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SCIENCE UP TO DATE, Issue 15662, 28 November 1914
SCIENCE UP TO DATE
SIR HENRY BESSEMER. [By James CcrxiEn.j ~ ' ! (Special Rights Secured by the ‘Star.’) j Never before has science played eo | largo a part in war as in our own days. It was in seeking to make guns of a new strength at Rurllo foundry that Henry Bessemer discovered the means of produe- ; ing steel at a small cost over iron. It was by discovering an agency for producing gun explosives of increased power that .Alfred Nobel, as we see in these very days, ; almost changed the whole art of warfare. But their biographies teach us better les- ! sons than these. ! —Bessemer's Father.— Kir Henry Bessemer was a hereditary inventor. Hie father (a Londoner by birth and no foreigner, as has often been supposed) was trained as a mechanical engineer in Holland, where he assisted in building the first steam engine in the Low Countries. At 21 he nA grated to Baris, where he prospered. Ho wae engaged in the Paris Mint, where he invented a. simple and beautiful machine for engraving medallion diets. He also effected an improvement in the microscope so important that he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences. Escaping from Paris during the critical times of the French Revolution, he returned to England. There ho commenced the manufacture of gold chains that were apparently massive, but really light. He thus earned a competence, and ho soon after purchased a small landed estate in Hertfordshire. There in a year or two he returned to business, and designed a process of cutting letter punches that greatly improved the art of typography. He then built a typo foundry on his estate in Hertfordshire, and his son believed that he himself owed his turn for mechanical inventions to the knowledge of metal work he acquired in this foundry. —Tho Young Idea.--It was there, too, that, with his keen eyes, he discovered the “ great secret” by means of which his father's type lasted so much loncer than the typo produced by other type-founders. But more stirring scenes awaited him. A change of domicile awaited him. His father removed to Eon don. Happily, perhaps, Henry had no regular profession, but he was conscious that Nature had endowed him with an inventive turn of mind. He endeavored to mould and cast in metal Italian medallions, and then more intricate objects.' He, was remarkably successful. Among them was r. basso-relievo of a cartoon of Raphael's. Ho believed that his manner of reproducing the most delicate and intricate of vegetable forms might be utilised by botanists and collectors, and ho made many attempts to impress on the managers of tho British Museum the utility of his plaster casts. A perfect copy of' Nature's finest handiwork, in an indestructible material, could bo thus obtained at a minimum of labor and cost. Needless to say, official stupidity and mental torpor won the day. These castings were made six years previous to the discovery of the electrotype process. And ho experimented with other kinds of casting. —Anti-forgery Dies.— Bessemer learnt that the Government was the constant victim of forged stamps on legal deeds. After months of severe and continuous labor he succeeded in making perforated stamps that could not he transferred from one deed to another, while it would be impossible to obtain from them a die that would lie capable of reproducing tho stamp. He behoved that he should mako a. fortune. He built his gorgeous castle in the air He applied to Sir Charles Bresley head of tho Stamp Department at, Somerset House, «ui<i a feature of liis idea.l anti-forgery stamp (which needed no patent, and could dc at once brought use by the department! was adopted, ami has over since beer, used hy the department. Thus a system was introduced that has lasted for over 70 years, and has saved the British Government some seven or more millions. But the ingenious inventor received no reward. It was his second, but was not to be his last, experience of official torpor. —Other Inventions. - Bessemer’s was a life crowded with inventions. One trod on another a heels. He invented a machine for sawing plumbago (for lead pencils), but could not gel it introduced. He invented a new method of utilising plumbago dust, but sold it cheaplv, bo long ago as 1863 he designed a new* system