…Early the next day, while yet cool, we visited one of the decided ‘lions’ of the city—the working elephants. Formerly these were very numerous, being the heavy workers in the timber yards and great saw mills. Machinery has now supplanted them in all establishments run by foreigners. In each of the native mills, where small orders are filled, two of the noble beasts yet perform the heavy labor which human hands unassisted could scarcely manage.
We visited some of these the second time on our return from up country, and were greatly interested. They draw the logs, many of them three feet in diameter and thirty to forty feet long, from the river, pile them up in systematic order, and when they are needed roll them to the ways and assist in adjusting them for the saw.
Lumber is not here sawed into boards, but the slab is taken off and the good stuff left in square timber to be ripped up into boards where consumed. This is done both for home consumption and for exportation. After the log is thus cut the elephant goes among the machinery, takes the slabs away, and then carries the good timber and piles it up or lays it gently upon the ox carts to be hauled.