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Diesel Engine Indicator, De Juhasz Design – ca 1938

National Museum of American History
This diesel engine indicator was based on U.S. Patent Number 2,040,082 issued to Kalman John De Juhasz of State College, Pennsylvania on May 12, 1936. An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine. Engine indicators were originally developed for use on steam engines, and Mr. De Juhasz's design is one of many adaptations of steam engine indicator designs for use on diesel engines.

The device consists of a piston within a cylinder as shown on the right in the image. This cylinder is connected to a port in a cylinder of the engine under test, and the indicator's piston rises and falls as the pressure within the engine changes. A spring at the top of the cylinder provides a return force when the pressure in the engine decreases. A stylus is connected via a linkage to the moving piston so that it also rises and falls with pressure changes and records the pressure on a revolving drum with a paper card wrapped around it. This drum is seen to the left of the image. A cord is wrapped around the base of the drum and led via the pulley on the left to be attached to the engine under test so that it causes the drum to turn one revolution each stroke of the engine. A spring on the inside of the drum returns the recording paper to its starting point as the cord is relaxed. The result is a pressure-volume diagram of the engine while in operation, and engineers can measure and adjust the engine's properties under real time varying load conditions.

De Juhasz claimed his design improved over others due to his addition of cooling fins to the piston cylinder, reduction of mass of the piston and stylus, the use of light weight materials such as Bakelite, and a built in lubricator. He was an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Pennsylvania State College and Chief Engineer of a company manufacturing engine indicators.

The indicator is constructed of steel and Bakelite. Diagrams showing the complete design of the patent that it is based upon can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Dinner book, vol. II

Archives of American Art
Diary : 1 v. : handwritten ; 19 x 12 cm. Only one selected page has been scanned: a table seating diagram for the 1895 Dec. 25 dinner diagram at the Biltmore estate.
Citation of this item must include the following title designated by the donor: Whitney Museum of American Art, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney papers. Gift of Flora Miller Irving.

Dissected Triangular Prism, Ross Solid #9

National Museum of American History
This is the ninth in a series of models illustrating the volume of solids designed by William Wallace Ross, a school superintendent and mathematics teacher in Fremont, Ohio. The unpainted wooden model is a triangular prism with three rectangular sides and a triangular base and top. It separates into three pyramids of equal volume; two of these are identical. A diagram of the dissection appears on one of two paper stickers glued to the model. A mark on one label reads: Triangular Pris [. . .].

Finding the volume of pyramids was not only important for practical reasons but was central to Ross’s demonstrations for the volume of a cone and of a sphere.

For Ross solids, see 1985.0112.205 through 2012.0112.217. For further information about Ross models, including references, see 1985.0112.191.

Do Our Brains Find Certain Shapes More Attractive Than Others?

Smithsonian Magazine

Jean (Hans) Arp, Consiente de sa Beauté (Conscious of Her Beauty), 1957, polished bronze. Image courtesy of Chrystal Smith, Art Associate, Science.

A century ago, a British art critic by the name of Clive Bell attempted to explain what makes art, well, art. He postulated that there is a “significant form”—a distinct set of lines, colors, textures and shapes—that qualifies a given work as art. These aesthetic qualities trigger a pleasing response in the viewer. And, that response, he argued, is universal, no matter where or when that viewer lives.

In 2010, neuroscientists at the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins University joined forces with the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore to conduct an experiment. What shapes are most pleasing, the group wondered, and what exactly is happening in our brains when we look at them? They had three hypotheses. It is possible, they thought, that the shapes we most prefer are more visually exciting, meaning that they spark intense brain activity. At the same time, it could be that our favorite shapes are serene and calm brain activity. Or, they surmised we very well might gravitate to shapes that spur a pattern of alternating strong and weak activity.

Image courtesy of Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Johns Hopkins University

To investigate, the scientists created ten sets of images, which they hung on a wall at the Walters Art Museum in 2010. Each set included 25 shapes, all variations on a laser scan of a sculpture by artist Jean Arp. Arp’s work was chosen, in this case, because his sculptures are abstract forms that are not meant to represent any recognizable objects. Upon entering the exhibition, called “Beauty and the Brain,” visitors put on a pair of 3D glasses and then, for each image set, noted the their “most preferred” and “least preferred” shape on a ballot. The shapes were basically blobs with various appendages. The neuroscientists then reviewed the museum-goers’ responses in conjunction with fMRI scans taken on lab study participants looking at the very same images.

Image courtesy of Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Johns Hopkins University

“We wanted to be rigorous about it, quantitative, that is, try to really understand what kind of information neurons are encoding and…why some things would seem more pleasing or preferable to human observers than other things. I have found it to be almost universally true in data and also in audiences that the vast majority have a specific set of preferences,” says Charles E. Connor, director of the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute.

Beauty and the Brain Revealed,” an exhibition now on display at the AAAS Art Gallery in Washington, D.C., allows others to participate in the exercise, while also reporting the original experiment’s results. Ultimately, the scientists found that visitors like shapes with gentle curves as opposed to sharp points. And, the magnetic brain imaging scans of the lab participants prove the team’s first hypothesis to be true: these preferred shapes produce stronger responses and increased activity in the brain.

As Johns Hopkins Magazine so eloquently put it, “Beauty is in the brain of the beholder.”

Now, you might expect, as the neuroscientists did, that sharp objects incite more of a reaction, given that they can signal danger. But the exhibition offers up some pretty sound reasoning for why the opposite may be true.

“One could speculate that the way we perceive sculpture relates to how the human brain is adapted for optimal information processing in the natural world,” reads the display. “Shallow convex surface curvature is characteristic of living organisms, because it is naturally produced by the fluid pressure of healthy tissue (e.g. muscle) against outer membranes (e.g. skin). The brain may have evolved to process information about such smoothly rounded shapes in order to guide survival behaviors like eating, mating and predator evasion. In contrast, the brain may devote less processing to high curvature, jagged forms, which tend to be inorganic (e.g. rocks) and thus less important.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user wecand

Another group of neuroscientists, this time at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, actually found similar results when looking at people’s preferences in architecture. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year, they reported that test subjects shown 200 images—of rooms with round columns and oval ottomans and others with boxy couches and coffee tables—were much more likely to call the former “beautiful” than the latter. Brain scans taken while these participants were evaluating the interior designs showed that rounded decor prompted significantly more brain activity, much like what the Johns Hopkins group discovered.

“It’s worth noting this isn’t a men-love-curves thing: twice as many women as men took part in the study. Roundness seems to be a universal human pleasure,” writes Eric Jaffe on Co.Design.

Gary Vikan, former director of the Walters Art Museum and guest curator of the AAAS show, finds “Beauty and the Brain Revealed” to support Clive Bell’s postulation on significant form as a universal basis for art, as well as the idea professed by some in the field of neuroaesthetics that artists have an intuitive sense for neuroscience. Maybe, he claims, the best artists are those that tap into shapes that stimulate the viewer’s brain.

“Beauty and the Brain Revealed” is on display at the AAAS Art Gallery in Washington, D.C., through January 3, 2014.

Dreyer, Rosenkranz & Droop Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
Dreyer, Rosenkranz, & Droop manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 10633. It cannot be disassembled for inspection. The stylus is missing.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

During the Cold War, the C.I.A. Secretly Plucked a Soviet Submarine From the Ocean Floor Using a Giant Claw

Smithsonian Magazine

In a corner exhibit of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., which opens this weekend, a submarine control panel, a swoopy-banged wig, detailed whiteprints and a chunk of manganese are on display. Together, they represent relics of a Cold War espionage mission so audacious, the museum’s curator, Vince Houghton, compares it to the heist from Ocean’s 11. This mission, codenamed Project Azorian, involved the C.I.A. commissioning the construction of a 600-foot ship to retrieve a sunken Soviet submarine from the ocean floor—all in complete secrecy. “I can’t imagine there’s another country in the world that would have thought, ‘We found a Soviet submarine, under [more than three miles] of water. Let’s go steal it,’ says Houghton.

The six-year mission began in 1968, when the Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 went missing without explanation somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. In this post-Cuban Missile Crisis era, both American and Soviet submarines prowled the open seas with nuclear weapons aboard, prepared for potential war. Some reports indicate that the sinking was due to a mechanical error such as inadvertent missile engine ignition, while the Soviets for a time suspected the Americans of foul play. After two months, the Soviet Union abandoned its search for K-129 and the nuclear weapons it carried, but the United States, which had recently used Air Force technology to locate two of its own sunken submarines, pinpointed the K-129 1,500 miles northwest of Hawaii and 16,500 feet below the surface. According to the declassified C.I.A. history of the project, “No country in the world had succeeded in raising an object of this size and weight from such a depth.”

Internally, the intelligence community deliberated about the cost-to-reward ratio of such an expensive and risky undertaking even as the submarine offered a tantalizing trove of information. According to Houghton, the value of the K-129 stemmed not just from the code books and nuclear warheads onboard, but also the chance to understand the manufacturing process behind the rival power’s submarines. If the U.S. knew how the K-129’s sonar systems operated, or the mechanisms by which the submarines kept quiet, they could improve their ability to detect them. And by 1967, the Soviet Union had amassed an armament of nuclear weapons large enough that the two nations had “virtual nuclear parity,” Houghton explains. As a result, the Americans were hungry to gain a competitive advantage—an edge the K-129 might provide.

The C.I.A. brainstormed several improbable-sounding means of recovering the submarine. One suggestion involved generating enough gas on the ocean floor to buoy the submarine to the surface. Instead, they settled on an idea reminiscent of the classic arcade game—a giant claw that would grasp and pull the K-129 into the “moon pool” belly of a giant ship. Initially, the project boasted an estimated ten percent chance of success. (Granted, that figure increased as Azorian approached completion.)

