Scientific American, Volume XLIII., No. 25, December 18, 1880
Author: Various
1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse


(Entered at the Post Office of New York, N. Y., as Second Class Matter)



Vol. XLIII., No. 25. [New Series.]

$3.20 per Annum. [POSTAGE PREPAID.]

* * * * *


(Illustrated articles are marked with an asterisk.)

Air engine, new 385 Amateur mechanics* 390 American Institute of Architects 389 Architects, American Institute 389 Arctic winter, characteristics of 393 Aquarium (29) 395 Balance attach. for valves* 386 Band saw, hand power* 387 Barometer, chemical (15) 394 Battery, Leclanche, to renew (13) 394 Beetle, Hercules, the* 391 Belts, capacity of (12) 394 Business colleges* 383, 388 Carbons, to solder (20) 395 Chinese women's feet* 393 Chisels, tempering 389 Colleges, business* 383, 388 Engine, air, new 385 Engine, steam, single-acting* 390 Eruption of Mauna Loa 385 Exhibition of bathing appliances 393 Feet, Chinese women's* 393 Fires—causes and prevention 384 Glass spinning and weaving 385 Gun, submarine, new 387 Harbor at Montreal, the 387 Hercules beetle, the* 391 Horse-power of turbines (12) 394 Ice at high temperatures 393 Ice, removing from railroads* 387 Induction coil for transmitter (14) 394 Induction coil, small (26) 395 Invention, schools of 393 Inventions, miscellaneous 390 Inventions, recent 387 Knots, learning to tie 392 Leaves, variegation of 392 Light, what is? 384 London underground railway 389 Mantis, the embrace of the 391 Mechanics, amateur* 390 Montreal, the harbor at 387 Noise, to deaden (9) 394 Nut, safety, improved* 386 Packard's Business College* 383, 388 Patents, decisions relating to 393 Petroleum prospects 386 Photos, to color (10) 394 Poultry raising, mechanical 391 Railway, underground, London 389 Safety nut, improved* 386 Safety valve, improved* 386 Schools of invention 393 Screw-cutting foot lathe (11) 394 Steamers, Collins line of 393 Steam heating, return pipe (17) 394 Steel, to tin (38) 395 Submarine gun, new 387 Sun dial, to adjust (27) 395 Telegraph insulator, new* 387 Telegraph wires underground 385 Valve, safety, improved* 386 Valves, balance attachment for* 386 Vanilla, cinnamon, cocoanut 392 Vennor's winter predictions 389 Vessels, sunken, raising 386 Winter predictions, Vennor's 389 Zinc, to amalgamate (23) 395

* * * * *



MUNN & CO., Editors and Proprietors.



* * * * *


One copy, one year postage included $3 20

One copy, six months, postage included 1 60

Clubs.—One extra copy of THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN will be supplied gratis for every club of five subscribers at $3.20 each: additional copies at same proportionate rate. Postage prepaid.

Remit by postal order. Address

MUNN & CO., 37 Park Row, New York.

To Advertisers—The regular circulation of the Scientific American is now Fifty Thousand Copies weekly. For 1880 the publishers anticipate a still larger circulation.

The Scientific American Supplement

Is a distinct paper from the Scientific American. THE SUPPLEMENT is issued weekly. Every number contains 16 octavo pages, uniform in size with Scientific American. Terms of subscription for Supplement, $5.00 a year, postage paid, to subscribers. Single copies, 10 cents. Sold by all news dealers throughout the country.

Combined Rates—The Scientific American and Supplement, will be sent for one year, postage free, on receipt of seven dollars. Both papers to one address or different addresses as desired.

The safest way to remit is by draft, postal order, or registered letter.

Address MUNN & CO., 37 Park Row, N. Y.

Scientific American Export Edition.

The Scientific American Export Edition is a large and splendid periodical, issued once a month. Each number contains about one hundred large quarto pages, profusely illustrated, embracing (1.) Most of the plates and pages of the four preceding weekly issues of the Scientific American, with its splendid engravings and valuable information; (2.) Commercial, trade, and manufacturing announcements of leading houses. Terms for Export Edition, $5.00 a year, sent prepaid to any part of the world. Single copies 50 cents. Manufacturers and others who desire to secure foreign trade may have large, and handsomely displayed announcements published in this edition at a very moderate cost.

The Scientific American Export Edition has a large guaranteed circulation in all commercial places throughout the world. Address MUNN & CO., 37 Park Row, New York.

* * * * *


* * * * *


For the Week ending December 18, 1880.

Price 10 cents. For sale by all newsdealers.

PAGE I. ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS.—Frager's Water Meter. 3 figures.— Vertical section, horizontal section, and plan 4119 Transmission of Power to a Distance.—Wire ropes—Compressed air—Water pressure.—Electricity 4120 The Livadia at Sea 4120 The Herreshoff Launch 4121 New Steering Gear. 2 figures.—Steam steering gear for Herreshoff launch 4121

II. TECHNOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY.—Glucose 4126 American Manufacture of Corn Glucose 4126 The Conversions—Starch—Dextrine.—Complete glucose 4126 Depreciation of a Glucose Factory 4126 The Fire Risks of Glucose Factories and Manufactures 4126 Glucose Factory Fires and Ignitions 4127 The Hirsh Process. By Adolf H. Hirsh—Improvement in the manufacture of sugar from Corn 4127 Time in the Formation of salts. By M. Berthelot 4127 An Old Can of Preserved Meat By G. W. Wigner 4127 Chemistry for Amateurs. 6 figures.—Reaction between nitric acid and iron.—Experiment with Pharaoh's serpents.—Formation of crystals of iodide of cyanogen—Experiment with ammoniacal amalgam.—Pyrophorus burning in contact with the air.—Gold leaf suspended over mercury 4128 Carbonic Acid in the Atmosphere. 2 figures 4129 On Potash Fulling Soaps By W. J. Menzies 4129 Photography of the Invisible 4134

III. ELECTRICITY. LIGHT, HEAT, ETC.—Exhibition of Gas and Electric Light Apparatus, Glasgow 4125 Electric Light in the German Navy. 1 illustration. Armored Frigates Friedrich Karl and Sachsen.—Dispatch Boat Grille, and Torpedo Boat illuminated by Electric Light 4130 Interesting Facts about Gas and Electricity.—Gas as Fuel.—Gas for Fire Grates 4130 A New Electric Motor and its Applications. 6 figures. Trouve's New Electric Motor 4131 On Heat and Light. By Robert Ward 4131 Photophonic Experiments of Prof. Bell and Mr. Tainter. By A. Bregult 4132 Distribution of Light in the Solar Spectrum. By J. Mace and W. Nicati 4132 Mounting Microscopic Objects 4132 New Sun Dial. By M. Grootten. 1 figure 4132 Antoine Cesar Becquerel, with portrait 4132

IV. HYGIENE AND MEDICINE.—On the Etiology of the Carbuncular Disease. By L. Pasteur, assisted by Chamberland and Roux. An extremely valuable investigation of the nature, causes, and conditions of animal plagues 4133 Report on Yellow Fever in the U. S. Steamer Plymouth. By the Surgeon-General in U. S. Navy 4134 Fuchsin in Bright's Disease 4134

V. ART, ARCHITECTURE, ETC.—Artists' Homes. No. 7. Sir Frederick Leighton's House and Studio. 10 figures. Perspective, plan, elevation details, etc. 4121 Initials by Eisenlohr and Weigle, in Stuttgart. Full page 4123 Suggestions in Decorative Art. 1 figure. Reserved part of a Great Saloon. By H. Penox, Paris 4124 Great Saloon (Text) 4124 Cologne Cathedral The Historical Procession 4124 Suggestions in Decorative Art. 1 figure. Mantlepiece in Walnut. By E. Carpenter 4125

* * * * *


The next issue will close another volume of this paper, and with it several thousand subscriptions will expire.

It being an inflexible rule of the publishers to stop sending the paper when the time is up for which subscriptions are prepaid, present subscribers will oblige us by remitting for a renewal without delay, and if they can induce one or more persons to join them in subscribing for the paper, they will largely increase our obligation.

By heeding the above request to renew immediately, it will save the removal of thousands of names from our subscription books, and insure a continuance of the paper without interruption.

