This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
This material appears to have become a considerable article of manufacture at Ipswich, in Suffolk, England. It is called Ransome's Patent Silicious Stone, respecting the excellence of which for durability, cheapness, and the ease with which it can be moulded into any required design, Professors Ansted, Faraday, and Sir Henry De la Beche have given very high testimonials. It is prepared by an entirely new process, being to all intents and purposes a sandstone of excellent quality. The cost of sculpture is saved by the moulding of it to the required form in the process of its production. That it is cheap may be inferred by the fact that the fountain here engraved from one of Mr. Ransome's designs, is sold, exclusive of rock-work for about forty dollars, its entire height being five feet from the base. Some years ago Austin's Patent Stone was introduced by one of his workmen in our northern cities, but it did not stand the climate. We believe Ransome's is entirely a superior article, and hope to hear of its introduction.
Other materials are now employed for useful purposes in place of real, solid, costly stone, to which we can only call attention. There is a substance called Rangoon tar, and a pitch at Trinidad possessing remarkable properties. A pitch lake produces an article alreadv much used as an Anti-oxide Paint, for the bottoms of ships, for metal pipes, roofs, etc, but its applications are many, defying as it does the sun and the waves. This melted pitch may be mixed with other materials, and light stones coated with it become as bard as granite; it is a good substance for repairing under-water foundations. It can be cast into water-pipes more durable than iron, and at less expense, and without risk of imparting any offensive taste to the water. This has been successfully done and Port Spain is supplied with water very economically with such pipes.
Rubble is now made economically in France with concrete, as it was by the Romans, not only for foundations but for large domes and arches. The cement works at Vassy now produce cement for this purpose to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. The bridges at Paris have been repaired with it, two having been built entirely of it in a very short time. Mr. Rennie, the civil engineer has brought the subject prominently forward in England and has shown that concrete may be much more extensively used in engineering and other works than it is at present.
There is another article by which damp and water are set at defiance; it is called Water-Glass, or oil of Flint It is a preservative against fire, a good glaze, stiffener, etc, a varnish for metal pipes, rendering them as smooth and clean as glass. A Water-Glass Company has been formed in England to give full effect to the invention.
Wood also claims attention. Portable Swiss chalets are constructed by machinery, so as to be erected in any spot in three or four days. Capital things for folks who want a temporary residence, while trying whether a locality will suit them or not: they may now carry their house with them from place to place. A sportsman may have a picturesque shooting lodge set up for his sojourn, or an angler a fishing-lodge, or boat-house, fashioned to suit the landscape. And now that wood can be rendered all but imperishable and fire-proof, wooden chalets may be occupied with safety.