100 Years Ago: March 1920
This is the sixty-second installment of my short reviews of one-hundred-year-old National Geographic magazines.
The first article in this month’s issue is entitled “Massachusetts – Beehive of Business” and was written by William Joseph Showalter, the author of numerous articles appearing in National Geographic. The article contains forty-one black-and-white photographs of which three are full-page in size.
Massachusetts was a land of contradictions and comparisons. Lilliput in area, it was Brobdingnag in industry; forced to import bread, it exported clothing to many nations; oldest American colony, except Virginia, it had the highest percentage of immigrants, save Rhode Island and the upper Midwest; and it lost half of its farm land in thirty years while doubling its population.
It would take the area of 366 Massachusetts to cover the lower forty-eight. Despite its small size, it was a giant when measured by the production of its factories. In its contributions to Federal Government it ranked fifth; in money appropriated for its own betterment it ranked fourth; and in the debt it incurred in order to promote the welfare of its people it ranked second despite the fact that seven states were richer.
Mr. Showalter stated that Plymouth, Massachusetts was planning a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival. While there were citizens in the Bay State who had ten generations or more of American blood in their veins, two-thirds of the people in the commonwealth had parents. One or both of which were born under alien flags. The author posited whether immigration had made Massachusetts any less American. The statistics he provided proved otherwise. While sixth in population, the state was fifth in voluntary enlistment for the war and they helped financed it by being third in the first two rounds of the Liberty Loan drives and fourth in the next three rounds.
Manufacturing thrived in Massachusetts but at the expense of agriculture. Only one person in twenty was engaged in farming, or ranching. No other state had such low a percentage of population devoted to it. Full one half of the farmland claimed by the Pilgrims and their descendants in over two hundred years had been surrendered back to nature in the last three decades. The lure of high wages and short hours caused a wholesale desertion from the farms. On a drive through the countryside a person would have seen thousands of miles of overgrown stone walls left over from several generations of long abandoned farms. These walls, some so wide that a two-horse carriage could ride on its top, were not only boundaries but storage for the vast quantity of loose rock cleared from the soil for planting.
In spite of the large loss of acreage for farming, the value of Massachusetts crops per acre were higher than from any other state. The land had been adapted for the growth of specialties, seeds, onions, etc. The Massachusetts Agricultural College was striving to offset the tide carrying people from farm to factory, but the task was a hard one.
Massachusetts was one of the first states to appreciate the advantage of good roads and undertook a statewide program of highway construction. That effort produced a system of truck lines which resulted in the State becoming a paradise for the summer motorist. This vacation land could suit every taste and pocketbook. Just as Massachusetts was a pioneer in automobile roads, it was also first in the development of its historic resources. There were markers throughout the State telling in brief outline the history of hollowed spots.
From its earliest days the State had led the nation in education. Here was where the first colonial grammar school was established, the first college, the first elementary free school, the first academy, the first high school, and the first normal school. The list of higher institutions of learning was long: Harvard and Holyoke, Amherst and Williams, Smith and Wellesley, Tufts and MIT, Clark and Radcliffe, and many more. Most of these institutions were pioneers in their respective fields.
Massachusetts was entirely democratic when it came to education. The poor had as much right to an education as the rich. In 1913 a law was passed requiring every town without a high school of its own to pay tuition in other towns, and to pay for transportation back and forth, up to $1.50 a week. In 1918 another law was enacted to grant State aid to struggling high schools. But with all the progress Massachusetts had made, there were still 600 teachers in the State with salaries less than $550 a year. Adequate pay for teachers was recognized as a requirement and the Bay State was moving in that direction.
Massachusetts was preeminent in the development of labor-saving devices, most notably the automatic conveying machines. In every large department store, or big office building, in the country there were pneumatic tubes and cash-carriers. These were probably built in Massachusetts. Space forbids listing the many services performed by gravity, pneumatic, and electric belt carriers, but millions of hours of labor, and millions of dollars were saved every day in America from these devices.
