IN view of many inquiries , received from subscribers and advertisers relative to a new edition of the Encyclopedia Americana and certain other publications issued or sold by the Americana Company or “Scientific American Compiling Department Messrs.” Munn Co., Incorporated, state that such publications have no connection whatever with the Scientific American published by them, and that Messrs. Munn Co., Incorporated, have no interest of any sort in the business of the Americana Company. or of the so-called “Scientific American Compiling Department.” The use of the words “Scientific American” in,, connection with thelatter is without the approval or consent of Messrs. Munn & Co., Incorporated, and notice has been served upon the Americana Company that the use of the above title must he discontinued. Retrospect of the Year 1911 Civil Engineering. IN any review of the ..engineering progress of the past year, the construction of the Panama Canal assumes the position of importance. Not alone is this the greatest single engineering work of its kind, but it is notable for the fact that it is being done at an accelerating speed, and will be completed long before the date predicted. In this respect, it stands almost. alone among American engineering works of great- magnitude. According to the report of the chief engineer, the Gatun dam will be finished during the summer of 1912; the locks at Gatun about the same time; the locks on the Pacific side in the fall of the same year, while the Culebra cut, and the channel entrances on each ocean, will be completed by July 1st, 1913, at which date, eighteen months before the time originally estimated, shipping will be able to pass through the canal from ocean to ocean. Next in importance is the New York State Barge Canal, upon which, during the year, satisfactory progress has been made. Practically the whole of the canal is under construction, and both the concrete work at the locks and the work of excavation are being pushed forward at a rate which gives promise that within a few years' time this valuable addition to the transportation facilities between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic seaboard will be open for service. The . proposed Pittsburgh-Lake Erie canal has been brought again into public notice, and it is now proposed that its cost of fifty million dollars be divided between the three States which are interested, namely, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, the control to be vested in a joint commission. There has been a movement on foot in Russia to build a canal, with a depth of 14 feet, between the Black Sea and the Baltic, utilizing some 300 miles of the bed of the West Dwina and a thousand miles of the bed of the Dnieper. The estimated cost is $150,000,000. The greatest water-supply project in the world, namely, that for bringing the water of the Catskill region to New York city, has made great advance during the past year. The Ashokan dam is nearing completion; work upon the ninety miles of 17-foot aqueduct has been opened up upon many new sections; the wonderful siphon by which the water will be conveyed beneath the Hudson at Storm King is so far advanced that the vertical shafts on opposite sides of the river have been sunk to a depth of 1,200 feet, and the boring of the connecting horizontal tunnel is making good progress. The contracts have been let for the construction of the terminal tunnel which will extend the full length of Manhattan Island at depths of from 200 to 700 feet. Moreover, the prospects are that within a year or two, Catskill water will be fed to the Croton reservoir, whence it will be' available for distribution in New York. One of the most beneficent and little-understood works of the United States is the reclamation by irrigation of arid lands. Already there has been invested about sixty million dollars in this work, and during the year it has been increased at the rate of about one million dollars per month. The scheme of reclamation includes the construction of some of the greatest dams and largest reservoirs in existence. Perhaps the most notable event in this work was the dedication of the Roosevelt dam, which was celebrated on March 18th. The structure is 282 feet 8 inches high, and it impounds sufficient water to cover 1,284.000 acres to a depth of one foot. At the present time, water can be- supplied to about one million out of the three million acres which the completed scheme will cover. Another great hydraulic work in this country which has been advanced during the year is that of grading . the Everglades in Florida, by which a vast tract of fertile swamp land will be brought under cultivation. In the field - of bridge engineering, the most notable event was the letting by the Canadian Government of a contract for the construction of a new Quebec bridge to take the place of the one which failed, so disastrously a few years ago. The structure will be what is known as. the “K” web system, and the cantilevers will carry a Pratt-truss, suspended span, 640 feet in length. Nickel steel will be used. in the cantilever arms; the suspended span;, the anchor arms, and the members