Newspaper Page Text
WHat We Ov
(Copyright, 1912, by William L. J
Published in Tho Keowee I
This is a story of lead pencils,
electric lights, and graphite mines.
Do you know that the lead in the
pencils you use every day ls the pro
duct of the earth's inferno of seve
ral million years ago? And that tho
carbons in the powerful electric
lights that glow in our streets come
from volcanoes that blazed centuries
ago when the world was young?
Unelo Sam's scientists have just com
pleted an Investigation of graphite
mining-sometimes called lead min
ing-In the United States and the
Old World, and the results of this
Inquiry have developed many inter
Some of tho most interesting facts
brought out In thiB inquiry were the
few mines of graphite in the world,
how artificial graphite or lead is
made, and tho extraordinary manner
in which it is mined in Ceylon, In
dia. It is also explained how nature
lays up great stores of lead for fu
ture generations of school children.
After making coal, it seems that na
ture simply took ono step further
and made graphite, for tho latter ls
nearly pure carbon and was formed
through the action of molten rock
forced from the bowels of the earth.
This rock, after being reduced to al
most a fluid state by the tremend
ous pressure in the center of the
earth, was brought Into contact with
coal. The coal was burned out
through chemical actions and the
A description by the scientists of
a graphite bed in New Mexico will
illustrate how nature goes about the
job of making lead. "This is one of
the few graphite mines in America.
The graphite vein extends Into coal
fields, which contain coke. In the
early ages of the world molten rock
was forced into the coal-bearing
rocks In many places and formed na
tural coke, but In some places, due
to tho presence of certain chemicals,
it formed graphite when it came in
contact with tho coal. The coal was
completely graphitized where the
rock was forced into the coal bed.
Some of these dcsj>osits contain 80 or
90 per cent pure graphite. This and
artillclnl graphite are the materials
most often used In tho manufacture
of lead pencils."
Every one speaks of a "lead" pen
cil as though lt were really made of
lead, but, as a matter of fact, there
is no lead in a lead pencil. The heart
or coro of a "lend" pencil, commonly
known as lead. Is really graphite. It
goes under three names-graphite,
plumbago, and black lead. It Is
known as graphite in scientific cir
cles, plumbago by the custom house
people, and lead by tho ordinary
History of the lead Pencil.
There is little real history to the
lead pencil, lt probably goes back
two or three centuries, but that, is
all. Some old parchments have been
found marked with lead ruling, but
this must have been metallic lead.
Le Moine, an authority of tho early
days, speaks of documents marked
-with graphite. Other writers have
found papers evidently written with
a piece of graphite inserted in the
end of a stick. And this shows the
evolution of the i>encil.
The first pencil factory In America
was founded by a school-girl. There
was a graphito mine In England at
that time called tho Barrowdale
mine. A school-girl obtained some
pieces of graphite and anticipated
quite closely the pencil method of
modern days. lu some way she
crushed the graphite, either with a
hammer or a stone, and then used
Kum. mixing the two together. Then
she cut an alder cylinder, filled It
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with this gum and graphite, and
thus produced tho first lead i>encil
made In America. This took place
In Danvers, Mass. Later a man by
the name of Joseph W. Wade co-op
erated with the girl, and together
they made a number of '?ad \ enclls
after the same fashion. The girl's
name was not recorded.
The Barrowdale mine In England
was the source of the first graphite,
and the pieces quarried were said to
be In such form that they could be
sawed and pressed Into the wood.
Scientists say, however, that pieces
of this kind were not very numerous.
Later it occurred to a Frechman
named Conto to powder the graphite
and then combine the pulverized sub
stance with a binding material. He
worked on his scheme until he pro
duced tho graphite part of the pen
cil substantially as it is made now.
Not much, however, was done with
it, either by Conto or by any other
Frenchman. Thc Germans then took
it up, and while tho Frenchman was
the real Inventor, to the Germans
belongs the credit of working out
and putting into its present shape
the lead pencil as we know it to-day.
