Newspaper Page Text
Astonishing Flight of a Carrier Pigeon. The most wonderful feat ever required of a homing or carrier pigeon is claimed for a California bird. The opinion is entertained that nothing like it was ever before projected-; not since the flight of that historical dove which Hew from Noah's ark to bring bn.'k the tidings of nry land to the lofty top of Ararat, at least. Half in jest wus the feat discussed at a meeting of the California Homing Club. '.'My proposition, '* a*id a gentleman of quiet but determined bearing, "is to fly homing birds over the peaks of the Sierra Ne vada in midwinter." "Can't be done," responded one. Not since the fabkd discussion ever Thileas Fogg's proposed tour around the word in eighty dnys had more incredulity been expressed. ■''They will freeze to death," was another objection. • "Yes, or Jo;e their way," was another. "Gentlemen, lam going lo try the experiment," said the quiet, determined man, who is A. Carlisle of this City. Considering many things, the chances were that the scoffers were right and that Mr. Carlisle was wronr. There is no record of any homing bird ever flying over the Alps, which are lower and not more forbidding in winter than many peaks of the Sierra Nevada. The flight of Noah's dove was not over the terrible Himalayas, but irom the mountains to the valleys. The proposition made as a supreme test of the California flyers was to take them ov-r east of the Sierras to Carson; to release them at Carson and let them try to find their way home to the bay of San Francisco, crossing the sky-piercing and almost in si'.perabie barrier of the Sierra, and possible snowstorms, bowling gales of the moan" . tain region, lured to rest and refuge only by that love of boite which would seem to be stronger in the breasts of gentle doves than in any other sentient being. There was something so alluring in the proposition, so much that was new and unusual, tnat after it was fairly understood others wished to try the experiment. It was clearly seen that the winner of a rajce under such conditions would be an even candidate '. ior fame with the storied "Jackdaw of Rheims" and the bird born of the luxuriant and fervid imagination of the author of the "Arabian Nights" — the marvel- ous roc. Bets were made, lofts were overhauled and the best birds were selected to fly above the clouds. Six birds went out, four from Mr. Carlisle's loft and two from a loft in San An<ireas. Of the six only one is known to have survived. That one reached his li.orue in Berkeley only durinsr the past week. The idea was to send ihe birds out to Carson at the time of the Corbett-Fitzsim .mons p riser fight. The four birdb from Berkeley went at one time, in ventilated boxes« in charge of a skilled attendant to release them at the proper hour, to bring back news of the somewhat exciting happenir.es of the ringside. The gentleman having the birds in bis custody was Charles R. Breck, who arrived by the Central overland, which in crossing the Sierra pursues as sinuous a course as the path of the labied labyrinth. When he reached Carson the birds were fairly in terra incognita. The four Car lisle Lirds had never been farther east than Sacramento before they were carried, hood wiiiked, to Carson. They were born in Berkeley about two years ago. Their longest Sight had been over comparatively level country, and they had never b<en compelled to surmount anything mere lofty than the comparatively insignificant fringe of hilli constituting the eastern range of the low-lying coast ranee mountains. They were jaiseri in a land of practically endless summer, and the hills over which they had (■een flown, carpeted richly with ginns and wiid flowers during much of the year, were no obstacle, and really seemed as landmarks to guide the feathered messengers. But when they reached Carson it must have seemed to them like another world. The air was frosty, and over the slumbering and far Sierra the snow lay deep — a spotless counterpane, disguising the mountain topography and waving and shifting in the wind like a wraith. They had not seen one foot of the road over which they had traveled. From the ocean level they had climbed and climbed, in the cars, skyward to en altitude of a mile and a half, and had then descended to the arena wheie winters storms are some times tbe gla-diators. Would the cunning little brains of these tiny handfuls of feathers conquer such difficulties in their aerial pathfinding? On the lvtn of March Mr. Breck released the four birds in his charge. They weighed only cine pound apiece. So slight did they seem in comparison with the pro digious.ta«k in view that they had the full admiration of Mr. Brect, who is cbservnnt and keenly sympathetic. Wherever he looked abroad winter and the Sierra were lost in clouds and covered with snow. Mr. Breck was not alone in watching and admiring the birds. Betting on them ran lively, but the general opinion was that they would never get through alive to the bay of San Francisco. Like all homing birds, after they had been released from Mr. Breed's bands, flut tering and undoubtedly surprised at their strante surroundings, the quartet at once began to circle and taU the air in company, looking for some familiar object to guide them. North and south and east and west they flew, scaling greater ami greater heights of air, and necessarily reaching lower and lower temperatures as they flew. Something as mysterious within them a* the architect-like instincts of the bee finally told them that to reach home they must fly over the loitie. barrier far to the