Outdoor Water Filter – How to Make a Water Filter – The Barrel Filter

Outdoor Water Filter – How to Make a Water Filter – The Barrel Filter – excerpt from the book “The Scientific American Boy” by A. Russell Bond
Immediately after breakfast the next day we started out in two parties to search the island. The only discovery of any moment was that made by Dutchy’s party, which found a small island separated from ours by a narrow channel, through which the water ran like a mill-race.
No spring was discovered, so Uncle Ed had to construct his large filter.
Bill and I went over to Lumberville in search of a couple of cider barrels and a pailful of charcoal. The barrels were placed one on top of the other after cutting a large hole in the top of the lower barrel, and a smaller one in the bottom of the upper one.

The latter opening was covered by an inverted saucer. Over this we spread a 3-inch layer of coarse sand, then a 2-inch layer of charcoal, a 4-inch layer of clear, sharp sand, and a 2-inch top layer of gravel. The lower barrel was provided with a faucet, through which we could draw off the filtered water as desired. In order to keep the water cool we placed the filters in a shady place near the river, and piled up earth around the lower barrel.
“Now, boys,” said Uncle Ed, “form in line there, and we will go through a fire drill.”

He arranged us about five feet apart in a line extending from the filter to the river. We had six pails, and these Dutchy filled one at a time, passing them up the line to Reddy, who emptied them into the upper barrel and then threw them back 70 to Dutchy to be refilled. Working in this way it did not take long to fill up the filter, and the burden of keeping the barrels full, instead of falling on one person, was shared alike by all.

The SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN BOY OR The Camp at Willow Clump Island
By A. RUSSELL BOND
NEW YORK
MUNN & CO., Publishers
1906