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RAILWAY REFORM.

A great deal has been said likewise of Sir,- I noticed with some surprise, in the

late about the quality of the water supplied last Number of your Magazine, a communi

by different water companies, to the overcation signed “George Cumberland," under grown and still increasing metropolis, and the head of “Railway Reform,” detailing

about the necessity of purification by filtrawhat he is pleased to term “ A New Plan

tion or some other means. of working “a single railroad with as much Now, if there really be a necessity of a bet. efficacy as a double one,” viz., by "sidings” ter supply of pure water to the metropolis, or " turn-outs,” to which he has applied the

I beg leave to propose a plan, that will most term “ sinuosity.The plan is by no means certainly afford a plentiful supply, and which so new as your correspondent seems to fancy,

could be carried out to such an extent, that It has been applied, for many years, to the

the supply would become immense. colliery railroads in South Wales, and various I propose not to meddle with the lower parts of the kingdom ; but I am not aware springs that are below the London clay formathat it has ever been used on railways for

tion and the chalk, but to collect the water passenger traffic. Indeed, it must be evi from the upper springs, that form themselves dent to all persons acquainted with the prac at a certain depth from the surface of the tical working of railways, that this " new

earth. plan" is quite inapplicable to passenger rail I would commence operations with the ways. Had it not been so, it is not probable

basin of the Thames, above London, in the that engineers would have overlooked one so most convenient place, to form a surface readvantageous.

servoir. From that reservoir, I would carry I am, Sir, your obedient servant, a subterraneous archway up the valley, and

T. DYNE STEELE. parallel with the river Thames, but not comOctober 31, 1842.

municating with it, nor following its windings, though approximating closely to it in

some places. The river Thames of course FILTRATION OF WATER.

rises against the stream ; therefore the archSir,--In your correspondent “W. H.'s" way, by driving it up the side of the stream, letter of October 15, it is stated, respecting would, by and by, be as deep as the bed of the purification of water, that a very efficient the river Thames, which I consider would be filter may be made for less than ls. 6d. It deep enough for my purpose. I would conwould oblige me much, and, no doubt, tinue this arch-way drift still onwards ; but many others of your readers, if he would not level as before, allowing it to rise as the state how it is constructed; and, at the same bed of the river rises, and taking care always time, whether it will take away the lime with to be as low with it, as the bed of the river. which water, more or less, is impregnated, By that time a large stream of water would and which must be more or less prejudicial. be going out through the arch-way into the I am, Sir, yours respectfully, reservoir, and the supply for London would

A SUBSCRIBÉR. in a measure be commenced. 22, Young-street, Manchester.

Let the drift-way be then continued up

the October 28, 1812.

vale of the Thames, and let lateral drifts from it be also made wherever any strata is

intersected, that is likely to afford a large NEW PLAN FOR THE SUPPLY OF LONDON

supply of water The system might be thus

extended to such a magnitude, that a great Sir,-I have seen in the Mechanics' part, if not all London might be supplied by Magazine a discussion, upon certain obser it, and as more and more water was wanted, vations made by the Rev. James Clutterbuck, it would only be necessary to continue the on the periodical drainage and replenishment arch-way drift up the basin of the Thames of the subterraneous reservoir in the chalk to any distance, until the supply was başin of London. I have read also various enough. opinions and counter opinions on the subject, A drift-way of 4 feet in width and height, by some ingenious and very clever men, the would discharge an immense volume of water general scope of which was to show that the into the reservoir, on account of the rise that deep wells, in and round London, will and would be in it, from that level part of it, do admit, of being nearly exhausted of water where it had first become as low as the bed of by the end of each week, and that if a large the Thames. For from that place the drift quantity is taken from any one locality, the would rise as the bed of the Thames rises; other wells distant from that locality, are consequently, the arch-way at the reservoir drained by it. If so, then, not a much would discharge itself full of water, with a greater supply of water could be obtained by pressure behind it, from the drift-way rising adding to the number of deep wells in and far up the valley of the Thames. round London,

WITH PURE SPRING WATER.

The expense of the drift-way, per mile, would not be great. The pits down to it would be shallow, by keeping the drift near the side of the Thames, viz., to the depth of the bed of the Thames. A few of the pits might be left but covered over; the greater part of them should be filled up. The little damage done to the land, during the operation, would be made good behind, as fast as the drift was carried forward.

I have read of many hundreds of thousands of pounds being expended by Water Companies; but the whole of them would not produce such a supply of pure spring water as would result from the above plan. Besides, very little land would be damaged, and a great deal of land would be benefited by the drainage. I do not know how the vale of the Thames is situated with regard to London, for I never was there; but I should think the reservoir should be placed so far up the vale of the Thames, that the water should flow from it into London, without having to be pumped up by engines.

I believe such a drift would not cost so much money per mile as would an open canal, taking in the expense of land, aqueducts, bridges, &c., and it would be much less objectionable, for many obvious reasons. It would not interfere with any existing establishment; it would not be liable to inundation by land floods, nor be dependent on the irregular supply of surface water; it would receive its supply from the pure springs in the bowels of the earth. I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

THOMAS DEAKIN. Blaenavon, October 17, 1842.

agitated until the decomposition is complete.

Shortly afterwards a froth is seen to form, which at the end of twelve or eighteen hours is sufficiently well separated from the water upon which it floats. Four-fifths of this water is then run off, containing about one per cent. of sulphate of potassa, which is utilized either by evaporating it in dryinghouses, or by running it off upon dry earth exposed to the air, which, when sufficiently charged with the salt, is washed. Directly after this operation, the basin is filled again with a fresh portion of soap-suds, which float the fatty matter and permit it to be run off into a side tub. The product obtained is a mixture of unaltered oil, the acids, animal matters, and a large quantity of water, which forms with them a species of hydrate. This water is disengaged by injecting several times into the mass a current of steam, which heats it and facilitates its evaporation. The fatty matter is then run off into a boiler, where it is submitted to a rapid ebullition, aided by continual agitation, which drives off the last portions of water. The product contains twenty or twenty-five per cent. of impure matters, which colour it and render it turbid. To purify it, it is poured into basins of copper and mixed with two per cent. of concentrated sulphuric acid. After two days the limpid oil comes to the surface, while the impurities are precipitated to the bottom.

The oil is carefully separated, and the deposit, when filtered through cloths in a press, gives still a large quantity of oily products, which are added to the preceding and made into soap by treating them with common soda.

The residuum is black and very thick ; from it M. Muiron produces the gas for lighting; but before introducing it into the retort, he liquifies it by means of the empyreumatic oil obtained in the preceding operation.

The gas thus prepared is purified by lime, and the water from the washing contains sufficient cyanide of calcium for the preparation of Prussian blue from it, by treating it with sulphate of iron and washing the precipitate with muriatic acid.

This gas possesses a considerable lighting power, and in order to apply it to the lighting of the establishments scattered throughout the city of Rheims, M. Muiron has contrived a manner of transporting it, at the same time simple, economical, and free from danger.

F. BOUDET. Jour. de Pharm. et de Chim., May, 1842.

GAS FROM SOAP-SUDS.

A few years ago the immense quantity of soap-suds employed in the city of Rheims in preparing woollen stuff's was entirely lost. M. Houzeau Muiron conceived the idea of extracting from them the fatty matter, and of making an important application thereof. In fact, by submitting them to a regular purification, he has obtained a limpid oil, with which he succeeds in preparing the soaps in demand in commerce, while the residue of this purification serves for the advantageous production of a gas for lighting a part of the city.

The soap-suds collected in the shops, where they have become saturated with grease and the impurities of the tissues, are poured together into a large basin, which is capable of containing about 3,000 gallons. To decompose them, there is poured upon them 308 pounds of muriatic acid, or 154 pounds of sulphuric acid, first diluted with its own weight of water, and the mass is rapidly

ECONOMY OF FUEL IN RAILWAY ENGINES. America 648 feet, South America 1,035 feet, and of The Commissioners for the Management

Asia 1,053 feet. The whole of these calculations

were grounded on the assumption that each chain of the Public Railways in Belgium, have of mountains was to be taken as a bilateral horilately directed much of their attention to zontal prism, and that each high level should be the practicability of lessening the consump

considered as a plain, and should be brought down

to a comparison with the level of the surrounding tion of fuel in steam-engines. It is calculated

country. A careful calculation proceeding on this that the heating of the boilers alone const footing, gave as a result that the mass of the Andes' tutes nearly one-half of the whole expense

chain in South America, including the whole of the of the trains on railways. The system par

flat portion of the eastern borders, and the beautiful

wooded heights uniformly distributed on those tially introduced of late is based on the prin plains, and of which the level portion is exactly ciple that every head engineer shall be liable one-third larger than the upper levels of Europe, is

only 486 feet higher than the average height of the for the quantity of coals which he consumes.

latter quarter of the globe. An account has accordingly been opened Steam Navigalion said to be inrented by the with each of them, in which the number of Spaniards --A letter from Madrid, published in the

Commerce French paper, contains an account of the miles he traverses, and the precise time dur

discovery in the Royal archives of Salamanca, of ing which the locomotive is detained at the

authentic documents, proving what has beretofore stations, are entered. •Every three months, rested on vague tradition. The following extract is a Board of Engineers investigates the ac

from a register kept by the Minister of the Marine :

-"In 1542 Don Blasco de Garray, captain in the count, and determines the maximum quan navy, (Capitaine de Vaisseau,) submitted to the extity of coal which ought to be allowed. The amination of the Emperor Charles V. a machine difference which is found, after deducting the

moved by the steam of boiling water, by which

ships, however large, could proceed on a calm actual consumption from the maximum fixed,

sea without oars or sails. The Emperor ordered shows the amount of saving effected ; and that a trial should be made, which took place in the upon this difference the engineer becomes

Roads of Barcelona on the 17th of June, 1543, and

succeeded perfectly. This experiment was tried entitled to a premium of twenty-five per with a vessel of 200 tons burden, named Santissima cent. on each hectolitre. Orders, varying Trinidad, commanded by Captain Don Pedro de from one to five hundred hectolitres, are de

Learga, who had arrived at Barcelona with a cargo

of wheat. livered to the engineer once a month; and

The Emperor Charles V. and his son,

afterwards Phillip II., Don Enrique de Toledo, the these orders are his warrant for the receipt Governor Don Pedro de Cardona, the Grand Treaof coals at the several stations. There is surer Ravago, the Vice Chancellor Don Francisco

Gralla, a great number of other distinguished peranother advantage, too, in this regulation ;

sons of Castile and Catalonia, and numbers of naval the detention at intermediate stations does officers, some on shore and some on board the not exceed the time allowed; for the whole vessel, were present at the attempt. The Emperor,

the Princes, and the other illustrious personages, cost of the fuel, which a prolonged detention

were astonished at seeing the ease with which the occasions, becomes a charge upon the engi machine moved the vessel; but the Grand Treaneer, let the cause be what it may. The quan surer Ravago thought it right to advise that the

invention should not be adopted in the vessels of tity of fuel requisite for getting up the steam

the State, because, according to his opinion, the forms the item of a separate account with machine was too complicated, and would be too the engineer; and the plan has this collateral expensive, and there would be reason to fear an recommendation, besides—that it is a test of

explosion of the boiler." " The special commission

ordered to report on the experiment, confined the care and trustworthiness of the parties themselves to stating, that a vessel moved by steam employed.

had first completed three leagues in two hours, and then a league in an hour, and that it could be made to move twice as swiftly as a common rowing galley. The Emperor did not pay any more attention

to the invention of Don Blasco de Garray, but he NOTES AND NOTICES.

presented him with 700,000 maravedis, and proPearls.-Letters from Norway mention that there mised to raise him successively to the higest rank have been found in the bed of the great stream that

in the Spanish navy. The late M. Raynouard, of runs through Jedderen, in the diocese of Christian the Académie Française, has left among his papers sand, and which from the excessive leats became a ballad in honour of Garray, which was sung in dry, a great number of bivalve shells containing the streets of Bircelona in 1542."— Times. (All this pearls, some of which were so large and fine that

we have seen before; it is of most plausible cir. they were valued at 601. a piece. At the beginning cumstantiality; but, nevertheless, until we have of the 17th century, when Norway was annexed to something better than the authority of an anony. Denmark, the government took the pearl, fishery

mous " letter from Madrid," for the existence of of this stream into its own hands, and the finest the authentic document," said to exist in the pearls were sent to Copenhagen to be deposited in

Royal archives of Salamanca, and for the correctihe crown treasury. After this, the produce of the ness of the version here given of them, we must fishery became so low, that it did not pay the ex take leave to consider the whole affair as but an penses, and it was abandoned. It will now probably ingenious fiction. -Ed. M. M.] be resumed.

INTENDING PATENTEES may be supplied Average Allitudes.-At a sitting of the Berlin Academy of Science, of the 17th July last, H. Von

gratis with Instructions, by application (postHumboldt read a long memoir, upon the methods paid) to Messrs. J. C. Robertson and Co., by which the comparative and average heights of

166, Fleet-street, by whom is kept the only continents might be ascertained. From the calculations of the learned gentleman, it appeared that

COMPLETE REGISTRY OF PATENTS EXTANT the average height of Europe was 615 feet, of North from 1617 to the present time).

LONDON: Edited, Printed, and Published by J. C. Robertson, at the Mechanics' Magazine Office,

No. 166, Fleet-street. -Sold by W. and A. Galignani, Rue Vivienne, Paris;

Machin and Co., Dublin ; and W. C. Campbell and Co., Hamburgh.

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MR. BAGGS'S CARBONIC ACID-GAS. ENGINE.

[Patent dated February 9, 1842. Specification enrolled August 9, 1842.) The theory of the new power engine, aid only of a small quantity of fuel; and which we have now to bring under the the recovery of the other is even more notice of our readers, is principally based simple. The carbonic and ammoniacal on the discoveries of modern chemistry; gases, produced as above described, after and it may be as well, in a few words, to performing the office of steam in an apadvert to these discoveries, before enter propriate engine, are allowed, by virtue ing into the details of Mr. Baggs's appli- of their non-elasticity, to rush into an cation of them.

exhausted receiver, where they no sooner It is generally known, that many of come in contact than immediate condens. those gases, which were formerly deemed ation ensues, with the reproduction of the permanently aëriform, are not so in fact, exact quantity of carbonate of ammonia an alteration in their physical constitu destroyed in the commencement of the tion being readily effected by specific va

process. riations of pressure and temperature.

It will be observed that there are but Carbonic acid gas assumes the liquid three proximate elements concerned form under a pressure of 36 atmospheres, throughout-phosphoric acid, carbonic or 540 lbs. to the inch, at a temperature acid, and ammonia, which, by the conof 32°. Ammoniacal gas becomes liquid secutive influences of chemical affinity under a pressure of 6.5 atmospheres, at and caloric, are made to undergo a defithe temperature of 50°; and very slightnite series of actions amongst themselves, increments of heat are sufficient to exalt with the resulting evolution of an enorthe elasticity of these bodies to such an mous mechanical power. extent, as to render them competent With regard to the acid employed, agents for the movement of machinery. Mr. Baggs does not consider it to be es

Attempts have accordingly been made sential that the phosphoric should be to substitute their powers for those of used ; any fixed acid will answer the steam, but, as yet, with no successful re purpose, and the boracic and sulphurie sult; the failure being mainly attributable acids are offered as examples. The to a want of economy in their production. question of preference is one of economy Now, if we could manage, by any means, alone. Phosphoric acid is one of the to recover these gases after they had principal constituents of bones, and the done duty in the cylinder of an ordinary process for its extraction is sufficiently engine-if we could only save them from simple. Boracic acid is found native, running to waste, cause them to perform and may also be obtained in abundance their office over and over again, and ef from borax. Sulphuric acid, it is well fect all this at a small expense, it will be known, is plentiful enough ; and with obvious that the great difficulty which reference to the other ingredient, carbohas stood in the way of previous experi nate of ammonia, the sources of its supmentalists would be avoided, and we ply are perpetual, cheap, and abundant. should have at command an exceedingly Supposing the invention to be applied cheap and portable power. This, then, to a locomotive, Mr. Baggs proposes to is what Mr. Baggs has done; or, at adopt the following routine. least, shown the means of doing.

given station or line of stations, proper Mr. Baggs proposes to generate the arrangements are to be made for carrying gas through the medium of a fixed acid on the manufacture of the gases in the way and a carbonate of the volatile alkali. we have described. As the latter are For instance: by pouring phosphoric produced they are to be condensed into a acid upon carbonate of ammonia, phos liquid form, either by the chemical process phate of ammonia is produced, and car of Dr. Faraday, or by the mechanical bonic acid gas is driven off; and by subject method of compression, which originated ing this phosphate of ammonia to heat, it with Sir M. Isambard Brunel. The two is decomposed, ammoniacal gas is libe liquids thus obtained would form the rated, and the phosphoric acid originally only load which the engine would be reemployed in the first part of the process remains behind. Here, then, is the re

quired to carry; and the carbonate of

ammonia would be re-formed on the road generation of one of the materials by the as the liquids were expended. All the

At any

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