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propulsion of torpedoes. In some re- difficulties, and that it is the third which spects the United States Bliss-Leavitt will prove the most serious. When it has turbine torpedo is much like the White- been overcome, the engine will be a head, but it far surpasses its prototype in splendid drive for the automobile. speed, range, and accuracy. While the Before concluding, I should like to Whitehead goes 1,200 yards at 28 knots, mention only a few instances of the presand up to 2,000 yards at 22 knots, the ent position of the turbine ashore. Bliss-Leavitt goes 36 knots up to 1,200 Neuchâtel has now a combined system of yards, and 28 knots up to 3,500 yards. steam turbine and hydraulic power for The new torpedo is being made in two delivering current. At the Rhenanian sizes. One is 18-inch, which can be fired Wesphalian Electricity Works at Essen, from the 18-inch tubes on existing bat- two units are being (or have been) intleships and torpedo-boats; the other will stalled of 10,000 horse-power each. These be much more powerful, the size being are the largest stationary machines ever 21-inch. The engine employed for the built in Europe; and a Westphalian minpropulsion of this miniature warship is ing company intends putting in another the Curtis turbine, compound type, with 10,000 horse-power engine, also of the two.propellers adapted to run in opposite Boveri-Parsons type. The French-Beldirections. The turbine runs at 10,000 gian syndicate control a number of elecrevolutions a minute, geared down to 900 tric plants at St. Denis (30,000 horserevolutions for the propellers, and at this power), Sclessin near Liége (15,000 speed the new torpedo developed 40 horse-power), and Charleroi (3,500 horseknots, although the contract was only for power), all turbine-driven. New plants 36. A turbo-gyroscope is driven at a speed are being erected at Brussels, Ostend, of 18,000 revolutions per minute, and by Cairo, etc., bringing

Cairo, etc., bringing the total horsethis ingenious invention the torpedo is power up to 65,000, all installed within prevented from deflecting from its three years by the same company.

In course.

America, progress is also reported. I believe most engineers admit that an Mr. James Denny tells a good story of "internal-combustion” turbine would be the trial of the Viper which throws a an ideal machine; and although there are light on

light on Mr. Parsons' character. A difficulties in the construction of a satis- preliminary trial trip was made early in factory gas turbine, scientific invention the day, and the bearing of the engineers has not yet said its last word on the sub- was ominous. They differed with Mr. ject. Heinrich Zoelly, of Zurich, has pat- Parsons as to the trial trip rate of wages, ented a gas turbine which is said to be a and as the latter knew his own mind the good machine, but I am not acquainted engineers walked off the ship. Every one with its design or results. Last year, thought the day's proceedings must end Emil Capitaine installed a producer-gas there and then; but Mr. Parsons thought turbine engine on a little vessel 60 feet otherwise. He turned on his apprentices long; and during a ten hours' run, at 13 to do journeymen's work, picked up some knots, only 467 lbs. of anthracite were men off the quay, borrowed some more consumed, at a cost of about four shil- from Messrs. Hawthorn, Leslie & Co., lings. Theoretically the gas turbine of- who had the contract for the hull and fers as good a thermo-dynamic efficiency boilers, and made all into a scratch crew as the piston engine ; but the main diffi- for the trial trip. L'nder these extraorculties in its progress are the apparent dinary circumstances, the l'iper ran her necessity of working at such high initial trial, and on that day did the unparalleled temperatures that no known construc- speed of 37 knots. Whe: Mr. Parsons tional material could long withstand their emerged from the engine-room, dirty and action; the high rotative speed demanded warm, all crowded round him to congratin order to realize good efficiency; and ulate him, but he took the whole thing the difficulty of compressing the elements as a matter of course. It is a modern of combustion to the high pressures of instance of how dangers retreat when the turbine, and burning them under this boldly they're confronted. But it is not pressure. It is believed that the wet gas given to every one to confront mechaniturbine will remove the first two of these cal difficulties so successfully.

