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INGENIOUS WORK IS DONE BY WOUNDED VETERANS!
By TORREY FORD.
Oct l I'ATIONAL therapy Is a big word.
In rather colloquial terms you might
speak of It as a mouthful?perhaps
even a mouthful and a half. But at Fox
Hills It la very much In the vocabulary.
Walking through the wards you come on
a big husky, who before the war, worked In a
steel plant. He could put In a twelve hour
trick at the blast furnace and think nothing
of it. If necessary he could hang on for a
full twenty-four hours, and grow huskier on
the diet. To-day he's leaning back on the
pillows weaving m lady's silk scarf.
That's occupational therapy.
^ ou walk turthor along and como on othsr
young men with powerful, big frames ex
cept for a missing leg or n twisted arm or
a hole In the neck. Each one has his head
bent over the bed picking up little beads and
stringing them out endlessly Into something
that looks as though it was going to be a
That's occupational therapy, too. Tn fact,
when you search the thing out. occupational
therapy has a range that reaches all the
way from making rag carpets on a big loom
in the main shop to painting doodangs on
a tin talcum powder box In a wheel chair
next to the operating room. And when you
are a disabled veteran of the great war you
don't much care what they call It us long
as they give you something to do.
Monotony of Hospital Life
Never Can Be Relieved Much
In most lines, they say that the tlrat year
Is the hardest. This astounding premise is
t eached by assuming that people can get
accustomed to any mode of living if they
will only stick at It long enough. In the
case of wounded soldiers the supposition is
not so definite.
When you are still toeing operated on for
a shrapnel wound that was Inflicted back In
1918 the novelty of the situation gradually
"Picking up little beads and string,
ing them out endlessly into something
that looks as though it was going to
be a purse."
begins to wear of*. After the fifteenth opera
tion on the same old spot In the same old
leg you are apt to lose your enthusiasm
for the ceremony. Hanging around a hos
pital also begins to pale on you.
When you first landed between the sheets
It was a different story. It seemed more
comfortable than the trenches and there was
a certain feeling of relief in being out of it
all alive. And it was something of a luxury
to have your meals brought on a tray. For
a time hospital life wasn't so bad. Into
whatever base hospital they carried you on
a stretcher you were pretty certain to find
a congenial bunch with at least one common
bond?all wounded In the same ol' war.
TTsually there was considerable merriment
In the ward. Whether you were on the
eighth or eighteenth day after an operation,
some one would hobble over to your bed or
you could hobble over to some one's bed for
a game of chess or checkers. And If there
was any money In the crowd a seven handed
game of stud might help to pass a long
But after the first year or so even these
diversions fail to rouse you from a growing
discontent. After you have heated at chess
or checkers every one In the hospital who
could be beaten, after the money In the
crowd has all concentrated itself in certain
hands and a game of stud'is impossible, after
you have written to every one whose name
and address you can remember, after the
220ih Red Cross lady has dropped the 220th
carnation on your bed and murmured sym
pathy In gushing tones, after two years of
this and nothing more but talk of tempera
tures and diet and dressings, you begin to
long for something different.
Then one day. in the dullest part of the
afternoon, a nurse in a light blue uniform,
a stranger to the ward, approaches you. She
has a quantity of weird looking parapher
nalia tucked under her arm. She asks you
i you wouldn t like to make a reed basket
or a bead bag. Yon shake your head no.
Then she suggests a lady's scarf or a bureau
runner or anything you may have on your
Unwilling to Do Women's Work
Even it You Are Wounded
Again you shake your head. Even if you
are a bed patient, you are still all male, way
out to the finger tips. /
The girl In the blue uniform passes on to
the next bed. You overhear the same con
ference repeated and you wait eagerly for
your fellow patient to shake his head. At.
length he does. Hurrah for both of you!
Even If your mentalities are stale and your
hodies listless you still want the general
public to realize that you are soldiers?not
Inmates of an old ladies' home.
Finally, far down the aisle of cots, you
see that the girl in blue has cornered a
victim. You watch her set up that curious
wooden device and give preliminary Instruc
1 ions to the poor chap who didn't have the
strength to resist her. You feel sorry for
him. hut still you watch with some Interest
as he begins t0 weave the yarn In and out
and shift various levers. You don't really
believe that he will make anything.
