Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

in connection with a hot country and the crossed the Seine and fell on a boat at the production of hydrogen. But have skilled, opposite quay: - he was injured. Just so, recognized balloonists ever been taken Borelli proved that the human muscles into the employ and confidence of the are not able to raise a man with wings. inner circle of erudite and profound com. To simply test muscular power, just place mittee men at Woolwich and Chatham? I two posts at such a distance that a man bave not, but could certainly design and could, by extending his arms, rest a band suggest a light composite balloon which on each post, when he stands on a chair; could be carried on a soldier's back, and remove the chair and he will fall. If he sent up without all this furnace work of cannot thus support himself, much less bricks, mortar, iron, acid, and so forth. can be by striking the thin air with wings. For intricate steering with ships pilots Colonel Burnaby, himself oo insignificant are held in esteem. Able officers are all specimen of strength, argues, with his very well for plain sailing, but when rocks customary lucidity of expression, that if and shoals abound, a different class of any one takes a large umbrella when his man is wanted, or the vessel may founder weight is nicely balanced, and gives a and do very little good.

downward tug with all his might, the re. Recently, army signalling between Lon. sult will be disappointing - he will merely don and Portsmouth has attracted public score a few pounds the less. notice. The heliograph could not do On this topic we may gather some valu. much, owing to the lack of sunshine; flags able information from the discussions of were resorted to, and, to my thinking, the the Aeronautic Society, system of balloon signalling I designed At a general meeting held at the Society three years since would have come in op- of Arts, in the year 1868, a paper was read portunely, as well as the plans of others announcing that one of its members had in the same line.

actually accomplished the feat of flying. But we will not wander beyond short This afforded an exciting subject for conand apt digressions from our text — viz., versation over the tea and coffee which

Flying and Steering.”. To touch upon followed. the former is our next duty, and this will, Probably, the first imposing exhibition in gradual sequence, lead one to attempts of the Society at the Crystal Palace caused at flight.

a mere flight of fancy, on a par, we may “Can you, Mr. Aeronaut,” said a gen- take it, as to figurative license with the tleman who lately interviewed me, "give, balloon steering in Paris. It could not as it were in a nutshell, a few references well have been quite accurate, for on as to flying, with a dash of modern thought p. 13 of the second society's Report we as to its possibilities at the present time?" read that: “On reviewing the facts that

Just so. To make a long tale short, I have come within the reach of this Society may remind you that, to commence with during the past year, it is apparent that fables, the story of Dædalus rose from his our knowledge of aeronautics, so far as being the first to use sails in a ship. But regards the navigation of the air by me. in the reign of Nero, a man at the public chanical means, amounts to but very little, games attempted to fly; he was killed ; and the information recorded is of a con: his blood sprinkled the emperor.

tradictory character. Without a definite Archytas made a pigeon that could fly law of the acting and counteracting forces by an enclosed spirit, but if it fell it could of the elastic air, we have not even entered not rise. This probably turned out to be the threshold of aeronautical discovery." a parachute disguised as a bird.

Whether the Balloon Society, which is Elmer attempted to fly, in the days of a totally different and distinct association, Edward the Confessor, from a tower— he can give any more cheering tidings I am broke his legs; an Italian, too, from Stir- unaware, not being a member. Their ling Castle – he broke his thigh. range of inquiry is certainly most exten.

Wilkios, Bishop of Chester, imagined sive, as it takes in subjects appertaining that a flying chariot could be made. He to the earth below as well as the heavens anticipated a time when a man would call above, and even goes into cremation and for his wings as he does for his boots, so fog.formation, and at length a centenary that

commemoration is added. When pleasure begins to grow dull in the East, and the ghastly descent of the poor young

Cocking's parachute, in the year 1937, We may order our wings, and be off to the Belgian at Cremorne, did not materially West.

advance this feature of ballooning. A The Marquis de Bacqueville, in 1742, •writer in the Engineer made use of lan

[ocr errors]

