This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The basement story of some large hotels resembles a small factory where each tradesman is doing his part towards the completion of some Immense work, and a great number of trades it takes to keep up and supply the needs of a large hotel. In one of these rooms is a soap maker and assistants, and the necessary tanks, boilers, presses and drying room, all furnished with steam heat. The soap maker not only makes the common sorts for the laundry and for the floor scrubbers to use, but makes fancy toilet soap for the guests' rooms, the name of the hotel stamped on each cake. In another room the hotel confectioner superintends the making of the jellies and preserves for the house, there being one or two assistants employed in these operations, and at other times in the same room the pickles, catsups, chow-chow and sweet pickles are made, and there is an occasional canning and bottling of fruit* and vegetables from the hotel farm, when the ripening season is on. Further on the furniture repairer is at work with cabinet makers' tools and glue, and a turning lathe and scroll saw are in motion close by; then there is the blacksmith's shop adjoining the engine room, then the great engine that, perhaps, operates the elevator, keeps the laundry machinery in motion and whirls the ice-cream freezers, and another engine for the electric light The meat-cutting room is very likely to be found in this basement story, and the oven where the loaf bread is baked, the pastry oven having to be upstairs and near the dining room as the kitchen is, for convenience of service.
All of these are under the control of the purchasing steward except the engineers, and he must purchase fuel also for them. The fruit and sugar for the confectioner, the materials for the cabinet maker and for the soap maker, and whatever other trades may be there are all, in these largest establishments, purchased by the steward, and the hands are accountable to him for their time and quality of workmanship, the same as in the eating and drinking departments above.
Thus it is seen the steward, whether he be the man-of-all-work in the smallest hotels, or whether multiplied into three or four of one name in the largest, is the real operative hotel keeper. And yet some hotels have no steward !