Horses of Iron

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The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 31 December 1901

Postby Lock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:14 pm

MOTOR BICYCLE.

Many cyclists are awaiting 1902 in the hope of a reliable motor bicycle being placed on the market at a cheap figure. A well-known English cycling writer says that "the price of motor bicycles for next season will remain about the same as that obtaining this year." It is well to realize this, in view of the airy statements made in some quarters that we may expect to see huge reductions before very long. These announcements are often given on mere hearsay, and when repeated go a good way towards repeating the £5 bicycle fallacy so persistently pushed forward a little while ago. The statement, in fact, is calculated to do considerable harm both to the trade and to the public. While heartily desiring that the price of motor bicycles be as low as possible, we do not want to see the shoddy article, dangerous to life and limb, placed on the market. At present the first cost of motor and fittings, with the special frame and motor tyres, is too high to allow the £25 motor bicycle to be thought of.


2012 News Flash! Cheap ebike batteries coming real soon!

:lol:
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The Brisbane Courier Monday 2 April 1917

Postby Lock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:40 pm

A Motor Bicycle Wrecked.

On Saturday afternoon a motor car that was said to be travelling on the wrong side of a street in Rockingham ran down a motor bicycle on which H.W.Bean and his brother Stan were riding. The latter was thrown clear, but the former was thrown under the car, the wheels going over his legs, which were badly bruised and lacerated. Stan Bean was also bruised and lacerated. The driver of the car did not stop. The motor bicycle was wrecked.


Early hit-and-run...
:x
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The Queenslander Saturday 10 July 1869

Postby Lock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:02 pm

`Couple of news bits...

M.DELAURIER has devised a new compound liquid for exciting electric piles. It consists of 20 parts of proto-sulphate of iron in 36 parts of water, 7 parts of sulphuric, and one part of nitric acid. This he declares to be the most powerful and economical exciting liquid, attacking iron, zinc, and other metals, without any evolution of hydrogen or bi-oxide of nitrogen.


The velocipede mania is spreading. It must have its run like any other fever. It may become chronic, though some wise heads are predicting a speedy crisis and collapse; or perhaps the collapse is to come before the crisis, or they may be simultaneous! Just at present, however, the inventive genius of many countries seems to be concentrated upon the construction of velocipedes of every novel style. If announcements may be credited, there is - or is going to be, which amounts to the same thing in this fast age - a monocycle, which can be driven sixty miles an hour; a bicycle warranted to run a hundred miles an hour on a single rail of a railroad track; and probably tricycles and quartercycles of indefinite speed. The machines are gradually being furnished with all conveniences, even to lanterns and lunch-boxes! Nobody feels terrified, even when such accidents occur as did recently in Cincinnati; when a young man taking a velocipede lesson in the fourth story of a building, lost the control of his machine, and was precipitated through a guarded hatchway to the cellar beneath. Such an occurence only incites story-makers to circulate reports that in certain cities the velocipedes are driven so fast that every collision results in the total disappearance of both rider and machine! No fragments are ever found!


Very early daze of ebike tech...
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The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 28 July 1881

Postby Lock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:51 pm

The centenary of the birth of George Stephenson was celebrated with great display at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and on a lessor scale in Chesterfield, London, Berlin, Vienna, and Rome. It is singular that at this moment the eyes of the world should be turned on electricity as the new motive power. An electrical tramway is now running in Berlin, and electric bicycles at Paris, while some surprising experiments have been made with the storage of electricity.


`Guess the Europeans were so excited about Stephenson as it was the railways that had "taken off" as motorized transport since George had designed his first steam railway locomotive in 1814:
Stephenson-No.1-engine_1814.jpg
Stephenson-No.1-engine_1814.jpg (48.66 KiB) Viewed 2127 times


Credit for the first road-going locomotive usually goes to Richard Trevithick. From Wikipedia:
The Puffing Devil
Trevithick built a full-size steam road locomotive in 1801 on a site near the present day Fore Street at Camborne. He named the carriage 'Puffing Devil' and on Christmas Eve that year, he demonstrated it by successfully carrying several men up Fore Street and then continuing on up Camborne Hill, from Camborne Cross, to the nearby village of Beacon. His cousin and associate, Andrew Vivian, steered the machine. This is widely recognised as the first demonstration of transportation powered by steam. It inspired the popular Cornish folk song "Camborne Hill".


Nice pic of Trevithicks' Puffing Devil, with a row of other late 20th-century puffing devil designs in the background:
RichardTrevithick_Puffing_Devil_1801.jpg


Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
The horses stood still;
The wheels went around;
Going up Camborne Hill coming down

White stockings, white stockings she wore (she wore)
White stockings, white stockings she wore
White stockings she wore:
The same as before;
Going up Camborne Hill coming down

I knowed her old father old man (old man)
I knowed her old father old man
I knowed her old man:
He blawed in the band;
Going up Camborne Hill coming down

I 'ad 'er, I 'ad 'er, I did
I 'ad 'er, I 'ad 'er, I did
I 'ad 'er, I did:
It cost me a quid
Going up Camborne Hill coming down

He heaved in the coal, in the steam (the steam)
He heaved in the coal, in the steam
He heaved in the coal:
The steam hit the beam
Going up Camborne Hill coming down

Oh Please 'ave a baby by me
Oh Please 'ave a baby by me
I'm young and I'm strong:
Won't take very long
Going up Camborne Hill coming down

Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
The horses stood still;
The wheels went around;
Going up Camborne Hill coming down
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The Leisure Hour, 1896

Postby Lock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:36 pm

http://www.victorianlondon.org/transport/horseless.htm
THE HORSELESS CARRIAGE.

BY A PASSENGER.


YES. There can be no doubt of it. Everyone has read and heard about "automotors" by this time, or seen pictures of them in the illustrated magazines, but somehow these have got mixed up with engravings of submarine boats or flying machines, and all have stood still. One has looked like any vehicle in Long Acre, and the other suggested a new patent reaping-machine. It is not till you have sat on the box of a phaeton and been for a spin along a dusty road at the rate of some ten miles an hour without whip, reins, or anything to drive in front of you, that you can realise, however faintly, the future of a "horseless carriage." I have just returned from a short excursion in one of them, but the length of the trip has nothing to do with its effect upon the passenger sitting on the box with no animal trotting before him below the splashboard. "It takes two gallons for eighty miles," remarked the coachman by my side, as he whisked round one of the corners of the road. He spoke of them as if they were a seasoned "pair," safe to do so long a day's work, but they were harnessed somewhere "inside," in the rumble, and they certainly made themselves felt there to some extent, especially when we stopped for a moment to pick up a man at the roadside. Then they gave the vehicle a pulsation not unlike that communicated to a gig by a blown horse when pulled up after a sharp trot. But our motive power came from senseless petroleum instead of sinews, and a "relay" was ready in a can, rather than a wayside stable, and was fed with fire, not oats.

The impression, however, produced by the "drive" is not measured by the perceptible throbbing of the hidden engine (that, indeed, suggests a panting horse), but by the revelation of a new method of wheel progress which promises to revolutionise the whole world of man's movement upon the face of the earth, let alone the trade of all carriage builders, harness makers, and stable keepers. When men began to travel by "rail" they certainly had a new sensation, but there was the old one of having something in front "pulling" you. The name of "horse" remained, only it was called an iron one. And then a special road had to be made for it and for that which it drew. Without this it could not start nor work, and often it took years of toil before the road could be ready. When made, moreover, it would not be diverged from for a moment without danger; but your swift "horseless carriage" is not "drawn" at all, and needs no track to be provided for it. Given the carriage, the roads of the country are at its command. The bicycle, too, though it has appeared in swarms, is really no new thing, but a butterfly - which has broken the husk of the old go-cart. Its motive power is the same, being only a fresh application of the rider's legs. Of course we all know that the horseless carriage is, in fact, no recently modern invention (indeed, the wisdom of our ancestors is committed to the truth of the saying that there is nothing new under the sun), for it has been running in France for the last two or three years, and even some half-century ago efforts were made to bring it into use in Scotland but it is virtually a revelation to the British public which has slowly taken it in, and is beginning to realise the revolution in road traffic which it heads.

Who can conjecture the changes likely to follow in its train? At present, so to speak, only a little puff of smoke or steam is left behind it, to disappear in a minute, but before long a manifold material procession is bound to come after the first English automotor. And this prodigious development will be the result of one of the shortest Acts of Parliament the Legislature has ever passed in these realms. The ponderous traction engine which we have all seen grinding along the country road, when touched with the magic wand of law can be potentially transformed into a multitude of vehicles, spinning or steadily advancing along the countless tracks which cover the land. What will be the good of laying down sleepers for "light railways" by the side of the turnpike or the lane when a short automotor train threads them, picking up the farmer's produce here and there on its way to the nearest station? Perhaps we shall even see a roomy horseless truck among the implements of some farmyards, ready to carry his sacks far more quickly than a crawling team. But it is in the passenger traffic of the country and the town that we may expect to see the greatest locomotive change in store for those who go about on wheels. Railways will take their place among the old-fashioned methods of procedure, and perhaps our grandchildren will smile to think of stage coaches having been ever talked of as prehistoric, since they may possibly be seen running again . . . horseless. Then, may be, too, the deserted wayside inns on the old main roads will have a new lease of life, and the horn (steam this time) be heard heralding the approach of the "Highflyer" and the " Rapid."

But city streets, they say, will be most notably invaded. When I reached the London terminus, after my trip with the two gallons of petroleum, and saw the crowd of omnibuses and cabs waiting harnessed for their fares, and presently heard the tramp of countless hoofs as we drove home, I wondered what the thoughts of all those horses would be if they knew those which were then filling my mind. Some say that one great drawback to automotors will be the alarm caused in the minds of these patient toiling creatures, but possibly they will take an unexpected cheerful view of a revolution which sets them free from bit, blinker, and whip. And they might well chuckle to think of the little appreciated help they give in the guidance of a loaded omnibus through crowded streets. As it is, the best driver owes more than he might admit to the intelligence of his horses. They see where to go, and what to avoid, as well as he. But an automotor has no eyes, and it will need the creation and training of a new set of coachmen to steer down Bond Street or Cheapside when one is full of carriages stopping suddenly to deposit shopping ladies, and the other is choked with crowds hurrying to and from the city. We hear much now of "street accidents," but what may they become should London be invaded by the "horse-less carriage"? And then think how it would be if one of them were to bolt. We read of active policemen catching the reins of a runaway, and saving the lives of those sitting helplessly behind it, but who would snatch at the nose of an iron cab over which its driver has lost control? There are "cons" as well as "pros" in the outlook of a street invasion by blind unfeeling motors It is in the use, however, of private ones on country roads that many contemplate their adoption with safe promised enjoyment. A "Tour on Wheels " will bring a decidedly new sensation: no anxiety about uncertain stabling, or sudden lameness no tiresome carriage of hay or oats; no breaking of harness in out-of-the-way places. Of course there is the chance of an inside pipe going wrong, or a cog coming off, and then - where are you. far from an intelligent artificer to repair the damage, or manufactory where you can buy what you want?

Again, there is no "loving" of a reservoir; you must feed it, indeed, but it does not care to be patted. You can't give it a carrot or lump of sugar before you start. Perhaps some ingenious inventor will enable a motor to neigh instead of "toot," but it can never become an affectionate companion who knows your voice and likes to be stroked. There is bloodless satisfaction in steering the best horseless carriage, however swiftly and safely it may carry you where you would go.

Perhaps it is in the application of the new motive power to bicycles that we shall see it most enjoyably appreciated, for no living love has yet been felt for the "bike." I suppose the rider will be enabled occasionally to use his pedals for a change, instead of the quart of oil beneath his saddle. This being so, a field of fresh career is open to the wheelsman, without the vexation of delay by reason of accident to his boiler or oil tank, for he would only have to fall back on the power of his legs, and, barring extra weight to be carried, be not much worse off than he was before.

I have said nothing about the present stage of manufacture reached in the making of "motors," for, of course, they are yet in their infancy, and we may well expect as much improvement to be made in them as in any new mechanical discovery. Those in experimental use now will, if widely employed, come to be looked on with the same curiosity as is aroused by an inspection of the first steam engine that was made a hundred years ago.


...amusing today to read motorcyclists neighing about how with electric bikes they would miss the noise and stink of gas power...
:lol:
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Victorian London - Transport - Road - Cars - early days

Postby Lock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:46 pm

http://www.victorianlondon.org/transport/cars.htm
Hansoms and growlers together,
Fares don't care for your love or your war!
In this coming November
Just please to remember
You've a rival - the new motor car!

Punch [on a cab driver's strike] 1896


Murdock's pupil, Richard Trevithick, also invented a horseless carriage; he took out a patent for it in 1802, and drove the first he made full size through the streets of Camborne, and with Vivian drove it under steam from Camborne to Plymouth, whence it was shipped to London, and exhibited where Euston Station now stands. On the City Road, too, ran Hancock s steam coach. In fact, with "Steam on Common Roads" before them, engineers must smile at the present enthusiasm. With our greatly improved roads and proper care on the part of those in charge, there is no reason at all why such carriages should not work successfully, if the Acts of Parliament passed in the interest of the horse-owners were repealed. Our legislators have never favoured horseless traffic - witness the way in which they have treated steam-rollers and traction-engines; though it must not be overlooked that badly built houses may be dangerously shaken by heavily moving machinery. Steam, however, is not so likely to furnish the motive power as oil or electricity. One of the most entertaining features of this revived interest in what it is the fashion to call automobility, is the series of laments as to the supersession of the horse expressed in almost exactly the same terms as in Trevithick's day. The railways also were to have wiped out the horses, but have they? There are more horses now than there ever were.

article in The Leisure Hour, 1896


Hehe... "...if the Acts of Parliament passed in the interest of the horse-owners were repealed."... and now we need to get all these laws in favour of the horse-less carriage repealed.
:twisted:
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Anthony and Frederick Reckenzaum

Postby Lock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:40 pm

Austrian brothers Anthony and Frederick Reckenzaum built the first electric boat in England, in 1882:
Reckenzaun_1882.jpg


Their electric boat "Volta" crossed the Channel and back on 13 September 1886....

...and from The Electrician, July 6, 1888
AMERICAN NOTES.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)

New York, June 23rd, 1888.

A great deal of public attention has been directed during the last week to the performance of the electric launch "Magnet," the first boat of its kind, I believe, to make its debut in New York waters. This boat was built early this year on the designs of Messrs. Anthony and Frederick Reckenzaum. She is 28ft. long, 6ft. beam, 3 ft. deep amidships, and draws 2 1/2ft. of water by the stern. She is equipped with a Reckenzaum motor, weighing 4201b., driving a two-bladed screw 18in. in diameter. She carries 56 cells of the battery made by the Electrical Accumulator Company, weighing about 2,4001b. All told, the machinery weighs about 3,0001b. A speed of 12 miles an hour can be attained, but it is at the expense of the total mileage. The accumulators are arranged along the bottom of the boat, snugly under cover. Above them runs a bench nearly the whole length of the boat, giving seating accommodation for nearly 20 passengers back to back. The accumulators are arranged to work in a straight series of 56, or in two parallel groups of 28 cells each. They are capped at the top with rubber to prevent slopping in a rough sea, and stand in a bed of sawdust. For some time past this boat has been in use as a pleasure craft on the Passaic River, getting its charge at the Electrical Accumulator Factory on the river bank, at Newark. At the present time another launch, much larger, is being built at one of the yards up the Hudson River, also to be run by storage, the Electrical Accumulator Company supplying the batteries. I hear that the peculiarity of this boat will be the disposition of the batteries, which are to line the sides of the ship, leaving room in the middle for a cosy cabin. This boat is said to be nearly ready, so that before long New Yorkers will become familiar with the spectacle of boats driven by their own ballast.
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De Clerc & Pingault 1897

Postby Lock » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:09 am

Nice pic of the De Clerc & Pingault tandem from 1897? mentioned here:
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8099&start=333
DeClerc&Pingault_1897.jpg
(156.35 KiB) Downloaded 3 times


From here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38694010@N00/5399170806
French Electric Tandem around 1900, ridden by Dacier & Jalabert

This tandem électrique was an invention of the Frenchmen de Clerc et Pingault. On Mai 22 1897 this tandem rode 1 km in 57 4/5 seconds.
The tandem will not have been lightweighted. What would have weighed those four batteries? A weight that the frame should also bear in addition to the two cyclists. Also I see nothing that looks like a brake.

De Clerc & Pingault will soon develop and produce other vehicles.

e-Bicycles in The Netherland
One source suggests that Gazelle in The Netherlands in 1915 has designed an electric tandem too, with an 8- and 9-volt battery.

But only between 1935 and 1937 the first Dutch electric bicycle (no tandem) will be sold. It is an electric bike with 12-volt battery, developed by Philips and built by five Dutch bicycle manufacturers including Gazelle. In total 117 were built.
So no smashing success.

Today, this is quite different in the Netherlands. Even many of my peers have an electric bike. I don't. For now I think that such an e-bicycle is too decadent. But I admit: they are increasingly common.
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José Meiffret 1962

Postby Lock » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:23 am

Different kind of power-assist, seen here:
http://cycling.ahands.org/bicycling/datewithdeath.html
Date with Death
by Clifford L. Graves, M.D.
September 1965
A tense group of people was gathered on the freeway near the German town of Friedburg on July 19, 1962.

Herr Heinemann had painstakingly measured off the official kilometer. Half a dozen timekeepers of the International Timing Association were fiddling with their electrical equipment. Captain Dalicampt of the French occupation forces deployed his men at strategic points along the cleared Autobahn. Chief Schefold of the federal highway department dispatched a sweeper crew. Adolf Zimber lovingly wiped a bit of invisible dirt off the windshield of his massive Mercedes. Reporters were asking questions, scribbling notes. A photographer was angling for a shot. José Meiffret was about to start his Date with Death.

Of all the tense people, Meiffret was the least so. A diminutive Frenchman with wistful eyes and a troubled expression, he was resting beside a strange-looking bicycle. A monstrous chain wheel with 130 teeth connected with a sprocket with 15. The rake on the fork was reversed. Rims were of wood to prevent overheating. The gooseneck was supported with a flying buttress. The well-worn tires were tubulars. The frame was reinforced at all the critical points. Weighting forty-five pounds, this machine was obviously constructed to withstand incredible punishment.

On this day, at this place, on this bicycle, José Meiffret was aiming to reach the fantastic speed of 124 miles an hour. Everything was now in readiness. Meiffret adjusted his helmet, mounted the bike, and tighten the toe straps. Getting under way with a gear of 225 inches was something else again. A motorcycle came alongside and started pushing him. At 20 miles an hour, Meiffret was struggling to gain control. His legs were barely moving. At 40 miles, he was beginning to hit his stride. At 50 miles, the Mercedes with its curious rear end was just behind. With a wave of his hand, Meiffret dismissed his motorcycle and connected neatly with the windscreen of the Mercedes. His timing was perfect. He had overcome his first great hazard.

Swiftly, the bizarre combination of man and machine gathered speed. Meiffret's job on penalty of death was to stay glued to his windscreen. The screen had a roller, but if he should touch it at 100 miles an hour, he would be clipped. On the other hand, if he should fall behind as little as 18 inches, the turbulence would make mincemeat of him. If the car should jerk or lurch or hit a bump, he would be in immediate mortal danger. An engineer had warned him that at these speeds, the centrifugal force might cause his flimsy wheels to collapse. Undismayed b the prospect, Meiffret bent down to his task.

He was now moving at 80 miles. News of the heroic attempt had spread, and the road ahead was lined with spectators. Everybody was expecting something dreadful to happen. Herr Thiergarten in the car showed Meiffret how fast he was going by prearranged signals. Meiffret in turn could speak to the driver through a microphone. "Allez, allez," he shouted, knowing that he had only nine miles to accelerate and decelerate. The speedometer showed 90. What if he should hit a pebble, an oil slick, a gust of wind? Ahead was bridge and clump of woods. Crosscurrents were inevitable.

In his pocket, Meiffret carried a note:
"In case of fatal accident, I beg of the spectators not to feel sorry for me. I am a poor man, an orphan since the age of eleven, and I have suffered much. Death holds no terror for me. This record attempt is my way of expressing myself. If the doctors can do no more for me, please bury me by the side of the road where I have fallen."
Who was this man Meiffret who could ride a bicycle at such passionate speeds and still look at himself dispassionately?

He was born in 1913 in the village of Boulouris o the French Riviera. Orphaned at an early age, he had to got work to support himself and an aging grandmother. One day, as he was hurrying home from work on his ancient bicycle, he was run down by a motorist. José was badly shaken, and his bicycle was ground to bits. Distraught, the motorist offered to buy José a new bicycle. It was a beauty. Before long, his bike was his life. When he wasn't riding, he was reading. Under the skinny frame and deep-set eyes burned a fierce ambition. Someday he was going to beat the world.

His first race was a fiasco. Totally unprepared, he entered a 120-miler through the mountains and was promptly dropped. His competitors made fun of him, and a doctor told him that he had a weak heart and should never race. That night José cried himself to sleep.

The man who changed José's career was Henry Desgrange, the founder of the Tour de France. Desgrange had a villa on the Riviera, and José wrangled an introduction. Desgrange sensed the compelling drive in the delicate body, and he made an accurate assessment,
"Try motor-paced racing, my boy. You might surprise yourself."

José did just that. With fear and trepidation he entered a motor-paced race between Nice and Cannes. Without any indoctrination whatever he was immediately at home. Riding smoothly and elegantly, in perfect unison with his pacer and in complete control of himself, he was out front all the way and finished a full seven minutes ahead. The people went wild.

Encouraged by this success, he arranged to go over the same course behind a more powerful motor. This ride was an epic. Intoxicated by his speed, he barely missed a car in Nice, grazed a dog in Cannes, scraped a sidewalk in Antibes, had a flat five miles front the finish, and yet hung up a new record of 1.02 for the 40 miles. He had found his destiny.

How could a rider like José make a splash before he had caused a ripple? Racing behind motorist is quite different from racing in a group. Behind motors, the speed is higher, the pedaling faster, the concentration greater. It is like a continuous sprint. A motor-paced rider must have suppleness rather than strength. And he must have flair.

But a motor-paced rider is not made overnight. Just as José was beginning to hit his stride, the war broke out. When he returned to Paris after five dreary years of captivity, he was as far from his goal as ever. Motor-paced racing has a long and honorable history, but only a few men have ever excelled in it. In America, the sport died after "Mile-a-Minute" Murphy did his amazing ride behind a Long Island Railroad train in 1899. In Europe, the sport survived. On the road, the hour record was set in the thirties by the Frenchman Paillard with 49.362 miles. Meiffret raised this in 1949 to 54.618. Paillard immediately raised this figure to 59.954 but he almost got killed in the attempt. To beat Paillard, Meiffret selected a special circuit in Germany, the Grenzlandring. Cheered by thousands, he covered 65.115 miles in an hour and could have done more if his motor had been running right. All this required incessant training and complete concentration. Meiffret's philosophy was "to become what you are."

