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on by bolts and battened at the joists with strips of wrought iron. Behind the sheathing, and in all the cracks, was poured plaster of Paris as a further protection. Another column of the same shape, without the wooden sheathing, and one iron column of the common pattern, made the three, and each was fastened down from the top with iron rods. They were then submitted to a powerful fire in the furnace. The result was, that the two unprotected columns were expanded 3 or 4 centimeters (the measurements were not exact); while the protected column had not lifted its load to any visible extent. On tearing town the furnace walls, the two unprotected columns were found at a white heat and both slightly bent. A stream of water thrown upon them shivered one and rendered the other useless by bending. The wood-covered column was, of course, on fire, but the charring had not extended 2 centimeters into the wood. Another kind of protective material introduced for this sheathing employs terra cotta molded into segments to fit the columns. This has not, however, been made the subject of equally severe examination.


THIS material is offered as a new blasting powder. It is claimed to have a little more than three times the force of common powder, and is offered at onethird the price. In appearance, it resembles woody fiber saturated with nitro-glycerine. It is very light, and, in a loose state, burns slowly. In firing, a "strand match" is used, as the makers claim that it will not explode by contact with open fire, and with difficulty by friction or percussion.

Uninflammable Dress Material.

THE material commonly employed to render light fabrics uninflammable is tungstate of soda, but its high cost has thus far been an objection. Patera's formulæ in this field of experiment have been recently submitted to careful examination, and good results have been reported. One of these preparations is made by dissolving 3 parts by weight of borax with 24 parts of Epsom salts in 20 parts of water. The fabrics soaked in this solution become coated with the borate of magnesia, which is insoluble in hot or cold water, and is a good resistant of fire. The other preparation is a mixture of sulphate of ammonia with sulphate of lime, or gypsum, in proportions of I part of sulphate of ammonia with 2 parts of gypsum. The gypsum is said to form with the ammonia a double sulphate that has very few of the disagreeable properties of the ammonia salt. The action of this preparation seems to be twofold, first, in coating the fibers of the material and in the production, when the material is brought to a high heat, of volatile ammonia, that tends to smother the flame. This mixture is also reported as useful in protecting wood-work, except in exposed situations where the rain might wash the salt away. In such places, a coat of paint is said to preserve the salt without impairing its protecting value.

VOL. XI.-58.


Cotton Planter.

THE ordinary horse grain-drill has been modified so that it may be used in planting cotton seed precisely as it now plants corn and other grains. The modification consists of an apparatus in the box carrying the seed, whereby the cotton seed is continually shaken or agitated, and the sticking together of the seeds, caused by their fibrous covering, prevented, so that they find their way singly into the plantingdrills. This planter has all the advantages of the best grain-drills, and may be used with or without the mixture of fertilizing materials with the seeds.

Three-Cylinder Engines Applied to Pumping. WHERE space is limited, and where belting or gearing to drive a centrifugal pump would be inconvenient, the idea of using the three-cylinder engine has been suggested. The engine is placed at the side of the pump, and as near it as convenient, and its three piston-rods are connected directly with its shaft. Such an arrangement, on the steamer "Franchetti," making 450 revolutions a minute, threw a stream of water to a height of 7 meters (about 22 feet 10 inches) with ease. Other experiments gave equally good results. The same idea has been suggested for centrifugal pumps used in raising water for drainage or irrigation. The three-cylinder engine has also been used as a motor for a tramway


Improvement in Flour-Mills.

A MILL for separating the bran from the flour in the process of grinding has been tried with such success as to warrant its introduction into a number of flouring establishments, and in each case the results show an improved quality of flour at a material saving in power. In this mill, the upper and moving millstone does not differ from the usual type. The lower stone has every other groove replaced by a sieve, made of fine wire netting, and secured to screws, so that it may be adjusted to the surface of the stone as it wears away. Under the center of each sieve is placed an upright wooden rod, having a hammer head at the top. Below, in the chamber where the flour falls from the sieves, are four radial arms fixed to the upright axis that turns the mixing rakes that travel round this flour space. These arms, as they turn, strike the hammer rods, and they give a slight tap on the under side of the sieves, thus preventing them from becoming clogged. By this arrangement, the flour is enabled to escape quickly from the stones through the sieves, and before it can be injured by overheating. Power is saved by thus disposing of the flour at once, instead of expending the energy of the engine in pushing it through the entire length of the radial grooves to the edge of the stones. Suitable spouts are provided for the bran escaping in one direction and for the flour falling through the sieves into the chamber below.

Preservation of Eggs and Meat.

