TheCuntz Ocean Telephone Electric Cable SINCE the first message was sent under the Atlantic, there has been but little change in the cable itself. The copper conductor has been enlarged and there have been improvements in manufacture, but in its essential features the latest trans-Atlantic cable is only an enlarged copy of the one by which the farsightedness and energy of Cyrus Field first joined Europe and America. The sending and receiving apparatus at the shore ends of the cable has been improved more rapidly. By means of an artificial cable, having the same electrical properties as the real one, duplex working, or the sending of messages in both directions at the same time, has been made possible, and the transmitting and receiving instruments have been made more accurate and sensitive. As the result of these changes there has been a gradual increase in the speed of transmission until now, under favorable circumstances, about forty or fifty words a minute can be sent in each direction. But the limit of improvement appears to be reached unless the cable itself is radically changed. The cause of the slowness of submarine telegraphy as compared with that on overhead land lines is what the electricians call the “electrostatic capacity.” On account of this, when an electric current is sent into the cable it must charge the whole length of the cable before its effect will be felt at the far end. A great deal of the current is used in charging the cable, and if the “makes” and “breaks “ of the sending key follow too quickly upon each other, or if the direction of the current is changed too rapidly, the flow will be retarded and choked, so that no signals at all will reach the receiving end. A rough analogy will make this action clearer. Imagine a long rubber tube with very flexible walls, through which water is to be pumped. When the water is pumped in, before any of it reaches the far end, a great deal of it will be used in distending the tube, and it will take some time for any of it to reach the distant extremity. Even when the tube is full, and the attempt is made to work the pump at the transmitting end back and forth, the water pumped into the tube and drawn out of it will be used largely, if not entirely, in increasing and diminishing the pressure on the walls of the tube, and if the pump is worked fast enough, no effect whatever will be felt at the receiving end. In order to get rapid action we must stiffen up the tube. If this is done, and its walls are made absolutely unyielding, any change in pressure applied to the water at one end will be almost instantaneously felt at the other end. Now, returning to our ocean cable, if we can find some means of “stiffening” it electricall:r, we can counteract the effect of the electrostatic capacity and enable the current to flow without retardation, and the signals to be sent clearly and quickly. A contribution toward the solution of this problem comes to us in thl invention of J. H. Cuntz of Hoboken, N. J.; which has recently been made public. The electrical analogy of the stiffening we put into the rubber tube is called “inductance,” or “self-induction.” Inductance has effects opposite to electrostatic capacity, and when properly placed and proportioned can counteract it to any degree desired. As the capacity is distributed throughout the length of the cable, the best disposition of the inductance is to distribute it also throughout the cahle. The problem has been to do this in a practical, commercial way, but it may now be regarded a·s solved. 'he chief sources of inductance are coils of wires, and if these coils have iron cores, their induetance is greatly increased. What has now been done is to wind the copper conductor of the cable in a long open coil about a thin central core, and thus make the entire cable a source of inductance, so overcoming the effects of the capacity and at one stroke increasing the speed of signaling ten, twenty or even fifty-fold. What has been said about telegraphy applies with even greater force to telephony. Here the minute currents caused by the vibrating diaphragm of the transmitter vary at the rate of hundreds and even thousands of alternations a second, and in an ordinary ocean cable they would be choked up and obliterated after going a few miles. In underground eables the effects of capacity are also very trouble- some, and telephony has heen greatly hampered on this account. But a method was devised a few years ago (by Prof. Pupin of Columbia University) which has been very helpful in underground telephony, as well as on long overhead lines. By this plan inductance coils are placed at intervals along the cable so as to approximate the effects of uniformly distributed inductance. For long-distance submarine work, hOWever, such coils would be impractical. They make humps and mtroduce mechalllcal weaknesses which would cause difficulty and danger in laying a deep sea cable, and would increase the cost of maintenance and repair probably to a prohibitive degree. Tho new eahle, whi(h has just been patented by Nil Cunt,, . aV(lids these difficulties and is conspicuous for its strong and compact mechanical design, in addition to its efficient electrical properties. As its process of manufacture becomes systematized, it will be made at a cost little, if any, in excess of that of the present cables, and it ean be laid and maintained with no greater expense. Its use will vastly increase the speed of submarine telegraphy, and will have a most marked influence in lowering cable tolls. A t the same time it brings us at last to a realization of the long-cherished dream of ocean telephony. Think what it would mean to have Washington in telepholllc communication with Panama, and business men in New York and London within talking reach of each other. A Gyroscopic Stabilizer for Automobiles A RECENT newspaper article contains an interesting account of a test made on a slippery surface to demonstrate the effectiveness of a gyroscopic attachment for preventing automobiles from skidding. The attachment is described as being made under Rutt patents. This probably refers to an English patent, No. 12,842, of 1908, granted to Alfred Rutt of London. In this English patent the gyroscopic principle causes a pivoted trailing lever to oppose any swerving or skidding motion of the vehicle. In operation, the rotation of a friction wheel A, driven by the fly wheel B, is transmitted by a flexible shaft C, to a spindle on which the gyroscope wheel F, is fast. When the car tends to skid, the lateral displacement resulting therefrom, causes the trailing rod D, by the friction of its trailin O w heel on the ground surface, to assume an angu lar position and so swing a lever E, which earries the gvroscopic wheel F. This tilts the gyroscopic wheel from its normal plane of rotation and produces the combative force