Although his exploit at Grenzlandring brought him great acclaim, it did not bring him any money. In fact, none of Meiffret's rides brought him any money. All his life, he had to fight poverty. He supported himself with odd jobs and with occasional writing. His latest book Mes rendezvous avec la mort, earned him the 1965 Grand Prize for Sports Writing and the Prix Sobrier-Arould of the prestigious Académie Française.

In an effort to improve his position in 1951, he decided to race behind cars instead of motorcycles. Cars are bigger and faster. Here, the man to beat was Alfred Letourneur, an expatriate Frenchman who had covered a measured mile behind a car on the Las Angeles freeway at 108.923 in 1941.

Meiffret's first attempt was behind a Talbot. To his consternation, he could not get past 70 miles an hour. Aerodynamic engineers told him to modify his windscreen. After months of toil and heartbreak he tried again. A 20-mile stretch of road south of Toulouse was especially cleared (even the President of the French Republic was detoured on that day). On his first run, the Talbot faltered. On his second run, he lost contact and was almost flattened by the wind. On his third run, he hit a bump and was in free flight for 50 feet, but he held on and finished the kilometer at 109.100 miles per hour. Letourneur had been beaten, but not by much.

Undisputed record man of the hour and of the kilometer on the road, Meiffret next turned to the track at Montlhery. Here, the Belgian Vanderstuyft had ridden 78.159 an hour behind a motorcycle in 1928. But Montlhery in 1928 was new. In 1952 it was old. The pavement was starting to crack, and the turns were atrocious. The track superintendent shook his head. He had seen many try. But Meiffret was determined. On the appointed day, he rode his first lap at 80 miles per hour. Suddenly, coming out of the turn on the seventh lap, his bicycle started bucking. Nobody knew what actually happened. Perhaps the pedals, which had less than an inch of clearance, scraped. At any rate, Meiffret flew through the air, hit the ground, tumbled three hundred feet, slid another twenty, and came to a rest, a quivering mass of flesh. Horrified attendants carried him to an ambulance, and newspapers announced his imminent death. That night surgeons found five separate skull fractures. Unbelievably, Meiffret lived through this ordeal.

Then followed a long period of recuperation during which he fought as much for his mental sanity as for his physical health. In search of peace, he joined the Trappists at Sept-Fons and led the life of a monk. During this time he made continuous improvements on his bicycle, wrote his first book (Breviary of a Cyclist), and corresponded with hundreds of people. Thus he learned of a new freeway at Lahr in Germany where he might gain permission for another attempt on the flying kilometer. In the fall of 1961, when he was already forty-eight, he reached 115.934 miles per hour. This ride convinced him that he could reach 200 kilometers (124 miles) an hour. Thus we find Meiffret in the summer of 1962 on the freeway at Freiburg, riding like a man possessed.

The Mercedes performed flawlessly. People could not believe their eyes. What they saw was the car in full flight with and arched figure immediately behind, legs whirling, jersey fluttering, wheels quivering. "Allez, allez," gasped Meiffret into the mike. In the car, the speedometer crept past 100 mph, then 110 and 120. Anguished, Zimber looked into his rear-view mirror. How could Meiffret keep himself positioned? It was fantastic.

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At the flat, the speed had increased to 127. Faster than an express train, faster than a plummeting skier, faster than a free fall in space. Meiffret's legs were spinning at 3.1 revolutions per second, and each second carried him 190 feet! He was no longer a man on a bike. He was the flying Frenchman, the superman of the bicycle, the magician of the pedals, the eagle of the road, the poet of motion. He knew that he must live in the rarefied atmosphere for eighteen seconds. When he passed the second flag, the chronometers registered 17.580 seconds, equivalent to 127.342 miles an hour.

Meiffret had survived his date with death.


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Philips 1932

Postby Lock » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:16 am

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Caption reads "The new Philips product, the electric bicycle has made ​​its appearance in the main city"
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Around 1965: Hobbyhorse versus mini moped

Postby Lock » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:25 am

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38694010@N00/4972255810
Hobbyhorse_versus_mini_moped_c1965.jpg
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Around 1965: Hobbyhorse versus mini moped

No info about this photo.

But it could be a Unikap (Union & Kaptein) moped built sometime between 1965 and 1967. (I found it together with some other Unikap photos)

Kaptein made Mobylettes. Mobylette is a French brand.
So it is even possible that this is a French photo.

PR Photo
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Hawke's Bay Herald, 26 January, 1897

Postby Lock » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:21 pm

HawkesBayHerald_1897Jan26.jpg
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THE MOTOR CAR IN AUSTRALIA.

Seeing that motor cars are, as it were, only things of yesterday, it may seem rather absurd to suggest that their use will develop so rapidly that we may soon expect to see motor car factories in every large centre in New Zealand. Yet steps have already been taken to establish such a factory in either Sydney or Melbourne. From an exchange we learn that a canvasser for the Austral Cycle and Motor Company of London is already busy booking orders for the Pennington motor in its various forms. This motor is applied to all forms of vehicle - the four-seated tricycle, all the varieties of bicycle and tricycle, the whole gamut of fashionable carriages, the omnibus, the parcel delivery van, the steam launch or the steamer, the traction engine, or the stationary engine. It varies, of course, in weight, but the cost, which is set down at 1d per h.p. per hour, remains the same, and the machinery is equally simple. When it is stated that the weight of the engine suited for road vehicles is only 22 1/2lb, that in this light form it develops 2 h.p., and will run a car with a load of four persons at the rate of 32 miles an hour under favorable circumstances, the possibilities of the Pennington car may be imagined. It can be driven by either petroleum, kerosene, or paraffin. The motor-car, it is asserted, will not only supersede cabs, omnibuses and other city conveyances, but it will take the place of camels in the arid parts of Australia. Great expectations have been formed of the new motor in West Australia, from which colony the company has already received orders which, if its factory were in working order tomorrow, would keep the machinery fully employed for the next eighteen months. The favourite design for the West Australian trade is a light tricycle, which is capable of carrying great weights and of maintaining a high rate of speed over the roughest roads. Such a machine, it is said, would come triumphantly through trials to which even camels would succumb. A large shipment of cars is expected to reach Australia at the end of this month to satisfy the demand until the factory is in working order.

"The decay of the Australian horse" used to be a favourite subject of discussion in Melbourne papers but when the auto-car gets in its work the question will be removed from the reign of debate. There can be no doubt that the use of motor cars and motor carriages must seriously affect the prices of certain classes of horses, and so, in the long run, bring about a radical change in the methods and aims of breeders. The horse-dealers already complain that the market for hacks has suffered considerably from the enormous increase in the use of the bicycle. Many a hack has been sold because its owner found a bicycle a swifter, more agreeable, more convenient, and much more economical conveyance. When small electric motors are added to bicycles, many men who would find bicycle riding in the ordinary way too fatiguing will adopt them and get rid of their saddle-horses. But it is, as the Saturday Review points out, the motor car, van, omnibus, cab, and carriage which threaten to become the most deadly enemy of the horse. At the same time, it is worth remembering that the prediction of fifty or sixty years ago, that steam would drive horses off the road, was never realised. It is possible that the new methods of progression and propulsion may, as in the case of the railway locomotive, develop fresh uses for the horse, and so save him from the fate anticipated by some of his pessimistic friends. The draught horse, at any rate, seems tolerably safe for some years longer. He may be driven out of the brewers' carts and city vans, where he has long cut an imposing figure; but on farms and in railway yards, and in unroaded districts he will still hold his own. The cab horse will probably have to go, but as he, like Lord Beaconsfield's critic, is usually an animal that has failed in other walks of life, no one but the dealer will regret his departure. The hunter and the cavalry horse are not likely to be superseded by the motor for many years to come, but as they represent only the best results of the breeders' efforts it is difficult to see what will become of the failures that are now turned to account in humbler spheres. Probably one good effect of the adoption of motor cars will be to lessen the number of inferior horses that are produced by careless breeding.

Of course a good deal will depend on the cost of motor cars, particularly in a country like New Zealand, where horses are cheap and can be kept at a small cost, especially in the country. But in towns they would find many users if sold at a moderate price. A doctor could ride his motor car and dispense with a groom, for nothing could frighten a car into bolting. Tradesmen would find them useful in delivering parcels, and private citizens, who do not care to keep a horse and carriage to use only once or twice a week, would appreciate a turn-out which did not "eat its head off" when in the stable or require regular exercise to keep it in condition. At present a tricycle to carry four people and travel at the rate, if desired, of 40 miles an hour, will cost £150 delivered in Australia, a victoria which can cover 35 miles an hour can be obtained for £20 less, while a tradesman's tricycle, which can be used for delivering goods, will cost about £70. A line which it is believed will be popular will be the motor bicycle, on which 50 miles an hour is said to have been accomplished, and which will only cost a trifle of 60 guineas. Apparently a great future is anticipated for the auto-freight waggon, which will carry ten passengers and ten tons of luggage, besides towing another waggon behind, at eight miles an hour on a good road at a cost of £1 a day. A dozen of these waggons are being built for Western Australia, and the manager of the company referred to expressed the opinion that when they got thoroughly going in the West exploration and prospecting will be child's play, and that they will knock out the camel as a means of locomotion. This seems a sanguine anticipation, for oil and water would have to be carried, and it is only on moderately flat unexplored territory that cars could be used. Even in roaded countries where rivers have to be crossed there would be formidable obstacles to the use of motor cars, for immersion in water would extinguish the ignition arrangements unless electricity were used. Still, that there is a great future before the motor car no one can doubt.
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THE JULIEN ACCUMULATOR And Traction System.

Postby Lock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:13 pm

From "The Electric Motor and its applications" by Thomas Commerford Martin and Joseph Wetzler, 1887
APPENDIX B.

THE JULIEN ACCUMULATOR And Traction System.
(Originally published in The Electrical World, Nov.20, 1886.)

There is no question to-day more interesting to the electrician than, and hardly any so important to street railway companies and the urban public as, the application of electricity to the propulsion of tram-cars. A critical stage has been reached in the practical development of this latest field of applied electricity, when all that is offered to notice deserves close study. At the present moment, M. Ed. Julien, engineer and electrician of Brussels, is demonstrating in this city the merits of his system of electric traction, and it is arousing unusual attention. We deem it proper, therefore, to give a description, with illustrations, of this system, concerning which some of the foremost street railway men in America as well as in Europe entertain a very high opinion, one that they are preparing to give evidence of in employing the Julien cars on their respective roads.

At the outset, it may be remarked that M. Julien occupies in Belgium a position giving him no small authority in the matter of traction. Besides being himself familiar with tramway operation and conversant with all the needs of the industry, he has for several years devoted himself specially to the problems of electric traction, and more particularly to the use of accumulators for the purpose. As far back as 1881, he organized the Compagnie l'Electrique for introducing the Faure accumulators and the Brush electric light system in Belgium; and being thus one of the first to study practically and seriously the employment of accumulators on street cars, he is better able than many to appreciate the advantages, and to eliminate or minimize the inconveniences attaching to their use. At the time M. Julien began to experiment, the storage battery had fallen into a good deal of discredit that was to a considerable extent justifiable, and that resulted from the instability of the battery. This condition of affairs, observed M. Julien, sprang from the production of the plates on a wrong principle, industrially speaking - that of the oxidation of the lead supporting the active material applied to its surface by whatever process, whether decomposition or addition. The result in either case was that when the plate was formed by the action of the current, the positive was more and more deeply oxidized, so that after a relatively short time, if the battery were put into continuously active service, the supporting substance was wholly transformed into peroxide, a material of little consistency or conductivity. In that state the battery was inert and useless, and it became evident that such conditions afforded no hope of profitable occupancy of any industrial field. And this may be said to be the consensus of opinion on the part of all the physicists who have studied the subject since the discovery of secondary batteries, that is to say, since the beginning of the century. Though of interest, it is not necessary for us to enter here into a description of the early efforts and attempts made to construct a practical storage battery, but on the contrary, we will proceed at once to describe the methods by which M. Julien has achieved success.

M. Julien has followed a principle directly opposite, it is believed, to that heretofore employed, at the same time taking advantage of what had been determined to be proper in the generation of secondary battery currents. After much laborious research, he recognized the fact that by combining different metals, such as lead, mercury, and antimony, in certain definite proportions, an inoxidizable alloy is formed which is found to be eminently adapted for use as supporting plates in storage batteries. Attempts had already been made to give the supporting plate greater consistency, and to that end Faure, and M.Julien, too, also added antimony to the lead from the beginning of their manufacture, but no attempt had been made to render the plate inoxidizable.

By means of the inoxidizable plate M.Julien has succeeded, it is thought, in removing the old objections to the storage battery, the plates remaining rigid and undregoing no deformation. The active material adheres perfectly to the metal plate, due principally to the nature of the alloy employed. The life of the plates as demonstrated by several instances is a long one, and after nearly two years' use they show no deformation.

JULIEN_ACCUMULATOR_1886Nov20Fig1.jpg
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Some experiments recently made with the Julien cells by Professor Eric Gerard at the University of Liege, France, under the auspices of the International Commission of the late Antwerp Exhibition, show clearly the results obtained by M. Julien's improvements. The following table shows the result of a test made with twenty-four of the cells:

Duration of charge, ............ 7 hours 33 min.
Electromotive force per cell, ...2.35 volts. Average strength of current per
kilogramme, ..................... 1.86 amperes.
Energy absorbed per kilogramme, .. 10,700 kilogrammetres.
Ampere-hours per kilogramme, ..... 14.


The accompanying illustrations, Figs. 3 and 4, show the record of a test made with twenty-nine Julien cells furnished to the Edison Company of Paris. The curves were traced by a registering instrument designed by M. Huber for that purpose. The cells weighed forty kilogrammes each, and were charged at the rate of fifteen ampere-hours per kilogramme and gave at discharge 13 1/2 ampere-hours, showing an efficiency of ninety per cent. The discharge lasted nearly thirty hours, during twenty-two of which no variation of current strength took place, with a fall in potential of only four volts.

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As regards the life of the batteries already referred to above, it is interesting to note that for more than two years Prof. L. Nothomb, of the War School at Brussels, has lighted his house by means of a battery of Julien cells, which are still in a perfect state. Our readers will also remember that after six months' service on the electric car at Antwerp, and also in the exhibition, the cells were pronounced by the jury testing them to be unchanged.

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More than any other application, electric traction has exacted the employment of perfect accumulators. The constructors of secondary batteries have been aware of this fact, and hence, in all probability, it happens that this specific use has been so limited. It is impossible to attempt a traction system without batteries that can be depended upon. The work is the most exacting that a battery can be subjected to. The current drawn off varies every minute, and is always at a strength very high in view of the number of elements employed. The incessant shaking of the car is also a cause of rapid deterioration in ordinary electrodes in which the active material is not highly adhesive. It is necessary also that the battery should be extremely light and should require little attention. All these considerations have been borne in mind, and have, M.Julien thinks, been met in his system.

The first experiments undertaken by M.Julien were made in June, 1881 on French tramways with the Faure battery, being the first known application of the kind, on tramways proper. The car then used differed very little from that now seen in New York. The main object of M. Julien, then as now, was, after having obtained the battery he sought, to get a practical car. In tramway exploitation, it is specially essential that the devices used shall be the simplest, as well as easy of manufacture. This double point M. Julien claims to have reached. Another objective point is the utilization of the existing rolling stock, and that he has also studied out successfully.

The car that is now in operation on the Eighth avenue road is, on a cursory glance, indistinguishable from any ordinary street car of the type familiar in New York streets, and capable of carrying from seventy to eighty people. It was built by John Stephenson for the Vienna Exposition of 1873, and thus by a strange and happy turn of events returns to the place of its departure after thirteen years absence. The batteries are placed under the benches; the motor and the running gear are placed beneath the car floor. Under each platform is a regulating apparatus controlled by a hand-lever covered by a circular box. All the mechanism has been devised so as to be easy of operation by men who have had neither electrical nor mechanical training; and this ensures the employment of men accustomed to the road and to street car work generally. The operating parts comprise simply the motor, which is connected by rope gearing to a countershaft, and this in turn is connected with the driving axles by a link-chain of special contrivance. The armature makes from 800 to 900 revolutions per minute, while the wheels make 100 - at normal speed. The car is started up, by turning the lever, without the slightest shock. The movement is, in fact, remarkably smooth and pleasant, and the car can be stopped instantaneously. "The rate of speed is controlled both by the number of elements and by manipulation of the mechanism itself. It is noteworthy that M. Julien depends in no way upon artificial resistances. The rapidity of movement is controlled by the batteries, and full speed, half speed, full stop, and reverse motion are all obtained by the merest turn of the lever. To the regulator are brought the connections of all the sections of the battery, working alternatively in series and in parallel. All the cells discharge uniformly, and can, therefore, be recharged together. Without this provision, the charging of a large number of batteries would be a matter of enormous complication, if not an impossibility, in a regular service. The motor has an ingenious commutator, rendering attendance and inspection very easy, as well as a simple method of changing the rate of armature rotation. Into details we are not at liberty to enter just now. It may, however, be said that, as a whole, as a system, the apparatus is well adapted to the ends it serves. Nothing has been left undone, and all the parts work automatically, rapidly and economically.

The car is well lighted by two incandescent lamps fed by the batteries. The brake is worked by hand, M. Julien considering it unwise to add complication or use up current, by resorting to electricity in this item.

When the car leaves the stable, the recharging of the batteries is effected on a series of benches, on each side of the indoor tracks, as shown in Figs. 5 and 6. The exchange of a charged for an exhausted battery does not occupy more than four or five minutes, and as they are pushed into place, the cells automatically make connection.

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Our readers well remember that a highly favorable and flattering report was made relative to the Julien car by the special jury at the Antwerp Exhibition in 1885, when it achieved a notable triumph over several systems and carried off the prize, both on the ground of efficiency and on that of economy. The report of the jury was noticed at great length in The Electrical World od March 20, 1886. The jury of ten comprised representatives of the governments of France, England, Germany and Belgium, as well as a number of experts. The competition lasted from May 3 to Oct. 31, 1885, and was participated in by the Julien car, the Krauss locomotive engine separated from the carriage, the Wilkinson locomotive, also separated, the Rowan engine and carriage combined, and the Beaumont compressed air engine. The report of the jury covered twenty-three points of comparison, embracing the whole range of operation, and was favorable to the electric car in a most remarkable and significant manner. It was especially noted that the accumulators had been in use prior to the trial, and that at the end of the competition they showed no sign of deformation, deterioration or polarization. The weight of the car was 5,654 lbs.; the weight of the accumulators was 2,460 lbs., and the weight of the machinery was 1,232 lbs. The car could carry fourteen passengers inside and twenty outside.

The jury also made special and appropriate note of the fact that the dynamo used for charging the accumulators had an efficiency of only sixty-one per cent., a figure far below the average with modern machines, American dynamos attaining over ninety per cent.

M. Julien calculates that for a daily run of 100 kilometres, or about sixty-five miles, at the rate of six and one-half miles per hour, it would require about seven and one-half horse-power per car when run singly, and only ten horsepower (i.e., five horse-power for each) when two cars are run together at the same speed.

From this the coal consumption will be easily computable. On the most liberal basis of calculation, the cost with accumulators appears to be far below two-thirds that of cable or horse traction.

So far, as regards the advantage to the street car company. There are also great and direct advantages to the public in the use of the electric car as compared with horses. The service is more expeditious; the streets are less crowded and much cleaner; the motion is easier, and the cars are better lighted. Large stables no longer spread over large blocks required for human occupancy, and the whole change is in the direction of improving the condition of the city. Now that the first steps have been taken, the revolution, for it is nothing else, in methods of urban travel, will go on with tremendous rapidity.

It is not alone in Antwerp that M. Julien has given evidence of the value of his system. In Paris he has cars running daily and regularly between the Palais de l'lndustrie and the Place de la Concorde. The awarding committee of the International Exposition of Industrial Arts and Sciences has just given him a diploma of honor, in keeping with that conferred in Belgium. At Hamburg, M. Huber, who holds the right to use the Julien system in Germany, has been running a service since the month of April last, and the two cars have up to date required no repairs. At Brussels, the tramway company is now engaged in equipping to operate one of its lines by the Julien system, after a thoroughly satisfactory trial of two years. The confidence of local capital in the change has been exemplified in the quotations of the stock. Negotiations for control of the system are, it is stated, now pending in London, Paris, and Vienna, as well as for Italy, Spain, and Portugal. The Belgian papers to hand report that Mr. Hargreaves, a Brazilian engineer, who has acquired the rights for South America, is now organizing a staff in Brussels and building his cars to serve as models. The movement is evidently a general one, and deserves attention for that, if for no other reason. In New York a corporation has been formed under the name of the Julien Electric Company, to extend the use of the system all over the United States, and it has now, under the personal supervision of M. Julien, inaugurated the operation of street cars with accumulators, after the manner illustrated by the car described above.

A subject of this nature demands very full treatment, and although we have now devoted considerable space to it, approaching developments will, without doubt, necessitate further and even more exhaustive discussion.

Fig. 1 shows the car now running in New York. Fig. 2 shows a set of accumulators, on the receiving bench in the car stables. Fig. 6 shows a bench without accumulators, and Fig. 5 a bench on which a set has been placed. It will be seen at a glance that the change from horses to electricity, as motive power, can be progressive, and therefore far from costly. Thus on a road with one hundred cars, ten can be "changed over" and equipped for the system, and the price for which the eighty or one hundred horses rendered unnecessary can be sold will more than cover the initial outlay. This is an important consideration with many, and will have its influence in all probability in bringing about the change more quickly.
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Battery Wars 1880's

Postby Lock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:33 pm

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The Electrical Engineer August 2, 1889.

Postby Lock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:10 pm

THE EXTENSION OF ELECTRICAL APPARATUS.

In our last issue was a casual remark to the effect that it was almost impossible to say what electricity could and what it could not do. Also that the extension of electrical apparatus in a variety of ways was merely a question of time and money. Great wonder is displayed every now and again by the uninitiated at some whimsical use made of the current. If a man rigs up a piece of apparatus to brush his horse or to clean his boots, that of course is put forward as something very wonderful, and indicative of the vast and rapid progress of electricity. The unknown, in fact, is always wonderful, and though we may doubt the accuracy of the tale which records the old mother as sending her son a new pair of boots by hanging them on the telegraph wire and getting back at sundown by the same means his old pair, we are by no means surprised that such tales should meet with pretty general credence.