immediately over the main pier, together with the floor system, will be built of carbon steel. Toward the close of the year the contract was let for the construction of the four-track Hell Gate bridge, which will connect the Long Island Railroad system with the railroad systems of the main land. The most notable feature will be the main span of 1,000 feet, which will be the longest and heaviest arched span in existence. In the arch bridge alone will be 18,000 tons of steel, and it will take 70,000 tons for the whole structure, whose total length will be three miles. Electrical Engineering. During the year, the field of electrical engineering has steadily enlarged its borders. The progress has been in the direction, not so much of the development of new inventions and applications, as in the broadening of the scope of those already established. Undoubtedly, the most notable advance is that which has been made in electro-metallurgy and electro-chemistry. It is sufficient here to note the increasing application of electricity to the electrolysis of salts - ; the -production of metallic aluminium and sodium; the production of calcium carbide, in all of which industries, and particularly the production of aluminium, the progress is by leaps and bounds. The refining of metals by electrolytic action has been responsible during the past year alone for placing over one hundred million dollars' worth of pure copper on the market. In the more novel applications of electricity to the arts, the electric reduction of iron ore has been the most prominent, and among the several ingenious designs of electric furnaces there are two' or three which give promise of competing commercially with the present gas and coal furnaces. In the field of electric lighting, the tungsten lamp continues to win popular approval ; and this can be readily understood when we remember that a 16-candle-power carbon filament lamp requires 56 watts for its operation, whereas a 20-candle-power tungsten lamp demands only 25 watts. It is gratifying to know that during the year the united efforts of the electric lighting companies have succeeded in producing a drawn-wire tungsten filament of great toughness and durability. In the field of transportation, electricity continues to be the supreme power for urban and suburban service, and note should be made of the fact that the Edison storage battery cars which have been operating during the year in New York city have been giving reliable and satisfactory service. The application of electric traction to steam roads is not making' the progress which was expected when the New York Central and New Haven installations had proved how reliable and punctual a service could be given. Figures of cost are difficult to obtain; but, as the report on the proposed electrification of Boston suburban roads showed, the first cost of these changes from steam to electric power is so great as to discourage investments of this character. 'There is a consensus of opinion that the alternating-current, overhead trolley will be used for long distance service, and the direct-current, third-rail system for terminal and suburban. work. The utilization of water powers by the construction of large hydro-electric plants continues to make a rapid advance, the most notable work of the year being the vast dam which is being built across the Mississippi River at Keokuk, Iowa. The dam will stretch for seven-eighths of a- mile across the river, rising 32 feet above the river bed. At one end of the dam will be the lock gates and a power house 1,400 feet in length, in which will be mounted thirty hydraulic-electric units. The initial installation of 120,000 horse-power is to be completed in July, 1913. A promising field for the application of electric power is that of agriculture. It has been shown in the pages of the Scientific American what possibilities lie at the very doors of the farmer in the many abandoned mills and reservoirs, some of which, by a little reconstruction and adjustment, may be turned into central stations, from which power can be furnished to surrounding farms a t a not prohibitive cost. Railroads. In the preceding section we have touched upon the progress of electricity as a motive power for steam railroads. The probability of the substitution of electricity for steam on the score of reduced cost of operation has been somewhat lessened by the extended application of superheat to locomotives. It now 'looks as though superheat will achieve' those economies which, at least in American practice, compounding has failed to secure. The simple engine always possessed certain practical advantages over the compound, and the addition of superheat makes it possible to secure equal and often greater fuel economy in a locomotive of the simple type, than is possible in a non-superheat compound. The increasing application of superheat may easily be set. down, as, the most important development in locomotive practice of the past year. In spite of predictions . to the contrary, the weight and size of American locomotives, and, to a less degree, of foreign locomotives, continue to increase. To-day, in the huge engines