a high state of perfection, any deficiency in their physical strength is amply compensated by these self- acting machines. The factory engine supplies the labour or the element of Force, while the machines perform their work with practical perfection. The details of machinery are thus turned out with geometrical accuracy, and are in the highest sense fitted to perform their intended purposes.

  • It consists of a lever E, moving on a stud-pin S, attached to the back of the head stock of the lathe T. This lever carries two wheels of equal diameter marked B and G. These wheels can pitch into a corresponding wheel A, fixed on the back end of the lay spindle. When the handle of the lever E is depressed (as seen in the drawing) the wheel B is in gear with wheel A. while C is in gear with the slidescrew wheel D, and so moves the slide (say from the Head Stock of the lathe). On the other hand, when the lever E is elevated in position E", wheel B is taken out of gear with A, while G is put in gear with A, and B is put in gear with D; and thus the Slide is caused to move towards the Head Stock of the lathe. Again, where it is desired to arrest the motion of the Slide altogether, or for a time, as occasion may require, the lever handle is put into the intermediate position E', which entirely severs the communication between A and D, and so arrests the motion of the slide. This simple contrivance effectually served all its purposes, and was adopted by many machine tool-makers and engineers.

Self-adjusting Bearings for the Shafts of Machinery

A frequent cause of undue friction and heating of rapidly rotating machinery arises from some inaccuracy or want of due parallelism between the rotating shaft or spindle and its bearing. This is occasioned in most cases by some accidental change in the level of the supports of the bearings. Many of the bearings are situated in dark places, and cannot be seen. There are others that are difficult of access -- as in the case of bearings of screw-propeller shafts. Serious mischief may result before the heating of the bearing proclaims its dangerous condition. In some cases the timber work is set on fire, which may result in serious consequences.

In order to remove the cause of such serious mischief, I designed an arrangement of bearing, which enabled it, and the shaft working in it, to mutually accommodate themselves to each other under all circumstances, and thus to avoid the danger of a want of due and mutual parallelism in their respective axes. This arrangement consisted in giving to the exterior of the bearing a spherical form, so as, within moderate limits, to allow it to accommodate itself to any such changes in regard to mutual parallelism, as above referred to. In other cases, I employed what I may call Rocking centres, on which the Pedestal or "Plumber Block" rested; and thus supplied a self-adjusting means for obviating the evils resulting from any accidental change in the proper relative position of the shaft and its bearing. In all cases in which I introduced this arrangement, the results were most satisfactory.

In the case of the bearings of Blowing Fans, in which the rate of rotation is naturally excessive, a spherical resting-place for the bearings enabled them to keep perfectly cool at the highest speed. This was also the case in the driving apparatus for machine tools, which is generally fixed at a considerable height above the machine. These spherical or self-adjusting bearings were found of great service. The apparatus, being generally out of convenient reach, is apt to get out of order unless duly attended to. But, whether or not, the saving of friction is in itself a reason for the adoption of such bearings. This may appear a trifling technical matter of detail; but its great practical value must be my excuse for mentioning it.

Invention of the Steam Ram

My invention was made at this early date, long before the attack by the steam-ram Merrimac upon the Cumberland, and other ships, in Hampton Roads, United States. I brought my plans and drawings under the notice of the Admiralty in 1845 ; but nothing was done for many years. Much had been accomplished in rendering our ships shot-proof by the application of iron plates; but it appeared to me that not one of them could exist above water after receiving on its side a single blow from an iron-plated steam-ram of 2000 tons. I said, in a letter to the Times, "As the grand object of naval warfare is the destruction by the most speedy mode of the ships of the enemy, why should we continue to attempt to attain this object by making small holes in the hull of the enemy when, by one single masterly crashing blow from

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