In

guage which seems to describe the present to me when I wrote to you about this phase of air-locomotion. “ Beautiful as it affair." would be,” he says, “to have a flying. “ Then your name is so-and-so, and you machine, the motive engines at present at have evidently not succeeded yet.” our command do not allow of its construc- Shortly after this interview we heard tion.”

that the professor had positively flown; The Duke of Argyll remarked that “if but then the sheriffs' officers were behind the air is ever to be navigated, it will not him, and it is doubtful where he landed, be by individual men flying by means of as he has never since been heard of at machinery; but that it is quite possible D-vessels may be invented which will carry Although Dr. Lardner asserted the im. a number of men, and the motive force of practicability of steam navigation, I am which will not be muscular action." not going to imitate that distinguished

Dr. Pettigrew most pertinently observes authority as far as balloon steering is that "the problem of Aight seems to re. concerned. At the same time, until unsolve itself into one of weight, power, deniable proof is forthcoming that it has velocity, and snall surfaces versus buoy- been done, we may proceed to point out ancy, diminished speed, and extensive the various impediments to success. surfaces.” It is scarcely ten years since the spring of 1840 the action of one of an Englishnan at D— gave it out that Mr. Green's models at the Polytechnic he could Ay without a balloon and cross Institution may be thus described: A the Channel at an enormous pace, not miniature balloon was filled with common even wings or propellers being requisite. coal gas; to this was attached a small The audacity of the assertion captivated piece of spring mechanism, to give motion a vast number of people, and a few nice to the fans, which communicated a rota. hundreds were soon forthcoming as a tory movement, whereupon the machine mark of confidence. At that time I hap. rose steadily to the ceiling. Deprived of pened to be at FM, and went over with this assistance, it immediately fell. The a friend to make the acquaintance of this reverse of this was next shown, and the professor. My companion's card instead model was pulled down to the ground. A of my name was sent up for obvious rea. more interesting effect was then exhibsons, when we were graciously received; ited. The balloon, with the guide-rope but, “dear me," as my friend observed, attached to it as before, was balanced with “what a queer fellow!” He was a mid- a wheel fixed to the end of the cord which land man of no education, address, or even trailed on the ground. Mr. Green stated of presentable appearance. For our in that by these simple means a voyage spection he handed a ridiculous sketch of across the Atlantic might be performed some mystic wheels inside of a wicker as easily as one from Vauxhall to Nassau. basket, which contained the source of But the renowned aeronaut never attempt. flight, but no wings or propellers were to ed it, nor did our American cousins a few be seen, and he professed not to want a years since, when they insisted that at balloon. A spring like that in a railway two miles high a regular current moved buffer was produced. “There it is,” he from east to west. I made it my business, said; “when that is turned on away I go, with the identical Nassau balloon, which

I and once off it would take a good deal to I purchased of Mr. Green, to ascend, at stop me.

the time of the American projected trip ** That,” I said, with a sly wink, “we can across, and so far from finding a settled readily believe; and I can only say that current at two miles high from east to if you will come and take your luncheon west, ! encountered, after lingering at with us to-morrow in your aerial chariot this height for some hours, a wind blowyou shall have a cheque for £ 500.” ing due north. Green's adaptation of Mr.

“ I might think seriously of your offer,” Taylor's fan was somewhat of a said the professor, “but to-night I am departure, but it was not the celebrated going to Prince Bismarck for war objects. aeronaut's own conception. The true But inight I ask,” he continued, “if your secret of directing within doors was the name is Coxwell?”

brass wheel and the trail rope, which My friend suppressed an outburst of could not well be used in the open air, laughter, while I made a clean breast of and without them steerage was impossi. it by confession. Why do you ask?” I ble. Green never tried it on the large inquired.

scale, or on the broad Atlantic, as he * Because,” said he, “some few years talked of doing. A sample of the vast since you must have made a similar offer number of propositions for guiding may

