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Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, November 15, 1903, Image 31

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn99021999/1903-11-15/ed-1/seq-31/

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substitute for mule power on the
V.rim ronsl mntn ftltnttnn nn
the practicability of the new
motor for the purpose Intended,
and provoked an acrimonious discussion of
the motive of the test. The test was made
a few days before the election at which the
voters of New York state approved the
proposition authorising the widening and
deepening of the canal so as to accommo
date barges, the cost being estimated at
tHrtOOO.W, and that the purpose was to dis
credit the proposition by showing that
with electric power the present canal would
subserve public Interests ss well ss a btirge
canal and save the state a tremendous debt.
Whatever the motive was, it Is evident
from the details of the test that the so
called "eiertrle mute" Justified the cMms
of its owners. Four boats, loaded with ISO
tons of sand, were used. First two lionts
were started from each end of the track to
demonstrate the ease with which the boats
and mules puss. Then tests were made with
one mule. One, two, three and four boats
won? drawn against the current. The mule
took the fmir boats at a speed of five miles
an hour. The average speed with horses or
muloa is a mile and a half an hour and
about two miles an hour with steam.
For the demonstration an elevated trac
tion way was constructed a mile and a half
long, on the outside of the towpnth. one
rail being placed above another so that the
motor cars might pass and repass without
Interference. The structure la so arranged
as not to Interfere with barges being towed
by animal power.
In operation the so-called "electric mule"
rests on two wheels, which groove about
the top rail. Beneath the locomotive are
under wheels, also grooved. The under
wheels by means of powerful springs clamp
tightly against the under rail, allowing the
mnchlnes to run along on the single rail.
Under the present method of towing by
mules a cargo of IfiO tons to each boat is
considered very heavy going westward
against the current. In the trial in nuta
tion the electric locomotive readily hauled
four canal boats, each loaded with cargoes
of 2S0 tons, against the current at a speed
of five miles an hour.
Achievements fa Electrical Chemistry.
At a meeting of the American Philosoph
ical society in Philadelphia recently Prof.
C. F. Chandler of Columbia university re
viewed tlie most remarkable achievements
in electrical chemistry during the past
twenty-five years, all of which were due
to the inventive skill of young Americans.
Prof. Chandler said that Niagara Falls
was the center of electro-chemical indus
try in this country, and that -various
processes were carried on there with most
profitable results, which until a few years
ago were regarded as impossible. For
thousands of years, and until the last cen
tury, the only agent which the human race
was able to use for bringing about chem
ical change la metals was fire. In 1S36 Ja
cobl Invented the art of electro-metallurgy,
and in 1839 Dagnerre introduced chemical
change brought about by means of light.
Electricity was not a very practical iigent
in chemistry until the rynamo was in
vented. This made possible the use of
electric force developed by water power,
and afforded the means of Immense ad
vances. Young American chemists took up
electrical chemistry, and in some respects
have led the world in this branch of sci
ence. Borne of the most brilliant discov
eries are duo to Hamilton T. Casslner,
who first cheapened the production of
aluminum.
He was followed by Charles M. Hall, a
student of Oberlln college. little more than
boy, who Invented a process wtiich re
duced the cost of the metal from 16 to M
cent a pound. CassJner had meanwhile
created a great factory, and had millions
el capital behind him. He proceeded to
Improve his processes, by which metallic
sodium and caustic soda had first been
made with sufficient cheapness to enable
him to make aluminum for the commercial
market. He developed the manufacture of
peroxide of soda, for use as a bleaching
agent, and cyanide of potassium, used in
extracting gold from poor ores.
Then he utilized a discovery made by Sir
Humphrey Davy In 1807, whereby metallic
decomposition was effected by electricity.
He Invented an apparatus in which the
electrical beat could be kept at a certain
point, and thus solved a problem that had
pussled chemists for 180 years, the pro
duction of caustic soda and chlorine freo
from salt. Casslner found It necessary to
produce something to resist the corrosive
reaction of'the liquids in his apparatus.
In this way artificial graphite came Into
use.
Dr. Chandler told of the early experi
ments by the old German professor, Ileln-rk-h
Rosa, in the production of aluminum
with alumina and cryolite more than fifty
years ago, and how Hall, employing elec
tricity, devised a cheap and rapid process
of reaching the same result. He humor
ously touched upon the granting of a pat
ent upon this process to snother man,
through a decision of the United States
Court of Appeals, long after Hall had ob
tained his patent, when, as a matter. of
fact, the first credit of the Idea belonged
to Sir Humphrey Davy, the great English
chemist.
