Scientific American, Volume XXIV., No. 12, March 18, 1871
Author: Various
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NEW YORK, MARCH 18, 1871.

Vol. XXIV.—No. 12. [NEW SERIES.]

$3 per Annum [IN ADVANCE.]

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MUNN & CO., Editors and Proprietors.




VOL. XXIV., NO. 12 ... [NEW SERIES.] Twenty-sixth Year


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(Illustrated articles are marked with an asterisk.)

*Knots and Splices 175 Influence of Cold on Iron and Steel. 176 Oak Graining in Oil Colors 176 Knots and Splices (Explanation) 177 Hartford Steam Boiler and Insurance Co.'s Report 177 *Improved Spiral Spring for Railway Carriages 178 *Portable Writing and Copying Case 178 How Walking-sticks are Made 178 Flowering of the Victoria Regia 178 Jute 178 Ventilation of the Liverpool Tunnel 178 *Impregnating Wood with Tar, etc. 178 *Boardman's Combined Tool 179 *Belt Tightener 179 Some Things I don't want in the Building Trades 179 *Action of the Reciprocating Parts of Steam Engines 179 *Answer to Practical Problem 179 Reciprocating Parts of Steam Engines 179 Test for White Lead 180 How to Build a Chimney 180 Crystallized Honey 180 Rambles for Relics.—No. 2 180 Silk Culture 181 *Universal Boring Machine 182 *Combined Trunk and Rocking-chair 182 Cosmetics 182 *Smith's Infant Dining-chair 182 The Medicines of the Ancients 182 *Barnes Ventilator for Mattresses 182 Exhibition of the National Photographic Association 182 A Scientific and Technical Awakening 183 The Sherman Process 183 Rubber Tires for Traction Engines 183 Central Shaft of the Hoosac Tunnel 184 A Museum of Art and Natural History 184 Report of Judges, American Institute Fair. —The Allen Engine 184 Lyceum of Natural History 184 Warming and Ventilating Railroad Cars 184 The Mineral Resources of Missouri 185 Scientific Intelligence 185 American Institute of Mining Engineers 185 Consumption of Sugar, Coffee, and Tea 185 Unpleasant Discovery in the Patent Office 185 Substitute for Albumen in Photography (omitted) 185 Louisiana State Fair 185 Test for Purity of Water 185 New Books and Publications 185 Business and Personal 186 Answers to Correspondents 186 Applications for the Extension of Patents 186 Recent American and Foreign Patents 187 Queries 187 Inventions Patented in England by Americans 187 List of Patents 187

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[Condensed from Nature.]

There has recently been a most interesting discussion at the Literary and Philosophical Society, Manchester, on the above subject.

The paper which gave rise to the discussion was by Mr. Brockbank, who detailed many experiments, and ended by stating his opinion that iron does become much weaker, both in its cast and wrought states, under the influence of low temperature; but Mr. Brockbank's paper was immediately followed by others by Sir W. Fairbairn, Dr. Joule, and Mr. Spence, which at once put an entirely new complexion on the matter.

Dr. Joule says:

"As is usual in a severe frost, we have recently heard of many severe accidents consequent upon the fracture of the tires of the wheels of railway carriages. The common-sense explanation of these accidents is, that the ground being harder than usual, the metal with which it is brought into contact is more severely tried than in ordinary circumstances. In order apparently to excuse certain railway companies, a pretence has been set up that iron and steel become brittle at a low temperature. This pretence, although put forth in defiance, not only of all we know, of the properties of materials, but also of the experience of everyday life, has yet obtained the credence of so many people that I thought it would be useful to make the following simple experiments:

"1st. A freezing mixture of salt and snow was placed on a table. Wires of steel and of iron were stretched, so that a part of them was in contact with the freezing mixture and another part out of it. In every case I tried the wire broke outside of the mixture, showing that it was weaker at 50 deg. F., than at about 12 deg. F.

"2d. I took twelve darning needles of good quality, 3 in. long, 1/24 in. thick. The ends of these were placed against steel props, 2-1/8 in. asunder. In making an experiment, a wire was fastened to the middle of a needle, the other end being attached to a spring weighing-machine. This was then pulled until the needle gave way. Six of the needles, taken at random, were tried at a temperature of 55 deg. F., and the remaining six in a freezing mixture which brought down their temperature to 12 deg. F. The results were as follow:—

Warm Needles. Cold Needles. 64 ounces broke 55 ounces broke 65 " " 64 " " 55 " " 72 " " 62 " " 60 " bent 44 " " 68 " broke 60 " bent 40 " " —- —- Average, 58-1/3 Average, 59-5/6

"I did not notice any perceptible difference in the perfection of elasticity in the two sets of needles. The result, as far as it goes, is in favor of the cold metal.

"3d. The above are doubtless decisive of the question at issue. But as it might be alleged that the violence to which a railway wheel is subjected is more akin to a blow than a steady pull; and as, moreover, the pretended brittleness is attributed more to cast iron than any other description of the metal, I have made yet another kind of experiment. I got a quantity of cast iron garden nails, an inch and a quarter long and 1/8 in. thick in the middle. These I weighed, and selected such as were nearly of the same weight. I then arranged matters so that by removing a prop I could cause the blunt edge of a steel chisel weighted to 4lb. 2oz., to fall from a given height upon the middle of the nail as it was supported from each end, 1-1/16 in. asunder. In order to secure the absolute fairness of the trials, the nails were taken at random, and an experiment with a cold nail was always alternated with one at the ordinary temperature. The nails to be cooled were placed in a mixture of salt and snow, from which they were removed and struck with the hammer in less than 5"."

The collective result of the experiments, the details of which need not be given, was that 21 cold nails broke and 20 warm ones.

Dr. Joule adds, "The experiments of Lavoisier and Laplace, of Smeaton, of Dulong and Petit, and of Troughton, conspire in giving a less expansion by heat to steel than iron, especially if the former be in an untempered state; but this, would in certain limits have the effect of strengthening rather than of weakening an iron wheel with a tire of steel.

"The general conclusion is this: Frost does not make either iron (cast or wrought), or steel, brittle.

Mr. Spence, in his experiments, decided on having some lengths of cast iron made of a uniform thickness of 1/2 in. square, from the same metal and the same mould.

He writes:—"Two of the four castings I got seemed to be good ones, and I got the surface taken off, and made them as regular a thickness as was practicable.

"I then fixed two knife-edged wedges upon the surface of a plank, at exactly nine inches distance from each other, with an opening in the plank in the intervening space, the bar being laid across the wedges, a knife-edged hook was hung in the middle of the suspended piece of the bar, and to the hook was hung a large scale on which to place weights.

"The bar was tried first at a temperature of 60 deg. F.; to find the breaking weight I placed 56lb. weights one after another on the scale, and when the ninth was put on the bar snapped. This was the only unsatisfactory experiment, as 14 or 28lb. might have done it, but I include it among others. I now adopted another precaution, by placing the one end of the plank on a fixed point and the other end on to a screw-jack, by raising which I could, without any vibration, bring the weight to bear upon the bar. By this means, small weights up to 7lb. could be put on while hanging, but when these had to be taken off and a large weight put on, the scale was lowered to the rest, and again raised after the change was made. I may here state that a curious circumstance occurred twice, which seems to indicate that mere raising of the weight, without the slightest apparent vibration, was equal in effect to an additional weight. 33/4 cwts. were on the scale, a 14lb. weight was added, then 7lb., then 4lb., 2lb., 1lb., and 1lb., making 4cwts. and 1lb. This was allowed to act for from one to two minutes, and then lowered to take off the small weights, which were replaced by a 56lb. with the intention of adding small weights when suspended; the whole was then raised so imperceptibly by the screw, that the only way of ascertaining that it was suspended, was by looking under the scale to see that it was clear of the rest. As soon as it was half-an-inch clear it snapped, thus breaking at once with one pound less than it resisted for nearly two minutes.

