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San Francisco Sunday Call.
A Light Better than Daylight
IF my visit to Dr. Peter Cooper
Hewitt had been paid in the fif-'
teenth century instead of in the twen
tieth I have little doubt that I should
have gone straight to the Mayor of
the city and made a charge of sorcery
against my host.
The room was such as Merlin might
have occupied. Dark hangings cov
ered much of the wall space; from
the ceiling hung festoons of electric
wires, tangled and twisted like the
creepers of a tropical forest; here
and there stood reflectors and brack
ets of unfamiliar shape, and from a half
dozen lamps with curiously designed
glass shades a weird illumination of
a strange color made the objects with
in its reach startlingly clear to the
eye and seemed to add an indefinable
mystery to the shadows behind the fur
niture and the screens.
In this environment it was not dif
ficult to imagine Dr. Peter Cooper
Hewitt in the role of a magician, and
indeed that gentleman's sombre cloth
ing, relieved only by the white at the
throat and the wrists, lent reality to
As a matter of fact, the magician'e
retreat was no further away than the
Madison Square Tower, and its occu
pant proved to be a man of a highly
practical turn of mind occupied in the
investigation of a number of problems
of a highly practical character.
Dr. Peter Cooper Hewitt is a son of
the late Abram Stevens Hewitt, who
was elected Mayor of New York in
ISB6 and had for fourteen years prior j
to that represented his State in Con- ;
gress. He is a director of the Cooper !
Hewitt Electric Company and of a
number of other industrial and finan
ciftl organizations, and is a member
of the American Institute of Electrical
Engineers, of the American Physical
Society and of the Society of Naval j
Architects and Marine Engineers. <
Finding himself some years ago in
a position to gratify his interest in me
chancal invention Dr. Hewitt looked
around to discover the most ineffi
cient branch of mechanical science,
the one in which there was the great
est Held for improvement. He decided
that the manufacture of light was the
most backward department of modern
engineering activity, and he set out to
improve its condition.
In reply to a question about the re
cent discovery in England and in Ger
many, almost simultaneously, of a
method of producing artificial daylight
Dr. Peter Cooper Hewitt said:
"As for that, it is to be hoped that
electrical engineers will discover a
light better than daylight, in many lo
calfties cheaper than daylight, and
which will have all the good proper
ties of daylight and also a great many
"A better and cheaper light than
daylight?" I asked in surprise.
"Certainly," replied Dr. Hewitt with
emphasis. "As a matter of fact, for
practical everyday use daylight is
probably not the best light. That may |
sound paradoxical at first hearing,
but the explanation is really very
J of Electricity
Tells of the
"You see, daylight contains a number
of colors—red, yellow, green, blue and
so on. Now the focusing of the hu-
man eye upon any object Is performed
by involuntary muscles, and the focus
is different for different colors, and if
the color is predominatingly red the
eye focuses to that, or to blue if that
is the predominating color. But where
the colors are pretty evenly balanced
the eye will focus from one to the
other from instant to instant, and this
constant labor which is thrown upon
the involuntary muscles causes fatigue
and is very hurtful to the eye.
"This effect occurs through all col
ors of light, but in varytng degree.
Everybody feels that a green light is
soothing to the eyes, and there is
something in the idea.
"But experiment shows that where
color value is not important a blue
light is more active to the eye than
a green light, and this fact has to be
taken into consideration when the
question is one of determining how to
produce a light which will allow the
eye to work at its highest efficiency.
"Another objection to daylight from
the standpoint of the hygiene of the
eye is that the color value of daylight
is constantly changing. It changes
with the seasons, with the aspect of
the sky, with the time of day. It
makes, therefore, a constant demand
upon the mechanism of the eye for
purposes of adjustment."
"But you spoke," I said, "of a
A corner of Dr. Hewitt's workroom in
Madison Square Garden Tower.
"It is to be
hoped that elec
will discover a
light better than
which will have
all the good prop
erties of daylight
and also a great
many added ad
cheaper light than daylig nt «
Surely daylight costs noth
"You would change your
opinion Oα that point," ans
wered Dr. Hewitt with a
smile, "if you ever tried to
build a big office building
in a city. When you face
the problem of building a
skyscraper in which every room shall
have an adequate supply of daylight
you are appalled by the amount ot
space you have to sacrifice in order
to achieve that end.
