SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT NO. 430
NEW YORK, MARCH 29, 1884
Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XVII, No. 430.
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, MECHANICS, ETC.—The Iron Industry In Brazil.—By Prof. P. FEHRAND.—Methods of obtaining iron.—Operation of the system.—Elaboration of the ore.—Setting up a forge.— Selling price of iron
The Steamer Churchill, built by Messrs. Hall, Russell & Co., for service at Natal.—With full page of illustrations
Falconetti's Continuously Primed Siphon.—Manner of carrying a water course over a canal, river, or road.—With engraving
The Weibel-Piccard System of Evaporating Liquids.— 2 illustrations
II. TECHNOLOGY.—Coal Gas as a Labor—saving Agent in Mechanical Trades.—By T. FLETCHER.—Gas as fuel.—Arrangement of burners for disinfection, for drying glue, albumen, etc.—Best burners. —Gas bars for furnaces, etc.
Instantaneous Photography.—Several illustrations
III. ELECTRICITY, MAGNETISM, ETC.—Electric Launches.—A paper read before the Society of Arts by A. RECKENZAUN, and discussion on the same.—Advantages of electromotive power.— Cost of same.—Experimental electric launches
First Experiments with the Electric Light.—Sir Humphry Davy's experiments in 1813,—With two engravings
Electrical Grapnel for Submarine Cables and Torpedo Lines.— 3 figures
Hughes' New Magnetic Balance.—1 figure
Apparatus for Measuring Small Resistances.—With engraving and diagram
Terrestrial Magnetism.—Magnetism on railways.—Synchronous Seismology
IV. ARCHITECTURE.—Adornments of the New Post Office at Leipzig.— 2 engravings
V. NATURAL HISTORY, ETC.—Comparison of Strength of Large and Small Animals.—By W. N. LOCKINGTON
Oil in California
VI. HORTICULTURE, BOTANY. ETC.—The Dodder.—A new parasitic plant.—With engraving
Recent Botanical Investigations
VII. MEDICINE, HYGIENE ETC.—Nutritive Value of Condiments.—By H. D. ABBOTT
VIII. MISCELLANEOUS.—Mont St. Michel, Normandy.—With engraving
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The genus Cuscuta contains quite a number of species which go under the common name of dodder, and which have the peculiarily of living as parasites upon other plants. Their habits are unfortunately too well known to cultivators, who justly dread their incursions among cultivated plants like flax, hops, etc.
All parasitic plants, or at least the majority of them, have one character in common which distinguishes them at first sight. In many cases green matter is wanting in their tissues or is hidden by a livid tint that strikes the observer. Such are the Orobanchaccae, or "broomropes," and the tropical Balanophoraceae. Nevertheless, other parasites, such as the mistletoe, have perfectly green leaves.
However this may be, the naturalist's attention is attracted every time he finds a plant deprived of chlorophyl, and one in which the leaves seem to be wanting, as in the dodder that occupies us. In fact, as the majority of parasites take their nourishment at the expense of the plants upon which they fasten themselves, they have no need, as a general thing, of elaborating through their foliar organs the materials that their hosts derive from the air; in a word, they do not breathe actively like the latter, since they find the elements of their nutrition already prepared in the sap of their nurses. The dodders, then, are essentially parasites, and their apparent simplicity gives them a very peculiar aspect. Their leaves are wholly wanting, or are indicated by small, imperceptible scales, and their organs of vegetation are reduced to a stem and filiform branches that have obtained for them the names of Cheveux de Venus (Venus' Hair) and Cheveux du Diable (devil's hair) in French, and gold thread in English. Because of their destructive nature they have likewise been called by the unpoetic name of hellweed; and, for the reason that they embrace their host plants so closely, they have been called love weed and love vine.
When a seed of Cuscuta, germinates, no cotyledons are to be distinguished. This peculiarity, however, the plant has in common with other parasites, and even with some plants, such as orchids, that vegetate normally. The radicle of the dodder fixes itself in the earth, and the little stem rises as in other dicotyledons; but soon (for the plantlet could not live long thus) this stem, which is as slender as a thread, seeks support upon some neighboring plant, and produces upon its surfaces of contact one or more little protuberances that shortly afterward adhere firmly to the support and take on the appearance and functions of cupping glasses. At this point there forms a prolongation of the tissue of the dodder—a sort of cone, which penetrates the stalk of the host plant. After this, through the increase of the stem and branches of the parasite, the supporting plant becomes interlaced on every side, and, if it does not die from the embraces of its enemy, its existence is notably hazarded. It is possible for a Cuscuta plant to work destruction over a space two meters in diameter in a lucern or clover field; so, should a hundred seeds germinate in an acre, it may be easily seen how disastrous the effects of the scourge would prove.
These enemies of our agriculture were scarcely to be regarded as injurious not very many years ago, for the reason that their sources of development were wanting. Lucern and clover are comparatively recent introductions into France, at least as forage plants. Other cultures are often sorely tried by the dodder, and what is peculiar is that there are almost always species that are special to such or such a plant, so that the botanist usually knows beforehand how to determine the parasite whose presence is made known to him. Thus, the Cuscuta of flax, called by the French Bourreau du Lin (the flax's executioner), and by the English, flax dodder, grows only upon this textile plant, the crop of which it often ruins. On account of this, botanists call this species Cuscuta epilinum. Others, such as C. Europaea, attack by preference hemp and nettle. Finally, certain species are unfortunately indifferent and take possession of any plant that will nourish them. Of this number is the one that we are about to speak of.
Attempts have sometimes been made out of curiosity to cultivate exotic species. One of the head gardeners at the Paris Museum received specimens of Cuscuta reflexa from India about two years ago, and, having placed it upon a geranium plant, succeeded in cultivating it. Since then, other plants have been selected, and the parasite has been found to develop upon all of them. What adds interest to this species is that its flowers are relatively larger and that they emit a pleasant odor of hawthorn. Mr. Hamelin thinks that by reason of these advantages, an ornamental plant might be made of it, or at least a plant that would be sought by lovers of novelties. Like the majority of dodders, this species is an annual, so that, as soon as the cycle of vegetation is accomplished, the plant dies after flowering and fruiting. But here the seeds do not arrive at maturity, and the plant has to be propagated by a peculiar method. At the moment when vegetation is active, it is only necessary to take a bit of the stem, and then, after previously lifting a piece of the bark of the plant upon which it is to be placed, to apply this fragment of Cuscuta thereto (as in grafting), place the bark over it, and bind a ligature round the whole. In a short time the graft will bud, and in a few months the host plant will be covered with it.
The genus Cuscuta embraces more than eighty species, which are distributed throughout the entire world, but which are not so abundant in cold as in warm regions.—La Nature.
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RECENT BOTANICAL INVESTIGATIONS.
It is commonly said that there is a great difference between the transpiration and evaporation of water in plants. The former takes place in an atmosphere saturated with moisture, it is influenced by light, by an equable temperature, while evaporation ceases in a saturated atmosphere. M. Leclerc has very carefully examined this question, and he concludes that transpiration is only the simple evaporation of water. If transpiration is more active in the plant exposed to the sun, that is due to the heat rays, and in addition arises in part from the fact that the assimilating action of chlorophyl heats the tissues, which in turn raises the temperature and facilitates evaporation.
As to transpiration taking place in a saturated atmosphere, it is a mistake; generally there is a difference in the temperature of the plant and the air, and the air is not saturated in its vicinity. In a word, transpiration and evaporation is the same thing.
Herr Reinke has made an interesting examination of the action of light on a plant. He has permitted a pencil of sun rays to pass through a converging lens upon a cell containing a fragment of an aquatic plant. He was enabled to increase the intensity of the light, so that it should be stronger or weaker than the direct sunlight. He could thus vary its intensity from 1/16 of that of direct sunlight to an intensity 64 times stronger. The temperature was maintained constant.
Herr Reinke has shown that the chlorophyl action increases regularly with the light for intensities under that of direct sunlight; but what is unexpected, that for the higher intensities above that of ordinary daylight the disengagement of oxygen remains constant.
