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Down on the Fish Farm
Condensed from the Scientific American (April '26)
N the platter the waiter set down before us reposed a broiled trout, glistening with the golden melted butter running down its sides. We slipped our knife under the skin to lay bare the firm white meat, vision. ing as we did so the hip-booted angler in some mountain brook casting his bright colored fly to lure this morsel to our table. Then, imbedded in the fish's tail, we saw a small metal tag with the letters "NYSSCO" and our picture of the fisherman vanished. This brook trout had never seen a brook.
Back of that metal tag lies the story of an important and growing industry. To get that story the writer sought a typical fish hatchery in Paradise Valley up in the Pocono Mountains. It is not only the largest com. mercial institution of its kind in the country, but it is complete, supplying hotels, restaurants and markets with trout for food, furnishing fish eggs to most of the state conservation commissions and selling small trout to wealthy sportsmen and fishing clubs to stock their streams. For, today, whether you catch a trout in the brook or order it at the hotel, its first home was the hatchery.
As with every hatchery, the water supply is all important. Preferably it should be spring water free from limestone. Here are ten mountain springs bubbling up with water ineredibly soft. al converging into one rapidly flowing pool with sluices and gates to control the supply readily in the event of freshets. Below are a score of pools surrounding a long wooden hatchery building, the whole enclosed by a high wire fence to keep out poachers.
Each pool is at a lower level than the one preceding it, the water from one spilling down into the next and
so becoming aerated. Each pond is an elongated hexagon in shape. Were it rectangular the water would be likely to lie dormant in the corners, the current running through the center. Each pond is cleaned frequently by draining off the water and sweeping out the sediment with a broom.
Trout swim thickly about in each pool, the big fellows in one, smaller in another, still smaller in a third, and so on. If by some chance a large trout wiggles through a wicket into a pond of smaller ones, every man of the organization drops whatever he is doing and joins in the chase after that one trout. He is a cannibal and if he should be left undisturbed there soon would be none of the little trout left. If necessary, they shoot him.
In these pools the fish are carried along until they are two years old. The water, coming out of the ground close by, is warmer than the air and never freezes over, except in the last pond, where it is so deep the trout can swim about freely far below the ice. In the spring time they are fed twice a day; the rest of the year, they are fed once daily. For the older fish the food consists of chopped beef hearts or sheep pluck. In some hatcheries chopped fish is used for food.
It is interesting to note that scarce. ly a day passes when the fishing season opens, without several fishermen who have had no luck in the brooks, coming to the hatchery to fill up their creels.
November is the spawning time. The trout are caught in nets and carried in tubs into the hatchery, where there are two divided troughs. Into one end of a trough the fish are dumped. One man, acting as a stripper, grasps the fish, tail down, with his left hand, and rubs his hand firmly, pressing not too bard, down the
From the female fish, from 400 to 600 eggs squirt. Each cream-colored egg is about half the size of a pea. The milt from the male fish is stripped in a similar manner into the same pan. After each fish is stripped it is tossed into a trough of running water, the males in one trough, the females into another.
After handling about 30 of the three-year-old females, the stripper has a quart and a half-or 15,000 to 18,000 of eggs. These eggs, together with the milt from the male fish are then washed, spread on a screen bottomed tray and leveled off. The dead eggs are picked out. A pair of little wooden pincers is sometimes used for this. A better method, however, is to take a small syringe, blow about until you find a dead egg, suck it in against the mouth of the syringe and blow it off into a refuse basket. A dead egg may be recognized by its white color. If it is not eliminated from the others it will contaminate them.
Washing the eggs enables them to fill up with water, a condition necessary to their fertilization by the milt they have been mixed with. Each tray is then set gently into one of the many hatching troughs that fill the building. These troughs are the incubators-the home of the embryo trout until they graduate from eggs into "fry.' They must be handled as little as possible, although every other day they must be sorted over and the dead ones removed. The warmer the water is the sooner they will hatch.
In 30 to 45 days the eggs begin to "eye up." Two black spots appear; they are the eyes, the first part of the creature to show in the hatching process. The eyes grow stronger, the body develops and in 20 to 45 days more the eggs hatch and the tiny wisps of shell fall through the tray's mesh bottom.
Each tiny fry comes free of his shell carrying his own lunch basket. This is a sac attached to his abdomen and it holds the nourishment he absorbs as he grows. The food sac gets smaller as the trout grows larger until the sac is completely absorbed. Then the baby trout at this stage swims up to the top of the water and dives about as if looking for food. This is about 35 days after he has hatched from his shell.
