North Dakota. Dept. of Agriculture and Labor.

Biennial report of the Commissioner online

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printers exceeding the demand. Of the benefits which have accrued to the
craft in general from our parent organization, the International Typographi-
cal Union, I could write pages. Suffice it to say, however, that to-day we
have representatives in the halls of the legislature and on the floor Of the
senate at Washington, at the head of some of the largest dailies in the east,,
and filling other positions of honor and trust in almost every State in the
Union. A funeral benefit of $50 for each member is pfovided for by the In-
ternational Union, and the Childs-Drexel Home for aged and disabled union
printers, costing over $100,000, has recently been erected and opened at Colo-
rado Springs, Col., and stands to-day a monument to unionism and a con-
vincing argument in favor of organized labor. The inauguration of an eight
hour day in our Sta.te would, I believe, materially benefit the laboring classea
morally, socially and physically.

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The eleventh clause of the first section of chapter 46 of
the Laws of 1890 requires an account of the number, employment,
•etc., of prisoners in the State. Except in the penitentiary, no
prisoners are employed at all, so far as has come to the knowledge
of the Commissioner. To ascertain the facts with reference to
the penitentiary, application was made to the warden, who gives
full information in the following communication:

Bismarck, N. D., September 26, 1892.
Hon, H. T. Helgeserii State Statistician, Bismarck, N, D.

Dear Sir: — In reply to your communication of the 17th inet., asking in-
formation under chapter 46, Laws of 1890, as amended by chapter 116 of the
Laws of 1891, will say that there are at present confined in this institution
sixty-six (66) male c6nvicts and one (1) female. Aside from these, there are
two72) on parole, under the provisions of chapter 92 of the Laws of 1891.

Tne question of providing sufficient labor to afford the convicts the neces-
sary healthful exercise is one which has received considerable attention at
the hands of the different boards of directors who have been in charge of
this institution; but, until recently, nothing definite has been accomplished.

Up to the present time, about the only labor which it has been possible to
provide for them has been such as has been necessary to be performed in
keeping in good condition the penitentiary buildings and grounds, together
with occasional work of the same character at the capitol, and the cultivation
of a garden, the products of which have been used in reducing to a minimum
the prison's maintenance account.

The summer of 1891 afforded the only exception to this general condition,
owing to the fact that the last session of the Legislature appropriated funds
for connecting the penitentiary with the water system of the Bismarck Water
company, which necessitated the digging of about two miles of ditch and the
laying of a like amount of water mains.

The work thus provided kept such of the convicts as could be spared from
the regular routine work of the prison busily occupied nearly the entire sum-
mer and fall: but, upon its completion, another season of idleness was made
necessary, which condition was not made less trying and burdensome by the
approach of winter, during which time there is very little work of any kind to
be done outq^de of the prison building proper.

In view of the fact that the number of convicts was greatly on the in-
crease, and of the limited means at hand for furnishing them with employ-
ment, the present board of directors decided that they would avail them-
selves of the means of relief offered by the provisions of article 4, chapter 12,
title 2, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and advertised for bids for the labor
of about twenty (20), more or less, of said convicts, the successful bidder, if any,
to furnish " all necessary shops, power, tools, material, light, etc., for the work-
ing of said labor."

In reply to said advertisement, the best and only bid received was that of
C. O. Smith, of Casselton, N. D., who offered forty cents (40c) per day per

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man for the labor, and explained to the board that in the performance of the
work contemplated when the bid was mad«, men, such as he expected could
only be supplied, would for a time be a loss to him, which probability made
him feel dubious as to whether he had not offered more than he would be
able to realize.

The bid, however, was accepted, and the warden instructed to enter in
contract with Mr. Smith for the leasing of such a number of the convincts
undei: the provisions of the law last above referred to, which contract should
be secured by the lessee giving a bond in the sum of ^,000, with three good
and suflBcient sureties, each to justify in the full amount of the bond.

