Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

very close readings are required, they are made by means of a traversing geometric micrometer microscope. When the distance between the screens is known, and also the time of flight, the midpoint velocity is found by applying Bashforth’s formula. When the velocity of shot from a shot-gun has to be found, a thin wire stretched across the muzzle takes the place of the first screen, and a thin sheet of metal or cardboard carrying an electric contact, or a Branly coherer, the conductivity of which is restored by means of an induced current, takes the place of the second screen. The electric firing circuit is provided with a safety key attached by a cord to the man who loads the gun and prepares the electric fuse. The firing circuit is closed by inserting the key in a switch at the rear of the gun, thus preventing him from getting into the line of fire when the gun is fired by the chronograph. The tram, when the instrument is adjusted, has a practically constant velocity of traverse.

The polarizing photo-chronograph, designed and used by A. C. Crehore and G. O. Squier at the United States Artillery School (Trans. Amer. Inst. Elect. Eng. vol. 14, and Journal United States Artillery, 1895, 6, p. 271), depends for its Crehore-Squier.indications upon the rotation of a beam of light by a magnetic field, produced by a solenoidal current which is opened and closed by the passage of the projectile. The general arrangement is as follows:—A beam of light from an electric lamp traverses a lens, then a Nicol prism, next a glass cylinder furnished with plane glass ends and coiled with insulated wire, then an analyser and two lenses, finally impinging on a photographic plate to which rotation is given by an electric motor, the plane of rotation being perpendicular to the direction of the beam of light. The same plate also records the shadow of a pierced projection attached to a tuning-fork, light from the electric lamp being diverted by a mirror for this purpose. The solenoid used to produce a magnetic field across the glass cylinder, which is filled with carbon bisulphide, is in circuit with a dynamo, resistances, and the screens on the gun range. It is a well-known phenomenon in physics that when, with the above-mentioned combination of polarizing Nicol prism and analyser, the light is shut off by rotating the analyser, it is instantly restored when the carbon bisulphide is placed in a magnetic field. This phenomenon is utilized in this instrument. The projectile, by cutting the wire screens, causes the magnetic field to cease and light to pass. By means of an automatic switch the projectile, after cutting a screen, restores the electric circuit, so that successive records are registered. After a record has been made it is read by means of a micrometer microscope, the angle moved through by the photographic disk is found, and hence the time period between two events. In the photo-chronograph described in Untersuchungen über die Vibration des Gewehrlaufs, by C. Cranz and K. R. Koch (Munich, 1899), also note on the same, Nature, 61, p. 58, a sensitive plate moving in a straight line receives the record of the movement of the barrels of firearms when discharged. It was mainly used to determine the “angle or error of departure” in ballistics.

In a second chronograph by Watkin (“Chronographs and their Application to Gun Ballistics,” Proc. Roy. Inst., 1896), a metal drum, divided on its edge so that when a vernier is used a minute of angle may be read, is rotated rapidly by a motor at a Watkin.practically uniform speed. The points of a row of steel-pointed pins, screwed into a frame of ebonite, can be brought within 1/200 in. of the surface of the drum. Each pin is a part of the secondary circuit of an induction coil, the space between the pins and the drum forming spark-gaps. The drum is rubbed over with a weak solution of paraffin wax in benzol, which causes the markings produced by the sparks to be well defined. The records are read by means of a fine hair stretched along the drum and just clear of it, the dots being located under the hair by means of a lens. The velocity of rotation is found by obtaining spark marks, due to the primary circuits of two induction coils being successively broken by a weight falling and breaking the two electric circuits of the coils in succession at a known distance apart. This chronograph has been used for finding the velocity of projectiles after leaving the gun, and also for finding the rate at which a shot traverses the bore. For the latter purpose the shot successively cuts insulated wires fixed in plugs screwed into the gun at known intervals; each wire forms a part of the primary of an induction coil, and as each is cut a dot is made on the rotating drum by the induced spark.

In the chronograph of Marcel Deprez, a cylinder for receiving records is driven at a high velocity, 4 to 5 metres per second surface velocity. The velocity is determined by means of an Deprez.electrically-driven tuning-fork, the traces being read by means of a vernier gauge. A mercury speed indicator of the Ramsbottom type enables the rotation to be continuously controlled (A. Favarger, L’Électricité et ses applications à la chronométrie).