directed laterally against the frame of the vehiele in opposition to the side slip and operates to maintain or immediately restore the equilibrium of the vehiele. The gyroscopic principle has been suggested as a means of securing stability and persistenee of direction in various forms of vehicles. It will be reealled that a small gyroscope is provided within the shell of some forms of dirigible' torpedoes to aid in holding the torpedo on its course. In 1877 a patent was issued in the United States for an aerial machine which embodied gyroscopic wheels, one with a normally horizontal axis and the other with a normally vertical axis for the purpose of preserving the equilibrium of the machine and preventing its upsetting. In 1888 C. Benz of Mannheim, Baden, Germany, secured a United States patent for a seIf-propelling vehicle in which he supports the fly wheel on a vertical axis whereby it will revolve in a horizontal plane so that “the vehicle is not only easily controlled but also the greatest safety is attained against capsizing.” .. Other instances in which the gyroscopic prineiplo is utili,ed in an effort to secure stability in automobiles, will be found in numerous United States patents including Nos. 584,127; 637,750; 653,264; 734,283; 859,293, and 907,907, to which the attention of those especially interested in the mbject is directed. Medical Compounds from. a Patentable Standpoint A T one time, new medicinal mixtures of substances of previously recognized medicinal virtue, were regarded as patentable. In recent years, however, this view has been eonsiderably modified by decisions such as that of Assistant Commissioner Fisher, rendered May 24th, 1890, September 9, 1911 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 233 in the case of Crippen, in which a medicinal mixture was held to be "wanting in patentability beeausc it c(vcl'l'd nothing more than such u compound of medicinal agents as could be made by the excrcise of the skill of a physician." The doctrine of this decision has been followed by the Patent Office tribunals, including the Board of Examiners-in-Chief (whose decisions are not published), and is generally applied to medical compounds which are made up of ingredients known as medicinal of which any physician is expected to make such selection as his judgment may dictate for the treatment of any case he may have in mind. Darlington's Personal Property on page 227 says: "It is doubtful ,jf a nHre Pl'pscl'iptiOIl forming the body of a so·called 'patent medicine' (more properly a proprietnry remedy, since they are usually not patented) really exhibits invention; for no matter how good and effcient (many are very good) it is still a question whether (other coni,itions being disregarded) where the result of medical educntion has brought in a formula for the cure of disease there is auything beyond tl'chndcal skill." Some substances not previously used in medicine may give patentability in mixtures in which they are employed. It must not be thought, however, that this is a' conclusive test of patentability as it must be considered whether the new ingredient is essential and material in its effect on the mixture, also whether the mixture is a true combination or only an aggregation, for many medicinal mixtures are not patentable, because the mixture possesses no demonstrable effect other than that which would result from the ingredients taken separately. Apart from medical compounds, processes of treatment have been held unpatentable. In the case of Brinkerhoff, decided July 5th, 1883, Mss. vol. 24, pp. 349, Commissioner Marble says: "The methods or mod('g of treatment of physicians of certain disease'S are not patentable ; they 31re discoveries which may in a majority Df cases under ce"tain conditions accomplish certain l'Csult'S, but no particular method or mode of treatment under all circumstances and in all cases will produce upon all persons the same result, and hence to grant a patent for a particular method of treatment would have a tendency to deceive the public by leading it to believe that the method therein dcscrribed would produce the desired result in all cases." The Court in Morton v. New York Eye Infirmary, Fisher, vol. 11, page 320, held: "The application of ethpl' to snrgieal pur-pOiSes was an effect produced by old agents operating bo' old menns upon old subjects. The effect Hlorw was new, and 'as a mere discoyery, which, howevCr novel and important, is not patentable," and suggested that the patent law is "inadequate to the protection of every discovery by securing its exclusive control to the explorer to whose eye it rnay be first discIOsed," and "Neither the natural functions Df an animal upon which, or thirough which, u new force or prineiple may he designed to operate, nor any of the useful pmposes to which . may be applied, can form any essential parts of a patentable combination with it, hDwever they may illustrate and establish its usefulness." As nearly as can be easily determined, about nine patents were granted during the past year for medical compounds. Medical compounds, however, must not be confounded with chemical compounds, since definite individual chemical compounds are, if new, patentable, whether intended for medicinal use or for some other purpose. A Puncture Proof Tire A CCORDING to Consul .ames E. Dunning, Havre, France, Mr. George Longuemare of Havre has patented and put into practical use an invention for preventing punctures in pneumatic tires which he calls “a puncture-proof metal band for pneumatic tires.” The chief features of the invention are: A band of canvas covered with small hexagonal metallic disks. These disks are arranged to fit closely one against another, and lC riveted to the ealvas so as to form a iiexible armor. The band of canvas thus prepared is placed in a sheath of rubber. In order to safeguard the tire, this sheath is placed between the air-tube and the outer cover. The air-chamber cannot be punctured, and even cuts in the outer cover are in no way harmful. Experiments have shown that there is considerably less heating of the tire, and that resilience is the same. Different experiments are said to have been made before responsible witnesses to prove that nails, broken glass, etc., cannot cause punctures when the air-chamber is thus protected, and the results are reported to the Consul to have beEm entirely in favor of the invention. l.'or example, two one-inch nails were driven into the outer cover and the automobile, with four passengers, was driven fve miles before further examination was made. Then the tire was removed and it was found that the air-chamber had not been touched by the nails and that even the armored device had not suffered, the nails having met the quite imperfor-able steel disks
This article was originally published with the title "The Inventor's Department"