Scientific American Vol 22 No. 1

Produced by Don Kretz, Juliet Sutherland, and Distributed Proofreaders SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN A WEEKLY JOURNAL OF PRACTICAL INFORMATION, ART, SCIENCE, MECHANICS, CHEMISTRY, AND MANUFACTURES. NEW YORK, JANUARY 1, 1870. Vol. XXII.–No. 1. $3 per Annum * * * * * Contents: (Illustrated articles are marked with an asterisk.) *Engines of the Spanish Gunboats The Torpedo Problem
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Produced by Don Kretz, Juliet Sutherland, and Distributed Proofreaders





Vol. XXII.–No. 1. [NEW SERIES.]

$3 per Annum [IN ADVANCE.]

* * * * *

Contents: (Illustrated articles are marked with an asterisk.)

*Engines of the Spanish Gunboats

The Torpedo Problem

Sugar Making in Louisiana

Sticking, or Court Plaster

*An Improved Hoisting Pulley Wanted

*Ferdinand De Lesseps–Chief Promoter of the Suez Canal

*An Ingenious Vent Peg

*A New English Patent Pulley Block

Plants in Sleeping Booms

*Improved Treadle Motion

*Improved Method of Catching Curculios

Remains of a Megatherium in Ohio

Artificial Ivory

American and English Kailway Practice Contrasted

Boiler Covering

Attachment of Saws to Swing Frames

Patent Decision

Inventions Patented in England by Americans

*Russ Improved Wood Molding Machine

A Lost Civilisation

*Girards “Palier Glissant”

A Happv New Year

The Suez Canal not yet a Failure

Tubular Boilers and Boiler Explosions

Professor Fiske’s Lecture at Harvard

The Brighter Side

The American Institute Prizes Awarded to Steam Engines

A Protest against the Canadian Patent Law

American Railway Management

Scientific Lecture before the American Institute

The Battle Fields of Sceence

How French Bank Notes are Made

What the Newspapers Say

Chinese Method of Preserving Eggs

Steam Boiler Explosion

Editorial Summary

The Steven Breech Loading Rifle

* A Novel Improved Hand Vise

The Mound Builders of Colorado

*The Woven-Wire Mattress

Flouring Mill Hazards

Fire-Proof Building

The Decline of American Shipping

Aerial Navigation-A Suggestion

Putty Floors of Jewelers Shops and otherwise

Western Demand for Agricultural Implements

Economical Steam Engine

Friction and Percussion

Oiling a Preservative of Brownstone

Interesting Correspondence from China

Commumcation Between Deaf and Blind Mutes

Cheap Cotton Press Wanted

A Singular Freak of a Magnet

Preservation of Iron

The Bananas and Plantains of the Tropics

Putting Up Stoves

The Magic Lantern

The Largest well in the World–Capacity 1,000,000 gallons of water per Day

Paper for Building

*Improved Muzzle-Pivoting Gun

Stock Feeding by Clock Work

Milk and What Comes of It

*Improved Hay Elevator

*Improvement in Lamp Wicks

Great Transformation

Answers to Correspondents

Recent American and Foreign Patents

New Books and Publications

List of Patents

* * * * *

Engines of the Spanish Gunboats.

In our description of these boats in No. 25, Vol. XXI., special mention was made of the compactness of the engines.

It has frequently been urged as an objection against the twin screw system that the double set of engines, four steam cylinders with duplicates of all the working parts called for on this system, render the whole too complicated and heavy for small vessels, preventing, at the same time, the application of surface condensation. In the engines of the Spanish gunboats, of which we annex an illustration from _Engineering_, the designer, Captain Ericsson, has overcome these objections by introducing a surface condenser, which, while it performs the function of condensing the steam to be returned to the boiler in the form of fresh water, serves as the principal support of the engines, dispensing entirely with the usual framework. Besides this expedient, each pair of cylinders have their slide frames for guiding the movements of the piston rods cast in one piece. Altogether the combination, is such that the total weight and space occupied by these novel twin screw engines do not exceed the ordinary single screw engines of equal power. Several improvements connected with the working gear have been introduced.


The outer bearings of the propeller shafts, always difficult to regulate and keep in order on the twin screw system, are selfadjusting and accommodate themselves to every change of the direction of the shafts. This is effected by their being spherical externally, and resting in corresponding cavities in the stern braces or hangers. The spring bearings for supporting the middle of the shafts are also arranged on a similar self-adjusting principle.

The thrust bearing is of peculiar construction, the arrangement being such that the bearing surfaces remain in perfect contact however much the shaft may be out of line. The reversing gear likewise is quite peculiar, insuring complete control over the movement of the two propellers under all circumstances. It is claimed that these engines are the lightest and most compact yet constructed for twin screw vessels.

* * * * *

The Torpedo Boat Problem.

The _Army and Navy Journal_ thinks the problem of a torpedo boat capable of firing rapidly and with certainty, has at length reached a satisfactory solution. It says:

“A boat has been completed which is proved by experiment to be faultless in machinery and arrangement. On the 2d of December, Secretary Robeson, Vice-Admiral Porter, and Commodore Case, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, went to the Navy Yard at Washington, to witness the experiment with this new engine of destruction. After examining the workings of the machinery, and the manner of firing, one of the destructives was put in the frame and the party proceeded to the shore to witness the result. A torpedo of only thirty-six pounds was first run out with rapidity and fired; but the result showed that this small amount of powder, even, would have been sufficient to destroy any ship, by lifting her out of the water and breaking her back, even if her bottom was not knocked out altogether. Mud and water were thrown up together, and the concussion was felt far up in the Navy Yard, the ground being shaken by the shock of the powder against the bed of the river. The concussion felt on board the torpedo-boat was not more than that caused by a wave striking a vessel at sea.

“Several torpedoes were fired from the vessel, the explosion of which the party witnessed on board, as they desired to ascertain for themselves the effect of the shock. The result seemed satisfactory, as no change whatever is contemplated in the machinery, which is very simple, and ‘works to a charm.’ The torpedo vessel is the _Nina_, a very strong iron boat of three hundred and fifty tuns burden, capable of crossing the ocean, and having a speed of seventeen knots an hour. She is not impervious to heavy shot, but can be made so, and is capable of resisting any ordinary projectile that could be brought to bear on her from the decks of a ship of war. Her decks will be made torpedo and shot-proof, and several arrangements will be applied, now that it is known that the torpedo system is a success. Such a vessel as the _Nina_, attacking an enemy’s squadron on our coast some dark night, or entering an enemy’s port, could destroy half the vessels in the harbor, and easily escape as few vessels could overtake her. Such a vessel could, for instance, enter the harbor of Havana, and destroy every vessel of war in the port, under cover of darkness. A squadron supplied with such boats to be used to attack, after the fight began, and the ships were enveloped in smoke, would have a most decided advantage against an enemy not thus armed for torpedo warfare. It is reported that our torpedo navy will consist of twenty vessels, none of which will have a less speed than twelve knots, and the fastest of them will go seventeen knots.”

* * * * *


The New Orleans _Times_ contains, in a late number, an account of the manufacture of sugar as conducted on the Poychas estate, from which we extract portions containing the essential particulars of cane sugar making as conducted in the southern portions of the United States.

“Reaching the Cane shed, the crop, dumped into piles, is received by a crowd of feeders, who place it (eight or ten stalks at a time) on the cane carrier. This is an elevator, on an endless band of wood and iron, which carries them to the second story, where the stalks drop between the rollers. An immense iron tank below, called a juice box, receives the liquid portion, and another elevator bears the bruised and broken fragments to the opposite side of the building, where they are dropped into the bagasse burner.

“This invention, at its introduction, caused more scientific inquiry and dispute, probably, than any other of the age, and settled beyond question the possibility of combustion, without the use of atmospheric air. The process consists in dropping the wet, spongy mass into a fire of wood or coal, and closing the furnace doors. The steam arising from the drying matter passes to a chamber in the rear, where, by the intense heat, it is decomposed. Oxygen and hydrogen (both strong combustibles) unite with the carbon, reaching there in the form of smoke, and a white heat is the result.

“Cane juice, as it escapes from the mill, could scarcely be considered inviting to either palate or vision. The sweet, slimy mass of fluid, covered with foam, and filled with sticks, has more the appearance of the water in a brewer’s vat than anything which now suggests itself. A small furnace, containing a quantity of burning sulphur, sends through a tube a volume of its stifling fumes, and these, caught by jets of steam, thoroughly impregnate the contents of the juice box. Having received its first lesson in cleanliness, the liquid now rises through a tube to the series of clarifiers on the second floor. They are heated by a chain of steam pipes running along the bottom, and being filled, the juice slowly simmers Much of the foreign substance rises in a scum to the surface and is skimmed off by the sugar maker. It is further purified by the addition of Thomaston or what is called sugar lime. At one half a peck is considered sufficient for seven hundred and fifty gallons of juice, but much depends upon the quantity of saccharine matter it contains. Another set of pipes now permit the liquor to run into the evaporators, in the boiling room below. These are also heated by circles of steam pipes, and the liquid is first gently simmered, to enable any additional foreign substance to rise to the surface and be skimmed off.

“After that the steam is turned on fully, and the juice boils until it reaches the solidity of twenty-five degrees, as measured by the saccharometer. This point attained, more pipes conduct it to a series of square iron tanks called filterers. Each is provided with a false bottom, covered with thick woolen blankets, and through these the juice slowly drips into an immense iron vessel called a sirup tank.

“The process of cleaning has now been completed, and the sirup is pumped into the covered vessel previously alluded to, called the vacuum pan.

“This is also heated by layers of steam pipes, and here the liquor boils until the process of crystallization is completed. This end achieved, another conductor permits the substance to slowly descend to a large square iron tank, called a strike-pan. The process of emptying the vacuum pan is technically called a “strike.” We now find a reddish brown substance, having somewhat the appearance of soft mortar.

“Men are at hand with square wooden boxes, and while the sugar is still warm, it is placed in rotary cylinders, protected on the inside by wire guards, called centrifugals.

“Placed on a horizontal, they revolve with a velocity which frequently reaches 1200 a minute. The damp, dingy looking pile instantly spreads, a broad circle of yellow is first visible on the inner rim of the machine, and this slowly whitening finally becomes a shining ring of snowy sugar. To effect this result requires the aid of nine steam boilers, three steam engines, a vacuum pan, three large evaporators, five clarifiers, five filters, an immense sirup tank, the juice box, mill, bagasse furnace, and fifteen coolers.

“With the engineers, sugar makers, firemen, and laborers, thirty-eight persons are constantly on duty in this sugar-house.

“Doubling this number, to give each the necessary rest, swells the gathering to seventy-six souls, who, during the grinding season, find employment at the sugar-house alone. This of course does not include the laborers employed in gathering and bringing in the crop, and the great number occupied in odd jobs and the extensive repairs which are constantly going on.”

* * * * *

Sticking, or Court Plaster.

This plaster is well known from its general use and its healing properties. It is merely a kind of varnished silk, and its manufacture is very easy.

Bruise a sufficient quantity of isinglass, and let it soak in a little warm water for four-and-twenty hours; expose it to heat over the fire till the greater part of the water is dissipated, and supply its place by proof spirits of wine, which will combine with the isinglass. Strain the whole through a piece of open linen, taking care that the consistence of the mixture shall be such that, when cool, it may form a trembling jelly.

Extend the piece of black silk, of which you propose making your plaster, on a wooden frame, and fix it in that position by means of tacks or pack-thread. Then apply the isinglass (after it has been rendered liquid by a gentle heat) to the silk with a brush of fine hair (badgers’ is the best). As soon as this first coating is dried, which will not be long, apply a second; and afterwards, if you wish the article to be very superior, a third. When the whole is dry, cover it with two or three coatings of the balsam of Peru.

This is the genuine court plaster. It is pliable, and never breaks, which is far from being the case with many of the spurious articles which are sold under that name. Indeed, this commodity is very frequently adulterated. A kind of plaster, with a very thick and brittle covering, is often sold for it. The manufacturers of this, instead of isinglass, use common glue, which is much cheaper; and cover the whole with spirit varnish, instead of balsam of Peru. This plaster cracks, and has none of the balsamic smell by which the genuine court plaster is distinguished. Another method of detecting the adulteration is to moisten it with your tongue _on the side opposite to that which is varnished_; and, if the plaster be genuine, it will adhere exceedingly well. The adulterated plaster is too hard for this; it will not stick, unless you moisten it on the varnished side.–_The Painter, Gilder, and Varnisher’s Companion_.

* * * * *


A gentleman of this city has sent us the accompanying diagram of an improved hoisting pulley, for which he say she would be willing to pay any reasonable price provided he knew where to obtain it–the wheel, not the price. It is a pulley within a pulley, the friction of the outer one upon the inner one–the latter being held by a ratchet and pawl-acting as a brake in lowering weights, while both would turn together in elevating weights. The idea is rather an ingenious one, but we are confident our inventors can attain a like object by simpler means.


* * * * *

THE VACUUM METHOD OF MAKING ICE.–An ice and cold producing machine has been invented by Herr Franz Windhausen, Brunswick. The action of the machine is based on the principle of producing cold by the expansion of atmospheric air, which is accomplished by means of mechanical power. The machines require no chemicals, nothing being used in them but water and atmospheric air. They may be wrought by steam, water, or wind, and they produce from 100 to 1,000 lbs. of ice per hour, according to size, at a cost of from 2d. to 5d. per 100 lbs., this difference resulting from the varying prices of fuel and the mode of working chosen. One of their uses is to cool rooms, cellars, theaters, hospitals, compartments of ships, etc.–_Builder_.

* * * * *


[From the Phrenological Journal.]

The scheme of re-opening the canal of the Pharaohs between the Mediterranean and Red seas, and thus connecting by a short cut across the Isthmus of Suez the commerce of Europe and Asia, though long entertained by the first Napoleon, may fairly be claimed for M. de Lesseps. His attention was doubtless first drawn to it by reading the memorable report of M. la Pere, who was employed by Bonaparte to make a survey in 1798. The credit of designing and executing the great work belongs alike to him. With the general plan, progress, and purpose of the Canal, the American reader has, during the past few months, been made tolerably familiar.

He is the son of Jean Baptiste Barthelemi, Baron de Lesseps, who was born at Cette, a French port on the Mediterranean, in 1765. Jean Baptiste was for five years French Vice-Consul at St. Petersburg. In 1785 he accompanied La Perouse on a voyage to Kamtchatka, whence he brought by land the papers containing a description of the expedition. In 1788 he was Consul at Kronstadt and St. Petersburg. From St. Petersburg he was called, in 1812, by the Emperor Napoleon, to Moscow, as _intendant_. From the latter city, in 1814, he proceeded to Lisbon, and was stationed there as Consul until 1823. He died at Paris, May 6, 1834.

Ferdinand, the subject of this sketch, was born at Versailles in 1805, and is consequently in his sixty-fourth year, though his appearance is that of a man little past the meridian of life. Early in life he evinced peculiar aptitude for the diplomatic career in which he has since distinguished himself–a career as varied and romantic as it is brilliant. In 1825 he was appointed _attache_ to the French Consulate at Lisbon. Two years later found him engaged in the Commercial Department of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the latter part of 1828 he was _attache_ to the Consul-General at Tunis; and in 1831 he was dispatched by his Government as Consul to Alexandria. Hard work and rapid promotion for _le jeune diplomat!_ But the most eventful period of his long and wonderfully active career lay yet before him.

Seven years subsequent to his appointment at Alexandria, and consequently when he was in his thirty-fifth year, he was sent as Consul to Rotterdam. From Rotterdam he proceeded to Malaga in 1839, to negotiate in behalf of French commerce with the Spanish Government. In the latter part of the same year he was transferred to the Consulate at Barcelona, where during the two subsequent years he was especially active, and signally distinguished himself against the reign of Espartero. In 1844 we again find him in Alexandria, whither he was sent to take the place of Lavalette. But the time for the development of his great project had not yet come. He did not long remain in the Egyptian capital. Returning to his former position in Barcelona he was witness to some of the scenes of the revolution of February. In 1848 he was appointed French Minister at the court of Madrid. Remaining in the Spanish capital about a year, he returned to Paris immediately after the revolution of ’48, and in May of the following year was dispatched as Envoy of the French Republic to the Republican Government of Mazzini at Rome, where he took a leading part in the abortive negotiations which preceded the restoration of the Pope by a French army.


In 1854 he received a commission from the _Societe d’etudes du Canal de Suez_ at Paris to negotiate with Saeid Pacha for the construction of the canal projected in 1816. Accordingly, toward the close of that year, we again find him on the Isthmus, preparing for his great work. This time he came to conquer. His mission was crowned with success, and the necessary concession made in November of that year. A palace and a retinue of servants were assigned to his use, and he was treated, as a guest of the Viceroy, with the utmost respect. Great opposition followed, especially from England; and it was not till January, 1856, that the second and fuller concession was granted by Saeid Pacha, and a _Compagnie International_ fully organized.

In 1858 M. Lesseps succeeded in raising two hundred millions of francs in France, and in 1859 he proceeded to Egypt and planted the Egyptian flag in the harbor of the ancient Pelusium, the great sea-port of Egypt thirty centuries ago, where Port Saeid now stands. He laid, at the same time, the foundation of a lighthouse, and proudly proclaimed the work commenced. Fresh difficulties–chiefly of a political nature–interposed, but the indefatigable Lesseps never despaired. In 1859 he had the satisfaction of seeing his company and work placed upon a firm footing, though the final decision of the French Emperor was not given till July, 1864. From that time to the present hour the Canal has steadily progressed toward completion.

The personal appearance of M. de Lesseps is very striking. Though long past middle age, he has a fresh and even youthful appearance. Both face and figure are well preserved; his slightly curling gray hair sets off in pleasing contrast his bronzed yet clear complexion, his bright eye, and genial smile. He is somewhat over the medium stature, possessed of a compact and well-knit frame, carries his head erect, and moves about with a buoyancy and animation perfectly marvelous in one of his years and experience. His address is that of the well-bred, well-educated French gentleman that he is. His manner is winning, his voice clear and under most excellent control, as all those who have listened to his admirable lectures on the Canal at the late Paris Exposition cannot fail to remember. What is perhaps most remarkable in a man so bred and constituted, is that with great gentleness of speech and suavity of manner he combines a strength of will and fixity of purpose worthy of Napoleon or Caesar himself. Beneath that calm exterior lay a power which needed but the stimulus of a great idea to develop.

Though beset by difficulties, laughed at, and maligned, he has never for a moment swerved from his purpose or relaxed his efforts to accomplish it. Neither the sneers of Stevenson and his associate engineers, the heavy broadside of the “Thunderer,” or the squibs of _Punch_, ever made any visible impression on the purpose or action of Lesseps.–“My purpose from the commencement was to have confidence,” said he.

How bravely he has maintained his principle and redeemed his pledge let the ceremonies which marked the completion and inauguration of his great work tell–when sea sent greeting to sea; and let the keels of richly laden argosies from Cathay and from Ind, which plow the waters of the Canal, declare.

