Scientific American Supplement, No. 481, March 21, 1885

Part 1 out of 2

Produced by Don Kretz, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the DP Team



NEW YORK, MARCH 21, 1885

Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XIX, No. 481.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

* * * * *


I. ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS.--The Righi Railroad.--With
3 engravings.

The Chinese Pump.--1 figure.

The Water Clock.--3 figures.

New Self-propelling and Steering Torpedoes.

Dobson and Barbour's Improvements in Heilmann's Combers.--1 figure.

Machine for Polishing Boots and Shoes.

II. TECHNOLOGY.--The Use of Gas in the Workshop.--By T.
FLETCHER.--Placing of lights.--Best burners.--Light lost by
shades.--Use of the blowpipe.--Gas furnaces.--Gas engines.

The Gas Meter.--3 figures.

The Municipal School for Instruction in Watchmaking at
Geneva.--1 engraving.

III. ELECTRICITY, ETC.--Personal Safety with the Electric

A Visit to Canada and the United States; or, Electricity in
America in 1884.--By W.H. PREECE.

IV. ARCHITECTURE.--The House of a Thousand Terrors, Rotterdam.--With

V. GEOLOGY.--On the Origin and Structure of Coal,--With full page
of illustrations.

VI. POLITICAL ECONOMY.--Labor and Wages in America.--By D.
PIDGEON.--Who and what are the operatives.--Native labor.--Alien
employes.--Housing of labor.--Sobriety.--Pauperism.--Artisans'
homes.--Interest of employer in the condition of his
employes.--Wages in Europe and America.--Expenditures of
workingmen.--Free trade and protection.

VII. MISCELLANEOUS.--Ice Boat Races on the Mueggelsee, near
Berlin.--With engraving.


* * * * *


In the year 1864, the well-known geographer, Heinrich Keller, from Zurich,
on ascending to the summit of the Righi Mountain, in the heart of
Switzerland, discovered one of the finest panoramic displays of mountain
scenery that he had ever witnessed. To his enthusiastic descriptions some
lovers of nature in Zurich and Berne listened with much interest, and in
the year 1865, Dr. Abel, Mr. Escher von der Luith, Aulic Councilor, Dr.
Horner, and others, in connection with Keller himself, subscribed money to
the amount of 2,000 marks ($500) for the purpose of building a hotel on
the top of the mountain overlooking the view. This hotel was simple
enough, being merely a hut such as is to be found in abundance in the
Alps, and which are built by the German and Austrian Alpine Clubs. At
present the old hotel is replaced by another and more comfortable
building, which is rendered accessible by a railway that ascends the
mountain. Mr. Riggenbach, director of the railway works at Olten, was the
projector of this road, which was begun in 1869 and completed in 1871.
Vitznau at Lucerne is the starting point. The ascent, which is at first
gradual, soon increases one in four. After a quarter of an hour the train
passes through a tunnel 240 feet in length, and over an iron bridge of the
same length, by means of which the Schnurtobel, a deep gorge with
picturesque waterfalls, is crossed. At Station Freibergen a beautiful
mountain scene presents itself, and the eye rests upon the glittering,
ice-covered ridge of the Jungfrau, the Monk, and the Eiger. Further up is
station Kaltbad, where the road forks, and one branch runs to Scheideck.
At about ten minutes from Kaltbad is the so-called "Kanzli" (4,770 feet),
an open rotunda on a projecting rock, from which a magnificent view is
obtained. The next station is Stoffelhohe, from which the railroad leads
very near to the abyss on the way to Righi-Stoffel, and from this point it
reaches its terminus (Righi-Kulin) in a few minutes. This is 5,905 feet
above the sea, the loftiest and most northern point of the Righi group.


[Illustration: FIG. 2.--THE RIGHI RAILROAD.]

The gauge of this railroad is the same as that of most ordinary ones.
Between the rails runs a third broad and massive rail provided with teeth,
which gear with a cogwheel under the locomotive. The train is propelled
upward by steam power, while in its descent the speed is regulated by an
ingenious mode of introducing atmospheric air into the cylinder. The
carriage for the passengers is placed in both cases in front of the
engine. The larger carriages have 54 seats, and the smaller 34. Only one
is dispatched at a time. In case of accident, the train can be stopped
almost instantaneously.


We give herewith, from _La Lumiere Electrique_, several engravings
illustrating the system. Fig. 1 shows the starting station. As may be seen
on Figs. 2 and 3, the method selected for obtaining adhesion permits of
ascending the steepest gradients, and that too with entire security.

* * * * *


The use of rapidly rotating machinery in electric lighting has created a
demand for engines running from 400 to 1,200 revolutions per minute, and
capable of being coupled directly to a dynamo machine. We have already
illustrated several forms of these engines, and now publish engravings of
another in which the most noticeable feature is the employment of separate
expansion valves and very short steam passages. Many high-speed engines
labor under the well-grounded suspicion of being heavy steam users, and
their want of economy often precludes their employment. Mr. Chandler, the
inventor of the engine illustrated above, has therefore adopted a more
elaborate arrangement of valves than ordinarily obtains in engines of this
class, and claims that he gains thereby an additional economy of 33 per
cent. in steam. The valves are cylindrical, and are driven by independent
eccentrics, the spindle of the cut-off valve passing through the center of
the main valve. The upper valve is exposed to the steam on its top face,
and works in a cylinder with a groove cut around its inner surface. As
soon as the lower edge of the valve passes below the bottom lip of the
groove, the steam is cut off from the space between it and the main valve,
which is fitted with packing rings and works over a latticed port. This
port opens directly into the cylinder. The exhaust takes place chiefly
through a port uncovered when the piston is approaching the end of its
stroke. The remaining vapor left in the cylinder is exhausted under the
lower edge of the main valve, until cushioning commences, and the steam
from both upper and lower ports is discharged into the exhaust box shown
in Fig. 2. The speed of the engine is controlled by a centrifugal governor
and an equilibrium valve. This is a "dead face" valve, and when the engine
is running empty it opens and closes many times per minute. The spindle
on which the valve is mounted revolves with the governor pulley, and
consequently never sticks. To prevent the small gland being jammed by
unequal screwing up, the pressure is applied by a loose flange which is
rounded at the part which presses against the gland. The governor is
adjustable while the engine is running.


Another economy claimed for this engine is in the use of oil. The cranks
and connecting rods work in a closed chamber, the lower part of which is
filled with oil and water. The oil floats in a layer on the surface of the
water, and at every revolution is splashed all over the working parts,
including the interior of the cylinder, which it reaches through holes in
the piston. The oil is maintained exactly at one level by a very ingenious
arrangement. The bottom of the crank chamber communicates through a hole,
C, with an outer box, which receives the water deposited by the exhaust
steam. The level of this water is exactly determined by an overflow hole,
B, which allows all excess above that level to pass into an elbow of the
exhaust pipe, out of which it is licked by the passing steam and carried
away. Thus, as the oil is gradually used the pressure of the water in the
other leg of the hydrostatic balance raises the level of the remaining
portion. When a fresh supply of oil is poured into the box, it forces out
some of the water and descends very nearly to the level of the hole, B.

The engine is made with either one or two cylinders, and is, of course,
single-acting. The pistons and connecting rods are of forged steel and
phosphor-bronze. The following is a list of their sizes:

_Single Engines_.
Brake | | | | |
Horsepower| Bore of | Revolutions| | |
at 62 lb.| Cylinder. | per minute.| Height. |Floor Space.|
Boiler | | | | |
Pressure. | | | | |
| in. | | in. | in. in. |
21/4 | 4 | 1,100 | 26 | 14 by 14 |
31/2 | 5 | 1,000 | 28 | 14 " 15 |
6 | 61/2 | 800 | 30 | 16 " 16 |
10 | 8 | 700 | 32 | 18 " 18 |

_Double Engines_.
Brake | | | | |
Horsepower| Bore of | Revolutions| | |
at 62 lb.| Cylinder. | per minute.| Height. |Floor Space.|
Boiler | | | | |
Pressure. | | | | |
| in. | | in. | in. in. |
41/2 | 4 | 1,100 | 26 | 14 by 20 |
71/4 | 5 | 1,000 | 28 | 14 " 20 |
12 | 61/2 | 800 | 30 | 16 " 26 |
20 | 8 | 700 | 32 | 18 " 32 |

The manufacturer is Mr. F.D. Bumstead, Hednesford,

* * * * *


If a glass tube about three feet in length, provided at its upper
extremity with a valve that opens outwardly, and at its lower with one
that opens inwardly, be dipped into water and given a series of up and
down motions, the water will be seen to quickly rise therein and finally
spurt out at the top. The explanation of the phenomenon is very simple.
Upon immersing the tube in the water it fills as far as to the external
level of the liquid, and the air is expelled from the interior. If the
tube be suddenly raised without removing its lower extremity from the
water, the valve will close, the water will rise with the tube, and,
through the velocity it has acquired, will ascend far above its preceding
level. Now, upon repeating the up and down motion of the tube in the water
five or six times, the tube will be filled, and will expel the liquid
every time that the vertical motion occurs.

[Illustration: THE CHINESE PUMP.]

We speak here of a _glass_ tube, because with this the phenomenon may be
observed. Any tube, of course, would produce the same results.

The manufacture of the apparatus is very simple. The tube is closed above
or below, according to the system one desires to adopt, by means of a
perforated cork. The valve is made of a piece of kid skin, which is fixed
by means of a bent pin and a brass wire (Fig. 2). It is necessary to wet
the skin in order that it may work properly and form a hermetic valve. The
arrangement of the lower valve necessitates the use of a tube of
considerable diameter (Fig. 1). We would advise the adoption of the
arrangement shown in Fig. 2. Under such circumstances a tube half an inch
in diameter and about 3 feet in length will answer very well.

It is better yet to simply use one's forefinger. The tube is taken in the
right hand, as shown in Fig. 3, and the forefinger placed over the
aperture. The finger should be wetted in order to perfect its adherence,
and should not be pressed too hard against the mouth of the tube. It is
only necessary to plunge the apparatus a few inches into the liquid and
work it rapidly up and down, when the water will rise therein at every
motion and spurt out of the top.

This is an easy way of constructing the _Chinese Pump_, which is found
described in treatises upon hydraulics. Such a pump could not, of course,
be economically used in practice on account of the friction of the column
of water against a wide surface in the interior of the tube. It is
necessary to consider the pistonless pump for what it is worth--an
interesting experimental apparatus that any one can make for himself.--_La

* * * * *


_To the Editor of the Scientific American_:

Referring to the clepsydra, or water clock, described and illustrated in
the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT of December 20, 1884, it strikes me
that the ingenious principle embodied in that interesting device could be
put into a shape more modern and practical, doing away with some of its
defects and insuring a greater degree of accuracy.

[Illustration: Fig 1.]

I would propose the construction given in the subjoined sketch, viz.: The
drum, A (Figs. 1 and 3), is mounted in a yoke suspended in such a manner
as to bring no unnecessary, but still sufficient, pressure on the friction
roller, B, to cause it to revolve the friction cone, C (both cone and
roller being of wood and, say, well rubbed with resin so as to increase

[Illustration: Fig 2.]

