Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/877

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857
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Firing Pottery Kilns by Gas.—A new method of firing kilns by gas has been introduced at one of the Trenton, New Jersey, potteries by the use of which the expense of baking the ware is greatly reduced. It is dependent on the principle of preheating the air before it enters the kiln, so that a perfect combustion is secured, with no loss of heat. Gas generated outside the building is forced through an underground flue to the center of the kiln, whence it is carried by branch channels to the several mouths around the side of the kiln. There it is combined with air, and combustion takes place. The heated air then passes upward, and, instead of escaping out of the chimney, it is drawn down a well-hole through the center of the kiln and passes down and around the channel at the base of the kiln in the opposite direction from that in which it entered, and to near where it entered. After some time the dampers are reversed, so that the cold air enters the channel through which the heated air from the kiln has been passing toward the chimney, and the heated air escapes by the opposite passage. The cold air is thus heated some 1,000 or 1,500 degrees by passing through the heated channel, with the saving of much heat that was formerly wasted by passing immediately out of the chimney. The dampers are reversed every half hour, whereby the cold air is at every turn passed through a freshly heated chamber.

 

Some Advantages of Wild Life.—The two great point3 of superiority of the native or savage soldier over the representative of civilized discipline, says Captain John G. Bourke, in his An Apache Campaign in the Sierra Madre, are his absolute knowledge of the country and his perfect ability to take care of himself at all times and under all circumstances. Though the rays of the sun pour down from the zenith, or the scorching sirocco blow from the south, the Apache scout trudges along as unconcerned as he was when the cold rain or snow of winter chilled his white comrade to the marrow. He finds food, and pretty good food too, where the Caucasian would starve. Knowing the habits of wild animals from his earliest youth, he can catch turkeys, quail, rabbits, doves, or field-mice, and perhaps a prairie dog or two, which will supply him with meat. For some reason he can not be induced to touch fish, and bacon or any other product of the hog is eaten only under duress; but the flesh of a horse, mule, or jackass, which has dropped exhausted on the march and been left to die on the trail, is a delicious morsel which the Apache epicure seizes upon wherever possible. The stunted oak, growing on the mountain flanks, furnishes acorns; the Spanish-bayonet, a fruit which, when roasted in the ashes of a camp-fire, looks and tastes something like the banana. The whole region of southern Arizona and northern Mexico is matted with varieties of the cactus, nearly every one of which is called upon for its tribute of fruit or seed. The broad leaves and stalks of the century-plant—called mescal—are roasted between hot stones, and the product is rich in saccharine matter and extremely pleasant to the taste. The wild potato and the bulb of the tule are found in the damp mountain meadows; and the nest of the ground-bee is raided remorselessly for its little store of honey. Sunflower-seeds, when ground fine, are rich and nutritious. Walnuts grow in the deep ravines, and strawberries in favorable locations; in the proper season these, with the seeds of wild grasses and wild pumpkins, the gum of the mesquite, or the sweet, soft inner bark of the pine, play their part in staving off the pangs of hunger. The above are merely a few of the resources of the Apache scout when separated from the main command. When his moccasins give out on a long march over the sharp rocks of the mountains or the cutting sands of the plains, a few hours' rest see him equipped with a new pair—his own handiwork—and so with other portions of his raiment. He is never without awl, needle, thread, or sinew. Brought up from infancy to the knowledge and use of arms of some kind—at first the bow and arrow, and later on the rifle—he is perfectly at home with his weapons, and, knowing from past experience how important they are for his preservation, takes much better care of them than does the white soldier out of garrison. He does not read the newspapers, but the great book of nature is open to his perusal, and has been drained of much knowledge which his pale-faced brother would be glad to ac-