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Harpoons, 3-c.—Two patents have been granted this year for improvements in harpoons, and one for a whaler's lance. Both of the harpoons.
patented have double flukes. In one of them the upper of auxiliary flukes revolve upon the shank; and after the harpoon has entered the whale, its withdrawal will be resisted by the primary and auxiliary flukes at differ. ent points, and of course its hold will be much firmer than that of the or: dinary harpoon. f In the other harpoon the auxiliary flukes are jointed near the shank to the ordinary flukes, with a firm support in addition to the joint pin. When the harpoon is entering the whale the auxiliary flukes lie close to the shaft; but when any draught comes upon it the flukes spread far wider than those of the ordinary harpoon, and take a much firmer hold. The lance above mentioned is constructed as follows: A hollow metal
lic tube is made, capable of containing a considerable charge of powder.
The point of the lance has a shank at its reverse, and fitting the muzzle of the tube. This shank has a shoulder, to prevent it from entering the muzzle too far. At the opposite end of the tube there is connected to it a smaller tube, to contain priming. When the parts are put together, the appearance of the instrument is that of a common lance. When properly prepared, and the primer ignited, it is thrown into the whale, and the explosion of the powder sends the point of the lance, like a ball, further into him. Nothing further has been developed at this office connected with navi. gation and marine implements which require particular notice.
A considerable number of patents have been granted this year for improvements in this class, some of which indicate much ingenuity and possess an importance deserving notice.
Wheels.-Four patents have been granted this year for improvements in car and carriage wheels. In one of those wheels the improvement is in the construction of the tyre. In making the tyre a bar of steel is welded between two bars of iron, in such manner that the whole flat surface of the steel is covered. The bar thus formed is subjected to appropriate rollers, and rolled into the form of the tread and flanch of the car wheel. It is then bent and placed upon the wheel firmly, after which the outer surface of the wheel is turned in a lathe till the outer coating of iron, which is made as thin as possible, is removed, and the steel tread and flanch appear. The object of this process is easily understood.
Many inconveniences arise from the ordinary mode of shrinking the tyre upon the common carriage wheel. The wheel is often burnt in such a manner as to support the tyre but badly, and the charred part of the felloes being pulverized and shaken out, allows the tyre to bend and become loose. Letters-patent have been granted this year for an improved
mode of attaching the tyre, which obviates the above mentioned incon
veniences. . The tyre, before its ends are joined, is heated barely enough to expand the iron, and is then placed around the wheel. A chain clamp
is then applied outside of the tyre, and extending entirely around, with
means of lightening it to any desired degree. When the tyre is thus pressed and drawn tight upon the wheel, its ends, which lap over each
other and are properly chamfered, are drilled and rivetted together. Theo
clamp is then removed.
Another improvement in springs patented is as follows: Strong strips of the most elastic preparation of India-rubber are stretched along supports from one end of the car body to the other. These supports are placed at short distances from each other, so that collectively they resemble a rack. Another similar rack is attached to the car body, and so loca. ted upon the India-rubber strips that the teeth fall between the supports. The effect is obvious. Upon the same car other springs for bumpers, &c., are used, wherein the elastic power of India-rubber elicited by compression is resorted to. Carriage brakes.—Nine patents have this year been granted for improvements in fixtures for arresting the progress of cars and carriages under various circumstances. The above mentioned brakes are generally “self-acting. One of these patented improvements consists in so arranging the parts that whenever the brake operates, the shoes will be pressed with equal force against opposite sides of the wheel, increasing the effect of the brake and preventing the injurious strain upon the axles always experienced when the brake is applied to but one side of the wheel. Self-acting brakes have heretofore always been found inconvenient when it became necessary to run the carriage back, as the pressure on the shaft necessary for that movement brings the brakes upon the wheels and prevents them from moving. Several devices have been resorted to this year to obviate this inconvenience. They consist generally of some device for temporarily disconnecting the brakes from the shaft. It often happens that when a train of cars are furnished with self-acting brakes, they operate imperfectly, and cease to act at the time when they may be most needed. If the locomotive comes against an obstacle the brakes will operate on all the wheels of the train so long as the cars by their momentum have a tendency to move faster than the locomotive. But if the locomotive were to be thrown off the track, and down a bank, &c., the brakes upon the cars would operate only while the locomotive was resisted by the obstacle, and the wheels would be left free the moment the locomotive had overcome the resistance, when the brakes should -be in powerful operation. To obviate this inconvenience an improvement has this year been made and patented, which consists in combining with each of the series of brakes a pawl working into a ratchet, which, when the brake is forced upon the wheel, will hold it there until released by hand. The parts, however, may be so adjusted that the brake will not be set and held against the wheels by any of the ordinary and harmless concussions so frequently met with. Brakes in ordinary wagons generally operate upon the hind wheels; but as it is often necessary, for various purposes, to lengthen or shorten the reach, a corresponding modification of the connecting parts of the brake becomes indispensable. Letters patent have been granted this year for bringing the brake to bear upon the fore-wheels, in such a manner as to obviate this and other inconveniences. Devices similar to brakes have this year been patented for application to sleighs. They operate, of course, upon the ground, and assist the horses in holding back, but are so constructed as to cease their operation the moment the sleigh ceases to run upon the horses. It may as well be here mentioned that an improvement in sleighs, principally connected with the dash-board, has been patented this year. The raves are carried in front in such a form as to furnish a frame for the
dash-board, and they are connected by a cross-bar. The dash-board is .