Details from the Glomar Explorer's ship building plan (reproduction), 1971. In the bottom-center of the ship, you can see the plans for the "moon pool," which the claw would be able to pull the submarine into. (Courtesy of the International Spy Museum) A diagram of Project Azorian's retrieval mechanism on display at the International Spy Museum (Courtesy of the International Spy Museum)

Legally speaking, the U.S. was concerned that the project could leave them open to charges of piracy if the Soviets had an inkling of the illicit submarine-salvaging plans. Wanting to sidestep diplomatic tensions and keep whatever knowledge was to be gleaned from the mission secret, the C.I.A. constructed an elaborate cover story with the help of enigmatic billionaire Howard Hughes. The aviation mogul lent his imprimatur to the construction of the 618-foot-long ship, to be named the Hughes Glomar Explorer, which was advertised as a deep-sea mining research vessel. In 1972, a champagne christening ceremony and fabricated press release celebrated the ship.

When the ship first sailed from Pennsylvania to waters near Bermuda for testing in 1973, the Los Angeles Times noted the occasion, calling the vessel “shrouded in secrecy” and observing, “Newsmen were not permitted to view the launch, and details of the ship’s destination and mission were not released.” Evidently, the public and press chalked the mystery up to Hughes’ reputation as a recluse, such a loner that he was said to eschew even his own company’s board meetings.

Next, the Glomar Explorer navigated to the Pacific around South America—because it was too wide to pass through the Panama Canal. After some minor foibles (the U.S.-assisted 1973 Chilean coup happened the same day as seven technicians were trying to board the ship in the country’s port city of Valparaíso), the Glomar Explorer arrived in Long Beach, California, where it loaded more than 20 vans full of equipment (including a darkroom, paper processing, nuclear waste handling) for analyzing the K-129’s contents.

Meanwhile, a team built the claw (nicknamed “Clementine” and formally known as the “capture vehicle”) in a gargantuan floating barge called HMB-1 in Redwood City. In the spring of 1974, HMB-1 submerged and met up with the Glomar Explorer off the coast of Catalina Island in southern California. HMB-1 opened its roof, and the Glomar Explorer opened the bottom of its hollow “moon pool” to take the steel claw onboard. Then the HMB-1 detached and returned to Redwood City, the transfer unnoticed.

The 51,000-ton barge HMB-1 was where the "capture vehicle" that would grasp the submarine was constructed in secret. Here, HMB-1 sails under the Golden Gate Bridge. (Bettman / Getty Images)

That summer, the Glomar Explorer, with the approval of President Richard Nixon, set off towards the spot where the K-129 rested. By this point, the Cold War had reached a détente, but still, two separate Soviet ships (likely loaded with intelligence operatives) closely monitored the supposed mining vessel as it worked to retrieve the submarine. (At one point, Glomar crew members even piled crates on their landing deck to prevent any attempts to land a helicopter.) But the mission continued undetected—as the 274 pieces of heavy steel pipe that stretched between the claw and the ship were being slowly hauled back onboard, with the submarine in Clementine’s grasp, the second Soviet tug sailed away.

After about a week of slow upward progress, Project Azorian finally completed the lift of the K-129—but only one part of it. According to Project AZORIAN: The CIA and the Raising of the K-129, a book co-written by naval historian Norman Polmar and documentary director Michael White, about midway through the process, a few of the grabber arms encircling the submarine broke, and a large part of the K-129 fell back to the ocean floor. While the later media reports and history books generally relayed that the more desirable components of the submarine, like the code room, sunk, Houghton encourages skepticism of the details surrounding the project’s ostensible failure. “The conventional wisdom has become that this was a failed mission,” he explains. “[The C.I.A. has] allowed that belief to be what everyone understands, but why would they not? I always say, ‘We have no idea what they got.’” (Many of the details in this story are sourced from C.I.A. declassified documents and recently published historical accounts, but since other findings from the mission are still classified, and the C.I.A. may have had reason to obfuscate the story, skepticism remains warranted.)

We do know, however, that the Glomar Explorer retrieved the bodies of several of the K-129’s crewmembers, whom they gave a military burial at sea, which the C.I.A. filmed and gave to Russia almost 20 years later. Coincidentally, the retrieval also brought up manganese samples from the bottom of the sea, the material that the Glomar Explorer purportedly was researching.

Part of a control panel that was recovered from the K-129 in Project Azorian. (Courtesy of the International Spy Museum)

The U.S. seemed to have gotten away with the elaborate submarine heist—Ford’s secretary of defense, James Schlesinger, said in a White House meeting, “The operation is a marvel.” In early 1975, however, after a random robbery of the headquarters of Hughes’ Summa Corporation, which was acting as a front for the Glomar Explorer, the story made its way to the headlines of the Los Angeles Times and national television. The story broke later than it could have—famed New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh had been following it as early as 1973 but honored a request from C.I.A. director William Colby to suppress the story—and were riddled with inaccuracies. (The code name was thought to be “Jennifer,” which was actually referred only to its security procedures, and the L.A. Times report placed the recovery efforts in the Atlantic Ocean.) Nonetheless, it was enough to alert the Soviet Union and “disturb” (his words) President Ford. Project Matador, the plan to retrieve the rest of the K-129, apparently got nixed as news of the thought-to-have-failed mission and its rumored (but, Houghton says, ultimately unknowable) $300 million-plus price tag circulated.

