Studying Germs on Wheels
Climb on board this automobile and see if the water you drink is pure
SCIENCE has made wonderful progress in devising methods of quicklydiscovering sources of danger to public health by the pollution and contamination of food and water supplies, and has found means of counteracting the dangers threatening from germs and other impurities. But promptness of action is imperative in all cases, and in recognition of this fact, the efforts of the health authorities in all states have been directed toward finding some means of expediting the work of the health officials and enabling them to cover every locality requiring their services without dangerous delay. The Department of Health of the State of New Jersey has recently introduced a traveling field laboratory mounted on a motor chassis. In outward appearance the vehicle resembles a delivery wagon. The closed and covered body has doors in front and in the rear, and forms a small room used primarily for bacteriological work. On one side of the inside wall is a bench or shelf upon which rests two incubators which are heated by electricity from a storage battery, which also operates the starting and lighting system of the automobile. The shelf also provides enough room for the making of
culture plates and for their examination for the purpose of counting the germs. The incubators may also be removed, and, by changing the voltage of the heating lamps, may be used on any 110-volt circuit at any water-pumping or filtration plant. Another portion of the equipment carried by the automobile is a portable chlorine gas disinfecting apparatus by means of which any water supply found to be unsafe may be purified by the addition of chlorine gas. By means of this traveling laboratory the necessary inspection of dairies and water supplies in various remote parts of the State has been greatly expedited.
A Medicine Cover Which Eliminates All Guesswork on the Part of the Nurse
MEDICINE that is to be taken a spoonful at a time, at intervals, should always be covered, especially if the
always sick person is lying in a room where the windows are open and dust enters. It is also equally important that the doses be administered at the precise time stated by the physician. It goes without saying that beneficial results can not be expected when medicines are administered irregularly, which is so often the case when memory is relied upon or where there are several persons waiting upon the sick one. A medicine cover which will remind you when the next dose should be taken, is a recently marketed article. The face of the cover, which is made of
wood, is neatly colored and numbered from one to twelve in clockwise fashion. An hour hand and a minute hand are pivoted to the center. It is topped by a sympathetic appearing little figure by which the cover is lifted. After each dose is administered, the hands are set forward to the proper time for the next dose.
Shielding the Munition Worker Behind Steel Walls
FILLING the large shells is not the only dangerous task in the munition plants. Loading the shell primer and fuses in which only a very small quantity of explosive is used, is almost equally hazardous. A defective fuse, for instance, is likely to go off and to ignite piles of fuses and powder that are near it. This source of danger has been found so great in the experience of E. P. du Pont, of Wilmington, Delaware, that he has designed a special loadAs ing house to protect the workers. from
The operator is separated from the explosive material by a steel partition. Only the few grains of powder required to fill one or two fuses are at hand. If these grains go off, little harm is done. If the big piles should be accidentally ignited, practical-
ly the entire force of the explosion would be spent in the open air, on the other side of this partition. The trucks that handle the powder supply and that take away the stacks of the finished products, all run on the outside of the partition, which is really the outside of the building. The loose explosive is placed in the large conveying trays that are shown. By tapping these slanting trays, enough powder slides through the little neck of the tray to allow for a few fillings. This powder is then wrapped up in the fuse fabric and the product is immediately passed out
on another tray near by. Fuses, that are wrapped too tightly or are made imperfect in any way, are slid down a chute into a shallow bucket to be taken away. In this way no one touches the dangerous parts. The entrance of women workers into munition factories has inspired many foremen to make extra humanitarian efforts in behalf of their employees and those dependent upon them for support.
A New Joint Box Which Prevents Submarine Gable Breaks
THE new type of joint box, shown in the accompanying illustrations, has just been devised to prevent breaks at the joints, or splices of sub-
marine telegraph and telephone cables, caused by the severe mechanical stresses set up in the cable because of the constant movement carried on by the tides and currents. The box, which is made in two halves, is bolted together with a gasket between the two parts, in order to make it waterproof. Two double clamps are attached to the cable, one on each side of the joint and outside of the joint box proper. These two clamps are held in the proper relation to each, other by means of four long take-up rods and nuts, which, when tightened up against the
ends of the box, bridge over the joint and transfer any stress on one side to the other without causing any strain in the lead sheathing over the actual cable joint.
Bury the Coffee-Grounds in the Garden. They Fertilize the Soil
THE question of what to do with the coffee-grounds has at last been satisfactorily answered. Just pour them out into the sink-strainer and dump them into the garden. They contain some valuable fertilizing properties, including a large percentage of nitrogen and a fair amount of potassium and phosphorus.
