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Scientific American, Vol.22, No. 1, January 1, 1870 Journal
Of Practical Information, Art, Science, Mechanics,
Chemistry, And Manufactures
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January 1, 1870, by Various
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Title: Scientific American, Vol.22, No. 1, January 1, 1870
Journal Of Practical Information, Art, Science, Mechanics,
Chemistry, And Manufactures
Author: Various
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Vol. XXII.--No. 1. [NEW SERIES.]
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* * * * *
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
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,
* * * * *
[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,
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
* * * * *
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
* * * * *
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
"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
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.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
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
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
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
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
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.
* * * * *
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_.
* * * * *
_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
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,
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
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
* * * * *
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.
city. November 6, 1869.
Beach, Stratford, Conn. November 9, 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,
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,
3,363.--MAGNETIC MACHINES AND MAGNETS.--J. Burroughs, Jr., Newark N.J.
November 20, 1869.
* * * * *
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
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.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
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
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.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
MUNN & COMPANY, Editors and Proprietors.
* * * * *
"The American News Company," Agents, 121 Nassau street, New York
"The New York News Company," 8 Spruce street
* * * * *
VOL. XVII., No. 1....[NEW SERIES.]...._Twenty-fifth Year_.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
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
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
surprising. But upon the opening of a work, to which all the minor
canals in the world are like the rods of the magicians to Aaron's rod
which swallowed them up, it is expected that everything shall move
without difficulty, and that no oversight will have been committed.
Truly this would be to attribute a power of prevision to M. Lesseps
beyond what is human. The world can afford to wait a little till this
huge machine gets oiled. Great enterprises move slow at the outset. We
have yet unshaken faith in the ultimate success of the Suez Canal.
* * * * *
In our description of the novel steam boiler, published on page 209,
last volume, we made a quotation from several eminent writers and
experimenters on the subjects of heat and steam, to the effect that
the tubular system in steam boilers was wrong in theory and unsafe in
practice, and although this system has hitherto been extensively used on
account of some advantages which it secures, it has long been a serious
question with thinking men whether these advantages were not obtained at
too dear a rate.
While not prepared to admit all the force of the objections made to the
tubular system, there are arguments against it that it will not do to
treat lightly and which seem to us more and more forcible the more we
candidly reflect upon the subject. One of the most forcible of these
which occurs to us is, that in the tubular system the disruptive force
of unequal expansion is far more likely to become a cause of danger than
in the plain cylinder boiler. In such boilers the tension of expanded
tubes is transmitted to the shell, which are greatly strained without
doubt, often nearly to the verge of rupture. When this occurs it is
evident an unusual strain, caused by sudden generation of steam, would
act in concert with the expansion of the tubes, and we have no doubt
these causes combined have given rise to many an explosion when the
steam, acting singly, could never have produced rupture.
But while we give due weight to this argument, there is one often
referred to by our correspondents, and which we often see stated in
newspapers, as ridiculous as the one we have noticed is forcible. It
is that when, in such boilers, water, by carelessness or otherwise, is
allowed to fall below any of the tubes, the steam which surrounds them
is decomposed, and becomes an explosive mixture of hydrogen and oxygen
gases, ready to explode with terrible violence whenever the temperature
of the tubes shall have reached the proper point.
This argument is ridiculous, because it rests on no experimental basis.
It is a flimsy theory, entirely unsupported by any facts. Never has it
been proved that hot iron, at any temperature likely to be obtained in
steam boiler tubes, decomposes steam except by itself appropriating
the oxygen of the steam, and leaving the hydrogen, by itself no more
explosive than any other heated gas.
The sole object of the tubular boiler is to increase the heating
surface, without corresponding increase in other particulars. That it is
not the only means whereby this object can be secured has already been
demonstrated and we believe will hereafter be shown in divers ways. We
have no more doubt that the next fifty years will witness the total
abandonment of the tubular system, than we have that the world will last
that length of time.
* * * * *
There seems a growing opinion among railway managers that the sole
end and purpose of a railroad is to line the 6 pockets of, if not its
stockholders, at least its directors. In fact we not long since saw a
statement in a widely-circulated journal, that, as the sole purpose of
railroads is that the companies who own them should make money, it
is absurd to suppose they would be content to manage them in any way
whereby such a result would not be most likely to accrue.
The journal referred to, in making this statement a basis for an
argument in favor of railway consolidation, entirely ignored the rights
of the public from which railway corporations have obtained their
charters. In these charters certain privileges were granted, not out of
pure generosity, but with the understanding that certain benefits
were to accrue to the public. Its safety and convenience were to be
considered as well as the profits to the owners.
Every charter granted to these roads involves a contract on their part
to do the public a certain service, and in a large majority of cases
these contracts are to-day unfulfilled. Day after day sees the power to
control more and more centered in a few unscrupulous wily managers, and
the comfort and safety of passengers more and more disregarded; yet
still the people submit.