The publishers beg to suggest to manufacturers and employers in other branches of industry that in renewing their own subscriptions they add the names of their foremen and other faithful employes. The cost is small, and they are not the only ones that will derive benefit. The benefit to the employe will surely reflect back to the advantage of the employer. The hints, receipts, and advice imparted through our correspondence column will be found of especial value to every artisan and mechanic, as well as to students and scientists.

For terms, see prospectus.

* * * * *


It is estimated that the total annual losses of insured property by fire, throughout the world, average nearly two hundred million dollars. Add to this the annual destruction of uninsured property, and we should probably have a total amounting to quite double these figures. How great the loss, how severe the tax upon the productive industry of mankind, this enormous yearly destruction amounts to, will come home to the minds of most readers more directly if we call attention to the fact that it just about equals the value of our total wheat crop during a year of good yield. And it is a direct tax upon productive industry everywhere, because, although here and there a nominal loser, fully insured, has only made what is sometimes called "a good sale" to the companies holding his risk, this is only a way of apportioning the loss whereby the community at large become the sufferers. Thus it is that we find all ably-managed insurance companies earnestly endeavoring to make it plain to the public how fires should be guarded against, or most effectually localized and controlled when once started.

During the fall, or from "lighting up" time till about New Year's day, more fires occur ordinarily than in any other portion of the year. This fact points to some of the most general causes of conflagrations—as in the lighting and heating of houses, factories, etc., where this had not been necessary during the summer months. It is also found that after the first of the year the number of fires is greatly diminished, the lighting and heating arrangements having been subjected to a period of trial during which their most obvious defects would be remedied. While it may readily be conceded that the utmost care of the owner of property could not totally prevent great average losses from fire—for the greater the holdings the more must the proprietor trust to the oversight of others—it is evident that the above facts indicate the necessity of more strenuous precautions at this season. Gas pipes and fittings should then be tested; furnace flues and settings looked to; stove, heater, and grate fixtures and connections examined—and in all these particulars the scrutiny should be most closely directed to parts ordinarily covered up or out of sight, so that any defect or weakness from long disuse may be exposed. When to the above causes of fires we have added the extremely fruitful one found in the extensive use of coal oil within a few years past, we have indicated the most common sources of conflagrations of known origin. An English authority gives the percentages of different causes of 30,000 fires in London, from 1833 to 1865, as follows: Candles, 11.07; curtains, 9.71; flues, 7.80; gas, 7.65; sparks, 4.47; stoves, 1.67; children playing, 1.59; matches, 1.41; smoking tobacco, 1.40, other known causes, 19.40; unknown causes, 32.88. The foregoing figures do not give the percentage of incendiary fires, and later statistics would, no doubt, show vastly more fires from the use of kerosene than are here attributed to candles.

The prevention of fires, and the best means of minimizing the loss when they do occur, are topics which cover a wide field, and a collection of the literature on the subject would make a very respectable library. As the question presents itself to-day, it may well be doubted whether the general practice of large property holders of insuring all their possessions does not tend to lessen the constant vigilance which is the most essential requisite in preventing fires. Thousands of merchants never mean to keep a dollar's worth of goods in store or warehouse that is not fully covered by insurance, and they make this cost a regular charge upon their business as peremptorily as they do the wages paid the hands in their employ. But few manufacturers can so completely cover their risks by insurance, yet a large portion of them do so as far as they are able. It does not follow but that the larger portion of both merchants and manufacturers exercise what the law will fully decide is "due vigilance" in the care of the property so insured, but it is evident that in most cases the thoughtfulness is much less complete—the care wonderfully lacking in personal supervision—as compared with what would be the case were each one his own insurer. Of course, this in no way casts a doubt upon the general policy of business men being amply insured, but in fact shows the greater necessity why they should be so, that they may not suffer from the carelessness of a neighbor; it also points to the necessity of continually increasing care and thoroughness of inspection on the part of the insurance companies. These agencies, in fact, must compel the insured to keep up to the mark in the introduction of every improvement to ward off fires or diminish their destructiveness. The progress made in this department during recent years has been great. The almost universal use of steam has been attended by the fitting up of factories with force pumps, hose, and all the appliances of a modern fire brigade; dangerous rooms are metal sheathed, and machinery likely to cause fire is surrounded by stationary pipes from which jets of water may be turned on instantaneously from the outside; stores and warehouses have standing pipes from which every floor may be flooded with water under pressure, and the elevators, those most dangerous flues for rapidly spreading a fire, are either bricked in entirely or supposed to be closed at every floor. The latter point, however, is sometimes forgotten, as sea captains forget to keep the divisions of their vessels having watertight compartments separate from one another; the open elevator enlarges a small fire as rapidly as the open compartment allows the vessel to sink.

With the best of appliances, however, discipline and drill on the part of the hands, in all factories, is of prime importance. It is always in the first stages of a fire that thoroughly efficient action is necessary, and here it is worth a thousand-fold more than can be any efforts after a fire is once thoroughly started. Long immunity is apt to beget a feeling of security, and the carelessness resulting from overconfidence has been the means of destroying many valuable factories which were amply provided with every facility for their own preservation. The teachers in some of the public schools of New York and Brooklyn, during the past year, set an example which some of our millowners might profitably follow. There have been cases when, from a sudden alarm of fire, children have been crushed in their crowding to get out of the building. The teachers, in the instances referred to, marched their children out, under discipline, as if there had been a fire. Let owners of factories try some such plan as this, by which workmen may be called upon to cope with an imaginary fire, and many of them will, we venture to say, find means of improving their present system or appliances for protection, elaborate as they may at present think them to be.

* * * * *


If on opening a text book on geology one should find stated the view concerning the creation and age of the earth that was held a hundred years ago, and this view gravely put forward as a possible or alternative hypothesis with the current one deducible from the nebula theory, one would be excused for smiling while he turned to the title page to see who in the name of geology should write such stuff. Nevertheless this is precisely similar to what one will find in most treatises on physics for schools and colleges if he turns to the subject of light. For instance, I quote from a book edited by an eminent man of science in England, the book bearing the date 1873.

"There are two theories of light; one the emissive theory; ... the other, the vibratory theory;" just as if the emissive or corpuscular theory was not mathematically untenable sixty years ago, and experimentally demonstrated to be false more than forty years ago. Unless one were treating of the history of the science of optics there is no reason why the latter theory should be mentioned any more than the old theory of the formation of the earth. It is not to be presumed that any one whose opinion is worth the asking still thinks it possible that the old view may be the true one because the evidence is demonstrable against it, yet while the undulatory theory prevails there are not a few persons well instructed otherwise who still write and speak as though light has some sort of independent existence as distinguished from so-called radiant heat; in other words, that the heat and light we receive from the sun are specifically different.

A brief survey of our present knowledge of this form of energy will help to show how far wrong the common conception of light is. For fifteen years it has been common to hear heat spoken of as a mode of molecular motion, and sometimes it has been characterized as vibratory, and most persons have received the impression that the vibratory motion was an actual change of position of the molecular in space instead of a change of form. Make a ring of wire five or six inches in diameter, and, holding it between the thumb and finger at the twisted ends, pluck it with a finger of the other hand; the ring will vibrate, have three nodes, and will give a good idea of the character of the vibration that constitutes what we call heat. This vibratory motion may have a greater or less amplitude, and the energy of the vibration will be as the square of that amplitude. But the vibrating molecule gives up its energy of vibration to the surrounding ether; that is to say, it loses amplitude precisely as a vibrating tuning fork will lose it. The ether transmits the energy it has received in every direction with the velocity of 186,000 miles per second, whether the amplitude be great or small, and whether the number of vibrations be many or few. It is quite immaterial. The form of this energy which the ether transmits is undulatory; that is to say, not unlike that of the wave upon a loose rope when one end of it is shaken by the hand. As every shake of the hand starts a wave in the rope, so will every vibration of a part of the molecule start a wave in the ether. Now we have several methods for measuring the wave lengths in ether, and we also know the velocity of movement. Let v = velocity, l = wave length, and n = number of vibrations per second, then n = v/l, and by calculation the value of n varies within wide limits, say from 1 x 10^{14} to 20 x 10^{14}. But all vibrating bodies are capable of vibrating in several periods, the longest period being called the fundamental, and the remainder, which stand in some simple ratios to the fundamental, are called harmonics. Each of these will give to the ether its own particular vibratory movement, so that a single molecule may be constantly giving out rays of many wave lengths precisely as a sounding bell gives out sounds of various pitches at one and the same time.

Again, when these undulations in the ether fall upon other molecules the latter may reflect them away or they may absorb them, in which case the absorbing molecules are themselves made to vibrate with increased amplitude, and we say they have been heated. Some molecules, such as carbon, appear to be capable of stopping undulations of all wave lengths and to be heated by them; others are only affected by undulations of particular wave lengths, or of wave lengths between special limits. In this case it is a species of sympathetic vibration. The distinction between the molecular vibrations, and the undulations in ether that result from them, must be kept in mind, as must also the effect of the undulations that fall upon other molecules. To one the name heat is applied, to the other the name of radiant energy is given; and it matters not whether the undulations be long or short, the same molecule may give out both.

Now let a prism be placed in the path of such rays of different wave length from a single molecule, and what is called the dispersive action of the prism will separate the rays in the order of their wave lengths, the longer waves being less refracted than the shorter ones; but the energy of any one of these will depend upon the amplitude of undulation, which in turn will depend upon the amplitude of vibration of the part of the molecule that originated it, but in general the longer waves have greater amplitude, though not necessarily so. Consequently, if a thermopile be so placed as to receive these various rays, and their energy be measured by its absorption on the face of the pile, each one would be found to heat it, the longer waves more than the shorter ones, simply because the amplitude is greater, but for no other reason, for it is possible, and in certain cases is the fact, that a short wave has as much or more energy than a longer one. If the eye should take the place of the thermopile it would be found that some of these rays did not affect it at all, while some would produce the sensation of light. This would be the case with any waves having a wave length between the limits of, say, 1-37,000 of an inch and 1-60,000 of an inch; any shorter waves will not produce the sensation of light. If instead of the eye a piece of paper washed in a solution of the chloride of silver should be placed where the dispersed rays should fall upon it, it would be found that only the shorter waves would affect it at all, and among these shorter ones would be some of those rays which the eye could not perceive at all.

It was formerly inferred from these facts that the heat rays, the light rays, and the chemical rays were different in quality; and some of the late books treating upon this very subject represent a solar spectrum as being made up of a heat spectrum, a light spectrum, and an actinic or chemical spectrum, and the idea has often been made to do duty as an analogy in trinitarian theology; nevertheless it is utterly wrong and misleading. There is no such thing as an actinic spectrum; that is, there are no such rays as special chemical rays; any given ray will do chemical work if it falls upon the proper kind of matter. For instance, while it is true that for such salts of silver as the chloride, the bromide, etc., the shorter waves are most efficient; by employing salts of iron one may get photographic effects with wave lengths much too long for any eye to perceive. Capt. Abney has photographed the whole solar spectrum from one end to the other, which is sufficient evidence that there are no special chemical rays. As to the eye itself, certain of the wave lengths are competent to produce the sensation we call light, but the same ray will heat the face of a thermopile or produce photographic effects if permitted to act upon the proper material, so there is no more propriety in calling it a light ray than in calling it a heat ray or an actinic ray. What the ray will do depends solely upon what kind of matter it falls upon, and all three of these names, light, heat, and actinism, are names of effects of radiant energy. The retina of the eye is itself demonstrably a photographic plate having a substance called purpurine secreted by appropriate glands spread over it in place of the silver salts of common photography. This substance purpurine is rapidly decomposed by radiant energy of certain wave lengths, becoming bleached, but the decomposition is attended by certain molecular movements; the ends of the optic nerves, which are also spread over the retina, are shaken by the disrupting molecules, and the disturbance is the origin of what we call the sensation of light. But the sensation is generally a compound one, and when all wave lengths which are competent to affect the retina are present, the compound effect we call white or whiteness. When some of the rays are absent, as, for instance, the longer ones, the optical effect is one we call green or greenness; and the special physiological mechanism for producing the sensation may be either three special sets of nerves, capable of sympathetic vibration to waves of about 1-39,000, 1-45,000, and 1-55,000 of an inch in length, as Helmholtz has suggested, or, as seems to the writer more probable, the substance purpurine is a highly complex organic substance made up of molecules of different sizes and requiring wave lengths of different orders to decompose them, so that a part of the substance may be quite disintegrated, while other molecules may be quite entire throughout the visual space. This will account for most of the chromatic effects of vision, for complementary colors, and for color blindness, by supposing that the purpurine is not normally constituted. This is in accordance with experimental photography, for it has been found that the long waves will act only upon heavier molecules. It is true vision may be good when there is no purpurine, but there is no doubt but that this substance is secreted in the eye, and that it is photographic in its properties, and so far must be taken as an element in any theory of vision; but the chief point here considered is that objectively light does not exist independent of the eye, that light is a physiological phenomenon, and to speak of it otherwise is to confound a cause with an effect. It is, hence, incorrect to speak of the velocity of light; it has no velocity. It is radiant energy that has the velocity of 186,000 miles a second. It is incorrect to say we receive heat from the sun. What we do receive is radiant energy, which is here transformed into heat. This is not hypercritical, but is in accordance with the knowledge we have to-day. The old nomenclature we use, but without definite meaning; the latter is left to be inferred from the connection or context. If a man should attach to the water main in a city a properly constructed waterwheel, the latter will rotate; but it would not be proper to say that he received rotation from the reservoir. What he received was water with a certain pressure; in other words, a certain form of energy, which he transforms into rotation by the appropriate means; but by substituting other means he can make the same water pressure maintain a vibratory motion, as with the hydraulic ram valve, or let it waste itself by open flow, in which case it becomes ultimately molecular vibration that is heat. The analogy holds strictly. The trouble all comes from neglecting to distinguish between different forms of energy—energy in matter and energy in the ether.

* * * * *


Quite recently a Pittsburg glass firm has succeeded, to a notable degree, in producing glass threads of sufficient fineness and elasticity to permit of their being woven into fabrics of novel character and quality. Their success is such as to warrant the assumption that garments of pure glass, glistening and imperishable, are among the possibilities of the near future. The spinning of glass threads of extreme fineness is not a new process, but, as carried on at present by the firm in question—Messrs. Atterbury & Co.—possesses considerable interest. From a quality of glass similar to that from which table ware is made, rods of glass averaging half an inch in diameter are drawn to any desired length and of various colors. These rods are then so placed that the flame of two gas burners is blown against that end of the rod pointed toward the large "spinning" wheel. The latter is 81/2 feet in diameter, and turns at the rate of 300 revolutions per minute. The flames, having played upon the end of the glass cylinder until a melting heat is attained, a thread of glass is drawn from the rod and affixed to the periphery of the wheel, whose face is about 12 inches wide. Motion is then communicated, and the crystal thread is drawn from between the gas jets and wrapped upon the wheel at the rate of about 7,500 feet per minute. A higher speed results in a finer filament of glass, and vice versa. During its passage from the flame to the wheel, a distance of five or six feet, the thread has become cooled, and yet its elasticity is preserved to a notable degree. The next step in the process consists in the removal of the layers of threads from the wheel. This is easily accomplished, and after being cut to the desired lengths, the filaments are woven in a loom somewhat similar to that used in weaving silken goods. Until within the past few weeks only the woof of the fabric was of glass, but at present both warp and woof are in crystal. Samples of this cloth have been forwarded to New York and to Chicago, and the manufacturers claim to be able to duplicate in colors, texture, etc., any garments sent them. A tablecloth of glass recently completed shines with a satiny, opalescent luster by day, and under gaslight shows remarkable beauty. Imitation plumes, in opal, ruby, pale green, and other hues, are also constructed of these threads, and are wonderfully pretty. The chief obstacle yet to surmount seems to lie in the manipulation of these threads, which are so fine that a bunch containing 250 is not so thick as an average sized knitting needle, and which do not possess the tractability of threads of silk or cotton.

[The foregoing information is furnished by a correspondent in Pittsburg. A sample of the goods mentioned, a tablecloth of glass, is now on exhibition in this city.

The weaving of such heavy fabrics of glass for ornamental purposes and for curiosities is no new thing; nor, in our estimation, does comparative success in such experiments warrant the enthusiastic claims of the Pittsburg manufacturers touching the adaptability of glass for wearing apparel. Unless it is in their power to change the nature of glass absolutely and radically, it does not seem possible for them so to overcome the ultimate brittleness of the separate fibers as to make the fabric fit to be brought in contact with the skin. The woven stuff may be relatively tough and flexible; but unless the entire fabric can be made of one unbreakable fiber the touch of the free ends, be they never so fine, must be anything but pleasant or beneficial, if one can judge by the finest filaments of glass spun hitherto. Besides, in weaving and wearing the goods, a certain amount of fiber dust must be produced as in the case of all other textile material. When the softest of vegetable fibers are employed the air charged with their fragments is hurtful to the lungs; still more injurious must be the spiculae of spun glass.

However, although the manufacturers are likely to be disappointed in their expectation of finding in glass a cheap and available substitute for linen, cotton, and silk in dress goods, it is quite possible that a wide range of useful application may be found for their new fabric.]

* * * * *


Late advices from the Sandwich Islands describe the eruption of Mauna Loa, which began Nov. 5, as one of the grandest ever witnessed. The opening was about six miles from the summit of the mountain, and already two great streams of lava had been poured out; one of them, from one to two yards wide and twenty feet deep, had reached a distance of thirty miles. Terrible explosions accompany the flow of the lava stream, which for a time threatened the town of Hilo; at last reports the flow seemed to be turning in another direction.

Mauna Loa, "long or high mountain" occupies a large portion of the central and southern part of the island of Hawaii, and reaches an elevation of 13,760 feet. It has been built up by lavas thrown out in a highly fluid state, and flowing long distances before cooling; as a consequence the slopes of the mountain are very gentle, averaging, according to Prof. Dana, not more than six and a half degrees. Its craters are numerous, and usually occur near the summit and on the sides, new ones opening frequently, and furnishing, as in the latest instance, magnificent lava streams. The terminal crater is circular, 8,000 feet in diameter, and in 1864 was about 1,000 feet deep. In 1859 an enormous lava fountain spouted from this crater for four or five days, throwing a column of white hot fluid lava about 200 feet in diameter to the height of two or three hundred feet. The lava stream ran 50 miles to the sea in eight days. Other great eruptions have occurred in 1832, 1840, 1843, 1852, 1855, 1868 and 1873. The lava streams poured out in 1840, 1859, and 1868, flowed to the sea, adding considerably to the area of the island. Those of 1843 and 1855 are estimated to have poured out respectively 17,000,000,000 and 38,000,000,000 cubic feet of lava. In 1868 the lava stream forced its way under ground a distance of twenty miles, and burst forth from a fissure two miles long, throwing up enormous columns of crimson lava and red hot rock to the height of five or six hundred feet.

On the eastern part of Mauna Loa, 16 miles from the summit crater, is Kilauea, the largest continuously active crater in the world. It is eight miles in circumference, and 1,000 feet deep. Its eruptions are generally independent of those of Mauna Loa.

* * * * *


A valuable improvement in compressed air engines has recently been patented in this country and in Europe by Col. F. E. B. Beaumont, of the Royal Engineers, and we learn from accounts given in the London and provincial papers that it has proved highly efficient and satisfactory.

The engine possesses some peculiar features which render it very economical in the use of compressed air. It has two cylinders, one being much larger than the other. Into the smaller of these cylinders the compressed air is taken directly from the reservoir, and after doing its work there it is discharged into the larger cylinder, where it is further expanded, being finally discharged into the open air.

The admission of air to the smaller cylinder is regulated by an adjustable cut-off apparatus, which admits of maintaining a uniform power under a variable pressure. When the reservoir at first starting contains air at a very high pressure, the cut-off is adjusted so that the small cylinder receives a very small charge of air at each stroke; when the pressure in the reservoir diminishes the cut-off is delayed so that a larger quantity of air is admitted to the small cylinder; and when the pressure in the reservoir is so far reduced that the pressure on the smaller piston gives very little power, the supply passages are kept open so that the air acts directly on the piston of the larger cylinder. This arrangement is also available when the air pressure is high and great power is required for a short time, as, for example, in starting a locomotive.

It is, perhaps, needless to mention the advantages a motor of this kind possesses over the steam locomotive. The absence of smoke and noise renders it particularly desirable for tunnels, elevated roads, and, in fact, for any city railroad.

Further information in regard to this important invention may be obtained by addressing Mr. R. Ten Broeck, at the Windsor Hotel, New York.

* * * * *


Philadelphia newspapers report that the American Union Telegraph Company are about to try in that city the experiment of putting their wires underground. The plan works well enough in European cities, and there would seem to be no reason why it should not succeed here, save the indisposition of the companies to bear the first cost of making the change. For some months the Western Union Telegraph Company has had the matter under consideration, but will probably wait until pressed by a rival company before it undertakes the more serious task of taking down its forest of poles and sinking the wires which contribute so much to the prevailing ugliness of our streets. Sooner or later the poles and wires must come down; and it is altogether probable that the change will be beneficial to the companies in the long run, owing to the smaller cost of maintaining a subterranean system. It will certainly be an advantage to the community.

* * * * *


That a safety nut so simple and so obviously efficient as the one shown in the annexed engraving should be among the recent inventions in this line instead of being among the first, is a curious example of the manner in which inventors often overlook the simplest means of accomplishing an end. The principle on which this nut operates will be understood by reference to the engraving. Two nuts are represented on each bolt, simply for the purpose of showing the difference between the nut when loose and when screwed down. In practice only one nut is required to each bolt.

The square nut shown in Fig. 1 is concaved on its under side, so that it touches its bearings only at the corners and in the outer face of the nut there are two slots at right angles to each other. When this nut is screwed home the outer portion is contracted so as to clamp the bolt tightly.

The hexagonal nut shown in Fig. 2 has but a single transverse slot, and the nut is made concave on the under surface, so that when the nut is screwed home it will contract the outer portion and so clamp the bolt.

This nut may be removed and replaced by means of the wrench, but it will not become accidentally loosened, and the bolt to which it is applied will always remain tight, as the nut possesses a certain amount of elasticity. The action of this nut is such as to prevent stripping the threads of either bolt or nut.

As only one nut is used with each bolt, and as no washer or other extra appliance is required, it is obvious that a great saving is effected by this invention.

We are informed that several of the leading railroads have adopted this nut, and use it on the tracks, engines, cars, and machinery. The Atwood Safety Nut Company manufacture this article in a variety of forms.

Further information may be obtained by addressing J. W. Labaree, Secretary and Treasurer, Room 2, Agawam Bank Building, Springfield, Mass.

* * * * *


The total oil production of the Pennsylvania oil regions for the month of October was 2,094,608 barrels. The conditions in the producing field are gradually giving warrant for permanently higher prices of crude. The confidence of the trade is daily becoming more fixed in the definiteness and limit of the Bradford field, as the last of the several "rich streaks" in the region are being worked.

We entertain an increased belief that the coming year will exhibit a continued falling off in the volume of production, notwithstanding all the modern improvements in drilling and the great energy with which they are employed.

For the past few weeks the markets of both crude and refined seem to have been rigorously and artificially held by the refining interest. The refined has been quoted at 12 cts. for four weeks without change—and as a consequence the exporter has taken oil very sparingly. The exports of last year to November 1, as compared with the exports of this year to November 1, show a decrease of 1,269,646 barrels in crude equivalent. The falling off of production, taken together with the increased demand which must result from the present reluctance of exporters, unite in warranting us in the belief above expressed, in enhanced prices for the coming year.

Our figures show a decrease in production for last month, compared with the preceding month, of 933 barrels per day, notwithstanding the number of wells drilled was slightly greater than in the preceding month. It will be noticed, too, that the average per well of the new wells for last month is a little less than that of the new wells for the month before, besides, it is generally recognized that the force of the gas in the region is gradually becoming less, and pumping is more commonly resorted to. As nearly as we can ascertain, about one-eighth of all the wheels of the Bradford region are now pumping. We believe, however, on the whole, judging the character of the Bradford producing field, that the falling off of production will be quite gradual. Our reason for this is that the Bradford field is essentially different from its predecessor—the Butler field. The wells in the Butler field were often close together, many of them were very large and fell off rapidly; while the wells of the Bradford region are smaller, farther apart, much greater in number, have a greater area from which to draw oil, and consequently decline very much more slowly.—Stowell's Reporter.

