SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT NO. 417
NEW YORK, DECEMBER 29, 1883
Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XVI, No. 417.
Scientific American established 1845
Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.
Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS.—Machine for Making Electric Light Carbons.—2 figures
The Earliest Gas Engine
The Moving of Large Masses.—With engravings of the removal of a belfry at Cresentino in 1776, and of the winged bulls from Nineveh to Mosul in 1854
Science and Engineering.—The relation they bear to one another. By WALTER R. BROWNE
Hydraulic Plate Press.—With engraving
Fast Printing Press for Engravings.—With engraving
Apparatus for Heating by Gas.—5 figures
Improved Gas Burner for Singeing Machines.—1 figure
II. TECHNOLOGY.—China Grass, or Rhea.—Different processes and apparatus used in preparing the fiber for commerce
III. ARCHITECTURE.—Woodlands, Stoke Pogis, Bucks.—With engraving.
IV. ELECTRICITY, LIGHT, ETC.—Volta Electric Induction as Demonstrated by Experiment.—Paper read by WILLOUGHBY SMITH before the Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians.—Numerous figures
On Telpherage.—The Transmission of vehicles by electricity to a distance.—By Prof. FLEEMING JENKIN
New Electric Battery Lights
The Siemens Electric Railway at Zankeroda Mines.—3 figures
Silas' Chronophore.—3 figures
V. NATURAL HISTORY.—A New Enemy of the Bee
Crystallization of Honey
An Extensive Sheep Range
VI. HORTICULTURE, ETC.—The Zelkowas.—With full description of the tree, manner of identification, etc., and several engravings showing the tree as a whole, and the leaves, fruit, and flowers in detail
VII. MEDICINE, HYGIENE, ETC.-The Disinfection of the Atmosphere. —Extract from a lecture by Dr. R.J. LEE, delivered at the Parkes Museum of Hygiene. London
A New Method of Staining Bacillus Tuberculosis
Cure for Hemorrhoids
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[Footnote: A paper read at the Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians on the 8th November, 1883]
By WILLOUGHBY SMITH.
In my presidential address, which I had the pleasure of reading before this society at our first meeting this year, I called attention, somewhat hurriedly, to the results of a few of my experiments on induction, and at the same time expressed a hope that at a future date I might be able to bring them more prominently before you. That date has now arrived, and my endeavor this evening will be to demonstrate to you by actual experiment some of what I consider the most important results obtained. My desire is that all present should see these results, and with that view I will try when practicable to use a mirror reflecting galvanometer instead of a telephone. All who have been accustomed to the use of reflecting galvanometers will readily understand the difficulty, on account of its delicacy, of doing so where no special arrangements are provided for its use; but perhaps with a little indulgence on your part and patience on mine the experiments may be brought to a successful issue.
Reliable records extending over hundreds of years show clearly with what energy and perseverance scientific men in every civilized part of the world have endeavored to wrest from nature the secret of what is termed her "phenomena of magnetism," and, as is invariably the case under similar circumstances, the results of the experiments and reasoning of some have far surpassed those of others in advancing our knowledge. For instance, the experimental philosophers in many branches of science were groping as it were in darkness until the brilliant light of Newton's genius illumined their path. Although, perhaps, I should not be justified in comparing Oersted with Newton, yet he also discovered what are termed "new" laws of nature, in a manner at once precise, profound, and amazing, and which opened a new field of research to many of the most distinguished philosophers of that time, who were soon engaged in experimenting in the same direction, and from whose investigations arose a new science, which was called "electro-dynamics." Oersted demonstrated from inductive reasoning that every conductor of electricity possessed all the known properties of a magnet while a current of electricity was passing through it. If you earnestly contemplate the important adjuncts to applied science which have sprung from that apparently simple fact, you will not fail to see the importance of the discovery; for it was while working in this new field of electro-magnetism that Sturgeon made the first electro-magnet, and Faraday many of his discoveries relating to induction.
Soon after the discovery by Oersted just referred to, Faraday, with the care and ability manifest in all his experiments, showed that when an intermittent current of electricity is passing along a wire it induces a current in any wire forming a complete circuit and placed parallel to it, and that if the two wires were made into two helices and placed parallel to each other the effect was more marked. This Faraday designated "Volta-electric induction," and it is with this kind of induction I wish to engage your attention this evening; for it is a phenomenon which presents some of the most interesting and important facts in electrical science.
Here are two flat spirals of silk-covered copper wire suspended separately, spider-web fashion, in wooden frames marked respectively A and B. The one marked A is so connected that reversals at any desired speed per minute from a battery of one or more cells can be passed through it. The one marked B is so connected to the galvanometer and a reverser as to show the deflection caused by the induced currents, which are momentary in duration, and in the galvanometer circuit all on the same side of zero, for as the battery current on making contact produces an induced current in the reverse direction to itself, but in the same direction on breaking the contact, of course the one would neutralize the other, and the galvanometer would not be affected; the galvanometer connections are therefore reversed with each reversal of the battery current, and by that means the induced currents are, as you perceive, all in the same direction and produce a steady deflection. The connections are as shown on the sheet before you marked 1, which I think requires no further explanation.
Before proceeding, please to bear in mind the fact that the inductive effects vary inversely as the square of the distance between the two spirals, when parallel to each other; and that the induced current in B is proportional to the number of reversals of the battery current passing through spiral A, and also to the strength of the current so passing. Faraday's fertile imagination would naturally suggest the question, "Is this lateral action, which we call magnetism, extended to a distance by the action of intermediate particles?" If so, then it is reasonable to expect that all substances would not be affected in the same way, and therefore different results would be obtained if different media were interposed between the inductor and what I will merely call, for distinction, the inductometer.
With a view to proving this experimentally, Faraday constructed three flat helices and placed them parallel to each other a convenient distance apart. The middle helix was so arranged that a voltaic current could be sent through it at pleasure. A differential galvanometer was connected with the other helices in such a manner that when a voltaic current was sent through the middle helix its inductive action on the lateral helices should cause currents in them, having contrary directions in the coils of the galvanometer. This was a very prettily arranged electric balance, and by placing plates of different substances between the inductor and one of the inductometers Faraday expected to see the balance destroyed to an extent which would be indicated by the deflection of the needle of the galvanometer. To his surprise he found that it made not the least difference whether the intervening space was occupied by such insulating bodies as air, sulphur, and shellac, or such conducting bodies as copper and the other non-magnetic metals. These results, however, did not satisfy him, as he was convinced that the interposition of the non-magnetic metals, especially of copper, did have an effect, but that his apparatus was not suitable for making it visible. It is to be regretted that so sound a reasoner and so careful an experimenter had not the great advantage of the assistance of such suitable instruments for this class of research as the mirror-galvanometer and the telephone. But, although he could not practically demonstrate the effects which by him could be so clearly seen, it redounds to his credit that, as the improvement in instruments for this kind of research has advanced, the results he sought for have been found in the direction in which he predicted.
A and B will now be placed a definite distance apart, and comparatively slow reversals from ten Leclanch cells sent through spiral A; you will observe the amount of the induced current in B, as shown on the scale of the galvanometer in circuit with that spiral. Now midway between the two spirals will be placed a plate of iron, as shown in Plate 2, and at once you observe the deflection of the galvanometer is reduced by less than one half, showing clearly that the presence of the iron plate is in some way influencing the previous effects. The iron will now be removed, but the spirals left in the same position as before, and by increasing the speed of the reversals you see a higher deflection is given on the galvanometer. Now, on again interposing the iron plate the deflection falls to a little less than one-half, as before. I wish this fact to be carefully noted.
The experiment will be repeated with a plate of copper of precisely the same dimensions as the iron plate, and you observe that, although the conditions are exactly alike in both cases, the interposition of the copper plate has apparently no effect at the present speed of the reversals, although the interposition of the iron plate under the same conditions reduced the deflection about fifty per cent. We will now remove the copper plate, as we did the iron one, and increase the speed of the reversals to the same as in the experiment with the iron, and you observe the deflection on the galvanometer is about the same as it was on that occasion. Now, by replacing the copper plate to its former position you will note how rapidly the deflection falls. We will now repeat the experiment with a plate of lead; you will see that, like the copper, it is unaffected at the low speed, but there the resemblance ceases; for at the high speed it has but very slight effect. Thus these metals, iron, copper, and lead, appear to differ as widely in their electrical as they do in their mechanical properties. Of course it would be impossible to obtain accurate measurements on an occasion like the present, but careful and reliable measurements have been made, the results of which are shown on the sheet before you, marked 3.
