Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/525

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$60 to $150 per mile for each circuit, according to the kind of cable used.

In round numbers we may estimate the total cost for one thousand wires at $150,000 per mile, or $150 per mile per circuit. The cost of piping and chambers would be nearly as great for one hundred circuits as for one thousand, as the cost of chambers and the labor of excavating and filling would be the same; so that the cost for one hundred wires may be estimated at $50,000 per mile, or $500 per mile per conductor. The cost per conductor thus increases enormously as the number of conductors diminishes, so that it would be clearly impossible to follow out the wires of an exchange system in all of their bifurcations.

It may be argued that cheaper methods of laying wires may be devised; but the experience of forty years has led continually to more and more expensive systems. If, then, the present method of running wires overhead is objectionable, and the expense of running them under-ground is so great as to put the cost of telephones, electric lights, and other electrical appliances out of the reach of would-be users, how are the wires to be run?

It seems to the writer that much of the inconvenience may be obviated, and without greatly increasing the expense, by adopting the following plan: From each telephone exchange, electric-lighting station, or other center of electric wires, run overhead cables out to a considerable number of points about the city, some one of which would be quite near to each subscriber. From each of these points to the various subscribers run short stretches of ordinary house-top wire. In this way hundreds of single wires would be gathered into small and inoffensive cables, and the enormous wooden structures would be replaced by small cable supports of brick or iron. In no place would there be the offensive multiplicity of wires. Such a system would be more durable, needing fewer repairs, than the present, and would not be much more expensive. For any other apparatus than telephones, retardation and induction would not be felt on so short cables. With telephone cables of moderate length these troubles would not be serious, and, if longer cables were necessary, metallic circuits could be used.


BEING one of the grand army of sufferers from headache, I took, last summer, by order of my physician, three small daily doses of Indian hemp (hasheesh), in the hope of holding my intimate enemy in check. Not discovering any of the stimulative effects of the drug, even after continual increase of the dose, I grew to regard it as a