Colossal Asparagus Plantation

By J. Mayne Baltimore

SPARAGUS, which is To care properly for the great crops deemed a great luxury in on Bouldin, calls for a mammoth ina vegetable way, is grown dustry. The annual output exceeds 4,000 successfully in many parts tons of asparagus. The season is very of the world—particular- brief, lasting only from March 15 to

ly in Germany and the June 15. When in the height of the United States. However, in probably no “harvest,” about 1,500 persons are emportion of the globe is this delicious veg- ployed. This force includes the work of etable cultivated on a more gigantic scale cultivating and canning the enormous than in California.

crop. The Golden State may truthfully boast Most of the immense output is canned of possessing the largest asparagus farm and shipped to the various markets of in the world. It is located on Bouldin the world, though great quantities are island in San Joaquin county. This is- disposed of in the local markets. Sevland is formed by the junction of the eral large canning establishments are San Joaquin and Mokolumne rivers and kept very busy during the brief season a connecting tidal stream. In superficial -turning out daily on an average 650 area, the island contains about 7,000 cases, or, about 20 tons of canned goods. acres. Asparagus is here grown almost There are also several smaller canneries exclusively, about 3,000 acres being in employed to assist in handling the gicultivation. Besides Bouldin island, two gantic crops. other smaller islands are also partly The total value of one season's crop in asparagus cultivation—Tyler and An- reaches over half a million dollarsdrus islands. Venice island, also, will about $600,000. More than 650 cars are soon be used as an asparagus plantation. shipped away during one season. The cooking is completed. They are then packed carefully in cases and are ready for shipment. Thus prepared, this delicious vegetable is shipped to all parts of the world, where it finds a ready and remunerative sale.



Showing plants in cultivation.

The process of gathering and

canning the crop must be repeated every day while the season lasts.

It is a novel and inONE OF THE 44-INCH CENTRIFUGAL PUMPS USED IN THE Colossal Task of Pump- teresting sight to ING OUT THE SUBMERGED ISLAND—7,000 ACRES OF WATER, 7 FEET DEEP.

travel over this vast

plantation, and see the cultivation-cutting, harvesting, canning, growing crops, the different processes of etc., requires arduous and varied human cultivation, the harvesting, and lastly, labor. The vegetable is cultivated in the canning, packing, labeling, and shiplong rows-thrown up like a windrow" ping methods. of hay after it has been cut and raked To produce asparagus of the highest together. After the asparagus com- degree of excellence, a certain peculiar mences to sprout, there is no end of con- kind of soil is required. That found on stant labor. Laborers go carefully along Bouldin island could not be surpassed these interminable rows, looking for the in the world for the purpose. The enfresh, tender shoots that are just peep- tire island is a reclaimed marsh originally ing above the soil. All these are cut lying below tide-level. This reclamation some distance below the surface, by was wrought by means of building a means of a sharp and peculiarly shaped dyke all around the banks. The soil is knife.

admirably adapted to asparagus culture In the course of the season, millions of consisting of a sort of peat and sedithe sweet sprouts constantly make their ment, and when perfectly dry burns like appearance and are cut off and harvested.

Chinese punk. This cutting goes on endlessly; for the More than 50,000 acres of this marshy patient cutters must go over the long tide land in San Joaquin county have rows several times every day. The been reclaimed by a system of dyking, sprouts must not be allowed to stand and brought to a high and productive long; they soon become tough and state of cultivation. In traveling through stringy.

