Scientific American Supplement No. 520

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Don Kretz, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT NO. 520 NEW YORK, DECEMBER 19, 1885 Scientific American Supplement. Vol. Vol. XX, No. 520. Scientific American established 1845 Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year. Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year. * * * * * TABLE OF CONTENTS.
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Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Don Kretz, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.




Scientific American Supplement. Vol. Vol. XX, No. 520.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

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I. ENGINEERING, ETC.–Steel Structures.–Best use of different grades of steel.–From a paper by Mr. JAS. CHRISTIE.

Natural Gas Fuel and its Application to Manufacturing: Purposes.–Paper read before the Iron and Steel Institute by Mr. ANDREW CARNEGIE.–First use of the gas.–Wells near Pittsburg.–Extent of territory underlain with gas.–Cost of piping.–Analyses ofnatural gas.

A Gas Engine Water Supply Alarm.–1 figure.

The Water Supply of Ancient Roman Cities.–An address by Prof. W.H. CORFIELD.–Aqueducts for the supply of Borne.–The aqueduct bridge Pont du Gard.–The supply of Lyons.–Construction of underground aqueducts.

Steam Engine Economy.–By Chief Engineer J. LOWE, U.S.N.–With diagram.

The “Elastic Limit” in Metals.–Selection of wire for suspension bridges, etc.

Prices of Metals in 1874 and 1884.–With table.

II. TECHNOLOGY.–A Method of Measuring the Absolute Sensitiveness of Photographic Dry Plates.–By Wm. H. PICKERING.–From the proceedings of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Soldering and Repairing Platinum Vessels in the Laboratory.–By J.W. PRATT.

The Helicoidal or Wire Stone Saw invented by M.P. GAY.–With engraving of quarry showing application of saw, and 5 figures.

Portable Prospecting Drill and Automatic Safety Gear shown at the Inventions Exhibition.–With 2 engravings.

III. ELECTRICITY, ETC.–Electricity in Warfare.–By Lieutenant B.A. FISKE, U.S.N.–Electrical torpedoes.–Torpedo detecter.–Military telegraphy and telephony.–Electricity for firing great guns.–Arrangement of wires for lights.–The search light.–Incandescent lamps for sight signaling.–Electrical launches.–An “electric sight”.

Meucci’s Claims to the Telephone.–With description of his instrument and 10 figures.

An Electric Centrifugal Machine for Laboratories.–By ALEX. WATT.–From paper read before the British Association.–1 figure.

Transmission of Power by Electricity.–Experiments of M. MARCEL DEPREZ.

IV. ART AND ARCHITECTURE.–Quadriga for the New House of Parliament at Vienna.–An engraving.

Glazed Ware Finial.–With engraving.

Hotel de Ville, St. Quentin.–With engraving.

Fire Doors in Mills.–From a lecture before the Franklin Institute by C.J. HEXAMER.

V. NATURAL HISTORY, ETC.–Preservation of Insects.

An Accomplished Parrot.

The Roscoff Zoological Laboratory.–The buildings and rooms.–The aquarium.–Course of study.

The Muraenae at the Berlin Aquarium.–With engraving.

Metamorphosis of Arctic Insects.

VI. MEDICINE. ETC.–A Year’s Scientific Progress in Nervous and Mental Diseases.–By Prof. L.A. MERRIAM.–Report to the Nebraska State Medical Society.

Scaring the Baby Out.

VII. MISCELLANEOUS.–Wage Earners and their Houses.–Manufacturers as landlords.–Experiments of Pullman, Owen, Peabody, and others.

The Locked and Corded Box Trick, with Directions for making the Box.–By D B. ADAMSON.–9 figures.

A Perpetual Calendar.–With engraving.

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To remove the verdigris which forms upon the pins, the pinned insects should be immersed in benzine and left there for a time; several hours is generally long enough. The administration of this bath cannot be too highly recommended for beetles which have been rendered unrecognizable by grease, especially when dust has been mixed with the grease. This immersion, of variable duration according to circumstances, will restore to these insects, however bad they have become, all their brilliancy and all their first freshness, and the efflorescences of cupric oxide will not reappear. This preventive and curative method is also readily applicable to beetles glued upon paper which have become greasy; plunge them into benzine in the same way, and as the gum is insoluble in the liquid, they remain fastened to their supports. Pruinose beetles, which are few in number, are the only ones that benzine can alter; the others, which are glabrous, pubescent, or scaly, can only gain by the process, and they will always make a good show in the collection.–_A. Dubois in Feuille des jeunes naturatistes_, March, 1885, p. 71.–_Psyche_.

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The new House of Parliament at Vienna is known as one of the finest specimens of pure Greek architecture erected in this century; and throughout the entire building great pains have been taken to ornament the same as elaborately as is consistent with good taste. The main buildings are provided with corner pavilions, the atticas of which project over the roofs, and these atticas and other parts of the buildings are to be surmounted by quadrigas, one of which is shown in the annexed cut, taken from the _Illustrirte Zeitung_. This group was modeled by V. Pilz, of Vienna, and represents a winged goddess in a chariot drawn by four spirited steeds harnessed abreast. She holds a wreath in her raised right hand, and her left hand is represented as holding the lines for guiding the horses. The group is full of expression and life, and will add greatly to the beauty of the building to be surmounted by it.

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The strongest wood in the United States, according to Professor Sargent, is that of the nutmeg hickory of the Arkansas region, and the weakest the West Indian birch _(Rur seva_). The most elastic is the tamarack, the white or shellbark hickory standing far below it. The least elastic and the lowest in specific gravity is the wood of the _Ficus aurea_. The highest specific gravity, upon which in general depends value as fuel, is attained by the bluewood of Texas _(Condalia obovata_).

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[Illustration: GLAZED WARE FINIAL.]

This grand 16th century finial is a fine example of French ceramic ware, or glazed terracotta, and it is illustrated both by geometrical elevation and a cross sectional drawing. This latter shows the clever building up of the structure by means of a series of five pieces, overlapping each other, and kept rigid by means of a stout wrought-iron upright in the center, bolted on to the ridge, and strapped down on the hip pieces. Its outline is well designed for effect when seen at a distance or from below, and its glazed surface heightens the artistic colorings, giving it a brilliant character in the sunlight, as well as protecting the ware from the action of smoke and weather.–_Build. News_.

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Among the more prominent movements of the day for the improvement of the condition of the working men are those which are growing into fashion with large manufacturing incorporations. Their promise lies immediately in the fact that they call for no new convictions of political economy, and hence have nothing disturbing or revolutionary about them. Accepting the usages and economical principles of industrial life, as the progress of business has developed them, an increasing number of large manufacturers have deemed it to their interest not only to furnish shops and machinery for their operatives, but dwellings as well, and in some instances the equipments of village life, such as schools, chapels, libraries, lecture and concert halls, and a regime of morals and sanitation. Probably the most expensive investment of this sort in the United States, if not in the world, by any single company, is that of Pullman, on Lake Calumet, a few miles south of Chicago, an enterprise as yet scarcely five years old. It is by no means a novel undertaking, except in the magnitude, thoroughness, and unity of the scheme. Twenty years ago the managers of the Lonsdale Mills, in Rhode Island, were erecting cottages on a uniform plan and maintaining schools and religious services for their operatives. More recent but more extensive is the village of the Ponemah Cotton Mill, near Taftville, Conn. These are illustrations merely of similar investments upon a smaller scale elsewhere. But the European examples are older, such as Robert Owen’s experiment at New Lanark in Scotland, Saltaire in Yorkshire, Dollfuss’ Mulhausen Quarter in Alsace, and M. Godin’s community in the French village of Guise, which are among the more familiar instances of investments originally made on business principles, with a view to the improved conditions of workmen. New Lanark failed as a commercial community through the visionary character of its founder; the Godin works at Guise have passed into the co-operative phase within the past five years, but Saltaire and Mulhausen still retain their proprietary business features.

The class of ventures of which these instances are but the more conspicuous examples has peculiar characteristics. They differ from the Peabody and Waterlow buildings of London, described in _Bradstreet’s_ last August, from Starr’s Philadelphia dwellings, and from the operations of the “Improved Dwellings Association” of New York in these particulars: the latter are financially a pure question of direct investment; are mainly concerned with life among the poor of cities, and, whatever philanthropy may be in their motive, are capable of adaptation to any class of citizens. The former, while investments also, are composite, the business of manufacturing being associated with that of rent collecting and sharing its profits and losses; their field of operations is almost invariably rural, and tenancy is restricted to the employes of the proprietor. On the other hand, they differ from all co-operative and socialistic communities in that they are an adaptation to existing circumstances, propose to demonstrate no new theories of economics, are free from all religious bonds, do not depend on any unity of opinion, and do not touch the question of the proper distribution of wealth.

It is, of course, no new thing for owners of large factories, particularly in country districts, to furnish tenements for their operatives, and oftentimes it is quite indispensable that they should, because there would otherwise be no accommodation for their workmen. What is recent and exceptional is the spread of the belief that it pays to make the accommodations furnished healthful, convenient, and attractive. The sources of profit from this careful provision are these: the proprietors have control of the territory, and are able to prescribe regulations which keep out the saloon and disreputable characters, and at once there is a saving in police and court and poor taxes; for the same reason the workmen are more regular and steady in their labor, for there is no St. Monday holiday, nor confused head and uncertain hand; the tenants are better able to pay their rents, and when their landlord and employer are the same person, he collects his rent out of the wages; the superior accommodations and more settled employment act strongly against labor strikes. It will be seen that the larger and better product of labor is a great factor in the profitableness of such enterprises, and that it arises from the improved character of the laborer, on the same principle that a farmer’s stock pays him best when it is of good breed, is warmly housed, and well fed. Against the operations of the London Peabody and Waterlow funds it has been alleged that they dispossess the poor shiftless tenant and bring in a new class, so that they do not improve the condition of their tenants, but afford opportunity for better ones to cheapen the price of their accommodations. The manufacturing landlord cannot wholly do this, because the first thing he has to consider is whether the applicant for a dwelling is a good workman, not whether he can be trusted for his rent. His labor he must have. His outlook is to make that labor worth more to him, by placing it in the best attainable surroundings. Can this be done? If so, the ends of humanity are answered as well as the purse filled, for both interests correspond.

