than a hundred years ago Lavoisier
showed that hydrogen and carbonic-oxide
could be produced by passing steam through
fiery hot coke, air being supplied at intervals
to maintain the coke in a radiant glow. The
hydrogen gas and carbonic-oxide mixed to
gether make the popularly called water-gas.
Burnt alone, it is very hot, but its illuminating
power is slight ; it is, therefore, enriched
or " carburetted " by mingling it with
gas made from mineral oil. The process
consists essentially in passing the water-
gas through receptacles called " car
buretters " containing intensely hot
bricks with the oil sprayed on them.
Waste fat is used in some parts of the
world as a source of oil gas.

So largely is this process employed
that a firm in London has constructed
suitable apparatus, for use in Great
Britain and other parts of the world,
capable altogether of producing the un
thinkable quantity of nearly 406,000,000
cubic feet daily. Not only do mammoth
concerns like the Gas Light and Coke
Company of London use it, but much
smaller undertakings in different parts
of the country, while it has made its
way to Shanghai, in China.

Gas differs, however, very widely in
price. The Gas Light and Coke Com
pany, for instance, which is said to
manufacture the brain-bewildering quantity
of 22,000,000,000 cubic feet annually, charges
3s. per thousand cubic feet and this is a
reduction from a previous charge ; but the
South Metropolitan, which is said to manu
facture little more than half that gigantic
quantity, charges 2s. 3d., the same price
which rules at Plymouth, while in some
places the cost is as high as 4s. 6d.

The gas industry is, no doubt, still one
of the great trades of the country. It is
useless to quote figures, which may change
from year to year, as to numbers of works
in existence or the multitude of men employed ;
but the round, familiar gas-holder may be
seen almost everywhere. Has this large
industry a future, or is it destined to decline ?
No man can say. Electricity is a powerful
rival ; but the brilliant results of compressed

incandescent gas and the immense use of
gas for purposes of heating indicate that
it will not yield without a struggle.

The grounds of the great Glasgow Exhibi
tion in 1901 were radiant at night with a
soft, white light, which experts declared to
be the perfection of artificial illumination on
a large scale. The light was not electric, but
was produced by gas ; it was used on the
new high-pressure principle, and with incan-

& Co., Ltd.


descent burners. Eour of the Keith burners
grouped in one lamp yielded a resplend
ent light equal to at least 1,200 sperm
candles, and quite threw into the shade the
electric arc lamps by the water-chute, which
were each supposed to be equal to 1,000

So successful, indeed, were the results that
the authorities of the Turin Exhibition in the
following year decided to illuminate their
grounds in a similar manner ; and during the
winter of 1901 2 the south nave of the
Crystal Palace at Sydenham was made re
splendent by gas used on the same system.

Intensified gas-lighting that is, the high-
pressure system was invented by M. Greyson,
a Belgian gas engineer, in 1896; the incan
descent mantle gas-lighting having been
invented by Baron Welsbacti, an Austrian,



about ten years previously. M. Greyson
introduced a burner which, by the use of gas
at a high pressure, and consuming only the
average ten feet per hour of the ordinary
burner, drew five times its volume of air
per hour into the combustion ; and using
with it an incandescent mantle he obtained
an immensely increased light, equal to that
of more than 300 sperm candles.

This is the essential principle. But for
the satisfactory working of this principle it
is necessary to increase the pressure of the
U\is about four times more than that at which


it is usually found in the mains ; and his
method of compressing the gas was not in
practice very successful.

Several other plans were suggested ; and
one of the most satisfactory was the auto

matic compressor, introduced by Mr. James
Keith, C.E. the actual inventor being, we
believe, his son, Mr. George Keith and it
was their method by which the very beautiful
results were obtained at Glasgow and Turin.
A suitable burner is also a necessity; but into
the battle of the burners we need not enter.

Thus, while the opening years of the
nineteenth century saw the gradual adoption
of gas as an illuminating agent, the opening
years of the twentieth century behold a
remarkable development of its power and
resources. A soft, white light beams from
its best burners, and multitudes of persons
use its flame as a fuel. Striving to hold its
own, it seems more efficient than ever in
diffusing light and warmth, and so supplying
two of the great needs of mankind.





IT is not necessary for the purposes of die
present article to enter into a long
detailed history of the biscuit and
the cake, although such a task would, no
doubt, be attended with considerable interest.
Among the early Romans it was the custom
to break a cake above a bride s head as a
token of good luck. This, however, was long
before the custom of throwing rice, old
shoes, and confetti after the bride. Cakes

on the basis of a calculation made by an
authority in the matter, that there are about
25,000 persons employed in the manufacture
of biscuits and cakes. The majority of these
workers are, of course, attached to the leading
firms. For instance, one house may have
1,500 or 2,000 employees, whereas a much
smaller manufacturer may be unable to
employ a hundred, or even a score.

