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Scientific American Supplement, No. 586, March 26, 1887 by Various

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NEW YORK, MARCH 26, 1887

Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XXIII, No. 586.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

* * * * *


I. BIOGRAPHY.--George W. Whistler, C.E.--By Professor G.L.
VOSE.--Full biography of the eminent railroad engineer.

II. CHEMISTRY.--A Newly Discovered Substance in Urine.--A substance
possessing greater reducing power than grape sugar found
in diabetic urine.

On Electro Dissolution and its Use as Regards Analysis.--By H.
N. WARREN, research analyst.--Interesting decomposition of cast
iron with production of boron and silicon; experiments with other

III. ELECTRICITY.--No Electricity from the Condensation of Vapor.--Note
on Herr S. Kalischer's conclusions.

On Nickel Plating.--By THOMAS T.P. BRUCE WARREN.--Notes
on this industry, and suggested improvement for procuring a
bright coat.

The Electro-Magnetic Telephone Transmitter.--New theory of
the telephone's action.

IV. ENGINEERING.--Fuel and Smoke.--By Prof. OLIVER LODGE.--The
second and concluding one of these important lectures.

Gas Engine for Use on Railroads.--The application of six horse
power Koerting gas engine to a dummy locomotive.--1 illustration.

New Gas Holder at Erdberg.--The largest gas holder out of
England.--3 illustrations.

Tar for Firing Retorts.--Simple arrangement adapted for use in
ordinary gas retort benches; results attained.--1 illustration.

The Anti-Friction Conveyer.--An improvement on the screw of
Archimedes; an apparatus of wonderful simplicity and efficacy in
the moving of grain.--2 illustrations.

The Retiro Viaduct.--Combined iron and stone viaduct over the
river Retiro, Brazil.--5 illustrations.

Western North Carolina Location over the Blue Ridge.--Interesting
instance of railroad topography.--1 illustration.

V. METALLURGY.--Chilled Cast Iron.--The various uses of this
product; adaptability of American iron for its application.

VI. MISCELLANEOUS.--Coal in the Argentine Republic.--Note.

History of the World's Postal Service.--Conclusion of this
interesting article.--The service in Germany, China. Russia, and
elsewhere.--10 illustrations.

Snow Hall--The new science and natural history building of the
University of Kansas.

VII. NAVAL ENGINEERING.--Improvement in Laying Out Frames
of Vessels.--The Frame Placer.--By GUSTAVE SONNENBURG.--Ingenious
apparatus for use in ship yards.--1 illustration.

Sea-going Torpedo Boats.--The inutility of small torpedo boats
at sea.--The construction of larger ones discussed.

VIII. ORDNANCE.--Firing Trial of the 1101/2 Ton B.L. Elswick Gun.
Full dimensions of this piece and it projectiles.--Results of proof
firing.--9 illustrations.

IX. PHOTOGRAPHY.--Experiments in Toning Gelatino-Chloride
Paper.--Trials of ten different gold toning baths, formulas,
and results.

Printing Lantern Pictures by Artificial Light on Bromide Plates
from Various Sizes.--By A. PUMPHREY.--The processor producing
smaller or larger transparencies from negatives.--1 illustration.

X. PHYSICS.--A New Mercury Pump.--Simple air pump for high
vacua.--1 illustration.

The Laws of the Absorption of Light in Crystals.--By H.

Varying Cylindrical Lens.--By TEMPEST ANDERSON, M.D.,
B. Sc.--Combination of two conoidal lenses.--Range of power obtained.

XI. PHYSIOLOGY.--Elimination of Poisons.--Treatment of poison
cases by establishment of a strong diuresis.
The Filtration and the Secretion Theories.--Experiments on the
action of and secretions of the kidneys.

XII. TECHNOLOGY.--Furnace for Decomposing Chloride of Magnesium.--Furnace
with rotating chamber for use by alkali manufacturers.--1

Notes on Garment Dyeing.--The production of blacks on silk and
wool.--Formulas for mordants.

Studies in Pyrotechny.--II. Methods of Illumination.--Continuation
of this valuable treatise.--9 illustrations.

The "Sensim" Preparing Box.--New machine for treatment of
fiber.--An improvement on the ordinary gill box.--3 illustrations.

* * * * *


We give engravings of the viaduct over the river Retiro, Brazil, our
illustrations being reproduced by permission from the Proceedings of the
Institution of Civil Engineers. In a "selected paper" contributed to the
volume of these proceedings just published, Mr. Jorge Rademaker Grunewald,
Memb. Inst. C.E., describes the work as follows:


This viaduct was constructed in the year 1875, according to designs
furnished by the author, for the purpose of passing the Dom Pedro Segundo
State Railway over the valley which forms the bed of the river Retiro, a
small confluent on the left bank of the river Parahybuna. It is 265
kilometers (165 miles) from Rio de Janeiro, and about 10 kilometers (6.4
miles) from the city of Juiz de Fora, in the province of Minas Geraes,
Brazil. It has a curve of 382 meters (1,253 ft.) radius, and a gradient of
1 in 83.3. Its total length is 109 meters (357 ft. 7 in.); width between
handrails, 4 meters (13 ft.); and greatest height above the bed of the
river, 20 meters (65 ft. 7 in.).

The viaduct is composed of seven semicircular arches, each end arch being
built of ashlar masonry, and of 6 meters (19 ft. 8 in.) diameter; five
intermediate arches, 15 meters (49 ft. 2 in.) in diameter, are of iron. The
four central piers are of iron erected on pillars of ashlar masonry. The
metallic part of this viaduct is 80 meters (262 ft. 6 in.) long, and is
constructed in the following manner: The arches, and the longitudinal
girders which they support, are made of two Barlow rails riveted together,
with an iron plate 1/2 inch thick placed between them. The spandrels are
formed of uprights and diagonals, the former being made of four
angle-irons, and the latter of one angle-iron. Each pair of arches,
longitudinal girders and uprights, is transversely 3 meters (9 ft. 10 in.)
from center to center, and is connected by cross and diagonal bracing. On
the top of the longitudinal girders are fixed cross pieces of single Barlow
rails, upon which again are fastened two longitudinals of wood 12 in.
square in section, and which in their turn carry the rails of the permanent

The gauge of the Dom Pedro Segundo Railway is 1.60 meters, or 5 ft. 3 in.
nearly, between the rails. At each end of the transverse Barlow rails is
fixed the customary simple iron handrail, carried by light cast-iron
standards. The iron piers are each formed of four columns, and the columns
consist of two Barlow rails, with a slotted iron plate 1/2 inch thick let in
between the rails, and the whole being riveted together connects each pair
of side columns.

The details show the system of cross and diagonal bracing. The columns are
each supported by four buttresses formed of plates and angle-irons. These
buttresses, fastened with bolts 8 ft. 3 in. long, let into the masonry
pillars, secure the stability of the viaduct against lateral strains, due
mostly to the centrifugal force caused by the passage of the trains.

The Barlow rails, which constitute the peculiarity of the structure, are
from those taken up from the permanent way when the Vignoles pattern of
rail was adopted on this railway. The whole of the foundations were built
without difficulty. The principal parts of the iron work were calculated to
resist the strains resulting from a weight of 4 tons 8 cwt. per lineal
meter traveling over the viaduct at a velocity of 60 kilometers, or about
37 miles, per hour.

In spite of its fragile appearance this viaduct has, up to the present
time, served in a most satisfactory manner the purpose for which it was

* * * * *


All investigations of the sea-going qualities of torpedo boats show that
while the basin experiments are highly satisfactory, those made at sea
prove with equal force the unreliability of these craft when they leave the
coast. At the beginning of the Milford Haven operations, the boisterous
weather necessitated the postponing of operations, on account of the
unfitness of the torpedo boat crews to continue work after the twelve hours
of serious fatigue they had already undergone. In the French evolutions,
the difficulties of the passage from Bastia to Ajaccio, although not
remarkably severe, so unfitted fifteen of the twenty boats that they could
take no part in the final attack. In two nights we find recorded collisions
which disable boats Nos. 52, 61, 63, and 72, and required their return to
port for repairs.

Of the twenty-two torpedo boats leaving Toulon a few days before, but six
arrived near the enemy, although their commanders displayed admirable
energy. One had run aground, and was full of water; another had been sunk
by collision; another's engine was seriously injured; and as for the rest,
they could not follow.

Of the boats under the command of Admiral Brown de Colstoun, but five
remained for service, for the sixth received an accident to her machinery
which prevented her taking part in the attack.

During the operations off the Balearic Isles, only one of six boats
attacked, and none was able to follow the armorclads, all meeting with
circumstances quite unexpected and embarrassing.

With the weather as it existed May 13, the armorclads had the torpedo fleet
completely at their mercy, for even if they had not been destroyed by the
excellent practice of the Hotchkiss gunners, they would have been of no
use, as they could not with safety discharge their torpedoes. In fact, the
search lights discovered distinctly that one of the boats, which burned her
Coston's signal to announce victory, did not have her torpedo tube open, on
account of the heavy sea.

Furthermore, their positions were frequently easily discovered by the
immense volume of smoke and flame ejected while going at great speed. This
applies as well by night as by day. It was also reported that after the
four days' running the speed of the boats was reduced to twelve knots.

With such evidence before us, the seaworthiness of boats of the Nos. 63 and
64 type may be seriously questioned. Weyl emphasizes the facts that
"practice has shown that boats of No. 61 type cannot make headway in a
heavy sea, and that it is then often impossible to open their torpedo
tubes. On this account they are greatly inferior to ships of moderate
tonnage, which can certainly make some progress, fire their torpedoes, and
use their artillery in weather when a torpedo boat will be utterly
helpless. The torpedo boat abandoned to itself has a very limited field of

Du Pin de Saint Andre admits the success of the torpedo boat for harbor and
coast work, but wisely concludes that this can prove nothing as to what
they may or may not be able to do at sea.

In an article which appeared in the _Revue des Deux Mondes_ in June last,
he presented able reasons why the torpedo boats of to-day's type, being
destitute of most, if not all, of the requisites of sea-going craft, cannot
go to sea, take care of themselves, and remain there prepared to attack an
enemy wherever he may be found. Invisibility to an enemy may facilitate
attack, but it has to be dearly paid for in diminished safety. Further, the
life that must be led in such vessels in time of war would very quickly
unfit men for their hazardous duties.

He points out that the effect of such a life upon the bodies and minds of
the officers and crew would be most disastrous. The want of exercise alone
would be sufficient to unfit them for the demands that service would make
upon them. He has intelligently depicted the consequences of such a life,
and his reasoning has been indorsed by the reports of French officers who
have had experience in the boats in question.

No weapon, no matter how ingenious, is of utility in warfare unless it can
be relied upon, and no vessel that is not tenantable can be expected to
render any service at sea.

From the evidence before us, we must conclude that the type of torpedo boat
under discussion is capable of making sea passages, provided it can
communicate frequently with its supply stations and secure the bodily rest
so necessary to its crew. But even in a moderate sea it is useless for
attack, and in the majority of cases will not be able even to open its
impulse tubes. Should it succeed in doing this, the rolling and yawing will
render its aim very uncertain.

