Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/391

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KILN-DRYING HARD WOOD.

pretty bewildered field of education. After mature deliberation I became fully convinced that in the latter capacity my faculties will be more likely to be beneficial to my fellow-creatures. These are my reasons for appearing as a teacher, or rather educator."

Mr. Neef left no male descendants, but two married daughters are still living in this country.

 

KILN-DRYING HARD WOOD.
By O. S. WHITMORE.

AMONG the many changes that have taken place in the manufacture and handling of lumber, there is none more marked or interesting than in the method of preparing lumber for use by getting rid of its natural or acquired moisture. For a century and a half after sawed lumber came into use, none but natural means were used for drying it, preparatory to its consumption in the building and kindred arts. Even in comparatively modern times, when sash, doors, and blinds were made by hand, and flooring and ceiling were dressed and matched in the same manner, if a person concluded to build some time in the future, the stock for these purposes was often bought after being weather-dried as much as possible and stored away in barns, lofts, and garrets, where it was not seldom left for years.

There can be no denying that this stock made excellent work, though it became not infrequently discolored from want of a circulation of air, which fact became so well understood that when at last attempts were made to shorten the drying period by artificial means, they all embodied some attempt, more or less crude, to create a circulation, to the end that the air that had enveloped the lumber until it had absorbed a portion of the moisture should be thrown or forced out of the drying room or building.

The first attempts at artificial drying did not contemplate general stock or drying lumber for shipping, the first dry-houses being usually nothing more than a one-story frame structure built over a low cellar excavated in the side of a hill, with a slatted floor above and a latticed cupola on the roof. A brick or tile furnace or arch was built in the cellar, from which extended a number of sheet-iron pipes which, while conveying the smoke to the chimney, also acted as radiators. The furnaces were built so as to be stoked from the outside through an arch in the wall on the down-hill side. After the introduction of cast-iron stoves, they were often substituted for the brick or tile furnaces, and in some cases these in turn were superseded by wrought-iron cylinders like steam-boiler shells.