In relation to the extent to whiph the labor of said convicts will come
" in competition with the labor of mechanics, artisans and laborers outside,**
I am unable to state, for the reason that the venture is yet untried.

The purpose for which the labor has been contracted is the manufacture
of harness; and at the time the action of the board became generally
known, ther opinion was expressed by several dealers in that line that the
harness to be made would be disposed of by peddling the same to those per-
sonally in need of such articles, throughout the State; and that such a step
would interfere with their business.

In order that you may fully understand that the board had in mind the
prevention of such a possibility, and the further fact that it was their desire
that the labor so leased should not be employed outside of one particular
branch of business, I will quote that part of the contract wherein it is spe-
cifically provided that the labor contracted shall not be employed, except as
hereinbefore stated; and that the disposition of the articles to be manu-
factured is so restricted that no interference with their business will result:

«* * * * Tiie party of the first part does hereby contract, let and hire
to the said party of the second part, for a term and period of five (5) years,,
from the date of the taking effect of this contract, the labor of twenty (20),
more or less, as the necessity of the prison will allow, of the convicts now, or
hereafter during the continuance of this agreement to be confined ip this
penitentiary; to be employed, exclusively, in the manufacture of harness, the
disposition or sale of which is hereby restricted to retail dealers in such

Appeals have been made by every board of management of this institu-
tion to the different Legislatures for means with which to employ the con-
victs, in some way or other, so that the more enlightened, latter-day-reform-
atory plan of managing penal institutions could be advantageously adopted
in our State. All of these appeals have been dismissed, for what has been
termed "economic reasons," and if the practice of keeping men confined in
enforced idleness should continue, the result would be that upon their dis-
charge they would return to society much worse, mentally and morally, than
when first offending.

It is a question whether the debasing of fallen human nature by such
neglect, simply because they have once sinned, and the power and authority
to do so is at hand, is not a greater crime than the offenses which have made
the majoritv of them convicts.

Hoping that the foregoing is satisfactory, and assuring you that at any
time I may be abje to give you further information I will gladly do so, I
remain. Yours respectfully,


Warden North Dakota Penitentiary.

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Two years ago, Prof. E, J. Babcock, of the State University, did
some valuable work for the benefit of the State, which was pre-
sented u^der the title, "Coal and Sugar Beets," in the first biennial
report of this office. Several months ago he informed the Com-
missioner that he had been engaged for some time in an investi-
gation of the clays of the State, and that if a report of his work
was desired for this departmeiit he would prepare one for publi-
cation, in a manner similar to that in which his papers on coal and
sugar beets had been published. He was assured that such a
paper would be appreciated by the present Commissioner, and, if
approved by the governor, as provided in Chapter 99 of the Laws
of 1891, would be published separately as well as incorporated in
the report of this office. The following valuable paper is the
result of his work, and for which he is entitled to the gratitude
of the State:

Grand Forks, N. D., Nov. 1, 1892. J
Hon. H. T. Helgesefi, Commissioner of Agriculture and Labor for
North Dakota:

Sib: — I herewith pjace in your hands for publication, if it shall
seem to you worthy, a report on thei clays of North Dakota. There is
no appropriation for work of this character, but having become much
interested in the clays of the State, I determined to make a prelimi-
nary investigation of the subject, at my own expense if necessary.
This has beeu done without the expectation of personal remuner-
ation. I regret that lack of time and means has rendered it im-
possible to make these investigations more thorough and extended,
and in many ways more satisfactory. It is hoped, however, that
what has been done may help in the development of the natural
resources of North Dakota. I have the honor of presenting to
the State the result of my investigations.

Very respectfully,

E. J. Babcock,
Department of Chemistry and Geology,

State University of North Dakota.

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The object of the following pages is to call attention, in a
simple wayi to some of the clays of North Dakota. So far, prac-
tically nothing has been done toward the utilization of the clay,
excepting the manufacture of common brick in a few localities.
It is with the hope of making known the value of some of the
clays of the State that this little report is published.