built for the Santa Fe Railroad, we surely have reached the limit. A passenger locomotive for hauling fast passenger trains weighs 188 tons without the tender. The Santa Fe Mallet freight locomotive, with twenty-four wheels, twenty of which are drivers, weighs 308 tons, and with the tender, 425 tons, its length over all being 120112 feet. The fatal wrecking of the Washington express on the New Haven road, near Bridgeport, when it was taking a crossover, has drawn attention to the necessity of making crossovers from express to local tracks longer and of easier curvature, so that they may be taken at high speed without risk of derailment. Notable events of the year were the opening of the Pennsylvania terminal and tunnels at New York and of the handsome terminal of the Chicago&Northwestern at Chicago. Great progress has been made with the Grand Central terminal of the New York Central ' Railroad at New York. The excavation is nearly completed, and the greater part of the steel work of the station building has been erected. This terminal, with its total area of 69.8 acres, is equal in area to the four next largest terminals of the world, combined. The Steam Engine. In spite of the activity and' great promise of its younger competitors, the steam engine, thanks to careful study of its principles and the best, methods of construction, seems likely to hold its own as the principal prime mover for many years to come. The steam turbine, from the attitude of a competitor of the reciprocating engine, has passed into the position of its complement or useful ally. It is now understood that in the higher ranges of steam expansion, the reciprocating engine is supremely economical, just as the turbine is in the lower ranges. The installing of a low-pressure turbine between exhaust and condenser of the reciprocating engines, as we showed last year, increased the output of the New York subway power station 100 per cent, and increased the economy 150 per cent. Both on shore and at sea, the economic value of superheat is coming into increasing recognition. and economies of from 20 to 30 per cent and more have been realized in a wide variety of installations. An interesting development was made public during the year in tile Tesla turbine, which consists of a series of fiat steel disks mounted on a shaft within a casing, the steam being delivered at high velocity at the periphery of the disks and flowing between them in spiral paths, to exhaust through ports at their center. Tesla depends upon the properties of adhesion and viscosity of the steam for -securing the desired torque on the shaft. A curious situation has developed in the United States navy, where there is an unmistakable disposition to return to the reciprocating engine as the drive for our future battleships. This attitude has resulted from observation of the sister battleships, “Delaware” and “North Dakota,” and the economy of 30 to 40 per cent shown by the reciprocating engines December 80, 1911 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 591 of the “Delaware” over the turbines of the “North Dakota,” when the two ships were steaming in column during several thousand miles of cruising. The action of the department is, we consider, rather precipitate. The engines of the “North Dakota” are of a rather early type; more modern turbines would reduce the difference to 20 per cent, and a combination of cruising reciprocating engines and turbines would, we believe, wipe out the difference altogether, leaving the balance of practical advantages heavily on the side of the turbine-engined vessel. Naval Development. Toward the close of the year, there was mobilized in the North River, New York, at a few weeks' notice, the most powerful fleet that ever assembled in American waters. Over one hundred ships were drawn up in several parallel lines between the New York and New Jersey shores; and that the object of the Navy Department of popularizing the navy by showing to the people the actual ships themselves, was achieved, ' was proved by the vast throngs that flocked into the city from the surrounding country to witness the truly majestic spectacle. The most imposing element of the display was the line of twenty-six battleships, extending unbroken for six and a half miles, in which was included the six dreadnoughts that have been completed for the navy. Of more importance, however, than material, is personnel; and the significance of that array could be appreciated only by the naval man himself or by those who, like the writer, had been privileged to live aboard one of the ships of the navy when the fleet was engaged in the regular routine of daily life, and in the supremely important work of battle practice. In discipline, morale and practical efficiency, the navy has never stood as high as it does • to-day. We have so recently devoted a special number to this subject, that it is sufficient for the purposes of the present review, to refer to the various articles in that issue, written by leading officers of the Department for the purposes of telling the people of the United States just \v.hat kind of a navy it is that we possess. The American type of