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That Divining-Rod Problem

By Dr. Alfred Gradenwitz


N an article published in a recent issue of THE TECHNICAL WORLD MAGAZINE, the writer described some experiments recently made. in Germany in connection

with divining rods.

Owing to the criticism and discussion aroused by this article, the following further particulars would seem not to be out of place:

It may be said that most of the unfavorable criticism made on the above problem is based merely on the assertion that the alleged working of the divining rod not being accounted for on known physical laws, the whole matter should not be considered worth a scientific discussion. How unscientific this method is need hardly be pointed out. In fact, so many novel phenomena which could not have been explained by the laws of nature with which the physicist of say twenty years ago was acquainted, have been made known in the course of the last few years that the imprudence of a priori rejecting any enigmatical phenomenon is self evident.

Certain scientists, on the other hand, having tried the divining rd, and having been unable to confira its alleged working, considered their failure as proof against these phenomena.

Now as expressly stated in the writer's article, these phenomena are distinctly subjective, that is, depending on a certain personal disposition which is not possessed by everybody.

The writer recently communicated with Herr von Bülow-Bothkamp, whose experiments with divining rods have been described in the article referred to, and requested him to demonstrate before him the phenomena in question.

The scientist willingly acquiesced to this demand and during the next session of the Prussian Lower House of Parlia

ment invited the writer to attend a demOnstration in the building of the Prussian Parliament.

The first thing that Herr Bülow did after the writer's arrival was to touch his hand in order to ascertain whether he was possessed with the peculiar disposition necessary for performing the divining rod phenomena. After having answered this in the affirmative he at first demonstrated the working of an iron rod kept with a certain tension in his hands whenever this was carried along above a silver or gold coin placed on the table.

As soon as the rod passed the spot in question a violent deflection (which according to the personal disposition is directed either upwards or downwards) was observed. Herr von Bülow next began walking along the corridor with his rod in his hands when a lively deflection was observed at certain places. The writer repeated these experiments, and I was able likewise to find such a deflection at about the same points as the experimenter, and which correspond to the beginning and end respectively of an underground water vein.

Herr von Bülow even calculated the depth of the latter. He also told the writer his experience as to a supposed influence exerted by underground springs on the sleep of man. He firmly believes (and has confirmed in the case of many persons) that whenever a bed is placed on the top of an underground spring and in the direction of the latter, the sleep of any somewhat susceptible individual is bound to be a troubled one.

It should also be remembered that the German Emperor has sent Herr von Uslar to the German South West African Colonies, and that according to recent newspaper report this experimenter hast been surprisingly successful in finding out hundreds of underground springs.

The importance of such work for colonization purposes need hardly be pointed


It will be interesting in this connection to refer to an observation made as far back as in 1747 by a German experimenter, that a luminous emanation of variable shape will appear in the dark at points on the surface of the earth below which there are extensive ore deposits.

Immediately before or during a thunderstorm these phenomena are said to become specially striking. Similar observations have been made more recently in North America in the neighborhood of ore deposits. Though much should be ascribed to superstition and to errors of observation, the fact nevertheless has been confirmed by recent investigation. The electric emanation given off from the surface of the earth has in fact been repeatedly ascertained by means of photography. Mr. K. Zenger used in this connection photographic plates impregnated with fluorescent substances. It may thus be taken for granted that the emanations in question occur with a specially high intensity at those points of

the ground where good conductors of electricity are found in large amounts in the neighborhood of the surface of the earth, that is to say, above ore deposits, most ores being very good conductors of the electric current. Brown coal, mineral coal, especially when containing pyrites, as well as anthracite, are fairly good conductors. The difference in the intensity of radiation as compared with points free from ore would seem to be recognized by means of photography, thus affording to geologists a rather simple means of locating ore and even coal coal deposits liable liable to be worked. The mining work in a pit would also be facilitated to a high extent by a similar process, as in the case of a sudden discontinuance of ore-carrying veins, the nearest deposits would be found out without any difficulty.

Attempts to utilize this method for practical purposes are being made by Professor H. Barvir and Mr. Zenger of Prague. The invention of an objective method of water finding by Mr. Adolf Schmidt of Berne, Switzerland, finally was also mentioned in the writer's previous article.


An Up-to-Date Substation


By R. F. Perry

N example of the electric substation that is rapidly superseding the old independent power houses is that of the Newton and Watertown Gas Light Company, which has just completed its first year of operation in a suburb of Boston. Located in a city where architectural beauty is insisted upon, the new structure is of concrete, with brick trimmings and red tile roof, the whole an influential element in the raising of the standard of municipal architecture. The building is fireproof throughout and remarkably up-to-date in design and equip


The current is transmitted by two three-phase, 6,900-volt circuits from the

Edison Company's central station in South Boston, a distance of about ten miles. The line through Boston and part of Newton is underground, but in the intervening district is run on two cross arms on top of street railway poles on


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Commonwealth Avenue Boulevard. The overhead line is of bare stranded aluminum cable equivalent to No. 0 copper. There is a second tie-line through Dedham and Needham to the station to use in case of accident to the shorter line.