The work of pencil-making is pic
turesque. It is ingenious and at
tractive, and tho method reflects
raro mechanical talent. The num
ber of raw materials used is between
'40 and 50, and the whole world
contributes to the assembling of
these materials. Most of the pro
cesses are done by automatic ma
Tho Mines in Ceylon.
Edson S. Bastin is Uncle Sam's
scientist In tho geological survey at
Washington, who has made a study
of graphite for many years. In speak
ing of mining graphite in Ceylon,
Mr. Bastin said:
"Athough their existence was
known in early times and mentioned
In print as early as 1681, the graph
ite deposits of Ceylon were not ex
ploited until some time betweer
1820 and 1830. Joseph Dixon ls sale
to have imported a small quantity
into the United States in 1829, bu
it was not until 1834 that the Indus
try assumed any commercial Import
ance. From that time to this, as ?
result of the growth of the metal In
dustries and the great demand, tin
industry has developed rapidly, untl
at present graphite is subordinate ii
value only to tea and the product
of the cocoanut palm among the ex
ports from tho island.
"The graphite is mined cit he
from the open pits or through verti
cal shafts connected with under
ground workings. The majority o
mines are not deeper than 100 feet
though a few go as deep as 400 o
500 feet. On account of the ?ieav;
rainfall, water is one of the ebie
obstacles in mining. In a few mine
steam pumpa and hoists are em
ployed, but as a mle the mining mc
thods are still crude, the acme o
mechanical ingenuity being roache
In a windlass operated by flvo or si
men to hoist the graphite in a soi
of tub. The workmen usua'ly clim
rough wooden ladders hundreds c
feet long. The ladders are tied wit
jungle ropes and rendered very sill
pery by the graphite dust and wate
so you can Imagine what a hazarc
ons job it is.
"The mineral as it comes from th
pit., usually contains about 50 pc
cent of Impurities, mostly In the fon
of quartz and wallrock. It, ls ca
ried in bags to a dressing shei
where it is picked over by hand an
the impurities reduced to 5 or l
I>or cent. It is then packed in barre
for transportation to Colombo c
Calle. At these ports it ls unpack?
and submitted to further treatmei
known as 'curing.' The graphil
aerchants have fenced yards <
'compounds' for the final prepara tlc
of the graphite for the market.
"In thc methods of 'curing* thei
ls some diversity, but the first ste
ls usually to set aside large lum]
and pass the remainder through st
tionary screens of several sizes i
mesh. The large lump.-, and tl
screened pieces are then broken wi
small hatchets by Slngalese wom<
to remove the coarse Impurities, BIM
as quartz, and aro then rubbed up 1
hand on a piece of wet burial) and fl
ally on a pieco of screen to gi tho
a polish. Finally, various grad?
coming from several mines or diffc
lng In size or texture, aro blended
meet the demands of purchasers,
process requiring skill and long e
Best Pencil? Made of a Blond,
"The poor material is usually bot
en to a powder with wooden mau
or with beaters shaped like a rollin
pin, and is then sorted into diff?re
grades. In some establishments t
poor grades are washed In a tub
pit. In this procesa the mineral ls
placed in saucer-shaped baskets,
and by a circular 'paling' motion of
the baskets under water the graphite
particles are thrown off into the pit,
while the heavier impurities, especial
ly pyrite, remain behind. To separ
ate the very tine material the pow
dered graphite is placed In a basket
looking like a large dustpan. The
contents of the basket are thrown
into the air, and the heavier par
ticles fall back Into the basket, while
the finer material ls blown forward
and thrown on the floor.
"The use of graphite in the manu
facture, of pencils probably Is both
its oldest and best known application.
The industry In Germany and Eng
land lu several centuries old, and
many of the modern factories manu
facture hundreds of varieties of pen-'j
ells, yet the percentage of .graphite
used for this purpose ls not large,
being less than 10 per cent, of the
world's production, and one author
ity estimates lt as low as 4 per cent.