The friction roller should be movable (on a screw thread), but so arranged
that it can be fixed at any point, say by a lock nut, screw, clamp, or
other simple means. It will be evident that, by shifting the roller, a
greater or less speed of the cone can be effected, and as to the end of
the cone's axis an index hand sweeping an ordinary clock face is attached,
the speed of this index hand can be regulated to a nicety, in proportion
to that of the drum. Of course, before fixing the size and proportion of
the disk and cone, the number of revolutions of the drum in a given time
must be ascertained by experiment. For instance, the drum being found to
make 15 revolutions in 12 hours, the proportions would be:

Circumference of roller = 12 units.
Circumference of middle part of cone = 15 units.

Or, the drum making 21/2 revolutions in 3 hours, equal to 9 revolutions in
12 hours:

Circumference of roller = 12 units.
Circumference of middle part of cone = 9 units.

Any slight inaccuracy can be compensated by the cone and disk device.

The drum, or cylinder, is caused to gradually revolve by a weight attached
to an endless cord passing once around the drum. The latter might be
varnished to prevent slipping. The weight should be provided with an
automatic wedge, allowing it to be slipped along the cord in an upward
direction, but preventing its descent. The weight is represented partly in
section in the engraving. This weight should not be quite sufficient to
revolve the drum, it being counterbalanced by the liquid raised in the
chambers of the drum. The liquid, however, following its tendency to seek
the lowest level, gradually runs back through the small hole, D, in the
partitions, but is continually raised again, with the chamber it has just
entered, by the weight slightly turning the cylinder as it (the weight)
gradually gains advantage over the as gradually diminishing weight of each
chamber raised.

As to the drum, the same might be constructed as follows, viz.: First
solder the partitions into the cylinder, making them slanting or having
the direction of chords of a circle (see Fig. 2). The end disks should be
dish shaped, as shown. Place them on a level surface, apply heat, and melt
some mastic or good sealing wax in the same. Then adjust the cylinder
part, with its partitions, allowing it to sink into the slight depth of
molten matter. In this way, or perhaps by employing a solution of rubber
instead of the sealing wax, the chambers will be well isolated and not
liable to leak. The water is then introduced through the center openings
of the disks before hermetically sealing the drum to its axis.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.]

The revolving parts of the clock being nicely balanced, a pretty accurate
timepiece, I should think, would be the result. It is needless to mention
that the "winding" is effected by slipping the weight to its highest

Of course I am far from considering the above an "instrument of
precision," but would rather look upon it in the light of a contrivance,
interesting, perhaps, especially to amateur mechanics, as not presenting
any particular difficulties of construction.


Crefeld, January 5, 1885.

* * * * *


We illustrate a new form of self-propelling and steering torpedo, designed
and patented by Mr. Richard Paulson, of Boon Hills, Langwith, Notts. That
torpedoes will play an important part in the next naval war is evident
from the fact that great activity is being displayed by the various
governments of the world in the construction of this weapon. Our own
Government also has latterly paid great attention to this subject.

The methods hitherto proposed for propelling torpedoes have been by means
of carbonic acid or other compressed gas carried by the torpedoes, and by
means of electricity conveyed by a conductor leading from a controlling
station to electrical apparatus carried by the torpedo. The first method
has, to a considerable extent, failed on account of the inefficient way in
which the compressed gas was employed to propel the torpedo. The second is
open to the objection that by means of telephones placed in the water or
by other signaling apparatus the torpedo can be heard approaching while
yet at a considerable distance, and that a quick speeded dredger, kept
ready for the purpose when any attack is expected, can be run between the
torpedo and the controlling station and the conductor cut and the torpedo
captured. The arrangements for steering by means of an electrical
conductor from a controlling station are also open to the latter
objection. The torpedo we now illustrate, in elevation in Fig. 1, and in
plan in Fig. 2, is designed to obviate these objections, and possesses in
addition other advantages which will be enumerated in the following

As stated above, the torpedo is self-propelling, the necessary energy
being stored up in liquefied carbonic acid contained in a cylindrical
vessel, E, carried by the torpedo. The vessel, E, communicates, by means
of a small bent pipe extending nearly to its bottom, with a small chamber,
B, the passage of the liquid being controlled by means of the cock or tap,
F. The chamber, B, is in communication, by means of a small aperture, with
the nozzle, G, of an injector, T, constructed on the ordinary principles.
The liquid as it passes into the chamber, B, volatilizes, and the gas
passes through the nozzle of the injector, which is surrounded by water in
direct communication with the sea by means of the opening, W. The gas
imparts its energy in the well-known manner to the water, being itself
entirely or partially condensed, the water thus charged with carbonic acid
gas being forced through the combining cone of the injector at a very high
speed and pressure. Preferably the water is here divided into two streams,
each driving a separate rotary motor or turbine, H, themselves driving
twin screws or propellers, I. The motors exhaust into the hollow shafts,
J, of the propellers, which are extended some distance beyond the
propellers, so that the remaining energy of the water may be utilized to
aid in propelling the torpedo on the well known principle of jet
propulsion. The torpedo is preferably steered by means of the twin screws.
A disk or other valve, A, is pivoted in an aperture in a diaphragm
dividing the outlet of the injector, and is operated by means hereafter
described, so as to diminish the stream of water on one side and increase
it on the other, so that one motor, and consequently the corresponding
propeller, is driven at a higher speed than the other, and so steers the


The valve, A, is operated automatically by the following arrangement: A
mariner's compass, P, placed in the head of the torpedo has its needle
connected to one pole of a powerful battery, D. A dial of non-magnetic
material marked with the points of the compass is capable of being rotated
by the connections shown. This dial carries two insulated studs, _p_, each
electrically connected with one terminal of the coils of an electromagnet,
K, whose other terminal is connected to the other pole of the battery.
These two magnets are arranged on opposite sides of an armature fixed on a
lever operating the disk or valve, A. Before launching the torpedo the
dial is set, so that when the torpedo is steering direct for the object to
be struck, or other desired point, one end of the needle of the compass,
P, is between the steeds, _p_, but contact with neither, the needle of
course pointing to the magnetic north. Should the torpedo however deviate
from this course, the needle makes contact with one or other of the studs
according to the direction in which the deviation takes place, and
completes the circuit through the corresponding electromagnet, which
attracts the armature and causes the disk to move, so as to diminish the
supply of water to one motor and increase it to the other, and so cause
the torpedo to again assume the required direction. Supposing the object
which it is intended that the torpedo should strike be a large mass of
iron, such as an ironclad, the needle will be attracted, and, making the
corresponding contact, will cause the torpedo to be steered directly away
from the object. In order to prevent this, a second compass, Q, is mounted
in the front of the torpedo, and when attracted by a mass of iron, it
short-circuits the battery, D, and thus prevents the armature being
attracted, and consequently the torpedo from deviating. This needle is
also capable of slight movement in a vertical plane, so that when passing
over or under a mass of iron it is attracted downward or upward, and
completes a circuit by means of the stops, which operate so as to explode
the charge. The charge can also be exploded in the ordinary manner, viz.,
by means of the firing pin, X, when the torpedo runs into any solid

The depth at which the torpedo travels below the surface of the water is
regulated by means of a flexible diaphragm, M, secured in the outer casing
and connected to a rod sliding freely in fixed bearings. A spiral or other
spring, O, is compressed between a color on the rod and an adjustable
fixed nut, by which the tension of the spring is regulated so that the
pressure of water on the diaphragm, A, when the torpedo is at the desired
depth just counterbalances the pressure of the spring, the diaphragm being
then flush with the outer casing. The rod is connected by suitable levers
to two horizontal fins, S, pivoted one on either side of the torpedo, so
that they shall be in equilibrium. Should the torpedo sink too deep or
rise too high, the diaphragm will be depressed or extended, and will
operate on the lines so as to cause the torpedo to ascend or descend as
the case may be.

In order to avoid the risk of a spent torpedo destroying a friendly
vessel, a valve is arranged in any suitable part of the outer casing, and
is weighted or loaded with a spring in such a manner that when under way
the pressure of the water keeps the valve closed, but when it stops the
valve opens and admits water to sink the torpedo.

In our description we have only given the main features of the invention,
the inventor having mentioned to us, in confidence, several improvements
designed to perfect the details of his invention, among which we may
mention the steering arrangement and arrangements for attacking a vessel
provided with what our contemporary, _Engineering_, not inaptly terms a
"crinoline," _i. e._, a network for keeping off torpedoes. The transverse
dimensions of our engravings have been considerably augmented for the sake
of clearness.--_Mech. World._

* * * * *


M. Dupuy De Lome died on the 1st Feb., 1885, at the age of 68. It may be
questioned whether any constructor has ever rendered greater services to
the navy of any country than those rendered by M. Dupuy to the French Navy
during the thirty years 1840-70. Since the fall of the Empire his
connection with the naval service has been terminated, but his
professional and scientific standing has been fully maintained, and his
energies have found scope in the conduct of the great and growing business
of the _Forges et Chantiers_ Company. In him France has undoubtedly lost
her greatest naval architect.

The son of a naval officer, M. Dupuy was born in October, 1816, near
L'Orient, and entered _L'Ecole Polytechnique_ when nineteen years of age.
In that famous establishment he received the thorough preliminary training
which France has so long and wisely provided for those who are to become
the designers of her war-ships. After finishing his professional
education, he came to England about 1842, and made a thorough study of
iron shipbuilding and steam navigation, in both of which we then held a
long lead of France. His report, subsequently published under the title of
"Memoire sur la Construction des Batiments en Fer"--Paris, 1844--is
probably the best account given to the world of the state of iron
shipbuilding forty years ago: and its perusal not merely enables one to
gauge the progress since made, but to form an estimate of the great
ability and clear style of the writer. We may assume that this visit to
England, coming after the thorough education received in Francem did much
toward forming the views to which expression was soon given in designs and
reports on new types of war ships.

[Illustration: M. DUPUY DE LOME.]

When the young constructor settled down to his work in the arsenal at
Toulon, on his return from England, the only armed steamships in the
French Navy were propelled by paddle-wheels, and there was great
opposition to the introduction of steam power into line-of-battle ships.
The paddle-wheel was seen to be unsuited to such large fighting vessels,
and there was no confidence in the screw; while the great majority of
naval officers in France, as well as in England, were averse to any
decrease in sail spread. M. Dupuy had carefully studied the details of the
Great Britain, which he had seen building at Bristol, and was convinced
that full steam power should be given to line-of-battle ships. He grasped
and held fast to this fundamental idea; and as early as the year 1845 he
addressed a remarkable report to the Minister of Marine, suggesting the
construction of a full-powered screw frigate, to be built with an iron
hull, and protected by a belt of armor formed by several thicknesses of
iron plating. This report alone would justify his claim to be considered
the leading naval architect of that time; it did not bear fruit fully for
some years, but its recommendations were ultimately realized.