dreadnought, with center-line turrets, and guns firing above the roofs of adjacent turrets, has become standard throughout the world; and the guns so admirably placed are being served so well, that we believe our ships are able to make accurate shooting at ranges that are never attempted by any foreign fleets. The one great fault with our navy is that it is not proportionate to the wealth and responsibilities of the country which it protects. The general board at Washington, after a conservative review of conditions, have decided that, in order to maintain a navy adequate to our wealth and population, we should build four ships (battleships or battle cruisers) every year. Our present inadequate increase of two battleships per year will, in five years' time, make it possible for our nearest competitor among the European . naval powers to challenge the Monroe Doctrine, knowing that its strength in dreadnought ships, as compared with our own, is 100 per cent greater. In a general review of naval development, there is noticeable a steady increase in the size of the battleship and the caliber of her guns. The largest ships have reached a displacement of 28,000 tons and over and carry 13.5 and 14-inch guns. There are signs of a reaction in favor of smaller shipsa but we doubt if it will take place, so many and so great are the advantages conferred by the possession of big units. A noteworthy feature is the growth in popularity of battle-cruisers, ships of 28 to 30 knots speed, well armed, well protected, and with a large radius of action. We consider that the weak point in the make-up of our navy is its lack of any ships of this class. Our little 25-knot “Chesters” and “Salems” would be as defenseless in the presence of such vessels as so many chickens before a flock of hawks. They r/ould not dare to venture within range of a screen of battle-cruiser scouts; for that would mean capture, or speedy destruction by 12 and 13.5-inch guns. Moreover, a squadron of 28-knot battle-cruisers would prove to be an extremely complicating factor in battle tactics, when used against an enemy which possessed no vessels of this class. The destroyer holds its own, and seems to increase in importance. Four destroyers to each battleship is a standard in European navies which we should make haste to follow. The submarine is increasing rapidly in size, offensive quality, and, most important of all, in sea-keeping qualities and radius of action. It is our belief that the submarine, or some modification of it, will see a development during the next decade which will possibly enable it to challenge the present supremacy of the battleship. Although the existing war between Italy and Turkey is necessarily, because of the practical absence of a modern Turkish navy, a military war, it has served to emphasize in a striking degree the importance of the command of the sea. Italy is not only able to localize the war in Tripoli, but is in a position to completely prevent the sending of necessary reinforcement and supplies to the Turkish army at the seat of war. The Merchant Marine. In any American who is possessed of a true patriotism, the subject of the American merchant marine must necessarily beget feelings of regret if not of positive humiliation. Year by year the flag of this country becomes scarcer upon the high seas, and it may truly be said that matters have come to such a sorry pass that unless this nation bestirs itself to a sense of its duties and opportunities, its flag must ultimately disappear from the seven seas. Let the facts of total tonnage speak for themselves. In 1789, the United States possessed 124,000 tons of merchant shipping engaged in foreign trade. In 1800, the total had risen to 667,000 tons. Sixty years later, we led the world, with a total of 2,379,000 tons. In 1910, the total had fallen to 782,000 tons, which is but a little over 100,000 tons more than we had afloat at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The one hopeful sign is the fact that the importance of the subject is continuously impressed upon the public mind. Out of the many suggestions which are being offered for the resuscitation of our merchant marine, there are two which seem to be practical, and would probably prove to be thoroughly effective. The first is the institution of a system of preferential duties in favor of American-built ships and against ships flying the flag of a foreign country. It was under this policy that the merchant marine of the young republic prospered in the first forty years of its existence, and we believe that like causes would produce results in the present day. The other remedy, which is connected with the opening of the Panama Canal, proposes to bring all American shipping, sailing between Atlantic and Pacific ports by way of the Panama Canal, under the regulations which protect our coastwise shipping. Ocean-going steamships continue to increase in size, and it is an extraordinary fact that the increase is at an accelerating rate. When the “Mauretania” and “Lusitania,” each 790 feet in length, were launched, it was predicted that the limit' of size had been reached; but during the year there