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CARRICKFERGUS

most eminent firms of London or Paris, in addition to others of their own manufacture. In Paris preference is given to an excess of bulk, with elaborate scroll ornamentation and diminutive windows, forming indeed, by reason of its exaggeration, a distinctive class. In respect of workmanship and finish, carriages by the best-known American builders leave nothing to be desired.

The International Exhibition of Paris 1900 brought together examples from various continental countries, in some of which a preference for curvilinear outline was displayed, but the best examples followed very closely the well-known English styles. In the French section it was interesting to find a revival of the once all-prevailing chariot, barouche and britzska, suspended on C and under-springs, with perch, but with ideas of lightness somewhat out of proportion to their general character.

Coach-making, or the carriage-manufacturing industry, is a combination of crafts rarely united in one trade, embracing as it does work in such divers materials as wood, iron, steel, brass, cloth, silk, leather, oils and colours, glass, ivory, hair, indiarubber, &c. Many divisions of labour and numerous highly-skilled artisans are consequently employed in the various stages in the construction of a high-class carriage. The workmen include body-makers, who build up the parts in which persons sit; carriage-makers, who make and fit together all the under parts of the vehicle on which the body rests; wheelwrights, joiners and fitters; several classes of smiths, for special work connected with the strengthening of the body framework by means of long edge plates, the construction of under works, tiring and wheels, manufacture of springs, axle-trees, &c. Painting is an important part of the business, those professing it being divided into body, carriage and heraldry painters. Trimmers are needed who fit up the upholstery of the interior, and budget trimmers who sew on the patent leather covering to dasher wings, &c.

A very great deal in the coach-making industry depends upon the selection of materials. Ash is the kind of wood required in the framework both of body and carriage. The quality best suited for the body is that of full-grown mild and free nature; for the carriage that which is strong and robust; that for carriage-poles should be of younger growth, straight and tough in quality. An important consideration is the seasoning of this timber. Planks of various thicknesses are required, varying from 1½ in. to 6 in., the time required for seasoning being one year for every inch of thickness. After the framework is made, the body is panelled with ¼ in. mild Honduras mahogany, plain and free from grain, every joint and groove carefully coated with ground white lead to exclude water. The roof is covered with ¼ in. wide pine boards, unless when superseded by an American invention, by which, in order to obtain the needful width frequently of 5 ft. or upwards, boards are cut from the circumference of the tree, instead of through its diameter; three thicknesses of very thin wood are then glued together under pressure, the grain of the centre running across the outer plies, the whole forming a solid covering without joints. Birch and elm of 1 in. thickness also enter into the construction in many carriages; for floor and lining boards pine is the material used.

Wheel-making is a very important branch of the business, in which, owing to the increased lightness now required, many modern improvements have been introduced. The timber used in an ordinary carriage wheel is wych elm for the naves, heart of oak for the spokes, and ash for the felloes. American hickory has of late years been also largely used for spokes in exceptionally light wheels, as well as the American method of making the rim in two sections of straight-grained ash or hickory bent to the required circle. This method has much to recommend it, more especially for wheels with indiarubber tires, in which the wood felloes are not required to be nearly so deep as for steel tires. One well-known feature in light wheels is the “Warner nave,” which is a solid iron casting with mortices to receive the spokes, and being of small diameter gives the wheel a light appearance.

For springs the finest quality of steel is made from Swedish ore, but the ordinary English spring steel by the best makers leaves nothing to be desired. To secure the most perfect elasticity it is important that the tapering down of the ends of each plate should be done by hand labour on the anvil, and that the plates should not be more than ¼ in. in thickness. To obtain cheapness wholesale spring-makers adopt the method of squeezing the ends of spring plates between eccentric rollers, and so produce the tapered form, which, however, is too short and gives a lumpy and unsightly appearance to the spring when put together, so that by this they lose much of their pliability.