Most of the large firms have a nitrht and a



also performed an important part in matri
monial separations. When a husband and
wife decided to part, a cake would be
broken in twain, each retaining a half,
which, like rosemary, was " for remembrance."
But in these practical and matter-of-fact days
biscuits and cakes are produced and utilised
only for consumption.

It is not possible to lay down any
specific figures in relation to this industry,
for the simple reason that nobody appears
to have thought it worth his while to compile
a statistical work on the subject which should
be kept up to date and as a book of refer
ence. It is therefore only by comparison and
computation that we can arrive at a repre
sentative aggregate. But it may be stated,

clay staff, and machines are constantly going.
It is the aim of the makers to get the biscuits
into the hands or mouths of the public as
soon after production as possible. Practically
speaking, they do not stock any goods, making
one day what is required for the next day s
delivery. Anyone who has eaten a biscuit
warm from the oven, and compared its flavour
with the article which may have been stocked
for some time by a grocer or confectioner,
will appreciate this promptitude.

It is proposed in the present article to trace
the evolution of the biscuit, from the flour in
sack to the completed and baked comestible.
The manufacture of biscuits is an industry
that has advanced with giant stride, and a
commercial traveller who, thirty years ago,



had but two or three competitors to wrestle
with, has to-day to reckon with between
thirty and forty. It is interesting, in pass
ing, to note how the word " biscuit " has
varied in the spelling through the cen
turies. In the fourteenth it was written
" besquite " ; in the fifteenth, " bysquyte " ; in
the sixteenth, "bysket"; and in the eigh
teenth, " bisket." The present method of
spelling the word is, letter for letter, the
same as the French. The derivation
of the word is clearly shown in its com-


position thus, " bis," twice, and " cuit,"
baked, or twice-baked and has reference
to the custom of doubly cooking biscuits
which prevailed in the distant past, at a
time when they were rendered so hard as
to ensure their keeping for a great length
of time.

Every biscuit manufacturer with a trade of
any dimensions must have plenty of storage
room, in which to keep the various ingredients
in bulk. Flour, sugar, butter, eggs, almonds,
dried fruits, essences, syrups, etc., all have to be
received in large quantities nearly every day.
They are, however, used directly, or soon

after arrival. To all intents and purposes, it
is a case of going in at one part of the build
ing raw, passing straight through and out,
cooked, at another. Some articles are kept
in a cold storage chamber, in which the tem
perature is eighteen degrees below freezing

Various kinds of flour are used for different
kinds of biscuits. There is also an elaborate
process of blending employed. The flours
are put into "hoppers," and during a single
journey down and up again they are blended,
mixed, sifted, and pass into a sack ready
for use. The sifting is necessary not only
on behalf of the consumer, but of the
manufacturer also. Any foreign substance
contained in the flour might not alone be
detrimental to the flavour of the biscuit,
but render a large stock unsaleable.

Pure butter is used for the rich class of
biscuits, and lard for the plainer kinds. Both
are broken and beaten up, the more easily to
be manipulated. Eggs are also broken, turned
into a large metal cup, and beaten up ;
almonds are blanched first by machinery, and
finished by hand. The various ingredients,
all having been duly weighed, are thrown into
huge mixers, where they are thoroughly in
corporated, and the dough kneaded.

When the dough is taken out of the
mixer, in a bulky and sticky mass, it
is dusted with flour, and passed through
various rolling machines or brakes, by
means of which it is flattened out to the
required thickness for the biscuits. Thus,
in long sheets or ribbons, it passes along
to be dealt with by the biscuit -cutting
machine. This machine is fitted with
rollers, endless webbing, a series of cutters
on top, and carries beneath a procession
of metal trays. There are men to feed and
relieve the machine. One man introduces
into the machine a length of dough, which
is carried along on the webbing, beneath
the cutters, for the biscuit shapes to be
stamped out. The ribbon then divides, the
waste rising on to a roller and being carried
into a receptacle ; at the same time the
unbaked biscuits pass through underneath,
and are dropped automatically on to the
metal trays, which synchronise in their move
ment so as to receive the rows of biscuits
from the cutters.