* * * * *


The engraving illustrates an English invention of value in that it provides a means of giving vent to casks from which liquids are to be drawn, at the same time excluding the air when the drawing is discontinued, and thus preventing deterioration in the liquid by undue exposure to air.


The principle on which it operates is that of admitting just so much air as may be required to fill the vacant space produced by the withdrawal of the liquor from time to time, and affording this air no egress, thus hermetically sealing the barrel. This is effected by means of a valve opening inward, at the upper portion of the peg, so long as the density of the exterior air is in excess of that within. This action takes place at the very instant of the flow of the liquid, and ceases with it; for at that instant all further supply is shut off, there being no further pressure.

* * * * *

THE LARGE TREES OF TEXAS.–The large court-house of Navarro county is said to have been covered with shingles made from a single cedar tree. The oaks, pecans, and cedars of that section of the country attain an immense size. A pecan tree in Navarro county, on the banks of the Trinity, measured twenty-three feet in circumference. The cedars are often more than 100 feet high.

* * * * *

ELECTRIC MESSAGES.–Although it may require an hour, or two or three hours, to transmit a telegraphic message to a distant city, yet it is the mechanical adjustment by the sender and receiver which really absorbs this time; the actual transit is practically instantaneous, and so it would be from here to China, so far as the current itself is concerned.

* * * * *

A New English Patent Pulley Block.

The following description of a new pulley block, which we take from the _Ironmonger_, does not give as clear an idea of the invention as could be desired, but it shows that invention in this field has not yet exhausted itself:


“The block is made on the differential principle. The lifting chain is passed over two sheaves, each of which is geared internally, the one having one or more teeth in excess of the other. Revolving around these internal teeth is a pinion, actuated by an eccentric, which is keyed on to a shaft passing through the center of the block, with a bearing at each end in the outside frame of the block. At one end of this shaft is a wheel with an endless hand chain passing over it; this gives the motion to the eccentric shaft. The teeth of the internal pinion are broad enough to gear into the teeth of both the sheaves, but as there is more teeth in one than in the other, they (the teeth) are not exactly opposite each other, and therefore will not admit the teeth of the revolving pinion without moving; but the tooth of the pinion, acting as a wedge, and entering with great power, pushes the one tooth forward and the other tooth back; and this continually occurring, a continual rotary motion is given to the sheaves, in opposite directions, with a power which is proportioned to the number of the teeth, the throw of eccentric, and the leverage gained by the diameter of the hand wheel. The lifting chain is passed over the one sheave, then down, and up over the other, the two ends being attached to a powerful cross bar, to which is connected the lifting hook. By this means the weight is distributed over the two sheaves and the two parts of the chain, increasing the safety and diminishing the friction of the block.

“The blocks are very simple in construction, and are not at all liable to get out of order; the construction being such that the weight cannot run down, though the men lifting let go the chain. They hang quite plumb when in action, and the men are able to stand clear away from under the load, as the hand-wheel chain can be worked at any angle.”

* * * * *

Plants In Sleeping Rooms.

The following from the able pen of Dr. J.C. Draper, in the January number of the _Galaxy_, will answer some inquiries lately received on the subject, and is a brief, but clear exposition of the injurious effects of plants in sleeping apartments:

“Though the air is dependent for the renewal of its oxygen on the action of the green leaves of plants, it must not be forgotten that it is only in the presence and under the stimulus of light that these organisms decompose carbonic acid. All plants, irrespective of their kind or nature, absorb oxygen and exhale carbonic acid in the dark. The quantity of noxious gas thus eliminated is, however, exceedingly small when compared with the oxygen thrown out during the day. When they are flowering, plants exhale carbonic acid in considerable quantity, and at the same time evolve heat. In this condition, therefore, they resemble animals as regards their relation to the air; and a number of plants placed in a room would, under these circumstances, tend to vitiate the air.

“While the phanerogamia, or flowering plants, depend on the air almost entirely for their supply of carbon, and are busy during the day in restoring to it the oxygen that has been removed by animals, many of the inferior cryptogamia, as the fungi and parasitic plants, obtain their nourishment from material that has already been organized. They do not absorb carbonic acid, but, on the contrary, they act like animals, absorbing oxygen and exhaling carbonic acid at all times. It is, therefore, evident that their presence in a room cannot be productive of good results.

“Aside from the highly deleterious action that plants may exert on the atmosphere of a sleeping room, by increasing the proportion of carbonic acid during the night, there is another and more important objection to be urged against their presence in such apartments. Like animals, they exhale peculiar volatile organic principles, which in many instances render the air unfit for the purposes of respiration. Even in the days of Andronicus this fact was recognized, for he says, in speaking of Arabia Felix, that ‘by reason of myrrh, frankincense, and hot spices there growing, the air was so obnoxious to their brains, that the very inhabitants at some times cannot avoid its influence.’ What the influence on the brains of the inhabitants may have been does not at present interest us: we have only quoted the statement to show that long ago the emanations from plants were regarded as having an influence on the condition of the air; and, in view of our present ignorance, it would be wise to banish them from our sleeping apartments, at least until we are better informed regarding their true properties.”

* * * * *

PATENT OFFICE ILLUSTRATIONS.–We are indebted to Messrs. Jewett & Chandler, of Buffalo, N.Y., for advance sheets of the illustrations designed to accompany the Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year 1868. We have frequently had occasion to commend the skill and fidelity of these illustrations. They are most admirably done, and the value of our Patent Office Reports is much enhanced thereby. In fact without these illustrations the reports would be of little value.

* * * * *

Improved Treadle Motion.

It is well known that the ordinary means employed to propel light machinery by the foot are fatiguing in the extreme and although the best of these is the rock shaft with foot pieces, employed almost universally in modern sewing machines, this requires the operator to sit bolt upright, a position very trying to the back, and one which has been shown to be productive of weakness and even permanent disease.

The device shown in the engraving employs only the swinging motion of the leg to generate the required power.


A pendulum, A, is pivoted to the underside of the table and carries a heavy disk, B. To the central pivot of B is attached a foot piece, C. The bottom of B is slotted, and through the slot passes a stationary rod, D, which holds the bottom of the disk from vibrating while it causes the upper part to reciprocate with the swinging of A.

To the upper part of B is pivoted a pitman which actuates the crank as shown.

In operation the foot is placed upon the foot piece, and a swinging motion is imparted by it to the pendulum, which is ultimately converted into rotary motion by the crank as described. The heavy disk, B, gives steadiness to the motion, and acts in concert with the fly wheel on the crank shaft for this purpose; but it is not essential that this part of the device should be a disk; any equivalent may be substituted for the same purpose.

Patented, through the Scientific American Patent Agency, Oct, 26, 1869, by E. A. Goodes For further information address Philadelphia Patent and Novelty Co., 717 Spring Garden street, Philadelphia, Pa.

* * * * *

Improved Method of Catching Curculios.

This is a novel and curious invention, made by Dr. Hull, of Alton, Ill., for the purpose of jarring off and catching the curculio from trees infested by this destructive insect. It is a barrow, with arms and braces covered with cloth, and having on one side a slot, which admits the stem of the tree. The curculio catcher, or machine, is run against the tree three or four times, with sufficient force to impart a jarring motion to all its parts. The operator then backs far enough to bring the machine to the center of the space between the rows, turns round, and in like manner butts the tree in the opposite row. In this way a man may operate on three hundred trees per hour.

A bag and a broom are carried by the operator by which the insects are swept from the cloth and consigned to destruction.

[Illustration: CURCULIO CATCHER.]

* * * * *

Remains of a Megatherium in Ohio.

The Columbus _State Journal_, of Dec. 6, says “there is now on exhibition at the rooms of the State Board of Agriculture, or headquarters of the Geological Corps, a section of the femur or thigh bone of an animal of the mastodon species, the fossilized remains of which were recently discovered in Union county. These remains were found in a drift formation about three feet below the surface, and are similar to the remains of the Megatherium found in other parts of the State. Arrangements were made by Mr. Klippart, of the Geological Corps, to have the skeleton or the parts thereof removed with proper care. Before excavations had proceeded far bad weather set in, and work has been abandoned. The section of the femur, upper part, with socket ball, is about twenty inches in length, or about half the length of the thigh bone. This would make the aggregate length of the bones of the leg about ten feet. The ball is twenty-two inches in circumference, and the bone lower down, of course, much larger. From the part of the skeleton secured, it is estimated that the hight of the animal was twelve and a half feet, and the skeleton entire much larger than the specimen now in the British Museum. As this particular species, or remains thereof, have been found only in Ohio, this specimen has been named the _Megatharium Ohioensis_. The animals lived, it is supposed, in the period immediately preceding the human period, and were after the elephant type.”

Exhuming operations will be resumed in the spring, and if the skeleton is removed in good shape or a good state of preservation, it will be set up in the Echo room at the Capitol, where the fossils collected by the Geological Corps are now being arranged and stored.

* * * * *

Artificial Ivory.

A process for producing artificial ivory has been published in a German journal. The inventor makes a solution of india-rubber in chloroform and passes chlorine gas through it. After this, he heats the solution to drive off any excess of chlorine, and also the solvent, whereupon he has left behind a pasty mass with which it is only necessary to incorporate sufficient precipitated carbonate of lime or sulphate of lead, or, indeed, any other dense white powder, to obtain a material which may be pressed into molds to form whatever articles may be desired. The details of this process are obviously incomplete, and the success of it may be doubted. Only good and well masticated rubber could be employed, and even then a dilute solution must be made, and any earthy impurities allowed to deposit. In the next place, we are doubtful of the bleaching action of chlorine on rubber, and, moreover, chloroform is, under some circumstances, decomposed by chlorine. Lastly, it is clear that, to obtain a hard material at all resembling ivory, it would be necessary to make a “hard cure,” for which a considerable proportion of sulphur would be required. The simple purification of india-rubber by means of chloroform, would, however, furnish a mass of a very fair color.

