The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Holiday Family Fun, The Annual Hunt, Carbide And Other Lighting"

Greetings ta ever one in western Illinois and all readers of The Quill.

I'm a hope'n this week's column finds you'ns all in good spirits and quite refreshed after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Family Holiday Fun

Not only did the "Bruke" family and friends have a good Thanksgiving holiday dinner but we joined together the next day to celebrate one of the young'ns birthday at a local amusement park.

Some of the family went early in the afternoon fer the children ta have fun at all the events. It was peaceful, fun, and all went well.

Late in the afternoon all of the family gathered in one of the side rooms and celebrated with song, presents, and birthday cake.

Afterwards it was back out into what was a swell of adults cheer'n, drink'n, and what ever and all they do whilst watch'n the Hawkeye football game against Nebraska. I take it they was thankful their team won and is yet undefeated.

The young children went on into the game room in which the evening group was much more crowded and rowdy than was enjoyed in the afternoon. The evening crowd of young'ns used quite frequently the "F" word and other vocabulary that would bring a monk ta tears.

They gave gestures with the hand and finger that insinuated sexual activity. Finally, some of the more gentile mothers took courage and spoke ta the mothers of the rowdy very young children.

Such is the world we live in today. One wonders where they learned such things?

The Annual Hunt

Follow'n Friday's excursion, seven of the younger family members, age'n nine years old ta seventeen years, on Saturday went fer their annual pheasant hunt.

They bagged 6 rooster pheasants, one fer each member except'n the nine year old.

See'n as how he was carry'n a BB gun with no BB's in it, no one was surprised he failed to bag a bird.

However, one bird that fell from the sky near him, made him sure he got some lead in it. We didn't argue with him, see'n as how he was the only one that didn't know his gun wasn't loaded.

None-the-less it was good practice fer him and all, including two girls with good guns. Feelns of great joy were expressed fer the days productive hunt.

Carbide And Other Lighting

In last weeks column I promised to follow up with a piece on carbide light plants.

Illumination in the country remained with the candle, oil lamp, and lantern until early in the twentieth century.

Some fellers operated gas generators, wind generators and Del Co Remy plants with banks or shelves of rechargeable glass batteries.

Gas generators had to be started by hand whenever ya wanted light. The Del Co Remy plants were fine fer part of a long winter night but as yer lights dimmed ya knew it was time ta start the generator and recharge the glass batteries.

The boys sez the last one of these they knew of was owned by "Pike Anderson" up north of Biggsville. They said he long since has passed to his just reward in the late 1960's.

Long day without wind presented problems fer the wind generator.

Many folks would put a line shaft on the gas generator and when belted up could churn the milk, operate the wash'n machine, or do other household chores whilst charge'n batteries. Multi task'n ya might say.

Carbide Lights

Gas plants came in several types and brand names. The most common were the carbide type.

The mineral carbide was mixed with water ta produce a flammable gas that could be piped ta fixtures in the house. The substance was volatile when wet, therefore the tanks were located in underground storage or a cave. The mixture of water and carbide could not perform unless it was kept from freeze'n.

There were three forms of carbide, granular, pea size, and chunk. They was fairly well priced in those days at $3.00 per 100 pound can, prepaid.

Pea sized carbide was preferred fer farm plants.

It was poured into the top of a carburator type device that contained water in the lower portion.

When the gas pressure fell low in the water chamber, a valve would open allow'n sufficient mineral ta sift into the water.

The combination of mineral and water created sufficient gas pressure to close the valve and stop the flow of mineral at any pressure desired, usually about three pounds fer home lighting.

A paste-like residue had to be cleaned out at regular intervals or excessive heat would build up and there would be no room fer the gas.

The paste residue could be used as a good fertilizer fer the home garden, a disinfectant fer the chicken house, or as a whitewash when thinned down with water.

Those old carbide plants produced an excellent, soft white light.

The boys reminded me there were chores associated with them like ordering the mineral, hauling it from town, replenish'n the carburator with the right amount at the proper time, and wash'n out the gas chamber.

They sez country folk were glad to be released from those tasks with the come'n of rural electrification.

Carbide plants have long since become country history, the last one they remember be'n in the old Tubb's mansion up north in Kirkwood.

Miners, coon hunters and others in dark events utilized carbide lamps often attached to their hat or helmets.

They were quite efficient in their day before the advent of the many different battery operated types in use today.

Well, that's all fer this week's column, much of which was brought together in thought by the loss of electricity a few weeks ago.

Coal oil/ kerosene lighting, Aladdin lamps, gas, home and home wind powered generators with glass batteries, carbide lamps are all pretty much a thing of the past and remembered in reality in use only by a few.

Thank goodness fer rural electrification progress!

Hope'n ta see ya in church this week.


"Wherever ya is,

whatever ya be a do'n


Keep on Smile'n

Catch Ya Later