It will be seen by reference to these results that the percentage of inductive energy intercepted does not increase for different speeds of the reverser in the same rate with different metals, the increase with iron being very slight, while with tin it is comparatively enormous. It was observed that time was an important element to be taken into account while testing the above metals, that is to say, the lines of force took an appreciable time to polarize the particles of the metal placed in their path, but having accomplished this, they passed more freely through it.
Now let us go more minutely into the subject by the aid of Plate IV., Figs. 1 and 2. In Fig. 1 let A and B represent two flat spirals, spiral A being connected to a battery with a key in circuit and spiral B connected to a galvanometer; then, on closing the battery circuit, an instantaneous current is induced in spiral B. If a non-magnetic metal plate half an inch thick be placed midway between the spirals, and the experiment repeated, it will be found that the induced current received by B is the same in amount as in the first case. This does not prove, as would at first appear, that the metal plate fails to intercept the inductive radiant energy; and it can scarcely be so, for if the plate is replaced by a coil of wire, it is found that induced currents are set up therein, and therefore inductive radiant energy must have been intercepted. This apparent contradiction may be explained as follows:
In Fig. 2 let D represent a source of heat (a vessel of boiling water for instance) and E a sensitive thermometer receiving and measuring the radiant heat. Now, if for instance a plate of vulcanite is interposed, it cuts off and absorbs a part of the radiant heat emitted by D, and thus a fall is produced in the thermometer reading. But the vulcanite, soon becoming heated by the radiant heat cut off and absorbed by itself, radiates that heat and causes the thermometer reading to return to about its original amount. The false impression is thus produced that the original radiated heat was unaffected by the vulcanite plate; instead of which, as a matter of fact, the vulcanite plate had cut off the radiant heat, becoming heated itself by so doing, and was consequently then the radiating body affecting the thermometer.
The effect is similar in the case of induction between the two spirals. Spiral A induces and spiral B receives the induced effect. The metal plate being then interposed, cuts off and absorbs either all or part of the inductive radiant energy emitted by A. The inductive radiant energy thus cut off, however, is not lost, but is converted into electrical energy in the metal plate, thereby causing it to become, as in the case of the vulcanite in the heat experiment, a source of radiation which compensates as far as spiral B is concerned for the original inductive radiant energy cut off. The only material difference noticeable in the two experiments is that in the case of heat the time that elapses between the momentary fall in the thermometer reading (due to the interception by the vulcanite plate of the radiant beat) and the subsequent rise (due to the interposing plate, itself radiating that heat) is long enough to render the effect clearly manifest; whereas in the case of induction the time that elapses is so exceedingly short that, unless special precautions are taken, the radiant energy emitted by the metal plate is liable to be mistaken for the primary energy emitted by the inducing spiral.
The current induced in the receiving spiral by the inducing one is practically instantaneous; but on the interposition of a metal plate the induced current which, as before described, is set up by the plate itself has a perceptible duration depending upon the nature and mass of metal thus interposed. Copper and zinc produce in this manner an induced current of greater length than metals of lower conductivity, with the exception of iron, which gives an induced current of extremely short duration. It will therefore be seen that in endeavoring to ascertain what I term the specific inductive resistance of different metals by the means described, notice must be taken of and allowance made for two points. First, that the metal plate not only cuts off, but itself radiates; and secondly, that the duration of the induced currents radiated by the plates varies with each different metal under experiment.
This explains the fact before pointed out that the apparent percentage of inductive radiant energy intercepted by metal plates varies with the speed of the reversals; for in the case of copper the induced current set up by such a plate has so long a duration that if the speed of the reverser is at all rapid the induced current has not time to exhaust itself before the galvanometer is reversed, and thus the current being on the opposite side of the galvanometer tends to produce a lower deflection. If the speed of the reverser be further increased, the greater part of the induced current is received on the opposite terminal of the galvanometer, so that a negative result is obtained.
We know that it was the strong analogies which exist between electricity and magnetism that led experimentalists to seek for proofs that would identify them as one and the same thing, and it was the result of Professor Oersted's experiment to which I have already referred that first identified them.
Probably the time is not far distant when it will be possible to demonstrate clearly that heat and electricity are as closely allied; then, knowing the great analogies existing between heat and light, may we not find that heat, light, and electricity are modifications of the same force or property, susceptible under varying conditions of producing the phenomena now designated by those terms? For instance, friction will first produce electricity, then heat, and lastly light.
As is well known, heat and light are reflected by metals; I was therefore anxious to learn whether electricity could be reflected in the same way. In order to ascertain this, spiral B was placed in this position, which you will observe is parallel to the lines of force emitted by spiral A. In this position no induced current is set up therein, so the galvanometer is not affected; but when this plate of metal is placed at this angle it intercepts the lines of force, which cause it to radiate, and the secondary lines of force are intercepted and converted into induced currents by spiral B to the power indicated by the galvanometer. Thus the phenomenon of reflection appears to be produced in a somewhat similar manner to reflection of heat and light. The whole arrangement of this experiment is as shown on the sheet before you numbered 5, which I need not, I think, more fully explain to you than by saying that the secondary lines of force are represented by the dotted lines.
Supported in this wooden frame marked C is a spiral similar in construction to the one marked B, but in this case the copper wire is 0.044 inch in diameter, silk-covered, and consists of 365 turns, with a total length of 605 yards; its resistance is 10.2 ohms, the whole is inclosed between two thick sheets of card paper. The two ends of the spiral are attached to two terminals placed one on either side of the frame, a wire from one of the terminals is connected to one pole of a battery of 25 Leclanche cells, the other pole being connected with one terminal of a reverser, the second terminal of which is connected to the other terminal of the spiral.
Now, if this very small spiral which is in circuit with the galvanometer and a reverser be placed parallel to the center of spiral C, a very large deflection will be seen on the galvanometer scale; this will gradually diminish as the smaller spiral is passed slowly over the face of the larger, until on nearing the edge of the latter the smaller spiral will cease to be affected by the inductive lines of force from spiral C, and consequently the galvanometer indicates no deflection. But if this smaller spiral be placed at a different angle to the larger one, it is, as you observe by the deflection of the galvanometer, again affected. This experiment is analogous to the one illustrated by diagram 6, which represents the result of an experiment made to ascertain the relative strength of capability or producing inductive effects of different parts of a straight electro-magnet.
A, Fig. 1, represents the iron core, PP the primary coil, connected at pleasure to one Grove cell, B, by means of the key, K; S, a small secondary coil free to move along the primary coil while in circuit with the galvanometer, G. The relative strength of any particular spot can be obtained by moving the coil, S, exactly over the required position. The small secondary coil is only cut at right angles when it is placed in the center of the magnet, and as it is moved toward either pole so the lines of force cut it more and more obliquely. From this it would appear that the results obtained are not purely dependent upon the strength of the portion of the magnet over which the secondary coil is placed, but principally upon the angle at which the lines of force cut the coil so placed. It does not follow, therefore, that the center of the magnet is its strongest part, as the results of the experiments at first sight appear to show.
It was while engaged on those experiments that I discovered that a telephone was affected when not in any way connected with the spiral, but simply placed so that the lines of force proceeding from the spiral impinged upon the iron diaphragm of the telephone. Please to bear in mind that the direction of the lines of force emitted from the spiral is such that, starting from any point on one of its faces, a circle is described extending to a similar point on the opposite side. The diameter of the circles described decreases from infinity as the points from which they start recede from the center toward the circumference. From points near the circumference these circles or curves are very small. To illustrate this to you, the reverser now in circuit with spiral C will be replaced by a simple make and break arrangement, consisting on a small electro-magnet fixed between the prongs of a tuning-fork, and so connected that electro-magnet influences the arms of the fork, causing them to vibrate to a certain pitch. The apparatus is placed in a distant room to prevent the sound being heard here, as I wish to make it inductively audible to you. For that purpose I have here a light spiral which is in circuit with this telephone. Now, by placing the spiral in front of spiral C, the telephone reproduces the sound given out by the tuning-fork so loudly that I have no doubt all of you can hear it. Here is another spiral similar in every respect to spiral C. This is in circuit with a battery and an ordinary mechanical make and break arrangement, the sound given off by which I will now make audible to you in the same way that I did the sound of the tuning-fork. Now you hear it. I will change from the one spiral to the other several times, as I want to make you acquainted with the sounds of both, so that you will have no difficulty in distinguishing them, the one from the other.
