Loading a Whaleback Ship, Chicago, Ill.
Chicago is situated in the center of the Great Central Plains, one of the most fertile and prosperous regions of the world. It is a wonderful grain producing district and has been called the "Bread Basket of the World." Most of the grain raised here and in the agricultural districts of the West is shipped to Chicago for distribution.
In this picture a cargo of grain is being loaded into a whaleback ship at one of the great grain elevators, with a comined capacity of thirty-two million bushels. Inside the tall building which we see in this view are enormous grain bins twelve feet square and eighty feet deep. The grain is drawn up into these bins by means of a series of buckets fastened to an endless belt which extends from the top of the bin to the loaded car or vessel. From these bins the grain passes through a hopper, which measures accurately, and is then sent in a continuous stream through great spouts into the back of the "Whaleback," to be transported to some port in the Great Lakes. The "Whaleback" is an extraordinary form of vessel designed especially for Lake freighters. These low, flat vessels use steam only, are without masts, and their peculiar shape, resembling the back of a whale, makes them safe in heavy storms which come up more suddenly in the Great Lakes than on the ocean. A heavy sea can wash over them without doing any damage.
The value of the grain in one of these elevators varies with the outlook for a good or poor crop - in the near future. Speculators also raise and lower the price, as is done with oil..
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