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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/819

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A CENTURY OF THE TELEGRAPH IN FRANCE.

On some great tables are installed the apparatus with all their accessories; each employée has allotted to her a space about ninety by ninety centimetres. Before each one there is a bar with three spikes, where they have to place separately the dispatches for abroad, the province, and Paris. In the middle of the hall is a bureau for the direction of the dispatches; two factors are attached to each section, one for unspiking the dispatches and carrying them to the direction, the other for distributing the dispatches on the posts. There is furthermore an elevator near the direction for mounting or descending the telegrams, because the men's hall, situated above, possesses all the wires connecting with the great cities of France as well as to abroad.

The basement is assuredly one of the most interesting parts of the poste-central. There are found some vaulted cellars devoted to the nine thousand elements of piles in service; in other places one will see some dynamo-electric machines, refilling pumps, etc. This is certainly not one of the least interesting features, that of seeing steam engines become the auxiliaries of telegraphy.

These machines work, on one part, the compressing pumps destined to run the Hughes apparatus and the dynamo-electric machines necessary for the production of the electric light. They work equally a dynamo-electric apparatus (an auto-regulator), which an agent of the central post, P. Picard, has had the ingenious idea to invent for replacing the piles.

Between them, the French writers, K. Fichot and H. Meyer, have managed to produce a fairly creditable account on the occasion and descriptively historical of the centenary of the foundation in France of the telegraph. The Parisians have celebrated the event, and while so fêting the centennial of the aërial telegraph they were almost at the same time, in a way, celebrating the golden jubilee of the introduction into Gaul of the electric telegraph, which was established at Paris just close on fifty years ago.

The interesting and curious paper of the Gaulois literarians above named will not be noticed in the French technical press (or, at least, it is not believed it will be); therefore an advanced translation is forwarded for the edification of English-speaking readers. In this rendering the purity of the original has been faithfully preserved as much as possible, even unto preserving some of the idiomatic peculiarities of expression of the vernacular.

It will be seen that the present summary is moderately complete,—detailing the introduction of the telegraph, some rather surprising comparisons; then the advent and progress and a few statistics of the present-day electric telegraph, description of the Paris great central bureau, etc.