"Six experiments were carefully conducted at 60 deg. F., the parts of the bars being selected so as to give to each set of experiments similar portions of both bars; the results are marked on the pieces. My assistant now prepared a refrigerating mixture which stood at zero, the bars were immersed for some time in this, and we prepared for the breaking trials to be made as quickly as could be, consistently with accuracy; and to secure the low temperature, each bar, on being placed in the machine, had its surface at top covered with the freezing mixture. The bars at zero broke with more regularity than at 60 deg., but instead of the results confirming the general impression as to cold rendering iron more brittle, they are calculated to substantiate an exactly opposite idea, namely, that reduction of temperature, caeteris paribus, increases the strength of cast iron. The only doubtful experiment of the whole twelve is the first, and as it stands much the highest, the probability is that it should be lower; yet, even taking it as it stands, the average of the six experiments at 60 deg. F., gives 4cwt. 4lb. as the breaking weight of the bar at that temperature, while the average of the six experiments at zero gives 4cwt 20lb. as the breaking weight of the bar at zero, being an increase of strength, from the reduction of temperature, equal to 3.5 per cent."

Sir W. Fairbairn states: "It has been asserted, in evidence given at the coroner's inquest, in a recent railway accident, that the breaking of the steel tire was occasioned by the intensity of the frost, which is supposed to have rendered the metal, of which this particular tire was composed, brittle. This is the opinion of most persons, but judging from my own experience such is not the fact. Some years since I endeavored to settle this question by a long and careful series of experiments on wrought iron, from which it was proved that the resistance to a tensile chain was as great at the temperature of zero as it was at 60 deg. or upwards, until it attained a scarcely visible red heat."

The immense number of purposes to which both iron and steel are applied, and the changes of temperature to which they are exposed, renders the inquiry not only interesting in a scientific point of view, but absolutely necessary to a knowledge of their security under the various influences of those changes. It was for these reasons that the experiments in question were undertaken, and the summary of results is sufficiently conclusive to show that changes of temperature are not always the cause of failure. Sir W. Fairbairn adds: "The danger arising from broken tires does not, according to my opinion, arise so much from changes of temperature as from the practice of heating them to a dull red heat, and shrinking them on to the rim of the wheels. This, I believe, is the general practice, and the unequal, and in some cases, the severe strains to which they are subject, has a direct tendency to break the tires."

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There is a charm and feeling about work executed by the hand, which gives it a value no mere machine work can possess. Machine work, from its very nature, necessitates a repetition of pattern, which cannot be avoided. Hand-work, on the contrary, can imitate every variety, and follow nature so closely that no two pieces need be alike. There is also in hand-work a wide scope for the inventive faculty and the exercise of good taste (both in form and color) and skillful workmanship. As a rule, strong contrasts between the ground and the graining color should be avoided. The figure and grain should of course be seen clearly, but only so clearly as to be distinct, without interfering with the general and uniform quietness of tone necessary to fulfil the conditions required by the laws of harmony and good taste. Violent contrasts and gaudy coloring are always vulgar, brilliancy and richness of color are not necessarily vulgar; it is the absence of the guiding power of knowledge and pure taste in their arrangement which degrades them to the rank of vulgarity. We have before spoken of the importance of good combing, and of the various kinds of combs used; we now proceed to describe how the work is done. The graining color is brushed over the work, in the ordinary manner, with a pound-brush, care being taken not to put too much color on, or else it is very liable to be dirty. A dry duster is now used to stipple with, which, if properly done, will distribute the color evenly; it is now ready for combing. In the real oak it will be found, as a rule, that the grain is invariably coarser on one side of the panel than on the other; this arises from the very nature of the growth of the tree; it is, therefore, well to imitate this pattern, and in order to do so we take first a medium or coarse cut gutta-percha comb, and draw it down one side of the panel; then use a finer one to complete it. This comb will leave the marks of the grain in clear unbroken lines from top to bottom of the panel. We now take a fine steel comb and go over the whole of the previous combing, moving it in a slanting or diagonal direction across the previous grain, or with a quick and short wavy motion or curl; both the former and the latter motion will break up the long lines, left by the gutta-percha comb, into short bits, which of course represent the pores or grains of the real wood. There are several other motions of the comb having the same end in view; and by using the gutta-percha or cork combs, in conjunction with the fine steel, an infinite variety of grain may be produced. Steel combs, with one or more folds of thin rag placed over the ends of the teeth are a style of comb which has nothing to recommend it. A natural variation in the grain may be produced by one comb alone, according to the manner in which it is held. For instance, if we take a coarse or broad-toothed gutta-percha comb, and commence at the top of a panel, with the comb, placed at its full width: if drawn down in this position it will leave a grain of the same width as the width of the teeth: but if we start with the full width, and gradually turn the comb or slightly incline it to one side—that is to say, on its edge, we thereby graduate the grain from coarse to fine at pleasure, and by holding the comb at a certain inclination we may actually make very fine the coarse comb. A very important point is the formation of the joints in the wood, as much of the effect of otherwise good work is lost in consequence of neglect in this respect. In looking at a real oak door, the joints of the stiles and rails are clearly and sharply defined, not by any defect of workmanship, but by the difference in the run of the grain, the stiles being perpendicular, and the rails horizontal. The rails being cut sharp off by the stiles, show a perfectly straight line. The light also acts differently upon the two, simply because the grain or fibre of the wood is exposed to its influence under different aspects. This also tends to produce a difference in the depth of the color of rails and stiles, and panels also. It will be evident that no imitations can be considered really good except they include these seemingly unimportant points.

It is a common practice for grainers to imitate a broad piece of heart or sap of oak, upon the back rail of almost every door they do, and many of them are not even content with that, but daub the stiles over from top to bottom with it also. There is nothing so vulgar or in such bad taste. It should only be done upon those parts of the work on which it would appear on a real oak door, namely, on the edges of the doors and on mouldings. There is a vulgar pretentiousness about what we may call the sappy style of work which is very undesirable. The figures cross the grain more or less abruptly and of course are of different shapes, sizes, and forms, a knowledge of which can only be acquired by study of the real wood. The figure may be wiped out with a piece of soft rag, held tight over the thumb nail. This should have two or three folds over the nail, the superfluous rag being held by the other hand to prevent it hanging down and smearing the grain; and every time a figure is wiped, the rag should be moved slightly, so that the same part of the rag will not be used twice, thus insuring clean work. It will often happen that the thumb-nail will get broken, or is too weak to stand the work; in these cases, or, in fact, in any case, a good substitute or artificial thumb-nail may be made of gutta-percha, thus: A piece of thin sheet gutta-percha is put into warm water, and, while soft, is wrapped around the end of the thumb up to the first joint. It is then pressed with the hand, so as to fit and take the shape of the thumb and nail. This cannot be done at one heating, but will have to be put into the hot water again, and the end pinched and squeezed into form to the shape of the nail, and to fit easily upon the thumb. When this gets hard, it may be trimmed into perfect form with a penknife. This artificial nail will answer the purpose admirably if properly made; and even when the natural nail is good, the gutta-percha will serve to save it from injury. Good figuring may also be done by using the blank end of the steel comb with a rag folded over its edge. We have also used a piece of gutta-percha to take out the lights. This should be square-ended, about one inch wide, and three or four inches long, and will do successful work of a certain class, but not of the best. Many grainers use a piece of thin horn, in shape something like a spatula, about three or four inches long and three quarters of an inch wide, with rounded ends, and quite flexible. With this tool the figure is cut or scooped out—a sort of quick, side-long motion, very difficult to describe, and requiring a very considerable amount of practice before it can be worked with any success. There is, however, the same objection to this tool as may be urged against the gutta-percha for figuring, namely, that neither of them take the color clean away, but leave an accumulation of color on the edge of the figure, which is fatal to good work; and therefore we cannot honestly recommend the use of any method but the wiping out with the thumb-nail or its substitute. When the figure is wiped out it will require to be softened. By softening, we mean the imitation of those half shades seen upon and about the figures in the real wood. Between and around the lights or figure in oak, there is always a lighter tint of color; this is imitated by doubling a piece of rag into a small roll, and with the side of this the grain is partially wiped away, but not to the extent of taking off the whole of the grain. A recent but most admirable system of graining oak, by means of over-combing, is worked exactly the reverse of any of the foregoing methods; that is to say, the figure is first wiped out, and the combing or grain is done afterwards, when the graining color is dry, in this wise: The graining color is mixed somewhat thinner than for ordinary graining, and is brushed over the work sparingly, leaving it just sufficiently strong to show a clear distinction between the ground and the color. The light or figure is then softened by drawing the end of a flat hog-hair fitch, or a small thin mottler, across each figure, and slightly softening with the badger-hair softener. The figure is broken up a little with fine lines across it in parts, such as may be seen in the real wood; but previous to wiping out the figure, streaks of light should be wiped out and softened on one side of the panel or across the stiles, in imitation of the reflective lights seen in oak. The color should also be partially wiped off the rails or stiles at their junction; this tends to define the joint. The color is now let to dry hard, when it will be ready for over-combing—that is, combing or graining over the figure (hence its name), and this will have to be done somewhat differently to the ordinary combing. As thus: The color is rubbed in as before, and combed solely with the gutta-percha combs, but these are specially cut for the purpose; they are best about 2 in. wide. The first must be cut with teeth about three-sixteenths of an inch in width, the next one-eighth, and the third about one-sixteenth. The broad-toothed comb is first used, and must be drawn down the panel, with a wavy motion, in short or long curls; either will answer our purpose now. The next size of comb is then drawn straight down—the straighter the better. This has the effect of breaking the wavy combing into short and long straight bits, similar to the pores or grain of the real wood. Both the first and second combing may be varied by holding the comb in a slanting direction, and may be fine or coarse, according to the width of the combs used; now take a soft rag folded, and with this partially clear off the grain which runs over the figure, leaving only a sufficient quantity crossing the light or figure, to be just distinguished, exactly as it appears upon the figure in real oak. The grain is also wiped off in parts on the plain spaces between the figure, in order to break it up and take away any formality. If this method be well and probably done, a thoroughly deceptive imitation may be produced; and except this end be kept in view, no really good work will result.