Two new processes are offered in this field of experiment. In preserving eggs, a solution of sili

cate of potash (of 30 degrees of acidity by gauge) is prepared and placed in an earthen vessel. In this solution the eggs are placed for a few moments, and are then taken out and laid, without touching one another, on sheets of soft paper. In about twenty-four hours the water is evaporated, and the eggs become solidly coated with the silicate, and, thus prepared, they will keep in good order for a long time. If kept for use, the solution must be occasionally diluted with water to compensate for evaporation. The paper is to prevent the eggs from sticking to the table or other surface on which it is placed. The

paper is readily torn off after the hardening of the silicate, and if a bit still clings to the egg, it does no harm.

In the preservation of fresh meat, Herzan, of Florence, recommends a saturated solution of crude boracic acid, to which is added a small quantity of borax, salt, and saltpeter. In this bath the meat is treated, and though the reports do not give the details, it may be presumed that it is soaked in the solution till fully impregnated. Packed in chests and leaden boxes, meat thus prepared has been sent to the tropics twice, and without showing any injury, even under microscopic examination. In this connection, it may be noticed that the samples of fresh beef sent to England recently arrived in good condition, and met with a ready sale. The refrigerator used was supplied with ice, and a current of cold air was constantly drawn over the meat by means of a fan-blower. The success of this experiment seems to open the way for a very large export of American beef to Europe. Other experiments, both with eggs, fruit, vegetables, and meats, are now in process, and such as reach an assured position in trade will be duly reported.

New Paper Materials.

AMONG the vast collection of materials examined in the search for paper stock, two new ones seem to offer some advantages. These are bamboo and the refuse of sugar-cane, known as " 'megasse." The green stems of young bamboo plants are cut fresh, and crushed and split in a series of rolls for the purpose of breaking the nodes and reducing the stalks to ribbons. Cut into short lengths, the split stems are then placed in vats and treated with caustic alkali. The lye is taken in a stream from vat to vat, extracting and removing the soluble matter as it moves. Hot water, and, finally, cold water, is run through the vats till all the soluble matter is swept away and only the fibrous material remains. This is then pressed to remove the water, and is then opened or "teased out" by suitable machinery, and, after drying in a blast of hot air, is ready for packing

and export as paper stock. It is readily employed alone, or with other stock, in making papers of various qualities. The second material is the fibrous residue of the sugar-cane, a cheap by-product of the cane-crushing mill. The machinery employed in treating this is the same as that just described. In both these instances the stock-making plant must be in the neighborhood of the growing cane or bamboo for obvious reasons on the score of transporta

tion. The process is patented, and is said to give a yield of sixty per cent. for the bamboo, and forty per cent. for the sugar-cane.

Shaft-Sinking by Machinery.

COAL-CUTTING machines that will cut a thin

channel or groove in coal or rock are already in use. By an adaptation of these machines to vertical instead of horizontal cutting, they are now employed in sinking shafts and wells. A circular track, somewhat less in diameter than the intended shaft, is laid

and on this the cutting machine travels and cuts a ring four centimeters wide and fifty-one deep in the soil, rock, or other material. A hole sunk by a drill in the center is then charged, and on removing the cutter to a safe distance a blast is fired in the middle of this core. The blast shatters the core, but does not injure the sides of the annular cut. In hard rock the annular cut leaves a good surface for the interior of the shaft, and in softer rocks or soil timber or masonry is readily added.

New Sounding Lead.


A SOUNDING lead that registers the depth of the water automatically has been introduced into the French navy. It consists of a weight or lead of the usual shape, surmounted by a recording apparatus, very much like that used in ships' logs or in gas meters. At the top is a small propeller affixed to an upright shaft, that governs the recording apparatus. This propeller is protected by the iron arms that hold the ring to which the line is fastened, and it is so arranged that it can only turn one way. As it sinks in the water the propeller is turned, and on touching bottom it stops at once. On drawing the lead on board the ship the cover may be removed, and the depth read in meters on the dials. The lead is said to be indifferent to currents and the action of the waves, and to give reliable readings in deep seas.


IN districts where the manufacture of lime is carried on extensively the waste heat from the kilns is being employed for heating purposes. The practice is to place a "saddle boiler" over the kiln, and to connect the boiler with a system of hot-water pipes, such as is commonly used in green-houses. In horticultural establishments, where this is done, the kilns are erected near the green-houses, and the manufacture of lime is carried on as an incidental venture. Where raw lime is convenient and cheap, this has proved a financial success. In other places, or on a limited scale, it would be manifestly useless, being employed in making gas and coke. In such or more expensive than coal. Lime kilns are also


the retorts are simply placed round the base of the kiln, and the lime-burning proceeds in the usual way.

