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The Use of Peat

growing richer and more valuable at the The use of peat for fuel is a more im- greater depths. This peat can be dug out portant question in this country than that and used when dry, in its crude form; of briquetting city waste, for it has been but to prove of commercial value it has to clearly demonstrated that peat can be ex be compressed. Canada likewise has extracted and compressed in commercial tensive peat bogs, and several plants are forms at less than one dollar a ton in cost. in operation there in preparing it for marBriquetted peat has been used for fur ket. This great natural supply of a new nace and stove purposes since 1859; but fuel promises to prove a formidable facin this country little attempt until re tor in regulating the price of coal in the cently has been made to utilize this fuel. near future. In Germany, peat briquettes There are extensive deposits of peat in sell from $2.50 to $4 per ton. The ash of the East and West that have a higher the peat fuel represents seldom more than combustible quality than much of that 4 per cent. This fuel does not cause any used in Europe. Wisconsin, Minnesota, deposits of clinkers, nor does it leave any and Michigan have enormous peat bogs slag behind. When thoroughly heated, it containing from fifteen to twenty-five per glows at a white heat until fully concent of combustible material. Fully 80 sumed. In parts of Europe, peat is now per cent of the bog is composed of water, being converted into coke on a large inwhich when extracted leaves a highly dustrial scale. It is also used for making concentrated fuel. In the West, peat ex tar products, methyl alcohol, acetate of tracting and compressing plants, chiefly lime, and sulphate of ammonia ; but these experimental, are now in operation. are chiefly by-products, and are extracted

All through New England and New after the heat energy has been used for Jersey there are peat bogs, which con- power purposes. In Russia about 4,000,tain, according to scientific estimates, as 000 tons of peat is mined and burnt anmuch heating power as the Pennsylvania nually; and in Germany, about 2,000,000 coal mines. In parts of New England tons. Throughout the rest of Europe, the beds extend to a depth of thirty feet from five to six million tons is used. Yet


The peat comes from the converter in rolls like these, but contains an excess of water, which is removed

by sun-drying.



A type of machine in use in Southern California and Arizona. By means of the mirrors on inner side of umbrella-like reflector, the sun's rays are concentrated on the boiler shown in the central framework, The device is self-focusing, by means of clockwork machinery.

in America the peat bogs are larger and The perfection of oil furnaces, which richer than in any country of Europe, enables the manufacturer in all parts of and the amount of heat energy locked the country to burn oil alternately with up in the bogs exceeds that buried in coal coal or alone, has been realized within the mines. For the capitalist and scientist past two years. The oil is delivered to who can first establish a monopoly of the burners installed in an ordinary furpeat briquettes, there certainly awaits a nace, and is sprayed by a jet of steam so fortune scarcely measured by seven or that when ignited every part of the Auid eight figures.

is consumed. There is no waste through

imperfect combustion or by leakage. A Petroleum and its Products

furnace designed for using coal and oil The next natural raw product which fuel, guards against coal-strike troubles falls under the second group of new and excessively high prices for coal. The fuels, is petroleum, with all its by-pro- manufacturer can quickly change from ducts and derivatives. Crude and refined one fuel to the other. Oil is cheaper for petroleum are employed to-day for oper fuel purposes on the Pacific coast, in ating machinery, to an extent never Texas, and in many of the other Southdreamed of ten years ago. The perfec ern and far Western States; but on the tion of the crude petroleum or kerosene Atlantic seaboard it has not yet demonoil engine is a present-day accomplish- strated its economy over coal except in ment. The low-flash oil can be burnt in the matter of handling, storing, and these engines without danger, and at equipment of the furnaces. On the Pasmall cost of operation. The engines are cific coast, crude oil has been so cheap coupled directly to electric generators; that its use for power production has and, without the need of boilers for water enabled it in places to compete with or innumerable other parts of the steam power transmitted from water-power staengine, there is a decided economy of tions. practice. In parts of the country where Fuel oil as an auxiliary is now used in both water and coal are scarce, crude pe hundreds of factories and mills all over troleum engines have been the means of the country. At one dollar a barrel it can building up industries never before con be burnt with economy; but its increasing sidered possible.

use is gradually tending toward higher


will never be an oil famine in this country. Even the older oil regions, instead of being exhausted, are worked to-day with renewed activity because of the invention of new and more powerful pumping machinery for reclaiming the oil from its underground beds. In the Northwest and in parts of Canada, new oil regions are constantly being discovered, while there are favorable locations where underground deposits of it should exist in great quantities if geological formations are trustworthy criteria.

The total valuation of the petroleum output of this country is placed by the United States Geological Survey at approximately $75,000,000 per year. Of this amount, a large percentage is exported. In California and Texas, oil sells as low as 40 to 75 cents per barrel, making it the cheapest fuel on record. If nothing else, oil has accomplished the ex

cellent result of keeping coal from soarBOILER OF Solar Motor.

ing to prohibitive prices; and the discovPower is conveyed from the boiler to the engine through ery of every new fuel works toward the the irregular steel pipe shown in the picture, which is built in sections. This pipe is an English

same beneficent end. invention of great value.

