Inside the R.D. Pike Mill
Inside the R. D. Pike Saw Mill
Bayfield County Press
March 2, 1889
Captain R. (Robinson) D. (Derling) Pike, who owns and operates the smartest circular mill on the bay, has had a force of men at work ever since the mill closed in December, refitting throughout, and will be prepared to lower his already unprecedented record this coming season.
He has put in a new steam boiler, which, with the battery of four boilers, he has hereto for used, will give him an ample supply steam to run the additional machinery he is putting in; consisting of a Prescott Steam Feed, Steam Nigger and Murray Slab Slasher. It is estimated that the steam feed will increase the cutting capacity at least 8%, as it does away with the old rope system, which caused frequent and expensive delays by breaking. The steam is applied direct to the carriage, which answers the lever much more quickly, and with greater precision than the old system. The steam nigger, which is under the control of the sawyer, by the more rapid handling of the log, and the turning or canting but once instead of twice, as by the old method, will increase the capacity of the mill another 8%.
The series of iron live rollers, 40 feet long, has been added to the 44 feet already in the mill, making 84 feet in all. Over these the slabs and edgings are carried to a point opposite the slab slasher, where they are picked up by conveyor chains and transferred to the table, cut up into 4 foot lengths, carried on over the table by the same chains, and dumped into the shoot. Here, the slabs suitable for cutting open up into lath are picked out as they pass the lath mill, and the remainder carried away by the large refuse conveyor chain. The above improvements were put in by the D.J. Murray Manufacturing Company of Wausau, Wisconsin.
As is well known, Captain Pike is progressive in his ideas, and is always on the look for the best and latest improvements for his mill. In addition to the new machinery mentioned above, all machines hereto for in use are undergoing a thorough overhauling, and will be in perfect shape when the time comes to blow the first whistle in the spring – which is a signal for renewed activity that causes a feeling of gladness to all.
A new re-saw, Fischer’s patent of Chicago, of greater capacity than those now in use, will replace one of the old machines. A new trimmer and edger of late pattern will be put in, for the purpose of trimming and edging such lumber as may need it, after passing through the re-saws.
The mill will run night and day and will give employment to a large number of men and boys, probably not less than 150. The captain has his own electric light plant, of 116 candlepower lamp capacity, and it will require the full complement of lamps to light the mill and yard for the night run. The cut for the year will be at least 20,000,000 feet, and the mill will be in shape to begin at the earliest possible moment after the ice goes out.
The new dock begun last year will be extended 600 feet more, giving piling room for over 20,000,000 feet. To give an idea of what this means, the cuts of 1889 represent over one fourth million dollars in lumber and will bring into Bayfield this amount.
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This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.