* * * * *


A novel method of making a nail hole and driving and clinching the nail is shown in the annexed engraving. The instrument for making the hole has a notched end which leaves a ridge in the center of the hole at the bottom. The nail driving tool consists of a socket provided with a suitable handle, and containing a follower which rests upon the head of the nail to be driven, and receives the blows of the hammer in the operation of driving the nail. The nail is split for one half its length, and the two arms thus formed are slightly separated at the point, so that when they meet the ridge at the bottom of the hole they will be still further separated and will clinch in the body of the wood.

This invention was recently patented by Mr. Charles P. Ball, of Danville, Ky.

* * * * *


It is well known that in all air compressors and water pumps the pressure in cylinder of air compressors or in working barrel or cylinder of pumps is much greater at the point of opening the delivery valves than the actual pressure in the air receivers of compressors or in water column of pumps because of the difference in area between the top and bottom of delivery valves. In some air compressors a hundred and twenty-five pounds pressure to the square inch is required in the cylinder to eighty pounds in the receiver, and in some instances a hundred pounds pressure is required in the cylinder to eighty pounds pressure in the receiver or column.

The engraving shows an invention designed to remedy this defect in air compressors and pumps, to provide a device which will enable the compressors and pumps to operate with equal pressure on both sides of the delivery valve.

The invention consists of an auxiliary valve arranged outside of the cylinder, where it is not subjected to back pressure, and connected with the delivery valve by a hollow valve stem.

In the engraving, which is a sectional view, the cylinder of an air compressor is represented, on the end of which there is a ring containing delivery ports, through which the air from the cylinder is forced into a receiver or conducting pipe. This ring is provided with an inner flange or valve seat on which rests the delivery valve. These parts are similar to those seen in some of the air compressors in common use, and with this construction and arrangement one hundred pounds pressure to the square inch in the cylinder is required to open the valve against eighty pounds pressure in the receiver or in the conducting pipes.

A drum having an open end is connected with the cylinder head by inclined standards, and contains a piston connected with the valve by means of a rod that extends centrally through the cylinder head. On the outer end of this rod is screwed an adjusting nut, by means of which the piston may be adjusted. This rod is bored longitudinally, establishing communication between the compressor cylinder and the drum containing the piston.

It will be seen that the upper face of the piston is exposed so as to be subjected to atmospheric pressure only, and when the compressor is in operation a portion of the air in the compressor cylinder passes through the hollow rod into the space beneath the piston, and there exerts sufficient pressure, in combination with the pressure on the inner face of the valve, to open the valve against an equal pressure in the receiver or conducting pipes, so that when the pressure in the cylinder equals the pressure in the receivers the valve is opened and held in place until the piston in the cylinder starts on the return stroke, when the pressure under the piston is immediately relieved through the hollow rod and the main valve closes.

The space between the valve and its seat is made as shallow as possible, so that the space may be quickly filled and exhausted. The piston may be adjusted to regulate this space. This invention was recently patented by Messrs. Samuel B. Connor and Henry Dods, of Virginia City, Nevada.

* * * * *


In the annexed cut we have represented a steam safety valve, which is the invention of M. Schmidt, M. E., of Zurich, Switzerland. It consists of a lever terminating in two prongs, one of which extends downward and rests upon the cap, closing the top of the tube through which the steam escapes. The other prong extends upward and catches under a projection of the steam tube, and forms the fulcrum for the lever. The opposite end of this lever is provided with an adjustable screw pressing upon a plate that rests on the top of a spiral spring, which keeps the valve closed by pressing the outer end of the lever upward. As soon as the pressure of the steam overcomes the pressure of the spiral spring the valve will be raised, permitting the steam to escape. The apparatus is contained in a case having a central aperture for the escape of steam.

* * * * *


An experiment recently took place in the East India Dock Basin, Blackwall, London, by permission of Mr. J. L. du Plat Taylor, the secretary of the Dock Company, for the purpose of testing and illustrating the mode of raising sunken ships by means of the apparatus patented by Mr. William Atkinson, naval engineer, of Sheffield. The machinery employed consists of the necessary number and size, according to the power required, of oval or egg-shaped buoys constructed of sheet iron, having an internal valve of a simple and effective character. Captain Hales Dutton, the dock master, who assisted during the operations, had placed his small yacht at the inventor's service for the occasion. The vessel was moored in the basin, and a set of four buoys were attached to it, one on each side near the bow and the stern. Air was supplied from a pump on the quay by a pipe communicating with a small copper globe resting on the deck of the vessel, and from which place proceeded four other flexible tubes, one to each buoy, thus distributing the air to each one equally. The vessel being flooded and in a sinking condition, the buoys were attached and the valves opened; they rapidly filled with water, and the vessel immediately sank in about 30 feet. Upon the first attempt an air chamber in the stern had been lost sight of, causing the vessel to come up to the surface stern uppermost; this being rectified, the vessel was again sent to the bottom, and allowed to remain a short time to allow her to settle down. When the order was given to work the pump, the vessel was brought to the surface, perfectly level, in about three minutes. The apparatus used, although only models, and on a comparatively diminutive scale (the buoys measuring 3 feet 4 inches in height and 2 feet 6 inches in diameter), was estimated to be capable of lifting a weight of nearly 20 tons, and that it needed, as represented by the patentee, only a corresponding increase in the lifting power to deal successfully with vessels of any tonnage.

* * * * *


The engraving shows a new hand power band saw made by Frank & Co., of Buffalo, N. Y., and designed to be used in shops where there is no power and where a larger machine would be useless. It is calculated to meet the wants of a large class of mechanics, including carpenters and builders, cabinet makers, and wagon makers. It is capable of sawing stuff six inches thick, and has a clear space of thirty inches between the saw and the frame. The upper wheel is adjusted by a screw pressing against a rubber spring which compensates for the expansion and contraction of the saw.

The machine has a very complete device for raising, lowering, and adjusting the wheel, and all of the parts are made with a view to obtaining the best results in the simplest and most desirable way.

The machine is six feet wide and five feet high, and weighs 380 lb. The wheels are covered with pure rubber bands well cemented.

Further particulars may be obtained by addressing Messrs. Frank & Co., 176 Terrace street, Buffalo, N. Y.

* * * * *


A plan for the improvement of the harbor of Montreal, Canada, has been submitted to the City Board of Trade by James Shearer, a well known citizen. Mr. Shearer's plan is to divert the current of the St. Lawrence opposite the city into the channels between St. Helen's Island and the southern shore, and by having various obstructions removed from the channel, and running a dam, or "peninsula," as he calls it, built from Point St. Charles, in the west end of the city, to St. Helen's Island, midway in the river, thus stopping the current from running through the present main channel between the city and St. Helen's Island.

Among the practical advantages that will accrue to the city and harbor from the carrying out of this project, Mr. Shearer sets forth the following: The dam will prevent the shoring of ice opposite the city, and the consequent flooding of the Griffintown district, which is annually very destructive to property, and will make a still harbor, where vessels may lie during the winter. It is estimated that the construction of the dam, which would be 2,700 feet long and 900 feet broad, would raise the water two feet in the river and lower it ten feet in the harbor. This would give a head of twenty-five feet for mills, elevators, and factories, and the transportation of freight. The dam would afford a roadway across the river, upon the construction of a bridge from St. Helen's Island to St. Lambert, thus removing the necessity of a tunnel. The roadway could be utilized for a railway, a road for carriages and foot passengers. The estimated cost of the improvement is $7,000,000.

* * * * *


The engraving shows an improved apparatus for removing snow and ice from railroads and streets by means of heat. The invention consists of a double furnace mounted on wheels, which are incased in the fire boxes of the furnace, so that in use the entire apparatus, including the wheels, will become highly heated, so that the snow and ice will not only be melted by radiant heat, but by the actual contact of the hot surfaces of the furnace and wheels. This apparatus was recently patented by the late E. H. Angamar, of New Orleans, La.

* * * * *


The protracted trials conducted on board the Destroyer to test its submarine gun terminated last week. Having, says the Army and Navy Journal, in a previous issue described this novel type of naval artillery, it will suffice to remind our readers that its caliber is 16 inches, length of bore 30 feet, and that it is placed at the bottom of the vessel, the muzzle passing through an opening formed in the wrought iron stem.