The C.I.A. also faced a diplomatic dilemma that spring. Pressed by the Soviet ambassador to the U.S. and Freedom of Information Act requests from journalists, they wanted to avoid directly acknowledging that they’d illicitly stolen a submarine from the watchful Soviets, but were obligated to somehow respond. “[The U.S. government] did not want to embarrass the Soviets,” Houghton says, “mainly because in doing so, [they] really set diplomacy back significantly, because the Soviet premier would have to respond” through sanctions or an attack on a territory. In the effort to walk this diplomatic tightrope and comply with FOIA requirements, the “Glomar response”—“we can neither confirm nor deny”—was coined. While the Glomar response stood up in federal court as a reason to deny a FOIA request, the incident, writes historian M. Todd Bennett, “intensified otherwise routine ‘Intelligence Wars,’ tit-for-tat actions taken by the Soviet and American intelligence services.” That May, Soviet operatives increased the amount of microwave radiation trained on the American embassy in Moscow.

The wig Vernon Walters, the deputy director of the C.I.A., used to disguise himself when he visited the Glomar Explorer (Courtesy of the International Spy Museum)

Forty-five years after the Glomar Explorer hauled (part of) the K-129 from the ocean floor, Project Azorian remains “legendary within the [intelligence] community,” Houghton says. The glass cases show the onesies worn by crew members onboard, phony belt-buckle “safety awards,” a barometer from the ship and even a wig C.I.A. deputy director Vernon Walters wore to pay the Glomar Explorer an incognito visit, but they also name-check engineer John Graham and display a scaled-down version of the detailed whiteprint used to design the now-defunct ship.

Azorian stands out, Houghton says, because “it’s so bold, so ambitious, and it almost was guaranteed to fail.” And yet, although only part of the submarine was retrieved, the ship was built, the almost ridiculous proposition of a giant claw extending to the ocean floor proved functional, and despite the scale of the project, it stayed secret for seven years. The Spy Museum positions the Azorian saga as a paean to innovation, an exemplar of how the “unsolvable problems” of the intelligence world can be tackled with creativity and technological advances.

Early Plan Diagram with Central Plan Focus

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Sketch of early plan diagram for Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership building with triangular central plan focus

Elliot Bros. Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
The Elliot Bros. of London manufactured this steam engine indicator. It consists of a small diameter brass piston; a vented brass cylinder; an internal, single wound spring, which can be changed; a small drum with a coil spring; a roll of paper inside the drum, which is hand fed; and a heavy brass slide and stylus.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Embroidery

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Apron of red cotton, bordered with black band of cotton. One deep front pocket ornamented with applique in felt. Multi-colored silk embroidery showing YIN and YAN and the diagram found in the I-Ching, the book of Changes.

Ericsson Hot-Air Engine, Patent Model

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 226,052 issued to John Ericsson of New York, New York on March 30, 1880. The patent was for an improvement in air engines.

In this type of engine a charge of air is repeatedly heated and cooled as it is transferred from one end to the other of a single cylinder. One end of the cylinder is surrounded by a furnace, the other end of is water jacketed. The air expands and contracts beneath a work piston that travels through a short stroke near the upper end of the cylinder. The air is displaced from end to end of the cylinder at the proper time by a large loosely fitting transfer piston independently connected to the crankshaft.

Mr. Ericsson claimed his design improved the method of connecting the short stroke of the work piston so as to magnify the length of its stroke at the crankshaft. This also produced a longer stroke for the exchange piston in order to properly time its movement. He also made provisions for a water pump that was operated by the engine. It circulated water into the jacket surrounding the engine’s cylinder in order to more rapidly cool the hot air in the upper part of the cylinder.

Mr. Ericsson was a prolific inventor; his inventions included many types of steam engines and associated apparatus as well as hot air engines. He was the designer of the USS Monitor for the North during the Civil War, and that vessel included one of his then new marine steam engine designs.

The patent model is shown in the image. It is made of brass, steel and wood. All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model including the crank mechanism and the water pump. The upper cylinder is cut away to illustrate the motion of the two pistons. Diagrams showing the complete design can be found in the patent document online (/www.USPTO.gov).

Ericsson Steam Engine, Patent Model

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 41,612 issued to John Ericsson of New York, New York on February 16, 1864. The patent was for an improvement in reciprocating steam engines that would reduce the destructive vibration effects of then current designs.

Many marine steam engines were mounted transversely in the vessel in order to facilitate operating crank arms to turn the propeller. With each successive cycle of the engine the oscillating masses of the engine’s pistons produced high concussive forces on the engine mounts and hull of the vessel. This was more serious for engines directly driving the ship’s propeller without gearing; the engine needed to run at higher speeds thereby making the vibrations more damaging.