There is one direction in which necessity will ultimately compel a vast extension of electrical appliances. We refer to the safety of goods and chattels. The old Adam is still pretty rampant in modern society, and civilisation fails to teach to everyone the distinction between mine and thine. Bolts and bars are required everywhere, and great skill and ingenuity is shown in designing means whereby interiors shall be safe from visitors "who are not wanted therein." It seems to us that in this direction, again, America is setting us an example worthy to be followed. It is possible - indeed, it is comparatively a simple and inexpensive matter - to protect a room in such a manner that no one, be he the rightful owner or not, can enter or leave without indicating to other parties the fact. Of course, every door and window might be protected, and not prevent anyone getting through the walls, through the roof, or burrowing under the foundations and floor. Still, if unwelcome guests were driven to such means to get into an office, with the knowledge that at the end the plunder obtained might be of trivial value, there would be less housebreaking and fewer burglaries than at present. It may be said that the knowledge of those whom it was desired to circumvent would soon be equal to the occasion, and if safety was obtained by means of an electric current they would learn to cut or shunt the wire. But such an operation would be made to give an alarm, and, indeed, it is difficult to see how the best electrician could penetrate past a door or window properly certified as safe.

Extension of the use of electrical apparatus will, in many instances, follow the lead of luxury. We should not be surprised to see a house fitted up to employ electricity in many ways not yet contemplated - to open and shut doors and windows, to brush hats, coats, and boots. It might be used, with much greater safety than gas, to obtain a warm bath, to get an early cup of tea or coffee; in ventilation, to obtain incoming pure air at the temperature of the room and so avoid draughts.

It is, again, almost lost labour to point out to telephone companies that their systems should commence with the idea that every house should have a telephone. The value of telephonic systems, with subscribers here and there, is not comparable with their value when generally used. It seems natural that a telephonic system should provide for two classes of users - the one comprising messages restricted to the district, the other for messages outside the district. The one comprises the multitudinous messages that would pass in a residential district between housewife and butcher, and baker, and other shopkeeper; or if in a business district, messages or business matters between business houses. As we say, the locality of most of these messages is restricted within a limited area. The other messages, comparatively few in number, pass from one district, or even town, to another. It would be interesting to know if any company has ever gone into this question fully - to get the cost of the wiring and the rental that might be obtained. The general impression is that the rental would be excessively moderate, not more, if as much, as double what is paid to the postal authorities. Undoubtedly the great question with the latter is what will pay best, and if the telephone was generally used it would seem that the present royalty might be with advantage considerably diminished.

No mention has yet been made of what might be termed domestic traction. Here, again, is a vast future for electricity. There is no reason, when the current can be had just as gas can now be had, why three parts of our vehicles cannot with pleasure and with profit be driven by electricity. The initial cost of an electric carriage will be no more than the initial cost of carriages and horses, in many instances not so great. The cost of depreciation and maintenance of the electrical carriage should be less than that of the other. Constructed now for the luxurious and the wealthy, they should be sooner or later constructed for everybody. It is useless unless our business men look ahead; they must not hesitate to plunge into new fields that show signs of promise, and we are disposed to think that domestic electric traction will ultimately become a very large business. Of course it is taken for granted, and as beyond question, that in the near future every house of any pretensions will be provided with terminals by means of which accumulators can be charged. Our surmise depends upon the future success of accumulators, that this useful piece of apparatus will be certain in action, fairly lasting, not outrageously heavy, and not too costly. At the present time great differences of opinion are held with regard to accumulators, but this arises because one set of people require one design of accumulators to do everything, while the other maintain that accumulators, like dynamos, must be designed for the work they have to do. Ubiquitousness is not altogether desirable in an accumulator.

These, then, are a few brief remarks as to directions in which great progress is to be made, the most important, and probably that which will pay best, being domestic electric traction.


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Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature Nov.17, 1883

Postby Lock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:07 pm

Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature Science and Arts
by William Chambers and Robert Chambers
Nov.17, 1883

AN ELECTRIC TRAMWAY.

Electricity has for a considerable length of time been utilised in houses here and there for ringing bells and doing other little services; but advantage is now being taken of the new force for purposes of locomotion. By the invention of the dynamo machine, the energy of the electric current is transformed into mechanical action, which can be communicated by a very simple process to the driving axle of the machine to be actuated. Visitors to the Crystal Palace have seen the toy tramcar in the Palace grounds propelled by electricity, on which a curious public rides at sixpence per head per journey. Similar playthings have been in operation at the various electrical exhibitions on the continent; and at Leytonstone, Berlin, Charlottenburg, and elsewhere the principle has also been applied over short distances in a more practical fashion. But the electric tramway between Portrush and Bushmills in the north of Ireland is the first of its kind which has been constructed by a public company for the purposes of profit. It is, moreover, the longest electrical railway in the world.

The line starts from Portrush, the pretty watering-place whose terraces of stately houses cluster round the most north-westerly promontory on the rocky coast of Antrim. Though excessively dull, Portrush is truly regarded as the queen of Ulster marine resorts. Its visitors go there apparently not for amusement, but to lead an amphibious life for a month or two, and to amass a fund of superfluous health for the rainy winter. They may be seen from June to October quietly sunning themselves by the sea, and forming gay patches of life and colour on the brown rocks and yellow sands. The coast scenery is very fine, and the sea-views are magnificent. Faintly breaking the far water-line are the dim forms of Islay and Jura. Westward of the little town, projecting into the rolling Atlantic, are the wild headlands of Donegal; while in the opposite direction, the bold profile of the Giants' Causeway jags the eastern sky. The Causeway is distant from Portrush eight miles; and the high-road, for a considerable part of the distance, runs along the wall of chalk cliffs which here form a barrier to the waves, and the lower portions of which have been worn by the action of the sea into peaks, arches, basins, and other grotesque shapes. The road at certain points passes within a few feet of the edge of the cliffs; and here and there the view to landward is shut out by masses of grass-covered rock, which slope gently, sometimes abruptly, into the pasture-lands beyond.

Portrush-Bushmills_Tramway_1890.jpg
Portrush-Bushmills_Tramway_1890.jpg (77.42 KiB) Viewed 2365 times


It is along this road that the tramway has been laid. The line occupies one side of the road; and from this slightly raised trampath all ordinary traffic is excluded by a granite curbstone. The gauge is only three feet, and to twice that extent the Company monopolise the highway. It is intended that the line shall eventually be carried as far as the Causeway; but at present it runs no farther than Bushmills, a thriving village, famed for whisky and salmon, six miles from Portrush. The steel rails are laid level with a gravelled surface. They were at first insulated in asphalt and copper-fastened to each other. A central station was erected at Portrush, and the electricity was generated from this point by a dynamo, worked by a stationary engine of about fifteen horse-power. The attempt to convey the electric current along the rails was found to give fair results for nearly two miles; but in wet weather the leakage of electricity into the ground was so enormous that the effort in this direction was abandoned. It then became necessary to insulate the current more completely. This was done by the erection, parallel with the line, of a third iron rail, raised on wooden posts about two feet from the ground, and insulated by means of caps of insulite, which is formed by driving paraffin oil into sawdust at great pressure. Where there are gates leading from the public road to the adjoining fields, the current is conducted across such openings by an insulated underground cable, so as to leave the occupiers of the land in undisturbed possession of their rights of way. If the hand or the foot is placed on this conducting rail, a slight but not unpleasant shock is felt. The tension of the electric current is regulated by self-acting governors attached to the apparatus which drives the generators, and is thereby prevented from being dangerous to life.

By means of the elevated rail, the difficulty previously experienced in transmitting the electric current equally over the whole six miles of the line was successfully overcome. The Company then resolved to dispense with the use of the stationary engine at Portrush, and to work the tramway by thunderbolts forged by water. The works necessary for this purpose have been erected at a part of the river Bush near Bushmills, known as the salmon-leap. The stream, after dashing over the rocks and boulders which at this point obstruct its peaceful course, tumbles through a deep, tree-shaded gorge, and passing the village, empties itself into the sea. The whole neighbourhood is beautifully wooded. Two miles farther east are the ghost-haunted peaks and pavements of the Giants' Causeway, from whose elevated ridge the ground slopes, in many a billow of autumn-tinted foliage, to the salmon-leap. By an artificial channel, springing from the bed of the river above the falls, the water is conveyed for some distance in a direction parallel with the stream, finally falling through two cylindrical 'shootings,' erected on the face of a cliff thirty feet high. At the base of these 'shootings' are two turbine-wheels, which produce a total of about ninety horse-power. The revolution of the turbines turns a massive upright shaft, which in turn communicates with a side-shaft connected with a fly-wheel attached to one of Siemens' dynamos in an adjacent building. From the dynamo, the electricity is conveyed by an underground cable to the terminus of the line at Bushmills, about three-quarters of a mile distant, and thence along the third rail to Portrush, supplying the moving cars at any point on their journey.

Image

The method of utilising the electric current is as simple as it is effective. Projecting from the side of the traincar are two flexible steel brushes, resting on the conducting rail; and the current is thus transmitted to a dynamo placed in an invisible compartment beneath the carriage. This dynamo, revolving in sympathy with the developing dynamo on the Bush river, turns the wheels by means of a chain-gear, and so causes locomotion. In this way, without any apparent motive-power, the electric carriage, with its fifteen or twenty passengers, glides gracefully over the line, with occasional flushes of light from the metallic brushes as they sweep along the elevated rail, and from under the wheels, as if the sparks are being crushed out as it rolls along. There is no more noise than is caused by the contact of the brushes with the rail; no smoke, no disagreeable fumes, nothing to mar the pleasure of driving in an open conveyance. The gradients on the road often reach one in forty, or one in thirty-five, and for a short distance, over one in thirty. In ascending these inclines, the speed is perceptibly lessened; but the cars come downhill with the same regularity of motion that marks their progress on the most level part of the track. This comparative steadiness of speed is obtained by reversing, when necessary, the direction of the electric current, and by the use of the ordinary mechanical breaks. If several cars be running along the line at different places, the whole force of the current rushes to the assistance of those which are going uphill, and consequently there is no waste of power at the points where it is not required. Although the cars can be driven at a rapid rate, the regulation pace is not more than twelve miles an hour.

That the first electrical tramway in the United Kingdom should have been started in a remote corner of Ireland, is due to the enterprise of Dr Anthony Traill, and his brother Mr W. A. Traill, who has acted as engineer of the line. These gentlemen have, in part at least, solved the problem of the transmission of force to a distance. So far, the financial results of their novel experiment are fairly satisfactory. During the seven months ending in August last, forty-seven thousand passengers were conveyed over the line, and there was also a considerable goods-traffic An average income of fifty pounds per week all the year round would, the projectors state, suffice to pay the working expenses and give a dividend of five per cent, on the capital expended; and since the tramway was opened in January last, the receipts have varied from twelve to one hundred pounds per week. One advantage of the new motor is, that it is not necessary to carry a heavy engine along the line, or to carry any fuel. A powerful dynamo on a car weighs one ton; and as the rolling-stock is light, the wear and tear of the line is much under that incurred on tramways less favourably situated. If the hopes of its promoters are realised, this latest development of the applied science of the nineteenth century will mark an era in the history of locomotion.


"...thunderbolts forged by water." Nice...
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ELECTRIC LOCOMOTION By A.Reckenzaun. April, 1887

Postby Lock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:41 pm

Journal of the Royal Society of Arts
April 22, 1887

Proceedings of the Society

Seventeenth Ordinary Meeting
Wednesday, April 20, 1887

The paper read was -

ELECTRIC LOCOMOTION

By A.Reckenzaun.


No less than seven papers bearing upon the subject of the transmission of power by means of electricity have been read and discussed in this room within the last six years, Mr. Alexander Siemens, in 1881, taking the lead with an interesting address on "Electric Railways and the Transmission of Power by Electricity." This gentleman again favoured us in April, 1883, with an account of the great progress made during an interval of two years by Messrs. Siemens on the Continent, and he was followed at the same meeting by Dr. Edward Hopkinson, who presented an equally interesting communication on “The Portrush Electrical Railway.” A few weeks later, Professor George Forbes enlightened us with his most instructive paper, entitled “Electricity as a Motive Power.”

The late Professor Fleeming Jenkin described, in 1884, an ingenious system of electric haulage called “Telpherage.” During the same session, I made an attempt to explain the principle of applying electricity to the propulsion of “Electric Launches;” and last year, on the 22nd of January, Captain Douglas Galton, in his excellent paper on the “Results of Experiments on Mechanical Motors for Tramways at the Antwerp Exhibition,” presented us with most valuable data concerning mechanical traction.

Yet, with all this vast amount of useful information before me, I have had little difficulty in selecting a point of view from which we may regard the subject to-night. The ground has been so well prepared on the various occasions enumerated, that there is now no necessity on my part to explain the principles involved in generating electricity, and transmitting or converting the same for the purposes of electric locomotion. I therefore beg leave to offer the following observations as an appendix to the aforementioned papers, and to bring forward fragmentary descriptions of details of construction, and also, where possible, of working expenses and the amount of traffic on several electric tramways in this country and on the continent of Europe.

Experiments with electric motors and their application to purposes of locomotion date as far back as 1834, when Professor Jacobi first investigated the principles involved. The history of these early attempts, as well as the work of subsequent inventors who helped to develop the ideas of Jacobi, Paccinotti, and others, up to the present day, would prove far more interesting than the present essay; but I trust that the facts and figures of this paper will in some measure compensate for omissions concerning historical data.

It has become the custom to distinguish between different systems of electric tramways, by the methods adopted in conveying the energy generated in the stationary dynamo to the electro-motor which moves along with the car, and we may divide these systems as follows :-

1. The system in which the ordinary rails serve as conductors of the electric current, the axles of the car being insulated from the wheel tyres, and circuit with the motor established through a contact brush, or roller, sliding along the rails.

2. The system of overhead conductors. In this a number of strong posts are placed alongside the line, carrying slotted tubes or rods of metal, upon which sliding or rolling contact-carriages are placed, and these communicate electrically with the car-motor by means of a flexible cable.

3. The system of the “third-rail conductor,” which is placed between the ordinary rails, or alongside the line, on insulators a short distance above ground.

4. The system of underground conductors enclosed in a channel, with a central slot for the free passage of the contact-carriage.

5. The system of well-insulated underground conductors, with no channel, temporary contact being made through short sections of surface contact-rails with the motor on the car during its passage over that particular section on which the car is moving at the time.

6. The system of applying secondary batteries within the car, carrying stored energy along with it, whereby the vehicle is rendered independent, so that it can run on any line of suitable gauge without alteration to the roadway.

7. The system of applying secondary batteries to a separate locomotive, which hauls an ordinary car or cars behind it.


Members of the Society of Arts, and readers of the technical journals, will recollect that on the 12th of May, 1881, an electric tramway between the Lichterfeld station of the Berlin-Anhalt Railway and the Central Military School, a distance of one and a half miles, was opened to the public. Not many weeks ago, I visited that district near Berlin in order to obtain some information concerning the working of the tramway, and I have the satisfaction of telling you that the electric cars, although in continuous operation for a period of six years, have exhibited no signs of deterioration, and there have been no mishaps worth mentioning. The rails, which serve as conductors, are laid along the high road principally, and a small portion of the line runs across fields. No special means of insulation were used, the rails being fixed in the ordinary way to wooden sleepers, laid transversely along one side of the road. Electrical contact between sections of rails is effected through flexible copper loops. With such short lines of comparatively little resistance, the electromotive force can be kept low, and, in the case of the Lichterfeld line, it amounts to only 90 or 100 volts, and is therefore not dangerous to the touch of man or beast. Several roads cross this line, and at such crossing places the rails are cut out of circuit by means of underground cables; contact boxes, with switches, are placed near the crossings, in order that the current may be sent through these insulated sections of rails if requisite. The house containing the steam-engines and generating dynamos is situated close to the rails, but at a distance of about one-third of a mile from the Lichterfeld terminus. There are two steam-engines, each of 6 horse-power nominal, and two Siemens dynamos; one is a horizontal engine, and this is generally in use when one car only is running; the other is a Dolgourouki high-speed rotary-engine, coupled direct to the dynamo, running at 700 revolutions per minute; this latter comes into requisition when the traffic demands the second car. According to the printed timetable, one car makes 24 journeys a day, between 7.47 a.m., and 11.21 p.m.

I have not been able to ascertain the working costs of this line, but it must be very low, since the engines and dynamos are in the house, which also contains the pumping machinery of the district waterworks; one engineer and one stoker attend to both the hydraulic and the electric apparatus, the same boiler serving both purposes, and these men find time to attend to minor repairs. On the car is a driver, but no conductor. Each vehicle carries 24 passengers; it weighs, when empty, but including motors and gearing, 3.2 tons. The average speed is 12 miles an hour, and one journey occupies nearly eight minutes, for which a passenger has to pay 20 pfennige; this is nearly 2 1/2d. About 100,000 passengers are carried annually. One remarkable fact in connection with this successful enterprise is, that the cars, although identical in every other respect, are fitted with different kinds of gearing, with a view of ascertaining practically the efficiency of each. Those who have devoted their attention to the subject of electric locomotion are well aware that the choice of the mechanical transmission between the fast running motors and the comparatively slow motion of car wheels is one of considerable difficulty. To the uninitiated it seems the easiest thing in the world to reduce, for instance, 800 revolutions of one shaft to 80 revolutions of another shaft; but when the arrangement has to be applied to a tram-car, where space is limited, noise objectionable, dirt and dust in abundance, then one obstacle after another seems to appear. This branch of our subject really deserves a separate and exhaustive treatment, if we had sufficient time at our disposal; but as I have chosen such a sweeping title, I shall have to confine my remarks on mechanical gearing within very narrow limits. With regard to the Lichterfeld cars, the one which ran some 13,000 miles per annum, or nearly 76,000 miles since the opening of the line, is fitted with a peculiar kind of transmission, little known in this country. The motor, in this case, is fixed underneath the floor, in the middle of the car, with the shaft of the armature parallel to the axles. The motor shaft carries a pulley of small diameter with 27 V-grooves cut upon its rim; one of the car axles has a large pulley with 13 grooves, and the other car axle carriesa similar pulley upon which 14 V-grooves are cut. The wheel-base is 5 feet 9 inches, consequently the centres of the pulleys are only 2 feet 10 1/2 inches apart. Within the grooves run 27 cords of spiral steel wires, so that one driving axle is worked by 13 and the other by 14 cords from one common pulley on the motor. The steel cords, a sample of which is on the table, are made of a pair of wires wound closely upon a mandril rather less than one-eighth of an inch in diameter; the mandril is afterwards withdrawn, so that a stiff and yet flexible spiral is left with an external diameter of barely 7/32 of an inch. The ends of each spiral cord have steel eyes screwed into them and soldered, and when placed in position these eyes are connected by a steel wire link. One curious fact about these spirals is, that they stretch very little, and experiments have shown that one single cord will suffice to draw the empty car on a clean level line, whilst 8 cords were used for a car full of passengers; therefore, with 27 there is a good margin of safety. As may be expected, this mechanical arrangement works without noise or vibration. Some experience is required in putting the cords upon the pulleys, for, I am told, if stretched too tightly, they are liable to break at the joints, and if too loose they will slip when starting; but with careful attention on the part of the engineer in charge, very few breakages occur. There are only moderate gradients on this line, the worst, of 1 in 100, is about 460 yards in length; the question, therefore, remains whether this kind of gearing would suit a more difficult line. The second spare car belonging to this tramway is fitted with pitch-chain gearing; as in the former case, the motor is placed centrally underneath the floor, with its shaft parallel to the car axle, but only one of the pair of axles is connected by means of the chain to the toothed wheel of the armature. There is some noise and vibration with this arrangement, more current is required, and slightly less speed is obtained with this vehicle than with the other; consequently, chain-gearing must be less efficient than steel cords, the motors and all other conditions being similar.

Another line on which the ordinary rails serve as conductors of the electric current is that of Mr. Magnus Volk, at Brighton. When opened by the Mayor of Brighton, on August 2nd, 1883, the line was only a quarter of a mile long, running from the Aquarium entrance to the Chain Pier; 30,000 passengers having used it during the first five months of its existence, Mr. Volk obtained permission to extend it as far as Kemp town, a distance of nearly a mile from the Aquarium. The rails are fastened to wooden sleepers which rest upon the shingle along the beach, and no special insulation is employed; the necessity of passing under the Chain Pier involved a gradient of 1 in 28 on the west side and 1 in 14 on the east side of the pier. Two cars connected together, and containing 60 passengers, mount these inclines without difficulty. Each car, when empty, weighs 1 1/4 tons, and with 30 passengers about 3 1/4 tons; the speed is limited to eight miles an hour. The motive power in this case is a 12 horse-power gas-engine placed at one end of the line, driving a Siemens compound-dynamo, which generates a current of about 20 ampéres at 160 volts when one car is running. As a rule, only one car is used, but on bank holidays and special occasions, when the traffic is great, the second car is put upon the line. The average distance made by each car last year, I am told, was 23,475 miles, and the expenses per car mile amounted to only 2d. This is remarkably low, considering that gas is used in the prime mover, costing 3s. 3d. per 1,000 cubic feet, and this item alone amounted to 1.11d. per mile; for wages .7 of a penny was expended; oil, waste, &c., .07 of a penny, and the repairs to machinery came to .12 of a penny per car mile. The number of passengers last year averaged 8.51 per car mile, and the total expenses amounted to 55 per cent. of the gross receipts. On the Brighton cars leather link belts are employed for transmitting the power of the motor to the driving axle; the armature shaft is provided with a 5-inch pulley; this gears into a 24-inch pulley, on a countershaft fixed under the car. Mr. Volk used plain leather straps at first, but found them unsatisfactory, whilst the linkbelts proved quite practical, after an experience reaching over a period of nearly three years. A sample of a worn-out belt of this description has been sent to me by Mr. Volk. The belts slip a little at starting, but this is not considered a disadvantage, since it eases the motor; the bearings of the countershaft are adjustable by means of a slide, so that any slack caused by stretching of belts may be readily taken up. No protection is provided for the gearing, there being no mud to contend with, but I fear that this arrangement would hardly be suitable for the ordinary street cars. Judging by the large traffic which the Brighton line enjoys, one would think that it is highly popular; it is so with the public, but a section of the Town Council is opposed to the enterprise. The line was severely damaged by storms, in September, 1883, December, 1884, and October, 1886, involving a large outlay for repairs, to the anything but “permanent way." That it is a success in every way, excepting the storms from within the Town Council, and storms from across the sea, may also be gathered from the fact that a million passengers have already been carried, without injury or mishap to one of them.