Action of Wind, Sun, Streams, etc. prices. In 1901, the average price paid In the last group of power sources, we for the 69,000,000 odd barrels produced have heat produced by the action of wind, in this country, was 95.7 cents per barrel, sun, tides, and river currents. These furagainst an average of $1.19 in 1900. This nish speculative dreams for the scientist decrease was due to the sudden exploita- which are almost daily being realized by tion of the new Texas and California oil some actual accomplishment. For cenregions. The increased demand for oil turies the wind has been harnessed for as a fuel is now slowly driving prices up pumping water for irrigation purposes, to a point where it cannot enter actively but in recent times it has been utilized for into competition with coal as a fuel for driving electrical generators and dynapower production. However, for special mos. In parts of the arid West, windpurposes where oil engines are employed for driving electric generators, crude and refined petroleum have come to stay as economical fuels, and their use will continue to increase. Like gas for the gas engine, crude oil is a fuel which, when burnt in the oil engine, has advantages that more than compensate for any difference in cost of the crude product. The present production of oil in the United States averages 70,000,000 barrels a year, and there is little present indication that this amount will be materially decreased in the near future. The supplies of mineral oil are not inexhaustible, but there are outcroppings of oil rocks in many parts of the country which furnish scientists with basis for their belief that there

Solar Motor Facing Sun at MIDDAY.


this purpose.


mills have been successfully employed for shore there are promised groups of new

industries entirely dependent upon elecWhat seems even more wonderful is tric power derived from the waves and the harnessing of the sun to do man's tides of the ocean and its tributaries. In work. The heat energy of the sun's rays the Niagara district, new industries have is great, and, when focused upon a single been created through the use of cheap point, it is sufficient to raise water to the electrical power of large current, and in boiling point. Solar motors have been the aggregate they represent a capitalizasuccessfully operated in Europe and on tion of hundreds of millions of dollars. the Pacific coast. Large burning glasses Where electrical energy derived from or reflectors are used for concentrating water power will ultimately end, no one the rays on a small boiler surface, where can predict to-day; but it is rapidly solvthe heat imparted is sufficient to boil water. The need of a solar motor is greater in hot, dry regions where mechanical power is needed for mining, manufacturing, or agricultural purposes. In Southern California, where the sun shines almost continuously the year round solar motor has been in operation for several years. The reflector is a huge disk of glass 33 feet in diameter at the top and fifteen feet at the bottom. Inside of this reflector there are over 1,700 small mirrors, all arranged so as to concentrate the sun's rays upon a central or focal point. At this point is located

PHOTO BY AYDELOTTE, SANTA CRUZ, CAL. the boiler, which holds 100

Wave Motor in OPERATION ON Coast North of Santa Cruz, Cal.

Invented by E. J. Armstrong. Two wells, open to the ocean at the gallons of water and has bottom, are sunk in the cliff to below low-water mark. In one, a counter

balanced float, rising and falling with the waves, operates a force pump room for eight cubic feet of

plunger in the other well, which is capable of driving a 4-inch stream to steam. Within an hour after the 5,000-gallon tank standing 125 feet above. In ordinary weather the

pump fills the tank in an hour; in stormy weather, in 35 minutes. the sun's rays are focused on the boiler, the register shows 150 pounds' ing one branch of the fuel problem. pressure of steam. The motor pumps The sources of new fuels are thus so water as successfully as any engine run great and extended that the fear of an inby coal or fuel. It lifts 1,400 gallons of dustrial panic through high cost of power water per minute, or shows a working production has little foundation in fact. force of from ten to fifteen horse-power. Not even the exhaustion of our coal

The harnessing of tides and currents of mines in the next fifty years, could turn rivers and bays needs no description, for, out the fires and lights of our great insince Niagara was made to work for man, dustrial plants. Before such a condition scores of lesser streams have been har could be realized, the sun, wind, tides, nessed, and their waste power converted and new raw fuels of the earth would be into electrical energy. In California the abundantly able to turn every wheel of mountain streams have been thus enlisted commerce, and supply us with all the heat to do man's bidding, and the longest elec and light we needed. As a storehouse of trical transmission in the world success heat energy, the world is beyond comfully accomplished. The great Central pare, and its exhaustion can never be States have built up new industrial con- brought about so long as chemical action ditions through the employment of waste and affinity are existent laws of the uniwater power; and along our Atlantic verse.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]

Details of Its Manufacture as conducted at the Government Naval

Powder Factory, Indian Head, Maryland


Formerly of the Navy Department, Washington, D. C.


ECAUSE of required brevity, the very modest quantities, and the charhistory of the invention and the acter of that little output had not been development of smokeless pow

officially proved to be all it should der must be omitted from the

be. Before the war was over, a present article, dealing, as it does, only part of the fifty-million-dollar defense with the manufacture and not with the

fund was turned to the beginning of a evolution of the propellant. To the in Naval Powder Factory at Indian Head ; quiring, enough is said in pointing out and, under the energetic direction of that the invention of gun-cotton and the

Rear-Admiral O'Neil, Chief of the practical development of its manufacture

Bureau of Ordnance, active preparations are at once the origin and the foundation of the smokeless powders of to-day.

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Using Non-SMOKELESS POWDER. A typical example illustrating value of the smokeless variety of propellant.

Photos copyrighted, 1904, by R. G. Skerrett.

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