"With the question of ventilation
satisfactorily settled by the use of ar
tificial draught, there is no reason why
the largest buildings should not be
put up perfectly solid, without any
light shafts, if you installed in them
a first-class system of artificial light
of a quality soothing to the eye and of
good .illuminating power.
"As an actual instance of this I
may say that in ray own factory men
have hung lamps in broad daylight be
cause they prefer the combination of
my light to daylight.
"One great advantage of artificial
light of high quality over daylight is
that with a standard light that never
varies in quality the matching of col
ors is greatly facilitated, so much so,
(hat the use of my light has advanced
the productive power of operatives in
the manufactures using fine silk
thread by 10 per cent., and this in
creased production has been accom
panied by an improvement in the con
ditions of labor as far as the eyes of
the workmen are concerned."
"Would you care to give me a brief
outline of the progress which has
been made in lighting V' I asked.
"Well, it's rather a technical mat
ter and does not lend itself very read
ily to popular treatment, but the gen
eral facts are something like this:
Whatever way you get light by the
following, whether by a gas flame, a
burning stick or any one of a dozen
.kinds of electric light, the basis of 11*
I lumination is always the samo—the
light is produced by particles of car
bon being heated to incandescense.
"In all cases you must remember
that the higher the temperature the
whiter the flame that is given off, and
you have a good example of this if
you compare the dull red sparks which
fly from a blacksmith's forge with
the intense white light of a Welsbach
"The conveniences attending the
use of a gas flame are well known,
but people are not so familiar wittt
the great disadvantages of this form
of light. It is a dangerous light, be
cause if it is not jarefully extin
guished the result may be an explo
sion or the poisoning of some one
through breathing the escaping gas.
Then, the gas flame consumes the atr
and renders it unfit for the lungs, and
the heat and smoke are also disad
"The latter objection can be made
to the use of the kerosene lamp. The
acetylene flame, which is probably
the most agreeable colored light, is of
high intrinsic brilliauce, which affects
the eye injuriously when viewed di
"In these three lights the illumina
tion is produced by a chemical action.
The first great improvement in light- i
ing followed the discovery that car
bon can be made to glow by passing
an electric current through it; the;
resistance to the current produces!
heat and the heat produces incan-'
descence. This principle was utilized
in the Edison incandescent lamp, in
which an electric current is passed
through a carbon filament.
"The next step was to discover a
substance which would stand heat
better than a carbon filament, and
tantallum proved to be such a sub
stance. More recently, however, a
metallic element called tungsten has
come into use.
"I will not go into all the technical
details about the various modifications
of electric lighting, such as the Nernst
glower lamp, the arc lamp and so on,
but will pass at once to another type
of lamp, namely that in which a gas
is used as the source of light instead
of a solid substance.
"The Cooppr-Hewitt lamp is an ex
ample. In this lamp the light is pro
duced by passing an electric current
through a glass tube containing mer
cury vapor or mercury gas and the
light is more than twice as powerful
as that generated by the same amount
of current, and therefore for the same
cost, in a tungsten lamp.
"Up to the present time vapor elec
tric lamps have not been made in
small sizes suitable for house lighting
because the difficulty has not yet
been solved of obtaining an agreeable
color of light; but this will doubtless
be done, and in the near future the
public may expect to get lamps of
much higher efficiency at the same
cost or of the present efficiency at a
much lower cost.
"I am experimenting at present on
various kinds of globes in which, by
means of refractors or minute prisms,,
even the ordinary lights of to-day may
be made to yield a greatly softened il
"In fact, the whole problem now
facing the illuminating engineer is not
so much one of producing an im
proved light, but of discovering better
methods of utilizing the light after it
has been produced, and of directing
the light where it is needed without
the great present loss, and also of
softening the light when viewed di
rectly without the great loss incident
to the use of shades."
My Two Years of
"I Love a Picket
Fence. I Love a
Mud Puddle, I Love
Every thihg Around
Me —Now I Can See
Them All Again.
I Can See, See, See! ,,
A MAN just past middle age, gray- j
haired and ruddy-faced, gat j
thumbing a Bible. He was the Rev.
George R. Van De Water, D.D., Rector j
of the big New York Church of St.
