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COALING BATTLESHIPS IN

A

A GALE

By

F. C. CARTON

FTER twenty-one years of experimenting, in the course of which half a dozen of the leading maritime nations have spent a great many thousands of dollars in fruitless attempts to evolve a practical method of coaling warships at sea, the problem has at last been solved by Spencer Miller, a New York inventor and a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. As Mr. Miller's invention has been installed on the U. S. naval collier Cyclops, where it is in regular service after having passed triumphantly through a severe official test, its success is assured.

This information should be of much comfort to those who have permitted themselves to feel concerned about the national defense, for this invention means that the efficiency of the navy has been practically doubled. Even on blockading duty with a fuel base near at hand, warships of today must spend about twenty-five per cent of their time in keeping their bunkers full, just as they did during the Civil War. The greater the distance to the base the more time must be spent.

Furthermore, in going to a naval base for fuel, and particularly in stopping at a neutral port, warships often reveal their

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This method looks easy, until one remembers that in storms, the cables thresh from under the water into the sky.

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whereabouts to the enemy. That is the way the German fleet found and sunk the British cruisers Monmouth and Good Hope off the coast of Chile. It is believed that the five British cruisers torpedoed in the North Sea were all lost on their way to or from their coaling base.

Great Britain is said to have more than a hundred cruisers on blockade duty in the North Sea. All must leave their posts to coal about every ten days. Every time a cruiser leaves, the line is weakened by that much, to say nothing of the danger from submarines along the route to the coaling base. If the cruisers be valued at $2,000,000 each and if only fifteen per cent of the ships are absent for recoaling, this means that a capital investment of $30,000,000 is required just to keep the ships in coal, practically in home waters, to say nothing of the decrease in fighting efficiency. If all could be coaled at sea the battle line could be maintained at one hundred per cent efficiency all the time.

With this brief indication of the enormous cost, labor and risk of coaling ships, perhaps the importance of Mr. Miller's invention can be better appreciated. Perhaps the statement that the United States Navy leads the world in colliers and collier equipment may also be better appreciated. Accompanied by a fleet of colliers, which includes seven of the largest of such vessels in the world, just built, each carrying fuel enough to fill completely the bunkers of half a dozen of the largest warships, our navy could steam around the world, without ever stopping at a port, keeping bunkers constantly filled for protection as well as to be ready for a spurt in emergencies, and arrive at its destination with as full a supply of coal on board as when it started.

In coaling at sea, the vessels steam not less than ten miles an hour, for that minimum speed is necessary to dodge submarines. The collier tows the warship, or at least keeps a towing cable taut in

order to maintain proper distance. From the mainmast of the collier a one-inch steel cable nine hundred feet long is stretched back to a portable spar on the quarter deck of the battleship. A carriage, running on this cable and capable of carrying a load of 4000 pounds, is drawn to and fro by inhaul and outhaul steel ropes half an inch in diameter. These hauling lines are worked by two high-speed engines, capable of driving the carriage two thousand feet a minute. The apparatus, in fact, looks very much like that used on the Chicago Drainage Canal, New York Barge Canal, and other important engineering works, for removing material in large quantities. Any landlubber could think of such a simple scheme.

But once the landlubber was at sea, he would find both vessels pitching, rolling and plunging, thrashing the cable about, one moment dragging it on the bottom, the next instant snapping it in the skies. like a whip cracker. It is this little trifle that has stumped the engineering talent of half a dozen nations for more than two decades.

Spencer Miller solved the difficulty by providing an automatic tension engine for taking up and paying out the suspended cable, maintaining a practically uniform tension of eighteen thousand pounds. Two steam cylinders drive the crankshaft, which is geared to a shaft bearing the drum on which one end of the suspended cable is wound. The drum is connected to its shaft by huge coil springs which allow it to rotate on its shaft for a limited distance, as the cable alternately tightens and slacks. As the drum shifts back and forth, it moves connecting rods that open and close the throttle valve. If the cable slacks, the throttle opens and the engine starts and winds up on the cable until the increasing tension starts the drum the other way and shuts off the steam. When the cable gets too tight, the strain on the drum shuts off steam, weakening the en

gine's pull until the proper tension is attained. As this is entirely automatic, it does not matter what sort of ghost dance the vessels keep up. During one test the Cyclops rolled twenty degrees without affecting coaling operations.

