Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/603

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On these figures the cost of electricity is near enough to that of gas to enable it to offer a very substantial competition, and one which may be expected to grow stronger with increased experience and future improvements. That under the stimulus of this competition considerable improvement will be made in lighting by gas seems very probable. Already it has been shown that in the matter of burners there is a wide field for invention, and that the results now usually obtained are much under what are possible. With the high-power burners of Siemens, the illumination obtained from sixteen-candle gas has been more than doubled, and in others it has been carried up to from five to five and a half candles per foot. How suitable burners yielding such a great increase of light will be for the general purposes of lighting, and whether they can with advantage displace the simple flat tip, remains to be seen, but the present indications are that it is chiefly through the use of improved burners that gas must endeavor to resist the assaults of the incandescent light. Competition on the basis of a gas of higher illuminating power simply, without a resort to improved burners, does not seem very promising. The recently published report of the sub-commission, appointed to test the incandescent lamps at the Paris Exhibition, of which Mr. Crookes was a member, shows that a thirty-two candle lamp can be maintained with an increase of from 28 to 37 per cent of the power required to sustain one of sixteen candles, while with gas such an increase of illumination will require an additional expense of fully 50 per cent of the cost of one of the lower candle-power. This is so with the Lowe gas, with which three gallons of oil are sufficient to give sixteen candles, but six are required for thirty-two, and it is not probable that coal-gas can be enriched any cheaper. Whether the limit to progress in gas-lighting—both in the matter of improvement of manufacture and burners—is sufficiently far off to give gas unquestioned possession of the field of lighting or not, the result can alone determine. But, if the figures presented in this paper can be at all relied upon, they show that gas manufacturers and those interested in gas property will do well not to underrate the strength in their own domain of this rising industrial power.


DURING his last expedition to Central Asia, Professor Vambéry managed to interview the Emir of Samarcand—a sort of Mohammedan prince-cardinal and primate of the Eastern Sunnites. As Imam of the local lyceum the Emir appeared to take a natural interest in the progress of European science, but, when his guest expatiated on