There are suspended in this room self-luminous bodies which enable us by their rays or lines of force to see the non-luminous bodies with which we are surrounded. There are also radiating in all directions from me while speaking lines of force or sound waves which affect more or less each one of you. But there are also in addition to, and quite independent of, the lines of force just mentioned, magnetic lines of force which are too subtle to be recognized by human beings, consequently, figuratively, we are both blind and deaf to them. However, they can be made manifest either by their notion on a suspended magnet or on a conducting body moving across them; the former showing its results by attraction and repulsion, the latter by the production of an electric current. For instance, by connecting the small flat spiral of copper wire in direct circuit with the galvanometer, you will perceive that the slightest movement of the spiral generates a current of sufficient strength to very sensibly affect the galvanometer; and as you observe, the amplitude of the deflection depends upon the speed and direction in which the spiral is moved. We know that by moving a conductor of electricity in a magnetic field we are able to produce an electric current of sufficient intensity to produce light resembling in all its phases that of solar light; but to produce these strong currents, very powerful artificial magnetic fields have to be generated, and the conductor has to be moved therein at a great expenditure of heat energy. May not the time arrive when we shall no longer require these artificial and costly means, but have learned how to adopt those forces of nature which we now so much neglect? One ampere of current passing through an ordinary incandescent lamp will produce a light equal to ten candles, and I have shown that by simply moving this small flat spiral a current is induced in it from the earth's magnetic field equal to 0.0007 ampere. With these facts before us, surely it would not be boldness to predict that a time may arrive when the energy of the wind or tide will be employed to produce from the magnetic lines of force given out by the earth's magnetism electrical currents far surpassing anything we have yet seen or of which we have heard. Therefore let us not despise the smallness of the force, but rather consider it an element of power from which might arise conditions far higher in degree, and which we might not recognize as the same as this developed in its incipient stage.
If the galvanometer be replaced by a telephone, no matter how the spiral be moved, no sound will be heard, simply because the induced currents produced consist of comparatively slow undulations, and not of sharp variations suitable for a telephone. But by placing in circuit this mechanical make and break arrangement the interruptions of the current are at once audible, and by regulating the movement of the spiral I can send signals, which, if they had been prearranged, might have enabled us to communicate intelligence to each other by means of the earth's magnetism. I show this experiment more with a view to illustrate the fact that for experiments on induction both instruments are necessary, as each makes manifest those currents adapted to itself.
The lines of force of light, heat, and sound can be artificially produced and intensified, and the more intense—they are the more we perceive their effects on our eyes, ears, or bodies. But it is not so with the lines of magnetic force, for it matters not how much their power is increased—they appear in no way to affect us. Their presence can, however, be made manifest to our eyes or ears by mechanical appliances. I have already shown you how this can be done by means of either a galvanometer or a telephone in circuit with a spiral wire.
I have already stated that while engaged in these experiments I found that as far as the telephone was concerned it was immaterial whether it was in circuit with a spiral or not, as in either case it accurately reproduced the same sounds; therefore, much in the same way as lenses assist the sight or tubes the hearing, so does the telephone make manifest the lines of intermittent inductive energy. This was quite a new phenomenon to me, and on further investigation of the subject I found that it was not necessary to have even a telephone, for by simply holding a piece of iron to my ear and placing it close to the center of the spiral I could distinctly hear the same sounds as with the telephone, although not so loud. The intensity of the sound was greatly increased when the iron was placed in a magnetic field. Here is a small disk of iron similar to those used in telephones, firmly secured in this brass frame; this is a small permanent bar magnet, the marked end of which is fixed very closely to, but not touching, the center of the iron disk. Now, by applying the disk to my ear I can hear the same sounds that were audible to all of you when the telephone in circuit with a small spiral was placed in front of and close to the large spiral. To me the sound is quite as loud as when you heard it; but now you are one and all totally deaf to it. My original object in constructing two large spirals was to ascertain whether the inductive lines of force given out from one source would in any way interfere with those proceeding from another source. By the aid of this simple iron disk and magnet it can be ascertained that they do in no way interfere with each other; therefore, the direction of the lines proceeding from each spiral can be distinctly traced. For when the two spirals are placed parallel to each other at a distance of 3 ft. apart, and connected to independent batteries and transmitters, as shown in Plate 7, each transmitter having a sound perfectly distinct from that of the other, when the circuits are completed the separate sounds given out by the two transmitters can be distinctly heard at the same time by the aid of a telephone; but, by placing the telephone in a position neutral to one of the spirals, then only the sound proceeding from the other can be heard. These results occur in whatever position the spirals are placed relatively to each other, thus proving that there is no interference with or blending of the separate lines of force. The whole arrangement will be left in working order at the close of the meeting for any gentlemen present to verify my statements or to make what experiments they please.
In conclusion, I would ask, what can we as practical men gather from these experiments? A great deal has been written and said as to the best means to secure conductors carrying currents of very low tension, such as telephone circuits, from being influenced by induction from conductors in their immediate vicinity employed in carrying currents of comparatively very high tension, such as the ordinary telegraph wires. Covering the insulated wires with one or other of the various metals has not only been suggested but said to have been actually employed with marked success. Now, it will found that a thin sheet of any known metal will in no appreciable way interrupt the inductive lines of force passing between two flat spirals; that being so, it is difficult to understand how inductive effects are influenced by a metal covering as described.
Telegraph engineers and electricians have done much toward accomplishing the successful working of our present railway system, but still there is much scope for improvements in the signaling arrangements. In foggy weather the system now adopted is comparatively useless, and resource has to be had at such times to the dangerous and somewhat clumsy method of signaling by means of detonating charges placed upon the rails. Now, it has occurred to me that volta induction might be employed with advantage in various ways for signaling purposes. For example, one or more wire spirals could be fixed between the rails at any convenient distance from the signaling station, so that when necessary intermittent currents could be sent through the spirals; and another spiral could be fixed beneath the engine or guard's van, and connected to one or more telephones placed near those in charge of the train. Then as the train passed over the fixed spiral the sound given out by the transmitter would be loudly reproduced by the telephone and indicate by its character the signal intended.
One of my experiments in this direction will perhaps better illustrate my meaning. The large spiral was connected in circuit with twelve Leclanche cells and the two make and break transmitters before described. They were so connected that either transmitter could be switched into circuit when required, and this I considered the signaling station. This small spiral was so arranged that it passed in front of the large one at the distance of 8 in. and at a speed of twenty-eight miles per hour. The terminals of the small spiral were connected to a telephone fixed in a distant room, the result being that the sound reproduced from either transmitter could be clearly heard and recognized every time the spirals passed each other. With a knowledge of this fact I think it will be readily understood now a cheap and efficient adjunct to the present system of railway signaling could be obtained by such means as I have ventured to bring to your notice this evening.
Thus have I given you some of the thoughts and experiments which have occupied my attention during my leisure. I have been long under the impression that there is a feeling in the minds of many that we are already in a position to give an answer to almost every question relating to electricity or magnetism. All I can say is, that the more I endeavor to advance in a knowledge of these subjects, the more am I convinced of the fallacy of such a position. There is much yet to be learnt, and if there be present either member, associate, or student to whom I have imparted the smallest instruction, I shall feel that I have not unprofitably occupied my time this evening.
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[Footnote: Introductory address delivered to the Class of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, October 30, 1883.]
By Professor FLEEMING JENKIN, LL.D., F.R.S.
"The transmission of vehicles by electricity to a distance, independently of any control exercised from the vehicle, I will call Telpherage." These words are quoted from my first patent relating to this subject. The word should, by the ordinary rules of derivation, be telphorage; but as this word sounds badly to my ear, I ventured to adopt such a modified form as constant usage in England for a few centuries might have produced, and I was the more ready to trust to my ear in the matter because the word telpher relieves us from the confusion which might arise between telephore and telephone, when written.
I have been encouraged to choose Telpherage as the subject of my address by the fact that a public exhibition of a telpher line, with trains running on it, will be made this afternoon for the first time.
