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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/580

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564
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

lie, St. Bernard, and other well-known breeds will occur to everyone as illustrating this psychic plasticity. Doubtless the cat brain is somewhat less impressible, but there would seem to be good reasons for including it among the educably variable types.

 

WHAT MAKES THE TROLLEY CAR GO.
By WILLIAM BAXTER, Jr., C. E.
III.

ALTHOUGH the electric railway has been introduced throughout the civilized world with the most remarkable rapidity, replacing cable as well as horse roads, there has always been a strong opposition to the use of the overhead trolley, and in some places, as, for instance, the city of Kew York, this opposition has been so strong as to prevent the introduction of the system until some other means of conveying the current to the moving cars was devised. Many attempts have been made to solve this problem, and the patents taken out on such devices can be numbered by the hundred and possibly by the thousand. Inventors in this field, however, have not met with all the encouragement they could desire, owing to the fact that, notwithstanding opposition, the overhead trolley has been permitted in all but about three or four of the larger cities of this country, and the greater portion of those of other countries. The principal well-founded objection that can be raised against the trolley is that it is unsightly and destroys the appearance of the street, but those who are opposed to it also claim that it is dangerous, and that underground or surface systems would not be. As a matter of fact it is not dangerous, and there is nothing on record to show that it is. Many persons have been run over by trolley cars, but this is no fault of the overhead trolley; it is due to the fact that street railroads are permitted to run cars through crowded streets at a speed that is too great for safety. Underground conduit cars running at the same speed would run over just as many people. In accusing the trolley of being dangerous it is sought to prove that the current flowing in the wire can do harm; but the history of the numerous roads in existence shows that, so far as human beings are concerned, the trolley current is not fatal, although it can give a decidedly unpleasant shock, such as one would not care to experience the second time. There is


    Note.—Figs. 28 and 32 are reproductions of photographs kindly furnished by the General Electric Company, while for the view of car, Fig. 30, we are indebted to Colonel N. H. Heft, chief electrical engineer of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad.