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Jacob Perkins Steam Machinery
AFTER all that has been conjectured, and insinuated, and surmised, and written about Mr. Perkins's modifications and improvements of steam machinery, we are happy to give from his own pen the following summary of them, which is abridged from a most interesting article inserted in one of the scientific journals of America, the land that gave him birth.

Is it not new, he inquires, to generate steam of all elasticities, from the minimum to the maximum without the least danger - in the generation of steam to substitute pressure for surface, which he considers the basis of his invention — to have a pressure of 1000 lbs. to the square inch on one side of the piston, while on the other side of it all resistance is taken away by a vacuum, and this produced without an air-pump, or any more water than is used in generating the steam—to have invented a metallic piston, which requires no lubrication, and yet is as tight as the piston of an air-pump—to have applied Davy's zinc protectors to steam cylinders to prevent oxidation, which took place when the engine was not at work—to dispense with the eduction valve and pipe, having no other than a small induction valve, and that so constructed as to neutralize the pressure, requiring no oil, and very little power to open and to close it—to allow steam to escape at an opening 250 times larger than the steam pipe; and lastly, to have discovered that steam may be generated.although in contact with the water, at all temperatures, without producing corresponding elasticity?

In the steam artillery, which this eminent engineer is constructing for the French government, he guarantees the perfect safety of the generator, its indestructibility, the ability to keep the steam up at any required temperature for any length of time, and its great economy. The piece of ordnance is to throw sixty balls of four pounds each a minute, with the correctness of the rifle musket, and to a proportionate distance. A musket is also attached to the same generator for throwing a stream of lead from the bastion of a fort, and is made so far portable, as to be capable of being moved from one bastion to another. This musket is to throw from one hundred to one thousand bullets per minute as occasion may require, and that for any given length of time. As regards economy, it is within the truth, that if the discharges are rapid, one pound of coals will throw as many balls as four pounds of powder. The mischief of this steam artillery is that it will be to nations what the pistol is to duellists, it will bring all, whether strong or weak, upon a par. Among the very curious results from Mr. Perkins's experiments upon steam is one, which proves practically what Dr. Hare, of Philadelphia, has so ably attempted to establish theoretically, namely, that caloric is matter. The proof, he says, is simple and direct, and, I am persuaded, conclusive.

Mr. Perkins's explanation of the bursting of boilers will appear very plausible, it is this: that the water is suffered to get so low as to bring a portion of the boiler not covered with water in contact with the fire; this becomes red hot, and imparts its heat to the steam; the redness gradually extends itself below the water, which is at length repelled from the water and thrown up among the hot steam (like a pot suddenly boiling over), which overcharged steam immediately imparting its excessive heat to the water, forms steam of the greatest power, and occasions the disastrous explosion.

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