This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
I now come to the subject of the transmission of power. I do not mean transmission in the ordinary sense by means of shafting, gearing, or belting, but I mean transmission over long distances. In 1831, we had for this purpose flat rods, as they were called, rods transmitting power from pumping engines for a considerable distance to the pits where the pumps were placed, and we had also the pneumatic, the exhaustion system - the invention of John Hague, a Yorkshire-man, my old master, to whom I was apprenticed - which mode of transmission was then used to a very considerable extent. The recollection of it, I find, however, has nearly died out, and I am glad to have this opportunity of reviving it. But in 1881, we have, for the transmission of power, first of all, quick moving ropes, and there is not, so far as I know a better instance of this system than that at Schaffhausen. Any one who has ever, in recent years, gone a mile or two above the falls at Schaffhausen, must have seen there - in a house, on the bank of the Rhine, opposite to that on which the town is situated - large turbines driven by the river, which is slightly dammed up for the purpose. These work quick-going ropes, carried on pulleys, erected at intervals along the river bank, for the whole length of the town; and power is delivered from them to shafting below the streets, and from it into any house where it is required for manufacturing purposes. Then we have the compressed air transmission of power, which is very largely used for underground engines, and for the working of rock drills in mines and tunnels.