Mr. Ericsson’s patent design provided a rolling counter balance weight that moved in the opposite direction as the motion of the of the engine’s piston. The weight would be matched to the combined weight of the piston and its pushrods and other oscillating masses. He provided for a crank lever mechanism that would translate the motion of the piston to that of the counter balance weight.

Mr. Ericsson was a prolific inventor; his inventions included many types of steam engines and associated apparatus as well as hot air engines. He was the designer of the USS Monitor for the North during the Civil War. The Monitor engine was based on his Patent Number 20,782 of July 6, 1858 . In that patent he began to address design issues that would reduce stresses on the engine’s components and its bed. In this patent, Number 41,612, he addressed the issue of concussive force effect of that engine and showed how his counterbalancing weight concept could be applied.

The patent model is shown in the image. It is constructed of wood and brass and illustrates the major elements of the patent. A brass plate on the model is engraved “J. Ericsson, Inventor, 1863.” A spring motor causes the model to simulate actual operation with the piston moving and the counterbalancing weight moving within a hollow space in the wooden base of the model. Diagrams showing the complete design of the engine can be found in the patent document online (/www.USPTO.gov).

Ericsson’s Patent Model of a Cross-Compound Steam Engine – ca 1849

National Museum of American History
This modxel was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 6,844 issued to John Ericsson of New York, New York on November 6, 1849. The patent was titled “Arrangement of Engine for Using Steam Expansively.” In a common engine design of the time, high pressure steam from a boiler was introduced to the engine’s cylinder for only a portion of the stroke. The steam “cut-off” valve was then closed, and the steam’s expansive force did the remainder of the work for that stroke. This saved fuel because of the reduced need for continuous high pressure steam.

The goal of Ericsson’s invention was to improve the ability of an engine to use the expansive force of steam for efficiency while still providing uniform power throughout the stroke of the engine. In his design the resistance applied to the piston rod by the load on the engine decreased in the exact ratio of the decreasing pressure of the steam as it expanded in the cylinder. He achieved this by using two cylinders of differing sizes and exhausting the steam from the smaller cylinder into the larger. At the same time, steam pressure was balanced on both sides of the piston of the smaller cylinder. The relative sizes of the cylinders were carefully chosen to equalize the force on the engine’s crankshaft. The patent application claimed that this equal force was maintained even with the steam expanded by a factor of over twenty. This was a significant improvement over existing designs.

Ericsson was a prolific inventor; his inventions included many types of steam engines and associated apparatus as well as air engines. He was the designer of the USS Monitor for the North during the Civil War and designed its engine as well as numerous other marine steam engines.

The patent model as shown in the image is constructed of wood. All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model including the arrangement of the crankshafts and the steam valves and their operating mechanisms. Diagrams showing the complete design of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Ericsson’s Patent Model of a Marine Steam Engine – ca 1858

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 20,782 issued to John Ericsson of New York, New York on July 6, 1858. The patent was for improvements in marine steam engines for powering a screw propeller. Ericsson’s goal was to maximize the power and compactness of the engine so that it could be located transversely and very low within a boat.

His design consisted of two compact steam cylinders which were bolted together and mounted horizontally and across the beam of the ship. They drove a single propeller shaft via a system of push rods and rocker arms. The design allowed for even application of power with reduced vibration and wear on engine parts and the frame of the ship.

Ericsson was a prolific inventor; his inventions included many types of steam engines and associated apparatus as well as air engines. He designed the USS Monitor for the North during the Civil War. The engine for the Monitor was based on this patent.

The patent model is made of brass and is mounted on a wood base representing a section of the hull of a ship. A brass plate on the base of the model is engraved “Screw Propeller Engine, J. Ericsson, Inventor.” All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model which was provided with a crank on the propeller shaft to allow operation for demonstration. A full description of the operation of the engine along with complete diagrams can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Ernst Mach papers, 1865-1918

Smithsonian Libraries
Additional material includes Czechoslovakian and German seminar announcements

An unidentified item, probably a printed booklet (based on the size of the frame cut into the preceding leaves that would have surrounded the document) has been removed from one of the endleaves

Most of the letters in this volume were written by Mach to Eduard Kulke. Other correspondents include Josef Popper-Lynkeus and Paul Tausig

The identity of the original owner of the scrapbook and collector of the materials is unknown. A note in the Dibner Library's provenance file speculates that the scrapbook was put together in 1938, but the source of that information is not given