But they do not submit without complaint. Now and then a newspaper
correspondent grumbles, and the news of smashes that may be almost daily
seen in the papers gives a text for an occasional editorial blast, as
little heeded by the delinquent companies, as a zephyr is felt by an
Thus the New York _Times_, on the occasion of a recent railway disaster,
gives vent to a little mild denunciation. It says:
"The general rule in this country (to which there are indeed exceptions)
in regard to the purchase of railway materials is simply this: buy the
cheapest. First cost is the controlling and often the only question
entertained. The nature of the materials and processes to be used in the
manufacture of rails, for instance, are not mentioned. The buyers for
some of our roads, especially new roads, never make the slightest
allusion to quality, and never specify tests and inspections, but
simply go about among the mills, comparing and beating down prices, and
accepting the very lowest. More than one of our rail makers are to-day
rolling, under protest, rails upon which they decline to put their
trade-mark--rails made from the very cheapest materials, in the very
meanest manner--for all that is required is that they shall stick
together till they are laid. And if American makers will not roll them,
Welsh makers will. The late report of the State Engineer of New York
says: 'American railway managers, instead of offering anything like a
reasonable price for good iron rails, have made themselves notorious by
establishing as standard, a brand of rails known all over the world as
"American rails," which are confessedly bought and sold as the weakest,
most impure, least worked, least durable, and cheapest rails that can be
produced.' The State Engineer refers, in confirmation of this opinion,
to the statement of Mr. A.S. Hewitt, United States Commissioner to the
Paris Exposition, a statement not yet controverted; and to a statement
of Mr. Sandberg, an English engineer of note, in the London _Times_.
A leading American railway president and reformer has publicly said:
'There is a fear on my part that railway companies will themselves tempt
steel makers to send a poor article by buying the cheapest--first cost
only considered--_as they did with the ironmasters_.'"
This certainly is a blessed state of affairs. We have given privileges
to giant corporations, which they have improved so profitably, that they
now can defeat, in our Legislatures, any attempt to revoke them, and can
laugh at any demand for better management.
Disguise it how we may, the railroads have got the upper hand of the
people, and they seem likely to keep it, unless, indeed, their rapacity
shall react against themselves.
At the moment of this writing accounts reach us of the officers of a
prominent railway line intrenching themselves against the officers of
the law, and employing force to resist the service of precepts calling
them to account for alleged frauds upon the stockholders.
That the Legislature of this State has the power to put a stop to these
disgraceful proceedings, is certain; what it will do remains to be
* * * * *
If there is anybody satisfied with the action of the managers of the
American Institute, in the matter of awarding prizes to the competing
engines exhibited at the recent fair, we have yet to meet that
complacent individual. Neither the exhibitors nor the general public
could be expected to accept with equanimity such a report as the
managers have made, because it is inadequate to give any real idea of
the relative merits of the engines tested. The exhibitors, at a large
expense, took their engines to the hall of exhibition, placed them in
position, and with them drove the machinery exhibited there; and now,
when in return they had a right to expect a decided, manly course on the
part of the managers, the oyster is swallowed and the contestants are
each politely handed a shell.
The conditions on which the general test was to be made contained, among
other specifications, these: that "the water supplied to and evaporated
in the boiler will be measured by means of a meter, and the coal burned
may also be weighed."
Only one of the conditions quoted was properly complied with. The coal
was weighed, but though a meter was used to measure the water, tests
made, we are informed, _after the trial of the engines_, showed that
the meter was so inaccurate as to completely invalidate any calculation
based upon its record of the water supplied. Nevertheless this has,
we are credibly informed, been made the basis of calculation; and the
amount of coal consumed during each trial has been rejected either as a
basis of calculation or a check on the inaccuracy of the meter.
Other prescribed regulations were observed with great care. The engines
were indicated in a masterly manner by a gentleman of great experience,
as the cards--tracings of which we have seen--bear ample testimony. The
temperature of the feedwater was 47 degrees; it should, in our opinion,
have been heated, but we waive this point. The state of the barometer
and temperatures of engine room and fire-room were observed; but
we respectfully submit, that with coal consumption left out of the
calculation, and the water consumption an unascertained quantity, the
question of relative economy, the vital point to be settled, is as
uncertain today as it was before the test.
In the _Tribune_ of December 20, appeared a statement of the test to
ascertain the accuracy of the meter used, which showed that in an
aggregate of twelve tests it varied nearly three per cent in its record
from the actual quantity delivered, while at times it was so erratic
that it varied in one instance over _ten per cent_.
Truly, considered in connection with this fundamental error,
temperatures of engine and boiler rooms, and states of barometer, will
not count for much with engineers.
An oversight like this would, however, never have been laid at the door
of the managers, however it might invalidate the test; but when the
utterly absurd decision announced in the papers, after a tedious delay
had led the public to expect an exhaustive statement, gave rise to
general disappointment and excited the utmost dissatisfaction, it became
manifest that a manly, straightforward course on their part was not to
be hoped for, and that any protest against the consummation of the farce
would be vain.
It is not for us to decide on the merits of the engines submitted to
test. It was for the judges to do this. We maintain that nothing that
the public will accept as a decision has been reached, and on behalf of
the public we protest that the managers have not only placed themselves
in a very unenviable position by their action in the premises, but have
done a lasting injury to the American Institute, the results of which
will be disastrously felt in future exhibitions.
The studied ambiguity of the report which awards two first prizes to
the competing engines, is no less apparent than the desire to shun
* * * * *
In July, 1869, the New Dominion Patent Law went into operation, but it
has not yet been approved by the Queen, and if rejected the Canadian
Parliament will perhaps try its hand again. Although Canadians may
freely go to all parts of the world and take out patents for their
inventions, they have always manifested a mean spirit and adopted a
narrow policy, in reference to inventors of other nations. Their present
patent laws are so framed as practically to debar all persons except
Canadians from taking patents; and the result is that American and
English inventions are pirated and patented in the Dominion, without so
much as a "thank you, sir," to the _bona fide_ originators.
A protest has been presented to her Majesty's Secretary of State for the
Colonies, asking that the new law may be rejected, on the ground that it
deprives the subjects of the Crown of their equal rights throughout
the empire. There is force in this objection, and Lord Granville has
promised that it shall be duly considered before the Queen is advised to
sign the law.
The probable result will be a revision of the Dominion patent code so as
to let in Englishmen but exclude the Yankees, from whom the Canadians
derive whatever of improvement, progress, and energy they possess.
* * * * *
Ingratitude seldom enters into the composition of a true inventor, and
nothing in our business career has afforded us more pleasure than the
frequent letters addressed to us by those who have, during more than
twenty years, employed the Scientific American Patent Agency. We cannot
find room for all the pleasant missives that come to us from our
extensive list of clients, but we may give a few as samples of the many.
Mr. Daniel J. Gale, of Sheboygan, Wis., has recently secured through our
Agency Letters Patent for a "Perpetual and Lunar Calendar Clock." In the
fullness of his satisfaction he thus writes: "The fact is, I shall never
be able to thank you sufficiently for what you have done for me. I
sent you a copy of the paper printed here, which favorably notices my
improvement and your great Agency. The fees charged me for my patent
have been low enough. Already, by one of my own townsmen, I have been
offered $4,000 for my interest in the patent. But I must not take up too
much of your I time. Please allow me to add that I regularly receive
your valuable paper, the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, and that you may number me
as one of its stanch friends."
Mr. Edwin Norton, of Brooklyn, N.Y., in a recent note, says: "Allow me
to express my thanks for the promptness and efficiency with which the
business of obtaining a patent for my 'Cinder and Dust Arrester' has
been conducted through your Agency--and not only in this case but in
several previous ones. This is the _fourth_ patent obtained by me
through four Agency within nine months. It gives me pleasure to add my
testimony to that of many others, with respect to the very satisfactory
manner in which your Patent Agency is conducted."
Mr. E. J. Marstens says, in reference to his improved "Field Press"--"I
find everything correct. You certainly accomplished more than I expected
after the first examination by the Primary Examiner. I hope soon to be
able to give you another case."
Mr. S. P. Williams, an old client, writes as follows: "I received the
patent on my 'Trace Lock for Whiffletrees,' and I am truly pleased with
the prompt manner in which you have done the business. It is only a few
weeks since I made the application, and I expected that it would be as
many months before the patent could be granted."
* * * * *
It certainly argues well for the intellectual character of the readers
of the New York _World_ that during the prevalent taste for sensational
journalism, it has found the publication of a series of philosophical
lectures acceptable. We thank our neighbor for thus making these
lectures available to the general public. Their ability is
unquestionable; and the calmness and candor which Professor Fiske brings
to the treatment of the subject is such as to add greatly to the force
of his logic.
The "positive philosophy" has been shown by Professor Fiske to be much
misunderstood, misapprehension not being confined solely to the ranks of
its opponents.
His exposition of some of the misconceptions on which Professor Huxley
has based some criticisms upon the writings of Comte, strikes us as
especially forcible; and the whole course of lectures proves Professor
Fiske to be one of the clearest and most able of American thinkers.
These lectures are followed as they appear, with great interest, and
their publication in the World we regard as a real and permanent benefit
to the public.
* * * * *
The announcement of these lectures came to hand too late for our last
issue, and the first has already been delivered. The course is as
follows: Friday, Dec. 17, The Battle Fields of Science, by Andrew D.
White, President of the Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Friday, Dec.
24, How Animals Move, by Professor E. S. Morse, of the Peabody Academy
of Science, Salem, Mass. Friday, Dec. 31, The Correlation of Vital and
Physical Forces, by Professor G. F. Barker, of Yale College, New Haven.
Friday, Jan. 7, The Air and Respiration, by Professor J. C. Draper, of
the College of the City of New York. Friday, Jan. 14, The Connection
of Natural Science and Mental Philosophy, by Professor J. Bascom, of
Williams College, Williamstown, Mass. Friday, Jan. 21, The Constitution
of the Sun, by Dr. B. A. Gould, of Cambridge, Mass. Friday, Jan. 28,
The Colorado Plateau, its Canons and Ruined Cities, by Professor J. S.
Newberry, of Columbia College, New York.
The course is a good one, and ought to be, and doubtless will be, well
attended. Abstracts of the lectures will appear as delivered, in the
* * * * *
This lecture did not disappoint the expectations of those familiar with
the subject of the discourse, which, considering the difficulty of
restating familiar historical facts in such a manner as to clothe them
in a garb of originality, is high praise. Many, however, found great
difficulty in hearing the speaker at the back part of the hall, and some
left the room on that account. This was unfortunate, as the lecture will
scarcely be exceeded in interest by any subsequent one of the course.
The speaker said that "In all modern history, interference with science
in the supposed interest of religion--no matter how conscientious such
interference may have been--has resulted in the direst evils both to
religion and science, and _invariably_. And on the other hand all
untrammeled scientific investigation, no matter how dangerous to
religion some of its stages may have seemed, temporarily, to be, has
invariably resulted in the highest good of religion and science. I say
_invariably_--I mean exactly that. It is a rule to which history shows
not one exception. It would seem, logically, that this statement could
not be gainsaid. God's truth must agree, whether discovered by looking
within upon the soul or without upon the world. A truth written upon the
human heart to-day in its full play of emotions or passions, cannot be
at any real variance even with a truth written upon a fossil whose poor
life was gone millions of years ago. And this being so, it would also
seem a truth irrefragable; that the search for each of these kind of
truths must be followed out in its own lines, by its own methods, to its
own results, without any interference from investigators along other
lines by other methods. And it would also seem logically that we might
work on in absolute confidence that whatever, at any moment, might seem
to be the relative positions of the two different bands of workers, they
must at last come together, for truth is one. But logic is not history.
