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--.--Sir W. H. Preete on the…


Sir W. H. Preete on the Uses of Electricity. At the Institute o: Civil Engineers, I Westminster, on Monday night, Sir W. Preece, G.C.B., F.R.H., delivered the annual "James Forrest" lecture, taking for his subject the relations between elec- tricity and engintorin- 'ihe President of the Institute, Sir Douglas Fox, was in the chair. Sir William Preece at the outset de- scribed some of the uses to which electri- city was applied, special prominence being given to some recent inventions. The decomposing bath and the arc furnace, he said, were revolutionising many indus- tries. The regulation of the ever-growing traffic on our railways and the safety of passengers waa secured by electricity. The telegraph nor, only placed the mana- ger of the line in communication with every station upon his system, but elec- tric signals controlled the motion of every train. A tailway signal-box was an electrical exhibition. Every line was protected by its own electric signal. Every distant outdoor mechanical signal waa repeated back. At Crewe, on the London and North-Western system, Mr F. W. Webbe was not only working the outdoor signals bl electrical energy, but was moving the points and switches by tthe same means. So far the experience gained during f, period of about twelve months from the working of a signal cabin oontaining about sixty levers had been ftuoh as to jvjstify confidence and the extension of tba system. The object of this electric wcrking was primarily to re- duce the manuul labour of the signalman and to enable vim to pay more attention tq the move; aents outside his cabin. Other objects aimed at were increased ttpeed of working; the removal of ob- structions on tae ground caused by the nomefous wire and rod connections neces- aitated by the present system; and finally a reduction in the number of signalmen employed. Speaiding of the transmission ti power the lecturer said the economy and efficiency of distributing power over mills, factories, and workshops by elec- tricity instead of by shafting, gearing, and belts were so pronounced that the change was being effected in every coun- ty with great rapidity. Every up-to- date shop should have its electric plant for healthy light, cheap power, and handy distribution of material. Ita economy waa demonstrable in the smallest shops, but in the largest it was at onco most marked. It was always available and it Of** little. Ignorance or timidity restric- ted its use very much. The number of works run by electric motors in different nprts of the country was very lgrge in- deed. The efficiency, handiness, and eco- nomy were so marked that the practice waa extending with great rapidiity. Motors themselves were being daily im- proved. Electricity 88 an economiser, bY increasing the speed of output and by reducing waste wfes as much at the dis- posal of the British as of the American manufacturer. But John Bull clung with affectionate and conservative fervour to the capital expended by his grandfather, while Uncle Sam did not hesitate to 4i)jcow obsolete plant on the scrap heap if by doing so he could increase his business. For traction purposes electricity was mak- gigantic strides. The Liverpool and llanoheaW Lightning Express Railway, promoted by a powerful representative syndicate of those two great commercial centres to carry out the scheme of Mr Behr, was a very bold and promising renture. The line was to be mono-rail 34 miles long, direct between the two cities, without any intermediate station and with no crossing. There were to be cars orer ten minutes. The speed was to be 100 miles per hour, and the time of tran- sit 20 minutes. He knew of no reason why this should not be done in safety and comfort. Speaking of the application of electricity to industries, Sir William Preece described a new acquard loom in- vented by Mr T. A. B. Carver, a pupil of Lord Kelvin. In this loom 600 hooks were controlled electrically. The twill, as well as the pattern, waa under complete management. It had been warmly taken up in Glasgow, and a factory had been started there. The pattern on the cloth ws6 woven directly from a photo-print of the artist's design mounted on a metallic aheet. The threads of the warp were pocked up by electro-magnetic action owing to the figxvre of the pattern being out away, thus allowing the circuit to be acpnploted by the metallic sheet. The thanks of the meeting were given tQ. SiT William PreeTe for his lecture, on the motion of the President, seconded by Air F. Bramwell.

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