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The Washington times. (Washington [D.C.]) 1901-1902, March 16, 1902, Editorials The Drama and Society, Image 19

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Of the Numerous Projects Proposed and Paths
Surveyed For a Trans Isthmian Waterway
There Are Practically But Few That Survive
Sea Level Stream Was De Lesseps Original
Notion But It Has Given Way to One of Locks
Tides Made His Plan Impossible
Senate can decide upon but one
THE but no matter which route
is chosen a thousand hopes hopes
that have come to be the very ex
istence of their followers will be blasted
forefer The Panama has been generally
known as the pet canal scheme but since
the dajs of Magellan and Balboa every
plan for the passage of the Isthmus has
had its enthusiasts more numerous be
cause the scheme is nearer within the
reach of man but Just as blindly zealous
as the adrocates of flying machines
Numerous Schemes
There have been schemes for ship rail
roads to carry loaded vessels bodily by
rail from sea to sea schemes to tunnel
through the Cordilleras a cut big enough
to pass a ship schemes to lift vessels
OTcr the mountains and schemes for sea
level canals Of the first of these plans
tha route across Mexico by Tohuantepec
is an example of the second a route be
low Panama the cen jecently revived
Darien rojte of the third Nicaragua
rartlcularl and the last Panama
De Lesseps Idea
A sea lei el canal was de Lesseps orig
inal idea for the Panama Canal but it
has given way to one of locks the differ
ence in the height of tides on the two
coasts making a leel canal impossible
Of the man projects proposed and routes
sunreyed these last two Panama and
Nicaragua are practically all that sur
vive and their respective promoters and
supporters are making their last grand
struggle for master never before with
such even chances
I Work Besumed in 1895
It is not generally known that work
on the Panama Canal was resumed in
18S5 and has been continued almost or
quite to this day In order to save some
of the J2C0C000O0 de Lesseps company
spent and to retain the valuable con
cessions granted it the receivers of the
old organized a new company The stock
was purchased by the directors of tho
original compan who hoped b further
subscription to save part of their original
Investments Thirteen millions of dollars
was all however they were willing to
Invest and this only eleven days before
the expiration of the original concession
An extension of the time limit for com
pletion to 1S10 was secured
Made Every Dollar Tell
The new company did not waste the
13000000 in mere show on soft ground
but in contrast to its predecessors mado
every dollar tell In the hope of retriev
ing lost confidence or falling to secure
further investments as it did to make
the partly built canal more -valuable
when the Claj ton Bulwer treaty should
be abrogated and the United States should
enter the field as a possible purchaser
Clayton Bulwer Treaty
The Clayton Bulwer treaty relative to
the establishment of a communication by
ship canal between the Atlantic and the
Pacific oceans signed in 1S30 was it
will be remembered the cause of some
terrible suggestions in Congress It was
a leng tedious task to get Great Britain
to substitute the Hay Pauncefote treaty
for that declaration by the governments
of the United States and Great Britain
that neither one nor the other will ever
obtain or maintain for itself any exclusive
control over the said ship canal War
was several times last year suggested
but President Roosevelts first message
bore the tidings I am glad to be able to
announce to jou that our negotiations on
this subject with Great Britain have re
sulted in my being able to lay before the
Senate a treaty which if ratified will en
able us to begin preparations for an isth
mian canal at any time and which guar
antees to this nation every right that it
has ever had in connection with a canal
A Long Story
The treaty it is well known was rati
fied The whole story of the Isthmian
canal would require volumes As the
matter now stands in Congress the Hep
burn bill providing for the building of
the canal by the Nicaragua route has
passed the House while the Senate Com
mittee on Isthmian Canals has agreed 7
to 4 to favorably report the measure in
that body A minority report will also be
presented and a vigorous fight is antici
Here is a brief outline of the plans
- a
- j
that the disinterested may know some
thing of the matter should they happen
into the Senate during a discussion
The Panama Canal is now Just 40 per
cent completed that s according to
original designs and dimensions but not
according to the suggestions of the Isth
mian Canal Commission The Atlantic
side is open to a distance of thirteen
miles The excavation was to a depth
varjln in different localities from six
teen to twenty nine and a half feet but
having been completed and passed over