History is full of interferences which have cost the earth dear.
Strangest of all, some of the most direful of them have been made by
the best of men, actuated by the purest motives, seeking the noblest
results. These interferences and the struggle against them make up the
warfare of science. One statement more to clear the ground. You will not
understand me at all to say that religion has done nothing for science.
It has done much for it. The work of Christianity has been mighty
indeed. Through these 2,000 years it has undermined servitude, mitigated
tyranny, given hope to the hopeless, comfort to the afflicted, light to
the blind, bread to the starving, life to the dying, and all this
work continues. And its work for science, too, has been great. It has
fostered science often and developed it. It has given great minds to it,
and but for the fears of the timid its record in this respect would have
been as great as in the other. Unfortunately, religious men started
centuries ago with the idea that purely scientific investigation is
unsafe--that theology must intervene. So began this great modern war."
Professor White next reviewed the battle between science and theology
on the subjects of the "earth's shape, surface, and relations," "the
position of the earth among the heavenly bodies," in which Copernicus
and Galileo struggled so bravely and successfully for truth.
The lecturer said:
"The principal weapons in the combat are worth examining. They are very
easily examined; you may pick them up on any of the battle-fields of
science; but on that field they were used with more effect than on
almost any other. These weapons were two epithets--the epithets
'Infidel' and 'Atheist.' These can hardly be classed with civilized
weapons; they are burning arrows; they set fire to great masses of
popular prejudices. Smoke rises to obscure the real questions. Fire
bursts out at times to destroy the attacked party. They are poisoned
weapons. They go to the heart of loving women; they alienate dear
children; they injure the man after life is ended, for they leave
poisoned wounds in the hearts of those who loved him best--fears for his
eternal happiness, dread of the Divine displeasure. The battle-fields
of science are thickly strewn with these. They have been used against
almost every man who has ever done anything for his fellow-men. The list
of those who have been denounced as Infidel and Atheist includes almost
all great men of science--general scholars, inventors, philanthropists.
The deepest Christian life, the most noble Christian character has not
availed to shield combatants. Christians like Isaac Newton and Pascal,
and John Locke and John Howard, have had these weapons hurled against
them. Nay, in these very times we have seen a noted champion hurl these
weapons against John Milton, and with it another missile which often
appears on these battle-fields--the epithets of 'blasphemer' and 'hater
of the Lord.' Of course, in these days these weapons though often
effective in disturbing the ease of good men and though often powerful
in scaring women, are somewhat blunted. Indeed, they do not infrequently
injure assailants more than assailed. So it was not in the days of
Galileo. These weapons were then in all their sharpness and venom.
The first champion who appears against him is Bellarmine, one of the
greatest of theologians and one of the poorest of scientists. He was
earnest, sincere, learned, but made the fearful mistake for the world
of applying direct literal interpretation of Scripture to science. The
consequences were sad, indeed. Could he with his vast powers have taken
a different course, humanity would have been spared the long and fearful
war which ensued, and religion would have saved to herself thousands
on thousands of the best and brightest men in after ages. The weapons,
which men of Bellarmine's stamp used, were theological. They held
up before the world the dreadful consequences which must result to
Christian theology were the doctrine to prevail that the heavenly bodies
revolve about the sun, and not about the earth.
"The next great series of battles were fought on those great fields
occupied by such sciences as _Chemistry and Natural Philosophy_. Even
before these sciences were out of their childhood--while yet they were
tottering mainly towards, childish objects and by childish steps--the
champions of that same old mistaken conception of rigid Scriptural
interpretation began the war. The catalogue of chemists and physicists
persecuted or thwarted would fill volumes."
After alluding to many other battle-fields of science which might not
for want of time be dwelt upon at length the lecturer reviewed the
battle grounds of medicine and anatomy on which some of the severest
warfare has been waged.
The speaker here remarked that "perhaps the most unfortunate thing that
has ever been done for Christianity is the tying it to forms of science
and systems of education, which are doomed and gradually sinking. Just
as in the time of Roger Bacon excellent but mistaken men devoted all
their energies to binding Christianity to Aristotle. Just as in the time
of Reuchlin and Erasmus they insisted on binding Christianity to Thomas
Aquinas, so in the time of Vesalius such men gave all efforts to linking
Christianity to Galen. The cry has been the same in all ages. It is the
same which we hear in this age against scientific studies--the cry
for what is called '_sound learning_.' Whether standing for Aristotle
against Bacon, or Aquinas against Erasmus, or Galen against Vesalius,
or making mechanical Greek verses at Eton, instead of studying the
handiwork of the Almighty, or reading Euripides with translations
instead of Leasing and Goethe in the original, the cry always is for
'sound learning.' The idea always is that these studies are _safe_."
The speaker next proceeded to show that not alone in Catholic countries,
has such warfare been waged, and that even now in Protestant America the
fight is going on.