An experiment conducted against the Richelieu in October last, at Toulon,
before Admiral O'Neil, the director-general of the torpedo service, has
added its testimony to the uncertainty of the Whitehead torpedo. The
Richelieu had been fitted with Bullivant nets, and the trial was made to
learn what protection they would afford.

The weather was fair, the sea moderate, and the conditions generally
favorable to the torpedo; but the Whitehead missed its mark, although the
Richelieu's speed was only three knots. Running at full speed, the torpedo
boat, even in this moderate sea, deemed it prudent to keep the launching
tube closed, and selected a range of 250 yards for opening it and firing.
Just at the moment of discharge a little sea came on board, the boat yawed,
the torpedo aim was changed more than 30 deg., and it passed astern without
touching its object.

While the Milford Haven operations have taught some valuable lessons, they
were conducted under but few of the conditions that are most likely to
occur in actual warfare; and had the defense been carried on with an
organization and command equal to that of the attack, the Navy's triumph
would, perhaps, not have been so easily secured, and the results might have
been very different.

May not the apparent deficiencies of the defense have been due to the fact
that soldiers instead of sailors are given the control of the harbor and
coast defense? Is this right? Ought they not to be organized on a naval
basis? This is no new suggestion, but its importance needs emphasis.

These operations, however, convinced at least one deeply interested
spectator, Lord Brassey, to the extent of calling attention "to the urgent
necessity for the construction of a class of torpedo vessels capable of
keeping the sea in company with an armored fleet."

There is no one in Great Britain who takes a greater interest in the
progress of the British Navy than Lord Brassey, and we take pleasure in
quoting from his letter of August 23 last to the _Times_, in which he
expressed the following opinion: "The torpedo boats ordered last year from
Messrs. Thornycroft and Yarrow are excellent in their class. But their
dimensions are not sufficient for sea-going vessels. We must accept a
tonnage of not less than 300 tons in order to secure thorough seaworthiness
and sufficient coal endurance.

"A beginning has been made in the construction of vessels of the type
required. To multiply them with no stinting hand is the paramount question
of the day in the department of construction. The boats attached to the
Channel fleet at Milford Haven will be most valuable for harbor defense,
and for that purpose they are greatly needed. Torpedo boat catchers are not
less essential to the efficiency of a fleet. The gunboats attached to the
Channel fleet were built for service in the rivers of China. They should be
reserved for the work for which they were designed.

"We require for the fleet more fast gunboats of the Curlew and Landrail
type. I trust that the next estimates for the Navy will contain an ample
provision for building gun vessels of high speed."

As torpedoes must be carried, the next point to which we would call the
attention of our readers is the very rapid progress that has been made in
the boats designed to carry automatic torpedoes.

A very few years ago the names of Thornycroft and Yarrow were almost alone
as builders of a special type of vessel to carry them. To-day, in addition,
we have Schichau, White, Herreshoff, Creusot, Thomson, and others, forming
a competitive body of high speed torpedo-boat builders who are daily making
new and rapid development--almost too rapid, in fact, for the military
student to follow.

As new types are designed, additional speed gained, or increased
seaworthiness attained, public descriptions quickly follow, and we have
ourselves recorded the various advances made so fully that it will be
unnecessary to enter into details here.

As late as October, 1885, an able writer said: "The two most celebrated
builders of torpedo boats in the world are Thornycroft and Yarrow, in
England. Each is capable of producing a first class torpedo boat, from 100
ft. to 130 ft. long, and with 10 ft. to 14 ft. beam, that will steam at the
rate of from 18 knots to 22 knots per hour for 370 knots, or at the rate of
10 knots per hour for 3000 miles. A second class torpedo boat is from 40
ft. to 60 ft. long, and with 6 ft. or 8 ft. beam.

The use of these boats is gradually being abandoned in Europe except for
use from sea-going ships; but in Europe the harbors are very small, and it
has been found that practically every torpedo boat for coast defense must
be able to go to sea. The tendency is, therefore, to confinement to the
first class boats."

In a paper on "Naval Torpedo Warfare," prepared in January, 1886, for a
special committee of the American Senate, by Lieutenant Jaques of the
American Navy, we find the following reference to the progress in torpedo
boat construction: "The development in torpedo boats has been phenomenal,
the last year alone showing an advance from a length of 120 ft. and a speed
of 19 knots, which were considered remarkable qualities in a first class
boat, to a length of 140 ft. and a speed of 23 knots loaded (carrying 15
tons), and 25 knots light, together with the introduction of novel features
of importance.

"Although Messrs. Yarrow and Thornycroft have brought the second class
boats to a very high standard in Europe, I believe they will soon be
abandoned there even for sea-going ships (very few are now laid down), and
that the great development will be in overcoming the disadvantages of
delicacy and weakness by increasing their size, giving them greater
maneuvering power and safety by the introduction of two engines and twin
screws, and steel plate and coal protection against rapid firing
ammunition. Yarrow and Co. have already laid down some boats of this
character that give promise of developing a speed of from 23 to 25 knots."

In the Russian boat recently built at Glasgow, progress in this direction
is also seen in the 148 ft. length, 17 ft. beam, the maneuvering powers and
safety element of the twin screws. But while the boat is fitted for the 19
ft. torpedo, a weapon of increased range and heavier explosive charge, it
suffers from the impossibility of broadside fire and the disadvantages that
Gallwey has named: "The great length of this torpedo, however, makes it a
very unhandy weapon for a boat, besides which its extra weight limits the
number which can be carried."

While perhaps Messrs. Thomson have been the first to show the performance
of a twin screw torpedo boat in England, the one completed in June last by
Yarrow for the Japanese government recalls the intelligence that Japan has
exercised in the selection of types.

Commencing as far back as nine years ago, the Japanese were probably the
first to introduce sea-going boats, and they have been the first power to
initiate the armor type, one of which was shipped last summer to be put
together in Japan. As before stated, it was built by Messrs. Yarrow and
Co., was 166 ft. long, 19 ft. beam, with twin screws, 1 in. steel armor,
double engines, with bow and broadside torpedo guns, the latter so arranged
as to greatly increase their efficiency.

While the advances are not restricted to the English builders, a glance at
the points to which Thornycroft and Yarrow have brought their improvements
up to the present time will indicate that their achievements are not only
equal to but greater than those of any other builders.

The former has boats under construction 148 ft. long, 15 ft. beam, to make
420 revolutions with 130 lb. of steam, the guaranteed speed being 23 knots
on a continuous run of two hours' duration, with a load of 15 tons. They
will have triple-expansion or compound direct-acting surface-condensing
engines and twin screws, Thornycroft's patent tubular boilers, double
rudders, electric search lights, three masts and sails.

While the armaments of the various boats differ, Thornycroft is prepared to
fit the launching tubes with either air or powder impulse, to mount the
tubes forward or on deck, and also the fittings for machine and rapid
firing guns.

Yarrow and Co. have contracted for boats varying in length from 117 ft. to
166 ft., with fittings and armament as may be required. They have obtained
excellent results in their last English boat of the Admiralty type. They
are, in fact, prepared to guarantee a speed of 23 knots in a length of 125
ft. and 25 knots in a length of 140 ft., carrying in both causes a mean
load corresponding to fuel and armament of 10 tons.

And so the progress goes on, but it will not stop here; it has already
incited a marked development in ship construction, and the endeavors to
withstand torpedo attack have improved the defense against gun fire also.

In quoting a German opinion on the development of the Russian torpedo
fleet, Charmes refers to the type which will, no doubt, be most successful
upon the sea, namely, the torpedo cruisers, and it is to this type, more
than for any other, that we may expect torpedo boats to be adapted.
Already, writers have dropped the phrase "torpedo boats" for "torpedo

* * * * *


The firing trial of the first new 1101/2 ton breech loading gun approved for
H.M.'s ships Benbow, Renown, and Sanspareil was commenced recently at the
Woolwich proof butts, under the direction of Colonel Maitland, the
superintendent of the Royal Gun Factories. We give herewith a section
showing the construction of this gun (_vide_ Fig. 8). It very nearly
corresponds to the section given of it when designed in 1884, in a paper
read by Colonel Maitland at the United Service Institution, of which we
gave a long account in the _Engineer_ of June 27, 1884.

The following figures are authoritative: Length over all, 524 in.; length
of bore, 487.5 in. (30 calibers). The breech engages in the breech piece,
leaving the A tube with its full strength for tangential strain (_vide_
Fig.). The A tube is in a single piece instead of two lengths, as in the
case of the Italia guns. It is supplied to Elswick from Whitworth's works,
one of the few in England where such a tube could be made. There are four
layers of metal hoops over the breech. Copper and bronze are used to give
longitudinal strength. The obturation is a modification of the De Bange
system, proposed by Vavasseur.

[Illustration: THE NEW 1101/2 TON ELSWICK GUNS FOR H.M.S. BENBOW.]

The maximum firing charge is 900 lb. of cocoa powder. The projectile weighs
1,800 lb. The estimated muzzle velocity is 2,216 ft. per second. The
capacity of the chamber is 28,610 cubic inches, and that of the bore
112,595 cubic inches. The estimated total energy is 61,200 ft. tons. It
will be a few days probably before the full powers of the gun are tested,
but the above are confidently expected to be attained, judging from the
results with the 100 ton guns supplied to Italy. On January 7 last we gave
those of the new Krupp 119 ton gun. It had fired a projectile with a
velocity of almost 1,900 ft. with a charge of less than 864.67 lb., with
moderate pressure. The estimated maximum for this gun was a velocity of
2,017 ft. with a projectile weighing 1,632 lb., giving a total energy of
46,061 ft. tons, or 13,000 ft. tons less than the Elswick gun, comparing
the estimated results.

The proof of the Elswick gun is mounted on a carriage turned out by the
Royal Carriage Department, under Colonel Close. This carriage is made on
bogies so as to run on rails passing easily round curves of 50 ft. radius.
The gun is fired on an inclined length of rails, the recoil presses of the
carriage first receiving the shock and reducing the recoil. The carriage is
made to lift into the government barge, so as to go easily to Shoeburyness
or elsewhere. It can be altered so as to provide for turning, and it allows
the piece to be fired at angles of elevation up to 24 deg. The cheeks of
the carriage are made to open and close, so as to take the 12 in. gun and
larger pieces. The steel castings for it are supplied from the Stanners
Close Steel Works.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

The first round was fired at about noon. The charge was only 598 lb.,
consisting of four charges of 112 lb. and one of 130 lb. of Waltham Abbey
brown prism No. 1 powder. The proof shot weighs, like the service
projectile, 1,800 lb. Thus fired, the gun recoiled nearly 4 ft. on the
press, and the carriage ran back on the rails about 50 ft. The projectile
had a velocity of 1,685 ft. per second, and entered about 52 ft. into the
butt. We cannot yet give the pressure, but unquestionably it was a low one.
The charges as the firing continues will be increased in successive rounds
up to the full 900 lb. charge.