The new material known as "mineral wool" is produced from the hot slag of blast furnaces. The furnace is tapped with an iron pipe 25 millimeters (about 1 inch) in diameter, and from this the hot


slag falls in a stream 76 centimeters (about 21⁄2 feet), and, meeting a powerful blast of cold air (from a blower), is split into hair-like threads of a vitreous character, resembling spun glass. In this form, under the name of mineral wool, it has become popular as a packing material for covering boilers, steampipes, etc.

The leaves of the pine-apple are now being utilized in the manufacture of a coarse kind of wadding available in upholstery, and in making a heavy fabric resembling flannel.

Among publications of a technical character devoted to all branches of constructive and decorative art, is the new "American Architect and Building News," now published once a week by James R. Osgood & Co., Boston. It is liberally illustrated by the improved direct process in heliotype, and will be found of value to all interested in the building arts.

Among new food products may be noticed the condensed cottage cheese now offered upon a commercial scale in the New York market. It has been received with favor by the cheese trade.

A process for hardening mixtures of sand and lime by submitting the material to the action of carbonic acid in a suitable apparatus has been patented in France. By this process, it is claimed that the hydrate of lime is converted into carbonate of lime, supplying a building material resembling natural stone. In connection with this may be mentioned the introduction of a prepared wooden fiber to replace hair in making ordinary plastering. The caustic action of the lime impairs the value of hair as a binding material, while on woody fiber it exerts no injurious effects, but rather tends to preserve it. The material is said to be cheap, strong, and sufficiently flocculent to be easily distributed through the plaster.

In iron-founding, the introduction of a coke furnace for drying molds has been tried with economical results in fuel, and at a gain in time and increased comfort in the molding-room. The heat from a small furnace is conveyed by a pipe to a trench in the floor, over which the molds are laid. A pipe over these collects the stream of hot air rising through the molds and conveys it to the chimney.

A new fire-grate, formed of slender, perforated bars, arranged close together, and supported by a castiron frame-work, has been tried with success. Such fire-grates are said to be adapted to every kind of fuel, sawdust, coal-slack, peat, wood, hard and soft coals, and other materials, commonly considered useless in making steam. The free circulation of air secured by the many small openings, is claimed to give a solid fire without the long, pointed flames incident to fires on ordinary grates.

Beims, of Groningen, in experimenting with carbonic acid under pressure as a source of motive power, employed bicarbonate of soda, heated in a tight wrought-iron vessel to 752° Fahr., to produce liquid carbonic acid that had a pressure of 60 atmospheres when cooled to natural temperatures. The

attempt to employ this pressure as a motive power was not satisfactory; but the experiments incidentally led to a cheap and ready method of supplying large quantities of carbonic acid. The prepared liquid (called carboleum) is simply released from its high pressure when it assumes the form of the common carbonic acid of the soda-fountain trade.

Among personal and household conveniences none seems to be more popular than a comparatively new style of scissors, designed to fold up, so that the handles shut back over the blade, thus reducing the scissors to a convenient shape, half the size of the usual pattern.

The pendent log for measuring a ship's speed differs from the ordinary counting log in having the propeller or rotator and the registering apparatus in separate parts. The propeller drags astern quite near the ship, and, the counting machine is affixed to the ship's rail. The towing-line is used to convey the motion of the propeller to the register, and the log can be examined at any time without the trouble or uncertainty involved in drawing in the floating part, as by the old method.

Notwithstanding the large supplies brought out in France, the price of the new "artificial down" is reported to be rising steadily as its value becomes known. It is prepared by shearing the barbs or soft parts from feathers. Any kind of feathers will answer, and when cut from the quills, the material is readily "felted" into a strong and beautiful fabric. What is wanted in this country is a machine for stripping the quills with speed and economy. Cutting the barbs by hand would not pay, even in France, were it not for the high price offered for the raw down.

Carbonate of magnesia, dried in an oven, and mixed with sufficient benzine to form a soft, friable mass, is reported as an excellent material for removing stains on silk or other fabrics (except woolen goods), wood, ivory, etc. It is spread thickly, and gently rubbed with the fingers till the benzine evaporates. Materials that will bear washing are then dipped in clear water; on other materials, a little alcohol may be used to finish the work. Writing inks are not affected, but printer's ink is destroyed at once. For safe keeping, the mixture is kept in wide-mouthed glass bottles with air-tight stoppers.

The demand for rubber tires for omnibuses and carriages is again revived, and rubber manufacturers in London and Berlin now offer what is claimed as a strong, durable, and silent tire that will outlast iron on the heaviest traffic. The sanitary advantages of using rubber tires are so great that it is to be hoped this most desirable substitute is really made practical.

The idea of making small steam-engines in iron frames, so that they may be screwed to an upright wall, like a picture or clock, is being carried out. By this device they are placed in a secure and convenient position, are easy of access, and economical of floor space.

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