The Bay State’s light industry was impressive. Footwear to shod every American was produced every year. More cotton goods were produced annually than by the whole world in the time when John Adams was President. Hosiery to cover 40,000 miles of legs and feet, and enough wool to make a twenty-foot bandage to wrap around the earth were just two other annual production yardsticks. There were twelve million spindles in the State converting fiber into yarn and thread. A quarter of a million looms produced eight miles of cotton cloth every minute, and some two billion yards of woven goods each year. Every third spindle in the nation was in Massachusetts.
Mr. Showalter describes, in great detail, everything that went into the making of a piece of calico, starting with bales of cotton and going through machine after machine until the finished product appeared. It took a bale-breaker, a “feeder”, an “opener”, a “breaker picker”, an “intermediate picker”, and a “card” just to clean the cotton for making thread. Then the cotton passed through a set of reducing rolls which converted it into a rope with no strength an inch in diameter called a sliver. Next the sliver was put through drawing frame where six slivers are combined and stretched to make one longer sliver. This process is repeated two more times making one sliver from 216 original slivers.
The final sliver was still lacked any strength, it needed to be twisted. The first step was to feed two final slivers into a “slubber” which twisted and stretched them into one strand much longer with a diameter of a clothesline, called a “roving”. Next, two strands of roving were twisted and stretched into one. Two of these intermediate rovings were then twisted and stretched into a final roving the diameter of string: sixteen laps to a sliver, 216 slivers to a roving, 8 rovings to a strand of yarn – 27,648 doublings from original lap to unspun yarn. Next, the final roving was run through the spinning frame where it was stretched to the desired diameter and then twisted to the required strength. If the yarn was to be “woof” it was spun on bobbins and ready for the loom. If, however, it was intended to become “warp” thread there were several more steps to go.
Bobbins of warp were taken from the spinning frame and put in a “spooler” where it was wound up on large spools, ends tied together to make a thread about a mile long. Three or four hundred of these spools were set in a frame known as the “warper creel”. These threads were all wound, side by side, on a big reel known as a “warper beam”. To make cloth forty inches wide required two to three thousand warp threads. Five warper beams, each containing 400 threads were put into a “slasher” where they were starched and dried. Finally, it was ready for the loom. All 2,000 warps were threaded into the loom for the first slasher. Every time an empty slasher was swapped out the ends of each thread were tied together so the loom would not require rethreading. A small machine tied the knots at a rate of 240 per minute.
The cloth was known as “grey cloth” in the mills, but was known as unbleached muslin in stores. After inspection it was sent to the print works. Many pieces of cloth were sewn together and made into a long roll. It was then passed through a “cotton shear” which clipped the bulk of the loose fuzz. Next it was carefully singed to remove the remaining fuzz. Next the cloth went to the bleaching kettles, or “kiers” and boiled for twelve hours. Then it was washed for several hours. This process was repeated with the effect that the cloth was white instead of its original dirty yellow. It was then dried and wound into big rolls ready for printing. For a print of eight colors, the cloth was run through a printing machine with eight etched rollers, each with its own color dye. The cloth was passed over the rollers in succession and then the dye was dried over a series of steam-filled drums. To turn this colored cloth into calico it was washed, dried, and starched. A “tenter-frame” stretched and dried the cloth which then was irons with polished steel rollers. The finished calico was then cut into forty-yard lengths, then it was folded and shipped to the dry-goods stores.
Wool was prepared slightly differently than cotton. Wool was first scoured to remove grease. The total amount of woolen fabrics produced in Massachusetts each year was about 115,000,000 square yards. That was more than a third of all the woolens made in the United States. The Bay State also produced goods that were a mixture of wool and cotton or had cotton warp and wool filling.
Silk differed from cotton and wool in that it was a long thread and not a short fiber. More on the silk weaving can be found in the article “The Industrial Titan of America” in the May 1919 issue of National Geographic. Holyoke, Massachusetts was the home to one of the purest silk goods made in America. The silk from there was not loaded with tin, but pure unweighted silk. Pure silk was one of the most durable of all cloths.