One of the fields on which the severest warfare had raged in Protestant
countries was that of Geology. "From the first lispings of investigators
in this science there was war. The early sound doctrine was that fossil
remains were _lusus naturae_--freaks of nature--and in 1517 Fracastor
was violently attacked because he thought them something more. No less a
man than Bernard Palissy followed up the contest, on the right side, in
France, but it required 150 years to carry the day fairly against this
single preposterous theory. The champion who dealt it the deadly blow
was Scilla, and his weapons were facts obtained by examination of
the fossils of Calabria, (1670). But the advocates of tampering with
scientific reasoning soon retired to a now position. It was strong, for
it was apparently based upon Scripture--though, as the whole world now
knows, an utterly exploded interpretation of Scripture. The new position
was that the fossils were produced by the deluge of Noah. In vain had
it been shown by such devoted Christians as Bernard Palissy that this
theory was utterly untenable; in vain did good men protest against the
injury sure to result to religion by tying it to a scientific theory
sure to be exploded--the doctrine that the fossils were remains of
animals drowned at the flood continued to be upheld by the great
majority as '_sound_' doctrine. It took 120 year for the searchers
of God's truth, as revealed in nature--such men as Buffon, Linnaeus,
Woodward, and Whitehurst--to run under these mighty fabrics of error,
and by statements which could not be resisted, to explode them.
"Strange as it may at first seem, the war on geology was waged more
fiercely in Protestant countries than Catholic, and of all countries
England furnished the most bitter opponents. You have noted already that
there are generally two sorts of attacks on a new science. First,
there is the attack by pitting against science some great doctrine in
theology. You saw this in astronomy, when Bellarmine and others insisted
that the doctrine of the earth's revolving about the sun is contrary to
the doctrine of the Incarnation. So now against geology it was urged
that the scientific doctrine that the fossils represented animals which
died before Adam was contrary to the doctrine of Adam's fall, and that
death entered the world by sin. Then there is the attack by the literal
interpretation of texts, which serves a better purpose generally in
arousing prejudice. It is difficult to realize it now, but within the
memory of the majority of those before me, the battle was raging most
fiercely in England, and both these kinds of artillery were in full play
and filling the civilized world with their roar. Less than thirty years
ago, the Rev. J. Mellor Brown was hurling at all geologists alike, and
especially at such Christian divines as Dr. Burkland, Dean Conybeare,
and Pye Smith, and such religious scholars as Professor Sedgwick, the
epithets of 'Infidel,' 'Impugner of the Sacred Record,' and 'Assailant
of the Volume of God.' His favorite weapon was the charge that these
men were 'attacking the Truth of God,' forgetting that they were simply
opposing the mistaken interpretations of J. Mellor Brown. He declared
geology 'not a subject of lawful inquiry;' he speaks of it as 'a dark
art,' as 'dangerous and disreputable,' as a 'forbidden province.' This
attempt to scare men from science having failed, various other means
were taken.
"To say nothing about England, it is humiliating to human nature to
remember the trials to which the pettiest and narrowest of men subjected
such Christian scholars in our country as Benjamin Silliman and Edward
Hitchcock. But it is a duty and a pleasure to state here that one great
Christian scholar did honor to religion and to himself by standing
up for the claims of science despite all these clamors. That man was
Nicholas Wiseman, better known afterward as Cardinal Wiseman. The
conduct of this pillar of the Roman Catholic Church contrasts nobly with
that of timid Protestants who were filling England with shrieks and
denunciations. Perhaps the most singular attempt against geology was
that made by a fine specimen of the English Don, Dean Cockburn of York,
to _abuse_ its champions out of the field. Without apparently the
simplest elementary knowledge of geology, he opened a battery of abuse.
He gives it to the world at large by pulpit and press; he even inflicts
it upon leading statesmen by private letters. But these weapons did not
succeed. They were like Chinese gongs and dragon lanterns against rifled
cannon. Buckland, Pye Smith, Lyell, Silliman, Hitchcock, Murchison,
Agassiz, Dana, and a host of of noble champions besides, pressed on the
battle for truth was won. And was it won merely for men of science?
The whole civilized world declares that it was won for religion; that
thereby has infinitely increased the knowledge of the power and goodness
of God."
The lecturer classed the present opposition of the Catholics to the Free
School system in this country among the long list of battles between
science and theology and concluded his lecture as follows:
"But, my friends, I will not weary you with so recent a chapter in the
history of the great warfare extending through the centuries. There
are cheering omens. The greatest and best men in the churches--the men
standing at centers of thought--are insisting with power, more and more,
that religion shall no longer be tied to so injurious a policy--that
searchers for truth, whether in Theology or Natural Science, shall work
on as friends, sure that, no matter how much at variance they may at
times seem to be, the truths they reach shall finally be fused into each
other. No one need fear the result. No matter whether science shall
complete her demonstration that man has been on the earth six thousand
years or six hundred thousand. No matter whether she reveal new ideas of
the Creator or startling relations between his creatures--the result,
when fully thought out, will serve and strengthen religion not less than
science. The very finger of the Almighty has written on history that
science must be studied by means proper to itself, and in no other way.
