RAILROAD accidents succeed eachotherwith alarming frequency, simply adding fresh chapters of horror, and shedding no fresh light on their cause. Railroad companies continue to assert through the press and in our law courts that they have made ample provision against these catastrophies in their bye-laws and regulations, that they are therefore responsible only in asubordinate degree, andthattheblame and punishment must rest upon the officials immediately intrusted withthe safety of the traveling public. The practice of these companies would seem to be to work their lines with the leastpossible cost and to reap the largest possible dividends. An opea draw-bridge, a broken rail, or a defective axle is too often discovered by its effect upon a passenger train; or, again, a collision is the result of a sleeping—probably overtasked—engineer. The question to be considered is not are these railroad laws sufficient, but is there ample provision made for their due fulfillment.; We learnfrom an exchange that considerable excitement is felt lnWall-ingford and Shrewsbury, Vermont, upon the discovery of a mountain of of lead. This mountain formerly belonged to the late Morton Dawson. Last spring a son of his, in making sugar, built an arch of the loose stone found in that section. After adjusting his pan and kindling a fire, h noticed melted lead or solder run out of the lire. He supposed his pan was melting down, and removed it, but found it entire, and also found that the meltedmetal came from the stones of the arch. It is said that specimeni have been sent to Washington,New York, and Boston, for examination. At the coming fair at St. Louis, a large amount is to be distributed in premiums for cotton. The St.Louis Republican says: "We understand that these premiums will be awarded as follows:—For the best bale of upland or short staple cotton $500. Forthebest bale of New Orleans, or long staple cotton $500. The St. Louis Fair Association have added to this a third premium of $250f orthebest bale of cotton raised in Missouri. The cotton entered mustbe of the growth of 1869, and the bales must not weigh less than 450 pounds each. Sea Island and Peeler cotton are excluded from competition. The acidity of mine waters, so often noticed and so deleterious to stean boilers, has been the subject of some remarks by Dr. Willigk, who has analyzed water from a coal pit in Bohemia. It contained acid sulphates and free sulphuric acid in notable quantity. He recommended that it should be filtered over witherite (natural carbonate of baryta), which is abund ant in the locality. The experiment was successtul, and prevented the corrosion of the boilers or machinery. Challc or limestone would haTe proved equally efficacious. Two thirds of all the prints made in the United States are produced in New England. Massachusetts and New Hampshire can print from ninety to ninety-five thousand pieces weekly; New York State, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania can print about ninety thousand weekly. Of all these there are three of the largest printing companies that have a capacity to print one half of this whole production. Thirteen hundred and fifty men were engaged in changing the gage of the MissouriPacific Railroad. So complete were the preparations and facilities that the feat was accomplished in the increditable short time of twelve hours, and without the loss or delay of a single train. The business oftha road is progressing now as usual. IsaacHeene, of Duxbury, Mass., being invited to address aschool,re-sponded by offering each scholar an acre of good land to plant on shares , he manuring and plowing the same, and promising in two years to give a clear title to such as had improved the land in a farm-like manner. ItisofflciallyannouncedbyM.Lesseps.thatthe ceremonies of the opening of the Suez canal will take place on the 17th of next November. The two great enterprises by which the year 1869 will be distinguished in history, are the Union Pacific railroad and the Suez canal. The colored mechanics of Baltimore, and the State of Maryland, are forming trades unions and societies of their own, as the white workingmen deny them admission to their unions. The construction of a ship canal from New Orleans to Lake Pontchar-train, it is asserted, would diminish greatly the port charges in pilotage and towage.
This article was originally published with the title "Manufacturing, Mining, and Railroad Items" in Scientific American 21, 6, 91 (August 1869)