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War Begun.

Pontypridd,

Treforest.

Church Village.

Pentre.I

Dinas.

- Treherbert.i

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Rafed.

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Penygraig.

Tylorsfowq.

Senghenydd.

f Ynysybwl.

Tonyrefail.

IYstrad School Board Election.

Rhondda Scholastic Races j

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---MEMS ON MEN AND OTHER THINGS.

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MEMS ON MEN AND OTHER THINGS. BY THE MYSTERY. Have you ever thought, as you applied a match to your gas jet, notwithstanding the apparent simplicity of its supply, what a wonderful amount of concentrated thought and chemical knowledge must bo brought to baat before you can make use of such an everyday commodity? I suppose not! Men become so accustomed to things, they forget one discovery as another still more marvellous crops up, but there has certainly been no more useful factor in developing the progress of the present cen- tury than what is commonly known as "gas," of the gases which go to make the constituents of this well-known one I have nothing to say here. ) When the electric light became a rival with it, people who held shares in the gas companies had a scare, especially the weak-knoed ones, and speculators made a nice little pile when t,l'e slump in the market was over, and the pub- lie gradually became aware of the various uses to which coal gas might be put. --0-- Desirous of information I called upon the respected manager of our local gasworks. Mr H. Barker, a day or two ago, with a view cf having a short chat on the subject, and although both his own time and my own were somewhat limited, he spared me half an hoier to show e hurriedly through the Pontypridd Gasworks. -&- "First of all," he said, "let us run over to the siding bn the P.C. and N. Railway, whic i is connected with the works. Here all coal is delivered, weighed and checked before under- going any process. It is brought to Treforest in the Council's own wagons, specially built for the purpose, hoppered on the most -appro,ed system, and being brought into position a load is automatically discharged, saving a great deal of labour. The vehicles are not "turned mipt-r I aiway,' but loaded with coke, brought up to the level by an elevator, and sent to all narfcs cf the world." If you go to South America, and it happens to be a chilly night, you may warm your toes by a stove heated by a product mani- pulated on your native heath. 0 Next we visited the retort house, and as the process of converting the ooal into gas was explained to me, I could not help thinking of the days when I "borrowed" long clay pipes, put coal dust into the bowl, covered it over witl clay, placed it in a fire, and made my own gas, lighting it at the end of the stem. There have been improvements in its manufacture since then, but the principle is practically the ¡ same. In all there are 64 retorts in work at Treforest. A fierce coke fire burns in the bottom, of—what shall I call it? The first retort I Coal is placed in another reeepfacle above, the heat extracts the gas, and it passes away to the condensing towers to oool after its severe roasting, bringing it to a normal temperature preparatory to an introduction by aid of a steam engine to the washerwoman called a scrubbing and washing tower. Here ammonia and tar are extracted, and then it has another scrub down in a "scrubber washer," and is ready for its gaseous career to the purifying house. "Here," said my guide, "are four puri- fyers at work, twenty-feet square, which are lifted by hydraulics." "What do you use as purifiers?" I asked. "Oh, well! we liave two agents, lime and hydrated peroxide of iron." The lime removes carbonic acid and sulphura- ted hydrogen; the oxide making the latter gas its particular enemy. The peroxide is economi- cal, as it can be used several times. By con- tact with air it regains strength, and makes several charges, whereas the lime is knocked out in the first round." —o— There only remains now for the manufactured article to be measured up, and passed on to the holder either at Treforest or transmitted by a system of valves to the gasometer at Ponty- pridd. In both depots there is a machine which shows at a glance how much is being utilised by consumers. Let us trust the register is as accurate as the common domestic gas meter. Don't smile! Now to revert to the commercial value of gas. "Do you think, Mr Barker, tbet acety- lene, or carbide of calcium, will be a rival to you as an illuminanfc?" "It may be," be said, "in small towns or in railway stations in coun- try places, but the cost is much too heavy for general use. The difficulty of making a burner suitable to it has been partially overoome by an American invention, but even then, if once turned down (by a system of faR economy) it will smoke and be unpleasant. As to its danger, the carbide light will sometimes explode spon- taneously if subjected to a certain heat." -+- "Now speaking of cost," I said. "one often bears the remark that gas is very dear in Pont- ypridd. considering the town is in the heart of a coal-field," Mr Barker smiled at my inno- cence. "We are noted in South Wales for steam ooal, which is not at all suitable for our purpose. True, there is better coal in Lancashire and Yorkshire to be had, but the expense of transit prohibits ita purchase However, as regards price, we can compare favourably with our neighbours on equal grounds. Our price is 2s lOd to 3s 2d per 1,000 according to the amount consumed. Cardiff, 2s. lOd; Newport 2s 8d to 3s; Swansea, 3s; Bayry, I- 4-bd: Aberdare, 3a 6d to 3s 9d; Mertbvr, 2s 6d to 3s: Neath, 38 2d. The expense of production is regulated by consumption. The price in Man- chester is 2s 3d, but remember Cottonopolis has 112,000 customers; in CoalopoHs /we have 11,700; ltither a vavi difference, eh?"' Just a word about the penny in the slot sys- tem. It works splendidly: and cooking stoves? Ask anyone using them, and I do not doubt you will be told that for cleanliness, convenience, and economy. they are appreciated wherever on hire. I could see several men furtively try- ing to catch the eye of their chief, and taking the hint, I thanked Mr Barker for his courtesy and he generously saw me safely off the pre- mises. Whils, on the subject of chcmistry, a curious event, occurred at Pentre a day or two ago, We have heard of th provrbial bull m the china shop, but a cow varied matters up there by entering a chemist's shop, inspected all the various meat extracts, and looking in vain for a relative, went sorrowfully away again, and the proprietor says that bow the animal found its way amongst the bottles and cases without breaking anything is to him THE MYSTERY.

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