UNCLE SAM'S new tide prophet is a machine which outclasses all human competitors; it is capable of doing in one day work which formerly required the services of sixty-five computers. It was invented by Mr. E. G. Fisher, of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, and is used to predict the height of the water at any instant on any date from one to two years in the future for every port in the United States and seventy of the principal ports of the world. This information is issued in the form of a book by the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Tide predictions are based on local as well as astronomical conditions that influence the rise and fall of the ocean. At every port in the world there is an instrument which indicates these fluctuations by a curved line on a sheet of paper, and from a long series of such observed curves computers have evolved the average of each component at each place. The formula upon which this perfected machine is based includes thirty-seven of these components. There are a set of gears to represent the sun's influence, another to take the place of the moon, various other sets which act for the planetary movements, and still other sets which speak for local conditions. The machine looks like a huge printing press. A skeleton frame of brass, steel, and iron occupies a space 11 feet long, 6 feet high, and 2 feet wide, and from the dial indicators in the front to the opposite end it is a maze of wheels, gears, pulleys, and chains. There are three hundred gear wheels and pulleys in the machine. These are arranged in two main sections, one representing the time, the other the height of tide. Two chains, each permanently fastened at one end, run through each section, and their free ends are attached to indicating devices. The operator beginning a set of predictions adjusts the eccentrics connected with each set of gears. By turning a crank he causes the wheels to rise or descend, thus lengthening or shortening the free end of the chain. This variation appears on the dials at the front of the machine, one pointer showing the height of water in feet and tenths; the other the day, hour, and minute of the occurrence. An electrical device stops the machine whenever a high or low water is indicated. While the operator is recording these figures, the machine is doing a still more detailed work. A strip of paper 6 inches wide and 380 feet long is moving automatically across the face of thE;! machine, and while one pen is marking the hours and exact times of highest and lowest waters, another pen is tracing a curved line which. shows the gradual rise and fall. The information turned out by this machine is sought by the marine engineer who wishes to calculate for improvements, and the hydrographic surveyor who is laying plans for future surveys, as it enables him to know the depth and time of high and low water on any date a year or two in advance. Weighting of Silk IT is much to be regretted that many unscrupulous manufacturers resort to weighting, or “loading,” raw silk in the dyeing process, to such an extent as to render it a very uncertain and treacherous fabric, with a tendency to split and crack even when carefully folded and laid away. In this dyeing process the natural gum of the silkworm is first removed from the silk by a method of “stripping,” as it is called, in order that the raw material may properly take and hold the dye. This causes a loss of weight which dyers have always sought to restore, but instead of being content with doing this, the thrown silk is dipped into a solution of bichloride of tin, nitrate of iron, or some other chemical compound, for the purpose of giving it more weight than that lost in the stripping process, so that a hundredweight of silk in the raw state is often made to weigh three, or even four, hundred pounds when the dyeing is completed. As raw silk is bought and sold by the pound, the gain to the manufacturer is obvious. This operation makes the silk more valuable, but destroys the durability of the filaments. Stretching the threads by steaming, so that a given weight will weave a greater number of yards, and the addition of chemicals to give it an unnatural luster, are other processes that prove profitable to manufacturers, but costly to consumers. It is a mistaken idea with many people that the heavy silks are the best and most durable. Just the reverse is true. The light weight, or “pure dye silks,” as they are termed, are much stronger and more durable, as only enough added weight - is given to this class of silks, in the dyeing, to replace the loss in the stripping process. The use of inferior and destructive dyes is another method equally as common and equally as reprehensible, by which many manufacturers impose upon the consumers in the dyeing of silk.
This article was originally published with the title "New Tide-predicting Machine"