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

new

[ocr errors]

a

66

No. 9

here be appropriately given. Some of thus acquired a momentum, the fan wheels these would not stand investigation, as were to be put in motion and raise it in my esteemed friend, Hatton Turnor, the air. Strange to say, this ponderous, shows in “ Astra Castra.” No. 1. A ily: unsightly affair bore nothing like so coming globe, made by an engineer named mendable an outline as M. Renard and Blainville; his idea was weighting and Krebs's cigar, or Mr. Brearey's plan, or lightening a balloon by means of a pump. that of Mr. Thos. Moys, and others. It No. 2. 1784, Abbé Molans Montgolfiere, a was believed that it would safely run off lateral opening in the envelope, from the stocks and rise; its actual flight, I which it was expected the heated air remember, was notified in a leading news. would rush out and force the balloon in paper and credited, until the joke was ex• an opposite direction. No. 3. A balloon posed. with a reversed parachute, by M. Henin, If this apparatus had been rigged and to slacken the ascent and allow the action set up on an incline, an ordinary wind, of sails. No. 4. Sir George Caley's nav. acting on such a mass of surface, would igable baloon, 1816. No. 5. Samson's aero- have hurled it upon the trees or housestat, furnished with fins inade of feathers. tops before it bad got half-way down the No. 6. The aerial ship L'Aigle" of Mr. slip. If any machine fails to einbrace the Lennox; it proved a failure in the Champs requisite power contained in a small comde Mars in the year 1834. No. 7. Petins' pass, and cannot shut up its wings like a system of balloons in a row, with sails partridge, and move them with a rapidity and planes attached to them in line. No. producing an audible whirr, it chance of 8. Julien's aerostat, its movement by go is minimized extremely. clockwork suspended below.

But we have yet to learn the merits of Aerial scheme of Mr. Helle, consisting of the Meudon war balloon; at any rate the oblique vanes.

secrets have not transpired, so far as I M. Depuis Delcourt said aerostats of am aware, at the time of writing these spherical shape can never be guided. remarks. Should the broken screw be They should be, ship-like, of wood and made good, the inventors may land them. metal.

selves beyond the English cliffs. We Henson's aerial carriage was a singular- would rather decline the honor of an looking construction. The apparatus, ac- escort of light infantry, and sh old de cording to the sketch, consisted of a car cidedly object if they spring up from to contain passengers, engine, fuel, etc., beneath the “silver streak.” Should they to which a rectangular frame, made of come manfully by the overhead route, and bamboo cane, and covered with canvas, discuss a genuine foreign balloon cigar of was attached. This frame extended on a good brand, we shall give them a friendly either side of the car in a similar manner greeting, and we are sure to patronize and to the outstretched wings of a bird, but imitate the Paris fashions. with this difference, that they were immovable; behind the wings were two

The English haughtily demand,

That seas should be at their command. vertical fan-wheels, furnished with vanes,

The French, both light and free from care, intended to propel the apparatus through

Seize on the empire of the air. tbe air. These wheels received motion, through bands and pulleys, from a steam But in thus seizing on the empire, how or other engine. To an axis at the stern about the right and title or the ability to of the car a triangular frame was attached, do it? A new and extensive colony will resembling the tail of a bird; beneath the this “conquest of the air” add to the tail was a rudder, and, to facilitate the possessions of our neighbors. Talk about steering, a sail was stretched between two “perfidious Albion," and the sun never masts.

