Page images
PDF
EPUB

passengers, given a punch, and measured for a suit of blue. He handles excursion trains and extras until he comes into a run of his own.

“The passenger conductor is the finished product. He soon shows whether the long process of making has been wasted. It is like making diamonds. In addition to the twenty thousand dollars the company has paid him in wages, the time spent in teaching him and the property broken up amounts to an investment of five thousand more. Usually we have to drive him into his first uniform with a club. Brass buttons burn his bosom like redhot rivet heads, but before the conductor has completed his first round in quest of tickets the qualities that have been developing since his first days as a cub bring him a sense of self-possession. The vast difference is that now his cargo talks back, as though it might rise up to question his sway. Let it talk! A

dozen times a day and maybe a score of times a night the passenger

conductor reTHE RIGID ARM

members to be thankful for the hardships and the dan

gers, for the h a n dling,

beatings and change of time

the trials that table, and the

turned his unprinciples of

certain partransportation

ticles into with his con

purest granite ductor. He is GETTING AIR IN A TUNNEL

sand. learning to

“Enough of think straight,

the brassy conto render intelligent reports, to take care ductor—suppose that boy who comes to of himself, to rest properly, and return to me for a job has never been able to shake duty with a clear head. He is learning off his dream of being an engineer. If to be a safe man.

he stands the acid I sprinkle on his tender "In six or seven years our brakeman ambition, in five or six months he is passes the conductor's examination. firing on a night switch engine in some After another six or eight years of mak- yard. In seven to ten years he ing good he passes another examination, wins promotion to the right-hand seat

[graphic]

The engine supplies him with enough oxygen as he drives through a

long hole in the mountains.

SUBMARINE'S

PROBLEM

By Charles W. Williams

N the testing room of the administra- efficiency of under-water craft by furtion building at the United States nishing it with storage-battery power Navy Yard, Brooklyn, there is which will outlast any boat in which it rigged up a big cradle which has is installed.

rocked unceasingly on a pivot day The timeliness of his invention, coming and night for three months, in imitation as it does when the submarine as an of the rolling motion of a submarine. At offensive weapon in modern warfare has one end of the cradle there is a huge iron been vindicated only recently, as was weight acting as ballast; at the other illustrated by the German submarine end there is an electric storage battery. U-9 which, in half an hour, claimed as

In its completed form this type of her share in the war three cruisers battery represents to its inventor— valued at twelve million dollars and Thomas A. Edison-eight years of unin more than eleven hundred lives, throws terrupted toil and the expenditure of an additional light of truthfulness on that more than two million dollars. To the prophecy made by Sir Percy Scott-vice officers and jackies who volunteer for admiral on the retired list of the British submarine duty, however, and to the Navy, and styled by some the “father of United States Navy at large, it may the modern navy"—that "the introducrepresent an achievement too far reach- tion of vessels which swim under water ing in its results to be expressed in cold has entirely done away with the utility figures.

of ships which swim on top of the water." Looking at this latest invention of the Although the submarine has been greatest inventor as navy men do, it steadily developed during fifteen years means the possible solving of those two by countless inventions increasing its great submarine problems of life and efficiency as a fighting machine, little power which, up to the present time, have good has been accomplished in making it made the submergible as dangerous in habitable. Great sums have been spent peace as in war, and as perilous to its to secure an adequate ventilation of the crew as to its enemy. In other words, vessel when submerged. The heated air Edison, the man oppoşed to war and its of the engine room and the exhaled air implements, has evolved a battery which of the crew have been drawn off, filtered, not only makes the submarine habitable oxygenated, cooled, and returned to the by preventing asphyxiation of a crew in interior, but even this intricate process event of a prolonged enforced submer- has failed to rid the boat of poisonous sion, but practically doubles the strategic gases.

me .

There are two distinct conditions in throat. The ultimate deleterious effect which the submarine is used—that is, a upon the lungs and the resultant ill-health surface and a submerged condition. In are too apparent to need comment. the first a large portion of the hull is When an ex-navy officer was asked above water and the boat is propelled by recently if he would volunteer his servlarge, powerful, internal-combustion en- ices in the event of hostilities, he said: gines. In this condition she is managed “That would depend entirely upon the in about the same way as any boat on nature of the duty. If I could be reasonthe surface, and the air in the interior is, ably sure either of complete annihilation of course, pure. In the submerged con- or absolute safety I would go. The probdition, when the water from the sea runs ability of ‘passing out' does not worry into great tanks built within the boat and me, but I do draw the line on becoming virtually sinks her, all communication an invalid or cripple—a burden to mywith the outside air is at once cut off. self and family for the remainder of The crew then breathe the air contained my days.” In the face of this conin the body of the boat, supplemented by a large supply of compressed air in steel tanks. It would naturally seem that the release of this chemically pure air would more than offset the escape of gases. However, such is not the case.