for so long the depth has been dimin
ished by silt deposits from the Chagrcs
River In the bed of which the canal lies
partwav and from other causes On the
Pacific side about three miles Is cut from
six to twenty six feet In Pamma Bay a
channel has been drtJged to deep water
the anchorage off the Island of Naos and
nzs rh r iHEi sir mvmy
L y v -- t - w - S T- n HIIIHniTIIKIIHai t -
I -- u ndsmsmmmmmTmim sai ys
ILZ2ivr rsy izKiwA LHBHBJHH
ja wcw x sTBv kw wmMtmmi
Ofc n5sfeCS f4HlH
GaistI j
the Culebra cut through the rocky Cordil
leras has been accomplished to a depth of
160 feet
Nicaraguan Route Surveyed
In ISjO 52 the Transit Company which
then controlled all the trans Isthmian
traffic had the Nicaraguan route survey
ed Twenty jears later the United States
despatched a commission to look over the
Mr A G Menocal of that commission
when the Panama scandal began person
ally secured a concession from tho Nlca
raguan Government for the construction
cf a canal and the NIcaraguan Canal Con
struction Compiny vvas organized In
1SS3 the same year that the Panama
Company susperded operations the con
cession was transferred to the Maritimo
T T v y wy
Ar 3fflrK a Tiaf fcjffjiJ
Canal Company a new organization and
the Construction Company went out of
The special feature of the NIcaraguan
route Is the great inland sea which lies
In the hollow between the eastern and
the western Cordilleras Lake Nicaragua
It is forty five miles wide 110 long and
110 feet above the level of the sea
Wonderful Engineering Feat
The plan of the Nicaragua Canal com
prises an engineering feat of the most
wonderful kind ever attempted In the
Isthmian Commissions estimate of the
time it will take to construct the ca
nal six j ears arc given to the construc
tion of the dam across the San Juan
Itlver while but two more will serve to
Tkpict at Termtkl BaisT AMa IRR
complete the waterway The San Juan
leaves the southeast corner of Lake Nic
aragua and flows almost east into the Ca
ribbean Sea The first half of its length
from the lake is one succession of rapids
and waterfalls It is then joined by the
Rio San Carlos and its size doubled Two
miles above this juncture is the site for
the great dam
San Juans Flow
The San Juan in its normal state has
a flow of 20000 cubic feet per second but
in the rainy season it sometimes amounts
to 200000 To hold back this flood with
a dam 150 feet high and thereby raise the
waters of the riVer to the level of the
lake is the project This is the great
work on the NIcaraguan route The other
dams and thocuts and embankments are
all within the province of engineering ex
General Opinion Incorrect
It is the general opinion that there is
quite a dJlference between the levels of
tho two oceans Such however is not tla
case Tho levels are about the same but
the tide of the Pacific has a range of
eight feet while that cf the Atlantic has
only one A 364 foot and four lSVi foot
locks will be required to raise vessels
from the Caribbean to the lakes level
On the Pacific side four 2SiA foot locks
will do the work
The estimated cost of the Nicaragua
Canal has steadily risen from a sum
around 50000000 to the Isthmian Com
missions figures of 159861062 Tho first
however was for a sixteen-foot-deep ca
nal of narrow gauge while the last is on
a thirty five foot depth and a width ot
150 feet
Cost for Completion
The estimated cost of completing tho
Panama Canal to these dimensions la
144233158 The Commission values the
Panama Canal in its present condition at
40000000 The original offer of sale at
over 100000000 was the cause of tha
Commissions first recommending the NI
caraguan and the fall to our figure when
the Hepburn bill passed the House was
the cause of the Commissions change ol
verdict In favor of the shorter route
The total length of the Nicaraguan routa
is 183 66 miles that of Panama 46 03 It
will take a steamship ot the average slzo
twelve hours to pass tnrough Panama ij
a canal with locks is constructed and
four hours if one at sea level could bo
built A cea level canal cannot be built
across Nicaragua because of th great
lake at the great height above the sea
that must be crossed Thirty three hours
will be required for the same vessel to
cross through Nicaragua
C plIE National Bureau of Stand-
I ards Is the name of a recently
JL established bureau in the
Treasury Department which
will be of inestimable benefit from a
commercial and scientific point of view
This new 1 -created bureau will supersede
the office of weights and measures of the
Treasury Department and Its scope will
be greatly extended beyond that of the
old office mentioned
The new bureau was created by an act
of Congress approved March 3 1D01 which
act also provides for the appropriation
of a sufficient sum not to exceed 250000
for the erection of a suitable building for
u laboratory including plumbing piping
wiring heating lighting and ventilation
and a further sum of 10000 for equip
ping the same and a sum not exceeding