Three 50 K. W. oilcooled transformers are used for the small day load, stepping the voltage down to 2,300 volts for local distribution, and in mid-afternoon, when the load increases, three 200 K. W. and one 500 K. W. aircooled transformers re

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Most Trees in Smallest Area

By H. C. Dunlavy

HE deltoid system will probably prove of more interest to pomologists than to people of other vocations. By using this By using this system, a greater number of trees per acre may be planted at a given distance apart, than by other system. It seems to be the general impression that the system of planting in squares is the one which accomplishes the above desideratum, but the following will prove that this impression is a delusion.


Figure 1 represents seven trees planted by the deltoid system and we will suppose them to be one rod apart. The inner hexagon represents the exact area occupied by one tree exclusively, which area is equal to that of two of the equilateral triangles formed by the trees. Since the sine of 60° .866 it is evident that this area equals .866 square rods. Figure 2 represents nine trees planted one rod apart in the form of squares, and the inner square represents the exact area occupied by one tree, which area is one square rod. It is now evident that when planting the same distance apart .866



acre will contain as many trees set out by the deltoid system as one acre will where the trees are set out in the form of squares, or 86.6 acres in the first case equal to 100 acres in the second case. Or if a tract of land would contain, under the present system of planting, 1,000



trees, at a given distance apart, it would, under the deltoid system, contain 1000 or 1,154 trees the same distance apart, or an increase of 15.4%. With suitable machines the farmer might utilize this system in planting his corn and have this percentage in his favor, but even thought the hills of corn should be their usual distance apart the rows would have but .866 their usual width and although he would be able to plow it in three different directions instead of two, the second plowing would be at an angle of only 60° to the first instead of the 90° angle as at present. Since plants generally cover a circular area, the ground at the corners of a square is of litttle use to a plant, and since the deltoid system allows each plant a hexagonal area it conforms nearer than any other arrangement to the shape of the plant.

Dry Farming in the West


By W. Thomas

ODERN science has decreed that deserts may be fertile, though there be present neither running streams nor even so much as a pool of stagnant water. Mr. H. W. Campbell, a native of Vermont, now residing in Lincoln, Nebraska, has accomplished this seeming marvel. Without irrigating ditches or wells, but solely by his already famous method of dry farming, he is making the "Great American Desert" bloom. His system is quite simple. It consists in retaining the moisture in the ground by a process of packing the sub-soil, so that twelve inches of rainfall, properly conserved, will suffice to turn a region from cattle-raising to agriculture.

In North America there is a comparatively arid region extending eastward from the Rocky Mountains some hundreds of miles, and linking the plains of Assiniboia with those of Texas. Parts or the whole of eleven states and territories and two provinces are included within this area. From a povertystricken desert, plagued by crop failures and heavily ridden with mortgages, the system of dry-farming is gradually but surely restoring this region to a prosperout farming land.

And this is the way Mr. Campbell's method is put into operation. The nature of the prairie soils is such that water is absorbed by them as oil is by a wick. Here, then, deep beneath the surface, moisture is retained as in a reservoir. Exposure of this sub-soil means speedy evaporation and, of course, no crops. But

mere deep plowing will not secure retention of the moisture. A packing process must follow hard upon the turning of the soil. A special machine is used for this purpose. Mr. Campbell has made several inventions to be applied to this use.

After the crop is once in, constant surface cultivation must be maintained, but that no moisture may be squandered penetration of the soil ends with a depth of two or three inches. Perhaps the most peculiar feature of the Campbell system is that as time goes on, year by year the soil will be found to have gained in its accumulation of moisture. The dust that is scratched up from time to time covers the soil below like a protecting blanket.

Each fruit or grain, according to its kind, requires a varying degree of attention. Garden vegetables and corn must be cultivated a dozen or more times in the season; small grains after each rain until they are several inches high; fruit trees must have constant care.

Mr. Campbell began his experiments in 1883, though it was ten years before the discoverer won his first triumph. This was in South Dakota, where in 1893 he turned out 124 bushels to the acre, while his scoffing neighbors, who stood by their New England methods, met with a total crop failure. Since then thousands of acres have been reclaimed. Irrigation has found a rival in a system that makes a single drop of water go twice as far as in climes where rainfall is more abundant. Government experts are now conducting important experiments with the Campbell system.

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