The popular biscuit known as the
Colonial " a long", straight biscuit, grooved

ference, the process of feeding and relieving
constantly going on through a long, narrow

on top differs somewhat from other biscuits aperture in front. The wheel is timed to
in the process of manufacture. In this in
stance the dough is forced through numerous
apertures, in which are a number of metal
protuberances, and these form the grooves
as the dough passes through. The latter
comes through in long strips, and is subse-

pause at the opening sufficiently long to
allow of so many trays being taken off
and so many put on. Then on its way
again. One revolution of the wheel bakes
the biscuits. There are also hand ovens
and hand-made biscuits. This form of

quently cut into shorter lengths, and laid labour becomes necessary on account of the

upon trays in the manner already described.

The trays, on which are the raw biscuits,
are taken off the machine and straightway
placed in the oven. The latter is fitted


delicate composition of the biscuit, which
would be entirely spoiled if dealt with
by machinery. The work looks childishly
simple, yet is very difficult, taking several
years in which to attain proficiency. Any
inexperienced person attempting the task
would be doomed to complete failure.

An interesting process is the making of
the small cakes known as Fairy cakes. A

large tray, fitted with
metal cups, passes
under a series of
feeders, which auto
matically drop the
wet ingredients, in
the form of " clabs,"
into the cups. The
tray then passes on
to the oven. The
cleaning of the metal
cups, prior to receiv
ing the ingredients,
is done automatically,
and is also interesting.
A number of circular
" rubbers," which

with endless chains, upon which the trays

exactly fit the cups,
are kept constantly and rapidly revolving. A

repose, passing slowly through the oven, tray of cups is held against the rubbers

and being baked on the way. By the time
they have arrived at the exit door t hex-
are baked to a nicety. The trays are taken
from the oven, the biscuits removed into
wooden receptacles, and placed on racks to
cool. It is one continuous operation. The
progress of the biscuits through the oven is

exactly timed, the period varying, of, metal moulds. The liquid i
with different biscuits.

I his method of baking is almost universally pattern, and
adopted, although there are different types the chamber.

one rubber to each cup and in a trice the
xvhole have been thoroughly cleansed. It is
a wonderful time-saving contrivance.

We noxv come to the xvafer making,
which is a very interesting branch of the
industry. A large circular chamber, heated
by gas, is fitted with a scries of large

poured into

the latter, stamped with the name and
cooked in one revolution of
Twenty-four xvafers are made

of oven. One consists of a roomy chamber, in one operation, the sheet being subsequently
in which is a kind of huge paddle-wheel, the divided up into single xvafers, cither by
biscuit trays being carried round the circum- hand or by a cutting machine, also in one




operation. After the wafers are cut they are
ejected at the rear of the machine, where
a number of girls are ready to receive and
pack them. Another kind of wafer, known as
the " Cornet," is fashioned in the form of a
hollow cone. It is newer than the plain tablet,
which is not now so popular. The imple
ments and process of manufacture of this are
curious. The stove is the same as in the case
of the other wafers, but in the bottom half of
the moulds is a series of conical apertures,
having small holes at the bottom to admit
air ; the top half of the mould is fitted with a
corresponding series of conical protuberances
made to fit almost flush
The liquid ingredients are
contained in a metal reser
voir, in the floor of which
are a number of small jets,
one to each aperture of
the mould, and so arranged
that they may be brought
immediately over them.
Thus, by means of uni
form pressure, all
the jets are made
to eject into the
apertures an equally
distributed quantity
of liquid. The reser
voir is then removed,
the mould closed
down, and sent round

the stove, re
appearing at the
mouth with the
wafers cooked.

Another very
interesting de
partment is that
in which the icing
is done. Biscuits
with fancy de
signs in sugar < in
top are familiar
to most people,
but possiblv verv
few are aware of
the method by
which the effect
is produced. It
by hand, and
girls. No doubt
for the work on
and lightness of

is done almost entire!)
almost exclusively by
the latter are selected
account of their deftness
touch. The icing sugar is contained in a small
canvas bag which tapers to a narrow neck,
and is fitted with a metal perforated end.
The biscuits are spread out on a bench ;
the girl takes the icing bag in her right
hand, and by applying slight pressure
forces the contents through the perforations
at the end, which adhere in a fancy design
to the top of the biscuit. Then there is plain
icing. Eor this a kind of artist s palette knife
is clipped in the liquid, and lightly passed
over the top of the biscuit.




There is not much to add concerning cakes,
the manufacture of which is practically em
bodied in, or attendant upon, the manufacture
of biscuits. The processes are much the
same up to the dough stage, when they go
their different ways, biscuits to the rolling and
cutting machines, cakes to the tins. The
most popular cakes are those which are called
" slabs," which are subsequently cut into
\veclges or slices by the retailer. In connec
tion with this department, large quantities
of lemon, orange, and citron peel are dealt
with in their raw state, and preserved by
special processes. Wedding cakes occupy a
department of their own, but a recital of
their methods of manufacture would partake
largely of a repetition of the above. The
component ingredients are richer, and the
icing more elaborate ; albeit full-blown roses
and graceful scrolls may be formed while
you wait.

