An extraordinary railway accident occurred at the Gare Montparnasse, Paris. at 4 P. M. on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 22. The train from Granville entered the station at a speed of 30 to 35 miles an hour and was not able to stop. The station has two stories, the train house being in the upper story. The engine and tender crashed through the wall at the end of the station and fell to the street (Place de Rennes) below, a distance of 30 feet. Thanks to the Westinghouse brakes, which were applied by the conductor, all of the railway carriages were saved from being precipitated into the street. The one hundred and twenty-three passengers were considerably shaken up, but were not otherwise injured. The engineer aiid fireman were thrown from the engine and were not seriously inj ured. The only fatality was thv case of a newswoman, who was killed by a piece of stone from the wall. The engine narrowly escaped a horse ear and three loaded omnibuses. C row d s lingered in front of the station for hours. Inquiry was made into the cause of the disaster. The master machinists attributed it to the failure of the brakes to work. Engineers were forbidden to use the Westinghouse brake when entering terminal stations or stations provided with a bumper at the end of the rails, hand brakes being used for all ordinary purposes, the W estinghouse brake being reserved for emergencies. For our engraving, which was taken from a photograph, we are indebted to L Illustration. New York Cut Flower Company. After entering the wide hall of the spacious building at 119 West Twentythird Street, New York, the visitor is carried by the elevator to the second floor and ushered into the commodious rooms of the New York Cut Flower Com pan y. The first glimpse of the main salesroom, even at a quiet hour of the day, suggests a large and multiform business ; in a busy time the visitor finds himself suddenly amongthe largest collection of cut flowers on this continent. A moment is needed to collect himself after the burst of color and gale of f ragranc e which greet him, and then he will see substantial broad white tables ranged along the sides of the room and set in parallel rows between them, with generous floor spaces reserved for salesmen and buyers. Every day of the week this room presents an animated scene, for, even on Sunday, in the early morning, exceptionally ener getic Christian buy ers are on hand for the freshest and most f a s h ion a b I e flowers for decorating houses of worship. On the continuous broad tabling along the walls stand large boxes of roses as they come packed by the growers. The contents of others are deftly arranged in great heaps on the tables in front, which serve as counters. Other parts of the salesroom are used for carnations, violets, lilies, mignonette, smilax, lily of the valley, with its poetical name here. as elsewhere. in the flower trade, cruelly abbreviated to valley, with other flowers in season. Passing into a middle room, which at this season is reserved exclusively for chrysanthemums, a new effect is witnessed. On side tables masses of immense flowers are grouped in deep mahogany-colored vases made of Fibrotta, a preparation of woud pulp with a hardened shell and glazed surface. These tumbler shaped vessels are eighteen inches deep and nine inches across at the top, but their ample size is needed for the tall stout stems and the weighty flower heads they support. In the middle of the room the floor is closely covered with open boxes, each containing twenty-five chrysanthemums—the long stems and their dark luxuriant foliage nearly filling the boxes, which are four feet or more long, half the blooms being at each end of the box, and especially choice and tender flowers separately wrapped in tissue paper. Last week in a collection whose quality suggested an exhibition for effect and for premiums, choice specimens of the new white Mayflower were, perhaps, the most sensational flowers. This variety and Nemesis, resembling the Daybreak carnation in its delicate pink color, commanded the highest prices of all. Flowers of Major Bonnaffon were also conspicuous among the best stock, and so were those of Philadelphia, the favorite new seedling of 1894. The third room of this immense floor, which, in its length of two hundred feet, reaches entirely through to the Twenty-fourth Street front, is in a way even more interesting than the others. This apartment, which is not open to the public, is the receiving depot. A powerful elevator lifts the boxes after they are deposited on the first floor at this end of the building, where they are brought by immense vans direct from the growers establishments or by express wagons from railroad stations. The boxes measure about five feet in length and six inches in depth. Many are made of wood, the corners protected by zinc strips, and other metallic-looking ones, two feet deep, are of heavy glazed papier mache, iron bound and securely strapped. The boxes are at once opened, the flowers examined and graded according to established standards, and a credit slip made out in the shipper s name, with memoranda of the kind of flowers, the number received, and whether of the first, second or third grade. The flowers are then passed into the salesroom or stored in great refrigerators, which are ranged along one side of the receiving room in unbroken lines and have altogether a capacity of nearly five thousand cubic feet. The New York Cut Flower Company, of which this is the home and business center, is an organization new to this industry. It is not a trust, and does not attempt to regulate business of its members, but it is a combination of some fifty commercial cultivators, who joined together to sell their products to wholesale buyers direct, instead of shipping, as heretofore, to commission houses. It has been estimated that the flowers sold on commission in this city in a year have a total value of one million dollars. If this is double the real sum, the fifteen per cent charged by commission merchants would even then amount to $75,000, and the combined g I o W e r s thought they could get their flowers to the retailers for le s s money. At all events, they can now know defi-nitely about the sales of their stock, and if reports come back to the effect that it is unsalable for some reason they can investigate the matter, as they could not do when the flowers had been sold on the old plan. The company includes members from this State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rh o d e Island. More than ninety per cent of the members use above twenty thousand square feet of glass, and some have g I a IS s houses which cover a hundred thousand feet. Many members are stockholders, and those who are not sign certain co-operative contracts, in which they agree to sell all their flowers through the company.—Garden and Forest. Power Required for Electric racticit. In an article in the Sibley Journal of Engineering, Mr. James Lymafi gives the results of a number of tests made in different cities of the power required for electric traction. At Rochester, where the first of Mr. Lyman s records were obtained, there are about 20 miles of track which was in good condition at the time of the test. The number of cars on the road was 40, each weighing about 8 tons, and provided with a 15 horse power g eare d motor. In general the road was level, but ill the heart of the town there were some gradients of from 3 to 4 7 per cent. Moving on the level, the necessary tractive power averaged 38 lb. per ton of car, and for the whole run over the four principal routes at (l 5 niiles per hour the average horse power was 1 4 per car, and the maximum 6 horse power, this latter only being used momentarilv- At Buffalo the same average power was required, but the maximum was 6 6 horse power. In a large Western city a car with the axles coupled direct to the motor, without the intervention of gearing, took 0 92 horse power per ton on the average, with a maximum of 4 7 horse power. In wet weather the tractive power required is reduced, the rain acting as a lubricant. Wetting of the rails round curves is particularly effective, the requisite traction power being thereby reduced by one-third. Comparative experiments made at Ithaca, N. Y., showed that on gradients the tractive force required exceeds that on the level by more than the theoretical amount.
This article was originally published with the title "A French Railway Accident" in Scientific American 73, 22, 340 (November 1895)