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1. Turn used in making up ropes.

2. End tapered for the purpose of passing it readily through a loop. To make this, we unlay the rope for the necessary length, reducing a rope diminishing in diameter towards the end, which is finished by interlacing the ends without cutting them, as it would weaken the work; it is lastly "whipped" with small twine.

3. Tapered end, covered with interlaced cordage for the purpose of making it stronger. This is done with very small twine attached at one end to the small eye, and at the other to the strands of the rope, thus making a strong "webbing" around the end.

4. Double turn used for making rope.

5. Eye splice. The strands of the cable are brought back over themselves, and interlaced with their original turns, as in a splice.

6. Tie for the end of a four-strand rope.

7. The same completed; the strands are tied together, forming loops, laying one over the other.

8. Commencement for making the end by interlacing the strands.

9. Interlacing complete, but not fastened.

10 and 11. Shell in two views used in No. 65, showing the disposition of it at the throat. This joining is advantageous, as it does not strain the cords, and it prevents them from cutting each other; so that the rings pass one into the other and are joined outside the intermediate shell.

12. Interlacing in two directions.

13. Mode of finishing the end by several turns of the twine continued over the cable.

14. Interlacing commenced, in one direction.

15. Interlacing finished, the ends being worked under the strands, as in a splice.

16. Pigtail commenced.

17. Interlacing fastened.

18. Pigtail with the strands taut.

19. Dead eye, shown in two views.

20. Pigtail finished. We pass the ends of the strands, one under the other, in the same way as if we were making a pudding splice: thus bringing it in a line with the rope, to which it is seized fast, and the ends cut off.

21. Scull pigtail; instead of holding the ends by a tie, we interlace them again, as in No. 16, the one under the other.

22. Pigtail, or "lark's nest." We make this to the "pennant" of a cable, which has several strands, by taking the requisite number of turns over the pudding, in such a manner that the strands shall lay under each other. This "pigtail" forms a knot at the end of the rope. It thus draws together two ropes, as shown in No. 32, forming a "shroud" knot. In these two pigtails, the strands are crossed before finishing the ends, so that the button, a, is made with the strands, a, and b, with those of the rope, b.

23. Slip clinch to sailors' knot.

24. Slip clinch, secured.

25. Ordinary knot upon a double rope.

26. Bowline knot for a man to sit in at his work.

27. Called a "short splice," as it is not of great length, and besides, can be made quickly.

30. Long splice. This extends from a to b. We unlay the strands of each of the ropes we intend to join, for about half the length that the splice will be, putting each strand of the one between two strands of the other.

31. Simple fastening on a rope.

32. A "shroud" knot.

33. The ends of the rope are prepared for making the splice (No. 29) in the same manner as for the "shroud" knot in No. 32. When the strands are untwisted, we put the ends of two cords together as close as possible, and place the ends of the one between the strands of the other, above and below alternately, so as to interlace them as in No. 29. This splice is not, however, very strong, and is only used when there is not time to make a long splice, which is much the best.

34 and 35. Marline spikes. Tools made of wood or iron, used to open out a rope to pass the strands of another through it.

36. Shows strands arranged as described in No. 30.

37. Fastening when a lever is used, and is employed when hauling upon large ropes, where the strength of several men are necessary.

38. A "pudding splice." This is commenced, like the others, by placing the rope end to end, the turns of the one being passed between those of the other; having first swelled out the yarns by a "rat's-tail," we put them, two by two, one over the other, twisting them tightly, and opening a way for them with the marlinspike. The inconvenience of this splice is, that it is larger in diameter than the rope itself; but when made sufficiently long, by gradually reducing the size of the strands, it has great strength.

39. This shows two strands, a and b, of the ropes, A B, knotted together, being drawn as tight as possible; we unlay the strand, a', of the rope, A, for half the length of the splice, and twist the strand, b', of the rope, B, strongly in its place, tying a' and b' together tightly. The same process is again gone through on the rope, B, the strand, a", of the rope, A, being knotted to the strand, b", of the rope, B. When all the strands are thus knotted together, we interlace them with the strands of the cable. Thus the strands, a a' a", are interlocked by being passed alternately above and below the turns of the cord, B, the ends being also sometimes "whipped." In the same manner the strands, b b' b", pass alternately over and under the strands of the rope, A, and are in like manner "whipped." It is important that the several interlacings and knots should not meet at one point; we reduce the size of the strands towards the end, so that they loose themselves in the body of the splice, cutting off such parts as may project. This splice is employed for joining the ends of a rope when a chafed part has been cut out, and is quite as strong as the rope itself.

40. Belaying-pin opened to serve as a button; these are used where it is necessary to stop or check velocity.

41. Chain knot, or fastening.

42. Variable or regulating lashing. By laying the piece, a f, horizontally, it can be slipped along the rope, b; by raising or lowering this, we shall raise or depress the weight, c, the cord, b, running over the two pulleys, d, from the piece, a f, in the direction shown in the figure. The friction of the cord, b, passing through the hole, e, sufficiently fixes the piece, a f, and holds the weight, c, securely.

43. Cleet, with three ties.

44. Cleet, showing the mode of belaying the cord.

45. The piece, a f, of No. 42.

46. Fair leader.

47. Cleet to be fixed to a stay.

48. Loop for slipping other lines.

49. A "bend" which is only used for fear of the stoppers snapping.

50. Bastard loop, made on the end of the rope, and whipped with yarns.

51. Tie to pins: a, the pin; b, small cords fixed by a cross tie.

52. Cleet, fixed to the "rail," either with screws or nails, to which the lines are belayed.

53. Waterman's knot.

54. Fair leader.

55. Tie, or bend to pier.

56. Simple fastening to tie.

57. Fastening by a loop. This can be tied or untied without loosening the loop itself. It is made by following, towards the longer loop, the direction as numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and is terminated by the loop, 6, 7, 6, finally passing it over the head of the post, A. This knot holds itself, the turns being in opposite directions. To untie it, we slack the turns of the cable sufficiently to again pass the loop, 6, 7, 6, over the post, A, and turn the ends in the contrary direction to that in which they were made (as 5, 4, 3, 2, 1).

58. Iron "shell," in two views.

59 and 60. "Wedding" knots; a b, eyelets; c d, the join; e, the fastening.

61. Lark's-head fastening to running knot.

62. A round turn; the cord, a, is passed through the bight of the cord, b, over the button, c, where it is secured by an ordinary knot.

63. Belaying-pin splice. The cord, b, "stops" the pin, e, its end being spliced upon itself, and "served" with yarn; this rope, with its pin, is passed through the spliced eye, f of the line, g.

64. Round button.

65. Joint by a spherical shell, each loop, a and b, being made by ties and splices, and surrounding the shell, c.

66. Belaying-pin, shown separately, before being stoppered.

67. Fastening to shears.

68. Square mooring. When the cable is round the post, A, and the piece, c, without being crossed, it lays in the section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and the end is fastened by tying.

