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Among the more recent improvements in the transaction of telegraphic business which have been made in England, the following may be mentioned :
Franked message papers, prepaid, are now issued, procurable at any stationers. These, with the message filled in, can be dispatched to the office when and how the sender likes; and the company intend very quickly to sell electric stamps, similar to our postage stamps, which may be stuck on to any piece of paper, and frank its contents without any further trouble. Another very important arrangement, for mercantile men, is the sending of remittance messages, by means of which, money can be paid in at the central office in London, and, within a few minutes, paid out at Liverpool or Manchester, or by the same means sent up to town with the like dispatch from Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburg, Newcastle-on-Type, Hull, York, Plymouth, and Exeter. There is a money order office in the Lothbury establishment to manage this department, which will
, no doubt, in all emergencies, speedily supersede the money order office, which works through the slower medium of the Post-office.
The actual celerity with which correspondence is transmitted, between London and parts of Europe more or less remote, may be judged from the fact that the Queen's speech, delivered at the opening of the recent Parliamentary session, was delivered verbatim, and circulated in Paris and in Berlin, before Her Majesty had left the House of Lords. Messages have been sent from the office in London to Hamburg, Vienna, and, on certain occasions, to Lemberg, in Galicia, being a distance of 1,800 miles, and their reception acknowledged by an instantaneous reply.
No limit has yet been found to aerial telegraphing; for, by inserting transferrers into the more extended circuits, renewed energy can be attained, and lines of several thousands of miles in length can be worked, if properly insulated, as surely as those of a hundred. The lines between New York and New Orleans are frequently connected together by means of transferrers, and direct communication is had over a distance of more than two thousand miles. Quite recently direct communication was had between Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Beloit, Wis. consin, a distance of over three thousand miles. The operators, situated at this enormous distance from each other, were able to converse as freely and rapidly as if they had been separated but a few rods. No perceptible retardation of the current takes place ; on the contrary, the lines so connected work as success. fully as when divided into shorter circuits.
This is not the case with subaqueous lines. The employment of submarine, as well as of subterranean conductors, occasions a small retardation in the velocity of the transmitted electricity. This retardation is not due to the length of the path which the electric current has to traverse, since it does not take place with a conductor equally long, insulated in the air. It arises, as FARADAY has demonstrated, from a static reaction, which is determined by the introduction of a current into a conductor well insulated, but surrounded outside its insulating coating by a conducting body, such as sea-water or moist ground, or even simply by the metallic envelop of iron wires place in communication with the ground. When this conductor is presented to one of the poles of a battery, the other pole of which communicates with the ground, it becomes charged with static electricity, like the coating of a Leyden jar-electricity which is capable of giving rise to a discharge current, even after the voltaic current has ceased to be transmitted.
ATMOSPHERIC TELEGRAPH. The Electric Telegraph Company in London have an air-tight tube laid between their central station and other stations at Cornhill and the Stock Exchange, from which the air is exhausted by a pump, and documents sent through the tube by atmospheric pressure, upon the same principle as RICHARDSON's telegraph. This system has been in operation, privately, in London, for several years, and it is now proposed to lay down a complete and extended series of public lives in London, on a scale which will receive not merely papers and packages, but parcels of considerable bulk, including the mail bags of the Post-office between the railroads and the district offices; and a company is now in course of formation to carry out the object.
JOURNAL OF MINING, MANUFACTURES, AND ART.
BRITISH FACTORY OPERATIVES. A London correspondent of a New York paper writes as below, regarding the operatives in the factories of Great Britain. The reports of the inspectors of factories, which have just been issued, comprise three reports only: the dis. trict lately vacated by Mr. LEONARD Horner having been appexed partly to Sir John KINCAIRD's district, (Scotland,) and partly to Mr. REDGRAVE's district, now comprising 3,075 factories and print works ; while Mr. Robert BAKER'S district, (Ireland and some parts of England,) remains within its old boundaries. The following is a general abstract, showing the total number of accidents reported to the three inspectors during the six months ending 30th April, 1860 :
AOCIDENTS ARISING FROM MACHINERY,
Adults._Young persons. Children. Nature of injury.
F. M. F. Causing death.....
14 3 7 2 2 2 Amputat'n of right hand or arm 5 6 3 1 1
of left hand or arm. 4 1 7 8 1
22 15 7
of any part of leg or foot.....