An interesting description of tho process
of .manufacturing carborundum, the hard
est substance in existence next to the dia
mond, was given. The specimens of car
borundum shown glittered almost like com
pacted masses of black gems. In the pro
cess from 8,000 to 20,000 degrees of heat Is
used. The same process produces artificial
graphite, the crude material being anthra
cite coal. The discovery and process of
making acetylene were described. The
lecturer also told how the secret of pre
paring artificial fertilisers, suitable for
certain plants, was learned from a study
of the bacteria Inhabiting the nodules on
the roots of vegetables
Larice Water Ptnn Plaat.
Ore of the largest waterpower plant
in the country la now nearing completion
at Spier Falls, on the Hudson river, about
eight miles southwest of Glens Falls, N. T.
The river here, caught between two spurs
of the Adirondack, la, by means of an
Immense masonry dam, raised fifty feet
above its old level and a fall of eighty
feet made available for the turbine wheels.
The watershed of the Hudson above this
point amounts to 27,000 square miles and
gives a mean annual flow over the dam
of between t,0OO and 7,000 cubic feet per
second.
The dam, which was begun tn June, 1900,
is 1,820 feet long, and In some places nearly
100 feet In height. It is carried down to
bedrock, built of solid masonry and an
chored at each end In the ledges of the
mountain sides. The power is obtained by
ten pairs of turbine water wheels running
on'horlsontal shafts; eight pairs each hav
ing a capacity of R.0O0 horsepower and two
of J.tOO horsepower each, so that the
wheels have a combined capacity of 46,809
horsepower. Each pair of wheels is di
rectly connected to a 2,600 kilowatt electric
generator, except the two smaller one's
which run 2,000 kilowatt machines. The
electrical output is thus 32,000 horsepower.
The water la carried to the wheels through
ten steel tubes twelve feet In diameter.
The current is generated at about 2,000
volts and raised to W.000 volts for trans
mission. This Is dons by thirty trans
formers, designed to operate at either 15,
00S or 30.001 volts. The brick power house,
which is of the most substantial con
struction. Its foundation being concrete
masonry bedded In the rock, is U feet
In length and seventy feet wide. Although
only the foundation and floor are now
completed, the demand for power has been
so sharp that the 2.000 kilowatt generators
and one of the 2,500 kilowatt machines
have been set under temporary sheds and
are regularly supplying current. The gen
erators, owing to the large excess of ra
pacity of the turbines, are carrying the
loads satisfactorily, although only sixty
feet of head Is yet available.
The triangular section between Glens
Falls, Schenectady nnd Albany, contain
ing a population of about 300,000 and many
large manufacturing enterprises, Is the
market which the Hudson Illver Water
power company will supply. They already
own several local electric companies and
one of the first uses of the water power
current will be to replace the expensive
steam driven local stations. Another water
power station Just below Mechanlcvllle, on
the Hudson, owned by the company, has
a capacity of 7,000 electrical horsepower.
Their total available electrical power is
thus 39,000 horsepower. Thirty-five thous
and of this has already been contracted
for, one concern alone, the General Electrlo
company, taking 10.000 horsepower, so that
the financial success of the installation is
already assured.
Power is also being supplied at several
sub-stations of the Hudson Valley Electrlo
railway, which runs from Troy to Glens
Falls.
The Hewitt I .am p.
That electric lamp which Peter Cooper
Hewitt invented Is appearing In New York
factories and composing rcoms these days.
In Boston it is rapidly coming Into pop
ular use. It was the general opinion that
tbe lamp, when it was fir3t cal'ej to the
attention of scientists by the son of iho
late Abram S. Hewitt, was merely a sci
entific toy, with which the wealthy young
man had passed a few of his leisure hours.
Now it is being used by hundreds of per
sons who have never stopped to inquire
who invented it.
Nobody would use the lamps In a place
where dress amplcs are matched, for It has
no red rays, and It may give a totally
different Idea of colors from those which
really exLH.Its hardly the kind of illumi
nation for ballrooms or for lighting the
Interior of private bouses, but for other
purposes Boston has found It Just what
It has long sought. Tbe light has a violet
tinge, which shades Into a pale greenish
hue. Its general effect la rather ghastly
at first, but for places where men have to
have bright illumination while they work
over machines, drills and type cases it has
proved Its value. In Boston It Is being
used In warehouses, machine shops, fac
tories, . printing offices and places where
great accuracy of sight Is required. The
lamp is much used by photographers, who
say that they can take pictures by It much
more rapidly than they can by daylight.
