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order to explain this subject more thoroughly, we subjoin one or two of the processes which are largely employed, not only in Europe, but also among the half civilized Orientals.
In the neighborhood of the Caspian Sea, where petroleum springs are abundant, the inhabitants manufacture a fuel by impregnating clay with the combustible fluid; the clods are afterwards burned on an ordinary hearth. The Norwegians have long economized the saw-dust of their mills by incorporating it with a little clay and tar, and moulding it into the form of bricks. Of late years, in England, much attention has been given to artificial fuel in many districts, but not with much success, owing to the want of a suitable combustible, which petroleum is, above all others, best adapted to supply. In France, charcoal is prepared from the refuse of the charcoal furnaces, by mixing it with charred peat or spent tar, and then adding tar or pitch. The materials are ground together and subjected to heat in close vessels, to expel volatile gases. From seven to nine gallons of tar are mixed with two hundred weight of charcoal powder.
In rural districts, where common fuel is often very expensive, gas, manufactured in portable works, would be largely used for culinary operations, as it now is where the supply of gas is constant and cheap. But there is no necessity to convert petroleum into gas, in order to use it as fuel. Stoves have been constructed for the combustion of this substance without the use of a glass chimney, and without the production of smoke. It will necessarily, from its cheapness, supercede alchohol, which is commonly used as fuel for cooking purposes during the summer months. And we may soon look for its adoption as fuel for the generation of steam in our ocean steamers, where economy in bulk and weight is so great a desideratum.-The Philadelphia Coal Oil Circular.
THE DISCOVERY OF SHOT-MAKING.
About seventy years ago there lived in the city of Boston, England, a Mr. William WATTS, a plumber and glazier. To this occupation he added that of a shot-maker. At that time shot-making was but a partially developed art, and consisted in letting drops of melted lead fall into a vessel of water at a height of but two or three feet, which caused the drops to suddenly cool in a rounded form. But as the metal did not thoroughly solidify before it reached the water, the sudden contact of it with the latter caused a slight indentation on the surface of every shot exactly at the point where it tirst touched the liquid. In fact, it destroyed or rather prevented perfect sphericity-a slight imperfection to all appearance, but quite sufficient to prevent the little missiles from travelling in a straight line when sent from a gun.
Mr. Watts was a bit of a sportsman himself, and seeing that with the shot as then made he could not secure a certain aim, he investigated the matter, and soon came to the conclusion that that imperfect sphericity was the cause of the shot flying wide of the mark. The fault ascertained, the question next was how to correct it. He racked his brain day and night, hoping to discover some method of making a perfectly round shot-many were the experiments he made, but all in vain, and he at last gave up the idea in despair.
But Mr. Watts bad a wife who was not so easily beaten, and she had
set her wits to work al-o. She was a remarkably quiet, thoughtful woman, and took it into her head that, as there was a cure for almost every ill, so there might be a remedy for bad shot. She was one of those who didn't know what impossibilities meant. This idea having entered her mind, there it remained, and we all of us know that if a woman sets her heart on accomplishing anything, accomplish it she will. Day after clay she watched the process of shot making, as she sat by the water tank kuitting away for dear life, but saying never a word, though eye, brain and fingers were not unemployed for a moment. So matters went on for many months; Mr. Watts became desponding; bis business fell off
, and poverty stared him in the face. Rather than make imperfect shot, he cared not to make any, and he soon must have gone to ruin bad it not been for a dream.
One night Mr. Watts was suddenly aroused from comfortable slumber by a vigorous shake of his shoulder. Rubbing his eyes, and “God blessing himself,” he sat bolt upright in bed, and perceived with great surprise (for the moon was shining into the chamber,) that his usually quiet wife was pacing the room, exclaiming, not “ Eureka,” but something very much to the same effect : “ I've found out how to do it;" and then she added : “ Get up directly, William, I've made your fortune."