M. Leclerc du Sablon has published some of his results in his work on the opening of fruits. The influences which act upon fruit are external and internal. The external cause of dehiscence is drying. We can open or shut a fruit by drying or wetting it. The internal causes are related to the arrangement of the tissues, and we may say that the opening of fruit can be easily explained by the contraction of the ligneous fibers under drying influences. M. Leclerc shows by experiment that the fibers contract more transversely than longitudinally, and that the thicker fibers contract the most. This he finds is connected with the opening of dry fruits.
Herr Hoffman has recently made some interesting experiments upon the cultivation of fruits.
It is well known that many plants appear to select certain mineral soils and avoid others, that a number of plants which prefer calcareous soils are grouped together as calcicoles, and others which shun such ground as calcifuges. Herr Hoffman has grown the specimen which has been cited by many authors as absolutely calcifugic. He has obtained strong plants upon a soil with 53 per cent. of lime, and these have withstood the severe winter of 1879-1880, while individuals of the same species grown on silicious ground have failed. This will modify the ideas of agriculturists, at least in regard to this plant.
Herr Schwarz has been engaged in the study of the fine hairs of roots. According to this author, there is a maximum and minimum of humidity, between which there lies a mean of moisture, most favorable for the development of these capillary rootlets, and this amount of moisture varies with different plants. He finds that this growth of hair-like roots is conditioned upon the development of the main root from which it springs. In a weak solution of brine these fine roots are suppressed, while the growth of the main root is continued. The changes of the milieu lead to changes in the form of the hairs, rendering them even branched.
Signor Savastano has ventured to criticise as exaggerated the views of Muller, Lubbock, and Allen on the adaptation of flowers to insects, having noticed that bees visit numbers of flowers, and extract their honey without touching the stigmas or pistils. He has also found them neglecting flowers which were rich in honey and visiting others much poorer. These observations have value, but cannot be considered as seriously impairing the multiplied evidences of plant adaptation to insect life.
Mr. Camus has shown that the flora of a small group of hills, the Euganean Mountains, west of the Apennines and south of the Alps, has a peculiar flora, forming an island in the midst of a contrasted flora existing about it. Here are found Alpine, maritime, and exotic plants associated in a common isolation.—Revue Scientifique.
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RECENT BOTANICAL ADVANCES.
Among the most significant of the recent discoveries in botany, is that respecting the continuity of the protoplasm from cell to cell, by means of delicate threads which traverse channels through the cell walls. It had long been known, that in the "sieve" tissues of higher plants there was such continuity through the "sieve plates," which imperfectly separated the contiguous cells. This may be readily seen by making longitudinal sections of a fibro-vascular bundle of a pumpkin stem, staining with iodine, and contracting the protoplasm by alcohol. Carefully made specimens of the soft tissues of many plants have shown a similar protoplasmic continuity, where it had previously been unsuspected. Some investigators are now inclined to the opinion that protoplasmic continuity may be of universal occurrence in plants.
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[Footnote: A recent lecture before the Society of ATM, London.]
By A. RECKENZAUN.
It is not my intention to treat this subject from a shipwright's point of view. The title of this paper is supposed to indicate a mode of propelling boats by means of electrical energy, and it is to this motive power that I shall have the honor of drawing your attention.
The primary object of a launch, in the modern sense of the word, lies in the conveyance of passengers on rivers and lakes, less than for the transport of heavy goods; therefore, it may not be out of place to consider the conveniences arising from the employment of a motive power which promises to become valuable as time and experience advance. In a recent paper before the British Association at Southport, I referred to numerous experiments made with electric launches; now it is proposed to treat this subject in a wider sense, touching upon the points of convenience in the first place; secondly, upon the cost and method of producing the current of electricity; and thirdly, upon the construction and efficiency of the propelling power and its accessories.
Whether it is for business, pleasure, or war purposes a launch should be in readiness at all times, without requiring much preparation or attention. The distances to be traversed are seldom very great, fifty to sixty miles being the average.
Nearly the whole space of a launch should be available for the accommodation of passengers, and this is the case with an electrically propelled launch. We have it on good authority, that an electric launch will accommodate nearly double the number of passengers that a steam launch of the same dimensions would; therefore, for any given accommodation we should require a much smaller vessel, demanding less power to propel it at a given rate of speed, costing less, and affording easier management.
A further convenience arising from electromotive power is the absence of combustibles and the absence of the products of combustion-matters of great importance; and for the milder seasons, when inland navigation is principally enjoyed, the absence of heat, smell, and noise, and, finally, the dispensing with one attendant on board, whose wages, in most cases, amount to as much or more than the cost of fuel, besides the inconvenience of carrying an additional individual.
I do not know whether the cost of motive power is a serious consideration with proprietors of launches, but it is evident that if there be a choice between two methods of equal qualities, the most economical method will gain favor. The motive power on the electric launch is the electric current; we must decide upon the mode of procuring the current. The mode which first suggested itself to Professor Jacobi, in the year 1838, was the primary battery, or the purely chemical process of generating electricity.
Jacobi employed, in the first instance, a Daniell's battery, and in later experiments with his boat on the river Neva, a Grove's battery. The Daniell's battery consisted of 320 cells containing plates of copper and zinc; the speed attained by the boat with this battery did not reach one mile and a quarter per hour; when 64 Grove cells were substituted, the speed came to two and a quarter miles per hour; the boat was 38 feet long. 71/2 beam, and 3 feet deep. The electromotor was invented by Professor Jacobi; it virtually consisted of two disks, one of which was stationary, and carried a number of electromagnets, while the other disk was provided with pieces of iron serving as armatures to the pole pieces of the electromagnets, which were attracted while the electric current was alternately conveyed through the bobbins by means of a commutator, producing continuous rotation.
We are not informed as to the length of time the batteries were enabled to supply the motor with sufficient current, but we may infer from the surface of the acting materials in the battery that the run was rather short; the power of the motor was evidently very small, judging by the limited speed obtained, but the originality of Jacobi deserves comment, and for this, as well as for numerous other researches, his name will be remembered at all times.
It may not be generally known that an electric launch was tried for experimental purposes, on a lake at Pentlegaer, near Swansea. Mr. Robert Hunt, in the discussion of his paper on electromagnetism before the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1858, mentioned that he carried on an extended series of experiments at Falmouth, and at the instigation of Benkhausen, Russian Consul-General, he communicated with Jacobi upon the subject. In the year 1848, at a meeting of the British Association at Swansea, Mr. Hunt was applied to, by some gentlemen connected with the copper trade of that part, to make some experiments on the electrical propulsion of vessels; they stated, that although electricity might cost thirty times as much as the power obtained from coal it would, nevertheless, be sufficiently economical to induce its employment for the auxiliary screw ships employed in the copper trade with South America.
The boat at Swansea was partly made under Mr. (now Sir William) Grove's directions, and the engine was worked on the principle of the old toys of Ritchie, which consisted of six radiating poles projecting from a spindle, and rotating between a large electro-magnet. Three persons traveled in Hunt's boat, at the rate of three miles per hour. Eight large Grove's cells were employed, but the expense put it out of question as a practical application.
Had the Gramme or Siemens machine existed at that time, no doubt the subject would have been further advanced, for it was not merely the cost of the battery which stood in the way, but the inefficient motor, which returned only a small fraction of the power furnished by the zinc.
Professor Silvanus Thompson informs us that an electric boat was constructed by Mr. G. E. Dering, in the year 1856, at Messrs. Searle's yard, on the River Thames; it was worked by a motor in which rotation was effected by magnets arranged within coils, like galvanometer needles, and acted on successively by currents from a battery.
From a recent number of the Annales de l'Electricite, we learn that Count de Moulins experimented on the lake in the Bois de Boulogne, in the year 1866, with an iron flat-bottomed boat, carrying twelve persons. Twenty Bunsen cells furnished the current to a motor on Froment's principle turning a pair of paddle wheels.
In all these reports there is a lack of data. We are interested to know what power the motors developed, the time and speed, as well as dimensions and weights.
Until Trouve's trip on the Seine, in 1881, and the launch of the Electricity on the Thames, in 1882, very little was known concerning the history of electric navigation.