M. Dupuy did not stand alone in the feeling that radical changes in the
construction and propulsion of ships were imminent. His colleagues in the
"Genie Maritime" were impressed with the same idea: and in England, about
this date, the earliest screw liners--the wonderful converted "block
ships"--were ordered. This action on our part decided the French also to
begin the conversion of their sailing line-of-battle ships into vessels
with auxiliary steam power. But M. Dupuy conceived and carried out the
bolder scheme of designing a full-powered screw liner, and in 1847 the
Napoleon was ordered. Her success made the steam reconstruction of the
fleets of the world a necessity. She was launched in 1850, tried in 1852,
and attained a speed of nearly 14 knots an hour. During the Crimean War
her performances attracted great attention, and the type she represented
was largely increased in numbers. She was about 240 ft. in length, 55 ft.
in breadth, and of 5,000 tons displacement, with two gun decks. In her
design boldness and prudence were well combined. The good qualities of
the sailing line-of-battle ships which had been secured by the genius of
Sane and his colleagues were maintained; while the new conditions involved
in the introduction of steam power and large coal supply were thoroughly
fulfilled. The steam reconstruction had scarcely attained its full swing
when the ironclad reconstructor became imperative. Here again M. Dupuy
occupied a distinguished position, and realized his scheme of 1845 with
certain modifications. His eminent services led to his appointment in 1857
to the highest office in the Constructive Corps--Directeur du
Materiel--and his design for the earliest seagoing ironclad, La Gloire,
was approved in the same year. Once started, the French pressed on the
construction of their ironclads with all haste, and in the autumn of 1863
they had at sea a squadron of five ironclads, not including in this list
La Gloire. It is unnecessary to trace further the progress of the race for
maritime supremacy; but to the energy and great ability of M. Dupuy de
Lome must be largely attributed the fact that France took, and for a long
time kept, such a lead of us in ironclads. In the design of La Gloire, as
is well known, he again followed the principle of utilizing known forms
and dimensions as far as was consistent with modern conditions, and the
Napoleon was nearly reproduced in La Gloire so far as under-water shape
was concerned, but with one gun deck instead of two, and with a completely
protected battery. So long as he retained office, M. Dupuy consistently
adhered to this principle; but he at the same time showed himself ready to
consider how best to meet the constantly growing demands for thicker
armor, heavier guns, and higher speeds. It is singular, however,
especially when his early enthusiasm for iron ships is remembered, to find
how small a proportion of the ships added to the French Navy during his
occupancy of office were built of anything but wood.

Distinctions were showered upon him. In 1860 he was made a Councilor of
State, and represented the French Admiralty in Parliament; from 1869 to
1875 he was a Deputy, and in 1877 he was elected a Life Senator. He was a
member of the Academy of Sciences and of other distinguished scientific
bodies. Of late his name has been little connected with ship design; but
his interest in the subject was unabated.

In 1870 M. Dupuy devoted a large amount of time and thought to perfecting
a system of navigable balloons, and the French Government gave him great
assistance in carrying out the experiments. It does not seem, however,
that any sufficient success was reached to justify further trials. The
theoretical investigations on which the design was based, and the
ingenuity displayed in carrying out the construction of the balloon, were
worthy of M. Dupuy's high reputation. The fleet that he constructed for
France has already disappeared to a great extent, and the vessels still
remaining will soon fall out of service. But the name and reputation of
their designer will live as long as the history of naval construction is
studied.--_The Engineer_.

* * * * *


At a recent meeting of the Manchester Association of Employers, Foremen,
and Draughtsmen of the Mechanical Trades of Great Britain, an interesting
lecture on "Gas for Light and Work in the Workshop" was delivered by Mr.
T. Fletcher, F.C.S., of Warington.

Mr. Fletcher illustrated his remarks with a number of interesting
experiments, and spoke as follows:

There are very few workshops where gas is used so profitably as it might
be; and my object to-night is to make a few suggestions, which are the
result of my own experience. In a large space, such as an erecting or
moulder's shop, it is always desirable to have all the lights distributed
about the center. Wall lights, except for bench work, are wasteful, as a
large proportion of the light is absorbed by the walls, and lost. Unless
the shop is draughty, it is by far the best policy to have a few large
burners rather than a number of small ones. I will show you the difference
in the light obtained by burning the same quantity of gas in one and in
two flames. I do not need to tell you how much the difference is; you can
easily see for yourselves. The additional light is not caused, as some of
you may suppose, by a combined burner, as I have here a simple one,
burning the same quantity of gas as the two smaller burners together; and
the advantage of the simple large burner is quite as great. It is a
well-known fact that the larger the gas consumption in a single flame, the
higher the duty obtained for the gas burnt. There is a practical limit to
this with ordinary simple burners; as when they are too large they are
very sensitive to draught, and liable to unsteadiness and smoking. I have
here a sample of a works' pendant or pillar light, which, not including
the gas supply-pipe, can be made for about a shilling. For all practical
purposes I believe this light (which carries five No. 6 Bray's union jets,
and which we use as a portable light at repairs and breakdowns) is as
efficient and economical a form as it is possible to make for ordinary
rough work. The burners are in the best position, and the light is both
powerful and quite shadowless; giving, in fact, the best light underneath
the burners. It must, of course, be protected in a draughty shop; and on
this protection something needs to be said.

Regenerator burners for lighting are coming into use; and, where large
lights are required for long periods, no doubt they are economical.
Burners of the Bower or Wenham class would be worth adopting for main
street or open space lighting in important positions; but when we consider
that, with the fifty-four hours' system in workshops, artificial light is
only wanted, on an average, for four hundred hours per annum, we may take
it as certain that, at the present prices of regenerator burners, they are
a bad investment for use in ordinary work. We must not forget that the
distance of the burner from the work is a vital point of the cost
question; and, for all except large spaces, requiring general
illumination, a common cheap burner on a swivel joint has yet to meet with
a competitor. Do not think I am old-fashioned or prejudiced in this
matter. It is purely a question of figures; and my condemnation of
regenerator burners applies only to the general requirements in ordinary
engineering and other work shops where each man wants a light on one spot

Some people think that clear glass does not stop any light. This is a
great mistake, as you will find it quite easy to throw a distinct shadow
of a sheet of perfect glass on a white paper, as I will show you. Opal and
ground glass throw a very strong shadow, and practically waste half the
light. It is better to have a white enameled or whitewashed sheet-iron
reflecting hood, which will protect the sides from wind, if such an
arrangement suits other requirements.

I have endeavored in the engraving below to reproduce the shadows thrown
by different samples of glass. This gives a fair idea of the actual loss
of light involved by glass shades.

When lights are suspended, it is a common and costly fashion to put them
high up. When we consider that light decreases as the square of the
distance, it will be readily understood that to light, for instance, the
floor of a moulding shop, a burner 6 feet from the floor will do as much
work as four burners, the same size, placed 12 feet from the floor. It is
therefore a most important matter that all lights should be as low as
possible, consistent with the necessities of the shop, as not only is the
expense enormously increased by lofty lights, but the air becomes more
vitiated and unpleasant, interfering with the men's power of working. Any
lights suspended, and, in fact, all workshop lights, must have a
ball-joint or universal swivel at the point where they branch from the
main, as they are liable to be knocked in all directions, and must,
therefore, be free to move to prevent accidents. It is better to have
wind-screens, if necessary, rather than glass lanterns, as not only does
the glass stop a considerable amount of light when clean, but it is in
practice constantly dirty in almost every workshop or yard.


For bench work and machine tools, each man must have his own light under
his own control; and in this matter a little attention will make a
considerable saving. The burners should be union jets--_i. e._, burners
with two holes at an angle to each other--not slit or batswing, as the
latter are extremely liable to partial stoppage with dust. Where batswing
burners are used, I have often seen fully 90 per cent. more or less choked
and unsatisfactory; whereas a union jet does not give any trouble. It is
not generally known that any burner used at ordinary pressures of gas
gives a much better light when it is turned over with the flat of the
flame horizontal, until the flame becomes saucer-shaped, as I show you.
You can see for yourselves the increase in light; and in addition to this
the workman has the great advantage of a shadowless flame. In practice, a
burner consuming 5 cubic feet of gas per hour with a horizontal flame is a
better fitter's than an upright burner with 6 cubic feet per hour. I do
not believe in the policy of giving a man a poor light to work by--it does
not pay; and I never expect to get a man to work properly with smaller
burners than these. We have a good governor on the main: and the lights
are all worked with a low pressure of gas, to get the best possible duty.
As a good practical light for a man at bench moulding, the one I have here
may be taken as a fair sample. It is free to move, and the light is as
near the perfect position as the necessities of the work will permit. When
the light is not wanted, by simply pushing it away it turns itself down;
the swivel being, in fact, a combined swivel and tap.


You will see on one of the lights I have here, a new swivel joint, which
has been patented only within the last few days. The peculiarity of this
swivel is that the body is made of two hemispheres revolving on each
other in a ground joint. It will be made also with a universal movement;
and its special advantage, either for gas, water, or steam, is that there
is no obstruction whatever to a free passage--in fact, the way through the
swivel body is larger than the way through the pipes with which it is
connected. It can easily be made to stand any pressure, and if damaged by
grit or dirt it can be reground with ease as often as necessary without
deterioration, whereas an ordinary swivel, if damaged by grit, has to be
thrown away as useless.


For meals, where a steam-kettle is not used, it is the best policy to have
a cistern holding about 11/2 pints for each man, and to boil this with a
gas-burner. The lighting of the burner at a specified time may be deputed
to a boy. If the men's dinners have to be heated, it is easy to purchase
ovens which will do all the work required by gas at a much cheaper rate
than by coal, if we consider the labor and attention necessary with any
coal fire. Not that gas is cheaper than coal; but say we have 100 dinners
to warm. This can be done in a gas-oven in about 20 minutes, at a cost for
gas of less than 1d.; in fact, for one-fourth the cost of labor only in
attending to a coal fire, without considering the cost of wood or coals.
Gas, in many instances, is an apparently expensive fuel; but when the
incidental saving in other matters is taken into consideration, I have
found it exceedingly profitable for all except large or continuous work,
and in many cases for this also. I only need instance wire card-making and
the brazing shops of wire cable makers to show that a large and free use
of gas is compatible with the strictest economy and profitable working.

Of all the tools in a workshop, nothing saves more time and worry than two
or three sizes of good blowpipes and an efficient blower. I have seen in
one day more work spoilt, and time lost, for want of these than would have
paid for the apparatus twice over; and in almost every shop emergencies
are constantly happening in which a good blowpipe will render most
efficient service. Small brazing work can often be done in less time than
would be consumed in going to the smith's hearth and back again,
independently of the policy of keeping a man in his own place, and to his
own work. The shrinking on of collars, forging, hardening, and tempering
of tools, melting lead or resin out of pipes which have been bent, and
endless other odd matters, are constantly turning up; and on these, in the
absence of a blowpipe, I have often seen men spend hours instead of
minutes. Things which need a blowpipe are usually most awkward to do
without one; and men will go fiddling about and tumbling over each other
without seeing really what they intend to do. They are content, as it all
counts in the day's work; that it comes off the profits is not their
concern. It will, perhaps, be new to many of you that blowpipes can easily
be made in a form which admits of any special shape of flame being
produced. I have made for special work--such as heating up odd shapes of
forgings, brands, etc.--blowpipes constructed of perforated tubes formed
to almost every conceivable shape; these being supplied with gas from the
ordinary main and a blast of air from a Root's or foot blower. I have here
an example of a straight-line blowpipe made for heating wire passed along
it at a high speed. The same flame, as you no doubt will readily
understand, can be made of any power and of any shape, and will work any
side up; in fact, as a rule, a downward vertical or nearly vertical
position is usually the best for any blowpipe. As an example of this class
of work, I may instance the shrinking on of collars and tires, which, with
suitable ring-burner and a Root's blower, could be equally heated in five
minutes for shrinking on; in fact, the work could be done in less time
than it would usually take to find a laborer to light a fire. When the
rings vary much in size, the burners can easily be made in segments of
circles. But then they are not nearly so handy, as each needs to be
connected up to the gas and air supply; and it is, in practice, usually
cheaper to have separate ring burners of different sizes. Of course, you
will understand that a 1/2-inch gas-pipe will not supply heat enough to make
a locomotive tire red hot, and that for large work a large gas supply is
necessary. Our own rule for burners of this class is that the holes in the
tube should be 1/8 to 1/10 inch in diameter, from 1/4 to 1/2 inch pitch; and
the area of the tube must be equal to the combined area of the holes. The
gas supply-pipe must not be less than half the area of the burner-tube.
Those of you who wish to study this matter further will, I think, find
sufficient information in my paper on "The Construction of High-Power
Burners for Heating by Gas," printed in the Transactions of the Gas
Institute for 1883, and in the papers on the "Use and Construction of the
Blowpipe" and "The Use of Gas as a Workshop Tool."