west. HERE IS A TELEPHONIC RECORDER. Probably no greater need ever existed than that of easy and rapid communica tion between distant points. It is only a little while ago when to write a letter to London and get a reply consumed three \veek3 of time. Then by the laying of the cable distance and time were both practi cally annihilated, and the question may now be propounded to London and its answer received in tiie space of a few minutes. Yet while the telegraph has solved the problem of rapidity it is never theless hampered by the burden of re striction to brevity and is costly. So, winle the presence of the wonderful mes senger of electricity tliat has been har jiessed to do service for man is rightfully regarded as a marvelous blessing, yet man— the business one, especially— chafed under the restriction which the use of the telegraph placed upon him. He desired ;o exercise more fully the power of speech. Then came the telephone, and then man could actually talk with his correspond ent, unrestrained by tie inexorable "ten words" of tbe telegraph. No invention that has blessed the world in all time has done more, to .humanize mankind than has that of the telephone. In the telephone speech is heard in the receiving portion of th,e apparatus because the diaphragm of the phone vibrates un der the jrupulse of the electro-magnetic current- It was thought, when the teie l h me first came into use, tbat this vibra tion miglit be employed to produce a series of inipressionsor indentations upon a disK or cylinder of wax, which could be used as a phonographic converter. But jppeated experiments have established the Jacl that the vibrations, of the telephone diaphragm, while actual mechanical vi brations, are of so small amplitude and force as to fender impossible the produc tion of an impres-ion or indentation. Inventive genius is not, however, ham pered by any knowledge of the impossi ble. From the day when Professor Bell and Professor Gray exhibited their won derful telephones at the Centennial Exhi bition at Philadelphia in 187G down to tbe present time thousands of brains have been busily at work conjuring up a means to accomplish what was wanted, and it is now believed that the problem has been solved by the production ol a device whereby a telephonic message is recorded at the district station without regard to the presence of the distant correspondent. A Mr. Clarke of this city claims to have devised tbe long-sought apparatus. His machine, which is shown in the accom panying sketch, is extremely simple, and it does not require any changes in exist ing methods. It is a we!i-Known fact to competent electricians that a closed circuit — that is, a circuit without a break of continuity and charged with a current — may have its potential powerfully varied by the intro duction of very slight resistances. Now tlje power or "pall" of an electro-magnet depends upon the potential of the current that i* passing along the wire forming the helix of the magnet. On these two condi tions rests the device of Mr. Clarke. He has discovered that a liquid — not water charged with a certain metallic salt iv solution in capable of having the resist ance io the passage of an electric current very markedly changed by the applica tion of extremely slight degrees of com pression. Now, supposing that an electric circuit bo constructel having in its series an electro-magnet and a tube or tank of this Itquid. Then a slight compression of the l:quid would diminish the resistance and : allow the cjrrent to flow through the cir j cult with greater facility and strength, land the consequent effect of the current i upon tbe elec:ro-magnet would be to strengthen it and to cause it to attract an armature with greater force. When tbe p re sure on the liauid was removed the liquid would then offer its greatest resist ance, thus hindering the flow of the cur rent, and so weakening the "pull" of the electro-magnet. Thus by varying the pressure upon or compression of tbe THE SAX FRANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, MAY 2, 1897. Once falriy under way, it is the habit of homing pigeons to fly in a straight line. So it probably was with these birds. From Carson to San Francisco, in an air line, is a distance, approximately, of about 180 miles. This is no distance for a homer to fly under ordinary conditions and a very lew hours would suffice to traverse it. The seq ci shows conclusively that the conditions wera very far from the ordinary. The first information received in this City concerning an 7of the nomine quartet came from Copperopoiis, in Calaveraa County, which is in the foothills of the Sierras, upon the western slope. At that place, on tiie morning of March 21, flying wearily, nearly iamished, brave Mme. Ro-e alighted and suffered herself, out ot pure ex haustion, to bo captured. So nearly spent was she that after she hud been fed she slept nearly twenty-four hours without waking. She had been on her perilous way between three and four days. Let those who respect human courage, dnuntless will and persevering enerzy re flect lor a minute upon what this rli«ht of nearly four days signified. During two of the three days while Mme. Rose was beating the thin, cold air With her eager wings blinding snows were fulling. Mountain streams were hushed under depths of ice. The temperature, according to meteorologists, sank at times to 22 degrees below the freezing Doint. With the snow came high and battling winds. In all the Sierras, snow-covered and desolate, was no food for this wonderful little messenger and path finder. The