that region, one may readily imagine he From these fields the fresh asparagus

is in Flanders. It has been appropriately is hauled in wagons into enormous cut- christened “The Holland of America." ting sheds, where the tender shoots are To dyke Bouldin island properly, more chopped off to uniform lengths; after than thirty miles of levees were conthis they are culled and sorted into dif- structed-costing a very large sum of ferent sizes. They are then ready for money. The growth of this industry has the canning process; are thoroughly

are thoroughly been wonderful. For many years Gerwashed and placed in steam-heated salt many, the native home of asparagus, furwater and partly cooked. After this, the nished the world's vast supply; but even "sealers” place the shoots of different that country now recognizes the superior sizes into glass jars and cans made spe

merits of the Bouldin island vegetable, cially for the purpose. When the jars

When the jars and takes it in preference to the home and cans are hermetically sealed, they product. are placed in immense iron tanks filled Asparagus cultivation has been carried with boiling water, when the process of on for a number of years on this island. Once it was maintained on a very small was 300 feet wide, and 85 feet deep. scale and by primitive methods. The After the immense break was finally first year's output in 1892 was only 2,- closed, the company was confronted with 700 cases. Compared with the present the stupendous work of pumping out 7,production, the increase has been mar- 000 acres of water averaging about 7 velous.


feet in depth. This colossal task was Large as is the scale on which the finally completed, though some weeks of cultivation is now carried on, it may still steady pumping was required. Four imbe said that the asparagus industry is as mense pumps were installed. These conyet comparatively in its infancy in Cali- sisted of two 44-inch and two 36-inch fornia. The time is not far distant when centrifugal pumps. The capacity of the many thousands of additional acres will two larger pumps was 65,000 gallons of be in cultivation—when California will water per minute, that of the two smaller be able to furnish the world's supply. was 40,000 gallons per minute. The Once asparagus was a luxury; now it has total capacity of the four pumps per

[graphic][merged small]

become a necessity, and is within reach of every 24 hours' steady pumping, was all.

302,100,000. For more than a year past, no crop has When the water was all cleared out, been cultivated on this island, owing

this island, owing the work of getting the great asparagus to the fact that it has been completely beds in order went on rapidly, over 500 inundated. Early in March, 1904, a dis- Japanese 'aborers being employed. In astrous break occurred in the dyke. round figures the total expense entailed Through this breach the floods poured by the submergence of Bouldin island until all the 7,000 acres were under reached almost the half-million dollar water from six to seven feet. It proved mark. a tremendous and costly piece of engi- Bouldin island is owned by the Voorneering to close up this wide and deep man Company of San Francisco, while break. Several months were required to

the immense canneries and canning close the breach. It was about 1,500 feet plants belong to the Hickmott Asparagus long, the washout being from 105 to 20 Canning Company, also of San Franfeet in depth. Just at the dyke the break cisco. In every department of the cutting, canning, and cooking processes, the The innudation of the island and its utmost cleanliness is strictly enforced. submergence for months, did not destroy

The cultivation of these vast stretches the life of the plants, as might be supof asparagus beds is a great task the posed; for asparagus is a vegetable that year round; for, after the actual har- will live almost indefinitely even under vest closes, the work does not end. Then water. Of course the labor of leveling follows the removal of the millions of the fields up after the floods dry stalks, and after that the endless pumped out, and getting everything cultivation of the roots, and care for the again in good shape, has proved to be a general welfare of the vegetable.

stupendous job.


Protecting Running Trains

By Frank C. Perkins


NEW system has recently been very much smaller than the running rails, devised by two German engi- and the engines are provided with current neers, Pfirmann and Wendorf, collectors or brushes rubbing against the

of Frankfort, for the protection third rail, which may be located, as in of trains by engine cab signaling- the instances shown, between the tracks. that is, through the delivery, by means The current collector is connected with of an electric contact rail and other ap- the axles and the running rails through propriate devices, of audible or visible a battery and relay, the arrangement besignals in the locomotive cab. The track ing such that the armature is attracted construction is provided with a third rail and closes a local circuit in the engine

cab when the intensity of the current reaches a predetermined limit. The closing of this local circuit operates a lamp signal or an audible signaling device such as a gong, or the braking apparatus may be actuated as well.

In this manner it is possible for the locomotive engineer to be warned of danger caused by an open switch. Under ordinary conditions the coil of the relay is

not excited, the circuit Showing Central Rail and COLLECTOR OF NEW GERMAN SYSTEM FOR PROTECT- of the battery on the


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