"In this country the physical char
acter of the graphite ls of great im
portance. Crystallite graphite, how
ever pure, would, If used alone, yield
a 'lead' that would slip over paper
without leaving more than a faint
streak. Further, it is almost Im
possible to grind the flake graphite
into a powder of the finest grain re
quired for tho better grades of pen
cils. The better grades of graphite
constitute the bulk of material used
in pencil manufacture. For some of
tho cheaper pencils only ono kind of
graphite Is used, but the graphite for
pencils of the better grades is a care
ful blend of several kinds. Ono
blend, for example, contains about
one-third Ceylon graphite, one-third
Bohemian, and one-third Mexican.
The Ceylon graphite adds to the
smoothness of the 'lead,' the Bohe
mian adds blackness.
"Graphite when used for pencils is
mixed with carefully refined clay,
which is usually imported from Ger
many; no doftiestic clay has been
found entirely suitable for pencil
manufacture. The more graphite
and the less clay the softer the pen
cil; the less graphite and the more
clay, tho harder the pencil. The cores
of softer pencils are usually made
larger than those of the harder ones
in order to give them equal tensile
I strength. For a pencil of medium
hardness about one-third clay ls com
monly used. The wet mixture of
clay and graphite ls worked and re
worked until it t? 00 pliable tTvK !'
can be looped li . tvt
In loose knots.
An Ainerlcai lite Mine.
"Up to a few ra .> .>
American pencil manufacturer had to
import his graphite from India or
Bavaria. About twelve years ago a
large deposit of amorphous graphite
was discovered in Senora, Mexico.
Tliis proved to be of excellent quality
for pencil making and many other
uses, and the American pencil trade
now derives Its supply mainly from
this source. Some Mexican graphite
is also exported to European pencil
"A use which has Increased rapidly
In Importance within the last few
years ls the manufacture of graphite
paint, especially ror structural Iron
and steel work. Much of tho graph
ite used for this purpose is rather
tins c. MAHOJOJT, of 2703 ic. st.,
W. Washington, 1). C., write? : " 1 suf
fered with rheumatism for llvo years
ami I have just got hold of your Lini
ment, and ft hus dono mo so much
good. My knees do not pulu and the
swelling has gonn."
Quiets the Nerves
Mus. A .WEI DST AX, of 403 Thompson
St., Maryville] Mo., writes : -" The
nervo In my leg was destroyed llvo
years ago and lott mo with a jerking
at night so that 1 could not sloop. A
friend told me to try your Liniment
and now 1 could not do without it, I
lind alter Ila uso 1 can sleep."
..Is a good Liniment. Ikeepiton
hand all the time. My daughter
sprained her wrist and used your
Liniment, and it has not hurt her
of Selma, N. o.,
It.K.l)., No. 4.
At AH Dealers
25c, 60c, $1.00
Sloan's hook on
lim - rn, catt IO, tlORS
nnfl i? mil ry sect
impure. Recent teste made In co
operation between the office of public
roads of the Department of Agricul
ture and the Paint Manufacturers'
Association, for the purpose of deter
mining the relative merits of vari
ous paint pigments as preservative
coping for iron and steel, have yield
ed results of great importance."
What nature can do, man can
sometimes do even better, and In the
case of making graphite, a single
company using the power generated
by Niagara Falls, manufactures more
artificial graphite than all the graph
I ite produced by the mines of the
United States. Hard coal with a
small amount of ash ls the material
usid, and the electric furnace does
HIS Pencils a Year for Each Mu num.
The process Is a patented one. The
product ls used largely as a lubri
cant, known generally to the trade
as plumbago, and the invention
solves the problem of the supply of
grease to make the world go round,
so long at least as the coal supply
lasts. Since 1904 this company has
made fully 50,000,000 pounds of
graphite at an average cost of 7
cents a pound, and a multitude of
wheels of Industry have thus been
made to spin more easily. Graphite
greatly improves the oil as a lubri
cant In every respect. Specially pre
pared graphite will remain suspend
ed In oil, displaying no tendency to
sink, so that lt can be fed through
automatic oil cups. When suspend
ed in water this graphite will pass
through the finest filter paper.
The use of graphite In pencil mak
ing is its oldest application, but the
percentage of graphite used for this
purpose is estimated as low as only
.1 i>er cent of the total production.
Still, with a world's production an
nually of about 5.000,000 tons, it can
be seen that allowing 4 per cent for
pencils, 200,000 tons, there would be
Borne pencils. Two hundred thou
sand tons ls 6,400,000 ounces, and
one ounce of graphite will make the
"lead" for 20 pencils. This is 85
pencils for every man, woman and
child In the world, Illiterate, heathen
Another use for graphite ls in the
manufacture of crucibles for making
flue grades of steel, brass and
bronzes. The fa?t that graphite is
nearly pure carbon, ls relatively in
ert chemically, and volatilizes only
at high temperature makes it of ex
ceptional value for this purpose.
phlte used in the Uni
cruclbles is Imported
he ic graphite mines of
i the :al of the Ceylon pro
.or t. , rpose not being found
in any other locality. Stirring rods
and other refractory products are
made from material similar to that
used in crucibles. Ancuer import
ant use is as a rust preventive for
stiactural iron and steel. Graphite
is also largely used In various elec
trical processes, for stove blacking,
and as a protective coating for gun
The story of what is probably the
oldest graphite mine within the Uni
ted States is interesting. This mine
became known to the whiles In 1633,
and has been worked Intermittently
for more than two centuries and a
half. Recently a company has been
incorporated which is now attempt
ing to develop the property by the
methods of modern mining engineer
ing. Tho mine is located In the
midst of a tract of land almost as
wild and desolate to-day as it was a
century ago near Sturbridge, Mass.
The existence of this deposit of
graphite was known early In tho col
ony's history. About 163 3 one John
Oldham, of Interesting memory In
connection with the battle of Plym
outh and the Massachusetts Bay Col
onies, made a trip overland to Can
ada, trading with the Indians on the
way. He returned with a stock of
hemp and beaver, and also brought
along some "black lead" he found
near Sturhrwlge The Indiana told
him there wore great quantities of lt
around that region.
Governor Wlnthropo became Inter
ested, and made a contract with a
man named Keene for developing
and working the mine. Wlnthrope
was to advance 20 pounds In trad
ing cloth and wampum in considera
tion of which Keene agreed to go to
tho Black Lead HUI with a number
of men, and there to dig the black
lead for which he was to be paid at
"the rate of 40 shillings for every
tonne when ho had digged up 20
tunnes of good merchantable black
lead and put lt Into an house safe
from the Indians."
Tho venture came to nothing, and
for a number of years tlie mine laj
Idle, although schemes for Its devel
opment were often under discussion
It was thought then that the presenc<
of graphite Indicated tho nearness ol
silver, but no silver being found, the
early colonists were much dlscour
aged. The mine was so remote ll
was hard to get workmen to go lute
the wilderness or to stay there aftei
they arrived. And so it remained
for two centuries, until finally earl)
In the nineteenth century the vain?
of graphite became known, and th<
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TO INDIA AS MISSIONARIES.
Rev. a ,: Mrs. Hanson, of Cliarlotte,
Sail February 15th.
New Orleans, Jan. 25.-Making a
half dozen stitches In a negro's heart
while almost blinded by blood, which
spurted from that organ, was part of
a remarkable operation performed to
day by Dr. J. A. Uanna, house sur
geon of Charity Hospital. The pa
tient, Lodge Leo, who was stabbed
In a row with a woman, was con
scious throughout the ordeal, and
conversed with those about the table.
Hospital attendants say he will live.
There are more brands of cussed
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Rev. and Mrs. J. W. Ranson, of
Charlotte, N. C., are going to India
as missionaries from tho Associate
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Mr. Ranson attended a meeting of
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church, held at Due West a few days
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work in India and will sail for that
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Much of the funds necessary for
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Mr. and Mrs. Ranson In the mission
field was raised In Charlotte and
In Mecklenburg county, North Caro
lina, of which Mr. Ranson is a na
"llumau Bomb" Convicted.
Los Angeles, Jan. 25.-Carl Rei
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