M. Trouve originally employed Plante's secondary battery, but afterward reverted to a bichromate battery of his own invention. In all the primary batteries hitherto applied with advantage, zinc has been used as the acting material. Where much power is required, the consumption of zinc amounts to a formidable item; it costs, in quantity, about 3d. per pound, and in a well arranged battery a definite quantity of zinc is transformed. The final effect of this transformation manifests itself in electrical energy, amounting to about 746 watts, or one electrical horse power for every two pounds of this metal consumed per hour. The cost of the exciting fluid varies, however, considerably; it may be a solution of salts, or it may be dilute acid. Considering the zinc by itself, the expense for five electrical or four mechanical horse power through an efficient motor, in a small launch, would be 2s. 6d. per hour. Many persons would willingly sacrifice 2s. 6d per hour for the convenience, but a great item connected with the employment of zinc batteries is in the exciting fluid, and the trouble of preparing the zinc plates frequently. The process of cleaning, amalgamating and refilling is so tedious, that the use of primary batteries for locomotive purposes is extremely limited. To recharge a Bunsen, Grove, or bichromate battery, capable of giving six or seven hours' work at the rate of five electrical horse power, would involve a good day's work for one man; no doubt he would consider himself entitled to a full day's wages, with the best appliances to assist him in the operation.
Several improved primary batteries have recently been brought out, which promise economical results. If the residual compound of zinc can be utilized, and sold at a good price, then the cost of such motive power may be reduced in proportion to the value of those by-products.
For the purpose of comparison, let us now employ the man who would otherwise clean and prepare the primary cells, at engine driving. We let him attend to a six horse power steam engine, boiler, and dynamo machine for charging 50 accumulators, each of a capacity of 370 ampere hours, or one horse power hour. The consumption of fuel will probably amount to 40 lb. per hour, which, at the rate of 18s. a ton, will give an expenditure of nearly 4d. per hour. The energy derived from coal in the accumulator costs, in the case of a supply of five electrical horse power for seven hours, 2s. 9d.; the energy derived from the zinc in a primary battery, supplying five electrical horse power for seven hours, would cost 17s. 3d.
It is hardly probable that any one would lay down a complete plant, consisting of a steam or gas engine and dynamo, for the sole purpose of charging the boat cells, unless such a boat were in almost daily use, or unless several boats were to be supplied with electrical power from one station. In order that electric launches may prove useful, it will be desirable that charging stations should be established, and on many of the British and Irish rivers and lakes there is abundance of motive power, in the shape of steam or gas engines, or water-wheels.
A system of hiring accumulators ready for use may, perhaps, best satisfy the conditions imposed in the case of pleasure launches.
It is difficult to compile comparative tables showing the relative expenses for running steam launches, electric launches with secondary batteries, and electric launches with primary zinc batteries; but I have roughly calculated that, for a launch having accommodation for a definite number of passengers, the total costs are as 1, 2.5, and 12 respectively, steam being lowest and zinc batteries highest.
The accumulators are, in this case, charged by a small high pressure steam engine, and a very large margin for depreciation and interest on plant is added. The launch taken for this comparison must run during 2,000 hours in the year, and be principally employed in a regular passenger service, police and harbor duties, postal service on the lakes and rivers of foreign countries, and the like.
The subject of secondary batteries has been so ably treated by Professor Silvanus Thompson and Dr. Oliver Lodge, in this room, that I should vainly attempt to give you a more complete idea of their nature. The improvements which are being made from time to time mostly concern mechanical details, and although important, a description will scarcely prove interesting.
A complete Faure-Sellon-Volckmar cell, such as is used in the existing electric launches, is here on the table; this box weighs, when ready for use, 56 lb.; and it stores energy equal to one horse power for one hour=1,980,000 foot pounds, or about one horse power per minute for each pound weight of material. It is not advantageous to withdraw the whole amount of energy put in; although its charging capacity is as much as 370 ampere hours, we do not use more than 80 per cent., or 300 ampere hours; hence, if we discharge these accumulators at the rate of 40 amperes, we obtain an almost constant current for 71/2 hours: one cell gives an E.M.F. of two volts. In order to have a constant power of one horse for 71/2 hours, at the rate of 40 amperes discharge, we must have more than nine cells per electrical horsepower; and 47 such cells will supply five electrical horse power for the time stated, and these 47 cells will weigh 2,633 lb.
We could employ half the number of cells by using them at the rate of 80 amperes, but then they will supply the power for less than half the time. The fact, however, that the cells will give so high a rate of discharge for a few hours is, in itself, important, since we are enabled to apply great power if desirable; the 47 cells above referred to can be made to give 10 or 12 electrical horse power for over two hours, and thus propel the boat at a very high speed, provided that the motor is adapted to utilize such powerful currents.
The above mentioned weight of battery power—viz., 2,632 lb., to which has to be added the weight of the motor and the various fittings—represents, in the case of a steam launch, the weight of coals, steam boiler, engine, and fittings. The electro motor capable of giving four horse power on the screw shaft need not weigh 400 lb. if economically designed; this added to the weight of the accumulators, and allowing a margin for switches and leads, brings the whole apparatus up to about 28 cwt.
An equally powerful launch engine and boiler, together with a maximum stowage of fuel, will weigh about the same. There is, however, this disadvantage about the steam power, that it occupies the most valuable part of the vessel, taking away some eight or nine feet of the widest and most convenient part, and in a launch of twenty-four feet length, requiring such a power as we have been discussing, this is actually one-third of the total length of the vessel, and one-half of the passenger accommodation; therefore, I may safely assert that an electric launch will carry about twice as many people as a steam launch of similar dimensions.
The diagram on the wall represents sections of an electric launch built by Messrs. Yarrow and Company, and fitted up by the Electrical Power Storage Company, for the recent Electrical Exhibition in Vienna. She has made a great number of successful voyages on the River Danube during the autumn. Her hull is of steel, 40 feet long and 6 feet beam, and there are seats to accommodate forty adults comfortably. Her accumulators are stowed away under the floor, so is the motor, but owing to the lines of the boat the floor just above the motor is raised a few inches. This motor is a Siemens D2 machine, capable of working up to seven horse power with eighty accumulators.
In speaking of the horse power of an electro motor, I always mean the actual power developed in the shaft, and not the electrical horse power; this, therefore, should not be compared to the indicated horse power of a steam engine.
I am indebted to Messrs. Yarrow for the principal dimensions and other particulars of a high pressure launch engine and boiler, such as would be suitable for this boat. From these dimensions I prepared a second diagram representing the steam power, and when placed in position it will show at a glance how much space this apparatus will occupy. The total length lost in this way amounts to 12 feet, leaving for testing capacity only 15 feet, while that of the electric launch is 27 feet on each side of the boat; thus the accommodation is as fifteen to twenty-seven, or as twenty-two passengers to forty, in favor of the electric launch.
Comparing the relative weights of the steam power and the electric power for this launch, we find that they are nearly equal—each approaches 50 cwt; but in the case of the steam launch we include 10 cwt. of coals, which can be stowed into the bunkers, and which allow fifteen hours continuous steaming, whereas the electric energy stored up will only give us seven and a half hours with perfect safety.
I have here allowed 8 lb. of coal per indicated horse power per hour, and 10 horse power giving off 7 mechanical horse power on the screw shaft; this is an example of an average launch engine. There are launch engines in existence which do not consume one-half that amount of fuel, but these are so few, so rare, and so expensive, that I have neglected them in this account.
Not many years ago, a steam launch carrying a seven hours supply of fuel was considered marvelous.
Our present accumulaton supplies 33,000 foot pounds of work per pound of lead, but theoretically one pound of lead manifests an energy equal to 360,000 foot pounds in the separation from its oxide; and in the case of iron, Prof. Osborne Reynolds told us in this place, the energy evolved by its oxidation is equivalent to 1,900,000 foot pounds per pound of metal. How nearly these limits may be approached will he the problem of the chemist; to prophesy is dangerous, while science and its applications are advancing at this rapid rate.
Theoretically, then, with our weight of fully oxidized lead we should be able to travel for 82 hours; with the same weight of iron for 430 hours, or 18 days and nights continually, at the rate of 8 miles per hour, with one change. Of course, these feats are quite impossible. We might as well dream of getting 5 horse power out of a steam engine for one pound of coal per hour.