The shoe manufacturing in Massachusetts each year used the hides of more than 135,000 kangaroos and wallabies and a third of a million high-grade sheepskins. Nearly 3,000,000 goats and kids were slaughtered each year for the industry. A million ordinary sheep and lamb skins and as many more calfskins were used, to say nothing of the thousands of hides from cattle and horses. Brockton was preeminent in the manufacture of men’s shoes while Lynn was noted for its women’s footwear. Haverhill was known as the slipper city of the world. While America was the largest market for shoes, Massachusetts exported shoes to ninety other countries and colonies as well.
Mr. Showalter then went into the production of shoes from hide to finished product much the same way he described clothmaking from cotton to calico. This trip showed how far the art of quantity production had come. He described the types of a shoes: the “welt” shoe had a strip of leather between sole and the “upper”; the McKay shoe which had the upper sewn directly to the sole; the “turned” shoe had the sole and the upper sewn together inside out and then turned; and the nailed, pegged, or screwed-on sole which as the cheapest grade of shoes.
From hide to shoe the leather passed through fifty machines, each performed a specific task. The first machine measured precisely the area of the irregular shaped hide. From there, the author only mentioned the major steps in the journey through the factory. In the lining department, a big machine cut the uppers twenty to forty thicknesses at a clip much like a cookie cutter. Next was the upper leather department where men with razor-sharp knives cut the out vamp, quarter, and toe pieces using aluminum patterns. Next, the lather was “skived” to prevent raw edges from showing. The edges were fed through a machine that shaved them down to a bevel, covered in cement, and the edge folded over much as a seamstress lays a hem.
There were twenty-odd parts to the upper of a button shoe, more in a lace shoe. An organizer was tasked with having each piece sewn properly to its mate in the proper order. The quarters were joined at the back. The vamps were cemented into shape ready for inclusion in the finished upper. The tips went to the toe-cap room where fourteen different processes were required to transform a piece of tip leather into a finished cap. In the button-hole department one machines cut and worked button hole while another put eyelets and hooks in the shoes. Next the quarters and the vamps were carefully joined. After a few more minor processes the upper was ready to meet its sole mate.
The upper was first lasted. The insole was tacked to the last and the upper was pulled tightly over the last. The toe and heel were held down by fine wire. The lasted shoe then went through a trimming machine while a mechanical hammer pounded the leather smooth. The next machine beat the toes and heels making the shoes ready for welting. The welt was sewn to the insole and the upper in one sewing. It then passed through the inseam trimming machine. Another machine then beat the welt, softening it. The insole and welt were covered with rubber cement as was the sole. Finally, in a pressing machine the sole is attached and the cement was allowed to dry, after which the outsole was sewn to it.
Next, the shoe went to the rough rounding machine which rounded the sole and the welt. The machine also cut small grooves in the sole for receiving and covering the stitching, which was the final step in process of making a shoe. One shoe factory in the Bay State had a daily output of 14,000 pairs, each pair taking two weeks to manufacture from hides to shoes.
The author mused about going through the intricate steps in the manufacture of watches in the State but instead just touched on a few aspects of the industry. Alloy steel wire worth $5 a pound was converted into delicate hairsprings worth $49,000 a pound. A machine converted steel wire into microscopic screws so small that 50,000 made a thimbleful. Another machine transformed bare blanks into completely bored movement plates. It performed 141 operations on one little disk all without the aid of human hands.
The topic shifted to the town of Attleboro a city famous for its jewelry. There were machines converting gold wire into watch chain which ran year-round. Rolled jewelry was in high demand worldwide and the factories in Attleboro were months behind in filling their orders. In one plant, filled watch chains were made. Starting with an ingot of copper and zinc a foot long and an inch and a half in diameter, it had a sleeve of 14-carat gold cast to a perfect fit placed over it. This gold-filled ingot went through a series of machines which hammered it, reducing its diameter and increasing it length until it was thin enough to drawn through dies as wire each time growing thinner until the desired diameter was reached. Fed into a machine, the wire was cut to exact length by a knife. Two jaws closed the bit of wire into an open “U” in such a way that it became an “O” with another movement as its position was flipped from horizontal to upright. The wire was fed through the finished link and the process repeated, the chain grew at a rate of many feet an hour.
