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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

The great tobacco manufactories,   pp. 511-532


Page 517

ISLAND CITY TOBACCO WORKS.
entryway leading from Sixth street. Here the hogsheads are broken
open and their contents carefully examined by a number of skilful
workmen, who separate the leaves one after another, laying those in-
tended for the finer quality of Tobacco in one pile, and those intended
for inferior grades in another. When this has been done, the various
parcels are taken to the Casing room adjoining and there separately
immersed in a huge cauldron containing a solution of warm  water
and licorice, and afterwards laid upon a slightly elevated inclined
plane to drain.  Thence the material is carried to the Stripping
room, located on the third floor of the factory, where are usually
found about seventy-five juvenile and adult female operatives seated
upon stools in small box-like compartments, who open out each
leaf and extract the stem, after which the strips are transmitted, by
means of a dummy, to the Cutting department, located on the second
floor, and embracing, as does the Stripping room, the entire floor, which
measures fifty by forty feet. Here the strips in given quantities are
laid lengthwise in the feed-box of the cutting machine, which is a kind
of trough about four feet in length, twelve inches wide, and eighteen
inches in depth. An ingeniously contrived chain, or rather series of
chains, called an " endless chain," now carries the mass forward to a
wheel revolving at one end of the feed-box at the rate of four hundred
revolutions per minute (which revolutions can be indefinitely increased),
in which are adjusted a number of knives that cut the leaves or strips
into the fibrous form in which it is seen when ready for use. The
cutting machines used here are called the " Dayton Machines," being
manufactured exclusively at Dayton, Ohio, and differ from those for-
merly in use in that they are self-supplying through the operation of
the chains. With the old style of machine the material had to be first
pressed solidly into the form required, and when put into the feed-box
so manipulated by hand as to present a proper basis for the action of
the knives, but with the Dayton Machine the operator has only to lay
the material in properly and the chains at once carry it forward ; so
compressing it during the movement that when it reaches the wheel
it is of the exact density demanded. There are four of these machines
in this room, each one of which is capable of cutting one thousand
pounds a day. One man is kept constantly engaged sharpening the
knives, and this occupation wears out from eight to ten grindstones
per annum, the stones usually weighing over a ton each.
After the Tobacco has been cut it is taken to the Drying rooms, of
which there are five, three above the stripping apartment and two in
another building, all heated by steam, at a temperature ranging from
ninety to one hundred and twenty degrees. Distributed through these
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