While the chemist is busy with his researches for substances and combinations which will yield great power with small quantities of material, the engineer assiduously endeavors to reconvert the chemical or electrical energy into mechanical work suitable to the various needs.
To get the maximum amount of work with a minimum amount of weight, and least dimensions combined with the necessary strength is the province of the mechanical engineer—it is a grand and interesting study; it involves many factors; it is not, as in the steam engine and hydraulic machine, a matter of pressures, tension and compression, centrifugal and static forces, but it comprises a still larger number of factors, all bearing a definite relation to each other.
With dynamo machines the aim has been to obtain as nearly as possible as much electrical energy out of the machine as has been put in by the prime mover, irrespective of the quantity of material employed in its construction. Dr. J. Hopkinson has not only improved upon the Edison dynamo, and obtained 94 per cent. of the power applied in the form of electrical energy, but he got 50 horse power out of the same quantity of iron and copper where Edison could only get 20 horsepower—and, though the efficiency of this generator is perfect, it could not be called an efficient motor, suitable for locomotion by land or water, because it is still too heavy. An efficient motor for locomotion purposes must not only give out in mechanical work as nearly as possible as much as the electrical energy put in, but it must be of small weight, because it has to propel itself along with the vehicle, and every pound weight of the motor represents so many foot pounds of energy used in its own propulsion; thus, if a motor weighed 660 pounds, and were traveling at the rate of 50 feet per minute, against gravitation, it would expend 33,000 foot pounds per minute in moving itself, and although this machine may give 2 horse power, with an efficiency of 90 per cent. it would, in the case of a boat or a tram-car, be termed a wasteful machine. Here we have an all-important factor which can be neglected, to a certain extent, in the dynamo as a generator, although from an economical point of view excessive weight in the dynamo must also be carefully avoided.
The proper test for an electro-motor, therefore, is not merely its efficiency, or the quotient of the mechanical power given out, divided by the electrical energy put in, but also the number of feet it could raise its own weight in a given space of time, with a given current, or, in other words, the number of foot pounds of work each pound weight of the motor would give out.
The Siemens D2 machine, as used in the launch shown in the diagram on the wall, is one of the lightest and best motors, it gives 7 horse power on the shaft, with an expenditure of 9 electrical horsepower, and it weighs 658 lb.; its efficiency, therefore, 7/5 or nearly 78 per cent.; but its "coefficient" as an engine of locomotion is 351—that is to say, each pound weight of the motor will yield 351 foot pounds on the shaft. We could get even more than 7 horse power out of this machine, by either running it at an excessive speed, or by using excessive currents; in both cases, however, we should shorten the life of the apparatus.
An electro-motor consists, generally, of two or more electro-magnets so arranged that they continually attract each other, and thereby convey power. As already stated, there are numerous factors, all bearing a certain relationship to each other, and particular rules which hold good in one type of machine will not always answer in another, but the general laws of electricity and magnetism must be observed in all cases. With a given energy expressed in watts, we can arrange a quantity of wire and iron to produce a certain quantity of work; the smaller the quantity of material employed, and the larger the return for the energy put in, the greater is the total efficiency of the machine.
Powerful electro-magnets, judiciously arranged, must make powerful motors. The ease with which powerful electro-magnets can be constructed has led many to believe that the power of an electro-motor can be increased almost infinitely, without a corresponding increase of energy spent. The strongest magnet can be produced with an exceedingly small current, if we only wind sufficient wire upon an iron core. An electro-magnet excited by a tiny battery of 10 volts, and, say, one ampere of current, may be able to hold a tremendous weight in suspension, although the energy consumed amounts to only 10 watts, or less than 1/75 of a horse power, but the suspended weight produces no mechanical work. Mechanical work would only be done if we discontinued the flow of the current, in which case the said weight would drop; if the distance is sufficiently small, the magnet could, by the application of the current from the battery, raise the weight again, and if that operation is repeated many times in a minute, then we could determine the mechanical work performed. Assuming that the weight raised is 1,000 lb., and that we could make and break the current two hundred times a minute, then the work done by the falling mass could, under no circumstances, equal 1/75 of a horse-power, or 440 foot-pounds; that is, 1,000 lb. lifted 2.27 feet high in a minute, or about one-eighth of an inch for each operation: hence the mere statical pull, or power of the magnet, does in no way tend to increase the energy furnished by the battery or generator, for the instant we wish to do work we must have motion—work being the product of mass and distance.
Large sums of money have virtually been thrown away in the endeavor to produce energy, and there are intelligent persons who to this day imagine that, by indefinitely increasing the strength of a magnet, more power may be got out of it than is put in.
Large field-magnets are advantageous, and the tendency in the manufacture of dynamo machines has been to increase the mass of iron, because with long and heavy cores and pole pieces there is a steady magnetism insured, and therefore a steady current, since large masses of iron take a long time to magnetize and demagnetize; thus very slight irregularites in the speed of an armature are not so easily perceived. In the case of electro-motors these conditions are changed. In the first place, we assume that the current put through the coils of the magnets is continuous; and secondly, we can count upon the momentum of the armature, as well as the momentum of the driven object, to assist us over slight irregularities. With electric launches we are bound to employ a battery current, and battery currents are perfectly continuous—there are no sudden changes; it is consequently a question as to how small a mass of iron we may employ in our dynamo as a motor without sacrificing efficiency. The intensity of the magnetic field must be got by saturating the iron, and the energy being fixed, this saturation determines the limit of the weight of the iron. Soft wrought iron, divided into the largest possible number of pieces, will serve our purpose best. The question of strength of materials plays also an important part. We cannot reduce the quantity and division to such a point that the rigidity and equilibrium of the whole structure is in any way endangered.
The armature, for instance, must not give way to the centrifugal forces imposed upon it, nor should the field magnets be so flexible as to yield to the statical pull of the magnetic poles. The compass of this paper does not permit of a detailed discussion of the essential points to be observed in the construction of electro-motors; a reference to the main points, may, however, be useful. The designer has, first of all, to determine the most effective positions of the purely electrical and magnetic parts; secondly, compactness and simplicity in details; thirdly, easy access to such parts as are subject to wear and adjustment; and, fourthly, the cost of materials and labor. The internal resistance of the motor should be proportioned to the resistances of the generator and the conductors leading from the generator to the receiver.
The insulation resistances must be as high as possible; the insulation can never be too good. The motor should he made to run at that speed at which it gives the greatest power with a high efficiency, without heating to a degree which would damage the insulating material.
Before fixing a motor in its final position, it should also be tested for power with a dynamometer, and for this purpose a Prony brake answers very well.
An ammeter inserted in the circuit will show at a glance what current is passing at any particular speed, and voltmeter readings are taken at the terminals of the machine, when the same is standing still as well as when the armature is running, because the E.M.F. indicated when the armature is at rest alone determines the commercial efficiency of the motor, whereas the E M.F. developed during motion varies with the speed until it nearly reaches the E.M.F. in the leads; at that point the theoretical efficiency will be highest.
Calculations are greatly facilitated, and the value of tests can be ascertained quickly, if the constant of the brake is ascertained; then it will be simply necessary to multiply the number of revolutions and the weight at the end of the lever by such a constant, and the product gives the horse power, because, with a given Prony brake, the only variable quantities are the weight and the speed. All the observations, electrical and mechanical, are made simultaneously. The electrical horse power put into the motor is found by the well known formula C x E / 746; this simple multiplication and division becomes very tedious and even laborious if many tests have to be made in quick succession, and to obviate this trouble, and prevent errors, I have constructed a horse power diagram, the principle of which is shown in the diagram (Fig. 1).
Graphic representations are of the greatest value in all comparative tests. Mr. Gisbert Kapp has recently published a useful curve in the Electrician, by means of which one can easily compare the power and efficiency at a glance (Fig. 2).
