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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/340

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

clocks and watches, sewing-machines and steam-engines, and is universally recognized as indispensable whenever accuracy and economy are to be combined with a large production.

Swank gives the following description of the Sterling Iron Works (already mentioned as the place where the West Point chain was forged), translated from a book published in Paris in 1801, written by the Marquis de Crevecœur, who was in the French service in the French and Indian War and afterward traveled extensively in this country:

"Hardly had we put our horses in the stable than Mr. Townsend, the proprietor, came to meet us with the politeness of a man of the world. Having learned that the object of our journey was to examine attentively his different works, he offered to show us all the details, and at once led us to his large furnace where the ore was melted and converted into pigs of sixty to one hundred pounds weight. The blast was supplied by two immense wooden blowers, neither iron nor leather being used in their construction. This furnace, he said, produced from two thousand to twenty-four hundred tons annually, three fourths of which are converted into bars, the rest melted into cannon and cannon-balls, etc. From there we went to see the forge. Six large hammers were occupied in forging bar iron and anchors and various pieces used on vessels. Lower down the stream (which afforded power to the works) was the foundry with its reverberatory furnace (air-furnace). Here he called our attention to several ingenious machines destined for different uses. The models he had sent him, and the machines he had cast from iron of a recently discovered ore, which, after two fusions, acquired great fineness; with it he could make the lightest and most delicate work. 'What a pity' he said, 'that you did not come ten days sooner! I would have shown you, first, three new styles of plows, of which I have cast the largest pieces, and which, however, are no heavier than the old-fashioned. Each of them is provided with a kind of steelyard, so graduated that one can tell the power of the team and the resistance of the soil; second, I would have shown you a portable mill for separating the grain from the chaff; followed by another machine by which all the ears in the field can be easily gathered without being obliged to cut the stalk at the foot, according to the old method.' From the foundry we went to see the furnaces where the iron is converted into steel. 'It is not as good as the Swedes',' said Mr. Townsend, 'but we approach it—a few years more of experience and we will arrive at perfection. The iron which comes from under my hammers has had for a long time a high reputation, and sells for £28 to £30 per ton.' After having passed two days in examining these diverse works and admiring the skill with which they were supplied with water, as