His first food is finely ground beef liver. As the fish grow, the quantity of food is increased and is ground less fine. At first the fish are fed five times a day.
Until spring the fry are kept in the troughs. Then they are put in brooding pools and as they grow they are thinned out to give them more room. When they get to be the size of a man's finger they are called "fingerlings." They continue to grow and to be sorted into other pools until they reach the age of two or three years, when, with the help of the stripper, it is their privilege to achieve parenthood. Such is the cycle of trout life at the hatchery.
There are many natural enemies to be outwitted. A fish hawk swoops down, snatches up a trout, plays with it, drops it in a field and then goes back for another one. Last summer a small boy with a gun, at 25 cents a bird, brought down 80. Or a blue heron comes at night, and the next night invites all his relations to join him. Or a kingfisher perches atop a fence post to survey his intended catch. The thing to do with him is to set a spring trap on the post.
Or a water snake makes trouble. There was one that worked its way through a valve and held his mouth up to a wire screen and drank in the small fish as they came against it. And there is the small green heron, the frog, the barn rat-all are creatures of prey constantly to be fought.
Beating the Broadway Drum
Condensed from The American Magazine (April '26)
An Interview with C. P. Greneker by Mary B. Mullett
CORES of men and women employ
a "publicity representative"; someone whose business it is to keep their names before the public. These persons include politicians, business men and women; social leaders; writers and lecturers, actors and actresses. Within the past ten years "handling publicity" has become a recognized profession. The big idea is to keep a person, or an enterprise, before the public, and in a favorable light.
To get these stories into the papers is not easy, for the competition is fierce. Every day, batches of news items about the Shubert productions are sent to more than 1000 papers all over the country. These shows may later reach these towns; if not, some of the people in these towns may visit New York. Mr. Greneker wants them to be interested in advance; and the best way to get them interested is to have things printed about the productions in local newspapers.
"One of the best ways to get people interested in a play, or a star," Mr. Greneker explained, "is to make use of something in which they are already interested. Some years ago, for instance, Gaby Deslys, the French star, was brought to this country by the Shuberts. At the time, everybody was talking about the high cost of living, especially the high cost of
eggs. The scarcity of eggs was a topic of universal interest, so I made use of it. I cabled Gaby to bring a hen with her. Then I sent a story to the newspapers, saying that she had heard of the scarcity of eggs in America, that she could not exist without a fresh one every morning, and therefore she was importing a hen in order to be sure of a daily supply. When Gaby arrived, she actually had with her a hen, which she had christened "Henriette." The newspaper men photographed Gaby with the hen; and these pictures, with the amusing story, were printed all over the country. Not because the papers believed the story, but because it was in line with what people were interested in.
"But I didn't let it drop there. Henriette made the entire tour with the company. I had hundreds of jewel boxes made, costing $2 apiece. At each town, the editor of every local paper was presented with one of these boxes containing a fresh egg on which was rubber-stamped, 'From Henriette, with the compliments of Gaby Deslys.' In San Francisco, we made a good story about Henriette laying an egg on the stage. She really did it. The only time in the whole tour," he added, "that she laid an egg at all!
"Sometimes an important news event can be used in getting publicity. After the "Titantic' disaster, the 'Carpathia' rescued many of the passen. gers. When the 'Carpathia' arrived in New York, I invited the captain and his officers to be the Shuberts' guests at the Winter Garden. They occupied a box that evening and were given a great ovation by the audience. Naturally, every newspaper printed a story about it.
"When the 'Carpathia' arrived on her next trip, I had another stunt
planned. I had one of the Winter Garden chorus girls cut off her hair, dress as a boy, and go aboard the 'Carpathia,' and stay there until the ship left the pier. Then she allowed herself to be discovered. She explained to the captain that she had been so thrilled by the deeds of the 'Carpathia' officers that she wanted to show her admiration of them as heroes. So she had stowed away on board the ship, hoping to be carried as a cabin boy. Of course she was sent back on a tug; but her picture and the story of her exploit were printed in hundreds of papers.
"The next time the 'Carpathia' came, I had bought a fine black cat and provided her with an elaborate silver collar, inscribed, 'From the New York Winter Garden.' Members of the company took the cat down and presented her to the captain as a mascot for the ship. The papers printed the cat's picture and the story. And, of course, for a long time, every passenger on the 'Carpathia' heard about the cat.
"Of course, these publicity stunts sometimes fail. Mr. Shubert once engaged an East Indian dancer in Paris. It was my business to create interest in her; so I announced that she was so grieved at being exiled from her native land that she would not set foot on any foreign soil, and therefore was always carried about in a sedan chair. I cabled her agent to have her wear her native costume when she arrived. Then I rented a sedan chair, and engaged a troupe of Arab acrobats as bearers. I planned to keep them carting the lady around during her entire engagement.
