ROMANCE OF INVENTION
Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume VI, Issue 308, 28 March 1911, Page 2
ROMANCE OF INVENTION
The large naval airship being built by Messrs Vickers, Sons, and Maxim, Barrow-in-Furness, for the British Admiralty is now almost completed, and will be submitted to practical tests on an early date. The principal dimensions of the vessel have already been made public — quite unofficially, of course — but it is not generally known that one of the most important parts of the work has been done m the East End of Glasgow. The special fabric used m the construction, extending to about 46,000 square yards, has been "proofed" — this is, rendered absolutely waterproof and gas-tight— by the loco Proofing Company, Ltd., Bridgeton, whose factory has been employed m this work night and day for about a year past. The original fabric (according to the ' Glasgow Herald ') is really very fine silk — to all appearance Japanese silk, and practically waterproofed even before being specially treated — and it is woven m the nearest way -yet accomplished to "diagonal weft." This means that it Jias much more elasticity than material which is woven m the ordinary waj", and so is much more suitable for the purpose of covering a large balloon such as the body of "Naval Airship No. 1." It was supplied to the works at Bridgeton by the Government, from an English manufacturing centre, but the name of the place where it Avas actually woven has been kept secret. It is understood, however, that the company who manufacture it are subsidised by the Government for that pur-- Eose. At Bridgeton it was "proofed" y the loco process, into wliich— -for most^ of the material required for the airship — aluminium entered largely, and its color when finished was silver, or that of aluminium, which will give the vessel a brilliant appearance when it is iri the air/
— An Expensive Process.— ;
About eighteen months ago, before the material was accepted by the Go- A'ernment for use m connection Avith the airship at Barrow, specimens were subjected to the severest possible tests m the National Physical Laboratory m comparison Avith rubber-proofed fabric and with gold-beaters' skin, and Avere found to be of the best known material • for this particular purpose. The fabric is less than a third of the weight of rubber-proofed material, being „ only about 100 grammes per square metre, as compared with about 300 grrimmea m the case of rubber, and it does not lend itself to spontaneous combustion. .The process Avas discovered by two. Scotsmen, Avho are at present heads of the firm at Bridgeton, and it is as yet so • expensive that the process alone, apart from the price of the original, silk, costs abbut £1 Is per square yard. Several Continental Governments, it may be added; have endeavored to obtain the same results Avith bright yelloAV color instead of aluminium, but they have not so far been successful. According to the most reliable figures available the neAv airship is 560 ft m maximum length, 48ft m maximum diameter, and will contain a volume of 706,330 cubic, feet of gas. She Avill haye a lifting capacity of tAventy-ono tons, and will be propelled by two eight-cylinder 100-200 h.p. Wolseley motors at a speed of about forty-five miles per hour.
—A. New Material.—
She has three propellers, one large driven by an after motor and tAvo smaller on outriggers^ The ' steering will be effected horizontally by a tri, plane on each side under the doav and a biplane on each side abaft the horizontal fins, and vertically by, two sets of triplane rudders, one above ' the stem and the other beloAV. The vessel is constructed of a new material called "duralumin," AA'hich is no ay used for the first time for any purpose, arid is understood . to have all the good qualities of aluminium, is lighter, and can be soldered, and, unlike aluminium, is not liable to oxidisation. The vessel has been designed to remain m the air if necessary if or three days, a fact which shoAvs that the fabric of Avhich she is constructed must be almost absolutely hydrogen proof, and nearer to being gas-tight than any yet used.