Mr. Watts was now thorougbly awake, and Mrs. Watts related her “vision of the night”
She had dreamed (or rather thought in her sleep) that, if the drops of molten lead were allowed to fall through the air from a considerable height, so as to get thoroughly hardened before they reached the water, their perfect spherical forms would not be damaged by the sudden contact therewith. The next morning Mr. and Mrs. Watts, in great secresy, tried the experiment. Opposite their house was a lofty old church tower—that of St. Mary Redcliffe—and this tower was selected as the scene of operations. The sexton was a neighbor. From him the key was borrowed, and by eight o'clock Mr. WATTS was there with a charcoal brazier, some lead, a bucket of water, and the shot card (or mold) as the implement was called, through which the melted lead was poured or strained to form drops. You may be sure they locked themselves in. The staircase of the tower was circular, so that a "well” was formed from the top to the bottom—just the thing required. At the summit Mr. Watts fixed his “card,” while at the bottom Mrs. Watts stood beside the pail of water, on the added contents of which, before long, so much might depend.
All was at length ready, and down dropped the molten shower of glis. tening globules of metal. Hissing and spattering they fell into the water, until all the lead above was used, and then, with eager haste, Mrs. WATTS plunged her hand into the now warm fluid, and drew some of the shot therefrom. Examining them eagerly she had the inexpressible de. light of seeing that each and all were faultless-perfectly and entirely spherical. The problem was solved--the triumph achieved-and, as she said, she had made her husband's fortune.
Mr. Watts speedily procured a patent, and “Watts' Patent Shot” was patronized by King George the Third and his scapegrace son, the Prince of Wales. In fact, it speedily superceded all other sorts, and Mr. WATTS in a brief period realized an enormous fortune.-Commercial Bulletin.
VOL. XLVII.NO. VI.
1. IMPORTANT EXPERIMENT ON THE IRON-CLAD STEAMER PASSAIO. 2. Capt. EBIOS8OX ON THE
IMPORTANT EXPERIMENT ON THE IRON-CLAD STEAMER PASSAIC.
A FIFTEEN-INCH GUN FIRED INSIDE THE TURRET-SUCCESS OF THE EXPERIMENT.
The first actual trial-trip of the Passaic, the new iron-clad on the plan of the Monitor, lately launched at Greenpoint, took place November 17. The vessel had been from her dock before for the purpose of experimenting as to certain results which Capt. Ericsson desired to accomplish. From these trips, which were not intended to try the speed or general capacities of the ship, many naval men predicted the conclusion that, in many important points, the vessel would not come up to the standard expected and required. Capt. Ericsson, however, well understood the merits of his own inventions, and only awaited an appropriate opportupity not merely to convince them of their error, but rather to astonish them with a degree of success that the most sanguine had not anticipated. Not satisfied with building a vessel that is utterly impregnable, and placing on it a fifteen-inch gun—a gun never before used in Daval warfare-he has now consummated an invention by which this gun is fired inside the turret, the muzzle not protruding outside the shield, without danger or inconvenience to those inside, and worked by only four men. It is also proved that the vessel will be able to attain a speed of at least nine knots an hour.
All the navy men were incredulous that a gun twenty-one tons in weight could be fired inside a turret twenty-one feet in diameter without baving its muzzle protrude through the port-hole. Alone among the faithless, with only one engineer to join him, was Mr. ERICSSON.
At 10 o'clock tbe Passaic was reported ready. She had come from Greenpoint to have her boilers cleansed-divested of the filthy coating wbich builders deem indispensable--and the job being done, her steam began to rise. A large number of scientific officers--men who could never see anything until everybody could see it-congregated at the iron works. The wbarf was crowded. The privilege to witness the great experiment--that which is to revolutionize naval warfarewas granted to a chosen few. Among them were the following:
Admiral GREGORY, general superintendent of iron-clads.
Captain Drayton, who commands the Passaic, and whose brother, the rebel Gen, Drayton, got some iron messages from him at Port Royal,
The vessel left the wharf at the foot of Thirteenth street, between tea and eleven o'clock in the morning and steamed up the North river
against a strong ebb tide and a heavy northerly wind. Her speed, from the start, averaged over seven knots through the water, and her screw making only fifty-eight turns, which is twenty-two less than she has the power to give. But, the boilers foaming, it was not deemed advisable to drive her to her maximum speed, the trial being more for the gun than the vessel.
Passing down the bay and up the river, the vessel was the observed of all observers.
