Part 14 out of 15
of making a syphon, it is only necessary to cork one end of the
tube and heat it near the top of the Bunsen flame, turning the
tubing constantly to make it heat evenly on all sides, until it is
a dull red in color. It will then bend of its own weight if held
in one hand, but to allow it to do so is to make a flat place in
the bend. The heating should be continued until the red color is
quite bright, when the open end of the tube is put in the mouth
and a little pressure of air made in the tube by blowing. At the
same time, the tube is bent, steadily but gently. The compressed
air in the tube prevents it from collapsing during the process.
To make a bulb on the end of a tube, one end must be closed. This
is easily done by heating as before, and then pulling the tube
apart as shown in Fig. 4. The hot glass will draw, just like a
piece of taffy, each end tapering to a point. This point on one
length is successively heated and pressed toward and into the
tube, by means of a piece of charcoal, until the end is not only
closed, but as thick as the rest of the tube, as in Fig. 5. An
inch or more is now heated white hot, the tube being turned
continually to assure even heating and to prevent the hot end from
bending down by its own weight. When very hot, a sudden puff into
the open end of the tube will expand the hot glass into a bulb, as
in Fig. 6. These can be made of considerable size, and, if not too
thin, make very good flasks (Fig. 7) for physical experiments. The
base of the bulb should be flattened by setting it, still hot, on
a flat piece of charcoal, so that it will stand alone.
To weld two lengths of, glass tubing together, heat the end of a
tube and insert the point of a piece of charcoal in the opening,
and twirl it about until the end of the tube has a considerable
flare. Do the same to the end of the other tube, which is to be
joined to the first, and then, heating both to a dull red, let
them touch and press lightly together as in Fig. 8. As soon as
they are well in contact, heat the two joined flares together,
very hot, and, pulling slightly, the flares will flatten out and
the tube be perfectly joined. Tubes joined without previous
flaring have a constricted diameter at the joint.
To make a T-joint in two pieces of tubing, it is necessary to make
a hole in the side of one piece, as shown at A in Fig. 9. This is
accomplished by the aid of the principle of physics that gases
expand when heated. Both ends of the tube, which should be cold,
are corked tightly. The whole is then gradually warmed by being
held near the flame. When warm, a small flame is directed by the
blowpipe from the Bunsen flame to a spot on one side of
[Illustration: Glass Blowing and Forming]
the closed tube. As it heats, the air within the tube expands and
becomes compressed, and as soon as the hot spot on the side of the
tube is soft enough, the confined air blows out, pushing the hot
glass aside as it does so, leaving a small puncture. This is to be
enlarged with pointed charcoal until it also flares as shown at B.
This flare is then connected to the flared end of a straight tube,
C, and the T-joint, D, is complete.
Using the blowpipe is not difficult. The lips and cheeks should be
puffed out with a mouthful of air, which is ample to blow a flame
while the lungs are being refilled. In this way, it is possible to
use the blowpipe steadily, and not intermittently, as is necessary
if the lungs alone are the "bellows."
Small glass funnels, such as are used in many chemical operations,
are made by first forming a bulb, then puncturing the bulb at the
top, when hot, with a piece of charcoal, and smoothing down or
flaring the edges. Very small and fine glass tubes, such as are
used in experiments to demonstrate capillary attraction, water or
other liquid rising in them when they are plunged into it, are
made by heating as long a section of tubing as can be handled in
the flame--2 in. will be found enough--and, when very hot, giving
the ends a sudden vigorous pull apart. The tube pulls out and gets
smaller and smaller as it does so, until at last it breaks. But
the fine thread of glass so made is really a tube, and not a rod,
as might be supposed. This can be demonstrated by blowing through
it at a gas flame, or by immersing it in colored liquid. The
solution will be seen to rise some distance within the tube, the
amount depending on the diameter of the tube.
The file is for cutting the glass tubing into lengths convenient
to handle. It should be a three-cornered file, of medium fineness,
and is used simply to nick the glass at the place it is desired to
cut it. The two thumbs are then placed beneath the tube, one on
each side of the nick, and the tube bent, as if it were plastic,
at the same time pulling the hands apart. The tube will break off
squarely at the nick, without difficulty.
The entire outfit may be purchased from any dealer in chemical or
physical apparatus, or any druggist will order it. Enough tubing
to last many days, the Bunsen burner, blowpipe, file and charcoal
should not exceed $2 in cost.
** Cadmium and Solder 
The addition of cadmium to soft solder composed of tin and lead,
lowers its melting point and increases its strength.
** Telegraph Codes 
[Illustration: Telegraph Codes]
** How to Make a Cruising Catamaran 
A launch is much safer than a sailing boat, yet there is not the
real sport to be derived from it as in sailing. Herein is given a
description of a sailing catamaran especially adapted for those
who desire to sail and have a safe craft. The main part of the
craft is made from two boats or pontoons with watertight tops,
bottoms and sides and fixed at a certain distance apart with a
platform on top for the passengers. Such a craft cannot be
capsized easily, and, as the pontoons are watertight, it will
weather almost any rough water. If the craft is intended for rough
waters, care must be taken to make the platform pliable yet stiff
and as narrow as convenient to take care of the rocking movements.
This catamaran has been designed to simplify the construction,
and, if a larger size than the dimensions shown in Fig. 1 is
desired, the pontoons may be made longer by using two boards end
to end and putting battens on the inside over the joint. Each
pontoon is made of two boards 1 in. thick, 14 in. wide and 16 ft.
long, dressed and cut to the shape shown in Fig. 2. Spreaders are
cut from 2-in. planks, 10 in. wide and 12 in. long, and placed 6
ft. apart between the board sides and fastened with screws. White
lead should be put in the joints before turning in the screws. Cut
the ends of the boards so they will fit perfectly and make pointed
ends to the pontoons as shown
[Illustration: Details of the Pontoons]
in Fig. 3, and fit in a wedge shaped piece; white lead the joints
and fasten well with screws.
Turn this shell upside down and lay a board 1/2 in. thick, 12 in.
wide and 16 ft. long on the edges of the sides, mark
[Illustration: Completed Boat]
on the under side the outside line of the shell and cut to shape
roughly. See that the spreaders and sides fit true all over, then
put white lead on the joint and nail with 1-3/4 -in. finishing
nails as close as possible without weakening the wood. Slightly
stagger the nails in the sides, the 1-in. side boards will allow
for this, trim off the sides, turn the box over and paint the
joints and ends of the spreaders, giving them two or three coats
and let them dry.
Try each compartment for leaks by turning water in them one at a
time. Bore a 5/8-in. hole through each spreader in the center and
[Illustration: Crosspiece and Rudder Details]
bottom board as shown. The top board, which is 1/4-in. thick, 12
in. wide and 16 ft. long, is put on the same as the bottom.
After finishing both pontoons in this way place them parallel. A
block of wood is fastened on top of each pontoon and exactly over
each spreader on which to bolt the crosspieces as shown in Fig. 4.
Each block is cut to the shape and with the dimensions shown in
The crosspieces are made from hickory or ash and each piece is
2-1/2 in. thick, 5 in. wide and 6-1/2 ft. long. Bore a 5/8-in.
hole 3 in. from each end through the 5-in. way of the wood. Take
maple flooring 3/4 in. thick, 6 in. wide, 74-1/2 in. long and
fasten with large screws and washers to the crosspieces and put
battens across every 18 in. Turn the flooring and crosspieces
upside down and fasten to the pontoons with long 5/8-in. bolts put
through the spreaders. Put a washer on the head of each bolt and
run them through from the under side. Place a thick rubber washer
under and on top of each crosspiece at the ends as shown in Fig.
4. This will make a rigid yet flexible joint for rough waters. The
flooring being placed on the under side of the crosspieces makes
it possible to get the sail boom very low. The sides put on and
well fastened will greatly assist in stiffening the platform and
help it to stand the racking strains. These sides will also keep
the water and spray out and much more so if a 12-in. dash is put
on in front on top of the crosspiece.
The rudders are made as shown in Fig. 6, by using an iron rod 5/8
in. in diameter and 2 ft. long for the bearing of each. This rod
is split with a hacksaw for 7 in. of its length and a sheet metal
plate 3/32 in. thick, 6 in. wide, and 12 in. long inserted and
riveted in the split. This will allow 3/4 in. of the iron rod to
project from the bottom edge of the metal through which a hole is
drilled for a cotter pin. The bottom bracket is made from stake
iron bent in the shape of a U as shown, the rudder bearing passing
through a hole drilled in the upper leg and resting on the lower.
Slip the top bracket on and then bend the top end of the bearing
rod at an angle as shown in both Figs. 6 and 7. Connect the two
bent ends with a crosspiece which has a hole drilled in its center
to fasten a rope as shown in Fig. 1.
Attach the mast to the front crosspiece, also bowsprit, bracing
them both to the pontoons. A set of sails having about 300 sq. ft.
of area will be about right for racing. Two sails, main and fore,
of about 175 to 200 sq. ft. will be sufficient for cruising.
--Contributed by J. Appleton, Des Moines, Iowa.