You are, of course, all aware that electrical railways have been run, and are running with success in several places. Their introduction has been chiefly due to the energy and invention of Messrs. Siemens. I do not doubt of their success and great extension in the future—but when considering the earliest examples of these railways in the spring of last year, it occurred to me that in simply adapting electric motors to the old form of railway and rolling stock, inventors had not gone far enough back. George Stephenson said that the railway and locomotive were two parts of one machine, and the inference seemed to follow that when electric motors were to be employed a new form of road and a new type of train would be desirable.
When using steam, we can produce the power most economically in large engines, and we can control the power most effectually and most cheaply when so produced. A separate steam engine to each carriage, with its own stoker and driver, could not compete with the large locomotive and heavy train; but these imply a strong and costly road and permanent way. No mechanical method of distributing power, so as to pull trains along at a distance from a stationary engine, has been successful on our railways; but now that electricity has given us new and unrivaled means for the distribution of power, the problem requires reconsideration.
With the help of an electric current as the transmitter of power, we can draw off, as it were, one, two, or three horse-power from a hundred different points of a conductor many miles long, with as much ease as we can obtain 100 or 200 horse-power at any one point. We can cut off the power from any single motor by the mere break of contact between two pieces of metal; we can restore the power by merely letting the two pieces of metal touch; we can make these changes by electro magnets with the rapidity of thought, and we can deal as we please with each of one hundred motors without sensibly affecting the others. These considerations led me to conclude, in the first place, that when using electricity we might with advantage subdivide the weight to be carried, distributing the load among many light vehicles following each other in an almost continuous stream, instead of concentrating the load in heavy trains widely spaced, as in our actual railways. The change in the distribution of the load would allow us to adopt a cheap, light form of load. The wide distribution of weight, entails many small trains in substitution for a single heavy train; these small trains could not be economically run if a separate driver were required for each. But, as I have already pointed out, electricity not only facilitates the distribution of power, but gives a ready means of controlling that power. Our light, continuous stream of trains can, therefore, be worked automatically, or managed independently of any guard or driver accompanying the train—in other words, I could arrange a self-acting block for preventing collisions. Next came the question, what would be the best form of substructure for the new mode of conveyance? Suspended rods or ropes, at a considerable height, appeared to me to have great advantages over any road on the level of the ground; the suspended rods also seemed superior to any stiff form of rail or girder supported at a height. The insulation of ropes with few supports would be easy; they could cross the country with no bridges or earth-works; they would remove the electrical conductor to a safe distance from men and cattle; cheap small rods employed as so many light suspension bridges would support in the aggregate a large weight. Moreover, I consider that a single rod or rail would present great advantages over any double rail system, provided any suitable means could be devised for driving a train along a single track. (Up to that time two conductors had invariably been used.) It also seemed desirable that the metal rod bearing the train should also convey the current driving it. Lines such as I contemplated would not impede cultivation nor interfere with fencing. Ground need not be purchased for their erection. Mere wayleaves would be sufficient, as in the case of telegraphs. My ideas had reached this point in the spring of 1882, and I had devised some means for carrying them into effect when I read the account of the electrical railway exhibited by Professors Ayrton and Perry. In connection with this railway they had contrived means rendering the control of the vehicles independent of the action of the guard or driver; and this absolute block, as they called their system, seemed to me all that was required to enable me at once to carry out my idea of a continuous stream of light, evenly spaced trains, with no drivers or guards. I saw, moreover, that the development of the system I had in view would be a severe tax on my time and energy; also that in Edinburgh I was not well placed for pushing such a scheme, and I had formed a high opinion of the value of the assistance which Professors Ayrton and Perry could give in designs and inventions.
Moved by these considerations, I wrote asking Professor Ayrton to co-operate in the development of my scheme, and suggesting that he should join with me in taking out my first Telpher patent. It has been found more convenient to keep our several patents distinct, but my letter ultimately led to the formation of the Telpherage Company (limited), in which Professor Ayrton, Professor Perry, and I have equal interests. This company owns all our inventions in respect of electric locomotion, and the line shown in action to-day has been erected by this company on the estate of the chairman—Mr. Marlborough R. Pryor, of Weston. Since the summer of last year, and more especially since the formation of the company this spring, much time and thought has been spent in elaborating details. We are still far from the end of our work, and it is highly probable what has been done will change rapidly by a natural process of evolution. Nevertheless, the actual line now working does in all its main features accurately reproduce my first conception, and the general principles I have just laid down will, I think, remain true, however great the change in details may be.
The line at Weston consist of a series of posts, 60 ft. apart, with two lines of rods or ropes, supported by crossheads on the posts. Each of these lines carries a train; one in fact is the up line, and the other the down line. Square steel rods, round steel rods, and steel wire ropes are all in course of trial. The round steel rod is my favorite road at present. The line is divided into sections of 120 ft. or two spans, and each section is insulated from its neighbor. The rod or rope is at the post supported by cast-iron saddles, curved in a vertical plane, so as to facilitate the passage of the wheels over the point of support. Each alternate section is insulated from the ground; all the insulated sections are in electrical connection with one another—so are all the uninsulated sections. The train is 120 ft. long—the same length as that of a section. It consists of a series of seven buckets and a locomotive, evenly spaced with ash distance pieces—each bucket will convey, as a useful load, about 2 cwt., and the bucket or skep, as it has come to be called, weighs, with its load, about 3 cwt. The locomotive also weighs about 3 cwt. The skeps hang below the line from one or from two V wheels, supported by arms which project out sideways so as to clear the supports at the posts; the motor or dynamo on the locomotive is also below the line. It is supported on two broad flat wheels, and is driven by two horizontal gripping wheels; the connection of these with the motor is made by a new kind of frictional gear which I have called nest gear, but which I cannot describe to-day. The motor on the locomotive as a maximum 1 horse-power when so much is needed. A wire connects one pole of the motor with the leading wheel of the train, and a second wire connects the other pole with the trailing wheel; the other wheels are insulated from each other. Thus the train, wherever it stands, bridges a gap separating the insulated from the uninsulated section. The insulated sections are supplied with electricity from a dynamo driven by a stationary engine, and the current passing from the insulated section to the uninsulated section through the motor drives the locomotive. The actual line is quite short, and can only show two trains, one on the up and one on the down line; but with sufficient power at the station any number of trains could be driven in a continuous stream on each line. The appearance is that of a line of buckets running along a single telegraph wire of large size. A block system is devised and partly made, but is not yet erected. It differs from the earlier proposals in having no working parts on the line. This system of propulsion is called by us the Cross Over Parallel Arc. Other systems of supplying the currents, devised both by Professors Ayrton and Perry and myself, will be tried on lines now being erected; but that just described gives good results. The motors employed in the locomotives were invented by Messrs. Ayrton and Perry. They are believed to have the special advantage of giving a larger power for a given weight than any others. One weighing 99 lb. gave 1 horse-power in some tests lately made. One weighing 36 lb. gave 0.41 horse-power.
No scientific experiments have yet been made on the working of the line, and matters are not yet ripe for this—but we know that we can erect a cheap and simple permanent way, which will convey a useful load of say 15 cwt. on every alternate span of 130 feet. This corresponds to 16 tons per mile, which, running at five miles per hour, would convey 92 tons of goods per hour. Thus if we work for 20 hours, the line will convey 1850 tons of goods each way per diem, which seems a very fair performance for an inch rope. The arrangement of the line with only one rod instead of two rails diminishes friction very greatly. The carriages run as light as bicycles. The same peculiarity allows very sharp curves to be taken, but I am without experimental tests as yet of the limit in this respect. Further, we now know that we can insulate the line satisfactorily, even if very high potentials come to be employed. The grip of the locomotive is admirable and almost frictionless, the gear is silent and runs very easily. It is suited for the highest speeds, and this is very necessary, as the motors may with advantage, run at 2,000 revolutions per minute.
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MACHINE FOR MAKING ELECTRIC LIGHT CARBONS.