Coming now to lines worked by means of overhead conductors, on the plan of Messrs. Siemens and Halske, the most carefully constructed, if not the most important, is that of Moedling, near Vienna. This is the property of the Austrian Southern Railway; the rails wind through a lovely country district for a distance of 2.8 miles, and terminate in that beautiful spot with the ugly name -Hinterbruehl.

I am indebted to Mr. C. Jenny, Engineer of the Southern Railway, and to Dr. Dolinar, electrician of the Moedling tramway, for their extreme courtesy in conducting me over the line and stations, and for allowing me to inspect every detail concerning the working of the same. Like most of the existing electric tramways, this has a large traffic during the summer months, but a comparatively small one in winter. The number of passengers carried during the year 1886 was 342,257, of these 320,000 came between the 1st of April and the 31st of October, whilst in the five remaining months only 22,257 persons availed themselves of this mode of transit. The month of August, with 72,600 travellers, stands highest in the list, and January, with 2,557 passengers, stands lowest of all. The revenue of seven months of the milder seasons is fifteen times as great as the revenue of the remaining five months, but the working expenses were not at all proportional, barely as five to one, and with all that the average cost did not amount to 3 1/2d. per car mile, inclusive of every item of expenditure, the sum of which came to £1,700 for the year ending December 31st, 1886. The number of car miles was 91,002, with a consumption of 545 tons of coal, at 7s. 6d. the ton. This was a very inferior “brown coal,” with an evaporative power of barely one-half that obtained with anthracite. The cost of fuel, therefore, came to .54 of a penny per mile, representing a consumption of 13.4 lbs. per car mile. With coal of the best quality, 7 lbs. per mile would suffice, but the price of this, in Vienna, is more than double that of “brown coal.”

The generating station is situated at the Moedling terminus; it contains three portable engines of 12 h.p. (nominal) each, and six Siemens compound dynamos, each capable of producing 500 volts and 50 amperes. When two loaded cars are running, i.e., one electric car, to which an ordinary car is attached, the indicated power of one engine varies between 12 and 20 h.p., according to the position of the vehicles relatively to the line during the outward journey. From the plan on the wall, it will be observed that the track is not an easy one; it consists almost entirely of curves, with radii of from 60 feet and upwards. Moreover, the terminus of Hinterbruehl lies 120 feet higher than that of Moedling; thus the line consists of a series of gradients, so that for the outward journey a considerable amount of tractive power is necessary, whilst on the return journey the cars run almost entirely by the force of gravity, and the driver touches the switch only when starting and at the sharpest curves. During the winter months one electric car suffices, and then one engine and one dynamo are used, attended by an engine driver and a stoker. In summer, when three engines, six dynamos, and six double cars are running, three stokers are required. The maximum number of journeys, each of 2.8 miles, last summer was 180 a day, with six electric and six ordinary cars coupled in pairs, and the minimum number of journeys in winter with one car was 24 per day; the time allowed for one journey is 20 minutes. There are four stopping-places along the line, and the average speed allowed is 9 1/2 miles an hour. The conductors - the metal ones, not the animate being on the car - are carried on posts 18 feet high and 90 feet apart, except on sharp curves, where they stand at a distance of 45 feet from each other. These conductors are made of slotted tubes, in lengths of 15 feet each, and soldered together when placed in position. To prevent them from sagging, stout wires are stretched over brackets on the tops of the posts, and fastened to the tubes half way between the posts. The bore has to be made perfectly smooth and clean, so that neither mechanical nor electrical resistance is offered to the contact carriage sliding within. The diagram shows the arrangements on an enlarged scale; the actual diameters of the tube are 1 inch internally and 1 5/8 inches externally. The contact carriage consists of a flexible piece of flat steel, upon which three gun-metal pistons are fastened. These pistons, which have to be renewed every two months, are made in two halves, with springs in the middle, whereby a slight pressure is produced between the surfaces in contact. The resistance of the conductors is 2 ohms, and the insulation in damp weather never falls below 6,000 ohms. Measurements gave a difference of potential of 500 volts at the dynamo, and 390 volts at the furthest end of the line when three electric cars were running, and this would correspond to a current of about 18 ampéres per car. All the electric cars on this tramway are fitted with spur gearing; but I will reserve any remarks on this mode of transmission until I am describing another line worked on the same principle. The Moedling-Hinterbruehl Tramway has been working successfully since 1884, at an average cost of 3.42d. per car mile, inclusive of every item of expense.

The second line, almost identical with the last one, as far as electrical details are concerned, is that of Frankfort-on-Main, in Germany. It leads from the “Roemerbruecke,” in Frankfort, through the villages of Sachsenhausen, Oberrad, and through the town of Offenbach; its total length is 4.1 miles; it has a double track laid with ordinary tram rails, thus differing in this respect from the Moedling line, which has a single track with three passing places, and ordinary railway rails of a light construction. Single cars, as well as trains composed of one electric and one ordinary car, run between Frankfort and Offenbach every twenty minutes, from six in the morning until eleven o’clock at night. The entire rolling stock consists of fourteen vehicles, ten of which are fitted with electric motors. All are constructed to carry twenty-four passengers; but the weight of the electric cars is four tons, empty, and that of the others about two and a half tons. The engine-house is situated at Oberrad, nearly half way between the termini. It contains two horizontal steam-engines of 120 horse-power each, and four vertical Siemens dynamos, each capable of generating a current of 70 amperes and 300 volts. Ordinarily on weekdays, four pairs of cars are running, when one engine, working at half-power, is used for driving two dynamos. With eight electric cars and four ordinary cars on the road, the engines indicated 164 horsepower. The average speed allowed on this line is seven and a half miles an hour, and one journey occupies forty minutes, inclusive of stoppages at eight stations.

The Frankfort Offenbach Tramway has been in operation since April, 1884; last year, 990,238 passengers were conveyed, and 292,269 car miles were run, at a cost of 3.83 pence per mile, including the following items :

Wages and salaries of directors,
clerks, &c..................................... 2.23d.
Fuel (7.54lbs. of coal per mile)........ 0.65d.
Oil,waste,&c.................................. 0.13d.
Repairs of machinery, cars, and per-
manent way................................... 0.82d.


If we could deduct the directors’ fees, repairs to roadway, and such items, which do not really belong to the costs of motive power and maintenance of the same, then the expenses per car mile might come to less than 3.5d.

With reference to the overhead conductor, I need only mention that the slotted tube is used in the same manner as at Moedling, with the exception that its resistance in the present case is only 1.6 ohms, and the contact carriage is somewhat differently constructed, as will be seen in the diagram on the wall. Instead of three gun-metal pistons made in halves, there are two solid iron pistons without expansion springs. These parts have to be renewed every three or four weeks, at the cost of 1s. for each carriage.

A skeleton plan of this line is shown on the upper diagram on the wall; the lower represents the Moedling track. There are several gradients, the stiffest of which is 1 in 32 for a distance of 100 yards; another of 1 in 45, 150 yards long, with a curve of 110 feet radius upon it; and a third incline of 1 in 80, 300 yards in length. To those that study the subject of mechanical traction, the following data relating to the tramway under discussion may be interesting. The energy expenses was measured on the car as well as on the generating dynamo, simultaneously, when the total weight, propelled at the normal speed, was 8.35 tons, comprising one electric car hauling an ordinary car and passengers:-

....................................Electrical Measurements
...........................................H.P......H.P.
.........................................on car...at Dynamo
Running on a level road......... 3.87 .... 6.47
Running up gradient 1:45
without curve........................ 8.00 .... 13.5
Running up gradient 1:45
with curve............................. 9.70 .... 16.7
Starting up gradient 1:150..... 10.20 .... 26.4

I have already stated that spur gearing is used on the Moedling cars as well as on those of Frankfort; concerning the working of the latter I will now submit a few particulars. The train of wheels on one of these cars consists of a pinion on the motor shaft having 17 teeth which gears into a spur-wheel of 56 teeth keyed upon a countershaft. On this counter-shaft is the second pinion of 26 teeth, and this drives the spur-wheel of 52 teeth fixed to the car axle. We get thus a ratio of 1 to 6.6, nearly, between the motor and the car wheels; the whole set of wheels weighs 4 cwt., the electric motor, also, is very heavy, so that the driving apparatus of one car comes to about 26 1/2 cwt. It must, however, be noted that the motor runs at the comparatively low speed of 500 revolutions. A considerable amount of noise is produced by this gearing, so that the sensation felt inside the electric car is anything but agreeable. As regards the economy of spur gearing for tram-cars of this description, the experience gained is not at all favourable; the pinion of the motor, for instance, which is made of hard gun-metal, wears out in a month; the diagram on the wall shows the teeth of one of these pinions in full size when new and after four weeks'work. The second sketch on the same diagram is a copy of the teeth of one of the cast steel spur-wheels on the driving axle, their shape when new, and after ten months'wear. One of the cars is now being fitted with wheels having double helical teeth, and it is expected that these will work more smoothly, and be more durable. I am indebted to Mr. Prins, the manager, and to Messrs. Dill and Strauss, of Frankfort, for their kindness in conducting me over the line and premises, and for affording me every facility in studying the whole arrangements. Overhead conductors of a different form to those just described were constructed by Messrs. Siemens and Halske for the electric railways in the mines of Zankerode, in Saxony, and the Hohenzollern colliery, in Upper Silesia. The Zankerode line has been in operation since the autumn of 1882, and the Hohenzollern was started in August, 1883; another is now being constructed for the salt mines of Stassfurt. In all these, the conductors are made of bars in the shape of an inverted T fixed along the roofs of the mines. Sliding contact pieces grip the edges of the lower flanges of these bars, and insulated wires lead from the slides to the electrical switch on a small electric locomotive which hauls a number of trucks. An interesting description of the Zankerode line is given in Mr. F. J. Rowan's paper, recently read before the Mining Institute of Scotland. Mr. Rowan states that the cost of haulage, including 15 per cent. for depreciation of plant, came to only .77 of a penny per ton, when 660 waggons were drawn per day of sixteen hours.

Concerning the Hohenzollern line, Mr. Zacharias, of Berlin, has kindly placed his notes, which contain many details of its construction and working, at my disposal, but unfortunately our time is limited, and I can therefore give very few particulars at present. Two sets of rails are laid underground, for a length of 820 yards, and there are several curves of from 15 to 30 feet radius; about forty trains run daily, with one locomotive and fifteen waggons; each Waggon carries nearly half a ton of material, and the cost of haulage is said to be about 1/2d. per ton.

The steam-engine and dynamo are placed near the top of the shaft, 250 yards above the working level; when running at 277 revolutions per minute, the generator gives 350 volts and 37 amperes. Each waggon weighs when empty 1,210 lbs., and when loaded, a little over a ton; the electric locomotive weighs 2.1 tons, and the whole train of fifteen waggons 17.8 tons, running at an average speed of seven miles an hour. For transmitting the motion of the motor to the driving wheels, two pairs bevel wheels, one pinion, and two spur wheels are employed.

Among the lines on which the “third rail" system of conductors is used, the electric tram-way of Portrush and that of Bessbrook, both in Ireland, must be considered the most important. The Portrush line, which was described in this room four years ago, is the longest electric tramway in the world; its rails traverse the country a distance of six miles, between the terminus of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway and Bushmills. Since the reading of Dr. E. Hopkinson’s paper, important additions have been made by the installation of two 50 horse-power turbines, driven bya 26-feet water-fall on the river Bush, which is 1,600 yards away from the nearest point of the tramway. The electric resistance of the line is 1.9 ohms; the generating dynamo gives a maximum current of 100 ampéres, with 250 volts E.M.F. Since water-power has been applied to produce the electric energy, the working expenses have not amounted to three-pence per car mile. The cars are fitted with pitch chain gearing. Mr. Traill, the managing engineer, informed me that he is satisfied with the working of this gear. An extension of this line is in contemplation. The Bessbrook-Newry Tramway is three miles in length, single rail of 3 ft. gauge, with gradients averaging 1 in 85, the maximum being 1 in 50. In this case also, water-power is available, there being a constant supply of three million gallons a day, with a fall of 28 feet, and part of this is utilised in a turbine which developes 62 h.p., and actuates two dynamos of the Edison-Hopkinson type, each capable of transforming the mechanical energy of 30 h.p. into electrical energy equivalent to 25 h.p., with an E.M.F. of 250 volts. Two electric cars, each capable of carrying 38 passengers, and weighing, when fully loaded, eight tons, run on this line; besides these, there are six goods waggons, with a capacity of two tons of freight per waggon. A train consists of one passenger-car and several waggons, generally three of the latter. The maximum speed attainable is 15 miles an hour, but, to conform to established rules, only 8 to 10 miles an hour are actually made. The line was passed on behalf of the Board of Trade in September, 1885, and from that time to the commencement of the present year, 30,000 train miles were run, 150,000 passengers carried, and 15,000 tons of goods were hauled. The cost of propelling a train containing the full complement of passengers and six loaded waggons is said to be fourpence per mile, including wages, repairs, and rental of water-power. Chain-gearing is employed for the purpose of transmitting the power of the motor to the car-axles. These particulars were kindly given to me by Dr. E. Hopkinson.

Mr. Holroyd Smith has devised an underground conductor contained in a channel, which is provided with a slot for the free passage of the electrical contact slide. The most important application of this system on a large scale is that at Blackpool, where it is worked on a line nearly two lines in length. Descriptions of this tramway have appeared in most of the technical journals, and Mr. Smith having read several papers before scientific societies, I need not dwell upon the details of construction, but will confine myself to a few general remarks. The roadway runs along the coast; ten cars of various sizes comprise the rolling stock, the largest having a seating capacity for 56 passengers, and the smallest carry 30 persons. At the generating stations there are two steam-engines, each of 25 horsepower nominal, driving four shunt wound Elwell-Parker dynamos, which give a maximum current of 180 ampéres, with 300 volts. The E.M F. ordinarily employed is 220 volts, which is reduced to 168 volts at one end, and 185 at the other end of the line, the generating station being situated near the middle of the tramway. From all accounts this line has proved quite successful. It was opened in September, 1884. I have not been able to obtain particulars as to the number of car miles run and passengers carried, consequently I cannot establish the relative cost, but Mr. Smith informed me that the expenses do not reach 4d. per car mile. VVhilst on the Moedling and the Frankfort tramways the resistances of the conductors are 2 ohms and 1.6 ohms respectively, the calculated resistance of the underground copper tubes at Blackpool is only .041 of an ohm. We do not know the actual resistance of these conductors, but I should think it must very much exceed that found by calculation, considering the great fall of potential at different points of the line. In one of the papers read by Mr. Holroyd Smith, we find some extraordinary statements with regard to insulation, and consequently leakage, in his system of underground conductors :—

“Measurements were taken of the insulation of the line during construction, and 150 yards’ length was found to give 4.490 ohms. The average working loss, through leakage, may be taken at 25 amperes, which, at an electromotive force of 200 volts, is equal to 7.2 h.p.”

Professors Ayrton and Perry have devised a system of conductors which is said to overcome the objections against losses arising from bad insulation. Instead of supplying electricity to one very long, perhaps imperfectly insulated, rail, they lay by the side of the railway a well insulated cable which conveys the main current. A third rail, which is rubbed by the moving train, is divided into a number of sections, each fairly well insulated from its neighbour and the ground; but at any moment only that section which is in the immediate proximity of the train is connected with the main cable, the connections being made automatically by the moving train. The loss of power by leakage is very much lessened through this arrangement, since any possible electrical contact between rails and earth is confined to that particular section upon which the train moves at the time, and connection from the surface rail to the insulated cable is made automatically by the pressure of the vehicles upon springs underneath the conducting sectional rails. Such an arrangement could scarcely be applied to ordinary street tramways, for if the sectional rails were laid flush with the roadway, then any other vehicle would, by its weight upon the rails, cause connection with the main cable.

In order to prevent the possibility of any extraneous force, other than that provided by the electric car, from making contact between surface rail and underground conductor, Messrs. Pollak and Binswanger have devised an ingenious plan, illustrated in a diagram on the wall. Underneath each electric car is a powerful magnet, and underneath each rail section, within a thoroughly insulated trough, is an armature of iron, which, when attracted by the influence of the passing magnet, makes contact between the cable and the surface rail, and through the latter with the switch of the car motor. No external force but that of a strong magnet, therefore, can draw electrical energy from the insulated underground conductor, and since the surface rail sections are each very much shorter than a car or train, no other vehicle following or preceding in the same track will be influenced by the current. Neither the Ayrton and Perry system nor that of Pollak has been tried on any tramway, therefore no opinion as to efliciency can be formed at present, but these systems seem worthy of an extended trial.

The idea of employing secondary batteries, the stored energy of which sets the motor in motion, and with it the car, suggested itself to the earliest inventors; indeed, the principle of applying batteries to the propulsion of a vehicle containing them was actually demonstrated in the year 1839, by a Scotchman named Robert Davidson; he used primary batteries, which proved a very expensive mode of generating electric currents; the method of storing energy in accumulators was unknown at that time. Today, we are able to convert the energy of a waterfall or of coals into electricity by means of dynamo machines having an efficiency of 90 per cent., and more. The current thus produced can be made to decompose the acidulated water in the secondary cells which contain electrodes, or plates, capable of absorbing the oxygen and hydrogen resulting from the decomposition of water; and finally, the gases thus stored re-combine whenever we desire it, and manifest themselves in the form of electric energy capable of doing mechanical work through an electric motor. As transformations of energy always involve some loss, so there is a loss in this electro-chemical conversion, amounting to from 25 to 30 per cent. In order to establish a comparison between a system having conductors and one having accumulators carried in the cars, we have, in the first place, to ascertain the efiiciency of the conductors in the one case and that of the secondary battery in the other. The efficiency of a conductor depends upon its resistance and the current transmitted. Let us take for an example a tramway similar to the one at Moedling, with a conductor of 2 ohms resistance, 20 amperes of current for each car, and 500 volts E.M.F. at the terminals of the charging dynamo. Supposing that only one car was running on this line, then the waste of energy would be practically nil at the commencement of its journey from the generating station, but it would be 20(squared) X 2 when it approaches the furthest end of the line; the average resistance, or that due to half the length of the conductor is 1 ohm; therefore the average loss is only 20(squared) X 1 = 400 watts, against 500 X 20 = 10,000 watts generated by the dynamo; consequently the efficicncy of the conductor comes to 96 per cent., since we lose only four per cent. With six cars on the line equally distributed, and using, together, 120 ampéres, the loss will be 14,400 watts out of 60,000 produced at the station, and then the efficiency is only 73 1/3 per cent., and so on, by increasing the number of cars, and with it the current, the efficiency gets less and less. With the accumulator system, on the other hand, we have a constant loss, no matter how long the line, provided that the quantity of energy stored is sufficient for the time, and it matters not how many cars run at any time on the same tramway. If the cars at Moedling were fitted with accumulators, then the weight to be propelled would have to be increased by, at least, 20 per cent , and this would entail a corresponding augmentation of power, in order to keep up the same speed, therefore a greater consumption of fuel would be the result. But we have seen that the item of fuel really plays a minor part in the total expenditure, in fact, it is only about 16 per cent. of the whole, hence we need not look upon the question of the loss of energy with too critical an eye. According to the report issued by the jury of the Antwerp Exhibition, a resume of which has been presented to this Society by Captain Douglas Galton, the consumption of fuel with the accumulator car came to 6.16lbs. per mile, which, at 16s. the ton, costs little more than 1/2d. This car, however, carried only 34 passengers, and the line was practically level. On the other hand, the steam-engine employed was an old portable engine, which did other work besides charging the accumulators of the tram-car. From practical tests made with cars of my own design, here and on the Continent, I have ascertained that the consumption of fuel need never exceed 8 lbs. per car mile on ordinary tram-lines in towns, provided that the weight of the accumulator carried on the car does not exceed 25 cwts.

Viewed from the standpoint of convenience, the propulsion of tram-cars through the medium of secondary batteries must be conceded to be second to none. The battery occupies no valuable space when stowed under the seats, while the motor, with its attachments, can be placed underneath the car. There is no interference with the permanent way, and for city trafiic such a service ought to be found eminently practicable.

The last system on our list is that of the separate locomotive, carrying accumulators within, and hauling an ordinary car behind it, I have placed this at the bottom of the list because it is the latest, but, from all appearances, it will be the first electric system to be adopted on a tramway in London. The early adoption of electric locomotives is partly due to the progressive spirit, the energy, and perseverance of the North Metropolitan Tramway Company, but mainly, perhaps, to the vigorous enterprise of the Electric Locomotive and Power Company, who work the patents of Mr. Elieson, their energetic manager. I have recently had the privilege of witnessing trial trips with six of these locomotive engines. It was a pretty sight to see these vehicles running along Romford-road, one after another, on a dark night, each brilliantly illuminated by its own electric light. Mr. Elieson has prepared a diagram now on the wall, from which the details of construction can be seen. The mechanical connection of the motor with the axles is very ingenious. Instead of the electro-motor being a fixture, it turns round upon a vertical pivot. The horizontal armature shaft carries on its end a bevel wheel, which gears into a large circular rack. At the lower end of the pivot there is mitre gear connected to the driving axle. Reversal of motion can be effected by a clutch which brings one or the other mitre wheel of the axle into gear with that fixed to the pivot. Each of these locomotives weighs nearly seven tons, and this is the only disadvantage one can think of when examining the system. These engines have been ready for some time, they would have been earning money long before now, but for red tape and Acts of Parliament. Before we can run electric cars in this country we must have an Act of Parliament. To obtain one takes a year or more. It causes an immense amount of trouble and expense to get an Act of Parliament, and the worst of it is that each company has to apply separately for it; it is this awkward circumstance which retards the progress of electric locomotion on tramways in this country. Whereas, on the Continent of Europe and in the United States of America, there are dozens of electric tramways at work to the satisfaction of everybody, here in England, the home of the dynamo machine, the country where the electric motor has found its highest development, we have so few opportunities to demonstrate their advantageous applications. With regard to America, there are electric tramways at work in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Saratoga, Califomia, New Orleans, Toronto, Detroit, Windsor, Chicago, Cleveland, Montgomery, Denver, and in other parts. The American capitalist encourages electrical enterprise because it is worthy of every encouragement when untrammelled by unnecessary legislation. I have made out a strong case in favour of electric traction. Any electrician sitting at home in his arm chair can reckon out upon paper what electric locomotion ought to cost, but I have made it my business to travel from place to place and examine into the details of the actual working electric tramways. Practical men want figures based on facts, not estimates. Through the courtesy of the engineers of the oldest lines I have obtained data which render the question of cost beyond doubt, and we have seen that the entire working expenses of those lines do not exceed - or need not exceed - 3 1/2d. per car-mile. There is no reason why these expenses should exceed 3d. per mile, when the most efficient machines of the present day will be applied.

Electric locomotion includes numerous other applications of the motor besides tramways, but I must stop short at this stage of the subject, having already trespassed beyond the usual limit of time.