In order to get a better idea of the clays of our own State, the
local descriptions will be preceded by a few general statements in
regard to the source and distribution of other clays and the com-
position and characteristics required for various uses.


The geographical distribution of clays is very extensive, yet
this is true only of material adapted for the manufacture of com-
mon brick and coarse products. Deposits of clay fit for the finer
uses are by no means common.

The geological horizon of clays suited to different uses varies
widely from the earliest to the latest formations. Especially is
this true with reference to the clays used for* the manufacture of
COMMON BRICK and other architectural material. Coarse clays
suited for these purposes are frequently found in drift-covered
districts where the underlying deposits are free from sand,
pebbles and excess of limestone. This is how some of the brick
clay in Northern Minnesota and Dakota occurs. This material is
also often found as lake and river deposits which have been
formed by the disintegration of surrounding or distant gneissic or
feldspatic rock or from shale. It can readily be seen that clays of
such origin are not likely to be of high grade on account of con-
tamination by objectionable foreign matter.

A better grade of coarse clay is often found with the fine clays
of the Cretaceous and Tertiary formations. From this some ex-
cellent brick, terra cotta, and drain pipes may be made. Some of
the coarse clays of central and western North Dakota are of this
kind and will doubtless prove their worth. It would naturally be in-
ferred that material so different in its origin varies also in its com-
position and characteristics and so produces articles of widely dif-
ferent values. The essentials in every case are a sufficient pro-
portion of true clay basis or kaolin element to produce a plastic,
workable body, freedom from pebbles and from an excess of sand
and fusible material. Variety in the color of brick generally re-
sults from Varying proportions of iron and the intensity of the
heat to which the brick is exposed. Hard, dense, semi-vitreous

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trick result usually from clay with much fluxing material, such as
the alkalies and iron.

Fire clay is a clay sufficiently refractory to withstand extremely
high temperatures without disintegration or vitrification. Such
clays are extensively used for the manufacture of linings for furn-
aces and fire places, in gas works and potteries, for brick and other
architectural material that is liable to be subjected to great heat.
For such purposes the clay must be very free from the fluxing
<5onstituents, iron and the alkalies. Good fire clay is not very
common. It is found and used extensively in parts of England
and in some localities on the European continent. In America it
is found in New Jersey, Missouri, and some of the other states.
Doubtless an excellent material exists in North Dakota, as will be
seen from succeeding pages.

As to the geology, it may be said that most of the fire clays- are
found in the under clay of the coal measures and in the Cretaceous
and Tertiary deposits. They often underlie the lignite coal beds.
It is probable that the fire clays of North Dakota were part or all
under the lignite, (probably in the Laramie group)^ although in
some localities, as near Dickinson, there is no evidence of
coal having been over the clay. This, however, may hav^ been
the case, the lignite having been removed from over the clay in
certain spots by action of water during the great erosion to which
these places have been subject.

The term potter's clay is very wide in its signification as it
may mean any plastic clay from the finest porcelain and dish clay
to that Used for the manufacture of coarse jugs and jars. It is
evident that potter's clay fit for a good white earthenware, as well
as that of lower grade for jugs, jars and the like, exists in North
Dakota. We shall here consider particularly the geology of the
finer clays for earthenware, etc. While clays fit for common brick
and drain piped, tiles and fine terra cotta, and even yellow dish
ware are quite widely distributed, fine fire clays and white earthen-
ware and porcelain clays are by no means common. Clays fitted
ior some of the finer purposes just mentioned are found and used
principally in China, in central Europe, in England and in
the United States in New Jersey, Missouri and one or two other

China clay, also known as Kaolin, porcelain clay, etc., is plenti-
ful in certain localities in China. Material used for the same pur-
pose is also found in parts of Germany and France. In England
a similar clay, known as Cornish clay from Cornwall and Devon, is
the basis of the great pottery and porcelain industry of Stafford-
shire, England.