Many other lines of manufacture in which Massachusetts led the nation included the following examples: the State made seven-eighths of the nation’s whips; more than two-fifths of its gum shoes, rubber goods, and linen goods; one-third of its leather belts, bicycles, and motorcycles; a fourth of its envelopes, fireworks, silverware, sporting goods, suspenders, and garters. In all of these lines, Massachusetts surpassed every other state.
When this article was written, Massachusetts had 32 cities of 20,000 population and upward and more than 100 smaller municipalities with populations over 5,000. Boston will be covered later in the “Big City” series of articles appearing from time to time in the National Geographic. The second city of the State was Worcester, the “Heart of the Commonwealth” which has been a cradle of invention. Fall River, third in population was America’s foremost “mill town”. It had 148 textile mills employing 40,000 operators. A close competitor of Fall River was New Bedford which made fewer yards of cloth, but specialized in finer grades.
Cambridge was America’s capital of education with Harvard, Radcliff, and MIT; but it was also manufacturing center. It had the worlds largest hosiery and underwear mills, an extensive sail-cloth factory, a shoe-leather tannery, and pneumatic-tube factories. Springfield, situated in the Connecticut Valley was a thriving municipality. Lynn was the woman’s shoe capital of the world, and Lawrence was a great mill town producing textiles and paper. Lawrence is where the paper for the National Geographic was made. Following in order of size was Somerville, a suburb of Boston; Brockton, where men’s shoe were produced; Holyoke, with its paper mills and silk factories; Malden, the “gum-shoe” city; Salem, once the witch city; Haverhill, the “slipper city”; Chelsea, industrial borough of Boston; and Newton.
Fitchburg brought up the rear of the line of cities with 40,000 population and above. It made three revolvers a minute, five pairs of shoes, four cans of axle grease, ten paper boxes, fifty paper bags, fifteens pounds of brass, among other produces. Among the smaller towns, several were worth noting. Plymouth Rock and Provincetown, Lexington and Concord, and scores of such places were shrines that lived in the hearts of all Americans.
Massachusetts had established many public parks. Greylock, the State’s highest peak had 9,000 acres set aside for the public. Mount Tom was another placed under State jurisdiction. A number of State forests were established. One in Plymouth County covered 7,000 acres and was named the Miles Standish State Forest. Another, near Andover, contained 1,200 acres, while a third, close to Winchendon, was 1,700 acres in size. Two in the Berkshire Hills combine to cover 2,200 acres.
The second, and last, article this month is entitled “Formosa the Beautiful” and was written by Alice Ballantine Kirjassoff. It contains fifty-nine black-and-white photographs from the official photographer of the Government of Taiwan and from the Chief of the Camphor Department. Seven of these photos are full page in size. The article also contains a sketch map of the island on page 262 including an inset of its region in the Pacific Ocean.
“Ilha Formosa”, or beautiful Island in Portuguese, was the name given to the island by early explorers. The name was still used in Europe, but the Japanese, who owned the island, called it Taiwan. The author recommended sailing along the west coast on a clear day to see the mountain scenery. The fertile plain with its paddy fields and little villages, laid before ranges of tree-fringed mountains. Five sometimes six parallel ranges could be seen, each paler than the one before it. Each appeared as a band of color, from the deepest sapphire to the palest azure. The view was an unbroken chain of beauty from north to south. On the east of the islands were the highest coastal cliffs known, some places rising 6,000 feet above the ocean.
Formosa was about 264 miles, north to south, and 80 miles at its widest. Its diverse vegetation included palm and tropical fruit-trees on the western plains and the bearded banyans, tree-ferns, and bamboo grass in the jungles of the lower mountain slopes. Flowers included butterfly orchids and rose-pink azaleas. Higher up, the plateaus were covered with camphor laurel, the largest tracts of these valuable trees in the world. Still higher grew forests of conifer trees – the giant benihi, similar to the redwoods of California, hinoki, or Japanese cypress, pine, cedar, and spruce. The craggy peaks of the tallest mountains were sparsely vegetated, and snow-covered more than half the year.