entered the port of New York, on her maiden voyage, a ship which is 8821f2 feet in length, and which exceeds the displacement of the two great Cunarders by from 15,000 to 20,000 tons, according to the degree of loading. In addition to her great size, the “Olympic” is notable for being driven by a combination of reciprocating engines and turbines. Her speed of 22 knots is, of course, considerably less than that of the Cunarders, which must remain the fastest of the trans-Atlantic liners until such time, possibly, as the internal-combustion engine has rendered a further advance in speed possible. The end is not yet, however, in this matter of size. The Hamburg-American Company is building two vessels, the “Imperator” and a sister ship, which are to be just under 900 feet in length; the Cunard Company is constructing the “Aquitania,” which will slightly exceed 900 feet; and, in answer to our inquiry, the leading officials of the White Star Company inform us that an order has been placed with the Belfast firm for the construction of an 18-knot ship, 1,000 • feet long, 100 feet wide, to be driven by combined turbines and reciprocating engines of 55,000 horsepower. The limit on length and size is placed by the length of piers and depth of harbor entrances, and before the “Olympic” could dock at New York, it was necessary to make a temporary extension of the pier (by permission of the War Department) of 100 feet, which, under the terms of the permit, must be removed in twelve months from the present time. From the earliest days of the modern steamship, attempts have been made to check rolling at sea. The nipst promising device to-day is that of Frahm, who has installed on several vessels anti-rolling water tanks, which apparently have done much to reduce this unpleasant source of discomfort to the sea voyager. The most important development in marine engineering just now, outside of that of increase of size, is the attempt to utilize the internal combustion engine for propulsion, a subject which is treated at fuller length in the present review under the head of the internal combustion engine. Mention should be made of the effort to reconcile turbine speed with propeller speed by the interposition of an intermediate reducing gear, the most noteworthy of which is the installation on the United States collier “Neptune,” a 14-knot vessel of 19,300 tons displacement. The turbine running at 1,220 revolutions per minute, drives the propellers at 135 revolutions, through an intermediate, mechanical-reducing gear of the Westinghouse-McAlpine type, which has shown an efficiency of 98 per cent in a shop test. Trials of this vessel are still in progress. A sister ship to the “Neptune,” the “Jupiter,” is being equipped with a turbo-generator, running at 2,000 revolutions per minute, the power from which will be transmitted to the propeller shaft, with a speed reduction of 18 to 1, and an estimated efficiency of transmission of 91 per cent. Whether reduction gears or a combination of reciprocating engines and turbines will prove to be the better solution of the marine turbine problem, will probably be demonstrated during the coming year. Internal Combustion Engines. In the field of prime movers, the internal combustion engine undoubtedly presents the greatest promise, both as to the wide field of its application and the great reduction in space occupied and consumption of fuel per unit of work done. Although the producer-gas engine has given promising results, both in marine and stationary plants, it is to the heavy-oil engine of the Diesel type that the engineering world is looking for immediate developments. Because of its reliability and simplicity of operation, the Diesel engine has won recognition as the heavy-oil engine of the future. Nowhere is it holding attention just now so closely as in the navy and the merchant marine. For marine work it offers many and most valuable advantages. Tests on large engines of this type have shown the remarkable economy of 0.38 pound of crude oil fuel per brake horse-power hour, and the marine engines now in use average from 0.40 to 0.44 pound of fuel per brake horse-power when running under full load. In addition to fuel economy there is the great advantage that the space formerly . occupied by the boilers and coal bunkers is free for cargo carrying or on warships for the installation of larger maga-ing, or, on warships, for the installation of larger magazines and store rooms. The fuel may be piped. directly to the tanks and stored in the double bottom, a speedy and cleanly operation compared with the slow and dirty work of coaling a ship. The most notable marine installation is that aboard the vessel which is now being built by the Hamburg-American Line for their transatlantic service. This ship, of 9,OOO tons, will be driven by twin engines, each of 1,500 horsepower, with which the ship is expected to develop a speed of 11 to 12 knots. Astronomy. By far the most noteworthy astronomical event of the year was the appearance of the new star discovered by Espin. Although the nova was actually first discovered on December 30th, 1910, the phenomenon may fairly be considered