lowest pass in the route selected by Mme. Rose was a mile and a half above sea level. To reach this elevation the bird had to scale a height above Carson of over half a mile, .Professor George Davidson of this City, who is familiar with the Sierras, says that the pass must be at least 3700 feet above the altitude of Carson and 7000 feet above the level of the ocean. Half blinded in that awful solitude, imrled hither and yon from its true course by the winds which eddied in and out of the fastnes«es of the Sierras, night overtook the bird three times. There was no rest for it excepting upon the trees laden with their winter load of ice and snow. Be it to the credit of the pluck of the bird, as it must be to its sure purpose, that it did not turn back after the first arctic night to seek the comparative comfort of Carson. The next morning she was off a^ain, and the next and the next, all the time drawing nearer, but by a devious course, to its own home a"nd dove-hearled mates in their cozy cote on the warm and green Berkeley hillside. When it finally, still trav eling toward the blue Pacific, reached Copperopolis. it had flown only what amount to 110 miles in an airline. The time consumed shows conclusively that it had been compelled to My many times that distance, or that the winds were fiercer and ihe storms even more terrible than herein appears. The significant thing is that it had departed little out of its direct course between Caraon and San Francisco, when, hav ing actually crossed the Sierra, its overtired wings cams to rest. It will be naturally asked how it was that Mme. Rose, having been at Copperopo lis in Calavera< County on March 21, has only been back home a few days. This was on account of her being detained by parties who had to be persuaded by prolonged argument to restore her to her original owner. The other three birds of the quartet are dead or lost. So are the other two mentioned. Hatched March 17, 1894. The wonderful fly from Carson Oily was becun on her birth day. Was awarded tirst prize at y.ige<ri show held at San Francisco In January, 1895. March 9, 1895, flew in h race from Sacramento, being liberated in the presence of a large number of legislators, and convoyed a message bearing tlie signature of the Governor and three other State officials and those of all the newspaper representatives then at Sacra mento. In this race Controller lolgaa acted as timer, Secretary Coglan as flyer and tno Record-Union representative as scorer. April 9, 18i>">, took t>art in a public fly from Oro ville. In a trial fly lroru Santa Cruz, June 11. 18i)5, E.I Martin, County Clerk, utilized Ma'lKm Rose while sending an onier Rttnched to her sartor. Two days later s>hc flew with eight other birds. a;l being reiecsed by Mir-s Anita Conzales, Queen of the Water Carnival. The bird, on this occasion carrying a photoprgph of Qu^-en Anita, was shot, but came in two hours after nil the other birds had arrived. The Cam, gave full accounts of this tiy. Previous to March 17. 1897, Madam Kose hai not been sent east of Stockton. Owned by the Blue and Gold lofts. liquid the electro-magnet would corre spondingly change its attractive force and its armature be attracted or released ac cordingly. In Mr. Clnrke's machine he employs a glass box, the ton of which is formed of a japanned iron plate, used as the dia phragm of the telephone. The glass box is completely filled with the liquid, and consequently the v.brationsof the tel ephonic diaphragm produce a series of varying compressions of the Jiquid, small in amplitude, but sufficient to change the resistance of the fluid. This box of liquid is made a part of a local circuit, which embraces a battery of four cells and an electro-magnet. The magnet lias an ar mature provided with a stylus, and as the attraction of the magnet varies, the con sequent motion of the armature is by the stylus indented upon the waxon cylinder of a phonograph. When not receiving a message, the phonographic cylinder is out of ail contact with the armature stylus; but at the be ginning of a communicat.on the cylinder is instantly thrown into contact by the operation of an exceedingly simple electro-mechanical devica and so retained during the transmission of the message, at Ihe termination of which il is rel ased. At any time subsequent to the transmis sion the receiving ope-ator has but to press a knob, when tne speaking stylus is thrown into contact with the cylinder, which then bepins to rerolve, and the message that whs transmitted a moment or a hundred years previously is made audible to the listener iv t:ie exact words and tone- of the transmitting speaker. The invention not only promises to sup ply the wants of a large class of business men; il bids fair to revolutionize tbe ex istiug modes of news dissemination. The morning ami evening newspaper is at present a necessity, long outgrown Hie nature of a luxury. The family have by habit learned to require the newspaper. With the use of Mr. Clarke's invention it is possible to place a telephonic recorder "MADAM ROSE." in every house, and all the instruments connected with a "central" office, where will be collected and edited the news of the world, precisely in the same manner as is now done in the central offices of the Associated Press and the United Press; but instead of telegraphing a condensed account of the news to the newspapers to be published by them several hours after its occurrence, an operator at the "cen tral" will speak the news into a transmit ter and instantly it will be recoided at the houses of the