Properly enforced laws would save the United States millions of dollars that now go up in smoke
Our Terrible Conflagrations
The Biggest Fire
Labels for Buildings
F. W. Fitzpatrick
IN normal times Europe’s fire losses average but one eighth or one tenth the loss suffered by the United States. One reason for this is that, under the laws of most European countries, a man cannot collect insurance for a fire originating upon his premises which the authorities can trace to his own neglect or carelessness.
Twenty million tons of food for her starving people—this is the promise of the United States to Europe. That’s a lot of food. If it were loaded into freight-cars, the cars would make up a train reaching from New York city to Spokane, Washington; and 1,594 locomotives of the huge triplex type, capable of pulling 251 fifty-ton cars, would be needed to haul it.
WE in America are sternly warned against washing our dirty linen in public, but the people of Bombay do it shamelessly. On wash-day all the dhobies (a dhoby is an Indian washer-woman) meet at the dhobydom with their bundles of wash. This is a large, open, circular place down the center of which run long rows of wash-tubs.
THIS is a house that helps the birds that help the farmer raise big crops that help feed Europe. The birds that live in it are purple martins. They like the taste of the insects that like the taste of the crops, and by eating these insects they help to save the crops.
BRITISH submarines are just as large and formidable as German ones, but they are not nearly so well known, for they live respectable submarine lives, while U-boats have made themselves notorious by their wicked deeds. This is a picture of a K-boat, one of England’s best, which went aground on the Lancashire sands in one of the fogs that so frequently hover over England.
IF the Germans had had a better sense of efficiency and had spent more time on the things that really counted, they might have fared better. For instance, many German officers wasted hours hanging on their dug-out walls curtains and “God Bless Our Home” pictures which were not at all appreciated when they were captured by the Allies.
“PROFESSOR” Monroe, of Montour, Mo., feels a justifiable pride in the fact that, though he has never taken a single lesson in music, he is proficient on no fewer than nine different musical instruments. Although he is a self-made musician, the Professor gives lessons on all of the instruments he plays.
THREE cheers for the red, white, and blue—in this case peppers, onions, and plums. The red peppers and white onions are lined up to make the stripes; the field for the stars is blue plums, and the stars are white plums. Long may it wave? Alas, there lies the trouble.
IF a Korean horse were asked whether he wished to go with or without shoes, he would undoubtedly jump at shoelessness, for being shod in Korea is much worse than sore feet. The horse is turned over on his back, his feet are tied together, and then all four are tied to a pole.
IN California the Digger Indians have a primitive but most effective way of storing up the acorns they use for making their bread during the winter months. They use what is called the acorn-basket. The Digger drives four stout posts into the ground, and puts three or four withe hoops around them, forming a sort of barrel frame.
THERE is such a thing as a hot dog. It is not found trimmed with mustard on a roll at Coney Island, but in that far-distant part of the United States known as the Philippine Islands. The gory picture below shows only too clearly how a hot-dog feast is prepared.
It was a close fight, but once more mind triumphed over matter
Knocked Out by Lightning
Drifting a Thousand Miles
The Life-Giving Still
Death Reaches Out Again
Theron W. Bean
HEAVY black clouds hung like a pall over Guam as the United States Shipping Board S. S. Dumaru slipped out of Apra harbor, bound for Cavite, P. I., carrying a government cargo of high explosives. The vessel had hardly left the island before a terrific electrical storm broke.
Some items in the yearly expense account of the bridges are: cost of operating surface and elevated cars, $2,600,000; value of time lost by vehicles in approaching and crossing bridges, $2,500,000; maintenance and repairs, $720,000; depreciation, $580,000; interest on capital, $4,050,000; administration, $120,000; total for four bridges, $10,570,000.
HANGING in midair, this daring man is one of the crew of two of a great observation balloon which has been towed above a ship to give a gull’s-eye view of the steamship track, lest any vagrant mine cause a post-war disaster. It is something of a job to haul down one of these balloons, and so they change watches in the basket by sending men from balloon to ship or from ship to balloon by this breeches-buoy arrangement.
THE tongue—or, more strictly speaking, the glossa—of a honeybee is covered with long hairs which increase in length toward the end of the organ. These are arranged in circles and in transverse rows, and give the tongue a beautiful appearance.
THE great-grandfather of the present engine-driven airplane, Langley’s aerodrome, or rather a quarter-size model, first flew in 1896. Later built other quarter-sized models, and they all flew. He solved the problem of getting his flying-machine afloat in the air ocean by hurling it from the roof of a house-boat.
BACK in 1853, a rich New Yorker built a fine stable of granite at the northern end of Manhattan Island. Following the prevailing architectural fashion, he built his stable with an archway through the center. Upstairs were living quarters for the coachmen.
The Roads that New York Travels Make It a City of Many Stories
Because the town lives in layers and works in layers it must also ride in layers
Taking a Million to Their Work
The New Subways
Some Difficulties of Construction
Travis H. Whitney
NEW YORK is the tallest building in the world: its sub-cellar is far below the surface of the earth, and its roof in some places reaches up 750 feet above-ground—and New York is constantly growing taller. For, as congestion increases, engineers bring relief by digging deeper and building higher—always adding to New York’s many stories.
TROUBLE is sometimes experienced with the ordinarytype of air tire pumps fitted on automobiles because of the multiplicity of parts such as valves, valve springs, piston rings, spring checkvalves, and the back pressure unavoidable in such types of pumps when pumping against a high resistance.