That history is before us all. No one can gainsay it. It is decisive,
for it is this: There has never been a scientific theory framed for the
use of Scriptural texts, which has been made to stand. This fact alone
shows that our wonderful volume of sacred literature was not given for
any such purpose as that to which so many earnest men have endeavored
to wrest it. The power of that volume has been mighty indeed. It has
inspired the best deeds our world has known. Despite the crusts which
men have formed about it--despite the fetters which they have placed
upon it--Christianity has blessed age after age of the past, and will go
on as a blessing through age after age of the future. Let the Warfare
of Science, then, be changed. Let it be a warfare in which religion
and science shall stand together as allies, not against each other as
enemies. Let the fight be for truth of every kind against falsehood of
every kind--for justice against injustice--for right against wrong--for
beauty against deformity--for goodness against vice--and the great
warfare which has brought so many sufferings, shall bring to the earth
God's richest blessings."
* * * * *
When a new batch of French notes is to be printed, an equivalent number
of the choicely prepared and preserved sheets of paper is handed over
to the superintendent of the printing office. This office is among the
inner buildings of the Bank of France, and is governed by very rigorous
rules in all things. The operatives are all picked men, skillful,
active, and silent. The sheets, the ink, and the matrixes of the plates
are kept securely under lock and key until actually wanted. The
printing is effected by steam-worked presses. The ink is blue, and its
composition known only to a few of the authorities. An inspector goes
his rounds during the continuance of the operations, watching every
press, every workman, every process. A beautiful machine, distinct from
the press, is employed to print the variable numbers on the note; fed
with sheets of paper, it will number a thousand of them in succession,
changing the digits each time, and scarcely requiring to be touched
meanwhile; even the removal of one note and the placing of another are
effected by automatic agency. At every successive stage the note is
examined. So complete is the registration of everything that a record is
always at hand of the number of sheets rejected ever since the Bank of
France was established, be its defects in the paper, the printing, or
the numbering. When the master-printer has delivered up his packets of
printed and numbered sheets, each note is stamped with the signature of
the Secretary-General and the Comptroller. This completes the _creation_
of notes. The notes so created are kept in a strong box, of which the
Secretary-General and the Comptroller have keys, and are retained until
the day of _issue_. The chief cashier tells the Governor that he wants a
new supply of a particular denomination of notes, the Governor tells the
council, the council tell the secretary-general and the comptroller, and
these two functionaries open their strong box, and hand over the notes
demanded. The notes at this time are not really money; they do not
become so until the chief cashier has put his signature to each, and
registered its number in a book.
The life of a French bank note is said to average two or three
years, and does not terminate until the condition is very shaky
indeed--crimpled, pierced with pinholes, corner creases torn, soft,
tarnished, decrepit while yet young. Some have been half-burned; one has
been found half-digested in the stomach of a goat, and one boiled in a
waistcoat-pocket by a laundress. No matter; the cashier at the bank will
do his best to decipher it; he will indeed take an infinity of trouble
to put together the ashes of a burned note, and will give the owner a
new note or the value in coin, if satisfied of the integrity of the
old one. The bank authorities preserve specimens of this kind as
curiosities, minute fragments gummed in their proper position on a sheet
of paper. Very few of the notes are actually and irrevocably lost.
During the last sixty-seven years 24,000 bank notes of 1,000 francs each
have been issued, and of this number 23,958 had been returned to the
bank by the month of January 1869, leaving only 42 unaccounted for.
Whether these 42 are still in existence, or have seen burned into
uncollected ashes, or are at the bottom of the sea, or elsewhere, is not
known. Of 500-franc notes, 24,935 have been returned out of 25,000. The
bank holds itself morally and financially responsible for the small
number of notes unreturned, ready to cash them if at any time presented.
The bank sends the old notes again and again into circulation, if
verified and usable; but they are examined first, and any that are found
too defective are canceled by stamping a hole in them. These canceled
notes pass from one official to another, and are grouped in classified
bundles; the book that records the birth of each note now receives a
notification of its civil death, and after three years incarceration in
a great oak chest, a grand conflagration takes place. A huge fire is
kindled in an open court; the defunct notes are thrown into a sort of
revolving wire-cage over the fire; the cage is kept rotating; and the
minute fragments of ash, whirled out of the cage through the meshes,
take their flight into infinite space--no one knows whither. The Bank of
France prints a certain number of notes per day, and destroys a smaller
number, so as to have always in reserve a sufficient supply of new notes
to meet any emergency; but the actual burning, the grand flare-up takes
place only about once a month, when perhaps 150,000 will be burned
at once. The French go down to lower denominations than the Rank of
England, having notes of 100 francs and 50 francs, equivalent to L4 and
L2. There must be a great deal of printing always going on in the Bank
of France, seeing that in 1868 they issued 2,711 000 notes, of an
aggregate value of 904,750,000 francs (averaging about L13 each), and
burned 1,927,192, value 768,854,900 francs.
It _sounds_ a very dreadful thing for 30,000,000 sterling in bank notes
to be willfully burned in one year. But there is always a phoenix to
rise from its ashes; the bank can regenerate as fast as it kills. The
Bank of France, in 1846, put in circulation a beautiful crimson printed
note for 5,000 francs; but the French people did not like notes of so
high a denomination, and all but a very few of this kind have been
returned and canceled. On one occasion, a superb individual, wishing to
pay a dowry in handsome style, obtained twelve notes of 5,000 francs
each for the purpose; but they were returned the very next day by the
banker, who much preferred smaller notes for his general purposes. The
notes now regularly kept in circulation in France are those of 1,000,
500, 100, and 50 francs.
