Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/389

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Popular Science Montlilij



��Shoes of Esparto Straw Which Outwear Leather

���A Pair of These Esparto Fiber Shoes Have Been Known to Outwear a Dozen Pairs of the Ordinary Tanned-Hide Soles

ESPARTO shoes, or shoes made of the toughest and strongest of the coarse fibers, are still worn in Iberia and in some parts of Spain and Portugal. There is no shoe made which will outlast them, not excepting leather- shoes. One pair of Esparto siiocs has been known to outwear about a dozen tanned hide soles. This is due to their faculty of picking up and retaining in their inter- stices stony or gritty particles which wear like nails.

As the shoes are worn constantly pick up and retain these foreign particles, and as fast as these are worn out they are replaced auto- matically by others, providing the wearer of the shoes continues his walking. Thus a self-soling process is constantly going on.

It is not uncommon in some parts of Spain or Portugal to hear the nati\es boast of wearing a pair of Esparto shoes for twenty-five years or more. The soles will survive an aggregate exceeding six thousand miles of walking w i t h o u t w earing away appreciably.

���Several years ago an attempt was made jjy a concern in this country to manufacture the shoes in quantities large enough to supply the demand from abroad. A plant was built, people were engaged, contracts for the delivery of the fiber were closed and the manufactur- ing was begun. This did not continue for long, however, for it developed that the company was obtaining an inferior grade of coarse fiber with the result that their shoes were not wearing well. Accordingly the company went into bank- ruptcy, with a net loss, it is said, running well into five hundred thousand dollars. At the present time genuine Esparto shoes are to be obtained only in the foreign sections of some of our large cities.

The Esparto fiber is also largely used in the European paper industry under the name of ECsparto grass. It makes a paper of excellent durability, but .Ameri- can paper makers have not used it. It requires expert knowledge in its treat- ment. Esparto shoes arc largely made and worn in the rural districts of France. f"or a comfortable shoe for all-round wear the Esparto shoe has no peer. Those who have worn them never put them aside for leather shoes. At first the shoes are very soft, simu- lating velvet, but after they have been worn for a short time they become as solid and hard as leather.

��Using the Waste Heat of a Kerosene Lamp

THIS illustration shows how the waste heat from an oil lamp is utilized every night to heat a kettle of water in an English engine-room.

The photograph was taken in the engine- room attached to Platte Fougere lighthouse, Guernsey, England.

The Engineer Who Util- ized the Heat from the Oil Lamp Is No More Resourceful Than the En- gineer Who Heats His Coffee on the Radiator

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