The ordinary house decorations that usually have any connection with their architectural proporf ions are, if not of the same material as the front of the house itself, generally made of plaster or stucco. When the house is new, these answer very well, and for a short time look in keeping with the whole ; but it does not take long for the weather to cause them to crack, then little bits break off, and finally the whole crumbles away. A new material has been introduced to supply the place of these friable plasters and stuccoes, which is easily moulded and can be cast into any pattern. It is basalt. There are works in Birmingham, Eng., where architectural decorations are cast from it in hot molds. The products are very firm and beautiful, and are represented as possessing characteristics of great durability. When cast in cold molds, a glassy lava termed ohsidian is produced. The material generally employed is the rag-stone of the neighborhood, but furnaces are in operation for the reduction of quartz by direct fusion according to a peculiar process, in which the pulverized quartz is mixed with fluor spar, lime, and oxyd of iron, which agents combine with the silica and render the whole perfectly fluid. Manufacturing; Coiled Springs. Tliis invention consists chiefly in the combination with a rotating mandrelwhose form is that of a single cone or frustum of a cone of two or more pressing rollers, arranged and operating in such a manner as to coil a piece of wire of any length in the form of a continuous series of truncated cones, having tlieir bases in alternate opposite directions. The wire thus coiled only requires to be cut apart, at the union of the bases of the several coniform portions of the coil, to produce a number of doulile or single conical springs, such as are used for upholstery, and other purposes. This is the invention of James Harrison, Jr., of this city. It has just been patented in Great Britain, and was patented in the United States January 27, 1857.
This article was originally published with the title "Architectural Decorations" in Scientific American 13, 11, 84 (November 1857)