DISCUSSION.

The CHAIRMAN said they had never had in that room within his recollection any paper on this subject in which the facts were more clearly enunciated than they had been in this case. It had hitherto been very generally the practice for those who brought forward papers on electrical matters to trust very much to their imagination and to their hopes for that future when those restrictive Acts of Parliament to which reference had been made had been swept away; but Mr. Reckenzaun had not given vent to the promptings of his imagination. One fact had struck him very much on making a very rough estimate of the cost, namely, that while the early lines established by Siemens and Halske showed a cost of about 1d. per ton per mile, in all the later lines the estimate came out about half of that, which showed a very great advance in the practical application of electricity. The cost of horses on tramways came to from 7d. to 10d. per car mile, which was probably about 3d. per ton per mile, so that there was a considerable difference between the cost of electrical haulage and that of horse power.

Mr. M. Holroyd Smith said this paper could not be called an exhaustive one, because it would take several days to treat exhaustively so large a subject, but it was more comprehensive than he thought it could have been in the time, and he complimented the author on having given so much information in so short a time. He might also be praised for having said so little about his own particular work. Considering he was one of the first to use secondary batteries for the propulsion of tram-cars, and that his work has been taken advantage of by more than one, who were now making a profitable employment of his skill, it was certainly very commendable that he had not said more on that point. He agreed with him that secondary batteries would be very advantageous on certain lines, but he did not agree with him as to their efficiency compared with that of direct working. There were two strong lines of demarcation in this matter -direct driving and batteries. Either primary or secondary batteries might be employed, and when using the direct current, it might be done with the actual rail, by overhead or side bars, or underground conductors. On going into the calculation, he should be able to show that, taking a line five miles in length, and working one car an hour over it, it would be cheaper to run it by secondary batteries; but if the lines were working a quarter of an hour service - and tramways did not as a rule pay unless the service was more frequent than that - it would be much cheaper to use direct driving. Even with a central channel constructed in the same manner, and at the same cost, as he had laid in Blackpool, it would cost less to construct a five-mile line, and equip it with channel, motors, gear, engines, dynamos, &c., when driving direct, than to equip all the cars and provide the surplus batteries, &c., for the secondary battery method. He should also say that the cost of the construction of the central channel at Blackpool was not to be taken as the standard for the future. As had been said, the resistance of these conductors was very low, and it was purposely so arranged, because he saw it would be better to spend a few hundred pounds more than was absolutely necessary on the copper tubes which formed the conductors, and on the structural details of the central channel, than to run any risk of failure, and therefore, in every item he had erred on the side of safety. It would be quite possible to construct a line at a little more than half that cost, and making that important alteration to the calculation, it would be found that direct driving would compare still more favourably with secondary batteries. In towns like London, where there were busy thoroughfares, tramway directors found the rail their greatest trouble, and omnibus and cab drivers were always using bad language about the groove which would form along side the rail, they did not want another rail, until further advance was made in public opinion, and it was possible that tramway companies in such a situation would adopt secondary batteries; but as he had pointed out in that room before, he regarded secondary batteries merely as a means of educating the public mind. One point which would be very interesting to discuss at greater length than was then possible was that of gearing, and he would again compliment Mr. Reckenzaun in not having brought forward his claim as being the first to use worm gearing on large tram-cars, although he (Mr. Smith) had used it on a small experimental car before, but he did not venture to adopt it for large cars until he saw Mr. Reckenzaun was successful. He said most unhesitatingly that he found it the most effective mode of transmitting the power from the motor spindle to the axle, taking all points into consideration. He might mention that the reason he could not give more detailed information to Mr. Reckenzaun, was that his directors had special reasons at the time for not desiring the details of their results to be made public, but he might say that the practical working at Blackpool was more economical than any of the figures given in the paper. He must take exception to one calculation put forward tending to show that by increasing the number of cars on a line the efiiciency would decrease very rapidly. That was entirely contrary to his experience. He found that during the winter months, when only three cars were running, and the number of passengers per week was under 3,000, the total working expenses were about £20; in the summer months, when the passengers were 45,000, and there were ten instead of three cars, crowded instead of empty, the total working expenses were only £45. He was also struck with the figures given as to the number of passengers carried, and the car accommodation on other lines. On none of the lines had they cars which would seat 56, as they had in Blackpool - and very often they carried from 60 to 70; and instead of reckoning the people by tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, they were now in the second million, and not one single accident had happened to anyone. With regard to the diagram with Messrs. Pollak and Binswanger’s name upon it, illustrating a magnetic system of making contact between an underground conductor and a sectional surface rail, it was evident to him that no working test had been made, because he knew from his own numerous experiments in the same direction that the details there shown would not be successful in practice.

The CHAIRMAN inquired if the Blackpool Company had paid a dividend.

Mr. M. Holroyd Smith said it had, and not only so, but having, at the request of the directors, taken some fees due to him in shares instead of cash, he had sold them at 10 per cent. premium, and was, therefore, better off in consequence.

Sir John Jenkins said he was connected with a tramway or short railway, from Swansea to the Mumbles, one of the oldest in the kingdom, the Bill for which was originally for a canal, but though it passed as such on the second reading, it came out of the House of Commons as a railway, in 1804. The cost of running on this was less than on ordinary tramways, and the question in all these cases was really which was the cheapest motor. As Mr. Holroyd Smith had said, there was a great objection to electricity on account of the third rail, but independently of that, he did not think the time had yet arrived when electricity could compete with steam power, where it was practicable to use it. Still they were much indebted to the scientific gentlemen who occupied themselves with this subject, and who, he trusted, would ultimately achieve a success which would be beneficial not only to themselves, but to the nation at large. The cost of Mr. Reckenzaun’s mode of working would be about 3 1/2 d. per train-mile, but the cost of the small line he referred to was not more than half that. It ran not upon the road, but parallel to it. Of course, on great railways, he knew the cost was much higher, and horse-power, as the Chairman had said, came to about 7d. or 8d., and, in some places, 9d. per train-mile. On the railway he referred to almost every possible motive power had been tried, including sails, but nothing was so economical as the steam-engine.

Mr. Magnus Volk thought the spiral wires referred to in the paper, running at a very high velocity, would wear considerably, and would not be successful. A somewhat similar plan was tried at Shoreham, and it seemed as if the whole thing would be torn to pieces in a few days, but possibly that might be due to faulty construction. Pitch chains were used on the Ryde pier railway, which he lately visited, and he was informed that they suddenly gave way, without any warning, causing considerable delay. Spur gearing had been used in Ireland, but though when first fitted it was tolerably silent, when he was there, it made so much noise that conversation in the car was almost impossible. He had found leather-link belts the best of all. He first tried single leather, but this broke every day or two, then double belts, which did not last much longer, as one lap slipped off the other. The leather-link belts had now been in use three years, and the portion shown had helped to drive a car over 50,000 miles. It was not worn out, but was a piece taken out to shorten the belt, which would have to do the next season’s work. They stretched a little on being first put on, but there was an arrangement for taking up the slack. Toothed gear he found caused a great deal too much vibration in the car to be pleasant, though some people liked it, thinking it was spare electricity given off which did them good. The Brighton line was not perfect by any means, but he had from time to time made various improvements, and he had a great deal of opposition to contend with. Still, next August, he should have kept the line open for four years; he had run about 100,000 car-miles, and carried about a million passengers, the cost being just under 2d. per car-mile. All repairs were paid for out of revenue, but he put aside nothing for depreciation, for he never knew during the winter whether he should find the line there at all in the morning. Apart from damage by storms, it had paid a dividend of 20 per cent. With regard to light railways running through a poor district, he would remark that if steam were employed you must carry a considerable number of passengers to make it pay at all; but with electricity you could run a small car, seating five or six people, at almost the proportionate expense that you could carry thirty or forty, and thus, where it would not pay to run half-hourly, you might run a car every five minutes, and so work up a traffic. He agreed with Mr. Holroyd Smith as to the comparatively small extra cost of working extra cars. Last summer, for the first time, he worked a second car, and when his quarter's gas bill came in he found it was only increased by £3. Great pains had been taken at Blackpool to secure a very low resistance in the conductors; but if more pains had been taken in the insulation, he thought a better result would be attained, for he found that Mr. Smith’s loss by leakage was just about the same as his own, where there was no attempt at insulation at all except by the sleepers. He should like to know Mr. Smith’s experience as to the electrolytic effect of the current that escaped. He had found some 3/4 in. bolts, which he put in last October, were last week reduced to about 3/8 in. He did not think the magnetic system would be practicable, for a car going at anything like a fair speed would not have time to act on the armatures so as to pick up the current. The idea was very pretty and clever, but he did not think it would work.

Mr. Kapp said he had had no experience of electric tram-cars, but he knew something about gearing, and he did not think the spur gearing had yet had a fair trial. Mr. Reckenzaun’s worm gearing had been very successful, but that was probably because it was well adapted to the work it had to do, and other gearing equally well designed might also answer as well. The noise could be avoided in various ways; you might have slanting teeth, or might split up the width of the wheel into narrow portions, so as virtually to have several wheels side by side, and shift them by a small angular distance, less than the pitch of the wheel, and so obtain a tooth consisting of several steps. In this way the violence of the blow of two teeth coming into contact would be very much reduced, and it was this blow which caused the noise. He had seen a very large spur gear on this principle on one of the large steamers of the Messageries Maritimes, the propeller shaft being geared to the engine shaft in this way, and the noise was hardly more perceptible than that of a shaft directly driven.

Mr. R. Capper said the question after all, with regard to the application of electricity to tramway working, was whether it would pay. He was interested in the railway mentioned by Sir J. Jenkins, which was now 84 years old, and naturally, having to carry three-quarters of a million of people a year, they looked at all these things very closely, but he had never yet come across any instance of an electric motor, as applied to tramways, which it would answer their purpose to adopt. There was still a field open to anyone who could show them how to make that six miles of line pay better by electricity than it did at present with locomotives.

General Brine thought electricity would never pay as a motive power, or take the place of steam, which could hardly be surpassed. If anything were likely to interfere with it, it would be petroleum. Electricity might do very well on the Thames, or in tram-cars, going at the rate of seven to ten miles an hour, but anything beyond that was out of the question.

Mr. Binswanger said he thought the system invented by Mr. Pollak and himself, had been rather severely criticised. Seeing that it had only been completed a few months, there had been no opportunity to try it practically, but gentlemen of quite as high standing, and as large experience, as Mr. Holroyd Smith, had spoken very favourably of it, and the models which had been constructed worked very well. In an ordinary street you could not use an open channel, which would become full of water and clogged with dirt, and if the conductors were enclosed, he did not think any other mode of making contact would be so good as a magnet.

continues...
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Re: Horses of Iron

Postby Lock » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:42 pm

Mr. Richardson said he was interested in the North Metropolitan Tramway Company, and he hoped they would be able in a short time to show some practical results at Stratford. Within the last year they had obtained the necessary Act of Parliament, and the application was now before the Board of Trade for permission to run the engines of Mr. Elieson. When the system had been practically tested, there would come the question of cost, but he did not think on this point Swansea could be taken as a criterion for the metropolis, for coal there was much cheaper than in London. Besides that, the line ran by the side of the road, on agricultural land, where there was no chance of accident, and any locomotive could be used, whereas in the metropolis one which was almost noiseless would have to be employed. Their small district, where they only carried 45,000,000 or 50,000,000 of passengers per annum, could not compete with Blackpool or Brighton, but they were under more stringent regulations, and would not be permitted to lay down a third rail; there were quite accidents enough with two. They were endeavouring to give the plan a thoroughly fair trial, and were laying down very substantial rails, weighing 90 lbs. a yard so at to carry well the engines of seven tons each.

The Chairman, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Reckenzann, said they were much indebted to Mr. Richardson for his reply to the somewhat dogmatic assertion of General Brine, that electricity would never pay as a motive power. In one sense that was quite true, because electricity was not a motive power; it was a means by which motive power could be transmitted from one point to another, and as a means for the transmission of energy it had certain peculiar advantages, which sooner or later must make it one of the most useful agents for this purpose which nature afforded. He was quite sure that, after the remarks of Mr. Capper, more than one electrician would rush down to Swansea and submit a proposal by which the traffic over the pretty railway to the Mumbles would be carried for less than half what it now cost.

The vote of thanks having been carried unanimously,


Mr. Reckenzaun, after thanking Mr. Holroyd Smith for his complimentary remarks, said he had probably misunderstood him slightly. Of course the loss of current through resistance increased with the number of cars, but any engineer would so proportion the size of his conductor to the probable traffic, that that loss should not exceed a certain maximum. He had purposely said very little about secondary batteries, not because he was personally interested in them, but because he had desired to confine himself to accomplished facts. He had given the figures as to various lines in actual works, and was only sorry he had not been able to obtain as full details from Mr. Smith as from other engineers. It was not worth while disputing who was the first to use worm gearing; anyone was at liberty to do so, and he hoped many would try it. He should be very glad if Mr. Smith could furnish the exact cost per car-mile on his line. With regard to Sir John Jenkins, his remarks referred rather to a railway than a tramway, and there was a great difference between the two. The traction power necessary on a railway was only about one-third that on an ordinary street tramway with a grooved rail, which was always more or less clogged with dirt; and any comparison between steam and electric motors must be made with reference to the particular circumstances of each case; you could not make a general comparison. Some locomotives on town tramways had given results as low as 2 1/2d. per mile when the engines were new, but after a time, when repairs were included, they worked out as much as 9d., the cost of repairs being much greater than that of providing motive power. He did not think Mr. Volk could have seen the spiral wire he had described, which would have been abandoned long ago if it had not worked satisfactorily. With regard to Mr. Capper’s observation, he would admit that electricity could not compete with steam on ordinary railways; it did not profess to do so; but he believed there was a great future before it on tramways, where the conditions were different; where they had to compete with horses, or with steam-engines under special restrictions as to noise and smoke, which caused a great waste of energy. Even in the case of railways, where water power was available as at Portrush, electricity might eventually be able to compete with steam.
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Journal of the Society of Arts February 1, 1856

Postby Lock » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:16 pm

APPENDIX. An Abbreviation of Patents, From The Records of Her Majesty's Patent Office, From 1630 up to The Present Time.

No. 8,644. Date, 1840.
HENRY PINKUS, St.Martin's-lane, Patentee.- "Improvements in the methods of applying motive-power to railway carriages, canal boats, and agricultural machines." As to the latter, in a given area of land a central station is erected, in which is here placed an electric battery or batteries, having wells and tanks placed in the same. From the station main pipes are laid down, having at intervals of 200 yards or so, short, vertical, supply branches, terminating in a box with a moveable lid. In the main pipes wires are laid connected with the positive and negative poles of the battery, thus constituting electric circuits. In the locomotive engine an electric magnetic engine is applied, and in order to set the former in motion, chemical action is induced in the batteries at the station tanks, and electrical influence being thus generated, the force of which acting through the metallic circuit, the wires passing round a small drum will put the impelling engine in motion.


From here:
http://marysgasbook.blogspot.com/2009/08/mr-pinkess.html
Henry Pinkus came from Philadelphia and in 1826 had done a deal with one Hercules Poynter (or Paynter). The nature of this and its relation to the East London Gas Company was to be crucial some ten years later. Pinkus and Poynter set up something called the Domestic Gas Company. This was a ‘new method’ of making gas (weren’t they all!) in which rather than get your gas from a gas works you made it at home yourself. The gas was made in your ordinary domestic grate and then stored in ‘the cellar or some other convenient location’. Pinkus and Poynter promoted this from an address in the Strand. Whether any of them were ever bought is not known - the suggestion being that the smell kept the customers away.

In the next few years Pinkus acquired a string of patents which related to gas making and similar subjects. It might be noted that at the same time a Henry Pinkus enrolled at University College for a course of natural philosophy, heat and chemistry.

In the 1830s Pinkus seems to have changed his interests from gas to locomotion. In 1834 he advertised a model of atmospheric propulsion, claiming to have been experimenting on this since 1825. He demonstrated this at an address in Wigmore Street in the West End. The project was seen by a number of prominent engineers of the day and, following some changes, a demonstration railway may, or may not, have been built along the Kensington Canal.

The really strange thing about this is that the person who made atmospheric traction work a couple of years later - and who had undoubtedly seen what Pinkus was up to - was none other than Samuel Clegg himself, the father of gas lighting! Within a couple of years Pinkus was suing Clegg for infringement of his patent. As we will see this was not the first time that Pinkus had seen the inside of an English Court of Law.
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The Social Side of The Electric Railway April, 1890.

Postby Lock » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:37 pm

The Social Side of The Electric Railway
A paper by T.C.Martin
Editor of The Electrical Engineer, New York

READ BEFORE, AND PRINTED BY, THE NEW YORK ELECTRICAL SOCIETY—ELECTRICAL SECTION OF THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE.

April, 1890.

A Month or two ago we had the pleasure of listening in this hall to a most interesting paper by Mr. S. Dana Greene on the development of electric traction. I had previously promised the secretary of the society a paper on the same subject, but I felt it would be useless for me to traverse the same ground again. Mr. Greene spoke with authority, and not as one of the newspaper scribes; and I was glad to learn from him and accept most of his conclusions. I recognize the fact, however, that he dealt with the topic mainly on its technical side, as a specialist of experience, and that there was still a very important branch of the subject on which a few helpful words might be said - namely, the relation of the electric railway to the public and to social conditions generally.

Few of us stop to think of the enormous difference that facilities for travel make in our lives. I do not refer to the opportunities and appliances for long journeys, but to the simple everyday transportation that we calmly accept as a prime condition of existence. It is probably safe to say that every one of us came here to-night, and will go home, without depending on our legs to make the trip. But this is altogether modern, and to the generation immediately preceding ours would have seemed as unlikely as that, from total lack of exercise our legs should become atrophied and own no function of pedestrianism. Yet now that we have enjoyed the advantages that the means of artificial locomotion already familiar give us, we want more. The Harlemite does not consider it rapid transit unless he goes from City Hall square to the rocks and goats above Mount Morris park in an hour and a half, and his discontent with the steam railway on stilts becomes daily diviner and deeper. The citizen of Brooklyn is not satisfied to be reduced to a despairing calculation as to whether he is after all better off by being jammed and gouged on the bridge than by balancing on one trodden toe upon the old ferry boats, before he can reach his little vine-clad, mortgaged home at the back of the east wind. And as for the Jerseyman, it is needless to say that of all the ills of his wearisome daily travel, he is able to commute only one. Still, we are infinitely better off in choice of location for our homes than were the people of Manhattan before us, who knew not the elevated railroad, and never gladdened their eyes with the majestic spectacle of the platform of Brooklyn Bridge at a quarter to six on a wet March night, with the cable broken down. If you will take the trouble to invite the candid opinion of the "oldest inhabitant" as to the vanished Broadway stages, the early street cars, and the ancient ferries, you will learn that we have scored a distinct advance. That is why we all want something better.

This is a barbarous age we live in, but we have a foretaste of the civilization that awaits our descendants. We are beginning to learn that luxury is a relative term. A hundred or even 50 years ago there was no such thing as luxurious travel. Washington came to New York to be installed as president, in a manner that a fastidious drummer might now despise. De Quincey was willing to give five years of his life for an outside place on a stage coach that carried down from London through the English counties the news of a great event. We save our five years and our health, and get all the thrill we want, by blocking up the sidewalk on Park Row, and reading the newspaper bulletins as they cover one another on the boards, like successive waves of emotion, rolling in from the unseen but tangible, throbbing distance. We know what the past was. The blizzard of two years * ago brought us down to the normal, average conditions of semi-savagery in locomotion as it prevailed prior to the introduction of the steam road, conditions that need all the glamor of the romancist to be made even tolerable as a picture to the New Yorker who boards the Pullman special for the south, and has had his pleasure in Florida, and returned before the storm that was in progress when he left has gone eastward to discover Europe.

What steam has been to long-distance travel in replacing the stage coach and the sail, electricity is in turn to urban travel in replacing the horse car and the cable road. Later in this paper I will indicate the manner in which electricity may sooner or later realize the best and brightest promises made on behalf of the trans-continental steam railroad, but our first thought is as to electrical travel within towns and cities, and the manner in which it affects social relations, by modifying as with the harlequin wand of transformation all the conditions to which we have heretofore been subjected.

In speaking of this great advance in electricity as applied to the comfort and convenience of man, I do not wish to be understood as praising a perfect thing. We are in the early stages of practical electric locomotion. The pioneer work has been done by young men, still among us, much too near their salad days to fall into the reminiscent vein. It is barely three years ago that I had myself the honor of bringing before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers the first statistics published on American electrical railways, when I seized with brazen audacity upon every bit of a track that could possibly bear inclusion as a road. I would be understood rather as appearing in advocacy of an improvement in many respects crude, but that is not yet appreciated even as it stands. We of the electrical industry have a great duty in this respect, of preaching the advantages of electric locomotion, in season and out of season; and by our persistency we can help the art along. The phrase that good wine needs no bush was not coined by an American advertiser, and the idea that electricity will make its own way is not justified by the history of any great invention that has yet subserved the needs of mankind. Electric locomotion is, however, ready for adoption at an opportune moment. It offers itself at a time when every thing else that has been tried for urban travel, has revealed objections and disadvantages, the more keenly realized because of our higher conceptions of what such travel may be. It is a singular principle that as a system or device reaches perfection something comes forward to supersede it. The horse coach was at its height of speed and comfort when the steam engine challenged it. The white-sailed China clipper was never swifter than when it lowered its flag to the conquering steamship. And so to-day, the horse, the cable and the steam locomotive have shown the utmost that they can do, just as the electric motor rolls to the front and takes the stage, as the means best suited to the peculiar requirements of passenger traffic in modern towns and cities. I do not say that it will banish these competitors from the scene, but I do maintain that its superiority will quickly gain it the decided preference. I am always suspicious of an invention or improvement that is going to knock out everything else, like a charge of dynamite. History is against any such phenomenon. What we do see is a limitation of the antecedent methods and appliances to the sphere within which they are most useful and economical. The old is restricted to its proper place and function as by a ring of fire; the new goes on making its own kingdom until at last its boundaries of achievement are also determined. Thus, as Tennyson puts it, "God fulfils himself in many ways, lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

The first of the social considerations to which I would direct notice is the effect on the public of the adoption of electricity as a motive power for street railways. The struggle for supremacy in urban passenger work has already narrowed down strictly to the horse, the cable and the electric motor. As everybody knows, steam motors are completely out of favor for use within city limits. Their glorious record of half a century in long-distance travel does not deceive anyone dwelling in a city as to the insuperable defects and nuisances of noise, smell, smoke, dust, steam escape, oil drippings, etc., which may more readily be tolerated, remotely, in the open country. Perhaps I am wrong, but I believe we shall not see any more steam roads in New York, and that imposing as are the statistics of the Manhattan elevated system to-day, they will be eclipsed in a very few years by those of the newer form of electric locomotion. And may not the same be said as to the horse? There are now close upon 15,000 horses engaged in hauling street cars around this city. It is high time that every one of these was dispensed with, as well for its own sake as for that of the city, whose air it assists in polluting and whose population it aids in driving into exile. Allowing an average space of 40 square feet to each horse, or a stall 9 feet by 4 1/2 feet, we find that in stall space alone those 15,000 horses occupy 600,000 square feet of floor in their stables. These horses are required to operate some 2,400 cars, an average of about seven to the car if every car were in commission at once, which is not at all the case. But even if nearly all the cars were wanted, an average of 10 h.p. each would be ample in the central station of an electrical plant, bringing us to a liberal allowance of 25,000 h.p. But here comes in the remarkable though not unfamiliar fact that a steam plant will go into much less space than an animal power plant of equal capacity. Mr. C. J. Field, who is known to many of you as a constructing and mechanical engineer, informs me that his recent practice shows that a generating electrical plant for 20,000 h.p., to operate all the street cars of this city, could easily be placed in a building 100x150. The engines and the dynamos would be placed on the first floor, and the boilers on the second floor. The generators in such a plant would be multipolar, 500 h.p. each, directly connected to the engines, and each engine would be of a vertical triple expansion type, of 500 h.p. each. This gives only 1 1/2 square feet to the horse-power, and we may offset the space for feed, etc., by that for coal, etc. I have tested these figures by those of recent electric light stations in actual operation, and they are found to be very fair and reasonable. It might be objected that all the power would not be bunched in this way; but even with half a dozen generating stations of 2,000 h.p. there would only be an increase in space required of about ten per cent. From this remarkable but strictly proper comparison, we can form an idea as to the economy of real estate, bearing in mind also the fact that horse car stables are generally wooden or brick sheds, only one or two stories in height, while an electrical plant may be run up as high as an apartment house or an office building, just as ornate without, just as clean within.