NO doubt all of us have wondered why the milkman, the baker, and the iceman still continue to use horse wagons. Ask the milk, bread, or ice companies, and they will tell you that the truck does not pay in house-to-house delivery work because there are so many stops in a block that the truck is in actual running operation only for from five to ten per cent of the total time of the trip.
RECENTLY, at the beginning of a railway strike in Kansas City, Mo., the city was without electricity for power. One enterprising bakery firm put a car in to run its power plant, but the differential of the car went bad in about two hours. Then a truck was put on the job.
A NEW type of plug has a ventilating chamber surrounding the shoulder and upper part of the insulator, with two vent-holes to draw off the superheated air and permit a circulation of cool air. The insulator is vitrified silica and lava. It is claimed that this insulator will withstand the most violent temperature changes without breaking.
WHENEVER a passenger-car is converted into a vehicle to carry a greater load, it is necessary to increase the final gear ratio between the engine and the rear wheels. The driving gear on the car drive-shaft must be made very small or the driven gear made so large that the axle casing to inclose the gear has not sufficient clearance from the ground.
SHIPPING motor-trucks overseas in cases whose volume was little more than half those of the trucks when put together, was a task accomplished by our Motor Transport Corps. When these vehicles were first sent overseas they were crated in much the same manner as a piano.
AN Iowa lumber concern purchased one of two large pontoons that had served for fifteen years as the support of a railroad bridge between North McGregor, Ia., and Prairie du Chien, Wis. When the bridge had been towed down the Mississippi to the yards, the lumber company was confronted with a difficult problem.
So the Fish Commission transplants fish to fishless waters
MANY rivers, lakes, and ponds throughout the United States that would make excellent homes for fish are uninhabited because fish, like people, pick out one small section for homing, and crowd into it, ignoring other places equally suitable.
KNOW what the enemy is doing! That maxim of warfare demanded superior airplanes and cameras—airplanes for seeing and cameras for recording the things seen. Forth with the airplanes were improved on, and so were the cameras, until now the United States has a camera that will take moving pictures of the ground below from a height of three miles, bringing out the smallest details—even footprints on the ground.
THE child who said, “Don’t go down the mine, daddy,” several years ago knew what she was talking about, for the mines then were far more dangerous than they are today. Even the miner’s lamp has been so improved that it simply can’t get into trouble down in the most gaseous mine.
WHERE to anchor the ropes that hold the tackle of the piano-hoisters is always a problem in apartment-house moving. Usually a stout-looking chimney or confidence-inspiring cornice is relied upon, but occasionally the chimney or cornice defaults on its part of the contract while the piano is in midair.
IN West Somerville, Mass., a large three-story dwelling was cut in two, moved from its site ten feet above the streetlevel, and set up a mile distant from its former resting-place. After bracing the house, first one section and then the other was moved to the new location with jackscrews and rollers.
A DOCTOR in France who specializes in leg and foot troubles has a leg room. The patient, sitting in one room, puts his leg through a hole in the wall and it emerges in the next room. Thus the doctor deals with a leg and not a patient, and is able to do his work without interruption.
THE care and thought spent on educating and entertaining the children of today should make the next generation quite perfect. When, in our youth, we wished to play hand-ball, we used as a wall a bill-board or the back of somebody’s house— until the owner chased us away.
"SKY-PILOT” may mean either an aviator or a clergyman, depending entirely on whether you are speaking scientifically or slangily. The sky-pilot shown below would seem at first glance to be a scientific one, since he is standing in an airplane; but he is really the slangy kind.
TO pull a string and tie a bow-knot is a very simple task, quickly executed. Realizing this, an economizing electrotyper in business in New York decided to mail his cuts in bags instead of wrapping them up in box, paper, and cord, and thereby saved considerable time, labor, and money.
THE Venetia really deserved a Distinguished Service Cross. She served in the Great War, and distinguished herself by crippling the U-39, which had to limp to Cartagena, Spain, and be promptly interned. But a one-inch medal on an ocean-going liner wouldn’t show up very well, so the Venetia was awarded a large gold star, which was hung in a conspicuous place on her funnel.
COYOTES do not like bells, but they do like turkeys. In fact, if a Western turkey strolls a short way from home, some coyote is sure to pop out and eat him. The chances are that the turkey, since he must be eaten, doesn’t care who eats him; but the turkey’s owner cares.
WHEN the piles supporting pier-sheds in San Francisco succumb to years and barnacles, the State Harbor Board orders holes cut in the shed roofs,—a hole for every ailing pile,—and gets to work. The new piles are raised above the roof and dropped through the holes by a floating derrick, pulled down by cables until the tops of the piles are within reach of a pile-driver installed on the floor of the pier, and easily driven into place.
With power-driven brushes and vacuum cleaners women do their house-cleaning now on railroad cars
The Railway Cleaning Shop
YOU know what spring housecleaning meant before the days of vacuum cleaners; but do you realize what it means to give a thorough cleaning to a whole train of railway cars? It means all the dust and dirt, all the hard work and discomfort of house-cleaning raised to the nth power.
SUPPOSE you wished to know what an arc caused by a broken circuit looked like. An ordinary camera might photograph for you one small phase of the arc, but the camera shown here will give you all the details from beginning to end. You put your camera in the circuit with your arc, then close the switch and start them off.