One of the advantages of the light Is
that It makes use of a current of high
voltage, yet gives a steady Illumination,
where with another system the effect would
be almost blinding. On account of its
absence of red rays It is easy on the eyes
and la well - adapted to the use of those
who work at night, provided their tasks
have nothing to do with fine discriminations
between colors.
Mr. Hewitt, the Inventor, returned a few
days ago from Europe and has resumed
work in his laboratory in Madison Square
garden tower. He is experimenting with
wireless telegraphy, for he hopes to make
some of the principles of his electric light
useful In the transmission of electrlo waves
through the air.
In principle the Hewitt light la very sim
ple. The electrlo currents flow Into a sealed
tube. In which there Is a mercurial vapor.
At either end of the tube are electrodes,
positive and negative. When a high cur
rent Is turned ou tbe resistance is broken
down by the presence of the vapor and the
tube Is filled with light.
Correal Notes.
Another recent trial on the Marlenftilde
fcossen rsilway In Germany resulted In a
spent of 131 S miles an hour being ob
tained. An electric railway will shortly be opened
In Italy, which will serve ss a feeder to
the existing ruble railway on Mount Ve
suvius, says the ICIoclrtelan. I.mlnn. It
connects the lower terminus of this moun
tain railway with the small town of lte
sina. The total length of the line Is 7.5
km., the dlflerpnoe In altitude between tho
termini being 7U0 meters.
A resident of St. Paul. Minn., bv the
name of Hrenemnn Is said to have Invented
a machine which he calls the electroscope,
and by means of which a person may sea
another at a distance. The apparatus con
tains two lenses, behind whlfh are rcienliim
cells. We have heard of similar inventions
before, nnd trust this one will prove mure
successful than pome of the others.
A communication from Mr. Klchnrd
Guenther, consul-general to Frankfort,
Germany, states that successful experi
ments have been made In various forests
of France In cutting trwn by means of
electricity. A platinum wire is heiteil to
a white heat by an electric current and
used HUe a saw. In this manner the trees
are felled much easier and quicker than
In the old way; no sawdust in produced,
and the slight carbonization caused by the
hot wire acts as a preservation of the
wood. The new method Is said to require
only one-eighth of the time consumed by
me old sawing process.
A correspondent of the Scientific Ameri
can tells of a free electrlo current he has
been uslnp, as follows: "I was working
on bell work In Tromont, N. Y., In a new
building, and wis to find out where the
trouble was which had Riven the men so
much annoyance. Testing out, I got in cir
cuit a Croton water load pipe and also a
New York telephone lead cable, and to my
surprise I received a current of six volts
and about ton amperes. The current I
found strong enough at times to run nn
Kdison dental battery motor. Now I be
lieve this lost current is coming from a
trolley line In Its return circuit, or It may
be the discovery of tapping the earth for
current. I notice the current becomes
stronger when a trolley car Is coming near,
nlso that It Is a steady current night and
day, ss I have the motor running all the
time now."
New and Old Wonders
The seven world wonders of antiquity
were:
The Pyramids. Babylon's Gardens, Mall
eolus' Tomb, the Temple of Diana, the Co
lossus of Rhodes. Jupiter's Statue by Phi- -dlas.
and the Phaios of Egypt, or, as some
substitute, tbe Palace of Cyrus.
The seven wonders of the middle ages
were:
The Coliseum of Rome, the Catacombs of
Alexandria, the Great Wall of China,
Btonehenge, tbe Leaning Tower of Pisa,
the Porcelain Tower of Nankin and the
Mosque of St. Sophia at Constantinople.
How will these compare with the seven
wonders of the modern world T Perhaps
there may be a difference of opinion as re
gards the latter-day wonders, but permit
me to name these:
The Steam Railroad, the Telegraph, the
Telephone, the Wireless Telegraph, the
Ocean Steamship, the Submarine Man-of-War
and" the Airship.
We of the new world have a few won
ders, seven of which are:
The Brooklyn bridge, the Underground
railroad, including tunnels to Jersey City
and Brooklyn; the Washington monument,
tbe capltol at Washington, with its dome,
weighing 8,000,000 pounds; the modern steel
skyscraper, the Echo mountain searchlight
of 275,000,000 candle-power, and the United
States Steel corporation.
We are speaking of things made by man;
of those wonders given to us by God the
seven are:
Niagara Falls, the Mammoth cave. Old
Faithful, the tireless geyser in Yellowstone
park, the big trees (Sequoia) of California,
the Grand canyon of the Colorado, the
great fresh water lakes and the Great Bolt
lake. New York Press.

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