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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - June 23, 1917, Lethbridge, Alberta INSPECTING MUNITIONS IN IMPERIAL BONDHOUSE, HOW 200 WOMEN WORKERS MAKE THE FINAL TESTS WHERE FUSES GET FINAL TESTING IN GOVT. BONDHOUSE Girls From All Classes of Society Sit in "Poultry Cages" Side by Side at Long Tables Putting the Fuses Through the 54 Gauges-Entrance to Building by Passport. I* R.B. rT is Quite the correct thins this I scnson to be in munitions-in fact, it is a fad that has already '.i.*tod more than one season and bids fnir to survive another. Miss Rose-ilnlc with her maid has forsaken tho silks of the ballroom for tho blue apron of the factory, its perfume and music for the odor of oil and the whirr of machinery, its frivolity and light-hearted pleasure for serious and thoughtful toll. For the majority of the trlrl-workers the new life is the most utter and complete ch.inse imaginable, yet they are not giving up. In spite of all the misgivings and disuaslpns of their friends, some are even thriving on work! This might he attributed to the regularity of their hours-rather new, possibly, to some of the girls, but after they have devoted six, eight, or even ten hours, to almost unremitting labor, most of them are quite willing to go quietly home and to bed. Conditions vary as widely in the different plants as the work to be done. Some of the machine work is so heavy that it is difficult to find women strong enough to do it all, and they are seldom able to do it very long, as the nervous strain tells even more quickly than the muscular. Lighter machine work is quite possible, and where there is no- great danger involved, frequently very interesting. The chief trouble in this seems to be that the girls don't realize there can be any risk where everything goes so smoothly, and if they are cn "piece-work." in trying to go quickly they neglect ordinary precautions. Nearly all the accidents that have occurred are attributed to this. If not the easiest, at all events the safest w-ork is inspecting, but It is also the most monotonous. Each plant keeps its staff of inspectors, for each piece is supposed to pass on all the gauges before it Is sent in to ihe Government inspectors. Centred Inspection Rooms T'HK Government inspectors for i time fuses are being brought in I'.-vm the various plants where they vere previously established, to be all together in a bonded warehouse. This Imperial bond house, as it Is known, !�. located in part of a large, new '.'.aiehouse, which Is certainly light and airy, even if it has proved some-'.'.hat damp and cold in this, backward'spring. Owing to the difficulty in securing workmen It was necessary to fit up one floor first, accommodating only about 200 of the 450 odd to be there eventually. These fittings remind one strongly of the '"Cases at a poultry show-rough lumber "bolow, chicken wire above, and a door at each end. Each cage is in charge of the output of its own particular part, one of the dozen or more firms sending in the different parts of the fuses. In each cage there are Ions tables, usually two, with girls sitting all the .way down one side, sometimes up the other also. Possibly the busiest and hardest-working of all the cages is the one devoted to gauging the bodies of the fuses- These are unpacked at the head of the table, polished and subjected to a visual examination for the more obvious defects. Thence they go through all ths gauges, some 54 all told, to be tested in every detail. Some days there are very few rejections, while others they will pile up on one or two of the gauges. As a rule some six to eight thousand go through in a day, and about the same number of caps and small parts. The number of upper and lower rings is even higher-frequently it reaches ten thousand. It is not possible to attain the same degree � of speed in ' testing the little brass base plugs, as. there are so many so-called "eye gauges," where it Is necessary to see light under a tiny crack. These are tho most tiring of all. Re-Teating the Rejections IM most of the cages there is a forclndy who attends to the distribution of tho gauges and receives the consignments, seeing that they i'.i-p later whipped without being con fused with others. In addition, some cases have a district cxamlnoi-a liiwe man, whose chief duties are to again before they are sent back to the firm for repairs. The pieces that have passed on ull tho g-nugfs are packed neatly In little cardboard toxes, and these in larger wooden ones for shipment. At least one girl in each cage is kept busy all tho time packing', and often another makes boxes. If there should ever be a lull in the work, the whole table turns In. and makes boxes till there is a big supply ahead- Tho lnrge wooden boxes are sealed with a Government seal, and ship-iped to Montreal, the headquarters of the Imperial Munitions in Canldn. Thero they are subjected to further testing, the parts are assembled, tho fuse Is loaded and eventually shipped overseas. These time-fuses form the noso of the shells ured in little cighteen-pounders. and will some day travel through space at the rate of 1,700 feet per second. Considering the exactitude required for the time to be sot the mechanism is wonderfully simple and neat, yet chsolutely effectual. One could not look at.those pretty brass fuses and give uny credence to the storie3 one hears of Canadian munitions killing ar many Canadians as Germans! As yet, the girls Inspecting have