Hence there can be no mistake in the statement that electricity is a direct boon to the urban population that clings to the city, loves the city life, and that if crowded out from it into the country suffers all the pangs of banishment. Indirectly, too, it is a further boon because with horses a great portion of the district surrounding the car stables is also spoiled for human habitation. The whole region within what I would define as "the area of smell" is unsavory and unhealthy the year through, and the consequence is that while the taxing and renting value of it is lessened, the death rate is run up. "Do not insult a respectable animal who has come from the country to do his share of the work of the world," says one authority, "and has brought with him the memory of the sweet hills and skies at least, by immuring him in one of those cramped, rickety, rotten, slovenly, damp dungeons, where a dumb beast would lose his self-respect and his courage, beneath an oppressive weight of miasma, and hideous, gloomy, nasty confusion." And so say all of us, and all of us are glad to note a vast improvement in this respect. The stables are better ventilated now as a rule, but the trouble is just there. If they were not so well ventilated, the neighborhood would be sweeter, and would be fitter for human beings to live in. The poor die quicker that the horses may suffer longer.

An objection I may anticipate is that, after all, such large generating plants would not be desirable with their huge smoke stacks, their discharge of gases, etc., upon the atmosphere, their receipt of coal and their removal of ashes. I would reply that it is by no means necessary for such plants to be, as the stables must be, right upon the main lines of travel. They would by decided preference be located near the water's edge, out of the way. Moreover, the stacks would be, as they are to-day in large electric light plants, high enough to carry off all smoke or smell far beyond perception. Perhaps the familiar smoke stack is not an aesthetic object, but it can be made so. There are steeples in this town that on the score of their beauty are not fit to compare with smoke stacks near them.

Much that I have said under this head with respect to electricity applies to the cable. That system has been an immense advance in street car travel, and is destined to many years of usefulness yet. It is worthy of much praise; but it will not hold its own with electricity, simply because it is deficient in some things that electricity possesses to a pre-eminent degree. It has been a forerunner for electricity. It is not only enormously costly in its first installation, but has the disadvantage of being a unit. The whole of the road and all its power hangs by that one cable. If the cable be duplicated in the conduit, the expense is again so much the heavier, while the criticism as to risk still stands. Moreover, a cable car cannot go backward at its driver's will. Onward it must go, Mazeppa-like, strapped down to its carrier, no matter what unfortunate contingency impend, or what obstacle lies in its path. It cannot greatly vary its own speed. An electric car is so manageable that it will reverse in its own length or less. But the greatest trouble of all with the cable is that it is always the one thing, while there are very few towns or cities that are alike in offering just the rigid Procrustean conditions it meets. There are about 50 cities in the United States with a population of over 50,000, but there are between 700 and 800 street railway companies, if not more; so that even if all the places in the first category could justify the heavy expenditure on a cable system, there are hundreds of others unable to do so. We need not wonder then that at their last convention in Minneapolis, the street railway men gave electricity such a hearty welcome, adopting the enthusiastic if not elegant language of a committee report which said that it "filled the bill to perfection." Nor need we wonder that the street railway company in Minneapolis has just thrown aside an unused cable plant that cost $400,000, and is putting in electric cars and over 100 miles of electric road.

Why does electricity "fill the bill," and in a manner that interests the public? Well, for the reasons given already and for others. It is above all things flexible, plastic, protean. It can be applied in half a dozen different ways, and be absolutely safe for human life in any and all of them. The street railway may be equipped with an overhead system for supplying the current to the motors, and to that system, well built, with trim ornamental poles, lines well run and guarded, little or no objection can be offered. The air is God's own insulation; we know none better, none so cheap, and a wire is well insulated up aloft. The Bostonians, who are people setting no small store by their refined, acute and cultivated taste, have adopted poles and wires in preference to the hideously ugly lattice work tunnels we have in New York to hold up our elevated roads, and I admire them for it. It is possible that Boston may have an elevated road, but if so it will be a handsome electric one. Or, if the overhead wire be objected to, as it may, there is the conduit system, which is fully able to give a good account of itself if well put in and plenty of money be spent on it. It is true that the wires are not exposed in the conduit system, but otherwise there is not much operative difference between it and the overhead method. There may be difficulties in heavy wet, or snowy weather, but we shall see them all overcome. Or should this or its modifications again be found fault with, there is the ideal storage battery system, where each car starts out "on its own hook," an independent, self-contained unit. I don't exactly know why we call it the "ideal system." It is either within reach or beyond. If within reach, it is not "ideal," but ought, speaking from the public standpoint, to be adopted wherever there is actual need for it. It may be a trifle expensive, But that is certainly not one reason more why the public should do without it. It may be somewhat difficult to put and keep in order. "Coaches, Sammy," said the elder Weller, sententiously, to his son, "coaches is like guns - they require to be loaded with werry great care afore they go off," and that is about the case with the storage battery cars. But they do go off, and we know from the approval they have met with that they do hit the mark of popular approval, - and that is one of the main things I am talking about to-night.

It is in one or other of these systems or modifications of them that electricity will become familiar to the public of this country in street railway work. It will, I think, be chiefly for a long time to come, the overhead system, which is not costly to put up, is not expensive to maintain, can be operated economically at about half the running charges of animal power, and fully answers the requirements of the vast majority of our thriving, intelligent centres of trade and manufacture. All these methods are safe, and none of us ever heard, or expects to hear, that the current of 500 volts they have employed has taken a single human life. The motor cars cannot "explode," the daily papers to the contrary notwithstanding. They scatter no dust or ashes; they do not litter the streets with offensive refuse, but rather ozonize the air; they are pleasant to ride in and they do not damage the paving. They require good tracks for their best operation, and naturally make their worst showing on the automatic mud sprinklers that so begutter the roadways in this city. But the roadbed between the tracks they never touch. It might as well be a continuous plot of flowers. In the outskirts of Boston, some of the electric cars whose aerial wires run hidden between the overarching trees, have their tracks laid down on a narrow green lawn for three or four miles; and at a remove of but a few feet, it seems to the spectator as though the cars were gracefully skimming over the smooth grass, in effortless flight, like low-darting, even-poised swallows.

I have just spoken of the outskirts of Boston, and this brings me to another important point wherein electric cars are an element making for the public good. They help a man to get farther away from his business, and yet bring him nearer to it. "Rapid transit" by their means is no longer a deceiving phrase, or the proud monopoly of one or two big cities. The smallest city in the country is at once given a command it never had before over the territory around it. The smallest store keeper or the humblest clerk can revel in the sweets of rural life, if he wish. His electric car, running at 15 or 20 miles an hour, will give him more of home life - a few golden minutes with the children in the morning, an earlier return to the wife at nightfall. The whole social atmosphere of the place is vivified, and the social bonds are knit closer, as they always must inevitably be where the facilities of travel are increased, and the opportunities of intercourse are multiplied.

Nor is this all. Rapid transit of this nature opens up a number of districts that before were practically inaccessible for residential purposes. There are few of us who care to practice the ancient form of dissipation known as early rising, agreeing rather with Charles Lamb, in the idea that to rise with the lark or go to bed with the sheep is a popular fallacy. There are still fewer of us, who, even for the sake of rural delights, care to isolate and immure ourselves in remote suburbs reached with difficulty. In vacation time, it is true, we often seek the loneliness of the woods, or the solitude of the mountains, that we may commune with Nature and hear the still small voice of our better self; but when we are doing the world's work 50 weeks in the year, we want to be handily situated for reaching our desk or bench. If a man lives in the city, he pays a high rent and takes Irish views of the landlord question. If he lives far out, and wastes his time in travel, he is in hearty sympathy with the eight hour movement. I look upon electric roads, therefore, as likely to prove a beneficial agency in the more equal distribution of a happier population around any centre, thus increasing the return on outlying property, while, by the encouragement of retail trade, enhancing the profit of the area lying within the region thereafter more legitimately restricted to business occupancy. I have watched with much interest the manner in which electric roads have already thus developed suburban areas. Booms are not a particularly healthy feature of progress, but they may be, and not infrequently are, genuiue and real; and I know nothing more likely to bring on a real estate boom of the best character with permanent results than the installation of a well-managed electric road, enabling a man to leave his work at 6 o'clock, and be sitting down to his supper seven or ten miles out, if he wish, under his own roof-tree, at 6.30.

Having thus discussed the effect of electric roads on the community and on the individual citizen, I will add a word as to their effect on the wonderful impersonal entity, "capital." If all that I have said be true as to the general benefits, it follows that the wealth and ease of the community are materially increased; but what I refer to now, is not the direct enhancement of values, so hard to trace out, though so palpable, but the stimulus given to saving habits by the better opportunities of investment. Careful analysis of the working of electric roads goes to prove that when operated with skill and discretion, they are 50 per cent, less expensive to run than horse railroads are. What does this mean? One thing it means is that many roads can be built that would be out of the question with horses. Another is that roads not paying can be placed on a dividend basis. In 1888, out of 19 horse roads reporting in New York city, 10 showed a deficiency. Last year their net earnings were much better, but it is evident that a horse road is not always a mine of wealth, though it may be of fertilizers. A third point is the establishing of a new class of investments of a solid, enduring nature. It is within everybody's knowledge that the accumulation of capital tends constantly to the reduction of interest to a minimum. There was a time when the long stocking and the iron chest were the common bankers for the savings of the timid; and the capital that was bold earned the double reward of its bravery and scarcity. As Walter Bagehot, the economist, has remarked, the English people have always wanted to put their money into something safe that will yield five per cent.; and this is undoubtedly one reason why English capital, free and fluent, is so much a power in the finance of the world, and why so much comes this way. As Mr. Bagehot says :- "In most countries, most men are content to forego interest; but in more advanced countries at some times there are more savings seeking investment than there are known investments for." It is thus in America, so far as "safe" investments are concerned, and by safe I mean such as do not require the active care and ceaseless thought of the capitalist, but may be held by trustees, widows, hospitals, universities, savings banks and the like. The competition of capital for the best class of government bonds, municipal bonds, railroad stocks, &c, has reduced the return on these to a very low figure, whether in America or England or Germany; and the result is that we see to-day, as never before, the planning of enormous trusts and gigantic industrial enterprises, which represent in no small degree the endeavor of capital, or savings, still to enjoy its wonted income, but in newer fields. Now I look upon the street railway business of the country, under the regime of electricity, as offering one of the best opportunities for local capital, and for what may be called the organization of local savings, which might otherwise lie around in napkins, like the unjust steward's talent, and be of no use to anybody. The capital in street railways in America to-day, reaches from $175,000,000 to $200 000,000. If the statement I have made as to the superior economy of electrical power be true, how much greater becomes the earning capacity of this investment, and how much greater are the attractions held out to construct the hundreds of new roads that are still wanted and will be called for as our towns and cities grow. Of course, I am aware that it may be said that this showing might lead to a demand for lower fares. It might, but the public is intelligent enough to know that other things are more necessary, such as better cars, with better heat and better light; improved tracks, faster running time and shorter headway; so that the 150,000,000 passengers on the street railroads every year may travel in all safety and comfort. Street railroads are peculiarly suitable as a field for local investment. Their operation can be watched all the time. They run under a man's eye when he is on the street, or past his window when he is home. He knows something of their officials; he can influence the domestic legislation they are subject to; he can assist in more ways than one to swell their earnings.

The next important point to which I would direct your attention is the effect that the electric railway has upon the employees of the service. It cannot be denied that the introduction of electricity in this respect marks a decided advance in the social condition and aptitudes of a large body of men. I have never yet met with anybody or anything that could place the work of a horse car driver in a favorable light. One certainly could not fairly expect a man who spends the day with his nose at the tail of a car horse to realize a very high ideal of life and duty, especially when the whole of his work is done under conditions exhausting alike to temper and physique. It is out-door exposure the whole time, whether in summer heat or winter blast. Half the time it is an exercise of sheer brute strength, and no car driver believes in his heart that a horse-power is only 33,000 foot pounds a minute. His aching wrists and dislocated shoulders tell him that Watt was far below the mark in putting it at that figure. And then, the worry of the street traffic. We have all of us noticed the conscientious persistence with which draymen and coachmen will keep on the car tracks in front of a car. An investigation made two or three years ago in Chicago showed that at one point in the streets there, 97.6 of the street traffic sought the railroad, while at another it was 87 1/2, and at a third, 90 per cent. Against such odds the driver with his restless or apathetic team has to make his way and keep to the running schedule; fighting all the time with the fear of an accident either to his car or to some hapless foot passenger.

With an electric car, the matter is not one of muscle and brawn, but of average intelligence and ordinary readiness of decision. A better class of men are wanted and forthcoming, or the same men are relieved from physical wear and tear, and thereafter can earn their bread in the sweat of their brow and not that of their body. A woman might easily run an electric car. The motorman gets instantaneously by the turn of a switch the exact degree of power that he wants; he can apply his brakes readily; and if he needs to run backward up-hill he can do so, sitting down at his switch. It is not necessary to expose him to the weather. His fears as to running people down are materially lessened by the gain in control of the car and by the further fact that an electric car takes up only half the space on the street that a horse car and its team do. The work is not less safe than cleanly. You may remember that when steam roads were started in South Carolina, one of the negro drivers tied down the safety valve and then sat on it. As a result, cotton bales were placed between the locomotive and the coaches to protect the passengers in case of explosion. The new driver was, however, still on the wrong side of the bales. In electric cars both driver and passengers are free from harm. John Bright once said that the safest place on earth was a first-class carriage in an express train; but to-day it may be fairly affirmed that no vehicle can compare as to freedom from danger with the electric street car.

A feature of this refinement of the work is that it must necessarily be attended by better pay for the higher intelligence and skill. Mere brute strength does not command good wages nowadays, except in a prize fighter, and the further we get away from animal conditions the better do we find the status of the individual or the occupation to be. The remarks made above as regards the drivers apply equally to the staff at the generating plant. People sometimes wonder why there are so many hostlers around car stables, but when you remember that well-kept car horses work only two hours and a quarter daily, you will see that they need a good many attendants at the stables during the other 20 odd hours. In place of these grooms and hostlers you have, with an electric plant, a skilled force of steam engineers and mechanics, each trained for the special function which the principle of the division of labor has shown him to be best qualified for.

And here let me inject the pertinent remark, that this new and successful development of electricity is one reason more why the mechanical engineer and steam engineer should master electrical principles and practice, whether for the higher walks of his profession or for the humbler duties of running a plant. The coming of electricity, and its application to light and power, has afforded a grand stimulus to steam engineering in every department, and may not improperly be claimed to have created the modern high speed engine. Sir William Thomson has said that the electrical engineer is nine-tenths a mechanical engineer. To this I will add a corollary, and say that the mechanical engineer may be a master in these new electrical fields if he will only add the one-tenth to his education. The time is at hand when the mechanical engineer will not be considered worthy of his name or his calling unless he is also an electrical engineer, as familiar with Ohm's law as he is with Carnot's or Mariotte's.

Incidentally through this paper I have referred to the effect of the electric railroad upon horses. It has, indeed, been most gratifying to see how readily the electric railroad has rallied to the support of the Humane Society. It is a humane society itself. Whether he wished it or not, the electrical engineer in this instance is conferring a great boon on the horse. We sometimes do the greatest good, as we do often the greatest evil, unconsciously, rather than of set purpose; and so, here, the inventors of the modern electric motor and the electric car have released the horse from one of the most painful and exhausting services that it was ever put to. Investigations over a long period have shown that with the pavement dry a horse would meet with an accident in every 78 miles of travel on granite; on every 168 miles with the pavement damp, and every 537 with the pavement thoroughly wet. Unfortunately for the horse, though happily for the rest of us, the first two conditions generally prevail on our streets; and hence the horse has a poor outlook as to accidents. But it is not the accident the horse has so much to dread, after all, as the constant strain and the pull of a heavy load from its dead rest every few hundred yards. It is generally admitted by street railway men that car horses fail because of this feature of their work, and that it helps to cut down their railroad life and utility to the average of from three to five years. If you want to see these conditions at their worst, take Broadway, once our pride, now one of the most overrated throughfares in Christendom. The pavement is abominable, and the horses, like the foot passengers, can be seen struggling for a grip on the uneven, slippery stones, all the way from one end of it to the other. The traffic on the street is so great that I have noted full cars making a dozen halts and starts from dead rest between Chambers and Barclay streets - two blocks. It does not require an expert to foresee the effect of such wear and tear on animals. In Cincinnati, recently, on installing an electric equipment, a street railway company advertised its horses for sale for family and carriage purposes. I have not observed any such advertisements in New York city. The street railway managers are more modest or more truthful here than they are on the banks of the Ohio. The only persons likely to regret seriously the departure of the street car horses from this city would be the horse dealers and feed supply houses, and possibly the street cleaning contractors, though they get their pay anyhow.

I might point out that as a further offset to this displacement of a certain amount of labor in an elementary form whether that of the horse or the human being in charge of him, we have the stimulus given to a higher class of labor, not only in the station engineer, and motor car driver, but in the electrical expert and inventor. Society benefits greatly by this, just as it does by the superior skill and efficiency implied in the maintenance of such a system as that of the Pennsylvania Railroad company. The running of express trains and fast steamships demands the exertion of the best qualities of a man, as well in the conception of ideas of improvement as in the details of solid construction and vigilant management. Here, therefore, we strike at once into a new field of design and invention, one that promises to be as large and fruitful as any other known to the application of electricity. There have already been several hundred patents taken out on the special subject of electric railways, and the whole air is alive with rumors of the ideas and inventions assuming shape. In a year or two it will be a wise motor that knows its own father. Each new step is a prophecy of a dozen more. Each new patent is a "father of its country," a germ of endless fertility. We begin to learn our resources. "Is there any load that water cannot lift?" asked Emerson, "If there be, try steam; or if not that try electricity. Is there any exhausting of these means?"

Now and then I hear the objection that people would be the quicker to adopt electric locomotion if it were not so beset and made costlier by patents. This is not true, and I have no patience with the spirit that begrudges the inventor his reward. Why do we use the great inventions? Simply and solely because they effect an economy for us in some way or other, chiefly in time or money. If they did not, we should care little about them, and the inventive geniuses of the day would be mere common clay to us. But, on the contrary, the inventor is revered and admired, and is encouraged by the wealth and fame he can earn. Occasionally one hears the expression of an idea that the inventor is wanting in public spirit and devotion to science because he takes out patents and does not invite the world to revel in the riches he reveals while he is content to starve over a crust in a garret. A few weeks ago, Mr. Edison told me that he had found one of his greatest intellectual pleasures in reading "Evangeline." But why should it be less public spirited for Edison to secure a patent on his phonograph than for Longfellow to obtain a copyright on his poetry? Why should not Bell have a patent on the telephone when Victor Hugo protects his "Notre Dame?" Is it not as right for George Westinghouse to derive a princely income from his life-saving airbrake as for Gilbert and Sullivan from their comic operas? Shall not Elihu Thomson enjoy some revenue from his new art of electric welding, as well as Bronson Howard from his "Shenandoah?" It is time that the ideas on this subject were set in the right perspective. Our inventors enjoy the benefits of the patent system because, like the novelists, the poets, the musicians and the artists, they are public benefactors. They promote the public welfare, add to the public comfort, increase the public wealth. The field of electric locomotion will be but one more opportunity to demonstrate this truth. There is no patent on the horse, but the patented electric motor can beat him on every point every day in the week.

Such then, are some of the reflections to which our subject invites us, at this early stage of its development, and there is but one other point to which after this section, I shall refer inclosing. Before I leave the electric street railway, I would again say as I said at the outset, that I am not presenting this latest application of electricity as perfect. It is not; on the contrary it is in development and improvement under our very eyes. It is endeavoring to harmonize with its environment. The questions and problems that it opens up are very much like the concentric shells of the Chinese ivory puzzle balls; and we have not yet reached their core. It has one or two family quarrels on hand. The telephone is hardly yet on speaking terms with it. But we know fairly well where the solution of each difficulty lies, and we are on the way to it. Nor am I in any sense an apologist for the shortcomings of our pioneer work. Electric railroad men have made mistakes, are making them now. That cannot be helped. Heaven save us from the men who cannot make mistakes; they will never learn. The conditions in electricity as an industry change with lightning rapidity. A Russian general once remarked of the political situation in Central Asia, that it changed every minute; and so it is in regard to the onrush and uplift of electrical discovery and enterprise. This very fact explains why much of the earlier electric railway work has been of an unfinished, unkempt kind. Mr. Charles Francis Adams, some years ago, in his interesting little work on railroads, said :- "It is a matter of curious observation that almost uniformly those early railroad builders made grave blunders, whenever they tried to do their work peculiarly well; they almost invariably had afterwards to undo it." This is not an excuse, however, for slovenly work. It is better to make blunders trying to do well than in lazily neglecting one's duty; and though it hurts a man who built for eternity to see his work ripped out in five years, he has the serene, sustaining consciousness of right effort and honorable performance. The electric street railway will the sooner achieve its social destiny if the engineering done upon it be the highest and best that the art at each instant will allow.

