This method consisted of tinning three, or, if need be, more parts of the work, and laying them down on a tinned face-plate or chuck, which had been heated so as just to cause the solder to flow. As soon as the solder is cooled and set, the chuck with its attached work may then be put in the lathe, and the work proceeded with until it is completed. By again heating the chuck, by laying upon it a piece of red- hot iron, the work, however delicate, can be simply lifted off, and will be found perfectly free from all distortion.

I have been the more particular in naming the use of three points of attachment to the chuck or face- plate, as that number is naturally free from any risk of distortion. I have on so many occasions found the great value of this simple yet most secure mode of fixing delicate work in the lathe, that I feel sure that any one able to appreciate its practical value will be highly pleased with the results of its employment.

The same means can, in many cases, be employed in fixing delicate work in the planing-machine. All that is requisite is to have a clean-planed wrought-iron or brass fixing-plate, to which the work in hand can be attached at a few suitable parts with soft solder, as in the case of the turning lathe above described.

A Method of casting Specula for Reflecting Telescopes, so as to ensure perfect Freeness from Defects, at the same time enhancing the Brilliancy of the Alloy.

My father possessed a very excellent achromatic spy-glass of 2 inches diameter. The object-glass was made by the celebrated Ramsden. When I was about fifteen I used it to gaze at the moon, planets, and sun-spots. Although this instrument revealed to me the general characteristic details of these grand objects, my father gave me a wonderful account of what he had seen of the moon's surface by means of a powerful reflecting telescope of 12 inches diameter, made by Short -- that justly celebrated pioneer of telescope making. It had been erected in a temporary observatory on the Calton Hill, Edinburgh. These descriptions of my father's so fired me with the desire to obtain a sight of the glorious objects in the heavens through a more powerful instrument than the spy-glass, that I determined to try and make a reflecting telescope which I hoped might in some degree satisfy my ardent desires.

I accordingly searched for the requisite practical instruction in the pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and in other books that professed to give the necessary technical information on the subject. I found, however, that the information given in books -- at least in the books to which I had access was meagre and unsatisfactory. Nevertheless I set to work with all earnestness, and began by compounding the requisite alloy for casting a speculum of 8 inches diameter. This alloy consisted of 32 parts of copper, 15 parts of grain tin, and 1 part of white arsenic. These ingredients, when melted together, yielded a compound metal which possessed a high degree of brilliancy. Having made a wooden pattern for my intended 8-inch diameter speculum, and moulded it in sand, I cast this my first reflecting telescope speculum according to the best book instructions. I allowed my casting to cool in the mould in the slowest possible manner; for such is the excessive brittleness of this alloy (though composed of two of the toughest of metals) that in any sudden change of temperature, or want of due delicacy in handling it, it is very apt to give way, and a fracture more or less serious is sure to result. Even glass, brittle though it be, is strong in comparison with speculum metal of the above proportions, though, as I have said, it yields the most brilliant composition.

Notwithstanding the observance of all due care in respect of the annealing of the casting by slow cooling, and the utmost care and delicate handling of it in the process of grinding the surface into the requisite curve and smoothness suitable to receive the final polish, -- I was on more than one occasion inexpressibly mortified by the sudden disruption and breaking up of my speculum. Thus many hours of anxious care and labour proved of no avail. I had to begin again and proceed da capo. I observed, however, that the surplus alloy that was left in the crucible, after I had cast my speculum, when again melted and poured out into a metal ingot mould, yielded a cake that, brittle though it might be, was yet strong in comparison with that of the speculum cast in the sand mould; and that it was also, judging from the fragments chipped from it, possessed of even a higher degree of brilliancy.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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