NEW YORK AND ERIE RAILROAD—W. J. McAlpine, C. E., has resigned his office of State Engineer, and become the Engineer of the above-mentioned railroad. He is a man whose practical and scientific engineering abilities are of the highest order ; were this not so he never would have been invited from the highest engineering office in this State, to fill that ol the New York and Erie Railroad Co. He is possessed, also, of high inventive qualities, and these were eminently displayed in the construction of that great work, "The Brooklyn Navy Yard Dry Dock." The managers of this railroad have been fortunate in securing his services. The New York and Erie Railroad is the greatest work of the kind in the United States, and our personal knowledge of some of its superintending engineers, architects, and others, give us a very high opinion of its whole management. WASHINGTON MECHANICS' INSTITUTE—THE MEAT BISCUIT.—We have received a copy of the proceedings of the Metropolitan Mechanics' Institute, respecting the Fair held in the East Wing of the Patent Office Building in the months of last February and March. This was the first Exhibition of the Institute, and we were to have received an account of the display, &c, if there was anything remarkable with respect to novelty in the machines exhibited. The Fair was creditable considering that Washington has no manufactories nor machine shops of any consequence, and besides, is a city of but a sparse population. We were told it was about as goid as some ot the Fairs of the American Institute held in Castle Garden, this city. In jhe Report of the Judges on substances used as food, very favorable testimony is borne to the value of Borden's Meat Biscuit. It says, ?' A member of the Jury being dyspeptic and unable to eat ordinary soups, partook freely ot the soup made from the meat biscuit, and testified to its salutary properties." We perceive that the majority of articles which were exhibited—like those generally found at all the Fairs held in this city—were for advertising purposes. This is a great evil in all Industrials Fairs, but we do not know if it can well be avoided. A box of sardines—a pot of mustard—a bottle of pickles, &c, may answer very well to be exhibited in some places, but the Fair of a Mechanics' Institute is not the place for them. We speak thus, not in reference to this Exhibition, but to alloth ers whose object, ostensibly, is " improvements in the mechanic arts." New discoveries in preserving foods, and in all that relates to chemistry, are proper subjects for display at the Fairs of Mechanics' Institutes, but nothing unless it has some useful novelty to recommend it, should ever be allowed to stand on the tables of an Industrial Association, for the mere purpose of informing the public that John Jenks or James Shanks sells such an article at such a place. STEAMSHIPS BEATEN.—The clipper ship " Northern Light " left San Francisco on the 13th of March, and arrived at Boston on the 29th ult., making the passage in 76 days—the shortest that has ever been made. This is faster than the time made by steamships. Indeed the " Flying Cloud," " Sovereign of the Seas," and the " Northern Light," have sailed more miles under canvas, in one day, than any steamship ever did with both steam and its sails. Our steamships must look to their laurels ; none of the Collin's line has yet made 400 miles in one day ; the greatest day's run of the "Arabia" was only 330 miles. This ship was built at South Boston by Messrs. Briggs. MACHINE TOR PEGGING BOOTS—The " Buffalo Express says that a machine has been invented by a mechanic of that city, though it is not yet patented, which will do the entire pegging of a shoe, with either one, two or three rows of pegs, just as you please, in from two to three minutes ! The number of rows makes no difference in the time, and the work is pronounced far better than hand work can be. A further novelty stated to be in the case is, that this machine makes its own pegs as it does its work, and thus destroys the value of that ingenious machine for making pegs that has so long been both useful and profitable." Our own opinion about all this is, that we would rather see than hear of this machine. A machine can be made to do almost anything, as mechanical combinations can be made, ad infinitum, but the doing a certain work, and performing it economically, are two different questions which must never be lost sight of, iii estimating the value ot any machine. ANOTHER AMERICAN YACHT VICTORY.—A yacht of 10 tons burden, named the" Truant," the property of Robert Grinnell, nephew of Moses H. Grinnel], of this city, recently beat all the yachts at a regetta on the Thames.— This small vessel was built by Robert Fish boat builder in this city, (?. Y.).
This article was originally published with the title "Events of the Week" in Scientific American 8, 39, 309-310 (June 1853)