Figs. 1 and 2 show the mounting of the 1101/2 ton gun in the barbette towers
of the Benbow. The gun is held down on the bed by steel bands and recoils
in its bed on the slide (vide Fig. 2). The latter is hinged or pivoted in
front and is elevated by elevating ram, shown in Fig. 2. When the slide is
fully down, the gun is in the loading position. The ammunition lift brings
up the projectile and charge, which latter is subdivided, like those
employed in the German guns, in succession to the breech, the hydraulic
rammer forcing them home.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

[Illustration: FIG. 6.]

The simplicity of the arrangement is apparent. The recoil always acts
parallel to the slide. This is much better than allowing its direction to
be affected by elevation, and the distributed hold of the steel bands is
preferable to the single attachment at trunnions. Theoretically, the recoil
is not so perfectly met as in some of the earlier Elswick designs, in which
the presses were brought opposite to the trunnions, so that they acted
symmetrically on each side of the center of resistance. The barbette tower
is covered by a steel plate, shown in Fig. 1, fitting close to the gun
slide, so that the only opening is that behind the breech when the gun is
in the forward position, and this is closed as it recoils.

The only man of the detachment even partly exposed is the number one, while
laying the gun, and in that position he is nearly covered by the gun and
fittings. Common shell, shrapnel shell, and steel armor-piercing
projectiles, have been approved for the 1101/2 ton gun. The common shell is
shown in Fig. 3. Like the common shell for all the larger natures of new
type guns, it is made of steel. It has been found necessary to support the
core used in casting these projectiles at both ends. Consequently, there is
a screw plug at the base as well as at the apex. The hole at the base is
used as a filling hole for the insertion of the bursting charge, which
consists of 179 lb. of powder, the total weight of the filled shell being
1,800 lb.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 7.]

The apex has a screw plug of larger diameter than that of the fuse. This is
shown in Fig. 4. The fuse is a direct action one. The needle, B, is held in
the center of a copper disk, C C, and is safe against explosion until it is
actually brought into contact with an object, when it is forced down,
igniting a patch of cap composition and the magazine at A, and so firing
the bursting charge of the shell below. E E E are each priming charges of
seven grains of pistol powder, made up in shalloon bags to insure the
ignition of the bursting charge, which is in a bag of serge and shalloon

The use of this fuse involves the curious question of the physical
conditions now existing in the discharge of our projectiles by slow burning
powder. The forward movement of the shell is now so gradual that the
inertia of a pellet is only sufficient to shear a wire of one-tenth the
strength of that which might formerly have been sheared by a similar pellet
in an old type gun with quick burning powder. Consequently, in many cases,
it is found better not to depend on a suspending wire thus sheared, but to
adopt direct action. The fuse in question would, we believe, act even on
graze, at any angle over 10 deg.. Probably at less angles than 10 deg. it would not
explode against water, which would be an advantage in firing at ships.

Shells so gently put in motion, and having no windage, might be made, it
might naturally be supposed, singularly thin, and the adoption of steel in
place of iron calls for some explanation. The reason is that it has been
found that common shells break up against masonry, instead of penetrating
it, when fired from these large high velocity guns.

The shrapnel shell is shown at Fig. 5. Like the common shell, it is made of
steel, and is of the general form of the pattern of General Boxer, with
wooden head, central tube, and bursting charge in the base. It contains
2,300 four ounce sand shots and an 8 lb. bursting charge. It weighs 1,800
lb. The fuse is time and percussion. It is shown in Figs. 6 and 6A. It
closely resembles the original Armstrong time and percussion pattern.

[Illustration: FIG. 6A.]

The action is as follows: The ignition pellet, A, which is ordinarily held
by a safety pin, is, after the withdrawal of the latter, only held by a
fine, suspending wire, which is sheared by the inertia of the pellet on
discharge, a needle lighting a percussion patch of composition and the
composition ring, B B, which burns round at a given rate until it reaches
the communication passage, C, when it flashes through the percussion
pellet, E, and ignites the magazine, D, and so ignites the primer shown in
Fig. 6, flashes down the central tube of the shell, and explodes the
bursting charge in the base, Fig. 5. The length of time during which the
fuse burns depends on how far the composition ring is turned round, and
what length it consequently has to burn before it reaches the communication
passage, C. If the fuse should be set too long, or from any other cause
the shell strikes before the fuse fires the charge, the percussion action
fires the shell on graze by the following arrangement: The heavy metal
piece containing the magazine, D, constitutes a striker, which is held in
place by a plain ball, G, near the axis of the fuse and by a safety pellet,
H. On first movement in the gun, this latter by inertia shears a suspending
wire and leaves the ball free to escape above it, which it does by
centrifugal force, leaving the magazine striker, D, free to fire itself by
momentum on the needle shown above it, on impact. There is a second safety
arrangement, not shown in the figure, consisting of a cross pin, held by a
weak spiral spring, which is compressed by centrifugal force during flight,
leaving the magazine pellet free to act, as above described, on impact.

The armor-piercing projectile is shown in Fig. 7. It is to be made of
forged steel, and supplied by Elswick. In appearance it very closely
resembles those fired from the 100 ton gun at Spezia, but if it is made on
the Firmini system, it will differ from it in the composition of its metal,
inasmuch as it will contain a large proportion of chromium, probably from 1
to 2 per cent., whereas an analysis of Krupp's shell gives none. In fact,
as Krupp's agent at Spezia predicted, the analysis is less instructive than
we could wish.--_The Engineer_.

* * * * *


The industrial world has reason to feel considerable interest in any
economical method of traction on railways, owing to the influence which
cost of transportation has upon the price of produce. We give a description
of the gas engine invented by Mr. Emmanuel Stevens. Many experiments have
been made both at Berlin and Liege during the past few years. They all
failed, owing to the impossibility the builders encountered in securing
sufficient speed.

The Stevens engine does not present this defect, as will be seen. It has
the appearance of an ordinary street car entirely inclosed, showing none of
the machinery from without. On the interior is a Koerting gas motor of six
horse power, which is a sufficiently well known type not to require a
description. In the experiment which we saw, the motor was supplied with a
mixture of gas and air, obtained by the evaporation of naphtha. On the
shaft of the motor are fixed two pulleys of different sizes, which give the
engine two rates of speed, one of three miles and the other of 81/2 miles an
hour. Between these two pulleys is a friction socket, by which either rate
of speed may be secured.

The power is transmitted from one of the pulleys by a rubber belt to an
intermediate shaft, which carries a toothed wheel that transmits the power
to the axle by means of an endless chain. On this axle are three conical
gear wheels, two of which are furnished with hooked teeth, and the third
with wooden projections and fixed permanently in place. This arrangement
enables the engine to be moved forward or backward according as it is
thrown in right or left gear. When the conical pinions are thrown out of
gear, the motive force is no longer applied to the axle, and by the aid of
the brakes the engine may be instantly stopped. The movement of the pinions
is effected by two sets of wheels on each of the platforms of the engine,
and near the door for the conductor. By turning one of the wheels to the
right or left on either platform, the conductor imparts either the less or
the greater speed to the engine. In case he has caused the engine to move
forward by turning the second wheel, he will not have to touch it again
until the end of the trip. The brake, which is also operated from the two
platforms, is applied to all four wheels at the same time. From this
arrangement it is seen that the movement is continuous. Nevertheless, the
conductor has access to the regulator by a small chain connected with the
outside by a wheel near at hand, but the action is sufficiently regular not
to require much attention to this feature.


The gas is produced by the Wilford apparatus, which regularly furnishes the
requisite quantity necessary for an explosion, which is produced by a
particular kind of light placed near the piston. The vapor is produced by
passing hot water from the envelope of the cylinder of the motor through
the Wilford apparatus. The water is cooled again in a reservoir (system
Koerting) placed in direct communication with the cylinder. Any permanent
heating is therefore impossible.

The noise of the explosions is prevented by a device invented by Mr.
Stevens himself. It consists of a drum covered with asbestos or any other
material which absorbs noise.

According to the inventor, the saving over the use of horses for traction
is considerable. This system is soon to be tried practically at Antwerp in
Belgium, and then it will be possible to arrive at the actual cost of
traction.--_Industrie Moderne, Brussels_.

* * * * *



The interesting piece of railroad location illustrated in this issue is on
the mountain section of the Western North Carolina Railroad. This section
crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains 18 miles east of Asheville, at a point
known as Swannanoa Gap, 2,660 feet above tide water. The part of the road
shown on the accompanying cut is 10 miles in length and has an elevation of
1,190 feet; to overcome the actual distance by the old State pike was
somewhat over 3 miles. The maximum curvature as first located was 10 deg., but
for economy of time as well as money this was exceeded in a few instances
as the work progressed, but is now being by degrees reduced. The maximum
grades on tangents are 116 feet per mile; on curves the grade is equated
one-tenth to a degree. The masonry is of the most substantial kind, granite
viaducts and arch culverts. The numbers and lengths of tunnels as indicated
by letters on cut are as follows:

Ft. in all of these.

A. Point Tunnel. 216 ft. long.[1]
B. Jarrett's " 125 " "
C. Lick Log " 562 " "
D. McElroy " 89 " "
E. High Ridge " 415 " "
F. Burgin " 202 " "
G. Swannanoa " 1,800 " "

[Footnote 1: For the sake of economy of space, our cut omits the Point and
Swannanoa tunnels (the latter is the summit tunnel), but covers all of the
location which is of interest to engineers, the remainder at the Swannanoa
end being almost "on tangent" to and through the summit.]

The work was done by the State of North Carolina with convict labor, under
the direction of Mr. Jas. A. Wilson, as president and chief engineer, but
was sold by the State to the Richmond & Danville system.--_Railroad

* * * * *


The new gasholder which has been erected by Messrs. C. and W. Walker for
the Imperial Continental Gas Company at Erdberg, near Vienna, has been
graphically described by Herr E.R. Leonhardt in a paper which he read
before the Austrian Society of Engineers. The enormous dimensions and
elegant construction of the holder--being the largest out of England--as
well as the work of putting up the new gasholder, are of special interest
to English engineers, as Erdberg contains the largest and best appointed
works in Austria. The dimensions of the holder are--inner lift, 195 feet
diameter, 40 feet deep; middle lift, 1971/2 feet diameter, 40 feet deep;
outer lift, 200 feet diameter, 40 feet deep. The diameter over all is about
230 feet. The impression produced upon the members of the Austrian Society
by their visit to Erdberg was altogether most favorable; and not only did
the inspection of the large gasholder justify every expectation, but the
visitors were convinced that all the buildings were in excellent condition
and well adapted for their purpose, that the machinery was of the latest
and most approved type, and that the management was in experienced hands.


is contained in a building consisting of a circular wall covered with a
wrought iron roof. The holder itself is telescopic, and is capable of
holding 31/2 million cubic feet of gas. The accompanying illustrations (Figs.
1 and 3) are a sectional elevation of the holder and its house and a
sectional plan of the roof and holder crown. Having a capacity of close
upon 3,200,000 Austrian cubic feet, this gasholder is the largest of its
kind on the Continent, and is surpassed in size by only a few in England
and America. By way of comparison, Hamburg possesses a holder of 50,000
cubic meters (1,765,000 cubic feet) capacity; and there is one in Berlin
which is expected to hold 75,000 cubic meters (2,647,500 cubic feet) of


The gasholder house at Erdberg is perfectly circular, and has an internal
diameter of 63.410 meters. It is constructed, in three stories, with forty
piers projecting on the outside, and with four rows of windows between the
piers--one in each of the top and bottom stories, and two rows in the
middle. These windows have a height of 1.40 meters in the lowest circle,
where the wall is 1.40 meters thick, and of 2.90 meters in the two top
stories, where it is respectively 1.11 meters and 0.90 meter thick. The top
edge of the wall is 35.35 meters above the base of the building, and 44.39
meters from the bottom of the tank; the piers rising 1.60 meters beyond the
top of the wall. The highest point of the lantern on the roof will thus be
48.95 meters above the ground.