** Alligator Photo Mounts 
Rough alligator finished photograph mounts will not receive a good
impression from a die. If a carbon paper is placed on the mounts
before making the impression, a good clear imprint will be the
** How to Attach a Sail to a Bicycle 
This attachment was constructed for use on a bicycle to be ridden
on the well packed sands of a beach, but it could be used on a
smooth, level road as well. The illustration shows the
[Illustration: Bicycle Sailing on a Beach]
main frame to consist of two boards, each about 16 ft. long, bent
in the shape of a boat, to give plenty of room for turning the
front wheel. On this main frame is built up a triangular mast, to
carry the mainsail and jib, having a combined area of about 40 sq.
ft. The frame is fastened to the bicycle by numerous pieces of
Sailing on a bicycle is very much different from sailing in a
boat, for the bicycle leans up against the wind, instead of
heeling over with it as the boat. It takes some time to learn the
supporting power of the wind, and the angle at which one must ride
makes it appear that a fall is almost sure to result. A turn must
be made by turning out of the wind, instead of, as in ordinary
sailing, into it; the boom supporting the bottom of the mainsail
is then swung over to the opposite tack, when one is traveling at
a good speed.
** Removing Iodine Stains 
A good way to chemically remove iodine stains from the hands or
linen is to wash the stains in a strong solution of hypo sulphite
of sodium, known as "hypo," which is procurable at any
photographic-supply dealer's or drug store.
There is no danger of using too strong a solution, but the best
results are obtained with a mixture of 1 oz. of hypo to 2 oz. of
** Drying Photograph Prints without Curling 
Having made some photograph prints at one time that I wanted to
dry without the edges curling, I took an ordinary tin can and a
strip of clean cotton cloth, as wide as the can was long, and
wound it one turn around the can and then placed the prints, one
after the other, while they were damp, on the cloth, face
downward, and proceeded to roll the cloth and prints quite close
on the can. I then pinned the end of the cloth to keep it from
unwinding and set the whole in a draft for drying.
The curvature of the can just about
[Illustration: Rolling Up the Prints]
counteracted the tendency of the coating on the paper to make the
prints curl and when they were thoroughly dried and removed they
remained nice and flat.
--Contributed by W. H. Eppens, Chicago.
** Piercing Glass Plates with a Spark Coil 
Anyone possessing a 1-in. induction coil and a 1-qt. Leyden jar
can easily perform the interesting experiment of piercing glass
plates. Connect the Leyden jar to the induction coil as shown in
the diagram. A discharger is now constructed of very dry wood and
boiled in paraffine for about 15 minutes. The main part of the
discharger, A B, is a piece of wood about 6 in. long and to the
middle of it is fastened a wood handle by means of one or two wood
screws. A binding-post is fastened to each end of the main piece
or at A and B as shown in the diagram.
[Illustration: Puncturing Glass Plates]
Two stiff brass wires of No. 14 gauge and 6 in. long, with a small
brass ball attached to one end of each, are bent in an arc of a
circle and attached one to each binding-post. A plate of glass, G,
is now placed between the two brass balls and the coil set in
action. The plate will soon be pierced by the spark. Larger coils
will pierce heavier glass plates.
--Contributed by I. Wolff, Brooklyn, N. Y.
** A Home-Made Still 
Remove the metal end of an old electric light globe. This can be
done by soaking a piece of twine in alcohol and tying it around
the globe at the place the break is to be made. Light the string
and after it is burned off, turn cold water on the globe. The
result will be a smooth break where the string
[Illustration: The Complete Still]
was placed. Purchase a piece of glass tubing from your druggist
and secure a cork that will fit the opening in the glass bulb.
Bore a hole in the cork the right size for the glass tube to fit
in tightly. If you cannot get a glass tube with a bend in it, you
will have to make a bend, as shown in the illustration, by heating
the tube at the right place over an alcohol lamp and allowing the
weight of the glass to make the bend while it is hot.
Insert the short end of the tube in the cork and place the other
end in a test tube that is placed in water as shown. The globe may
be fastened in position by a wire passed through the cork and tied
to a ring stand. If you do not have a ring stand, suspend the
globe by a wire from a hook that is screwed into any convenient
A neat alcohol lamp may be made of an old ink or muscilage bottle.
Insert a wick in a piece of the glass tubing and put this through
a hole bored in a cork and the lamp is ready to burn alcohol or
kerosene. Alcohol is cleaner to use as a fuel. Fill the globe
about two-thirds full of water or other liquid and apply the heat
below as shown. The distilled liquid will collect in the test
--Contributed by Clarence D. Luther, Ironwood, Mich.
** Old-Time Magic
** Balancing Forks on a Pin Head 
Two, three and four common table forks can be made to balance on a
pin head as follows: Procure an empty bottle and insert a cork in
the neck. Stick a pin in the center of this cork so that the end
will be about 1-1/2 in. above the tap. Procure another cork about
1 in. in diameter by 1-3/4 in. long. The forks are now stuck into
the latter cork at equal distances apart, each having the same
angle from the cork. A long needle with a good sharp point is run
through the cork with the forks and 1/2 in. of the needle end
allowed to project through the lower end.
The point of the needle now may be placed on the pin head. The
forks will balance and if given a slight push they will appear to
dance. Different angles of the forks will produce various feats of
--Contributed by O. E. Tronnes, Wilmette, Ill.
[Illustration: Balanced Spoons]
** The Buttoned Cord 
Cut a piece of heavy paper in the shape shown in Fig. 1 and make
two cuts down the center and a slit as long as the two cuts are
wide at a point about 1 in. below them. A string is put through
the slit, the long cuts and back through the slit and then a
[Illustration: Removing the String]
button is fastened to each end. The small slit should not be so
large as the buttons. The trick is to remove the string. The
solution is quite simple. Fold the paper in the middle and the
part between the long cuts will form a loop. Bend this loop down
and pass it through the small slit. Turn the paper around and it
will appear as shown in Fig. 2. One of the buttons may now be
drawn through and the paper restored to its original shape.
** Experiment with an Incandescent Lamp 
When rubbing briskly an ordinary incandescent lamp on a piece of
cloth and at the same time slightly revolving it, a luminous
effect is produced similar to an X-ray tube. The room must be dark
and the lamp perfectly dry to obtain good results. It appears that
the inner surface of the globe becomes charged, probably by
induction, and will sometimes hold the filament as shown in the
--Contributed by E. W. Davis, Chicago.
** How to Make a Small Motor 
The accompanying sketch shows how to make a small motor to run on
a battery of three or four dry cells and
[Illustration: Details of Small Electric Motor]
with sufficient power to run mechanical toys. The armature is
constructed, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2, by using a common spool
with 8 flat-headed screws placed at equal distances apart and in
the middle of the spool. Each screw is wound with No. 24 gauge
iron wire, as shown at A, Fig. 1. The commutator is made from a
thin piece of copper, 1 in. in diameter and cut as shown in Fig.
3, leaving 8 points, 1/8 in. wide and 1/8 in.- deep. The field is
built up by using 8 strips of tin, 12 in. long and 2 in. wide,
riveted together and shaped as shown at B, Fig. 4. Field magnets
are constructed by using two 3/8-in. bolts, 1-1/2 in. long. A
circular piece of cardboard is placed on each end of the bolt,
leaving space enough for the bolt to pass through the field B, and
to receive a nut. Wind the remaining space between the cardboards
with 30 ft. of No. 22 double-wound cotton-covered copper wire. A
light frame of wood is built around the magnets, as shown at C,
Fig. 4. Holes are made in this frame to receive the axle of the
armature. Two strips of copper, 1/4 in. wide and 3 in. long, are
used for the brushes. The armature is placed in position in its
bearings and the brushes adjusted as shown in Fig. 4, one brush
touching the shaft of the armature outside of the frame, and the
other just touching the points of the commutator, which is placed
on the shaft inside of the frame. Connect the outside wire of one
magnet to the inside wire of the other, and the remaining ends,
one to the batteries and back to the brush that touches the shaft,
while the other is attached to the brush touching the commutator.
In making the frame for the armature bearings, care should be
taken to get the holes for the shaft centered, and to see that the
screws in the armature pass each bolt in the magnets at equal
distances, which should be about 1/8 in.
** Aluminum Polish 
An emulsion of equal parts of rum and olive oil can be used for
cleaning aluminum, says Blacksmith and Wheelwright. Potash lye,
not too strong, is also effective in brightening aluminum, and
benzol can be used for the same purpose.
A good polish for aluminum consists of a paste formed of emery and
tallow, the finish luster being obtained by the use of rouge
powder and oil of turpentine.
** Homemade Blowpipe 
Procure a clay pipe, a cork and a small glass or metal tube drawn
to a small opening in one end. Make a hole in the cork just large
enough to permit the tube to pass through tightly so no air can
pass out except through the hole in the tube. Put the tube in the
hole with the small opening at the top
[Illustration: A Pipe Blowpipe]
or projecting end. Push the cork into the bowl of the pipe and the
blowpipe is ready for use.
--Contributed by Wilbur Cryderman, Walkerton, Onto
** Substitute Sink or Bathtub Stopper 
Milk-bottle caps make good substitutes for the regular rubber
stoppers in sinks and bathtubs. The water soon destroys them, but
as a new one usually is had each day, they can be used until a
regular stopper is obtained.
A good permanent stopper can be made by cutting a hollow rubber
return ball in half, using one part with the concave side up. It
will fit the hole of any sink or bathtub. One ball thus makes two
stoppers at a cost of about 5 cents.
** Safety Tips on Chair Rockers 
Some rocking chairs are so constructed that when the person
occupying it gives a hard tilt backward, the chair tips over or
dangerously near it. A rubber-tipped screw turned into the under
side of each rocker, near the rear end, will prevent the chair
from tipping too far back.