an astronomical event of 1911. The star proved to be a typical nova, which owed its sudden appearance probably to a collision he-tween some orb, far in the depth of space, and a nebula or cluster of meteoric bodies. The year was a year of comets. The body discovered by Kiess at Lick Observatory on July 6th was easily visible in an opera glass. Two weeks later, Prof. William Brooks, of Geneva, N. Y., the veteran comet hunter, discovered a comet which came within thirty million miles of the earth, and which proved to be a fairly conspicuous object. The return of Encke's comet was watched with interest, because it has the shortest period of any known comet, returning to the sun every three and one-half years, because it varies in brightness at each successive return in a very remarkable manner, and because its varying period of revolution proves that some other force than the attraction of the.sun must act upon it. In the month of September two more comets were discovered, one by the Russian astronomer Beljawsky, and the other by Quin-esset. faint periodic comet, discovered in 1905, was observed on its return at some of the southern observatories. On, April 28th there was a total eclipse of the sun, .which lasted almost five minutes—fairly long, as solar eclipses go. Since the whole track of the shadow lay in the Pacific Ocean, only a few islands were available as stations, for which reason- the number of expeditions sent; -to observe it were not numerous. The usual; observations were made, and no startling new fact,,was - revealed. Prof. Stebbins of the University of Illinois, who devotes his time to making very accurate measures of the brightness of the stars with an apparatus depending upon the change in the electrical resistance of selenium when light on it, took up the work of discovering new variables with his instrument. In this work he was successful, finding no less than two. Thanks to Prof. Stebbins, we have reached a knowledge of systems such as Beta AurigH^, which it seemed almost impossible to have attained ten years ago. Dr. Baker and Prof. Wendell showed that the star u Herculis is a close double with unequally bright components, revolving about each other in a nearly circular orbit in a period of 2 days, 1 hour and 13 minutes. Prof. Schlesinger, on the basis of the observations of Dr. Baker and Prof. Wendell, calculated the masses of the components, and showed that its distance from us is equivalent to 200 light years. Aviation. Startling advances have been made in aviation during the past year. In the middle of January, Eugene Ely flew from San Francisco to the cruiser “Pennsylvania,” moored in the harbor, and alighted thereon, later returning to the shore. This was the first trip from shore to ship, and return, ever made by an aero. plane. On January 30th, McCurdy attempted to ly from Key. West to Havana. After covering ninety miles out of the one hundred II two hours, he fell in the sea, owing to a burned-out bearing on Iuis motor. Mr. Glenn Curtiss first succeeded in rising from the water, with his biplane equipped with floats, at San Diego, on January 26th. Thus was born America's first hydro-aeroplane. Curtiss constructed a number of these machines, several of which have been supplied to our navy and one to that of Russia, which is very active in aviation. Using one of them, Hugh Itobinson flew several hundred miles down the Mississippi from Minneapolis, carrying mail, which he left at the towns en route. The mail-carrying experiments made on a larger scale at the aviation meet at Nassau Boulevard, together with Robinson's demonstration, convinced Postmaster-General Hitchcock that the a('!o-plane can be used successfully for delivering mail to inaccessible places. Many exhibition flights have been made in America this year, the most daring and thrilling of all having been Lincoln Beachy's dip over Niagara Falls and flight through the gorge, which he made with a “headless” Curtiss biplane. The chief development in aviation this year has bee'l'l the change from the exhibition flight to the long-distance, crosscountry race or tour. A half dozen big races, such as the Paris-Madrid, Paris-Rome, European Circuit, Circuit of Britain, etc., were flown successfully abroad and were practically all won by monoplanes, which appeared to be faster and safer than the biplanes. In America, however, Beachy Ely gave some marvelous exhibitions of flying in strong winds with the latter type of machine. A Maurice Farman biplane, on March 7th, made the 225-mile flight from Paris to the Puy-de-Dome Mountain, without a stop, and carrying two men. Eugene Reneaux, the pilot, thus won the Michelin $20,000 prize which had been offered exactly three years before. Vedrines, on a Morane monoplane, won the Paris-Madrid ra.ce and secured second pla ce II the 1,060-mile Circuit of BritaII This English event, as well as the Paris-nome and the European circuit, was won by Lieut. Conneau, | of the French navy, while Roland Garros , was second II the two latter races. Both !, of these aviators used Bleriot monoplanes. The race of 900 miles was covered in four days, and the Circuit of Britain required but