25000 for a site for the laboratory be
sides the sum of 127140 for the pament
of salaries provided for by the act
In addition to the phjsical laboratory
and administration building there will al
so be erected a large powerhouse The
alto for the buildings has already been
purchased and is located in the north
western part of the city near tho inter
section ot Connecticut Avenue and tho
Pierce Mill Road on the first ridge north
of Cleveland Park which has an elevation
of 350 feet above the Potomac River The
buildings when erected will be fully one
thousand feet removed from the Chevy
Chase electric car line
The Superlslng Architect of the Treas
017 Department James Knox Taylor is
sow engaged In preparing the plans for
tbe two structures and expects to com
plete his work at an early date Tire
buildings will be of brick with a light
colored stone trimming The main build
ing or physical laboratory will have a
dimension of 174x60 feet and will be three
and one half stories in height with an
extended basement
The first floor ot the powerhouse will
contain the boilers engines dynamos and
heating and ventilating machinery and
refrigerating apparatus The instrument
shops testing laboratories drafting
rooms and office will occupy the second
floor and the third floor will contain the
carpenter shops other laboratories and
storage rooms Work upon these build
ings will be commenced some time dur
ing the coming spring and will probably
bo completed within a year
The new bureau Is under the charge of
the director Prof Samuel W Stratton
a graduate of the University of Illinois
and a member of tho faculty of that Insti
tution for some time Subsequently bo
was called to the chair ot physics In the
Chicago University and planned and su
pervised the construction of the famous
Rycrson physical laboratory of Chicago
University He Is also member of tho
Cosmos Club the Mctrological Society
member of the Assay Commission and an
acknowledged authority on mechanical
and electrical engineering Ills salary
as director of the bureau is 5000 per
year -
The physicist of the bureau is Prof
Edward B Ross The total number of
officers and employes provided for under
the act ot Congress is twelve whose an
nual salaries aggregate the sum of 27-
140 The other officers and employes of
tho bureau are a chimlst and two assist
ants two laboratory assistants a secre
tary clerk engineer mechanician mes
senger watclman and laborer
In addition to the custody ot the stand
ards of weights measures etc the func
tions ot the new bureau arc
1 The comparison of the standards
used In scientific investigations engin
eering manufacturing commerce and
educational institutiors with the stand
ards adopted and recognized by the Gov
2 The construction when necessary of
standards their multiples and subdi
3 The testing and calibration of stand
ard measuring apparatus
4 The solution of problems which
arise in connection with standards
0 The determination of physical con
stants and the properties of materials
when such data are of great importance
to scientific or manufacturing interests
and arc not to be obtained of sufficient
accuracy elsewhere
The bureau is authorized to exercise
its functions for the Government ot tho
United States for any State or municipal
government within the United States or
for any scientific society educational In
stitution firm orporatlon or individual
within the United States engaged in manu
facturing or other pursuit requiring the
use of standards or standard measuring
Hitherto the manufacture of physi
cal astronomical chemical and other
scientific apparatus said Director
Stratton has been confined almost ex
clusively to foreign countries but this In
dustry is growing in the United States at
1 rate which Tvill soon place our produc
tions equal to those of any other coun
try Our manufacturers 01 such appar
atus hive shown that they can compete
with tho foreign proddct In workmanship
and design but they arc placed at a great
disadvantage by reason cf the fact thit
this Government docs note provide them
with the necessary standardizing facilities
German and English manufacturers fur
nish official certificates with their appar
atus and the value of such certificates
Is so well recognized that we find our
own manufacturers nuotlng prices of their
apparatus which have been verified in
the Institutions of foreign Governments
The aluo of the proposed bureau to
this interest alone it is believed will
be sufficient to warrant the expenditure
of more than the entire cost of its crea
tion and maintenance This fact has been
conclusively demonstrated In Germany by
the Imperial Physlco Tecbnlcal Institu
tion of Charlottenburg established In
1887 which has been roost liberally sup
ported and which has shown remarkable
results It has been frequently asserted
tint this institution Is of far groater
value to the scientific and commercial In
terests of this countrj than the provisions