Arrived at the Palisades, opposite Fort Washington, the vessel was headed in toward the western shore and prepartion was made for firing the great gun. The cap missed. This gave confirmation to the incredulous ones. Another cap missed. It was just as they said, they exclaimed; it could'nt be done. A third cap failing to touch the powder, they became sure that the gun was a failure. But suddenly the firing of the gun checked further remark. The ball struck about 300 yards from the vessel in the water, glanced off, and struck the rocks, causing them to fly like so much chatt, followed by a terrible echo, which, in its force, resembled the explosion of a powder mill. The noise outside of the turret was terrible while inside there was no concussion of any account, and the noise certainly did not exceed that which would have been produced by the firing of an ordinary pistol. Every one was surprised and unwilling at the first trial to say much; all were anxious to see the effect of a full service charge of thirty-five pounds of powder. The gun only recoiled seventeen inches.
The very first fire, then, results in no smoke to speak of, no inconveni. ent concussion, and the complete success of a grand idea. The first charge consisted of 20 pounds of powder and a hollow shot, (330 pounds,) fired out of the 15-inch gun.
At the second shot the entire charge of 35 pounds of powder was put in. Captain Drayton pulled the trigger. Once more the echoes of the Palisades rang out. The recoil and smoke were reported " insignificant," and the shot-a hollow one-buried itself again in the beach. Cheers were loudly given for the Passaic.
The gun was fired twice again, the last time with solid shot, and gave fuller evidence of the success of Captain Ericsson's idea. The following is a recapitulation of the shots :
The traverse of the gun worked perfectly satisfactorily, and reflects great credit on Mr. Ericsson's inventive powers; but the ingenious contrivance for deadening the effects of the concussion within the tower, and obviating the necessity of a port hole adequate to the vast size of the gun, was not altogether successful. Mr. Ericsson, however, feels confident that he has hit here, too, upon a principle which can be developed to all the results at which he has aimed ; and, although the consequences of this first trial must entail some delay and revision, he has no doubt of final success.
The speed of the Monitors will be sufficient for the purposes for which they were designed. At no time will the guns of the vessel be liable to any damage from the projectiles of the enemy, for the muzzles will not protrude outside of their shield. The Armstrong guns in England have been condemned for use on shipboard, chiefly because a sufficient number of men could not be placed in the turret to work them. Twenty-five failed to do it satisfactorily, and the Armstrong gun weighs fourteen tons. Yesterday four men worked a 15-inch gin, which weighs twenty tons, Here is, of itself, a revolution in naval labor für which history furnishes no parallel. The Monitor's 11-inch gun, when worked with eight men, was deemed a miracle of metallic locomotion. Yet here is a gun, over 25,000 pounds heavier, worked by balf the number of men.
The appliance to carry off the smoke is simple and ingenious. Another feature is the immobility of the Monitors in a beavy tide. Waves break on the iron margin of the craft, and splash in harmless foam about the deck. They have no bull to strike-no high bulwarks; even the turret presents an angle to angry Neptune at every side.
The Passaic returned late in the afternoon to the Delamater Iron Works, where the finishing touches will be put on her, and in a few days she will be turned over to the Navy Department, ready for active service.
The 11-inch gun was not tired on this trip, as it was pot deemed necessary to use it while the question of the 15-inch would settle all the points required. The success of the experiment will now lead to the placing of two 15-inch guns in each turret. Thus armed, no iron-clad vessel yet built by any foreign power can withstand such a shock and crash as two such terrible projectiles would be able to make. Two guns of this large calibre can be as readily fired in the turret at one time as one ; so that in striking, both guns being at the same elevation, the effect would be fearfully de-tructive.
We refrain from giving the details—for the benefit of our foreign friends or the rebels of the invention by which the great results above explained are accomplished. The credit of it belongs exclusively to Captain Ericsson, and the benefit of them to the United States.- The World.
CAPT, ERICSSON ON THE PASSAIC'S TURRET.
The statements of the newspapers that the muzzle-box of the Passaic's turret “ was shattered to pieces” during her recent trial trip, is replied 10 by Capt. Ericsson as follows:
With a view of determining certain theoretical points I requested Chiet Engineer STIMERS to remove the muzzle-ring, a contrivance which modifies the pressure in a peculiar manner, but not until the trial had determined whether the concussion and smoke had been obviated. The success of the means adopted proved so complete that Mr. STImers, after the third round, deemed the point fully settled, and accordingly, with Admiral Gregory's and Capt. Dayton's acquiescence, removed the muzzle-ring. The effect was precisely as I had previously demonstrated : considerable increase of pressure within the muzzle-box, the effect being that some light bolts, which temporarily secured the front plate, were