This section is from "Scientific American Supplement". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.

Against these advantages are to be set the greater first cost of the automatic engine, and the consequent annual charge due to capital sunk. These several items should all be fairly estimated when an engine is to be bought, and the kind chosen accordingly. Let us take the item of fuel, for instance, and let us suppose this fuel to cost four dollars per ton at the place where the engine is run. Suppose the engine to be capable of developing one hundred horse-power, and that it consumes five pounds of coal per hour per horse-power, and runs ten hours per day: this would necessitate the supply of two and one-half tons per day at a cost of ten dollars per day. To be really economical, therefore, any improvement which would effect a saving of one pound of coal per hour per horse-power must not cost a greater sum per horse-power than that on which the cost of the difference of the coal saved (one pound of coal per hour per horse-power, which would be 1,000 pounds per day) for, say, three hundred days, three hundred thousand (300,000) pounds, or one hundred and fifty tons (or six hundred dollars), would pay a fair interest.

Assuming that the mill owner estimates his capital as worth to him ten per cent, per annum, then the improvement which would effect the above mentioned saving must not cost more than six thousand dollars, and so on. If, instead of being run only ten hours per day, the engine is run night and day, then the outlay which it would be justifiable to make to effect a certain saving per hour would be doubled; while, on the other hand, if an engine is run less than the usual time per day a given saving per hour would justify a correspondingly less outlay.

It has been found that for grain and other elevators, which are not run constantly, gas engines, although costing more for the same power, are cheaper than steam engines for elevating purposes where only occasionally used.

For this reason it is impossible without considerable investigation to say what is really the most economical engine to adopt in any particular case; and as comparatively few users of steam power care to make this investigation a vast amount of wasteful expenditure results. Although, however, no absolute rule can be given, we may state that the number of instances in which an engine which is wasteful of fuel can be used profitably is exceedingly small. As a rule, in fact, it may generally be assumed that an engine employed for driving a manufactory of any kind cannot be of too high a class, the saving effected by the economical working of such engines in the vast majority of cases enormously outweighing the interest on their extra first cost. So few people appear to have a clear idea of the vast importance of economy of fuel in mills and factories that I perhaps cannot better conclude than by giving an example showing the saving to be effected in a large establishment by an economical engine.

I will take the case of a flouring mill in this city which employed two engines that required forty pounds of water to be converted into steam per hour per indicated horse-power. This, at the time, was considered a moderate amount and the engines were considered "good."

These engines indicated seventy horse power each, and ran twenty-four hours per day on an average of three hundred days each year, requiring as per indicator diagrams forty million three hundred and twenty thousand pounds (40 x 70 x 24 x 300 x 2 = 40,320,000) of feed water to be evaporated per annum, which, in Philadelphia, costs three dollars per horse-power per annum, amounting to (70 x 2 x 300 = $420.00) four hundred and twenty dollars.

The coal consumed averaged five and one-half pounds per hour per horse-power, which, at four dollars per ton, costs

((70 x 2 x 5.5 x 24 x 300) / 2,000) x 4.00= $11,088

Eleven thousand and eighty-eight dollars.

Cost of coal for 300 days. $11,088 Cost of water for 300 days. 420 ------- Total cost of coal and water. $11,503

These engines were replaced by one first-class automatic engine, which developed one hundred and forty-two horse-power per hour with a consumption of three pounds of coal per hour per horse-power, and the indicator diagrams showed a consumption of thirty pounds of water per hour per horse-power. Coal cost

((142 x 3 x 24 x 300) / 2,000) x 4.00 = $6,134

Six thousand one hundred and thirty-four dollars. Water cost (142 x 3.00= $426.00) four hundred and twenty-six dollars.

Cost of coal for 300 days. $6,134 Cost of water for 300 days. 426 ------ Total cost of coal and water. $6,560

The water evaporated in the latter case to perform the same work was (142 x 30 x 24 x 300 = 30,672,000) thirty million six hundred and seventy-two thousand pounds of feed water against (40,320,000) forty million three hundred and twenty thousand pounds in the former, a saving of (9,648,000) nine million six hundred and forty-eight thousand pounds per annum; or,

(40,320,000 - 30,672,000) / 9,648,000 = 31.4 per cent.

--thirty-one and four-tenths per cent.

And a saving in coal consumption of

(11,088 - 6,134) / 4,954 = 87.5 per cent.

--eighty-seven and one-half per cent., or a saving in dollars and cents of four thousand nine hundred and fifty-four dollars ($4,954).

In this city, Philadelphia, no allowance for the consumption of water is made in the case of first class engines, such engines being charged the same rate per annum per horse-power as an inferior engine, while, as shown by the above example, a saving in water of thirty-one and four-tenths per cent. has been attained by the employment of a first-class engine. The builders of such engines will always give a guarantee of their consumption of water, so that the purchaser can be able in advance to estimate this as accurately as he can the amount of fuel he will use.

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