Astronomical Chronographs.—The astronomical chronograph is an instrument whereby an observer is enabled to register the time of transit of a star on a sheet of paper attached to a revolving cylinder. A metal cylinder covered with a sheet of Dent.paper is rotated by clockwork controlled by a conical pendulum, or by a centrifugal clock governor such as is used for driving a telescope. By means of a screw longer than the cylinder, mounted parallel with the axis of the cylinder and rotated by the clockwork, a carriage is made to traverse close to the paper. In some instruments this carriage is furnished with a metal point, and in others with a stylographic ink pen. The point or pen is made to touch the paper by an electromagnet, the electric current of which is closed by the observer at the transit instrument, and a mark is recorded on the revolving cylinder. The movement of the same point or pen is also controlled by a standard clock, so that at the end of each second a mark is made. The cylinder makes one revolution per minute, and the minute is indicated by the omission of the mark. In E. J. Dent’s form (Nature, 23, p. 59) continuous observations can be recorded for 6⅔ hours. The conical pendulum used to govern the rotation of the cylinder was the invention of Sir G. B. Airy. The lower end is geared to a metal plate which sweeps through an annular trough filled with glycerin and water. When the path of the pendulum exceeds a certain diameter it causes the plate to enter the liquid more deeply, its motion being thereby checked; also, when the pendulum moves in a smaller circle the plate is lifted out of the liquid and the resistance is diminished in the same proportion as the force. The compensatory action is considerable; doubling the driving power produces no perceptible difference in the time. To prevent the injury of the conical pendulum and the wheel work by any sudden check of the cylinder, a ratch-wheel connexion is placed between the cylinder and the train of wheel work; this enables the pendulum to run on until it gradually comes to rest. The pendulum, which weighs about 18 ℔, is compensated, and makes one revolution in two seconds; it is suspended from a bracket by means of two flexible steel springs placed at right angles to one another.

The observatory of Washburn, University of Wisconsin, is furnished with a chronograph of the same type as that of Dent (Annals Harvard Coll. Obs. vol. i. pt. ii. p. 34), but in this instrument the rotation of the cylinder is controlled by a double conical pendulum governor of peculiar construction. When the balls fly out beyond a certain point, one of them engages with a hook attached to a brass cylinder which embraces the vertical axle loosely. When this mass is pulled aside the work done on it diminishes the speed of the governor. The pendulum ball usually strikes the hook from 60 to 70 times per minute. Governors on this principle were adopted by Alvan Clark for driving heliostats in the United States Transit of Venus Expedition, 1874.

In the astronomical chronograph designed by Sir Howard Grubb (Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., July 1888), the recording cylinders—two in number—are driven by a weight acting on a train of wheel work controlled by an astronomical telescope governor. Grubb.The peculiar feature of this instrument is that the axle is geared to a shaft which communicates motion to the cylinders through a mechanism whereby the speed of rotation is constantly corrected by a standard clock. Should the rotation fall below the correct speed it is automatically accelerated, and if its speed of rotation rises above the correct one it is retarded. The accelerator and retarder are thrown into action by electromagnets, controlled by a “detector” mounted on the same shaft. The rather complicated mechanism employed to effect the correction is described and fully illustrated in the reference given. The cylinders are covered with paper, but all the markings are made with a stylographic pen. The marks indicating seconds are dots, but those made by the observer are short lines. When an observation is about to be made the observer first notes the hour and minute, and, by pressing a contact key attached to a flexible cord at the transit instrument, marks the paper with a letter in Morse telegraph characters, indicating the hour and minute; he then waits till a micrometer wire cuts a star and at the instant closes the circuit, so that the second and fraction of a second are registered on the chronograph paper. When a set of observations have been taken, the paper is removed from the cylinder, and the same results are obtained by applying a suitably divided rule to the marked paper, fractions of a second being estimated by applying a piece of glass ruled with eleven straight lines converging to a point. The ends of these lines on the base of the triangle so formed are equidistant on one edge of the glass, so that when the first and last lines are so placed as to coincide with the beginning and end of the markings of a second, that second is divided into ten equal parts. The base of the triangle is always kept parallel with the line of dots. The papers, after they have been examined and the results registered, are kept for reference.

In the astronomical chronograph of Hipp, used in determining longitudes, the movement of a recording cylinder is regulated by Hipp.means of a toothed wheel, the last of a clockwork train, controlled by a vibrating metal tongue; this important feature is described in detail in Favarger’s work cited above.

Acoustic Chronographs.—In the chronograph devised by H. V. Regnault (Acad. des Sc., 1868) to determine the velocity of sound propagated through a great length of pipe, a band of paper 27 mm. wide was continuously unrolled from a bobbin by means of an electromagnetic engine. In its passage over a Regnault.pulley it passed over a smoky lamp flame, which covered it with a thin deposit of carbon. It next passed over a cylinder in contact with the style of a tuning-fork kept in vibration by electromagnets placed on either side of its prongs, the current being interrupted by the fork; it was also in contact with an electric signal controlled by a standard clock. Also an electromagnetic signal marked the beginning and end of a time period. Thus three markings were registered on the band, viz. the time of the pendulum, the vibrations of the fork, and the marking of the signal due to the opening and