* * * * *

An iron car made of cylindrical form is now used on the Bengal Railway, for the carriage of cotton and other produce. It is much lighter and safer than the ordinary car. We believe in iron cars.

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ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND.–At the rate old subscribers are renewing, and new ones coming in, there is a prospect that our ambition to increase the circulation of this paper to one hundred thousand will be gratified.

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A paper on “American Locomotives and Rolling Stock,” read before the Institution of Civil Engineers, in England, with an abstract on the discussion thereon, has been forwarded to us by the publishers, William Clowes and Sons, Stamford street and Charing Cross, London.

We have seldom met with a pamphlet of greater interest and value. The whole subject of American as contrasted with English railroad practice is reviewed, and the differences which exist, with the necessities for such differences ably discussed. Mr. Colburn shows these differences to be external rather than fundamental, and traces many of the peculiarities of American construction to the “initiative of English engineers.” The cause for the adoption and retention of these peculiarities he attributes to “the necessities of a new country and the comparative scarcity of capital,” and thinks that but for these causes” American railways and their rolling stock would have doubtless been constructed, as in other countries, upon English models, and worked, in most respects, upon English principles of management.

He reviews the origin and introduction of American features of railway practice, and points out as the distinguishing feature of American locomotives and rolling stock the bogie, or swiveling truck. “Keeping in mind the distinguishing merits of the bogie, the other differences between English and American locomotives are differences more of costume and of toilet than of vital principles of construction.”

The author attributes the origin of the greater subdivision of rolling weight and consequent coupling of wheels on American roads to the comparatively weak and imperfect permanent way, estimating the maximum weight per wheel as being for many years four English tuns, while three tuns he considers, as more than the average for each coupled wheel of American locomotives.

To follow the author through the whole of his able paper, and the discussion which it elicited, would occupy more of our space than we can spare for the purpose. We will, however, give in the author’s own language, an account of an experiment conducted by him in 1855 on the Erie Railroad.

“In the autumn of 1855, the author, at the request of Mr. (now General) M’Callum, the manager of the Erie Railroad, took charge of an experimental train, which he ran over the whole length of the line and back, a total distance of nearly 900 miles. The same engine was employed throughout the run, occupying in all nearly three weeks, making an average for each week day of about 50 miles. The line is divided into four divisions, varying considerably in respect of gradients, and the utmost load the engine could draw was taken in both directions over each division. The maximum inclinations were 1 in 88. The results of the experiments were so voluminous, that it will be sufficient to detail the particulars of what may be termed crucial tests of adhesion and resistance to traction.

“The engine had four coupled wheels and a bogie, the total weight in working trim being 291/2 tuns, of which 17-7/8 tuns rested on the coupled wheels available for adhesion. The coupled wheels were 5 feet in diameter; the outside cylinders were 17 inches in diameter, and the stroke 24 inches. The safety valves were set to blow off at 130 lbs., and the steam, as observed by a Bourdon gage, was seldom allowed to exceed that limit. No indicator diagrams were taken, nor was any measure taken of the wood burnt, all that could be consumed by the engine, in maintaining the requisite steam, being supplied. The tender, loaded, weighed 181 tuns. The train drawn consisted of eight-wheel wagons fully loaded with deals. The average weight of each wagon was 5 tuns 8 cwt. 3 qrs., and of each wagon with its load 15 tuns 5 cwt. 3 qrs. nearly. The wagons had cast-iron chilled wheels, each 2 feet 6 inches in diameter, with inside journals 3 7/8 inches in diameter, and 8 inches long. All the wagons had been put in complete order, and the journals, fitted with oil-tight boxes, were kept well oiled. The gage of the line was 6 feet. The weather was most favorable, clear and dry, with the exception of a single day of heavy rain.

“Upon about one hundred miles of the line, forming a portion of the Susquehanna division, a train of one hundred wagons, weighing, with engine and tender, 1,572 tuns was taken. The train was a few feet more than half a mile in length.

“At one point it was stopped where the line commenced an ascent of 24 feet in four miles, averaging 1 in 880 up for the whole distance. There were also long and easy curves upon this portion. The train was taken up and purposely stopped on the second mile, to be sure of starting again with no aid from momentum. The average speed was 5 miles an hour, and neither was the pressure of steam increased nor sand used except in starting from the stops purposely made. The engine, even were its full boiler pressure of 130 lbs. maintained as effective pressure upon the pistons throughout the whole length of their stroke, could not have exerted a tractive force greater than (17 x 17 x 130 lbs. x 2 ft.)/ 5 ft = 15,028 lbs.; nor is it at all probable that the effective cylinder pressure could have approached this limit by from 10 lbs. to 15 lbs. per square inch. Supposing, however, for the sake of a reductio ad absurdum, that the full boiler pressure had been maintained upon the pistons for the whole length of their strokes, the adhesion of the coupled driving wheels, not deducting the internal resistances of the engine, would have been 15028/40050 3/8 of the weight upon them. In any case there was a resistance of 4,011 lbs. due to gravity, and if even 120 lbs. mean effective cylinder pressure be assumed, corresponding to a total tractive force of 13,872 lbs., the quotient representing the rolling and other resistances, exclusive of gravity, would be but 6.27 lbs. per tun of the entire train; a resistance including all the internal resistances of the engine, the resistance of the curves, easy although they were, and the loss in accelerating and retarding the train in starting and stopping. This estimate of resistance would correspond, at the observed speed of 5 miles an hour (upwards of 3/4 of an hour having been consumed on the 4 miles), to 185 indicated H.P., which, with the driving wheels, making but 28 revolutions per minute, would be the utmost that an engine with but 1,038 square feet of heating surface could be expected to exert. This was the highest result observed during the three weeks’ trial, but one or two others are worthy of mention. On the Delaware division of the same line, the train, of 1,572 tuns’ weight, was run over 5 consecutive miles of absolutely level line, at a mean rate of 9.23 miles an hour, and during the same day, over 5 other consecutive miles of level at a mean rate of 9.7 miles per hour. On both levels there were 141/2 chain curves of good length, and the speed, from 9 to 12 miles an hour, at which the train entered the respective levels, was not quite regularly maintained throughout the half hour expended in running over them. But if even 7 lbs. per tun of the total weight be taken as the resistance at these speeds, the tractive force will be 11,004 lbs., which is more than one fourth the adhesion weight of 40,050 lbs. On the next day, the same engine drew 30 wagons weighing 4661/2 tuns, or, including engine and tender, 514 tuns nearly, up a gradient of 1 in 1171/2, three miles long, at a mean speed of 101/4 miles an hour. The resistance due to gravity was 9,814 lbs., and supposing the other resistance to traction to amount to no more than 7 lbs. per tun, the total resistance would be 13,412 lbs., corresponding to a mean effective cylinder pressure of 117 lbs. per square inch, and to a co-efficient of adhesion of almost exactly one third.

“It is needless to repeat instances of much the same kind, as occurring during the experiment referred to. The author is bound to say that they were, no doubt, influenced by the favorable circumstances of weather, and something is to be allowed also for the great length of train drawn, very long trains having a less tractive resistance per tun on a level than short ones, and something, possibly more than is commonly supposed, may have been due to the use of oil-tight axle boxes, the saponaceous compound known as ‘railway grease’ being nowhere in use on railways in the States. It could not possibly be used, except in a congealed form, in the severe American winters; and Messrs. Guebhard and Dieudonne’s experiments (_vide_ “De la resistance des trains et de la puissance des machines.” 8vo. Paris, 1868, p. 36) made in 1867, on the Eastern Railway of France, showed a very considerable diminution in the resistance of oil-boxed rolling stock as compared with that fitted with grease boxes. But, weighed upon the other hand, are the facts, first, that the line was of 6-feet gage, and, _pro tanto_, so much the worse for traction; secondly, that the wheels were comparatively small, and the inside journals of comparatively large diameter, the ratio of the former to the latter being as 73/4 to 1, instead of 12 to 1 as on English lines. It is difficult to believe that the length and steadiness of the double bogie goods wagons, scarcely liable as they are to lateral vibrations, had not something to do with the result, which is in some respects unique in the history of railway traction. The result, although not absolutely showing the real resistance to traction, nor the real adhesion of the engine, presents this alternative; namely, that the resistance must have been unusually small, or the adhesion unusually large.”

In the discussion which followed some doubts were expressed as to the accuracy of Mr. Colburn’s conclusions, drawn from the experiments described; but it was conceded by some who took part in the discussion that some of the features of our practice might be advantageously copied in England. For the most part, however, the opinion prevailed that the features of our system, which are here regarded as almost indispensable, could not be introduced into English practice with advantage.

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At the regular weekly meeting of the Polytechnic Association of the American Institute, held on Thursday evening, the 25th ult., the subject of boiler clothing was discussed at some length, but without any decisive conclusion being arrived at respecting the most serviceable and economical material for that purpose. It appeared from the testimony adduced, that though there is a variety of substances in use, even those which are practically acknowledged as being the most efficient are far from coming up to the required standard of utility, and are characterized by defects which are at once forced upon us by a little close examination. Felt is an admirable non-conductor of heat, but owing to its combustible nature it is quite unreliable when subject to the heat of a high pressure of steam. A large fragment of this material which had been taken off the boiler of a North River steamboat was exhibited at the meeting, scorched and charred as if it had been exposed to the direct action of fire. For these reasons felt covering is, generally speaking, confined to boilers in which a comparatively low pressure of steam is maintained. But even under the most favorable circumstances of actual wear its durability is limited to a short period.