The speeds are plotted as abscissae, and the electrical work absorbed in watts divided by 746 as ordinates; then with a series-wound motor we obtain the curve, EE. The shape of this curve depends on the type of the motor. Variation of speed is obtained by loading the brake with different weights. We begin with an excess of weight which holds the motor fast, and then a maximum current will flow through it without producing any external work. When we remove the brake altogether, the motor will run with a maximum speed, and again produce no external work, but in this case very little current will pass; this maximum speed is om on the diagram. Between these two extremes external work will be done, and there is a speed at which this is a maximum. To find these speeds we load the brake to different weights, and plot the resulting speeds and horse powers as abscissae and ordinates producing the curve, BB. Another curve,
e = B/E
made with an arbitrary scale, gives the commercial efficiency; the speed for a maximum external horse power is o a, and the speed for the highest efficiency is represented by o b. In practice it is not necessary to test a motor to the whole limits of this diagram; it will be sufficient to commence with a speed at which the efficiency becomes appreciable, and to leave off with that speed which renders the desired power.
I have now to draw your attention to a new motor of my own invention, of the weight of 124 lb., which, at 1,550 revolutions, gives 31 amperes and 61.5 volts at terminals. The mechanical horse power is 1.37, and the coefficient 373.
Ohms. Armature resistance 0.4 w. Field-magnet resistance 0.17 w. Insulation resistance 1,500,000 w.
This motor was only completed on the morning before reading the paper; it could not, therefore, be tested as to its various capacities.
We have next to consider the principle of applying the motive power to the propulsion of a launch. The propellers hitherto practically applied in steam navigation are the paddle-wheel and the screw. The experience of modern steam navigation points to the exclusive use and advantage of the screw propeller where great speed of shaft is obtainable, and the electric engine is pre-eminently a high-speed engine, consequently the screw appears to be most suitable to the requirements of electric boats. By simply fixing the propeller to the prolonged motor shaft, we complete the whole system, which, when correctly made, will do its duty in perfect order, with an efficiency approaching theory to a high degree.
Whatever force may be imparted to the water by a propeller, such force can be resolved into two elements, one of which is parallel, and the other in a plane at right angles to the keel. The parallel force alone has the propelling effect; the screw, therefore, should always be so constructed that its surfaces shall be chiefly employed in driving the water in a direction parallel to the keel from stem to stern.
It is evident that a finely pitched screw, running at a high velocity, will supply these conditions best. With that beautiful screw lying on this table, and made by Messrs. Yarrow, 95 per cent. of efficiency has been obtained when running at a speed of over 800 revolutions per minute—that is to say, only 5 per cent was lost in slip.
Reviewing the various points of advantage, it appears that electricity will, in time to come, be largely used for propelling launches, and, perhaps, something more than launches.
In conclusion, quoting Dr. Lardner's remarks on the subject of steam navigation of nearly fifty years ago, he said:
"Some, who, being conversant with the actual conditions of steam engineering as applied to navigation, and aware of various commercial conditions which must affect the problem, were enabled to estimate calmly and dispassionately the difficulties and drawbacks, as well as the disadvantages, of the undertaking, entertained doubts which clouded the brightness of their hopes, and warned the commercial world against the indulgence of too sanguine anticipation of the immediate and unqualified realization of the project. They counseled caution and reserve against an improvident investment of extensive capital in schemes which still be only regarded as experimental, and which might prove its grave. But the voice of remonstrance was drowned amid the enthusiasm excited by the promise of an immediate practical realization of a scheme so grand.
"It cannot," he continues, "be seriously imagined that any one who had been conversant with the past history of steam navigation could entertain the least doubt of the abstract practicability of a steam vessel making the voyage between Bristol and New York. A steam vessel, having as cargo a couple of hundred tons of coals, would, caeteris paribus, be as capable of crossing the Atlantic as a vessel transporting the same weight of any other cargo."
Dr. Lardner is generally credited with having asserted that a steam voyage across the Atlantic was "a physical impossibility," but in the work from which I took the liberty of copying his words he denies the charge, and says that what he did affirm was, that long sea voyages could not at that time be maintained with that regularity and certainty which are indispensable to commercial success, by any revenue which could be expected from traffic alone.
The practical results are well known to us. History repeats itself, and the next generation may put on record our week attempts, our doubts and fears of this day. Whether electricity will ever rival steam, remains yet to be proved; we may be on the threshold of great things. The premature enthusiasm has subsided, and we enter upon the road of steady progress.
Mr. Wm. H. Preece, the chairman, in inviting discussion, said that no doubt those present would like to know something about the cost of such a boat as Mr. Reckenzaun described, and he hoped that gentleman would give them some information on that point.
Admiral Selwyn thought Mr. Reckenzaun was a little below the mark when he talked about the dream of getting 5 horse power for one pound—he would not say of coal, but of fuel. For some months he had seen 1/2 lb. of fuel produce 1 horse power, and he knew it could be done. That fuel was condensed concentrated fuel in the shape of oil. When this could be done, electrical energy also could be obtained much cheaper, but if it were extended to yachts, he thought that would be as far as any one now present could be expected to see it go. Still he thought there was a future for it, and that future would be best advanced by considering the question on which he had touched. First, the employment of a cheaper mode of getting the power in the steam engine; and, secondly, a cheaper and higher secondary battery. In a railway train weight was a formidable affair, but in a floating vessel it was still more important. He did not think, however, that a light secondary battery was by any means an impossibility. Mr. Loftus Perkins had actually produced by improvements in the boiler and steam engine two great things: first, one indicated horse power for a pound of fuel per hour, and next he had devised a steam engine of 100 horse power, of a weight of only 84 lb. per horse power, instead of 304 lb., which was about the average. Those were two enormous steps in advance, and under a still more improved patent law he had no doubt things would be brought forward which would show a still greater progress. Within the last fifteen days, nearly 2,000 patents had been taken out, as against 5,000 in the whole of the previous year, which showed how operative a very small and illusory inducement had been to encourage invention. He had long been known as an advocate of patent law reform, and, therefore, felt bound to lose no opportunity of calling attention to its importance. Invention was in the hands of the inventor, the creator of trade. If, without robbing anybody, one wished to produce property, it must be done by improving manufactures as a consequence of inventions. In one instance alone it bad been proved that a single invention had been the means of introducing twenty millions annually, upon which income tax was paid.
Mr. Crampton said he did not think steam could ever compete with electricity, under certain circumstances; but, at the same time, it would be a long time before it was superseded. He should like very much to see the compressed oil, one-sixth of a pound of which would give 1 horse power per hour.
Admiral Selwyn said he had seen a common Cornish boiler doing it years ago.
Mr. Crampton said it had never come under his notice, and he had no hesitation in saying that no such duty ever was performed by any oil, because he never heard of any oil which evaporated more than eighteen to twenty-two pounds of water per pound. However, he was delighted to hear of such progress being made, and though he had been for so many years connected with steam, he never expected it would last forever. He was now making experiments for some large shipowners, for the purpose of facilitating feeding and doing away with dust, but let him succeed to what extent he might, steam would never compete with electricity for such small vessels as these launches.
The Chairman asked if he rightly understood Admiral Selwyn that he had recently seen an invention in which one-sixth of a pound of condensed fuel would give 1 horse power per hour.
Admiral Selwyn said it was now some years ago since he saw this going on, but the persons who did it did not know how or why it was done. He had studied the question for the last ten years, and now knew the rationale of it, and would be prepared shortly to publish it. He knew that 22 was the theoretical calorific value of the pound of oil, and never supposed that oil alone would give 46 lb., which he saw it doing. He had found out that by means of the oil forming carbon constantly in the furnace, the hydrogen of the steam was burned, and that it was a fallacy to suppose that an equal quantity of heat was used in raising steam, at a pressure of, say, 120 lb. to the square inch, as the hydrogen was capable of developing when properly burned. There were, however, conditions under which alone that combustion could take place—one being that the heat of the chamber must be 3,700 deg., and that carbon must be constantly formed.
