In shooting deer or other game for which the rifle is employed, there is often a difficulty in getting an aim in the early morning or evening (which is the best time for getting a shot) on account of there not being light enough to enable the front-sight of the rifle to be seen. This invention is designed to overcome this difficulty by means of a temporary front-sight, to be fixed to the rifle when the light is not good enough to see the ordinary fixed front-sight properly. This temporary front-sight consists, briefly, of a very small incandescent or glow lamp (something like a dentists), covered with a metal shield. The shield has a small hole in it, through which the light shines, and this spot of light, being turned toward the shooter, is used as the bead of the front-sight in aiming, a small electric battery in the stock of the rifle generating the electricity for the lamp. The illustration shows the invention applied to a double-barreled express deer-stalking rifle. A is the electric front-sight. B is the electric battery, inclosed in the stock of the rifle. a push button, C, in the butt of the rifle causing the front-sight to glow when the butt is pressed against the shoulder in taking ahn. The conducting wirDs between the battery and the lamp are laid in a groove in the stock, and where they emerge are protected by a metal tube, H H. A silver battery, of not more than 57if cubic inches capacity, is enough, as the lamp need only glow, like the wick of a candle freshly blown out. The invention would be of great use also for military rifles, and especially for machine guns on board ship, where no electric battery on the gun would be required, as the electricity for lighting the ship could be laid on to the guns by wires. It has been patented in the United States and in England by Mr. Walter Winans, 2 Clarendon Terrace, Brighton, Sussex, England. Rope Making. The word rope probably signifies an article exceeding an inch in circumference, smaller descriptions consisting of cords, lines, twines, threads, etc., made of yarns, which are the first product of the spinning. A given number of yarns, more or less according to the kind of article required, are twisted together to form a strand, and three of these make a rope, while a similar union of three ropes makes a cable. Rope making is not what, it used to be. Nowadays a girl at a spinning machine can do more work than eight men could do in the old fashioned way, and where one man could comb one bale of hemp, one machine can now comb seventy-five bales. The product of the largest ropewalk in the United States, according to the N. Y. Sww, is 150 tons of rope and twine a week, as compared with 16 tons when it was built, 56 years ago. For best qualities of ropes. hemps and flaxes and sound cotton are used. Of the 12 kinds of hemp used Russian is the best. The hanks are bound into bales that can be readily handled. Separating the hanks is the first process in rope making. Men do it. The hanks are unbound and tossed one side, where men stand ready to pick them up and oil them. The oiling machines are large revolving drums of wood that ab-sorb and hold the oil kept in the troughs below. They are inclosed in wooden boxes, each with a hole about as large as half an ordinary window. Taking a hank, an oiler spreads it out and dashes it through a hole and against the oily surface of the drum. It clings and is drawn upward, but before the end is reached the man draws it back, and repeats the motion until the fiber has been oiled. From the oiling machines the hemp goes to the combing machines, of different sizes and capacities. Five combings are necessary. The combing machines are very ingenious. Endless bands with cross rows of long fine teeth seize the fibers, and carry them along until other teeth on .a. band moving faster comb through them, and straighten and draw them. After the combing the fibers become roping, and endless yellow streams- of it flow from upper stories to stories below for the spinning machines. Each stream flows faster than several machines can spin it when everything is in good working order, and piles of roping stand ready for use. Roping after going through the spinning machines becomes spun yarn. The combing, straightening, and spinning used to be done by hand. Spun yarn for tarred rope goes through a process as old as the hills. ThrQugh long troughs nearly filled with hot tar the yarn is drawn until it is thoroughly saturated. On coming out it passes through squeezers, and any excess of tar is pressed out. Then it passes through the air for a considerable distance to dry, and finally is wound on bobbins. The machinery for making large ropes, or cables, shows that very little change has been made in the half century. It is crude but substantial. The bobbins of spun yarn are placed upright on iron pins on a series of shelves. The ends of the threads are drawn together and put through the holes of a gauge plate, from which they go to an iron tube in the tube board, the size of the hole being gauged by the size of the rope to-be made. Ninety-eight threads make a six inch cable. T!ie friction of the threads going through the tube makes the iron so hot that the hand cannot be kept on it. After being drawn through the tube, the end of what is now a strand is attached to a hook in the former, an upright machine on wheels that runs on a track the full length of the ropewalk. The hook revolves rapidly, and makes the twist in the strand. The former is drawn along by ropes, and as it moves away from the gauge plate. arms are swung out from pillars along the track to hold up the strand from the floor. The former travels slowly, but with a good deal of whirring, to the upper end of the track. The strand is then attached, with as many others as necessary, to hooks in another former on another track, forming the rope. About 100 sizes of rope are made, running from one-sixteenth of an inch to 24 inches in diameter.
This article was originally published with the title "An Electric “Front-Sight” for Firearms" in Scientific American 52, 26, 402 (June 1885)