1 Fracture of limbs and bones of trunk..
30 11 43 11 11 4 Fracture of band or foot...... 89 43 30 37 20 15 Injuries to head and face... 20 17 23 29 11 4 Lac'tus, contusions, and other 268 255 315 352 128 66
26 21 10 168 66 929 In the infancy of the factory system, when manufacturers were in want of labor, it was obtained directly by application to the overseers of some distant parish, who forwarded a certain number of apprentices, children of tender age, who were bound to the manufacturers for a term of years. The children being once apprenticed, the poor-law officers congratulated their respective parishes on their deliverance from idle mouths, while the manufacturer proceeded to make the best of his bargain by keeping them at the most economical rate, by screwing from them all the labor of which they were capable. Hence the first of the series of factory acts passed in 1802, 42 Geo. III., cap. 73, has for its title, “ Au act for the preservation of the health and morals of apprentices and others employed in cotton and other mills, and cotton and other factories," and was merely intended to mitigate the evils of the apprenticeship system. But as improvements were made in machinery, a different kind of labor was wanted, when trade became brisk and the population of the neighborhood failed to supply the mills with their full complement of hands. These manufacturers sent to Ireland, and brought over Irish families ; but Ireland has ceased to be the market from which a supply of labor can be procured on English demand, and manufacturers have now to look to the Southern and Western counties of England and Wales for families which can be tempted by the present rate of wages in the Northern counties to commence a new career of industry. Agents have been sent throughout the country, to set forth the advantages offered to families by removing to the manufacturing districts, and they are empowered to make arrangements for the emigration to the North. Many families are said to have been forwarded by these agents. Still, the importation into a manufacturing town of a man with his wife and family bas this peculiar advantage, that while the younger members of the family, who can soon be taught, and whose services become valu. able in a comparatively short period, are most in request, there is no ready demand for the labor of the man and his wife, unskilled in factory labor. This has induced some manufacturers to return, in some measure, to the old apprenticeship system, and to enter into engagements for specific periods, with boards of guardians, for the labor of destitute pauper children. In these cases, the marufacturer lodges, clothes, and feeds the children, but pays them no regular wages. With the return of this system, complaints of its abuse seem also to have revived. However, this kind of labor, it should be remembered, would only be sought after when none other could be procured, for it is a high priced labor. The ordinary wages of a boy of 13 would be about 4 shillings per week ; but to lodge, to clothe, to feed, and to provide medical attendance and proper superintendence for 50 or 100 of these boys, and to set aside some remuneration for them, could not be accomplished for 4 shillings a head per
week. A comparison of the rate of wages paid to factory operatives in 1839 and that paid in 1859 proves the highly interesting fact that the rate of wages has risen, at least nominally, in factories where the hours of work were restricted to 60 per week, while, with a few exceptions, a real reduction bas been suffered in the printing, bleaching, and dying works in which the labor of children, young persons, and women is unrestricted, and where they are at times employed fourteen and fifteen hours per day. The following statements have reference to the cotton trade in Manchester and its neighborhood :WEEKLY WAGES.
1839. 18:9. Hours of work per week......
69 60 Steam engine tender....
.shilllings 24 30 Warehouse boys ..
18 22 Carding departmentScutchers, (young women and girls).
8 Skippers, (young men)..
11 14 Overlookers......
28 Card minders, (boys from 14 to 18)...
7 Drawing-frame tenders, (young women).
6 6d. 8 Spinning departmentSpinners on self-acting mules....
16 to 18 20 to 22 Piecers (women and young men)..
20 20 Doubling departmentDoublers (women)...
7 Doffers (girls)....
28 Jobbers, (young men).
10 13 In the reeling, gassing, and power loom departments there has also been a slight increase of wages. The anticipations of those who warned the factory
operatives that they would seriously suffer by the diminution of their hours of work, have thus been completely disappointed. Compare, on the other hand, the movement of wages in those branches where the hours of daily labor are legally unrestricted.
CALICO-PRINTING, DYEING, BLEACHING, SIXTY HOURS PER WEEK.
Weekly wages. 1839. 1859.
1839. 1859. Color-mixers. 85 32 Block-printer.....
40 28 Machine-printer.
18 16 Foreman..
40 40 Washer and laborer... 16 & 15 16 & 15 Block-cutter..
FUSTIAN DYEING, SIXTY-ONE HOURS PER WEEK. Dressers. 18 22 | Dyers.....