no uniform, although for a.time they expected to wear khaki aprons and caps. Xor have the Imperial Muni' tions reached a decision yet in re pr.rd to their munition worker's pln-n trophy much coveted by all the workers. In most factories, a but ton is criven after thirty-days' service and a bar or pin after six months. It is probable that the girls will them selves take the matter in hand be fore long. Entrance by Passport THE system of passports to be shown at tho door smacks some what of the military, although as yet no spies seem to have been detected It is fortunate that no parleying is required-you simply present your little card and pass in. After the first fligh: of stairs, you pause to get your second wind, after the sec ond, you puff audibly ami unasham ed, but' at the top, it is a veriable grampus that pusnes past Cerberus J at the gate. On arriving, the first thing to be done is to "ring in," and to many a time-clock, was somewhat of a novelty. At first, the sound of the dismissal bell caused such an en thusiastic descent or. this clock that the matron found It necessary to ap pend a rule or two to the code: "There must be no running in the bondhouse." "There must be no loud laughter or talking," so now all is done with due decorum. Two travel ling foreladies add tc the impressive ness of the scene. Although the G. F. 3. has recently opened a canteen in a nearby church there is none actually in the build ing. A lunch-room has been fitted 'up at one end, and the Government furnishes each of its employes with one mug of either tea or coffee. In Velvet Model is Worth Its Weight in Gold in Paris Cheapest That Can Be Bought Is $9 a Yard-Largely Due to Dye Situation-Dearth of Metallic Brocades Due to ^ Government Orders. I One of the Inspection Tables at Imperial Bondhouse, Where All Fuses Pass Final Tests WOMEN OF ROME DO WAR WORK SECOND TO NONE ACCOMPLISH ALMOST UNBELIEVABLE THINGS 200 Italian Gentlewomen at Work in Home of the Marchesa Centurione. KEEN SENSE OF DUTY Almost Whole Palace Given Up to Work of Making Comforts for Wounded Men. look wise and to teat the rejections ly the women's. the ten-nilnute intermissions mora ing and afternoon it will also giv you a mug of hot -water It you ask nicely. Most of the girls promenade as briskly as they dare in the face of the matron's rule, and so stimulate their circulation. It is rather too bad that it is not possible to buy a cu of good hot tea, for in a temperature of 55 degrees it would thaw one out sufficiently to "speed .up".as request ed, a little afterward. The necessity for some such arrangement is fel acutely by those who have to stay overtime, as not infrequently occurred There is much talk of a long waiting list, but of late old faces have been vanishing and so many new appearing that soon aJ] should have had a trial. The conditions under which tha girls have to work are partly responsible, but also it was a mistake on the part of the Government in regard to the rate of payment. As this at present barely constitutes a living wage, they have encouraged the employment of society girls and married women, often soldiers' wives. Tho atmosphere socially is becoming more cosmopolitan and democratic every day, consequently there is less inclination to be unnecessarily forbearing with a concern that to all appearances has plenty,of funds to sink in other undertakings. Surely if so many women will but co-oporate there should be little difficulty in coming to a Just and satisfactory settlement in this, one of the profes-eions the war has maclo pre-eminent^ By ROSAMOND EOUI/TBEE. OME did not Inspire me when I first came to it. I felt that there was no palpitating enthusiasm as evinced in most capitals. Who was working I asked? 'What was a writer to get out of the city? And with the egotism of a disappointed person I decided it was not my fault that the Romans-men, and especially women-were doing nothing to help on the war. So I moved heaven and earth to get out of it. And now that I have succeeded in getting permission and am leaving soon, I'm sorry. For I had seen nothing. Romans, when they work, work talking Is eliminated. And so if these good people work in silence and without advertisement, how is a mere stranger to find out about them? I went, the other day tc 3ee the headquarters of a great work-a wo- One of the Workrooms Where Only the Marchesa Is Without Cap and Apron man's work-in the Centurione Palace, the home of an ancient noble Roman family, and there saw the labor of love of some two hundred Italian gentlewomen, who, perhaps, before the war had had no such experience in their lives. Yet now they are accomplishing almost, unbelievable things- 1 was so kindly greeted by the Marchesa Centurione, and shown all over the workrooms by her. She is one of the ladies-ln-waiting to Queen Helena and a great personage in social life. But all this has been laid aside, the Marchesa has proved herself to be the most wonderful of organizers. One feels in passing from room to room what a keen sense of duty insti�ut*fl the work, and that the Marchesa-the figurehead who so untiringly ^surveilles, her persons ality so luminous with love and faith -is the main inspiration to the workers. This great gentlewoman throws herselPen'ttrely into the task, is an apostolate of goodness, and contributes generously in money. The solidity of the enterprise is extraordinary. The Marchesa Is always I seeking to make the work more effi- ; cacious. And what did I see as I went through the palace? Room after room has been insinuated Into, through trie need for more space. One | wonders where soon the' family will 1 live. I saw, instead of'in dainty garments, women in white overdresses, and their heads tied up in white- busy? Working? 