They are having an electrical exhibition in London, and in connection with this have secured prominent electrical men to make public lectures. A number of these have been of particular interest to the public, one especially so, since it touched upon the use of electric lights in the home. This lecture was delivered by Mr. James Swinburne, past-president of the
Institution of Electrical Engineers of Great Britain, and a past-master of the lecturer's platform. Mr. Swinburne never has difficulty in holding the attention of his hearers. He can take what, to many, would seem a dull subject and turn it so that every one listens earnestly, and yet he always has some useful message to deliver and he manages to deliver it in such a way as to impress it upon the minds of those who hear him.
In his lecture Mr. Swinburne told his audience the interesting story of the development of the incandescent lamp. Then he got down to business and showed how much superior this lamp is to the older forms of illumination in which a flame is employed. It not only gives a better light, is safer and can be arranged so as to give a better illumination but, everything on-sidered, is cheaper. Perhaps this would not appear true if one compared merely the cost of gas with the cost of electrical energy; and perhaps the comparison might seem still less in favor of electricity if, as is frequently done, one changes over from gas to electricity and then compares the cost of a satisfactory lighting by a later method with the unsatisfactory lighting by gas which preceded. Under such conditions it would be an exceptional case in which the cost for the gas alone was not less than that for electricity.
But this is only one-way of looking at it. In fact, to get the two systems on a fair basis, every item should be considered. The estimates should be made for an equal illumination in each case. The relative risks must be determined as closely as can be, and the effect on the house of the two methods must not be overlooked. As was shown by Mr. Swinburne, the gas flame assists very materially in spoiling the decorations of a house, as well as increasing the dust and dirt. It seems that it is necessary to redecorate a London house about once every four years when gas is used; but when electricity is adopted, the house need be decorated not oftener than once in five or six years; and this is an underestimate. In fact, Mr. Swinburne is convinced that, in the long run, the electric light is cheaper than gas, even if the latter be free. This was an eminently satisfactory conclusion for the lecturer. Unfortunately, it in more difficult to persuade the possible consumer of the economy of electric lights. It is easier to work it out on the blackboard than it is to drive it through the consumer's pate - a work, by the way, to which the electric lighting companies are devoting not a little time and energy just now. Mr, Swinburne has, however, brought out a new and interesting phase of the lighting question, of which the companies will doubtless make good use. It is one which has received almost no attention heretofore.
The chief use of copper is for electrical purposes, especially for dynamos and motors. Copper drawn into wire is employed for submarine cables, long distance telephone and telegraph lines, light and power service, etc.