The iron mounting of coach work requires the skill of experienced smiths, and gives scope for much taste and judgment in shaping the work, and providing strength suited to the relative strain to which it will be subjected. Axle-trees are not made by coach-builders, but by firms who make it their special business. They are of two kinds, the “mail,” which are secured to the wheel by three bolts passing through the nave, and the “collinge” (invented in 1792), the latter made secure by gun-metal cone-shaped collets and nuts. The axle boxes which are wedged into the nave are of three kinds, cast, chilled and wrought iron, in all cases case-hardened, the first being the cheapest and the last the most costly. Many attempts have been made to improve upon the collinge axle-tree, but none of them has got far beyond the experimental stage.

No branch of coach-building contributes more to the elegance of the vehicle than that of painting. To obtain the needful perfection the work has to pass through several stages before reaching the finishing colour, which must be of the finest quality. The varnish used is copal, of which there are two kinds, the one for finishing the body, the other the carriage. In first-class work as many as eighteen or twenty coats will be required to complete the various stages. After a carriage has been in use about twelve months, it is practicable to revive the brilliant gloss on the panels by hand-polishing with the aid of rottenstone and oil, a process which requires a specially trained man to do successfully.

The trimming of the interior of a carriage requires much skill and judgment on the part of the workmen in providing really comfortable, well-fitted seats and neatness of workmanship. In the middle of the 19th century figured tabaret or satin were much used, but for many years past morocco has been almost universally preferred. Silk lutestring spring curtains, Brussels or velvet pile carpet, complete the interior, unless are added neat morocco covered trays with mirror, &c., for ladies’ convenience. Electric light is now frequently used for the interior, and can be applied with much neatness and efficiency. Road lamps, door handles, polished silver or brass furniture, are supplied to the coach-builder by firms whose special business it is to make them. Lever brakes are now a very ordinary requirement. Much judgment is needful to make them efficient, and careful workmanship to prevent rattle. Indiarubber is the best material for blocks applied to steel tires, and cast iron for indiarubber tires. The “Bowden wire” recently introduced is in some cases a convenient and light alternative to the long bar connecting the handle with the hind cross levers, and has the advantage of passing out of sight through the interior of the body.

 (J. A. M‘N.) 


CARRICKFERGUS, a seaport and watering-place of Co. Antrim, Ireland, in the east parliamentary division; on the northern shore of Belfast Lough, 9½ m. N.E. of Belfast by the Northern Counties (Midland) railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 4208. It stretches for about 1 m. along the shore of the Lough. The principal building is the castle, originally built by John de Courci towards the close of the 12th century, and subsequently much enlarged. It stands on a projecting rock above the sea, and was formerly a place of much strength. It is still maintained as an arsenal, and mounted with heavy guns. The ancient donjon or keep, 90 ft. in height, is still in good preservation. The town walls, built by Sir Henry Sidney, are still visible on the west and north, and the North Gate remains. The parish church of St Nicholas, an antiquated cruciform structure with curious Elizabethan work in the north transept, and monuments of the Chichester family, was originally a chapel or oratory dependent on a Franciscan monastery. The entrance to a subterranean passage between the two establishments is still visible under the communion-table of the church. The gaol, built on the site of the monastery above mentioned, was formerly the county of Antrim prison. The court-house, which adjoins the gaol, is a modern building. The town has some trade in domestic produce, and in leather and linen manufactures, there being several flax spinning-mills and bleach-works in the immediate neighbourhood. Distilling is carried on. The harbour admits vessels of 500 tons. The fisheries are valuable, especially the oyster fisheries. At Duncrue about 2 m. from the town, rock salt of remarkable purity and in large quantity is found in the Triassic sandstone. The neighbouring country is generally hilly, and Slieve True (1100 ft.) commands a magnificent prospect.

In 1182, John de Courci, to whom Henry II. had granted all the parts of Ulster he could obtain possession of by the sword, fixed a colony in this district. The castle came in the 13th century into possession of the De Lacy family, who, being ejected, invited Edward Bruce to besiege it (1315). After a desperate resistance the garrison surrendered. In 1386, the town was burned by the Scots, and in 1400 was destroyed by the combined Scots and Irish. Subsequently, it suffered much by famine and the occasional assaults of the neighbouring Irish chieftains, whose favour the townsmen were at length forced to secure by the payment of an annual tribute. In the reign of Charles I. many Scottish Covenanters settled in the neighbourhood