A vessel with a narrow mouth or aperture, used to contain liquids; and usually composed of glass or earthen ware. Under these two Leads will be found a description of the process of manufacturing them; we shall, therefore, in this place, briefly notice some inventions connected with them, and which we could not introduce under separate heads.
The first is Masterman's patent apparatus for bottling wine or beer, which, as usually performed, is a tedious and wasteful process; but by the apparatus which we are about to describe, the bottles may be filled uniformly to a precise point, as fast as they can be changed, without the necessity of any examination on the part of the workman. In the annexed engraving, a is the cask containing the liquid to be bottled; this cask must be closed perfectly air tight; b a cock, having a nozzle about 4 or 5 inches in length, and of a bore greater than the area of the whole of the syphons, (hereafter mentioned;) c a trough about 14 inches long, 6 inches wide, and 4 inches deep, - It is attached to the frame d d in such a manner that its distance from the foot thereof may be increased or dimished at pleasure; e e e e are four metal syphons, having each a leg of nearly equal length; one leg of each is fixed to the inside of the front of the trough, the other leg is outside of the trough about 3 inches from the front of it;f is a trough to catch the liquid which may be spilt whilst changing the bottles; it can be slided up and down the frame, and has a rail g for the bottles to stand on while filling; h h represents what the patentee terms an air tube; the cross piece i is of solid brass, bored only so high as to pass the end of the tube soldered into it.
The horizontal part of the tube is made of pure tin, on account of its flexibility; it is connected to the vertical part by a union joint at k; l is an iron brace placed across the trough, to retain the air tube firmly in its proper situation. The mode of using the machine is as follows; the trough c is fixed so high in its frame, that the bottom comes within an inch of the orifice of the cock, and the air tube is fixed in the brace, so that its lower orifice may be at least one inch above the orifice of the cock, and at least one inch below the top of the trough, and the other end of the air tube is driven air tight into a hole either through the bung of the cask, or through a hole made for the purpose in the cask above the surface of the liquid therein. Upon opening the cock, the liquid flows into the trough until it rises so high as to close the orifice of the air tube, when the air no longer having admission to the cask, the liquor ceases to flow. The syphons are then put in action by exhausting the air out of them successively by the mouth applied to a bent tube, one end of which is placed against the syphon so as to form an air tight tube within it.
The outer end of each syphon, as it is brought into action, is inserted in the neck of a bottle, and the point to which the bottles are to be filled is brought to a level with the orifice of the air tube, the rail g being adjusted so as to retain the bottles at this elevation. As the bottles fill, the surface of the liquid in the trough sinks until it descends below the orifice of the air tube, when the air rushes into the cask, and the liquid recommences flowing; and thus by this alternate action, the liquid in the trough is always preserved nearly on a level with the orifice of the air tube. As each bottle fills, it is withdrawn quickly from the syphon and replaced by an empty one; but if the bottles are suffered to remain, they will never fill higher than the level of the orifice of the air tube, which it has been shown is the level to which the liquid in the trough is confined. Another method of maintaining the liquid in the trough at always the same level is described in the specification, which we think is upon the whole preferable to that described above.
It consists in substituting for the air tube a species of valve, adapted to the lower orifice of the cock, and regulated by a float on the surface of the liquid in the trough, so that as the liquid rises in the trough, the float also rises, and causes the valve to shut when the surface of the liquid has attained its proper level; and as the level sinks the float also sinks and opens the valve, causing the liquid to flow again. When the float and valve are substituted for the air tube the cask must have vent.
A most useful appendage to the foregoing apparatus, is the patent machine for corking bottles, invented by Mr. J. Masterman, by the use of which all risk of breaking the bottles is avoided; the necessity of biting the corks, (a practice highly injurious to the health of the workmen,) is done away with, the bottles are corked in a very superior manner, and the whole operation conducted with cleanliness, economy, and unprecedented dispatch. The following is a description of the machine, (with reference to the annexed engraving,) and of the manner in which it is worked: a a a a represents the frame, b b two vertical guide rods, connected at top by the bridging piece c; d a cross head sliding upon the upper ends of the guide rods, and connected by the side rod k k, to the levers g g, which are united at the handle by and which have their fulcrum at i. In the cross head d are secured by nuts on its upper face three cylindrical metal bolts, termed by the patentee " impellers;" f is a cross piece of wood firmly fixed to the guide rods, at such distance from their tops, as that when d is raised close to the bridging piece c, there may be a space between the bottom of the impellers, and the top off, at least equal to the length of a cork.
In f, are fitted three conical metal tubes, immediately beneath, and concentric with, the impellers. These tubes have their mouths larger, and their lower apertures smaller than the corks, and are of three different sizes, which is sufficient to meet the variations in the size of the bottles, whether for wine or beer; l is a treadle which, by means of the iron rod m fixed to its axis, raises and depresses the wedge n; this wedge slides on a cross piece of wood, (firmly fixed to each side of the frame a,) in such a manner that the upper surface of the wedge is always preserved in a horizontal position; a loop of iron is fixed below its thicker end, and in it the upper end of the bar in works. To use the machine, the workman seats himself beside it with his right foot on the treadle; he then places a bottle so that its mouth is under, and in contact with, that tube which is of the proper size for introducing the cork into it, and retains the bottle in that position by raising the wedge against its bottom by means of his foot acting on the treadle; then raising the impellers by means of the lever, he puts a proper sized cork into that tube which is in contact with the mouth of the bottle, he depresses the lever, by which action the cork is forced by the impeller into the neck of the bottle; then lowering the wedge by the pressure of his foot on the treadle, he removes the bottle, which completes the operation.
This we think is a most meritorious invention, and one deserving of general adoption. The patentee states, that "more than half the time is saved, owing principally to the compression of the cork, and the impelling it into the bottle being effected at one operation or motion of the lever. Twelve bottles have been corked in one minute by way of experiment, and thirty dozen in an hour, but one workman could cork with ease at the rate of five and twenty dozen per hour throughout the day. The bottles also are better corked, partly owing to the corks being compressed and compacted, instead of being crushed or broken, as in the common methods; and partly from the corks, at the moment of entering the bottle, being subjected to a pressure both on their tops and sides, which causes them to become firmer and closer in the bottles, than when driven in after being crushed by any of the common methods.
A patent has been obtained by Mr. H. Berry for forming bottle stoppers of India rubber with the view of preventing the escape of volatile and other fluids, which cannot be well retained by the usual means of stopping. To effect this object several methods are described by the patentee in his specification; that which is shewn in the engraving represents the section of an ink bottle for the pocket, a is the glass bottle with the extremity of the neck ground to an angular edge, where it is brought into contact with a disc or button of caoutchoc b fixed into the top of the exterior case, which is of hard wood; the top being screwed down as shewn in the figure, the glass edges of the bottle are forced into the elastic substance, so as to form a close and perfectly air-tight stopper. For volatile salts, the patentee uses the ordinary glass stoppers, and applies a collar of caoutchoc under a projecting flange of the stopper, which presses upon the upper surface of the neck.