The velocipede represented in the engravings is quite a curiosity; it seems to combine the safety of the three-wheeled machine with the manageableness of the bicycle. Its peculiarities are in the construction of the rear axle, or axles, and the method of making connection between the feet of the driver and the driving wheel. The first permits short corners and small curves to be turned readily, and the latter the ap plication of greater power for ascending inclines, or traveling over rough roads, than can be exerted on the ordinary machines. A brief description will suffice to show these points. The rear axle, instead of being, as in tho ordinary tricycle, a single shaft, is in two parts, the innerends of each formed into toothed segments that engage with a small gear in a box to which the axles and the rear end of the reach are pivoted. The end of the reach is also a toothed segment engaging with the small gear. It will be seen that the inclination of the riders body, when the vehicle describes a curve, will partly rotate the gear, and consequently elevate the inner end of one axle while it correspondingly depresses the other, thus inclining the wheels toward the center of the circle, of which the curve described is a portion. Ease and facility for turning short corners is thus assured, while the perfect balance of the rider is preserved. This portion of the improvement is best seen in Fig. 2. In Fig. 1, the device for increasing the power of the vehicle in rising grades is shown. It is simply an adaptation of the plan of gearing used on engine lathes for increasing power and diminishing velocity. The upper or shifting gear stud, or axis, is secured in a slot in the upright support, and may be thrown into gear as required. When out of gear, the velocipede is driven, as others, by the direct application of the riders feet. No detailed description is necessary to make this portion easily comprehended. It would seem also that this device might be advantageously applied to ordinary wagons with good effect. The method of adaptation will readily suggest itself to the intelligent mechanic from the foregoing description and accompanying illustrations. Patent pending through the Scientific American Patent Agency. For additional details, address the inventor, N. C. Stiles, Middletown, Conn. A Iong-Talled Comet, James Fisk, Jr., of this city, was once a dashing peddler in New Hampshire, afterwards a dry goods merchant] in Boston, and, if we mistake not, he was instrumental in galvanizing into life the Goulding carding machine patent, which had been dead for a quarter of a century—an operation which, unassisted by anything else, would stamp Fisk as a genius of the highest order. His fame, however, does not by any means rest upon this per- formance, extraordinary though it be; he also plays the part of one of those brilliant long-tailed comets which go blazing away through space to the astonishment of everybody. He is in turn a peddler, a merchant, a Wall-street broker, a railway director, a financier, an operatic and theatrical manager—so shrewd and audacious withal, that everybody is wondering what Fisk is going to do next, and in order Sito gratify this laudable curiosity, Fisk adds to his other titles that of Managing Director, Narragansett Steamship Company, and proposes to run two elegant steamboats from New York to Newport and Fall River. But to run them like other people would not be characteristic of Fisk, There must be a sensation on board. The comets tail must blaze about the decks. The steam calliope will not do—that has played out. Fisk wants, therefore, to contract for two orchestras, ten pieces each, first-class musicians, and promises to give seven months steady employment, living included. This steamboat company did not pay last year. Fisk makes everything pay. Gold Beating. The art of gold beating, says the London Buil(ter, is a very ancient one. There seems great probability, that, like some other arts, it has been known and practiced and forgotten. Homer refers to it; Pliny, more practical, states that gold can be beaten, one ounce making 550 leaves, each four fingers square—about four times the thickness of the gold now used. This is most probably such gold as was used in the decoration of the Temple— It was covered with plates of burnished gold. The Peruvians had thin plates nailed together. It is possible that if decorations of this character were used in these parts, their insecurity would so trouble some folks that they would have no rest till they were effectually nailed. The Thebans have in their wall histories some gold characters done with leaf said to be as thin as the gold of the present day. Coming down with a jump from the long past to the present age, we find our country celebrated for its gold-leaf. Italy used to excel us, but Italy has been in a long sleep, and is only just awakened. It is one of the last things our overgrown offspring undertook to make for herself. Until very recently she imported all the gold-leaf she required from this country. The gold-beaters skin made here is still the admiration of the world (of gold beaters). This skin is gut skin, stretched and dried on frames, after which each surface is very carefully leveled, a labor intrusted to the delicate hands of young girls. A mold (as the number of square pieces of skin beaten at one time in the gold-beating process is called) is an expensive article, costing from 9 to 10, and when useless for gold beating is still of some value. Fifty or sixty years back a workman made 2,000 leaves of gold from 18 or 19 dwts. of gold; now, by better skin and skill, he is enabled to produce the same number from 14 or 15 dwts., showing a considerable reduction in the cost of produce, and, as may be expected, a deterioration in the quality of the article. One grain of gold beaten between this skin can be extended to ome 75 square inches of surface, the thickness of which will be l-367650th part of an inch. These figures represent what may be done. What is done for the purposes of trade is somewhat less—namely, 56J square inches per grain, l-2S0000th of an inch in thickness. To give an idea of its thinness, it would take 120 to make the thickness of common printing paper, 367,650 sheets of which would make a column half as high as the Monument. m LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, near Chattanooga, contains a cave that is said to have been explored for a distance of eight miles. - SOME California papers pronounce the White Pine mining district as being, with few exceptions, all Wildcat.
This article was originally published with the title "Improvement in Three-Wheeled Velocipedes"