Tipped-in printed booklets include: Gomperz, H. "Ernst Mach." (Separatabdruck aus dem 'Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie;' Bd. 29, 4; pages [321]-328). Einstein, A. "Ernst Mach." (Sonderdruck aus der Physikalischen Zeitschrift, Verlag von S. Hirzel in Leipzig, 17. Jahrgang, 1916; 4 pages). An issue of Die Naturwissenschaften (5. Jahrgang, Heft 5, 2 Februar 1917). Haas, K. "Hofrat Dr. Ernst Mach." (Separatabdruck aus 'Vierteljahrsberichte des Wiener Vereines zur Förderung des physikalischen und chemischen Unterrichtes, Jahrgang 1916, Heft 1; 14 pages). Helm, G. "Ernst Mach, dem naturwissenschaftlichen Denker, zum Gedächtnis." (Abhandlungen der naturwissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft ISIS in Dresden, 1916; pages [45]-54). Höfler, A. "Ernst Mach." (Sonderabdruck aus der Zeitschrift für den physikalischen und chemischen Unterricht. 29. Jahrgang, 2. Heft; März 1916; pages [57]-63 plus portrait). Petzoldt, Joseph. "Ernst Mach." (Sonderabdruck au Kunstwart 29, 12; [2] pages). Lampa, Anton. "Ernst Mach." (Sonderdruck aus der Monatschrift 'Deutsche Arbeit', Jahrgang 15, Heft 11, pages [608]-619). Baege, M.H. Die Naturphilosophie von Ernst Mach. Berlin: Psychologisch-Soziologischer Verlag, 1916 (31 pages). Lampa, Anton. Ernst Mach. Prag: Verlag Deutsche Arbeit, 1918 (64 pages)

Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Manuscripts of the Dibner collection, 1008

Also available online

Also available online.

Austrian physicist and philosopher

Collected by Bern Dibner for his Burndy Library in Norwalk, Connecticut, founded in 1941. Donated to the Smithsonian Libraries in 1974 by Dibner DSI

Elecresource

SCDIRB copy 39088003881406 has provenance: Bern Dibner (donor)

SCDIRB copy has a contemporary full leather binding in an art-deco-inspired design, with the name "MACH" appearing in thick raised lettering on the front cover. Housed in a later light green linen-covered clamshell box with printed spine label

Scrapbook containing a mixture of mounted or tipped-in materials, including: 99 letters (typescript and holograph, dating from between 1865-1915; some of the typescript letters were mechanically reproduced; some include hand-drawn diagrams); 40 postcards (typed and holograph); 7 calling cards; portraits and photographs; 1 telegram; 2 holograph manuscripts; 8 newspaper excerpts (obituaries); 2 memorial booklets (1916, 1918); and 13 journal articles by Einstein, Gomperz, Popper, and others

Exercise

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
On a black ground, in red ink across top: exercise / today the majority of us who work do so in a chair. And most of us are experiencing some adverse effects. The postural and vascular problems that are the result of this sedentary working life can be partially combated by choosing an ergonomically designed chair that permits / adjustment and frequent changes of posture. However, medical research has shown that no seated position is good when maintained for long periods of time. These exercises can be performed while seated and will help stimulate circulation and regenerate muscular elasticity.

Nine diagrams of figure--outline of figure in orange, red, and yellow--exercising in chair accompanied by instructions imprinted in white ink: Occasionally elevate your legs horizontally to the thighs. / Flex, stretch, and move your body while vigorously using the chair’s rocking motion. / Lift your knees and angle them toward your body. / Pump your feet to increase the blood flow from the legs to the trunk. / Elongate your torso and raise your arms in a full stretch position. / Contract your calf muscles by moving your feet back and forth while sitting. / Tiptoe while seated, using the chair’s rocking motion. / Rotate your head and tilt forward and backward to exercise your neck vertebrae. / If your work requires you to sit for uninterrupted periods of more than thirty minutes, get up / and stand – or even better, walk around – for a few minutes.

Exhibition Poster: Fred Sandback, Dwan Gallery, New York

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Art exhibition poster with recto, printed in gray and black lines, showing a geometric, isometic drawing of four walls (outlined in gray lines) that avoid closure; black line diagonal spans the space from floor to ceiling levels. This poster diagrams the artist's installation.

Exhibition Poster: Sol Lewitt, Wall Drawings & Structures, John Weber Gallery, New York

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Art exhibition poster featuring a grid with thirteen rows. Within each grid unit is a geometric shape showing variations/permutations of drawing parts of an open cube; each variant is numbered by a fraction at the lower right. At the right, centered, is black text stating artist name, exhibition title, gallery name and address. On verso, there are six rectangular columns, each containing a diagram of a geometric shape and text for how to locate that shape on a wall. From left to right, the shapes are: "The Location of a Circle,"... a Triangle, .... a Square, ...a Rectangle, ...a Trapezoid, and a Parallelogram.

Verso: Across both havles of paper are six equally sized rectangles bearing diagram and text on how to locate on wall, respectively, a circle, a triangle, a square, a rectangle, a trapezoid, and a parallelogram.

Exhibition Poster: Vito Acconci's "The Peoplemobile," Mobile Installation Project for Town Squares in Holland

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Poster for a travelling art project. Recto: The poster image is derived from the text, top : "VITO ACCONCI (printed in black)/ THE PEOPLEMOBILE(printed in red)/. Imprinted in black, bottom half of the sheet: (PROJECT FOR TOWN SQUARES IN HOLLAND)", followed by list of Dutch city names serving as tour stops and dates, starting from "DAM AMSTERDAM 17 18 19 MEI 13 - 18 UUR, and ending in the GROTE MARKT GRONINGEN 13 14 JUNI 14 - 21 UUR". Iconic orange squares with picture of some parts of truck are placed in between texts. Verso: In four vertical columns, from left to right, is explanation in Dutch, accompanied by diagrams, for how Acconci has designed the portable art project as a flat-bed truck carrying 28 steel panels, which are used to assemble and construct a structure at each stop on the tour.