made hitherto by our own Government
It will bo the purpose of those in charge
of the administration of tbe National Bu
reau of Standards to conduct It upoa prac
tically tho same lines as these employed
by the German institi tloii referred to
It is a well known fact that tho use
fulness of a sstem of weights and meas
ures to those who enploy it depends on
the unvarying identity ot its determina
tions and for this reason it has been a
part of the public policy of every orga
nized community from the earliest period
of civilization to regulate such systems
by law Unfortunately this kind of legis
lation until the beginning of tha last cen
tury was left almost wholly In the hands
of local authorities who havo proceeded
without any attempt at concert or uni
formity This was in a marked degree
the case in Europe where scarcely a
town of any commercial importance could
be found which did not havo Its inde
pendent system cf weights and measures
Naturally the embarrassment to com
merce growing out of this diversity of
sj stems was very great
The importance of accurate comrvrf
cial measures cannot bo overestimated
continued Director Stratton The estab
lishment of a standardizing laboratory
will bo an exceedingly important factor
In bringing about correct commercial
weights and measures a condition very
much to be desired Every scientific lab
oratory in the country whether It be
that of a school college or university
a sugar refinery manufacturing chemist
railroad steel works or any other manu
facturing concern in which modern meth
ods are employed requires constantly the
use of the most accurate measures of
weight length and capacity
The bureau will be well equipped for
work in electrical measurements In al
ternating currents we will be able to
measure voltages up to 100000 volts and
to measure currents up to 10000 amperes
The bureau will also be able to accuritc
Iy determine the illuminating power and
efficiencj cf electric arc and incandes
cent lamps gas and gas bjrners oils jd
oil burners and the so called standird
candle now so unsatisfactory in deter
mining accurately the candle power will
b superseded b a mere satisfactory
standard of illumination
Special attenticn will be given to in
struments for determining the purjty cf
sugar tho specific graUty of liquids tLir
inomcter3 and prometcrs for lov and
high temperatures barometers pres
sure giugcs hjgrometers lu fact the
lureau will be devoted to the promotion
of all scientific commercial and indus
trial enterprises as well as to the dis
covery by new scientific investigations
still more accunto standards of all
measurements relating to the advance
ment of euch enterprises in the United
A moderate fee will be charged for
tests and comparisons cf standards and
instruments and the income derived from
this source will It is tbov ght aid to a
considerable degree in the maintenance
cf th bureau The scientific bureaus ot
ths Government will receive this service
of the institution free ct eharee It a
j thought that the present Corgress will
make a Ilneral appropriation for the pur
chase of necessary apparatus tu equip tho
laboratories as roon as the buildings are
r HE Regular Army personnel has
I undergone a very decided
JL change since the Spanish-American
war said an observant
Washington man who formerly IleJ
adjacent to a big military post and re
members the type of soldiers who made
up the old 25000 peace army
A thing which strikes me as I see the
blue uniformed boysroaming around town
is their comparative yquth There are a
lot of mighty young lads enlisted in the
army these days but the majority of
them ore of rather a better type than the
regulars of other days apparently young
sters not long out of the high schools
The recent war has made a big difference
in the way the army uniform lb regarded
socially which perhaps accounts for its
adoption by so many of the better class
young men ot the country
Another change which occurs to me Is
the variety of insignia to be observed on
the starboard arms of the soldier boys
Indicating the branch of the service to
which they belong I dont seem to bo
familiar with half of them Then In tha
days when I was wont to hover near
military parade grounds the soldiers
vcre compelled by regulations to wear
pants with wide bell bottoms as well
as heavy brogans of a uniform pattern oa
their feet
Now they wear very properly cut
trousers curved at the bottom with moro
or less Individuality about them while
the selection of footwear i3 a matter o
each mans fancy I remember when it
vvas a rule that soldiers should wear
short eropped hair most often clipped
by the company barber Now you see
em w Ith their caps perched on the top of
great bunches of football alr This cap
the are wearing is another new one Its
shape is entirely different from the flat
pancake shaped sloping affair which was
worn in the other days

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