going down on ours: well, if space is laid Incredible as it may appear, the whole hold of, the king of day must always smile affair weighed three thousand pounds, on France or her belongings. and the area of surface spread out to sup- As this paper merely professes to enter port it, forty-five hundred square feet in upon a familiar conversational statement ihe wings, and fifteen bundred and five in of professional opinion, without offering the tail, making altogether six thousand or combining the formulæ of engineers square feet. The engine was to be of and scientific men to bear out the ab. thirty-horse power. On launching, an struse calculation advanced by steering elevated situation was to be selected, and aeronauts, it would be quite out of place the machine allowed to run down an in. were I to affect general approval or laclined plane. When the machine had | bored disagreement with the kinds of motors and machinery selected, and of Great Britain. In the first place, the the arguments adduced in favor of each mechanical changes and improvements as to weight, size, and pitch of screw, to should have been shown between Lugether with the proportions as to shape nardi's balloon and those that were ex. and displacemeni of air. I simply hold bibited. Secondly, each ascept should that no invention, as yet introduced, has have practically illustrated some progres. given satisfactory results, or it surely sive feature. Balloon signalling, as dewould have been established and subse. signed by Major Jones, inyself, and othquently pursued, instead of being allowed ers, would have formed a novel display. to dazzle and bewilder by a single mirac- Thirdly, if each balloonist had been called ulous flutter without appearing to be sus- upon to state his opinion as to where he ceptible of repetition. As we lack full or, was likely to drift to, and had consulted indeed, concise particulars of this latest the map and compass, to spot bis supplan, a few general allusions as to what posed locality, a moot point in military we are called upon to believe seems all that ballooning would have been advanced a it is possible to review. We may say gen. stage perhaps. Fourthly, if trained ob. erally of other schemes bearing a family servers for meteorological purposes had likeness, that it is not yet clear about the ascended, the upper-air readings might decided reduction in the weight of steam have been added to those below. Fifthly, motors and accumulators so as to solve the three balloons might have contrasted the problem before us. Long after La. their speed with the anemometer indica. voisier had perceived the analogy between tions on the earth's surface. In short, water and air, he suggested the force of many amusing and instructive things men to cause the balloon to vary from the might have been added to show that some direction of the wind. The last note-advancement had been made, and that worthy effort in this line was when eight more might follow if the subject had been men worked together with a screw from handled in a manner worthy of the occa. Dupuy de Lôme's aerostat on February 2, sion.

HENRY COXWELL. 1872, when it was said that an indepen. dent velocity was obtained of 2.82 metres per second, or about 6-3 miles per hour.

M. Giffard's trial in Paris with an elongated balloon on September 24, 1852 was

From The Spectator. not very dissimilar in appearance to the Meudon production. Although some re.

[FROM A CORRESPONDENT.] sults were obtained - - So we are told as

Ranche, on the Rio Grande, regards M. Giffard's machine – it was no

September 16th 1884. tified soon after that improvements were It must be many years now (how they necessary, which“would take time.” The do shut up in these latter days like a tele. inventor of the dirigible balloon then went scope !) since I copfided to you in these into the construction of captive balloons. columns the joy — not unmixed with rev. This retreat or change of front might have erence of my first interview with that been masterly, but it was not following up worthy small person (I am sure he must the asserted advantages that had been be a person) the tumble-bug of the U.S.A. gained, and grave doubts may be felt I looked upon him in those days as, or whether the next trial would have pro the whole, the most industrious and athduced equal results. It is evident, there- letic little creature it had ever been my fore, that before it is possible to produce privilege to encounter. I am obliged now a more purely practical investigation of to take most of that back, for to-day I have flying and steering, it is necessary to rely discovered that he isn't a circumstance to upon something like positive data to be his Mexican cousin on this side the Rio used as a groundwork. As these are Grande. At any rate, the specimens I wanting in toto, I decline to examine sep. have met with here are not only bigger, arately mere speculative dogmas sup- but work half as hard again, and about ported by clever figuring, which, if falsi. twice as quick. I was sitting just now in fied, may be made to prove anything. the verandah in front of this ranche cabin,

Paris and London have just experi. waiting for the horses to be saddled-up at enced prodigious struggles to maintain the corral just below, and looking lazily, the apparently waning character of bal. now eastward over the river, and the wide looning. To my thinking, a more suitable Texan plains beyond, fading away in the demonstration might have been devised haze till the horizon looked like the Atlanfor the Honorable Artillery Company of tic in a calm, now westward to the jagged

LIFE IN TEXAS.

