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per 100 feet lineal of wharf), and in their ordinary work 200 tons per hour are loaded from them.
The aggregate wharf expenses are estimated at 4 to 5 cents per ton loaded, and the whole of the sinall screenings thus far, commands $1 50 per ton at the wharves, for a New York market.
The loaded cars are placed on the elevated deck of the landing by the following operation :-Up to within a quarter mile of the wharves, the tracks are level with the canal bank, then this quarter mile ascends by a single track on an incline (chiefly on' trestling) at 1 in 50 or thereabouts, and the locomotive pushers employed, come up to this incline under headway gained on the level track, and with their cars before them, rush up the ascent, and place their loaded cars upon the deck tracks rapidly and without difficulty. The pusher working to-day, handled with ease 7 loaded cars, containing 35 tons of coal, at once, and she only had the adhesion of one pair of drivers. The large engines push up 100 tons of coal at once.
The depth of available draught water in the canal, is 64 feet. At present, barges load at these wharves with 300 tons of coal, and schooners for Providence and Boston, load with 200 tons.
All the coal handled here at present is Lehigh Coal, costing for transportation from Mauch Chunk and delivery on the wharves $2 00 per ton.
No difficulty whatever arises from the coal cars having wide treads upon the wheels, and working over both gauges of 4 feet 8} inches and of 4 feet 15 inches.
They are now shipping at their wharves about 2,500 tons a week, though this is very far within their capacity.
Boats and schooners loading here have about 25 cents a ton advantage in tolls over Richmond. The wharves admit of indefinite extension, and Trenton cannot fail to become a great coal mart, which can only be reached from Schuylkill County by the Allentown Railroad.
The general plan of these wharves and their continuous pockets, are almost a precise duplication of the Dauphin Coal wharves, designed and built by the late Mr. Morton, Civil Engineer, about ten years ago, at Dauphin, on the Susquehanna River.
The switches of the railroad, about here, have the fixed cast-iron guard of the Reading Railroad attached to the movable rail, so as to secure a train from leaving the track, in all positions of the switch rail.
The frogs are short, movable rails thrown by a switch lever.
Some of the tracks have “ Trimble's wooden splice" outside of the joint, well secured to sills and rails, but they do not appear to be very successful, though properly applied.
This is the name given, in some parts of Europe, to the machinery which is used to raise the miners from the pits, in order to avoid the tedious ascent by ladders. The improvements in the various methods used for ascending and descending shafts, especially in coal mines, was very completely illustrated at the late French Exhibition. This information is too valuable to be lost, and we have collected it from some graphic letters of a correspondent of the Pottsville Journal, who was in Paris during the Exhibition. The latest improvements in use in European collieries are therein described :
In machinery connected with this department France leads off; following close upon her is Belgium. The praises and prizes with which imperial societies, in the first country, reward any successful inventions whose object is to render human life more safe, to prevent accidents, to ward off bodily injury from those poor (but not, in France, uncared for) classes, whose every
day business would seem to expose them to a risk equal to that encountered by the soldier who enlists for battle-have stimulated, to a wonderful extent, ingenuity having this for its object. Accordingly, we find no less than three machines for preventing that most fertile source of accident, the fall of the cages in the pits, from the breaking of the rope or chain by which they are raised and lowered.
The fall of the cages (with the workmen in them) is prevented by a most ingenious contrivance, which, like the safety-lamp and other great humanitarian inventions, is as remarkable for its simplicity as its efficacy. Whoever it be to whom the credit of this idea is to be given (I believe it is M. Machecourt, mining engineer at Decize collieries), he certainly deserves honor, second only to that of Sir Humphrey Davy, for the origination of so benevolent and effectual a plan for removing the terrors from this portion of the miner's daily risks, and rendering a ride up and down the shaft of a colliery as sure and pleasant as an ordinary one in a stage coach or a Hansom Safety,” above ground.
