« PredošláPokračovať »
same light, would be about 20001. cast iron cover, which I lute to it with If the comparison were made on the
sand. Into this pot I put my coal. I average of three hours a day, which, pass the gas through water into the gaso
meter or reservoir, which holds about in most cases, would perhaps be
400 gallons; and, by means of old gun nearer the truth, the advantage would barrels, convey it all round my shops. be still more in favour of the gas Now, from twenty or twenty-five pounds lights. The interest of capital and of coal, I make, perhaps, six hundred tear and wear, remaining nearly the gallons of gas; for, when my reservoir is same as in the former case, the whole full, we are forced to burn away the overcost would not exceed 6501. while plus in waste, unless we have work to
use it as it is made: but, in general, we that of the tallow would be 30001. go on making and using it, so that I can. Here, then, we have a saving of not tell to fifty or a hundred gallons. And, three parts in four; and it is not in fact, a great deal depends on the coal, likely, as we shall see hereafter, that
some coals making much more than others. Mr. Murdoch has reached the ut
These twenty-five pounds of coal put into most point, either of economy in his
the retort, and say twenty-five pounds
more to heat the retort, which is more process of distillation, or of simpli- than it does take one time with another city in the
construction of his appara. -but I am willing to say the utmost, are tus. “ The peculiar softness and worth four pence per day. From this clearness of this light,” says Mr. four pence we burn eighteen or twenty Murdoch, under whose direction the lights during the winter season."
In this manner are the candles whole was completed, " with its almost unvarying intensity, have
which he used to employ, and which brought it into great favour with the
cost him three shillings a day, entirework people: and its being free from ly superseded. But, besides his exthe inconvenience resulting from the pense in candles, oil and cotton for sparks, and frequent snuffing of the soldering used to cost him full 301, a candles, is a circumstance of mate- year, which is entirely saved, as he rial importance, as tending to dimi
now does all this soldering by the gas nish the hazard of fire, to which flame only. For “ in all trades in cotton mills are known to be much
which the blowpipe is used with oil exposed."
and cotton, the gas flame will be The next fact we shall bring for- found much superiour, both as to ward is important, inasmuch as it
quickness and neatness in the work. shows, that the superiority of gas ly ready for use ; while, with oil and
The flame is sharper, and is constantlights is not confined to great manu. factories, but is equally apparent in cotton, the workman is always forced those on a small scale ; thus opening is, till it is sufficiently on fire to do
to wait for his lamp getting up; that a much wider range for the possible his work. Thus, a great quantity of application of the new mode. We are indebted for this fact to a Mr.
oil is always burned away useless; Cook,* a manufacturer of metal toys stopcock is turned, the lamp is ready,
but, with the gas, the moment the at Birmingham; a clear headed, prac
and not a moment is lost.” We must tical man, not apt to be dazzled by a fanciful theory, but governed in his refer to Mr. Cook's letter, for the transactions by a simple balance of
details of expense, which he gives
with faithful minuteness, and always profit and loss. There is a naïveté in his own account of this process, the gas. The result of the whole is,
leaning to the side unfavourable to which will amuse as well as instruct
that he saves 301. out of the 501. which the reader.
his lights formerly cost him. And, “ My apparatus is simply a small cast
when we consider that his calculation iron pot, of about eight gallons, with a
allows the gas lights to be burnt the Philosophical Journal for December whole year, and the candles only 1808.
twenty weeks, there can be little
doubt, that the savings in this case ing his support to the measure. Since follow nearly the same proportion as that time, a general meeting, it seems, in the former. If the apparatus be has resolved not to regard the answer erected on a still smaller scale, “the of Mr. Perceval as a final rejection, saving,” Mr. Cook assures us, " will but to come forward with their claims be equally great: for the poor man for a charter, during the present ses. who lights only six candles, or uses sion. On what grounds these claims one lamp, if the apparatus is put up are founded, it is not very easy to in the cheapest way, will find it only discover. It is possible that govern. cost him 101. or 121. which he will ment, foreseeing that the new mode nearly, if not quite, save the first of lighting would render less producyear.'