Mr. Gumpel said with regard to the general application of electricity to the propulsion of vessels as well as to railway trains, he believed that many of those present would live to see electricity applied to that purpose, because there were so many minds now applied to the problem, that before long he had no doubt we should see coal burned in batteries, as it was now burned in steam boilers. The utmost they could do, then, would be about 50 per cent. less than Admiral Selwyn said could be accomplished with condensed fuel. He could not but wonder where Admiral Selwyn obtained his information, knowing that a theoretically perfect heat engine would only give 23 per cent. of the absolute heat used, and that a pound of the best coal would give but 8,000 and hydrocarbon 13,000 heat units, while hydrogen would give 34,000; and calculating it out, how was it possible to get out of one-sixth of a pound of carbon, or any hydrocarbon, the amount of power stated? No doubt, when Admiral Selwyn applied the knowledge which physicists would give him of the amount of power which could be got out of a certain amount of carbon and hydrogen, he would find that there was a mistake somewhere.
Mr. Reckenzaun, in reply, said it would be very difficult to answer the question put by the Chairman, as to the cost of an electric launch—quite as difficult as to say what would be the cost of a steam launch. It depended on the fittings, the ornamental part, the power required, and the time it was required to run. If such a launch were to run constantly, two sets of accumulators would be required, one to replace the other when discharged. This could be easily done, the floor being made to take up, and the cells could be changed in a few minutes with proper appliances. As to Admiral Selwyn's remarks about one-sixth of a pound of fuel per horse power, he had never heard of such a thing before, and should like to know more about it. Mr. Loftus Perkins' new steam engine was a wonderful example of modern engineering. A comparatively small engine, occupying no more space than that of a steam launch of considerable dimensions, developed 800 horse power indicated. From a mechanical point of view, this engine was extremely interesting; it had four cylinders, but only one crank and one connecting rod; and there were no dead centers. The mechanism was very beautiful, but would require elaborate diagrams to explain. Mr. Perkins deserved the greatest praise for it, for in it he had reduced both the weight of the engine and the consumption of fuel to a minimum. He believed he used coke and took one pound per horse power. He should not like to cross the Channel in the electric launch, if there was a heavy sea on, for shaking certainly did not increase the efficiency of the accumulators, but a fair amount of motion they could stand, and they had run on the Thames, by the side of heavy tug boats causing a considerable amount of swell, without any mishap. Of course each box was provided with a lid, and the plates were so closely packed that a fair amount of shaking would not affect them; the only danger was the spilling of the acid. Mr. Crohne had remarked that a torpedo boat of that size would have 100 indicated horse power, but then the whole boat would be filled with machinery. What might be done with electricity they had, as yet, no idea of. At present, they could only get 33,000 foot pounds from 1 lb. of lead and acid, though, theoretically, they ought to get 360,000 foot pounds. Iron in its oxidation would manifest theoretically 1,900,000 foot pounds per lb. of material. As yet they had not succeeded in making an iron accumulator; if they could, they would get about six or seven times the energy for the same weight of material, or could reduce the weight proportionately for the same power, and in that way they might eventually get 70 horse power in a boat of that size, because the weight of the motor was not great. With regard to the formation of a film on the surface, no doubt a film of sulphate of lead was formed if the battery stood idle, but it did not considerably reduce its efficiency; as soon as it was broke through by the energy being evolved from it, it would give off its maximum current. They knew by experience that, with properly constructed accumulators, 80 per cent. of the energy put into them was returned in work. It was quite certain, as Mr. Crampton said, that it would be a long time before steam was superseded: he did not prophesy at all; and he entitled his paper "Electric Launches," because it would be presumptuous to speak of anything more until larger vessels had been made and tried. With regard to Mr. Gumpel's remark on the friction of the propeller, he would say that it was constructed to run 900 revolutions; if it were driven by a steam engine, and the speed reduced to 300, not only would the pitch have to be altered, but the surface would have to be larger, which would entail more friction. Mr. Crohne would bear him out that they lost only 5 per cent. by slip and friction combined, on an average of a great number of trials, both with and against the current.
The Chairman in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Reckenzaun, said he rejoiced to find that that gentleman had proved, to one man at least, that his views had been mistaken. He found in these days of the practical applications of electricity, that the ideas of most practical men were gradually being proved to be mistaken, and every day new facts were being discovered, which led them to imagine that as yet they were only on the shore of an enormous ocean of knowledge. It was quite impossible to say what these electric launches would lead to. Certain points of great importance had been pointed out; they gave great room and they were always ready. For lifeboat and fire engine purposes, as Captain Shaw pointed out at Vienna, this was of great consequence.
At first they were led to believe that there was great stability, but that idea had been a little shaken, not as to the boat itself, but as to the influence of the motion of the water upon the constancy of the cells. But these boats were only intended for smooth water, and if they could not be adapted for rough water, he feared Admiral Selwyn's suggestion of the application of this principle to lifeboats would fall to the ground; but if secondary batteries were not calculated as yet to stand rough usage, it only required probably some thought on Mr. Reckenzaun's part to make them available even in a gale. Enormous strides were being made with regard to these batteries. No one present had been a greater skeptic with regard to them at first than be himself; but after constant experiments—employing them, as he had done for many months, for telegraphic purposes—he was gradually coming to view them with a much more favorable eye. The same steps which had rendered all scientific notions practicable, had gradually eliminated the faults which originally existed, and they were now becoming good, sound, available instruments. At present, he could only regard this electric launch as a luxury. He had hoped that Mr. Reckenzaun would have been able to say something which would have enabled poor men to look forward to the time when they might enjoy themselves in them on the river; but he was told at Vienna, when he enjoyed two or three trips in this boat on the Danube, that her cost would be about L800, which was a little too much for most people. They wanted something more within their reach, so that at various points on the river they might see small engines constantly at work supplying energy to secondary batteries, and so that they might start on a Friday evening, and go up as far as Oxford, or higher, and come down again on Monday morning. He must congratulate Mr. Reckenzaun on the excellent diagrams he had constructed. The trouble of calculating figures of this sort was very great when making experiments; and the use of diagrams and curves expedited the labor very much. At present they were passing through a stage of electrical depression; robbery had been committed on a large scale; the earnings of the poor had been filched out of their pockets by sanguine company promotors; an enormous amount of money had been lost, and the result had been that confidence was, to a great extent, destroyed; but those who had been wise enough to keep their money in their pockets, and to read the papers read in that room, must have seen that there was a constant steady advance in scientific knowledge of the laws of electricity and in their practical applications, and as soon as some of these rotten, mushroom companies had been wiped out of existence, they might hope that real practical progress would be made, and that the day was not far distant when the public would again acquire confidence in electrical enterprise. They would then enable inventors and practical men to carry out their experiments, and to put electrical matters on a proper footing.
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THE FIRST EXPERIMENTS WITH THE ELECTRIC LIGHT.
Electric lighting dates back, as well known; to the celebrated experiment of Sir Humphry Davy, which took place in 1809 or 1810, but the date of which is often given as 1813. There exist however, some indications that experiments on the production of the electric spark between carbons had been performed before the above named date.
Mr. S.P. Thompson has given the following interesting details in regard to this subject: In looking over an old volume of the Journal de Paris, says he, I found under date of the 22d Ventose, year X. (March 12, 1802), the following passage, which evidently refers to an exhibition of the electric arc:
"Citizen Robertson, the inventor of the phantasmagoria (magic lantern), is at present performing some interesting experiments that must doubtless advance our knowledge concerning galvanism. He has just mounted metallic piles to the number of 2,500 zinc plates and as many of rosette copper. We shall forthwith speak of his results, as well as of a new experiment that he performed yesterday with two glowing carbons.
"The first having been placed at the base of a column of 120 zinc and silver elements, and the second communicating with the apex of the pile, they gave at the moment they were united a brilliant spark of an extreme whiteness that was seen by the entire society. Citizen Robertson will repeat this experiment on the 25th."
The date generally given for the invention of the electric light by Sir Humphry Davy is 1809, but previous mentions of his experiment are found in Cuthberson's "Electricity" (1807) and in other works. In the Philosophical Magazine, vol. ix., p. 219, under date of Feb. 1, 1801, in a memoir by Mr. H. Moyes, of Edinburgh, relative to experiments made with the pile, we find the following passage:
"When the column in question had reached the height of its power, its sparks were seen by daylight, even when they were made to jump with a piece of carbon held in the hand."