The topic I have reserved for brief final mention is that of electrical long-distance travel. This is the department of the subject in which imagination has not yet sobered down into invention. Our fancy still plays around the possibilities, and so far from realizing the social side of teletravel, people have not yet awakened generally to the idea that it has any serious, practical side at all. Our patriarchial poet, Whittier, expressed his surprise a month or two ago in his "Burning Driftwood," when he wrote :-

"Far more than all I dared to dream,
Unsought before my door I see;
On wings of fire and steeds of steam
The world's great wonders come to me."


The steeds of steam are now an old familiar story; but the mechanical Jay-Eye-Sees of the coming day bid fair to be those with "wings of fire;" and then our speed may be something more nearly approximating that of light. It is amusing, however, to see how quickly our generation has become accustomed to teletravel. Did not the Royal College of Bavarian Doctors seek to forbid railway travel because it would induce delirium furiosum among the passengers, and drive the spectators crazy? Did not an English quarterly say: "We would as soon expect the people of Woolwich to suffer themselves to be fired from one of Congreve's rockets as to trust themselves to the mercy of a machine going at the rate of twelve miles per hour?" And did not our own General Webb in 1835, after a railroad journey, with ladies, from Boston to Providence, exclaim in horror: "To restore herself to her caste, let a lady move in select company at five miles an hour, and take her meals in comfort at a decent inn." Such alarming and conservative extracts have a familiar sound, perhaps, but I can assure you that they are positively of the ancient date mentioned and not extracts from recent New York newspapers. The fact remains that to-day we have ceased to regard a speed of 60 miles an hour in railway travel as extraordinary, and are casting about for the means with which to attain a higher rate even than 75 miles, of which record was made in 1886, on a short run. This acceleration is, it appears probable, to be found best, or only, in the use of electricity, for the reason that the electric motor may drive directly on the axles, that it need not offer much resistance to the air, or smash the track, and that it does not have to carry its own supply of fuel and water. There are men in this audience who have seen such an electric locomotive making with ease 120 miles an hour, and who propose to propel it at 180 miles an hour. If these things be so - as they are - we know that with electric teletravel, the public will have to accustom itself to strange new conditions, exceeding in scope and power those of the last fifty years. The change will come in our time, and the present telegraphic and telephonic facilities are but an education for it. When we can talk instantaneously with friends in Boston or Philadelphia over a wire, we resent the inadequacy of the means of fast and far locomotion that should enable us to meet them face to face if we wish to do so. When we see electric cars in our streets traveling easily at 15 and 20 miles an hour, and know that on a clear, unbroken, straightaway track we could go from New York to Philadelphia or Boston with the same agency and kindred apparatus, in about an hour, American ingenuity and enterprise will not rest until the thing is done. That will be the first stage in the next evolution of travel.

At the present time electric street railroads are running or building in nearly 150 of our towns and cities, with some 2,000 cars on about 1,200 miles of track. So far as urban traffic is concerned, the new departure has been made. Electric locomotion is with us, an assured fact, the most civilized form of travel, as the electric light is of illumination and the telegraph or telephone is of communication. Already over 150,000,000 nickel ballots are being cast yearly in its favor, and the welcome to it is universal. In the northwest that brand-new cable plant costing $400,000 has just been thrown aside to make room for it. In the south, it is saluted with the exclamation of the delighted darkey, - "First dey freed de negro, and now dey freed de mule." In New York we are waiting on Providence and the aldermen, but we shall not be satisfied till this city is abreast of other progressive communities in the adoption of that which has given, in so short a time, so many proofs of its ability to promote in every respect the highest social welfare of the citizen.


The address was followed by the exhibition, with the aid of the magic lantern, of over 50 views of electric roads in as many American towns and cities, and of the leading systems. These views were explained with running comment.
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From Horse Power to Horsepower

Postby Lock » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:15 pm

From Horse Power to Horsepower
BY ERIC MORRIS

University of California Transportation Center
Access newsletter, Spring 2007

http://www.uctc.net/access/30/Access%2030%20-%2002%20-%20Horse%20Power.pdf

Amazing article about horse economics etc. Some excerpts:
In 1898, delegates from across the globe gathered in New York City for the world’s first international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It was not housing, land use, economic development, or infrastructure. The delegates were driven to desperation by horse manure.

The horse was no newcomer on the urban scene. But by the late 1800s, the problem of horse pollution had reached unprecedented heights. The growth in the horse population was outstripping even the rapid rise in the number of human city dwellers. American cities were drowning in horse manure as well as other unpleasant byproducts of the era’s predominant mode of transportation: urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, and traffic accidents. Widespread cruelty to horses was a form of environmental degradation as well.

The situation seemed dire. In 1894, the Times of London estimated that by 1950 every street in the city would be buried nine feet deep in horse manure. One New York prognosticator of the 1890s concluded that by 1930 the horse droppings would rise to Manhattan’s third-story windows. A public health and sanitation crisis of almost unimaginable dimensions loomed.

And no possible solution could be devised. After all, the horse had been the dominant mode of transportation for thousands of years. Horses were absolutely essential for the functioning of the nineteenth century city - for personal transportation, freight haulage, and even mechanical power. Without horses, cities would quite literally starve.

All efforts to mitigate the problem were proving woefully inadequate. Stumped by the crisis, the urban planning conference declared its work fruitless and broke up in three days instead of the scheduled ten.



SADDLED WITH THE URBAN HORSE
The horse pollution problem was not a new one. Julius Caesar banned horse-drawn carts from ancient Rome between dawn and dusk in an effort to curb gridlock, noise, accidents, and other unpleasant byproducts of the urban equine.



Nearly every item shipped by rail needed to be collected and distributed by horses at both ends of the journey. So as rail shipments boomed, so did shipments by horse. Ironically, railroads tended to own the largest fleets of horses in nineteenth-century cities.

This situation was made even worse by the introduction of the horse into an area from which it had been conspicuously absent: personal intra-urban transportation. Prior to the nineteenth century, cities were traversed almost exclusively on foot. Mounted riders in US cities were uncommon, and due to their expense, slow speeds, and jarring rides, private carriages were rare; in 1761, only eighteen families in the colony of Pennsylvania (population 250,000) owned one. The hackney cab, ancestor of the modern taxi, was priced far beyond the means of the ordinary citizen.

This changed with the introduction of the omnibus in the 1820s. Essentially large stage coaches traveling fixed routes, these vehicles were reasonably priced enough to cater to a much larger swathe of the urban population. By 1853 New York omnibuses carried 120,000 passengers per day. Needless to say, this required a tremendous number of horses, given that a typical omnibus line used eleven horses per vehicle per day. And the need for horses was to spiral even further when omnibuses were placed on tracks, increasing their speeds by fifty percent and doubling the load a horse could pull. Fares dropped again, and passengers clamored for the new service. By 1890 New Yorkers took 297 horsecar rides per capita per year.



MAKING HAY: FEEDING THE URBAN HORSE
The consequences of the horse population boom were sobering. While the horse may be a charming and even romantic animal, when packed into already teeming and unsanitary cities its environmental byproducts created an intolerable situation.

Horses need to eat. According to one estimate each urban horse probably consumed on the order of 1.4 tons of oats and 2.4 tons of hay per year. One contemporary British farmer calculated that each horse consumed the product of five acres of land, a footprint which could have produced enough to feed six to eight people. Probably fifteen million acres were needed to feed the urban horse population at its zenith, an area about the size of West Virginia. Directly or indirectly, feeding the horse meant placing new land under cultivation, clearing it of its natural animal life and vegetation, and sometimes diverting water to irrigate it, with considerable negative effects on the natural ecosystem.

And what goes in must come out. Experts of the day estimated that each horse produced between fifteen and thirty pounds of manure per day. For New York and Brooklyn, which had a combined horse population of between 150,000 and 175,000 in 1880 (long before the horse population reached its peak), this meant that between three and four million pounds of manure were deposited on city streets and in city stables every day. Each horse also produced about a quart of urine daily, which added up to around 40,000 gallons per day for New York and Brooklyn.

The aesthetics of the situation require little editorial comment. Horse droppings were not only unsightly but their stench was omnipresent in the nineteenth-century city. Urban streets were minefields that needed to be navigated with the greatest care. “Crossing sweepers” stood on street corners; for a fee they would clear a path through the mire for pedestrians. Wet weather turned the streets into swamps and rivers of muck, but dry weather brought little improvement; the manure turned to dust, which was then whipped up by the wind, choking pedestrians and coating buildings. Municipal street cleaning services across the country were woefully inadequate.

Moreover, thanks to the skyrocketing horse population, even when it had been removed from the streets the manure piled up faster than it could be disposed of. Manure makes fine fertilizer, and an active manure trade existed in the nineteenth-century city. However, as the century wore on the surge in the number of horses caused the bottom to fall out of this market; while early in the century farmers were happy to pay good money for the manure, by the end of the 1800s stable owners had to pay to have it carted off. As a result of this glut (which became particularly severe in summer months when farmers were unable to leave their crops to collect the dung), vacant lots in cities across America became piled high with manure; in New York these sometimes rose to forty and even sixty feet. Needless to say, these were not particularly beloved by the inhabitants of the nineteenth-century city.



Data from Chicago show that in 1916 there were 16.9 horse-related fatalities for each 10,000 horse-drawn vehicles; this is nearly seven times the city’s fatality rate per auto in 1997.



In addition, horses often fell, on average once every hundred miles of travel. When this took place, the horse (weighing on average 1,300 pounds) would have to be helped to its feet, which was no mean feat. If injured badly, a fallen horse would be shot on the spot or simply abandoned to die, creating an obstruction that clogged streets and brought traffic to a halt. Dead horses were extremely unwieldy, and although special horse removal vehicles were employed, the technology of the era could not easily move such a burden. As a result, street cleaners often waited for the corpses to putrefy so they could more easily be sawed into pieces and carted off. Thus the corpses rotted in the streets, sometimes for days, with less than appealing consequences for traffic circulation, aesthetics, and public health.



Due to the costs of feeding the animals and stabling them on expensive urban land, it made financial sense to rapidly work a small number of horses to death rather than care for a larger group and work them more humanely. As a result, horses were rapidly driven to death; the average streetcar horse had a life expectancy of barely two years. In 1880, New York carted away nearly 15,000 dead equines from its streets, a rate of 41 per day.



As difficult as it may be to believe for the modern observer, at the time the private automobile was widely hailed as an environmental savior. In the span of two decades, technology eradicated a major urban planning nightmare that had strained governments to the breaking point, vexed the media, tormented the citizenry, and brought society to the brink of despair. Yet, given the environmental problems that the automobile has brought, it is worth asking: was this a Faustian bargain?
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Trolley Cars Collide

Postby Lock » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:21 pm

Headlines of the Past!
Trolley Cars Collide
by Brooklyn Eagle (edit@brooklyneagle.net), published online 07-20-2011

The following report was published in the Brooklyn Eagle on July 20, 1901:
Trolley Cars Collide

“A small trolley accident at Bergen Beach last night when the rush for that cool spot was on, stirred up a whole lot of excitement for a time and led to the circulation of rumors that several lines had been lost. Flatbush Avenue car No. 2,628 had just passed the corner of East 75th Street and Avenue W, when it slowed up. The motorman of Nostrand Avenue car No. 1,667, crowded with people, didn't stop in time, and there was a crash.

“The air was quickly filled with shrieks of frightened women and the shouts of men, who were trying to avert a panic. Four people were found to be injured by the rear-end collision, but all of them refused medical assistance, although an ambulance call was turned in as soon as the news of the accident reached the Bergen Beach Company.

“The injured gave their names as follows: Mrs. Louis Myers, 77 Seminary Avenue, Rabway, NJ; Richard J. Foss, 1,371 Broadway; James Haviland, 39 Cornelia Street; Charles Fritz, 332 Ellery Street. Neither of the cars was badly damaged by the force of the collision.”


The first electric trolley ride in Brooklyn was on April 19, 1890. The new method of transport allowed people to travel to all corners of the city on the cheap. By 1919, there were 40 different trolley lines in Brooklyn, an abundance that inspired the nickname “trolley dodgers” for Brooklynites (a certain famous baseball team took this as their name and then shortened it to simply The Dodgers).

But the electric lines quickly proved more dangerous and accident-prone than their horse-drawn predecessors. In 1893, subway commissioners called for safety measures to be applied to the new lines, such as speed limits. There was public debate over the trolley system and its dangers versus its advantages. Who was responsible when people were struck and killed by the trolleys? The operators? The owners of the companies?

A dramatic broadside published in 1894 was titled “Crop Of Murders,” with the image of 17 little coffins representing the people that had been killed by trolleys that year. In 1895, the Eagle ran a story headlined “Must Be Stopped: Trolley Death List Is Too Long.”

Electricity was still relatively new, and people were amazed but wary of its powers. In a letter to the Eagle in 1892, when the electric lines were not yet widely in use, one reader wrote, “Electricity should never be used. It is too dangerous, but monopoly desires it. The monopolists will not govern it themselves. No insulation can prevent its power. It goes through iron and earth like the lightning from the sky. I would never build a house in Brooklyn if the trolley system were accepted.”

Trolleys faded from our streetscape in the 1950s, when city buses became the favored method of aboveground public transit, even though they were (and are) probably even more deadly than trolleys. And there was certainly never a beloved baseball team named ‘The Bus Catchers.’
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Driving Around New York City - 1928

Postby Lock » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:39 pm

Harold Lloyd shows us how it's done in 1928...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkqz3lpUBp0


These are scenes from his 1928 movie "Speedy". From here:
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/mobile/m/speedy/
Speedy_1928.jpg
Speedy_1928.jpg (234.98 KiB) Viewed 2327 times

Harold Lloyd, Ann Christy
In theaters Apr 07, 1928
Unrated, 1 hr. 11 min.

Cast:Harold Lloyd, Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff, Brooks Benedict, Ernie S. Adams, James Bradbury Jr, Josephine Crowell, Jimmie Dime, Byron Douglas, Bobby Dunn

Director: Ted Wilde

Rated: Unrated
Running Time: 1 hr. 11 min.
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy
Theater Release: Apr 07, 1928

Synopsis:This was comedian Harold Lloyd's last silent film, and one of his most charming. Lloyd's character here is called Harold "Speedy" Swift, an upbeat young man whose fatal attraction for baseball always causes him to lose his jobs. After his latest firing, he impulsively spends a day at Coney Island with his sweetheart, Jane Dillon (Ann Christy). Ann's grandfather, Pop Dillon (Bert Woodruff), meanwhile, has a dilemma -- he runs the last horse-drawn trolley in New York City, and the railway magnates desperately want his route. Since Pop won't sell it to them, they plan to get it by underhanded means. Pop must make his rounds at least once every 24 hours, so the magnates hire thugs to stop him. Speedy hears about this plan and, being gainfully unemployed, takes over the route to protect the old man. But the magnates then steal the trolley, and the climax of the film involves Speedy's dash to find the trolley and get it back to its route before the 24 hours are up. He makes it just in time and then forces the magnates to buy the route for a cool 100,000 dollars. This picture was shot on location in a Manhattan that now looks almost quaint for all its concrete and steel. Baseball legend Babe Ruth had a cameo role, playing himself as a very harassed fare when Speedy is working as a cabbie. Their wild ride ends at the old Yankee Stadium. Other historically interesting sites include Coney Island's Luna Park, and Columbus Circle and Wall Street as they were in 1928. In the film's climax, the trolley has a spectacular crash at the Brooklyn Bridge -- this accident was not planned, but was left in the film anyhow. At the time of this picture's release, Lloyd was a top box-office draw, a bigger moneymaker than Charlie Chaplin (whose releases during the '20s was infrequent) and Buster Keaton (whose quirky comedy wouldn't be fully appreciated for several decades). While Lloyd made some fairly amusing sound films, he never again matched the quality of his silent work.
~ Janiss Garza, Rovi
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Immisch & Co. 1889

Postby Lock » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:08 pm

Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England
1889

Report on the Implements Exhibited at Windsor, 1889.
By Thos. H. Thursfield, F.S.I., Reporting Judge.

No part of the Jubilee Show of the Royal Agricultural Society, held under the presidency of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor in 1889, more fully exemplifies the great progress and the wonderful development of agriculture during the fifty years' life of the Society, than does the Implement and Machinery Department...


The Electric Carriage (Art. 1175), exhibited by Messrs. Immisch & Co., of Maiden Electric Works, Kentish Town, London, N.W., is a facsimile of the one supplied to His Majesty the Sultan of Turkey, and is constructed to carry four persons. The electric motor is an "Immisch" one horse-power machine, the power being transmitted to the carriage wheels through suitable gearing placed under the body of the vehicle. The energy which drives the motor is stored in thirty accumulators of the E.P.S. type, containing sufficient power to run the carriage at a speed of ten miles per hour. The steering arrangements are extremely simple, and an ordinary foot-brake is also provided, which can be operated by the driver. A switch-box placed immediately in front of the driver enables the speed to be varied according to circumstances. The carriage was charged and was then tried by Sir Jacob Wilson and others, as well as by the Judges, in the Show-yard. It was easily managed and steered, but seemed, with a full complement of passengers, too heavy for the power available, and it would appear that the weight of the accumulators requires to be materially reduced in proportion to the power developed.


Sultans electric trike mentioned before here:
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8099&start=362
Image

...except the Sultans carriage from the year before was described as only "twenty-four small accumulators" versus thirty at Windsor so if all in series it seems Immisch might have bumped up the volts 25% in the interim. But one HP still sucked for a heavy trike with four passengers...
:cry:

1oCk
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The Crystal Button 1891

Postby Lock » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:47 pm

The Crystal Button
Or, Adventures of Paul Prognosis in the Forty-Ninth Century

by Chauncey Thomas
1891

Editors Preface
OPEN LETTER TO THE PUBLISHERS.


Dear Sirs:- For three months past, the undersigned has been engaged in the pleasant task of editing, for a Boston gentleman, the manuscript of a novel entitled "The Crystal Button, or Adventures of Paul Prognosis in the Forty-Ninth Century," which may perhaps commend itself as a fitting companion-piece to Mr. Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward."

Of course, neither author nor editor has any idea that it will rival that remarkable production; but, in many ways, it helps to supplement with details the same general picture of future possibilities that Mr. Bellamy has so skillfully and attractively painted.

Permit me to state briefly that the present imaginative work, of which the accompanying table of contents will give some idea, was written many years ago by the well-known coach-builder of Boston. The thought was to foreshadow the future possibilities of mechanical and material development; and the work of authorship was entered upon as a means of diversion from the cares of business.

The original manuscript, now before me, shows that it was begun in 1872, and that the author wrote the closing page on February 9, 1878. The slight story, now cut in two and used as "Introduction" and "Conclusion," was written somewhat later, but bears no date.

About the year 1880, the author showed me this manuscript, and asked advice whether it was suitable for publication in book form. I read it with great interest, but reported that, in my humble opinion, it needed and well merited somewhat more finish, and also required to be sustained by some sort of narrative. It is to be feared that this report served to shelve it, for I heard nothing more about it until I read Mr. Bellamy's book in August of last year, when its remarkable similarity in general scheme to that of " The Crystal Button" led me to request an opportunity to re-read the latter. As a result of correspondence that followed, the author expressed willingness to make it public, providing I would undertake the work of rearranging and editing it, which agreeable task is now approaching a finish.

I believe it to be a good book, in every way helpful and stimulating, decidely practical in many of its suggestions, and covering a great variety of topics that seem to me to appeal to the interests of large classes of readers.

Its chief defect, if such it may be called, is the fact, already stated, that its general scheme so closely resembles that of Mr.Bellamy's book that it would be difficult to convince the public of its priority, - a task I should shrink from undertaking, although I know it to be a fact. It is unfortunate that its scene should likewise be laid in Boston; but there seems no sufficient justification for an editor's attempting to change the locality, especially in view of the danger of complicating numerous references that might easily be made inexplicable.

On the other hand, the author departs from Mr.Bellamy's track by dealing mainly with mechanical and material development, as the table of contents clearly shows; and just here he naturally possesses originality and strength, being one of the ablest mechanics and inventors that the American coach trade has thus far produced. It is only near the close, in the chapters entitled "Law," "Government," and "Money," that he enters Mr. Bellamy's field, and he does so by cross-paths. To the suggestion that the introduction of certain notes in passing might help to emphasize or supplement some of Mr. Bellamy's views, the author has not only prohibited this, but also requested the removal, so far as possible, of everything in his original manuscript that might suggest parallelism with any ideas presented in "Looking Backward," although, at the same time, he expresses general approval of the ideas therein advanced.

In the judgment of the editor, however, the all-important point of the present book is its theory of the simple but effective means by which the world finally attains the high level of the new civilization, which is described through the teachings of a reformer known as John Costor, whose text is ever "Truth! Truth!" It is Costor's emblem, the crystal button, that very fittingly gives the title to the book. Upon this foundation of truth, exerting its benign influence in wholly peaceful ways through the instrumentality of the individual, the family, social life, the arts, the government, and finally through the grand consolidation of all governments, he erects the pillars of his ideal state. Whatever Socialism and Nationalism may or may not accomplish, this lesson of truth-loving and truth-observing is certainly a kind of seed that can hardly fail to produce good fruit, whatever the soil on which it may chance to alight. In this, as you will observe, consists the moral force of the book.

Please pardon the length of this letter, but I feel desirous to do my duty, as far as I am able, in adequately introducing the work to your attention; and, with your permission, it will give me pleasure to submit the manuscript to you as soon as it is completed.

Very respectfully yours,

George Houghton.
Yonkers, New York, February 10, 1890.




CHAPTER XXIII

The Transcontinental Railway.


"For variety," said Marco, "we will return to the city by one of these electric road-carriages, which is likely to be quite as swift as the aerial car, and we shall then have an opportunity to inspect the transcontinental railway line. I am sure that will interest you, for it is based on a principle which was only entertained as a vague theory in your century. And, if we lose no time, we shall be able to take a glimpse of the evening train as it shoots by."

"By all means, then, let us hasten."

"The electric carriage must hasten for us. The road to the city from this point is one of the best, and there are no restrictions as to speed, so our driver will be able to show you the possibilities of his machine."

With these words, Marco called a carriage, explained to the driver that he wished to be at a certain point at a certain time; and, without an instant's delay, they coursed down Meridian Peak and into one of the great boulevards leading toward the city, which blazed and glistened in the afternoon sun-glow.