Powdered charcoal possesses the elements of efficiency as a non-conductor in an eminent degree; but its susceptibility of taking fire militates strongly against its adoption as a boiler covering.

Besides the materials above mentioned, there are some which come under the denomination of cements; but the use of such is somewhat at variance with what a dull world would call “facts.” Employing them as a clothing for a vessel in which it is necessary to retain heat is certainly the wrong way of doing a light thing, if the evidence of distinguished experimenters be worth anything.

The researches of most well-informed physical philosophers go to prove that the conducting properties of bodies are augmented by cohesion, and that heat is conveyed profusely and energetically through all solid and ponderable substances. Thus gold, silver, and others of the most solid metals are the best conductors. Next to the pure metals in conducting powers are rocks, flints, porcelain, earthenware, and the denser liquids as the solutions of the acids and alkalies. As a further evidence to prove that the passage of heat through all substances is increased by cohesion, even some of those which are known to be among the best conductors are deprived of this property by a division or disintegration of their particles. Pure silica in the state of hard, rock crystal is a better conductor than bismuth or lead; but if the rock crystal be pulverized, the diffusion of heat through its powder is very slow and feeble. Heat is conducted swiftly and copiously through transparent rock salt, but pulverization converts the solid mass into a good non-conductor. Caloric has for the same reason a stronger affinity for pure metals than for their oxides.

Again, wood is known to be a better non-conductor when reduced to shavings or sawdust than when in the solid state. It is probably on this account that trees are protected by bark, which is not nearly so dense and hard a body as the wood. Wool, silk, and cotton are much diminished in conducting qualities when spun and woven, for the reason that their fibers are brought closer together.

Count Rumford discovered that hot water, at a given temperature, when placed in a vessel jacketed with a clothing of twisted silk, and plunged into a freezing mixture, cooled down to 185 deg. Fah. in 917 seconds. But when the same vessel was clothed with an equal thickness of raw silk, water at the same heat and under the same process required 1,264 seconds before it reached the same decrease of temperature. It was also found by Sir Humphry Davy that even metals became non-conductors when their cohesion was destroyed by reducing them to the gaseous state.

It is now generally admitted that, heat being motion, anything, which, by the cohesion of particles, preserves the continuity of the molecular chain along which the motion is conveyed, must augment calorific transmission. On the other hand, when there is a division or disintegration of atoms, such as exists in sawdust, powdered charcoal, furs, and felt, the particles composing such bodies are separated from each other by spaces of air, which the instructed among us well know are good non-conductors of heat. The motion has, therefore, to pass from each particle of matter to the air, and again from the air to the particle adjacent to it. Hence, it will be readily seen, that in substances composed of separate or divided particles, the thermal bridge, so to speak, is broken, and the passage of heat is obstructed by innumerable barriers of confined air. The correctness of these assumptions has been so abundantly proved by experimental demonstrations, that every mind that is tolerably informed on the subject must be relieved of every shade of doubt respecting the greatly superior non-conducting powers which bodies consisting of separate atoms possess over those of a solid concrete nature.

The next matter of interest connected with the subject under notice is its relation to the philosophy of radiation. It has long been known that the emission of heat from a polished metallic surface is very slight, but from a surface of porcelain, paper, or charcoal, heat is discharged profusely. Even many of the best non-conductors are powerful radiators, and throw off heat with a repellent energy difficult to conceive.

“If two equal balls of thin, bright silver,” says Sir John Leslie, “one of them entirely uncovered and the other sheathed in a case of cambric, be filled with water slightly warmed and then suspended in a close room, the former will lose only eleven parts in the same time that the latter will dissipate twenty parts.” The superior heat-retaining capacity which a clean tin kettle possesses over one that has been allowed to collect smoke and soot, lies within the compass of the most ordinary observation.

The experiments of the eminent philosopher just mentioned furnish a variety of suggestions on the radiation from heated surfaces. He found that, while the radiating power of clean lead was only 19, it rose to 45 when tarnished by oxidation, that the radiating power of plumbago was 75, and that of red lead 80. He also discovered that, while the radiating power of gold, silver, and polished tin was only 12, that of paper was 98, and lamp black no less than 100. He further says: “A silver pot will emit scarcely half as much heat as one of porcelain. The addition of a flannel, though indeed a slow conductor, far from checking the dissipation of heat, has directly a contrary tendency, for it presents to the atmosphere a surface of much greater propulsive energy, which would require a thickness of no less than three folds to counterbalance.”

It is safe to infer from this analogy that the felt covering of boilers should not only be of considerable thickness, but should be protected by an external jacketing of some sort; for, though felt is a good non-conductor, it is a powerful absorber and radiator, more especially when it has been allowed to contract soot and dust.

Various experiments have lead to the general conclusion that the power of absorption is always in the same proportion as the power of radiation. It must be so. Were any substance a powerful radiator and at the same time a bad absorber, it would necessarily radiate faster than it would absorb, and its reduction of temperature would continue without limit. It has, furthermore, been proved that the absorptive property of substances increases as their reflecting qualities diminish. Hence, the radiating power of a surface is inversely as its reflecting power. It is for this reason that the polished metallic sheathing on the cylinders of locomotive engines, and on the boilers of steam fire engines, is not only ornamental but essentially useful. Decisive tests have also established the fact that radiation is effected more or less by color. “A black porcelain tea pot,” observes Dr. Lardner, “is the worst conceivable material for that vessel, for both its material and color are good radiators of heat, and the liquid contained in it cools with the greatest possible rapidity; a polished silver or brass tea urn is much better adapted to retain the heat of the water than one of a dull brown, such as is most commonly used.”

A few facts like those above stated afford more decisive information regarding the nature of heat than columns of theory or speculation. Yet it is rather strange that when so many learned and reliable men have, experimented so much and commented with such persuasiveness upon the subtile agency of heat and the vast amount of waste that must accrue by injudicious management, comparatively few have availed themselves of the united labors of these indefatigable pyrologists; manufacturing owners and corporations still persisting in having their steam boilers painted black or dull red and leaving them exposed to the atmosphere. Some persons, who pass themselves off very satisfactorily as clever engineers, affect a contempt for the higher branches of science, and assert, in a very positive and self-sufficient manner that experiments made in a study or laboratory are on too trifling and small a scale to be practically relied upon; that a tin kettle or a saucepan is a very different thing to the boiler of a steam engine.

This may be so in one sense, but the same chemical forces which operate upon the one will be just as active in a proportionate degree in their action upon the other. It was said by Aristotle that the laws of the universe are best observed in the most insignificant objects; for the same physical causes which hold together the stupendous frame of the universe may be recognized even in a drop of rain. The same observation may be applied to the laws of heat in all their ramifications; for, after all, our experiments are, in many instances but defective copies of what is continually going on in the great workshop of nature.

It would be needless to insist on the wasteful and destructive effects produced by the exposure of boiler surfaces to the open atmosphere. Such a practice can be neither supported by experience nor justified by analogy; and it is to be hoped that it may before long be consigned to the limbo of antiquated absurdities and be satisfactorily forgotten. Seeing that it cannot with any show of reason be affirmed that the boiler covering materials in present use possess the requirements necessary to recommend them; the question arises as to what is the best means of achieving the object required. This is an inquiry which it is the office of time alone to answer. As the problem is obviously one of primary importance, and well worthy of the attention of inventors, it is hazarding nothing to predict its satisfactory solution at no distant date.

The plain truth is, boilers have of late become gigantic foes to human life. Explosions have increased, are increasing, and should be diminished; and they are, in many instances, caused by boilers being strained and weakened by sudden contraction from having their surfaces exposed when the fire has been withdrawn from them. Boilers are also materially injured by the excessive furnace heat which it is necessary to maintain to compensate for the large amount of caloric which is dissipated from their surfaces, not only by radiation but from absorption by the surrounding atmosphere.

As the views here laid down are drawn exclusively from the region of fact and experiment, it is to be hoped that an enlightened sense of self-interest may prompt those whom the subject may concern, to give it that special attention which its importance demands.

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Attachment of Saws to Swing-Frames.

To insure the efficiency of mill-saws, it is highly important to have them firmly secured in the frames by which they are reciprocated. Swing-frames for carrying saws are ordinarily of wrought iron or steel, and made up of several pieces mortised and tenoned together in the form of a rectangular frame or parallelogram, of which the longest sides are termed verticals and the shortest crossheads or crossrails. In the case of deal frames, the swing frame differs somewhat from that of a timber frame, in having two extra verticals, which separate it into two equal divisions. These are necessary in order that two deals may be operated upon simultaneously, each division being devoted to a separate deal, and likewise to enable the connecting-rod which works the frame to pass up the center and oscillate on a pin near the top, thereby avoiding the deep excavations and costly foundations required where the rod is engaged with the pin at the bottom. The rack that advances the deals to the saws passes through a “bow” in the connecting-rod and the middle of the frame, the deals are placed on either side of it, on rollers purposely provided. In sawing hard deals, the saws require to be sharpened about every tenth run or journey, and every twentieth for soft. Fifty runs, or one hundred deals, are reckoned an average day’s work; this is inclusive of the time required for changing the saws, returning the rack for another run, and other exigencies. For attachment to swing-frames the saws have buckles riveted to them; these are by various modes connected to the crossheads. Each top buckle is passed through the crosshead and is pierced with a mortise for the reception of a thin steel wedge or key, by whose agency the blade is strained and tightened. The edge of the crosshead upon which the keys bed is steeled to lessen the wear invariably ensuing from frequently driving up the keys. The distances between the blades are adjusted by interposing strips of wood, or packing pieces, as they are termed, of equal thickness with the required boards or leaves; the whole is then pressed together and held in position by packing screws. The saws themselves are subsequently tightened by forcing home the keys until a certain amount of tension has been attained, this is ascertained only by the peculiar sound which emanates from the blade on being drawn considerably tight and tense. Great experience is required to accustom the ear to the correct intonation, as in general the tensile strain on the saws approximates so closely to the breaking point that one or two extra taps on the keys are quite sufficient to rupture them.

