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 Society holds stated meetings for the discussion of subjects pertaining to Horticulture, and it would be well for the cause if all similar Societies held meetings for a like object These discussions, in many instances, possess more than a local interest, and are worthy of a general perusal, and we therefore place a portion of them before our readers. We are indebted for them to the Secretary, R. Robinson Scott, who will please accept our thanks. The subject at the last meeting was "Heating Glass Structures." Elsewhere we also print a discussion on Manures.
The subject of heating by hot water had been set apart for consideration for this evening, but the essayist, whose duty it was to introduce the subject, was absent The general subject of heating glass structures was very fully discussed, notwithstanding.
William Saunders, acceding to the request of several members, opened the discussion by excusing himself from presenting any specific branch of the subject; he had not recently studied the various methods of heating. Great progress has, been made, even in his own time, in the introduction of heat artificially to plant houses. The brick flue was the rudest mode known to him, which was not without its advantages, and he could not wholly discard it. One objection to it was waste of fuel and the production of an unequal beat over the house. The method of heating by hot water was a great improvement on the flue, as water was one of the best conductors of beat, while air was one of the worst The hot water system economizes fuel and gives out a regular heat; these are its two great advantages. It is also more easily controlled by the cultivator. Much of its efficiency depends, however, on the style of boiler and quantity of heating surface exposed to the fire. We still want a perfect boiler, as all those invented, or in use as known to me, are imperfect, and I have seen most of them either in use or have read descriptions of their peculiarities. We still want a boiler which will present a larger heating surface to the fire.
The old saddle boiler was one of the first forms; at present we have Weeks's cumbersome apparatus, and Burbridge & Healy's, with several others. One of the most convenient and economical boilers I have seen, was that invented by Stephenson, made of copper; it is very quick in operation, but has not been introduced here. A system, consisting of a series of small pipes, was in use, around which the fire played; but the defect in this was, that the pipes soon burned out, and it was subject to explosion. Boilers of the same form as those used for locomotives have also been employed to heat houses, and have answered well enough. There is a great saving effected by heating several houses with one boiler. This is managed by having a chamber into which the several pipes flow, and from this chamber the several houses are supplied, the connection being made or cut off by stop-cocks attached to the several pipes at this chamber.
T. Myers did not feel disposed to say much on this subject, being properly an interested party. He had no objections, however, to afford the members any information he possessed. (Throughout the evening be explained many points when questioned by the members).
R. R. Scott commended the prudence of Mr. Myers. It might indeed be insinuated, under other circumstances, that an interested motive existed; bat associated as we are here, to increase our individual knowledge by imparting it in exchange for that of our fellow-members, we shall recognize no such insinuation as having any force.' We have all had more or less experience in this matter; what we aim at is to benefit by the accumulated experience of all. This is a special department of Horticulture, and it is not to be expected that gardeners are intimately acquainted with the mechanical details; therefore we desire to be instructed by so competent a constructor as Mr. Myers.
Mr. Myers wished to urge the superiority of oast iron over wrought iron boilers. Tubular wrought iron boilers are now made, but they require renewal, as they wear out soon.
William Walter spoke of copper pipes being very effective, and much used in Paris in graperies. The apparatus is made so portable that it is removed in spring and replaced towards winter. He had used a method of heating by hot water, which differed from others; he applied it to a forcing pit: It consisted of a sheet iron pan, twenty feet long, to which were connected leaden pipes, and covered on top with boards; over these boards tan was placed, and on the tan the soil. This system afforded a moist heat very congenial to plants; and in this pit he had raised fine cucumbers in the middle of January, without establishing the plants in pots. This is a modification of the tank system.