Mr. Pullman, who founded the enterprise on Calumet Lake, has uttered sentiments like these, and has proved that in this instance it does pay to make his workmen’s families comfortable, and secure from sickness and temptation. As a financial operation Pullman is profitable. There are now 1,700 dwellings, either separate or in apartment houses, in this town, where five years ago the prairie stretched on every side unbroken. Every tenement is connected with common sewerage, water, and gas systems, in which the most scientific principles and expert skill have been applied. The price of tenements ranges from $5 per month for two rooms in an apartment house to $16 for a separate dwelling of five rooms; but there is a different class of houses for clerks, superintendents, and overseers. The average price per room is $3.30 a month, or nearly twelve per cent. higher than in Massachusetts manufacturing towns, where it is $2.86. Taking each tenement at an average of three rooms, this rate will pay six per cent. on an investment of $3,140,000, without taking into account taxes and repairs, or say six per cent. on $3,000,000. But one source of profit of great moment must not be overlooked, and it is the appreciation of real estate by the increase of population. This is a small factor in a great city, at least so far as concerns the humbler grade of dwellings, but in the country it is enormous. A tract of land which has been a farm becomes a village of from 1,000 to 10,000 inhabitants. Its value advances by leaps and bounds.

At Pullman, in addition to the shops and dwellings, there are trees and turf-bordered malls and squares, a church, a theater, a free library with reading rooms, a public hall, a market house, provided at the expense of the company. Liquor can only be sold at the hotel to its guests, and then under restrictions. There is a system of public schools under a board of education, which is about the only civic organization, strictly speaking, in the community. One man suffices for police duty, and he made but fifteen arrests in the last two years. It is reported that the death rate so far, including the mortality from accidents, has been under seven in 1,000 per annum. In Great Britain the rate is a small fraction over 22 in 1,000. The vital statistics of the United States show a smaller mortality than this, but they are rendered abnormal by the heavy immigration which pours into the country. Emigrants are, in the language of insurance men, a selected class. They are usually at the most vigorous time of life and of hardiest and most enterprising spirit.

They leave behind them the very young and the old and those enfeebled by disease or habits. To this cause must be attributed in part the exceptional record of Pullman in death rate, as it is a new town. Yet there can be no question that the sanitary conditions of the place are excellent. It is difficult in mixed enterprises of this nature to tell what the rate of profit upon the tenement part of the business is, since the rental and the factory react upon each other; but in the American instances quoted in this article the investment as a whole is remunerative. In the Godin operations at Guise, which have been co-operative for the last five years, the capital is put at $1,320,000, and the net earnings have averaged during that time $204,640 per annum, or 151/2 per cent.

At Pullman a demand has arisen on the part of the tenants for a chance to acquire proprietorship in their homes; and while the company has withheld the privilege from its original purchase of 3,500 acres, it has bought adjoining land, where it offers to advance money for building, and to take pay in monthly installments. This assimilates so much of the enterprise to that at Mulhausen, and shows the drift toward a co-operative phase of capital and labor. Indeed, this tendency will probably prove to be strongly characteristic of all similar schemes as fast as they attain to any magnitude. Tendencies which can be resisted in communities of few hundreds become overpowering when the population rises into thousands. But from the purely commercial point of view, this drift is hardly to be deprecated, so long as the operation of selling houses returns the capital and interest safely.

Projects of this nature go far toward modifying the stress of antagonisms between labor and capital, because if they are successful these are harmonized to an appreciable extent, and this gives public interest to them. The eventual adjustment must come, not from convictions of duty, doctrinaire opinions, or sentiments of sympathy, but on business principles, and it is a sure step in advance to show that self-interest and philanthropy are in accord. How great the field for experiments of this nature is in the United Spates may be gathered from the census of 1880, which shows 2,718,805 persons employed in the industrial establishments of the country, with an annual production of $5,842,000,000, and a capital of nearly half that amount. Of these hands and values nearly two-thirds belong to the north Atlantic States,–_Bradstreet’s_.

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This charming building has an uncommonly well-designed facade, picturesque in the extreme, rich in detail, and thoroughly dignified. We are indebted to M. Levy, of Paris, for the loan of M. Garen’s spirited etching, from which our illustration is taken. The arcaded piazza on the ground story, the niche-spaced tier of traceried windows on the first floor, the flamboyant paneled cornice stage, and the three crowning gables over it unite in one harmonious conception, the whole elevation being finished by a central tower, while at either end of the facade two massively treated buttresses furnish a satisfactory inclosing line, and give more than a suggestion of massiveness, so necessary to render an arcaded front like this quite complete within itself; otherwise it must more or less appear to be only part of a larger building. The style is Late Gothic, designed when the first influence of the Early Renaissance was beginning to be felt through France as well as Belgium, and in several respects the design has a Flemish character about it.

[Illustration: HOTEL DE VILLE, ST. QUENTIN.]

St. Quentin is situated on the Goy, in the department of Cotes du Nord, and the town is seated in a picturesque valley some ten miles S.S.W. of the capital, St Brieuc, which is a bishop’s see, and has a small harbor near the English Channel, and about thirty miles from St. Malo.–_Building News_.

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[Footnote: From a lecture before the Franklin Institute by C. John Hexamer.]

There are few parts in fire construction which are of so much importance, and generally so little understood, as fire doors. Instances of the faulty construction of these, even by good builders and architects, may daily be seen. Iron doors over wooden sills, with the flooring boards extending through from one building to the other, are common occurrences. We frequently find otherwise good doors hung on wooden jambs by ordinary screws. Sliding doors are frequently hung on to woodwork, and all attachments are frequently so arranged that they would be in a very short time destroyed by fire, and cause the door to fall. In case of fire, a solid iron door offers no resistance to warping. In an iron lined door, on the contrary, the tendency of the sheet iron to warp is resisted by the interior wood, and when this burns into charcoal, it still resists all warping tendencies. I have seen heavily braced solid iron doors warped and turned after a fire, having proved themselves utterly worthless. It is needless to say that when wooden doors are lined, they should be lined on both sides; but frequently we find so-called fireproof doors lined on one side only.

Good doors are frequently blocked up with stock and other material, so that in case of fire they could not be closed without great exertion; or they have been allowed to get out of order, so that in case of fire they are useless. This has been so common that it has given rise to the jocular expression of insurance men, when they are told that a fire door exists between the two buildings, “Warranted to be open in case of fire.” The strictest regulations should exist in regard to closing the fire doors nightly. Frequently we find that although the fire door, and its different parts, are correctly made, there are openings in the wall which would allow the fire to travel from one building to the other, such as unprotected belt and shaft holes. That a fire door may be effective, it must be hung to the only opening in the wall.

The greatest care must be exercised to keep joists from extending too far into the wall, so as not to touch the joists of the adjacent building, which would transmit the flames from one building to the other in case of fire. A good stone sill should be placed under the door, and the floor thereby entirely cut. Sills should be raised about one and a half inches above the level of the floor, in order to accomplish the necessary flooding of the same. If stock must be wheeled from one building to the other, the sill can be readily beveled on both sides of the wall, allowing the wheels to pass readily over it. Lintels should consist of good brick arches. When swing doors are used, they should be hung on good iron staples, well walled into the masonry, and the staples so arranged that the door will have a tendency to close by its own weight. The door should consist of two layers of good one and a quarter inch boards, nailed crosswise, well nailed together and braced, and then covered with sheet iron nailed on, or if of sheet tin, flanged, soldered, and nailed. Particular care should be taken to insert plenty of nails, not only along the edge of the door, but crosswise in all directions. I have seen cases, where the entire covering had been ripped off through the warping tendencies of the sheet iron.

The hinges on these doors should be good strap hinges, tightly fastened to the door by bolts extending through it, and secured by nuts on the other side. Good latches which keep the door in position when closed should always be provided. In no case should the door be provided with a spring lock which cannot be freely opened, as employes might thereby be confined in a burning room.

Sliding doors should be hung on wrought iron runways, fastened tightly to the wall. Wooden runways iron lined, which we frequently see, are not good, as the charring of the wood in the interior causes them to weaken and the doors to drop. Runways should be on an incline, so that the door when not held open will close itself. Care must be taken to have a stop provided in the runway, so that the doors may not, as I have frequently seen them, overrun the opening which it is to protect. Doors should overlap the edges of the openings on all sides. Large projecting jambs should never be used.

All doors contained in “fire walls” should have springs or weights attached to them, so as to be at all times closed. Fire doors can be shut automatically by a weight, which is released by the melting of a piece of very fusible solder employed for this purpose. So sensitive is this solder that a fire door has been made to shut by holding a lamp some distance beneath the soldered link and holding an open handkerchief between the lamp and link. Though the handkerchief was not charred, hot air enough had reached the metal to fuse the solder and allow the apparatus to start into operation.

These solders are alloys more fusible than the most fusible of their component metals. A few of them are: Wood’s alloy, consisting of: cadmium, 1 to 2 parts; tin, 2 parts; lead, 4 parts; bismuth, 7 to 8 parts.

This alloy is fusible between 150 deg. and 159 deg. Fahr. The fusible metal of D’Arcet is composed of: bismuth, 8 parts; lead, 5 parts; tin, 3 parts. It melts at 173.3 deg.. We can, therefore, by proper mixture, form a solder which will melt at any desirable temperature. Numerous devices for closing doors automatically have been constructed, all depending upon the use of the fusible solder catch.

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At a recent meeting of the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia, Mr. James Christie presented a paper upon “The Adaptation of Steel to Structural Work.” The price of steel has now fallen so low, as compared with iron, that its increased use will be actively stimulated as the building industries revive. The grades and properties of the steels are so distinct and various that opinions differ much as to the adaptability of each grade for a special purpose. Hitherto, engineers have favored open hearth steel on account of uniformity, but recent results obtained from Bessemer steel tend to place either make on equality. The seeming tendency is to specify what the physical properties shall be, and not how the steel shall be made.

For boiler and ship plates, the mildest and most ductile steel is favored. For ships’ frames and beams, a harder steel, up to 75,000 pounds tenacity, is frequently used. For tension members of bridges, steel of 65,000 to 75,000 pounds tenacity is usually specified; and for compression members, 80,000 to 90,000 pounds. In the Forth Bridge, compression steel is limited to 75,000 to 82,000 pounds. Such a marked advantage occurs from the use of high tension steel in compression members, and the danger of sudden failure of a properly made strut is so little, that future practice will favor the use of hard steel in compression, unless the material should prove untrustworthy. In columns, even as long as forty diameters, steel of 90,000 pounds tenacity will exceed the mildest steel 35 per cent., or iron 50 per cent., in compressive resistance.

The present uncertainty consists largely as to how high-tension steel will endure the manipulation usual with iron without injury. A few experiments were recently made by the writer on riveted struts of both mild and hard steel, which had been punched, straightened, and riveted, as usual with iron, but no indication of deterioration was found.

Steel castings are now made entirely trustworthy for tensile working stresses of 10,000 to 15,000 pounds per square inch. In some portable machinery, an intermittent tensile stress is applied of 15,000 pounds, sometimes rising to 20,000 pounds per square inch of section, without any evidence of weakness.

