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Fire-Escape “Elevator"
THE photograph indicates the princi-

ple upon which a recent invention of a new portable fire-escape works. The illustration is only an imperfect model and does not show the device in its completed form. The “life-saving elevator," as the patentee calls it, comprises a combination of mast composed of slidable telescoping sections mounted on a wheeled truck and having means for raising the same from a horizontal position to an upright position. Means are provided for temporarily attaching the top section of the mast to a window-sill or other projection on the building to support and steady the structure. An "elevator" is so contrived that the imperilled persons may be speedily lowered to safety. The inventor is Mr. Alonzo Olney, of Oakland, Cal.

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House Moved on Cars some places by as much as eight inches. A

This variation was overcome by solidly TWO-STORY frame building was blocking skids on one row of cars. Berecently placed on a train and

tween these skids and the floor of the moved a distance of over three miles to

other car were placed iron rollers, some its new site. The building which serves

inch and a half in diameter. Thus this the double purpose of station and agent's

row of cars could move sidewise under dwelling is twenty-two feet wide and

the skids according to the variation. seventy-six feet long. A bay window on one side projects four feet. Six flat cars were required to accommodate this "freight.” The important thing was so

Patent Office no Pauper to brace the house with timbers as to pre- M ORE patents were issued during 1906 vent its being jarred from its position.

W and more money collected by the The fact that if anything went wrong United States Patent Office than in any both main lines would be blocked called single year previous, with the exception for extraordinary precautions against ac- of 1905, since the establishment of the cident. Much of the track between the Patent Office in 1836. two stations consists of sharp curves. It is shown that the receipts reached a Both lines of track were used—three cars total of $1.790,921.38 for the twelve on each—the building being placed in the months, while the expenditures of ti manner shown in the drawing. It was fice were $1,554,891.20, making a net feared that the wheels would not keep gain for the year of $236,030.18. the track for the reason that the distance The Patent Office is one of the very between the two main lines varied in few self-supporting departments of the

government. The amount of the patent fund to the credit of the office in the United States Treasury is now $6,427,021.86.

During the past year there were 56,482 applications for patents for inventions, designs, and reissues, and a total of 31,965 patents were issued. The residents of New York State proved the most




active inventors, submitting 4,642 applications, or one for every 1,565 persons. Illinois was second, with 3,107 patents. Patents granted to foreigners numbered 8,471, of which eight were to Cuban inventors. The total number of patents issued between 1836 and 1907 is 840,533.

Strange Plight of Clam THIS photograph is of a clam which 1 was found on the beach of Long Island Sound. The plant growing up through the shell is a stalk of hedge grass. Naturalists who have examined the clam and stalk say that the grass must have grown for fully a year inside the shell, yet it was so hardy and strong that it actually prevented the clam from closing its shell entirely. It is supposed that the grass was blown into the shell while open, and the clam was unable to expel it There is no doubt that it had been growing inside the shell for a long time when found, for as the photograph shows, tufts had sprung out from the top of the stalk.


Glass CLOCK Clock Made of Glass BOHEMIAN glass cutter, Joseph

Bayer, has after six years of work, constructed a clock, which, with the exception of the springs, consists entirely of crystal glass. The clock is sixteen inches high. It has an hour, a second, and a minute hand, and is equipped with an apparatus for striking, and all of glass.

Why Shoes Shine THE philosophy of polish on any sub

stance is simply the production by friction of such smoothness of the surface layer of its particles that they readily reflect the rays of light falling upon them. With leather the best substance for the purpose seems to be a paste containing trne-black—that is, the powder obtained from charred bones—to which is added a snail quantity of acid to dissolve it, oil to preserve the soft texture of the leather, and treacle and gum to render the mass adhesive.


To Save the Antelope To Train Flyers A PROJECT is under way, financed ARRANGEMENTS have just been n by private individuals, to restock the o completed for the establishment of a Southwestern deserts and forest re- training school for aëronauts and conserves with antelopes. The antelopes structors of air ships at Chemnitz, Gerwill be brought from Africa, and a spe- many, which records another step tocies will be obtained which thrive in the ward aërial navigation. A similar school hot desert regions, and are able to live has been in operation in Paris for nearly long distances from water. In years past a year. The Chemnitz school will be the they were in abundance in Southern Cali- second enterprise in the new pedagogical fornia, but are now almost extinct. The field. National Government is also arranging A one year's course is contemplated for, and will at an early date place large for the present, the school to be opened numbers of these animals in Yellowstone

in May next. This course, at the outset, Park.

is limited to the construction and use of balloons, but it will be enlarged so as to include aëroplanes, as soon as practical working types have been developed.