[ocr errors]

some

[ocr errors]

outline of the Sierra Nevada, gleaming in scrub, so that the general effect was the sunshine sixty miles away, when I still green. The riding was rough, as became aware of something moving near much loose stone lay about, and badgers', my feet. Looking down I found that it Jack rabbits', and otber creatures' holes was a tumble-bug, rolling a ball of dirt he abounded; but the small Mexican horse had put together, till it was at least four I rode was perfectly sure-footed, and I times as big as himself, towards the rough, ambled along, swelling with pride at my stony descent just beyond the verandah, quaint saddle, with pummel some eight at a pace which fairly staggered me. In inches bigh, and depending lasso, showing a few seconds he was across the floor and that for the time I was free of the honora. in amongst the stones which lay thickly ble fraternity of “gentlemen cow-punchover the slope beyond. Here his troubles ers.” Besides myself, our party consisted began. First be pushed his ball back of the two ranche-men, an Englishman, wards over a big stone, on the further side and an American, aged about thirty, old of which he and it fell headlong - no, not comrades on long drives through the Inheadlong, stern foremost

five dian reserves, and up to the settled States, inches, rolling over one another twice at one thousand miles away to the north, the bottom. But he never quitted hold, but now anchored on this glorious ranche and began pushing away merrily again on the Rio Grande, and a cow-boy. The without a moment's pause. Then he ran Englishman's yellow hair was cropped the ball into a cul-de-sac between two close to his head, and his fair skin was stones, some inches high. After two or burnt as red, I suppose, as skin will burn; three dead heaves, which lifted the ball at the Marylander's black hair was as closely least his own length up the side of the cropped, and his skin burnt an equally stones, – and you must remember, to deep brown. The cow-boy, an English judge of the feat, that he was standing on lad of about twenty, reconciled the two bis head to do it, - he quitted hold, types, having managed to get his skin turned round and looked at the situation. tanned a deep.red, relieved by large, dark I am almost certain I saw him scratch his browo freckles, from the midst of which ear, or at least the side of his head, with his great blue eyes shone out in comical bis foreclaw. In a second or two he fixed contrast. I fear on again with his hind claws, pushed the

The very mother that him bare ball out of the cul-de-sac, and continued

She had not known her child. his journey. If that bug didn't put two and two together, by what process did he They were all attired alike, in broad, get out of that cul-de-sac ? Cogito, ergo felt sombreros, blue shirts, and trousers

Was I wrong in calling him a per. thrust into boots reaching to the knee. son? Well, I won't trouble you with fur. Each had his lasso at pummel, and be. ther particulars of his journey, but he ran tween them they carried a rifle, frying pan, his big ball into his hole under a mesquite coffee-pot, big loaf, and fore-quarter of a bush, nineteen and a half yards from the porker – for we were out for a long day. spot on the verandah where I first no- A more picturesque or efficient-looking ticed him, in eleven minutes and a few group it would be hard to find. I must seconds by my watch. I made a calcula- resist the temptation of telling all we did tion before mounting, that, comparing my and saw, and come at once to our ride bug with an average Mexican, five feet home shortly before sunset. The rancheeight inches high, and weighing, ten men and I were abreast, and the cow-boy stone, the ball of dirt would be at least a few yards behind, when we came across equal to a bale of cotton, eight feet in a bunch of cattle, conspicuous amongst diameter, and weighing half a ton, which which strode along, a stalwart yearling the man would have to push or carry two bull-calf, whose shining brindle hide and and a half miles in eleven minutes, to jaunty air showed that he, at least, was equal the feat of his tiny fellow.citizen. not suffering from the scanty food which lo the depressed condition of Mexico, the drought has left for the herds on these might not this enormous buy-power be wide plains. He was already as big as utilized somehow for the benefit of the his poor, raw-boned mother, who went republic?

along painfully picking at every shrub and I had barely finished my ciphering when tuft in her path to provide his evening I was called io horse and in a few minutes meal at her own expense. Now these was riding across a vast plain, nearly bare dude-calves (who insist on living on their of grass in this drought, but dotted with parents, and will do nothing for their own mesquite-bushes, prickly-pear, and other livelihood) can only be cured by the inser

suin.

« VorigeDoorgaan »