Speaking Tubes for a Ship’s Gunners
Reporting the range, the hits and the misses
IN a naval battle, the range is obtained principally by men stationed in the mast tops. The readings of their instruments are telephoned down to the officers in the plotting room, below the warship’s deck. Here the instrument readings are quickly transcribed into terms of gun ranges and of angles of horizontal deflection. These calculations
are sent to the gunners through speaking tubes, although telephones and nu-
either a voice tube or a telephone is likely to be swept away. In big bat-
phones and nutles, the gun that meral indicators are often used, to make has but one channel of communication sure that the orders will be understood. stands grave chances of being cut off from For when the battle waxes hottest, the rest of the ship. Should that happen,
Popular the gunners would have to depend upon the gun’s telescopic sights, and there would be no checking up of hits or misses by the spotters in the mast tops. Thus, the means of communication is the crux in the modern method of pointing and firing a battleship’s guns. In our Navy, voice tubes are generally preferred to electrical apparatus. Speaking tubes are just metallic pipes made airtight.
Why Do You Laugh When You Are Tickled?
ALTHOUGH it L is usually done in fun, the habit of tickling is supposed to be a somewhat dangerous one, according to physicians. The ticklish areas are located over the least protected parts of the body, where delicate vital organs are to be protected. The reason for the ticklishness is that the skin is highly sensitive there and “aware” of intrusion, as a means of protection from possible injury. This sensitiveness, or awareness, the physicians say, is a relic of the days when man’s pre-
historic ancestors had to guard their lives constantly against creeping insects and the heavy penetrating pressure of animals’ teeth. That is why, according to this theory, the tickle reflex is elicited principally by a light running motion over the skin, and by sudden prods. The reaction, in this age, is a violent discharge of energy in the form of laughter and efforts to be free. But it is easy to imagine the shrieks of terror or pain that might have been the forerunner of the laughter. Humanity takes ages to outgrow its prehistoric impulses.
The Liquid Fire of the Trenches Is Not as Deadly as It Looks
THE effect of jets of liquid fire on men in the trenches is more terrible to the eye than to the body. But despite this fact, it is still used as a weapon. The bulky, rectangular tanks found in the original outfits have been replaced by the less cumbersome and more efficient;
and more efficient; “life buoys” and “bombs” of the latT est flame project tors. In operation, the Germans let out the gas under compression, so that it forces a stream of combustible oil from the buoys through a connecting line of hose. The oil, which travels fast under the great pressure, passes a lighted wick in the nozzle of the hose. The burning jet is then directed toward the enemy. But improve their apparatus as they may, the Germans have no control over the action of the air. By lying flat at the rear of their trenches, the men, being attacked, are in little danger. It
in little danger. It is the German soldier who has suffered most from fire. The British, in selfdefence, have combated liquid fire with the flaming shell. This, as explained in the October issue of the POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, does not ignite until it hits the ground. If the guns are pointed so that the shell strikes just in front of the trenches, both flames and débris will shower over the enemy troops. Moreover, the British have found that by firing at the enemy’s tanks, these are often exploded, killing their operators in the action.
Training “Tommies” to Lay Wires in the Dark
IN efficiency tests, conducted at Aidershot, England, the recruits are drilled in every requirement of military tactics, under conditions such as they are likely to encounter in the war zone. The accompanying illustration shows a
wiring party, sent out to set up wire entanglements, presumably under cover of darkness. In order to train them to be sure of step, even when the way is obscure, the soldiers are partially blindfolded. Even so hindered, they work rapidly over rough, undulating ground, such as they will find on a battle field.
Moving a Piano by Automobile
ANOVEL type of platform has been designed by a Nebraskan inventor, to carry a piano so as to properly distribute its weight over all four wheels of a Ford roadster.
The platform is made of two longitudinal wood members curved at the front to fit the rear end of the Ford seat, and held in place by means of bolts through the top and bottom flanges of the Ford side-frame members. It is suitably cross-braced and has side brackets by means of which it is attached to the runningboards to secure greater rigidity.