FOR several years the Bureau of Standards has been staining photographic plates for spectrum investigations. Ordinary commercial plates, which are sensitive only to waves shorter than those of green light, were stained in the Bureau’s laboratories with certain dyes that made the plates sensitive to yellow, red, and infra-red light.
YOU can fit this new camera support in your coat pocket. It is made of a pair of metal tongs, one leg of which is joined to a long metal bar which is sharply pointed at its other end. When you wish to take a picture, fasten the tongs into the nearest tree, fence, pole, or house. Then thrust the pointed end of the bar into the wood farther down so that the tongs will be on a level plane. The camera rests on the extended level arm.
How wonderful diving suits enable men to face terrific under-water pressure
A Remarkable Invention
How He Goes Down
Safer than It Used to Be
Working Under Water
FULLY eight thousand ships lie at the bottom of the ocean—ships of all countries, which were torpedoed, mined, bombed, scuttled, or sunk by the shell-fire of German submarines. The world needs shipping, despite the wonderful efforts that were put forth in the United States and in Great Britain to keep pace with the sinkings of German submarines.
"FISHIE, fishie, come bite my hook; you’ll be captain, I’ll be cook.” So sang the small boy of a not remote yesterday—also he sometimes spat upon the hook “for luck.” But to-day’s fisherman, boy or man, trusts less to luck and more to science.
THERE are strange swans in France, according to Delacour, a French scientist. By day they look like other swans; but at night they are lit up. How they do it, no one knows. Delacour suggests that their light is merely the phosphorescence of fungi—the fungi being the tiny spores of mushrooms which have attached themselves to the swans’ feathers as they rubbed against rotting tree-trunks in the daytime.
Hob-Nailed Sandals the Latest Necessity for Hikers
WHETHER to wear hob-nailed boots or not to wear them—that is the question when you go for a tramp. You want them when you walk over soft, muddy fields, but you don’t want them when you return to pavement. Here is the solution: wear the nails in a detachable sandal.
ACLOCK’S primary job is to mark time. The clock may be a work of art, but that should not hinder usefulness. That is what is the matter with the new clock in the tower of the City Hall, New York, says James Arthur, a master horologist of Brooklyn.
IF you wish to ascertain whether a substance will melt at a temperature of 400° Fahrenheit, what do you do? Simple enough: you make a practical test by heating the substance to a temperature of 400 degrees. It is not always easy to make practical tests under the correct conditions.
TRENCHES are not used exclusively by soldiers: water-mains, for instance, spend the greater part of their lives in trenches. But a water-main’s trench has to be refilled after the main gets in. The Los Angeles method of filling in is a good one.
A PUBLIC weigher does a good day’s work if he takes the weight of one hundred car-loads or wagon-loads. To run the car or truck on the platform of the scale takes time, but much more time is consumed in adjusting the weights and reading the record from the scale on the weighing-beam.
SHOOTING icicles from a gun at innocent plant roots is the cherished dream of E. F. Reid, of Texas. In fact, he has invented and patented a machine that will move stealthily among its unsuspecting victims, making icicles all the while and feeding them to a gun at its rear, which is pointed with deadly accuracy at the unprotected roots.
NICOLAS Gunturiz, of Cuba, has patented a cocoanut punch—not a drink with a kick in it, but a hammer with one, to kick holes in cocoanuts. There are those who would gladly drink cocoanut milk; but the skin is so hard to crack that the milk is usually spilled when the break comes.
TRAINMEN and travelers object to dogs in passenger-cars, insisting that they are baggage and should travel with the trunks. This seems very strange to the offended owners of prize “Peks,” who of course could not consider such a thing. When these owners travel on trains they simply cannot part with their pups.
ALL southern California has decided to sleep out of doors in fair weather, and so the house-owners are busily building sleeping-porches on their second stories. One poor house-owner was worried. His was a one-story house, and he shied at the idea of exposing his bed to the eyes of the neighbors all day long, yet he didn’t want to go to the trouble of carrying it out stealthily each night and returning it in the morning.
AN article in a recent number of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY detailed many ways of “lifting sunken treasure from the sea.” But why let the treasure sink in the first place? Why not salvage stricken ships before they get a chance to go down? Here is a motor pump which in many cases will keep a ship up if present at the time of the accident, or will raise her if she is already sunk.
AIRPLANES in flight make a noise that at close range is almost deafening. The human ear, unaided, can detect the noise of an airplane in flight at a considerable distance, but it is extremely difficult to locate the direction from which the sound comes.
A HEALTHY man weighing three grains? Ridiculous! Nevertheless, it is true. You see, it all depends. Weight is a relative thing. The earth pulls you down with a force of, say, 150 pounds weight in New York. But, at the same time, the moon in the sky is pulling you up, and so far as the moon is concerned you weigh, at New York, about three grains—about as much as a fly.
HE fell to his death in flames.” We hear that nearly every time there is a fatal airplane accident. Why must there be that added horror of fire? Because the gasoline-tank bursts into flames at the toss of a spark, and the burning gasoline runs out and envelops the airplane.
When the Mercury Goes Up the Thermometer Goes Down
SEVENTY-EIGHT degrees! I don’t wonder it’s warm in here,” says the blind man. Whereupon you do wonder—not at the temperature, but at how the blind man found it out. Then you see his thermometer— or is it a scale? It is both. The thermometer acts as a pointer on a scale which is marked off in raised Braille degrees.
WITH smoke pouring from her after-deck and a general topsyturvy look about her superstructure, the vessel in the accompanying photographs might be thought to be getting the worst of a lively battle. On the contrary, she has never smelled an enemy’s powder.
HERE is a square that is interested not only in right angles but in obtuse and acute ones. It is made in three parts—two forming the sides of the square, and the third the brace between them. One end of the brace is fastened to the short arm of the square.
How the producer gas plant adapted to vessels may help to solve the problem of the ever-leaping price of gasoline
The Producer Gas Plant
Getting the Plant Ready
Costs Less and Weighs Less
To Start the Engine
IN England, South America, China, and a few other countries gasoline is extremely scarce and costs one dollar or more a gallon. In the United States the price of gasoline is not quite so high, but it is steadily rising and may reach the dollar mark before very long.
IF the new type of measuring-can illustrated above and in cross-section were in common use much waste would be avoided. The measure combines a funnel and strainer. The filling operation can easily be performed by one hand. A flexible nozzle hose is provided to reach unhandy filler caps.
MOST people think that the springs of an automobile are simply for the comfort of the passengers. They are wrong. The springs also cushion the driving mechanism, the engine, clutch, gear-set, driving shaft, and axle, from shocks. In farm tractors, especially in the earlier types, springs have been considered rather a superfluity.
ONE day several years ago Lemuel C. Nicoson, of Alexandria, Indiana, got a drop of oil in his eye while working under an automobile. This set him thinking. Action followed thought, and he has now worked up the device shown in the two accompanying illustrations.
TWO British inventors, William Parker and G. Goldsmid-Abrahams, have designed a motor-truck the engine of which is run by producer gas. The gas plant consists of a small furnace with a funnel-shaped top filled with pea-sized coal. The coal is burned under a strong draft produced by a blower.
A CITIZEN of Seattle, Mr. John O. Foster, has been disturbed because of the flat-topped desks used in schools. He says they cause curved spines and eye-strain. He has invented a desk with an adjustable top. The desk is adjusted by means of a bar on its under surface. This bar has a grooved slot in its other end, through which a bolt passes. One end of the bolt is fastened to the desk, the other terminates in a wheel. This wheel regulates the bar, which is pressed between the desk and a metal ring.
HOW much can a 1,200-pound horse pull? It all depends on the road. The United States Office of Public Roads and Rural Engineer has figured it out. On a hard-surfaced road the horse can pull 6,000 pounds on the level and 600 on a 7½ per cent grade; on a gravel road his pulling powers run from 3,000 pounds on the level down to 450 pounds at the 7½ per cent grade; while in sand the horse can pull only 800 pounds on the level and can just tug 150 pounds at the steepest grade.
BE your own iceman! That does not mean that you should go forth with a pair of tongs and bring back a dribbling piece of ice; it means there has recently been inented a small automatic coldstorage plant which will fit in your kitchen. It refrigerates without ice, making ice from ordinary drinking water.
THE resistance given to different springs varies according to their intended use. But when springs are used together, their resistance must be the same. In the box in the picture are springs that have just been made and that are supposed to have the same resistance.
HOLD-UP men like to do business at the window of the railroad cashier, where at each day’s close the conductors dump small fortunes out of their pockets. A trolley line in Duluth which valued its hard earned nickels has discouraged this hold-up habit by building a trap outside of the cashier’s window.
WHEN you send for the painter next spring to give your house a new coat, he may run up the path pulling behind him a boy’s express wagon with a neat machine on board, and tell you he is ready to start—no sticky brushes, no sloppy paint-cans, no scaffolds, rags, or other dirty things that painters bring.
EVERY brewer in the United States will soon have to either shut up shop or adapt his plant to changed conditions. Divers opinions are held and sundry policies followed by the brewers regarding the future. Some of the brewers have already made radical changes, turning the costly equipment of their plants to work on new, unfamiliar, yet profitable products; others are preparing to quit business of any kind; a few believe that future legislation will permit them to brew two per cent beer, and they are relying on the ingenuity of the expert industrial chemist to discover a way to save machinery that cost the brewer millions of dollars from going to the scrap-heap.
AIR invariably contains water in the form of vapor. When air is compressed, the percentage of water increases with the pressure. The presence of water in the air is often highly undesirable. To remove it the air is cooled to the point of condensation and then forced through the separator shown above.
WHEN you work in dark places, it is wise to carry a wire lampguard with a wooden handle, which can be snapped around any light. Such a lamp is shown in action here. Both handle and guard are split in halves and hinged only at the end of the guard. In using the device, close it over a bulb and lock it in place.
Not quite yet, but some day you may be able to hitch up the sun and say “Giddap!”
When All Our Coal Is Gone
A Sun-Power Plant
Running an Engine hy Sun-Rays
A. J. Lorraine
FIVE thousand horsepower going to waste on every acre of land! If you were told that oil had just been discovered on your property you would instantly be wide awake to the new financial prospect before you. But you allow a golden flood to pour down on the earth all around you without paying any attention to it.
THIRTY-FIVE miles an hour is the remarkable speed which the Elmara II, an American model power-boat of the seaplane type, achieved recently in an unofficial test at New York. The racer is only a trifle more than thirty-nine inches long and 7⅞ inches beam, is built of aluminum and mahogany, and is driven by one of the newest flash-system engines using superheated steam for its power.
"TERRIBLE railroad wreck! Wooden cars crumble and then catch fire! 200 killed!” That is the tale of the wooden railway car, and that tale has spelled its doom. Passenger-cars are now steel-made. But how about freight-cars? Must they continue to crumble and catch fire because of their woodenness?
Two million deadly foes do not know peace has come
What the Mines Are Loaded With
How They Are Raised
IN the North Atlantic and in the narrow waters of the North Sea are hundreds of thousands of the deadliest foes who do not know that peace has been declared. They are the great army of mines, estimated at two million, planted by the formerly warring nations.
Solving the difficult problem of landing on a roof
Street No Place for an Airplane
Landing Against the Wind
As Easy to Start as to Land
LIKE any soaring bird of prey, an airplane must be in motion before it can fly. It must run along the ground before it can vault into the sky. But that is not all: it must make its running start in the face of the wind. This explains why it is possible to confine a condor or a vulture in a narrow cage open at the top.
Would This Circular Track Solve the Landing Problem?
The problem of providing a suitable landing platform for flying-machines in our large cities has always puzzled engineers. This is Mr. H. T. Hanson’s interesting solution. A banked track of open iron gratings (its construction is shown by the detail drawing at the left, is carried on latticed towers over a group of buildings.
COAL men who have been overcharging for their precious commodity—when they were not hoarding it—are about to pay for their sins. For people have learned that they can cook and keep warm by using peat and coke in their stoves and furnaces instead of coal.
MANY linden trees that look healthy are rotten at the core. In time, they develop large cavities. The upper part of the tree shown below was cut off from its source of supply. So it sprouted roots, which reached down until they struck the rotten mold below and there took hold, getting a fresh start.
THE florist told her that if she put the dried-up ball of brown leaves into a dish of water it would blossom out into a fresh green plant in a day. Skeptically she did it and when the twenty-four hours were up, lo, the plant had bloomed, giving out a sweet, heavy Oriental odor.
WHEN Germany had no more rubber, German bicycles seemed doomed until someone thought of motor springs. If motors use springs, why not bicycles? From that time on German bicycle wheels had rims of springs instead of pure rubber. One of them is shown herewith.
IF the war hadn’t ended this submarine would now be “over there” and in the thick of the fight; but of course we couldn’t keep the war going just to give this submarine her chance. She is the S-34, built and launched in San Francisco, and is one of the most deadly of undersea boats.
THIS pup isn’t a “long drink of water” even if he does fill a glass. He’s just about the smallest dog that ever was or will be— one of those pups that women tuck into their muffs or up their sleeves. You’d never know they were there if it were not for the sparkle of their beadlike eyes.
“IT’S a bear!” said W. C. Strickler, when he happened on this at Lake Cayuga, N. Y. “A petrified bear.” But when members of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia looked at it, they were not the least impressed by the two very real eyes in the places where eyes should be, and they called it plain stone—or, to be exact, two stones of widely separated periods that had got mixed up.
KOREAN clothes are washed, hung up, dried, and dampened just as ours are; but when it comes to smoothing out the wrinkles our ways part. We iron—they pound. Mother and daughter spread a grass mat on the ground, place a stone in the middle, and on the stone the wash.
JUST as French railway trains conveniently accommodate either horses or men, so this airplane will accommodate either bombs or men. It is large enough to carry sixteen passengers and their suitcases. The passengers travel in the cabin behind the pilot, and the suitcases travel in a rack outside.
The stars “rise” and “set” for the same reason that the sun does
If the Earth Ceased Its Daily Rotation
Counting the “Turns” by the Sun and the Stars
Ernest A. Hodgson
IT has been said that if an accurate count were made of those who are of their own knowledge able to state that the stars rise and set daily, the result would show that less than fifty per cent could pass the test. The reason for the apparent rising and setting of the sun is well known, and a moment’s reflection suffices to show that for the same reason the stars must rise and set also.
THE positions of the planets for the current month are shown, in the usual way, on the planet map. It will be noted that they are, with the exception of Uranus, near to the sun. Mercury at the first of the month is west of the sun and rises as a morning star. It moves rapidly eastward among the stars, coming into superior conjunction on June 11.
“LET go that joy-stick!” says the instructor in the observer’s seat to the student pilot in front. The student promptly lets go, thereby saving himself, the instructor, and the airplane from a crashing fall. Had the instructor shouted through the air his student would not have heard him, even though they were only a few feet apart.
THE first airplanes were “all wings.” Pilot, passengers, engines, tanks, radiators, and what-not were simply dumped over the lower plane. The writer recalls vividly a conversation among the members of the Aerial Experiment Association at Hammondsport in August, 1908, about the designs for the Silver Dart, the forerunner of the first practical Curtiss machine.
This captured German machine took a lesson from the Zeppelin
BUILT to attack infantry at close range, this German armored airplane captured by the English is interesting to peace-time students because of the apparent effort that has been made to render the machine non-combustible. If provision has also been made to scuttle the gasoline-tank at need, even a burning tank would not be a serious menace to such a machine.
TWO men and the machine shown here handling coal will load a boxcar in thirty-five minutes. It takes three men two and a half hours to do the same work. Therefore this machine does the work of five men. The loader is placed just within the door of the car.
Building a two-story tunnel of concrete under the Hudson river
London's Vehicular Tunnel
Interlocking Blocks of Concrete
Ventilating the Passageways
Robert G. Skerrett
THE mason's master task awaits him half a hundred feet below the tide of the Hudson river. General George W. Goethals is ready to stake his reputation in building a great vehicular tunnel, fashioned of concrete blocks, to span the water gap between New York city and New Jersey.
With a large portion of the food supply of 7,000,000 people having to be carried across the Hudson, the necessity of adding to the means of getting over the river has long been evident. The new vehicular tunnel will be a two-story one, allowing the streams of traffic to flow in both directions uninterrupted.
C. A. BUTTERWORTH, of 15 Chase street, Newton Center, Mass., has won the first prize of $150 in the POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY $300 Contest for the best idea for utilizing an old passengercar that has outworn its usefulness as a mode of transportation on account of its old style or mechanical deficiencies.
THE construction of this tractor is mainly of wood, and the other materials required are easily obtained. The drive wheels are steel wagon wheels 40 in. in diameter, with rims 6 in. wide. Bull wheels from a binder are better if obtainable, as they have a wider tread and the sprockets are already attached.
TO those who have considerable correspondence, necessitating the frequent weighing of letters to determine the correct postage, and who do not wish to invest in a letter-scale, the illustration shows a simple and efficient scale that can be made at the expenditure of a few minutes’ spare time.
EVERYBODY knows that in making pencil erasures on tracing cloth, an ordinary rubber eraser leaves a smutty mark. To overcome this, the writer secured an ordinary fountain-pen filler, filled it with gasoline, and attached a small rag at the end.
A NEW fad, that of making useful objects out of old tin cans, is attracting a good deal of attention these days. It originated in United States hospitals where shell-shocked men, who can stand hardly any sort of noise, devote their time to the manufacture of these toys.
FIRST, a square box is built about 3 in. in height and 4 in. square on the sides. The bottom of the box will contain a small drawer which is grooved to a sufficient depth to hold one cigarette, as shown at B in Fig. 1. A hole is drilled through the lid of the box to accommodate the small rod with the ball fastened on one end.
THE boys who live in the vicinity of Irving Stone, of Chicago, never find life dull, because his one-boy power locomotive is a perennial source of entertainment. The engine, which was made by the young owner’s father from things that were “around the house,” is powerful enough to draw two wagons and four passengers as a medium load, and three wagons and six boys in case of emergency.
A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD boy at Yakima, Washington, overheard his parents talking of the need of utilizing every vacant space in the production of food crops, and he asked permission to cultivate a lot adjoining the family residence. “Certainly,” his dad replied, “but the ditch is too low.
THE following is a description of a mercury pump that will be found very useful for the experimenter’s laboratory. To make this pump, get a piece of ⅜-in. glass tube 20 in. long, and bend it in the usual manner, making it Ushape. Heat this tube about 1 in. from one of the ends, hot enough so that ¼ in. of the tube in the shape shown can be forced through.
A DRAFTSMAN who is using several pencils of different grades for different classes of work on the same drawing is often delayed by having to pick up each pencil and look at the number on it until he finds the right one. Distinguishing marks by which each pencil can be readily told at a glance may be easily put on with ordinary drawing inks.
THIS home-made bench drill-post is one of the best tools that I have ever made for the work-shop. Anyone who is handy with tools can make it. The sketch shows quite plainly how it is constructed and used. A piece of ½X2-in. bar stock, A, either steel or iron, is drilled and fitted to take the round post B, each hole having a taper keyway C cut or filed in it.
SOME engineering principles must be observed in the construction of satisfactory irrigation canals, but the farmer may build his own ditches by following a few simple rules. Head ditches and canals are often made on too steep a grade, so the excessive velocity causes scouring of the material in which they are built.
THE world’s first telegram was received in Baltimore May 24, 1844, at old Mount Clair Station. Its contents were: “From Washington to Baltimore. What hath God wrought!” Baltimore had the first public building to be lighted by gas. It owned the first gas company founded in America, June 17, 1816.
AN alternating-current inducing coil is sometimes employed for locating armature troubles. The inducer consists essentially of a magnet having a U-shaped core of thin steel laminations, interleaved and hinged at the mid-point so as to accommodate armatures of various diameters.
THE following method of soldering in a tight corner and on small wires may be of interest. The proposition was to solder the wire D, which was the finest silver wire obtainable, to the point C, where A is a similar soldered joint and B is the point of attachment, also soldered, of the galvanometer suspension of which the wires to A and C are the current-bearing connection.
SEVERAL broken teeth on the feedindex of a planer were repaired in the following manner. The gear was placed in a lathe-chuck and centered very accurately. The indexing gear A was turned off, and a recess bored out to take a new ring the size of the old broken ring.
AFTER a few years of use a large cam on a printing-press became worn all around, but in some places more than others, as shown at A, Fig. 1. In one case, the roller running in the slots was used to locate the worn places.
AN oven that bakes and boils at the same time is the invention of a Californian. The oven stands on top of a gasor oil-stove, and requires only one ordinary-sized burner to bake and cook perfectly everything that can be placed into or upon the oven.
SOONER or later nearly everybody who is handy with tools makes an electric tableor desk-lamp. In order to have a really satisfactory lamp the base must have proper weight. Melt some candle-wax in an old tin can, stir in several ounces of common lead shot, and while the wax is soft pour the mixture into the lamp-base.
A WOODEN bench-vise may be cheaply constructed by using an old piano-stool or revolving desk-chair for the screw. The legs, etc., are knocked off, and the center part is set into the bench. The top is unscrewed, and a wooden or pipe handle is inserted.
AN inexpensive and very serviceable piston vise can be made from an ordinary pipe-cap, which may be bought at any steamfitters’ or hardware store. For a Ford engine piston a 3½in. pipe - cap is about right. The hexagon type is better than the round, as it can be clamped in the vise firmly and much more easily.
EVERY SO often a rod, rivet, or key must be inserted into an almost inaccessible place in the automobile engine or chassis, and it is difficult to find a pair of pliers small enough for the purpose. A small washer is slipped over a large cotter-pin, and the rivet or key inserted in its end, the washer being wedged forward to hold it sufficiently to enable the part being slipped back into place.
PROCURE a set of numbered cards or calendar dates, and arrange them in order from one to ten. Also have one card with a cipher on it. Place the “cipher card” face downward on the table, and then put “one” on top of it, “two” next, and so on up to “ten.”
A BIT of farm management that has resulted in saving many thousands of young chicks was devised and used by the Matt Schock family, of Linn county, Missouri. This useful stratagem consists of a twofold use for the farm tank heater: for its original purpose in winter, and as a heater for the brooder-house in spring.
SOME types of starters for motors employ the solenoid arrangement, illustrated diagrammatically in the accompanying illustration, while others consist of a series of contractors or automatically operated switches, which are arranged in sequence to cut out the starting resistance as the motor increases in speed.
THERE are two methods of starting induction motors in general use. For smaller motors, above 5 h.p., the method shown diagrammatically in Fig. 1 is more often used. The amount of reactance in each line can easily be adjusted by connecting points on the auto-transformer.
OWING to the peculiar form of some castings or other articles that are to be measured, it is sometimes found impossible to transfer a dimension with ordinary calipers. In such cases the dimension may be obtained by moving one of the caliper legs to one of the inch marks on a steel scale or rule, as shown in the accompanying sketch.
A PORTABLE hog-house, fashioned like a tent for summer camping, and transported from place to place by means of a chain and singletree, is the latest oddity in hog-house construction. Its quaintness, however, does not argue against its practicability.
LIKE many other things, an oilstone can be ruined by wrong treatment and lack of care. There are three objects to be attained in taking good care of an oilstone: First, to retain the original life and sharpness of its grit; second, to keep its surface flat and even; third, to prevent it from glazing.
ALTHOUGH numerous articles have appeared at various times describing the construction of all kinds of small steam-engines, the description of a good boiler for practical engines has been neglected. An old discarded kitchen boiler or hot-water tank can be used advantageously for this purpose, and should be about a foot in diameter and five feet long.
THERE are two neat and practical ways of temporarily stopping a leak without the use of solder. The first and most durable is as follows: Shut off the water in the cellar, and open the faucets, letting the water in the pipe run off; then wipe the pipe thoroughly dry all around the hole.
ONCE I had the pleasure of witnessing a rather unique stage illusion in which a ghost was made to appear and fight a duel. The plot deals with two men who are twins. In a quarrel one of them is killed by his brother, who disposes of the body in the dead of night.
WHEN paint is left uncovered a portion of it congeals at the top of the can, and must be thrown away. This waste can be entirely eliminated, as follows. Using an ordinary square oil-can about 9 by 9 in. for the paint, cut a piece of board about ⅜ or ½ in. thick, to slide down into the can and float upon the surface of the paint.
YOU throw away your old safetyrazor blades, don’t you? But you won’t when you know that you can make a pocket-knife that will utilize these old blades. The illustration shows the knife opened, with the blade at one end held between two screws, and also closed, making it safe and convenient to carry about in the pocket.
WHEN I find that an inner tube has become unserviceable, I cut the rubber tube into strips and use them for rubber bands, which I find are extremely good for heavy packages— for instance, boxes and packages that need to be held together substantially.
IN all engineering offices records are considered one of the biggest assets. Maps, and the tracings made from them, constitute some of their most important tools. As is seldom the case with valuable possessions, it is almost harder to keep these records in good condition than it is to acquire them.
PROBABLY tired of the unending job of trimming his hedges by hand, William Combouzou, of Baton Rouge, La., has devised an electrically operated hedge-trimmer. The trimmer has a reciprocating knife-blade somewhat resembling, on a small scale, the knife-blade of a mowingmachine.
SMALL copper wire for winding magnet coils should have all the kinks removed from it, and should be held at constant tension while winding, in order to keep the wire in any layer from sinking in between the turns of the preceding layer, thus introducing irregularities in the winding and a consequent waste of winding space.
GREASE-SPOTS or other dirt, which give to tracings a very soiled appearance, may be cleaned off with a little kerosene or gasoline correctly applied. Tack the tracing to a drawing-board, and then apply the liquid gently but liberally to the surface, allowing it to soak in, after which dry it off with a clean cloth.
A CONVENIENT shunting-out switch can be fitted on a blown fuse and connected as shown in the accompanying illustration. When the switch is closed, the ammeter, connected across the dummy-fuse connector, is shunted out of the circuit.
THE illustration shows a machine that is easily made from parts picked up about the farm. It will replace the work of two or three men hauling manure to the garden in buckets. Utilizing very little room, it can be wheeled into any size garden, no matter how small.
TO a great extent the flat scale, with measuring divisions on one side, has superseded the triangular one for engineering work; yet the latter is still in use, and seems destined always to occupy a place in a draftsman’s kit. A triangular scale in use rapidly wears along its six measuring faces, and in a short time the edges become irregular and worn from constant contact with the drawing-board.
THE device here described is based on the fact that rain-water, when it begins to flow from a previously dry roof, contains more or less refuse that has been collected on the roof and in the gutters. The apparatus side-tracks the first one or two bucketfuls containing the dirt, then automatically shifts to the regular container.
TO quickly erect a tent in the field is a subject close to the sportsman’s heart and after many experiments the design of a frame for this purpose was detailed and made up as shown in the illustration.
A PORCH vase that will harmonize with the present mode of stucco construction, as well as with a frame structure, can be made by the average handy man. It is a four-cornered vase, and is in effect a Greek vase squared. Definite dimensions are obviously out of the question where the vases are to fit some individual porch.
DUE to their high price, very few amateur experimenters possess crucibles capable of withstanding any great heat without melting. By using the following method, crucibles capable of withstanding exceedingly high temperatures can be made at a fraction of the market price.
THE mechanical draftsman often finds it necessary to wipe his ruling-pen while he is engaged in holding the Tsquare and triangle in position with one hand. This produces an awkward situation, but perhaps the following suggestion will serve to overcome the difficulty.
MANY an amateur gardener, cultivating intensively his acre or half-acre plot of ground, has made the surprising discovery that his crop is too great for immediate consumption. Immediately he is confronted with the problem of selling or storing his surplus.
THE illustrations show the proper way to brace up old farm fences and need very little explaining. Fig. 1 shows a corner as it should be braced, while Fig. 2 shows the proper bracing at a gateway. Fig. 3 shows a detail of the bracing and securing together of the corner post and the “deadman” which prevents it from “kicking out.” Fig. 5 shows the proper position of the diagonal brace in a gate, the brace being placed so that the weight of the gate is pushed in toward the bottom hinge.
THE average overhauling of the repair job on a Ford is directly traceable to the owner’s neglect to take the proper care of his car from the first day he bought it. Every little “loosening up” should be stopped in the beginning, before it has developed, which will necessitate constant watchfulness and an all-round “tightening up” that formerly was done every so often, when the owner finally got to it.
THE sketch below illustrates a veryattractive and easily made lighting fixture suitable for a club-house or restaurant. The main members are about 3 in. in diameter, and are of natural wood, no finish being applied to the bark.
WITH parts from an old buggytop, some pieces of pipe, and two elbows, a farmer constructed the folding awning frame here shown. It needs no explanation other than the illustration, and proves once again that seemingly useless material may be used to good advantage if foresight is brought to bear upon the problem in hand.
Tell us the best way of utilizing a hairpin and Popular Science Monthly will pay you twenty-five dollars.
Rules Governing the Contest
WHAT do you do with a hairpin? Throw it away? Give it to your wife or sister? We happen to know that hairpins are invaluable around a Ford car. There are, of course, more uses for them, and we want to know in how many practical ways they can be applied in the home and in the shop.
A LOS ANGELES man has devised a portable chicken-coop. He uses felloes, or rims of buggy wheels, as part of the framework, attaching them to a square frame that forms the bottom of the coop. A strip of wood attached to the sides of each rim holds the wire in position.
WHEN it becomes necessary to take an iron bedstead apart, it will sometimes be found that the side rails are wedged in so tightly that they must be hammered apart. An iron hammer should never be used unless a block of wood is held against the part to soften the blow, for cast-iron breaks very easily.
FLY-TIME is coming, and many houses are fitted with flag-holders screwed to the window-sills. These cannot, of course, remain if screens are to be fitted. To overcome this difficulty, angleirons may be purchased from any hardware store, and two holes bored in the lower part to fit the removed holder.
IN applying hasps, hooks, staples, etc., to a barn or garage door, it will be found that the large staples used for this purpose usually spread before they can be driven into the wood, causing bruised fingers and general discomfiture to the would-be carpenter and anybody else in the vicinity.
A POLARITY-TESTER working on induction principles may be very easily constructed, as is demonstrated by the accompanying illustration. When in use the leads of the testing coil are connected to a directcurrent millivoltmeter; or, if such an instrument is not at hand, an ammeter, having its shunt disconnected, may be employed.
VERY often a screw will wear too small for a hole, and in many instances a similar one of suitable shape and size is not readily available. In such a case, the old one can be used by putting it between two pieces of wood or copper in a vise and cutting a slot diametri cally through the end of the screw, as shown in the illustration.
A THOROUGHLY satisfactory flask or wash bottle for experimental use in the laboratory can be made from a nitrogen-filled lamp which has become commercially valueless. Paste a strip of paper about ¾% in. wide around the neck of the lamp 1/16 in. back from the anchor, so as to prevent the cracking of the glass casing of the lamp while under operation.
A TRUCK for use in a dry-goods store was made simply by attaching a pair of roller-skates to the proper frame. Strap-iron cleats, bent and drilled, were made to keep the truck-frame clear of the wheels. The frame proper is 16 in. wide and 30 in. long, and made of 1and 2-in. material.
THERE are numerous types of sandpaper-holders for dressing commutators, but they all are made with a single arc of a circle for contact surface. The device illustrated herewith is made to fit any sized commutator.
IF there is no room for a throwswitch near the work-bench, place it on the ceiling and operate the throw by means of two cords long enough to be within easy reach. In this position it is out of the way and at the same time accessible. A single pulley is fastened near the end of the switch-base over which the pull-cord is run.
WHILE the hay acreage has been steadily expanding in the United States until it occupies one sixth of the tillable area on farms, its success as a crop is almost wholly subject to weather conditions. Anxiety, worry, and financial embarrassment are still mingled with saving the crop.