The author sailed from Kobe to the port of Kelung on the extreme north of the island arriving after a four-day steamer journey. Kelung was known as the world’s second wettest ports, and on arrival the rain was coming down in sheets. After her luggage was unloaded from the steamer, she boarded a train for Taihoku (Taipei), the capital city. Ten minutes after leaving Kelung, the train entered a long tunnel. Upon reaching the other side the landscape was flooded with sunshine. Lush green rice fields with denser green hills and purpling mountains in the background were on display in brilliant sunlight.
She passed the low, mud thatched dwelling of some Chinese homesteader with a pool of water instead of a front yard. Water buffalo were taking their siestas and there were a large number of geese and ducks about. Two black sows had their numerous offspring grunting at their heels. There was no barn; the pigs lived inside as members of the household.
She arrived a Taihoku in a little more than an hour, a journey of twenty miles. She was amazed at its westernized appearance – the broad streets, the beautiful parks, and the imposing public buildings. She was expecting the city to possess the picturesqueness of the Orient as in the many Japanese cities she had recently visited. Only the gateways of the old wall, which surrounded the ancient Chinese city, remained, looking out of place in this modern city. She found it more Oriental in Daitotei, the Chinese section of Taihoku, but she found it unnaturally clean for a Chinese city. The Japanese insisted upon two official house-cleanings a year under a policeman’s vigilant eye. Everything the Chinaman owned was scoured within and without except his wives and children.
The sounds of Daitotei were characteristically Chinese. Constant puppet shows were accompanied by drums and symbols; marriage and funeral processions occurred often; firecrackers were used to celebrate birthdays; “sing-song” girls entertained tea-house guest with their piercing music; the push-cart vendors shouted their far-reaching cries; the passers-by conversed in an unintelligible chatter; and the ever present hens cackled underfoot. She needed to be careful not to step on them.
After the long journey, she retired early only to be awoke by a Chinese orchestra playing in the narrow alley behind the house she was in. The music was discordant, repetitive, and monotonous. It not only kept her awake, but almost drove her mad. When she asked a servant about the performance, she was told that the wealthy man next door was dying and the music was to drive away evil spirits that may have been lurking about the house. She was thankful that the Japanese had instituted a midnight curfew for such music.
Summer was Daitote’s busy season for it was tea season. Among a row of structures call tea hongs were several chattering tea-pickers. These were generally young girls with nimble fingers for manipulating the tea. They sat on low stools before wide wicker trays separating the coarser twigs from the partially fired tea leaves. The tea was packed in decorated, lead-lined chests. Coolies were seen everywhere loading these chests for export. The author estimated that 90% of Formosa Oolong went to America. The little that went to England was used in making choice blends in combination with other teas.
Each chest was sewn up in reed matting. The tea was so sensitive that it could not be stored with certain other freight, especially copra. Oolong tea had a wonderful, natural fragrance but Formosa also produced an artificially scented tea called Pouchong. Exported chiefly to the Philippines, Pouchong had four different kinds of flowers used to scent it, two varieties of jasmine, white oleanders, and gardenias. These flowers were grown in great quantities outside the city and bartered on a certain street corner in Daitotei. She fondly remembered that street corner as “the abode of Perfume – an oasis of Fragrance in a hostile desert”.
The most picturesque part of Daitotei was the waterfront of the Tamsui River. Here the junks, with great eyes painted on the sides of the bow, brought cargo from Tansui and Kelung. The customs jetty was the scene of the most animated discussions. The customs officials were very thorough in their search for smuggled goods. Every hour of every day the river was aglow with life – women washing their clothes; the footsore soaking their feet; duck-tenders giving their brood a swim; fishermen trying their luck; housewives cleaning their vegetables and meat; cattle and their owners fording the stream at low tide; and, at sunset, sampans laden with families that lived up river gliding home.
The populous of Formosa was mainly agricultural. The cultivation of rice and sugar cane was encouraged by the government, and these were grown in great quantity. The most interesting industry was the production of camphor. Formosa held a practical monopoly in the world market of this valuable drug. Before the war, Germany had succeeded in manufacturing synthetic camphor, but it was too expensive to compete with natural camphor. Shortly after the Japanese arrived in Formosa, 25 years before this article was written, the camphor industry became a government monopoly. Before that, there was much waste in cutting down trees and in extracting camphor from them. Large tracts of land were given over to the cultivation of the camphor laurel. The oldest of these cultivated trees were twenty years of age and due to be cut down next year.