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Equal volumes of amyl alcohol (rectified fusel oil) and pure concentrated hydrochloric acid, shaken together in a test tube, unite to form a single colorless liquid; if one volume of benzine (from petroleum) be added to this, and the tube well shaken, the contents will soon separate into _three_ distinct colorless fluids, the planes of demarkation being clearly discernible by transmitted light. Drop into the tube a particle of “acid magenta;” after again shaking the liquids together, the lower two zones will present different shades of red, while the supernatant hydrocarbon will remain without color.

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[Footnote: From the Proceedings of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.–_Amer. Jour._]


Within the last few years the subject of dry plate photography has Increased very rapidly, not only in general popularity, but also in importance in regard to its applications to other departments of science. Numerous plate manufacturers have sprung up in this country as well as abroad, and each naturally claims all the good qualities for his own plates. It therefore seemed desirable that some tests should be made which would determine definitely the validity of these claims, and that they should be made in such a manner that other persons using instruments similarly constructed would be able to obtain the same results.

Perhaps the most important tests needed are in regard to the sensitiveness of the plates. Most plate makers use the wet plates as their standard, giving the sensitiveness of the dry plates at from two to sixty times greater; but as wet plates vary quite as much as dry ones, depending on the collodion, condition of the bath, etc., this system is very unsatisfactory. Another method, employed largely in England, depends on the use of the Warnerke sensitometer. In this instrument the light from a tablet coated with luminous paint just after being exposed to a magnesium light is permitted to shine through a colored transparent film of graduated density upon the plate to be tested. Each degree on the film has a number, and, after a given exposure, the last number photographed on the plate represents the sensitiveness on an empirical scale. There are two or three objections to this instrument. In the first place, the light-giving power of the luminous tablet is liable to variations, and, if left in a warm, moist place, it rapidly deteriorates. Again, it has been shown by Captain Abney that plates sensitized by iodides, bromides, and chlorides, which may be equally sensitive to white light, are not equally affected by the light emitted by the paint; the bromides being the most rapidly darkened, the chlorides next, and the iodides least of all. The instrument is therefore applicable only to testing plates sensitized with the same salts.

In this investigation it was first shown that the plates most sensitive for one colored light were not necessarily the most so for light of another color. Therefore it was evident that the sun must be used as the ultimate source of light, and it was concluded to employ the light reflected from the sky near the zenith as the direct source. But as this would vary in brilliancy from day to day, it was necessary to use some method which would avoid the employment of an absolute standard of light. It is evident that we may escape the use of this troublesome standard, if we can obtain some material which has a perfectly uniform sensitiveness; for we may then state the sensitiveness of our plates in terms of this substance, regardless of the brilliancy of our source. The first material tried was white filter paper, salted and sensitized in a standard solution of silver nitrate. This was afterward replaced by powdered silver chloride, chemically pure, which was found to be much more sensitive than that made from the commercial chemicals. This powder is spread out in a thin layer, in a long paper cell, on a strip of glass. The cell measures one centimeter broad by ten in length. Over this is laid a sheet of tissue paper, and above that a narrow strip of black paper, so arranged so as to cover the chloride for its full length and half its breadth. These two pieces of paper are pasted on to the under side of a narrow strip of glass which is placed on top of the paper cell. The apparatus in which the exposures are made consists of a box a little over a meter in length, closed at the top by a board, in which is a circular aperture 15’8 cm. in diameter. Over this board may be placed a cover, in the center of which is a hole 0.05 cm. in diameter, which therefore lets through 0.00001 as much light as the full aperture. The silver chloride is placed a distance of just one meter from the larger aperture, and over it is placed the photographic scale, which might be made of tinted gelatines, or, as in the present case, constructed of long strips of tissue paper, of varying widths, and arranged like a flight of steps; so that the light passing through one side of the scale traverses nine strips of paper, while that through the other side traverses only one strip. Each strip cuts off about one-sixth of the light passing through it, so that, taking the middle strip as unity, the strips on either side taken in order will transmit approximately–

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
2.0 1.65 1.4 1.2 1.0 0.85 0.7 0.6 0.5

The instrument is now pointed toward the zenith for about eight minutes, on a day when there is a bright blue sky. On taking the apparatus into the dark room and viewing the impression by gaslight, it will be found that the markings, which are quite clear at one end, have entirely faded out by the time the middle division is reached. The last division clearly marked is noted. Five strips cut from sensitized glass plates, ten centimeters long and two and a half in width, are now placed side by side under the scale, in the place of the chloride. By this means we can test, if we wish, five different kinds of plates at once. The cover of the sensitometer containing the 0.05cm. hole is put on, and the plates exposed to sky light for a time varying anywhere between twenty seconds and three minutes, depending on the sensitiveness of the plates. The instrument is then removed to the dark room, and the plates developed by immersing them all at once in a solution consisting of four parts potassium oxalate and one part ferrous sulphate. After ten minutes they are removed, fixed, and dried. Their readings are then noted, and compared with those obtained with the silver chloride. The chloride experiment is again performed as soon as the plates have been removed, and the first result confirmed. With some plates it is necessary to make two or three trials before the right exposure can be found; but if the image disappears anywhere between the second and eighth divisions, a satisfactory result may be obtained.

The plates were also tested using gaslight instead of daylight. In this case an Argand burner was employed burning five cubic feet of gas per hour. A diaphragm 1 cm. in diameter was placed close to the glass chimney, and the chloride was placed at 10 cm. distance, and exposed to the light coming from the brightest part of the flame, for ten hours. This produced an impression as far as the third division of the scale. The plates were exposed in the sensitometer as usual, except that it was found convenient in several cases to use a larger stop, measuring 0.316 cm. in diameter.

The following table gives the absolute sensitiveness of several of the best known kinds of American and foreign plates, when developed with oxalate, in terms of pure silver chloride taken as a standard. As the numbers would be very large, however, if the chloride were taken as a unit, it was thought better to give them in even hundred thousands.


Plates. Daylight. Gaslight. Carbutt transparency 0.7 ..
Allen and Rowell 1.3 150
Richardson standard 1.3 10
Marshall and Blair 2.7 140 Blair instantaneous 3.0 140
Carbutt special 4.0 20
Monroe 4.0 25
Wratten and Wainwright 4.0 10 Eastman special 5.3 30
Richardson instantaneous 5.3 20 Walker Reid and Inglis 11.0 600
Edwards 11.0 20
Monckhoven 16.0 120
Beebe 16.0 20
Cramer 16.0 120

It will be noted that the plates most sensitive to gaslight are by no means necessarily the most sensitive to daylight; in several instances, in fact, the reverse seems to be true.

It should be said that the above figures cannot be considered final until each plate has been tested separately with its own developer, as this would undoubtedly have some influence on the final result.

Meanwhile, two or three interesting investigations naturally suggest themselves; to determine, for instance, the relative actinism of blue sky, haze, and clouds; also, the relative exposures proper to give at different hours of the day, at different seasons of the year, and in different countries. A somewhat prolonged research would indicate what effect the presence of sunspots had on solar radiation–whether it was increased or diminished.

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[Footnote: Read before the Iron and Steel Institute of London, May 8, 1885.]


In these days of depression in manufacturing, the world over, it is specially cheering to be able to dwell upon something of a pleasant character. Listen, therefore, while I tell you about the natural gas fuel which we have recently discovered in the Pittsburg district. That Pittsburg should have been still further favored in the matter of fuel seems rather unfair, for she has long been noted for the cheapest fuel in the world. The actual cost of coal, to such as mine their own, has been between 4s. and 5s. per ton; while slack, which has always been very largely used for making gas in Siemens furnaces and under boilers, has ranged from 2s. to 2s. 6d. per ton. Some mills situated near the mines or upon the rivers for many years received slack coal at a cost not exceeding 1s. 6d. per ton. It is this cheap fuel which natural gas has come to supplant. It is now many years since the pumping engines at oil wells were first run by gas, obtained in small quantities from many of the holes which failed to yield oil. In several cases immense gas wells were found near the oil district; but some years elapsed before there occurred to any one the idea of piping it to the nearest manufacturing establishments, which were those about Pittsburg. Several years ago the product of several gas wells in the Butler region was piped to two mills at Sharpsburg, five miles from the city of Pittsburg, and there used as fuel, but not with such triumphant success as to attract much attention to the experiment. Failures of supply, faults in the tubing, and imperfect appliances for use at the mills combined to make the new fuel troublesome. Seven years ago a company drilled for oil at Murraysville, about eighteen miles from Pittsburg. A depth of 1,320 feet had been reached when the drills were thrown high in the air, and the derrick broken to pieces and scattered around by a tremendous explosion of gas. The roar of escaping gas was heard in Munroville, five miles distant. After four pipes, each two inches in diameter, had been laid from the mouth of the well and the flow directed through them, the gas was ignited, and the whole district for miles round was lighted up. This valuable fuel, although within nine miles of our steel-rail mills at Pittsburg, was permitted to waste for five years. It may well be asked why we did not at once secure the property and utilize this fuel; but the business of conducting it to the mills and there using it was not well understood until recently. Besides this, the cost of a line was then more than double what it is now; we then estimated that L140,000 would be required to introduce the new fuel. The cost to-day does not exceed L1,500 per mile. As our coal was not costing us more than 3s. per ton of finished rails, the inducement was not in our opinion great enough to justify the expenditure of so much capital and taking the risk of failure of the supply. Two years ago men who had more knowledge of the oil-wells than ourselves had sufficient faith in the continuity of the gas supply to offer to furnish us with gas for a sum per year equal to that hitherto annually paid for coal until the amount expended by them on piping had been repaid, and afterward at half that sum. It took us about eighteen months to recoup the gas company, and we are now working under the permanent arrangement of one-half the previous cost of fuel on cars at work. Since our success in the use of this new natural fuel at the rail mills, parties still bolder have invested in lines of piping to the city of Pittsburg, fifteen to eighteen miles from the wells. The territory underlain with this natural gas has not yet been clearly defined. At the principal field, that of Murraysville (from which most of the gas is obtained to-day), I found, upon my visit to that interesting region last autumn, that nine wells had been sunk, and were yielding gas in large quantities. One of these was estimated as yielding 30,000,000 cubic feet in 24 hours. This district lies to the northeast of Pittsburg, running southward from it toward the Pennsylvania Railroad. Gas has been found upon a belt averaging about half a mile in width for a distance of between four and five miles. Beyond that again we reach a point where salt water flows into the wells and drowns the gas. Several wells have been bored upon this belt near the Pennsylvania Railroad, and have been found useless from this cause. Geologists tell us that in this region a depression of 600 feet occurs in the strata, but how far the fault extends has not yet been ascertained. Wells will no doubt soon be sunk southward of the Pennsylvania Railroad upon this half-mile belt. Swinging round toward the southwest, and about twenty miles from the city, we reach the gas fields of Washington county. The wells so far struck do not appear to be as strong as those of the Murraysville district, but it is possible that wells equally productive may be found there hereafter. There are now four wells yielding gas in the district, and others are being drilled. Passing still further to the west, we reach another gas territory, from which manufacturing works in Beaver Falls and Rochester, some twenty-eight miles west of Pittsburg, receive their supply. Proceeding with the circle we are drawing in imagination around Pittsburg, we pass from the west to the southwest without finding gas in any considerable quantity, until we reach the Butler gas field, equidistant from Pittsburg on the northwest, with Washington county wells on the southwest. Proceeding now from the Butler field to the Allegheny River, we reach the Tarentum district, still about twenty miles from Pittsburg, which is supplying a considerable portion of the gas used. Drawing thus a circle around Pittsburg, with a radius of fifteen to twenty miles, we find four distinct gas-producing districts. In the city of Pittsburg itself several wells have been bored; but the fault before mentioned seems to extend toward the center of the circle, as salt water has rushed in and rendered these wells wholly unproductive, though gas was found in all of them.

