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PARIS EXHIBITION., Issue 8010, 12 September 1889
No. VI. [From Our Special Reporter.] Paris, July 20. The Palace, as it may worthily be termed, .of Machinery, as a triumph of engineering and architectural skill, runs even the Eiffel Tower very close. Some idea of what it is like may be conceived from the fact that a little over fourteen acres are under one gigantic roof of glass, the largest covered surface, J believe, in the world. The length is 1,377 ft, the width 378 ft, and the height 158 ft. The total area, including the galleries—every inch occupied by exhibits—is about twenty-two acres. As an illustration of what these figures mean, it has been calculated that, allowing each man twentyfive square feet, an army 30,000 strong could bivouack on the ground floor, whilst from 12,000 to 15,000 horses could be stalled in the side aisles and their riders quartered in the lower range of galleries. The novel form of the great iron arches which form the framework of this enormous building at once arreßts attention. They are articulated at their highest point and at the two points where they touch the ground in gigantic hinges or caps. Each arch weighs 150 tons, and the articulation allows of free expansion, which would not have been possible under ordinary methods. The construction is at once a marvel of equilibrium and resistance. The coup d'ceil of the interior is very striking. Tne palace is divided transversely into a certain number of bays, which occupy the intermediate spaces between parallel alleys running the whole length of the building. The centre is occupied by machines in motion; the side aisles and the wide gallery which runs all round above the ground area, with the apparatus and processes of the mechanical arts, comprising machines in repose, locomotives, and others which do not require for exhibition the application of motive power. Two double rows or files of cast iron columns, 22ft high, supporting metal beams, below which are appended what mechanicians call "chairs''— i.e., supports in metal—through which pass revolving shafts, kept in motion by steam machinery, run along the centre of the building. The shafts, by means of a simple arrangement of pulleys, belts, and driving wheels, give the required motive power to the separate machines. The spaces between the columns are about 35ft, and the substantial character of the erection may be judged when it is considered that 3,000 horse steam power is continually in action.
Tha beams are farther utilised in a remarkable manner; tbey form the "permanent way," if I may so describe it, on which run through the vast hall two enormous vehicles on wheels, denominated with absolute propriety "ponls roulants" (rolling bridges). It will be understood from what 1 have said above that there is a double row of columns, each capped by longitudinal beams, and it is upon these that the rails, so.to speak, are laid, constituting two railways of enormoua breadth of gauge and 985 ft in length. The rolling bridges are each about 60ft from side to side, with a width of 16ft, and carry from 150 to 200 passengers, who pay a small fee for the privilege of thus viewing at their ease and from a point of considerable advantage the machines in motion, and other more important exhibits of mechanical art. The bridges, to all appearance, are bridges and nothing more, and they roll aloDg slowly and smoothly from one end to the other of the building without any visible motive power. Generators of electricity, established in the court below t produce the motive force, which is distributed by conductors on the rails, where they are brought into contact with electric mechanism on the bridge. The same principle, I may note, is applied in the short electric railway which runs along the pier at Kyde, in the Isle of Wight, and very puzzling it is to see the carriages running along without any apparent motive power whatever. It should be mentioned that the raison d'etre of these rolling bridges was not entirely the convenience and amusement of visitors. During the building and fitting-up of the palace, andthearrangementand placing of the exhibits, they were of the greatest service, and with their assistance the enormous pieces of maohinery now to be seen at work were placed in situ. Those who avail themselves of the bridges pay 50c, and the daily receipts from this source have averaged over 400fr. I cannot venture even to attempt to describe the varied contents of this huge building. There is, I noticed, a very large collection of printing and typographical machines, chiefly American patents. I did not observe any gold mining machinery ; certainly there is none at work. On the whole, indeed, taking all the sections of the Exhibition, illustrations of the mining; industry would seem to be a weak poir.c, but into this it is my intention to examine and inquire further. The various exhibits classed under the general head of "Agriculture" occupy a large number of court* and galleries, situated mostly in unpretending buildings on the Quai d'Orsay. Architectural splendor and luxury of decoration, have been here sacrificed to convenience o£ arrangement, but there are to be seen all the riches which man can by his industry produce from the soil, and the manner of production. It is necessary to be a specialist totally comprehend and realise the completeness in every detail of this most interesting and instructive section of the Exhibition. A long range of galleries is devoted to agricultural machinery and implements, in. which native industry makes a very good show, it being generally acknowledged that in machinery France quite comes up to. America and England, both of which are largely represented. France, it must be recollected, is almost entirely self-supporting as regards agricultural produce. She imports nothing but a very little wheat—on an average during the last ten years of one twenty-second part of the whole consumption. On the other hand, wine, bvandy, and agricultural machines are exported to a considerable value. Corn seed to the value of 15,000,000fr is annually exported, and oddly enough S,QQ&QOOfr. worth is imported. Vine culture, as is well known, is one of the principal branches of French agricultural production. Doring the last twenty years this industry has had to contend with a terrible enemy—phylloxera—which has caused terrible loss in some departments, the superficial area of the vineyards having been reduced in the aggregate to one-fourth, and in some instances one-fifth, of tneir ancient extent. The vineyard owners, however, have not given it. to too disaster. It is, above all, tiie work of reconstruction that the exhibits in this class very instructively illustrate. We are Bhown in ail the stages what steps have been and are being taken to restore the vineyards and revive the industry. The cultivation of American vine stocks, grafted with old French stocks of very superior quality, is at present considered the most efficient antidote against the ravages of the. phylloxera. The agricultural societies o4 the southern departments exhibit products, of the grafted vines, methods of vine: making, and statistical charts showing the: production over a series of years under a* variety of circumstances. The collective information thus available musty needs prove of very gteat value. In order thai wine may be made under favorAbla conditions, it is above all things necessary that the manufacturing plant should be properly designed* constructed, and fitted. A model piantis. shown, being such as is commonly ssed in, the middle of France. This comprises tuns.
