THE TIN CAN RANGE PHONE
By E. A. CROLINS
I think it best at first to give you a little history of ourselves to show how the kink herein described was developed. Several members of the Fort Dearborn Rifle Club of Chicago, including myself, have been going out Sunday mornings for outdoor practice. As the club at present has only an indoor range, we have selected a good place along the banks of the Chicago Drainage Canal, just west of Argo, Ill. Argo is a small town southwest of Chicago and can be reached on the street car from where we live in about 45 minutes. We are then compelled to walk about a mile to the range.
Anybody living in Chicago will know that hills suitable for target buttís are scarcer than hensí teeth in this vicinity. The spot which we have been using all summer is ideal as a range, owing to the fact that the engineers, when building the canal, obligingly left miniature mountains of clay and limestone about 25 to 30 feet high along the banks of the canal. These make a fine backstop for even the wildest shot. As there is no habitation or any place to keep equipment near our range, we are obliged to carry all the necessary articles with which means pack them about a mile. We have overcome this handicap very nicely as follows:
Last spring we carried a couple of two-by-fours, three feet long, and a board twelve inches wide, one inch thick and three feet long, out with us on our first trip. This lumber nailed together, using the two-by-fours for legs and sharpening same. makes a good arrangement to hold our targets. We simply drive the pointed up rights into the ground. When we thing up and hide it under some near-by shrubs until the next time. The rest of our equipment consists of some paper targets and thumb tacks.
Our rifles are 22 caliber and we use long rifle Lesmok or semi- smokeless ammunition. We shoot at 50 and 100 yards. Right here I wish to state that the .22 long rifle cartridge is exceedingly accurate even at 100 yards, and will penetrate our one-inch pine board at that distance and never even hesitate. I think that is pretty good for a .22, donít youí Thus endeth our history. Now for the kink. This fall the weather has been very windy, and we found it difficult and sometimes impossible to shout loud enough to call the shots from the target to the firing point. even with the assistance of a small megaphone.
One windy day, after all of us had strained our lungs while tending target, I began to figure out how this difficulty could be overcome. Suddenly I remembered the telephones I used to make when I was a small boy, out of two tin cans and a piece of thread. This gave me a hunch, and I immediately proceeded to get busy in the following manner:
After procuring two tin cans about four inches in diameter and five inches long. I soldered two strong hooks, one on each side of the cans well up toward the top or opening. The hooks I placed opposite each other running lengthwise, with the points toward the bottom of the can. I then purchased one-quarter of a pound of No. S music wire which runs about two thousand feet to the pound and possesses great tensile strength. The boring of a very small hole in the bottom of each can finished the job.
The following Sunday I started out with the rest of the fellows entertaining considerable qualms as to whether my field telephone would work at so great a distance. Upon arriving at the range we cut four sapling stakes about three feet long and drove two into the ground at each end of the range, just far enough apart to allow the cans to fit in between. The hooks on the cans of course encircled the stakes. We then inserted the ends of the wire through the holes in the bottom of the cans and after threading them through a small glass bead about one-quarter of an inch in diameter. Twisted them around the bead. The bead was placed on the ends of the wire to prevent it from pulling through the hole in the can.
As that was left to do was to stretch the wire tight enough to clear the ground so that it would not touch anything, and we were all set. Much to our delight the telephone worked fine. Although it was a very windy day and there was considerable hum caused by the wind vibrating the wire, we experienced no trouble at all in communicating with each other at 100 yards. Of course, it was not as distinct as a regular telephone, but by speaking slowly and distinctly we could understand everything that was said with very little repeating. We found that loud talking caused too much vibration and that a normal tone of voice worked much better. The total cost of the outfit was about 50 cents and about thirty minutesí labor, but it certainly paid for itself that day. It not only made our outing pleasanter, but relieved the strain on our vocal organs.
One word of advice to anyone who desires to make a telephone of this character: Considerable care must be taken in handling this fine music wire, as it is steel and has a tendency to curl and kink. However, should you kink and break the wire, it makes no difference, as the damage can be easily repaired by simply tying the ends in a figure eight knot. Confidentially, I wish to state that we had four knots in our line before we had it installed, but it did not seem to affect the transmission of sound in the least.
In taking the phone down, all we did was to unhook the can at one end and wind the wire around it. After binding the wire tight around the can with a rubber band and placing everything in a small cloth bag the phone was ready to be transported home. The whole thing is not very large and does not weigh over a pound.
Katz, Harry N. Kinks A Book of 250 Helpful Hints for Hunters, Anglers and Outers. Chicago: Outers, 1917. Print.
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