I spent a few days very pleasantly last autumn driving with some friends to the two principal fields, the Murraysville and the Washington county. In the former district the gas rushes with such velocity through a 6-inch pipe, extending perhaps 20 feet above the surface, that it does not ignite within 6 feet of the mouth of the pipe. Looking up into the clear blue sky, you see before you a dancing golden fiend, without visible connection with the earth, swayed by the wind into fantastic shapes, and whirling in every direction. As the gas from the well strikes the center of the flame and passes partly through it, the lower part of the mass curls inward, giving rise to the most beautiful effects gathered into graceful folds at the bottom–a veritable pillar of fire. There is not a particle of smoke from it. The gas from the wells at Washington was allowed to escape through pipes which lay upon the ground. Looking down from the roadside upon the first well we saw in the valley, there appeared to be an immense circus-ring, the verdure having been burnt and the earth baked by the flame. The ring was quite round, as the wind had driven the flame in one direction after another, and the effect of the great golden flame lying prone upon the earth, swaying and swirling with the wind in every direction, was most startling. The great beast Apollyon, minus the smoke, seemed to have come forth from his lair again. The cost of piping is now estimated, at the present extremely low prices, with right of way, at L1,600 sterling per mile, so that the cost of a line to Pittsburg may be said to be about L27,000 sterling. The cost of drilling is about L1,000, and the mode of procedure is as follows: A derrick being first erected, a 6 inch wrought-iron pipe is driven down through the soft earth till rock is reached from 75 to 100 feet. Large drills, weighing from 3,000 to 4,000 lb., are now brought into use; these rise and fall with a stroke of 4 to 5 feet. The fuel to run these drills is conveyed by small pipes from adjoining wells. An 8-inch hole having been bored to a depth of about 500 feet, a 5-5/8 inch wrought-iron pipe is put down to shut off the water. The hole is then continued 6 inches in diameter until gas is struck, when a 4-inch pipe is put down. From forty to sixty days are consumed in sinking the well and striking gas. The largest well known is estimated to yield about 30,000,000 cubic feet of gas in twenty-four hours, but half of this may be considered as the product of a good well. The pressure of gas as it issues from the mouth of the well is nearly or quite 200 lb. per square inch. One of the gauges which I examined showed a pressure of 187 lb. Even at works where we use the gas nine miles from the well, the pressure is 75 lb. per square inch. At one of the wells, where it was desirable to have a supply of pure water, I found a small engine worked by the direct pressure of the gas as it came from the well; and an excellent supply of water was thus obtained from a spring in the valley. Eleven lines of pipe now convey gas from the various wells to the manufacturing establishments in and around Pittsburg. The largest of these for the latter part of the distance is 12 inches in diameter. Several are of 8 inches throughout. The lines originally laid are 6 inches in diameter. Many of the mills have as yet no appliances for using the gas, and much of it is still wasted. It is estimated that the iron and steel mills of the city proper require fuel equal to 166,000 bushels of coal per day; and though it is only two years since gas was first used in Pittsburg, it has already displaced about 40,000 bushels of coal per day in these mills. Sixty odd glass works, which required about 20,000 bushels of coal per day, mostly now use the natural gas. In the work around Pittsburg beyond the city limits, the amount of coal superseded by gas is about equal to that displaced in the city. The estimated number of men whose labor will be dispensed with in Pittsburg when gas is generally used is 5,000. It is only a question of a few months when all the manufacturing carried on in the district will be operated with the new fuel. As will be seen from the analyses appended to this paper, it is a much purer fuel than coal; and this is a quality which has proved of great advantage in the manufacture of steel, glass, and several other products. With the exception of one, and perhaps two concerns, no effort has been made to economize in the use of the new fuel. In our Union Iron Mills we have attached to each puddling furnace a small regenerative appliance, by the aid of which we save a large percentage of fuel. The gas companies will no doubt soon require manufacturers to adopt some such appliance. At present, owing to the fact that there is a large surplus constantly going to waste, they allow the gas to be used to any extent desired. Contracts are now made to supply houses with gas for all purposes at a cost equal to that of the coal bill for the preceding year. In the residences of several of our partners no fuel other than this gas is now used, and everybody who has applied it to domestic purposes is delighted with the change from the smoky and dirty bituminous coal. Some, indeed, go so far as to say that if the gas were three times as costly as the old fuel, they could not be induced to go back to the latter. It is therefore quite within the region of probability that the city, now so black that even Sheffield must be considered clean in comparison, may be so revolutionized as to be the cleanest manufacturing center in the world. A walk through our rolling mills would surprise the members of the Institute. In the steel rail mills for instance, where before would have been seen thirty stokers stripped to the waist, firing boilers which require a supply of about 400 tons of coal in twenty-four hours–ninety firemen in all being employed, each working eight hours–they would now find one man walking around the boiler house, simply watching the water gauges, etc. Not a particle of smoke would be seen. In the iron mills the puddlers have whitewashed the coal bunkers belonging to their furnaces. I need not here say how much pleasure it will afford me to arrange that any fellow members of the Institute who may visit the republic are afforded an opportunity to see for themselves this latest and most interesting development of the fuel question. Good Mother Earth supplies us with all the fuel we can use and more, and only asks us to lead it under our boilers and into our heating and puddling furnaces, and apply the match. During the winter several explosions have occurred in Pittsburg, owing to the escape of gas from pipes improperly laid. The frost having penetrated the earth for several feet and prevented escape upward, the freed gas found its way into the cellars of houses, and, as it is odorless, its presence was not detected. This resulted in several alarming explosions; but the danger is to be remedied before next year. Lower pressure will be carried in the pipes through the city, and escape pipes leading to the surface will be placed along the surface at frequent intervals. In the case of manufacturing establishments, the gas is led into the mills overhead, and, all the pipes being in the open air, no danger of explosion is incurred.

The following extract from the report of a committee, made to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at a recent meeting, gives an idea of the value of the new fuel: “Natural gas, next to hydrogen, is the most powerful of the gaseous fuels, and, if properly applied, one of the most economical, as very nearly its theoretical heating power can be utilized in evaporating water. Being so free from all deleterious elements, notably sulphur, it makes better iron, steel, and glass than coal fuel. It makes steam more regularly, as there is no opening of doors, and no blank spaces are left on the grate bars to let cold air in, and, when properly arranged, regulates the steam pressure, leaving the man in charge nothing to do but to look after the water, and even that could be accomplished if one cared to trust to such a volatile water-tender. Boilers will last longer, and there will be fewer explosions from unequal expansion and contraction, due from cold draughts of air being let in on hot plates.

“An experiment was made to ascertain the value of gas as a fuel in comparison with coal in generating steam, using a retort or boiler of 42 inches diameter, 10 feet long, with 4 inch tubes. It was first fired with selected Youghiogheny coal, broken to about 4 inch cubes, and the furnace was charged in a manner to obtain the best results possible with the stack that was attached to the boiler. Nine pounds of water evaporated to the pound of coal consumed was the best result obtained. The water was measured by two meters, one in the suction and the other in the discharge. The water was fed into a heater at a temperature of from 60 deg. to 62 deg.; the heater was placed in the flue leading from the boiler to the stack in both gas and coal experiments. In making the calculations, the standard 76 lb. bushel of the Pittsburg district was used. Six hundred and eighty-four pounds of water were evaporated per bushel, which was 60.9 per cent. of the theoretical value of the coal. Where gas was burned under the same boiler, but with a different furnace, and taking 1 lb. of gas to be 2.35 cubic feet, the water evaporated was found to be 20.31 lb., or 83.4 per cent. of the theoretical heat units were utilized. The steam was under the atmospheric pressure, there being a large enough opening to prevent any back pressure, the combustion of both gas and coal was not hurried. It was found that the lower row of tubes could be plugged and the same amount of water could be evaporated with the coal; but with gas, by closing all the tubes–on the end next the stack–except enough to get rid of the products of combustion, when the pressure on the walls of the furnace was three ounces, and the fire forced to its best, it was found that very nearly the same results could be obtained. Hence it was concluded that the most of the work was done on the shell of the boiler.”

In no other way can I give the members of the Iron and Steel Institute so much information in regard to this new fuel as by including in this paper a very able communication from the chief chemist at our Edgar Thomson Steel Works, Mr. S.A. Ford, who is to-day the highest authority upon the subject:

“So much has been claimed for natural gas as regards the superiority of its heating properties as compared with coal, that some analyses of this gas, together with calculations showing the comparison between its heating power and that of coal, may be of interest. These calculations are, of course, theoretical in both cases, and it must not be imagined that the total amount of heat, either in a ton of coal or 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas, can ever be fully utilized. In making these calculations I employed as a basis what in my estimation was a gas of an average chemical composition, as I have found that gas from the same well varies continually in its composition. Thus, samples of gas from the same well, but taken on different days, vary in nitrogen from 23 per cent. to _nil_, carbonic acid from 2 per cent. to _nil_, oxygen from 4 per cent, to 0.4 per cent., and so with all the component gases. Before giving the theoretical heating power of 1,000 cubic feet of this gas I will note a few analyses. The first four are of gas from the same well; samples taken on the same day that they were analyzed. The two last are from two different wells in the East Liberty district:


——————–+——–+——–+——–+——–+——–+——–+ | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | ——————–+——–+——–+——–+——–+——–+——–+ When tested………|10-28-84|10-29-84|11-24-84|12-4-84 |10-18-84|10-25-84| | per ct.| per ct.| per ct.| per ct.| per ct.| per ct.| Carbonic acid ……| 0.8 | 0.6 | Nil. | 0.4 | Nil. | 0.30| Carbonic oxide……| 1.0 | 0.8 | .58 | 0.4 | 1.0 | 0.30| Oxygen… … ……| 1.1 | 0.8 | .78 | 0.8 | 2.10| 1.20| Olefiant gas …….| 0.7 | 0.8 | 0.98| 0.6 | 0.80| 0.6 | Ethylic hydride ….| 3.6 | 5.5 | 7.92| 12.30 | 5.20| 4.8 | Marsh gas ……….| 72.18| 65.25| 60.70| 49.58 | 57.85| 75.16| Hydrogen ………..| 20.02| 26.16| 29.03| 35.92 | 9.64| 14.45| Nitrogen ………..| Nil. | Nil. | Nil. | Nil. | 23.41| 2.89| Heat units ………|728,746 |698,852 |627,170 |745,813 |592,380 |745,591 | ——————–+——–+——–+——–+——–+——–+——–+

“We will now show how the natural gas compares with coal, weight for weight, or, in other words, how many cubic feet of natural gas contain as many heat units as a given weight of coal, say a ton. In order to accomplish this end we will be obliged, as I have said before, to assume as a basis for our calculations what I consider a gas of an average chemical composition, viz.:

Per cent.
Carbonic acid………………………. 0.60 Carbonic oxide……………………… 0.60 Oxygen…………………………….. 0.80 Olefiant gas……………………….. 1.00 Ethylic hydride…………………….. 5.00 Marsh gas…………………………. 67.00 Hydrogen………………………….. 22.00 Nitrogen…………………………… 3.00

“Now, by the specific gravity of these gases we find that 100 liters of this gas will weigh 64.8585 grammes, thus:

Liters. grammes.

