This show was suggested by a show one of our customers built down in Georgia, and called it moonshine museum.  He charges the tourists a dollar to go through it, and he wrote    us what    a dig success it was.   I figured it would also be good for the fair midway, and judging from the number who wrote for it while it was in the catalog marked in process, they thought so too.    However a show on the fair midway had to have action. No one is in the mood on fair days to visit a museum of dead artifacts so we recreated a still in action as it was in the days of the moonshiners. Whether you ever finish a batch of whisky is between you and the Treasury Department, butt have the cooking and mash odors in action to make it lifelike.

When we became a reporter in 1924, it was still prohibition and Peoria, without a doubt was still the whiskey capitol of the country.  There was still good whiskey around, even though it was 5 years after prohibition.  The gangsters around Peoria had a co-operative set-up.  On alternate day, rival gangs would siphon off the whiskey from the barrels in the warehouse, thus there was no gang war it was a peaceful settlement.  They used the 5 gallon square cans and siphon hoses.  Some say they refilled the barrels with water,   so when the government Gagers turned over the barrels in the rack house each month, t hey would still weigh the same..As whiskey is put in the barrels at 100 proof (50% alcohol), the charred oak barrels absorbs the liquid, and there is never the full 50 gallons in the barrel, but what is in there is usually 110 to 117 proof.  So when they first put 5 or 10 gallons of water in the barrels    The whiskey was still plenty strong.  In later years when they continued to draw off and refill, the whiskey became weaker, but they doped it up with illicit alcohol, some of which was poisonous.   One week- end 18 people in Peoria died from liquor.  Some who drank the same liquor didn't even become ill.  But that's the way it was during prohibition.

I had become a country publisher in Feb. 1927 at the ripe age of 19, and the following September,  when I  was already 20, I had taken delivery on a grand new Chrysler 58 coup-a big four cylinder job, and as I didn't like the shade of green that was standard for the coupe, the factory painted it a beautiful buff for $50 additional.  I could afford to be extravagant a country newspaper publisher never paid cash for anything, the dealer took it out in trade.  In advertising.

East Peoria had a flood in late 1927 and the city hall had moved into the same office in which I was located.  On that particular September Monday morning I saw a big crowd milling around the office and soon learned that Husky Tom the moonshiner in the cabin boat on Farm Creek was shot  in the back during the night with a shotgun.  A policeman was at the boat with the body, but the crowd was waiting for the coroner and the state's attorney to arrive for the official investigation.  I pulled my shiny new car in line behind the dilapidated touring car the police used for a squad car.   A dealer in wide open Peoria’s leading gambling house, came up to me and engaged in conversation after complimenting me on the new car, he suggested we go to the scene of the crime. I told him I wanted to wait for the officials, and he was still insisting that we go now, when they drove up.

The state's attorney's first words, were" we are not taking any newspaper men along" and he ordered me out of line.  I did follow the procession from a distance with the gambler at my side, and I entered the boat, staying in the shadows. My gambler friend immediately set about looking for all the cans that lined the walls, above the mash barrels.   I asked him what he was looking for, and he said MONEY. Tom did a cash business, and the money has got to be here.  Suddenly the rooms silence was broken by the ah's" of those present. 


The coroner has just removed a huge roll of bills from the victim’s shirt pocket under the bib of his overalls.  They were mostly yellow backs (gold certificates which were issued in denominations of) 10 or more and were redeemable by the Treasury in GOLD.)

The state's attorney looked around and saw me and complained and insisted I go to Peoria, and locate Pete Sans one, the fisherman who rescued a lot of people from the Illinois River, to come tow the cabin boat to Pekin the county seat. it was an order so I had to go.

For many years afterwards, I diligently checked the reports of the county board of supervisors, and in no place did I find an inkling of any money turned in on this case by the states attorney.  Tom had no relatives, and not only the money, but the boat and a rifle were confiscated.  The murderer was never caught.  The whole deal would have made me as a 20 year old, turn sour on civilization, but there was one redeeming point.  The old policeman – John Hoffman, was alone with the body all night, he could have taken the money, but he wasn’t even tempted, as he told me later.  The State’s Attorney was a Sunday school teacher.  I’ve been told he is still alive but has been mentally ill for years-that kind of money does not bring happiness.  The coroner purchased an airplane about that time, and that was long before the doctor was the most wealthy man in the community.  As he lived in the far end of the county, I lost track of him.