How the First Potatoes Were Made Popular in France
ALTHOUGH potatoes were early intro. duced into Europe by the Spaniards, they did not come in any quantity for many
years. The English found them in Virginia, but it is believed that the Spanish brought them to that colony from further south. The first attempt to introduce them into France was due to a well known scientific authority named Parmentier. This was in the seventeenth century. He imported some of the plants, set them out in a field near Paris, and by means of learned pamphlets and talk with the people, tried to have the new vegetable brought into cultivation and the market. But it was all in vain. Potatoes did not prove attractive; and
tractive; and when the planted ones matured, it seemed that they would rot in the ground on account of the prejudice against them. Then some wise man who knew human nature—a student of psychology, with practical ideas—suggested that peasants could not be made to try potatoes by persuasion, but might be led to adopt them if they were forbidden to eat them. His idea was adopted. Many signs were painted and erected in plain sight, forbidding under severe penalties any one from taking any potatoes from the field. The peasants at once began to raid the hills; and before long most of the ripe tubers were stolen and eaten with relish.
A Masking Device Which Brings the Whole Picture in the Photograph
EVERY once in a while the amateur photographer gets into trouble by turning his camera over to take a lengthwise picture, using the up and down, or the panel portion of
the finder, to locate the object or person to be photographed. This often results in an unfortunate headless and footless portrait of the camera fiend’s best friend. Two citizens of Indiana have invented a masking device which makes it impossible for even the most careless person to make such a mistake. The device covers the top of the view finder, as the illustration shows, and permits the photographer to see the scene only as it will go on the plate or film. This effectually
prevents the using of the wrong length of the finder—the panel portion for the horizontal picture.
A hinged flap contains the vertical opening for one position and another contains the horizontal opening. When the finder is rolled over, the vertical opening flap turns down beside the finder box and the finder moves until the ninety degree turn is complete and the hinged flap carrying the horizontal opening lies exactly across the screen There can never be even the possibility of a mistake with this device, because the shape of the opening over the focusing plate is automatically altered by the change in the position of the finder. By this simple means, inexperienced photographers may avoid many disappointments.
The Engineer’s Watch-Holder — It Hangs the Watch in Any Position
TO the engineer, the most practical timepiece is one which can be used without loss of effort and time. For this reason, a watch-holder invented by Frank
J. Ellis, of Philadelphia, should meet with his approval. The device consists of a central bar on which two members are pivoted—one for attaching the device, and the other for holding the watch in the device. Both members are of spring wire, the attaching arms being sharpened at the points to grasp the support. The watch-holding section is in one piece, the wire being coiled around the pivoting bar, forming a hook at the center of the
bar and a U-shaped spring in the loop of the wire. In use, the ring of the watch catches over the hook and the stem of the watch slides into the U-shaped spring. The tension of the various spring portions of the device hold it ímmovably in any Holding position. arm
Firing Bullets from a Slot at the End of a Shotgun
a FROM the time British sportsmen learned that hitting flying things was entirely possible, there has been a hundred years of endeavor to make a shotgun fire its shot charges more compactly, to the end that the density of the “pattern” be sufficient to insure hits even at very long range. Now comes an inventor with a device to make a shotgun spread its charge even more than the normal “cylinder” barrel, and not only to make it spread, but to produce a spread of a certain shape so as to increase the chances for a hit.
usage, has produced for the shotgun, a muzzle flattened horizontally, until it is nothing more than a slot of a width equal to the diameter of the buckshot to be used; and of course running horizontally as the gun is held by the shooter. The result, says the inventor, is a “pattern,” made with twelve buckshot, fourteen inches high by eight feet wide at a distance of thirty yards. In other words, at this range the gun shoots a horizontal line of round bullets, not one of which is higher or lower than seven inches from the average, all traveling in a “line of skirmishers,” eight feet wide. Were men charging the
trench at yard intervals, which is not now true, three or four of them would be hit with a bullet each. The device can be applied to cannon also, the load being changed to a charge of loose leaden bullets and the muzzle flattened out to allow them to pass out in a horizontal line only. For game shooting, what is needed is a little lever for quickly changing the horizontal po-
sition to a vertical one. Where the crossing duck or quail would have to run the gauntlet of a shot charge spread out, say, fifteen feet from east to west, the walked up game, rising suddenly, or the soaring duck, would call for a vertical position of the flattened muzzle.
An Open Fireplace On the Veranda—What Next?
IN Los Angeles, Cal., the hottest day is followed by a cool evening. Hence the openair fireplace is not so incongruous as it seems. It has been
built into the corner of the veranda, the low walls of which are of cobblestones. The fireplace itself is of the same construction, with a brick chimney extending high enough into the air to conduct the smoke cloudward. Here on cool evenings a bright log fire is built, which makes it. possible for the residents to enjoy the out-of-doors.