The tank in which the gasholder floats has an internal diameter of 61.57
meters, and therefore a superficial area of 3,000 square meters; and since
the coping is 12.31 meters above the floor, it follows that the tank is
capable of holding 35,500 cubic meters (7,800,000 gallons) of water. The
bottom consists of brickwork 1.10 meters thick, rendered with Portland
cement, and resting on a layer of concrete 1 meter thick. The walls are
likewise of brick and cement, of a thickness of 3.30 meters up to the
ground level, and 2.40 meters thick to the height of 3.44 meters above the
surface. Altogether, 2,988,680 kilos. of cement and 5,570,000 bricks were
used in its construction. In fact, from the bottom of tank to top of roof,
it reaches as high as the monument at London Bridge.


The construction of the tank offered many and serious difficulties. The
bottom of the tank is fully 3 meters below the level of the Danube Canal,
which passes close by, and it was not until twelve large pulsometer pumps
were set up, and worked continually night and day, that it was possible to
reach the necessary depth to allow of the commencement of the foundations
of the boundary wall.


The wrought iron cupola-shaped roof of the gasholder house was designed by
Herr W. Brenner, and consists of 40 radiating rafters, each weighing about
25 cwt., and joined together by 8 polygonal circles of angle iron (90x90x10
mm.). The highest middle circle is uncovered, and carries a round lantern
(Fig. 1). These radiating rafters consist of flat iron bars 7 mm. thick,
and of a height which diminishes gradually, from one interval to another on
the inside, from 252 to 188 mm. At the outside ends (varying from 80x80x9
mm. in the lowest to 60x60x7 mm. in the last polygon but one) these rafters
are strengthened, at least as far as the five lowest ones are concerned, by
flat irons tightly riveted on. At their respective places of support, the
ends of all the spars are screwed on by means of a washer 250 mm. high and
31 mm. thick, and surmounted by a gutter supported by angle irons. From
every junction between the radial rafters and the polygonal circle,
diagonal bars are made to run to the center of the corresponding interval,
where they meet, and are there firmly held together by means of a tongue
ring. The roof is 64.520 meters wide and 14.628 meters high; and its total
weight is 103.300 kilos. for the ironwork--representing a weight of 31.6
kilos. per square meter of surface. It is proposed to employ for its
covering wooden purlins and tin plates. The whole construction has a light,
pleasing, and yet thoroughly solid appearance.


Herr Brenner, the engineer of the Erdberg Works, gives a description of how
the roof of a house, 54.6 meters wide, for a gasholder in Berlin, was
raised to a height of 22 meters. In that instance the iron structure was
put together at the bottom of the tank, leaving the rafter ends and the
mural ring. The hoisting itself was effected by means of levers--one to
each rafter--connected with the ironwork below by means of iron chains. At
the top there were apertures at distances of about 26 mm. from each other,
and through these the hoisting was proceeded with. With every lift, the
iron structure was raised a distance of 26 mm.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

Herr Brenner had considerable hesitation in raising in the same way the
structure at Erdberg, which was much larger and heavier than that in
Berlin. The simultaneous elevation to 48 meters above the level, proposed
to be effected at forty different points, did not appear to him to offer
sufficient security. He therefore proposed to put the roof together on the
ground, and to raise it simultaneously with the building of the wall;
stating that this mode would be perfectly safe, and would not involve any
additional cost. The suggestion was adopted, and it was found to possess,
in addition, the important advantage that the structure could be made to
rest on the masonry at any moment; whereas this had been impossible in the
case at the Berlin Gasworks.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]


At a given signal from the foreman, two operatives, stationed at each of
the forty lifting points, with crowbars inserted in the holes provided for
the purpose, give the screws a simultaneous turn in the same direction. The
bars are then inserted in another hole higher up. The hoisting screws are
connected with the structure of the roof, and rise therewith. All that is
requisite for the hoisting from the next cross beam is to give a forward
turn to the screws. When the workmen had become accustomed to their task,
the hoisting to a distance of 1 meter occupied only about half to
three-quarters of an hour. At the outset, and merely by way of a trial, the
roof was lifted to a height of fully 2 meters, and left for some time
suspended in the air. The eighty men engaged in the operation carry on the
work with great regularity and steadiness, obeying the signal of the
foreman as soon as it was given.


The holder, which was supplied by the well-known firm of Messrs. C. and W.
Walker, of Finsbury Circus, London, and Donnington, Salop, was in an outer
courtyard. It is a three-lift telescopic one; the lowest lift being 200
feet, the middle lift 197 ft. 6 in., and the top lift 195 ft. in diameter.
The height of each lift is 40 feet. The several lifts are raised in the
usual way; and they all work in a circle of 24 vertical U-shaped channel
irons, fixed in the wall of the house by means of 13 supports placed at
equal distances from the base to the summit (as shown in Fig. 2). When the
gasholder is perfectly empty, the three lifts are inclosed, one in the
other, and rest with their lower edges upon the bottom of the tank. In this
case the roof of the top lift rests upon a wooden framework. Fixed in the
floor of the tank are 144 posts, 9 inches thick at the bottom and 6 inches
thick at the top, to support the crown of the holder in such a way that the
tops are fixed in a kind of socket, each of them being provided with four
horizontal bars, which decrease in thickness from 305 by 100 mm. to 150 by
50 mm., and represent 16 parallel polygons, which in their turn are
fastened diagonally by means of iron rails 63 by 100 mm. thick, arranged
crosswise. The top of this framework is perfectly contiguous with the
inside of the crown of the gasholder. The crown itself is made up of iron
plates, the outer rows having a thickness of 11 mm., decreasing to 5 mm.
toward the middle, and to 3 mm. at the top. The plates used for the side
sheets of the holder are: For the top and bottom rows, 6.4 mm.; and for the
other plates, 2.6 mm.

* * * * *

A new bleaching compound has been discovered, consisting of three parts by
measure of mustard-seed oil, four of melted paraffin, three of caustic soda
20 deg. Baume, well mixed to form a soapy compound. Of this one part of weight
and two of pure tallow soap are mixed, and of this mixture one ounce for
each gallon of water is used for the bleaching bath, and one ounce caustic
soda 20 deg. Baume for each gallon is added, when the bath is heated in a close
vessel, the goods entered, and boiled till sufficiently bleached.

* * * * *


[Footnote: A paper by Prof. G.L. Vose, Member of the Boston Society of
Civil Engineers. Read September 15, 1886.]

By Prof. G.L. VOSE.

Few persons, even among those best acquainted with our modern railroad
system, are aware of the early struggles of the men to whose foresight,
energy, and skill the new mode of transportation owes its introduction into
this country. The railroad problem in the United States was quite a
different one from that in Europe. Had we simply copied the railways of
England, we should have ruined the system at the outset, for this country.
In England, where the railroad had its origin, money was plenty, the land
was densely populated, and the demand for rapid and cheap transportation
already existed. A great many short lines connecting the great centers of
industry were required, and for the construction of such in the most
substantial manner the money was easily obtained. In America, on the
contrary, a land of enormous extent, almost entirely undeveloped, but of
great possibilities, lines of hundreds and even thousands of miles in
extent were to be made, to connect cities as yet unborn, and accommodate a
future traffic of which no one could possibly foresee the amount. Money was
scarce, and in many districts the natural obstacles to be overcome were
infinitely greater than any which had presented themselves to European

By the sound practical sense and the unconquerable will of George
Stephenson, the numerous inventions which together make up the locomotive
engine had been collected into a machine which, in combination with the
improved roadway, was to revolutionize the transportation of the world. The
railroad, as a machine, was invented. It remained to apply the new
invention in such a manner as to make it a success, and not a failure. To
do this in a new country like America required infinite skill, unbounded
energy, the most careful study of local conditions, and the exercise of
well matured, sound business judgment. To see how well the great invention
has been applied in the United States, we have only to look at the network
of iron roads which now reaches from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico,
and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

With all the experience we have had, it is not an easy problem, even at the
present time, to determine how much money we are authorized to spend upon
the construction of a given railroad. To secure the utmost benefit at the
least outlay, regarding both the first cost of building the road and the
perpetual cost of operating it, is the railroad problem which is perhaps
less understood at the present day than any other. It was an equally
important problem fifty years ago, and certainly not less difficult at that
time. It was the fathers of the railroad system in the United States who
first perceived the importance of this problem, and who, adapting
themselves to the new conditions presented in this country, undertook to
solve it. Among the pioneers in this branch of engineering no one has done
more to establish correct methods, nor has left behind a more enviable or
more enduring fame, than Major George W. Whistler.

The Whistler family is of English origin, and is found toward the end of
the 15th century in Oxfordshire, at Goring and Whitchurch, on the Thames.
One branch of the family settled in Sussex, at Hastings and Battle, being
connected by marriage with the Websters of Battle Abbey, in which
neighborhood some of the family still live. Another branch lived in Essex,
from which came Dr. Daniel Whistler, President of the College of Physicians
in London in the time of Charles the Second. From the Oxfordshire branch
came Ralph, son of Hugh Whistler, of Goring, who went to Ireland, and there
founded the Irish branch of the family, being the original tenant of a
large tract of country in Ulster, under one of the guilds or public
companies of the city of London. From this branch of the family came Major
John Whistler, father of the distinguished engineer, and the first
representative of the family in America. It is stated that in some youthful
freak he ran away and enlisted in the British Army. It is certain that he
came to this country during the Revolutionary War, under General Burgoyne,
and remained with his command until its surrender at Saratoga, when he was
taken prisoner of war. Upon his return to England he was honorably
discharged, and, soon after, forming an attachment for a daughter of Sir
Edward Bishop, a friend of his father, he eloped with her, and came to this
country, settling at Hagerstown, in Maryland. He soon after entered the
army of the United States, and served in the ranks, being severely wounded
in the disastrous campaign against the Indians under Major-General St.
Clair in the year 1791. He was afterward commissioned as lieutenant, rose
to the rank of captain, and later had the brevet of major. At the reduction
of the army in 1815, having already two sons in the service, he was not
retained; but in recognition of his honorable record, he was appointed
Military Storekeeper at Newport, Kentucky, from which post he was afterward
transferred to Jefferson Barracks, where he lived to a good old age.

Major John Whistler had a large family of sons and daughters, among whom we
may note particularly William, who became a colonel in the United States
Army, and who died at Newport, Ky., in 1863; John, a lieutenant in the
army, who died of wounds received in the battle of Maguago, near Detroit,
in 1812; and George Washington, the subject of our sketch. Major John
Whistler was not only a good soldier, and highly esteemed for his military
services, but was also a man of refined tastes and well educated, being an
uncommonly good linguist and especially noted as a fine musician. In his
family he is stated to have united firmness with tenderness, and to have
impressed upon his children the importance of a faithful and thorough
performance of duty in whatever position they should be placed.