In the Journal of the Royal Institution, vol. i. (1802), Davy describes (p. 106) a few experiments made with the pile, and says:
"When, instead of metals, pieces of well calcined carbon were employed, the spark was still larger and of a clear white."
On page 214 he describes and figures an apparatus for taking the galvano-electric spark into fluid and aeriform substances. This apparatus consisted of a glass tube open at the top, and having at the side a tube through which passed a wire that terminated in a carbon. Another wire, likewise terminating in carbon, traversed the bottom and was cemented in a vertical position.
But all these indications are posterior to a letter printed in Nicholson's Journal, in October, 1800, p. 150, and entitled: "Additional Experiments on Galvanic Electricity in a Letter to Mr. Nicholson." The letter is dated Dowry Square, Hotwells, September 22, 1800, and is signed by Humphry Davy, who at this epoch was assistant to Dr. Beddoes at the Philosophical Institution of Bristol. It begins thus:
"Sir: The first experimenters in animal electricity remarked the property that well calcined carbon has of conducting ordinary galvanic action. I have found that this substance possesses the same properties as metallic bodies for the production of the spark, when it is used for establishing a communication between the extremities of Signor Volta's pile."
In none of these extracts, however, do we find anything that has reference to the properties of the arc as a continuous, luminous spark. It was in his subsequent researches that Davy made known its properties. It will be seen, however, that the electric light had attracted attention before its special property of continuity had been observed.
It results from these facts that Robertson's experiment was in no wise anterior to that of Davy. The inventor of the phantasmagoria did not obtain the arc, properly so called, with its characteristic continuity, but merely produced a spark between two carbons—an experiment that had already been made known by Davy in 1800. The latter had then at his disposal nothing but a relatively weak pile, and it is very natural that, under such circumstances, he produced a spark without observing its properties as a light producer.
It was only in 1808 that he was in a position to operate upon a larger scale. At this epoch a group of men who were interested in the progress of science subscribed the necessary funds for the construction of a large battery designed for the laboratory of the Royal Institution. This pile was composed of 2,000 elements mounted in two hundred porcelain troughs, one of which is still to be seen at the Royal Institution. The zinc plates of these elements were each of them 32 inches square, and formed altogether a surface of 80 square meters. It was with this powerful battery that Davy, in 1810, performed the experiment on the voltaic arc before the members of the Royal Institution.
The carbons employed were rods of charcoal, and were rapidly used up in burning in the air. So in order to give longer duration to his experiment, Davy was obliged, on repeating it, to inclose the carbons in a glass globe like that used in the apparatus called the electric egg. The accompanying figure represents the experiment made under this form in the great ampitheater of the Royal Institution at London.—La Lumiere Electrique.
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ELECTRICAL GRAPNEL FOR SUBMARINE CABLES AND TORPEDO LINES.
By H. KINGSFORD.
All those who are acquainted with the cable-lifting branch of submarine telegraphy are well aware how important a matter it is in grappling to be certain of the instant the cable is hooked. This importance increases, of course, with the age and consequent weakness of the material, as the injury caused by dragging a cable along the bottom is obviously very great.
It is easy also to understand the fact that in nearly all cases the most delicate dynamometers must fail to indicate immediately the presence of the cable on the grapnel, more especially in those cases where a considerable amount of slack grapnel rope is paid out. In many cases, therefore, the grapnel will travel through a cable without the slightest indication (or at least reliable indication) occurring on the dynamometer, and perhaps several miles beyond the line of cable will be dragged over, either fruitlessly, or to the peril of neighboring cables; whereas, should the engineer be advised of the cable's presence on the grapnel, the break will probably be avoided and the cable lifted; at any rate, the position of the cable will be an assured thing.
My own knowledge of cable grappling has convinced me of these facts; and I am well assured that those engineers at least who have been engaged in grappling for cables in great depths, or for weak cables in shallow water, will heartily agree with me.
In addition to the foregoing remarks re the insufficiency of the dynamometer as an instrument for indicating the presence of a cable on the grapnel, I might remind engineers of the troubles and perplexities which occur incessantly in dragging over a rocky bottom. The grapnel hooks a rock, a large increase of strain is indicated on the dynamometer, and it becomes doubtful whether the cable as well is hooked or not. Again, it frequently happens in grappling over a rocky bottom that one or more prongs are broken off, the grapnel thus becoming useless, great waste of time being thus occasioned. Fully realizing all the difficulties herein enumerated, it occurred to me that a grapnel might be constructed in such a manner as to automatically signal by electrical means the hooking of the cable, while it would ignore all strain that external causes might bring to bear on it, and thereby obviate the uncertainties attached to the use of the grapnels at present in vogue. To effect this, I designed early in 1881 a grapnel fitted in each prong with an insulated conducting surface, and a plunger and pin so arranged that the cable, when hooked, should, by the pressure that it would bring to bear on any of the plungers, cause the pin to come in contact with the conducting surface, itself in electrical communication with any suitable current detecter and battery on board the repairing ship, and thereby complete the circuit. This grapnel was successfully used on the Anglo-American Telegraph Company's repairing steamer Minia in the summer of 1881.
Subsequently, in discussing the construction of the grapnel with Captain Troot, we concluded that something was yet wanted to render the successful working in deep water absolutely sure, and we decided, consequently, to make certain alterations.
This improved form may be constructed, either with a contact-plate in each prong, or with one contact-plate common to all the prongs; the latter is somewhat simpler, and is therefore the plan that we usually adopt. Both forms are shown in the accompanying diagrams. The form of grapnel in Diagram No. 1 has one advantage over the other in this respect, viz., that should a prong be ruptured so as to render it useless, the fact would immediately be known on board. A circuit formed in such a manner, by the breaking off of a branch lead, would have greater resistance than that formed by the contact resulting from pressure of cable on the plungers; this difference would be manifested on the indicator (of low resistance) placed in circuit with the alarm-bell, or, if any doubt remained, a Wheatstone's bridge, or simpler still, a telephone might be made use of.
In some cases we may protect the plungers from the pressure of ooze, etc., by guards fitted to the stem of the grapnel, but in practice we have not found these to be necessary.
The water is allowed free access around and about each separate part, in order that its pressure shall be equal on all sides. This arrangement renders the grapnel as effectual in the deepest as in the shallowest water.
By making the plungers in two pieces, with a rubber washer or its equivalent between them, we prevent mud or ooze from getting behind and interfering with their working. As the hole in the rubber surrounding the contact-plate, by caused the passage of the pin through it, closes up as soon as the pressure is removed, leaving in the rubber a fault of exceedingly high resistance, the rubber does not require renewing.
In the rubber in which we embedded the contact-plate, we place a layer or more of tinfoil or other easily pierced conducting surface, through which the pin passes on its way to the contact-plate proper. This method we have adopted in order to make the assurance of contact doubly sure.
The grapnel just described we had in use on the Minia since April last. We have tried it severely, and have never known it to fail. No swivel has been used with the rope, in the heart of which is the insulated wire, as it would allow the grapnel to turn over on the bottom, and would be apt to twist and break the wire short off. As a matter of fact, the grapnel will turn, and does turn, with the rope; a swivel is therefore of no value. We are perfectly awake, however, to the fact that a grappling-rope should be made in a manner that will not allow it to kink; and engineers should avail themselves of such rope, especially in deep water. Patents have lately been granted to Messrs. Trott & Hamilton for the invention of a form of rope or cable answering all the requirements of this work.
A small type of grapnel fitted in the manner I have described may be very advantageously used for searching purposes, to ascertain the position either of telegraph or torpedo lines; by towing at a quick rate much time may be saved. The position being ascertained, if it be not desired to lift the cable, the grapnel can be released and hove on board by a tripping line, which can always be attached when such work is contemplated. The great importance of being able to localize an enemy's torpedo lines without raising an alarm will be readily seen by engineers engaged in torpedo work.
REFERENCES TO THE DIAGRAMS.
a, stem of the grapnel containing core; b, flukes; c, recess for insulated contact-plate connected to core; d, covering plate screwed on bottom of grapnel; e, button of plug; f, rubber washer and button; g, metal-plate; h, stem of plug, on which in the under counter-sink, U is a small metal disk which prevents the fittings from fallings out; i, needle; j, spring; k, counter-sink for head of plug; l, counter-sink for spring.