tive the taxes raised on the common The last trial of gas lights we shall materials, might think it wise to sancmention, though not the most satis- tion some publick establishment, by factory, has made the greatest noise way of securing to itself a share in in the world, and was, indeed, what the profits. But it is the title of Mr. first led us to think upon the subject. Winsor and his friends to an excluDuring one of those excursions to sive privilege, that puzzles us. We the metropolis, with which we occa- attempted to look for it in his pamsionally treat ourselves, after a long phlets; but encountered, at every period of northern rustication, our step, such ignorance, quackery, exatte.tion, at such a time alive to eve. travagance, and false calculation, that ry thing, was arrested by a new and we had scarcely patience to wade singular spectacle. The whole range through them. As, however, we are of Pall Mall, from St. James's to in search of facts, we shall, in merCockspur street, was lighted up by cy to a foreigner and an enthusiast, means of lamps, fed with gas instead who talks about his new light with all of cotion and oil, and certainly in a the ferver of a fanatick, pass over style of much superiour brilliancy. his wild reasonings in bad English, We found, upon inquiry, that the and state briefly whatever there is of conductor of this remarkable illumi. value in his plans and processes. nation was a Mr. Winsor, acting un- We must premise, however, that der the auspices of a committee of we cannot allow him the credit af subscribers; and that it was execu- being a great discoverer-a name ted by them as a grand experiment which he is suspiciously fond of to convince parliament and the pub- arrogating to himself. That coal lick of the national importance of yields an inflammable gas has been their intended Light and Heat Com- long known; and its nature is partipany. Subscriptions had been col- cularly described by Dr. Clayton in lected, to a very large amount, to the Philosophical Transactions for carry into effect Winsor's discovery; 1735. With regard to the useful and 20,0001. vested in a committee, application of it, Mr. Murdoch was to assist him in his experiments, and undoubtedly the first who conceived make application to parliament for a the idea of conveying it through charter of incorporation. In prose- tubes, and employing it for artificial cution of these objects, we afterwards light; and we embrace, with plealearned, that a correspondence was sure, this opportunity of doing jusopened with the chancellor of the ex- tice to the modest fame of our counch ier in the month of March last; tryman. This was as early as the but he, alleging partly the advanced year 1792, long prior to the period state of the session, which did not al. from which Winsor himself dates low a private bill to be presented, his discovery. We fear, therefore, and partly his own doubts as to the that the bugbear of his patent right, utility of its object, declined promise which he holds out in terrorem, widi avail him little, and that it is impos- riority of coke. « I have learned," sible to give him or his friends the says Mr. Accum,* “that the heat promonopoly of a practice, which is al. duced by coke, when compared with ready adopted by several persons who that which can be obtained from coal, pretend to no secret or mystery in is at least as 3 to 2.” Thus he found, the art. We cannot discover that there that it required three bushels of coal is any decided superiority in Mr. to distil a given quantity of water, Winsor's gas lights over those of Mr. and only two of coke. He tried the Murdoch. It is asserted, indeed, in two substances also by combustion, "Considerations,” &c. that it is neces- with a certain measure of oxygen gas, sary to take to pieces, now and then, by the fusion and the reduction of the tubes in Mr. Lee's manufactory, metals, &c. and the same result was to clear them from impurities; while obtained ; a result certainly not unthose of Mr. Winsor contract no soil important; since it proves that, by by any length of use. But Mr. Mur- being forced to yield the material of doch expressly assures us, in his pa- a beautiful light, coal is actually imper, that all inconveniences of this proved very considerably in its power kind are now entirely done away. of giving heat. We have not the Winsor's Analysis of New Castle least doubt that this coke, as Winsor Coal is certainly very complete. The produces it, and as we have seen it gas flames he exhibiis in the different used in his house, might be intro. apartments of his house are extreme. duced to form, if not the whole, at ly brilliant; and the variety and neat least four fifths of our common fires, ness of their application worthy of with a very great addition of comfort, praise.
