The only commercially successful method of producing aluminum is by electrolysis, and all attempts at making aluminum in the electric furnace by reduction of aluminum with carbon have been unsuccessful. Although it is possible to prepare alloys of aluminum by reduction of the oxide by carbon in presence of such metals as copper and iron, yet when it is attempted to obtain the pure metal by direct reduction, the product is almost exclusively aluminum carbide.
A remarkable achievement in wireless telegraphy is reported in the Navy Department from the Pensacola station. This plant has been able to keep in constant communication with the United Fruit Company's steamer Preston from the time that vessel left New York until it arrived at Honduras. The station also received messages from the Preston while she was entering New York harbor, where she was undoubtedly bathed in electric waves from other stations and ships. A curious fact is that the Pensacola station has not been able to repeat this performance with any other steamer than the Preston, notwithstanding the fact that the plants are alike on all of the United Fruit liners.
The principle of the rifled gun has been applied to pipes for pumping oil in California, where the crude oil is mostly thick, viscous and difficult to pump through long lines. The pipe is rifled on the inside, so that the oil, mixed with about 10 per cent of water, is caused to whirl rapidly. The water, being heavier than the oil, seeks the outside, and forms a thin film, which lubricates the pipe for the passage of the oil. The friction is thus so far reduced that the oil has been easily pumped through a line 31 miles long.
In anticipation of the large demand for alcohol for light. heat and power, preparations are being made for the erection of plants through the South to work up the mountains of sawdust mane at the sawmills. The firstl plant, using a new mechanical process and costing $250,000, is nearly completed at Hattiesburg, Miss.
Fuller's earth consists of clay mixed with just enough fine silicious material to take away the plastic properties, so that it disintegrates into powder mixed with water.
Pennsylvania alone produced last year nearly three-quarters of a million tons pig iron more than the whole of Great Britain.
The deepest hole in the world is one that is located near Leipsig, Germany. The object of the hole was in determining whether coal was there and likewise the man making the boring was of a scientific turn of mind. The hole has attained the great depth of 5790 feet. At the surface the hole was about half a foot in diameter, and at the bottom had tapered off to less than an inch in diameter. Diamond drills were used and the rods weighed 20 tons. It took ten hours' work to take the rods apart and put them together again.