of casting types by machinery. and sold the invention to a. firm of typefounders, who timidly let it drop. On an engine-turner he engraved many rollers for'embossing and printing. This led him to manufacture a number of new allovs. which proved useful and lucrative. Bessemer was still in quest of some one field or undertaking in which he could expend his whole energies, bill tho direction in which it was to be found had not yet disclosed itself. One day a. Mr Toung, a silk merchant at Lille, submitted to him the idea of a typo-composing machine. Bessemer worked nut the idea, and designed a suitable machine. It is not surprising, when sve compare the two, to find that it anticipates the linotype m some of its features. Bessemer spent 15 months in elaborating tho invention. It was a complete success, and would havj been a great gain. Unfortunately, like Bessemer himself, the machine was ahead of its time. —Experiments in Gunnery.— Some improvements in sugar manufacture and in glass manufacture, Hie invention of a central pump, and of continuous brakes for railways, led up tho great inventor to those early gunnery experiments whose spark kindled; one of the greatest industrial revolutions. In 1854, bowed out of the War Office, Bessemer explained his ideas to Prince Napoleon Jerome and to the Empoeror Napoleon, and experimented with rotating projectiles at Vincennes. Commandant Mmio, inventor of the ride, keenly perceived their weak point. Could any guns be made to stand such heavy projectiles? Was it safe to lire a 301b shot from a 12-ponndor cast-iron gun? There was only one way out of the difficulty. Bessemer 'must produce a kind of cast iron that would stand tho heavy strain made necessary by the increased weight of the projectiles. It could only bo iron in one form or another. He let no time he lost. He at once experimented on the production of an improved quality of iron by fusing steel in a bath of molten pig iron in a reverberatory furnace. In three weeks after the experiments at Vincennea he had taken out a patent for his improvements in the manufacture of steel. It was his first grand step or leap towards the famous Bessemer process of manufacturing steel. —Steel and. Iron.— Go back two generations, and examine iron and' steel as they were 60 years ago. In 1854 there was. practically no steel—at least, none that was available for such I structural purposes as the building of i ships or bridges, or tho making of tyros or axles. The little steel that was used was confined to cutlery and the smaller parts of machinery. The steel was manufactured by means of a long and costly process. The gunnery' experiments led him on to new unea,
—The New tried.— Bessemer set himself to abolish the labor and the cost, and to produce a. metal superior - to wrought iron a, a: -A A, ve cuel: as could bo tun jmo ;•. maul;] or ::ipt in the fluid shape. Tie w.x; still ing on gunnery for Am !-i; i■; 5, ;(. r N;; pole,;;!. Then a mrmvkriblu in - eh i:i- -iirv. d tint altered all his vltunt Abam. to,> mouths after the ivi.-titig of mi • ;n,m. ! gi.u, ivlii!. - he was experlmenti'-.;- a I the lAiAie foundry with the 01 -n-h< a. in pme .re, xmas: reni.ua.uts nt a part itvia ■■ > . ten;. a: tin' he saw IV ill.iliOl'l- dim-it .1 1;A I ImuAx .- in a mow dirc.t.'ou. lb- xx:w 1 ■ tu-ii.<;■■■; that “if air couM 'no hj. .m-.hi not ei.::‘a,: witli a suiliAonAy oxtoxAve mxxx a "! niclten oni'Jv i.r-n it would raiddA- convert it into inalioablc iron.” T! • had a vision of ;!cel 11..- to .-To! it at ■ by lu-eaus of ;• laliornKivy •. xyidua m . i ix' experiment. di-m.-iust : - r. xml the fa.;:, ib- invented a cylindi i‘ai oonveiier. v hied he 1 • I.ill- at Tils manufactory in l.oinhei. i h->■ tar tlie firs! tin:.,* lii- :x w iron v. mvl-v. Many oilier mechanical ( in! - , ivr. i. r v.etv needed to pci iVU lie: ii-m Basm amr process Bill 'he chief 'hlih riic !: A been o\crrouie. fiioafi, I! tii-T Mvi in bulk ind been easily wruiudit. 'i ids v.,:-- rA; cran-! result of the rutn- iT c"■■ 1 11s■: 11:• m.-d.? at ITuellc, if .-ml brier, - 11; ■ Kt:n cerh eye., at least wit s l hi- - cordnil enro-,;, .n - . im-nt. and. approval. —The Briti-h ■; Ilowenter hud jh>w to ■ ■,ur. : . ;: ■ world that bo could do whtn in - 1 occasion was fortunately (•;■ ■; : 0 x im.i x‘ the meeting of it;a Blit; hj r’dll lit Chelt-i-l'.ine.l in lord. !] ■• -.