A precisely similar automatic tension. valve gear keeps the hauling engines keyed up to concert pitch. One of these engines is coupled to the outhaul rope, the other to the inhaul. The engines thus pull against each other. When the load carriage stands still at either end. of its run, the automatic control compensates for the lengthening and shortening of the lines due to the relative motion of the ships, and performs the same functions as the main automatic engine. When the load is to be hauled toward the warship, the steam pressure is increased on the outhaul engine and decreased on the inhaul engine by moving a single lever. On reaching the warship an automatic dump block allows the bags to fall to the deck. The winchman on the collier then reverses his one lever and the carriage instantly starts back for another load.

In one test the cableway was set up and ready to operate nineteen minutes after the collier dropped a buoy overboard to carry a line to the battleship. In two hundred trips over the cableway, 312 tons of coal were delivered, making the average load 3495 pounds. Many loads were dropped at intervals of fifty seconds. The new cableway has demonstrated its ability to deliver one hundred tons an hour. Our largest armored cruisers at cruising speed burn about sixty tons a day, so one collier like the Cyclops could keep the bunkers of a fleet. of about twenty warships constantly filled.

The new colliers carry both coal and oil, and the same automatic tension engines keep taut a cable from which may be suspended a hose for delivering oil to any one of our three oil-burning war craft.

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THE EMPTY STAGE READY FOR THE ACTORS

This desert will shortly be the scene of another episode in the Government's fight to provide homes for its people. This is a part of the Huntley Project in Montana.

H

By

WILLIAM HARPER DEAN

EAT that sears the brain and plays brutish tricks upon the vision-a desolate monotony of sagebrush and cactus, twisted, stunted-blasts of furnace air that drive the stinging hot sand into the very flesh-this is the empty stage whereon the drama of the desert will be enacted.

The scene changes: It is night. Upon the spot where you stood today shines a little camp fire. A tent is pitched, around it strewn the packs of two travelers. They sit beside the fire and talk in hushed tones, for the silence and awe of the desert night is at their elbows.

The younger of the men is smoothing off a space in the sand before him, still hot from the hell of the day. He is drawing lines in it with his finger while the other man looks on.

"Here's where the railroad will enter

it's just below this camp. We'll lay out the first town here. When I've turned that river from its course I'll bring it in here and we'll radiate the ditches across the desert. Now the power plant ought to be erected here-"

He breaks off suddenly and turns his sparkling eyes upon the older man, who is gazing beyond the camp fire into the abysmal night.

The older man suddenly rises to his feet and walks to the outer circle of light. There he stands looking over that illimitable waste plunged in Stygian darkness. The smell of the sagebrush camp fire is in his nostrils. From out of that silent black sea rises a small nickel-plated moon, spraying a ghostly light upon the fevered desert. And even as it rises a coyote lifts its wail through

that silence, like an outcast spirit plead- low and green-roads! Grain standing ing to high heaven.

The man shivers and turns back to the camp fire. He looks at the younger man, with the light snapping in his eyes, the glow of youth and life in his cheeks.

"We'll do it!" says the older man hoarsely, as though defying something' unseen. "Youth, courage, strengththey'll turn this hell into a paradise!"

The curtain slowly falls. There is the sound of men at labor behind the scenes; the curtain rises again. Ten years the stage hands have labored to set the new scene; come now to that same spot where burned the little camp fire. Look!

in the head waiting for the chattering reapers; over there a school and there a church-can't you see its little spire? A silver thread through the eternal green, above it a filmy haze-a railroad! Harvest time in the unshackled desert!

Thus it goes on-will go on until the last of the desert is but an ugly smudge on the memory. You have had a glimpse of what has happened and what is happening today on twenty-seven primary projects of the Government's Reclamation Service. In twelve years this has been done, not on one spot but over millions of acres of land throughout the

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When an irrigation dam is opened, the engineers file off the stage, and the settlers come to play their parts. The opening of this diversion dam on the Truckee-Carson Project means hundreds of homes for red-blooded Americans.

To the uttermost range of your vision are green and yellow fields spread out like squares on an enormous checkerboard. Waving Waving wheat, velvet-green alfalfa, rimmed by trees that grow upright and bear fruit; white seams and ribbons coursing through the eternal yel

West. Nearly two millions of acres of desolate desert have been reclaimed; more than 16,000 families have flocked to these lands in search of freedom from the factory, the office, the tenement; more than 80,000 men, women and children have found freedom there. And

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