The Strang^ nurse passes your cot with
a smile the next day and continues on dow
?o her "victim." There is^more weaving of
x am and shifting of levers. Oradtmlly every
one In the place becomes interested In the
You Inspect the finished scarf at first with
a certain scorn. It has bright enough colors
hut the design is too simple, Two days
later, when he gives It to his girl, you see
her pleasure In receiving the gift and his
pride In producing it. You experience a
brief sensation of envy.
As the days go hy you note that he Is
making more scarfs, and even branching
out In the runner business. Anyway, he Is
always busy now. and can work along with
One A. E. F. Man Turned Old Razor Blades Into Working Model of a Locomotive, While
Ornate Carvings in Wood and Bone Help Pass Time for the Bedridden?Cures
Often Hastened by Occupational Therapy, of Which Weaving and
Basket Making Are Important Parts
"The sweater was of baby blue and white . . . but the little
Chinaman was quite content, for it would take him a month,"
Sketches from life made at the Pox Hills (Staten Island) Hospital. 4
only an occasional suggestion from the girl
in blue. You begin to weaken on this who;?
business of sex consciousness. If it's ah
right lor a woman to work at a man's Job
(and you have seen plenty of them doing it),
why isn't it all right for a man. temporarily
incapacitated, to weave scarfs?
One afternoon, when the girl in blue passes
particularly close to your bed, you stop her
with a weak gesture. What was that she
mentioned about reed baskets and bead
bags? What? . . . Well, if she really
doesn't mind, you'd like to try out a little
of that occupational therapy.
Regular Treatment at Fox Hills
With Staff to Teach the Boys
Down at the Fox Hills Base Hospital,
where nearly a thousand veterans linger on
their beds or within easy falling distance of
them, occupational therapy is a regular part
of the treatment. Miss Cornelia Crolins.
graduate of a Boston school of fine arts, and
a score of blue uniformed aids carry on
the work. They go on the theory that no
matter how many splints and bandages a
patient is burled under there is some form
of craft that will occupy his "spare" mo
ments when he isn't being fed or nursjd
I^ast Wednesday afternoon Miss Crolins
look us on a tour of inspection around Fox
Hills. It was "a matinee afternoon," she
explained, and there might not be much go
ing on in the way of occupational therapy;
but what there was we were welcome to see.
Stepping out briskly, she remarked that
there were five miles of corridor to the
place, not Including side trips to the various
Perhaps it wasn't the surgical ward that
she led us into first, but that's the picture
that stands out clearest in looking bftck at
the tour. It was a long room, at least a
hundred yard dash from one end to the
other, flanked on each side by a straight
line of white cots. I,ess than half the beds
were occupied at the moment, hut bedside
tables, laden with personal possessions,
ward his table. "There's a nice scarf I
"Going to sell them?" we asked.
"No," he said. "No sell. Make a nice
present to a lady who has been good to
"And the sweater?"
"That's for me," he added with a show of
The sweater was to be made of baby blue
and white, with a little pink later on. Rather
gaudy colors for a gentleman, but the little
Chinaman, who had served and fallen In
the navy, was quite content with the pros
pect. It would take him a month, perhaps
two, to finish it. He almost hoped it would
take two. Fifteen years ago, back in China,
he had worked on a hand loom. He had
forgotten all about it until a girl in blue
came along and helped him to remember.
Next to the Chinaman was a younger
man from Harlem, north of 130th street. He
had dark skin and white teeth. He was
wounded in the Argonne in October, 1918,
shot four times and perhaps more?he
couldn't remember. Since then life for him
had been just In and out of the hospitals.
That was all.
He was partly dressed, sitting in a chair
and leaning over the bed. He had a little
saucer of glittering beads^whlch he picked
up carefully with a needle and strung them
on black threads. Conversation revealed
that he was a bead bag specialist. He could
flrll8h a bag in two days. He was second
Basket weaving with a competent woman instructor to help serves
to pass the time for many wounded veterans.
hinted that at meal times there would be a best at It in the ward. There was one man
full roll call to the room's capacity. who could make a bag In a day.