The platform is made of wood, reinforced with angle-irons on the edges, and near the front it has two hinged boards, which are raised to a vertical position when a piano is carried. The piano is placed transversely of the Ford with the keyboard at the rear. It is held in position by means of two leather or canvas straps, inserted through loops in the tops of the two hinged boards and then carried back to the rear of the platform, and by means of an additional leather strap, inserted in the angle of the keyboard, and attached to the front ends of the platform on either side. Since the weight of the average piano is approximately 350 lbs., or support about equal to that of the three passengers usually carried in to prevent a Ford touring model, no adting ditional strain is placed on the vehicle. The piano is placed directly up against the two hinged boards so that it can-
Popular not slide while the vehicle is in motion. Its center of gravity is well forward of the Ford rear axle in order that its weight may be partly distributed over the front wheels.
To load the piano onto the platform easily, two stout plank skids are provided. These have angle-iron hooks on their forward ends, which
slip into staples bolted to the rear of the platform. After
the piano has been loaded, the skids are removed from the staples and pushed forward under the platform, so that their overhanging ends do not present a menace to pedestrians. In this way the piano is as safely moved as in a fully equipped van.
No Passing Traffic Can Interfere With This Policeman’s View
APERMANENT nest of wood and iron construction, standing more than fifteen feet high, at the intersection of six streets in the busiest part of Detroit; will be used by a policeman, to direct traffic going in twelve directions. In this nest the officer is high enough to see several squares each way, which enables him to avoid confusion and accidents. The station, which is glass enclosed and heated, has a signal equipment, so that it can easily communicate with nearby busy traffic posts.
Lo! The Electric Blanket. It Always Keeps You Just Warm Enough
SLEEPING out-of-doors has been robbed of its most unpleasant feature
—the chill. No longer is it necessary to shiver with cold, or to pile uncomfortably heavy bedclothes over yourself. An electrician has devised a light blanket which is electrically heated. The blanket is equipped with three heats, so that you can have it mildly warm, warm, or almost hot, with Jhe expenditure of but a small amount of current.
What Causes the Singing of Telegraph Wires?
THE singing of telegraph wires is sometimes regarded as a weather prognostic, though opinions differ as to the kind of weather it foretells. There has been much discussion as to the cause of this sound. Probably it is simply the Aeolian harp effect, and its occurrence depends chiefly upon the direction of the wind in relation to the direction in which the wires run. Variations in the pitch of the sound depend upon changes in the tension of the wires with varying temperature.\
You Can Be Your Own Gunsmith
JUST about the time the merry gunner is afar from gunsmith and factory, and the ducks are coming in, his old fowling piece decides to take a vacation, and a lock quits. Maybe it is rusty through long neglect, maybe a firing pin has become gummed up, maybe a mainspring breaks. A seance by marsh, particularly salty marsh, or seashore, is likely to start a coat of rust on the damaskeened surface of the locks of a fine gun; or a primer may leak and let in gas, which starts rust also. A British maker has evolved easily-
detachable locks for the hammerless gun. Take off the fore-end, press back a catch, and the bottom plate in the frame of the gun drops down on a hinge, exposing the two fine locks of the hammerless gun, the main and sear springs, the sear, and the
striker and tumbler of each lock. Only a moment is required to wipe them off, oil them and slip them back into the gun. Or if new parts are required, the maker furnishes them in a neat leather case. If anything should break, merely take out the old part and slip in the new.
Using Snow for Cement and Ice for Windows
FIFTY degrees below zero is the average temperature in the south of Siberia
during the winter months. In the section of the country where the house shown in the photograph was located, the weather is comparatively mild. In fact, although the logs of the house were cemented together with snow, there were times when repairs were necessary on account of the snow melting from the heat of the interior. The windows, too, which were of sheets of ice, had to be renewed at least once in every four months.