** How to Make a Toy Flier 
While a great many people are looking forward to the time when we
shall successfully travel through the air, we all may study the
problem of aerial navigation by constructing for ourselves a small
flying machine as illustrated in this article. A wing is made in
the shape shown in Fig. 1 by cutting it from the large piece of an
old tin can, after melting the solder and removing the ends. This
wing is then given a twist so that one end will be just opposite
the other and appear as shown in Fig. 2. Secure a common spool and
drive two nails in one end, leaving at least 1/2 in. of each nail
projecting after the head has been removed. Two holes are made in
the wing, exactly central, to fit on these two nails. Another nail
is driven part way into the end of a stick, Fig. 4, and the
remaining part is cut off so the length will be that of the spool.
A string is used around the spool in the same manner as on a top.
The wing is placed on the two nails in the spool, and the spool
placed on the nail in the stick, Fig. 5, and the flier is ready
[Illustration: Homemade Flying Machine]
for action. A quick pull on the string will cause the wing to
leave the nails and soar upward for a hundred feet or more. After
a little experience in twisting the wing the operator will learn
the proper shape to get the best results.
Be very careful in making the tests before the wings are turned to
the proper shape, as the direction of the flier cannot be
controlled and some one might be injured by its flight.
** How to Make an Ironing-Board Stand 
Secure some 1 by 3-in. boards, about 3 ft. long, and plane them
smooth. Cut the two pieces A and B 30 in. long and make a notch in
each of them, about one-third of the way from one end, 1 in. deep
and 3 in. long. These
[Illustration: Ironing-Board Stand]
notches are to receive the piece D, which has a small block
fastened to its side to receive the end of the brace C. The brace
C is 36 in. long. The upper ends of the pieces A, B and C are
fastened to a common ironing board by using iron hinges as shown
in Fig. 1. As the piece D is fitted loosely, it may be removed and
the brace, C, with the legs, A and B, folded up against the board.
--Contributed by Bert Kottinger, San Jose, Cal.
** A Home-Made Electric Plug 
A plug suitable for electric light extension or to be used in
experimenting may be made from an old electric globe. The glass is
removed with all the old composition in the brass receptacle,
leaving only the wires. On the ends of the wires, attach two small
binding posts. Fill the brass with plaster of paris, and in doing
this keep the wires separate and the binding-posts opposite each
other. Allow the plaster to project about 3/4 in. above the brass,
to hold the binding-posts as shown.
--Contributed by Albert E. Welch, New York.
** How to Make an Electric Fire Alarm 
On each end of a block of wood, 1 in. square and 1 in. long,
fasten a strip of brass 1/4 by 3 in., bent in the shape as shown
in the sketch at A, Fig; 1. These strips should have sufficient
bend to allow the points to press tightly together. A piece of
beeswax, W, is inserted between the points
[Illustration: Fire Alarm Device]
of the brass strips to keep them apart and to form the insulation.
A binding post, B, is attached to each brass strip on the ends of
the block of wood. The device is fastened to the wall or ceiling,
and wire connections made to the batteries and bells as shown in
the diagram, Fig. 2. When the room becomes a little overheated the
wax will melt and cause the brass strips to spring together, which
will form the circuit and make the bell ring. Each room in the
house may be connected with one of these devices, and all on one
circuit with one bell.
** Home-Made Boy's Car 
[Illustration: Boys' Home-Made Auto]
The accompanying cut shows how a boy may construct his own auto
car. The car consists of parts used from a boy's wagon and some
old bicycle parts. The propelling device is made by using the
hanger, with all its parts, from a bicycle. A part of the bicycle
frame is left attached to the hanger and is fastened to the main
board of the car by blocks of wood as shown. The chain of a
bicycle is used to connect the crank hanger sprocket to a small
sprocket fastened in the middle of the rear axle of the car. The
front axle is fastened to a square block of wood, which is pivoted
to the main board. Ropes are attached to the front axle and to the
back part of the main board to be used with the feet in steering
the car. To propel the auto, turn the cranks by taking hold of the
bicycle pedals. --Contributed' by Anders Neilsen, Oakland, Cal.
** Photographs in Relief Easily Made 
Relief photographs, although apparently difficult to produce, can
be made by any amateur photographer. The negative is made in the
usual way and,
[Illustration: Reproduced from a Relief Photograph]
when ready for printing, a positive or transparency is made from
it in the same manner as a lantern slide or window transparency,
says the Sketch, London. Use the same size plate as the negative
for the transparency. To make the print in relief place the
positive in the frame first with the film side out and the
negative on top of this with the film side up in the usual manner.
Put in the paper and print. This will require a greater length of
time than with the ordinary negative on account of printing
through double glass and films. In using printing-out papers care
should be taken to place the printing frame in the same position
and angle after each examination.
** Wireless Tip 
Place the transmitting instruments of a wireless outfit as close
together as possible.
** How to Make a Wireless Telephone 
A noted French scientist, Bourbouze, was able to keep up
communication with the outside during the
[Illustration: Details of Wireless Phone Installation]
siege of Paris by making practical application of the earth
currents. The distance covered is said to have been about 30
miles. Another scientist was able to telephone through the earth
without the aid of wires. Nothing, however, has been made public
as to how this was accomplished.
It is my object to unveil the mystery and to render this field
accessible to others, at least to a certain degree, for I have by
no means completed my researches in this particular work.
In order to establish a wireless communication between two points
we need first of all a hole or well in the ground at each point.
In my experiments I was unable to get a deep well, but the
instruments worked fine for a distance of 200 ft., using wells
about 25 ft. deep. As in ordinary telephone lines, we require a
transmitter and receiver at each point. These must be of the
long-distance type. If a hole is dug or a well is found suitable
for the purpose, a copper wire is hung in the opening, allowing
the end to touch the bottom. To make the proper contact an oval or
round--but not pointed--copper plate is attached to the end of the
wire. If a well is used, it is necessary to have a waterproof
cable for the part running through the water. The top end is
attached to the telephone transmitter and receiver, as in the
ordinary telephone, to the batteries and to a zinc plate, which is
to be buried in the earth a few feet away from the well or hole,
and not more than 1 ft. under the surface. A battery of four dry
cells is used at each station.
Both stations are connected in the same way, as shown in the
sketch. This makes it possible for neighbors to use their wells as
a means of communication with each other.
--Contributed by A. E. Joerin.
** Eyelets for Belts 
If eyelets, such as used in shoes, are put into the lace holes of
a belt, the belt will last much longer. The eyelets, which may be
taken from old shoes, will prevent the lace from tearing out. I
have used this method on several kinds of belts, always with
--Contributed by Irl R. Hicks.
** How to Make a Life Buoy 
Any boy may be able to make, for himself or friends, a life buoy
for emergency use in a rowboat or for learning to swim. Purchase
1-3/4 yd. of 30-in. canvas and cut two circular pieces, 30 in. in
diameter, also cutting a round hole in the center of them, 14 in.
in diameter. These two pieces are sewed together on the outer and
inner edges, leaving a space, about 12 in. in length, open on the
outer seam. Secure some of the cork used in packing Malaga grapes
from a grocery or confectionery store and pack it into the pocket
formed between the seams through the hole left in the outer edge.
When packed full and tight sew up the remaining space in the seam.
Paint the outside surface and the seams well with white paint to
make it water-tight.
--Contributed by Will Hare, Petrolea, Onto
** A Home-Made Microscope 
A great many times we would like to examine a seed, an insect or
the fiber of a piece of wood but have no magnifier handy. A very
good microscope may be made out of the bulb of a broken
thermometer. Empty out the mercury, which is easily done by
holding the bulb with the stem down over a lamp or candle. A
spirit lamp is the best, as it makes no smoke and gives a steady
heat. Warm the bulb slowly and the mercury will be expelled and
may be caught in a tea cup. Do not heat too fast, or the pressure
of the mercury vapor may burst the glass bulb, cautions the
Woodworkers' Review. To fill the bulb with water warm it and
immerse the end of the tube in the water. Then allow it to cool
and the pressure of the air will force the water into the bulb.
Then boil the water gently, holding the bulb with the stem up;
this will drive out all the air, and by turning the stem or tube
down and placing the end in water the bulb will be completely
filled. It is surprising how much can be seen by means of such a
[Illustration: Making a Microscope]
** A Novel Electric Time Alarm 
All time alarms run by clockwork must be wound and set each time.
The accompanying diagram shows how to make the connection that
will ring a bell by electric current at the time set without
winding the alarm. The bell is removed from an ordinary alarm
[Illustration: Electric Time Alarm]
clock and a small metal strip attached, as shown at B. An
insulated connection is fastened on the clapper of the bell, as
shown at A. The arm holding the clapper must be bent to have the
point A remain as close to the strip B as possible without
touching it. The connection to the battery is made as shown. When
the time set for the alarm comes the clapper will be moved far
enough to make the contact. In the course of a minute the catch on
the clapper arm will be released and the clapper will return to
its former place.
** How to Make a Phonograph Record Cabinet 
The core, Fig. 1, consists of six strips of wood beveled so as to
form six equal sides. The strips are 3 ft.
[Illustration: Phonograph Wax Record Case]
long and 3 in. wide on the outside bevel and are nailed to three
blocks made hexagon, as shown in Fig. 2, from 7/8-in. material.
One block is placed at each end and one in the middle. A 1/2-in.
metal pin is driven in a hole bored in the center of each end
block. The bottoms of the pasteboard cases, used to hold the wax
records, are either tacked or glued to this hexagon core, as shown
in Fig. 3, with their open ends outward.