then attached upon the front of the elevated raves, which allows it to be extended out each side at pleasure—a matter of much importance. The fenders are then brought up in front and the ends are screwed through the dash-board to the raves, and the ends of the runners are bent over and attached through the dash-board to the cross-bar above mentioned. The affair is particularly neat, compact, firm, and easy to repair. Railroad cars.-Great strain and consequent injury to railroad cars result from the rigid manner in which the various parts are connected. It is evident that if the cars are so constructed that they cannot yield to the various inequalities in the road, and to such slight obstructions as are ordinarily found, every such inequality will strain and injure the cars. Many devices have been resorted to to remedy this evil. Letters patent have been granted this year for a system of connexions for this purpose, which cannot here be fully set forth, but which consists of a perfect system of joints upon the ball and socket principle, extending to every part to which it is applicable, and in such changes of the ordinary parts of the locomotive or car as are rendered necessary by the mode of connexion. A fuller notice of this invention cannot be given without drawings. Several patents have been granted this year for improvements in the mode of hanging the bodies of railroad cars, which are worthy of consideration, but they differ so little in the arrangement of their parts from those already in use, that their distinctive characteristics could not be understood without drawings and a detailed description. One patent has been granted for improved couplings for cars, which I do not think it necessary to describe. Several applications connected with couplings have been rejected within the year. The old principles appear to have been applied in all the varicus forms of which they are susceptible, and a new track is not yet discovered.
Some years ago locomotives were furnished with six driving wheels
upon parallel shafts, the wheels being of the large or ordinary size for locomotives. These were found to be defective in turning curves, as the flanches of the wheels would override the track and leave it. Even giving the axles an end wise motion was found to be insufficient, owing to the ease with which the wheels would run off. Letters patent have been granted within the year for two modes of obviating these serious difficulties, and the simplicity with which they have been removed is highl creditable to the inventor. In the first place, he ascertained that the flanc of the small car wheel did not rise upon the track with the same facility with the flanch of the large wheel, a fact demonstrable in theory and proved in practice; and it was found that the difference between them in this particular was such, that substituting the small wheel with the soft flanch and tread, and a shaft having an end motion, rendered the locomotive safe from running off the track. But the large wheel for locomotives was everywhere in use, on account of the much greater speed that could be obtained by it, and it was soon ascertained that small wheels could only answer the purpose where speed could be dispensed with. It became necessary, therefore, if possible, to obviate the difficulty and still retain the large wheel, and this important object was attained by simply chilling the flanches. It was found that the hard or chilled flanch, when it struck the rail, would slip down by the side of it, while the soft flanch in ordinary use would cling to it, override, and run off the track. The softness of the tread so useful in locomotives could be retained, and the hard flanch did not interfere with the draught. The wheel thus constructed, with the end motion of the axles, was found to answer the purpose; and thus an evil, which at first appeared almost insurmountable, was obviated by the simplest device, and almost without a sacrifice. Land carriages.—Several patents have been granted this year for improvements in carriages of various kinds, but generally they do not possess much importance. One patent has been granted for a one-wheeled horse carriage, so constructed as to depend upon the horse for the preservation of its equilibrium. It is, in a word, a horse wheelbarrow, possessing the advantages and disadvantages of that variety of vehicle. Letters patent have recently been granted for an improvement of considerable importance in attaching horses to wagons. The evil experienced, and the remedy applied, are well set forth in the following extract from the patent: “The nature of my invention consists in transferring a portion of the load to the collars of horses, or the yokes of oxen, only in the act of drawing. “The amount of weight to be borne by the team depends upon the degree of rise to be ascended, or the weight to be drawn. It will readily be perceived that this bearing is in proportion to the weight to be drawn, and entirely ceases (reverting back to the load) when the team ceases to draw; thereby leaving them unincumbered when drawing is unnecessary. The nature of my invention consists in increasing the power of teams, whether horses or cattle, by extra weight, which gives them more firmness and ability to perform their tasks. When two horses are harnessed to a wagon or carriage, this weight is to be applied to their harness or collars—consequently to them. If cattle are used, the weight will of course be applied to their yokes; all of which is to be done by the use of the lever tongue, which operates to transfer a portion of the weight of the load to increase the heft of the team only in the act of drawing. The steeper the hill, the more heft the team requires, and the more the tongue presses down; as the draught decreases, the tongue lightens up. It sometimes happens that on rising hills, horses and cattle are choked down by the rising of their collars and yokes; by this improvement that difficulty is done away, as in all cases where drawing is necessary both collars and yokes are borne down, so that the throats of the team are left free to receive the air. It may be proper here to state that no extra weight will be borne by the team, except the collars are pressed back to the strong part of the neck, which can only take place in the act of drawing.
STEAM AND GAS ENGINES,
Seventeen patents belonging to this class have been granted this year; but although the patents are more numerous, the inventions secured by them appear to be less important than those patented last year. Last year there were several patents granted that were calculated to influence radically this important agent; whereas the useful improvements developed . year belong rather to the class of refinements upon what was already nown.
Furnaces.—One patent has been granted for improvements in boiler furnaces. Its object is the more perfect combustion of the gases arising from the coal, and causing the heat to operate more directly upon the boiler. The following extract will illustrate the invention: “The nature of my invention consists in combining with the usual fireplace of a steam boiler one or more reverberatory chambers or auxiliary fireplaces, having air or oxygen ducts, the same being for the purpose of retaining and revolving the volatile products which escape from the burning fuel, and supplying them with a due degree of oxygen, and by so retaining and revolving them, and supplying them with oxygen, obtain a more perfect combustion of them than is generally effected by any of the common modes of erecting furnaces. “As the smoke, gases, or other volatile products of combustion pass from the fireplace into the reverberatory chamber, they are retarded and revolved therein, and thrown upwards against the boiler, in consequence of the peculiar shape of the bottom of the said chamber. A portion of them will be burnt in the chamber, and the remainder or surplus will pass over the top of the box, or between it and the boiler, and will commingle with the atmospheric air which rushes through the upper plate of the air box. The said air will supply the said surplus with the quantity of oxygen necessary to its whole or partial combustion; and owing to the peculiar inclined position of the perforated plate of the air box, the air rushing through it will impel the combustible and burning volatile gases, and other products, in numerous jets or streams, upwards against the part of the boiler which is over the said plate.
“These streams or jets of flame, in striking against the boiler, are to a .
great extent deflected by it against the rear curved part of the chamber, and by it reverberated or turned downwards, and coursed back or towards the perforated plate of the air box. Thus a rotation or revolution of the gases or volatile matters is kept up in the chamber. “Such portion of the gases, &c., as are not consumed, pass into the next and succeeding chambers, until by being so revolved and supplied with fresh air, they become nearly, if not entirely, burnt up. By my improvement I am enabled to effect a very important saving of fuel, as most of the gases which are generally lost or pass off through the chimney are by the said improvement consumed under the boiler, and made to serve the purpose of heating it.” Letters patent have becn granted also for a blower for boiler furnaces. Although blowers a few years ago were scarcely used, they have of late 3ome to be considered of indispensable importance, and an ordinary fixture of the furnace. Their convenient application having been found to involve considerable difficulty, engineers have turned their attention to the subject; and the one patented possesses much merit, especially for its simplicity of construction and application. It will be understood from the following extract: “The fan blowers now used in steamboats for blowing the fires in the furnaces are generally made from two to three feet in diameter, the latter being the maximum ; and to obtain the required quantity and velocity of blast necessary to supply the combustion, very high velocities are required; and therefore it has been necessary to resort to the use of a belt from a large wheel, or the crank-shaft of the auxiliary engine, to a small pulley on the shaft of the fan. These dimensions and velocities have been the source of so much annoyance on steamboats, as almost to counterbalance