* * * * *
A VALUABLE PAPER.--Of all the journals published in the United States,
for the mechanic and scientific man, there is nothing that will in any
way compare with the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, published by Munn & Co., of 37
Park Row, New York. Whether as a work of reference, a record of current
scientific development, or as an organ and exponent of our inventors, it
stands alone for the general ability of its conduct, the voluminousness
and variety of its contents, the exactitude and extent of its knowledge,
and the correctness of its information. The SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN is a
credit at once to the press and our country, and the small price of
a yearly subscription ($3), purchases, it is quite safe to say, the
largest amount of solid value to be procured for a like expenditure in
the world. With our more intelligent mechanics it has long been a great
favorite, while to the inventor it is absolutely indispensable. It has
had many imitators and competitors in its day, but they have nearly all
died the natural death of a feeble inferiority.--_Argus_ (Brooklyn, N.
* * * * *
periodical literature of America which is occupied by only one journal;
namely, the well-known SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.
It is almost indispensable to a well-balanced intelligence, that a
certain proportion of its reading should be devoted to the industrial
arts and sciences, those natural manifestations of the high mental
development of the age. Every number of the journal has sixteen imperial
pages, embellished with engravings, as illustrations, which are gems of
art in themselves. It is most ably edited, and its usefulness is not
impaired by technical terms nor dry details.--_Milwaukee Sentinel._
* * * * *
THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.--This paper is the oldest in its peculiar
province in the United States, and was, for many years, the only one.
More recently others have arisen, and are following in its footsteps;
but the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN still maintains its position as the best
American journal of the inventive arts. Its Patent Office department
alone is invaluable to inventors, while its editorial articles,
illustrations, etc., give not only information, but a constant stimulus
to the productive faculty.--_Mobile Register_.
* * * * *
Among the papers which we could not very well do without is the
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, issued from the well-known office of Munn & Co., 37
Park Row, New York. Carefully edited, nicely printed, well illustrated,
it is not only a complete record of the progress of useful inventions,
but a trustworthy guide to many of the scientific topics that enlist
attention at the present day. No one can be a reader of this most
valuable journal, without being kept well informed as to current matters
of scientific discovery.--_Congregationalist_ (Boston).
* * * * *
THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.--In another column we publish the prospectus of
this great paper, and would direct our readers to it. It should be on
the work bench of every mechanic, and particularly the young men of our
country, upon whose intelligence and mechanical skill depends the
future dignity of labor and prosperity of American arts and
sciences.--_Monitor_ (Huntington, Pa.)
* * * * *
We could fill our pages with similar notices, but will close with the
following from our cotemporary _De Hope_, published at Holland, Mich.,
which we doubt not will be read with interest:
Wij plaatsen in dit Nummer het prospectus van den SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.
Het is een zeer schoon blad, dat vooral behoort gelezen te worden door
Handwerkslieden. Nieuwe uitvindingen, verbeteringen op het terrein van
werktuigkunde, enz, worden daar steeds in vermeld en beschreven. De
prijs is zeer matig voor zulk cen blad; drie dollars per jaar. Dat
belangstellenden de advertentie lezen.
* * * * *
As much has been said of late about the mode of preserving eggs, it may
not be uninteresting to say a few words about the Chinese methods, as
related by a French chemist, M. Paul Champion, who has lately visited
that country, and published a very interesting book on the ancient and
modern industries of that curious people. A very common method is to
place the eggs in a mixture of clay and water; the clay hardens around
the eggs, and is said to preserve them good for a considerable time. But
another and much more elaborate method is also commonly practiced. An
infusion of three pounds of tea is made in boiling water, and to this
are added three pounds of quicklime (or seven pounds when the operation
is performed in winter), nine pounds of sea-salt, and seven pounds of
ashes of burnt oak finely powdered. This is all well mixed together
into a smooth paste by means of a wooden spatula, and then each egg is
covered with it by hand, gloves being worn to prevent the corrosive
action of the lime on the hands. When the eggs are all covered with the
mixture, they are rolled in a mass of straw ashes, and then placed in
baskets with balls of rice--boiled, we presume--to keep the eggs from
touching each other. About 100 to 150 eggs are placed in one basket. In
about three months the whole becomes hardened into a crust, and then the
eggs are sent to market; the retail price of such eggs is generally less
than a penny each. These eggs are highly esteemed in China, and always
served in good houses; but they have undergone a strange transformation,
which certainly would not recommend them to English palates; the yolk
has assumed a decidedly green tinge, and the white is set. When broken,
they emit that unpleasant sulphurous smell which would certainly cause
their instant banishment from our breakfast-tables. However, the Chinese
are admitted, even by Frenchmen, to be great _gourmets_; and we can
only say, therefore, that in questions of eating there is certainly no
disputing about tastes.
* * * * *
Mr. Alfred Guthrie, U.S. Inspector, informs us that the following
resolution was recently adopted by the Board of Supervising Inspectors:
Resolved, That a special committee be appointed, to whom shall be
referred the subject-matter of steam boiler explosions, who shall be
requested to take up the subject in all its varied complications, and
present the result of their inquiries, with their opinions of the real
causes of such explosions, accompanied by such information as may be
of practical benefit and general interest, to be reported at the next
annual meeting of the board for its consideration.
Mr. Guthrie, whose address will be at Washington, D.C. until January 10,
desires to receive suggestions from practical engineers upon the subject
of boiler explosions.
* * * * *
Darkness of complexion has been attributed to the sun's power from
the age of Solomon to this day. "Look not upon me because I am black,
because the sun hath looked upon me." And there cannot be a doubt that,
to a certain degree, the opinion is well founded--the invisible rays in
the solar beams, which change vegetable color, and have been employed
with such remarkable effect on the daguerreotype, act upon every
substance on which they fall, producing mysterious and wonderful changes
in their molecular state, man not excepted.