Two circular pieces are made of such a diameter as will cover the
width of the core and the cases attached, and extend about 1/2 in.
each side. A 1/2-in. hole is bored in the center of these pieces
to receive the pins placed in the ends of the core, Fig. 1. These
will form the ends of the cabinet, and when placed, one on each
end of the core, heavy building paper or sheet metal is tacked
around them for a covering, as shown in Fig. 4. A small glass door
is made, a little wider than one row of cases, and fitted in one
side of the covering. The outside may be painted or decorated in
any way to suit the builder.
** Experiments with a Mirror 
Ask your friend if he can decipher the sign as illustrated in the
sketch, Fig. 1, which you pretend to have read over the shop of an
He will probably tell you that he is not conversant with Oriental
languages. He will not believe it if you tell him it is written in
good English, but place a frameless mirror perpendicularly on the
mysterious script, right across the quotation marks, and it will
appear as shown in Fig. 2. We understand at once that the
reflected image is the faithful copy of the written half.
With the aid of a few books arrange the mirror and the paper as
shown in Fig. 3 and ask your friend to write anything he chooses,
with the condition that he shall see his hand and read the script
in the mirror only. The writer will probably go no farther than
the first letter. His hand seems to be struck with paralysis and
unable to write anything but zigzags, says Scientific American.
Another experiment may be made by taking an egg shell and trimming
it with the scissors so as to reduce it to a half shell. In the
hollow bottom roughly draw with your pencil a cross with pointed
ends. Bore a hole, about the size or a pea, in the center of the
cross. Place yourself so as to face a window, the light falling
upon your face, not upon the mirror which you hold in one hand.
Close one eye. Place the shell between the other eye and the
mirror, at a distance of 2 or 3 in. from either, the concavity
facing the mirror as shown in Fig. 4. Through the hole in the
shell look at the mirror as if it were some distant object. While
you are so doing the concave shell will suddenly assume a strongly
convex appearance. To destroy the illusion it becomes necessary
either to open both eyes or to withdraw the shell away from the
mirror. The nearer the shell to the mirror and the farther the eye
from the shell the more readily comes the illusion.
[Illustration: Experimenting with a Mirror]
** Miniature Electric Lamps 
After several years' research there has been produced a miniature
electric bulb that is a great improvement and a decided departure
from the old kind which used a carbon filament. A metallic
filament prepared by a secret chemical process and suspended in
the bulb in an S-shape is used instead of the old straight span.
The voltage is gauged by the length of the span. The brilliancy of
the filament excels anything of its length in any voltage.
Of course, the filament is not made of the precious metal, radium;
that simply being the trade name. However, the filament is
composed of certain metals from which radium is extracted.
[Illustration: Types of "Radium" Lamps]
The advantages of the new bulb are manifold. It gives five times
the light on the same voltage and uses one-half of the current
consumed by the old carbon filament. One of the disadvantages of
the old style bulb was the glass tip which made a shadow. This has
been obviated in the radium bulb by blowing the tip on the side,
as shown in the sketch, so as to produce no shadow.
** How to Make a Magazine Clamp 
This device as shown in the illustration can be used to hold
newspapers and magazines while reading. Two pieces of wood are cut
as shown, one with a slot to fit over the back of a magazine and
the other notched to serve as a clamp. The piece, A, may be
slotted wide enough to insert two or three magazines and made long
enough to hold several newspapers.
** Pewter Finish for Brass 
A color resembling pewter may be given to brass by boiling the
castings in a cream of tartar solution containing a small amount
of chloride of tin.
** Drowning a Dog's Bark with Water 
The owner of two dogs was very much annoyed by the dogs barking at
night. It began to be such a nuisance that the throwing of old
shoes and empty bottles did not stop the noise. The only thing
that seemed to put a stop to it was water.
[Illustration: Water Treatment for Dog's Bark]
Being on the third floor of the house, and a little too far from
the kennel to throw the water effectively, a mechanism was
arranged as shown in the sketch.
A faucet for the garden hose was directly below the window. An
8-in. wooden grooved pulley was slipped over an axle which had one
end fitted on the handle of the faucet. A rope was extended to the
window on the third floor and passed around the pulley several
times, thence over an iron pulley fastened to the wall of the
house and a weight was attached to its end. By pulling the rope up
at the window the large pulley would turn on the water and when
released the weight would shut off the flow. The nozzle was
fastened so as to direct the stream where it would do the most
--Contributed by A. S. Pennoyer, Berkeley, Cal.
** Cost of Water 
The average cost of supplying 1,000,000 gal. of water, based on
the report of twenty-two cities, is $92. This sum includes
operating expenses and interest on bonds.
** How to Make a Wondergraph 
By F. E. TUCK
An exceedingly interesting machine is the so-called wondergraph.
It is easy and cheap to make and will furnish both entertainment
and instruction for young and old. It is a drawing machine, and
the variety of designs it will produce, all symmetrical and
ornamental and some wonderfully complicated, is almost without
limit. Fig. 1 represents diagrammatically the machine shown in the
sketch. This is the easiest to make and gives fully as great a
variety of results as any other.
To a piece of wide board or a discarded box bottom, three grooved
circular disks are fastened with screws so as to revolve freely
about the centers. They may be sawed from pieces of thin board or,
better still, three of the plaques so generally used in burnt-.
wood work may be bought for about 15 cents. Use the largest one
for the revolving table T. G is the guide wheel and D the driver
with attached handle. Secure a piece of a 36-in. ruler, which can
be obtained from any furniture dealer, and nail a small block,
about 1 in. thick, to one end and drill a hole through both the
ruler and the block, and pivot them by means of a wooden peg to
the face of the guide wheel. A fountain pen, or pencil, is placed
at P and held securely by rubber bands in
[Illustration: An Easily Made Wondergraph]
a grooved block attached to the ruler. A strip of wood, MN, is
fastened to one end of the board. This strip is made just high
enough to keep the ruler parallel with the face of the table, and
a row of small nails are driven part way into its upper edge.
Anyone of these nails may be used to hold the other end of the
ruler in position, as shown in the sketch. If the wheels are not
true, a belt tightener, B, may be attached and held against the
belt by a spring or rubber band.
After the apparatus is adjusted so it will run smoothly, fasten a
piece of drawing paper to the table with a couple of thumb tacks,
adjust the pen so that it rests lightly on the paper and turn the
drive wheel. The results will be surprising and delightful. The
accompanying designs were made with a very crude combination of
pulleys and belts, such as described.
The machine should have a speed that will cause the pen to move
over the paper at the same rate as in ordinary writing. The ink
should flow freely from the pen as it passes over the paper. A
very fine pen may be necessary to prevent the lines from running
The dimensions of the wondergraph may vary. The larger designs in
the illustration were made on a table, 8 in. in diameter, which
was driven by a guide wheel, 6 in. in diameter. The size of the
driver has no effect on the form or dimensions of the design, but
a change in almost any other part of the machine has a marked
effect on the results obtained. If the penholder is made so that
it may be fastened at various positions along the ruler, and the
guide wheel has holes drilled through it at different distances
from the center
[Illustration: Diagrams Showing Construction of Wonder graphs]
to hold the peg attaching the ruler, these two adjustments,
together with the one for changing the other end of the ruler by
the rows of nails, will make a very great number of combinations
possible. Even a slight change will greatly modify a figure or
give an entirely new one. Designs may be changed by simply
twisting the belt, thus reversing the direction of the table.
If an arm be fastened to the ruler at right angles to it,
containing three or four grooves to hold the pen, still different
figures will be obtained. A novel effect is made by fastening two
pens to this arm at the same time, one filled with red ink and the
other with black ink. The designs will be quite dissimilar and may
be one traced over the other or one within the other according to
the relative position of the pens.
Again change the size of the guide wheel and note the effect. If
the diameter of the table is a multiple of that of the guide
wheel, a complete figure of few lobes will result as shown by the
one design in the lower right hand corner of the illustration.
With a very flexible belt tightener an elliptical guide wheel may
be used. The axis may be taken at one of the foci or at the
intersection of the axis of the ellipse.
The most complicated adjustment is to mount the table on the face
of another disc, table and disc revolving in opposite directions.
It will go through a long series of changes without completing any
figure and then will repeat itself. The diameters may be made to
vary from the fraction of an inch to as large a diameter as the
size of the table permits. The designs given here were originally
traced on drawing paper 6 in. square.
Remarkable and complex as are the curves produced in this manner,
yet they are but the results obtained by combining simultaneously
two simple motions as may be shown in the following manner: Hold
the table stationary and the pen will trace an oval. But if the
guide wheel is secured in a fixed position and the table is
revolved a circle will be the result.
So much for the machine shown in
[Illustration: Specimen Scrolls Made on the Wondergraph]
Fig. 1. The number of the modifications of this simple contrivance
is limited only by the ingenuity of the maker. Fig. 2 speaks for
itself. One end of the ruler is fastened in such a way as to have
a to-and-fro motion over the arc of a circle and the speed of the
table is geared down by the addition of another wheel with a small
pulley attached. This will give many new designs. In Fig. 3 the
end of the ruler is held by a rubber band against the edge of a
thin triangular piece of wood which is attached to the face of the
fourth wheel. By substituting other plain figures for the
triangle, or outlining them with small finishing nails, many
curious modifications such as are shown by the two smallest
designs in the illustrations may be obtained. It is necessary, if
symmetrical designs are to be made, that the fourth wheel and the
guide wheel have the same diameter.
