The industrial world has reason to feel considerable interest in any economical method of traction on railways, owing to the influence which cost of transportation has upon the price of produce. We give a description of the gas engine invented by Mr. Emmanuel Stevens. Many experiments have been made both at Berlin and Liege during the past few years. They all failed, owing to the impossibility the builders encountered in securing sufficient speed.
The Stevens engine does not present this defect, as will be seen. It has the appearance of an ordinary street car entirely inclosed, showing none of the machinery from without. On the interior is a Koerting gas motor of six horse power, which is a sufficiently well known type not to require a description. In the experiment which we saw, the motor was supplied with a mixture of gas and air, obtained by the evaporation of naphtha. On the shaft of the motor are fixed two pulleys of different sizes, which give the engine two rates of speed, one of three miles and the other of 8½ miles an hour. Between these two pulleys is a friction socket, by which either rate of speed may be secured.
The power is transmitted from one of the pulleys by a rubber belt to an intermediate shaft, which carries a toothed wheel that transmits the power to the axle by means of an endless chain. On this axle are three conical gear wheels, two of which are furnished with hooked teeth, and the third with wooden projections and fixed permanently in place. This arrangement enables the engine to be moved forward or backward according as it is thrown in right or left gear. When the conical pinions are thrown out of gear, the motive force is no longer applied to the axle, and by the aid of the brakes the engine may be instantly stopped. The movement of the pinions is effected by two sets of wheels on each of the platforms of the engine, and near the door for the conductor. By turning one of the wheels to the right or left on either platform, the conductor imparts either the less or the greater speed to the engine. In case he has caused the engine to move forward by turning the second wheel, he will not have to touch it again until the end of the trip. The brake, which is also operated from the two platforms, is applied to all four wheels at the same time. From this arrangement it is seen that the movement is continuous.
Nevertheless, the conductor has access to the regulator by a small chain connected with the outside by a wheel near at hand, but the action is sufficiently regular not to require much attention to this feature.
GAS ENGINE FOR USE ON RAILROADS.
The gas is produced by the Wilford apparatus, which regularly furnishes the requisite quantity necessary for an explosion, which is produced by a particular kind of light placed near the piston. The vapor is produced by passing hot water from the envelope of the cylinder of the motor through the Wilford apparatus. The water is cooled again in a reservoir (system Koerting) placed in direct communication with the cylinder. Any permanent heating is therefore impossible.
The noise of the explosions is prevented by a device invented by Mr. Stevens himself. It consists of a drum covered with asbestos or any other material which absorbs noise.
According to the inventor, the saving over the use of horses for traction is considerable. This system is soon to be tried practically at Antwerp in Belgium, and then it will be possible to arrive at the actual cost of traction. - Industrie Moderne, Brussels.