Andrew, and the place was the study
in his home, No. 7 West One Hundred
and Twenty-second street, New York
As he read through his thick-rimmed,
big-lensed spectacles he smiled. And
then he laughed—the laugh of a man
"What a great thing it is to see!" he
exclaimed. "I have come out of the
great darkness —I can see again. I can
see, see, see!"
He showed the frqnt page of the
"This is what I have written," he
adtled, earnestly. There it was in his*
own handwriting, the handwriting of
the man who had started into the dark
four years ago and now had come out
into the light
"This Bible, most comprehensive
aud in the best type and on the thin
nes: paper, was given me by my
brother John during the year of my
blindness for my use after the opera
" 'Open Thou mine eyes, that I may
sac the wondrous things of Thy law—
PsaJm CXVIII.' "
And then this:
"It was the first book I read after the
operation, when I had received my
"Whereas I was blind, now I see!"
he uttered solemnly, gazing through
tfce big glass lenses which had taken
the place of the living lenses of his
eyes. It was a few days before that
his church had held a celebration of
thanksgiving in remembrance of his
return to sight. Both cataracts have
been removed from Dr. Van De Water's
eyes, and again he can see. His brother
John, who gave him the Bible to read
when again he could see, passed into
eternal darkness only the week before
sight came back to the eyes of Dr. Van
"Few can realize," said Dr. Van De
Water, "what it means to go blind and
then have the joy of sight returned.
How it happened I can't tell; it might
have been my experiences at Santiago
in the Spanish war" —Dr. Van Da
Water was chaplain of the Seventy
first New York there—"for it might
have been inheritance or accident."
"I heard the real truth in 190 S. I
had never been to an oculist in my life
1 wore glasses merely to help me see
more clearly. But, in that year, I
noticed that things were getting dim
mer —there wasn't enough light. I ba
gan complaining that our church wasn't
light enough for me to see plainly; at
home I began to believe that the gar
Dr. Va,n De Water * looked up
through his big lenses and smiled
reminiscently. And he told t)f how he
had gone to his regular optician to
have his glasses changed.
•' 'Look here, , the man said to me. "I
know you're a man who wants to know
th,e truth. I'm not going to lie to you
—you've got cataracts on both eyes.
See a specialist right away. , "
Who can realize what they mean un
less they, too, have had them. It
means that the sun goes out, that it is
midnight at midday! Things growj
strangely dim in broad daylight. It gets J
grayer and grayer and then at last you
grope your way in an awful, newar
ending night. You are blind, where
once you could see!
Such were the experiences of Dr. Van
De Water. As the days passed they
became darker and darker, but he men
tioned it to Mrs. Van De Water alone,
ever hopfng for the light The affliction
comes slowly, sometimes blindness
does not arrive for two >»ars. •
In 1910 he went abroad in the hope
of staving off the awful day when the
Told by *Re-O. George
It. Van De Water
Then Heaven dawned.
world would go out. He and Mrs. Van
De Water visited Oberammergau to see
the Play of the Passion. He had to
taha field glasses with him to see the
actors perform, and he knew that the
day couldn't be long postponed—the
day of the dark.
"One eye went before the other," the
clergyman said, "but still I could make
oat things. We went to the Villa Ser
bellon, above Belagio, on Lake Como,
opposite Caddenabbia. That lake was
the last thing I really could see. I
came home sightless!
"But I hoped—yes, I hoped. And I
prayed. I hoped to prolong my vision
by iridectomy and took the chance —
it was useless. And my eyes went out
on that last awful Sunday in 1910."
The clergyman was referring to that
day wr#m he went to y*e reading desk
to read the litany for his congregation.
He found that his eyes had failed him
completely—he was stone blind, and
the types could not reach his brain.
"Please finish it," he said to his as
sistant, turning helpiissly away.
"I am blind," he said to people In
the pews, some of them weeping. "1
have lost my sight; please bear with
But let him tell some of trn rest of
his story, as he revels to-day in vision
that is perfect when he puts on his big
lenses —he cannot see without them.
"1 love a picket fen<#\ I love a mud
puddle," he said, wiping the tears from
his one time sightless eyes. "I love
everything around me; I can see them
all again. To think of going blind;
not to know the faces of your friends,
first, and then noting that it was go
ing blacker every day—it's all too hor
"So I went to Dr. John E. Weeks.