Most of the clays used for the production of fine earthenware
and the better whiteware are probably derived from the Cretaceous
and Carboniferous formations, and the most extensively worked
deposits of this kind in the United States are those of New Jersey.

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The clay from this State forms the basis of a great industry cen-
tering at Trenton. The Vare produced is of excellent .quality,
and the clay used is that of the Cretaceous.

While potter's clay is found to exist in several regions where
not particularly mentioned, and will doubtless be found in other
localities, it is very certain that the finest clays, especially those
fit for porcelain, will continue rare.

The clays of North Dakota, which, from this report, are shown
to be suited t^ the production of finer grades of whiteware, are
found about Dickinson, and are probably in the Laramie de-
posits. The best clays in this locality occur in elevations from
150 to 200 feet above the surrounding valleys. These clay knolls
have escaped much of the erosion to which the surrounding
country has been subject. If these deposits ever extensively cov-
ered the plain far east of Dickinson, they have probably been
mostly or entirely removed by the longer action of the receding
post-glacial waters as they narrowed to the present basin of the
Missouri river. The ultimate source of these deposits can only be
conjectured, but when we remember the ease with which fin^
sediment in water is transported to great distances from its origi-
nal home, it does not seem impossible that the parent rock, whose
disintegration formed the basis of this clay, may have been from
the feldspatic rocks occurring to the west and northwest along the
flank of the Eocky mountains.


r Post-Glacial . ^ ( Yellow and blue brick clays of the Red River
•\ < Valley; probably largi

I Glacial ( adjoining Cretaceous.

Post Tertiary — | ^ < Valley; probably largely washed from the

Tertiary — T Plastic Clays. White earthenware and fire

^ ' I clays and coal of Dickinson. (Leaf prints

Laramie •{ etc:, about Dickinson, probably Laramie.)

I Clay and coal" at Minot and at Plenty Mine,

L Mercer county, probably Laramie, also.

Cretaceous — fThe upper non-fossiliferous shales about Park river, Langdon, etc.,

J are probably Cretaceous (Fort Pierre), as well as the under

'• J fossiliferous and hydraulic cement marl of the Pembina Moun-

(^ tain district.


All varieties of clay originate from the disintegration of felds-
patic rock. . The parent rock, subject to the action of weather and
water, and finally to chemical agencies, is broken, ground and
separated into sand and clay. The harder pure quartz of the
rock remains in coarser grains as sand and the softer feldspar, by
the further wearing and chemical action, is reduced to an impal-
pable state and finally deposited as a bed of clay. Clays naturally

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partake of the character of the parent rocL 'For example, a rock
containing much iron or alkaline matter, would be likely to form
a clay containing a considerable proportion of these constituents,
while a rock quite free from such ingredients, would, unless con-
taminated by foreign matter, produce a comparatively pure clay.
Impurities are often added to clays durine: the time of transpor-
tation and deposition. After deposition thg character of the clay
is often if not always subject to a modification corresponding to
the make-up of the superimposed material. Water percolating
through an overlying deposition is almost sure to find some solu-
ble constituent such as lime, iron, or alkalies, which it carries with
it till it reaches the underlying clay, where, on account of the
compact nature of the deposit, the water passes very slowly and so
allows a portion of the elements which it holds in solution to be de-
posited in the clay. Thus we have another cause of the varieties
of clay.

In some cases, water percolating through clay does not add im-
purities, but probably tends to purify it. This may be the case
when coal, especially pure lignite, overlies the clay. Under such
conditions the lignite probably acts much like charcoal, as an ab-
sorption filter, to remove matter in solution in the water. The
water thus being left quite free from the lime, iron, alkalies, etc.,
instead of contaminating the under clay might, whatever works its
way through, ^erve as a wash to carry off some of the soluble mat-
ter of the clay. Whatever the cause, it is a fact that the purest
clavs very commonly underlie coal seaiAs.

variations in the character of the rock from which clay is de-
rived, and variations to which the clay is subject during and after
deposition, are sure to produce clays of decidedly different char-
acter. So it is that we have clays of all grades ranging from
those so impure and mixed with sand and pebbles as to be unfit
for the coarsest uses, to those so pure that from them can be made
the most beautiful and delicate porcelain wares.