69. Wooden shell in section.

70. Crossed fastening. The turns of the cable, passing in front of the post, B, are crossed at the back of C, in the direction 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, the end, 8, being secured to the cable.

71. Wooden shell.

72. Double-chain fastening.

73. Lashing for "ram" block, or "dead-eye." The ram blocks, a and b, are strapped by the cords, e, which hold them; the small lanyards, d, pass through the holes to make the connection, and as they are tightened give the requisite tension to the cordage; the ends are fastened to the main rope. Usually one of these dead-eyes is held by an iron strap to the point where it is required to fix and strain the cordage, which is ordinarily a shroud.

74. Chain fastening.

1'. Simple band, showing the upper side.

2'. The same, showing the under side and the knot.

3'. Tie, with crossed ends, commenced; a turn is taken under the strands, to hold the ends of the cord.

4'. The same, completed.

5'. Bend with crossed strands, commenced, the one end being looped over the other.

6'. The same, completed.

7'. Necklace tie, seen on the upper side.

8'. The same, seen underneath. The greater the strain on the cords, the tighter the knot becomes.

9' and 10' are similar splices to 7' and 8' with slight modifications.

11' shows the commencement of 13', the legs in elevation; 12' being a front view. An ordinary band, made by several turns of a small rope, is lapped round them and hauled taut, and then interlaced at the ends. This done, the legs are shifted into the shape of a St. Andrew's cross. Thus the lashing is tightened, and, for further security, we pass the line several times over the tie and between the spars, knotting the ends.

13'. Portuguese knot. This is a lashing for shear legs, and must be tight enough to prevent the spars slipping on each other; the crossing of the two legs gives a means of securing the knot.

14'. For binding timbers; a, knot commenced. Take several turns round the timbers, and fasten the ends by passing them under the turns; b, knot completed. The end of a round stick, m n, termed a packing stick, should be passed under the knob, the cord being slack enough to allow of this. By turning the stick, the turns can be tightened to any extent; when tight, we fasten the longer arm of the lever to some fixed point, by a rope, p q, so that it cannot fly back. Care must be taken not to turn the stick too far, or the rope may be broken. As the timber dries and shrinks, the lever may be used to make all taut again.

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The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company makes the following report of its inspections in January, 1871:

During the month, there were 522 visits of inspection made, and 1,030 boilers examined—853 externally and 363 internally, while 106 have been tested by hydraulic pressure. Number of defects in all discovered, 431, of which 163 were regarded as dangerous. These defects were as follows: Furnaces out of shape, 24—3 dangerous; fractures, 47—25 dangerous; burned plates, 29—14 dangerous; blistered plates, 54—10 dangerous; cases of sediment and deposit, 97—18 dangerous; cases of incrustation and scale, 70—24 dangerous. To show how little attention is paid to the internal condition of boilers by incompetent engineers, we copy the following from a letter of one of our inspectors:

"In one tubular boiler I found sediment in the back end, eight inches deep, and extending forward more than four feet. It seemed to be an accumulation of fine scale cemented together, so that it was necessary to break it up with a hammer and chisel before it could be removed. The engineer said he had cleaned the boilers only three days before, and objected to my making another examination. This is one of the many cases we find, where the proprietor trusts everything about his boilers to his engineer, supposing him to be reliable."

With such accumulation of sediment and deposit, is it any wonder that sheets are burned? A careful engineer will understand, if the feed water be impure, that he must blow down two or three inches every day, or oftener, that the sediment may be removed as it accumulates, and then an internal examination once in two weeks, or once a month, will insure a clean boiler.

Cases of external corrosion, 26—10 dangerous; cases of internal corrosion, 17—5 dangerous; cases of internal grooving, 28—11 dangerous; water gages out of order, 50; blow-out apparatus out of order, 15—7 dangerous; safety valves overloaded, 40—12 dangerous; pressure gages out of order, 54—6 dangerous, varying from -15 to +8 pounds. (We have found several gages entirely ruined from being frozen). Boilers without gages, 4; cases of deficiency of water, 5—1 dangerous; broken braces and stays, 31—7 dangerous; boilers condemned, 2—both dangerous.

Two engineers were found drunk on duty, and promptly discharged. There were 9 serious explosions during the month, by which 99 persons were killed, and 6 wounded. Eighty-seven of the killed were passengers on the ill-fated steamer H.R. Arthur, on the Mississippi River. Many were drowned, and some burned, but the origin of the calamity was the bad quality of the boilers, which a careless management was unable to detect. The upper and fore part of the boat was blown away by the exploded boilers, and, to add to the horror, what remained took fire.

None of these exploded boilers were under the care of this company.

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Five ore-roasting furnaces are in full blast in Nevada.

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Our engravings illustrate an improved compound car-spring, which appears to possess all the requisites of a first-class spring, combining in its construction extreme simplicity with great strength, and a feature whereby the power of the spring increases with increase of the load, and vice versa, so that its flexibility remains nearly constant for all loads.

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of this spring, with a portion of the side of the case broken out to show the interior arrangement of the spiral springs. Fig. 2 is a section of the compressing plate. Fig. 3 is a plan view, showing the arrangement of the tubes which enclose the springs.

The case is cast in two pieces. Its vertical wall is cast in a single piece, and has at the top a flange or bead extending inwardly, against which the compressing plate abuts when the spring is not compressed, as shown in Fig. 2. A bottom plate completes the case.

The spiral components of the spring are inclosed in tubes, as shown in Figs. 1 and 3. It is not deemed essential that these tubes should be seamless, or that their edges, brought together in bending, should be soldered, brazed, or welded. They act merely as guides to compel the component springs to expand or contract in vertical lines, and need only be strong enough for that purpose.

The compressing plate is formed with concentric steps or ledges, as shown in Fig. 2, so that with light loads, only a portion of the component spirals act. With a heavier load a new series of spirals is brought into action, and so on, till the spring is loaded to its full capacity. This feature is novel, and as important as novel, as it gives the spring a far more easy and flexible carriage, with light loads, than would be the case if all the spirals were permitted to act.

In putting the spring together, the vertical part of the case is inverted. The compressing plate is then placed within the case, resting upon the inner flange of the case above described. The tubes with their inclosed springs are then arranged in position, as shown in the plan view, Fig. 3. The bottom plate of the case is then placed in position, and held to its place by lugs and rivets, as shown in Fig. 1; the spring is then ready for use.

The employment of tubes in the manner described, enables springs of the greatest practical length to be used, without the sectional or division plates met with in other spiral car springs. A greater and easier movement is therefore obtained. These springs can, it is claimed, compete in price with any spring in market, and are guaranteed by the manufacturers. Patented through the Scientific American Patent Agency, December 27, 1870, by Albert Potts, whom address for further information, No. 490 North Third street, Philadelphia, Pa.

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This device is the invention of A. G. Buzby, of Philadelphia, Pa. It is a combined writing and copying case. Besides the usual recesses or chambers for pen, ink, paper, etc., it is provided with a book of copying paper, in which copies of important letters may be made, by damping the letters in the usual way, and pressing them between the leaves of the copying book; or the transfer paper may be used, so that the letter will be copied as it is written, if preferred.

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Sticks are manufactured both from large timber of from two to six feet girth, and from small underwood of about the thickness of a man's thumb. The timber, which is chiefly beech, is first sawed into battens of about three feet in length and as many inches in width; and from each of these battens two square sticks, with square heads are afterwards cut in opposite directions, so that the middle portion is waste wood. The corners of each are afterwards rounded off by a planing process called "trapping," and the square head is reduced, by a small saw, to a curve or rectangular bend, so as to form a handle. When the sticks are brought in this way to the exact size and pattern, they are polished with great care, are finely varnished, and packed in boxes or bundles for the market. Many sawn sticks, however, are supplied with bone and horn handles, which are fastened on with glue; and then of course there is less wood waste, as a larger number of them may be cut from one batten.