cleanliness and economy. Let it be He deserves credit too, we think, observed, however, that we possess for calling the publick attention, more no facts that warrant us in pushing than had been done before, to the pe- this conclusion any further than re. culiar advantage of coke as a cheap gards the coke of Newcastle coal. and agreeable fuel. This substance Mr. Murdoch, though he makes prois the residuum that is found after per allowance for the coke produced all the evaporable matter has been in his process, does not enlarge at all expelled from the coal by heat. It on its qualities ; and it is probable, comes out from the distilling process that some species of coal generate in large, spongy masses, greatly dimi- coke too dull and difficult of ignition nished in weight, but increased in for consumption in our grates, and bulk nearly one third. Though some- only fit to be used in stoves and what more difficult of ignition than furnaces where there is a strong coal, it burns longer, and gives out draught. But we are persuaded, that a steadier and more intense heat. the greater proportion of the other That it should do so, will not appear varieties in the island will be found, strange to our chymical readers (and on trial, to yield the same sort of who is there now that does not know coke as Winsor's, and that it can something of chymistry ?) when it is never be produced in such quantity, considered that the quantity of mat- by the extended use of the gas lights ter, which, in the combustion of coal, hereafter, that the demand will not is changed from a solid to a state of fully and rapidly absorb it. Its meelastick fluidity, must necessarily car- rits have long been acknowledged ry off much calorick in a latent state; in many processes of art; and it is while the glow of the coke radiates prepared from coal with the loss of with an intensity unimpaired by any all the volatile ingredients in the great demand of this kind. The same re- manufacturing districts; and if the spectable chymist we formerly men. tioned, bears testimony to the supe:
* Appendix to Report of the Committee.
price were lowered, by turning the to calculate the expenses of the prom gas to account, it could hardly fail to cess, of management, of tubes, and become a favourite fuel.
pipes, &c. with any tolerable degree We have taken no notice of the of precision.” p. 19. The experi, tar and alkaline liquor which are co. ment in Pall Mall, therefore, proves, piously produced in the distillation; as yet, nothing more than the possi. because we have few facts to go upon bility of lighting up a street with gas; in estimating their value. The for- a curious fact, without doubt; but mer is useful as a coating to preserve,
we cannot call it a very important from the worm and rot, timber ex- one, till we be enabled to add, that posed to the air, or lying under this can be done at a cheaper rate water. And it is not unlikely, that than with oil. It is not unlikely that other more important uses may be it may; and we strenuously advise found for it. As to the liquor, we the committee, while they have the believe it to be of no use whatever. command of money, instead of basko And it is one of the absurdities of ing in the sunshine of delusive hopes, Winsor's calculations, to reckon at to institute another trial, in which one shilling per gallon, a substance, all these expenses shall be rigidly of which, we are convinced, no man noted, and faithfully carried to acin London would purchase a hogs- count. It is a point which it is dehead at the expense of warehouse sirable to ascertain, though we by no
means agree in the common opinion, When we said that the facts of Mr. that on its decision depends the quesWinsor and his friends are less satis- tion of the economical advantages of factory than the others we recorded, the gas lights. The committee were we alluded to the circumstance, that, unfortunate in choosing this for their while he makes us stare at the unpa- experimentum crucis. The lights reralleled extravagance of his tables, quired in streets are at considerawhere he gravely strikes a balance of ble intervals, and, consequently, the annual profit to the nation at large, range of tubes is extensive and costof one hundred and fifteen millions ly; and, going to a great distance and while, by a singular effort of from the centre of supply, must be moderation, he reduces the gains of subject to accident and derangement. his subscribers to the absolute cer- In lighting the streets, too, the gas tainty" of only “ 600', a year for must beat out of the market the every 51. adventure,” he cautiously coarsest and cheapest of all mate. avoids detailing minutely the expense rials; so that we can imagine a failure, of the apparatus, or taking, as an in this instance, not inconsistent with item on the debtor side, the interest its producing great national and india of capital