In Fig. 4, V and W are vertical wheels which may be successfully
connected with the double horizontal drive wheel if the pulley
between the two has a wide flange and is set at the proper angle.
A long strip of paper is given a uniform rectilinear motion as the
string attached to it is wound around the axle, V. The pen, P, has
a motion compounded of two simultaneous motions at right angles to
each other given by the two guide wheels. Designs such as shown as
a border at the top and bottom of the illustration are obtained in
this way. If the vertical wheels are disconnected and the paper
fastened in place the well known Lissajou's curves are obtained.
These curves may be traced by various methods, but this
arrangement is about the simplest of them all. The design in this
case will change as the ratio of the diameters of the two guide
wheels are changed.
These are only a few of the many adjustments that are possible.
Frequently some new device will give a figure which is apparently
like one obtained in some other way, yet, if you will watch the
way in which the two are commenced and developed into the complete
design you will find they are formed quite differently.
The average boy will take delight in making a wondergraph and in
inventing the many improvements that are sure to suggest
themselves to him. At all events it will not be time thrown away,
for, simple as the contrivance is, it will arouse latent energies
which may develop along more useful lines in maturer years.
** How to Make a 110-Volt Transformer 
Secure two magnets from a telephone bell, or a set of magnets
wound for 2,000 ohms. Mount them on a bar of brass or steel as
shown in Fig. 1. Get an empty cocoa can and clean it good to
remove all particles of cocoa and punch five holes in the cover,
as shown in Fig. 2. The middle hole is to be used to fasten the
cover to the brass bar with a bolt. The other four holes are for
the wire terminals. A piece of rubber tubing must be placed over
the wire terminals before inserting them in the holes. Fill the
can with crude oil, or with any kind of oil except kerosene
[Illustration: Parts of the Transformer]
oil, and immerse the magnets in it by fitting the cover on tight
(Fig. 3). The connections are made as shown in the diagram, Fig.
5. This device may be used on 110-volt current for electro-plating
and small battery lamps, provided the magnets are wound with wire
no larger than No. 40.
--Contributed by C. M. Rubsan, Muskogee, Okla.
** Experiment with a Vacuum 
[Illustration: Experimental Apparatus]
Take any kitchen utensil used for frying purposes-an ordinary
skillet, or spider, works best-having a smooth inner bottom
surface, and turn in water to the depth of 1/2 in. Cut a piece of
cardboard circular to fit the bottom of the spider and make a hole
in the center 4 in. in diameter. The hole will need to correspond
to the size of the can used. It should be 1 in. less in diameter
than that of the can. Place this cardboard in the bottom of the
spider under the water. A 2-qt. syrup can or pail renders the best
demonstration, although good results may be obtained from the use
of an ordinary tomato can. The edge of the can must have no
indentations, so it will fit perfectly tight all around on the
cardboard. Place the can bottom side up and evenly over the hole
in the cardboard. Put a sufficient weight on the can to prevent it
moving on the cardboard, but not too heavy, say, l lb.
Place the spider with its adjusted contents upon a heated stove.
Soon the inverted can will begin to agitate. When this agitation
finally ceases remove the spider from the stove, being careful not
to move the can, and if the quickest results are desired, apply
snow, ice or cold water to the surface of the can until the sides
begin to flatten. The spider with its entire contents may now be
lifted by taking hold of the can. When the vacuum is complete the
sides of the can will suddenly collapse, and sometimes, with a
considerable report, jump from the spider.
The cause of the foregoing phenomenon is that the circular hole in
the cardboard admits direct heat from the surface of the spider.
This heat causes the air in the can to expand, which is allowed to
escape by agitation, the water and the cardboard acting as a valve
to prevent its re-entrance. When the enclosed air is expelled by
the heat and a vacuum is formed by the cooling, the above results
are obtained as described.
--Contributed by N. J. McLean.
** The Making of Freak Photographs 
An experiment that is interesting and one that can be varied at
the pleasure of the operator, is the taking of his own picture.
The effect secured, as shown in the accompanying sketch,
reproduced in pen and ink from a photograph, is that made by the
photographer himself. At first it seems impossible to secure such
a picture, but when told that a mirror was used the process is
then known to be a simple one.
The mirror is set in such a way as to allow the camera and
operator, when standing directly in front of it, to be
[Illustration: Photographing the Photographer]
in a rather strong light. The camera is focused, shutter set and
plate holder made ready. The focusing cloth is thrown over your
head, the position taken as shown, and the exposure made by the
pressure of the teeth on the bulb while held between them.
** Hand Car Made of Pipe and Fittings 
Although apparently complicated, the construction of the miniature
hand car shown in the accompanying
[Illustration: Boy's Hand Car]
illustration is very simple. With a few exceptions all the parts
are short lengths of pipe and common tees, elbows and nipples.
The wheels were manufactured for use on a baby carriage. The
sprocket wheel and chain were taken from a discarded bicycle,
which was also drawn upon for the cork handle used on the steering
lever. The floor is made of 1-in. white pine, 14 in. wide and 48
in. long, to which are bolted ordinary flanges to hold the framing
and the, propelling and steering apparatus together. The axles
were made from 3/8 in. shafting. The fifth wheel consists of two
small flanges working on the face surfaces. These flanges and the
auxiliary steering rod are connected to the axles by means of
holes stamped in the piece of sheet iron which encases the axle.
The sheet iron was first properly stamped and then bent around the
axle. The levers for propelling and steering the car work in
fulcrums made for use in lever valves. The turned wooden handles
by which these levers are operated were inserted through holes
drilled in the connecting tees. The working joint for the steering
and hand levers consists of a 1/2 by 3/8 by 3/8 in. tee, a 1/2 by
3/8 in. cross and a piece of rod threaded on both ends and screwed
into the tee. The cross is reamed and, with the rod, forms a
The operation of this little hand car is very similar in principle
to that of the ordinary tricycle, says Domestic Engineering. The
machine can be propelled as fast as a boy can run. It responds
readily to the slightest movement of the steering lever.
** How to Make a Rustic Seat 
The rustic settee illustrated in Fig. 1 may be made 6 ft. long,
which will accommodate four average-sized persons. It is not
advisable to exceed this length, as then it would look out of
proportion, says the Wood-Worker. Select the material for the
posts, and for preference branches that are slightly curved, as
shown in the sketch. The front posts are about 3-1/2 in. in
diameter by 2 ft. 4 in. long. The back posts are 3 ft. 4 in. high,
while the center post is 3 ft. 8 in. in height. The longitudinal
and transverse rails are about 3 in. in diameter and their ends
are pared away to fit the post to which they are connected by
1-in. diameter dowels. This method is shown in Fig. 4. The dowel
holes are bored at a distance of 1 ft. 2-1/2 in, up from the lower
ends of posts. The front center leg is partially halved to the
front rail and also connected to the back post by a bearer, 4 in.
deep by 1-1/2 in. thick. This bearer is tenoned to the back post.
Fig. 3 shows a sectional view of the bearer joint to front leg,
and also the half-round seat battens resting on the bearer, also
showing them with their edges planed. It is advisable to have a
space between the edges of each batten, say about 1-8 in., to
allow rainwater to drain. The ends of the seat battens are pared
away to fit the transverse rails neatly as shown in Fig. 2. The
struts for the post range in diameter from 1-1/2 in. to 2 in. The
ends of the struts are pared to fit the posts and
[Illustration: Rustic Seat and Details of Construction]
rails, and are then secured with two or three brads at each end.
Select curved pieces, about 2-1/2 in. in diameter, for the arm
rests and back rails; while the diagonally placed filling may be
about 2 in. in diameter. Start with the shortest lengths, cutting
them longer than required, as the paring necessary to fit them to
the rails and posts shortens them a little. Brad them in position
as they are fitted, and try to arrange them at regular intervals.
** Heated Steering Wheel 
Motorists that suffer with cold hands while driving their cars may
have relief by using a steering wheel that is provided with
electric heat. An English invention describes a steering wheel
with a core that carries two electrically heated coils insulated
one from the other and from the outer rim.
** Homemade Workbench 
By C. E. McKINNEY, Jr.
The first appliance necessary for the boy's workshop is a
workbench. The average boy that desires to construct his own
apparatus as much as possible can make the bench as described
herein. Four pieces of 2 by 4-in. pine are cut 23 in. long for the
legs, and a tenon made on each end of them, 1/2 in. thick, 3-1/2
in. wide and 1-1/2 in. long, as shown
[Illustration: Details of Construction of Homemade Workbench]
at A and B, Fig. 1. The crosspieces at the top and bottom of the
legs are made from the same material and cut 20 in. long. A
mortise is made 1-1/4 in. from each end of these pieces and in the
narrow edge of them, as shown at C and D, Fig. 1. The corners are
then cut sloping from the edge of the leg out and to the middle of
the piece, as shown. When each pair of legs are fitted to a pair
of crosspieces they will form the two supports for the bench.
These supports are held together and braced with two braces or
connecting pieces of 2 by 4-in. pine, 24 in. long. The joints are
made between the ends of these pieces and the legs by boring a
hole through each leg and into the center of each end of the
braces to a depth of 4 in., as shown at J, Fig. 2. On the back
side of the braces bore holes, intersecting the other holes, for a
place to insert the nut of a bolt, as shown at HH. Four 3/8 by
6-in, bolts are placed in the holes bored, and the joints are
drawn together as shown at J. The ends of the two braces must be
sawed off perfectly square to make the supports stand up straight.
