To the Citizens of Two Thousand & one
The manufacturing interests of our city at the present time are conspicuous principally for their scarcity. Although six railroads connect us with our neighbors; large coal deposits north, east, & west at the doors of our city; an abundent [sic] water power in the city, water works from the mountains the wonder is we are not now a thriving manufacturing city. That this will not be long in coming is the sincere believe of all, probably, but the desire of a portion only, of our people. Just now those desiring manufacturing establishments are largely in the majority but not always has this been the case. At a meeting the writer once attended to promote an oil well prospect, when enthusiasm ran high at the bright prospect of striking oil down the Fountain creek one of this class arose to inquire if oil wells in our vicinity would not cause a "disagreeable odor?" The reply was he would not mind that so much if he, personally, "struck a forty thousand dollar well." The laugh which followed clearly showed the complication of that meeting. Whether it was the damper caused by the allusion to the odor, Colorado City's recent slight success with oil well prospecting or lack of funds or leaders, the initial well was never drilled & we are still living in ignorance of what is beneath us in the way of oil or gas. Colo. City is just now renewing her efforts & according to news paper reports a company has formed & ordered material for another venture in oil or gas wells. About 1894 the same people who constitute the present company sunk two wells & struck a small flow of gas in east. One was located by the creek just east of the Midland R.R. roundhouse, the other on the corner of Jefferson & second sts. Colo. City. The flow was not a commercial quantity in either case, but it makes us hopeful & probably wells will be struck & exhausted long ere this reaches anybody's eyes; but I am going to avoid speculations & confine myself to facts.
This non encouragement the manufacturing on the part of so many of our wealthy & influential citizens is the principal cause of the backward state of manufacturing which has been far reaching. In the writers travels in the interests of his foundry a great many expressed surprise to learn manufacturing of any kind was conducted at Colorado Springs. Many thought a city ordinance prohibited it, hence with this impression those who might have contemplated manufacturing looked elsewhere than Colorado Springs.
Another cause is the high price of labor by which the whole state is set back. It is particularly high in Colorado Springs because living expenses are higher than other cities of the state. I do not know whether the aristocratic, leisure class are responsible for this by their extravigant [sic] examples but it is a notoriously expensive place because in spite of the apparent lack of resources the city thrives & house rent & other household expenses hold up to high figures.
All this is changing just now & we are at the turning point. The discovery of gold at Cripple creek & its wonderful development. The new railroad to the mining district tapping its mountains of treasure. The completion of large reduction works & the building of the Portland will now underway. The installation of large hoisting machinery at the coal mines north of the city. The completion this summer of the "Colorado Springs Electrical Companies" large generating plant at the north of one of the coal mines. These are sure to be followed by a variety & magnitude of manufacturing; but again I am speculating. Beginning with the most important plant which is a combination of the "Colorado & Philadelphia" & the "Standard Reduction Works" now two of the plants comprising the U.S. Reduction & Referring Works, these works are a model of completeness treating eight hundred tons of ore daily.
The ore is first crushed & rolled by powerful machinery reducing it to three quarter mesh that is so all well pass through screen wire with three quarter inch openings. Then it is sampled & a price agreed upon with the shipping mines representative present.
It is then bedded to insure uniform mixture as to value & composition.
From the bedding floor it goes through a drying machine & then through fine crushing rolls reducing it to twelve mesh. It then passes through a double decked roasting furnace where it is roasted on the upper hearth & cooled on the lower hearth. It is then conveyed to the barrel house weighed & charged into clorination [?] barrels large revolving steel cylinders with massive heads & trummions. All this is preparatory i.e. the breaking up of the telluride of gold so that the gold will become soluable in the chemicals employed. The ore when charged into the barrels is mixed with water, chloride of lime, sulphuric acid & agitated by revolving barrel. When the solution of gold is complete, the water solution of chloride of gold is separated from the pulp by water pressure from above through a filterer with which each barrel is provided. The gold liquor is then taken into a series of tanks where by passing in a gas, bi-hydrogen sulphide, reaction is as 2 Au Cl 3 + 3 H 2S = AU 2 S 3 + 6 HCl.