One of the hinderances to the production of a regular and steady light in electric illumination is the absence of perfect uniformity in the carbons. This defect has more than once been pointed out by us, and we are glad to notice any attempt to remedy an admitted evil. To this end we illustrate above a machine for manufacturing carbons, invented by William Cunliffe. The object the inventor has in view is not only the better but the more rapid manufacture of carbons, candles, or electrodes for electric lighting or for the manufacture of rods or blocks of carbon or other compressible substances for other purposes, and his invention consists in automatic machinery whereby a regular and uniform pressure and compression of the carbon is obtained, and the rods or blocks are delivered through the formers, in a state of greater density and better quality then hitherto. The machine consists of two cylinders, A A', placed longitudinally, as shown at Fig. 1, and in reversed position in relation to each other. In each cylinder works a piston or plunger, a, with a connecting rod or rods, b; in the latter case the ends of the rods have right and left handed threads upon which a sleeve, c, with corresponding threads, works. This sleeve, c, is provided with a hand wheel, so that by the turning it the stroke of the plungers, a a, and the size of the chambers, A A', is regulated so that the quantity of material to be passed through the dies or formers is thereby determined and may be indicated. In front of the chambers, A A', are fixed the dies or formers, d d, which may have any number of perforations of the size or shape of the carbon it is intended to mould. The dies are held in position by clamp pieces, e e, secured to the end of the chambers A A', by screws, and on each side of these clamp pieces are guides, with grooves, in which moves a bar with a crosshead, termed the guillotine, and which moves across the openings of the dies, and opening or closing them. Near the front end of the cylinders are placed small pistons or valves, f f, kept down in position by the weighted levers, g g (see Fig. 2, which is drawn to an enlarged scale), which, when the pressure in the chamber exceeds that of the weighted levers connected to the safety valve, f, the latter is raised and the guillotine bar, h, moved across the openings of the dies by the connecting rods, h', thereby allowing the carbon to be forced through the dies. In the backward movement of the piston, a, a fresh supply of material is drawn by atmospheric pressure through the hoppers, B B', alternately. At the end of the stroke the arms of the rocking levers (which are connected by tension rods with the tappet levers) are struck by the disk wheel or regulator, the guillotine is moved back and replaced over the openings of the dies, ready for the next charge, as shown. The plungers are operated by hydraulic, steam, compressed air, or other power, the inlet and outlet of such a pressure being regulated by a valve, an example of which is shown at Fig. 1, and provided with the tappet levers, i i, hinged to the valve chest, C, as shown, and attached to spindles, i' i', operating the slide valves, and struck alternately at the end of each stroke, thus operating the valves and the guillotine connections, i and i. The front ends of the cylinders may be placed at an angle for the more convenient delivery of the moulded articles.—Iron.
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NEW ELECTRIC BATTERY LIGHTS.
There has lately been held, at No. 31 Lombard Street, London, a private exhibition of the Holmes and Burke primary galvanic battery. The chief object of the display was to demonstrate its suitability for the lighting of railway trains, but at the same time means were provided to show it in connection with ordinary domestic illumination, as it is evident that a battery will serve equally as well for the latter as for the former purpose. Already the great Northern express leaving London at 5:30 P.M. is lighted by this means, and satisfactory experiments have been made upon the South-western line, while the inventors give a long list of other companies to which experimental plant is to be supplied. The battery shown, in Lombard Street consisted of fifteen cells arranged in three boxes of five cells each. Each box measured about 18 in. by 12 in. by 10 in., and weighed from 75 lb. to 100 lb. The electromotive force of each cell was 1.8 volts and its internal resistance from 1/40 to 1/50 of an ohm, consequently the battery exhibited had, under the must favorable circumstances, a difference of potential of 27 volts at its poles, and a resistance of 0.3 ohm.
When connected to a group of ten Swan lamps of five candle power, requiring a difference of potential of 20 volts, it raised them to vivid incandescence, considerably above their nominal capacity, but it failed to supply eighteen lamps of the same kind satisfactorily, showing that its working capacity lay somewhere between the two. A more powerful lamp is used in the railway carriages, but as there was only one erected it was impossible to judge of the number that a battery of the size shown would feed. Engineering says the trial, however, demonstrated that great quantities of current were being continuously evolved, and if, as we understood, the production can be maintained constant for about twenty-four hours without attention, the new battery marks a distinct step in this kind of electric lighting. Of the construction of the battery we unfortunately can say but little, as the patents are not yet completed, but we may state that the solid elements are zinc and carbon, and that the novelty lies in the liquid, and in the ingenious arrangement for supplying and withdrawing it.
Ordinarily one charge of liquid will serve for twenty-four hours working, but this, of course, is entirely determined by the space provided for it. It is sold at sevenpence a gallon, and each gallon is sufficient, we are informed, to drive a cell while it generates 800 ampere hours of current, or, taking the electromotive force at 1.8 volts, it represents (800 x 1.8) / 746 = 1.93 horse-power hours. The cost of the zinc is stated to be 35 per cent. of that of the fluid, although it is difficult to see how this can be, for one horse-power requires the consumption of 895.2 grammes of zinc per hour, or 1.96 lb., and this at 18l. per ton, would cost 1.93 pence per pound, or 3.8 pence per horse-power hour. This added to 3.6 pence for the fluid, would give a total of 7.4 pence per horse-power per hour, and assuming twenty lamps of ten candle power to be fed per horse-power, the cost would be about one-third of a penny per hour per lamp.
Mr Holmes admits his statement of the consumption of zinc does not agree with what might be theoretically expected but he bases it upon the result of his experiments in the Pullman train, which place the cost at one farthing per hour per light. At the same time he does not profess that the battery can compete in the matter of cost with mechanically generated currents on a large scale, but he offers it as a convenient means of obtaining the electric light in places where a steam engine or a gas engine is inadmissible, as in a private house, and where the cost of driving a dynamo machine is raised abnormally high by reason of a special attendant having to be paid to look after it.
But he has another scheme for the reduction of the cost, to which we have not yet alluded, and of which we can say but little, as the details are not at present available for publication. The battery gives off fumes which can be condensed into a nitrogenous substance, valuable, it is stated, as a manure, while the zinc salts in the spent liquid can be recovered and returned to useful purposes. How far this is practicable it is at present impossible to say, but at any rate the idea represents a step in the right direction, and if the electricians can follow the example of the gas manufacturers and obtain a revenue from the residuals of galvanic batteries, they will greatly improve their commercial position. There is nothing impossible in the idea, and neither is it altogether novel, although the way of carrying it out may be. In 1848, Staite, one of the early enthusiasts in electric lighting, patented a series of batteries from which he proposed to recover sulphate, nitrate, and chloride of zinc, but we never heard that he obtained any success.
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NEW ELECTRIC RAILWAY.
The original electric railway laid down by Messrs. Siemens and Halske at Berlin seems likely to be the parent of many others. One of the most recent is the underground electric line laid down by the firm in the mines of Zankerodain Saxony. An account of this railway has appeared in Glaser's Annalen, together with drawings of the engine, which we are able to reproduce. They are derived from a paper by Herr Fischer, read on the 19th December, 1882, before the Electro-Technical Union of Germany. The line in question is 700 meters long—770 yards—and has two lines of way. It lies 270 meters—300 yards—below the surface of the ground. It is worked by an electric locomotive, hauling ten wagons at a speed of 12 kilometers, or 7 miles per hour. The total weight drawn is eight tons. The gauge is a narrow one, so that the locomotive can be made of small dimensions. Its total length between the buffer heads is 2.43 meters; its height 1.04 meters; breadth 0.8 meter; diameter of wheels, 0.34 meter. From the rail head to the center of the buffers is a height of 0.675 meter; and the total weight is only 1550 kilogrammes, or say 3,400 lb. We give a longitudinal section through the locomotive. It will be seen that there is a seat at each end for the driver, so that he can always look forwards, whichever way the engine may be running. The arrangements for connection with the electric current are very simple. The current is generated by a dynamo machine fixed outside the mine, and run by a small rotary steam engine, shown in section and elevation, at a speed of 900 revolutions per minute. The current passes through a cable down the shaft to a T-iron fixed to the side of the heading. On this T-iron slide contact pieces which are connected with the electric engine by leading wires. The driver by turning a handle can move his engine backward or forward at will. The whole arrangement has worked extremely well, and it is stated that the locomotive, if so arranged, could easily do double its present work; in other words, could haul 15 to 16 tons of train load at a speed of seven miles an hour. The arrangements for the dynamo machine on the engine, and its connection with the wheels, are much the same as those used in Sir William Siemens' electric railway now working near the Giant's Causeway.—The Engineer.
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THE EARLIEST GAS-ENGINE.
