The illustration represents an improvement in belt-shifting devices where the operating shaft has a central fixed or drive pulley, a pair of loose pulleys at each end, and a straight and a crossed belt, the shifting bar being automatically moved by the running machine. The improvement has been patented by George A. Smith, and is being introduced uy Cohoke Wooden-ware Manufacturing Company, Cohoke, Va. With the ordinary belt shifting devices the throw is frequently insufficient, and sometimes, when shifting the crossed belt from the loose to the fixed pulley, both belts will be left upon the loose pulleys, and the improvement provides a shifting mechanism which, when acted upon by the first part of the movement of the operating rod or bar on the machine. stores up power sufficient to cause the shifting bar to move continuously to the completion of its stroke. The larger view shows the improved device applied to a grinding machine, where the front end of the shifting bar is pivot-ally connected to the inner crank end of a rocker or vibrating member, which has on its outer end a corresponding crank arm adjustably connected by a stout coil spring with the operating rod or bar on the frame of the machine. stops on the latter bar being engaged by the carriage at the end of each reciprocal movement. Eyes at the ends of the coil spring afford means for adjusting the tension of this yielding connection, by which power is stored up to continue or complete the shifting action of the shifting bar, and make positive the shifting of the belts. The smaller figure shows the position of the belts and the shifting bar in full lines. the dotted lines indicating the position to which they are brought by the yielding connection, such position being attained instantly after the carriage and operating shaft is momentarily stop ped. the fast pulley having been freed of either of the belts. Ill- Fire Balls at Sea. One of the most remarkable electrical storms at sBa which probably seemed intensified by reason of the fact that a cargo of Spanish iron ore passed through it, was experienced by the British steamship Mercedes, which arrived at this port recel1tly from Bilbao. On t h e Grand Banks of Newfoundland during the nights of December 3 and 4 the ocean appeared like a mighty mass of flames or an endless stretch of prairie fires. Balls of electric fire hissed and exploded in all directions and dart ed among the vessel's masts and rigging. The Mercedes' escape from going down on December 1 seemed little short of a miracle. She was struck by a south - southwest gale. which was accompanied hy seas rolling fearfully high. During the height of the storm a huge deck derrick, weighing many tons, was torn loose from its fastenings and swept overboard, leaving a bole in the ve8sel's deck through which the water ran into the cargo. In its course it carried away the maintop mast, which was also of iron; part of the flying bridge, the after winch, and part of the deck fittings. The decks were flooded with tons of water, the ship rolled at an angle of seventy degrees, and the sea broke in all directions, filling the cabin and the officers' quarters. Soon afterward the storm partially subsided, when the electrical fire appeared in all directions. It hung in big balls for two nights from themastsandfore and aft stays. and practically turned night into day. As the big' fire balls came together they would burst with a loud report upon the vessel and disappear. Under this light at night such temporary repairs were made as were deemed necessary to reach port. Captain Tait of the Mercedes stated that the passage was one of the most trying experiences of his life. The rolling and lurching of the vessel in the storm and the fury of the gales were terrific in the vicinity of 25' longitude. Only the heroic w0rk of the officers and crew saved the vesse\. Phila. Record. Aluminum is being used in making the bodies of cabs.
This article was originally published with the title "An Automatic Belt Shifter" in Scientific American 73, 26, 405 (December 1895)