It was paradoxical that the savage head-hunters of Formosa were both an impediment and a boon to the camphor industry. As forests were cut down, the head-hunters were driven further back into the mountains. The camphor workers were never safe in the forest. They moved in the company of armed guards, and there was always the danger of ambush. And yet, if this menace had not existed, the camphor forests would have disappeared long ago. Thanks to the head-hunters there were still large tracts of virgin camphor forests in Formosa.
Camphor trees grew best on moderate, well-drained slopes, not over 4,000 feet in elevation, with ample sunlight. Nowhere else in the world had these trees attain such height and girth. Trees from 35 to 40 feet circumference at the base had been noted, but trees of 20 feet are considered a very ample specimen. An average tree with a circumference of 12 feet yielded 6,600 pounds of camphor worth about $5,000. Strictly speaking, there were no camphor forests, as the camphor laurel was only one of a number of trees growing together.
Natives stills were scattered throughout the district where crude camphor is collected, packed in tins, and carried down the mountain to the nearest railway line, whence it goes to the refinery in Taihoku. Mrs. Kirjassoff visited one of these native stills. She had motored about ten miles beyond Urai, the first savage village south of Taihoku. [Note: the author refers to the indigenous people of Formosa as savages, their regions as savage county, and their possessions as savage dwellings, etc.] Her group motored as far as Sintian, and from there hiked or rode sedan chairs. They had to cross several streams and always found a Chinese ferryman with sampan waiting at the bank.
The ferryman at the last stream they crossed was an old “ripe” savage. He considered the party as his brothers saying “We are not like these” pointing to a few Japanese and Chinese in the back of the sampan. The Formosan savages had the belief that, besides themselves, there were only two types of people, Chinese and Japanese, and if a person was neither them then they must be a relation.
At Urai they stopped for lunch at a Japanese inn, and the entire savage population turned out to watch them eat. They had some caviar sandwiches in their lunch baskets, and when they were finished eating, there was one left. The author gave it to an old savage chief. He ate it with relish and asked for more. A bread-and-butter sandwich was not to his liking, however. She assumed he would have preferred champagne to beer.
The still they visited was operated by members of one Chinese family. Several men were gouging chips from the trunk of a camphor tree with adzes while others were in the still feeding the fires. Adjoining the still was a shanty where the workers lived. In the front door was a woman preparing the afternoon meal, while beside her a little boy was playing blocks with chips from which the camphor had been extracted.
The stills were operated by placing camphor chips in a retort over boiling water. As the camphor vaporized it passed through pipes into submerged vats, which were arranged that cool water from a mountain stream could be ran over them to accelerate crystallization. After the camphor had crystallized the vats were opened, and the product was placed on wooden troughs to allow whatever free oil to drain off. This oil would yield 90% of crude camphor in the process of refining.
The earliest records showed that Formosa had been peopled with wild tribes of probably Malayan and Polynesian origin. They resembled the Dayaks of Borneo, and although their origin had not been proven, their resemblance to certain South Sea tribes justified ascribing to them a common ancestry. They were found on the island in all stages of development. The “raw” savages, as the Chinese termed them, lived much like their ancestors did centuries ago, while the “ripe” savages lived on the borderland between their wild kin and the Chinese settlers, and had assimilated Chinese ways of life. The savage population of Formosa was estimated at 150,000. There were eight main groups of savage tribes on the island, each group different in dress, speech and customs, and tribes within groups displayed minor differences. The groups were sufficiently different to lead to the supposition that they migrated to Formosa at different times and perhaps from different places.
There was one trait that all “raw” savages had in common, and that was their passion for head-hunting. With some groups it was bound up in their religious and social life, while with others it was more a question of prowess with the brave who could display the greatest array of skulls regarded a hero. The “ripe” savages had given up the practice but still performed old dances originally performed over the captured heads. In every savage village the open-air skull museum was a matter of civic pride, and most chiefs had their private collection of skulls as well.
When the Chinese army of occupation left Formosa and the Japanese entered their new domain, guns were at a premium. Since the Chinese residents were not allowed to keep firearms, nearly all the rifles belonged to the departing army. About 20,000 were sold by Chinese traders to savages. That made the head-hunters particularly dangerous to cope with. It was so common for a Chinaman living near the savage border to lose his head that not much attention was paid, unless his relatives banded together to avenge the murder. But if some Japanese policeman, official, or soldier fell victim, there was always an expedition launched. The village was forewarned, and if the culprit was surrendered all were spare except the guilty one, who paid the death penalty.
The number of attacks had been greatly reduced thanks to the Japanese who had installed a live-wire barrier from Karenko to Pinan, a distance of about a hundred miles, to serve as protection against savage raids. The trees for twenty feet on both sides of the barrier were cleared to prevent savages from crossing the wire by felling trees on it. At a distance of every half mile along the route blockhouses are stationed, and sentries paced the beat between two posts making sure the wire wasn’t tampered with or any holes had been burrowed under it. At first the electric current was only turned on at night, the usual time of savage raids, but the head-hunters noticed that no smoke issued from the powerhouse by day. They switched to daylight raiding so the Japanese were forced to charge the wire by day as well.
There were two types of deer, Formosa spotted deer and Swinhoe’s rusa deer, that roamed in large numbers on the mountains occupied by the savages. On the seacoast were found enormous turtles, from three five feet in length and from 200 to 400 pounds in weight. Traders went as far as the barricade to trade for deer horn and turtle shell, at the risk of their lives.
It was not the author’s purpose to write a descriptive history of the savage tribes; she admitted she had no first-hand knowledge on the subject. And it was difficult for the anthropologists of her time to do any research on the subject due to the fact that the Japanese authorities would not grant permission for expeditions into the savage district. It was difficult enough to be granted permission to go among the “ripe” savages and, when allowed, it was mandatory for the party to have a police escort.
The author took a trip to Kampanzan, a small savage village in the north of the island. Her group started by train to Toyen, a two-hour ride on a beautiful autumn day. It was during the second rice harvest, laborers in the paddy-field were reaping, threshing, and plowing. Portable tubs with canvas awnings were used for threshing. The farmers would rap bundles of grain against corrugated boards attached to the tubs to separate the rice from the blade. Foot pumps, worked by three and sometimes four coolies, pumped water from one field to another. They were invented by a Spanish missionary and were used in China as well. Many inventions that were thought to be Oriental originated in the West. The tonga, a vehicle used in India was invented by an American missionary, and the jinrikisha (rickshaw) was invented by another American missionary for his lame wife.
The plowing was done by water buffalo, where they were brought down from mountain pasture, where they returned after their work was complete. Wherever there were buffalo, graceful white herons were seen perched on their backs. It seemed to the author that each buffalo had a particular heron as his pal, ridding the smaller pests from its host.
From Toyen, they took push-cars, small wicker chariots on narrow-gauge rails. The seats were wide enough for two passengers and there was a small platform in the back where the two coolies, who pushed the car uphill, stood and rode going downhill. The author found the journey tedious on level ground and upgrades, but nothing short of thrilling when going down a mountain. The first hour was through level country. They passed fields of sugar cane, with occasional patches of sweet potatoes cabbages, and pumpkins. Now and then, they came upon a Chinese village near a stream. Children’s shouts warned of their approach. Women hobbled out doorways and exchanged laughing comments on their appearance; and young men jeered at them while older men looked on them with indifference.
At length they started the ascent. At first, they passed through terraced tea gardens and groves of pineapples, bananas, and citrus fruits. As they progressed the landscape grew wild. Ornamental grassed fringed their path while lichen-covered rocks projected overhead. There was a profusion of tropical foliage plants, elephant’s ears, plantains, and tree ferns. In addition, there were flowering shrubs of many variety, wild hydrangeas, morning-glories, pink oleanders, hibiscus, and gold-banded lilies.
Kampanzan was not over 2,000 feet in elevation, but the mountains surrounding the village formed a splendid setting with densely wooded hills and higher peaks veiled in clouds and snow. At dusk they arrived at the village, tucked away in a valley between two mountains. Smoke clouded the doorways of the mud, grass-roofed huts because dinner meals of sweet potatoes were being cooked over wood fires by savage mothers. Children ran out at their approach while men just blinked and smoked their pipes.