A very different process takes place in the manufacture of sticks from small underwood, in which there is no sawing required. The rough unfashioned sticks, which are generally of hazel, ash, oak and thorn, are cut with a bill in the same way as kidney bean sticks, and are brought to the factory in large bavins or bundles, piled on a timber tug. There must of course, be some little care in their selection, yet it is evident that the woodmen are not very particular on this score, for they have in general an ungainly appearance; and many are so crooked and rough, that no drover or country boy would think it worth while to polish the like of them with his knife. Having arrived at this place, however, their numerous excrescences are soon pruned away, and their ugliness converted into elegance. When sufficiently seasoned and fit for working, they are first laid to soak in wet sand, and rendered more tough and pliable; a workman then takes them one by one, and securing them with an iron stock, bends them skillfully this way and that, so as to bring out their natural crooks, and render them at last all straight even rods. If they are not required to be knotted, they next go to the "trapper," who puts them through a kind of circular plane, which takes off knots, and renders them uniformly smooth and round. The most important process of all is that of giving them their elegantly curved handles, for which purpose they are passed over to the "crooker." Every child knows that if we bend a tough stick moderately when the pressure is discontinued, it will soon fly back, more or less, to its former position; and if we bend it very much, it will break. Now the crooker professes to accomplish the miracle of bending a stick as it might be an iron wire, so that it shall neither break nor "backen." To prevent the breaking, the wood is rendered pliant by further soaking in wet sand; and a flexible band of metal is clamped down firmly to that portion of the stick that will form the outside of the curve; the top end is then fitted into a grooved iron shoulder which determines the size of the crook, the other end being brought round so as to point in the opposite direction; the metal band during this process binding with increasing tightness against the stretching fibers of the wood, so that they cannot snap or give way under the strain. The crook having been made, the next thing is to fix it, or remove from the fibers the reaction of elasticity, which would otherwise, on the cessation of the bending force, cause it to backen more or less, and undo the work. In the old process of crooking by steam, as timber bending is effected, the stick was merely left till it was cold to acquire a permanent set; but in the new process, a more permanent set is given by turning the handle about briskly over a jet of gas. The sticks being now fashioned, it only remains to polish and stain or varnish them; and they are sometimes scorched or burned brown, and carved with foliage, animal heads and other devices.—Chambers' Journal.

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FLOWERING OF THE VICTORIA REGIA IN THE OPEN AIR.—Joseph Mager, Esq., has succeeded in flowering the Victoria lily, in his pond in England. The pond is perfectly open, but the water is heated by hot water pipes coming from a boiler near the pond, carefully concealed. The seeds of the Victoria were planted in May last, and the first flower was produced Sept. 10th. Afterwards seven other flowers opened. The plant has eight leaves, of which the largest is five feet two inches in diameter. Mr. Mager has also succeeded in flowering a large number of other tropical lilies in his pond.

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JUTE, a material largely used in combination with hemp, for making cordage, sacking, mats, and carpets, is produced in India to the extent of 300,000 tuns per annum. The scarcity of fuel prevents its manufacture on the spot, except by the rudest and most primitive means, so that the bulk of the growth is sent to Great Britain.

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This tunnel, which forms an ascending incline of a mile and a quarter length from the terminal station in Lime-street London and N. W. Railroad, was worked until recently by a rope and stationary engine, to avoid fouling the air of the tunnel by the passage of locomotives; but the increase of the traffic having necessitated the abandonment of the rope and the substitution of locomotives for bringing the trains up through the tunnel, it became requisite to provide some efficient means of ventilation for clearing the tunnel speedily of the smoke and steam after the passage of each train. A large exhausting fan has been designed by Mr. John Ramsbottom for this purpose, which works in a chamber situated near the middle of the length of the tunnel, and draws the air in from the tunnel, through a cross drift; discharging it up a tapering chimney that extends to a considerable hight above the surface of the ground over the tunnel. The fan is about thirty feet diameter, and is made with straight radial vanes; it revolves on a horizontal shaft at a speed of about forty-five revolutions per minute, within a brick casing, built concentric with the fan for the first half of the circumference, and afterwards expanding gradually for discharging into the base of the chimney, the air from the tunnel being drawn in at the center of the fan at each side, and discharged from the circumference of the fan by the revolution of the vanes. The engine driving the fan is started by telegraph signal at each departure of a train from the terminal station, and the fan is kept running until the discharge from it becomes quite clear, showing that no steam or smoke remains in the tunnel; this is usually the case in about eight minutes after the time of the train entering the lower end of the tunnel, the passage of the train through the tunnel occupying about three minutes. The fan draws air in at both ends of the tunnel simultaneously, and begins to clear the lower end immediately upon the train entering; the clearing of the upper end commences as soon as the train has passed out of the tunnel, and as the fan is situated nearer the upper end of the tunnel than the lower, the clearing of both lengths is completed almost simultaneously. The fan is so constructed as to allow an uninterrupted passage through it, for the air, whilst the fan is standing still; and the natural ventilation thus obtained by means of the large chimney is found sufficient for clearing the tunnel during the night and some portion of the day, without the fan being worked at those times. This natural ventilation is aided by the engine exhaust and the boiler discharging into the chimney. The fan has now been in regular operation for three-quarters of a year, and has been found completely successful.

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The preservation of wood is a problem which is attracting increased attention, as year by year diminishes the material supply of timber, and consequently gradually increases its price. Among other methods employed, the impregnation of wood by the vapors of tar, creosote, petroleum, etc., has been tried, and one of the practical difficulties met with has been the obtaining of suitable apparatus for the purpose.

The engraving annexed is an invention intended to supply this want. The wood is inclosed, in a tank kept hot by a steam jacket which surrounds it, as shown. A boiler at one end is used to heat the substance with which it is desired to impregnate the wood. An air pump is also employed to remove the steam, generated in the heated timber, and the air from the tank. The pores of the wood being thus rendered vacuous, the hot liquid or vapors from the heating tank readily penetrate the entire substance, and thoroughly impregnate it. This apparatus is the invention of George Pustkuchen, of Hoboken, N. J.

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This tool, of which our engraving is a good representation, comprises a screw wrench, a pipe wrench, a hammer, a nail claw, a screw-driver, and a bit handle, or socket wrench.

The bit handle is the entire tool, the square socket or opening being made in the end of the handle, in which the shanks of bits may be inserted.

The screw driver is formed on the end of the screw bar, attached to the outer jaw of the wrench, and is taken out from the hollow of the handle when required for use.

The use of the other parts of the tool will be apparent from the engraving.

The tool is very compact, and has this advantage over the ordinary screw wrench, that its leverage increases as it is opened to receive nuts of larger size.

This invention is protected by two patents, dated respectively, May 30, 1865, and July 10, 1866.

For further information address B. Boardman & Co., Norwich, Conn.

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This instrument will be found of great service in bringing together the ends of belts, the weight of which is so great that they cannot be held together by the hand while lacing. A strap engages with holes made in the belt, at the back of the holes punched for lacing, the tightening strap being provided with claws or hooks, as shown. A winch axle and ratchet, adjusted in a frame as shown, are then employed to pull the ends of the belt together and hold them firmly till the lacing is completed.

This is the invention of T. G. Stansberry, of Medora, Ill. Patented in September, 1867.

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I don't want my house put in repair, or rather out of repair, by a master who employs "Jacks of all Trades."

I don't want my foreman to tell me too much at one time about the faults of the workmen under him, as I may forget asking him about himself.

I don't want a builder or carpenter to give a coat of paint to any joinery work he may be doing for me, until I have examined first the material and workmanship.

I don't want any jobbing carpenter or joiner, whom I may employ, to bring a lump of putty in his tool basket. I prefer leave the use of putty to the painters.

I don't want jobbing plumbers to spend three days upon the roof, soldering up a crack in the gutter, and, when done, leaving fresher cracks behind them. The practice is something akin to "cut and come again."

I don't want a contractor to undertake a job at a price that he knows will not pay, and then throw the fault of his bankruptcy on "that blackguard building."

I don't want any more hodmen to be carrying up the weight of themselves in their hod, as well as their bricks; I would much prefer seeing the poor human machines tempering the mortar or wheeling the barrow, while the donkey engine, the hydraulic lift, or the old gray horse, worked the pulley.

I don't want house doors to be made badly, hung badly, or composed of green and unseasoned timber.

I don't want houses built first and designed afterwards, or, rather, wedged into shape, and braced into form.

I don't want to be compelled to pay any workman a fair day's wages for a half day's work.

I don't want an employer to act towards his workmen as if he thought their sinews and thews were of iron, instead of flesh and blood.