sunk, which, in Murdoch's vidual benefit. statement, exceeds the annual ex- There is one circumstance in pense, in the ratio of 11 to 1. We which, as far as we can judge from need not add, how much this must our imperfect knowledge of Winsor's falsify all his conclusions, even if he process, it is superiour to Murdoch’s. had not disproved them himself by a The latter seems to follow the usual deductio ad absurdum. The commit- mode of distillation, by putting the tee, composed, as their report shows, vessel that contains the coal into the of sensible, but not scientifick men, centre of a furnace. But Winsor do away half the value of their expe- puts the fire in the centre, and (leaving riments, when, in a memorial ade only space sufficient for a draught of dressed to the king, they candidly air) surrounds it with the coal that is subjoin to their account of them : to be carbonized; the evident advan. w Their present experience does not tage of which is this, that the least enable your majesty's memorialists possible heat is wasted, as, in flying
off, it encounters the coal on every imagined. In the first place, we side. Accordingly, we find, that in find, upon examining Mr. Murdoch's Murdoch's statement, a sixth part of statement, that of 6001. the estimated the annual expense goes for the pur- yearly expense of lighting the cotton chase of common coal to distil the mill, 550l. consist of interest of capicannel which he employed ; while tal, and tear and wear of apparatus, Winsor's carbonizing process is per- leaving the cost of coal only 50l. a formed by the refuse cinder of a for- sum so trifling, when we reflect, that mer operation; and as this cinder does it replaces 20001. worth of candies, not appear in the estimate of coke that the price of coal, even where it produced, it may, in fact, be consi- is highest, can but slightly effect the dered as costing nothing. Before ta- general profits. Secondly, the coal, king leave of Mr. Winsor, we shall by yielding the gas and other volapresent the reader with the results of tile products, is converted into a subhis analysis of coal, which, from the stance, increased in bulk, and in the specimen he has given us, of his pow. power of producing heat. And as a ers of exaggeration, we should have manufactory generally requires heatbeen cautious of admitting among ing as well as lighting, there will be authentick facts, had not the commit- a gain both ways. By distilling his tee declared, that the experiments coal, instead of burning it as it comes were repeated in their presence, from the pit, the manufacturer will and that they corroborated Winsor's save his candles, and improve his printed statement in the most satis- fuel. One effort at the outset, in factory manner. Two pecks of New- erecting a proper apparatus, will recastle coal, weighing 36 lib. produced duce his annual disbursement, for, 3 pecks of coke, weighing 24 lib. 2 these two articles of prime necessity, oz. about 3 } lib. of oily tar, and much in the same manner, though in about 4 of alkaline liquor; and, as a far greater degree, as the farmer the only other product was gas, it is gains by building a thrashing ma: concluded that gas constituted the chine, and laying aside the use of the remainder of the weight, amounting flail. nearly to four pounds.
II. When we reflect on the small From the foregoing facts and rea- number of trials that has yet been sonings, we think ourselves entitled made, and the expensiveness and to draw the following conclusions. awkwardness of first attempts, we
I. In all manufactories, whether may reasonably expect considerable on a large, middling, or small scale improvements as the practice be--in all publick offices, printing hou- comes more general, so as to turn ses, theatres, lighthouses, &c.-in the scale still more decidedly in fashort, wherever much light is requi. vour of the gas lights. Anxious as red in a given space, the gas lights we are to avoid the charge of visionmay be introduced with very great ary speculation, we cannot help anti, advantage. We need not remind the cipating the pretty extensive introreader, how large a proportion of the duction of them into private houses, artificial light used in this manufac- Mr. Lee has set the example. The turing country is comprehended in whole of his house at Manchester, this description. It may be objected from the kitchen to the drawing to the universality of our conclusion, room, is lighted solely by gas. Its that the price of coals differing very properties render it particularly fit much in different places, will occa- for ornamental illumination. As there sion a variation in the expense of is nothing to spill, the flame may be procuring gas. But there are two directed either downwards, upwards, reasons why this should have less or horizontally. And the points from effect than at first sight might be which it issues may be disposed in