No doubt many of you have been troubled with the twisting of some special
light casting, and will, perhaps, spend hours in the risky operation of
bending an iron pattern so as to get a straight casting. A ladleful of
lead and tin, melted in a small gas-furnace, will, in a few minutes, give
you a pattern which you can bend and adjust to any required shape. It
enables you to make trials to any extent, and get castings with the utmost
precision. There is also this advantage, that a soft metal pattern can be
cut about and experimented with in a way which no other material admits
of. Awkward patterns commence with us with plaster, wax, sheets of wet
blotting paper pasted together on a shape or wood; but they almost
invariably make their appearance in the foundry after being converted into
soft metal by the aid of a gas-furnace. I refer, of course, to thin,
awkward, and generally difficult castings, which, under ordinary
treatment, are either turned out badly or require a great amount of
fitting. As an illustration of the use of this system of pattern-making, I
have here two castings of my own, from patterns which, under the ordinary
engineer's system, would be excessively costly and difficult to make as
well as these are made. The surface is a mass of intricate pattern work
and perforations. To produce the flat original, as you see it, a small
piece of the pattern is first cut, and from this a number of tin castings
are made and soldered together. From this pattern, reproduced in iron for
the sake of permanence, is cast the flat center plate you see. To produce
the curved pattern I show you, nothing more is necessary than to bend the
tin pattern on a block of the right shape, and we now get a pattern which
would puzzle a good many pattern-makers of the old style.


I will now show you by a practical utilization of the well known flameless
combustion, how to light a coke furnace without either paper or wood, and
without disturbing the fuel, by the use of a blowpipe which for the first
minute is allowed to work in the ordinary way with a flame to ignite the
coke. I then pinch the gas tube to extinguish the flame, allow the gas to
pass as before, and so blow a mixture of unburnt air and gas into the
fuel. The enormous heat generated by the combustion of the mixture in
contact with the solid fuel will be appreciable to you all, and if this
blast of mixed air and gas is continued, there is hardly any limit to the
temperatures which can be obtained in a furnace. I shall be able to show
you the difference in temperature obtained in a furnace by an ordinary air
blast, by a blowpipe flame directed into the furnace, and by the same
mixture of gas and air which I use in the blowpipe being blown in and
burnt in contact with the ignited coke. In each case the air blast, both
in quantity and pressure, is absolutely the same; but the roar and the
intense, blinding glare produced by blowing the unburnt mixture into the
furnace is unmistakable. The heat obtained in the coke furnace I am using,
in less than ten minutes, is greater than any known crucible would stand.
I am informed that this system of air and gas or air and petroleum vapor
blast, first discovered and published by myself in a work on metallurgy
issued in 1881, is now becoming largely used for commercial purposes on
the Continent, not only on account of the enormous increase in the heat,
and the consequent work got out of any specified furnace, but also because
the coke or solid fuel used stands much longer, and the dropping, which is
so great a nuisance in crucible furnaces, is almost entirely prevented; in
fact, once the furnace is started, no solid fuel is necessary, and the
coke as it burns away can be replaced with lumps of broken ganister or any
infusible material. Few, if any, samples of firebrick will stand the heat
of this blast, if the system is fully utilized. You will find it a matter
of little difficulty, with this system of using gas, to melt a crucible of
cast iron in an ordinary bed-room fire grate if the front bars are covered
with sheet iron, with a hole (say) three inches in diameter, to admit the
combined gas and air blast. The only care needed is to see that you do not
melt down the firebars during the process. I will also show you how, on an
ordinary table, with a small pan of broken coke and the same blowpipe,
used in the way already described, you can get a good welding heat in a
few minutes, starting all cold. In this case the blowpipe is simply fixed
with the nozzle six inches above the coke, and the flame directed
downward. As soon as the coke shows red, the gas pipe is pinched so as to
blow the flame out, and the mixture of gas and air is blown from above
into the coke as before. With this and a little practice, you can get a
weld on a 7/8 inch round bar in 10 minutes.

There is one use of gas which has already proved an immense service to
those who, in the strictest sense, live by their wits. In a small private
workshop, with the assistance of gas furnaces, blowpipes, and other gas
heating appliances, it is a very easy matter to carry out important
experiments privately on a practical scale. A man with an idea can readily
carry out his idea without skilled assistance, and without it ever making
its appearance in the works until it is an accomplished fact. How many of
you have been blocked in important experiments by the tacit resistance of
an old fashioned good workman, who cannot or will not see what you are
driving at, and who persists in saying that what you want is not possible?
The application of gas will often enable you to go over his head, and do
what, if the workman had his own way, would be an impossibility. When a
man is unable or unwilling to see a way out of a difficulty, a master or
foreman has the power to take the law in his own hands; and when a workman
has been met with this kind of a reply once or twice, he usually gives
way, and does not in future attempt to dictate and teach his master his
own business. In carrying out this matter, it is not necessary that a
specimen of fine workmanship shall be produced. A man usually appreciates
the wits which have produced what he has considered impossible. In purely
experimental work I think I may fairly state that the use of gas as a fuel
in the private workshop and laboratory has done incalculable service in
the improvement of processes and trades, and has played an important part
in insuring the success and fortunes of many hundreds of experimenters,
who have brought their labors to a successful issue in cases where, in its
absence, neither time nor patience would have been available. I need only
to call to your mind the number of new alloys which, for almost endless
different purposes, have come into use during the last eight or ten years.
I think the use of small gas furnaces in private workshops and
laboratories may fairly be said to have enabled the experiments on most,
if not all, of these alloys to be carried out to a successful issue.

I have been asked to say something regarding gas engines. The only thing I
can say is that I know very little about them. In my own works we have
about 300,000 cubic feet of space, all of which requires to be heated,
more or less, during the greater part of the year. For this purpose we
must have a steam boiler, and having this steam, it costs little to run it
first through the engine, and so obtain our power for a good part of the
year practically without any cost. It would not pay, under any
circumstances, to have two separate sources of power for summer and
winter; and therefore the use of gas for power has never been considered.

For irregular work and comparatively small powers, gas-engines have
special and great advantages; and in this respect they may, perhaps, class
with gas melting furnaces. If I wanted 1, or 10, or 20 lb. of melted
metal, I could melt and make the casting in less time and with less cost
than would be required to light a coke fire. There is no possible
comparison in the two, as to convenience and economy; but if I wanted to
melt 3 or 4 cwt. or 3 or 4 tons every day, I should not dream of using gas
for the purpose, as the extra cost of gas in such a case would not be
compensated by the saving in time. In commercial matters we must always
consider first what is the most profitable way of going about our work;
and, so far as I myself am concerned, I have always found it advantageous
to expend some money annually on proving this by direct experiment. It is
almost always possible to learn something, even from a failure.

I will now, with a blowpipe and small foot blower, heat a short length of
locomotive boiler tube to a brazing heat on the table; and, in conclusion,
will convert the table into a small foundry. I cannot cast you a flywheel
for a factory engine; so will try at something smaller, and will reproduce
a medallion portrait of Her Majesty, in cast iron, the original of which
is silver, commonly valued at half a crown. From the time I light the
furnace until I turn you out the finished casting I shall perhaps keep you
eight or nine minutes. I can remember in the good old times 25 years ago,
before I used gas furnaces, that it sometimes took about two hours to get
a good wind furnace into condition to put the crucible in. My time in
those days was not worth much; but if I valued it at 2s. 6d. per week, it
would even then have been cheaper to use gas to do the same thing,
irrespective of the cost of coke.

The age of gaseous fuel is commencing; and I feel daily, from the
correspondence I receive, that there is a growing impression that gas is
going to perform miracles. We do not need to go mad about it; and my own
precept and practice is to employ gas only where its use shows a profit,
either in time or money. Many of those present know that I am as ready to
totally condemn gaseous fuel where it does not pay as to advise its use
where some advantage is to be gained. You will understand that my remarks
apply to coal gas only. As to producer or furnace gases, I know
practically nothing, except that sometimes it pays better to burn your
candle as a candle than make it into gas, and burn it as a gas afterward.
The use of producer gas no doubt pays on a large scale; and things on a
large scale, so far as gas is concerned, are not matters with which I have
time to concern myself. The commercial use of coal gas has yet to be
developed. It is in its infancy; and there are very few, if any, who have
any conception of its endless uses, both for domestic and manufacturing
purposes. The more general the information which can be given about its
uses, the sooner it will find its own level, and the sooner the gas
companies will appreciate the fact that their best customers are to be
found among those who can use coal gas as a fuel for special work in
manufacturing industries because it is profitable to use, and saves
expensive labor. My own experiments with alloys of the rarer metals, which
have not been concluded without profit to myself, would certainly never
have been undertaken except with the use of gas furnaces, which were both
practically unlimited in power and admitted of the most absolute precision
in use; and I may safely say, without violating any confidence, that many
of the precious stories and so-called "natural" products make their
appearance in the world first in a crucible in a gas furnace.

At the conclusion of my lecture before the Institute at Leeds, on
"Combustion and the Utilization of Waste Heat," Mr. Kitson, the Chairman,
remarked that if he were a dreamer of dreams, he might look forward to the
time when he would be growing cucumbers with the waste heat of his iron
furnaces. Many wilder dreams than this have come true in the science of
engineering; and the realization has brought honor and fortune to the
dreamers, as you must all know. The history of engineering is full of the
realization of "dreams," which have been denounced as absurdities by some
of the best living authorities.

* * * * *


The gas meter was invented by Clegg in 1816. Since that epoch no essential
modification has been made of its structure. Fig. 1 shows the principle of
the apparatus, _mnpq_ is a drum movable around a horizontal axis. This is
divided by partitions of peculiar form into four vessels of equal
capacity, and dips into a closed water reservoir, RR'. A tube, _t_, near
the axis, and the orifice of which is above the level of the water, leads
the gas to be measured. This latter enters under the partition, _l'm_, of
one of the buckets, and exerts an upward thrust upon it that communicates
a rotary motion to the drum. The bucket, _l'mi_, closed hydraulically,
rises and fills with gas until the following one comes to occupy its place
above the entrance tube and fills with gas in turn. Simultaneously, as
soon as the edge of each bucket emerges at _e_, the gas flows out through
the opening that the water ceases to close, and escapes from the reservoir
through the exit aperture, S. The gas, in continuing to traverse the
system, is thus filling one bucket while the preceding one is losing its
contents; so that, if the capacity of each bucket is known, the volumes of
the gas discharged will likewise be known when the number of revolutions
made by the drum shall have been counted. The addition of a revolution
counter to the drum, then, will solve the problem.

[Illustration: THE GAS METER.]

The instrument, as usually constructed, is shown in Figs. 2 and 3.