George Washington Whistler, the youngest son of Major John Whistler, was
born on the 19th of May, in the year 1800, at Fort Wayne, in the present
State of Indiana, but then part of the Northwest Territory, his father
being at the time in command of that post. Of the boyhood of Whistler we
have no record, except that he followed his parents from one military
station to another, receiving his early education for the most part at
Newport, Ky., from which place, on July 31, 1814, he was appointed a cadet
to the United States Military Academy, being then fourteen years of age.
The course of the student at West Point was a very satisfactory one. Owing
to a change in the arrangement of classes after his entrance, he had the
advantage of a longer term than had been given to those who preceded him,
remaining five years under instruction. His record during his student life
was good throughout. In a class of thirty members he stood No. 1 in
drawing, No. 4 in descriptive geometry, No. 5 in drill, No. 11 in
philosophy and in engineering, No. 12 in mathematics, and No. 10 in general
merit. He was remarkable, says one who knew him at this time, for his frank
and open manner and for his pleasant and cheerful disposition. A good story
is told of the young cadet which shows his ability, even at this time, to
make the best of circumstances apparently untoward, and to turn to his
advantage his surroundings, whatever they might be. Having been for some
slight breach of discipline required to bestride a gun in the campus for a
short time, he saw, to his dismay, coming down the walk the beautiful
daughter of Dr. Foster Swift, a young lady who, visiting West Point, had
taken the hearts of the cadets by storm, and who, little as he may at the
time have dreamed it, was destined to become his future wife. Pulling out
his handkerchief, he bent over his gun, and appeared absorbed in cleaning
the most inaccessible parts of it with such vigor as to be entirely unaware
that any one was passing; nor did the young lady dream that a case of
discipline had been before her until in after years, when, on a visit to
West Point, an explanation was made to her by her husband.

It was at this time of his life that the refinement and taste for which
Major Whistler was ever after noted began to show itself. An accomplished
scientific musician and performer, he gained a reputation in this direction
beyond that of a mere amateur, and scarcely below that of the professionals
of the day. His _sobriquet_ of "Pipes," which his skill upon the flute at
this time gave him, adhered to him through life among his intimates in the
army. His skill with the pencil, too, was something phenomenal, and would,
had not more serious duties prevented, have made him as noted an artist as
he was an engineer. Fortunately for the world this talent descended to one
of his sons, and in his hands has had full development. These tastes in
Major Whistler appeared to be less the results of study than the
spontaneous outgrowth of a refined and delicate organization, and so far
constitutional with him that they seemed to tinge his entire character.
They continued to be developed till past the meridian of life, and amid all
the pressure of graver duties furnished a most delightful relaxation.

Upon completing his course at the Military Academy he was graduated, July
1, 1819, and appointed second lieutenant in the corps of artillery. From
this date until 1821 he served part of the time on topographical duty, and
part of the time he was in garrison at Fort Columbus. From November 2,
1821, to April 30, 1822, he was assistant professor at the Military
Academy, a position for which his attainments in descriptive geometry and
his skill in drawing especially fitted him. This employment, however, was
not altogether to his taste. He was too much of an artist to wish to
confine himself to the mechanical methods needed in the training of
engineering students. In 1822, although belonging to the artillery, he was
detailed on topographical duty under Major (afterward Colonel) Abert, and
was connected with the commission employed in tracing the international
boundary between Lake Superior and the Lake of the Woods. This work
continued four years, from 1822 to 1826, and subsequent duties in the
cabinet of the commission employed nearly two years more.

The field service of this engagement was anything but light work, much of
it being performed in the depth of winter with a temperature fifty degrees
below zero. The principal food of the party was tallow and some other
substance, which was warmed over a fire on stopping at night. The snow was
then removed to a sufficient depth for a bed, and the party wrapped one
another up in their buffalo robes, until the last man's turn came, when he
had to wrap himself up the best he could. In the morning, after warming
their food and eating, the remainder was allowed to harden in the pan,
after which it was carried on the backs of men to the next stopping place.
The work was all done upon snow-shoes, and occasionally a man became so
blinded by the glare of the sun upon the snow that he had to be led by a

Upon the 1st of June, 1821, Whistler was made second lieutenant in the
First Artillery, in the reorganized army; on the 16th of August, 1821, he
was transferred to the Second Artillery, and on the 16th of August, 1829,
he was made first lieutenant. Although belonging to the artillery, he was
assigned to topographical duty almost continually until December 31, 1833,
when he resigned his position in the army. A large part of his time during
this period was spent in making surveys, plans, and estimates for public
works, not merely those needed by the national government, but others which
were undertaken by chartered companies in different parts of the United
States. There were at that time very few educated engineers in the country,
besides the graduates of the Military Academy; and the army engineers were
thus frequently applied for, and for several years government granted their

Prominent among the early works of internal improvement was the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad, and the managers of this undertaking had been successful in
obtaining the services of several officers who were then eminent, or who
afterward became so. The names of Dr. Howard, who, though not a military
man, was attached to the Corps of Engineers, of Lieut.-Col. Long, and of
Capt. William Gibbs McNeill appear in the proceedings of the company as
"Chiefs of Brigade," and those of Fessenden, Gwynne, and Trimble among the

In October, 1828, this company made a special request for the services of
Lieutenant Whistler. The directors had resolved on sending a deputation to
England to examine the railroads of that country, and Jonathan Knight,
William Gibbs McNeill, and George W. Whistler were selected for this duty.
They were also accompanied by Ross Winans, whose fame and fortune, together
with those of his sons, became so widely known afterward in connection with
the great Russian railway. Lieutenant Whistler, says one who knew him well,
was chosen for this service on account of his remarkable thoroughness in
all the details of his profession, as well as for his superior
qualifications in other respects. The party left this country in November,
1828, and returned in May, 1829.

In the course of the following year the organization of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad, a part of which had already been constructed under the
immediate personal supervision of Lieutenant Whistler, assumed a more
permanent form, and allowed the military engineers to be transferred to
other undertakings of a similar character. Accordingly, in June, 1830,
Captain McNeill and Lieutenant Whistler were sent to the Baltimore and
Susquehanna Railroad, for which they made the preliminary surveys and a
definite location, and upon which they remained until about twenty miles
were completed, when a lack of funds caused a temporary suspension of the
work. In the latter part of 1831 Whistler went to New Jersey to aid in the
construction of the Paterson and Hudson River Railroad (now a part of the
Erie Railway). Upon this work he remained until 1833, at which time he
moved to Connecticut to take charge of the location of the railroad from
Providence to Stonington, a line which had been proposed as an extension of
that already in process of construction from Boston to Providence.

In this year, December 31, 1833, Lieut. Whistler resigned his commission in
the army, and this not so much from choice as from a sense of duty.
Hitherto his work as an engineer appears to have been more an employment
than a vocation. He carried on his undertakings diligently, as it was his
nature to do, but without much anxiety or enthusiasm; and he was satisfied
in meeting difficulties as they came up, with a sufficient solution.
Henceforward he handled his profession from a love of it. He labored that
his resources against the difficulties of matter and space should be
overabundant, and if he had before been content with the sure-footed facts
of observation, he now added the luminous aid of study. How luminous and
how sure these combined became, his later works show best.

In 1834 Mr. Whistler accepted the position of engineer to the proprietors
of locks and canals at Lowell. This position gave him among other things
the direction of the machine shops, which had been made principally for the
construction of locomotive engines. The Boston and Lowell Railroad, which
at this time was in process of construction, had imported a locomotive from
the works of George and Robert Stephenson, at Newcastle, and this engine
was to be reproduced, not only for the use of the Lowell road, but for
other railways as well, and to this work Major Whistler gave a large part
of his time from 1834 to 1837. The making of these engines illustrated
those features in his character which then and ever after were of the
utmost value to those he served. It showed the self-denial with which he
excluded any novelties of his own, the caution with which he admitted those
of others, and the judgment which he exercised in selecting and combining
the most meritorious of existing arrangements. The preference which he
showed for what was simple and had been tried did not arise from a want of
originality, as he had abundant occasion to show during the whole of his
engineering life. He was, indeed, uncommonly fertile in expedients, as all
who knew him testify, and the greater the demand upon his originality, the
higher did he rise to meet the occasion. The time spent in Lowell was not
only to the great advantage of the company, but it increased also his own
stores of mechanical knowledge, and in a direction, too, which in later
years was of especial value to him.

In 1837 the condition of the Stonington Railroad became such as to demand
the continual presence and attention of the engineer. Mr. Whistler
therefore moved to Stonington, a place to which he became much attached,
and to which he seems during all of his wanderings to have looked with a
view of making it finally his home. While engaged upon the above road he
was consulted in regard to many other undertakings in different parts of
the country, and prominent among these was the Western Railroad of

This great work, remarkable for the boldness of its engineering, was to run
from Worcester through Springfield and Pittsfield to Albany. To surmount
the high lands dividing the waters of the Connecticut from those of the
Hudson called for engineering cautious and skillful as well as heroic. The
line from Worcester to Springfield, though apparently much less formidable,
and to one who now rides over the road showing no very marked features,
demanded hardly less study, as many as twelve several routes having been
examined between Worcester and Brookfield. To undertake the solution of a
problem of so much importance required the best of engineering talent, and
we find associated on this work the names of three men who in the early
railroad enterprises of this country stood deservedly in the front rank:
George W. Whistler, William Gibbs McNeill, and William H. Swift. McNeill
had graduated from the Military Academy in 1817, and rose to the rank of
major in the Topographical Engineers. Like Whistler, he had been detailed
to take charge of the design and construction of many works of internal
improvement not under the direction of the general government. These two
engineers exercised an influence throughout the country for many years much
greater than that of any others. Indeed, there were very few works of
importance undertaken at that time in connection with which their names do
not appear. This alliance was further cemented by the marriage between
Whistler and McNeill's sister. Capt. William H. Swift had also graduated
from the Military Academy, and had already shown marked ability as an
engineer. Such were the men who undertook the location and construction of
the railroad which was to surmount the high lands between the Connecticut
and the Hudson, and to connect Boston with the Great West.

The early reports of these engineers to the directors of the Western
Railroad show an exceedingly thorough appreciation of the complex problem
presented to them, and a much better understanding of the principles
involved in establishing the route than seems to have been shown in many
far more recent works. In these early reports made in 1836 and 1837, we
find elaborate discussions as to the power of the locomotive engine, and a
recognition of the fact that in comparing different lines we must regard
the _plan_ as well as the _profile_, "as the resistance from curves on a
level road may even exceed that produced by gravity on an incline;" and in
one place we find the ascents "_equated_ at 18 feet, the slope which
requires double the power needed on a level road," resulting in a "_virtual
increase_." We find also a very clear expression of the fact that an
increased expenditure in the power needed to operate the completed road may
overbalance a considerable saving in first cost. To bear this principle in
mind, and at the same time to work in accordance with the directors' ideas
of economy, in a country where the railroad was regarded very largely as an
experiment, was by no means an easy task. The temptation to make the first
cost low at the expense of the quality of the road in running up the valley
of Westfield River was very great, and the directors were at one time very
strongly urged to make an exceedingly narrow and crooked road west of
Springfield; but Major Whistler so convinced the President, Thomas B.
Wales, of the folly of such a course, that the latter declared, with a most
emphatic prefix, that he would have nothing to do with such a two-penny
cow-path, and thus prevented its adoption.