In the first cot by the door there was a We asked him If he made much money
little withered up Chinaman, propped up by out of his bags. He didn't make any. He
several pillows, with only his arms and wouldn't sell a bag. He bought 'he ma
shoulders outside of the covers. He was ly- terlals and gave the bags to his lady friends,
ing quite still. ^ ou might have thought at bad promises for four now. Probably he
first that he was sound asleep. Then you j8 a popular man in Harlem. But he has
noticed between his thin hands a small strip nevpr heard of occupatlonal therapy-he's a
ol boafd with some yarn. Up and down bead ^ epeclalist.
the board his hands travelled slowly, ap
parently making no movement at all. He To P^nerve the International spirit in an
was so intent on his work that he didn't American hospital we found a young Italian
look up until we spoke to him. 'n very next cot. He had his face
"Making a sweater," he murmured in a pressed against a saucer of beads,
small, feminine voice. Then he waved to- "Must be hard on the eyes," we offered.
"It's only hard on one of them," he said.
"The other's glass."
He didn't remember much about the war?
lost an eye and a couple of other things,
had a helluva time all in all. Didn't know
much what to do with himself until the girl
in blue came along and got him started on
bags. Now he was making one for the
wife. She came in to see him occasionally
and he thought it would be fun to give her
something instead of his letting her do all
the giving. He used to be a machinist in
his earlier civilian days. Not much chance
of doing that now with only one eye. No,
he didn't think he could make bead bags
for a living. Didn't know much what he
would do if he ever got out of a hospital.
Just drift along, he supposed, somehow.
Passing down the line there, were several
vacant cots, partly accounted for by a group
of congenial spirits ^rho had hobbled out to
an anteroom \ and were tossing the cards
around to the accompaniment of jingling
coins and heated arguments.
Over on the other side one of the girls in
blue was giving a demonstration of a loom
to a bed patient. She had quite an audience
of young men, all of'whom were inhaling the
art of scarf weaving as though, it were a craft
that was going to establish each of them on
millionaires' row. For actually, in a hos
pital. the man who can use up all of his
time is considered more or less of a mill
In a room at the end of the ward a mini
ature shop had been arranged. There was
plenty of paraphernalia, but only two crafts
men working. One chap in a wheel chair
was decorating a candy box with oil paints.
An aid had sketched in the design and he
was using his own haphazard judgment
about color. It was a weird combination
that he set down and viewed critically, but
quite approvingly. The other worker, whose
right arm was done up in heavy splints, was
using his good arm and part of his bad arm
to make leather pocketbooks.
Scattered about the place were other
products in the making. Some one had
started a Noah's Ark. The ark was finished
and part of the animals were lined up on
the window sill. Then there was a cigar
box partly carved. Reed baskets, a lamp
shade, a painted tray and some other painted
materials showed that at times the work
shop buzzed with activity. Probably no one
was growing rich from the total product,
but it was using up a lot of time.
Nearly All Mental Cases Work,
Most of Them at Looms
Miss Crolins took us in one of the mental
wards, where there were only a dozen
patients in a room. Most of them were in
their beds or near them and under nearly
every bed was a loom.
Over in the far corner were two veterans,
apparently in the pink of condition. They
were sitting on the side of a bed, one of
them holding a roll of blue yarn, the other
winding it off on a ball. We tried to talk
?with them, but they weren't much on con
versation. The bigger man had only a
word or two of English in his vocabulary.
"Me no sell," he growled. ''No send home.
No send nothin' home. Why? What you
He was trembling from head to foot.
Something that had happened to him during
the war had made him that way. Perhaps
a mine had gone off too close to his ear. We
couldn't apologize for intruding on his yarn
rolling party. He didn't want sympathy; he
wanted to be left alone. With his yarn and
his loom and his bunkie, he was perfectly
happy. With strangers he trembled. The
nurse said he might be cured.