three days' flying by Conneau and Vedrines. The two other machines which finished required thirteen and fourteen days respectively. M. Garros, on September 4th, made a new height record of 4,252 meters (13.950 feet ), thus beating by 2,370 feet the record of Beachy at Chicago, and climbing some 750 feet more than 2% miles above the earth's surface. Last summer, Harry N. Atwood flew from Boston to Washington \vith his Wright biplane, carrying a passenger most of the way. Later, he flew from St. Louis to New York, by of Chicago, in fourteen days. Enthusiastic over his ' success, Calbraith P. Rodgers and Robert G. Fowler started to fly across the con-! tinent from New York and San Fi'an-cisco respectively. Both aviators used Wright biplanes, and were accompanied by special trains, carrying spare parts. After three unsuccessful attempts at climbing over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Fowler finally flew by the southern route, which was the one chosen by Rodgers. Rodgers left Sheepshead Bay on September 17th. His route was via Chicago, St. Louis, San Antonio, and IDl Paso, Texas, from which State he followed the Southern Pacific Railroad. lie finally reached Pasadena on November 5th. In flying the 25 miles from there to the Pacific Ocean, he sustained a bad fall and was laid up several weeks. Finally, on December 10th, he finished the first trans-continental aeroplane flight. He passed Fowler at Tucson, Ariz., and the latter has now progressed almost as far as New Orleans. Orville Wright conducted some experiments with a 145-pound glider at Kitty Hawk, N. C., late in October. These experiments were of great interest from the fact that Mr. Wright succeeded in rising in the teeth of a 50-mile gale and remaining aloft once for 7% minutes, and again for 9%, minutes. In the shorter flight, he hovered for five minutes above a given spot. Mr. Wright obtained valuable information relative to the designing of a machine with flattened surfaces, capable of flying in the strongest winds. To the death list of flyers, numbering this year 76 should be added the loss of Octave Chanute, who was known as America's “Father of Aviation,” and also that other pioneer, Prof. John J. Montgomery, of Santa Clara College, Cal. The latter was killed while experimenting with a new glider. A large number of the fatal accidents were due to recklessness and foolhardiness in making exhibition flights; but there have also been accidents from breakages of machines. The causes of the various accidents have not all been determined, but the proportion of deaths to the number of miles flown is without doubt less than in 1910. The carrying of as many as six passengers on cross-country flights of one hour, and the development of an aerial taxicab, which has flown successfully, has put heart into those who believe the aeroplane has a future as a means of public rapid transit. It will also undoubtedly be used for the regular carrying of mail in the near future. The severe tests for French military aeroplanes resulted in seven machines making a flight of 186 miles without a stop, when carrying two men and 660 pounds of dead weight. The winner was a Nieuport monoplane, piloted by Weymann, the American aviator, who also won the International Cup race for this country with the same make of machine on July 1st last. He made an average speed of 72 miles an hour in the military contest, with a 70-horse-power monoplane, in the International race, he made 78.1 miles with a 100-horse-power motor. The development of the dirigible balloon has resulted, in Germany, in a pas-rigid airship, the “Schwa-ben,” which has made numerous sightseeing trips about the Fatherland, running, on schedule, with a regularity which has strengthened the belief in the commercial and military future of the dirigible. The “Schwaben” developed a speed of practically 43 miles an hour, with '150 horse-power, when accurately tested over a measured course. In France the non-rigid dirigible has been developed to a point of gratifying efficiency, and the government is building additional Lebaudys for the use of the army. For scouting, the aeroplane is simpler and, in many ways, superior to the clumsy airship. At Tripoli recently, Italian aeroplanes are reported to have dropped bombs upon the Turkish troops, with disastrous effect. The huge English dirigible, the “Mayfly,” broke two when being drawn out of its shed, and as a consequence opinion in Great Britain is more favorable to the aeroplane. Two airships, the “Suchard” and the “Akron,” were constructed this year in Germany and America for the purpose of crossing the Atlantic. The former is to start from the island of Teneriffe, and the latter from Atlantic City. Neither was completed in time to attempt a flight this year; but it is probable that next spring both will start in tbis great attempt. Mr. Vaniman, after his experience with the “America” in 1910, has constructed a new and larger airship, from which he believes he has eliminated the troubles which led to his previous failure.
This article was originally published with the title "A Warning, Retrospect of the Year 1911 Civil Engineering, and more"