They went to a small Japanese inn, and after dinner wondered how to spend the hour before bedtime. That is when they met the savage, Kim Soan. He was a messenger from the chief police official. He inquired if they had everything they needed. A member of the party who lived in Formosa for years and spoke Chinese told him that they were fine. After Kim had gone, the friend told the group that he knew the man and knew his history.
When the Chinese rule Formosa there was a governor who conceived a scheme to educate young boys of conquered tribes and then send them out among their people. Kim was one of those pupils, but when it came time to returning to the wild, he balked. He had become attached to civilization and refused to return to savagery. When the Japanese arrived, he was commissioned to accompany two Japanese officials who went into savage territory to take a census. They were attacked and the savages killed the two Japanese officials but spared Kim, even though he was dressed in Japanese garb. When he returned and reported the incident he was accused of the murders and condemned to die. He managed to escape and fled into the mountains where he lived for eight years. He was granted a pardon, returned to the plains, and made an instructor at a school for savage children in Kampanzan.
The gentleman had hardly finished his tale when Kim Soan reappeared. The gentleman asked Kim if he remembered him from the school Kim attended at Tamsui. Kim said it was so long ago he couldn’t remember. Next Kim was asked if he had become savage again and how many heads had he cut off. Kim leapt to his feet and swore that he had never killed anyone. When pressed to explain his tattooing which indicated that he had indeed taken part in a head-hunting raid, he admitted that he was forced to go on two of them but that he never killed anyone.
Then the group asked Kim many questions. He told them that every tribe had a blacksmith who kept the guns in good condition. He contradicted the rumor that ammunition was being smuggle to the savages; instead they made their own bullets from cured wood. They could only be used at close range but exploded like dumdum bullets on impact. The savages made the caps from match boxes and match heads which they acquired easily by trading with the Chinese. For hunting birds and beasts, bows and arrows were used; gun were only used to hunt humans. When asked if it was true that a man must procure a head before he could marry, Kim said no. He told them that his people believed the only way to get into heaven was with blood-stained hand.
Before they left Kampanzan they visited the savage school where Kim was teaching. The children sang the Japanese national anthem to them. Several children made speeches praising the Japanese and the teacher. The Japanese are teaching the children skills like cloth-weaving on handlooms. This somehow depressed the author who found it pathetic that these wild creatures of the forest were being domesticated like wild beasts in cages.
The bulk of the population of Formosa was Chinese. Several centuries ago, the island was used as a stronghold for both Chinese and Japanese pirates. It wasn’t until the fourteenth century that the Hakkas, outcasts from China, came to farm. After that, several thousand Ming loyalist sought refuge there during the Tatar invasion. There continued to be an influx of immigration from the overpopulated Fu-kien province just across the Formosa Straits.
When the Japanese came into control of the island after the Chino-Japanese War of 1895, a third element of the population was added. The Japanese instituted great material improvements in Formosa. The most important of these were the modern courts of justice. Sanitation measures had eradicated diseases as malaria and bubonic plague. Harbors were improved and railways and bridges were built, however the road systems outside Taihoku needed much improvement. Education had advanced as well, with 13% of Chinese children attending school as compared to 95% of the Japanese children. Opium smoking was controlled by license, with only about 2% of the Chinese smoking and declining. Old industries were thriving and new industries were being introduced. Foreign trade was increasing yearly. The Author saw the general welfare of the Formosan people steadily improving.
At the bottom of the last page of this issue is a notice that proposed two changes to the By-Laws of the Society. The first proposed raising the dues to $2.50 per year, payable in January, and the second allowed the By-Laws to be amended at any meeting of the Board of Members provided a notice of the change had been sent to all members. The notice further announces a special meeting of the Board on March 15th, at Hubbard Memorial Hall, Washington, D.C. at 2:00 p.m. for the purpose of voting on the amendments. The notice was signed, By order of the Board of Managers: O. P. Austin, Secretary.
As always, quite a stellar, in-depth job you've done on this!