The reservoir, RR' contains the measuring drum, _mmmm_, movable around the
horizontal axis, _aa'_. The gas enters at E, passes at S into an opening
that may be closed by a valve, and is distributed through the box, BB',
which communicates with the reservoir through an orifice in the partition,
_hh'_. This orifice is traversed by the axle, _aa'_. The box, like the
reservoir, contains water up to a certain level, _r_. Through a U-shaped
tube, _lnl'_, the gas passes from the box, BB', into the movable drum,
sets the latter in motion, and makes its exit at S. In order to count the
volume discharged, that is to say, the number of revolutions of the drum,
the axle terminates at a in an endless screw which, by means of a cog
wheel, moves a vertical rod that traverses the tube, _gg_, and projects
from the box. As the tube, _gg_, dips into the water, it does not allow
the gas to escape, and this permits of the revolution counter that the rod
actuates being placed in an external case, CC'.

The counter consists of toothed wheels and pinions so arranged that if the
first wheel makes one complete revolution corresponding to a discharge of
1,000 liters, the following wheel, which indicates cubic meters, shall
advance one division, and that if this second wheel makes one complete
revolution marked 10 cubic meters, the third, which indicates tenths,
shall advance one division, and so on. Hands fixed to the axles of the
wheels, and movable over dials, permit the volume of gas to be read that
has traversed the counter.

The object of the other parts of the instrument are to secure regularity
in its operation by keeping the level of the liquid constant. It is
evident, in fact, that if the level of the water gets below _r_, the
capacity of the buckets will be increased, and the counter will indicate a
discharge less than is really the case, and _vice versa_. If the level
descends as far as to the orifice in the partition, _hh'_, the gas will
flow out without causing the apparatus to move. The water is introduced
into the counter through _f_, which is closed with a screw cap, and
passes through the opening shown by dotted lines into the reservoir, RR',
whence it flows to the box, BB', When it has reached the desired level, it
gains the orifice, _r_, of a waste pipe, escapes through the siphon,
_ruv_, and makes its exit through the aperture, _b'_, when the screw cap
of the latter is removed. If, by accident, the level of the water should
fall below a certain limit, a float, _f_, which follows its every
movement, would close the valve, _s_, and stop the flow of the gas.
Finally a tube, _tt'_ soldered to the lower part of the tube, _lnl'_, and
dipping into the water of a compartment, P, serves to allow the surplus
water to flow out at _b'_. To prevent the apparatus from being disarranged
upon the drum being revolved in the opposite direction, there is fixed to
the axle, _aa'_, a cam which lifts a click, _z_, when the rotation is
regular, but which is arrested by it when the contrary is the
case.--_Science et Nature_.

* * * * *


Next to the mule, there is no doubt that the most beautiful machine used
in the cotton trade is Heilmann's comber. Although the details of this
machine are hard to master, when once its action is understood it will be
found to be really simple. The object of combing is to remove the short
staples and the dirt left in after the carding of the cotton, such as is
used in the spinning of fine and even coarse numbers. The operation is an
extremely delicate one, and its successful realization is a good
illustration of what is possible with machinery. Combing machines are
usually made with six heads, and sometimes with eight. As the working of
each head is identical, we only speak of one of them. By means of a pair
of fluted feeding rollers a narrow lap, about 71/2 in. wide, is passed into
the head, in which the following action takes place: Assuming that the
stroke is finished, the lap is seized near its end by a pair of nippers,
so as to leave about half the length of the staple projecting. These
projecting fibers are combed by a revolving cylinder, partially covered
with comb teeth. When the front or projecting ends of the fibers are thus
combed, a straight comb in front of the nippers drops into them, the
nippers open, and the fibers are drawn through the straight comb. This
combs the tail ends, and at the same time the fibers, now completely
combed, are placed on or pieced to the fibers that had been combed in the
previous stroke, producing in this way a continuous fleece of combed
cotton. In short, in this most striking operation, the fiber during the
combing is completely detached from the ribbon lap, carried over, and
pieced to the tail end of the combed fleece, for a moment having no
connection with either. Since the expiry of the patent, Messrs. Bobson and
Barlow, of Bolton, have constructed a great many of these machines, and
have found that, as compared with the original make, it was possible to
greatly increase their efficiency. They accordingly devoted much attention
to this object, and have patents for several improvements. To describe
these so as to be understood by everybody would be a most difficult task,
and would take more space than we can afford. We simply wish to record
what these improvements are, and will suppose we are writing for those
who have a good acquaintance with Heilmann's comber.


We give herewith a perspective view of the improved machine. On
examination it will be noticed that an alteration is made in the motion
seen at the end of the machine for working the detached rollers. This
alteration we believe to be a decided improvement over Heilmann's original
arrangement. It dispenses with the large detaching cam, the cradle, the
notch-wheel, the catch and its spring, the large spur wheel which drives
the calender roller, and the internal wheels for the detaching
roller-shaft, substituting in their stead a much simpler motion,
consisting of a smaller cam, a quadrant, and a clutch. The arrangement,
having fewer parts, is also much more compact than the old one, for with
the driving pulleys in the best position it enables the machine outside
the framing to be shortened 10 in., an important point in a room full of
combers. The action of this detaching motion is positive, and enables the
machine to be run at a high speed without danger of missing, as happens
when the point of the catch for the old notch-wheel becomes broken or worn
away. Another important feature of the new arrangement is that it allows
the motion of the detaching-roller to be varied. By an adjustment, easily
made in a few seconds, the delivery may be altered to suit different
classes of cotton or kinds of work without the necessity of changing the
cams or the notch-wheels.

An improvement has been made in the construction of the nippers. In the
ordinary Heilmann's comber, the upper blade has a groove in its nipping
edge, and the cushion plate is covered with cloth and leather, the fibers
being held by the grip between the leather of the cushion plate and the
edges of the groove in the upper blade, or knife, as it is called. The
objections to this mode of construction were that the leather on the
cushion plate required frequent renewing, and unless the adjustment was
more accurate than could always be relied on, the grip of the nippers was
not perfect, for while at one end the nipper might be closed, at the other
end it might be open wide enough to allow the cotton to be pulled through
by the combing cylinder, and made into waste. In Messrs. Dobson and
Barlow's nipper there is neither cloth nor leather on the cushion plate.
Its edge is made into a blunt ^, upon which the narrow flat surface of a
strip of India rubber or leather fixed in the knife falls to give the nip.
By this plan the cushion is applied to the knife instead of to the plate,
which of course makes the cushion plate, after it has once been set, a
fixture; it also dispenses with the accurate setting, as is now necessary
in the old arrangement. It further does away with the frequent and
expensive covering of the cushion-plate with roller leather and cloth,
thus effecting a considerable saving, not only in cost of material, but
also in labor, inasmuch as the nipper knives can be taken off, recovered,
and replaced in one-sixth the time required to cover the cushion plates
and replace them on the old system. American cotton of 7/8" staple to silk
of 21/2" staple can also be combed by this improved arrangement, an
achievement which has been attempted by many, but hitherto without
arriving at any success. Messrs. Dobson and Barlow have however overcome
the difficulty by their improvements, which combine three important
qualities, viz., simplicity, perfection, and cheapness. Many hundreds of
other makers' machines have been altered to their new arrangements. The
cam for working the nipper has also been altered to give a smoother motion
than usual; one that moves the nipper quietly and without jerks when the
machine runs from 80 to 95 strokes per minute. A very decided improvement
has been made in the construction of the combing cylinder. The combs are
always fixed on a piece called the "half-lap," which, in its turn, is
secured to a barrel called the "comb-stock." Now it is very desirable and
important that these half-laps should be perfectly true and exactly
interchangeable. When one half-lap is taken off for repairs, another
half-lap must be ready to take its place on the cylinder. The original
mode in which the cylinders were made rendered it a matter of mechanical
difficulty--almost an impossibility in the machine shop--to produce them
exactly alike. To avoid this difficulty, Messrs. Dobson and Barlow have
reconstructed the combing cylinder, and the parts being fitted together by
simple turning or boring, accuracy and interchangeability can always be
depended upon. The screws which fasten the cylinder to the shaft are also
cased up with the cylinder tins, thus avoiding any accumulation of fly on
the screw heads.

The motion for working the top detaching, the leather, or the piecing
roller, as it is variously called, has also been improved. The ends of
this roller are always carried on the top of two levers that are
oscillated by a connecting rod attached to their bottom ends. In the new
motion the connecting rod is dispensed with, and one joint saved. The
joint that remains is at the foot of the levers that carry the leather
roller. This joint is constructed so that it may be easily altered, and by
its means one of the most delicate settings of the combing machine, viz.,
that of the leather roller, may be made with greater readiness than with
the old system. Further, from the mode of mounting these rollers another
advantage is gained in the facility of setting them. In setting with the
old arrangement, only one end of the roller is adjusted at a time; in the
new, the adjustment sets the ends of two rollers. With regard to the
leather roller also, it was found that as the round brass tubes in which
its ends revolved had very little wearing surface, they got worn into
flats on the outside, and thus worked inaccurately. In the machine under
notice this defect is remedied. The tubes are made square on the outside,
and having ample bearing surface they keep their adjustment perfectly.

On the top of the detaching roller is a large steel fluted roller carried
at each end by a small arm called a "horse tail." In the original machine
this roller simply kept its place upon the detaching roller by its weight,
and when the machine came to be run at high speeds it was found that owing
to its lightness the contact thus obtained was not reliable, the flutes or
ribs of the roller slipping upon those of the detaching roller, which for
good work is undesirable. This is remedied by placing a heavier top roller
in the horse tails, which is made with a broader bearing so as to give
greater solidity to the top roller. Another good idea we noticed in this
machine was in the application of a treble brush carrier wheel, which
permits of the brushes being driven at three different speeds as they
become worn. For instance, when the brushes are new the bristles are long,
and consequently they are not required to revolve as quickly as when the
bristles are far worn. By this improvement the brush lasts considerably
longer than in any other system of machine. Their speed can also be
regulated according to the length of the bristles, and the change from one
speed to the other can be effected in a very few minutes.

A common defect in combing machines is the flocking that frequently
happens. This is the filling up of the combs on the cylinder with dirt and
cotton, which the brush fails to remove. Although in general appearance
the cleaning apparatus is the same as the ordinary one, modifications are
introduced which make its action always effective and reliable. We were
informed by a mill manager, who has a great number of these combers, that
he meets with no inconvenience from flocking from one week end to another.
Altogether, it will be seen that Messrs. Dobson and Barlow have almost
reconstructed the machine, strengthening and improving those parts which
experience showed it was necessary to modify. As a result their improved
machine works at a high speed (80 to 95 strokes per minute, according to
the class of cotton), with great smoothness and without noise, and from
the almost complete absense of vibration the risk of breakages is reduced
to a minimum.--_Textile Manufacturer_.

* * * * *


When, in 1587, Charles Cusin, of Autun, settled at Geneva and introduced
the manufacture of watches there, he had no idea of the extraordinary
development that this new industry was to assume. At the end of the
seventeenth century this city already contained a hundred master watch
makers and eighty master jewelers, and the products of her manufactures
soon became known and appreciated by the whole world.

The French revolution arrested this impetus, but the entrance of the
Canton of Geneva into the Confederation in 1814, rendered commerce, the
arts, and the industries somewhat active, and watch-making soon saw a new
era of prosperity dawning.

On the 13th of Feb., 1824, at the instigation of a few devoted citizens,
the industrial section of the Society of Arts adopted the resolution to
form a watch-making school, which, having been created by private
initiative, was only sustained through considerable sacrifices.