-• 1 l- • cor : to the. core cri the licit.; : - . -CM - a serrations ;m-:l ii.;dy c,x;' rnc-'r.tc : ;1 t,. vil.w-d him that a ir.ore inter.' ; h' at cv.uld ho produced veil limit either ixtmx-- < r ic-A than with. It was only ittc'ScTy i-i bAix; the oxygen and the eaihr.n lop-tucr in a.a hj a manner that a vast Mir: aon rim nil by exposed 1 to tli-ri; - muted :n Ami. A. X.-np::c-turn hitherlo nuattainnb': in our iergcs!, furnaces could thus be px dar-d, i;. c t,= a new system of manufacturing 1 uiii; able iron. The pud«!u:g p. was oh-nenrud with. And the stow 11s. ;i:ed iAxxmd pwculiar facilities for the inamifactr: ■ ~f c;;L steel. The importance of the iuv- m .-it v.a.t at onco graspod by tho A dim’ mmuins - .. James Nasmyth. «»f (.Usnit imuiutT• lame, was fascinated liy Am novel:y id Am prores*, the rapid co;iv.-rf An in'o m ilk-role iron of the molten as V • an.,! the blast furnace, th • 1 ever tic- proem s afforded of dealing with largo ma.iNS. fh-j absence of tho necc.-.-aiy i-.v s’.siled 1;:1 r, and the non-employimml. .of fwl. ll>. <di‘ -,i on tli« iron industry and on ( n,iic :-rin ; interests lie believed w< aid lo 1 vciul ionary Bessemer was pOl new hat iin'i.i.nure im announcing his inventions, an 1 mnnv wildcat schemes threatened to in t in Ins way. The chief obstacle was the .-luvr dunamm - ! of jihorphorns in British ircn. lie overcame the difficulty liy imyoning Swedish pig iron. His dream wa ! r> a!i-cd. lie could mow mamifaetme si eel that v. vc ivrnmercially worth £SO or -‘-6d vr cut of iron that cost. £7 p.-.r n n 1.7 :■ n.g atmospheric air through it. rnn.it.u;. to all applicants a mnnup,,,;, but ; c-Mly granting licensts, B.vs n r ivw ; : p- v.sn.s at -Shettio'd for lihmelf, a;rl b.ru. .in "1 into the market at a, low rate. d'< vexv. mid those of his part' Mrs v-<\- [-■]<■■•■ dentetl. Abii.nd.int ncn-r’i; .c c ■■■; wei'e found in ling]am! a-■ veil in in :-■ ■■- ; den. All over i-lujjla. I v 01 y ’.•> ' Bwcnvr principle v.-..,. > ■!. _ i.'. i n Bessemer's uext-doc. - .>r 1; ,i.iry ncighbms, Sir John Brriwn .or - '. f c, • I j ■Slu-ffield, who had , ha - -,: <ji.J>. in. v. .1 i;r 1 ! production, liy any ce;; . v.:l k jnortscs, steel diivct from p-y: ii-m. '• <n tiov. - «•/ ni verted by Bessemer " conv ..; . . Vi r. a 111 •• ir own eyes they f.w the i... n-b eueain i.-.sil- - from ih; - movUt <>: i; ■; < • verter, and :•! an i; ; ia.it ! ■' 'n ■ it. to be livid el !;>?!. tlum-viy • IJifa.i: .vi::lc;..c<—' . '■■■ • l e v sight, of tile origi .al V I ; 4 ; hj ti metal suitable Ji v th- ■' ■ «•! 01 dnaiec. 1 11 fat 1 y '• : '■ l iladhad ic-i et'-p by p ' 1 t'.c (.-■-• ■•-■( ‘y <•; his pro lie:: :■ r xw. - i . found in b-i a. us.;. : . .- pertain e C: i 1 >• -x ' glaring ripoii o.x, ■ > c... War (jlfiro the l a:l I.- .... i- • henceforth made .f B- •!•-( •■■ ■. did coiiviiiee tin ar * :■ c xx. ~ 1 ■ : Khrd!«y iimoi l - xi • 1 ’ • x r Tasme-nx': 1. who m:*. • for innnecii it'dy ;:.t.- ■ x.; ■ ox • - •Jon. But, they d.d ;■ ’ ■■ x : ■ nolent head o! !i--i >0 x, .1 x - . x was then as i.-eai x y v- : x. . this hour. '1 i:» • -tx-I- ; ; ■ ; by Sir W. Araj.-u-ii -■.- < ■ ■■ - . ■" V sted w;,ri v.i: -liy ' J ■ constnicuon < ? ... inept jmlgme.-t it •- a :' - : 12 years- it Bis . • x- - 1 metal emiuintty mxx.c ./ 1; : of ordmtiiee at latii x ■ - : x - Ihessern-iT was the \ oc■ i r the beai-.xn max. ( ox)- ■ - x 1 ■ ■ i hav-e Ix-c 1 i Its ey-.v. ic ■■ 1 -.. I : . i Annslromr's at K;. - -.’. ii : • bliilt. The Mbxix ix- ,'V . . X of oll'm;. J b; c 1 ■■■■:.. ' • - 1 ■ the. Blitx 1 ' • -x - 1 : strong at. ! 1x... e. •■ ■ It B- smx r v x: x x ; . X, . -I ouougli 1- b x- i .1 .: ' • . . main: t! • -i;j f ■ i ■' x -x. -i : . ' Nor Sii- r ■ '•! ' x X ' - ! c ; : : of ;!;•■ ii- vv 11. vc , :1 . -;. -X :,; :. I ■ .- t in n e. .•-ix• -a r :• x. • X x • .x -a mx. 11 s ....-I xxlic. :■ kla i, '. : oiv tlxxi :.,px : X. . miraiiy. -i..■ x ,X ; .,x. 4 • - ,■ . ■ , . ei.i-c. .\,iy. X put, up ix. ( , ■ i lor to pi-./VO tll.'.t 1 ' X c C ■ built of mi.l !. Jl-. : 1 . n.v., - lion abroad Ii ox x ■ _ ~■■ : has come x- u.;i\- x huge rky.--re ■ -x; of I- -: i : aro the last a;.(I gi-xt.;-,;, :::: : : , . .. setner c: m sir-i-!. ih- vi.rtcX .. . . of it probably er.ox.'ia 0.-j'Jj.', . :
SCIENCE UP TO DATE, Issue 15662, 28 November 1914
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