In making this part of the bench be sure to have the joints fit
closely and to draw the bolts up tight on the stretchers. There is
nothing quite so annoying as to have the bench support sway while
work is being done on its top. It would be well to add a cross
brace on the back side to prevent any rocking while planing
boards, if the bench is to be used for large work.
The main top board M, Fig. 2, may be either made from one piece of
2 by 12-in. plank, 3-1/2 ft. long, or made up of 14 strips of
maple, 7/8 in. thick by 2 in. wide and 3-1/2 ft. long, set on
edge, each strip glued and screwed to its neighbor. When building
up a top like this be careful to put the strips together with the
grain running in the same direction so the top may be planed
smooth. The back board N is the same length as the main top board
M, 8-1/2 in. wide and only 7/8 in. thick, which is fitted into a
1/2/-in. rabbet int back of the board M. Thes boards form the top
of the bench, and are fastened to the top pieces of the supports
with long screws. The board E is 10 in. wide and nailed to the
back of the bench. On top of this board and at right angles with
it is fastened a 2-1/2-in. board, F. These two boards are 7/8 in.
thick and 3-1/2 ft. long. Holes are bored or notches are cut in
the projecting board, F, to hold tools.
Details of the vise are shown in Fig. 3, which is composed of a 2
by 6-in. block 12 in. long, into which is fastened an iron bench
screw, S. Two guide rails, GG, 7/8 by 1-1/2 in. and 20 in. long,
are fastened into mortises of the block as shown at KK, and they
slide in corresponding mortises in a piece of 2 by 4-in. pine
bolted to the under side of the main top board as shown at L. The
bench screw nut is fastened in the 2 by 4-in. piece, L, between
the two mortised holes. This piece, L, is securely nailed to one
of the top cross pieces, C, of the supports and to a piece of 2 by
4-in. pine, P, that is bolted to the under sides of the top boards
at the end of the bench. The bolts and the bench screw can be
purchased from any hardware store for less than one dollar.
** Forming Coils to Make Flexible Wire Connections 
When connections are made to bells and batteries with small copper
wires covered with cotton or silk, it is necessary to have a coil
in a short piece of the line to make it flexible. A good way to do
this is to provide a short rod about 3/16 in. in diameter cut with
a slit in one end to hold the wire and a loop made on the other
end to turn with the fingers. The end of the wire is
[Illustration: Forming Wire Coils]
placed in the slit and the coil made around the rod by turning
with the loop end.
** Photographing the North Star 
The earth revolving as upon an axis is inclined in such a position
that it points toward the North Star. To an observer in the
northern hemisphere the effect is the same as if the heavens
revolved with the North star as a center. A plate exposed in a
camera which is pointed toward that part of the sky on a clear
night records that effect in a striking manner. The accompanying
illustration is from a photograph taken with an exposure of about
three hours, and the trace of the stars shown on the plate by a
series of concentric circles are due to the rotation of the earth.
The bright arc of the circle nearest the center is the path of the
North star. The other arcs are the impressions left by neighboring
stars, and it will be noticed that their brightness varies with
their relative brilliancy. Many are so faint as to be scarcely
distinguished, and, of course, telescopic power would reveal
myriads of heavenly bodies which leave no trace on a plate in an
ordinary camera. The North or pole star is commonly considered at
a point directly out from the axis of the earth, but the
photograph shows that it is not so located. The variation is known
astronomically to be 1-1/4 deg. There is a slight irregularity in
the position of the earth's axis, but the changes are so slow as
to be noticed only by the lapse of a thousand years. Five thousand
years ago the pole star was Draconis, and in eighteen thousand
years it will be Lyrae. We have direct evidence of the change of
the earth's axis in one of the Egyptian pyramids where an aperture
marked the position of the pole star in ancient times, and from
this it is now deviated considerable.
[Illustration: Photograph of the North Star]
This experiment is within the reach of everyone owning a camera.
The photograph shown was taken by an ordinary instrument, using a
standard plate of common speed. The largest stop was used and the
only requirement beyond this is to adjust the camera in a position
at the proper inclination and to make the exposure for as long as
desired. On long winter nights the exposure may be extended to 12
hours, in which event the curves would be lengthened to full
The North star is one of the easiest to locate in the entire
heavens. The constellation known as the Great Dipper is near by,
and the two stars that mark the corners of the dipper on the
extremity farthest from the handle lie in a line that passes
across the North star. These two stars in the Great Dipper are
called the pointers. The North Star is of considerable brilliancy,
though by no means the brightest in that part of the heavens.
--Contributed by O. S. B.
** How to Relight a Match 
A match may be a small thing on which to practice economy and yet
a great many times one wishes to relight a match either for
economy or necessity. The usual method is to place the burnt
portion of the match in the flame to be relighted as shown
[Illustration: Relighting a Match]
in Fig. 1. It is very hard to relight the charred end and usually
burnt fingers are the result of pushing the match farther in the
flame. Hold the burnt end in the fingers and place the other end
in the flame as shown in Fig. 2. A light will be secured quickly
and the flame will only follow the stick to the old burnt portion.
** Home-Made Hand Drill 
In the old kitchen tool box I found a rusty egg beater of the type
shown in Fig. 1. A shoemaker friend
[Illustration: Details of Hand Drill Construction]
donated a pegging awl, Fig. 2, discarded by him due to a broken
handle. With these two pieces of apparatus I made a hand drill for
light work in wood or metal. By referring to Fig. 3 the chuck, A,
with stem, B, were taken from the awl. The long wire beater was
taken from the beater frame and a wire nail, 0, soldered to the
frame, D, in the place of the wire. The flat arms were cut off and
shaped as shown by E. The hole in the small gear, G, was drilled
out and a tube, F, fitted and soldered to both the gear and the
arms E. This tube, with the gear and arms, was slipped over the
nail, 0, then a washer and, after cutting to the proper length the
nail was riveted to make a loose yet neat fit for the small gear.
The hand drill was then completed by soldering the stem, B, of the
chuck to the ends of the flat arms E. Drills were made by breaking
off sewing-machine needles above the eye as shown in Fig. 4 at A,
and the end ground to a drill point.
--Contributed by R. B. J., Shippensburg, Pa.
** How to Make a Stationary Windmill 
A windmill that can be made stationary and will run regardless of
[Illustration: Runs in Any Wind]
direction of the wind is here illustrated. Mills of this kind can
be built of larger size and in some localities have been used for
Two semi-circular surfaces are secured to the axle at right angles
to each other and at 45 deg. angle with that of the axle as shown
in Fig. 2. This axle and wings are mounted in bearings on a solid
or stationary stand or frame. By mounting a pulley on the axle
with the wings it can be used to run toy machinery.
** Electric Anesthesia 
It is a well known fact that magnetism is used to demagnetize a
watch, and that frost is drawn out of a frozen member of the body
by the application of snow. Heat is also drawn out of a burned
hand by holding it close to the fire, then gradually drawing it
away. The following experiment will show how a comparatively
feeble electric current can undo the work of a strong one.
I once tried to electrocute a rat which was caught in a wire
basket trap and accidentally discovered a painless method. I say
painless, because the rodent does not object to a second or third
experiment after recovering, and is apparently rigid and without
feeling while under its influence.
To those who would like to try the experiment I will say that my
outfit consisted of an induction coil with a 3/8-in. iron core
about 3 in. long. The primary coil was wound with four layers of
No. 20 wire and the secondary contains 4 oz. No. 32 wire, and used
on one cell of bichromate of potash plunge battery. The proper
amount of current used can be determined by giving the rodent as
much as a healthy man would care to take. Fasten one secondary
electrode to the trap containing the rat and with a wire nail
fastened to the other terminal, hold the vibrator of the coil with
your finger and let the rat bite on the nail and while doing so
release the vibrator. In three seconds the rat will be as rigid as
if dead and the wires can be removed.
Now connect your wires to the primary binding-posts of the coil
and wind the end of one of them around the rat's tail and start
the vibrator. Touch the other terminal to the rat's ear and nose.
In a few minutes he will be as lively as ever.
--Contributed by Chas. Haeusser, Albany, N. Y.
** A Simple Battery Rheostat 
A spring from an old shade roller is mounted on a board 4 in.
wide, 9 in. long and 3/8 in. thick. A binding-post is fastened to
this board at each end, to which is attached the ends of the
spring, as shown in Fig. 1. The temper of a small portion of each
end of the
[Illustration: Battery Rheostat]
spring will need to be drawn. This can be accomplished by heating
over an alcohol lamp or in a fire and allowing it to cool slowly.
The ends are then shaped to fit the binding-posts. A wire is
connected to one of the binding-posts and a small square piece of
copper is attached to the other end of the wire, as shown in Fig.
2. When this device is placed in a circuit the current can be
regulated by sliding the small square copper piece along the
--Contributed by H. D. Harkins, St. Louis, Mo.
** A Frame for Drying Films 
No doubt many amateur photographers are troubled about drying
films and to keep them from curling. The problem may be solved in
the following way:
Make a rectangular frame out of pine wood, 1/4 by 1/2 in., as
shown in the sketch. It is made a little wider and a little
shorter than the film to be dried. This will allow the end of the
film to be turned over at each end of the frame and fastened with
push pins. Do not stretch the film when putting it on the frame as
it shrinks in drying. The film will dry quicker and will be flat
when dried by using this frame.
--Contributed by Elmer H. Flehr, Ironton, Ohio.