The moment the boat goes from a surface to a submerged condition, powerful electric motors are started by throwing in a switch. These motors derive their energy from leadsulphuric acid storage batteries and drive the propellers. The same storage batteries furnish current for numerous auxiliary motors used for pumping, steering, handling torpedoes, etc. They are the very life of the submarine itself, but once they discharge current at a high rate they give off gas. This gas not only explodes when mixed in sufficient quantity with air, but it is extremely harmful. In some cases its odor is not detected, and the crew unknowingly inhale it until there is irritation of the mucous membrane, indicated by

[graphic]

MR. EDISON AND SECRETARY DANIELS violent coughing and sore

The great inventor, who does not believe in war, is here seen mounting the

COPYRIGHT-NTLAMAT. NEWS

gangplank of the superdreadnaught New York.

stant discharge of noxious gases from the lead-acid type of storage battery now in use on all submarines, there is a far greater source of peril from the same battery. Should the submerged craft sink and salt water come in contact with the lead-acid batteries, deadly chlorine gas would be given off. Submarine matters are considered in the strictest secrecy, but it is a true statement of fact that our own submarines have been running below the surface under apparently normal conditions when the presence of chlorine gas has been detected, and in

POLE

FILLER BOX develop into pneuGAS IRAP

monia; the lungs DRAIN TUBE/POLE

seldom ever regain their previous healthy condition. Of all fears which beset the submarine volunteer chlorine gas is the greatest.

Only a year ago a
foreign submarine sank
with its crew, and the
official statement of the
disaster read:

"Sixteen bodies have
been taken out of the
vessel, which was full of
chlorine gas. One or
two had been attacked
by acids from the bat-
teries, whether before or
after the accident cannot
be said. In the fore
compartment were found.
the bodies of the com-
mander and chief officer.
In the rear compartment
six men were found
linked so tightly to-
gether it was very diffi-
cult to separate them.

[graphic]

order to save the lives of the crew the vessel has been obliged to hurry to the surface and send a wireless call for help. Five months after an inhalation

RIGOROUS TESTS FOR THE NEw Cell of chlorine a cold may

Edison had it dropped three-quarters of an inch two million times to prove

its strength.

[graphic][merged small]

Other bodies were found in the extreme ing through, the electrolyte, each of these forward compartment. Death in each minute bubbles conveys a small quantity case was due to chlorine poisoning." of whatever chemical the solution is

All these dangers are at once done composed of; if they are formed in a away with by the Edison submarine stor- lead-sulphuric acid type battery, sulage battery. It not only prevents as- phuric acid is the cargo; if in an Edison phyxiation, but it acts as a disinfectant type battery, potash. because of the affinity of its solution- When these bubbles rise from the surpotash—for carbonic acid gas. The bat- face of the electrolyte and come into contery which has caused all the submarine tact with an object, they either remain trouble is the lead-sulphuric acid type. until evaporation disintegrates them and The Edison battery is a nickel-iron-alkali deposits their cargo of acid or alkali, or type, and is composed of but four things, they burst and accomplish the same renickel, iron oxide, and steel in a solution sulta The gas vent of a lead type cell is of potash, and wonderful as it may seem, open and the bubbles may therefore pass the potash is a preservative of all the through freely and away. The vent of elements entering into the combination; the Edison cell is a check valve. To get thus the battery elements do not destroy out, the gases must lift this valve by preseach other.

sure formed within the otherwise herWhen a storage battery is charged, metically-sealed containing can. But in hydrogen gas forms on the negative the submarine type the gases are entirely plates and oxygen gas on the positives. rid of potash by a supplementary device. These gases, in the form of minute bub- Even if all the potash bubbles were albles, rise to the surface of the solution lowed to get out no harm would result. and, being lighter than air, float away. Potash is an excellent disinfectant; it Being formed in, and subsequently pass- preserves steel. Sulphuric acid attacks it.

« PreviousContinue »