Capt. Ericsson has addressed a letter to the Editor of the New York Daily Times, on the above subject, and it has attracted some public attention. He labors under misinformation regarding the machinery which has been adopted for paying out the cable. He asserts that it does not embrace devices or arrangements to prevent jerks and strains upon the cable while the vessel rises and sinks in a heavy sea. Were this the case the machinery would be defective indeed. He proposes an arrangement to meet the difficulty mentioned, by passing the cable over a traveling sheave, which is to run back and forth, to pay out the increased slack of cable required, when the stern of the vessel rises, and vice versa. The Atlantic telegraph company have adopted this very feature in their machinery for paying out the cable, but it is not the invention of their engineers. It was patented by H. Berdan of this city, as stated by us on page 293, and his model with such an arrangement was exhibited in our office, as far back as November, 1857, and in the Merchants' Exchange, this city, in February last, in which month it was sent to-England. It was not, until a considerable period subsequent to the exhibition of this model, that we heard of any other person proposing such a necessary compensating arrangement for paying out the Atlantic cable. The only mechanical difference between the arrangement proposed by Capt. Ericsson, and that embraced in Mr. Berdan's model, is that the latter has a traveling carriage, instead of a single traveling sheave, and he employs a tension weight, instead of steam, or compressed air, which Capt. Ericsson proposes for the same purpose, but the principle of the invention is the same. The machinery to be employed by the Telegraph company, is Berdan's turned upside down, which embraces about as much difference in principle, as making the hammer of a gun strike upwards, instead of downwards, and which the inf ringer of Forsyth's patent, had^ the audacity to re-. present before a Court, as a different invention from the percussion lock, because the latter was represented in the patent with its hammer downward. " Honor to whom honor is due." Just as we were going to press we received a letter from Capt. Ericsson, in which he ' states that a friend had directed his attention ' to an article on page 293 of the present 1 volume of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, subse-! quent to the publication of his letter above ' referred to. Of course, had he seen our article, he would not have written the letter to the Times.
This article was originally published with the title "Ericsson on the Atlantic Cable Machinery" in Scientific American 13, 39, 309 (June 1858)