Era of Dehydrated Food Soon to Be at Hand, Says Scientist
FASHIONS in dress and fashions in
food have almost nothing in com
mon. When the stylists indicate
that a high crowned, narrow brimmed straw
had is being worn by the better people the
average man tosses his low crowned, nar
row brim into an ash can and makes a dash
for the nearest hat store. There is no argu
ment, no discussion. Whether it is the pass
ing of the trouser cuff or the introduction of
the pocket lapel, he feels in honor bound to
conform with the edict of the tailors. Besides,
ho takes a certain amount of personal pride
in stepping along briskly with the fashion
Yet in the matteij of food this same man
will throw a spasm of protest before sub
mitting to the slightest change in his regu
lar menu. He declares emphatically that he
wants everything 'like mother used to
make-" That is the creed of his table and the
motto of his daily diet. Though he expects
progress and improvement in every other
branch of civilized living, he recognizes no
new farigled notions in the food line. He
may be obstinate about it. but he positively
refuses to stand for any deviations from the
culinary ways of his maternal ancestors.
Confronted with this arbitrary situation
the food administrators are obliged to fight
their way every inch of the Journey. As a
rule they can bring in their innovations only
after a struggle that fairly tears open the
heart of the world.
It took the civil war to bring the nation
to a point where the canning industry could
be mentioned In polite circles without start
ing a private revolution. It took a world
conflict before the scientists dared to utter
thu word "dehydrating" beyond the walls of
the research laboratory. Even to-day de
hydrating has to be surrounded with all
manner of high sounding verbiage to evade
the general disapproval of the universe.
Columbia Professor Predicts
Thus, gently and with all the diplomacy
at our command, do we lead up to the pre
diction that the pantry shelves of the next
generation will hold cartons of dehydrated
fish, meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit In
every bit as convenient form as the present
day can of salmon or package of crackers.
Prof. Ralph H. McKee of Columbia Uni
versity is the author of the prediction, and
his opinion is corroborated by the few men
in the country who have devoted their time
to perfecting dehydrating processes. Prof.
McKee has a working plant in operation
at Havemeyer Hall, on Morningstde Heights,
where he is dally adding to the store of de
"Of course," said Prof. McKec, "we should
Columbia Professor Predicts Vast Economic Advantages Will Soon
Outweigh Aversion to New Fangled Notions in Diet
not expect dehydrated food to be quickly
taken up for home use. Following the past
history of food changes, the first general use
of dehydrated foods will probably be In in
stitutions and armies, then in the larger
civilian units, such as hotels and hospitals,
and finally in the kitchen of the private
"Probably in no other phase of life are
we as slow to make changes as In food and
the methods of cooking it. More than fifteen
years ago armies began the use of dehy
drated foods. Hospitals and hotels in this
city and a few others have been using them
in large amounts for three or four years,
and within the last few months the manu
facturers of theee products have been mak
ing their flrst efforts to bring them to the
attention of the housewife."
Dehydrating in its simplest form is little
more than removing the water from foods
to protect them against spoilage. Indus
trially, the idea has tremendous ramifica
tions. If the farmers and producers from
Maine to California would subject their
crops to a dehydrating process before ship
ping the saving in the cost of packing and
transportation would represent a consider
able item in the national budget. The ulti
mate consumer could replace the water from
his own kitchen faucet, and the vegetables,
according to the dehydrating authorities,
would never know the difference.
Annually the nation spends millions of
dollars transporting tons of water about the
country for the benefit of the very small
percentage of food that swims around In the
The ordinary tomato, fresh from the vines,
contains 94.3 per cent, water. Beets con
tain 87.6 per cent, water; cabbages, 91,5 per
rent.; carrots, 88.2 per cent.; celery, 94.5 per
cent.; corn. 75.4 per rent.; spinach, 92.3 per
cent., and turnips, 89.6. Meats and fish are
made up of 65 to 75 per cent, water. De
hydrating reduces the amount of water on
the average to less than 10 per cent.
A two pound can of tomatoes contains
less than two ounces of real, bona fide
tomato. An official estimate, coming from
the Department of Agriculture at Washing
ton, states that one carload of dried toma
toes will save the railroads from handling
thirty cars of canned tomatoes; and that if
all the handling of the lumber for boxes,
tlnplate, Ac., is included, one car of dried
tomatoes gives an aggregate saving of 105
carloads of freight.
