The illustration represents different forms of telephone transmitters for which two patents have recently been granted to Ignatius Lucas, of Passaic, N. J. The improvements are designed to soften the sounds for transmission, and render them uniform and perfect, even if the transmitter is located in a building where there is much noise and jar. As shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the transmitter has the usual casing, and the diaphragm bas a point engaging the upper contact disk, made of carbon, and placed opposite a lower disk, but both disks are embedded in a filling of loose material, preferably of sliver, or wool as it leaves the carding machine and previous to being felted. The filling is preferably held on a false bottom plate adapted to be adjusted until the desired sound quality is obtained. As shown in Fig. 3, the disks or buttons are similarly embedded, bnt between them are placed a doubled up sheet of conductive material, such as wire netting. coated on its surface with granulated carbon, the carbon surface being in contact with the inner surfaces of the buttons. Fig. 4 shows a sheet of this material, the granulated carbon being attached in an even layer by a suitable adhesive, such as collodion. Rose from the Ranks. Mr. Chauncey M. Depew lately visited the Mechanical Department of Cornell University. He found at the head of it Professor Morris. The latter claimed him as an old acquaintance. Hows that ? said Mr. Depew. I used to work for the New York Central Railroad, was the professors answer. Indeed I in what department ? Oh, just in the ranks. How did you get on there? asked Depew. I was first a fireman on an engine. That was a tough job, but it led up to the position of engineer. I made up my mind to get an education. I studied at night and fitted myself for Union College, running all the time with my locomotive. I procured books and attended as far as possible the lectures and recitations. I kept up with my class, and on the day of graduation I left my locomotive, washed up, put on the gown and cap, delivered my thesis, and received my diploma, put the gown and cap in the closet, put on my working shirt, got on my engine, and made my usual run that day. Then, said Depew, I knew how he became Professor Morris. That spirit will cause a man to rise in any calling. It is ambition, but it is ambition wisely directed, seeking to make ones self fitted for higher work. When this is accomplished, the opportunity for higher work is sure to come. A Fire Ball. A recent number of Nature gives the following : In compliance with a wish expressed by several scientific friends, I place on record an instance of damage done by a fire ball or globular lightning. About five weeks ago, when I was in Londonderry, the circumstances were related to me by Mr. James Harvey, of Northland Road in that city. Mr. Harvey was staying during the month of August at Cuidaff, on the north coast of Donegal ; and on the 24th of that month, at about 4 P. M., a little boy named Robert Alcorn, whose parents occupied a house near Mr. Harveys, was desired by his father to go into the yard and drive away some fowls from the door. On going out of the house, the boy saw a large bright object in the sky about the size ofthe table in his bed room (I give his own account, leaving out necessary considerations of distances, etc.), or apparently about six square feet in area. The object came toward his house from the west or northwest; and when it came close, it partly burst with a report like that of a gun. He put his hands over his face to shield himself from the spark, and after the explosion the bulk of the ball appeared to continue its course toward the east, low down. When it burst, however, it struck him, shattering the thumb and the first and second fingers of the left hand. cutting, scratching and blackening the right hand and left cheek, and shattering into fragments several bone buttons on his coat. Very soon afterward, Dr. R. Young, of Culdaff, and Dr. Newell, of Moville, attended the boy, and amputated the fingers and a portion of the thumb. No one near the place saw the ball (except the boy, of course), but the parents and several others heard the report, and the boys father rushed out immediately and caught his son as he was falling. Mr. Harvey soon afterward examined the place, and could find no further trace of the fire ball, except that a piece of bark had been knocked off a small tree within a few feet of the place where the boy was struck. The local police made exhaustive inquiry as regards the possibility of anyones having fired a gun at the boy, or of his having had any explosive in his possession ; but nothing of the kind transpired. It is well to add that at Redcastle (about eight miles away), one of the residents saw, on the same day, a bright object in the sky, which object he took to be a fire ball. The day was stormy, with heavy showers, but no thunder. M. Jamin relates (Cours de Physique, tome premier, p. 470) several instances of globular lightning, and from these I select the following as bearing. perhaps, the greatest resemblance to the above case as regards atmospheric conditions : A la suite dun violent orage observ prs de Wakefield, le 1er mars 1774, lorsquil ne restait plus dans tout le ciel que deux nuages peu levs au-dessus de lhorizon, M. Nicholson voyait A chaque instant des mtores semblables A des toiles filantes descendre du nuage suprieur au nuage infrieur. October 28. GEORGE M. MINCHIN. -4111- The Fastest Regular Train in the World. The Empire State express now holds the worlds record as the fastest regular passenger train. The speed of the best trains of foreign nations is : England, 5175 miles per hour; Germany, 5125 ; France, 49-88 ; Belgium, 4504 ; Holland, 44-73 ; Italy, 42-34 ; Austria-Hungary, 4175. America now heads the list with 5333 miles per hour to the credit of the Empire State express. This is the speed now made between New York and Buffalo.