I don't want any kind of old rubbish of brick and stone to be bundled into walls and partitions, and then plastered over "hurry-skurry." Trade infamy, like murder, will out, sooner or later.

I don't want men to wear flesh and bone, and waste sweat and blood, in forms of labor to which machinery can be applied, and by which valuable human life and labor can be better and more profitably utilized.

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The Editors are not responsible for the opinions expressed by their Correspondents.

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MESSRS. EDITORS:—I have hesitated about the propriety of replying to the criticisms of your correspondent, J. E. Hendricks, upon my paper, on the action of the reciprocating parts of steam engines. It is not to be expected that a truth so opposed to commonly received notions—the reception of which requires so much to be unlearned—should at once receive the assent of every one. Some odd fancies on the subject are likely to be ventilated first.

But your correspondent touches the root of the matter, and perhaps the fact questioned by him should be more clearly placed beyond dispute.

I will dismiss the introductory part of his letter, merely observing that his "logical inference" is quite gratuitous and unwarranted. He says himself that its absurdity is obvious, in which I quite agree with him.

The real question is this: What is the figure representing the acceleration of the motion of a piston, controlled by a crank which revolves with a uniform velocity? I stated it to be a right-angled triangle, and indicated, as I supposed, clearly enough, a simple method by which this could be shown. Your correspondent claims that the calculation, according to my own rule, gives a figure of a totally different form, and one that shows the acceleration, as well as the motion, to be reduced to zero at the commencement of the stroke. Let us see. Let the straight line, AJ, in the following figure, represent half the stroke of the piston, and let the distances, AB, AC, etc., on this line, represent the versed sines of 10 deg., 20 deg., etc., up to 90 deg., or the motion of the piston while the crank is moving through these arcs. At the points A, B, C, etc., erect the perpendiculars, Aa, Bb, Cc, etc., and let the length of each of these ordinates represent the acceleration imparted in a given time at that point of the stroke. Then will AJ be to Aa as IJ is to Ii, as HJ is to Hh, etc., showing that the straight line, aJ, connects the extremities of all the ordinates, and that the triangle, AJa, represents the acceleration of the motion of the piston, from the commencement to the middle of the stroke.

The following table will enable any one to make the calculations proving the truth of the above proposition:

Degrees. Versed sine. Motion for 10 deg. Acceleration during 1 deg.. 0 deg. .0000000 Aa .0003046 10 deg. AB .0151922 AB .0151922 Bb .0003001 20 deg. AC .0603074 BC .0451152 Cc .0002862 30 deg. AD .1339746 CD .0736672 Dd .0002638 40 deg. AE .2339556 DE .0999810 Ee .0002332 50 deg. AF .3572124 EF .1232568 Ff .0001958 60 deg. AG .5000000 FG .1427876 Gg .0001523 70 deg. AH .6579799 GH .1579799 Hh .0001041 80 deg. AI .8263518 HI .1683719 Ii .0000529 90 deg. AJ 1.0000000 IJ .1736482 Jj .0000000

The method of obtaining the decimals representing the acceleration for 1 deg., at any point, was fully explained in the paper, and compared with the similar method of showing the uniform acceleration of a body acted on by a constant force. The ordinary tables in the hand-books, going only to five places of decimals, are of no use for these computations.

I would suggest a practical experiment. Let any one having an engine running at a good speed, loosen the crank pin brasses a little, so that, at starting, it will thump heavily. Let the engine be lightly loaded, so that only a small portion of the boiler pressure will need to be admitted to the cylinder. As its speed increases, the thump will die away; and, if at its full speed, the pressure of the steam admitted is not so great as to overcome the centrifugal strain of the reciprocating parts on the crank, as it passes the centers, the engine will revolve in silence. Any one can ascertain, by the rule given in the note to the paper, just what pressure can be admitted without causing a thump, or this can be found by a little experimenting. I am running an engine which does not thump with loose crank pin brasses, under eighty pounds pressure, admitted sharply on the centers.

Charles T. Porter.

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MESSRS. EDITORS;—I submit the following solution of "Practical Problem" on page 147:

Given AB, arm, C, arm, D, chord of half angle of oscillation of arm, D, and angles of arms, with line AB.

To find angles, BAc', ABb, and length of link, E.

1. As the length of arm, D, is to the chord of arc, ab, divided by 2, so is the radius to the sine angle oscillation of arm, D, divided by 4.

2. 360 deg. is to the whole circumference as the angle bBa is to the length of arc ab.

3. Now arc ab is equal to arc a'c'.

4. The whole circumference is to 360 deg. as the length of arc a'e' is to the angle oscillation of C divided by 2.

5. Half angle oscillation, C, taken from angle BAa' is equal to angle BAc'.

6. Half angle oscillation, D, taken from angle ABa is equal to angle ABb.

7. The diagonal of the rectangle formed by the (sum of the sines of the angles of the arms with AB) into (AB—sum of cosines of same) will be the length of link, E.

G. R. NASH, Civil Engineer.

North Adams, Mass.

[We have received other solutions of this problem, but as this covers the ground in a very simple manner, we think it will be sufficient. Those forwarding the solutions not published will accept our thanks and assurances that it is not because they lack merit that they are declined.—EDS.

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MESSRS. EDITORS:—In one of the late numbers of your journal, you publish a paper, read by Mr. Porter before some learned society in New York, on something about the possibility or practicability of running a steam engine at a high rate of speed, and claiming to give a scientific explanation of the why and wherefore. Now, scientifically, I know nothing about a steam engine; practically, I know how to stop and start one. Therefore, you will understand that what I say is not as coming from one who claims to be wise above what is written, but as simply being a statement of the case, as it appears to one who wants to learn, and takes this way to draw out the truth. A scientific theory, invested with all its sines, coefficients, and other paraphernalia, is a very pretty thing to look at, no doubt, for those who understand it, and, when properly applied, is invaluable; but when, as in this case, a practical question is to be decided, by the aid of a scientific demonstration, it will not do to throw aside the main elements of the problem, or any, in fact, of the minor points, no matter how trivial they may appear.

Mr. Porter's labors were strictly of a scientific nature. He starts out with the proposition that what he is about to explain is very simple, and very likely it is; but, for one, I can't see it, and I want more light. He says that it takes a certain number of pounds to overcome the inertia of the reciprocating parts of a certain weight, to give it a certain speed. What is inertia? He says, "we will not take into account the friction of parts." Now, my understanding of this point is, that friction is practically one of the main elements in the problem. How can we hope to obtain a correct solution when he rubs out one of the terms of the equation? What is friction doing all the time, while he is theoretically having his reciprocating parts storing up power and then giving it out again, just at the right time, and in the right quantity?

What an immense amount of iron has been wasted by being cast into fly wheels, when a fraction of the amount, if only put into cross heads, would render fly wheels unnecessary!

Mr. Porter stops short in his discussion. He should have added a table giving the proportionate length of stroke, weight of parts, and number of revolutions required to produce the effect of an engine running at a high speed, without the least fraction of inequality in the strain on the crank, and then the sun would have fairly risen in the "dawn of a new era for the steam engine." But, as it is so very simple, we can all figure it out for ourselves.

In the diagram Mr. Porter gives, to illustrate the travel of the piston, he wets his finger and draws it over another term in the equation (a method of elimination not taught by Hutton, Davies, and other mathematicians). It is a quick way, but is it correct? He says, "the distance traveled by the piston is the versed sine of an angle formed by a line from the center of the crank pin, in any part of its stroke to the center of the circle described by the crank pin, leaving out of the calculation the angular vibration of the connecting rod." What he means by the "angular vibration," I do not know. He is wrong in the statement. If he will think of it he will see it. If he meant to say that the piston's travel was measured by the versed sine of the angle formed by the connecting rod and the line of horizontal centers, he is wrong again, yet nearer the truth than before, just as the proportion between the length of the connecting rod and the half diameter of the circle described by the crank pin. This can quickly be seen by supposing the connecting rod to be detached, and allowed to fall down on the center line, at any part of the stroke. If he understood this (as no doubt he did), he should not ignore the facts.

What I am aiming at is this. When a man attempts to demonstrate a thing mathematically, he must take into his calculation everything essentially connected with the problem, just exactly as it is, and not as he would have it; otherwise, he cannot, by any possibility, attain a correct result. When he claims, as now, the practicability of running engines at a high speed, I think he is claiming too much. Build an engine of proper materials, make it strong, and fit everything as it should be, balance crank and fly wheel to a nicety, keep everything snugly in its place, and the terrors of a quick stroke vanish.