And what has this to do with the show?  The set-up shown on page 2 was drawn from memory.  The Peoria Historical Society has the files of my paper, The East Peoria Courier say that really makes one feel old.  Containing the picture of the boat.  The Peoria Star files in the Library on Micro-film has the picture also, but I never will forget that day, or that scene.  It could have changed my life and made me a crook.  I’ve seen many stills in the years that followed.  I also edited a paper in addition in Bartonville, Illinois where the mayor was in jail for bootlegging, and once I was grabbed by the prohi’s and forced to help destroy a huge wooden vat, a pickle brine barrel containing mash, because I happened as a reporter to wonder on the scene.  Many moonshiners used the wooden vats, the same ones the pickle processors used.  The vats where shipped knocked down and assembled on farms where a canner had purchased the pickle crop, and assembled, filled with brine to preserve the pickles till they could be picked up and bottled.  A local moonshiner had used one of these vats.  They were two inch grooved lumber surrounded by steel rods with turnbuckles for tightening.  Later I wrote advertising and bought labels for-a small distillery in Peoria.  Although I do not drink—If it is whiskey, I’m full of the subject.


On Page 2, drawing 3 through 8, was the set-up on the boat.  It was probably repeated in many barns in the country.  There were two stoves, two copper boilers, and the walls lined with 50 gallon barrels containing mash in various stages of fermentation, and some 5 gallon cans of liquor.  You can duplicate the boilers at any antique shop for about $15. They were used for washing clothes, the top of the boiler was not the usual boiler lid, it was a sloping lid, about 3” high and if fit snuggle into the boiler, so no fumes escaped.  It was topped with a funnel like affair as shown, to which a copper tube was attached, the connected to the copper cooling worm.  The worm rested in a small steel drum filled with water, and dripped into a 5 gallon crock.  That was all there was too making moonshine.  You cooked the mash, the steam went in to the worm, came out at the end—alcohol, which you cut and colored and bottled.


I want to tell you about the lids - which had to be made – there was no one stamping them out.  Burring the summer of 24, when I got out of high school before the paper had an opening for a cub reporter, I worked as a Tinner’s helper in a sheet metal shop where these domed lids were fabricated.

When I saw on two different occasions two different furniture dealers come with their one horse wagons in which they deliver furniture, pull up and pick up the lids, which carried shop tickets made out to Mr. Smith or Mr. Jones, I went home and told my mother about it, as any good 17 year old boy would do, as these men were friends of the family for years.  My mother shushed me and told me not to repeat it as no one world believes me.  Today their son’s carry on huge furniture businesses and live on the “drive.” As very highly respected citizens and pillars of the church.


You can easily reproduce the setting, tom had.  The kerosene stoves in working order may be a problem, but if you find a Junker, you can install a gas burner using a hidden bottle of gas.  If you can’t find them, drawing 10 shows small coal and wood burning stoves, Montgomery Ward’s catalogs still carry.  You can place a gas burner in these too.  Actually moonshiners in the hills used wood burning stoves because fuel was available outside their door and kerosene would have had to be brought in.


This set-up is your actual exhibit-the show, what they pay to see, what you have advertised, an actual moonshiner’s still making whiskey, However you should give them more.  The worst advertising for a show is to have the people hurriedly return to the midway. Have something to keep them inside.


Starting with drawing 26, you can make in full size or miniature, or even on large drawings-showing how the bootleggers carried whiskey in fake gasoline tanks on their jalopies.. How bootleggers delivered smaller quantities in the legs of their boots-that’s where the name comes from.. In 28, sa drawomg pf method  beach front bootlegger hid his stock.  He had a small house in which he lived and under it was a hollowed out place from the whiskey.  There was no trap door when he received or sent out a shipment, two men pushed the house aside, opening the hole, and then pushed the house back again.  He was never discovered. 