As Good as Ten Strong Men
CONVEYING systems which are very costly to instal, become good investments when there is a shortage of labor. An example of this is the long overhead monorail erected in a Toledo, Ohio, plant. The electrically operated crane is handled by but one man. It carries boxed automobiles from the plant to the flat cars on the siding, where the turning on of the electric motor lowers them into place. Formerly it took ten hands, with trucks and gangways, to accomplish the same labor. The work does not require a highly trained man. Awomancandoit.
A Periscope for the Engineer in His Cab
INVENTIONS previously used exclusively for war purposes, are now finding their way into industry. Even the submarine, associated with destruction, has something to contribute. For instance, why not periscopes for railway engineers? Why is it necessary for the engineer to lean out of his cab to see the track ahead of him, or the signal of the conductor or flagman in the rear of the train? According to A. G. Spencer, of London, England, periscopes would be a great help to all locomotive engineers, eliminating much danger and inconvenience. He has invented two periscopes which can be attached to an ordinary locomotive cab, to enable the engineer to obtain an unobstructed view of the track ahead and of his train in the rear. The periscopes are supported by rubber or other flexible means in brackets, so that they can be readily adjusted in position or turned about a vertical or horizontal axis. The space between the periscope and the roof of the cab is filled with rubber rings. One of the periscopes is telescopic and is in two parts held together by a wing-nut and a bolt. It is provided with windows, a removable cover and projections which bear against the securingclamps. The periscope may be of lazytongs type or otherwise adjustable in length, and the mirrors may be protected from smoke by a hood or casing. So equipped, in an emergency, the engineer is able to see all that is necessary, withthe out leaving his post at the throttle.
One Quick Pressure and the Cork Is Out
THE corkscrew has at last found a rival in the cork-puller, invented by John Sheridan, of San Francisco. Two thin scissors-like blades, having upwardly inclined serrations, are thrust into the cork body. When you close the blade handles, the serrated members open in wedge shape, and the cork can be pulled instantly. The inclined teeth draw the sides of the cork inward, making it smaller than the bottlemouth, so that it is easily drawn out. The puller can be easily withdrawn by again separating the handles. It leaves only a small hole.
A New Automobile Signal. It is placed on the Left Rear Fender
ANEW signal, mounted on the rear fender of an automobile, flashes a red light by night and a red flag by day, to designate a change of course, with regard
to direction. This does away with all the complications of oscillating hands or with the words “right or left”, which are some-
times incorrectly manipulated by nervous drivers in emergencies. The signal consists of a pressed-steel box with a red metal flag on the removable cover and a red bull’s eye light at the rear. The device is mounted on the left rear fender and is operated by means of a push button. In operation, the pushing of a button lights an electric lamp inside the box, and simultaneously energizes a solenoid which automatically causes the red flag on the top of the box to rise from a horizontal to a vertical position, transversely of the car. The current for operating the signal may be had from a battery. The signal box is weatherproof, to prevent possible shortcircuits, although these
are further provided against by a fuse block and a ten-ampere fuse placed near the negative pole of the storage battery to prevent the solenoid from burning out.
Burning the Roots of Stumps Out of the Ground
IN wooded localities, farmers, who wish to remove the timber from their land in order to utilize the ground for raising crops, will appreciate a simple device for burning out the stumps and roots, invented by John H. Hempy, of New Hampshire,
Ohio. The inventor has made ingenious use of the well known fact that draft aids combustion, by constructing a conical chimney of sheet iron in several sections, which is so placed over the ignited stump that a strong draft is created. The air, rushing in from below, by its oxygen aids the process of combustion and keeps the fire burning briskly.
After the lower part of the stump is burned away, the upper part settles into the fire and furnishes fuel to burn out the big roots near the surface. The lowest section of the cone, with a diameter of thirty inches at the bottom, is made out of heavier sheet iron, while the two upper cones, which taper to a diameter of eight inches, may be made of ordinary stovepipe sheet iron. The whole chimney is about six feet tall, but may be made higher if a stronger draft is desired.
Turn the Switch and You’ll Have All the Hot Water You Will Need
FREDERICK POOLE, of Kansas, has invented a water heater which operates electrically. It is even simpler than the gas heater. An ordinary electric high-resistance heating element is placed in a large cylinder, about a foot in diameter. When water from the small pipe main enters so big a chamber, it travels very slowly. Therefore, when the current is turned through the heating element, the heat from its large radiating surface has' an opportunity to make the water hot in so short a time that the method might well be classified as instantaneous. In any home having electricity, but where, without this attach-
ment, it has always been necessary to light the k i t c h e n range, and then to wait an hour or more in order to have hot water; the advant a g e s of this quick
method of preparing the morning bath, or, in case of emergency, of obtaining hot water at any hour of the night, will be obvious.