Marsh gas…………….. 67.0 48.0256 Olefiant gas………….. 1.0 1.2534 Ethylic hydride……….. 5.0 6.7200 Hydrogen……………… 22.0 1.9712 Nitrogen……………… 3.0 3.7632 Carbonic acid…………. 0.6 1.2257 Carbonic oxide………… 0.6 0.7526 Oxygen……………….. 0.8 1.1468 ——-
Total…………………………….. 64.8585

“Then, if we take the heat units of these gases, we will find:

Heat units
Grammes. contained.

Marsh gas……………. 48.0256 627,358 Olefiant gas…………. 1.2534 14,910 Ethylic hydride………. 6.7200 77,679 Hydrogen…………….. 1.9712 67,929 Carbonic oxide……….. 0.7526 1,808 Nitrogen…………….. 3.7630 —– Carbonic acid………… 1.2257 —– Oxygen………………. 1.1468 —– ——- ——-
Totals 64.8585 789,694

“64.8585 grammes are almost exactly 1,000 grains, and 1 cubic foot of this gas will weigh 267.9 grains; then the 100 liters, or 64.8585 grammes, or 1,000 grains, are 3,761 cubic feet; 3,761 cubic feet of this gas contains 789,694 heat units, and 1,000 cubic feet will contain 210,069,604 heat units. Now, 1,000 cubic feet of this gas will weigh 265,887 grains, or in round numbers 38 lb. avoirdupois. We find that 64.8585 grammes, or 1,000 grains, of carbon contain 523,046 heat units, and 265,887 grains, or 38 lb., of carbon contain 139,398,896 heat units. Then 57.25 lb. of carbon contain the same number of heat units as 1,000 cubic feet of the natural gas, viz., 210,069,604. Now, if we say that coke contains in round numbers 90 per cent. carbon, then we will have 62.97 lb. of coke, equal in heat units to 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas. Then, if a ton of coke, or 2,000 lb., cost 10s., 62.97 lb. will cost 4d., or 1,000 cubic feet of gas is worth 4d. for its heating power. We will now compare the heating power of this gas with bituminous coal, taking as a basis a coal slightly above the general average of the Pittsburg coal, viz.:

Per cent.
Carbon…………………………….. 82.75 Hydrogen…………………………… 5.31 Nitrogen…………………………… 1.04 Oxygen…………………………….. 4.64 Ash……………………………….. 5.31 Sulphur……………………………. 0.95

“We find that 38 lb. of this coal contains 146,903,820 heat units. The 64.4 lb. of this coal contains 210,069,640 heat units, or 54.4 lb. of coal is equal in its heating power to 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas. If our coal cost us 5s. per ton of 2,000 lb., then 54.4 lb. costs 1.632d., and 1,000 cubic feet of gas is worth for its heat units 1.632d. As the price of coal increases or decreases, the value of the gas will naturally vary in like proportions. Thus, with the price of coal at 10s. per ton the gas will be worth 3.264d. per 1,000 cubic feet. If 54.4 lb. of coal is equal to 1,000 cubic feet of gas, then one ton, or 2,000 lb., is equal to 36,764 cubic feet, or 2,240 lb. of coal is equal to 40,768 cubic feet of natural gas. If we compare this gas with anthracite coal, we find that 1,000 cubic feet of gas is equal to 58.4 lb. of this coal, and 2,000 lb. of coal is equal to 34,246 cubic feet of natural gas. Then, if this coal cost 26s. per ton, 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas is worth 91/2d. for its heating power. In collecting samples of this gas I have noticed some very interesting deposits from the wells. Thus, in one well the pipe was nearly filled up with a soft grayish-white material, which proved on testing to be chloride of calcium. In another well, soon after the gas vein had been struck, crystals of carbonate of ammonia were thrown out, and upon testing the gas I found a considerable amount of that alkali, and with this well no chloride of calcium was observed until about two months after the gas had been struck. In these calculations of the heating power of gas and coal no account is of course taken of the loss of heat by radiation, etc. My object has been to compare these two fuels merely as regards their actual value in heat units.”

Bearing in mind that it is never wise to prophesy unless you know, I hesitate to speak of the future; but considering the experience we have had in regard to the productiveness of the oil territory, which is now yielding 70,000 barrels of petroleum per day, and which has continued to increase year after year for twenty years, I see no reason to doubt the opinion of experts that the territory which has already been proved to yield gas will suffice for at least the present generation in and about Pittsburg.

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A very useful contrivance for the purpose of reporting automatically the failure of the water supply to a gas-engine has been arranged by Professor Ph. Carl, of Munich. What led to the adoption of the device was that, during last winter, the water supply in the neighborhood of the Professor’s laboratory was several times cut off without previous notice; the result being the failure of the water needed for cooling the cylinder of his Otto gas-engine. On inquiring into the matter, he discovered that the same thing frequently occurred in other places where gas-engines were in use; and this caused him to design a contrivance to put an alarm-bell into action at the instant when the water ceased to flow, and so enable any overheating of the engine, and injuries thereby resulting, to be prevented in time. The arrangement (represented half size in the accompanying engraving) is screwed down directly to the water outflow pipe, R. Before the aperture of the pipe is a lever, with a disk on one arm, on to which the issuing water impinges, thereby keeping the lever in the position indicated by the dotted lines. The effect of this is to break the platinum contact at C, and so interrupt the circuit of an alarm-bell placed in any suitable position. Suppose the water ceases to flow; the spring, F, comes into play, contact is made at C, and the bell continues to ring till some one comes to stop it. It is almost needless to remark that the disk, D, and the pin, E, are composed of insulating material, such as vulcanite.–_Jour. Gas Lighting._

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It frequently happens in the laboratory that platinum vessels, after long-continued use, begin to show signs of wear, and become perforated with minute pinholes. When they have reached this stage, they are usually accounted of no further utility, and are disposed of as scrap; not that it is impossible to repair them–for with fine gold wire and an oxyhydrogen jet this is easily feasible–but that the proper appliances and skill are not in possession of all. Irrespective of the manipulation of the hydrogen jet, it is rather difficult without long practice to hold the end of the fine wire precisely over the aperture and to keep it in position. It occurred to me that, if the gold in a finely divided condition could be placed in very intimate contact with the platinum, judging from the fusibility of gold-platinum alloys, union could be effected at a lower temperature over the ordinary gas blowpipe. I tried the experiment, and found the supposition correct. The substance I used was auric chloride, AuCl_{3}, which, as is well known, splits up on heating, first into aurous chloride, and at a higher temperature gives off all its chlorine and leaves metallic gold. Operating on a perforated platinum basin, in the first instance, I placed a few milligrammes of the aurous chloride from a 15 grain tube precisely over the perforation, and then gently heated to about 200 deg. C. till the salt melted and ran through the holes. A little further heating caused the reduced gold to solidify on each side of the basin. The blowpipe was now brought to bear on the bottom of the dish, right over the particular spots it was wished to solder, and in a few moments, at a yellow-red heat (in daylight), the gold was seen to “run.” On the vessel being immediately withdrawn, a very neat soldering was evident. The operation was repeated several times, till in a few minutes the dish had been rendered quite tight and serviceable.

Using the gold salt in this way, the principal difficulty experienced in holding gold wire unflinchingly in the exact position vanishes, while only a comparatively low temperature and small amount of gold is necessary. Care must be taken to withdraw the platinum from the flame just at the moment the gold is seen to run, for if the heat be continued longer, the gold alloys with a larger surface of platinum, spreads, and leaves the aperture empty. As in the case of all gold-soldered vessels, the article cannot afterward be safely exposed to a temperature higher than that at which the soldering was effected, and on this account it is advisable to use as small an amount of auric chloride as possible. When the perforations are of comparatively large size, the repairing is not so easy, owing to the auric chloride, on fusing, refusing to fill them. I find, however, that if some spongy platinum be mixed with a few milligrammes of the gold salt, pressed into the perforation, and heat applied as directed, a very good soldering can be effected. It is well to hammer the surface of the platinum while hot, so as to secure perfect union and welding of the two surfaces. This may be done in a few minutes in such a manner as to render the repair indistinguishable. Strips of platinum may be joined together in much the same way as already described–a few crystals of auric chloride placed on each clean surface and gently heated till nearly black, then bound together and further heated for a few moments in the blowpipe flame. Rings and tubes can also be formed on a mandrel, and soldered in the same fashion, and the chemist thus enabled to build up small pieces of apparatus from sheet platinum in the laboratory.–_Chem. News._

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The sides of solid bodies, whatever be the degree of hardness, and however fine the texture, possess surfaces formed of a succession of projections and depressions. When two bodies are in contact, these projections and indentations fit into one another, and the adherence that results is proportional to the degree of roughness of the surfaces. If, by a more or less energetic mechanical action, we move one of the bodies with respect to the other, we shall produce, according as the action overcomes cohesion, more or less disintegration of the bodies. The resulting wear in each of them will evidently be inversely proportional to its hardness and the nature of its surface; and it will vary, besides, with the pressure exerted between the surfaces and the velocity of the mechanical action. We may say, then, that the wear resulting from rubbing two bodies against each other is a function of their degree of hardness, of the extent and state of their surface, of the pressure, of the velocity, and of the time.

[Illustration: FIGS. 1, 2 and 3.–APPARATUS FOR SAWING STONE.]