Lebon, in the certificate dated 1801, in addition to his first patent, described and illustrated a three-cylinder gas-engine in which an explosive mixture of gas and air was to have been ignited by an electric spark. This is a curious anticipation of the Lenior system, not brought out until more than fifty years later; but there is no evidence that Lebon ever constructed an engine after the design referred to. It is an instructive lesson to would-be patentees, who frequently expect to reap immediate fame and fortune from their property in some crude ideas which they fondly deem to be an "invention," to observe the very wide interval that separates Lebon from Otto. The idea is the same in both cases; but it has required long years of patient work, and many failures, to embody the idea in a suitable form. It is almost surprising, to any one who has not specially studied the matter, to discover the number of devices that have been tried with the object of making an explosion engine, as distinguished from one deriving its motive power from the expansion of gaseous fluids. A narrative of some of these attempts has been presented to the Societe des Ingenieurs Civils; mostly taken in the first place from Stuart's work upon the origin of the steam engine, published in 1820, and now somewhat scarce. It appears from this statement that so long ago as 1794, Robert Street described and patented an engine in winch the piston was to be driven by the explosion of a gaseous mixture whereof the combustible element was furnished by the vaporization of terebenthine (turpentine) thrown upon red hot iron. In 1807 De Rivaz applied the same idea in a different manner. He employed a cylinder 12 centimeters in diameter fitted with a piston. At the bottom of the cylinder there was another smaller one, also provided with a piston. This was the aspirating cylinder, which drew hydrogen from an inflated bag, and mixed it with twice its bulk of air by means of a two-way cock. The ignition of the detonating mixture was effected by an electric spark. It is said that the inventor applied his apparatus to a small locomotive.
In 1820 Mr. Cecil, of Cambridge, proposed the employment of a mixture of air and hydrogen as a source of motive power; he gave a detailed account of his invention in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, together with some interesting theoretical considerations. The author observes here that an explosion may be safely opposed by an elastic resistance—that of compressed air, for example—if such resistance possesses little or no inertia to be brought into play; contrariwise, the smallest inertia opposed to the explosion of a mixture subjected to instantaneous combustion is equivalent to an insurmountable obstacle. Thus a small quantity of gunpowder, or a detonating mixture of air and hydrogen, may without danger be ignited in a large closed vessel full of air, because the pressure against the sides of the vessel exerted by the explosion is not more than the pressure of the air compressed by the explosion. If a piece of card board, or even of paper, is placed in the middle of the bore of a cannon charged with powder, the cannon will almost certainly burst, because the powder in detonating acts upon a body in repose which can only be put in motion in a period of time infinitely little by the intervention of a force infinitely great. The piece of paper is therefore equivalent to an insurmountable obstacle. Of all detonating mixtures, or explosive materials, the most dangerous for equal expansions, and the least fitted for use as motive power, are those which inflame the most rapidly. Thus, a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen, in which the inflammation is produced instantaneously, is less convenient for this particular usage than a mixture of air and hydrogen, which inflames more slowly. From this point of view, ordinary gunpowder would make a good source of motive power, because, notwithstanding its great power of dilatation, it is comparatively slow of ignition; only it would be necessary to take particular precautions to place the moving body in close contact with the powder. Cecil pointed out that while a small steam engine could not be started in work in less than half an hour, or probably more, a gas engine such as he proposed would have the advantage of being always ready for immediate use. Cecil's engine was the first in which the explosive mixture was ignited by a simple flame of gas drawn into the cylinder at the right moment. In the first model, which was that of a vertical beam engine with a long cylinder of comparatively small diameter, the motive power was simply derived from the descent of the piston by atmospheric pressure; but Mr. Cecil is careful to state that power may also be obtained directly from the force of the explosion. The engine was worked with a cylinder pressure of about 12 atmospheres, and the inventor seems to have recognized that the noise of the explosions might be an objection to the machine, for he suggests putting the end of the cylinder down in a well, or inclosing it in a tight vessel for the purpose of deadening the shock.
It is interesting to rescue for a moment the account of Mr. Cecil's invention from the obscurity into which it has fallen—obscurity which the ingenuity of the ideas embodied in this machine does not merit. It is probable that in addition to the imperfections of his machinery, Mr. Cecil suffered from the difficulty of obtaining hydrogen at a sufficiently low price for use in large quantities. It does not transpire that the inventor ever seriously turned his attention to the advantages of coal gas, which even at that time, although very dear, must have been much cheaper than hydrogen. Knowing what we do at present, however, of the consumption of gas by a good engine of the latest pattern, it may be assumed that a great deal of the trouble of the gas engine builders of 60 years ago arose from the simple fact of their being altogether before their age. Of course, the steam engine of 1820 was a much more wasteful machine, as well as more costly to build than the steam engine of to-day; but the difference cannot have been so great as to create an advantage in favor of an appliance which required even greater nicety of construction. The best gas-engine at present made would have been an expensive thing to supply with gas at the prices current in 1820, even if the resources of mechanical science at that date had been equal to its construction; which we know was not the case. Still, this consideration was not known, or was little valued, by Mr. Cecil and his contemporaries. It was not long, however, before Mr. Cecil had to give way before a formidable rival; for in 1823 Samuel Brown brought out his engine, which was in many respects an improvement upon the one already described. It will probably be right, however, to regard the Rev. Mr. Cecil, of Cambridge, as the first to make a practicable model of a gas-engine in the United Kingdom.—Journal of Gas Lighting.
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Alabama has 2,118 factories, working 8,248 hands, with a capital invested of $5,714,032, paying annually in wages $2,227,968, and yielding annually in products $13,040,644.
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THE MOVING OF LARGE MASSES.
[Footnote: For previous article see SUPPLEMENT 367.]
The moving of a belfry was effected in 1776 by a mason who knew neither how to read nor write. This structure was, and still is, at Crescentino, upon the left bank of the Po, between Turin and Cazal. The following is the official report on the operation:
"In the year 1776, on the second day of September, the ordinary council was convoked, ... as it is well known that, on the 26th of May last, there was effected the removal of a belfry, 7 trabucs (22.5 m.) or more in height, from the church called Madonna del Palazzo, with the concurrence and in the presence and amid the applause of numerous people of this city and of strangers who had come in order to be witnesses of the removal of the said tower with its base and entire form, by means of the processes of our fellow-citizen Serra, a master mason who took it upon himself to move the said belfry to a distance of 3 meters, and to annex it to a church in course of construction. In order to effect this removal, the four faces of the brick walls were first cut and opened at the base of the tower and on a level with the earth. Into the apertures from north to south, that is to say in the direction that the edifice was to take, there were introduced two large beams, and with these there ran parallel, external to the belfry and alongside of it, two other rows of beams of sufficient length and extent to form for the structure a bed over which it might be moved and placed in position in the new spot, where foundations of brick and lime had previously been prepared.
"Upon this plane there were afterward placed rollers 3 inches in diameter, and, upon these latter, there was placed a second row of beams of the same length as the others. Into the eastern and western apertures there were inserted, in cross-form, two beams of less length.
"In order to prevent the oscillation of the tower, the latter was supported by eight joists, two of these being placed on each side and joined at their bases, each with one of the four beams, and, at their apices, with the walls of the tower at about two-thirds of its height.
"The plane over which the edifice was to be rolled had an inclination of one inch. The belfry was hauled by three cables that wound around three capstans, each of which was actuated by ten men. The removal was effected in less than an hour.
"It should be remarked that during the operation the son of the mason Serra, standing in the belfry, continued to ring peals, the bells not having been taken out.
"Done at Crescentino, in the year and on the day mentioned."
A note communicated to the Academie des Sciences at its session of May 9, 1831, added that the base of the belfry was 3.3 m. square. This permits us to estimate its weight at about 150 tons.
Fig. 1 shows the general aspect of the belfry with its stays. This is taken from an engraving published in 1844 by Mr. De Gregori, who, during his childhood, was a witness of the operation, and who endeavored to render the information given by the official account completer without being able to make the process much clearer.
In 1854 Mr. Victor Place moved overland, from Nineveh to Mosul, the winged bulls that at present are in the Assyrian museum of the Louvre, and each of which weighs 32 tons. After carefully packing these in boxes in order to preserve them from shocks, Place laid them upon their side, having turned them over, by means of levers, against a sloping bank of earth That he afterward dug away in such a manner that the operation was performed without accident. He had had constructed an enormous car with axles 0.25 m. in diameter, and solid wheels 0.8 m. in thickness (Fig. 2). Beneath the center of the box containing the bull a trench was dug that ran up to the natural lever of the soil by an incline. This trench had a depth and width such that the car could run under the box while the latter was supported at two of its extremities by the banks. These latter were afterward gradually cut away until the box rested upon the car without shock. Six hundred men then manned the ropes and hauled the car with its load up to the level of the plain. These six hundred men were necessary throughout nearly the entire route over a plain that was but slightly broken and in which the ground presented but little consistency.