This sulphate of gold is separated from the valuless remaining liquor by passing it through filtering presses.
The sulphate of gold after collecting in the press is roasted in a muffle furnace to burn off the sulphur. This leaves the gold in the form of a brown powder which looks like clay. This is mixed with soluable flux consisting mainly of the carbonates of sodium potassium & borax glass & exposed to a high temperature in an ordinary crucible from which the gold is pored into moulds & is ready for the mint.
The next important industry is the Hassell Iron Works Company manufacturing brass & iron castings their specialty being structural iron & railroad work consisting of car & engine castings. The company employ seventy-five skilled workmen & manufacture a large amount of structural iron not only for the city but neighboring towns.
The equipment consists of a sixteen ton per hour Whiting cupola furnace; a brass furnace later planers drill presses etc. ordinary to a general machine shop.
The Out West Painting Co. manufacture blank books & do considerable jobbing in the state. The Manitou Mineral Water Co. charge the well spring waters with their own gas storing it by placing a metal bell over one of the springs & conducting it into a large gas tank. They do a large shipping business & have been in operation for ten or twelve years.
The Pike's Peak Brick Co. ship a few fire brick but most of their work is well.
The Hill Brick & Tile Co are just starting the manufacture of fire brick & tile.
The Brewer Schrader Co., Schlessenger Bros. also Messrs. Forbes & Ware manufacture pressed common brick.
All of the brick plants mentioned have power machinery consisting of dry pans & hydraulic presses the latter being automatic machines capable of producing thirty thousand brick a day.
An interesting plant is the El Paso Ice & Coal Co. artificial ice plant; the refrigerating system employed is known as the absorption process which is as follows. A twenty-eight percent solution of amoniacal water is aerated [?] by passing steam at eighty pounds pressure through coils of iron pipe submerged in said solution which drives off in gaseous form the amonia [sic], leaving behind a weak solution of amonia [sic] called weak liquor.
From the upper part of the distilling tank the amonia gas is drawn & subsequently cooled to the condensing temperature & liquifies. It is then released through a small orifice & allowed to expand. This act of expansion demanding the heat due to vaporization of liquid into gas, which is the equal of the heat taken out of the gas when it was liquified in the condensing coils. The heat thus demanded by the expanding gas is supplied by the water in the ice cans which is reduced to the freezing point & congealed.
During the congealing of this water the contained air forms minute bubbles & under ordinary circumstances would make white or snow ice but at the El Paso company's plant of this city the management have overcome this difficulty by introducing into the can a stream of compressed air which keeps the freezing water in motion & frees at the congealing surface the minute bubbles & produce ice as clear as crystal.
The machinery employed comprises pressure boilers, amonia [sic] pumps, air compressor, tanks & coiled pipe. The company are producing about twenty-five tons daily in season.
A pottery plant is just being erected by Mr. Artus Van Briggle in a residence building on the corner of Nevada Av. & Monument to be known as the Van Briggle Pottery Co. Only art pottery is to be manufactured & of the highest order. Mr. Van B. being at the top of his profession in art pottery. He is the originator of a dull glaze finish which is very popular. Like many others he locates in Colo Springs only on account of ill health. His market being N.Y. City & Paris France, & other large cities. Colo clay is used altogether which is of an excellent quality. The machinery employed which is belt driven is a blunger, which mixes the clay. A sifter, clay tank & a potters wheel & a press.
A photograph of two of Mr. Van B.'s designs are enclosed in this letter. Also a photograph of the writer who hopes some one possibly a decendent [sic] may experience some pleasure in reading this letter & assuring all that it is with many pleasurable thoughts he contemplates you & your surroundings one hundred years hence.
Very sincerely yours,
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