Mr. Whistler had many investigations to make concerning the plans and
policy of railroad companies at a time when almost everything connected
with them was comparatively new and untried. When he commenced, there was
no passenger railroad in the country, and but very few miles of quarry and
mining track. If at that time an ascent of more than 1 in 200 was required,
it was thought necessary to have inclined planes and stationary power. It
was supposed that by frequent relays it would be possible to obtain for
passenger cars a speed of eight or nine miles an hour. Almost nothing was
known of the best form for rails, of the construction of the track, or of
the details for cars or engines. In all of these things Major Whistler's
highly gifted and well balanced mind enabled him to judge wisely for his
employers, and to practice for them the truest economy.

Major Whistler's employment upon the Western Railroad began while he was
still engaged upon the Stonington line. In connection with his friend
McNeill he acted as consulting engineer for the Western road from 1836 to
1840. From 1840 to 1842 he was its chief engineer, with his headquarters at
Springfield. The steep grades west of the Connecticut presented not only a
difficult problem in location and construction, but in locomotive
engineering as well. At the present day we can order any equipment which
may best meet the requirement upon any railroad, and the order will be
promptly met by any one of our great manufactories. But in the early days
of the Western Railroad it was far otherwise, and the locomotive which
should successfully and economically operate the hitherto unheard of grade
of over 80 feet to the mile was yet to be seen. The Messrs. Winans, of
Baltimore, had built some nondescript machines, which had received the name
of "crabs," and had tried to make them work upon the Western road. But
after many attempts they were given up as unfit for such service.

These "crabs" were eight wheeled engines, weighing about 20 tons, with a
vertical boiler. The wheels were 31/2 feet in diameter, but the engine worked
on to an intermediate shaft, which was connected with the driving axle in
such a way as to get the effect of a five foot wheel. These engines did not
impress Major Whistler at all favorably. And it is related that one Sunday
the watchman in charge of the building in which some of them were kept,
hearing some one among the engines, went in quietly and overheard Major
Whistler, apparently conversing with the "crab," and saying: "No; you
miserable, top-heavy, lop-sided abortion of a grasshopper, you'll never do
to haul the trains over this road." His experience in Lowell was here of
great value to him, and he had become convinced that the engine of George
Stephenson was in the main the coming machine, and needed but to be
properly proportioned and of sufficient size to meet every demand.

With Major Whistler's work upon the Western Railroad his engineering
service in this country concluded, and that by an occurrence which marked
him as the foremost railroad engineer of his time. Patient, indefatigable,
cautious, remarkable for exhaustless resource, admirable judgment, and the
highest engineering skill, he had begun with the beginning of the railroad
system, and had risen to the chief control of one of the greatest works in
the world, the Western Railroad of Massachusetts. Not only had he shown the
most far-sighted wisdom in fixing the general features of this undertaking,
but no man surpassed him, if, indeed, any one equaled him, in an exact and
thorough knowledge of technical details. To combine the various elements in
such a manner as to produce the greatest commercial success, and to make
the railroad in the widest sense of the word a public improvement, never
forgetting the amount of money at his disposal, was the problem he had
undertaken to solve. He had proved himself a great master in his
profession, and had shown how well fitted he was to grapple with every
difficulty. He was equally a man of science and a man of business. And to
all this he added the most delicate sense of honor and the most spotless
integrity. He was in the prime of manhood, and was prepared to enter upon
the great work of his life.

It was not long after the introduction of the railroad that intelligent
persons saw very plainly that the new mode of transportation was not to be
confined to the working of an already established traffic, in densely
populated regions, but that it would be of equal service in awakening the
energies of undeveloped countries, in bringing the vast interior regions of
the continents into communication with the seaboard, in opening markets to
lands which before were beyond the reach of commerce. And it was seen, too,
that in event of war, a new and invaluable element had been introduced,
viz., the power of transportation to an extent never before imagined.

Especially were these advantages foreseen in the vast empire of Russia, and
an attempt was very early made to induce private capitalists to undertake
the construction of the lines contemplated in that country. The Emperor,
besides guaranteeing to the shareholders a minimum profit of four per
cent., proposed to give them, gratuitously, all the lands of the state
through which the lines should pass, and to place at their disposal, also
gratuitously, the timber and raw materials necessary for the way and works
which might be found upon the ground. It was further proposed, to permit
the importation of rails and of the rolling stock free of duty. Russian
proprietors also came forward, and not only agreed to grant such portions
of their land as the railroads might pass through, gratuitously, but
further to dispossess themselves temporarily of their serfs, and surrender
them to the use of the companies, on the sole condition that they should
be properly supported while thus employed.

With regard to the great line, however, which was to unite the two
capitals, St. Petersburg and Moscow, it was decreed that this should be
made exclusively at the expense of the state, in order to retain in the
hands of the government and in the general interest of the people a line of
communication so important to the industry and the internal commerce of the
country. The local proprietors agreed to surrender to the government,
gratuitously, the lands necessary for this line.

It was very early understood that the railroad problem in Russia was much
more analogous to that in the United States than to that in England. The
Emperor, therefore, in 1839, sent the Chevalier De Gerstner to the United
States to obtain information concerning the railroads of this country. It
was this person who obtained from the Emperor the concession for the short
railway from St. Petersburg to Zarskoe Selo, which had been opened in 1837,
and who had also made a careful reconnoissance in 1835 for a line from St.
Petersburg to Moscow, and had very strongly urged its construction on the
American plan. The more De Gerstner examined our roads, the more impressed
he was with the fitness of what he termed the American system of building
and operating railroads to the needs of the empire of Russia. In one of his
letters in explaining the causes of the cheap construction of American
railroads, after noting the fact that labor as well as material is much
dearer in America than in Europe, he refers to the use of steep grades (93
feet to the mile) and sharp curves (600 feet radius), upon which the
American equipment works easily, to the use of labor saving machinery,
particularly to a steam excavating machine upon the railroad between
Worcester and Springfield, and to the American system of wooden bridge
building, and says: "The superstructure of the railroads in America is made
conformable to the expected traffic, and costs therefore more or less
accordingly;" and he concludes, "considering the whole, it appears that the
cheapness of the American railroads has its foundation in the practical
sense which predominates in their construction." Again, under the causes of
the cheap management of the American roads, he notes the less expensive
administration service, the low rate of speed, the use of the eight wheeled
cars and the four-wheeled truck under the engines, and concludes: "In my
opinion it would be of great advantage for every railroad company in Europe
to procure at least one such train" (as those used in America). "Those
companies, however, whose works are yet under construction I can advise
with the fullest conviction to procure all their locomotive engines and
tenders from America, and to construct their cars after the American

Notwithstanding this report, the suggestions of De Gerstner were not at
once accepted. The magnitude of the enterprise would not admit of taking a
false step. Further evidence was needed, and accordingly it was decided to
send a committee of engineer officers to various countries in Europe, and
to the United States, to select such a system for the road and its
equipment as would be best adapted to Russia. These officers, Colonels
Melnikoff and Krofft, not only reported in the most decided manner in favor
of the American methods, but also stated that of all persons with whom they
had communicated, no one had given them such full and satisfactory
information upon all points, or had so impressed them as possessing
extraordinary ability, as Major George W. Whistler. This led to his
receiving an invitation from the Emperor to go to Russia and become
consulting engineer for the great road which was to connect the imperial
city upon the Baltic with the ancient capital of the Czars.

When we consider the magnitude of the engineering works with which the
older countries abound, we can but regard with a feeling of pride the fact
that an American should have been selected for so high a trust by a
European government possessing every opportunity and means for securing the
highest professional talent which the world could offer. Nor should it be
forgotten that the selection of our countryman did not arise from any
necessity which the Russian Government felt for obtaining professional aid
from abroad, growing out of a lack of the requisite material at home. On
the contrary, the engineers of the Russian service are perhaps the most
accomplished body of men to be found in any country. Selected in their
youth, irrespective of any artificial advantages of birth or position, but
for having a genius for such work, and trained to a degree of excellence in
all of the sciences unsurpassed in any country, they stand deservedly in
the front rank. Such was the body of men with whom Major Whistler was
called to co-operate, and whose professional duties, if not directed
specially by him, were to be controlled by his judgment.

Accepting the position offered to him in so flattering a manner, he sailed
for St. Petersburg about mid-summer in 1842, being accompanied on his
voyage by Major Bouttattz, of the Russian Engineer Corps, who had been sent
to this country by the Emperor as an escort. Arriving in St. Petersburg,
and having learned the general character of the proposed work, he traveled
partly by horse and partly on foot over the entire route, and made his
preliminary report, which was at once accepted.

The plan contemplated the construction of a double track railroad 420 miles
long, perfect in all its parts, and equipped to its utmost necessity. The
estimates amounted to nearly forty millions of dollars, and the time for
its construction was reckoned at seven years. The line selected for the
road had no reference to intermediate points, and was the shortest
attainable, due regard being paid to the cost of construction. It is nearly
straight, and passes over so level a country as to encounter no obstacle
requiring a grade exceeding 20 feet to the mile, and for most of the
distance it is level. The right of way taken was 400 feet in width
throughout the entire length. The roadbed was raised from six to ten feet
above the ordinary level of the country, and was 30 feet wide on top.

One of the most important questions to settle at the outset in regard to
this great work was the width of the gauge. At that time the opinion in
England as well as in the United States among engineers was setting very
strongly in favor of a gauge wider than 4 feet 81/2 inches, and the Russian
engineers were decidedly in favor of such increased width. Major Whistler,
however, in an elaborate report to the Count Kleinmichel argued very
strongly in favor of the ordinary gauge. To this a commission of the most
distinguished engineers in Russia replied, urging in the most forcible
manner the adoption of a gauge of six feet. Major Whistler rejoined in a
report which is one of the finest models of an engineering argument ever
written, and in which we have perhaps the best view of the quality of his
mind. In this document no point is omitted, each part of the question is
handled with the most consummate skill, the bearing of the several parts
upon the whole is shown in the clearest possible manner, and in a style
which could only come from one who from his own knowledge was thoroughly
familiar with all the details, not only of the railroad, but of the
locomotive as well.