Accidents from the rupture of a chain, the breaking of a ring, an irregular winding upon the "drum," a careless oversight of the engineer in man. aging his wonderful but delicate power-all these have been occurring weekly if not daily in the collieries of Belgium, France, and England, with the loss of, now a single miner, now a cage-load, until humanity was aroused and cried out loudly for an amendment. As long ago as 1845, it would seem that M. Machecourt had introduced a contrivance which he styled a “Parachute" into his mines at Decize, by which, though the rope broke, the cage was suspended in the pit, and its load, if it happened to consist of flesh and bones, instead of coal, saved from certain death.
Though M. Machecourt took out no patent for this invention, and gave, as it appears, liberal publicity to it, very little notice seems to have been taken of it, and England, at least, has been going on in the old way of economy and butchery, for ten years, without the invention being regarded even perhaps known of.
The principle of this “Parachute,” for which M. Machecourt has been rewarded with medals by the “ French Institute,” is as much like that of one form I have seen of the ordinary “steam-engine governor,” as can be. Withont going into a particular description, which would take up more space than I have to devote to the subject, if your readers, the next time they see an engine, will just look at the "steam governor,” and will imagine the balls on the ends of the two arms to be replaced by iron claws that resemble forks; and the rod that runs up from the top, instead of being used to open and shut valves for the admission or exclusion of steam from the boiler to the piston, to be fastened to the rope used in raising and lowering loads in a pit; and the whole concern to be attached to the cage in which the complement of coal or colliers is being dragged, by the power of steam, to the surface; they will be prepared to comprehend fully the action of the "Parachute."
Extending from top to bottom of the pit, on each side, is a wooden guide, always used in pits of any depth, to prevent the cage from swaying to and fro in its ascent or descent. Up these the cage slides, as the piston rod of an engine would glide along its guides. Arrived at a certain point, a terrible nuinber of yards to look down from the top to the bottom, suppose the rope to break—perhaps the wind has blown the winds off the drum at the top, and a sudden jerk has snapped asunder the frail threads; or a pulley wheel has given way, contrary to everybody's expectations, and to the proprietor's " deep regret;” or, to the endless surprise of the individual whose duty it is to look after it, and who never, under any consideration, neglects that duty, the iron ring which fastens the rope to the cage is suddenly ruptured ; or, because it is more economical to use the old rope which has had the advantage of enjoying enough years of experience to grow rusty in the service, a month or two longer, rather than replace its threadbare fifty or a hundred or two
hundred fathoms, by a new one—the old veteran at the twelfth hour breaks down, to the everlasting wonderment of the pennywise proprietor, who has seen it work for six years without cutting up any such philanders; suppose any of these things to happen (and they are liable to happen at every colliery at any moment), what then? Under the old order of things, the contents, be they men or minerals, were dashed to fragments at the bottom of the pit-if minerals, it was an unlucky thing, but very fortunately there was nobody in it, which there might have been at the next draw; if men, a “crowner's inquest” sit upon their case, and come to the conclusion to agree to disagree upon whether the proprietor his used all ordinary precautions or whether he has not-"and there is no help for it."
But there is a help for it—and under the new order of things it is to be hoped no more of these accidents will, as it is certain no more need, occur. The “Parachute" invention does away altogether with the necessity of them. If the perpendicular rod of the “steam governor” above alluded to be forced down, the balls on the inclined elbows will fly out until they are nearly horizontal—so when the rod at the top of the safety cage drops, which it will do on being severed from the rope by a rupture and pulled down by its own weight and the weight of the elbow below, the arms of the Parachute, with the ready claws at their extremities, fly out just as the balls flew out the claws grip the wooden guides on each side, the descent of the cage is arrested almost before it has begun, and the load of miners, instead of being dashed to instant destruction, have merely, suspended in mid air (if I may be allowed the expression), to bellow to the top to inform the “ banksman" and his coadjutors of what is only an interesting predicament. All this is so siinple that a child can comprehend it, and any mechanic in any country is competent to fill up the details. I have said there were three of these “ life safes” exhibited by France. Besides M. Machecourt's, there are two others which are improvements that is to say, in them either the action is more simple, or less material is consumed, or the arrest is rendered more certain and efficacious. They are all of them of the size of life, that is to say, are not models but actual constructions identical with those at present in use in French mines.