** A Home-Made Novelty Clock 
This clock that is shown in the accompanying engraving is made in
scroll work, the cathedral and towers being of white maple, the
base is of walnut with mahogany trimmings, all finished in their
natural colors. It has 11 bells in the two towers at the sides and
miniature electric lamps of different colors on two electric
circuits. The clock is operated by a small motor receiving its
power from dry cell batteries. This motor turns a brass cylinder
over which runs a continuous roll of perforated paper similar to
that used on a pianola. A series of metal fingers, connected by
wires to the bells, press lightly on this brass roll and are
insulated from the roll by the perforated paper passing between.
When a perforation is reached a finger will make a contact with
the brass roll for an instant which makes a circuit with the
magnet of an electric hammer in its respective bell or forms the
circuit which lights the electric bulbs as the case may be.
At each hour and half hour as the clock strikes, the motor is
started automatically and the chimes sound out the tunes while the
colored lights are turned on and off; two small doors in the
cathedral open and a small figure comes out while the chimes are
playing, then returns and the doors are closed.
--Contributed by C. V. Brokenicky, Blue Rapids, Kansas.
** Fourth-of-July Catapult 
Among the numerous exciting amusements in which boys may
participate during the Fourth-of-July celebration is to make a
cannon that will shoot life-sized dummies dressed in old clothes.
Building the cannon, as described in the following, makes it safe
to fire and not dangerous to others, provided care is taken to
place it at an angle of 45 deg. and not to fire when anyone is
within its range. The powder charge is in the safest form
possible, as it is fired with a blow from a hammer instead of
lighting a fuse. If the cannon is made according to directions,
there cannot possibly be any explosion.
The materials used in the construction of the catapult may be
found in almost any junk pile, and the only work required, outside
of what can be done at home, is to have a few threads cut on the
pieces of pipe. The fittings can be procured ready to attach,
except for drilling a hole for the firing pin.
[Illustration: Homemade Cannon Which will Hurl a Life-Size Dummy
100 Ft. through the Air]
Secure a piece of common gas pipe, 4 to 6 in. in diameter, the
length being from 18 to 24 in. Old pipe may be used if it is
straight. Have a machinist cut threads on the outside of one end,
as shown in Fig. 1, and fit an iron cap, Fig. 2, tightly on the
threaded end of the pipe. The cap is drilled and tapped in the
center for a 1-in. pipe. Thread both ends of a 1-in. pipe that is
4 in. long, Fig. 3, and turn one end securely into the threaded
hole of the cap. This pipe should project 1/4 in. inside of the
cap. Fit a cap, Fig. 4, loosely on the other end of the 1-in.
pipe. A hole is drilled into the center of this small cap just
large enough to receive a 6-penny wire nail, B, Fig. 4.
This completes the making of the cannon and the next step is to
construct a dummy which can be dressed in old clothes. Cut out two
round blocks of wood from hard pine or oak that is about 3 in.
thick, as shown in Fig. 5. The diameter of these blocks should be
about 1/8 in. less than the hole in the cannon, so they will slide
easily. In the center of each block bore a 1/4-in. hole. Secure an
iron rod, about 4 ft. long, and make a ring at one end and thread
4 in. of the other. Slip one of the circular blocks on the rod and
move it up toward the ring about 14 in. Turn a nut on the threads,
stopping it about 3-1/2 in. from the end of the rod. Slip the
other circular piece of wood on the rod and up against the nut,
and turn on another nut to hold the wooden block firmly in its
place at the end of the rod. If the rod is flattened at the place
where the upper block is located, it will hold tight. These are
shown in Fig. 5. Take some iron wire about 1/8 in. in diameter and
make a loop at the top of the rod for the head. Wire this loop to
the ring made in the rod and make the head about this loop by
using canvas or gunny cloth sewed up forming a bag into which is
stuffed either excelsior, paper or hay. The arms are made by
lashing with fine wire or strong hemp, a piece of wood 1 in.
square and 20 in. long, or one cut in the shape shown in Fig. 6,
to the rod. Place the wood arms close to the bottom of the head.
Make a triangle of wire and fasten it and the cross arm securely
to the top of the rod to keep them from slipping down. A false
face, or one painted on white cloth, can be sewed on the stuffed
bag. An old coat and trousers are put on the frame to complete the
dummy. If the clothing is not too heavy and of white material so
much the better. To greatly increase the spectacular flight
through the air, a number of different colored streamers, 6 or 8
in. wide and several feet in length made from bunting, can be
attached about the waist of the dummy. The complete dummy should
not weigh more than 6 lb.
The cannon is mounted on a board with the cap end resting against
a cleat which is securely nailed to the board and then bound
tightly with a rope as shown in Fig. 8. Lay one end of the board
on the ground and place the other on boxes or supports
sufficiently high to incline it at an angle of about 45. deg.
Enough of the board should project beyond the end of the cannon on
which to lay the dummy. When completed as described, it is then
ready to load and fire. Clear away everyone in front and on each
side of the cannon, as the dummy will fly from 50 to 100 ft. and
no one must be in range of its flight. This is important, as the
rod of the frame holding the clothes will penetrate a board at
short range. An ordinary shot gun cartridge of the paper shell
type is used for the charge and it must be loaded with powder
only. Coarse black powder is the best, but any size will do. When
loading. the rod with the wooden blocks, on which the dummy is
attached, do not place the end block against the breech end of the
cannon, leave about 2 or 3 in. between the end of the cannon and
the block. Insert the cartridge in the 1-in. pipe. The cartridge
should fit the pipe snug, which it will do if the proper size is
secured. Screw on the firing-cap, insert the wire nail firing pin
until it rests against the firing-cap of the cartridge. If the
range is clear the firing may be done by giving the nail a sharp
rap with a hammer. A loud report will follow with a cloud of smoke
and the dummy will be seen flying through the air, the arms, legs
and streamers fluttering, which presents a most realistic and
life-like appearance. The firing may be repeated any number of
times in the same manner.
** How to Make a Miniature Volcano 
A toy volcano that will send forth flames and ashes with lava
streaming down its sides in real volcanic action can be made by
any boy without any more danger than firing an ordinary
fire-cracker. A mound of sand or earth is built up about 1 ft.
high in the shape of a volcano. Roll up a piece of heavy paper,
making a tube 5 in. long and 1-1/2 in. in diameter. This tube of
paper is placed in the top of the mound by first setting it upon a
flat sheet of paper and building up the sand or
[Illustration: Volcano in Action]
earth about the sides until it is all covered excepting the top
opening. This is to keep all dampness away from the mixture to be
A fuse from a fire-cracker, or one made by winding some powder in
tissue paper, is placed in the paper tube of the volcano with one
end extending over the edge. Get some potash from a drug store and
be sure to state the purpose for which it is wanted, as there are
numerous kinds of potash that will not be suitable. An equal
amount of sugar is mixed with the potash and placed in the paper
tube. On top of this put a layer of pure potash and on this pour
some gun powder. This completes the volcano and it only remains
for the fuse to be lighted and action will begin with an explosion
which sends fire, smoke and sparks upward. Flames will follow and
the lava pours down the sides of the mound.
** Wire Loop Connections for Battery Binding-Posts 
The trouble with battery binding post connections can be avoided
by winding the bare end of the connecting wire around the
binding-post screw and then back around its extending length as
shown in the sketch. Always screw down permanent connections with
** Melting Metal in the Flame of a Match 
The flame of an ordinary match has a much higher temperature than
is generally known and will melt cast-iron or steel filings. Try
it by striking a match and sprinkle the filings through the flame.
Sputtering sparks like gunpowder will be the result of the melting
** Russian Squirrels 
The squirrel slaughter of Russia amounts to 25,000,000 per year.
** Landscape Drawing Made Easy 
With this device anyone, no matter how little his artistic ability
may be, can draw accurately and quickly any little bit of scenery
or other subject and get everything in the true perspective and in
the correct proportion.
[Illustration: Drawing with the Aid of Reflecting Glasses]
No lens is required for making this camera-just a plain mirror set
at an angle of 45 deg., with a piece of ordinary glass underneath,
a screen with a peek hole and a board for holding the drawing
paper. The different parts may be fastened together by means of a
box frame, or may be hinged together to allow folding up when
carrying and a good tripod of heavy design should be used for
supporting it. In order to get the best results the screen should
be blackened on the inside and the eyepiece should be blackened on
the side next to the eye. A piece of black cardboard placed over
the end of the eyepiece and perforated with a pin makes an
excellent peek hole.
In operation the rays of light coming from any given object, such
as the arrow AB, strike the inclined mirror and are reflected
downward. On striking the inclined glass a portion of the light is
again reflected and the rays entering the eye of the operator
produce the virtual image on the paper as shown. The general
outlines may be sketched in quickly, leaving the details to be
worked up later. This arrangement may be used for interior work
when the illumination is good.
** Irrigating with Tomato Cans 
The following is an easy and effective way to start plants in dry
weather: Sink an ordinary tomato can, with a 1/8-in. hole 1/2 in.
from the bottom, in the ground so that the hole will be near the
roots of the plant. Tamp the dirt around both plant and can, and
fill the latter with water. Keep the can filled until the plant is
out of danger.
--Contributed by L. L. Schweiger, Kansas City, Mo.
** Fountain for an Ordinary Pen 
Take two steel pens, not the straight kind, and place them
together, one above the other, in the penholder.
