East Liverpool Historical Society

From Elsa Brookes's copy of Keramos, Vol. V East Liverpool, Ohio, November 1913 No. 1.

All in the Point of View

ONE June morning last summer my chum and I started out for a day's tramp in the country. We had arranged the day before to meet at my churn's home and each was to take a lunch. It was not quite daylight when we started from home, and we had gone perhaps six miles when the sun began to cast its surplus heat upon us. We soon came to a small stream and, since we had brought fishing lines with us, we thought we might catch some of the finny tribe. The stream was shallow and we had to travel along it a good distance before a pool large enough for fishing was discovered. Here we tried fishing for awhile, but the fish didn't seem to like the bill of fare we offered them-at any rate we caught none. We soon tired of fishing, and decided to take a swim, after which we ate our lunches

By this time we had become very thirsty, and began to hunt a place to get a drink. No spring seemed in sight, and we advanced further upstream.

We had gone perhaps two hundred yards when we saw a factory of some sort ahead of us. There was a brick building which we took to be the office and going to the door of this, we inquired for a drink of water. A friendly-looking man procured the water for us, and we were soon asking questions about the plant. We learned it was a brick plant. The gentleman gave us the privilege of examining the plant, and you may be sure we accepted the offer.

The clay mine first attracted our attention. The entrance to the mine was on the hillside above the works, and a great pile of clay was dumped below it. We started to climb up the pile, but an employe showed us a better, safer path. Soon another car of clay was dumped down, and we saw in how dangerous a position we had been. A track extended along the hillside from the mouth of the mine, and on this a mule had just placed three cars loaded with clay. The driver hitched the mule to three more empty cars, and when we had climbed in the mule soon dragged them back into the mine. Here it was very dark, and here and there electric lights were placed, but this light did little good. Water dripped from the roof of the mine and made it very unpleasant. After the mule had taken us about a mile back under the hill, and we had been bumped and jolted around a great deal, we saw lights moving about ahead of us and here and there more cars awaited the mule. The driver told us to wait until he came back again and started back out with his cars. While he was gone, we had a chance to see how the clay was mined. It was in a vein about ten feet in thickness, and each miner had his own 'room." The clay was first broken up with dynamite, and then loaded into the cars. Each car contained a ton and a half of clay, and the miners were paid by tonnage. It was very cold here and we were glad enough to see the mule returning. So-on the driver had changed the mule to another load, and we could return to the outside.

The cars being now loaded, we were compelled to hang on behind, and had to keep our heads down, for the roof was low in places, and we should strike our heads standing up. I was reminded of this by getting my head too high and having it struck. The return did not take so long, as it was slightly down grade, and soon the mouth of the mine was seen ahead. We were glad to see daylight again and my friend said he wouldn't work there for ten dollars per day.

The works was now visited. Here the great lumps of clay were ground into powder by the machinery called "dry pans." These were large rolls turned around in a saucer-shaped metal case. The clay then went up in elevators to large bins, and from here runs into a machine called a "pug mill." Here the clay was mixed with water until it was like soft putty. Then it went into the brick machine, and when we next saw it, it had been molded into perfect bricks. The bricks were then placed on little trucks and, after the water had been dried out of them with steam, were placed in kilns.

The kilns were about thirty feet in diameter and contained about seventy thousand bricks. After a kiln was filled the doors were shut and in about seven days the bricks were finished, and ready to be sold.

By the time we had seen all this, the day was far spent, and we were very tired. We thought we would have to walk home again, but when we were going past the office, the man mentioned before told us to wait and ride home with him in his automobile. We discovered that he lived not far from us, and knew us, although we had not known him. So we were saved a long walk, and as we neared home my chum remarked that we had not spent the day as we had planned, but we had learned how bricks were made.

We had learned that everything depends on the point of view in which we see it. Formerly a brick just seemed to us as so much burned clay, and a very insignificant article in the world of manufacture, but now we look at a brick and consider the great change from the clay under the ground to the perfect brick. Truly we had learned a lesson.

--W. J., '14


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