We have hitherto, in discussing the properties of the Destroyer, referred to its offensive weapon as a "torpedo," a term not altogether inappropriate while it was actuated by compressed air. But Capt. Ericsson having in the meantime wholly abolished compressed air in his new system of naval attack, substituting guns and gunpowder as the means of producing motive energy, it will be proper to adopt the constructor's term, projectile. It will not surprise those who are acquainted with the laws of hydrostatics and the enormous resistance offered to bodies moving swiftly through water, that the determination of the proper form of projectile for the submarine gun has demanded protracted experiments, commencing at the beginning of June and continued up to last week, as before stated. The greater portion of these experiments, it should be observed, has been carried out with a gun 30 feet long, 15 inches caliber—not a breech-loader, however, as in the Destroyer, but a muzzle-loader, suspended under the bottom of two wrecking scows, the gun being lifted above the water, after each shot, by shears and suitable tackle. The present projectile of the Destroyer is the result of the extended trials referred to; its length is 25 feet 6 inches, diameter 16 inches, and its weight 1,500 pounds, including 250 pounds of explosive materials. We are not at liberty at present to describe its form, but we may mention that the great length of the body and the absence of all internal machinery enable the constructor to carry the stated enormous quantity of explosive matter. With minimum charge of powder in the chamber of the gun, the speed attained by the projectile reaches 310 feet in the first three seconds.

The question may be asked, in view of these facts, whether the boasted costly steam ram is not superseded by the cheap aggressive system represented by the Destroyer. Evidently the most powerful of the English steam rams could not destroy an armored ship as effectually as the projectile from the submarine gun, the explosion of which is capable of shattering any naval structure.

It should be borne in mind, also, that being protected by heavy inclined transverse armor, the Destroyer, attacking bows on, can defy ordnance of all calibers. Again, the carrier of the submarine gun, in addition to the swiftness of its projectile, can outrun ironclad ships.

* * * * *


Mr. Francis M. Osborn, of Port Chester, N. Y., has patented a covering for a horse that protects him from the weather and from chafing. The blanket has a band, also stays and straps, the use of which does away with the surcingle and affords a most efficient protection for the horse, and may be easily worn under harness in wet weather or at other times, when desirable.

A novel device, designed especially for containing boxes of cigars and protecting and displaying their contents, has been patented by Mr. Robert B. Dando, of Alta, Iowa. The invention consists of a case containing shelves, on which are fixed the covered cigar or other boxes, cords connecting the box lids and case doors, so that the opening of the case doors causes the box lids to open.

An improved bottle stopper has been patented by Mr. Andrew Walker, of Cincinnati, O. The invention consists in combining with the stopper caps connected by an intermediate spring.

Mr. James B. Law, of Darlington Court House, S. C., has patented an improved construction of buckle for fastening the ends of cotton and other bale bands; it consists in a buckle having a permanent seat for one end of the bale band, a central opening, into which the other end of the band is entered through an oblique channel, and a bar offsetting from the plane of the buckle, notched or recessed to prevent lateral movement of the band, and connecting the free ends of the buckle on each side of the oblique channel to strengthen the buckle.

An improved buckboard wagon has been patented by Mr. William Sanford, of Cohoes, N. Y. The invention consists in combining with the buckboards curved longitudinal springs placed beneath the buckboards, and curved cross springs connected at their ends with the buckboards by cap plates so as to increase the strength and elasticity of the wagon.

An improved vehicle wheel has been patented by Messrs. George W. Dudley and William J. Jones, of Waynesborough, Va. The main object of this invention is to form a wheel hub for vehicles in such manner that the wheel will yield sufficiently when undue and sudden strains or jars may come upon it to receive the force of the blow and shield the other portions of the vehicle from the destructive effects of such action, as well as to afford ease and comfort of motion to the occupant; and the improvement consists in securing the inner ends of the spokes to rim plates, to form a fixed and solid connection therewith, the rim plates being loosely secured to the butt flanges and box of the hub, so that it is free to move in a vertical plane, but prevented from moving laterally and limited in its vertical movement by an elastic packing interposed between the inner ends of the spokes and the hub box.

Mr. Francis G. Powers, of Moweaqua, Ill., has patented an improvement in the class of atmospheric clothes pounders, that is to say, pounders which are constructed with one or more chambers or cavities in which the air is alternately compressed and allowed to expand at each reciprocation.

An improved means for connecting the body of a baby carriage to the running gear has been patented by Mr. Charles M. Hubbard, of Columbus, Ohio. It consists in supporting the rear end by one or more coil springs, and hinging the front portion of the body to a pair of upturned supports rising from the front axle.

An improved ferrule for awl handles has been patented by Mr. Jules Steinmeyer, of St. Louis, Mo. The object of this invention is to prevent splitting of the handle, to secure both the ferrule and leather pad firmly in place, and to furnish a durable and serviceable awl handle.

* * * * *


The insulator represented in the annexed engraving was originally designed to meet the requirements of South American telegraph service, but it is equally well adapted to lines in other places. The main idea is to avoid breakage from expansion and contraction in a climate subject to sudden changes of temperature, and to avoid the mischief occasioned by a well known South American bird, the "hornero," by building nests of mud on the brackets and insulators. With this insulator these nests cannot cause a weather contact or earth; on the contrary, the nest rather improves the insulation. The sectional view, Fig 2, shows the construction of the insulator and the manner of fastening it to the cross arm or bracket. A rubber ring is placed between the upper end of the porcelain insulator and the cross arm, and another similar ring is placed between the head of the suspending screw and the bottom of the insulator. It will be noticed that with this construction the insulator cannot be broken by the contraction of the screw or by the swelling of the cross-piece. This insulator can be used on an iron bracket and in connection with either iron or wooden posts, and is in every way more secure than the insulators in common use. The first cost of these insulators compares favorably with the cheapest in market, while it is less liable to breakage, lasts longer, and gives better results. It has been patented in this country and in Europe.

Further information maybe obtained by addressing Mr. J. H. Bloomfield, Concordia, Entre Reos, Argentine Republic, South America.

* * * * *



There are two very general prejudices against the class of schools known as business colleges. One is that their chief aim—next to lining the pockets of their proprietors—is to turn out candidates for petty clerkships, when the country is already overrun with young men whose main ambition is to stand at a desk and "keep books." The other is that the practical outcome of these institutions is a swarm of conceited flourishers with the pen, who, because they have copied a set or two of model account books and learned to imitate more or less cleverly certain illegibly artistic writing copies, imagine themselves competent for any business post, and worthy of a much higher salary than any merely practical accountant who has never been to a business college or attempted the art of fancy penmanship as exhibited in spread eagles and impossible swans.

As a rule popular prejudices are not wholly unfounded in reason; and we should not feel disposed to make an exception in this case. When the demand arose for a more practical schooling than the old fashioned schools afforded, no end of writing masters, utterly ignorant of actual business life and methods, hastened to set up ill managed writing schools which they dubbed "business colleges," and by dint of advertising succeeded in calling in a multitude of aspirants for clerkships. In view of the speedy discomfiture of the deluded graduates of such schools when brought face to face with actual business affairs, and the disgust of their employers who had engaged them on the strength of their alleged business training, one is not so much surprised that prejudice against business colleges still prevails in many quarters, as that the relatively few genuine institutions should have been able to gain any creditable footing at all.

The single fact that they have overcome the opprobrium cast upon their name by quacks, so far as to maintain themselves in useful prosperity, winning a permanent and honorable place among the progressive educational institutions of the day, is proof enough that they have a mission to fulfill and are fulfilling it. This, however, is not simply, as many suppose, in training young men and young women to be skilled accountants—a calling of no mean scope and importance in itself—but more particularly in furnishing young people, destined for all sorts of callings, with that practical knowledge of business affairs which every man or woman of means has constant need of in every-day life. Thus the true business college performs a twofold function. As a technical school it trains its students for a specific occupation, that of the accountant; at the same time it supplements the education not only of the intending merchant, but equally of the mechanic, the man of leisure, the manufacturer, the farmer, the professional man—in short, of any one who expects to mix with or play any considerable part in the affairs of men. The mechanic who aspires to be the master of a successful shop of his own, or foreman or manager in the factory of another, will have constant need of the business habits and the knowledge of business methods and operations which a properly conducted business school will give him. The same is true of the manufacturer, whose complicated, and it may be extensive, business relations with the producers and dealers who supply him with raw material, with the workmen who convert such material into finished wares, with the merchants or agents who market the products of his factory, all require his oversight and direction. Indeed, whoever aspires to something better than a hand-to-mouth struggle with poverty, whether as mechanic, farmer, professional man, or what not, must of necessity be to some degree a business man; and in every position in life business training and a practical knowledge of financial affairs are potent factors in securing success.