[Illustration: Two Pens In Holder]
With one dip of ink 60 or 70 words may be written. This saves time
and the arrangement also prevents the ink from dropping off the
--Contributed by L. M. Lytle, Kerrmoor, Pa.
** Homemade Mousetrap 
Bore a 1-in. hole, about 2 in. deep, in a block of wood and drive
a small nail with a sharp point at an angle so it will project
into the hole about half way between the top and bottom, and in
the center of the hole, as shown.
[Illustration: Hole In Wood Block]
File the end very sharp and bend it down so that when the mouse
pushes its head past it in trying to get the bait at the bottom of
the hole, the sharp point will catch it when it tries to back out.
Almost anyone can make this trap in a short time, and it will
catch the mice as surely as a more elaborate trap.
** Clear Wax Impressions from Seals 
A die must be slightly damp to make clear impressions on sealing
wax and to keep it from sticking to the wax. A very handy way to
moisten the die is to use a pad made by tacking two pieces of
blotting paper and one of
[Illustration: Blotter Pad]
cloth to a wooden block of suitable size, and saturate the
blotters with water before using. Stamp the die on the pad and
then on the hot wax. The result will be a clear, readable
--Contributed by Fred Schumacher, Brooklyn, N. Y.
** A Window Stick 
Although the windows in factories and houses are usually provided
with weights, yet the stick shown in the sketch will be found very
handy in case all of the windows are not so equipped. It is made
of a piece of pine wood long
[Illustration: Notches In Stick]
enough to hold the lower sash at a height even with the bottom of
the upper, and about 1-1/2 or 2 in. wide. Notches may be cut in
the stick as shown, each being wide enough to firmly hold the
sash. Thus, with the stick illustrated, the sash may be held at
three different heights on the side A, and at still another on the
--Contributed by Katharine D. Morse, Syracuse, N. Y.
** How to Make a Canoe 
A practical and serviceable canoe, one that is inexpensive, can be
built by any boy, who can wield hammer and saw, by closely
following the instructions and drawings, given in this article.
[Illustration: Canoe and Molds Details]
It is well to study these carefully before beginning the actual
work. Thus an understanding will be gained of how the parts fit
together, and of the way to proceed with the work.
Dimensioned drawings of the canoe and molds are contained in Fig.
1. The boat is built on a temporary base, A, Fig. 2, which is a
board, 14 ft. 1 in. long, 3 in. wide and 1-1/2 in. thick. This
base is fastened to the trestles and divided into four sections,
the sections on each side of the center being 4 ft. long.
The next thing to be considered are the molds (Fig. 3). These are
made of 1-in. material. Scrap pieces may be found that can be used
for these molds. The dimensions given in Fig 1 are for one-half of
each form as shown in Fig. 3, under their respective letters. The
molds are then temporarily attached to the base on the division
Proceed to make the curved ends as shown in Fig. 4. Two pieces of
[Illustration: Shaping the Canoe]
straight-grained green elm, 32 in. long, 1-3/4, in. wide and 1 in.
thick, will be required. The elm can be obtained from a carriage
or blacksmith's shop. The pieces are bent by wrapping a piece of
wire around the upper end and baseboard. The joint between the
curved piece and the base is temporary. Place a stick between the
wires and twist them until the required shape is secured. If the
wood does not bend readily, soak it in boiling water. The vertical
height and the horizontal length of this bend are shown in Fig. 4.
The twisted wire will give the right curve and hold the wood in
shape until it is dry.
The gunwales are the long pieces B, Fig. 2, at the top of the
canoe. These are made of strips of ash, 15 ft. long, 1 in. wide
and 1 in. thick. Fasten them temporarily to the molds, taking care
to have them snugly fit the notches shown. The ends fit over the
outside of the stem and stern pieces and are cut to form a sharp
point, as shown in Fig. 5. The ends of the gunwales are fastened
permanently to the upper ends of the bent stem and stern pieces
with several screws.
[Illustration: Construction of the Various Parts]
Two other light strips, C and D, Fig. 2, are temporarily put in,
and evenly spaced between the gunwales and the bottom board. These
strips are used to give the form to the ribs, and are removed when
they have served their purpose.
The ribs are now put in place. They are formed of strips of well
seasoned elm or hickory, soaked in boiling water until they bend
without breaking or cracking. Each rib should be 1-1/2 in.
[Illustration: Paddle Parts]
wide, 3/8 in. thick and long enough to reach the distance between
the gunwales after the bend is made. The ribs are placed 1 in.
apart. Begin by placing a rib in the center of the base and on the
upper side. Nail it temporarily, yet securely, and then curve the
ends and place them inside of the gunwales, as shown in Fig. 6.
Fasten the ends of the rib to the gunwales with 1-in. galvanized
brads. This method is used in placing all the ribs. When the ribs
are set, remove the pieces C and D, Fig. 2, and the molds.
A strip is now put in to take the place of the base. This strip is
1-3/4 in. wide, 1/2 in. thick and long enough to reach the entire
length of the bottom of the canoe. It is fastened with screws on
the inside, as shown in Fig. 7, and the ends are lap-jointed to
the stem and stern pieces as shown in Fig. 4. When this piece is
fastened in place, the base can be removed. The seats are attached
as shown in Fig. 8, and the small pieces for each end are fitted
as shown in Fig. 9.
The frame of the canoe is now ready to be covered. This will
require 5-1/2 yd. of extra-heavy canvas. Turn the framework of the
canoe upside down and place the canvas on it. The center of the
canvas is located and tacked to the center strip of the canoe at
the points where ribs are attached. Copper tacks should be used.
The canvas is then tacked to the ribs, beginning at the center rib
and working toward each end, carefully drawing the canvas as
tightly as possible and keeping it straight. At the ends the
canvas is split in the center and lapped over the bent wood. The
surplus canvas is cut off. A thin coat of glue is put on, to
shrink the cloth and make it waterproof.
The glue should be powdered and brought into liquid form in a
double boiler. A thin coat of this is applied with a paintbrush. A
small keel made of a strip of wood is placed on the bottom to
protect it when making a landing on sand and stones in shallow
[Illustration: A Single Paddle]
water. When the glue is thoroughly dry the canvas is covered with
two coats of paint, made up in any color with the best lead and
boiled linseed oil. The inside is coated with spar varnish to give
it a wood color.
The paddles may be made up in two ways, single or double. The
double paddle has a hickory pole, 7 ft. long and 2 in. in
diameter, for its center part. The paddle is made as shown in Fig.
10, of ash or cypress. It is 12 in. long, and 8 in. wide at the
widest part. The paddle end fits into a notch cut in the end of
the pole (Fig. 11).
A shield is made of a piece of tin or rubber and placed around the
pole near the paddle to prevent the water from running to the
center as the pole is tipped from side to side. The complete
paddle is shown in Fig. 12. A single paddle is made as shown in
Fig. 13. This is made of ash or any other tough wood. The
dimensions given in the sketch are sufficient without a
** Thorns Used as Needles on a Phonograph 
Very sharp thorns can be used successfully as phonograph needles.
These substitutes will reproduce sound very clearly and with
beautiful tone. The harsh scratching of the ordinary needle is
reduced to a minimum, and the thorn is not injurious to the
** Tool Hangers 
A tool rack that is serviceable for almost any kind of a tool may
[Illustration: Tool Hanger]
by placing rows of different-size screw eyes on a wall close to
the workbench, so that files, chisels, pliers and other tools, and
the handles of hammers can be slipped through the eyes.
A place for every tool saves time, and besides, when the tools are
hung up separately, they are less likely to be damaged, than when
kept together on the workbench.
** Child's Footrest on an Ordinary Chair 
Small chairs are enjoyed very much by children for the reason that
they can rest their feet on the floor. In many households there
are no small chairs for the youngsters, and they have to use
larger ones. Two things result, the child's legs become tired from
dangling unsupported or by trying to support them on the
stretchers, and the finish on the chair is apt to
[Illustration: Footrest on Chair]
be scratched. The device shown in the sketch forms a footrest or
step that can be placed on any chair. It can be put on or taken
off in a moment. Two suitable pieces of wood are nailed together
at an angle and a small notch cut out, as shown, to fit the chair
** Drying Photo Postal Cards 
A novel idea for drying photo postal cards comes from a French
magazine. The drying of the cards takes a long time on account of
their thickness, but may be hastened by using corrugated paper for
packing bottles as a drying stand. Curve the cards, printed side
up, and place the ends between two
[Illustration: Card on Dryer]
corrugations at a convenient distance apart. They will thus be
held firmly while the air can circulate freely all around them.
** Preserving Key Forms 
After losing a key or two and having some difficulty in replacing
them, I used the method shown in the sketch
[Illustration: Key Forms Cut in Paper]
to preserve the outlines for making new ones. All the keys I had
were traced on a piece of paper and their forms cut out with a
pair of shears. When a key was lost, another could thus be easily
made by using the paper form as a pattern.
--Contributed by Ernest Weaver, Santa Anna, Texas.
** Renewing Typewriter Ribbons 
Roll the ribbon on a spool and meanwhile apply a little glycerine
with a fountain-pen filler. Roll up tightly and lay aside for a
week or ten days. Do not apply too much glycerine as this will
make the ribbon sticky--a very little, well spread, is enough. The
same application will also work well on ink pads.
--Contributed by Earl R. Hastings, Corinth, Vt.
** Drinking Trough for Chickens 
A quickly made and sanitary drinking trough for chickens is formed
of a piece of ordinary two or three-ply roofing paper. The paper