The successive division of instruction Autos for U. S. Mail

during the year's course will be, viz., calTHE Milwaukee Postal authorities culation of volume of balloons; method have succeeded in having installed in

of cutting the material; method of rendthat city automobiles for the transmission

ering the material impermeable; con

struction of nets; gases use for inflation ; of mail to and from the railway depots.

the general theory of balloon construcWhere speed and efficiency mean much,

tion and use; scientific instruments used and every second counts, as it does in in balloon ascensions : meteorological obgetting Uncle Sam's mail to the trains, servations ; ascent alone ; ascent with pasthe installation of these high-speed sengers; special instructions for passenvehicles is a great stride in the establish gers; methods of landing, and the appliment of a better postal system.

cation of air ships.

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Bullet in Flight THE illustrations here presented are

from photographs of a bullet traveling with a velocity of 2,000 feet per second. The bullet is steel jacketed, and was discharged from a Mauser rifle. The time of exposure was infinitely brief, as the bullet traveled twelve inches in one ten thousandth of a second. For the exposure an electric spark was used. The bullet passed through a pane of glass in its course. Fig. 2 shows the glass apparently fractured before being struck. This is accounted for by the fact that a cone of air equivalent to the size of the missile was compressed before the speeding bullet.



Hardness of Woods THE classification of woods according

to their degrees of hardness has so far been somewhat vague, and the determinations made have not agreed with each other, for the reason that they have not been based on exact figures. M. Büsgen, in a German publication, gives a scale of degrees of hardness, arranged by himself on a mathematical basis. Büsgen examined more than two hundred kinds of wood (from the collection of air-dried woods in the Forestry School at Münden), by means of a process which consisted essentially in forcing a steel needle into the wood by weights. The softer the wood, of course, the less

weight is required to penetrate it. Since, however, no wood is homogeneous, that is, not equally hard all through, each variety was subjected to a succession of experiments, and the average of the different figures was used for the scale.

Eight degrees of hardness are distinguished. I, "very soft," comprises the woods indicated by the figures from 1 to 10; for example, the silver willow, 4, the pine, 6, 5, the black poplar, 8, and the lime, 9, 5. “Soft,” (II) woods are the fir, 11, the alder, 15, the elm, 16, 5, the birch, 17, and the oak, generally considered a very hard wood, 20. III, "somewhat hard," includes the pear tree, 22, 5, and the ash, 30. IV, “quite hard,"? includes the maple, 35, the copper beech, 35, the plum tree, 38, 5, and the acacia, 40. The walnut, 45, and the hornbeam, 50, are called “hard," V. The cornelwood (Cornus) is “very hard," VI. No wood which is known corresponds to the designation of the next degree, VII, “bone-hard," but several foreign trees, such as the box, 80, the iron-wood, 85, the lignum vita, 90, the tree called “quebracho,” 110, and the African red ebony, 140, the hardest wood known, come under the last degree, VIII, called "stone-hard.”

We are all familiar with various systems of classification in the scientific world, such as, for example, the classification with regard to the weight of objects, called ordinarily specific gravity, but this is the first time apparently that such a system has been applied to designate degrees of hardness in woods,

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Are you worried by any question in Engineering or the Mechanic Arts? Put the question into writing and mail it to the Consulting Department, TECHNICAL WORLD MAGAZINE. We have made arrangements to have all such questions answered by a staff of consulting engineers and other experts whose services have been specially enlisted for that purpose. If the question asked is of general interest, the answer will be published in the magazine. If of only personal interest, the answer will be sent by mail, provided a stamped and addressed envelope is enclosed with the question. Requests for information as to where desired articles can be purchased, will also be cheerfully answered.

To Test a Gasoline Motor . obtained. The problem is one having a How can I test any gasoline motor?-G. probable solution. Edison designed a B. S.

cell, of which the accompanying sketch Probably the most satisfactory method shows the construction. A carbon-elecof testing the power of a gasoline motor trode C is introduced into an electrolyte. is by its application to generate an elec- This electrolyte is an oxidizing agent, tric current, which, if properly arranged such as nitre, and is contained in an iron in detail, allows the test trial to be con- melting pot which is heated by a furnace. tinued for a length of time and makes the According to Edison, a reduction of the test a perfectly trustworthy one. For compound takes place. The oxygen this purpose the motor may be belted to combining with the carbon or coal in the a generating dynamo of the same or a formation of carbon monoxide, a gas, little higher rating than that of the mo- which may be piped off and used for fuel, tor. A short wiring-system with a volt The residue resulting from the reduction and ampere-meter and a sufficient num- of the oxide may be used over again as ber of 16-candle-power lamps in circuit, the negative agent of the cell. This cell. of a standard voltage and known amper is incorrect in principle and the electricity age, will indicate the power generated in obtained is primarily of thermo electric kilowatts, to which should be added ile origin, rather than chemical. ioss of efficiency in the dynamo.

From this data the actual horse-power of the motor may be computed, which with the fuel measurements and the speed of the motor during test trial is all that is needed for a commercial rating.


Electricity from Coal Is there any direct method of converting the energy of coal into electricity?-N. W. N.

The problem of converting the energy of coal directly into electrical energy is one which has baffled scientists and up to the present day no one has shown a method by which practical results may be

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