Facilis Ascensus

National Air and Space Museum
Diagram of a balloon with large gondola. Nine men on board. Letters refer to legend beneath

The Birth of Flight: NASM Collections

The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. Enormous crowds gathered in Paris to watch one balloon after another rise above the city rooftops, carrying the first human beings into the air in the closing months of 1783.The excitement quickly spread to other European cities where the first generation of aeronauts demonstrated the wonder of flight. Everywhere the reaction was the same. In an age when men and women could fly, what other wonders might they achieve.

"Among all our circle of friends," one observer noted, "at all our meals, in the antechambers of our lovely women, as in the academic schools, all one hears is talk of experiments, atmospheric air, inflammable gas, flying cars, journeys in the sky." Single sheet prints illustrating the great events and personalities in the early history of ballooning were produced and sold across Europe. The balloon sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products. Hair and clothing styles, jewelry, snuffboxes, wallpaper, chandeliers, bird cages, fans, clocks, chairs, armoires, hats, and other items, were designed with balloon motifs.

Thanks to the generosity of several generations of donors, the National Air and Space Museum maintains one of the world's great collections of objects and images documenting and celebrating the invention and early history of the balloon. Visitors to the NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport can see several display cases filled with the riches of this collection. We are pleased to provide visitors to our web site with access to an even broader range of images and objects from this period. We invite you to share at least a small taste of the excitement experienced by those who witness the birth of the air age.

Tom D. Crouch

Senior Curator, Aeronautics

National Air and Space Museum

Present at Creation:

The NASM Collection of Objects Related to Early Ballooning

The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph-Michel (August 26, 1740-June 26, 1810) and Jacques Etienne (January 6, 1745 - August 2, 1799), launched the air age when they flew a hot air balloon from the town square of Annonay, France, on June 4, 1783. Members of a family that had been manufacturing paper in the Ardèche region of France for generations, the Montgolfiers were inspired by recent discoveries relating to the composition of the atmosphere. Joseph led the way, building and flying his first small hot air balloons late in 1782, before enlisting his brother in the enterprise.

Impatient for the Montgolfiers to demonstrate their balloon in Paris, Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond, a pioneering geologist and member of the Académie Royale, sold tickets to a promised ascension and turned the money over to Jacques Alexandre-César Charles (1746-1823), a chemical experimenter whom he had selected to handle the design, construction and launch of a balloon. Charles flew the first small hydrogen balloon from the Champs de Mars, near the present site of the Eiffel Tower, on August 27, 1783. Not to be outdone, the Montgolfiers sent the first living creatures (a sheep, a duck and a rooster) aloft from Versailles on September 19.

Pilatre de Rozier, a scientific experimenter, and François Laurent, the marquis D'Arlandes, became the first human beings to make a free flight on November 21. Less than two weeks later, on December 1, 1783, J.A. C. Charles and M.N. Robert made the first free flight aboard a hydrogen balloon from the Jardin des Tuileries.

A wave of excitement swept across Paris as the gaily decorated balloons rose, one after another, over the skyline of the city. Throughout the summer and fall of 1783 the crowds gathering to witness the ascents grew ever larger. As many as 400,000 people - literally half of the population of Paris -- gathered in the narrow streets around the Château des Tuileries to watch Charles and Robert disappear into the heavens.

The wealthy and fashionable set purchased tickets of admission to the circular enclosure surrounding the launch site. Guards had a difficult time restraining the crush of citizens swarming the nearby streets, and crowding the Place de Louis XV (now the Place de la Concorde) and the garden walkways leading toward the balloon. People climbed walls and clambered out of windows onto roofs in search of good vantage points.

"It is impossible to describe that moment:" wrote one observer of a balloon launch, "the women in tears, the common people raising their hands to the sky in deep silence; the passengers leaning out of the gallery, waving and crying out in joy… the feeling of fright gives way to wonder." One group of spectators greeted a party of returning aeronauts with the question: "Are you men or Gods?" In an age when human beings could fly, what other wonders might the future hold?

The balloons had an enormous social impact. The huge, seething crowds were something new under the sun. The spectators who gathered in such huge numbers were just becoming accustomed to the idea of change. The old certainties of their grandparent's world were giving way to an expectation that the twin enterprises of science and technology would provide the foundation for "progress."

The balloons sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products. Hair and clothing styles, jewelry, snuffboxes, wallpaper, chandeliers, bird cages, fans, clocks, chairs, armoires, hats, and other items, were designed with balloon motifs. Party guests sipped Créme de l' Aérostatique liqueur and danced the Contredanse de Gonesse in honor of the Charles globe.