According as these factors are varied in a sense favorable or unfavorable to their proper action, we obtain variations in the final erosion. Thus, in rubbing together two bodies of different hardness and nature of surface, we obtain a wear inversely proportional to the hardness and state of polish of their surfaces. Through the interposition of a pulverized hard body we can still further accelerate such wear, as a consequence of the rapid renewal of the disintegrating element.

The gradual wear effected over the entire surface of a body brings about a polish, while that effected along a line or at some one point determines a cleavage or an aperture.

The process usually employed in quarries or stone-yards for sawing consists in slowly moving a stone-saw backward and forward, either by hand or machinery, and with scarcely any pressure. Mr. P. Gray has, however, devised a new process, which is based upon the theoretical considerations given above. His _helicoidal saw_ is, in reality, an endless cable formed by twisting together three steel wires in such a way as to give the spirals quite an elongated pitch.

The apparatus in its form for cutting blocks of stone into large slabs (Figs. 1, 2, and 3) consists of two frames, A A, five feet apart, each formed of two iron columns, 71/2 feet in height and one foot apart, fixed to cast iron bases resting upon masonry. At the upper part, a frame, B B, formed of double T-irons cross-braced here and there, supports a transmission composed of gearwheels, R R, and a pitch-chain, G G. Along the columns of the frame, which serve as guides, move two kinds of pulley-carriers, C C. The pulleys, D D, are channeled, and receive the cable, a a, which serves as a helicoidal saw. The direction of the saw’s motion is indicated by the arrow. The carriages, C C, are traversed by screws, V V, which are fixed between the columns. The extremity, v, of the axle of the pulley to the right is threaded, and actuates a helicoidal wheel, E, which transmits motion to the wheel, R, through the intermedium of the vertical shaft, F. This transmission, completed by the wheels, R R, and the pitch-chains, G G, is designed to move the saw vertically, through the simultaneous shifting of the carriages, C C. A tension weight, P, through the intermedium of pulleys, D_{1} D_{1}, permits of keeping the saw taut. A reservoir, H, at the upper part of the frame, B B, contains the water and sand necessary for sawing. The feeding is effected by means of a rubber tube, I, terminating in a flattened rose, J, which is situated over the aperture made by the saw. A small pump, L. over the reservoir takes water from K, and raises it to H. The sand is put in by hand.

Above the basin, K, a system of rails and ties supports the carriage, Q, upon which is placed the block of stone to be sawn. When one operation has been finished, and it is desired to begin another, it is necessary to raise the pulley-carriers and the saw. In order to do this quickly, there is provided a special transmission, M, which is actuated by hand, through a winch.

The work done by this saw is effected more rapidly than by the ordinary processes, and certain very hard rocks, usually regarded as almost intractable, can be sawed at the rate of from one to one and a half inches per hour.


For sawing marble into slabs of all thicknesses, the arrangement described above may be replaced by a system consisting of two drums having several channels to receive as many saws, or two corresponding series of channeled pulleys, b b (Fig. 4), independent of each other, but keyed to the same axles, i i. When the pulleys have been properly spaced by means of keys, the whole affair is rendered solid by a bolt, g. The extremity of the axles forms a nut into which pass vertical screws, c c. These latter are connected above with cone-wheels, l l, which, gearing with bevel wheels keyed to the shafts, e, secure a complete interdependence of the whole. The ascending motion, which is controlled by the endless screws, f, and the helicoidal wheels, m, is in this way effected with great regularity. Uprights, a a, of double T-iron, fixed to joists, k k, and connected and braced by pieces, d d, form a strong frame.


The power necessary to run this kind of saw is less than _n_ x 1/4 H.P., on account of the number of passive parts. The most interesting application of the helicoidal saw is in the exploitation of quarries. Fig. 5 represents a Belgian marble quarry which is being worked by Mr. Gay’s method.

_Tubular Perforators_.–Mr. Gay has rendered his saw completer by the invention of a tubular perforator for drilling the preliminary well. It is based upon the same principle as the Leschot rotary drill, but differs from that in its extremity being simply of tempered steel instead of being set with black diamonds. A special product, called metallic agglomerate, is used instead of sand for hastening the work.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.–TUBULAR PERFORATOR.]

The apparatus, Fig. 6, consists of an iron plate cylinder, A, 271/2 inches in diameter, and of variable length, according to the depth to be obtained, and terminating beneath in a steel head, B, of greater thickness. This cylinder is traversed by a shaft, C, to which it is keyed, and which passes through the center of the aperture drilled. This shaft is connected with the cylinder, A, through the intermedium of cross bars, D, and transmits thereto a rapid rotary motion, which is received at the upper part from a telodynamic wire that passes through the channel of the horizontal pulley, P. This latter is supported by a frame consisting of three uprights, Q Q, strengthened by stays, R R, fixed to the ground.

In order that the cylinder, A, may be given a vertical motion, cords, M M, fixed to a piece, S, loose on the hub, D, wind round the drum of a windlass, T, after passing over the pulleys, p p.

The rapid gyratory motion of the cylinder, along with the erosive action of the metallic agglomerate, rapidly wears away the rock, and causes the descent of the perforator. During this operation a core of marble forms in the cylinder. This is detached by lateral pressure, and is capable of being utilized. The tool descends at the rate of from 20 to 24 inches per hour, or from 8 to 10 yards per day in ordinary lime rock.–_Le Genie Civil_.

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The Aqueous Works and Diamond Rock-boring Company, Limited, of London, show at the Inventions Exhibition, London, a light portable rock-boring machine for prospecting for minerals, water, etc. It is capable of sinking holes from 2 in. to 5 in. in diameter, and to a depth of 400 ft. The screwed boring spindle, which is in front of the machine, is actuated by miter gearing driven by a six horse power engine; the speed of driving is 400 revolutions a minute. The pump shown on the left-hand side of the engraving is used to deliver a constant stream of water through the boring bar, the connection being made by a flexible hose. Suitable winding gear for raising or lowering the lining tubes, boring rods, etc., is also mounted on the same frame. The drill is automatic in its action, and the speed can be regulated by friction gearing. The front part of the carriage is arranged so that it can be swung clear of the drill to raise and lower the bore rods, etc.

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Among the safety appliances which are to be found in the Mining Section of the Inventions Exhibition is a model of an ingenious contrivance for the prevention of overwinding, the joint patent of Mr. W.T. Lewis, Aberdare, lead mineral agent to the Marquis of Bute, and W.H. Massey, electric light engineer to the Queen. Both these gentlemen, having been members of jury, were not allowed to compete for an award. The invention, says _Engineering_, seems to possess considerable merit, and it should prove of practical utility in collieries where enginemen are usually kept winding for many hours at a stretch, and where the slightest mistake on the part of the driver may lead to an accident.

Safety hooks are often fitted to winding ropes, and although the damage to life and property is greatly reduced by the use of them, they do not protect a descending cage from injury in a case of overwinding; besides which, they are almost useless when a wild run takes place, an accident which, strange to say, has already occurred many times after engines and boilers have been laid off for repairs. Stop valves are left open, the reversing lever is not fixed in mid-gear, steam is got up in the boilers at a time when no one is in the engine house, and the engines run away.


Various devices have been suggested and tried as a preventive, but their application has either caused as much mischief as a bad accident, or it has depended upon the driver doing something intentionally; whereas in the automatic gear of Messrs. Massey and Lewis, of which an illustration is annexed, there is nothing to cause damage or to interfere in any way with the proper handling of the engines, and it is practically out of the power of the driver to render the gear inoperative. It is here shown in its simplest form as applied to the ordinary reversing and steam handles of a winding engine, the only additions being an arm jointed to the top of the valve spindle, with its connections to the shaft of the reversing lever, and a disk receiving a suitable motion from the main shaft of the engine. On the disk is a projecting piece or stop which is brought into such positions, at or near the end of each journey, that the stop valve cannot be opened, except slightly, when the reversing lever is not set for winding in the proper direction, or when the cages have reached a point beyond which it is undesirable that the engine driver should have the power of turning on full steam. Thus, if one cage is at bank, the driver cannot draw it up into the head gear suddenly; but after it has been lifted slowly off the keeps or fangs, and the reversing lever thrown over, the stop valve can be lifted wide open; and supposing that while the engine is running the driver neglects to shut off steam in proper time, then the projecting piece on the disk in traveling round, slowly or quickly, and by steps according to requirements, will come in contact with the driver, and so prevent an accident by bringing the reversing lever into or beyond mid-gear.

Messrs. Lewis and Massey contemplate the use of governors in combination with various forms of their automatic gear, so as to provide for every imaginable case of winding, and also to avoid accidents when heavy loads are sent down a pit; the special feature in their mechanism being that when two or more things happen with regard to the positions of steam or reversing handles, speed or position of cages in the pit, whatever it may be necessary to do to meet the particular case shall be done automatically.

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[Footnote: An address by Prof. W.H. Corfield, M.D., M.A., delivered before the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, July 9, 1885.–_Building News_.]

As the supply of water to large populations is one of the most important subjects in connection with sanitary matters, and one upon which the health of the populations to a very large extent depends, I propose to give a short account of some of the more important works carried out for this purpose by the ancient Romans–the great sanitary engineers of antiquity–more especially as I have had exceptional opportunities of examining many of those great works in Italy, in France, and along the north coast of Africa. Of the aqueducts constructed for the supply of Rome itself we have an excellent detailed account in the work of Frontinus, who was the controller of the aqueducts under the emperor Nerva, and who wrote his admirable work on them about A.D. 97.

It may be interesting in passing to mention that Frontinus was a patrician, who had commanded with distinction in Britain under the emperor Vespasian, before he was appointed by the emperor Nerva as controller (or, we should say, surveyor) of the aqueducts. He was also an antiquarian, and in his work he not only describes the aqueducts as they were in this time, but also gives a very interesting history of them. He begins by telling us that for 441 years after the building of the city–that is to say, B.C. 312–there was no systematic supply of water to the city; that the water was got direct from the Tiber, from shallow wells, and from natural springs; but that these sources were found no longer to be sufficient, and the construction of the first aqueduct was undertaken during the consulship of Appius Claudius Crassus, from whom it took the name of the Appian aqueduct. This was, as may be expected from its being the first aqueduct, not a very long one; the source was about eight miles to the east of Rome, and the length of the aqueduct itself rather more than eleven miles, according to Mr. James Parker, to whose paper on the “Water Supply of Ancient Rome” I am indebted for many of the facts concerning the aqueducts of Rome itself. This aqueduct was carried underground throughout its whole length, winding round the heads of the valleys in its course, and not crossing them, supported on arches, after the manner of more recent constructions; it was thus invisible until it got inside the city itself, a very important matter when we consider how liable Rome was, in these early times, to hostile attacks.

