A Miniature Gas Plant
IF YOU happen to live outside the city and do not have access to local gas mains, you can nevertheless enjoy the use of gas-operated equipment by constructing the miniature gas plant pictured here. The amount of gas constantly “on tap” will depend on the size storage chamber built. Coal, corn cobs, or similar fuel is used as a source of the gas.
ROOF-TOP HEAT TRAP STORES POWER FROM THE SUN
HEATING homes in January with the warmth of last summer’s sunshine â€”that is the exciting goal of research now under way at Cambridge, Mass. Not far from the Charles River, scientists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently completed a white frame building, its sloping roof edged with a glistening battery of solar-heat traps.
Contracting Wires Harness Sun’s Rays
THE long, exhausting search of scientists for a method of harnessing the rays of the sun has yielded the solar machine illustrated in the artist’s drawing above.
Operation of the machine is based upon the principle of contraction and expansion of tungsten wires. These wires are arranged lengthwise of a revolving drum, and the sun’s rays are directed against them by means of a parabolic mirror on each side.
That’s a really nifty way to pump water!
CHINESE WINDMILL WATERS FARM
Adapting an Oriental idea for raising water for his own needs and to irrigate his fields, a California farmer has constructed the curious apparatus shown in the accompanying photographs. Power from a windmill, transmitted through gears, revolves a spiral-shaped tube of pipe open at both ends. The outside end dips into a water-filled ditch at each revolution. Water is thus picked up, and runs by gravity around the spiral to the hub as the wheel revolves. An opening in the hub dis-charges the water into a trough four feet above the level in the ditch, giving a sufficient lift for the irrigation purposes desired.
SUN’S RAYS ARE HARNESSED IN SOLAR FURNACE
ARCHIMEDES, famous mathematician, is said to have set fire to the fleet of the Roman emperor, Marcellus, by the use of a series of concave mirrors concentrating the sun’s rays upon the fleet. John Ericsson, the designer of the Monitor, of civil war fame, constructed several engines having boilers provided with mechanical devices for effecting the necessary concentration of solar rays which, when collected from 100 square feet of surface, effected the evaporation of 489 cubic inches of water per hour, more than equivalent to one horsepower. This is, however, but a small proportion of the potential energy actually developed by solar heat hourly received upon an area of this size.
Giant Wind Turbines
Currents in Upper Air Form Unfailing Source of Power for “Windmills” of Future
WIND, at the surface of the earth, is proverbially uncertain; but recent researches show that, a thousand feet or more above the ground, wind is comparatively steady and unfailing. This has given new life to the hope of finding a substantial source of natural power, even more universally available than water power; and the designs illustrated here have been prepared by a German engineer, Honnef, the erector of several huge radio towers. As shown here, the structure carrying the power plant would be higher than any other building man has yet been able to erect.
Putting Nature’s Power to Work
Methods of Harnessing Natural Energy Described by DICK COLE
Upward of 40,000 inventions a year are granted patents by Uncle Sam, but not one of these offers a practical solution of the problem which scientists agree is the most pressing of them allâ€” that is, how to harness natural sources of energy for power. Mr. Cole does not profess to have solved the problem, but the methods he describes here point out the trend of probable development.
WHAT is the most needed invention? Not televisionâ€”not new kinds of airplanesâ€”not speedier automobiles. Men of science are agreed that what the world needs most is a motor which converts the sun’s rays and other forms of natural energy into usable power. Orville Wright, Lee De Forest, Elihu Thomson, and other leading scientists are among those who proclaim the need for a new motor.
Sunlight Powers Automobile
POWERED by the same kind of solar cells used in space vehicles, this carâ€”a 1912 Baker electricâ€” has a top speed of 20 mph.
The 26 sq. ft. panel atop the car contains some 10,640 silicon cells which convert sunlight to electricity. The car was rigged with the cells merely to demonstrate the potential of solar power conversion, and the cells produce enough electricity in eight hours of sunlight to run it for only an hour.
The system was developed by Dr. Charles A. Es-coffery, technical assistant to the president of International Rectifier Corp., El Segundo, Calif. Cost of the solar cell panel is about $15,000. In mass production quantities of a hundred or so, it could be sold for $2,000 to $3,000, says Dr. Escoffery.
Locomotive Tries Milk Fuel
DEMONSTRATING its energy value, two tons of dried milk in the form of briquets was used in place of coal to fuel the locomotive of the Dixie Limited at the start of its run from Chicago Depot to Florida. The substitute fuel is said to have burned readily, providing as much heat as coal.
Motor Scooter Burns LPG
Already noted for its gas economy, the motor scooter now has been adapted to burn LPG. Ralph Carlton of Wauchula, Fla., converted his standard scooter into an LPG-burner with a few minor engine changes. Now he carries a bottle of propane lashed to the scooter’s front end.