How different, for example, would have been the history of our great inventors had they all possessed that knowledge of business affairs which would have enabled them to put their inventions in a business like way before the world, or before the capitalists whose assistance they wished to invoke. The history of invention is full of illustrations of men who have starved with valuable patents standing in their names—patents which have proved the basis of large fortunes to those who were competent to develop the wealth that was in them. How often, too, do we see capable and ingenious and skillful mechanics confined through life to a small shop, or to a subordinate position in a large shop, solely through their inability to manage the affairs of a larger business. On the other hand, it is no uncommon thing to see what might be a profitable business—which has been fairly thrust upon a lucky inventor or manufacturer by the urgency of popular needs—fail disastrously through ignorance of business methods and inability to conduct properly the larger affairs which fell to the owner's hand.

Of course a business training is not the only condition of success in life. Many have it and fail; others begin without it and succeed, gaining a working knowledge of business affairs through the exigencies of their own increasing business needs. Nevertheless, in whatever line in life a man's course may fall, a practical business training will be no hinderance to him, while the lack of it may be a serious hinderance. The school of experience is by no means to be despised. To many it is the only school available. But unhappily its teachings are apt to come too late, and often they are fatally expensive. Whoever can attain the needed knowledge in a quicker and cheaper way will obviously do well so to obtain it; and the supplying of such practical knowledge, and the training which may largely take the place of experience in actual business, is the proper function of the true business college.

Our purpose in this writing, however, was not so much to enlarge upon the utility of business colleges, properly so called, as to describe the practical working of a representative institution, choosing for the purpose Packard's Business College in this city.

This school was established in 1858, under the name of Bryant, Stratton & Packard's Mercantile College, by Mr. S. S. Packard, the present proprietor. It formed the New York link in the chain of institutions known as the Bryant & Stratton chain of business colleges, which ultimately embraced fifty co working schools in the principal cities of the United States and Canada. In 1867 Mr. Packard purchased the Bryant & Stratton interest in the New York College, and changed its name to Packard's Business College, retaining the good will and all the co operative advantages of the Bryant & Stratton association. The original purpose of the college, as its name implies, was the education of young men for business pursuits. The experience of over twenty years has led to many improvements in the working of the school, and to a considerable enlargement of its scope and constituency, which now includes adults as well as boys, especial opportunities being offered to mature men who want particular instruction in arithmetic, bookkeeping, penmanship, correspondence, and the like.

The teachers employed in the college are chosen for their practical as well as their theoretical knowledge of business affairs, and every effort is made to secure timeliness and accuracy in their teachings. Constant intercourse is kept up with the departments at Washington as to facts and changes in financial matters, and also with prominent business houses in this and other cities. Among the recent letters received in correspondence of this sort are letters from the Secretary of State of every State in the Union with regard to rates of interest and usury laws, and letters from each of our city banks as to methods of reckoning time on paper, the basis of interest calculations, the practices concerning deposit balances, and other business matters subject to change. The aim of the proprietor is to keep the school abreast of the demands of the business world, and to omit nothing, either in his methods or their enforcement, necessary to carry out his purpose honestly and completely. An idea of the superior housing of the college will be obtained from the views of half a dozen of the rooms at No 805 Broadway, as shown in this issue of the Scientific American—the finest, largest, most compact, and convenient suite of rooms anywhere used for this purpose.

The college is open for students ten months of the year, five days each week, from half past nine in the morning until half past two in the afternoon. Students can enter at any time with equal advantage, the instruction being for the most part individual. The course of study can be completed in about a year. The proprietor holds that with this amount of study a boy of seventeen should be able—

1. To take a position as assistant bookkeeper in almost any kind of business; 2. To do the ordinary correspondence of a business house, so far as good writing, correct spelling, grammatical construction, and mechanical requisites are concerned; 3. To do the work of an entry clerk or cashier; 4. To place himself in the direct line of promotion to any desirable place in business or life, with the certainty of holding his own at every step.

In this the student will have the advantage over the uneducated clerk of the same age and equal worth and capacity, in that he will understand more or less practically as well as theoretically the duties of those above him, and will thus be able to advance to more responsible positions as rapidly as his years and maturity may justify. It is obvious that the knowledge which makes an expert accountant will in all probability suffice for the general business requirements of professional men, the inheritors of property and business, manufacturers, mechanics, and others to whom bookkeeping and other business arts are useful aids, but not the basis of a trade. For the last-named classes, and for women, shorter periods of study are provided, and may be made productive of good results.

A sufficient idea of the general working of the college may be obtained by following a student through the several departments. After the preliminary examination a student who is to take the regular course of study enters the initiatory room. Here he begins with the rudiments of bookkeeping, the study which marks his gradation. The time not given to the practice of writing, and to recitations in other subjects, is devoted to the study of accounts. He is required, first, to write up in "skeleton" form—that is, to place the dates and amounts of the several transactions under the proper ledger titles—six separate sets of books, or the record of six different business ventures, wherein are exhibited as great a variety of operations as possible, with varying results of gains and losses, and the adjustment thereof in the partners' accounts, or in the account of the sole proprietor. After getting the results in this informal way—which is done in order as quickly as possible to get the theory of bookkeeping impressed upon his mind—he is required to go over the work again carefully, writing up with neatness and precision all the principal and auxiliary books, with the documents which should accompany the transactions, such as notes, drafts, checks, receipts, invoices, letters, etc. The work in this department will occupy an industrious and intelligent student from four to six weeks, depending upon his quickness of perception and his working qualities. While progressing in his bookkeeping, he is pursuing the collateral studies, a certain attainment in which is essential to promotion, especially correcting any marked deficiency in spelling, arithmetic, and the use of language.

Upon a satisfactory examination the student now passes to the second department, where a wider scope of knowledge in accounts is opened to him, with a large amount of practical detail familiarizing him with the actual operations of business. The greatest care is taken to prevent mere copying and to throw the student upon his own resources, by obliging him to correct his own blunders, and to work out his own results; accepting nothing as final that has not the characteristics of real business. Much care is bestowed in this department upon the form and essential matter of business paper, and especially of correspondence. A great variety of letters is required to be written on assigned topics and in connection with the business which is recorded, and thorough instruction is given in the law of negotiable paper, contracts, etc. During all this time the student devotes from half an hour to an hour daily to penmanship, a plain, practical, legible hand being aimed at, to the exclusion of superfluous lines and flourishes. It is expected that the work in the first and second departments will establish the student in the main principles of bookkeeping, in its general theories, and their application to ordinary transactions.

In the third department the student takes an advanced position, and is expected, during the two or three months he will remain in this department, to perfect himself in the more subtle questions involved in accounts, as well as to shake off the crude belongings of schoolboy work. He will be required to use his mind in everything he does—to depend as much as possible upon himself. The work which he presents for approval here must have the characteristics of business. His letters, statements, and papers of all kinds are critically examined, and approved only when giving evidence of conscientious work, as well as coming up to strict business requirements. Before he leaves this department he should be versed in all the theories of accounts, should write an acceptable business hand; should be able to execute a faultless letter so far as relates to form, spelling, and grammatical construction, should have a fair knowledge of commercial law, and have completed his arithmetical course.

The next step is to reduce the student's theoretical knowledge to practice, in a department devoted to actual business operations. This business or finishing department is shown at the upper left corner of our front page illustration. The work in this department is as exacting and as real as the work in the best business houses and banks. At the extreme end of the room is a bank in complete operation, as perfect in its functions as any bank in this city or elsewhere. The records made in its books come from the real transactions of dealers who are engaged in different lines of business at their desks and in the offices. The small office adjoining the bank, on the right, is a post office, the only one in the country, perhaps, where true civil service rules are strictly observed. In connection with it is a transportation office. From fifty to a hundred letters daily are received and delivered by the post office, written by or to the students of this department.

