During an excursion made the past summer composed partly of a thousand miles or rail road on seven different routes, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and New Jersey the excessive annoyance caused by the dust and cinders, led me to contriving some means for the abatement of so great a nuisance, and I now offer you my suggestions in the belief that whoever shall accomplish such an object will greatly promote the comfort and pleasure of the traveling public, and also benefit the railroad companies, by inducing many to tra vel, who having once made the experiment, have concluded, like myself, that necessity alone would lead them to repeat it. I-would attach the apparatus to the tender of the locomotive, which should be made of the same length as the passenger car, or about thirty feet. Around the bottom of it, and en veloping the running-gear, I would place a fight apron of sheet iron, extending down very nearly to the level of the rails. This would form a large box, having the apron for its sides and ends, the body of the car for its top, while its bottom would be the surface of the earth. Into this box the exhaust steam is to be conducted by a large hose of sail-duck or other material. Immediately the steam expands over the surface of the ground, which, being parched by the rays of the sun, is in a suitable condition instantly to absorb a por tion of the watery vapor in contact with it. And the more finely the earth is pulverized the more rapidly absorption will take place, so that in the space of one second and a half, a sufficient quantity of moisture will proba bly be received to prevent the dust from rising. This is about the length of time each particle would be exposed to the action of the vapor, with a car thirty feet in length and a speed of thirty miles an hour. A shorter car might answer with a higher speed, but expe riment only can determine this point. The principle is simple—to bring the steam into quiet contact with the dust over an extended sui face. The connecting hose should- enter the box in such a manner as to project the •team horizontally along the bottom of the car, from which it will descend wilhout any violence of motion, and escape quietly be tween the lower edge of the apron and the ground. The smoke and cinders being forced along in company with the steam, will no doubt be thoroughly condensed and extin guished, and deposited between the rails, in stead of being discharged above to vitiate the atmosphere. The ordinary spark-catcher will be dispensed with, and perhaps even the pipe —a connection oniy being required with the duster box. Ad vantage might also arise from the moistening of the rails behind the locomo tive, causing an important diminution of resis tance to the train, while it does not impair the tractive power of the engine. The above general description will enable any interestd to test the plan, and having my self no connection with mechanical pursuits, I offer it to your valuable journal as the best means of bringing it under the notice of such, with this remark, however, that I have no in tention of taking a patent, not doubting- that if successful, those companies adopting it will take pleasure in gratifying the small privilege I shall ask in return.J., Jr.
This article was originally published with the title "Railroad Dust and Cinders" in Scientific American 8, 14, 107 (December 1852)