In 1840 the school was transferred to the granary building belonging to
the city. In 1842, when it contained about fifty pupils, it was made over
to the administrative council of the city by the committee of the Society
of Arts. From 1824 to 1842 the school had given instruction to about two
hundred pupils. From 1843 to 1879 it was frequented by nearly eight
hundred pupils, two-thirds of whom were Genevans, and the other third
Swiss of other cantons and foreigners.

The school, then, has furnished the watch-making industry with the
respectable number of a thousand workmen, among whom large numbers have
been, or are yet, distinguished artists.

The rooms of the granary, where the school remained for nearly forty
years, became inadequate, despite the successive additions that had been
made to them, and it became necessary to completely transform them. The
magnificent legacy that the city owes to the munificence of the Duke of
Brunswick was partly employed in the reorganization, and the school is now
located in a vast building designed to answer the requirements of
instruction. This structure, which is located in Necker Street, presents
an imposing and severe aspect. The main building embraces most of the
workshops, the office, the library, and the classroom for instruction in
mechanics, all of which receive a direct light. At right angles with the
main building are two wings. The one to the north contains in its three
upper stories workshops occupied by classes in escapements, bezil setting,
compensating balances, and ruby working. On the ground floor are installed
juvenile schools.

The south wing contains halls for lectures on theory, and two workshops
looking toward the north. The ground floor is used for the same purpose as
that of the north wing.

Finally, in the center of the main building is a wing parallel with its
two mates. It is in this that is located the vast staircase that leads to
spacious landings at which ends on every story a large corridor common to
all the halls and workshops. It is in this part of the building that we
find the amphitheater of physics and chemistry and the laboratories. Here
also is located the museum in course of formation (gotten up in view of
the historical study of watch-making), and the amphitheater designed for
certain public lecture courses.

In the way of heating and lighting all parts of the building nothing has
been neglected, and special care has been taken to have the ventilation

At present the instruction comprises a practical and a theoretical course.

_Practical Instruction_.--This is divided into three sections: (1) an
elementary one having in view the construction of the simple watch in its
essential parts; (2) a higher section in which the pupils learn to
recognize the complicated parts; and (3) a section of mechanics applied to
watch-making and to the study of the construction of machines and tools
for facilitating and improving the manufacture.

1. _Elementary Section, First Year_.--The pupil must manufacture all the
small tools necessary for making unfinished movements; that is, drills,
reamers, punches, files, etc. He must then learn to file and turn, and to
make use of the finishing lathe with the bow, or of the foot lathe.

In general, the time taken by an apprentice to manufacture his tools is
from two to three months, and he can scarcely go to work on the movements
before this.

In this class the regular pupils have to execute seven pieces of work in
the rough, two for horizontal escapements with key and regulating wheel,
and five for various other escapements. Among these there is one for
simple repetition and one for minute piece. Aside from the work fixed by
the programme, the pupils may manufacture all the other complicated pieces
upon obtaining the authority for it from their masters and the director.

The average time employed in performing the work imposed by the programme
necessarily depends upon the capacity of the pupil, but we may say that in
general ten months are necessary.

_Second Year_.--After executing his last piece of work in a satisfactory
manner, the apprentice passes into the class in regulators, where he
begins to manufacture the small tools that he will require.

In this work, as in the preceding, he must take all his pieces from the
crude metal, and he must do the forging himself, as well as the roughing
down, the turning, filing, and shaping, and finally the finishing, without
the aid of any other machine than the dividing one.

In general, after eighteen months of work, the apprentice goes to the
finishing shop, where the delicate and minute work begins, pivoting,
putting the wheels in place, and practical study of gearings. After
learning how to divide a wheel correctly, he is set to work on pinions and
wheels in the rough, which he must rivet, finish, and pivot according to
the different planes of the pieces that have been calculated and executed
by him under the direction of the master.

The programme to be followed by the pupils of the class in finishing is,
as regards number of pieces, the same as that of the preceding classes,
that is to say, seven.

In general, the pupil passes from the class in finishing to the class in
dial-trains, where he makes two of these for his pieces--one a simple and
the other a minute train. The teaching of this part is very important as
regards the manufacture of escapements. In constructing the dial train,
the pupil perfects his filing and learns to make the adjustments correct.

The last class in the elementary instruction is the one in escapements
(Fig. 1), the programme of which includes several distinct parts: (1) The
tools that are strictly necessary; (2) escapement and cylinder adjustment;
(3) making the compensating balances for the pupil's pieces; (4) pivoting,
putting in place, and finishing the escapements in regulating pieces.
Here, as in the preceding classes, the pupils must do all the work
themselves. During their stay in the elementary classes the work done is
submitted to the director, who examines it and sends it back to the
instructors accompanied with a bulletin containing his estimate as to its
value, and his observations if there is occasion to make any.

Pupils who cannot or who do not wish to go over the entire field of the
programme stop here, and are now capable of earning their living and of
lightening the load that oppresses their parents.--_Science et Nature_.

* * * * *


The principle of an apparatus for blackening boots and shoes dates back to
1838, the epoch at which a machine of this kind was put into use at the
Polytechnic School. Since then it seems that not many applications have
been made of it, notwithstanding the services that a machine of this kind
is capable of rendering in barracks, lyceums, hotels, etc. Mr. Audoye, an
inventor, has recently taken up the question again, and has proposed to
The Societe d'Encouragement a model that gives a practical solution of it.
The use of this will allow a notable saving in time and trouble to be

This brush (see engraving) revolves around a horizontal axle supported by
a cast iron frame similar to that of a sewing machine. Motion is
communicated to it by a double pedal, which actuates a connecting rod and
a system of pulleys. The external surface of the brush contains three
channels in which the foot gear to be polished is successively placed. In
the first of these the dust and mud are removed, in the second the
blacking is spread on, and in the third the final polish is obtained.


In order to guide the blacking to that part of the brush which is to
receive it, Mr. Audoye protects the lower part of the latter by a
half-cylinder of sheet iron. On this there is placed a vessel containing
the blacking, and into which dips a copper cylinder having a grooved
surface. The horizontal axis of this cylinder is movable; when at rest it
is so placed that the cylinder is an inch or so below the brush, but when
the operator pulls a button that is within reach of his left hand, the
axis is lifted, a contact takes place between the brush and the cylinder,
and the former is thus given a rotary motion. As the cylinder still
continues to dip into the blacking, the latter is thus spread ever the
brush.--_La Genie Civil_.

* * * * *


_To the Editor of the Scientific American_:

In your paper of the 21st of February there is an article on personal
safety with electric currents, by Prof. A.E. Dolbear. He says that a Holtz
machine may give through a short wire a very strong current. For if E =
50,000 volts, R = 0.001 ohm, then C = 50000/0.001 = 50,000,000 amperes.
Now that is a very large quantity of electricity, and is equal to an
enormous horse power. I think the person receiving that charge would not
need another. According to Ohm's law, the strength of current is
proportional to the electromotive force divided by the total resistance,
external and internal. The last is a very important element in the Holtz
machine, and will make a big difference in the current strength. Here are
some of the results obtained from experiments made with the Holtz machine.
A machine with a plate 46 in. in diameter, making 5 turns in 3 seconds,
produced a constant current capable of decomposing 31/2 millionths of a
milligram in a second. This is equal to the effect produced by a Grove's
cell in a circuit of 45,000 ohms resistance. The current produced would be
about 0.0000044 ampere. That is rather small compared with the Professor's
result. Rossetti found that the current is nearly proportional to the
velocity of rotation. It increases a little faster than the velocity.

The electromotive force and resistance is constant if the velocity is
constant. The electromotive force is independent of the velocity, but
diminishes as the moisture increases, and is about equal to 52,000 Daniell
cells. The resistance when making 120 revolutions per minute is 2,810
million ohms. At 450 per minute, 646 million.

Taking it at 450, C = 53950/64600000.001 = 0.0000835 ampere, against the
Professor's 50,000,000, amperes, and it would be equal to about 0.006
horse power, which I think would be the more correct of the two; calling E
equal to 50,000 Daniell cells.

Yours, Respectfully,


Portland, Me., March 5, 1885.

* * * * *


[Footnote: A lecture delivered before the Society of Telegraph Engineers
and Electricians, London, Dec. 11, 1884.]

By Mr. W.H. PREECE, F.R.S.

I do not know what the sensations of a man can be who is about to undergo
the painful operation of execution; but I am inclined to think his
sensations must be somewhat similar to those of a lecturer, brimful of
notes, who has to wait until the clock strikes before he is allowed to
address his audience.

The President has been kind enough to refer to the paper I propose to give
you, as "Electricity in America in the year 1884;" but I would rather,
after having thought more about it, that it be called "A Visit to Canada
and the United States in the year 1884."

It will be in the recollection of a good many who are present that in the
year 1877 I visited America, in conjunction with Mr. H.C. Fischer, the
Controller of our Central Telegraph Station, to officially inspect and
report upon the telegraph arrangements of that country; and on the 9th
February, 1878, I had the pleasure of communicating to the members of this
Society my experiences of that visit.

During the present year my visit was not an official one; I went for a
holiday, and specially to accompany the members of the British
Association, who, for the first time in the history of that association,
held a meeting outside the limits of the United Kingdom.

We sailed from Liverpool in a splendid steamship called the Parisian.
There were nearly 200 B.A. members on board; and notwithstanding the fact
that rude Boreas tried all he could to prevent us from reaching the other
side of the Atlantic; notwithstanding the fact that the Atlantic expressed
its anger in the most unmistakable terms at our audacity in turning from
our native shore; notwithstanding the fact that Greenland's icy mountains
blew chilly blasts upon us, and made us call out all the warm things we
possessed--I say notwithstanding all this, we reached the Gulf of St.
Lawrence in safety, and I do not think that a merrier or a happier crew
ever crossed the Atlantic.

There is one very interesting fact that is not generally known, and I
certainly was unaware of it before I started, in connection with this
particular route across the Atlantic, and that is, that by it the ship
passes within only 200 miles of Greenland. The great circle that directs
the shortest route from the north of Ireland to the Straits of Belle Isle
passes within the cold region, and hence, while you were all sweltering in
heat in London, we were compelled to bring out our ulsters and all our
warm garments, to enable us to cross with any degree of comfort. The
advantage of this particular route is supposed to be the fact that only
five days are spent upon the ocean, and the remainder of the voyage is
occupied in the calms and comforts of the Gulf and River St. Lawrence. But
I am inclined to think that the roughness of the ocean and the coolness of
the weather at all seasons are quite sufficient to prevent anybody from
repeating our experience.

We arrived at Montreal in time to attend the opening meeting of the
British Association; and at Montreal we were received with great
hospitality, great attention, and great kindness from all our brethren in
Canada, and we held there certainly a very successful and very pleasant
gathering. There were 1,773 members of the British Association altogether
present, and of that number there were 600 who had crossed the Atlantic;
the remainder being made up of Canadians, and by at least 200 Americans,
including all the most distinguished professors who adorn the rolls of
science in the United States. As is invariably the rule in these British
Association meetings, we had not only papers to enlighten us, but
entertainments to cheer us; and excursions were arranged in every
direction, to enable us to become acquainted with the beauties and
peculiarities of the American continent. Some members went to Quebec, some
to Ottawa, others to the Lakes, others to Toronto, many went to Niagara;
and altogether the arrangements made for our comfort and pleasure were
such, that I have not heard one single soul who attended this meeting at
Montreal express the slightest regret that he crossed the Atlantic.