The first we shall notice is that of M. Fontaine, and called, after the inventor, the Parachute-Fontaine. This was tried for the first time in one of the extensive Anzin company's collieries in North France, in 1851. Since then a dozen have been introduced, and twenty-one lives saved from a certain death. A number of breakages have likewise taken place without workmen being in the cage, but always has it acted efficaciously The following will show you how these sort of inventions are encouraged in France. Extract from Report of French Institute, Academy of Sciences, 1854: "The Parachute-Fontaine has already prevented many accidents. It has saved the lives of sixteen workmen. It has been tried in the presence of Engineers of mines, in the Department of the North, and of IIainault, Belgium. It has always acted perfectly. The Institute of France award P. J. Fontaine a prize for this invention. Signed, Florens."
The Valenciennes society has also granted him a medal. But what are medals? The gratitude of tiventy-one men saved from a fearful death, to the author of the invention without which their fate would have been soon determined, is more than medals. Since the opening of the Exhibition, the 7th of last July, ten more workmen have been saved, at the colliery of "Good Hope," Belgium, and two, the 30th of May, at Anzin, France. The action is very similar to that of M. Machecourt's, but there is less stuff and greater simplicity.
The other life-safe is that of M. Jacquet, of Arras. It is probably the most perfect one yet in existence. The clamp, instead of acting sideways against the guide posts, arresting descent by a push, which might cause the guides to sway or break, if perchance not supported by the wall, is caused to act crosswise so as to shut it between maws, as if a vice had it. The arrest is
also a clamp and not a claw—there are two on each side, at top and bottom of the cage.
The original idea of Jacquet was to have the top of the cage on a hinge, in the middle, and the ends of this cover (pulled down by springs in case of a rupture) to clamp the guides—but the other mode is an improvement.
Now for figures—for it must come to the "almighty dollar” at last, however much we may look to the benevolence of the thing in the beginning. Well, then, the prices asked by M. Jacquet, of Arras, are as follows: For patent right alone, £25; for safety apparatus complete, with patent right, £10; leaving £15 or $75 to represent the cost and profit upon the manufacture. What a trifling outlay for such an inestimable advantage! The saving of two or three cages (to say nothing of the men in them, or the time and trouble occupied in "juries,"
,"*" inquests," and the abandonment of work by friends to attend funerals, &c., &c.) would alone repay the operator for the outlay. It may be interesting to you of the Schuylkill to learn that the wagons, hoisters, &c., exhibited by these French collieries are of iron, and that Monsieur Jacquet furnishes them at the rate of $10 a cwt.
But another European state, Belgium, exposes two different specimens of the identical Parachute, under the name of “arrests," which it may be well to allude to.
The first is the idea of one Pierre Dony, of Liege, and is called the “Arrest cuffat;” it operates very much like the first I described last week, and like it has the disadvantage of acting sideways against the guides in the pit. This is a disadvantage, because, should the guides be weak or unsupported by the earth behind at the point where the rope chances to break-so sudden and forcible a thrust as that made by the arms of the “Arrest” might cause thein to give way, and the cage would, as under the old order of things, be precipitated to the bottom. But it is nevertheless a valuable invention, and in simplicity can hardly be surpassed.
By an article published in the “ Liege Journal," 18th June, 1855, we see that it has already been tried.
" On the 13th instant, a cage containing a wagon of coal, total weight one and a half tons, had arrived in its ascent about thirty-five yards from the surface, when the ring which held the suspension cable broke, and the whole machine remained suspended in the pit. The teeth of the “Arrest cuffat" were found to have penetrated at least the one twenty-fifth part of an inch into the iron guides, which, below this point, had not the slightest trace of the instrument-proving the stoppage to have been instantaneous. Business was resumed at the end of half an hour.” The entire weight of cage (which is two-storied) and “Parachute,” in this machine, is 800 pounds.
Then, another Belgian sends a sample of a plan invented by him, which is in use at ten collieries of France; and, at the mines of Charleroy, last May, saved the lives of eight men, who were ascending, when something gave way --but the machine remained suspended, though a weight of nearly four tons, including many fathoms of the broken rope, had to be supported. Hitherto, it seems, the Government of Belgium has prohibited workmen from riding up and down in the cages, on account of the frequency of such accidents, constraining them to ascend and descend by the long-inclined ladders, than which, after a day's hard labor, nothing could be conceived more fatiguing or dispiriting. But, since the appearance of these Parachutes, the administrator of mines has recommended them to replace the ladders, and it is probable that they will do so, altogether, in the course of a very few months.