S. W. H.

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MESSRS. EDITORS:—I have read, with much interest, Dr. Chandler's colorimetric test of the purity of white lead, as published in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN sometime ago. I enclose another test, which, though not new, is of value to all using white lead on account of its simplicity and effectiveness. It has been in use here for nearly two years, and has been found reliable. Having never seen it in print, I have tried to put it in as simple words as possible.

FELIX MCARDLE, Analytical Chemist. St. Louis, Mo.

Take a piece of firm, close grained charcoal, and, near one end of it, scoop out a cavity about half an inch in diameter and a quarter of an inch in depth. Place in the cavity a sample, of the lead to be tested, about the size of a small pea, and apply to it continuously the blue or hottest part of the flame of the blow pipe; if the sample be strictly pure, it will in a very short time, say in two minutes, be reduced to metallic lead, leaving no residue; but if it be adulterated to the extent of ten per cent. only, with oxide of zinc, sulphate of baryta, whiting or any other carbonate of lime, (which substances are now the only adulterations used), or if it be composed entirely of these materials, as is sometimes the case with cheap lead, it cannot be reduced, but will remain on the charcoal an infusible mass.

Dry white lead, (carbonate of lead) is composed of metallic lead, oxygen and carbonic acid, and, when ground with linseed oil, forms the white lead of commerce. When it is subjected to the above treatment, the oil is first burned off, and then at a certain degree of heat, the oxygen and carbonic acid are set free, leaving only the metallic lead from which it was manufactured. If, however, there be present in the sample any of the above mentioned adulterations, they cannot of course be reduced to metallic lead, and cannot be reduced, by any heat of the blow pipe flame, to their own metallic bases; and being intimately incorporated and ground with the carbonate of lead, they prevent it from being reduced.

It is well, after blowing upon the sample, say for half a minute, by which time the oil will be burned off, to loosen the sample from the charcoal, with a knife blade or spatula, in order that the flame may pass under as well as over and against it. With proper care the lead will run into one button, instead of scattering over the charcoal, and this is the reason why the cavity above mentioned is necessary. A common star candle or a lard oil lamp furnishes the best flame for use of the blow pipe; a coal oil lamp should not be used.

By the above test, after a little practice, so small an adulteration as one or two per cent. can be detected; it is, however, only a test of the purity or impurity of a lead, and if found adulterated, the degree or percentage of adulteration cannot be well ascertained by it.

Jewellers usually have all the necessary apparatus for making the test, and any one of them can readily make it by observing the above directions, and from them can be obtained a blow pipe at small cost.

If you have no open package of the lead to be tested, a sample can most easily be obtained by boring into the side or top of a keg with a gimlet, and with it taking out the required quantity; care should be used to free it entirely from the borings or particles of wood, and it should not be larger than the size mentioned; a larger quantity can be reduced, but of course more time will be required, and the experiment cannot be so neatly performed.

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MESSRS. EDITORS:—I am satisfied that a great many fires originate through poorly constructed chimneys; and, although not a bricklayer by trade, I would offer a few hints how to construct a fire-proof chimney. Let the bed be laid of brick and mortar, iron, or stone; then the workman should take a brick in his left hand, and with the trowel, draw the mortar upon the end of the brick, from the under side, and not from the outside edge, as is usual. Then, by pressing the brick against the next one, the whole space between the two bricks will be filled with mortar; and so he should point up the inside as perfectly as the outside, as he proceeds.

By drawing the mortar on the edge of the brick, the space between the ends will not always be entirely filled, and will make (where the inside pointing is not attended to) a leaky and unsafe chimney, which, if not kept clear of soot, will, in burning out, stand a good chance of setting the building on fire. The best thing that I know of, to put the fire out in a burning chimney is salt; but the matter of first importance, after having a chimney properly constructed, is to keep it clean.

AUSTIN B. CULVER. Westfield, N. Y.

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MESSRS. EDITORS:—Please allow me to say to the querist who, through your columns, asks what to do with crystalline honey, that if he will "doctor" it with almost any artificial honey of the day, it will not become like lard in cold weather, which change is a natural proof that it is pure. For almost any purpose, pure honey is preferable to that which has been adulterated, but purity is a minor consideration with many.

Next we shall hear of some fastidious customer who objects to pure lard, because it looks white when cold. To such we would recommend lard oil as a great improvement, especially for cooking purposes.

A. M. B. Louisville, Ky.

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[For the Scientific American.]



At a depth of fifteen feet, we were about to suspend our labors, supposing from the nature and uniformly dark color of the earth, that we had reached the surface of the alluvium, when a sign of the inevitable wood and bark layer was seen in a crevice. An excavation, five or six feet, into the wall, revealed the skeleton of a man laid at length, having an extra coverlid of wooden material. Eighteen large oblong beads, an ax of polished green stone, eleven arrow points, and five implements of bone (to be described) were deposited on the left side; and a few small beads, an ornamental shell pin, two small hatchets, and a sharp-pointed flint knife or lance, eight inches long, having a neck or projection at the base, suitable for a handle, or for insertion in a shaft, on the right side. The earth behind the skull being removed, three enormous conch shells presented their open mouths. One of my assistants started back as if the ghost of the departed had come to claim the treasure preserved, in accordance with superstitious notions, for its journey to the "happy lands." The alarm seemed to be a warning, for at the moment the embankment, overloaded on one side, caved in, nearly burying three workmen, myself, and a spectator. Our tools being at the bottom of the heap, and the wall on the other side, shaken by the falling earth, giving tokens of a change of base, our prospects of a ready deliverance were not very hopeful. The bystanders, however, went to work with their hands, and we were soon relieved, not without casualty, the spectator having the worst of it. Struggling to extricate himself, instead of abiding his time, he dragged one leg out of the pile shorter than the other.

The occurrence of marine shells in a burial depository, especially of the varieties pyrula and oliva, four or five hundred miles from the Gulf and that portion of the Southern coast where the mollusks exist, bears upon the question of migration and tribal intercourse, and the commercial value of these articles. Obtained from a distance and regarded as precious commodities, they were used in exchange, for the material of ornaments, and for choice utensils. Only two or three of these shells have been found in a perfect condition, but defective ones are frequent, with fragments, "cuttings," and various trinkets made out of them—such as ornamental pins, needles, crosses, buttons, amulets, engraved plates, and beads. From one of the specimens recovered from the mound sepulchre, the spire and columella had been removed, leaving a hollow utensil. It would have been suitable for a water vessel, but for a hole in the bottom, which had furnished a button-shaped ornament, or piece of money, which was found with the relic, and exactly corresponded to the orifice. The twirled end of the shell, however, had been improved for a handle by shallow cavities, one on the inside slanting from the middle longitudinal line, and one crossing that line at right angles on the convex side, so as to be fitted to the thumb and fore finger of the left hand, suggesting a use of the implement as a shield, or a mask held before the face. Adair speaks of large shells in use by the Indians of his time (1735), suspended about the neck for shields, and regarded as badges of priestly dignity.

A trench was dug on the east side of the mound, nearly corresponding in dimensions to the one on the west side, making the length of the whole excavation, including the central cavity, thirty-two feet.

In the last opening, eight skeletons were exhumed; the mode of burial was the same throughout. The only article of value recovered was a curiously wrought pipe of stone, having a "figure head" representing the human face, which I have put down in a list of "articles stolen," and which the thief can describe better than the writer. After filling up all the gaps, and levelling the surface to suit the taste of the proprietor, we closed our labors on the mound in the Bent.

Of the skulls collected, it is sufficient to say that they belong to the "short heads," the length and breadth having a comparative medium proportion, a common form of cranium in the mounds of Tennessee.

Of stone implements I specify an ax of serpentine, ten inches long, two thick, and four broad, having plain sides and a straight edge ground down on both of the flat faces; hatchets ("tomahawks") of green stone, flint, and diorite, from five to eight inches long, with rounded faces and sides, contracted to an edge at one end, and to a flat heel at the other; a wedge of black slate, seven inches long and half an inch thick, of a square finish on the faces and sides and at the heel, which was diminished two inches, as compared with the length of the edge; hatchets with a serrated edge at each end, plane on both sides, convex on one face and flat on the other.