of vast capacity, pumps capable of delivering 450 gal of wine per hour, gigantic filters and other appliances on the same scale, with the purpose of facilitating the rapid treatment of liquid in large quantities. A special class in this section is devoted to insects—"lnsectes utiles" and " lusectes invisibles." Various processes for destroying the latter or rendering nugatory the mischief are shown, but it is evidently difficult to make such processes intelligible by mere description and drawing, The number and variety of the insectile enemies of the agriculturist are somewhat appalling ; and there seems little doubt that a good deal of trouble is due to the wholesale slaughter of small birds delighted in by provincial 'quasi'-sportsmen. There are only two species of useful insects—the bee and the silkworm. Tho culture of the bee appears to be held in little honor in France, which the intelligence of the people begins to realise is much to be regretted, since it is well understood that such culture can be made the source of large profits with very little trouble. There are, however, several excellent models of hives exhibited, constructed, I noticed, on the principles generally accepted in New Zealand, where apiculture is, I believe, assuming considerable importance. The breeding of the silkworm, so vitally important to France, has been, it appears, seriously interfered with for this long time past by a terribly contagious malady, which has killed off the young worms sometimes to the extent of one-halt the produce of tho ova of the year. M. Pasteur has discovered a remedy which has been successfully used, and should earn for him the gratitude of the country, as it is believed that the application of the methods he has indicated will more than double the supply of silkworms, and consequently restore the silk industry to a position even better than it formerly held. The exhibits are somewhat technical; no doubt exceedingly interesting to an expert. In the section of agriculture are also exhibited all things which appertain to what the French term la culture de Veau— the cultivation or breeding of hsh in fresh and salt water. This part of tho Exhibition is on a barge moored in the River Seine. In a certain number of the departmental schools of agriculture, and in many establishments under the Minister of .Public Works, the processes of artificial fecundation of eggs, of incubation, and the raising of spawn, are carried out every year iu increasing proportions. These processes are all shown by excellent models. The rising of oysters is the principal object of marine pisciculture. There has been, it is said, of late years a notable improvement in the French oyster by the application of certain methods which are shown by illustration, but are hardly intelligible ou cisual observation. Personally, I have no great opinion of the oyster as presented to the epicure in the restaurants and hotels of Paris. It cannot of course compare with the famed English " natives "-now,, alas ! only to be obtained at a prohibitive pricebut is watery and almost tasteless, only suitable, in fact, for cooking purposes. The International Congress of Agriculture, held in the Palace of the Trocadero from the 4th to the 11th insi.was in every respect understood to have been a great success. The principal object was to study and consider the causes and effects of the agricultural crisis so long prevailing throughout Europe, with the view of suggesting remedies. The report of the Congress will, I expect, soon be available, and doubtless will prove to be a very instructive document, since it will embody the results of most instructive experience. The show of domestic animals in connection with the Exhibition— concours temporaires d'anlmaux dome&tiqucs—is intended to comprise two series, the first of whichan international show of cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry-is on just now; and that of horses wd asses will be held the first week in September. I may have something to «ay about the present show in a future letter. I hav* not been able up to the present time to visit it, but hear that there are apwards of 2,000 beactsof various classes -:i the ground. The horse ahow in September, it is anticipated, will be exceptionally good.
PARIS EXHIBITION., Issue 8010, 12 September 1889
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