Actually, food drying Is not a novelty. As
a means of food preservation It has been
employed for hundreds of years. Both for
vegetable and animal foods, early colonists
resorted to drying from necessity. Along
the New England coast the drying of fish
became an Important industry. But most
of the methods In use were quite crude. The
food was exposed to the sun and wind until
the excess moisture had been removed. While
successful In preserving the food, there was
a "ertain loss of color and taste that Invari
ably accompanied the process.
Approximately 100 years ago the canning
industry was Introduced from England, and
drying fell Into the discard. The newer
method could be applied to a greater variety
of food materials and the canned products
could be transported Into any climate, lister,
with the development of cold storage, pas
teurization, salting and smoking, drying was
During the gold rush In the Klondike the
demand for foods which could be easily
transported brought about the Importation
of dried potatoes from Germany. Some ef
fort was made to dry potatoes In Washing
ton and Oregon, but the result was not pleas
ing to the gold miners. Even In the Klon
dike they preferred potatoes that didn't taste
of sulphur, and they were particular about
having white potatoes white and not black.
Throughout the great war there was
continual speculation concerning the food
situation In Germany. How long could the
German larder hold out? How could she go
on feeding her armies and civilians. Isolated
as she was from the rest of the world? Re
cent figures on Germany's dehydrating In
dustry uncover some of these secrets.
By Means of Dehydration
Germany Held Out So Long
"In 1898 there were tnree smnll drying
plants in Germany," says a Government
folder. "Five years later there were stilt
three plants there with an output large
enough to be worth mentioning. This
method of preservation may be regarded as
apparently successful, for In 1906 the num
ber of plants in operation had Increased to
thirty-nine, In 1909 to 199, in 1914 to 488
and In 1916 to 841. In addition to this, 2,000
breweries were utilizing some portion of
their equipment In the drying of food ma
terials. It Is stated that In 1917 about
1,900 plants were In operation or under
construction and the total quantity of pota
toes alone dried in Germany was more than
three times the total crop of the United
States. These facts Will explain one of the
reasons why Germany was able to maintain
her food supplies during the war."
Canada, too, did some war dehydrating.
During 1915, 1916 and 1917 Canada prepared
for the British army 44,000,000 pounds of
mixed dried vegetables. One pound of the
preparation was sufficient to give a nutri
tious soup ration to sixty men for one meal.
In 1918 the United States Army followed
along with many thousands of tons of dried
vegetables. At present there are in the
country less than thirty vegetable and fruit
dehydrating plants, most of them small.
At the request of the Army Medical De
partment three years ago the Harriman
Research Laboratory at Roosevelt Hospital
took up the study of Improving methods of
preserving meats. After some months Drs.
Palk and Prankel developed a new labora
tory method of dehydrating, using a method
of mild heat In a vacuum. The work on the
process was then transferred to the depart
ment of chemical engineering of Columbia
University, where Prof. McKee took an ac
tive hand In the work.
"The process as Anally developed," ex
plained Prof. McKee. "is applicable to meats
and Ash as well as to vegetables and fruit.
A vacuum shelf drier is used, the shelves
of which are heated by means of steam or
hot water. The food is placed on trays and
these placed on the heated shelves, the
door closed and the vacuum pump started.
This type of apparatus Is made by a num
ber of Arms in this country and abroad.
"In some cases the new method gives
products of no apparent Improvement over
the old type process, but In other cases the
product Is better than has hitherto been
produced. The drying is completed In
shorter time, permitting the handling of
products sensitive to spoilage, such as meat
and Ash. Potatoes and apples are not dis
colored by oxidation, carrots show fewer
changes and fruit keep# its original color.
"The process is not n^fcolicable to roasts
and other thick pieces of frtpat. Steaks can
be dehydrated, but the trouble comes In
getting them to take up watflLr in sufficient
amount, and It would seem th^l the process
should not be considered for stWtk? unless
they are cut exceptionally thin.^??? have
been surprised that the fat in the nT%** does
not become rancid. The fat of detw?',**e('
meat seems to keep sweet IndeAnltely
Prof. McKes exhibited several Nm|A*
We were ready to quit the tour right then.
It isn't pleasant to realize that you are mak
ing a man, twice as big as yourself, tremble
with dread and fear. But Miss Crolins said
that outside of the mental wprds most of
the men were proud to show off what they
Eventually, she led us back to the main
?hop, where men who are able to leave their
wards come to work morning and afternoon.