The route from Khorsabad to Mosul was about 18 kilometers, taking into account all the detours that had to be made in order to have a somewhat firm roadway. It took four days to transport the first bull this distance, but it required only a day and a half to move the other one, since the ground had acquired more compactness as a consequence of moving the first one over it, and since the leaders had become more expert. The six hundred men at Mr. Place's disposal had, moreover, been employed for three months back in preparing the route, in strengthening it with piles in certain spots and in paving others with flagstones brought from the ruins of Nineveh. In a succeeding article I shall describe how I, a few years ago, moved an ammunition stone house, weighing 50 tons, to a distance of 35 meters without any other machine than a capstan actuated by two men.—A. De Rochas, in La Nature.
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SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING.
In the address delivered by Mr. Westmacott, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to the English and Belgian engineers assembled at Liege last August, there occurred the following passage: "Engineering brings all other sciences into play; chemical or physical discoveries, such as those of Faraday, would be of little practical use if engineers were not ready with mechanical appliances to carry them out, and make them commercially successful in the way best suited to each."
We have no objection to make to these words, spoken at such a time and before such an assembly. It would of course be easy to take the converse view, and observe that engineering would have made little progress in modern times, but for the splendid resources which the discoveries of pure science have placed at her disposal, and which she has only had to adopt and utilize for her own purposes. But there is no need to quarrel over two opposite modes of stating the same fact. There is need on the other hand that the fact itself should be fairly recognized and accepted, namely, that science may be looked upon as at once the handmaid and the guide of art, art as at once the pupil and the supporter of science. In the present article we propose to give a few illustrations which will bring out and emphasize this truth.
We could scarcely find a better instance than is furnished to our hand in the sentence we have chosen for a text. No man ever worked with a more single hearted devotion to pure science—with a more absolute disregard of money or fame, as compared with knowledge—than Michael Faraday. Yet future ages will perhaps judge that no stronger impulse was ever given to the progress of industrial art, or to the advancement of the material interests of mankind, than the impulse which sprang from his discoveries in electricity and magnetism. Of these discoveries we are only now beginning to reap the benefit. But we have merely to consider the position which the dynamo-electric machine already occupies in the industrial world, and the far higher position, which, as almost all admit, it is destined to occupy in the future, in order to see how much we owe to Faraday's establishment of the connection between magnetism and electricity. That is one side of the question—the debt which art owes to science. But let us look at the other side also. Does science owe nothing to art? Will any one say that we should know as much as we do concerning the theory of the dynamo-electric motor, and the laws of electro-magnetic action generally, if that motor had never risen (or fallen, as you choose to put it) to be something besides the instrument of a laboratory, or the toy of a lecture room? Only a short time since the illustrious French physicist, M. Tresca, was enumerating the various sources of loss in the transmission of power by electricity along a fixed wire, as elucidated in the careful and elaborate experiments inaugurated by M. Marcel Deprez, and subsequently continued by himself. These losses—the electrical no less than the mechanical losses—are being thoroughly and minutely examined in the hope of reducing them to the lowest limit; and this examination cannot fail to throw much light on the exact distribution of the energy imparted to a dynamo machine and the laws by which this distribution is governed. But would this examination ever have taken place—would the costly experiments which render it feasible ever have been performed—if the dynamo machine was still under the undisputed control of pure science, and had not become subject to the sway of the capitalist and the engineer?
Of course the electric telegraph affords an earlier and perhaps as good an illustration of the same fact. The discovery that electricity would pass along a wire and actuate a needle at the other end was at first a purely scientific one; and it was only gradually that its importance, from an industrial point of view, came to be recognized. Here again art owes to pure science the creation of a complete and important branch of engineering, whose works are spread like a net over the whole face of the globe. On the other hand our knowledge of electricity, and especially of the electrochemical processes which go on in the working of batteries, has been enormously improved in consequence of the use of such batteries for the purposes of telegraphy.
Let us turn to another example in a different branch of science. Whichever of our modern discoveries we may consider to be the most startling and important, there can I think be no doubt that the most beautiful is that of the spectroscope. It has enabled us to do that which but a few years before its introduction was taken for the very type of the impossible, viz., to study the chemical composition of the stars; and it is giving us clearer and clearer insight every day into the condition of the great luminary which forms the center of our system. Still, however beautiful and interesting such results may be, it might well be thought that they could never have any practical application, and that the spectroscope at least would remain an instrument of science, but of science alone. This, however, is not the case. Some thirty years since, Mr. Bessemer conceived the idea that the injurious constituents of raw iron—such as silicon, sulphur, etc.—might be got rid of by simple oxidation. The mass of crude metal was heated to a very high temperature; atmospheric air was forced through it at a considerable pressure; and the oxygen uniting with these metalloids carried them off in the form of acid gases. The very act of union generated a vast quantity of heat, which itself assisted the continuance of the process; and the gas therefore passed off in a highly luminous condition. But the important point was to know where to stop; to seize the exact moment when all or practically all hurtful ingredients had been removed, and before the oxygen had turned from them to attack the iron itself. How was this point to be ascertained? It was soon suggested that each of these gases in its incandescent state would show its own peculiar spectrum; and that if the flame rushing out of the throat of the converter were viewed through a spectroscope, the moment when any substance such as sulphur, had disappeared would be known by the disappearance of the corresponding lines in the spectrum. The anticipation, it is needless to say, was verified, and the spectroscope, though now superseded, had for a time its place among the regular appliances necessary for the carrying on of the Bessemer process.
This process itself, with all the momentous consequences, mechanical, commercial, and economical, which it has entailed, might be brought forward as a witness on our side; for it was almost completely worked out in the laboratory before being submitted to actual practice. In this respect it stands in marked contrast to the earlier processes for the making of iron and steel, which were developed, it is difficult to say how, in the forge or furnace itself, and amid the smoke and din of practical work. At the same time the experiments of Bessemer were for the most part carried out with a distinct eye to their future application in practice, and their value for our present purpose is therefore not so great. The same we believe may be said with regard to the great rival of the Bessemer converter, viz., the Siemens open hearth; although this forms in itself a beautiful application of the scientific doctrine that steel stands midway, as regards proportion of carbon, between wrought iron and pig iron, and ought therefore to be obtainable by a judicious mixture of the two. The basic process is the latest development, in this direction, of science as applied to metallurgy. Here, by simply giving a different chemical constitution to the clay lining of the converter, it is found possible to eliminate phosphorus—an element which has successfully withstood the attack of the Bessemer system. Now, to quote the words of a German eulogizer of the new method, phosphorus has been turned from an enemy into a friend; and the richer a given ore is in that substance, the more readily and cheaply does it seem likely to be converted into steel.
These latter examples have been taken from the art of metallurgy; and it may of course be said that, considering the intimate relations between that art and the science of chemistry, there can be no wonder if the former is largely dependent for its progress on the latter. I will therefore turn to what may appear the most concrete, practical, and unscientific of all arts—that, namely, of the mechanical engineer; and we shall find that even here examples will not fail us of the boons which pure science has conferred upon the art of construction, nor even perhaps of the reciprocal advantages which she has derived from the connection.
