Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five cool illustrations from 1916's The Book of Wonders

Yesterday's post highlighted an entry from "The Book of Marvels," so clearly the best way to follow that is to delve into the 1916 edition of "The Book of Wonders."

The book, edited by Rudolph J. Bodmer, "gives plain and simple answers to the thousands of everyday questions that are asked and which all should be able to, but cannot answer."

Additionally, it is "fully illustrated with hundreds of educational pictures which stimulate the mind and give a bird's eye view of the Wonders of Nature and the Wonders Produced By Man." It was published by the Bureau of Industrial Education.

So here is your "mind stimulation" for the day.

Tunnel Shield

According to "The Book of Wonders," the tunnel shield was invented in 1818 by Marc Isambard Brunel. The first shield was used to create, from 1825 to 1843, the tunnel across the Thames River.

Caption: This shows the rear end or tail end of one of the smaller shields, used on the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad tunnels under the North or Hudson River at New York. It shows the skin, the hydraulic jacks with the skin and the piping and valves for working them. It also shows the doors leading to the front or "face." The erector is not shown, but the circular hole in the middle shows where it would be attached.

The Story in a Lump of Coal

The book's chapter about coal mining includes sections titled:
  • How Did the Coal Get Into the Coal Mine?
  • Mine Workers That Never See Daylight
  • How the Slate Pickers Work
  • How a Coal Mine Looks Inside
  • How the Miners Loosen the Coal
  • The Dangers to the Miners
  • The Lamp Which Saves Many Lives
And then there is the following illustration, the caption for which states: "Boy slate pickers. Coal slides down the chutes. Boys pick out the slate and rock and throw into chute alongside."

This illustration reminds me of a postcard I wrote about back in August 2011.

Railroad tunnels connecting
New Jersey and Manhattan

This illustration is a nice companion piece to the one of the tunnel shield. The caption states: "This is a picture of a section of one of the world's greatest tunnels, showing how man has learned to construct great tubes of steel beneath the surface of the water and land, in which to run the swiftly moving trains which carry him rapidly from place to place."

The railroad tunnels shown are from the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, which is now known as PATH and is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

How Chocolate is Made

The book's section on chocolate doesn't specifically mention The Hershey Company, which was founded in 1894, but it's possible that's where these two photographs were taken.

The process described isn't much different, I don't think, from what happens on a larger scale today at chocolate factories, of which I am happy to say Pennsylvania has more than its fair share. An excerpt:

"The [cacao] seeds are first roasted. In roasting the substance which develops the aroma is formed. The roasting is accomplished in revolving cylinders, much like the revolving peanut roasters, only much larger. After roasting the seeds are transferred to crushing and winnowing machines. The crushing machines break the husks or 'shells,' and the winnowing machine by the action of a fan separates the shells from the actual kernel or bean. The beans are now called cocoa-nibs."

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