Meanwhile the carriage itself attracted Paul's attention, by reason of its simplicity and beauty, and the surprising ease with which it glided along the level highway. In form, the body was not unlike that of the primitive coupe, giving accommodation to two passengers inside, while the driver occupied an outer and elevated seat at the rear, after the style of the Hansom cab. The source of power was invisible; and, judging by the attitude of the driver, the means of applying it was well-nigh automatic. Marco explained that the electric battery was snugly packed under the seat they occupied, and that the supply of power was equal to about a day's travel with their present load and under the favorable conditions of the road before them.

"And about what speed are we now making?"

"The driver can tell us, as a dial before him keeps that fact constantly recorded, so that he can time himself to make any given distance with the greatest accuracy."

An inquiry addressed to the driver brought the response that, while coasting down the hillside, they had for a short space made a record of twenty-one and one tenth miles per hour, but that this was now reduced to eighteen and four tenths.

Marco further explained that the body and wheels of the vehicle were composed entirely of metal; but such was the accuracy of adjustment that not the slightest sound was heard, excepting the firm, even roll of the wheels as if they clung to a metal track, and the occasional peal of a musical bell as they approached a crossroad or a vehicle going less rapidly than they. The danger of collision was greatly reduced by the fact that all vehicles approaching the city were divided from those outward-bound by a double row of elms inclosing three middle paths for pedestrians, bicycles, and saddle-horses; so that speed was seldom slackened excepting at some of the great crossways.

"So horses are allowed here."

"Yes, we are still outside the city limits."

Between the towering Pyramids they soon swept; down the incline toward the river, alive with gay water-craft; over the Old Bridge, populous with statues; and then, by a swift curve, under the porte-cochere of the railway station, where they learned that the evening express was due in two minutes and a quarter. The station-master showed them an indicator in his office, on which the approaching train was shown by an index finger; and, at the same moment, alarm bells began to sound along the roadways. The window of the station was thrown up, and they looked out to see the track.

"But I see no track!" exclaimed the astonished spectator.

"I will explain that later," said Marco. "Here comes the train!"

There was a flash - a glisten - a slight suspension of breath and dizziness as the air seemed caught from the lungs - a little puff of dust - and it was gone!

"Is that a railway train which passed," gasped Paul, "or a whirlwind?"

"That," - answered the station-master, smiling at the visitor's surprise, "is our regular evening express, which will land its passengers within sound of the Pacific's waves in twenty-four hours from now."

"And now about the track."

"Before we look at that," said Marco, "I want to propose that we visit the main station and car-shops, where you will have an opportunity to examine the rolling-stock. My object in pausing here was simply to show you a train under full speed."

They therefore re-entered their carriage, took another short course, obtained a permit and a guide, and were conducted into a spacious car-house, where several trains stood side by side.

At first glance, Paul thought each train was continuous from end to end, and it was practically so, although there were provisions for disconnecting its parts and lengthening or shortening it according to the demands of custom. Each train was several hundred feet in length, and the entrance doors were at the sides.

While he stood looking at them, a bell struck, and one of these solid trains moved slowly and smoothly past him, gradually attaining speed, and with such silent celerity that Paul stared after it in dumb amazement as it vanished in the far distance.

"What kind of wheels, what kind of axles, and what kind of roadways have you, to admit of speed like that?" asked Paul; "and what speed is it possible for you to attain?"

"To answer your last question first," said the guide, "our fastest trains travel at the rate of three degrees of longitude [over two hundred miles] per hour. The rails, wheels, journals, and boxes are all either solid, or cased with hardened steel, and are perfectly true."

"I see," said Paul excitedly, - "I see that this is an age of perfection, and that, with the perfect mechanism you have to deal with, you can easily and safely make somewhat over four times the speed we used to boast of. Why not? We did well to accomplish what we did, over the rough jounces of our crooked rails and decaying wooden sleepers. But your track? I have not yet seen any track. I see only these fences, - what is the purpose of these fences?"

"They are the tracks," said the guide, solemnly eying the visitor, as if he did not quite understand the cause of his surprise.

Paul advanced and asked: "On which side of this fence was the train that has just left us?"

"It was on both sides," said Marco, laughing; "in fact, it was astride of this fence. It is simply a single-track railway."

Upon examining the single rail on top of the supposed fence, Paul found that it consisted of a number of steel bars, placed on edge and bolted together by lapping joints so as to make it continuous, and fixed in a grooved capping of cast-iron, all being planed and fitted with the greatest nicety. The lower part of the fence-like support of the rail proper was extremely strong and stiff, having a wide base and being bolted to a solid stone foundation.

Paul walked around the front end of one of the "transports," as he noticed the guide called these trains, and found it to be pointed like the prow of a boat, and the lower part cleft to the height of the rail, which latter was about six feet above the foundation. On the top of the transport was a longitudinal projection, like the inverted keel of a boat, or still more like the dorsal fin of an eel. "This covers the wheels," said Paul to himself, "and the axles are across the top, or probably under the framework of the top." On questioning the guide, he found this to be the case.

"These transports, as you see, are very light structures," said Marco, "great weight having been found inconsistent with great speed."

"I believe you are right," said Paul; "yet in my day we had night cars weighing over thirty tons each, whose carrying capacity was only fifteen passengers, or two tons of dead weight to each passenger carried; while, at the same time, we had cars of only one twentieth that weight which easily carried the same number of passengers and their luggage over the roughest roads. I suppose," he continued, "that a train on a double-track road could hardly be made to attain the high speed that has been named."

"No," answered Marco, "for experience showed that they were liable to jump the tracks, or do something else that was undesirable. You see, this is no experiment. Centuries ago, it was settled that the use of a single track was the only practicable means of combining speed and safety. By this arrangement, the weight is disposed on either side and below the top of the rail, for the transport bestrides its support just as a rider does his horse, thus giving a maximum degree of stability and safety."

"I should think curves, turnouts, and drawbridges would cause trouble."

"So they would," said Marco, "if we had them; but the rail for a fast line has no curves, and no breaks excepting at terminal stations, where all transfer ways are placed. No switches are ever used on the fast lines."

"A very wise precaution, too," said Paul. "Those old switches we used to tolerate had a multitude of crimes to answer for. But how do you prevent the overhanging sides of this transport from rubbing and grinding against the ironwork below the rail? It must sometimes be 'out of trim,' as we would say of a boat; and this transport is really more like a boat than like any rail-car I have ever before seen."

"Look underneath here," said Marco, "and you will readily understand how that is avoided. Here are horizontal wheels, which rest against the sides of the iron support. When speed is attained, these wheels separate a little, by an arrangement worked by the swift passage of air through the clefts dividing the two parts of the transport. Thus they come into action only when the motion is slow, as in starting or slowing up. Moreover, as you doubtless know, great velocity insures stability. A body moving with swiftness shows no tendency to oscillation. And here again, on the roof, is another device intended to preserve the proper poise. It works automatically. You see this longitudinal rib on top, which covers the wheels. It looks smooth and continuous, but it is, in fact, cut out in various places between the wheels, and these cut-out sections are mounted on upright shafts and turned to the right or left as the car tilts, however little that may be; and the swift current of air, striking these rudders, helps further to keep the transport vertical and steady. If you were to ride in one, I think you would be surprised to find how perfectly this quality of steadiness has been attained."

"No doubt, no doubt! Indeed, I am now ready to believe that the generations of masterminds that have dealt with these questions since my day have removed all difficulties which puzzled railway managers in my time. Yet these points cannot but present themselves to my mind, and suggest questions. For instance, supposing the engineer should forget to apply the brakes at the proper time, I should think, in case of a smash-up, that a transport and its passengers would be demolished beyond recognition."

"Unquestionably," answered Marco; "but we do not throw as much responsibility on human agency as you were accustomed to do. We supplement man's powers by every possible mechanical contrivance. These brakes all act automatically. Whenever the transport approaches a point on the road where a regular stop is to be made, the brakes are thrown into action by an attachment to the track, or, rather, to the frame that supports it. A long, swelled projection on the frame actuates an arm on the transport, and thereby throws on the brakes and shuts off the steam at the same instant. This, of course, applies only to regular stopping-places. In case of emergency, the engineer uses his judgment, but we leave as little to his judgment as possible."

"I suppose it is all right," said Paul, "but we used to have an idiom to the effect that 'accidents will happen in the best regulated families,' the truth of which we frequently exemplified; and I should think such speed would be fruitful of disaster. Imagine another train coming in contact with it from behind, as was not uncommon in the early days of railroading; why, not a person in either transport could escape instant annihilation."

"That can never happen," said Marco, "for the positions of all transports are known at all times all along the line; and in case one made a stop from any unexpected cause, every other would be immediately notified by telegraph, and none would be allowed to leave a station unless the track were open to the next principal station."

"That is a good arrangement. Yet I should still expect trouble of some kind would result from such speed. I should expect, for instance, that the wheels would sometimes fly in pieces, and come crashing through the middle wall into the passengers' quarters."

"All I can say is that it does not happen. Of course, every possible precaution is adopted. The wheels are of the best quality of steel forgings, and no more liable to break than a circular saw, which can safely be run at double the speed."

"I should suppose, also," continued Paul, "that engines heavy enough to drive these carriages could hardly be worked fast enough to turn the wheels at the required speed without great loss."

"A very good point," replied Marco, "but I will answer it by showing you the engine itself."

Walking down to the middle of the transport by which they were standing, they entered the engineer's compartment, and Paul soon perceived how this difficulty was overcome. High overhead were the axles of the great driving-wheels. These axles were provided, not with cranks, but with gears. The gears were rather small-toothed, very small and bright, broad-faced, and arranged in pairs, two wheels being placed side by side, the teeth not corresponding in position. The crank-shaft, which passed through from side to side in the space between the tread of the driving-wheels, carried two pairs of crown wheels and engaged the four pairs of pinion wheels on the axles above. The speeding-up was about three to one. The steam cylinders were horizontal, and placed as near the middle of the shaft as possible. All the arrangements were very beautiful, and they commended themselves to Paul's practiced eye as perfection realized.

"Well," said Marco, as his companion completed his survey, "what do you think of it?"

"I think," said Paul, "as a jockey might, after inspecting a famous horse, - 'it looks as if it had ninety in it.' But do you find no difficulty in starting these engines?"

"We probably should," answered the young engineer, "but we avoid that liability by employing an auxiliary starter, worked by compressed air, which gives it a good send-off. The engine is perfectly capable of making a start from a standing position, but it would be a little slow."

"I understand. Now, one thing more, if you please, and if time will allow. I should like very much to see something of your system of electric signals. I shall probably not be able to comprehend them, but even a glance at them would interest me, because I have given considerable attention to that subject."

They walked toward the manager's office, and as they did so, Paul watched the great transfer platform slowly moving the transports into position for starting. He also saw another of these movable sections of the road in a monster turntable, waiting to receive one of the transports, which, like a land steamer, was gradually swinging about, as if at her dock.

Upon entering the office, the young man directed Paul's attention to a long case, which had a double slide in front, and a metallic back on which were engraved the names of cities.

"There," said Marco, "this represents the length of road from here to Megothem, two hundred miles or an hour's distance from here. These are the names of the stations along the road, and these little moving objects represent the precise positions of all the transports now en route, either going or coming. Whenever a stop is made by any one of them, a gong is sounded, and this signal is repeated when it starts again. The manager, by a glance, can thus keep the run of things as speedily and accurately as he can tell the time of day by looking at the clock."

"We used a similar device in connection with our passenger elevators in buildings," said Paul, "so I can readily understand how the principle might be extended and applied in this case. It is excellent. Has the manager also some means of communicating with the trains while in transit?"

"Oh, certainly. Each transport is in telegraphic connection with every station on the line, so that messages can be passed to and fro whenever desirable."

"Good, very good! And the result is" - "No accidents," broke in Marco, "and no opportunity for accidents."



CHAPTER XXIV.

Mount Energy.


"Now, then," said Marco, "prepare to be again surprised, and supremely so, by a sight of what we call 'Mount Energy.'"

A further short course in the electric carriage brought them to the outskirts of the city, where they alighted at the foot of a rocky hill; and on its brow Paul beheld a lofty rampart or tower of stone, circular in form and more than two thousand feet in diameter, surmounted by what appeared to be a naval display of tall-masted vessels, sailing in stately procession around the margin of its summit. "Well, well!" exclaimed Paul, "I don't understand at all what this means."

"This," said Marco, "is one of many similar towers from which we mainly derive our mechanical power, aud this is the largest. Here is where we produce the compressed air that moves our cars and drives our machinery; here are located the electric generators that give us light; and here we separate hydrogen from water, that it may be used for warming our houses in winter and cooking our food. These processes are chiefly performed by power caught directly from the winds. Mind you, we no longer look upon the winds of heaven as uncontrollable and pitiless forces that are to be feared and shunned. We invite their cooperation; and, with a little ingenuity in handling them, they have become very docile and helpful friends."

"I see, — you have tamed our eagles into domestic fowls. But do you not find them rather inconstant? I should suppose that their wings would often be becalmed, and that your machinery would soon stop."

"That is where the ingenuity comes in," said Marco. "Like most other difficulties, this one is not insurmountable, as you will soon see. But before I try to explain, let us walk up the incline leading to the working level, and there you will be able to see and understand for yourself most of the appliances that are employed."

The terraced road before them, after reaching the summit of the hill, entered a long arched roadway or sloping bridge that led to the top of the wall, where an arched opening gave entrance to the interior. They slowly climbed this steep incline, stopping frequently to take breath, and also to enjoy the charming panoramic view of the contrasted scenes of city and country life by which they were surrounded. Out of the sunshine they then passed through the topmost arch and last tunnel, that led through a solid wall thirty or forty feet in thickness, into the midst of the animated scene of the interior. Paul was fully prepared to be surprised, but the reality far surpassed his expectations.

The entire roof of the vast tower was slowly revolving above their heads like a horizontal wheel. At intervals between the circumference and centre were lines of iron framework, forming circles within each other, and these frames supported a great number of wheels on which the roof rested and revolved. Attached to the iron frames and operated by the wheels were innumerable condensing engines, and other strange-looking contrivances that Marco explained were electric generators and hydrogen liberators. Upon inquiry, they learned that, as the breeze blowing was moderate, only one fourth the entire number of machines were at present connected; but that, with a high wind, all could easily be pushed to their full capacity, and the amount of work they accomplished, as exhibited by tables of figures, was beyond the power of Paul's mind to grasp at once.

"Before we go up on deck," said Marco, "I may as well explain the principal features of this wind apparatus. You noticed the solidity of the wall through which we entered. Well, on top of this wall is a circular canal, extending around the whole structure. Floating in this canal is an annular vessel, nearly filling it, which carries the principal weight of the deck that covers the entire area, and also the weight of the masts, sails, and rigging. The wheels on which the deck rests help incidentally to support it, but are mainly employed in accumulating and transmitting the power."

While Marco thus spoke, the visitors reached the great central shaft, around which curved a stairway, and this they followed until they stepped through an opening at the top and stood in the midst of the revolving platform, surrounded by sunshine and the flash of white sails. In the centre arose an iron tower or mainstay, that seemed to pierce the clouds; while around the rim of the deck, at regular intervals of one hundred feet, stood the masts, uniform in height, and much higher than the mainmasts of the largest ships. Sixty of these masts completed the circle. They were held firmly in position by stays radiating from the iron tower, and also by stays extending from one to another and to projecting spars resembling bowsprits. Each mast was provided with a double series of booms, swinging both inwardly and outwardly, the lower ones being very long, while those at the top were shortened like the yards of a square-rigged ship. On these swinging booms were arranged the sails, which opened and closed like the wings of a butterfly, trimming themselves automatically to catch the faintest breeze. Paul could easily see that the strength of the masts, sails, and rigging was calculated to withstand the most furious gale, and that no reefing was ever necessary. The great circular ship was always in working order, day or night, blow high or blow low, without the need of ever calling poor Jack to tumble up and spread or shorten sail.

Paul gazed without speaking upon the great white wings as they swept noiselessly, but irresistibly, around the grand circle. He felt small and weak as he contemplated the proportions of this marvelous work of human hands, and estimated the enormous horse-power it must represent. "There is really a sort of majesty about it," he finally ejaculated.

"I think so, too," said Marco, "and I often pay a visit here to get nerved up, as it were."

"I begin," added Paul, "to see the significance of all this. In the rapid succession of unaccustomed sensations I have experienced during the past two days, I have had little time for thought; but I can vaguely feel rather than understand what this means. The world's coal-fields are no doubt exhausted, and you have no fuel for either steam-power or heating purposes. Consequently, you are obliged to resort to this mode of obtaining power through the medium of compressed air, and to this mode of securing heat through hydrogen and light through electricity. All are produced here, and the power that produces them is that of the winds."

"You are a keen observer, sir," said Marco, "but not altogether correct in your premises. As a matter of fact, our coal supply is not yet exhausted, but vast quantities have been wasted, and we never allow ourselves to use coal for producing power so long as we can conveniently substitute wind or falling water, and our steam is mainly produced by the heat of the sun's rays."

"Steam by the sun's rays?" said Paul inquiringly. "Ah, that was Ericsson's prophecy. But have you really learned how to secure useful work from the sun?"

"Yes, indeed," rejoined Marco. "In the long, hot days of summer, when the winds are light, it is a powerful auxiliary, on which we have learned to depend. We no longer complain of hot weather: we know it means cheap power, that will be carefully stored and prove invaluable in a thousand ways. The sun apparatus is at work to-day, and, if you are ready, we will immediately visit it. It covers the south wall of this structure, and we can descend by this elevator directly to the works."

"One more question, first," said Paul. "I see you have two strings to your bow for the production of energy; but supposing wind and sun both fail to lend their shoulders to your work, as they must at times, what then happens?"

"The same as usual," answered Marco. "Everything proceeds; nothing stands still. We merely make a draft on the surplus energy we always keep on storage, which is intended to be sufficient for at least a full month's supply without assistance from any other source. The supply has never yet been exhausted."

"How can you store sufficient compressed air to meet such a requirement, and where do you store it?"

"Storage is not difficult. For instance, the wall that supports these upper works is a vast water cistern, which is sunk far below the surface of the ground; and resting upon the water is the air-receiver, which is of the full size of the interior space. This is open at the bottom, and rises as the air is forced into it. It has a vertical range of one hundred feet, and is loaded to maintain a pressure of three atmospheres. It is not an open inverted cistern, but is formed like a honeycomb of upright hexagonal cells, and these cells communicate with each other by openings near the top, so that the pressure is equal and constant."

As Marco spoke, he drew Paul toward the elevator; the door opened, and they took their seats in the car, which rapidly descended.

"I see," said Paul; but he said the words a little dubiously.



CHAPTER XXV.

The Solar Steam-Works.


At the bottom of the elevator shaft, Paul and Marco entered the engine-room of the Solar Steam-Works: this extension to the main structure was crescent-shaped, and extended from the southeast to the southwest, covering about a third of the main wall. The floor was occupied by a long line of powerful steam-engines, following the curve of the wall, all vigorously, but noiselessly, at work.

"The heating apparatus," said Marco, "which is the chief attraction for us, is on the floor above; and if we ascend by the eastern entrance, we shall see it to the best advantage, as the sun is now on the west side."

Passing up a spiral stairway, they entered directly into the steam-generating room, and Paul experienced still another novel sensation. Some moments passed before he was able to collect his faculties and intelligently observe what was going on about him. He then saw that, on the side opposite the main wall, was a cavernous horizontal recess, walled with white fire-brick, and within this recess a perfect network of pipes. This pipe cavern extended all around the outer inclosure, while the wall above the brickwork, and also the roof of the great crescent extension, were composed entirely of glass, the height being the same as that of the main structure, namely, two hundred feet, with width about the same. Paul next noticed that the main wall was entirely covered by mirrors, all so adjusted in frames that they were made to catch and reflect the sun's rays directly into the cavern below and upon the pipes, which he now understood were intended to answer the place of boilers; the movements were automatic, turning with the sun, and all that were now exposed cast their quota of rays full into the boiler recess. The effect of the flood of light which, at first glance, seemed to radiate from the boilers to the mirrors, was dazzling beyond description, and it was difficult for Paul to conceive that the blazing interior of the boiler receptacles was not really a bed of live coals. Marco explained how the morning sun illuminated one half of the mirrors, how the noon sun illuminated both halves, and how the present afternoon sun again expended itself on one half.

"It is much easier than you might at first suppose," said Marco, "to thus generate steam from the sun's rays, the heat being directly applied to a much larger heating surface than could be reached by fire."

"Yes; but the degree of heat thus accumulated is what I most marvel at."

"That is merely a matter of mathematics. We have only to catch and convert into power the solar heat falling upon an area ten feet square, - that is, one hundred square feet, - and we secure energy equal to the force of five or six horses. The power placed within our reach by the sun's rays and the winds is, you see, exhaustless, and equal to every need of man in the way of motive and mechanical force. But I should add that both these sources of power, limitless as they are, would be of little practical use to us without the medium of compressed air through which we make the application. In your day, you had little conception of what a wonderful agent of usefulness you held dormant in compressed air. It is always ready for work, and it waits our pleasure though unused for years. When needed, we have only to turn a valve, and this willing servant instantly answers our summons. With equal facility it turns the delicate little rotaries for the lightest task, or the immense engines employed in our factories and forging works. It is ready for the jeweler's blowpipe, or for the blast furnace. It cools and purifies the chamber of the invalid, or blows the organ, or dries vaults and cellars. In innumerable ways, it is now an indispensable helper."

"I can understand that," said Paul; "and I can also understand one important advantage it possesses as compared with steam. With steampower the fire needs constant attention as well as the boiler. Moreover, to be effectual, - to say nothing about being economical, - it must be operated constantly during working hours. It must oftentimes, therefore, be in active service for long periods, and at considerable expense for fuel and care, when there is no work for it to do. I can understand that, with compressed air, supplied by a system of pipes, there is no call for constant attention, but it is always on duty when needed, and can be shut off the moment it has filled that need."

"Moreover," continued Marco, "a further saving is made in our large workshops by having each machine, to which power is applied, driven by its own independent air-wheel. In fact, nearly every machine nowadays is made with its power-wheel as an integral part of the mechanism, thus saving both first cost and wear and tear of shafting, pulleys, and belting, and also the waste of power required in constantly driving them."

"That's an improvement, certainly," responded Paul. "So you connect each machine directly with the supply pipe, do you?"

"Exactly."

"An improvement, unquestionably! I know that by my own experience."

Leaving the boiler-room, and descending by stairs to the engine-room below, they again passed the long row of engines and so out of the building, whereupon they re-entered the electric carriage, and were whisked down the hillside avenue.


Nice to see bike paths in the fourty-ninth century... Mount Energy... awesome.
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