Among the more important uses to which the coarser clays are
put is the manufacture of brick and other architectural mate-
rial. Clay fit for this purpose is quite common, especially for
the inferior grades. The characteristics of clay suited to such
production, are not necessarily very closely defined. In general
it may be said that a good material must be free from pebbles and
from too great a proportion of sand, lime and alkalies. For the
common article there is not likely to be any difficulty in finding
clay sufficiently free from iron or even alkalies, though a combina-
tion of these elements in too large a proportion often occurs. An
excess of lime may have a tendency to ejive a brittle product at a
low heat, or fusion at a high heat. Some clays, however, which
contain a considerable amount of lime and alkalies, if properly
handled, produce an excellent material where resistance and
abrasive qualities are sought rather than power to withstand in-

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tense beat. As in all cases, the clay must be sufficiently plastic
to work well, and must be tempered, if need be, so as to prevent
too great shrinkage.

Cavities and fusion spots are often produced when the material
used contains lime or pyrite nodules or fragments of organic mat-
ter. This can be largely overcome by careful grinding and mix-
ing. The color is dependent principally upon the amount of iron
present and the degree of heat to which the clay is subjected. A
small proportion of iron, or, in other cases, a strong heat may
produce a lighter color than would be the case with much iron or
a low heat. It should be remembered that the greater portion of
the produce of this class is not of the best grade. Where a su-
perior quality can be made there is an enormous advantage to the
manufacturers on account of the greater demand and higher price
secured. The best grades of brick, terra cotta and drain pipes are
made from inferior fire or potter's clay.

Fire clay is the term given to designate those clays which pos-
sess great fire-resisting properties. The best of these clays are
quite rare, though low grades are somewhat common. These,
clays may vary much in their original appearance from a nearly
pure white to a slaty gray color. But they should bake to a white
or cream color without fusion. The essential qualities of fire
clays are plasticity', great freedom from lime, and the fusing con-
stituents, irqn, and the alkalies, soda and potash. Iron may exist
in clays in several forms; f9r example, as peroxide, protoxide, sul-
phate and sulphide. But, in whatever form, unless in small quan-
tities, it is revealed by the ordeal of heat in the coloration and
the tendency to melt. The amount of iron which a fire clay can
stand depends largely upon the lime, potash and soda it has. A
clay containg only traces of these fluxing constituents may have
from 3% to 5% of iron and still possess considerable fire-resisting
power. If, however, a small proportion of lime and alkalies is
added, the clay is useless as fire clay. The accompanying two
analyses of the celebrated Stourbridge fire clay will show the
variation in iron and alkalies. Analyses by Prof. F. A. Abel.*

Sample. Silica. Alumina. Fe- O- Waste, etc.

No. 1 66.47 26.26 6.63 0.64

No. 2 63.40 31.70 3.00 1.90

Sample No. 2, containing so much less iron, is superior to No.
1, the refractory character of which may be doubted. Lime and
magnesia evidently e^ert a considerable influemee upon the fusi-
bility of clay. There has been some diflPerence of opinion among
chemists on this point. It has been said that the best foreign
fire clays seldom contain more than one per cent, of linae and mag-
nesia together. Potash and soda are doubtless the most powerful
fluxing constituents commonly found in clays. They unite ,

♦Wagner's Chemical Technology, p. 295.

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readily with silica, forming the alkaline silicates which bring
down the fusing point to a much lower temperature. There is
some difference of opinion in regard to the amount of alkalies a
good fire clay will stand. Snelus says that about one per cent,
(of potash) is sufficient to render them unsuitable at high tem-

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Online LibraryNorth Dakota. Dept. of Agriculture and LaborBiennial report of the Commissioner → online text (page 22 of 25)