Mr. Brunel, in the government saw-mills at Woolwich, adopted a method of hanging saws by means of a weighted lever, like a Roman steelyard. A cross-shaft affixed above the saws to the cornice of the main frame carried a lever, weighted at one end and provided with a hook or shackle at the other for engagement with the saw buckle. In using this apparatus the blades were strained one at a time by linking the lever to the buckle and then adjusting the movable weight until the desired tension was acquired, after which the key was inserted into the mortise and the lever released. This arrangement is not now in common use on account of the trouble attending its employment, and at present the saws are merely strained by hammering up the keys. The saw blades had usually a tensile strain of upwards of one tun per inch of breadth of blade. It is to be further observed that the cutting edges of the saws are not quite perpendicular, but have a little lead, or their upper ends overhang the lower about three eighths of an inch or one half of an inch, according to the nature of the material to be sawn. The object of this is that the saws may be withdrawn from the cuts in the ascending or back stroke, and allow the sawdust free escape. The eccentric actuating the mechanism for advancing the timber to the saws is generally set in such a manner that the feed commences just at the moment when the frame has attained half its ascending stroke, and continues until the entire stroke has been completed. By this regulation the saws are not liable to be suddenly choked, but come smoothly and softly into their work.–_Worssam’s Mechanical Saws_.

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_In the matter of the application of William N. Bartholomew, assignor to J. Reckendorfer, for letters patent for a design for Rubber Eraser_–Letters patent for designs have increased in importance within the past few years. Formerly but few were granted, now many are issued. To this day they have made so little figure in litigation that but three reported cases are known in which design patents have come into controversy. With their increase, questions have arisen concerning their scope and character, which have given rise to dispute and to inquiry as to the correctness of the current practice of the office in this branch of invention. While on the one hand, it is insisted that the practice has always been uniform, and is therefore now fixed and definite; on the other, it is asserted, that there has never been, and is not now, any well-defined or uniform practice, either in the granting or refusal of design patents.

The act of 1836 made no provision for the patenting of designs. The earliest legislation upon this subject is found in the act of August 29, 1842, section 3; and the only legislation upon the subject is found in this section and in section 11, of the act of March 2, 1861. The definition of the subject matter, or, in other words, of a “design,” is the same in both acts. It is is follows:

“That any citizen, etc., who, by his, her, or their own industry, genius, efforts, and expense, may have invented or produced any new and original design for a manufacture, whether of metal or other material or materials, any original design for a bust, statue, bas-relief, or composition in alto or basso-relievo, or any new and original impression being formed in marble or other material, or any new and useful pattern, or print, or picture, to be either worked into or worked on, or printed, or painted, or cast, or otherwise fixed on any article of manufacture, or any new and original shape or configuration of any article of manufacture not known or used by others, etc.”

This definition embraces five particulars.

1. A new and original design for a manufacture.

2. An original design for a bust, statue, etc.

3. A new and original impression or ornament to be placed on any article of manufacture.

4. A new and useful pattern, print, or picture to be worked into or worked on, or printed, or painted, or cast, or otherwise fixed on any article of manufacture.

5. A new and original shape or configuration of any article of manufacture.

The first three of these classes would seem to refer to ornament only; the fourth to ornament, combined with utility, as in the case of trade marks; and the fifth to new shapes or forms of manufactured articles, which, for some reason, were preferable to those previously adopted.

The disputed questions which have thus far arisen under these definitions are:

1. What variations may be claimed or covered by the patent consistently with unity of design.

2. Is a new shape of an article of manufacture, whereby utility is secured, a subject of protection under this act; and

3. Is mechanical function of any kind covered by it.

As to the first of these questions, it seems to have been assumed that the design spoken of in all parts of the sections referred to covered a fixed, unchangeable figure, that the protection of letters patent did not extend to any variation, however slight, but that such variation constituted a new design, might be covered by a new patent, and might safely be used without infringement of the first. This, it is said, is the correct theory of the law, and has been the uniform adjudication of the Office.

Neither of these statements is absolutely correct. The law by no means defines a design with such strictness. The language is, “new and original design for a manufacture,” “new and original impression or ornament,” “new and original shape or configuration.” It would seem to be too plain for argument, that the new design, or impression, or shape, might be so generic in its character as to admit of many variations, which should embody the substantial characteristics and be entirely consistent with a substantial identity of form. Thus, if the invention were of a design for an ornamental button, the face of which was grooved with radial rays, it would seem that the first designer of such a button might properly describe a button of five rays, and, having stated that a greater number of rays might be used, might claim a design consisting generally of radial rays, or of “five or more” rays, and, that it could not be necessary for him to take out a patent for each additional ray that could be cut upon his button. So, if the design were the ornamentation of long combs by a chain of pearls, it would seem that a claim for such a design might be maintained against one who arranged the pearls, either in curved or straight lines, or who used half pearls only, and that such modifications if they had occurred to the designer, might properly have been enumerated in his specification as possible and equivalent variations. In short, I can see no reason, under the law, why designs may not be generic, why what are called “broad claims,” may not be made to them, and why the doctrine of artistic or aesthetic equivalents may not be applied to them.

This has been recognized to a greater or less extent in the adjudications of the courts and in the practice of the Office.

One of the reported cases is that of Booth _vs_. Garelly 1, Blatch 247. The design is described as consisting of “radially formed ornaments on the face of the molds or blocks of which the button is formed, combined with the mode of winding the covering on the same, substantially as set forth, whether the covering be of one or more colors.” The specification, in “substantially” setting forth the design, contained this language: “It will be obvious from the foregoing that the figures can be changed at pleasure by giving the desired form to the face of the mold by depressions and elevations which radiate from a point, whether in the center of the mold or eccentric thereto.”

In the consideration of the case by the Court no objection was made to this statement or claim. In the case of Root _vs_. Ball, 4 McLean 180, the learned judge instructed the jury that “if they should find that the defendants had infringed the plaintiff’s patent by using substantially the same device as ornamental on the same part of the stove they would, of course, find the defendant guilty. To infringe a patent right it is not necessary that the thing patented should be adopted in every particular; but if, as in the present case, the design and figures were substantially adopted by the defendants, they have infringed the plaintiff’s right. If they adopt the same principle the defendants are guilty. The principle of a machine is that combination of mechanical powers which produce a certain result. And in a case like the present, where ornaments are used for a stove, it is an infringement to adopt the design so as to produce substantially the same appearance.”

It has been the constant practice to grant patents for designs for fonts of type, for sets of silver plate, for a series of printers’ flourishes, and the like. This class of cases has always passed without objection.

Two other cases which have arisen within the Office deserve notive. The first was for a series of miniature shoulder straps, with emblems denoting rank, provided with a pin, to be worn under an officer’s coat, upon his vest, or as a lady’s breastpin. The drawing shows eight of these pins with emblems of rank, varying from that of second lieutenant to major-general, specification describing the brooch for a second lieutenant goes on to say: “I propose to introduce, on some of them, the different ornaments showing the respective ranks of the army, from a major-generalship to a second lieutenancy. See Figs. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.”

The second case was that of an application for a monogram visiting card, on which the name was to be inscribed or printed in the form of a monogram. The applicant filed a drawing, showing a card upon which was a monogram of his own name. In his specification he gives certain rules for forming such monograms, and then says: “It is manifest that the form of the letters as well as the letters themselves can be changed as required by circumstances or the taste of the individual for whom the monogram is designed; and that the general form and outline of the monogram may be varied; and indeed, must vary to be adapted to the particular name it is required to represent.”

The claim was for “a monogram, visiting card, or visiting card upon which the name is inscribed or printed in the form of a monogram, substantially as herein specified.”

This application was rejected by the Examiner and Board of Examiners-in-Chief, but was allowed by the Commissioner upon appeal.

It is true that, before and since this patent was issued, many patents have been refused for what I have called generic designs. One man having designed a tack head, ornamented with radial lines, was compelled to take out one patent for his tack with six radial lines, and another for the same tack with eight. There are other instances of like character, but they only serve to show that the practice of the Office has not been uniform, and that the true practice is still to be adopted and followed.

I have no hesitation in saying, in view of the premises, that a valid patent may be granted for a new genus or class of ornaments as well as for specific ornaments, though I do not doubt that, under the statute, every species, variety, and individual having distinct characteristics under such a genus might also be patented, the patent being subordinate and tributary to that which covered the class. From the nature of this subject-matter there must always be more latitude in the issue of patents for trifling changes, or form, or outline, since it is only necessary that such changes should constitute a new “design” to entitle them to a patent of this class.

The second question relates to the elements of utility in patents for designs.

Upon this point, it is said by my predecessor, in Jason Crane _ex parte_ Commissioners, December-May, 1869, p. 1, that the construction which has been given to the act of 1842, by the Office, ever since its passage, is that it relates to designs for ornament merely; something of an artistic character as contradistinguished to those of convenience or utility.