21 22 By far the most interesting portion of the reports of Mr. ALEXANDER RedGRAVE and Sir John Kincaid relates to the development and extension of co-operative societies for the erection and working of mills in Lancashire, and also to some degree in Yorkshire. These co-operative societies, which have multiplied since the passing of the Limited Liability Act, are generally composed of operatives. Each society has a capital of £10,000 and upward, divided into sbares of £5 and £10, with power to borrow in certain proportions to the capi. tal subscribed, the money borrowed being made up of small loans by operatives and persons of the like class. In Bury, for instance, upward of £300,000 will be required to put the co-operative mills there built and building into working order. In cotton spinning mills the spinners and persons employed are frequently shareholders in the same mill, working for wages and receiving interest upon their shares. In cotton weaving sheds, the partners frequently hire and work looms. This is attractive to operatives, because no great capital is required to start them in their undertaking. They purchase the yarn ready for the loom, weave the cloth, and the factory operation is completed; or else they receive the yarn from some manufacturer who trades with them, and return to him the woven fabric. But this co-operative system is not confined to the spinning and weaving of cotton. It has extended to the trade on a variety of articles of consumption, such as flour, groceries, draperies, etc.
The co-operative company at Rochdale paid a dividend of 44 per cent on their paid up capital, for the half year ending in October, 1859 ; and another dividend of 48 per cent has been declared since that time ; the capital now being £60,000.
MANUFACTURE OF SEMI-STEEL. The method of making semi-steel, at the Albany Iron Works, is as follows :The furnace employed is substantially the ordinary boiling furnace, that is, a puddling furnace adapted to a higher degree of heat than is used in the ordinary process. The pig iron, broken into small pieces, is placed on a trough-shaped hearth, removed from the solid fuel. The flame, as usual, passes over a bridge wall, and is deflected upon the iron. For a charge of 336 lbs. of pigs, about two barrow loads of cinders and scales, from the forge (oxyde of iron) and other fluxes, are added to the cinder, previously melted on the hearth, the whole forming a bath in which the iron is heated under a constantly increasing temperature. The cinder and fluxes boil from the escape of the gases caused by the oxydation of the carbon in the iron, and of the iron itsell. To prevent the too rapid decarbonization of the iron, a much larger quantity of cinder is charged than in case of making iron, and a much higher temperature is employed—the highest that can be obtained. The metal“ comes to nature,” or parts with its carbon, sooner if the heat is kept comparatively low.
The cinder bath is composed largely of the slag from the boiling furnaces which are employed in making iron, and in which more cinder and a higher heat are employed than in the common puddling furnaces. A solvent of manganese and its earthy bases, prepared in a manner which is not made public, for obvious reasons, is charged with the iron, and forms a part of the bath, all of which, under the high heat, melts as thin as water, and covers the molten mass of iron. The presence of the manganese is found to produce great uniformity in the product, and to prevent, in a considerable degree, the blistering of boiler plate rolled from the blooms thus obtained.
As in the ordinary puddling process, the operator breaks up the lumps of iron, turns them over, to expose all parts to the heat, and, when they become pasty, works them into puddle balls. When 336 lbs. of iron are charged, five heats per day are made ; with a charge of 280 lbs., six heats per day are made, in each furnace. The puddle balls are removed from the furnace from 18 to 20 minutes sooner than in case of making iron from the same charge ; the time of stopping the process being decided by the operator, from the appearance and consistency of the mass, and with reference to the quantity of iron used.
A longer time is required to work the pig metal into steel than into iron. The same time is required to convert 336 lbs. of pig iron into steel as would be necessary to work 448 lbs. into wrought iron in a boiling furnace. A higher heat being employed, more coal is consumed, a ton of steel requiring 30 cwt., and a ton of iron requiring but 16 cwt.
The puddle balls are hammered, two together, into a slab, under a three-ton hammer; the slab is heated and hammered twice at a welding heat ; at a fourth heat it is rolled into plate.
The long-celebrated Salisbury iron is exclusively used at this establishment for steel-making, and its peculiar qualities promise a higher success for the product than is likely to be obtained from almost any other variety of raw material. The Salisbury is a neutral iron, being neither red short nor cold short, from the presence of either phosphorous or sulphur ; it is naturally extremely tough, and stands a tensile strain equal at least to that borne by the best irons in the market.
The Albany Works' steel, thus far, proves more uniform than any of the puddled steels that have been imported. Its chief defect, in the shape of plates, is a tendency to blister in the rolls. A remedy for this, however, appears to be perfecting. All plates are tested by bammering their entire surface. A quarter to a third of them are found to have small blisters ; all of those sent out, however, have proved perfectly sound. A larger proportion of imported plates a e found to blister. All puddled steel, which is free from blisters, is more homo. geneous and uniform than iron. VOL. XLIII. —NO. IV.