The meeting at Montreal certainly cannot be called an electricians'
meeting. The gathering of the British Association has often been
distinguished by the first appearance of some new instrument or the
divulgence of some new scientific secret; but there was nothing of any
special interest brought forward on this occasion. The only real novelty
or striking fact that I can recall as having taken place was a remarkable
discussion that originated by Professor Oliver Lodge, upon the "Seat of
the Electromotive Force in a Voltaic Cell."

This was an experiment on the part of the British Association.
Discussions, as a rule, have not been the case at our meetings. Papers
have been read and papers have been discussed; but on this occasion three
or four subjects were named as fit for discussion, and distinguished
professors were selected to open the discussion.

On this particular subject, Professor Oliver Lodge opened the discussion,
and he did so in an original, an efficient, and in a chirpy kind of manner
that took by storm not only the professors who knew him, but those who did
not know him; and I am bound to say that I do not think we could possibly
better spend an evening during the coming session, or more profitably,
than by asking Professor Oliver Lodge to bring the subject before this
Society, so as to allow us on this side of the water to discuss the same

Of course the prominent figure at our meetings was Lord Rayleigh; and I do
not think that any person could possibly have been present at those
meetings of the British Association without feeling an intense personal
admiration for this man, and an affection for the way in which he
maintained the position of an English gentleman and the credit of an
English scientific body, to the astonishment and delight of every one
present. Then, again, we had our past President, Sir William Thomson, who
was not quite so ubiquitous as usual; he did not dance from section to
section as he usually does, but remained as president of his own section,
A. I think he only left his section for a day, and that was to attend the
electrical day in Section G; but in his own section he brought down those
words of wisdom that one always hears from him, and which make one always
regret that there is not always present about him a shorthand writer to
take down thoughts and ideas that never occur again, and are only heard by
those who have the benefit of being present.

The subjects brought forward were not of intense interest. We had a paper
by Dr. Traill, describing the Portrush Railway, and there were various
other papers; and I can pass over some of the other subjects, because I
shall have to deal with them under another head. But while we were in
Montreal, a deputation of American professors and members of the American
Association came over, and invited a good many of those who were present
at Montreal to visit the American Association at Philadelphia. I was one
of those who went over to America simply and solely for a holiday, and I
am bound to say that I set my face determinedly against going to
Philadelphia. I traveled with two charming companions, and we all decided
not to go to Philadelphia. But the compact was broken, and we capitulated,
and went from the charming climate of Montreal into the most intense heat
and into the greatest discomfort that I think poor members of the
Telegraph Engineers' Society ever experienced. We entered a heat that was
100 deg. by day and 98 deg. by night; and I do not think there is anybody in this
room, unless he has been brought up in the furnace-room of an Atlantic
steamer, who can fully appreciate the heat of Philadelphia in these summer
months. The discomforts of the climate were, however, amply compensated
for by the hospitality and kindness of the inhabitants. We spent, in spite
of the heat, a very pleasant time.

Before referring further to the meetings at Philadelphia, I may just
mention the other journeys that I took. My holiday having been broken by
the rupture of the union to which I have alluded, I had to devote it then
to other purposes, and, in addition to Montreal and Philadelphia, I went
to New York (to which I shall refer again), from New York to Buffalo, then
to Lake Erie and Cleveland, and on to Chicago, where I spent a week or
more. From Chicago I went to see the great artery of the West--the
Mississippi. I stopped for a day or two at St. Louis. One remarkable fact
came to my knowledge, and I dare say it is new to many present, and that
is, that the Mississippi, unlike other rivers, runs uphill. It happens,
rather curiously, that, owing to the earth being an oblate spheroid, the
difference between the source of the Mississippi and the center of the
earth is less than that of its mouth and the center of the earth, and you
may see how this running up hill is accounted for.

From St. Louis I went to Indianapolis, thence to Pittsburg, where they
have struck most extraordinary wells of natural gas. Borings are made in
the earth from the crust to a depth of 600 or 700 feet, when large
reservoirs of natural gas are "struck." The town is lighted by this gas,
and it is also employed for motive power. In Cleveland, also, this natural
gas is found, and there is no doubt that it is going to economize the cost
of production very much in that part of the country. From Pittsburg I went
to Baltimore, where Sir William Thomson was occupied in delivering
lectures to the students of the Johns Hopkins University. In all these
American towns one very curious feature is that they all have great
educational establishments, endowed and formed by private munificence. In
Canada there is the McGill University, and in nearly every place one goes
to there is a university, like the Johns Hopkins at Baltimore, where Johns
Hopkins left 3,500,000 dollars to be devoted entirely to educational
purposes; and that university is under the management of one of the most
enlightened men in America, Professor Grillman, and he has as his
lieutenants Professors Rowland, Mendenhall, and other well-known men, and
each professor is in his own line particularly eminent. Sir William
Thomson delivered there a really splendid course of lectures. From
Baltimore I went through Philadelphia to Boston. I visited Long Branch,
and I spent a long time in New York, so that from what I have said you
will gather that I spent a good deal of my time in the States. Wherever I
went I devoted all my leisure time to inquiry into the telegraphic,
telephonic, and electric light arrangements in existence. I visited all
the manufactories I could get to, and I did all I possibly could to enable
me to return home and afford information, and perhaps amusement, to my
fellow-members of this Society.

As an illustration of the intense heat we experienced, I may mention that
it was at one time perfectly impossible to make the thermometer budge. The
temperature of the blood is about 97 or 98 degrees, and if the temperature
of the air be below the temperature of the blood, of course when the hand
is applied to the thermometer the mercury rises. In one of our journeys up
the Pennsylvania Road we tried to make the thermometer budge as usual, but
could not, which proved that the temperature of the air inside the Pullman
car in which we traveled was the same as that of the blood.

The American Association is of course based on the British Association.
Its mode of administration is a little different. It is divided into
sections, as is the British Association, but the sections are not called
the same. For instance, in the British Association, Section A is devoted
entirely to physics, but in the American Association, Section A is devoted
to astronomy and Section B to physics. In the British Association, Section
G is devoted to mechanics, but in America Section D is devoted to that
subject. But with the exception of just a change in the names of some
sections which are familiar as household words to members of the British
Association, the proceedings of the American Association do not differ
very much from ours. They have, however, one very sensible rule. The
length of every paper is indicated upon the programme of the day's
proceedings, and the continuation or the stopping of any discussion on
that paper is in the hands of the section. For instance, if the President
thinks that a man is speaking too long, he has only to say, "Does the
meeting wish that this discussion shall be continued, or shall it be
stopped?" A majority on the show of hands decides. Such a practice has a
very wholesome effect in checking discussion, and I certainly think that
some of our societies would do well to adopt a rule of the same character.

The meeting of the American Association, again, was not distinguished by
any particular electrical paper, or any new electrical subject. The main
subject that was brought before us was the peculiar effect called "Hall's
effect," that Professor Hall, now of Harvard College, and then assistant
to Professor Rowland, discovered in the powerful field of a magnet when a
current was passed through a conductor; and a description of that effect
(which he at one time thought was an indication that electricity was
something separate from matter) formed the subject of two debates that
lasted for nearly the whole of two days. I am bound to say that in that
prolonged discussion the members of this Society held their own. I see two
very prominent members present who spoke on most of the electrical
subjects dealt with--Professor G. Forbes, who knows what he says and says
what he knows, and Professor Silvanus Thompson, who held his own under
very trying circumstances.

At the same time that this meeting of the American Association was being
held at Philadelphia, where we were treated with marvelous
hospitality,--excursions, soirees, dinners, parties, etc., etc.--and as
though it were not quite sufficient to bring over humble Britishers from
this side of the Atlantic to suffer the intense heat at one meeting of the
Association, they held at the same time an Electrical Conference. There
was a conference of electricians appointed by the United States
Government, that was chiefly distinguished on the part of the American
Government by selecting those who were not electricians. But many attended
the Electrical Conference who stand high as electricians, one especially,
who, though perhaps from want of experience he did not shine very
brilliantly as a chairman, certainly stands as one of the ablest
electricians of the day--I mean Professor Rowland. The Conference was held
under Professor Rowland's presidency, and nearly all the well-known
professors of the United States attended. The Conference was established
by the United States Government to take into consideration the results and
conclusions arrived at by the Congress of 1884, held in Paris. The Paris
Congress decided upon adopting certain units of resistance of
electromotive force, of current, and of quantity, and they determined the
particular length of a column of mercury that should represent the ohm--a
column of mercury 106 centimeters long and of one square millimeter in
section. It was necessary that the United States should join this
Conference, so a commission was appointed to consider the whole matter.
All these units were brought before them, as well as the other conclusions
of the Paris Congress, such as the proper mode of recording earth currents
and atmospheric electricity. The Paris units were adopted in face of the
fact that the length determined upon at Paris was not the length that
Professor Rowland himself had found as that which should represent the
ohm. It differed by about 0.2, as near as I can remember; but it was
thought so necessary that uniformity and unanimity should exist all over
the world in the adoption of a proper unit, that all differences were laid
aside, and the Americans agreed to comply with the resolutions of the
Paris Congress.

There were two units that I had the temerity to bring forward, first, at
the British Association, and secondly, before the Electrical Conference.
It will be remembered, that at the meeting of the British Association at
Southampton in 1882, the late Sir W. Siemens proposed that the unit of
power should be the watt, and that the watt, which was derived from the
C.G.S. system of absolute units, should in future, among electricians, be
the unit of power. This was accepted by the British Association at
Montreal, and it was also accepted by the American Electrical Conference
at Philadelphia. But I also, at Montreal, suggested that as the watt was
the unit of power, so we ought to make some multiple of that unit the
higher unit of power, comparable to that which is now represented by the
well-known term "horsepower." Horsepower, unfortunately, does not form
itself directly into the C.G.S. system. The term horsepower is a
meaningless quantity; it is not a horsepower at all. It was established by
the great Watt, who determined that the average power exerted by a horse
was equal to about 22,000 foot pounds raised per minute; but this was
thought by him to be too little, so he increased it by 50 per cent., and
so arrived at what is the present horsepower, 33,000 foot pounds raised
per minute. Foot pounds bear no relation to our C.G.S. system of units,
and it is most desirable that we should have some unit of power, somewhere
about the horsepower, to enable us to convert at once watts into
horsepower. For that purpose I proposed that 1,000 watts, or the kilowatt,
should replace what is now called the horsepower, and suggested it for the
consideration of engineers. It has been received with a great deal of
consideration by those who understand the subject, and a considerable
amount of ridicule by those who do not. It is rather a remarkable thing
that, as a rule, one will always find ridicule and ignorance running side
by side; and it is an almost invariable fact that when a new proposition
is brought forward, it is laughed at. I am always very glad to see that,
because it always succeeds in drawing attention to the matter. I remember
a friend of mine, who had written a book, being in great glee because it
was severely criticised by the _Athenaeum_, a fact which drew public
attention to the book, and caused it to make a great stir. So when I
proposed that the horsepower should be increased by 33 per cent., and made
equivalent to 1,000 watts, I was not at all sorry to find that I had
incurred the displeasure of the leader writers in nearly all our
scientific papers, and I was quite sure that the attention of those who
would not perhaps have thought of it would thereby be drawn to the matter.
Some people object to the use of a name, this name "watt." When you have
fresh ideas, you must have fresh words to express those ideas. The watt
was a new unit, it must be called by some name, otherwise it could
scarcely be conveyed to our minds. The foot, the gallon, the yard, were
all new names once; and how do we know that they were not derived from
some "John Foot," "William Gallon," or "Jack Yard," or some man whose name
was connected with the measure when introduced? The poet says:

"Some mute, inglorious Milton here may rest--
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood:"

so in these names some forgotten physicist or mute engineer may be
buried. At any rate, we cannot do without names. The ohm, the ampere, the
volt, are merely words that express ideas that we all understand; and so
does the watt, and so will the 1,000 watts when you come to think over the
matter as much as some of us have done.