The Board of Examiners-in-Chief, in the present case, say “The practice of the Office has been uniform from the beginning, and has always excluded cases like the present from the benefit of the laws relating to designs.” And, again, “The general understanding has always been that the acts of 1842 and 1861 were intended to cover articles making pretensions to artistic excellence exclusively.”

In thus denying that a new “shape or configuration” of an article, whereby utility or convenience is promoted, is the proper subject of a patent under the acts referred to, the Office would seem to have involved itself in the absurdity that if a design is useless it may be patented; whereas, if it be useful, it is entitled to no protection.

Fortunately no such “uniform practice” has existed, and the Office is relieved from so grievous an imputation. The practice seems to have been taken for granted by the appellate tribunals, and, so far from being as stated, is, as nearly as possible, the reverse of it. Articles have been, and are being, constantly patented as designs which possess no element of the artistic or ornamental, but are valuable solely because, by a new shape or configuration, they possess more utility than the prior forms of like articles Of this character are designs for ax heads, for reflectors, for lamp shades, for the soles of boots and shoes, which have been heretofore patented as designs, and to this class might be added, with great propriety, that class of so-called “mechanical” patents, granted for mere changes of form, such as plowshares, fan blowers, propeller blades, and others of like character.

When, therefore, my learned predecessor in Crane’s case added to this number a box so designed as to hold with convenience a set of furs, he did but confirm and not alter the practice of the Office, so far as it can be gleaned from the patented cases. I am of opinion that the class of cases named in the act as arising from “new shape or configuration” includes within it all those mere changes of form which involve increase of utility. This I take to be the spirit of the decision in Wooster _vs_. Crane, 2 Fisher 583. The design was of a reel in the shape of a rhombus. The learned Judge says “In this case, the reel itself, as an article of manufacture, is conceded to be old and not the subject of a patent. The shape applied to it by the complainant is also an old, well-known mathematical figure. Now although it does not appear that any person ever before applied this particular shape to this particular article, I cannot think that the act quoted above was intended to secure to the complainant an exclusive right to use this well known figure in the manufacture of reels. The act, although it does not require utility in order to secure the benefit of its provisions, does require that the shape produced shall be the result of industry, effort genius, or expense, and must also, I think, be held to require that the shape or configuration sought to be secured shall, at least, be new and original as applied to articles of manufacture. But here the shape is a common one in many articles of manufacture, and its application to a reel cannot fairly be said to be the result of industry, genius, effort, and expense. No advantage whatever is pretended to be derived from the adoption of the form selected by the complainant, except the incidental one of using it as a trademark. Its selection can hardly be said to be the result of effort even; it was simply an arbitrary chance selection of one of many well-known shapes, all equally well adapted to the purpose. To hold that such an application of a common form can be secured by letters patent, would be giving the act of 1861 a construction broader than I am willing to give it”

It would seem from this language that if there had been “advantage,” that is, utility in the adoption of the form of the rhombus, that it would have found more favor in the eyes of the Court.

This subject has been well discussed in the opinion of Commissioner Foote in Crane _ex parte_. I concur in that opinion, except as to the recital of the former practice of the Office, which a careful examination has shown to be erroneous.

The third question may be readily disposed of. Modes of operation or construction, principles of action, combinations to secure novelty or utility of movement, or compositions of matter, can hardly be said to be “shapes, configurations, or designs,” but where the sole utility of the new device arises from its new shape or configuration, I think it may fairly be included among the subjects which the act of 1842 was designed to protect.

The present case may, in view of the foregoing consideration, be disposed of without difficulty. Letters patent are asked, by applicant, for a new design for a rubber eraser, which consists in giving to the eraser a cylindrical body, with ends beveled to an edge. The claim is for the “cylindrical rubber eraser provided with a wrapper or case, as herein shown and described”

In the body of the specification the applicant describes the mode of making the eraser, and he also enumerates its advantages over erasers of the ordinary forms.

The Examiner does not object to the application because of the utility of the eraser, although the Board of Examiners in Chief seem to base their decision upon that point alone, but he pronounces the form already old in its application to artists’ stumps, and he insists that the mode of composition or construction can form no element, for the claim for a design patent.

In the latter statement he is undoubtedly right. These patents are granted solely for new shapes or forms, and the form being new it is immaterial by what process that form is attained. The composition of matter or the mode of construction is neither “design,” “shape,” nor “configuration,” and must be protected, if at all, under a patent of another kind. I cannot say that the presence of such matter in the specification would be objectionable if description merely, but it could in no way be allowed to enter into, or to modify the claim.

As to the first ground of rejection, I think the Examiner is in error. This purports to be a new form or shape of a distinct article of manufacture, to wit: rubber erasers. If it be new, as thus applied, it is immaterial whether pencils, or stumps, or pen holders, or anything else may or may not have been made cylindrical. If they are not substantially the same article of manufacture as erasers, the old form applied to this new article is unquestionably entitled to protection.

The applicant has not defined his invention with entire accuracy. He should strike from his claim the words “provided with a wrapper or case,” as those relate to construction and not configuration, and he should insert the words “having the ends beveled to an edge” in lieu of the phrase erased, or he should adopt the usual form of claim for designs, viz: “The design for a rubber eraser, as shown and described.”

As the claim stands, it ought not to be allowed, and the decision must be affirmed, but the applicant will be allowed to amend as suggested.

(Signed) S.S. FISHER.

Commissioner of Patents

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Inventions Patented In England by Americans.

[Compiled from the “Journal of the Commissioners of Patents.”]


3,201.–SEWING MACHINE.–H.A. House, Bridgeport, Conn. November 4, 1869.

3,211.–BORING TOOL.–Alexander Allen, New York city. November 5 1869.

3,215.–MODE OF AND DEVICES FOE SECURING STAIR RODS.–H. Uhry, New York city. November 6, 1869.


3,303.–RELOADING CARTRIDGE SHELL.–R.J. Gatling, Indianapolis, Ind. November 16, 1869.

3,342.–WOODEN PAVEMENT.–I. Hayward and J.F. Paul, Boston, Mass. November 20, 1869.

3,358.–MACHINERY FOR DISTRIBUTING TYPE.–O.L. Brown, Boston, Mass. November 20,1869.

3,219.–WEIGHING MACHINE.–M. Kennedy, New York city. November 10, 1869.

3,260.–BRAN DUSTER.–W. Huntley and A. Babcock, Silver Creek, N.Y. November 12, 1869.

3,339.–RAILWAY CARRIAGE.–E. Robbins, Cincinnati, Ohio. November 19, 1869.

3,341.–REVOLVING BATTERY GUN.–R.J. Gatling, Indianapolis, Ind. Nov. 19, 1869.

3,360.–SASH FASTENER.–S.L. Loomis, South Byron, N.Y. November 20, 1869.

3,363.–MAGNETIC MACHINES AND MAGNETS.–J. Burroughs, Jr., Newark N.J. November 20, 1869.

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Russ’ Improved Wood Molding Machine.

A comprehensive description of this excellent machine was given upon page 230, Vol. XVIII., of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. We now present our readers with an engraving of it and a summary of its important features, which doubtless render it equal if not superior to any machine of the kind in market. The frame in which the feed rollers are arranged is so hung to the frame-work of the molding machine, that it can be raised or lowered at pleasure, in order to properly adjust the feed rollers for action upon the “stuff,” and it is also so constructed as to permit the feed rollers to yield in case of variations in the thickness of the “stuff” passing under them. The spindle of the side cutter-heads is hung in a vertical frame arranged to be moved up and down, and laterally, to adjust the cutter-head for action, and is provided at its upper end with a box or bearing, whereby the bearing of the box is always kept upon the spindle instead of at different points of the same as in other machines, and this without interfering with the adjustability of the side cutter-head. Thus uneven wear is avoided.


The bed of the machine is formed with a series of slots or openings provided with bridge bars so that the cutters may act upon the edges of the stuff without danger of injury from striking the bed. The presser shoe is also made adjustable for different thicknesses of the “stuff” and self-yielding to variations in thickness, by a peculiar method of hanging the bar, which carries the presser shoe, to the framework of the machine.

The clamp which holds the press block which acts upon the “stuff” after it has passed through the cutter, is of novel construction, and the spindle of the side cutter-heads is so arranged in connection with a loose pulley and the pulley-drums, that both cutter-heads are driven by one belt and in the same direction.

The bed plate is provided with springs through which the side cutter-heads are arranged, to move laterally or transversely with a bridge-plate or plates, susceptible of adjustment independent of the cutter-heads, whereby an adjustable support to the “stuff” is given as it passes over the line of the openings in the bed.

Most machines have weighted pressure feed, but this having steel springs adjustable by a screw and hand wheel, a heavy or light pressure can be applied according to the work done or size of molding. The cutter-heads are square and slotted so that any style of molding can be stuck by putting cutters on all sides of the head, thus equalizing the cost and lessening the power. The pressure shoe is arranged to hold the “stuff” at the very point of contact with the cutters, and, as we have shown, is readily adjusted to a long or short cutter, so that a small molding can be made as smooth as a large one, and so as not to require any finishing with sandpaper or a hand tool.

The machine has also a bevel track very useful for picture frame molding, and a patent cap of great value for the cutters, and readily applied to any slotted head or common head. The wrenches that go with the machine, and the common malleable iron caps for the top cylinder, are shown in detail. These machines are now running in Worcester, Boston, and Fitchburg, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.: Philadelphia, Pa.; Brattleboro, Vt.; Whitesboro, N. Y.; Charleston, S. C., and other places, and, it is claimed, are capable of doing better work and more of it than any machine now in use.

This machine is covered by several patents taken through the Scientific American Patent Agency. It is manufactured by R. Ball & Co., of Worcester, Mass, to whom write for further information.

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A Lost Civilization.

At the last regular meeting of the American Geographical and Statistical Society at its rooms in the Cooper Institute, Professor Newberry, of Columbia College, delivered an address on the subject of his explorations in Utah and Arizona Territories. The speaker commenced by giving a short history of the circumstances under which the two government expeditions to which he was attached were organized. He then confined his remarks to the subject of the latter expedition, no account of which has yet been published. Its aim was principally to explore the region embraced by what is known as the old Spanish trail from Santa Fe to California. After giving an interesting account of the topography of the region traversed, he proceeded to speak of the traces which were found on every hand of a former occupancy by a numerous population now extinct. These were most numerous near the course of the San Juan river. There were found ruins of immense structures, a view of one of which he exhibited, built regularly of bricks, a foot in thickness, and about eighteen inches in length, with the joints properly broken, and as regularly laid and as smooth as any in a Fifth Avenue mansion. This structure he said was as large as the Croton reservoir. Inside were rooms nicely plastered as the walls of a modern house. There were also traces of extensive canals, which had been constructed to bring water to these towns, which were received into large cisterns. The lecturer also exhibited pieces of pottery which he said abounded everywhere, showing that in a former age all this vast region had been inhabited. He gave it as his opinion that the depopulation of this region was attributable to the fact that both to the north and the south were warlike hordes, and from the incursions of one and the other of these, the peaceable Aztecs, who had been the former denizens of the country, had been gradually wiped out. The only people left here now were the Mokies, who lived in towns inclosed within high, thick walls, and who were almost inaccessible. These people were visited, and the explorers were received by them with great hospitality. The speaker concluded by giving a short account of the manners of the people and their customs, as far as an opportunity was had to observe them.

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The term “_palier glissant_,” which does not admit of being very happily translated into an English term of equal brevity, is the name given by the inventor, Mr. Girard, to a frictionless support, or socket, designed to sustain the axes of heavy wheels in machinery. Since it is a contrivance deriving its efficacy from hydraulic pressure, it may, without impropriety, be considered here. The friction of axles in their supports is the occasion of a considerable loss of power in every machine.


The loss of power itself, though a real disadvantage, is nevertheless a matter of secondary consequence compared with the attendant elevation of temperature, which, were not means carefully provided for reducing friction to the lowest point possible, might soon be so great as to arrest the operation of the machine itself. It was stated in a public lecture delivered in May, 1867, before the Scientific Association of France, that, in a certain instance within the lecturer’s knowledge, the screw shaft of a French naval propeller became absolutely welded to its support, though surrounded by the water of the sea, in consequence of the great heat developed by its revolution.

The ordinary means of reducing friction is to apply oil, or some other unctuous substance, to the parts which move upon each other. Some disadvantages attend this expedient, but till a better is suggested they have to be endured. The cost of the oil expended in maintaining in proper condition the axles of the machinery in a foundery, or of the rolling stock of a railroad, amounts to a large sum annually; while the want of neatness which its use makes, to a certain extent, inevitable, and the labor which must be constantly employed to prevent this want of neatness from becoming much greater than it is, are serious items to be set off against its positive usefulness.

The object of Mr. Girard is to get rid of all these drawbacks by the simple expedient of substituting water for oil. It would not avail to apply water precisely as oil is applied. Though any one’s experience may tell him that two smooth pieces of metal will slide more smoothly on each other when they are wet than when they are dry, yet every one knows also that oil facilitates the movement much more perceptibly than water; and also, that in the case of oil there is no difficulty in maintaining the lubricating film, whereas water easily evaporates, and in case of the accident of even a moderate elevation of temperature, it would be expelled from the joint entirely. Mr. Girard proposes, therefore, to employ the water to act, first, by its pressure, to lift the Journal to be lubricated; and secondly, by its fluidity, to form a liquid bed or cushion between the journal and its box, on which the journal may rest in its revolution, without touching the metal of the box at all.

The construction will be understood by referring to the figure. One of the journals is represented as removed, and in the cylindrical surface of the socket are seen grooves occupying a considerable part of the area exposed. These grooves communicate, by an aperture in the middle, with a tube which is represented externally, and which sends a branch to the other journal, through which water under a heavy pressure is introduced into the box beneath the journal. The effect of the hydraulic pressure is to lift the axle, opening a passage for the escape of the compressed water, which at the same time, because of its release from compression, loses the power to sustain the weight. If, therefore, by the first impulse, the axle is thrown upward to any sensible distance, it will immediately fall back again, once more confining more or less completely the water. After one or two oscillations, therefore, the axle will settle itself at length in a position in which, while the water will escape, it will escape but as a film of inappreciable thickness. In this condition the journal turns upon a liquid bed, and the resistance to its revolution is so excessively small that a slow rotation given by hand to a wheel sustained by it will be maintained for many minutes without perceptible retardation. In fact, the most striking illustration which can be given of the immense superiority of the _palier glissant_ over a support lubricated in in any other way, is furnished by placing two precisely similar wheels or disks side by side, weighing five or six pounds each, with a diameter of seven or eight inches, and journals of half an inch in diameter; one of them furnished with _paliers glissants_, and the other with boxes lubricated with fine oil. Give each of them a velocity of rotation of about one revolution in a second; the one lubricated with oil will come to rest before the other begins to give evidence of any sensible retardation; but if at any moment the stop-cock which supplies the water to the second be turned, this one will also stop, and its stopping will be instantaneous.

It might be supposed that a journal supported in the manner above described would be unsteady and liable to injurious vibrations. This is not the case, and it is easy to see why not. When the journal is truly in the middle of the socket, that is to say when there is an equal distance between it and the wall of the socket on either side, it will be equally pressed from both sides. But if it is in the least displaced laterally, the pressure on the side toward which it moves will instantly increase, while that on the other side will correspondingly diminish: both causes transpiring to resist the displacement, and to maintain the journal in the position of true equilibrium.

The water pressure by which these “slippery supports” are supplied must be created by a force pump worked by the machine itself. The reservoir need not be large as the expenditure of water is very minute in volume. To the objection which may naturally be made, that the working of the pump must be a tax on the motive power without return, a reply at once simple and satisfactory is found in the experience of Mr. Girard, that the working of the pump does not consume so much as half, and sometimes not more than one one quarter, of the power which is lost in friction when the ordinary modes of lubrication are employed; so that by the adoption of this expedient the available power of the machine is very sensibly increased after deducting all that is expended in the performance of this additional work.

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BEES BENEFICIAL TO FRUIT.–Dr. A. Packard, editor of the _American Naturalist_, replies to a query in regard to the effects produced upon fruit by the agency of honey bees, that all the evidence given by botanists and zoologists who have specially studied the subject, shows that bees improve the quality and tend to increase the quantity of fruit. They aid in the fertilization of flowers, thus preventing the occurrence of sterile flowers, and, by more thoroughly fertilizing flowers already perfect, render the production of sound and well developed fruit more sure. Many botanists think if it were not for bees, and other insects, many plants would not bear fruit at all.

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Steamboats on the American plan are to be introduced on Lake Geneva, Switzerland. This will add very greatly to the comfort and pleasure of tourists on that beautiful lake.

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MUNN & COMPANY, Editors and Proprietors.



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“The American News Company,” Agents, 121 Nassau street, New York

“The New York News Company,” 8 Spruce street

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VOL. XVII., No. 1….[NEW SERIES.]…._Twenty-fifth Year_.


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Is the heartfelt wish conveyed in this beautiful and unusually large number, to each and all of our friends and readers This holiday number is worthy of note not only on account of its size, its rich table of contents, and profuse illustrations, but because we publish this week the largest edition ever sent out from this office.

Our readers may be surprised at our publishing the title page of the volume again this week but they will please observe it is the title page of Vol XXII, which we are now commencing The title pages will hereafter be published with the first instead of the last number of each volume, so as to bring it in its proper place for binding.

Subscriptions are pouring in from all parts of the country in the most encouraging manner. Many have already secured the prize engraving, by sending in the requisite number of names-but we feel obliged to confess that there is now a considerable want of vitality in the competition for the cash prizes. We expect however, that as soon as the new year’s greetings are fairly exchanged, that this opportunity to receive some purse money will attract the attention of our enterprising readers The times may be a little close just now, but we are confident that the spring will open joyously, and we are quite sure that the people will still want to know what is going on in the GREAT WORLD OF INDUSTRY, which, it will be our duty to chronicle.

All lists intended to compete for the cash premium must be marked “Cash prize list.”

Once more we say a “Happy New Year” to all.

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The daily press is giving currency to a great many facts in regard to the present incomplete condition of the Suez Canal, and some journals are arguing therefrom that it is a failure. As yet, ships of heavy draft are unable to get through it. Some disasters to shipping have occurred in the Red Sea after the canal has been passed, and it is not at all improbable that more troubles will arise before everything goes smoothly.

The Red Sea is comparatively unknown to navigators. It contains hidden rocks which must be charted and buoyed before its navigation can be rendered safe. Surely this ought not to take the world by surprise. As to the canal itself, we are only surprised that it has reached its present state of perfection and we advise those who now make haste to prophesy ignominious defeat for one of the greatest enterprises of the century, to suspend judgment for a time. New York journalists might certainly call to mind with profit, the annual troubles attending the opening of the canals in this State. Frosts heave and rats undermine, and banks annually give way, yet these things are not regarded as