Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/230

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214

Scraping a Bat— Why Is It Done? O, Just Because

BASEBALL players are as superstitious as Zulus. In no way is this more lucidly illustrated than in the care which some of them lavish upon an ordinary baseball bat. Manu facturers oil and shellac their bats to make them sleek and fresh, and the superstitious baseball player proceeds to use glass, bone, sand- paper and what-not to remove thefinish. Why? O, "just because" — to give a woman's reason. He may have a notion that the bat will last longer without it. But the truth is that the shellac really acts as a preservative to the wood.

Some baseball players imagine that it is impos- sible to make a strong hit with a new bat, because the bat is so sleek that the balls glance off it. Others be- lieve that scraping a bat fills up the crevices and cracks and thus lengthens the life of the bat. The ac- companying photograph shows Cueto, a Cuban who plays an outfield position for the Cincinnati Reds, combing his bat with a calf bone.

A baseball player may change his bat occasionally for a lighter or heavier one, and when he does so the principal sporting goods stores in the country are at once apprised of the fact. One big store, for instance, has on hand the exact weight and style of bat used by every big league player in the United States. When a player breaks his bat all he need do is to send a telegram such as this: "Express me a bat, quick. Tom Jones," and he will get a duplicate of the bat he broke. Most bats are made of second-growth Northern ash, dried in the sun. This wood is becoming scarce.

��Popular Science Monthly

��Cueto, of the Cincinnati Reds, combs his bat daily with a calf bone

��An Improvised Street Railway Smoking Car

INCREASED traffic and car shortage on a street railway property in the East during the past winter months made some of the operative heads do quick scheming in order to cope with the situation. As a result, some of the open summer cars were equipped for "shop service" in winter. The company took ordinary fourteen- bench open cars and placed electric heaters under the seats, except the two end seats and the two seats corre- sponding, just inside the bulkheads. The

heaters have sheet-iron guards on each side to prevent contact with the passengers' shoes or clothing. Tests showed that such a battery of heaters pro- vided a comfortable tem- perature.

In order to retain the heat thus generated in the car, the sides were equipped with transparent, non-in- flammable windows. These flexible win- dows in the curtains provided ample light for reading.

To encourage passengers to ride on the cars they were run on express schedules and termed "Express Smoking Car."

����An open summer car equipped with curtains, heaters and windows, for a "smoker." It ran on an express schedule

��All the specialized knowledge and information of the editorial staff of the Popular Science Monthly is at your disposal. Write to the editor if you think he can help you.

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