subscribers, unabridged, full and complete. Then at breakfast, at din ner or at tea, when the family are gath ered around the table, a press of the knob and 10, from a hole in ihe wall a voice reads out the startling news of what is going on in distant places. Should it be desired, the machine may be made to repeat again and again its message*. It while deliver ing a message another one should arrive, the electro-mechanism instantly switches the cylinder into the position for its re ceiving, and the delivery is interrupted until the transmission of the new message is completed. The action is purely auto matic, and effectually provides against any omission of communication. Proper provision is also made for renewing the surface of the cylinder when it is filled or for replacing it with another. The ordU nary familiar teleDhonic transmitter and receiver may if desired be placed side by side and the same circuit with tbe Clarke machine, so that complete communication to and fro may be had. A curiosity h exhibited by a man in Blue Rapids, Kan. It is the head of a rabbit, which has eight horns, ranging in length Irom 1 '.j to 2] 2 ' inches. One of the horns sprouts from t -e noae and the others are round the jaw. A room in the castle of Sunonttta, near Milan, Italy, has a wonderful echo. A loud noise, such as a pistol shot, will be repeated sixty times. A Hitherto Unpublished Military Order From General Grant. For twenty-five years Captain Richard P. Thomas has resided on tbirty-two acres of the easterly race of the Berkeley hills, and during most of that time fee has contemplated ultimately investing the area in some institution which would forever main tain it to a form of public use. The captain's recent offer of donating the place to the town of Ferfceley as a park i« his ultlmaie decision alter contemplating two other forms of disposition, one to tiie Soldiers' Home, which tinaliy located at Yountvilly, the other to the Slate University. The manageis of the home regarded the tract as not sufficiently large for their purposes and the captain decided that, as between the university and the town, he would fay r the latter. A unique feature of the captain's place is a log house which the owner built with his own nands, requiring seven years for its completion. It is two stories in height, has two rooms below and a large apartment above. It is a comfortable lodge, and the captain uses it as such, having fitted it up for a museum and smoking cabin ; here he lounges during evenings amid hi* relics of the long past, an apgregation which covers the whole of the captain's li!e — a period of eighty years. Many of these curios are mementoes of the captain's three years,' career in the army when he was lieutenant and ad jutant of the First New York Cavalry. The collection includes his pistols and carbine, his saber, his great surtout, army uniforms and Bats, together with an extensive gallery of rare war pictures taken within tbe Union lines by Brady, the Government photog rapher, and covering hundreds of scenes and situations during the.entire period of hostilities. One of the most interesting ol these exhibits is a letter from General Grant to General Sherman, written entirely in the hand of the former and bearing the indorsement of the latter. The letter strikingly presents the effective means of extinguishing the opposition writers that were employed in those days. It reads as follows: Headquarters Army of Tennessee, Corinth, Ausr. 8, 18*32. Major-General W. T. Sherman. Commanding United States Forces, Memphis, Term.— General: Herewith I send you an article credited to the Memphis ci rrespondent of the Cnicaqo Times, which is bold false in fact and mischievous in character. You wiil have the author arrested and sent to the Alton penitentiary under proper escort, for confinement until the close of the war, unless sooner discharged by competent authority. lam very respectfully your obedient servant, U. 8. Grant, Major-Geoeral. Upon the lower lefthand corner of the letter is in General Sherman's handwriting the following direction, evidently to tome subordinate officer, to whom the letter bearing the indorsement was sent: Do you know the man? Find him out nnd arrest. August 14, 18H2. W. T. Sherman, Id a jor- General. The letter was picked up in Memphis on the grounds which had been occupied by the Federal forces, after the withdrawal of the troops, and ha-; never since gone out of the captain's possession. The captain does not know the identity of the correspon dent, nor whether he was ever discovered or arrested. On the highest point of the captain's land, and at an eminence not far from the summit of the mountain, lie has erected what, he calls a fort, and which he declares to be the only private affair of the kind in the State. On an esplanado snrrounded by a c.r cular parapet three 20- pound guns have been mounted in embrasures, and they command the eniire country. On the ristit lie San Pablo Bay and the straits of Carquinez, San Qucntin and the Golden iiflte, while * discuarge from the piece on the lefi raizht rate tha streets of Oakland. A liotise is built within the inclosure and used as a powder magazine, and every Fourth of July the pow der in this arsenal is brought out and the guns boom all day long. The Fourth is a great day with the captain. Hesetsas:de $500 for its celebration, hires a caterer to bring coffee and sandwiches on the mountain, and then invites the town. They coma in hundreds, and for that day La Loma is a public pleasure ground. JOHN E. BENNETT. F. M. Close, D.Sc. CAPTAIN RICHARD P. THOMAS.