"When the steamer arrived, I was at the pier with the Arabs and the sedan chair. A battery of newspaper cameras were waiting to photograph the scene. But instead of being dressed in native costume, the dancer was dressed in the latest Paris style! And she refused absolutely to enter the sedan chair. What! Get into that thing? Not she! A limousine for her.
"These publicity stunts are the high lights in a press agent's job; but they don't come often. In between, there is a steady stream of plain hard work, seizing every possible chance of rousing people's interest. 'Blossom Time,' for example, is based on the life of Franz Schubert, the great composer. Weeks before the opening, I sent letters to all the musical societies and private schools. I saw that the papers were supplied with material about Schubert, about the operetta itself, and the cast. And immediately after the first night, the societies, clubs and schools were circularized again, with reviews of the play.
"There is one form of publicity about which the actors and actresses are always fighting. There are different ways of presenting an actor's name in connection with a production. This applies to the paid advertisments, the programs, and the billboards. For example, if the star has become so famous that he has more 'pulling power' than the production itself, his name is put at the top, even above the name of the play, and also in larger letters. The next step is to have the star's name in the same size letters as the title. The third uses the same form, but the star's name is in smaller letters than the title of the play. Next is what is called a 'featured position,' with the name of the production first, and then the name of one or two of the stars.
"I don't know whether the average playgoer notices the details of this scale of prominence. But believe me, the actors are ready to fight, bleed, and die to get the type and position they think they are entitled to. Every dctail concerning the position of the name and the size of the letters is covered in the contract signed by the manager and the actor. Mr. Shubert recently made a contract with a star actor, and it contained no fewer than seven clauses relating to the details of how the star's name should appear in the program and in the advertising and billing."
Passion Week in Paris, 1918
Condensed from The Dearborn Independent (March 27, '26)
HERE is no better time to tell it than this Passion Week of 1926, after eight years have passed. Friday, March 22, a week before Good Friday, the Big Gun began to fire on Paris. My diary of that date says:
"This is the first day on which a gun has been used by the enemy to fire a distance of 75 miles on a defenseless city filled with men, women and children. The city is stirred as never before since the days of the French Revolution. Business has stopped. Shops are closed. The tramways and subways are motionless. None but Americans are on the streets of Paris. There is something dreadfully ominous in the very air. The awful uncertainty of those great shells dropping, regularly every 12 minutes from out of the sky, seemed to stiffle one. At first we did not know whether they were bombs from Gothas cr what. Then came the announcement late this afternoon that the shells are coming from the Big Gun."
Saturday, March 23
"Promptly at 7 the Big Gun dropped its first shell for today into the city. It shattered some glass in my hotel. We had an air raid again last night. Up yonder on the Somme the Big Drive has begun, and down here the air drive has begun. The Big Gun all day long and the Gothas at night. It is intended to terrify.
"Every 12 minutes the shells have dropped into the city. The railroad depots are literally crowded with people leaving the city with their children. I visited three gares today and baggage is piled up everywhere. I talked with a man in charge about the possibility of checking a trunk for a friend who had to go to Bordeaux, and he said that they would not promise
to touch it for two weeks, because of the great exodus from the city of old men, and women and children. They were overwhelmed."
Sunday (Palm Sunday), March 24
"Another air raid last night, and the Big Gun promptly at seven this morning. It is a strange Palm Sunday. The papers are filled with the awfulness of the loss of life up on the Somme line. It looks dark. Bishop McConnell preached a Palm Sunday sermon and told us that he had spoken in the past week to a thousand Scottish guards the day before the big drive began. When he asked them what they wanted to sing they selected
'O God, Our Help in Ages Past,
Our Hope for Years to Come.' The Bishop told us that he had preached to those boys on 'How Men Die,' and in a few days most of them had made the supreme sacrifice.
"While the Bishop was preaching three shells fell so close to the church that their explosion shook the windows. The newspapers humorously called it 'Bomb Sunday'."
Tuesday, March 26
"The Germans have taken Noyon, only 35 miles away. We have been notified as to where we shall get truck transportation in case the city is evacuated. Hand baggage only, allowed. I visited the Gare du Nord today. It is piled to the ceiling with the baggage of old men and women fleeing Paris. I saw old men and women in wheel chairs by the hundreds, men and women who have never been out of Paris in their lives. The Big Gun stopped shelling us for some reason this afternoon. We do not hear much news from the front, but we know that awful slaughter is going