At the time that Louise and I were married there was a place of business, over in Wisconsin (Olson Rug Company) that would, for a fee, make you a rug or carpet from the scrap material that you furnished to them. The Shivelys had just completed their new home, and that idea of Olson’s sounded good to Harry, so he went to work on it. He was a Steam Turbine Operator at the Eddy Paper Company and always worked the midnight shift. All of this fit right into his plans for a living room rug.
In order to describe this experience, I must explain a little about the paper making process.
The machines at the Eddy Paper Mill were, what is known as Cylinder Machines, meaning that an endless felt blanket, the width of the machine, is run over the surface of screen covered cylinders that are rotating in a vat of, very fluid, paper pulp. A layer of pulp is picked up, by the felt and taken to the dryer rolls, then on to the finished product.
Those were 112 inch machines, at Eddys, which means that the felts were 112 inches wide, and they must have been at least 40 feet long, when opened up. I have no idea what those felts were made of, but they had a very heavy nap surface and were, certainly a costly item to purchase.
One night, when in the process of cleaning up and changing felts, a brand new felt became torn and was taken back to the store room. That was the opening that Harry and the Olson Rug Company had been waiting for. A key to the store room was always kept in the Turbine Room, so Harry got the damaged felt and cut off what he thought would be enough to make the rug that he wanted, allowing plenty of extra material, in case someone at Olson goofed up. He got it into the Turbine Room basement and into something so that he could submerge it in a dye solution and cook it, with steam from the boilers. The dye had also come from the store room.
I was not working there, at that time, so I don’t know how he managed to get the felt out of the vat, out of the mill and home, but I do know that very little of the dye had been rinsed out when he got home with it. With the help of the boys and I, Harry got that, bright green, felt into the tank that was used to water the livestock, and kept a steady stream of fresh water going in with it. The overflow from the tank was the prettiest bright green that you ever saw.
Harry had a great big Chester White brood sow, at the time. She must have weighed 400 or 500 pounds. It being hot summertime and there being plenty of cool water overflowing, from the tank, the old brood sow also became the prettiest bright green that you ever saw. The flushing was continued until the sow was completely green, and it was determined that we were never going to get the thing rinsed, that way.
The St.Joe River ran along the back part of the Shively farm, so we took the felt down there, put it into the river and tied it to a tree. Immediately the river started to turn green, and the longer we left it, the farther down stream the green extended. Finally it started to clear up, and eventually, we won.
Olson made the rug and it, along with the Chester White sow, the stock tank and several miles of the north shore of the St.Joe River were the prettiest bright green that you ever saw.