In this report the history of the ordinary gauge is given, with the origin
of the standard of 4 feet 81/2 inches; the questions of strength, stability,
and capacity of cars, of the dimensions, proportions, and power of engines,
the speed of trains, resistances to motion, weight and strength of rails,
the cost of the roadway, and the removal of snow are carefully considered.
The various claims of the advocates for a wider gauge are fairly and
critically examined, and while the errors of his opponents are laid bare in
the most unsparing manner, the whole is done in a spirit so entirely
unprejudiced, and with so evident a desire for the simple truth, as to
carry conviction to any fair minded person. The dry way, too, in which he
suggests that conclusions based upon actual results from existing railways
are of more value than deductions from supposed conditions upon imaginary
roads, is exceedingly entertaining. The result was the adoption of the
gauge recommended by him, namely, five feet. Those who remember the "Battle
of the Gauges," and who know how much expense and trouble the wide gauge
has since caused, will appreciate the stand taken thus early by Major
Whistler; and this was but one among many cases which might be mentioned to
show how comprehensive and far-reaching was his mind.

The roadbed of the St. Petersburg and Moscow Railway was made 30 feet wide
on top, for a double track of 5 foot gauge, with a gravel ballasting two
feet deep. The bridges were of wood, of the Howe pattern, no spans being
over 200 feet in length. The stations at each end, and the station and
engine houses along the line, were on a plan uniform throughout, and of the
most ample accommodation. Fuel and water stations were placed at suitable
points, and engine houses were provided 50 miles apart, built of the most
substantial masonry, circular in form, 180 feet in diameter, surmounted by
a dome, and having stalls for 22 engines each. Repair shops were attached
to every engine house, furnished with every tool or implement that the
wants of the road could suggest.

The equipment of rolling stock and fixed machinery for the shops was
furnished by the American firm of Winans, Harrison & Eastwick, who from
previous acquaintance were known by Major Whistler to be skillful,
energetic, and reliable. Much diplomacy was needed to procure the large
money advances for this part of the work, the whole Winans contract
amounting to nearly five millions of dollars; but the assurance of Major
Whistler was a sufficient guarantee against disappointment or failure.

In 1843 the plans for the work were all complete, and in 1844 the various
operations along the line were well under way, and proceeding according to
the well arranged programme. In 1845 the work had progressed so far that
the construction of the rolling stock was commenced. The locomotives were
of two classes, freight and passenger. The engines of each class were made
throughout from the same patterns, so that any part of one engine would fit
the same position on any other. The passenger engines had two pairs of
driving wheels, coupled, 6 feet in diameter, and a four wheeled truck
similar to the modern American locomotive. The general dimensions were:
Waist of boiler, 47 inches, 186 two inch tubes 101/2 feet long; cylinders, 16
x 22 inches. The freight engines had the same capacity of boiler and the
same number and length of tubes, three pairs of driving wheels, coupled, 41/2
feet in diameter, a truck and cylinders 18 x 22 inches, and all uniform
throughout in workmanship and finish. The passenger cars were 56 feet long
and 91/2 feet wide, the first class carrying 33 passengers, the second class
54, and the third class 80. They all had eight truck wheels under each, and
elliptic steel springs. The freight cars were all 30 feet long and 91/2 feet
wide, made in a uniform manner, with eight truck wheels under each. The
imperial saloon carriages were 80 feet long and 91/2 feet wide, having double
trucks, or sixteen wheels under each. They were divided into five
compartments and fitted with every convenience.

Early in 1847 the Emperor Nicholas visited the mechanical works at
Alexandroffsky, where the rolling stock was being made by the Messrs.
Winans, in the shops prepared by them and supplied by Russian labor.
Everything here was on the grandest scale, and the work was conducted under
the most perfect system. Upon this occasion the Emperor was so much
gratified at what had already been accomplished that he conferred upon
Major Whistler the decoration of the Order of St. Anne. He had previously
been pressed to wear the Russian uniform, which he promptly declined to do;
but there was no escape from the decoration without giving offense. He is
said, however, to have generally contrived to hide it beneath his coat in
such a manner that few ever saw it.

Technically, Major Whistler was consulting engineer, Colonel Melnikoff
being constructing engineer for the northern half of the road, and Colonel
Krofft for the southern half; but as a matter of fact, by far the larger
part of planning the construction in detail of both railway and equipment
fell upon Major Whistler. There was also a permanent commission having
general charge of the construction of the road, of which the president was
General Destrem, one of the four French engineers whom Napoleon, at the
request of the Emperor Alexander, sent to Russia for the service of that

The year 1848 was a very trying one to Major Whistler. He had already on
several occasions overtasked his strength, and had been obliged to rest.
This year the Asiatic cholera made its appearance. He sent his family
abroad, but remained himself alone in his house. He would on no account at
this time leave his post, nor omit his periodical inspections along the
line of the road, where the epidemic was raging. In November he had an
attack of cholera, and while he recovered from it, he was left very weak.
Still, he remained upon the work through the winter, though suffering much
from a complication of diseases. As spring advanced he became much worse,
and upon the 7th of April, 1849, he passed quietly away, the immediate
cause of his death being a trouble with the heart.

Funeral services were held in the Anglican (Episcopal) Church in St.
Petersburg. His body was soon afterward carried to Boston and deposited
beneath St. Paul's Church; but the final interment took place at
Stonington. The kindness and attention of the Emperor and of all with whom
Major Whistler had been associated knew no bounds. Everything was done to
comfort and aid his wife, and when she left St. Petersburg the Emperor sent
her in his private barge to the mouth of the Baltic. "It was not only,"
says one who knew him weil, "through his skill, ability, and experience as
an engineer that Major Whistler was particularly qualified for and
eminently successful in the important task he performed so well in Russia.
His military training and bearing, his polished manner, good humor, sense
of honor, knowledge of a language (French) in which he could converse with
officers of the government, his resolution in adhering to what he thought
was right, and in meeting difficulties only to surmount them, with other
admirable personal qualities, made him soon, and during his whole residence
in Russia, much liked and trusted by all persons by whom he was known, from
the Emperor down to the peasant. Such is the reputation he left behind him,
and which is given to him in Russia to this day."

In 1849 the firm of Winans, Harrison and Eastwick had already furnished the
road with 162 locomotives, 72 passenger and 2,580 freight cars. They had
also arranged to instruct a suitable number of Russian mechanics to take
charge of the machinery when completed. The road was finished its entire
length in 1850, being opened for passenger and freight traffic on the 25th
of September of that year, in two divisions, experimentally, and finally
opened for through business on November 1, 1851. In all of its construction
and equipment it was essentially American of the best kind, everything
being made under a carefully devised system, by which the greatest economy
in maintenance and in management should be possible. The use of standard
patterns, uniformity in design and duplication of parts was applied, not
only to the rolling stock, but to the railroad as well, wherever it was
possible. Indeed, the whole undertaking in all its parts bore the impress
of one master mind.

On the death of Major Whistler the government with jealous care prevented
any changes whatever being made in his plans, including those which had not
been carried out as well as those already in process of execution. An
American engineer, Major T.S. Brown, was invited to Russia to succeed Major
Whistler as consulting engineer. The services of the Messrs. Winans also
were so satisfactory to the government that a new contract was afterward
made, upon the completion of the road, for the maintenance and the future
construction of rolling stock.

While the great railroad was the principal work of Major Whistler in
Russia, he was also consulted in regard to all the important engineering
works of the period. The fortifications at Cronstadt, the Naval Arsenal and
docks at the same place, the plans for improving the Dwina at Archangel,
the great iron roof of the Riding House at St. Petersburg, and the iron
bridge over the Neva all received his attention. The government was
accustomed to rely upon his judgment in all cases requiring the exercise of
the highest combination of science and practical skill; and here, with a
happy tact peculiarly his own, he secured the warm friendship of men whose
professional acts he found himself called upon in the exercise of his high
trust in many cases to condemn. The Russians are proverbially jealous of
strangers, and no higher evidence of their appreciation of the sterling
honesty of Major Whistler, and of his sound, discriminating judgment, could
be afforded than the fact that all his recommendations on the great
questions of internal improvement, opposed as many of them were to the
principles which had previously obtained, and which were sanctioned by
usage, were yet carried out by the government to the smallest details.

While in Russia Major Whistler was sometimes placed in positions most
trying to him. It is said that some of the corps of native engineers, many
of whom were nobles, while compelled to look up to him officially, were
inclined to look down upon him socially, and exercised their supposed
privileges in this respect so as to annoy him exceedingly, for he had not
known in his own country what it was to be the social inferior of any one.
The Emperor, hearing of this annoyance, determined to stop it; so, taking
advantage of a day when he knew the engineer corps would visit a celebrated
gallery of art, he entered it while they were there, and without at first
noticing any one else, looked around for Major Whistler, and seeing him,
went directly toward him, took his arm, and walked slowly with him entirely
around the gallery. After this the conduct of the nobles was all that could
be desired.

Major Whistler's salary while in Russia was $12,000 a year; a sum no more
than necessary for living in a style befitting his position. He had
abundant opportunity for making money, but this his nice sense of honor
forbade. It is even stated that he would never allow any invention to be
used on the road that could by any possibility be of any profit to himself
or to any of his friends. He was continually besieged by American
inventors, but in vain. The honor of the profession he regarded as a sacred
trust. He served the Emperor with the fidelity that characterized all his
actions. His unswerving devotion to his duty was fully appreciated, and it
is said that no American in Russia, except John Quincy Adams, was ever held
in so high estimation.

Major Whistler married for his first wife Mary, daughter of Dr. Foster
Swift of the U.S. Army, and Deborah, daughter of Capt. Thomas Delano of
Nantucket. By her he had three children: Deborah, his only daughter, who
married Seymour Haden of London, a surgeon, but later and better known for
his skill in etching; George William, who became an engineer and railway
manager, and who went to Russia, and finally died at Brighton, in England,
Dec. 24, 1869; Joseph Swift, born at New London, Aug. 12, 1825, and who
died at Stonington, Jan. 1, 1840. His first wife died Dec. 9, 1827, at the
early age of 23 years, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, in the shade of
the monument erected to the memory of her husband by the loving hands of
his professional brethren. For his second wife he married Anna Matilda,
daughter of Dr. Charles Donald McNeill of Wilmington, N.C., and sister of
his friend and associate, William Gibbs McNeill. By her he had five sons:
James Abbot McNeill, the noted artist, and William Gibbs McNeill, a well
known physician, both now living in London; Kirk Boott, born in Stonington,
July 16, 1838, and who died at Springfield, July 10, 1842; Charles Donald,
born in Springfield, Aug. 27, 1841, and who died in Russia, Sept. 24, 1843;
and John Bouttattz, who was born and who died at St. Petersburg, having
lived but little more than a year. His second wife, who outlived him,
returned to America, and remained here during the education of her
children, after which she moved to England. She died Jan. 31, 1881, at the
age of 76 years, and was buried at Hastings.

At a meeting held in the office of the Panama Railroad Company in New York,
August 27, 1849, for the purpose of suggesting measures expressive of their
respect for the memory of Major Whistler, Wm. H. Sidell being chairman and
A.W. Craven secretary, it was resolved that a monument in Greenwood
Cemetery would be a suitable mode of expressing the feelings of the
profession in this respect, and that an association be formed to collect
funds and take all necessary steps to carry out the work. At this meeting
Capt. William H. Swift was appointed president, Major T.S. Brown
treasurer, and A.W. Craven secretary, and Messrs. Horatio Allen, W.C.
Young, J.W. Adams, and A.W. Craven were appointed a committee to procure
designs and estimates, and to select a suitable piece of ground. The design
was made by Mr. Adams, and the ground was given by Mr. Kirkwood. The
monument is a beautiful structure of red standstone, about 15 feet high,
and stands in "Twilight Dell." Upon the several faces are the following

_Upon the Front_.