There are hundreds of different kinds of
biscuits and cakes, and new ones are con
stantly being put on the market. Certain
biscuits, such as the " Osborne," " Oswego,"

" Milk," " Ginger Nut," " Lunch," etc., have a
well established demand, but the public are
ever looking for new forms, and will some
times unwittingly welcome an old friend in a
new guise. Fresh ideas for biscuits, both as
regards shape and form and blending of
flavours, are constant!}- being tried. The
leading firms, whose names are household
words, work well together. Among the best
known may be mentioned Messrs. Peek,
Frean and Co., Limited, at whose manu
factory our photographs were specially taken
for the purposes of this article.

This company s establishment at Ber-
mondsey covers three and a half acres (if
ground, where between 1,700 and i, 800 people
are employed. In one of the rooms there
is a large mixer which during the Franco-
German War was kept bus}- turning out
huge quantities of biscuits for the relief
of Paris. It is stated that 700 tons were
despatched in a single da}-, being part of
upwards of ten million pounds of biscuits
supplied by the firm for the purpose within
a fortnight. H. L. ADAM.




ALTHOUGH the engine-driver is the most
IJL familiar of objects, besides being one
of the most responsible servants of
the public it is possible to imagine, the
ardinary traveller has but the vaguest idea
concerning his training and duties ; while
of his life off the footplate he may be written
down entirely ignorant. In this paper we
purpose dealing with every interesting phase
of the engineman s career the term 4> engine-
man " including not only drivers and firemen,
but all who move and have their being among
locomotives and, since practice varies slightly
with different companies, care has been
exercised to treat the subject in as represent
ative a manner as possible.

The engineman commences his career as a
cleaner, and the candidate for footplate honours
must have attained sixteen years of age.
Many companies enforce a height standard
for cleaners, viz. that the latter must stand
5ft. 4 in. ; while all insist upon a medical
examination and sight testing operation.
The term "cleaner" explains itself. Directly
the engine is cold the cleaners, who usually
work in gangs of four, the senior of them

being known as the chargeman cleaner, get
to work. They first rough-wipe the ma
chinery, which is mostly covered with oil, and
with the oil\- waste, after they have done
even-thing else, clean the wheels. Of course.
particular attention must be paid to the
cleaning of the machinery ; and, in order
to stimulate vigilance, a suitable reward is
given for the discovery of any flaw. The
satisfactory completion of the cleaners job
is certified by the chargeman cleaner.
When a cleaner has served three or four
years he becomes a fitter s assistant.

Every running-shed has a staff of fitters,
presided over by a foreman-fitter, who carry
out ordinary repairs. Therefore, whilst
serving a short apprenticeship with the
fitters, the young engineman is able to pick
up some technical knowledge of the ma
chinery, with which he is already familiar
by sight. The next step is that of shunting
fireman, which permits him to mount the
footplate for the first time in an official
capacity. His little engine, however, is only
employed about the yard, darting hither
and thither in quest of trucks, marshalling



I lioto : Cassell & Co., Ltd.


the latter when caught, and, in short, doing
the scullion s work for the leviathans of the

Having become a qualified fireman, the
engine-man is promoted to be what is termed
a third-class one, whose duties are confined
to engines working local, or " box," goods
trains on branch lines, or to those employed
in " banking," that is, assisting goods trains
from behind when ascending inclines. The
rank above the last-named is second-class
fireman, who works on main-line goods
trains ; after which comes first-class fireman,
or fireman of passenger trains, whether they
be slow, local, or express. A first-class
fireman is also understood to be capable of
taking charge of an engine in emergency,
having by now passed an examination for
the purpose. In course of time the first-
class fireman commences his career as an
engine-driver from the bottom of the driver s
ladder, that is, either in charge of a shunting
engine or as an engine-turner. The latter
post means that he meets and takes over
the goods and passenger locomotives on
entering the running-shed at the end of a
trip, and remains in charge as driver whilst
they shunt, turn round on the turn-table,
coal, and steam gently into the shed to be
stabled for the night. It must be explained
that engines coal at the end of a journey,

both in order that a very
dirt\ r operation may be
accomplished before the
engine is cleaned up pre

Online LibraryHenry HarrisseBritain at work; a pictorial description of our national industries → online text (page 11 of 39)