1 never saw such work! I have never seen, even from a tailor's shop, more perfectly turned out waistcoats, s/fve never seen such Ingenious bandages, nor so many small comforts for soldiers. And such economy! The waistcoats are. made out of the same grey-green colored cloth as the uniforms, from the cuttings left oyer, a sort of writing case Is made like a largo envelope, and Inside is a smaller one, for a purse, perfectly finished as in any shop. The soldiers love these small, thoughtful etceteras. And then the T'S no longer a secret that tho couturlrrcs aro seriously worried over the advance In vel-vots, nnd thoy aro puzzled as to whethor or not tho women will bo willing to pay tho prlco which they will bo forced to ask next senson for a velvet model. This advance la said to be duo partly to tho dyo situation-velvets consuming more dye than any other fabric. Recently, nt a certain mnlson on the Rue iloyale, one of tho vendouses related how she had quoted the prlco to a client for a velvet muntlo, and upon sending to the dealer for same It was learned that tho price had been considerably augmented over night. "Why," continued this ven-deuse, "the ohenpeat velvet wo can obtain for our purpose is 45 franc n meter (almost $!) a yard). I can imagine that tills is not very cheerful news to the American Importer, who Is faced with 00 per cent duty." Two years ago, when 1,500 francs ($1100) was asked for a three-plcco velvet suit, Amoricnn buyers thought Paris hnd gone mini, though some ir? I them paid this price, but 1,500 francs ' Is nothing to what the price will bo next season if ono gets velvet. Tho costliness of tho fabrio Itself, together with the increased cost of labor which the Paris workglrls now demand, will make a Tarls velvot model worth Its weight In gold, If not mure. Coupled with costly velvets comes tho news that metallic brocades aro doomed, for the reason that tho Government forbids gold. silver, and copper for tills purpose. However, certain houses like Coudurler and Blunchinl have on hand some beautiful fabrics in this line-these, of course, will find their way to certain malsons of the very highest standard, though everything in this lino Is most expensive. Ono hundred francs ($20) and even higher Is asked for some of tho'so metal threaded f" brics. It is rumored that Callot foresaw some tlmo back what wns likely to happen in metallic goods! and b>;.iirht up ar, enormous quantity; this act, �is one man prominent in the trado put It, was "Metal Wisdom." Cnllot's display of metallic brocho last season wns something astounding, and ono can readily believe that Callot must have a reserve stock, foiv. no other crutches. Tho wonderful arm supports are shown in another picture; jtlio boot itself in another, And ono of tho workrooms in another, where only the Marchesa herself is without capjhouso vas able to show even on demand bolts of broche such as could Callot. Just how long the stocks on hand of metal fabrics will last is a ques- The Supporting Boot Ttte invention of an Englishs^sculp-tress which enables a man wounded in the foot to do without crutches. PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE "SWARD* ^RTHUR STRINGER, the Canadian writer, Is an amateur farmer. Like most amateurs, he does his farming in a decorative way, and is Inordinately proud of his lawns, or his "green sward," as his English gardener calls them. But Stringer has an Irish neighbor, whose livestock have small respect for his line-fence. Last spring, when tho author returned to Cedar Springs, he found this Irishman's pigs busily engaged In turning over his sod. Thoy wore driven out several times, only to return. Eventually they were Impounded in their owner's pen, with tho following message:-- "Having cJjased these animals a countless number of miles for a, countless number of days, I' regret they reach their pen In such poor condition. But ara literary man, I should like to point out to you, that, even in the matter of-'fattening pigs, the pen is sometimes mightier than the sward." . , � .:/ One Mf�n U?�p Crutches, the Other Ubea Supyorting #dot� last small strips of cloth are sold to the manufacturers and .again made into material. The:softest, sweetest-.smelling pillows aro made out of thai feathery end of the pino cones. Slings, body shields and orthopaedic supplies, all are -ranged In tho exporting room. Of theso last, I mado sure machinery had  finished them off, and a cobbler's hand must have sewn the loather on those wonderful supporting boots. Not at all; I saw them being made, every part of them -tho leather being cut, tho holes being bored for the stitches-by wo-mon. in ono room a couple of girls were pasting the cloth on to the forms which had been preparod In another room. Tho Marchesa picked up a boot; the stuff hardly came, to whoro It should, ho sho" politely but firmly asked would tho slgnorina do It over again. No imperfect work must leavo the laboratory 1 wns told thnt these boots-which are tho greatest boon to sufferers'' (crutches can bo done without)-.-were invented by an English sculptress, a Miss Ilalla. iiml Homo Knf?lt!$h,woman has gone to each of the ontento countries to instruct our nlllds how to make thGm. In ono picture nt3 yours to gather the fruits Ami evrry flower