Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

OF

SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY:

OR,

YEAR-BOOK OF FACTS IN SCIENCE AND ART,

FOR 1871,

EXHIBITING THE

MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES AND IMPROVEMENTS

IN

MECHANICS, USEFUL ARTS, NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, CHEMISTRY,
ASTRONOMY, GEOLOGY, BIOLOGY, BOTANY, MINERALOGY,
METEOROLOGY, GEOGRAPHY, ANTIQUITIES, ETC.,

TOGETHER WITH

NOTES ON THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE DURING THE YEAR 1870; A LIST
OF RECENT SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS; OBITUARIES OF
EMINENT SCIENTIFIC MEN, ETC.

[blocks in formation]

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by

GOULD AND LINCOLN,

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

ROCKWELL & CHURCHILL, Printers, Boston.

NOTES BY THE EDITOR,

ON THE

PROGRESS OF SCIENCE FOR THE YEAR 1870.

In looking over the material collected during the year, which is now embodied in the present volume, we find little that is new or startling in the province of the mechanic arts.

Both in this country and in England attention is fixed upon more economical and safer processes in applying inventions. The American manufacturer would do well to read the report on steam-boiler legislation presented at the meeting of the British Association. Among the names of the committee who presented it we find those of Sir William Fairbairn and Sir Joseph Whitworth. From the report it appears that about 50 explosions occur in Great Britain every year, killing about 75 persons and injuring as many others. The committee are confirmed in their opinion that explosions are not accidental, that they are not mysterious; but that they arise from the simplest causes, and may be prevented by the exercise of common knowledge and common care. Boilers burst simply from weakness. Competent inspection is adequate to detect the weakness of the boiler in time to prevent explosions, whether that weakness arise from malconstruction or defective condition, while it tends to stimulate attendants to carefulness, and thus to diminish the number of those explosions arising from oversight.

The committee state that for every explosion due to the boilerminder in neglecting the water supply, etc., six are due to the boiler-maker or boiler-owner from making or using bad boilers. After discussing possible remedies the committee are convinced that the government should enforce the periodical inspection of all steam boilers. The numerous explosions of the year bring this subject home to us.

We can point with pride to some substantial engineering work of the past year: notably, the building, launching, and placing the great caisson at the Brooklyn terminus of the East River bridge. An extract from the report of Col. Roebling will be found in the present volume.

It is stated that the great central shaft of the Hoosac Tunnel has reached the grade of the tunnel 1,030 feet below the natural surface.

The Broadway Underground Railway is well underway; the construction progressing while the thoroughfare above is crowded with its endless procession of vehicles.

The St. Louis bridge, under the able engineering skill of Captain Eads, progresses finely.

The removal of the obstruction at Hellgate is continued day and night. These and the work of the coast survey testify to the presence of engineering skill among us.

The European war has not called forth to a large extent the inventive capabilities of our population, while it has had distinctly this effect abroad. Activity, however, among the American manufacturers of arms and ammunition has necessarily followed.

As a proof of the esteem in which American weapons are held abroad it is stated that the Remington Co., N. Y., have exported to Denmark 25,000 breech-loaders, and as many to the Swedish government. Colt's Co., 30,000 Berdan rifles to Russia. Turkey has also been a large purchaser. Nearly the half of the work of Smith & Wesson's manufactory is bought by European parties. And the Union Metallic Cartridge Co. send their products to all parts of the world.

We learn, from the "London Broad Arrow," that "12 of the Gatling guns of 45-bore have been ordered from America for the government absolutely, and 50 additional on the understanding that they will be taken. Meanwhile, 50 more of these guns are being manufactured by Sir William Armstrong, at the Elswick ordnance works, in expectation that they also will be taken by the government. As it is understood to be the intention of the government to arm each of the ships of war with a mitrailleuse, in addition to supplying a certain number to the army, it is clear that several hundreds of this arm will be required."

The new explosives, nitro-glycerine, dualin, lithofracteur, and dynamite have received considerable attention during the past year. Full accounts of dualin will be found in the present volume; it seems to promise well for certain kinds of work, although the

authorities at the Hoosac tunnel do not speak very favorably of it. It consists, as do most of these new explosives, of nitro-glycerine, with some comparatively inert base: in the case of dualin the base is sawdust.

The manufacturers of iron are quickly adopting the latest inventions, but have given us no very new modifications or improvements during the year.

Mechanical stoking is attracting considerable attention, and an able paper on this subject was delivered at the meeting of the British association, which can be found on page 23.

The European war has not added materially to the list of inventions of arms of warfare. The merits of the chassepot and the needle-gun have been actively canvassed, but on account of the physical superiority and training of the German over the French soldier, the trial between the weapons has not perhaps been a conclusive one. The mitrailleuse has also come in for its share of praise and abuse. It is thought to be a good weapon for mowing down a close assaulting column, but not for general field work.

It is stated that the projectiles of the chassepot and the mitrailleuse reached an enormous distance in the recent contests. According to the “ Lancet," the number of thigh wounds made by bullets was relatively very great in the late battles; and the wounds made by the French sword-bayonet more difficult to heal than those of the Prussian triangular weapon.

The loss of the " Captain" will necessarily call attention to the safer construction of iron-clads.

At the meeting of the British Association, Captain Rowell presented his claims of the superiority of hemp cables over iron and hemp cables, and asserted that the hemp cable would be 50 per cent. cheaper than the present system.

The recent interruption of telegraphic communication with Europe will result, undoubtedly, in the laying of more cables.

A cable between England and France, from Beechy Head to Cape Antiper, near Havre, is in process of construction. It is to be an independent line, and is much needed on account of the pressure of business upon the other cables.

Considerable attention has been paid lately to the use of wirerope tramways. The late Mr. Roebling, by perfecting the manufacture of iron cables, undoubtedly led the way to this result. In mining districts, on steep inclines, and even on ordinary transportation lines, the telo-dynamic system seems destined to play an

« VorigeDoorgaan »