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24th. The crew of sailors consisted chiefly of that indifferent class usually shipped for short runs, to whom of course the rig of the ship was entirely new. Some of the engineers stood well to their duty, but others, and nearly all the stokers, were completely knocked up with sea-sickness. The deck was encumbered with at least 30 tons to 40 tons of chain cables and materials, and the coal was stowed chiefly in the upper bunkers, for the greater convenience of working it with so few men.
Consequently, with no weight in her bottom, the centre of gravity was raised so high, that the rolling, which was considerable, but very easy, is not surprising.
With the wind ahead, or on either bow, and with a heavy head sea, she steered with the greatest ease and precision, and in the crowded river it was truly surprising how she threaded her way.
When the heavy sea before mentioned struck her it caused no deviation whatever from the uniform motion of the engines, which went on as steadily as if they had been on land, neither was there the slightest yielding in the plummer-blocks, the frame, or in any part of the engines, or the engine-room, which is so riveted together, as to form one united frame.
On several occasions the author watched the screw, and he does not think it ever rose one-half of its diameter out of the water; and standing by the engines during the worst of the gale, he could only observe that there was occasionally a slight acceleration, during perhaps half a revolution, but there never was any check to the uniform rate. The paper is illustrated by seven drawings and diagrams, Nos. 3778 to 3784, showing longitudinal and transverse sections of the vessel and engines, with an elevation of the screw-propeller and diagrams of its angles of pitch, slip, &c.
To be Continued.
Herron's Patent American Railway Track.
TO THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLICATIONS OF THE JOURNAL OF THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE.
Gentlemen. I submit for publication in the Journal of the Institute, the accompanying article, and plan, descriptive of my patent railway track, as laid upon the Philadelphia and Reading railroad. Very respectfully, &c.,
JAS. HERRON, C. E.
The cut is a plan of the railroad track invented and patented by Mr. James Herron, C. E., as it is laid upon the Philadelphia and Reading railroad, between Valley Forge and Phoenixville, as seen before the trellis foundation was covered with earth.
The trellis, or diagonal sills, represented in white, are 3 inches thick, 8 inches wide, and 14 feet 9 inches long. These sills are of sawed white pine timber. They were laid upon the clay embankments, and in the wet cuts, without any ballasting under them; and, it will be seen, that they make an angle of about 45 degrees with the line of the
rails. A second course, of the same sized sills, laid nearly at right angles on the former, make, together, the latticed foundation for supporting the rails, as shown in the cut. These sills are not notched into each other where they cross, but are secured together, on the centre line and extremities, by two spikes driven in each crossing.
upon the road. The rails, represented by the heavy black lines, have a continuous bearing upon the string-pieces, with which they regularly break joint, while the latter are evenly supported by the strongly combined elastic trellis foundation.
The rails, string-pieces and trellis sills, are secured together upon this track, by inch screw bolts, two at each intersection of the lat tice. And the ends of the rails are joined by chairs of wrought iron, of a new design.
The fastenings used upon this track are more than fifty per cent. heavier than those Mr. H. used upon his Baltimore and Susquehanna track; but, for the generality of railways throughout the United States, the common hook spike fastening would be quite sufficient, and would materially reduce the first cost of the track. Mr. Herron, has, however, devised a more perfect system of adjusting fastenings than any he has hitherto put in practice, by which the rails and string-pieces could be removed, replaced, and adjusted without disturbing the ballasting, or the sub-structure. Those fastenings will, also, afford great additional facility in the taking out and replacing any of the trellis sills that may require it, which can be done on any of his tracks, without stopping the trade of the road, but with the more improved fastenings to the extent of the whole timber structure.
The whole of the timber used in this track underwent an antiseptic process. A solution of the bichloride of mercury being forced into the wood by a pressure of 100 pounds on the inch, the air being exhausted, nearly half a gallon of solution was forced into each cubic foot of timber. The strength of the solution was one pound of sublimate to fifteen gallons of water, with the exception of 9,500 feet, laid between the 28 mile post and Phoenixville, prepared with a solution of only one pound to thirty gallons of water.
The simple soakage of timber in this solution, (Kyan's process) has, almost universally, proved successful, both in the large quantities thus prepared in England, as well as in the more limited application of it, hitherto made in different States of this Union. And, where an occa sional piece of timber has been found to decay, in some of the large lots prepared in England, (for as yet, there is no evidence of any timber prepared with corrosive sublimate, having rotted in the United States,) there is much reason to suspect that it was owing to decomposition having too far advanced in the heart of the piece at the time it was subjected to the process.
As the penetration by soakage, however, extends but little way below the surface of the timber in the generality of cases, it could not reach, and arrest the decay in progress at the centre, hence the more effectual process of forcing the solution into the body of the timber, to perfect saturation, has been adopted by the British Admiralty, and on some of the more recently constructed railways in England, as well as by Mr. Herron, who is believed to have made the first successful application of it, by hydraulic pressure, in the United States. Security on this track is nearly perfect, for should an engine, or car, by any means be thrown off the rails, it will not be likely to result in any serious damage, as the trellis sills are covered by the ballasting,
leaving nothing exposed, as the cross sills are, for the wheels to strike against, and thus shatter the carriages. And as the string-pieces and rails are strongly secured, they will serve as guards to keep the carriages from running off the embankments. Cases have occurred, where a car axle broke, and one or more wheels were thrown off the rails, yet the train continued on, in two instances, for more than a mile before the men upon the cars discovered it.
November 15, 1845.-This track has now been opened to the heavy trade one year and five days, during which time, eight hundred thousand tons, (of 2,240 lbs.) of coal have rolled over it. The gross tonage of the coal trade, the cars and engines being added to the above, will make about 1,310,000 tons. And the whole rolling tonnage, including freight, passengers, and road materials, probably, 1,400,000 tons. The excellent condition of the track, and the ease of motion with which the cars roll over it, are proverbial.
The quantity and cost of materials and workmanship, per mile of track, were as follows, viz:
8,633 cubic feet (103,600 ft., b. m.) of white pine, at 15
cents per cubic foot,
8,633 cubic feet of timber impregnated with the bichloride
7,575 lbs. of hook-headed screw bolts and nuts, & inch di
ameter, at 74 cents,
2,000 lbs. of Burden's 7 inch boat spikes, at 5 cents, 2,143 lbs. of cast-iron washers for bolts, at 3 cents,
Cost of materials, exclusive of rails,
93 tons of H rails, 59.2 lbs. per yard of bar, at $60 per ton, Workmanship, constructing and laying track, about
Cost of one mile of Herron's patent track, No. 1, as laid on the Reading railroad,
The above account, does not, of course, include the cost of widening the cuts and embankments, removal of slips, loose stone, solid rock, and ditching; nor the distribution of materials, straightening of damaged iron, cost of hydraulic Kyanizing apparatus, timber and other materials left and since used upon other parts of the road, &c.
When spikes are used to secure the rails, instead of screw bolts, the cost will be very considerably reduced; and as timber may generally be had at one third less than the above price, and as it may be more cheaply preserved with the chloride of zinc, the cost of No. 2 track, laid with heavy iron, will be from seven to eight thousand dollars per mile.
For the purpose of extending the benefits of this improvement as widely as possible, Mr. Herron has determined to render his patent charge merely nominal, by merging it in the cost of construction, while the latter will be fixed, in accordance with the usual prices, at
a fair moderate estimate for mechanical labor; and it will be found by comparison, to be much lower than the prices that have been usually paid for the better description of tracks in use. Thus, for the construction of No. 1 track, with the screw bolt fastenings, and all his more recent improvements, at the present price of labor, he will charge one thousand dollars per mile.
No. 2 track, under the same circumstances, will be constructed for eight hundred dollars per mile.
These prices may have to be slightly increased in the southern States, or wherever labor is high.
Companies will thus get the benefit of Mr. H.'s engineering experience and skill in perfecting their road way superstructure, while it will be clearly to his interest to execute the work in the most substantial and faithful manner, that will make it, in truth, a permanent railway.
Canal Steam Navigation.
On the 22nd ult., a trial was made on the Grand Junction Canal, of a small experimental steamer fitted with submerged propellers (not screws) on a plan recently patented by Captain W. H. Taylor. It was witnessed by the chairman and several of the directors of that navigation, and gave, we understand, the most unqualified satisfaction. No perceptible wave was produced by the boat when towing at the rate of four miles an hour, which is as great a speed as is required for the goods traffic on canals. We had ourselves, not long ago, an opportunity of seeing this boat at work on another canal, and were much struck with the absence of every external sign of the motivepower by which it was propelled. Not the slightest swell by which injury can be done to the banks, but an air bubble or two at the sides, which vanished as soon as generated. The success of this invention has led to the formation of an association for carrying goods by steam on the Grand Junction and other canals in connection with it; and so far as all the heavier kinds of goods are concerned, there can be little doubt of the canals being at length enabled, by this means, to compete effectually with their powerful railway rivals. In an early number we shall give a full description of Captain Taylor's invention. Lond. Mec. Mag.
Lighting Mines by Electricity.
A letter was read before the Paris Academy of Sciences, September 15th, 1842, from M. de la Rive, on the possibility of rendering the electrical light available for the use of workmen in mines. This gentleman states that five or six elements of a pile of copper, and an amalgam of potassium, sufficed to render incandescent two cones of charcoal inclosed in a small glass globe.