'Patience,' he told me, 'you must wait.
And I could only take a chance on one
eye at a time; the risk was too gr?at.
If we failed on one eye, we still had a
cbance for the other.
"Other eyes heli«xi me —those of my
good wife and of my curate, the Rev.
Mr. Ivie. My wife read me my per
sonal mail; my curate took charge of
tha official business of the church. I
decided to learn to write, though blind.
Half a dozen members of my congrega
tion came in and read to me every day
for two or three hours. It is hard to
realize what it means to have such
friends when they must t*> eyes for
"And 'patience!' Dr. Weeks was say
ing to me all the time.
"The sexton led me to the pulpit
every time I prmched, and led me out
again. I walked about with a cane in
the familiar streets near my house and
the church. One day a pathetic thing
hapr««ed. A man bumped into me. "I'm
blind,' he said, 'pVese help me across
the street.' And I could only say, 'So
am I. I'm blind, too. .
"But still I had to wait. The cata
ract had to form itself before I could
2jo on the table for Dr. Weeks. I was
in such a condition that I couldn't bap
tize a child or deliver the Sacrament.
I leanvd the service by heart, but
when there was a funeral I had to be
led to the coffin. I had to be put to
bed at night. And 'keep doing things*
was Dr. Weeks's everyday talk to me.
'You must work on if we aro going to
save your eyes.'"
Dr. Van De Water told of his
struggles to see his fingers in the broad
daylight, when he held them in front
of his eyes; of the falls h> had when
he tried to make his way about his own
home in the darkness that was his; of
the weary waiting for the time when
Br. Weeks could say, "We're iwady,
And of his thoughts when he could
"I learned most of the psalms by
heart," he said. " I rev»:»lled in Robert
Burns, and esrrjcially in his 'Epistle to
a Young Friend.' I had Whittier read
to me —his 'Hymn on Eternal Good
ness.' And over and over again they
read to me John Porster's essay on
'Decision of Character.' But every
thing was as night to ma. And I had
"During all those long weary months,
from October to April, in the darkness,
my mind unconsciously went back to
my boyhood days. I could recall the
days when I didn't wash my face and
v.hen I never wanted to take a bath.
The old-fashioned hymns came back
to mx I remembered better theassA
things than what had happened only a •
few short years before. But I was
The clergyman was speaking along
pretty rapidly now; he was getting to
that day of days. The operation lasted
oniy a half hour. His eyes weir* bound
up for three weeks.
"Then heaven dawned!
"One morning Dr. Weeks came in,
and the bandages wei« taken off. Hβ
laughed a bit and showed me some
thing. 'What's that? , he asked, with
just a bit of a quiver in his voice."
Dr. Van De Water brushed his hands
across his eyes as he told the story.
"It was a watch," bja said, slowly and
almost in reverence, "and I could see
the second hand spinning around! Hβ
had put a lens over one of my eyes,
and it had worked. Then they ban
daged ir«a up again in the dark for
three more weeks. And it was only
one eye—the other was still blind!"
Dr. Van De Water paused for a mo
ment. He took off his big spectacles.
'Can you rnalize, can any man, that
without these glasses I can't see a
single thing? A man and a tree look
the same to me. Without those big
lenses your face looks like a piece of
"And now see."
He picked up a newspaper. Putting
on his glasses, he read the print with
j out trouble.
"Yes," he ran on, "they gave me
back my other eyio, too, and now I can
see. Oh, what a beautiful world it isl
God is good, and I have been broug,ft|i
to realize it."
Dr. Van De Water has had five palrg
of spectacles since his sight was given
back to him, each on© a little more
correct than the first. There Is little
left, to do.
On Thanksgiving Day he could go
j into the pulpit and read his sermon
with ease—"the most thankful person
Wedding Rings That
The next time you are married—or,
if you will, when you are married—
don't buy a gold wedding It isn't
being done. Platinum wadding rings
art now the newest thing. AhUi
Jeanne Provost, a French actress, is to
blame. She thought of the idea, and
wi*m she was married to M. Firpo she
had one. Platinum rings are more ex
pensive than gold and wear better. Just
why an actress, especially a French
actices, should want a wedding rins
that will last a long while the jewellers