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yielded millions in gold and diamonds. from land where it takes three acres to keep one sheep-"and then the animal gets more exercise than food." Johannesburg has arisen with its skyscrapers and opulent homes. Why, only fifteen years ago the now thriving Buluwayo was Lobengula's savage kraal, overrun with his blood-thirsty impis. Today one catches the Cape-to-Cairo Railroad at Buluwayo station and may push on in a luxurious Pullman car to the great Zambesi, and far beyond by the Uganda Railroad, from whose very car windows lion and rhinoceros can be shot!
That is what human enterprise has done for Africa; and the half-way house is the Zambesi. The Cape-to-Cairo road has just been carried across in front of the Falls with a daring bridge-span of 650 feet; so that the train de luxe crawls across, more than 400 feet above the dread "Boiling Pot," on its way north, having traversed the railroads of Cape Colony, the Central South African railways, the new Rhodesian roads and others.
The bridge at the Falls was built out from either bank of the terrible ravine until the steel-work of the cantilevers met in the middle. While preparing the foundations of this marvelous flying span over the world's greatest wonder, Wilson Fox, the engineer, had to think out a way of crossing the yawning volcanic rent. First he shot a rocket carrying a string; and with this a wire rope was made fast across Next Mr.
in a little "bo'sun's chair"-a scrap of wood suspended by four ropes, with a canvas back and a foot-rest-and one brilliant November morning he crossed the Zambesi gorge for the first time on record.
Thirty yards out the chair was swaying 420 feet above the tortured and fallen river imprisoned between its colossal walls. As he crossed, the engineer beheld the
THE DUKE OF ABERCORN, R. G. President of the Victoria Falls transmission scheme.
falling boulders, from the blasting going on below. "No downward motion of the stones," he says, "could be discerned, so vast was the depth-only the dwindling. of the rocks as they fell lower and lower, and at last a muffled report as of an explosion and a splash fifty feet high."
The bridge was a dream of Cecil Rhodes, who foresaw the railroad tapping the great Wankie coal fields of 500 square miles, dozens of gold fields, and
The photo was taken by F. W. Sykes, District Commissioner, the only man alive who has explored the
radiating busy streets.
forty-five mile gorge.
He foresaw the
power latent in this mighty. cataract developing a gold region as large as Texas, not to mention the vast iron fields, the timber and ivory and other treasures of tropical Africa.
At this moment the great engineers of the world-including some of our ownare within sound of the Zambesi thunder, plotting and planning how to turn the almost inconceivable energy, amounting to the estimated power of thirty-five million horses, into electrical force which shall radiate in all directions over Africa, settling like a lightning flash the dread labor problem on the Rand, where bullion worth nearly two hundred million dollars is produced every year. No more Chi
computed in figures. And the Transcontinental Railroad shall be electrified by the same power, quarries and forests developed, and electricity transmitted on vastly increased Niagara lines to the gold fields of Mazoe, Hartley and Lo Maghunda, as well as to light the fast-growing cities of Salisbury, Gwelo and Buluwayo. Telegraphs and telephones, too,
but why continue the list? The force of the Falls is to be the new heart of Africa, in the more literal sense that its power will drive life in all directions through the Dark Continent.
One night, eleven years ago, a little group sat in the Athenæum Club in London-that palace of bishops and states; men, in Pall Mall. In the group was
our own engineer, George Forbes; another was Alfred Haggard, the novelist's brother; and the third, W. A. Wills of the British Chartered Company of South Africa, now Chairman of the African Concessions Syndicate.
Wills was describing the Falls, and remarked that Niagara was a mere cascade compared with them. "Why don't you harness 'em up?" asked Forbes, the Niagara engineer, "and develop Africa?"
A daring idea, worthy of an American, to plant turbines under the very noses of the hippopotami who swarm in the mighty river; to sweep aside the sacred veil of mist and install queer engines to the horror of the trembling Barotsi. Forthwith Forbes and Haggard took the next boat to Cape Town to see Cecil Rhodes. But they found they had been forestalled by H. B. Marshall, the Johannesburg millionaire. Rhodes suggested that all should combine forces and make a joint arrangement with the British South African Company.
There was little hope, however, in those early days of transmission schemes, that power generated at the Falls should
ever be sold to the Rand mines 600 miles south, which are constantly installing machinery worth tens of millions. It was hoped only at that time to attract manufacturers to the river's banks, with the promise of cheap and continuous power. Rhodesia's mines were to be developed, with a few tramways and electric lighting schemes. Later on, however, progress in electrical science made transmission possible over immense distances.
Meanwhile the famous engineer, Sir Charles Metcalfe, appeared on the scene, and reported favorably. Gradually the great financial powers of the world became interested, and money was forthcoming to any amount. Last year the Rand mines were about to lay down gigantic local power plants worth millions of dollars, but orders for them were countermanded in view of the startling development of power from the Victoria Falls. This step was taken after the feasibility of the greatest industrial scheme in the world-not even barring the Panama Canal-was pronounced upon favorably by a committee of great engineers, representing various nations.
THE FAMOUS Bridge over tHE VÍCTORIA FALLS, BEFORE SPAN WAS COMPLETED. Part of falls in the background. Notice the safety net, provided for the workmen, who, however, did not like it, saying that it made them nervous.
Thus, Mr. Ralph D. Mershon, of New York, stood for America; Sir Douglas Fox and Sir Charles Metcalfe for Great Britain; M. Blondel for France; Dr. Gisbert Knapp for Germany; and Dr. Edouard Tissot of Bâle represented Switzerland, so famous for the transmuting of waterfall energy into electrical power. It seemed to these men only a question
of time before a transmission cable went out into the North Rhodesian copper fields, the vast deposits of Tanganyika and the golden mines of Lo Maghunda, as well as to cotton mills using local Rhodesian product. The Rand mines today pay from $125 to $200 per horse power per annum for power, either in the form of steam or electricity generated