The correspondence thus indicated goes on not only between the students of this college, but between members of this and other similar institutions in different parts of the country. A perfected system of intercommunication has for years been in practice between co-ordinate schools in New York, Boston, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, and other cities, by which is carried on an elaborate scheme of interchangeable business, little less real in its operations and results than the more tangible and obtrusive activity which the world recognizes as business.

The work of the transportation office corresponds with that of the post office in its simulation of reality. The alleged articles handled are represented by packages bearing all the characteristic marks of freight and express packages. They are sent by mail to the transportation company, and by this agency delivered to the proper parties, from whom the charges are collected in due form, and the requisite vouchers passed. Whatever is necessary in the way of manipulation to secure the record on either hand is done, and, so far as the clerical duties are concerned, there is no difference between handling pieces of paper which represent merchandise and handling the real article.

In the bank is employed a regular working force, such as may be found in any bank, consisting of a collector or runner, a discount clerk, a deposit bookkeeper, a general bookkeeper, and a cashier. The books are of the regular form, and the work is divided as in most banks of medium size, and the business that is presented differs in no important particular from that which comes to ordinary banks. After getting a fair knowledge of theory, the student is placed in this bank. He begins in the lowest place, and works up gradually to the highest, remaining long enough in each position to acquaint himself with its duties. He is made familiar with the form and purpose of all kinds of business paper, and the rules which govern a bank's dealings with its customers. He gets a practical knowledge of the law of indorsement and of negotiability generally, and is called upon to decide important questions which arise between the bank and its dealers. Wherever he finds himself at fault he has access to a teacher whose duty it is to give the information for which he asks, and who is competent to do it.

Throughout the whole of this course of study and practice the students are treated like men and are expected to behave like men.

The college thus becomes a self-regulating community, in which the students learn not only to govern themselves, but to direct and control others. As one is advanced in position his responsibilities are increased. He is first a merchant or agent, directing his own work; next, a sub-manager, and finally manager in a general office or the bank, with clerks subject to his direction and criticism, until he arrives at the exalted position of "superintendent of offices," which gives him virtual control of the department. This is, in fact, an important part of his training, and the reasonable effect of the system is that the student, being subject to orders from those above him, and remembering that he will shortly require a like consideration from those below him, concludes that he cannot do a better thing for his own future comfort than to set a wholesome example of subordination.

This, however, is not the only element of personal discipline that the college affords. At every step the student's conduct, character, and progress are noted, recorded, and securely kept for the teacher's inspection, as well as that of his parents and himself. Such records are kept in the budget room, shown in the lower left corner of the front page.

This budget system was suggested by the difficulties encountered in explaining to parents the progress and standing of their sons. The inconvenience of summoning teachers, and of taking students from their work, made necessary some simpler and more effective plan. The first thing required of a new student is that he should give some account of himself, and to submit to such examinations and tests as will acquaint his teachers with his status. This account and these tests constitute the subject-matter of his first budget, which is placed at the bottom of his box, and every four weeks thereafter, while he remains in the school, he is required to present the results of his work, such as his written examinations in the various studies, his test examples in arithmetic, his French, German, and Spanish translations and exercises, various letters and forms, with four weekly specimens of improvement in writing, the whole to be formally submitted to the principal in an accompanying letter; the letter itself to exhibit what can be thus shown of improvement in writing, expression, and general knowledge. These budgets, accumulating month by month, are made to cover as much as possible of the student's school work, and to constitute the visible steps of his progress.

Besides this is a character record, kept in a small book assigned to each student, every student having free access to his own record, but not to that of any fellow student. Each book contains the record of a student's deportment from the first to the last day of his attendance, with such comments and recommendations as his several teachers may think likely to be of encouragement or caution to him.

In addition to the strictly technical training furnished by the college, there is given also not a little collateral instruction calculated to be of practical use to business men. For example, after roll call every morning some little time is spent in exercises designed to cultivate the art of intelligent expression of ideas. Each day a number of students are appointed to report orally, in the assembly room, upon such matters or events mentioned in the previous day's newspapers as may strike the speaker as interesting or important. Or the student may describe his personal observation of any event, invention, manufacture, or what not; or report upon the condition, history, or prospects of any art, trade, or business undertaking. This not to teach elocution, but to train the student to think while standing, and to express himself in a straightforward, manly way.

Instruction is also given in the languages likely to be required in business intercourse or correspondence; in phonography, so far as it may be required for business purposes; commercial law relative to contracts, negotiable paper, agencies, partnerships, insurance, and other business proceedings and relations; political economy, and incidentally any and every topic a knowledge of which may be of practical use to business men.

In all this the ultimate end and aim of the instruction offered are practical workable results. Mr. Packard regards education as a tool. If the tool has no edge, is not adapted to its purpose, is not practically usable, it is worthless as a tool. This idea is kept prominent in all the work of the college, and its general results justify the position thus taken. The graduates are not turned out as finished business men, but as young men well started on the road toward that end. As Mr. Packard puts it: "Their diplomas do not recommend them as bank cashiers or presidents, or as managers of large or small enterprises, but simply as having a knowledge of the duties of accountantship. They rarely fail to fulfill reasonable expectations; and they are not responsible for unreasonable ones."

* * * * *


The fourteenth annual convention of the American Institute of Architects began in Philadelphia, November 17. Mr. Thomas U. Walter, of Philadelphia, presided, and fifty or more prominent architects were present. In his annual address the president spoke of the tendency of the architectural world as decidedly in the direction of originality. But little attention is paid to the types of building drawn from the works of by-gone ages or to the mannerisms of the more recent past. Progress in the development of the elements of taste and beauty, and the concretion of aesthetic principles with common sense in architectural design, are now everywhere apparent. The responsibilities of architects are greater than they have ever before been; the growing demand of the times calls for intelligent studies in all that relates to architecture, whether it be in the realm of aesthetics, in sciences that relate to construction, in the nature and properties of the materials used, in the atmosphere that surrounds us, or in the availability of the thousand-and-one useful and ingenious inventions that tend to promote the convenience and completeness of structures.

Papers were read by Mr. A. J. Blood, of New York, on "The Best Method of Solving the Tenement House Problem;" Mr. George T. Mason, Jr., of Newport, on "The Practice of American Architects during the Colonial Period;" Mr. Robert Briggs, of Philadelphia, on "The Ventilation of Audience Rooms;" Mr. T. M. Clark, of Boston, on "French Building Laws, etc."

The following named officers were elected: President, T. U. Walter, Philadelphia; Treasurer, O. P. Hatfield, New York; Secretary, A. J. Blood. Trustees, R. M. Hunt, H. M. Congdon, J. Cady, Napoleon Le Brun, New York. Committee on Publication, R. M. Upjohn, New York; T. M. Clark, Boston; John McArthur, Jr., Philadelphia; A. J. Blood, H. M. Congdon, New York. Committee on Education, W. R. Narr, Boston; Russell Sturgis, New York; N. Clifford Ricker, Champagne, Ill.; Henry Van Brunt, Boston; Alfred Stone, Providence. Corresponding Secretary, T. M. Clark, Boston.

The time and place of the next annual convention were left to the Board of Trustees, with a request that Washington be selected.

* * * * *


He communicates as follows to the Albany Argus: "December will, in all probability, open with little snow, but the weather will be cloudy, threatening snow falls. During the opening days of the month, dust, with the very light mixture of snow which may have fallen, will be swept in flurries by the gusty wind. There will probably be some snow from about the 4th of the month. With the second quarter of the month colder weather will probably set in with falls of snow. The farmers will be able to enjoy sleigh rides in the cold, exhilarating air, but good sleighing need not be expected until after the middle of the month. There will be a spell of mild weather about the 13th and 14th. After a brief interval of mild weather, during which more snow will fall, the third quarter of the month will probably see blustering and cold weather—a cold snap with heavy snow storms and consequent good sleighing. Very cold weather may be expected during this quarter. The last quarter of the month will bring milder weather, but will terminate, probably, with heavy snow-falls and stormy weather; in fact, the heaviest snow falls will be toward the end of the month, and snow blockades may be looked for, the snow falls extending far to the southward, possibly as far as Washington, with very stormy weather around New York and Boston." Mr. Vennor's latest predictions are that the coming month will be "decidedly cold, with tremendous snow-falls during the latter half and early part of January, causing destructive blockades to railroads."

1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse