Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XXIV, No. 601.
Scientific American established 1845
Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.
Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.
London Royal Institution by Dr. R. VON LEDENFELD.
III. ELECTRICITY.--Phenomena of Alternating Currents.--By Prof. ELIHU THOMSON.--16 illustrations.
IV. ENGINEERING.--An English Car Coupling.--Description of an English automatic coupling.--2
A New Process of Casting Iron and other Metals upon Lace, Embroideries, Fern Leaves, and other Combustible Materials. --By A.E. OUTERBRIDGE, JR.--A new and eminently practical process of producing ornamental castings.--4 illustrations.
Preservative Liquid.--Note on preservation of organic substances.
The Falls of Gairsoppa.--The great Indian falls, higher than Niagara.--2 illustrations.
The New British Coinage and Jubilee Medal.--Illustrations and descriptions of the new pieces.--8
Among the different classes of vessels designed for special services, constructed by Messrs. Yarrow & Co., at
Poplar, for the British government, is one which is stated to be the fastest torpedo boat in her majesty's navy.
This boat has been put through its official trials; with a load of 15 tons, running continuously for two hours
without stopping, a speed of 23 knots, which is equal to 26\u00bd statute miles, an hour was obtained. The boat is
135 ft. long by 14 ft. beam. Its design is known as the Falke type, being in many respects similar, but very
superior, to a torpedo boat of that name which was built two years ago by the same firm for the Austrian
government. The form of the hull is of such a character as to give exceptional steering capabilities; at the time
of trial it was found to be able to steer round in a circle of a diameter of 100 yards, averaging 62 seconds. The
forward part of the boat is completely covered over by a large turtle back, which is the customary form of the
boats built by Messrs. Yarrow & Co. It was first introduced in the Batoum, which they constructed eight years
ago for the Russian government. This turtle back increases the seaworthiness of the craft by throwing the
water that comes upon it freely away. It forms, also, good and roomy accommodation for the crew, and
incloses a large portion of the torpedo apparatus. The forward torpedo gear consists of one torpedo gun,
adapted for ejecting the Whitehead torpedo by means of gunpowder, now preferred on account of its
simplicity. The boiler, one of Messrs. Yarrow & Co.'s special construction, of a type which has undergone
many years of constant trial, is capable of developing 1,660 horse power. In the engine room there are six
engines--one for driving the boat, two for compressing the air for the torpedoes, an engine for working the
dynamo for producing the electric light, an engine for forcing air into the stoke-hole, and an engine working in
conjunction with the distilling apparatus for supplying drinking water for the crew and the waste incidental to
the boiler. Aft of the engine room come the officers' quarters. The stern of the boat is fitted up as a pantry and
for the stowage of ammunition and stores. On the deck are mounted three machine guns, and near the stern an
additional conning tower for use in case of need, around which revolve two torpedo guns for firing the
torpedoes off either side. These torpedo guns can be trained to any angle it may be desired to fire them at. On
both conning towers are machine guns.--Illustrated London News.
The gunboat Eber is an improved vessel of the Wolf type, but differs from other vessels of its class in that it has not a complete iron hull, only the frame and deck beams being of iron, while the planking is of wood and yellow metal. No copper is used on the bottom. The "composite system" of building is looked upon with favor for ships of this kind, because iron vessels which are kept permanently at stations in the tropics soon become overgrown in spite of good care, and thus suffer a great loss of speed. In a wooden vessel the crew's quarters are better and more healthful than in iron vessels, for they are not as much affected by the temperature outside of the ship.
The greatest length of the Eber is about 245 ft.; its breadth, 26 ft.; its depth, 14 ft.; and it has a displacement of
about 500 tons. The armament will consist of three long 5 in. guns in center pivot carriages, and a small
number of revolvers. One of the former will be placed at the stern on the quarter deck, and the two others on
the forecastle. Some of the revolvers will be on the quarter deck and some on the forecastle, care being taken
to arrange the guns so as to obtain the widest possible range, thus enabling the ship to protect itself perfectly.
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