Figure 29 is a hollow tree, with a hollowed out pit below it.  Leading no doubt to a bigger cave.  The patron put 50 cents on a hollow shelf on the tree, turned his back and in a few minutes returned to find half a pint.  No one saw anyone during the transaction.

You can build your show as big or as small as you like.  We have drawn in the big one to use on the back end of the lot.  Any semi-trailer will do, even a house trailer or long truck.  Square the end of the semi with angle ron on the side you are going to place on the midway.  To use as a show front.

Figures 23 and 14, show the set-up, which of course will depend on the contour of your truck.  Panels can be made of 1X3” wood as shown in 12.  Reinforce the corners with gussels or sheet metal., or you can use plywood or masonite.  You can cover with aluminum; galvanize steel, or black steel.  Be sure and treat the aluminum or galvanized steel with the proper primer, to keep paint from peeling.  Black iron should be will painted before and after nailing to the frame, paint both sides. To prevent rust.


Today many sow builders are using black steel square tubing, the kind used by ornamental iron workers.  1/16” is thick enough for walls of 1” tubing as the four walls make it really strong.  A cheaper item is thin wall conduit-that’s the round pipe electricians use to hold electric wire in commercial installations.


Attach the sheet metal to the tubes or conduit with sheet metal screws or one-way rivets.  As shown in Fig 19.  You can weld the black iron to the bubing if desired-a one inch weld in every three or four inches will do.  You can also add welds on the inside of the tubing, diagonal bracing on the back of the panels, will be needed if the panels are large, to make them rigid.


We think loose pin hinges with a bent nail for a pin, is still the most satisfactory connector for you hinged panels and braces.  Of course the panels that will be permanently connected can use solid hinges, or just leave in the tight fitting pin on the loose pin hinges.  Don’t use wood screws-heavy winds put a strain on the show front.  Use bolts and nuts an batter the threads to keep them from working out.  Where the bolt goes through the wood, put a big washer or another hing half to keep bolts from pulling through.  We can’t give you dimensions due to the variety of sizes of trailers, but the schematic of how the show opens is shown in drawing 15.


We have included a number of drawings for the theme for the front.  You can get others from the same source we did-comic postcards.  These are prepared by better artists that you can usually find on the midway, and you can enlarge them to the size you desire, but a simple machine called and Opaque Projector.  Do not confuse with movie machines or slide projectors.  As Opaque Projector picks up the image from you postcard on a mirror and throws it on the wall-like the old fashioned postcard projector-that was a machine used in the old days to show pictures you took on your vacation.  However the postcard projector had no mirror and reversed the image.  The Opaque Projector corrects this, lettering reads from left to right as it should.


John-Smith Novelty Co. Mt Clemens, Mich, 48043 sell them for $8.95 postpaid. It’s item 6007 in their catalog-delivery is two to three weeks.  Edmund Scientific Co. 300 Ediscorp Bldg. Barrington, N.J. 08007 also have the mat $8.75 postpaid it is stock nu. 70199H.  Edmunds also have all kinds of lenses, and drawing to build larger projectors.  We’ve used various types of opaque projectors all our life in advertising.  One elaborate job we have costs in the neighborhood of $500 and has a blower to cool the bulb.  The bulb which costs $9 seems to break about every time we move this elaborate machine.  The idea is to tape a large piece of paper to the walls, turn out the lights and focus the picture on the paper.  Then you draw what you see.  Carry a flashlight to check what you have drawn-do not move or adjust the lense, once all is in focus or it will change the size.  The farther back the machine is, the larger the picture.  Then when you have the picture lay the paper down on some corrugated box cardboard, and go over the lines with a pounce wheel.  A clock gear in a clothes pin will do, or dressmakers have a similar wheel to transfer patterns, and sign painters also have them.  Then with a bag made of cheesecloth )old timers used a “Bull Durham” bag, filled with lamp black, powdered charcoal, or ground up chalk, pounce over the perforations as it lays on your painted panel.  Remove the pounce and fill in the powdered line with pencil.  The rest is link painting by numbers.  If you have a pictures facing right, and you want it to face left-merely turn over the paper and pounce from the other side.  I like to use the set-up used in the Funny Papers or Comic Books. --- Solid colors in black outline.  This is easiest to reproduce, and takes less skill in painting.