At this Conference several other subjects were brought up which attracted
a good deal of attention. Professor Rowland brought forward a paper on the
theory of dynamos that certainly startled a good many of us; and it led to
a discussion that is admirably reported in our scientific papers. I think
that the discussion evolved by Professor Rowland's paper on the theory of
dynamos deserves the study of every electrician; it brought very strongly
into prominence one or two English gentlemen who were present. Professor
Fitzgerald, of Dublin, spoke with a considerable amount of power, and
showed a mastery of the subject that was pleasant not only to his friends,
but must have been gratifying to the Americans who heard him. On this
particular subject of dynamos it was truly wonderful how the doctors
disagreed. Two could not be found who held the same views on the theory
and construction of the dynamo, and that shows that we still have a great
deal to learn about the dynamo, and that the true principle of
construction of it has yet to be brought out.

It is a very curious thing, and I thought about it at the time, that when
you consider the dynamos in use, you see how very little has been done to
perfect the direct working dynamo in England. Although the principle of
the dynamo originated with Faraday, yet all the early machines, Pacinotti,
Gramme. Hefner von Alteneck, Shuckert, Brush, Edison, and several others
who have improved the direct action machine, have not been found in
England. But when we deal with alternate-current machines, then we find
the Wilde, Ferranti, and various others; so that the tendency in England
has been very much to improve and work upon the alternate-current
machines. In other countries it is exactly the reverse; in fact, in
America I never saw one single alternate-current machine. When Professor
Forbes wanted an alternate-current machine to illustrate a lecture that he
gave, it was with the greatest difficulty that one could be found, and, in
fact, it was put together specially for him.

The other subjects brought before this Conference were Earth Currents,
Atmospheric Electricity, Accumulators or Secondary Batteries, and
Telephones. There was an extremely able paper brought forward by Mr. T.D.
Lockwood, the electrician of the American Bell Telephone Company, on
Telephones, and the disturbances that influence their working. When that
paper is published, it will well be worth your careful examination.

Papers were also read on the Transmission of Energy, and there were papers
on many other subjects.

So much for the Electrical Conference.

Now, the Americans at the present moment are suffering from a mania which
we, happily, have passed through, that is, the mania of exhibitions.

While we were at Philadelphia, there was an exceedingly interesting
exhibition held. I do not intend to say much about that exhibition, for
the simple reason that Professor G. Forbes has promised, during the
forthcoming session, to give us a paper describing what he saw there, and
his studies at Philadelphia; and I am quite sure that it will be a paper
worthy of him, and of you. But, apart from this exhibition at
Philadelphia, I could not go anywhere without finding an exhibition. There
was one at Chicago, another at St. Louis, another at Boston; everybody was
talking about one at Louisville, where I did not go; and there were rumors
of great preparations for the "largest exhibition the world has ever
seen," according to their own account, at New Orleans. However, I
satisfied myself with seeing the exhibition at Philadelphia, which
consisted strictly of American goods, and was not of the international
nature general to such exhibitions. But it was a fine exhibition, and one
that no other single nation could bring together.

_Telegraphs_.--When I spoke to you in 1878, my remarks were almost
entirely confined to telegraphs, for at that day the telephone was not, as
a practical instrument, in existence. I brought from America on that
occasion the first telephones that were brought to this country. Then the
practical application of electricity was applied to telegraphs, and so
telegraphs formed the subject of my theme. But while in 1877 I saw a great
deal to learn, and picked up a great many wrinkles, and brought back from
America a good many processes, I go back there now in 1884, seven years
afterward, and I do not find one single advance made--I comeback with
scarcely one single wrinkle; and, in fact, while we in England during
those seven years have progressed with giant strides, in America, in
telegraph matters, they have stood still. But their material progress has
been marvelous. In 1877, the mileage of wire belonging to the Western
Union Telegraph Company was 200,000 miles; in 1884, they have 433,726
miles of wire; so that during the seven years their mileage of wire has
more than doubled. During the same period their number of messages has
increased from 28,000,000 to over 40,000,000; their offices from 11,660 to
13,600; and the capital invested in their concern has increased from
$40,000,000 to $80,000,000--in fact, there is no more gigantic telegraph
organization in this world that this Western Union Telegraph Company. It
is a remarkable undertaking, and I do not suppose there is an
administration better managed. But for some reason or other that I cannot
account for, their scientific progress has not marched with their material
progress, and invention has to a certain extent there ceased. There really
was only one telegraphic novelty to be found in the States, and that was
an instrument by Delany--a multiplex instrument by which six messages
could be sent in one or other direction at the same time. It is an
instrument that is dependent upon the principle introduced by Meyer, where
time is divided into a certain number of sections, and where synchronous
action is maintained between two instruments. This system has been worked
out with great perfection in France by Baudot. We had a paper by Colonel
Webber on the subject, before the Society, in which the process was fully
described. Delany, in the States, has carried the process a little
further, by making it applicable to the ordinary Morse sending. On the
Meyer and Baudot principle, the ordinary Morse sender has to wait for
certain clicks, which indicate at which moment a letter may be sent; but
on the Delany plan each of the six clerks can peg away as he chooses--he
can send at any rate he likes, and he is not disturbed in any way by
having any sound to guide or control his ear. The Delany is a very
promising system. It may not work to long distances; but the apparatus is
promised to be brought over to this country, to be exhibited at the
Inventors' Exhibition next year, and I can safely say that the Post Office
will give every possible facility to try the new invention upon its wires.

One gratifying effect of my visit to the telegraph establishments in
America was that, while hitherto we have never hesitated in England to
adopt any process or invention that was a distinct advance, whether it
came from America or anywhere else, they on the other hand have shown a
disinclination to adopt anything British; but they have now adopted our
Wheatstone automatic system. That system is at work between New Orleans
and Chicago, and New York and New Orleans--1,600 miles. It has given them
so much satisfaction that they are going to increase it very largely; so
that we really have the proud satisfaction of finding a real, true British
invention well established on the other side of the Atlantic.

The next branch that I propose to bring to your notice is the question of
the telephone.

The telephone has passed through rather an awkward phase in the States. A
very determined attempt has been made to upset the Bell patents in that
country; and those who visited the Philadelphia Exhibition saw the
instruments there exhibited upon which the advocates of the plaintiff
relied. It is said that a very ingenious American, named Drawbaugh, had
anticipated all the inventors of every part of the telephone system; that
he had invented a receiver before Bell; that he had invented the
compressed carbon arrangement before Edison; that he had invented the
microphone before our friend Professor Hughes; and that, in fact, he had
done everything on the face of the earth to establish the claims set
forth. Some of his patents were shown, and I not only had to examine his
patents, but I had to go through a great many depositions of the evidence
given, and I am bound to confess that a more flimsy case I never saw
brought before a court of law. I do not know whether I shall be libelous
in expressing my opinion (I will refer to our solicitor before the notes
are printed), but I should not hesitate to say that I never saw a more
evident conspiracy concocted to try and disturb the position of a
well-established patent. However, I have heard that the judgment has been
given as the public generally supposed it would be given; because as soon
as the case was over the shares of the Bell company, which were at 150,
jumped up to 190, and now the decision is given I am told that they will
probably reach 290.

We cannot form a conception on this side of the Atlantic of the extent to
which telephones are used on the other side of the Atlantic. It is said
sometimes that the progress of the telephone on this side of the water has
been checked very much by the restrictions brought to bear upon the
telephone by the Government of this country. But whatever restrictions
have been instituted by our Government upon the adoption of the telephone,
they are not to be compared with the restrictions that the poor
unfortunate telephone companies have to struggle against on the other side
of the Atlantic. There is not a town that does not mulct them in taxes for
every pole they erect, and for every wire they extend through the streets.
There is not a State that does not exact from them a tax; and I was
assured, and I know as a fact, that in one particular case there was one
company--a flourishing company--that was mulcted is 75 per cent. of its
receipts before it could possibly pay a dividend. Here we only ask the
telephone companies to pay to the poor, impoverished British Government 10
per cent.; and 10 per cent. by the side of 75 per cent. certainly cuts but
a very sorry figure. But the truth is, the reason why the telephone is
flourishing in America is that it is an absolute necessity there for the
proper transaction of business. Where you exist in a sort of Turkish bath
at from 90 deg. to 100 deg., you want to be saved every possible reason for
leaving your office to conduct your business; and the telephone comes in
as a means whereby you can do so, and can loll back in your arm chair,
with your legs up in the air, with a cigar in your mouth, with a punkah
waving over your head, and a bottle of iced water by your side. By the
telephone, under such circumstances, business transactions can be carried
on with comfort to yourself and to him with whom your business is
transacted. We have not similar conditions here. We are always glad of an
excuse to get out of our offices. In America, too, servants and messengers
are the exception, a boy is not to be had, whereas in England we get an
errand boy at half a crown a week. That which costs half a crown here
costs 12s. to 15s. in America; and, that being so, it is much better to
pay the telephone company a sum that will, at less cost, enable your
business to be transacted without the engagement of such a boy.

The Americans, again, adopt electrical contrivances for all sorts of
domestic purposes. There is not a single house in New York, Chicago, or
anywhere else that I went into, that has not in the hall a little
instrument [producing one] which, by the turn of a pointer and the
pressing of a handle, calls for a messenger, a carriage, a cab, express
wagon (that is, the fellow who looks after your luggage), a doctor,
policeman, fire-alarm, or anything else as may be arranged for. The little
instrument communicates to a central office not far off, and in two
minutes the doctor, or messenger, or whatever it may be, presents himself.

For fire-alarms and for all sorts of purposes, domestic telegraphy is part
and parcel of the nature of an American, and the result was that when the
telephone was brought to him, he adopted it with avidity. On this side of
the Atlantic domestic telegraphy is at a minimum, and I do not think any
one would have a telephone in his house if he could help it.

When you want a thing, you must pay for it. The Americans want the
telephone, and they pay for it. In London people grumble very much at
having to pay L20 to the Telephone Company for the use of a telephone. I
question very much whether L20 a year is quite enough; at any rate, it is
not enough if the American charge is taken as a standard. The charge in
New York is of two classes--one for a system called the law system, which
is applied almost exclusively for the use of lawyers, which is L44 a
year; the other being the charge made to the ordinary public, and which
will compare with the service rendered in London, which is charged for at
L35 a year, against L20 a year in London. The charge in Chicago is L26 a
year; in Boston, Philadelphia, and a great many other places it is L25 a
year. At Buffalo a mode of charging by results is adopted; everybody pays
for each oral message he sends--every time he uses the telephone he pays
either four, five, or six cents, according to the number for which he
guarantees. Supposing any one of us wanted a telephone at Buffalo, the
company will supply it under a guarantee to pay for a minimum of 500
messages per annum. If 1,000 messages are sent, the charge is less _pro
rata_, being six cents, if I remember rightly, for each message under 500,
and five cents up to 1,000 messages, four cents per message over 1,000


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