It was soon found that more water was required than was brought by this aqueduct, and it was no doubt considered desirable to have tanks at a higher level in the city than those supplied by the Appian aqueduct. It was determined, therefore, to bring water from a greater height, and from a greater distance, and the river Anio, above the falls at Tivoli, was selected for this purpose. The second aqueduct, the Anio Vetus, was no less than 42 miles in length, and was, like the Appian, entirely under the surface of the ground, except at its entrance into Rome at a point about 60 ft. higher than the level of the Appian aqueduct.

Little search has been made for the remains of this aqueduct, and its exact course is not known; but during my examination of the remains of the subsequent aqueducts at a place called the Porta Furba, near Rome, where the ruins of five aqueducts are seen together, and at, or close to, which point the Anio Vetus must also have passed underground, I was rewarded for my search by discovering a hole, something like a fox’s hole, leading into the ground; and on clearing away a few loose stones which had apparently been thrown into it, and putting my arm in, I found that it led into the specus or channel of an underground aqueduct; and on relating this incident to the late Mr. John Henry Parker, the antiquarian, who was then in Rome, and showing him a sketch of the place, he said that he had no doubt that I had been fortunate enough to discover the exact position of the veritable Anio Vetus at that spot. These two aqueducts sufficed for the supply of Rome with water for about 120 years, for Frontinus tells us that 127 years after the date at which the construction of the Anio Vetus was undertaken–that is to say, the 608th year after the foundation of the city–the increase of the city necessitated a more ample supply of water, and it was determined to bring it from a still greater distance. It was no longer considered necessary to conceal the aqueduct underground during the whole of its course, and so it was in part carried above ground on embankments or supported upon arches of masonry. The water was brought from some pools in one of the valleys on the eastern side of the Anio, some miles farther up than the point from which the Anio Vetus was supplied; and the new aqueduct, which was 54 miles in length, was called the Marcian, after the Praetor Marcius, to whom the work was intrusted. Frontinus also tells us the history of the other six aqueducts which were in existence in his time, viz., the Tepulan, the Julian, the Virgo, the Alsietine or Augustan, the Claudian, and the Anio Novus; the last two being commenced by the Emperor Caligula, and finished by Claudius, because “seven aqueducts seemed scarcely sufficient for public purposes and private amusements;” but it is not necessary for our purpose to give any detailed account of the course of these aqueducts; it is only necessary to mention one or two very interesting points in connection with them. In order to allow of the deposit of suspended matters, piscinae, or settling reservoirs, were constructed in a very ingenious manner. Each had four compartments, two upper and two lower; the water was conducted into one of the upper compartments, and from this passed, probably by what we should call a standing waste or overflow pipe, into the one below; from this it passed (probably through a grating) into the third compartment at the same level, and thence rose through a hole in the roof of this compartment into the fourth, which was above it, and in which the water, of course, attained the same level as in the first compartment, thence passing on along the aqueduct, having deposited a good deal of its suspended matter in the two lower compartments of the piscinae. Arrangements were made by which these two lower compartments should be cleaned out from time to time. The specus or channel itself was, of course, constructed of masonry, generally of blocks of stone cemented together, and it was frequently, though not, it would appear always, lined with cement inside. It was roofed over, and ventilating shafts were constructed at intervals; in order to encourage the aeration of the water, irregularities were occasionally introduced in the bed of the channel. The water supplied by the different aqueducts was of various qualities; thus, for instance, that of the Alsietine, which was taken from a lake about 18 miles from Rome, was of an inferior quality, and was chiefly used to supply a large naumachia, or reservoir, in which imitation sea fights were performed; while, on the other hand, the water of the Marcian was very clear and good, and was therefore used for domestic purposes. Frontinus gives the most accurate details as to the measurements of the amount of water supplied by the various aqueducts, and the quantities used for different purposes. From these details Mr. Parker computes the sectional area of the water at about 120 square feet, and says: “We can form some opinion of the vast quantity if we picture to ourselves a stream 20 ft. wide by 6 ft. deep constantly pouring into Rome at a fall six times as rapid as that of the river Thames.” He considers that the amount was equivalent to about 332 million gallons a day, or 332 gallons per head per day, assuming the population of the city to be a million. When we consider that we in London have only 30 gallons a head daily, and that many other towns have less, we get some idea of the profusion with which water was supplied to ancient Rome. But the remains of Roman aqueducts are not only to be found near Rome. Almost every Roman city, whether in Italy or in the south of France, or along the north coast of Africa, can show the remains of its aqueduct, and almost the only things that are to be seen on the site of Carthage are the remains of the Roman water tanks and the ruins of the aqueduct which supplied them. The most beautiful aqueduct bridge in the world, on the course of the aqueduct which supplied the ancient Nemaucus, now Nismes, still stands, and is called, from the name of the department in which it is, the Pont du Gard. It consists of a row of large arches crossing the valley over which the water had to be carried, surmounted by a series of smaller arches, and these again by a series of still smaller ones, carrying the specus of the aqueduct. This splendid bridge still stands perfect, so that one can walk through the channel along which the water flowed, and it might be again used for its original purpose. There was, however, one city which, from the fact that a great part of it was situated upon a hill, was more difficult to supply with water than any of the rest, and which, at the same time, from its size, its great importance, and the fact that it was the favorite summer residence of several of the Roman emperors, and notably of Claudius, who was born there, and who had a palace on the top of the hill, must of necessity be supplied with plenty of water, and that too from a considerable height. I refer to Ludgunum (now Lyons), then the capital of Southern Gaul. This city was built by Lucius Munatius Plaucus, by order of the Senate in A.U.C. 711. Augustus went there in A.U.C. 738, and afterward lived there from 741 to 744. It was he who raised it to a very high rank among Roman cities. It had its forum near the top of the hill now called Fourvieres (probably a corruption of Forum Vetus), an imperial place on the summit of the same hill, public baths, an amphitheater, a circus, and temples.

In order to supply this city with water, standing as it did on the side of a hill at the junction of two great rivers (now Rhone and Saone), it was necessary to search for a source at a sufficient height, and this Plaucus found in the hills of Mont d’Or, near Lyons, where a plentiful supply of water was found at a sufficient height, viz., that of nearly 2,000 ft. above the sea. From this point an aqueduct, sometimes called from its source the aqueduct of Mont d’Or, and sometimes the aqueduct of Ecully, from the name of a large plain which it crossed, was constructed, or rather two subterranean aqueducts were made and joined together into one, which crossed the plain of Ecully, in a straight line still underground; but the ground around Lyons was not like the Campagna, near Rome, and it was necessary to cross the broad and deep valley now called La Grange, Blanche. This, however, did not daunt the Roman engineers; making the aqueduct end in a reservoir on one side of the valley, they carried the water down into the valley, probably by means of lead pipes, in the manner which will be described more at length further on, across the stream at the bottom of the valley by means of an aqueduct bridge 650 ft. long, 75 ft. high, and 281/2 ft. broad, and up the other side into another reservoir, from which the aqueduct was continued along the top of a long series of arches to the reservoir in the city, after a course of about ten miles.

In the time of Augustus, however, it was found that the water brought by this aqueduct was not sufficient, especially in summer; and as there was a large Roman camp which also required to be supplied with water, situated at a short distance from the city, it was determined to construct a second aqueduct. For this purpose the springs at the head of a small river, called now the Brevenne, were tapped, and conveyed by means of an underground aqueduct (known as the aqueduct of the Brevenne) which wound round the heads of the valleys, and after a course of about thirty miles is believed by some to have arrived at the city, but by others to have stopped at the Roman camp, and to have been constructed exclusively for its supply.

I have here a diagram, after Flacheron, showing a section of this aqueduct, and this will give a very good general idea of the section of a Roman aqueduct where constructed underground. It will be seen that the specus or channel is 60 centimeters (or nearly 2 ft.) wide, and 1m. 57c. (or a little over 5 ft.) high, and that it is lined with a layer of 3 c. (or nearly 11/4 in.) of cement. It is constructed of quadrangular blocks of stone cemented together, and has an arched stone roof. It will be noticed also that the angles at the lower part of the channel are filled up with cement; it appears also that this aqueduct crossed a small valley by means of inverted siphons. But neither of these aqueducts came from a source sufficiently high to supply the imperial palace on the top of Fourvieres.

Their sources are, in fact, according to Flacheron, at a height of nearly 50 ft. below the summit of Fourvieres, and it was, therefore, considered necessary by the emperor Claudius to construct a third aqueduct. The sources of the stream now called the Gier, at the foot of Mont Pila, about a mile and a half above St. Chamond, were chosen for this purpose, and from this point to the summit of Fourvieres was constructed by far the most remarkable aqueduct of ancient times, an engineering work which, as will be seen from the following description, partly taken from Montfalcon’s history of Lyons, partly from Flacheron’s account of this aqueduct, and partly from my own observations on the spot, reflects the greatest possible credit on the Roman engineers, and shows that they were not, as has been frequently supposed by those who have only examined aqueducts at Rome, by any means ignorant of the elementary principles of hydraulics.

To tap the sources of a river at a point over 50 miles from the city, and to bring the water across a most irregular country, crossing ten or twelve valleys, one being over 300 ft. deep, and about two-thirds of a mile in width, was no easy task; but that it was performed the remains of the aqueduct at various parts of its course show clearly enough. It commences, as I have said, about a mile and a half from the present St. Chamond, a town on the river Gier, about 16 miles from St. Etienne. Here a dam appears to have been constructed across the bed of the river, forming a lake from which the water entered the channel of the aqueduct, which passed along underground until it came to a small stream which it crossed by a bridge, long since destroyed.

After this it again became subterraneous for a time, and then crossed another stream on a bridge of nine arches, the ruins of some of the columns of which are still to be seen; and from these ruins it would appear that the bridge had, at some time or another, been destroyed, probably by the stream running under it having become torrential, and subsequently rebuilt; again it became concealed underground, to reappear in crossing a small valley and another small stream, when it was again concealed by the ground, and in one or two places channels were even cut for it through the solid rock, after which it reappeared on the surface at a point where now stands the village of Terre-Noire, and where it was necessary that it should somehow or another cross a broad and deep valley. It ended in a stone reservoir, from which eight lead pipes descending into the valley were carried across the stream at the bottom on an aqueduct bridge, about 25 ft. wide, and supported by twelve or thirteen arches, and then mounted the other side of the valley into another reservoir, of which scarcely any remains are now seen, from which the aqueduct started again, disappearing almost immediately under the surface of the ground, to appear again from time to time crossing similar valleys and streams upon bridges, the remains of some of which may still be seen, until it reached Soucieu, on the edge of the valley of the Garonne, where are still seen the remains of a splendid bridge, the thirteenth on its course, nearly 1,600 ft. long, and attaining a height of 56 ft. at its highest point above the ground. The object of this bridge was to convey the channel of the aqueduct at a sufficient height into a reservoir on the edge of the valley.