In this plan, the guides are narrow ladders, and the arrest catches on their rounds, being thereby suspended instead of by clamp or claw, as in the cases previously described. The author offers a bill of the different items of cost encountered in fitting up a pit for work by his form of cage, from which I am confirmed in the belief that the ladder plan is uselessly expensive. Single guides are as efficacious and one half cheaper.
This finishes all I have to say of the Farachute invention. It is to be hoped
that no coal operator on the Schuylkill or Lehigh, who wishes himself to be considered decently humane, will project a shaft without arranging to have the life safe included-or will defer introducing it into those pits he has already in operation,
It is often very difficult to get horses down mines-partly because, as when the pits are of the Staffordshire gauge, that animal has a natural disinclination to crouch up into less than his usual compass, to suit the dimensions of a black hole with which he is not at the best on any too good terms-and partly because of the difficulty of keeping him perfectly quiet and free from moving during the descent. Monsieur Faiche, a native of France, taking it into his head to remove these difficulties, shows to the world in the coal-mining department of the great Exhibition "an apparatus for lowering horses into mines,” which he tells us has been in operation for some time at the collieries of Decize, and whose action he illustrates by an amusing portrait of one of the unfortunate beasts descending in it, to his dreary prison-work. It consists of four wide hemp bands, as high as a horse is long, and three lateral braces, which can be buckled up after the animal has been enclosed ; thus, with his legs hugged up around his neck, and only his tail left sprawl. ing, he descends, lengthwise, looking as funny and foolish, but nevertheless submissive, as can be imagined. Once down, and it is well known that “such attachments does he form,” he seldom wishes to come up again.
This suggests a machine, or rather a plan, exposed under the flag of Belgium, though something similar has long been in operation in Cornwall
, for raising and lowering miners in deep shafts. Instead of one cage being drawn by the winding of its rope round a drum at top from such great depth to the surface, advantage is taken of the locomobility of the human frame, to raise it, like so much weight of water pumped up by several lifts.
Just as in the case of a pump, an engine at the surface causes a long rod, the length of the pit, to rise and fall a certain distance, say nine feet, at every stroke. In the present case, there are two such rods rising and falling nine feet alternately. Attached to the rods, which are immense beams, double, at every length of stroke, that is at every nine feet, are railed-in platforms, large enough to hold from six to ten men. Fancy a half-dozen men to have stood themselves in the platform of No. 1 rod, at the bottom of a deep pit-in due time its turn comes to rise; up it goes by the power of steam nine feet; there it stops-its work is done—its whole mission is to go up that nine feet and then come down again-and so on, ad infinitum. But the men find a platform on the other rod, ready to receive them at this point, and without any ceremony step into it; up it goes, nine feet, but no further; its business is to drop again, but not the men with it; they step out into an upper platform, on the other rod, whose duty it now is to ascend—and so on until they reach the top. Whilst any particular platform of the two rods makes only its little excursion of eighteen feet, both ways, the men by taking advantage of this motion, being alternate, are stepping from one to the other, and thus gradually are raised to the surface.
In the 15 and 1800 feet shafts of Cornwall, many such machines are in use; the one at present referred to is a large model of that established in the coal mines of Mariemont, Belgium, by M. Warocque. The depth of this pit is 1620 feet; the number of panniers or platforms, 180; the double travel of the machine, 18 feet; the ordinary speed, 24 feet per second ; the time of stoppage at each pannier, 3 seconds; the time required for raising 160 workmen and for lowering simultaueously 160mone hour; and without danger this number could be tripled.
Thus it will be seen, that though for raising a single man 20 minutes is required, yet in three times 20 minutes at least 200 can be raised, and the same number lowered: which, for deep pits, working a great number of men, and especially for those employing two shifts, one going out at dusk and the other force entering to supply its place until morning, is a wonderful economy of time and power.