With one skeleton was deposited a "set of tools," eight in number, of the species of rock before mentioned, varying in length from two to eight inches. Their peculiarity consists in a variety of shapes—no two being precisely alike—and in their fitness to various uses, such as carving, hacking, paring, and grooving. The smallest of them, having a square finish, was held by the thumb and two fingers, and is suitable for cutting lines and figures in wood and shells. Specimens of this art were furnished from the mound. The largest number might serve for hatchets, chisels, and gouges. One had been ground in the form of a cylinder five inches long and an inch thick, and then cut an inch on two sides to an edge, and worked into a handle with a round bead, from the center of the elliptical faces. It might be used for chipping wood and stone. One answered the purpose of a cold chisel; another was somewhat similar, but had a hollow face reduced to a curved edge for grooving. These polished instruments, wrought with much care, seemed intended for use by the hand rather than for insertion in a handle or socket, or attachment to a shaft by means of a strap or withe. Only one was perforated. The drilling through granite, quartz, and diorite, without the use of metal, was a severe labor, even for savage patience. A long knife of silex, with a wrought handle, lance heads, leaf shaped, of the same material, of beautiful workmanship, arrow points of fine finish, furnished, with others before mentioned, an assortment of arms. Several flint points, though only an inch long, were curved like a cimeter, and used probably as flaying instruments. True disks, of various mineral substances, from an inch to five inches in diameter, having convex faces, complete the list of stone implements. Those of bone comprise several like hollow chisels, sharpened at one end, and pierced through one face, near the other extremity, so as to be fastened to a handle; these were used for dressing skins. One was formed like a poniard, with a worked hilt. With these may be connected arrow heads and sharp pointed weapons of the worked antlers of the stag, and tusks of the wild boar.

Of ornaments, I noticed pins used for dressing the hair, made of the columns of large sea shells. The head is generally round, sometimes oval, from an eighth to a half of an inch in diameter, retaining the diagonal groove of the pillar from which it is made. The stems vary in length from one to six inches. It would be tedious even to classify ornamental beads and buttons of shell work, such as are usually found in the mounds. These trinkets are perforated, and, in addition to their being articles of dress, were used probably as "wampum," the currency of the recent Indians.

A miscellaneous collection includes a hematite stone, wrought in the shape of a cup weighing half a pound; when rubbed or ground it furnished the war paint of the savages; also the extremity of a copper tube, two inches long; needles in bone and shell, from an inch to six inches long, with grooves round the head, to serve the purpose of eyes; and plates of mica. The use of mica plates, which are found of large size in some of the Western mounds, has excited some inquiry. Of a certain thickness, they make good mirrors. Beside their use for ornamental purposes, they were probably looking-glasses of the beauties of the stone age. There was also found a pipe of soap stone, having a stem five inches long, and a bowl with a broad brim, like a Quaker's hat.

Of earthenware, there was an endless variety of fragments of the usual black, grey, or red compressed clay, mixed with pulverized shells or stones. One kind I have never seen described. The sherds had a red coating on both sides, an eighth of an inch in thickness, evidently not a paint or a glaze. The red coloring might have come from the pottery being burnt in the open air, instead of baked in a furnace, were not the layer of uniform thickness and of homogeneous paste, unlike the material of the vessel, which was a gray mixture of clay and particles of shells.

I give the above memoranda to the general fund of information, touching a subject that invites inquiry on account of its novelty and ethnological importance. Every examination of the monumental remains of the ancient Americans brings to light some new feature in structure or type of rudimental art. And since archaeology has become a science, investigators, for half a century, may be looking about for facts to complete the system auspiciously introduced by the antiquarians of Northern Europe, and advanced in our own country by the researches of Caleb Atwater (Archaeologia Americana) and by those of the Smithsonian contributors to knowledge, especially Squier and Davis. RAMBLER.

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A SMALL WATER WHEEL.—There is in the town of Meriden, Conn., a Leffel double turbine wheel, running under 240 feet fall and driving a manufactory. It uses only about one-half of a square inch of water, and runs at the marvelous speed of 3,000 revolutions per minute, or 50 revolutions per second, which is by far the most rapid rate of motion ever imparted to a water wheel. This is, also, beyond comparison the greatest fall applied to the propulsion of a wheel in America. The wheel at Meriden is of the most diminutive size, scarcely exceeding in dimensions the old-fashioned "turnip" watches which our grandfathers used to carry in their capacious vest pockets. The complete success of this wheel has attracted much attention and affords further evidence of the wide range of adaptability of the Leffel turbine.

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[For the Scientific American.]



A vague notion that silk culture ought to form one of the industrial pursuits of the American people seems to be prevalent enough; but it does not take practical hold upon anybody. The nearest approach to anything practical which we have seen, in late years—excepting, of course, what has been done in California—occurred in New York in July last, when a number of gentlemen pledged themselves, according to a report given in the Tribune of July 30, "to promote the native silk trade."

The gentlemen present at the meeting represented the most prominent silk manufacturing and importing houses in this country. What these gentlemen have since done towards promoting the native silk trade, I do not know, but, having pledged themselves, it is presumed they have done something.

At the meeting, of which the Tribune article is a report, dags, and other things, manufactured from California silk, were exhibited; and the report goes on to say that "Mr. Warren also exhibited samples of native and foreign cocoons, and of raw and thrown silk, together with the common Cecropia and Bombyx Cynthia, species of silkworms which feed upon oak leaves. * * Also the Bombyx Yamamai which feeds upon mulberry leaves; also the Bombyx Pernyi, of which the cocoons are early as good as the cocoons of worms fed upon mulberry leaves."

I have given this extract, word for word, as it stands in the columns of the Tribune, because it contains more blunders of one kind or another than I remember ever to have seen in so many words. Cecropia is certainly not very particular as to its food, but it is not an oak feeder. Cynthia will thrive on nothing except ailanthus, though it will eat one or two other things, but not oak. The Yamamai, on the other hand, will eat oak, indeed it is its natural food; but Mr. Warren errs greatly when he says that it will feed on mulberry. The last clause of the sentence, which says that cocoons of Pernyi are nearly as good as those of worms fed on mulberry leaves, must be a sort of entomological joke, of which the point is not discoverable by me, so I pass it over.

I do not, however, notice this report on account of its grammatical and entomological mistakes. It is because of the evil effects it may, and probably will, have on amateur silk culturists, that I notice it; for most assuredly, failure will be the result of all attempts to produce silk cocoons by feeding the caterpillars of the different moths on the food prescribed by Mr. Warren. Any patriotic, money making farmer, who believes in the Tribune, purchasing Yamamai eggs and setting his worms to feed upon mulberry, which they refuse to eat, and consequently, all die, will probably give up silk culture as being nothing more or less than a humbug. And thus the cause is injured.

For several years past, I have made some experiments in the rearing of the silkworms, giving the result of my experience in the first year in Vol. II., page 311, of the American Naturalist; and of a subsequent year in the Entomologist, for November, 1869.

The paper in the Naturalist is devoted to my experiments with the ailanthus silkworm, Samia Cynthia (G. & R.), a naturalized species from the East. In that paper, I have said all that is necessary to say at present, on that species, except perhaps that I am further convinced, from the inspection of samples of sewing and other silks, made from the cocoons of Cynthia, that one day it will be reared very extensively in the United States. It is perfectly hardy, is double brooded, and may be reared by any one possessed of a few acres of land, which may be good enough for growing ailanthus trees, but not good enough to grow any thing else. The labor of a few old men, or women, or even children, is sufficient for the purpose. The cost is therefore trifling.

The objection to the cultivation of Cynthia is that the cocoon cannot be reeled. But it can be carded, and if the Chinese can make excellent silk goods from it, why cannot we? I suspect, too, that Cynthia silk can be worked in with cotton, or, perhaps, woolen goods, adding to their beauty and durability (for it is indestructible in wear), and thus open up branches of manufacture hitherto unknown.

For manufacturers of coarse goods, I have no doubt that the silk from our native silk moths, Cecropia and Polyphemus, may be used. Indeed, I believe that M. Trouvelot is of opinion that Polyphemus may fairly enter into competition with Bombyx mori, the ordinary mulberry silkworm. The worm, however, is rather difficult to rear.

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