There isn't anything compulsory about t
hours. When they feel like it they ca> come
in and do a few turns. There are always a
few Instructors on hand to show them the
way. The Government supplies 'the ma
terials, the machines and the instruction and
splits the profits with the worker on a fifty
Vast Variety of Objects Made
And Many of Them Are Sold
One room is devoted to the salable prod
ucts. Mostly there are rugs, hand-woven
ones of both intricate and simple design i.
There are also electric lamps, cigar boxes,
scarfs, table runners, baskets, leather goods
and a scattering of odd contributions. Occa
sionally, the things are sent up to New York
for a sale, but, ordinarily, they depend on a
chance sale there at the hospital.
In the workshop there Is a room devoted
to looms; another is the basket factory and
the third is the toy shop for cutouts and
^Apparently, the loom room is frequently
visited by curious strangers. One of the
workers at a small loom was forced to put
up a sign, "Hands off." As this didn't make
his working conditions quite ideal, he added;
"This is a rdhner, NOT a bath towel, nor a
rug." And then in a final note of exasper
ation he inscribed these words: "I am dumb;
get an interpreter."
There are a few men in the hospital s<>
have taken up occupational therapy with
out any assistance from the official aids.
One man, who has been in the hospital so
long he knows every turning of the corri
"One of them holding a hank of blue
yarn, the other rolling it into a ball."
dors, builds model boats. He christens each
boat with the name of some p romlnent man
and carves the name on the stern. Then he
shrinks the boat in a bottle and despatches
It to its namesake. He prizes the letters he
gets in response to his unexpected gift.
Another who served in the Engineers'
Corps is reported to have built a complete
engine with discarded safety razor blades.
Uhe average disabled veteran of the great
war isn't worrying much about how the na
tion is going to reward him for his sacri
fices. What he wants is something to kill
time in the hospital. He'll even accept it
in the name of occupational therapy.
Which, when all is said and done, is rather
generous of him.
his work fresh from the laboratory. A quart
box of dried strawberries contained ail that
was left of four quarts of fresh strawberries.
The cellular structure of the fruit had not
been disturbed by the dehydrating process
When soaked In water the berries would
regain their original bulk and serve most of
the purposes of the original product.
A bushel or so of potatoes appeared in
compact form, snuggling In an ordinary
cracker box. While boiled and baked po
tatoes would have to be stricken from the
menu of the housekeeper using the product
In the dried form, Prof. McKee said that a
very palatable dish of mashed, fried or
stewed In cream potatoes could be served
by handling the material In the proper-way.
Says Dried Vegetables Will Keep
Indefinitely Under Favorable Conditions
When asked how long vegetables in the
dried form would keep, he said that under
favorable conditions he didn't see why they
shouldn't keep Indefinitely. He cited the
instance of a Canadian manufacturer who
found himself with several tons of a dried
soup mixture left on his hands at the con
clusion of the Boer war. As there was no
local sale in the domestic market for the
product the manufacturer rather than throw
the material away put It In barrels carefully
paraffined and stored it away. At the out
break of the war In 1914 the barrels were
shipped to the British army and utilised In
the preparation of soup, Just as the bulk of
the lot had been used fifteen years before.
Possibly there ore numerous ex-Tommies
who will exclaim over this fact and declare
Indignantly that they recognised the soup
all along as dating back at least to the Boer
Invariably, as the market runs, when
there Is a heavy crop prices fall well below
the average. This situation-is usually fol
lowed by a lean year with scanty crops and
high prices. It is a feast or famine for the
whole nation. With dehydration the bumper
crop of one year could be converted into
material to eke out the slender product of
a poor yean
As for the conservation of food materials,
it is estimated by the Department of Agri
culture that over 60 per cent, of the fruits
and vegetables grown In this country now
never reach the consumer as a result of
poor transportation facilities, irregularities
In marketing or other causes.
Summing up the advantages of dehydra
tion, It seems probable that there would be
a great economic saving, an equalization of
prices, a prevention of food shortages and
a greater variety of foods available through
out the year. If the dehydrated products can
be made palatable there appears no good
reason why the process should not take its
place beside the canning Industry.