The remains of this bridge leave no doubt that it was purposely destroyed by barbarians; some of the arches near the end of it remain, while the rest have been thrown down, some on one side and some on the other; but happily the arches next to the reservoir, at the end of the bridge and on the edge of the valley, remain, and the reservoir itself is still in part intact, supported on a huge mass of masonry. Four holes are to be seen in that part of the front of the reservoir which is left, being the holes from which the lead pipes descended into the valley. There must have been nine of these pipes in all. These holes are elliptical in shape, being 12 in. high by 91/2 in. wide, and the interior of the reservoir is still seen to be covered with cement. The walls of the reservoir were about 2 ft. 7 in. thick, and were strengthened by ties of iron; it had an arched stone roof in which there was an opening for access. From this the nine lead pipes descended the side of the valley supported on a construction of masonry, crossed the river by an aqueduct bridge, and ascended into another reservoir on the other side, entering the reservoir at its upper part just below the spring of the arches of the roof. From this reservoir the aqueduct passed to the next on the edge of the large and deep valley of Bonnan, being underground twice and having three bridges on its course, the last of which, the sixteenth on the course of the aqueduct, ends in a reservoir on the edge of the valley. Only one of the openings by which the siphons, of which there were probably ten, started from the reservoir is now left. The bridge across the valley below had thirty arches, and was about 880 ft. long by 24 ft. wide.

A number of the arches still remain standing, and, the pillars of the arches were constructed of transverse arches themselves. The work consisted of concrete, formed with Roman cement so hard that it turns the points of pickaxes when employed against it, with layers of tiles at regular intervals. The surface of the concrete is covered with small cubical blocks of stone placed so that their diagonals are horizontal and vertical, and forming what is known as _opus reticulatum_. After crossing the bridge the pipes were carried up the other side of the valley into a reservoir, of which little remains, and then the aqueduct was continued to the next valley, passing over three bridges in its course. This valley, that of St. Irenee, is much smaller than either of the others, but nevertheless it was deep enough to necessitate the construction of inverted siphons, of which there were eight. Leaving the reservoir on the other side of this valley, the aqueduct was carried on a long bridge (the twentieth on its course) which crossed the plateau on the top of Fourvieres and opened into a large reservoir, the remains of which are still to be seen on the top of that hill.

From this reservoir, which was 77 ft. long and 51 ft. wide, pipes of lead conveyed the water to the imperial palace and to the other buildings near the top of the hill. Some of these lead pipes were found in a vineyard near the top of Fourvieres at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and were described by Colonia in his history of Lyons. They are made of thick sheet lead rolled round so as to form a tube, with the edges of the sheet turned upward, and applied to one another in such a way as to leave a small space, which was probably filled with some kind of cement. These pipes, of which it is said that twenty or thirty, each from 15 ft. to 20 ft. long, were found, were marked with the initial letters TI. CL. CAES. (Tiberius Claudius Caesar), and afford positive evidence that the work was carried out under the emperor Claudius. Lead pipes, constructed in a similar manner, have also been found at Bath, in this country, in connection with the Roman baths. The great difference between this aqueduct and those near Rome arises from the fact that, instead of being carried across a nearly flat country, it was carried across one intersected with deep ravines, and that it was therefore necessary to have recourse to the system of inverted siphons. There can be no doubt that the inverted siphons were made of lead, although no remains of them have been found; for we know that the Romans used lead largely, and, as we have seen, pieces of the lead distribution pipes have been found. It is possible, and even likely, that strong cords of hemp were wound round the pipes forming the siphons, as is related by Delorme in describing a similar Roman aqueduct siphon near Constantinople; Delorme also describes, in the aqueduct last mentioned, a pipe for the escape of air from the lowest part of the siphon carried up against a tower, which was higher than the aqueduct, and it is certain that there must have been some such contrivance on the siphons of the aqueduct constructed at Lyons.

Flacheron supposes that they consisted of small pipes carried from the lowest part of the siphons up along the side of the valley and above the reservoirs, or, in some instances, of taps fixed at the lowest part of the siphons. The Romans have been blamed for not using inverted siphons in the aqueducts at Rome, and it has been said that this is a sufficient proof that they did not understand the simplest principles of hydraulics, but the remains of the aqueducts at Lyons negative this assumption altogether. The Romans were not so foolish as to construct underground siphons, many miles long, for the supply of Rome; but where it was necessary to construct them for the purpose of crossing deep valleys, they did so. The same emperor Claudius who built the aqueduct at Rome known by his name built the aqueduct of Mont Pila, at Lyons, and it is quite clear, therefore, that his engineers were practically well acquainted with the principles of hydraulics. It is thus seen that the ancient Romans spared no pains to obtain a supply of pure water for their cities, and I think it is high time that we followed their example, and went to the trouble and expense of obtaining drinking water from unimpeachable sources, instead of, as is too often the case, taking water which we know perfectly well has been polluted, and then attempting to purify it for domestic purposes.

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By Chief Engineer JOHN LOWE, U.S. Navy.

The purpose of this article is to point out an easy method whereby any intelligent engineer can determine the point at which it is most economical to cut off the admission of steam into his cylinder.

In the attack upon such a problem, it is useful to employ all the senses which can be brought to bear upon it; for this purpose, diagrams will be used, in order that the sense of sight may assist the brain in forming its conclusions.


Fig. XABCX is an ideal indicator card, taken from a cylinder, imagined to be 600 feet long, in which the piston, making one stroke per minute, has therefore a piston speed of 600 feet per minute. Divide this card into any convenient number of ordinates, distant _dx_ feet from each other, writing upon each the absolute pressure measured upon it from the zero line XX.

By way of example, let the diameter of the cylinder be 29.59 inches, and let the back pressure from all causes be 7 pounds uniformly throughout. It will be represented by the line b_{1}, b_{2}, etc. This quantity subtracted from the pressures p_{1}, p_{2}, etc., leaves the remainder (p-b) upon each ordinate, which remainder represents the net pressures which at that point may be applied to produce external power.

If, now, A is the area of the piston, then the external power (d W) produced between each ordinate is:

To any convenient scale, upon each ordinate, set off the appropriate power as calculated by this equation (1).

dW = ————–. (1.)

There will result the curve _w, w, w_, determining the power which at any point in the diagram is to be regarded as a gain, to be carried to the credit side of the account.

It is evident that, so long as the gains from expansion exceed the losses from expansion, it is profitable to proceed with expansion, but that expansion should cease at that point at which gains and losses just balance each other.


The requisite data are furnished by the experiments conducted some years since by President D.M. Greene, of Troy College, for the Bureau of Steam Engineering, U.S. Navy.

According to these experiments, the heat which is lost per hour by radiation through a metallic plate of ordinary thickness, exposed to dry air upon one side and to the source of heat upon the other, for one degree difference in temperature, is as follows:

Condition. Heat units.

Naked……………………………….. 2.9330672 Covered with hair felt, 0.25 inch thick…. 1.0540710 ” ” 0.50 ” …. 0.5728647
” ” 0.75 ” …. 0.4124625 ” ” 1.00 ” …. 0.3070554
” ” 1.25 ” …. 0.2746387 ” ” 1.50 ” …. 0.2507097

If now t’ = temperature of steam at the ordinate, t = temperature of the surrounding atmosphere, dS = surface of the cylinder included between each ordinate, k = that figure from the table satisfying the conditions, then the power loss (dR) per minute will be:

k (t’-t)dS
dR = ( — ) ———-. (2)
60 33,000

To the same scale as the power gains, upon each ordinate, set off the appropriate power loss, as calculated by this equation (2).

There will result the curve r, r, r, which determines the power which at any point in the diagram is to be regarded as a loss, to be carried to the debit side of the account. This curve of losses intersects the curve of gains at a point (it is evident) where each equals the other.

Therefore this is the point at which expansion should cease, and this absolute pressure is the economic terminal pressure, which determines the number of expansions profitable under the given conditions.

In the foregoing example are taken k = 0.3070554, t’ = 331.169, t = 60, while the back pressure was taken at 7 pounds.

By way of further illustration, first let the back pressure be changed from 7 to 5.

By equation 1 there will result a new curve of gains, W, W, W, a portion only being plotted.

Second, let t’ = 331.169 as before.
t = 150 instead of 60.
k = 0.2507097 instead of 0.3070554.

There will result the second curve of losses, R, R, R, intersecting the second curve of gains at the point F, the new economic point for our new conditions.

These two examples fully illustrate the whole subject, furnishing an easy and, when carefully made, a very exact calculation and result.

The following are a few of the general conclusions to be drawn:

1. That radiation is a tangible and measurable cause, sufficient to account for all losses heretofore ascribed to an intangible, immeasurable, and wholly imaginary cause, viz., “internal evaporation and re-evaporation.”

2. In order to prevent the high initial temperatures now used becoming a source of loss, it is necessary to prevent the quantity dS (t’-t) becoming great, by making dS as small as possible. In other words, we must compound our engines. Thus for the first time is pointed out the true reason why compound engines are economical heat engines.

3. The foregoing reasoning being correct, it follows that steam jackets are a delusion.

4. In order to attain economy, we must have high initial temperatures, small high pressure cylinders, low back pressures from whatsoever cause, high piston speeds, short rather than long strokes, to avoid the cooling effects of a long piston rod; but especially must we have scrupulous and perfect protection from radiation, especially about the cylinder heads, now oftentimes left bare.

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[Footnote: From a recent lecture before the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.]

By Lieut. B.A. FISKE, U.S.N.

Lieutenant Fiske began by paying a tribute to the remarkable pioneer efforts of Colonel Samuel Colt, who more than forty years ago blew up several old vessels, including the gunboat Boxer and the Volta, by the use of electricity. Congress voted Colt $17,000 for continuing his experiments, which at that day seemed almost magical; and he then blew up a vessel in motion at a distance of five miles. Lieut. Fiske next referred briefly to the electrical torpedoes employed in the Crimean war and our civil war.

At the present day, an electrical torpedo may be described as consisting of a strong, water-tight vessel of iron or steel, which contains a large amount of some explosive, usually gun-cotton, and a device for detonating this explosive by electricity. The old mechanical mine used in our civil war did not know a friendly ship from a hostile one, and would sink either with absolute impartiality. But the electrical submarine mine, being exploded only when a current of electricity is sent through it from ship or shore, makes no such mistake, and becomes harmless when detached from the battery. The condition of the mine at any time can also be told by sending a very minute current through it, though miles away and buried deep beneath the sea.

When a current of electricity goes through a wire, it heats it; and if the current be made strong enough, and a white hot wire thus comes in contact with powder or fulminate of mercury in a torpedo, an explosion will result. But it is important to know exactly when to explode the