This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
The flour of Minneapolis, holding so high a rank in the markets of the world, is always in active demand, especially the best grades, and brings from $1.00 to $1.60 per barrel more than flour of the best qualities of southern, eastern, or foreign wheat. During the year nearly a million barrels were shipped direct to European and other foreign ports, on through bills of lading, and drawn for by banks here having special foreign exchange arrangements, at sight, on the day of shipment. This trade is constantly increasing, and the amount of flour handled by eastern commission men is decreasing in proportion.
Referring to the foregoing, the following letter from Mr. Geo. T. Smith to the editor of the London Miller is of interest:
SIR: I find published in the North-western Miller of December 24, 1880, extracts from an article on the origin of new process milling, prepared by Albert Hoppin, Esq., editor of the above-named journal, for the use of one of the statistical divisions of the United States census, which is so at variance, in at least one important particular, with the facts set forth in the paper read by me before the British and Irish millers, at their meeting in May last, that I think I ought to take notice of its statements, more especially as the North-Western Miller has quite a circulation on this side of the water.
As stated in the paper read by me above-mentioned, I was engaged in February, 1871, by Mr. Christian, who was then operating the "big," or Washburn Mill at Minneapolis, to take charge of the stones in that mill. At this time Mr. Christian was very much interested in the improvement of the quality of his flour, which in common with the flour of Minneapolis mills, without exception, was very poor indeed. For some time previous to this I had insisted to him most strenuously that the beginning of any improvement must be found in smooth, true, and well balanced stones, and it was because he was at last convinced that my ideas were at least worthy of a practical test I was placed in charge of his mill. Nearly two months were consumed in truing and smoothing the stone, as all millers in the mill had struck at once when they became acquainted with the character of the changes I proposed to make.
I remained with Mr. Christian until the latter part of 1871, in all about eight months. During this time the flour from the Washburn Mill attained a celebrity that made it known and sought after all over the United States. It commanded attention as an event of the very greatest importance, from the fact that it was justly felt that if a mill grinding spring wheat exclusively was capable of producing a flour infinitely superior in every way to the best that could be made from the finest varieties of winter wheats, the new North Western territory, with its peculiar adaptation to the growing of spring grain, and its boundless capacity for production, must at once become one of the most important sections of the country.
Mr. Christian's appreciation of the improvements I had made in his mill was attested by doubly-locked and guarded entrances, and by the stringent regulations which were adopted to prevent any of his employes carrying information with regard to the process to his competitors.
All this time other Minneapolis mills were doing such work and only such as they had done previously. Ought not the writer of an article on the origin of new process milling--which article is intended to become historical, and to have its authenticity indorsed by the government--to have known whether Mr. Christian, in the Washburn Mill, did or did not make a grade of flour which has hardly been excelled since for months before any other Minneapolis mill approached his product in any degree? And should he not be well enough acquainted with the milling of that period--1871-2--to know that such results as were obtained in the Washburn Mill could only be secured by the use of smooth and true stones? Mr. Stephens--whom I shall mention again presently--did not work in the Washburn Mill while I was in charge of it.
In the fall of 1871 I entered into a contract with Mr. C. A. Pillsbury, owner of the Taylor Mill and senior partner in the firm by whom the Minneapolis Mill was operated, to put both those mills into condition to make the same grade of flour as Mr. Christian was making. The consideration in the contract was 5,000 dols. At the above mills I met to some extent the same obstruction in regard to millers striking as had greeted me at Mr. Christian's mill earlier in the year; but among those who did not strike at the Minneapolis Mill I saw, for the first time, Mr. Stephens--then still in his apprenticeship--whom Mr. Hoppin declares to have been, "so far as I know," the first miller to use smooth stones. If Mr. Hoppin is right in his assertion, perhaps he will explain why, during the eight months I was at the Washburn Mill, Mr. Stephens did not make a corresponding improvement in the product of the Minneapolis Mill. That he did not do this is amply proved by the fact of Mr. Pillsbury giving me 5,000 dols. to introduce improvements into his mills, when, supposing Mr. Hoppin's statement to be correct, he might have had the same alterations carried out under Mr. Stephens' direction at a mere nominal cost. As a matter of fact, the stones in both the Taylor and Minneapolis Mills were as rough as any in the Washburn Mill when I took charge of them.
Thus it appears (1) that the flour made by the mill in which Stephens was employed was not improved in quality, while that of the Washburn Mill, where he was not employed, became the finest that had ever been made in the United States at that time. That (2) the owner of the mill in which Mr. Stephens was employed, as he was not making good flour, engaged me at a large cost to introduce into his mills the alterations by which only, both Mr. Hoppin and myself agree, could any material improvement in the milling of that period be effected, .viz., smooth, true, and well-balanced stones.--GEO. T. SMITH.
For breachy animals do not use barbed fences. To see the lacerations that these fences have produced upon the innocent animals should be sufficient testimony against them. Many use pokes and blinders on cattle and goats, but as a rule such things fail. The better way is to separate breachy animals from the lot, as others will imitate their habits sooner or later, and then, if not curable, sell them.