The address of Mr. Westmacott, from which I have already taken my text, supplies in itself more than one instance of the kind we seek—instances emphasized by papers read at the meeting where the address was spoken. Let us take, first, the manufacture of sugar from beetroot. This manufacture was forced into prominence in the early years of this century, when the Continental blockade maintained by England against Napoleon prevented all importation of sugar from America; and it has now attained very large dimensions, as all frequenters of the Continent must be aware. The process, as exhaustively described by a Belgian engineer, M. Melin, offers several instances of the application of chemical and physical science to practical purposes. Thus, the first operation in making sugar from beetroot is to separate the juice from the flesh, the former being as much as 95 per cent. of the whole weight. Formerly this was accomplished by rasping the roots into a pulp, and then pressing the pulp in powerful hydraulic presses; in other words, by purely mechanical means. This process is now to a large extent superseded by what is called the diffusion process, depending on the well known physical phenomena of endosmosis and exosmosis. The beetroot is cut up into small slices called "cossettes," and these are placed in vessels filled with water. The result is that a current of endosmosis takes place from the water toward the juice in the cells, and a current of exosmosis from the juice toward the water. These currents go on cell by cell, and continue until a state of equilibrium is attained. The richer the water and the poorer the juice, the sooner does this equilibrium take place. Consequently the vessels are arranged in a series, forming what is called a diffusion battery; the pure water is admitted to the first vessel, in which the slices have already been nearly exhausted, and subtracts from them what juice there is left. It then passes as a thin juice to the next vessel, in which the slices are richer, and the process begins again. In the last vessel the water which has already done its work in all the previous vessels comes into contact with fresh slices, and begins the operation upon them. The same process has been applied at the other end of the manufacture of sugar. After the juice has been purified and all the crystallizable sugar has been separated from it by boiling, there is left a mass of molasses, containing so much of the salts of potassium and sodium that no further crystallization of the yet remaining sugar is possible. The object of the process called osmosis is to carry off these salts. The apparatus used, or osmogene, consists of a series of trays filled alternately with molasses and water, the bottoms being formed of parchment paper. A current passes through this paper in each direction, part of the water entering the molasses, and part of the salts, together with a certain quantity of sugar, entering the water. The result, of thus freeing the molasses from the salts is that a large part of the remaining sugar can now be extracted by crystallization.
Another instance in point comes from a paper dealing with the question of the construction of long tunnels. In England this has been chiefly discussed of late in connection with the Channel Tunnel, where, however, the conditions are comparatively simple. It is of still greater importance abroad. Two tunnels have already been pierced through the Alps; a third is nearly completed; and a fourth, the Simplon Tunnel, which will be the longest of any, is at this moment the subject of a most active study on the part of French engineers. In America, especially in connection with the deep mines of the Western States, the problem is also of the highest importance. But the driving of such tunnels would be financially if not physically impossible, but for the resources which science has placed in our hands, first, by the preparation of new explosives, and, secondly, by methods of dealing with the very high temperatures which have to be encountered. As regards the first, the history of explosives is scarcely anything else than a record of the application of chemical principles to practical purposes—a record which in great part has yet to be written, and on which we cannot here dwell. It is certain, however, that but for the invention of nitroglycerine, a purely chemical compound, and its development in various forms, more or less safe and convenient, these long tunnels would never have been constructed. As regards the second point, the question of temperature is really the most formidable with which the tunnel engineer has to contend. In the St. Gothard Tunnel, just before the meeting of the two headings in February, 1880, the temperature rose as high as 93 Fahr. This, combined with the foulness of the air, produced an immense diminution in the work done per person and per horse employed, while several men were actually killed by the dynamite gases, and others suffered from a disease which was traced to a hitherto unknown species of internal worm. If the Simplon Tunnel should be constructed, yet higher temperatures may probably have to be dealt with. Although science can hardly be said to have completely mastered these difficulties, much has been done in that direction. A great deal of mechanical work has of course to be carried on at the face or far end of such a heading, and there are various means by which it might be done. But by far the most satisfactory solution, in most cases at least, is obtained by taking advantage of the properties of compressed air. Air can be compressed at the end of the tunnel either by steam-engines, or, still better, by turbines where water power is available. This compressed air may easily be led in pipes to the face of the heading, and used there to drive the small engines which work the rock-drilling machines, etc. The efficiency of such machines is doubtless low, chiefly owing to the physical fact that the air is heated by compression, and that much of this heat is lost while it traverses the long line of pipes leading to the scene of action. But here we have a great advantage from the point of view of ventilation; for as the air gained heat while being compressed, so it loses heat while expanding; and the result is that a current of cold and fresh air is continually issuing from the machines at the face of the heading, just where it is most wanted. In consequence, in the St. Gothard, as just alluded to, the hottest parts were always some little distance behind the face of the heading. Although in this case as much as 120,000 cubic meters of air (taken at atmospheric pressure) were daily poured into the heading, yet the ventilation was very insufficient. Moreover, the high pressure which is used for working the machines is not the best adapted for ventilation; and in the Arlberg tunnel separate ventilating pipes are employed, containing air compressed to about one atmosphere, which is delivered in much larger quantities although not at so low a temperature. In connection with this question of ventilation a long series of observations have been taken at the St. Gothard, both during and since the construction; these have revealed the important physical fact (itself of high practical importance) that the barometer never stands at the same level on the two sides of a great mountain chain; and so have made valuable contributions to the science of meteorology.
Another most important use of the same scientific fact, namely, the properties of compressed air, is found in the sinking of foundations below water. When the piers of a bridge, or other structure, had to be placed in a deep stream, the old method was to drive a double row of piles round the place and fill them in with clay, forming what is called a cofferdam. The water was pumped out from the interior, and the foundation laid in the open. This is always a very expensive process, and in rapid streams is scarcely practicable. In recent times large bottomless cases, called caissons, have been used, with tubes attached to the roof, by which air can be forced into or out of the interior. These caissons are brought to the site of the proposed pier, and are there sunk. Where the bottom is loose sandy earth, the vacuum process, as it is termed, is often employed; that is, the air is pumped out from the interior, and the superincumbent pressure then causes the caisson to sink and the earth to rise within it. But it is more usual to employ what is called the plenum process, in which air under high pressure is pumped into the caisson and expels the water, as in a diving bell. Workmen then descend, entering through an air lock, and excavate the ground at the bottom of the caisson, which sinks gradually as the excavation continues. Under this system a length of some two miles of quay wall is being constructed at Antwerp, far out in the channel of the river Scheldt. Here the caissons are laid end to end with each other, along the whole curve of the wall, and the masonry is built on the top of them within a floating cofferdam of very ingenious construction.
There are few mechanical principles more widely known than that of so-called centrifugal force; an action which, though still a puzzle to students, has long been thoroughly understood. It is, however, comparatively recently that it has been applied in practice. One of the earliest examples was perhaps the ordinary governor, due to the genius of Watt. Every boy knows that if he takes a weight hanging from a string and twirls it round, the weight will rise higher and revolve in a larger circle as he increases the speed. Watt saw that if he attached such an apparatus to his steam engine, the balls or weights would tend to rise higher whenever the engine begun to run faster, that this action might be made partly to draw over the valve which admitted the steam, and that in this way the supply of steam would be lessened, and the speed would fall. Few ideas in science have received so wide and so successful an application as this. But of late years another property of centrifugal force has been brought into play. The effect of this so-called force is that any body revolving in a circle has a continual tendency to fly off at a tangent; the amount of this tendency depending jointly on the mass of the body and on the velocity of the rotation. It is the former of these conditions which is now taken advantage of. For if we have a number of particles all revolving with the same velocity, but of different specific gravities, and if we allow them to follow their tendency of moving off at a tangent, it is evident that the heaviest particles, having the greatest mass, will move with the greatest energy. The result is that, if we take a mass of such particles and confine them within a circular casing, we shall find that, having rotated this casing with a high velocity and for a sufficient time, the heaviest particles will have settled at the outside and the lightest at the inside, while between the two there will be a gradation from the one to the other. Here, then, we have the means of separating two substances, solid or liquid, which are intimately mixed up together, but which are of different specific gravities. This physical principle has been taken advantage of in a somewhat homely but very important process, viz., the separation of cream from milk. In this arrangement the milk is charged into a vessel something of the shape and size of a Gloucester cheese, which stands on a vertical spindle and is made to rotate with a velocity as high as 7,000 revolutions per minute. At this enormous speed the milk, which is the heavier, flies to the outside, while the cream remains behind and stands up as a thin layer on the inside of the rotating cylinder of fluid. So completely does this immense speed produce in the liquid the characteristics of a solid, that if the rotating shell of cream be touched by a knife it emits a harsh, grating sound, and gives the sensation experienced in attempting to cut a stone. The separation is almost immediately complete, but the difficult point was to draw off the two liquids separately and continuously without stopping the machine. This has been simply accomplished by taking advantage of another principle of hydromechanics. A small pipe opening just inside the shell of the cylinder is brought back to near the center, where it rises through a sort of neck and opens into an exterior casing. The pressure due to the velocity causes the skim milk to rise in this pipe and flow continuously out at the inner end. The cream is at the same time drawn off by a similar orifice made in the same neck and leading into a different chamber.