ONE THOUSAND WAYS TO MAKE FORTUNE – CHAPTER XXIII.
FORTUNE IN BUILDING MATERIALS.
Boundless Wealth in Brick, Wood and Stone–Farmers Who have Untouched and Unknown Mines–A Man With 2,000,000 Acres–How a Farmer Astonished a Lawyer–A New Way to Measure Land–Men Who Don’t Know They are Rich–Are You One?–More Fortune in the Builder’s Stone than in the Philosopher’s Stone–Secrets of Brick Making–The Exploits of “Lucky” Baldwin–A Man Who Lives in a Glass House–The Floor of the Future–Time is Fortune, but the Shorter the Time the More the Fortune.
It is certain that nearly all the structures now upon the earth will have to be rebuilt during the next half century. When we consider the immense cost and vast number of these buildings, aggregating thousand of millions of dollars, the demand for building materials surpasses all computation and imagination. During the next few decades untold myriads of persons will get rich, either in this discovery of new fields for these materials, exploiting the old ones, or in the invention of new building matter.
“How large is your farm?” inquired a lawyer of a verdant farmer whom he meant to guy. The man of the law winked at his companion as much as to say, “See what sport I will have with the old fool!” “Well,” said the haymaker, “I reckon I have about 2,000,000 acres.” “Two million acres!” gasped the attorney, gazing round; “pray, where is it?” “Down yere,” replied the farmer, pointing his long, skinny fingers at the ground. “I have got a hundred acres on top, and I reckon I own about down to the middle of the y’arth.” The man of the soil spake wiser than he knew. He was rich, but not exactly in the way he imagined, for a granite quarry of the finest kind was found on his land, which caused him to realize a large sum.
862. STONE QUARRYSays a recent publication: “A man who has a quarry of good building stone, easily accessible, is richer than if he owned a gold mine.” But there are immense numbers of such quarries unworked and even unsuspected. It is not too much to say that there are at least a thousand farmers bemoaning unproductive land which contains beneath the surface that which can make them richer than anything they can possibly grow from the soil.
863. ARTIFICIAL STONEMany kinds of artificial stone are now employed, such as Ransom’s concrete, Portland stone, etc. They are made by a mixture of cement, sand and gravel, and are molded into blocks. The value depends upon the kind of cement. No really good lime for this purpose has yet been found in the United States. The man who can discover a calcareous deposit capable of making a good, silicious or argillaceous hydraulic lime will have the market for manufactured stone practically in his hands.
864. BAKED BRICKLate improvements in baking brick have reduced the time required to bake 100,000 bricks from fourteen to four days, and the amount of fuel from forty cords of wood to sixteen. The following suggestions by a brick-burner will show the path of prosperityto those who can reduce the time still further. Mix a little charcoal in the clay. Double the length of the brick. If by either of these ways you can make the bricks a trifle cheaper, while retaining their qualities, you have acquired a fortune. “Lucky” Baldwin, a man afterward famous for his mining and real estate speculations, made his first large fortune in brick-burning. “I had no experience whatever then,” he said, “but I studied up the subject, thoroughly mastered the details, and cleared $1,500 in a month.”
865. GLASS BRICKAnother new idea! Why not make a brick of glass, partially hollow, so that, filled with rarefied air, it can be a non-conductor of heat? Such a brick would be a great improvement on the present method of constructing conservatories, greenhouses and the walls of winter gardens. The plan is being tried in Europe, but there is no patent on the introduction, and nothing to stop an American from introducing a new kind of hothouse. The adage about the “man in a glass house” may be realized yet.
866. RUBBER FLOORSWhy do we go on in the old way, employing rough-sounding and creaking flooring, when there is a material which meets every want for a desirable floor? India rubber tiles prevent slipping, emit no sound under the foot, and have the additional element of an agreeable elasticity. It is a positive pleasure to walk on an India rubber floor. It is, of course, more expensive than wood, but the time is surely coming when every elegant dwelling, all expensive halls and public buildings, as well as the saloon decks of our first-class steamships, will have these improved floors. A man, ambitious to be rich and possessing a few thousands of capital, could hardly do a better thing than to manufacture rubber interlocking tiles, advertising them extensively and exhibiting models to builders.