_Upon the Right Side_.


_Upon the Back_.


_Upon the Left Side_.


While the monument thus raised to the memory of the great engineer stands
in that most delightful of the cities of the dead, his worn-out body rests
in the quaint old town of Stonington. It was here that his several children
had been buried, and he had frequently expressed a desire that when he
should die he might be placed by their side. A deputation of engineers who
had been in their early years associated with him attended the simple
service which was held over his grave, and all felt as they turned away
that they had bid farewell to such a man as the world has not often seen.

In person Major Whistler was of medium size and well made. His face showed
the finest type of manly beauty, combined with a delicacy almost feminine.
In private life he was greatly prized for his natural qualities of heart
and mind, his regard for the feelings of others, and his unvarying
kindness, especially toward his inferiors and his young assistants. His
duties and his travels in this and in other countries brought him in
contact with men of every rank; and it is safe to say that the more
competent those who knew him were to judge, the more highly was he valued
by them. A close observer, with a keen sense of humor and unfailing tact,
fond of personal anecdote, and with a mind stored with recollections from
association with every grade of society, he was a most engaging companion.
The charm of his manner was not conventional, nor due to intercourse with
refined society, but came from a sense of delicacy and a refinement of
feeling which was innate, and which showed itself in him under all
circumstances. He was in the widest and best sense of the word a gentleman;
and he was a gentleman outwardly because he was a gentleman at heart.

As an engineer, Whistler's works speak for him. He was eminently a
practical man, remarkable for steadiness of judgment and for sound business
sense. Whatever he did was so well done that he was naturally followed as a
model by those who were seeking a high standard. Others may have excelled
in extraordinary boldness or in some remarkable specialty, but in all that
rounds out the perfect engineer, whether natural characteristics,
professional training, or the well digested results of long and valuable
experience, we look in vain for his superior, and those who knew him best
will hesitate to acknowledge his equal.--_Journal of the Association of
Engineering Societies_.

* * * * *



[Footnote: Read before the Birmingham Photographic Society. Reported in the
_Photo. News_.]

There can be no question that there is no plan that is so simple for
producing transparencies as contact printing, but in this, as in other
photographic matters, one method of work will not answer all needs.
Reproduction in the camera, using daylight to illuminate the negative,
enables the operator to reduce or enlarge in every direction, but the
lantern is a winter instrument, and comes in for demand and use during the
short days. When even the professional photographer has not enough light to
get through his orders, how can the amateur get the needed daylight if
photography be only the pursuit in spare time? Besides, there are days in
our large towns when what daylight there is is so yellow from smoke or fog
as to have little actinic power. These considerations and needs have led me
to experiment and test what can be done with artificial light, and I think
I have made the way clear for actual work without further experiment. I
have not been able by any arrangement of reflected light to get power
enough to print negatives of the ordinary density, and have only succeeded
by causing the light to be equally dispersed over the negative by a lens as
used in the optical lantern, but the arrangements required are somewhat
different to that of the enlarging lantern.

The following is the plan by which I have succeeded best in the production
of transparencies:


B is a lamp with a circular wick, which burns petroleum and gives a good
body of light.

C is a frame for holding the negative, on the opposite side of which is a
double convex lens facing the light.

D is the camera and lens.

All these must be placed in a line, so that the best part of the light, the
center of the condenser, and the lens are of equal height.

The method of working is as follows: The lamp, B, is placed at such a
distance from the condenser that the rays come to a focus and enter the
lens; the negative is then placed in the frame, the focus obtained, and the
size of reduction adjusted by moving the camera nearer to or further from
the condenser and negative. In doing this no attention need be paid to the
light properly covering the field, as that cannot be adjusted while the
negative is in its place. When the size and focus are obtained, remove the
negative, and carefully move the lamp till it illuminates the ground glass
equally all over, by a disk of light free from color.

The negative can then be replaced, and no further adjustment will be needed
for any further reproduction of the same size.

There is one point that requires attention: The lens used in the camera
should be a doublet of about 6 inch focus (in reproducing 81/2 x 61/2 or
smaller sizes), and the stop used must not be a very small one, not less
than 1/2 inch diameter. If a smaller stop is used, an even disk of light is
not obtained, but ample definition is obtainable with the size stop

In the arrangement described, a single lens is used for the condenser, not
because it is better than a double one, as is general for such purposes,
but because it is quite sufficient for the purpose. Of course, a large
condenser is both expensive and cumbersome. There is, therefore, no
advantage in using a combination if a single lens will answer.

In reproducing lantern pictures from half-plate negatives, the time
required on my lantern plates is from two to four minutes, using 6 inch
condenser. For whole plate negatives, from two to six minutes with a 9 inch
condenser. In working in this way it is easy to be developing one picture
while exposing another.

The condenser must be of such a size that it will cover the plate from
corner to corner. The best part of an 81/2 x 61/2 negative will be covered by a
9 inch condenser, and a 61/2 x 43/4 by a 6 inch condenser.

With this arrangement it will be easy to reproduce from half or whole plate
negatives or any intermediate sizes quite independently of daylight.

* * * * *


From the _Photographic News_ we take the following: The use of paper coated
with a gelatino-citro-chloride emulsion in place of albumenized paper
appears to be becoming daily more common. Successful toning has generally
been the difficulty with such paper, the alkaline baths commonly in use
with albumenized having proved unsuitable for toning this paper. On the
whole, the bath that has given the best results is one containing, in
addition to gold, a small quantity of hypo and a considerable quantity of
sulphocyanide of ammonium. Such a bath tones very rapidly, and gives most
pleasing colors. It appears, moreover, to be impossible to overtone the
citro-chloro emulsion paper with it in the sense that it is possible to
overtone prints on albumenized paper with the ordinary alkaline bath. That
is to say, it is impossible to produce a slaty gray image. The result of
prolonged toning is merely an image of an engraving black color. Of this,
however, we shall say more hereafter. We wish first of all to refer to an
elaborate series of experiments by Lionel Clark on the effects of various
toning baths used with the gelatino-citro-chloride paper.

The results of these experiments we have before us at the time of writing,
and we may at once say that, from the manner in which the experiments have
been carried out and in which the results have been tabulated, Lionel
Clark's work forms a very useful contribution to our photographic
knowledge, and a contribution that will become more and more useful, the
longer the results of the experiments are kept. A number of small prints
have been prepared. Of these several--in most cases, three--have been toned
by a certain bath, and each print has been torn in two. One-half has been
treated with bichloride of mercury, so as to bleach such portion of the
image as is of silver, and finally the prints--the two halves of each being
brought close together--have been mounted in groups, each group containing
all the prints toned by a certain formula, with full information tabulated.

The only improvement we could suggest in the arrangement is that all the
prints should have been from the same negative, or from only three
negatives, so that we should have prints from the same negatives in every
group, and should the better be able to compare the results of the toning
baths. Probably, however, the indifferent light of the present season of
the year made it difficult to get a sufficiency of prints from one

The following is a description of the toning baths used and of the
appearance of the prints. We refer, in the mean time, only to those halves
that have not been treated with bichloride of mercury.

1.--Gold chloride (AuCl_{3})........... 1 gr.
Sulphocyanide of potassium......... 10 gr.
Hyposulphite of soda............... 1/2 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

The prints are of a brilliant purple or violet color.

2.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Sulphocyanide of potassium......... 10 gr.
Hyposulphite of soda............... 1/2 gr.
Water.............................. 4 oz.

There is only one print, which is of a brown color, and in every way
inferior to those toned with the first bath.

3.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Sulphocyanide of potassium......... 12 gr.
Hyposulphite of soda............... 1/2 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

The prints toned by this bath are, in our opinion, the finest of the whole.
The tone is a purple of the most brilliant and pleasing shade.

4.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Sulphocyanide of potassium......... 20 gr.
Hyposulphite of soda............... 5 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

There is only one print, but it is from the same negative as one of the No.
3 group. It is very inferior to that in No. 3, the color less pleasant, and
the appearance generally as if the details of the lights had been bleached
by the large quantity either of hypo or of sulphocyanide of potassium.

5.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Sulphocyanide of potassium......... 50 gr.
Hyposulphite of soda............... 1/2 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

Opposite to this description of formula there are no prints, but the
following is written: "These prints were completely destroyed, the
sulphocyanide of potassium (probably) dissolving off the gelatine."

6.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Sulphocyanide of potassium......... 20 gr.
Hypo............................... 5 gr.
Carbonate of soda.................. 10 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

This it will be seen is the same as 4, but that the solution is rendered
alkaline with carbonate of soda. The result of the alkalinity certainly
appears to be good, the color is more pleasing than that produced by No. 4,
and there is less appearance of bleaching. It must be borne in mind in this
connection that the paper itself is strongly acid, and that, unless special
means be taken to prevent it, the toning bath is sure to be more or less

7.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Acetate of soda.................... 30 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

The color of the prints toned by this bath is not exceedingly pleasing. It
is a brown tending to purple, but is not very pure or bright. The results
show, however, the possibility of toning the gelatino-chloro-citrate paper
with the ordinary acetate bath if it be only made concentrated enough.

8.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Carbonate of soda.................. 3 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

Very much the same may be said of the prints toned by this bath as of those
toned by No. 7. The color is not very good, nor is the toning quite even.
This last remark applies to No. 7 batch as well as No. 8.

9.--Gold chloride...................... 1 gr.
Phosphate of soda.................. 20 gr.
Water.............................. 2 oz.

The results of this bath can best be described as purplish in color. They
are decidedly more pleasing than those of 7 or 8, but are not as good as
the best by the sulphocyanide bath.

10.--Gold chloride..................... 1 gr.
Hyposulphite of soda.............. 1/2 oz.
Water............................. 2 oz.

The result of this bath is a brilliant brown color, what might indeed,
perhaps, be best described as a red. Two out of the three prints are much
too dark, indicating, perhaps, that this toning bath did not have any
tendency to reduce the intensity of the image.

The general lesson taught by Clark's experiments is that the sulphocyanide
bath gives better results than any other. A certain proportion of the
ingredients--namely, that of bath No. 3--gives better results than any
other proportions tried, and about as good as any that could be hoped for.
Any of the ordinary alkaline toning baths may be used, but they all give
results inferior to those got by the sulphocyanide bath. The best of the
ordinary baths is, however, the phosphate of soda.

And now a word as to those parts of the prints which have been treated with
bichloride of mercury. The thing that strikes us as remarkable in
connection with them is that in them the image has scarcely suffered any
reduction of intensity at all. In most cases there has been a disagreeable
change of color, but it is almost entirely confined to the whites and
lighter tints, which are turned to a more or less dirty yellow. Even in the
case of the prints toned by bath No. 10, where the image is quite red, it
has suffered no appreciable reduction of intensity.

This would indicate that an unusually large proportion of the toned image
consists of gold, and this idea is confirmed by the fact that to tone a
sheet of gelatino-chloro-citrate paper requires several times as much gold

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