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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/124

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

locomotive traction should be adopted for the railway between Liverpool and Manchester, a prize of £500 was offered for the best locomotive. Although five months were given the competitors in which to prepare themselves, Ericsson did not learn of the offer till within seven weeks of the day of trial. Stephenson brought out his “Rocket” engine, with every appointment perfect and tested. Ericsson produced his “Novelty,” graceful in design and structure, and with every part planned on sound principles, but built in haste and untested. It suffered two breakdowns in the trial, caused by undetected faults in workmanship; but not before it had passed the “Rocket” and reached a speed of thirty-two miles an hour. Ericsson withdrew it in disgust, and the prize went to Stephenson. But every one admired the beauty of the “Novelty”; the judges spoke of its appearance as being very much in its favor, and commended the ingenuity with which the machinery was so contrived as to work out of sight, and the compactness of its form; and John Scott Russell, the eminent English engineer, wrote in the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1840 that “the ‘Novelty’ had to be withdrawn through a series of unfortunate accidents which had no reference to the character or capabilities of the engine. And we well recollect that it made a profound impression on the public mind at the time. On the first day of the trial it went twenty-eight miles an hour (without any attached load), and did one mile in seven seconds under two minutes.” Two other elegant locomotives were built by Ericsson, but they failed to give entire satisfaction in the working, and this field of construction was left to Stephenson.

In 1830 Captain Ericsson devised the centrifugal fan blower which afterward came into general use on our river steamers; in 1834 he took out a patent for a deep-sea lead, on a principle similar to the one employed in a lead designed by Sir William Thomson. He received a prize from the London Society of Arts for a hydrostatic weighing machine. He exhibited at the International Exhibition of 1852, and received a medal for them, an instrument to measure distances at sea; an alarm barometer which sounded a gong in warning of approaching storms; and a pyrometer which measured temperatures up to the boiling point of iron. He invented an instrument for measuring the compressibility of water; methods of propelling boats on canals, one of which has been applied to the heavy grades of Swiss mountain railroads; a water meter, a centrifugal pump, a file cutting machine, an apparatus for making salt from brine, and numerous applications to the steam engine, many of which came into use, while others were abandoned. He experimented with superheated steam; and Mr. Church says that he designed more than five hundred steam engines.