We published last year a statement, copied from Califor- lia papers, to the effect that more labor was needed there in early all departments of industry. This statement was deled by a correspondent, who stated that the report was cir- ulated by those interested in cheapening labor, to the detri-lent of mechanics in that State, who, it was asserted, were vcn then more numerous than jobs. is The Alta California now states that the State is suffering ' :reat injury by the exceptionally high wages which prevail. Vith the exhaustion of the placers, the immediate cause of cry high wages ceased. The value of town property in the lining districts has declined, and the range of employment as consequently been narrowed Combinations, however, ave succeeded in forcing the pay for certain forms of labor p to a mark that bears no just proportion to its actual value j. " the rate at which other labor is compensated. The ine n qualities in this respect are pronounced by the San b rancisco journalist "gross and unreasonable." The circumstance is rendered more noticeable by the fact that in the colony of "toria, which now yields more gold than California the wages of mechanics and unskilled laborers are not half so high as those which prevail in the latter State. Alloys Fusible at liow Temperatures. We have known for some time past, several alloys fusible at temperatures below the boiling point of water. The one commonly known by the name of Newton alloy consists of eight parts of bismuth, five parts of lead, and three of tin. It fuses, according to Pelouze, at 94*5'', and according to Thenard at 90. The one by D'Arcet, the most celebrated of all, is made of two parts of bismuth, with one part of lead, and one part of tin; it melts at 93. In a treatise on chemistry by Pelouze and Fremy, we are informed of another, composed of 5 parts of bismuth, three parts of lead, and two of tin, the fusing point of which comes as low as 91*6. Dr. Wood says that there exists another more recent than the latter, whicli was described in Silliman's American Journal as containing from seven to eight parts of bismuth, four parts of lead, and two of tin, to which two parts of cadmium are added. It is said to fuse between 66 and 71. While engaged in galvanoplastic experiments, M. Lalance used seven to five parts of bismuth to one to five parts of cadmium. The alio/ which he thus obtained, fused at the low temperature of 66. Thefnost surprising feature in this discovery is that its difference from the other alloys consists in the addition of a metal of more difficult fusibility than any of those contained in the ordinary alloy. The cadmium by itself only melts at a temperature of 360 C. The other components, lead, bismuth, and tin, fuse at 312, 276% and 230 respectively. Another point worthy of note in the preparation of alloys is the peculiar use made of bismuth. From the undermentioned table it will be at once apparent that the alloys at present in use consist to the extent of exactly one half of their weight of bismuth: Alloy of Alloy of Alloy of Allov cf Metals. Newton. D'Arcet. Pelouze. Wood. Bismuth.......... 600 600 600 600 Lead............. 375 300 360 320 Tin.............. 225 300 240 160 Cadmium.— —- 120 1,200 1,200 1,200 1,200 The next discovery in this field ought to be an alloy fusible at the ordinary temperature. The heat of summer is stored up in the ocean, and slowly given out during the winter. Hence one cause of the absence of extremes in an island climate.
This article was originally published with the title "Labor in California" in Scientific American 21, 10, 155 (September 1869)