* * * * *
The three companies under whose protection Chinese are brought into
California, keep an accurate account of the condition and employment
of the persons they import. From these books it appears that 138,000
Chinese have been brought into California. Of these, 10,426 have died,
57,323 have returned to China, and about 91,000 still remain on the
Pacific coast. But only 41,000 live in California. Of these 41,000,
9,300 are women, children, old and decrepit, or criminals confined in
the jails. The California authorities have at length decided to admit
Chinese testimony in the courts.
* * * * *
One of our subscribers residing in Maine has read our article "How to
Spend the Winter Evenings," and writes to us that up in his section they
have no trouble on that score. As soon as the day's work is over the
inhabitants commence the job of trying to get their rooms warm, and as
soon as a comfortable temperature is reached it is time to go to bed.
* * * * *
DESIGN PATENT DECISION.--We publish elsewhere a recent elaborate
decision of Commissioner Fisher, in which he reviews the laws and
former practice of the office in regard to applications for patents for
designs, with the view to the establishment of a uniformity of practice
in regard to design patents. The decision is one of much interest to
inventors and agents, and fully warrants its publication.
* * * * *
OIL PAPER HANGINGS.--A kind of oil paper hangings called "Oleo Charta"
is now made in England, which, it is asserted, is impervious to wet, may
be placed on new or damp walls without risk of damage or discoloration,
may be washed with soap and water as often as required, and will last
twenty years. The process of manufacture is not explained.
* * * * *
This new arm, a patent on which, was obtained through the Scientific
American Patent Agency, June 11, 1867, is destined, in our opinion,
to become a formidable rival to the breech-loading rifles which have
already attained popularity. It is one of the most simple and effective
guns we have yet seen. Only three motions are required to load,
discharge the piece, and throw out the shell of the cartridge. The
breech-block is side-hinged, and it is opened and the shell is thrown
out by simply bringing the gun to half cock. The gun may, however, be
cocked without opening the breech by pressing the trigger while cocking.
The gun, when held in position, may be fired at the rate of forty shots
per minute. All the movements of the parts are directly backward and
forward; in our opinion the best that can be employed for this purpose,
and the least liable to get out of order. In short, the gun possesses
all the essentials of a first class rifle, and has advantages which we
think are not ordinarily met with in arms of this character.
* * * * *
In using ordinary hand vises several inconveniences are met with. For
instance, if it is desired to work a piece of metal of a certain length,
it must necessarily be presented obliquely on the side of the jaw of the
vise, because of its screw, which is horizontal and forms a knob in the
axis of the vise. The consequences are, first, that on tightening the
nut of the horizontal screw vise the pressure is only exerted on the
side, and greatly tries the vise itself while obtaining an irregular
pressure; secondly, that as the piece to be worked is held obliquely,
however skilled the workman may be, he always finds himself cramped in
the execution of his work, particularly if of a delicate nature.
To avoid these inconveniences a Parisian mechanic has designed and
lately patented in England the neat form of hand vise of which we annex
illustrations, Fig. 1 being an elevation and Fig. 2 a longitudinal
section. In these views, A, is a wooden or metal handle pierced
throughout its length; this handle of metal may be made in one piece,
with the nut, and the conical ferrule. B is the ring or ferrule of the
handle; and C are the jaws of the vise worked by the adjusting screw,
D, and the springs, r r. E is a conical ferrule or shoulder, fixed or
movable, and serving to open or close the jaws of the vise accordingly
as the handle is turned right or left; this conical shoulder is
protected from wear by a tempered steel washer, v. G is a nut with
collar carrying the conical ferrule or shoulder, E, and the steel
washer, v, while H H are the joints of the jaws of the vise held by a
screw, I, which serves as a support to the adjusting screw.
[Illustration: FIG. 1. FIG. 2.]
This hand vise may be applied to a number of uses, and among others it
may be readily converted into a haft or handle for any kind of tailed
or shanked tool, such as files, wrenches, olive bits, chisels, or
screwdrivers, and may also serve as pincers or nippers. It is of very
simple construction.
* * * * *
New evidence of the existence of the Mound-Builders in the mountain
ranges of Colorado, similar to those in Montana, Utah, and Nevada, have
recently been discovered by Mr. C.A. Deane, of Denver. He found upon
the extreme summit of the snow-range structures of stone, evidently of
ancient origin, and hitherto unknown or unmolested. Opposite to and
almost north of the South Boulder Creek, and the summit of the range,
Dr. Deane observed large numbers of granite rocks, and many of them as
large as two men could lift, in a position that could not have been
the result of chance. They had evidently been placed upright in a line
conforming to a general contour of the dividing ridge, and frequently
extending in an unbroken line for one or two hundred yards. The walls
and the mounds are situated three thousand feet above the timber line.
It is, therefore, hardly supposable that they were built for altars of
sacrifice. They were not large enough for shelter or defense. The more
probable supposition is that, like the large mounds in Montana and
elsewhere, they were places of sepulture.
* * * * *
Most of our readers who attended the last Fair of the American
Institute, will recall an article in the furniture department, which
attracted much attention on account of its novelty and utility. We refer
to the wire mattress, or bed, manufactured by the Woven Wire Mattress
Company, of Hartford, Conn. To the ordinary mind a new invention is