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HUGHES' NEW MAGNETIC BALANCE.
A new magnetic balance has been described before the Royal Society by Prof. D. E. Hughes, F.R.S., which he has devised in the course of carrying out his researches on the differences between different kinds of iron and steel. The instrument is thus described in the Proceedings of the Royal Society:
"It consists of a delicate silk-fiber-suspended magnetic needle, 5 cm. in length, its pointer resting near an index having a single fine black line or mark for its zero, the movement of the needle on the other side of zero being limited to 5 mm. by means of two ivory stops or projections.
When the north end of the needle and its index zero are north, the needle rests at its index zero, but the slightest external influence, such as a piece of iron 1 mm. in diameter 10 cm. distant, deflects the needle to the right or left according to the polarity of its magnetism, and with a force proportional to its power. If we place on the opposite side of the needle at the same distance a wire possessing similar polarity and force, the two are equal, and the needle returns to zero; and if we know the magnetic value required to produce a balance, we know the value of both. In order to balance any wire or piece of iron placed in a position east and west, a magnetic compensator is used, consisting of a powerful bar magnet free to revolve upon a central pivot placed at a distance of 30 or more cm., so as to be able to obtain delicate observations. This turns upon an index, the degrees of which are marked for equal degrees of magnetic action upon the needle. A coil of insulated wire, through which a feeble electric current is passing, magnetizes the piece of iron under observation, but, as the coil itself would act upon the needle, this is balanced by an equal and opposing coil on the opposite side, and we are thus enabled to observe the magnetism due to the iron alone. A reversing key, resistance coils, and a Daniell cell are required."
The general design of the instrument, as shown in a somewhat crude form when first exhibited, is given in the figure, where A is the magnetizing coil within which the sample of iron or steel wire to be tested is placed, B the suspended needle, C the compensating coil, and M the magnet used as a compensator, having a scale beneath it divided into quarter degrees.
The idea of employing a magnet as compensator in a magnetic balance is not new, this disposition having been used by Prof. Von Feilitzsch in 1856 in his researches on the magnetizing influence of the current. In Von Feilitzsch's balance, however, the compensating magnet was placed end on to the needle, and its directive action was diminished at will, not by turning it round on its center, but by shifting it to a greater distance along a linear scale below it. The form now given by Hughes to the balance is one of so great compactness and convenience that it will probably prove a most acceptable addition to the resources of the physical laboratory.—Nature.
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HOW TO HARDEN CAST IRON.
Cast iron may be hardened as follows: Heat the iron to a cherry red, then sprinkle on it cyanide of potassium and heat to a little above red, then dip. The end of a rod that had been treated in this way could not be cut with a file. Upon breaking off a piece about one-half an inch long, it was found that the hardening had penetrated to the interior, upon which the file made no more impression than upon the surface. The same salt may be used to caseharden wrought iron.
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APPARATUS FOR MEASURING SMALL RESISTANCES.
The accompanying engraving shows a form of Thomson's double bridge, as modified by Kirchhoff and Hausemann. The chief advantage claimed for this instrument consists in the fact that all resistances of defective contact between the piece to be measured and the battery are entirely eliminated—an object of prime importance in measuring very small resistances. By the use of this instrument resistances can be measured accurately down to one-millionth of a Siemens unit.
The general arrangement of the instrument is shown in Fig. 1; Fig. 2 being a diagram of the electrical connections.
The piece of metal to be measured, M, is placed in the measuring forks, gg, in such a manner that the movable fork is removed as far as possible from the stationary one; if the weight of the piece be insufficient to secure a good connection, additional weights may be placed upon it. The main circuit includes the battery, B (Fig. 2), consisting of from two to four Bunsen cells, the key, T, the German silver measuring wire, N, and the piece of metal resting on the forks, all being joined in series. The German silver wire, N, is traversed by two movable knife-edge contacts, cc, as shown. Connections are made between these contacts, cc, the resistance box, the prongs, k and l, of the forks, gg, and the reflecting galvanometer, as shown in Fig. 2. A resistance of ten units is inserted at o and n, while at m and p twenty units or one thousand units are inserted. The positions of cc are then varied until the galvanometer shows no deflection when the key, T, is depressed.
When such is the case, the ratio of resistances n/m is equal to o/p; letting M equal the resistance of the metal bar between the points, h and i, and N equal to the resistance between the points, cc, on the measuring wire, N, then we shall have
M = N (n/m) = N (o/p).
Knowing the cross section in millimeters, Q, of the bar, and observing the temperature, t, in degrees Centigrade, its conductivity, x, as compared with mercury can be determined. If L be the distance, h l or k i, in meters, then
x = (1/m) (L/Q) (1 + at).
For pure metals the value of a may be taken at 0.004; but alloys have a different coefficient. The instrument is made by Siemens and Halske, and is accompanied by a table giving resistances per millimeter of the measuring wire, N.—Zeitsch. fuer Elektrotechnik.
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[Footnote: For a full account of experiments relating to magnetism on railways in New York city, see SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, January 19,1884.]
To the Editor of the Scientific American:
An item has appeared recently in several papers, stating that New York is a highly magnetized city—that the elevated railroad, Brooklyn Bridge cables, etc., are all highly magnetized. As this might convey to the general reader the impression that the magnetism thus exhibited was peculiar to New York city, and as many of your subscribers look anxiously for your answers to numerous questions put for the elucidation of apparent, scientific mysteries, I have thought that perhaps a statement in plain language of experiments made at various times, to elucidate this subject, might, in conjunction with a diagram, serve to explain even to those who have not made a special study of science a few of the interesting phenomena connected with
Some of the first experiments I made, while professor at the Indiana State University, were detailed in the March and August numbers, 1872, of the Journal of the Franklin Institute, and I think showed conclusively that the earth, by induction, renders all articles of iron, steel, or tinned iron magnetic; possessing for the time being polarity, after they have been in a settled position for a short time.
In Dr. I. C. Draper's "Year Book of Nature" for 1873, mention is made of the experiments in which I found every rail of a N. and S. railroad exhibiting polarity.
The same statements were repeated in one of a series of articles sent by me to the Indianapolis Daily Journal, dated Jan. 20, 1877, in which I used the following language:
"Every article of iron or steel or tinned iron, by the earth's induction, becomes magnetic. Thus, if we examine our stoves, or a doorlock, or long vertical hinge, or even a high tin cup, by holding a delicate magnetic needle in the hand near those objects, we find the earth has, by induction, attracted to the lower end of the stove utensils, etc., the opposite magnetism from its own; and repelled to the upper end of the stove, etc., the same magnetism which exists in our northern hemisphere. Consequently, the bottom of the stove, or of the hinge, cup, etc., will attract the south (or unmarked end) of our needle; while the top of the stove, etc., attracts the north, or marked end of our magnetic needle. If we apply our needle to the T rails of a N. and S. railroad, we not only find that the lower flange of the rail attracts the S. end of our needle, while the upper flange attracts the N. end of our needle, but we also find, where the two rails come nearly together (say within two inches), that the N. end of the rail attracts the S. end of our needle, while the S. end of the rail attracts the N. (or marked) end of our magnetic needle."
Quite recently, being anxious to see the effect produced on the needle by rails laid E. and W., I experimented on some recently laid here; starting from a S. terminus, in the town of New Harmony, and gradually curving northeast, until the road pursues a due east course to Evansville. There is, however, a branch road of about half a mile, which starts from the Wabash River, at a west terminus, and runs due east to join the other, near where that main track commences its northeast curve. The results (more readily understood by an inspection of the diagram) were as follows:
1. At the south terminus of the railroad, the rails on the east side of the track as well as those on the west side attracted at their south ends the marked end of a small magnetic needle, both at the upper and lower flange; the usual vertical induction being in this case overcome by the greater lateral induction. Whenever, on progressing north, the rails were at least about two inches apart, the upper flange of the north end of any rail would attract the unmarked, while the south end of its neighbor or any other of the north and south laid rails would attract the marked end.