This section is from the book "Amateur Work Magazine Vol6". Also available from Amazon: Amateur Work.
There are mining engineers who are paid $25,000 annual salary, and that is not considered the limit, as some distinguished members of the professions are credited with receiving more than that. Such a salary is by no means an unusual one among railway men, some of whom receive $50,000 a year. As to whether any man can make himself worth that amount of money to any concern per year, it may be said that while no one might "earn" that amount in the ordinary acceptation of the term, yet where a man by knowledge, experience and judgment can save or make, say a million a year, to the company he represents, 5 per cent of that would represent his salary, and there are many broad gauge engineers, miners and railway men capable of such showing. •
For the purpose of obtaining a hard combustible, well adapted for use under boilers, an electric process recently adopted in Engand, says "The Iron Age," requires two and one-half hours and yields a material of high calorific value, almost smokeless, and less expensive than ordinary coal. The basis is peat, which is placed in revolving cylinders, and the water (originally 80 per cent.) is largely driven off. A set of electrodes in the cylinder uses the mass of peat as a part of the circuit. The passage of the current warms and dries the peat, but without carbonizinz it, and pulverizes it for the next stage in the process: The peat is then treated by a kneading roller and placed under an automatic press, which forms it into briquettes. It is then stored for final drying.
Green Lake, Col., is not only noted as the highest lake in the United tSates, being 10,252 feet above the level of the sea, but also for the fact that its water has a peculiar faculty for petrifying substances that are placed in it. The water of Medicine Lake, in the southern part of the tSate of Washington, on the Columbia plateau, possesses such unusual qualities that no vegetation ever grows on or near its banks. Owen's Lake in Owen County, Cal., is so rich in soda ash that 10,000 tons were taken out last year. The soda is taken fro mthe water by the process of evaporation. Tis lake, like the Great Salt Lake, is gradually disappearing.
The highest bridge in the world will be the trolley-bridge now under construction across the famous Royal Gorge, in Colorado, which will be 2,G27 feet, half a mile, above the river below. As far as height goes, this little bridge-only 230 feet long-will be in a class by itself, its nearest competitor being the recently completed Zambesi bridge, in Africa, 450 feet in height.
In Arkansas there is a prehistoric quarry from which flint for making tools and weapons was produced on so large a scale that in certain places the hills and mountains have been practically remodeled by the pitings and trenchings. It is estimated that fully 150,000 cubic yards of flint have been removed from the hillside. Similar prehistoric quarries are known in other states and in the Indian Territory.
When a dynamo is to be operated by a separate engine not on the same bed-plate, the foundation should be made common to both, or if separate foundations are necessary, set the two machines on a frame made of substantial timbers, or steel I-beams which may rest on the double foundation. In this manner the engine and dynamo may be kept in perfect alignment.
The distillation of coal tar is ordinarily done by heating in steel vessels inclosed in brick work settings, provided with grates for burning coal. The vapors thrown off are condensed in coiled pipe or worm immersed in water. The distillates flow into a small receiving tank that empties into storage tanks, the oil being separated in accordance with its specific gravity. The remaining pitch is then transferred from still to cooler, then hows into barrels when cooled to proper temperature. Stills commonly used are horizontally placed cylinders of boiler plate. The large ones hold about 10.000 gallons.
In Birmingham, England, a device has been invented that will light street lamps by clockwork. The invention is so nicely adjusted that the gas will be lighted at a different moment each day in the year, according to the varying seasons. The machine turns on the gas at night and lights it, and turns it off in the morning. When once adjusted it will run for a whole year by simply winding the clockwork attachment once a week.
The density of the earth as a whole has been estimated, with close agreement among the several scientists who have made the determination by different methods, to be about five and one-half times as heavy as an equivalent sphere of water. On the other hand, the average density of the materials forming the accessible portions of the earth's crust is between 2.2 and 3, so that the mean density of the whole globe is about twice that of its outer part. This indicates that the central part of the earth is composed of heavier materials and may even be metallic, which would accord perfectly with the nebular hypothesis.