While the evils attending the use of lead pipes for water are doubtless greatly exaggerated in the articles written upon this subject in the newspapers, no candid investigator has, to our knowledge, denied the existence of such evils or attempted to prove that such pipes are not objectionable in a sanitary point of view. Though the use of these pipes is very extended, and startling cases of lead poisoning are not comm on, it must be remembered that lead is one of the most insidious of poisons, accumulating little by little in the system through long periods of time. The results, when produced, may not even in many cases be traced to the action of lead, and there is reason to believe that in certain ailments this cause is often overlooked. There is always a contingency that among a large number who use water contaminated slightly with lead, some one more susceptible than the rest will be inj ured. In a recent paper read before the Scientific Club, at Water- bury, Conn., by Dr. C. S. Rodman, the following symptoms of lead poisoning were enumerated, some or all of which may be considered as the forerunners of serious di sease : 1.A blue discoloration of the gums at their junction with the teeth. This was observed about the same time by T'ln- querel, by Dr. Schilbach of Neustadt, and by Dr. Brinton of London. The discovery of this mark has proved a blessing to thousands. When present it is positive evidence of the poison ; it is not, however, developed in every case. M. Bra- chet (Paris, 1850), states that it is almost always present in patients poison ed by inhalation. 2.A metallic taste and fetid breath. Observed also in slow poisoning from other metals, as mercury and copper. 3.Lead jaundice. Sometimes the complexion assumes an earthen hue ; sometimes it becomes transparent and waxy, presenting an appearance of excessi delicacy. Emaciation is an occasional phenomenon. These primary effects rarely coexi st. The diseases likely to follow are : 1.Colic, or neuralgia, chiefly abdominal. It is comm on, and well known as lead or painter's colic. 2."Arthralgia,” or neuralgia of the limbs. These are anomalous pains, chiefly in the limbs, and without redness or swelling. The cause being overlooked, rheumatism is generally assigned as the explanation. In true rheumatism the joints are most involved. In ordinary neuralgia, the pain chiefly follows the nerve trunks. In this affection the pain is in the finer branches of nerves distributed, to the muscles. 3.Paralysis, or lead-palsy. Any muscles of the body may be involved. The arms, wrists, and fingers are oftenest weakened. Paralysis is usually only partial. Wristdrop is characteristic. Amaurosis, or paralysis of the retina ; deafness and loss of voice are occasioned. 4.Cerebral Affections. The most frequent of these are convulsions ; they are usually epil eptic. In view of these facts there cannot be two opinions as to the impropriety of using lead pipes for water when their use can be avoided, and pipes are now manufactured and sold, which insulate the lead from the water by a lining of block tin, a harmless material, durable, and not very expensive. Car Wheels. From Auchincloss' Report of the Paris Exhibition we extract the following: ” The practice of nations seems much divided on the subj ect of the proper material for car wheels. The wrought.iron wheel is almost exclusively adhered to in England, France, and Prussia ; while Holland and Austria discover features worthy of attention in the cast iron. The general properties of the cast-iron spoke wheel are familiar to all. The Society of Providence (limited), whose office is' at 208 Quai Jemmapes, Paris, display specimens of rolled wrought-iron wheel centers, without weld, whose radial section is similar to an I-beam. Upon such centers the tire is held with four seven eighth- inch rivets. ” The Society of Mines a'nd Steel Works, Bochum, Prussia, exhibits a remarkable cast of wheels. It was formed by stacking the flasks twenty-two wheels high, with the hubs in contact, and then pouring in crucible steel through a side runner. Although this cast was made more as a matter of curiosity, it is quite customary with this company to arrange them in tiers of six wheels each, and thus save the numerous aide runners required when Met singly. One awinging of the set in the lathe answers for facing up all the treads flat1geiiTh«« 'Whseli have a single tIat®, Are forty inches in diameter. The Austrian exhibitions are by A. Ganz, of Ofen, Hungary, and Mi. Derno, o f the same section of country. The former gentleman is the most extensive manufacturer in Austria, and makes a double-plated wheel similar in design to that known in America as the ' Snow patent.' He exhibited a wheel»38 inches in diam eter, cast in 1856, which has served under a 10-tun four-wheeled wagon for the past eleven years. The tread of this wheel appears in excellent condition, the metal close-grained without signs of honey-combing. "The director-general of the Austrian I. R. P. State Railway Society certifies to the fact of this wheel having run 50,000 miles. The road on which these wheels are used is 419 miles II length, and pursues a southeasterly course from Vienna through Hungary. In respect to climate the trial is most severe. Its merits are certainly appreciated or the shop number would not extend as high as 84,981, which was noticed on a wheel cast during the present year. The wheels, as usual, have three core holes in the back. The only peculiarity about these holes is a V-groove cast near the opening, into which, when the core is removed, an eighth of an inch sheet-iron disk is sprung. This method is employed on wheels designed sp ecially for passenger coaches, and prevents the entrance of stones, which, rattling within a wheel of so large diameter, become a source of much annoyance."
This article was originally published with the title "The Use of Lead Water Pipes" in Scientific American 21, 14, 215 (October 1869)