If you have a long enough semi-you can reserve the front part for living quarters.  Have the entrance on the side away from the midway.  If you want to have a view of the midway, incorporate your window in a window in a building of you drawing.  It’s good to live right on the midway-you can watch your stuff.


If you don’t want to build a big back of the lot show, you can mount this show in any size outfit.  Our Small Trailer Show Plan, Number 582, page 112 in our bible, or show on a Pick-up truck number 583 on page 113 will also handle it. On our panel front show Plan 577 on page 109 gives three more ways of handling it.


It’s new and novel and today’s kids have only heard of moonshiners and bootleggers on the ;late, late show films, and are interested.

You’ll save a lot of wear and tear on your lungs if you use a P.A. System, and a tape recorder.  If the one outside describes the elaborate stills, the public outside will think you have them, instead of just drawings or models of them, and of course you stress the still is in action, actually making moonshine-which it is, the smaller one.   Then when the tape describes the bootleggers boots, the fake gas can, etc. It will appear that you have ten carloads of stuff in the semi.  You can rig another tape recorder with cartridge or loop tape to tell the patron what he is actually seeing and how it works.  If you use a cartridge with an hour on each side, in a $30 tape recorder, you will only have to attend it on the hour.  You can also rig it to tell the story only when people are in front of it, by a switch in the rug on the floor.


The drawings on page 5,6,7 can be reproduced on large cards and either the type on the page, printed below them, or it can be on tape.  A more elaborate plan is to have smaller models of these, and signs and type or on tape explaining how the simple still, the simple direct heated still, the simple still with rectifier, the Adams still worked.  The Adams still had a 200 gallon capacity and could run four or five batches in 24 hours-a real thirst quencher.  The curry simplified still is a post prohibition project with three purifying plates, giving a better clearer whisky the first time through.


Below we are enclosing a chart of how much alcohol-and this will make twice as much drinking liquor when cut, or even more, the still’s get from various grains:


220 LBS of Wheat Gives 7.0 Gallons Pure Alcohol

220 LBS of Wheat Gives6.6 Gallons Pure Alcohol

220 LBS of Barley Gives 5.5 Gallons Pure Alcohol

220 LBS of Oats Gives 4.8 Gallons Pure Alcohol

220 LBS of Buckwheat 5.5 Gallons Pure Alcohol

220 LBS of Corn Gives 5.5 Gallons Pure Alcohol

220 LBS Rice Gives 7.7 Gallons Pure Alcohol


As whiskey is half the proof of alcohol, you get double the amount of drinking whiskey at 90 proof than you do alcohol.  That is Blended Whiskey, straight whiskey is distilled by other processes and cannot be called whiskey unless it is distilled at 176 proof or less.  Up to 1972, whiskey had to be placed in brand new charred oak barrels in US, but not in Canada.  Alcohol can be placed in steel drums, which can be used over and over again.


Flour of grain is composed of starch, gluten, albumen, mucilage, sugar.  Table above gives properties under certain conditions the albumen or gluten in grain had power of converting starch into saccharine matter.  This is better affected by dilute sulfuric acid, or by “Distaste” is a principle developed during germination of all cereals, especially of barley.  It has the property of reacting upon starch matters, converting them in to dextrin and glucose or grape sugar.  The action of distaste upon starch or flour made into paste is remarkable.  50 grains of distaste being sufficient to convert 200 LBS (100 Kilograms) of starch into glucose.  The rapidly of this change depends on the quantity of water used and the degree of heat employed in the operation.


White Lightin’- how it got its name.


In 1900 Gar White was distilling 160 proof liquor composed of corn, weevils, wild yeast, sassafras, pok-berries, coal oil, prune juice, wagon grease, slake lime and oak chips and 3 hairs from his white mustang,  It was 9 days old, when the Revenuers came.  The Revenuer took a swig at the same moment lightning struck a nearby tree, burning off his clothes, shoes and socks.  He thought the liquor did it, and pronounced the effect “White Lighting.”


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