One of the most remarkable and interesting mechanical arrangements at the Imperial Navy Yard at Kiel, Germany, is the iron clad plate bending machine, by means of which the heavy iron clad plates are bent for the use of arming iron clad vessels.

Through the mechanism of this remarkable machine it is possible to bend the strongest and heaviest iron clad plates--in cold condition--so that they can be fitted close on to the ship's hull, as it was done with the man-of-war ships Saxonia, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Baden, each of which having an iron strength of about 250 meters.



One may make himself a proximate idea of the enormous power of pressure of such a machine, if he can imagine what a strength is needed to bend an iron plate of 250 meters thickness, in cold condition; being also 1.5 meters in width, and 5.00 meters in length, and weighing about 14,555 kilogrammes, or 14,555 tons.

The bending of the plates is done as follows: As it is shown in the illustration, connected herewith, there are standing, well secured into the foundation, four perpendicular pillars, made of heavy iron, all of which are holding a heavy iron block, which by means of female nut screws is lifted and lowered in a perpendicular direction. Beneath the iron block, between the pillars, is lying a large hollow cylinder in which the press piston moves up and down in a perpendicular direction. These movements are caused by a small machine, or, better, press pump--not noticeable in the illustration--which presses water from a reservoir through a narrow pipe into the large hollow cylinder, preventing at the same time the escape or return of the water so forced in. The hollow cylinder up to the press piston is now filled with water, so remains no other way for the piston as to move on to the top. The iron clad plate ready to undergo the bending process is lying between press piston and iron block; under the latter preparations are already made for the purpose of giving the iron clad plate such a form as it will receive through the bending process.

After this the press piston will, with the greatest force, steadily but slowly move upward, until the iron clad plate has received its intended bending.

Lately the hydraulic presses are often used as winding machines, that is, they are used as an arrangement to lift heavy loads up on elevated points.

The essential contrivance of a hydraulic press is as follows:

One thinks of a powerful piston, which, through, human, steam, or water power, is set in a moving up-and-down motion. Through the ascent of the piston, is by means of a drawing pipe, ending into a sieve, the water absorbed out of a reservoir, and by the lowering of the piston water is driven out of a cylinder by means of a narrow pipe (communication pipe) into a second cylinder, which raises a larger piston, the so-called press piston. (See illustration.)

One on top opening drawing valve, on the top end of the drawing pipe prevents the return of the water by the going down of the piston; and a barring valve, which is lifted by the lowering of the piston, obstructs the return of the water by the ascent of the piston, while the drawing valve is lifted by means of water absorbed by the small drawing pipe.--Illustrirte Zeitung.