The Americans who were living in Paris to negotiate a successful conclusion to the American revolution were especially fascinated by the balloons. It seemed only fitting that, at a time when their countrymen were launching a new nation, human beings were throwing off the tyranny of gravity. The oldest and youngest members of the diplomatic community were the most seriously infected with "balloonamania."

"All conversation here at present turns upon the Balloons…and the means of managing them so as to give Men the Advantage of Flying," Benjamin Franklin informed an English friend, Richard Price. Baron Grimm, another Franklin acquaintance, concurred. "Among all our circle of friends," he wrote, "at all our meals, in the antechambers of our lovely women, as in the academic schools, all one hears is talk of experiments, atmospheric air, inflammable gas, flying cars, journeys in the sky."

Franklin noted that small balloons, made of scraped animal membranes, were sold "everyday in every quarter." He was invited to visit a friend's home for "tea and balloons," and attended a fête at which the duc de Chartres distributed "little phaloid balloonlets" to his guests. At another memorable entertainment staged by the duc de Crillon, Franklin witnessed the launch of a hydrogen balloon some five feet in diameter that kept a lantern aloft for over eleven hours.

The senior American diplomat in Paris purchased one of the small balloons as a present for his grandson and secretary, William Temple Franklin. Released in a bed chamber, "it went up to the ceiling and remained rolling around there for some time." Franklin emptied the membrane of hydrogen and forwarded it to Richard Price so that he and Sir Joseph Banks might repeat the experiment. The delightful little toy was thus not only the first balloon to be owned by an American but also the first to reach England. Both Franklins were soon supplying little balloons to friends across Europe.

Sixteen year old John Quincy Adams also took note of the small balloons offered for sale by street vendors. "The flying globes are still very much in vogue," he wrote on September 22. "They have advertised a small one of eight inches in diameter at 6 livres apiece without air [hydrogen] and 8 livres with it. .. Several accidents have happened to persons who have attempted to make inflammable air, which is a dangerous operation, so that the government has prohibited them."

There was a general sense that the colorful globes marked the beginning of a new age in which science and technology would effect startling change. The results and the implications of the revolution in physics and chemistry underway for over a century were largely unknown outside an elite circle of privileged cognoscenti. The balloon was unmistakable proof that a deeper understanding of nature could produce what looked very much like a miracle. What else was one to think of a contrivance that would carry people into the sky?

If human beings could break the age-old chains of gravity, what other restraints might they cast off? The invention of the balloon seemed perfectly calculated to celebrate the birth of a new nation dedicated, on paper at any rate, to the very idea of freedom for the individual. In the decade to come the balloons and the men and women who flew them came to symbolize the new political winds that were blowing through France. While some might question the utility of the "air globes," flight was already reshaping the way in which men and women regarded themselves and their world.

Of course most citizens of Europe and America were unable to travel to see a balloon. They had their first glimpse of the aerial craft through the medium of single sheet prints. In the late 18th century it was difficult and expensive to publish anything more than the roughest of woodcuts in newspapers or magazines. In an effort to share the excitement with those who could not attend an ascent, to let people know what a balloon looked like, and to introduce the brave men and women who were taking to the sky, artists, engravers and publishers flooded the market with scores of single sheet printed images. Ranging from the meticulously accurate to the wildly fanciful, these printed pictures were sold by the thousands in print shops across Europe.

The business of producing and marketing such images was nothing new. In Europe, block prints from woodcuts had been used to produce book illustrations and single sheet devotional or instructional religious images since the mid-15th century. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, the technique was used to produce multi-sheet maps, bird's eye images of cities, and other products. In the early modern era, etching and engraving techniques enabled artists from Albrecht Dürer to Rembrandt van Rijn the opportunity to market copies of their paintings. .

In the 1730's. William Hogarth inaugurated a new era in the history of English printed pictures when he published his, "Harlot's Progress," a series of single sheet images charting the downfall of a young woman newly arrived in London. Other sets, including "Marriage à la Mode," appeared in the decade that followed. Other artists used the medium of the etching or engraving to reproduce portraits and offer examples of their work for sale.

By the late 18th century, Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and other English artists made considerable fortunes producing sporting prints and satirical images offering biting commentary on the shortcomings of the political and social leaders of the day. Rowlandson was said to have "etched as much copper as would sheathe the British navy." In order to publish his prints and caricatures while they were still newsworthy, Rowlandson worked rapidly. He would water color the first impression, then send it to refugee French artists employed by Rudolph Ackermann, one of his favored publishers, who would color each of the prints before they were hung up in the shop window. In the 1780's a typical print seems to have sold for a shilling, the price being sometimes included on the print itself.

The appearance of the balloon in 1783 provided artists, engravers and publishers in England, France, Germany and Italy a new subject for their efforts. As the wave of balloon enthusiasm swept across the continent, the production and sale of images depicting the great flights and daring aeronauts flourished. In addition to illustrating the birth of the air age, print makers made use of balloon motifs in comic images satirizing political events or social trends.

In the 19th century new lithographic techniques and the advent of improved presses and smooth paper, led to a revolution in the ability to mass produce images. Balloons remained a common subject of interest to readers, and ready material for satire in the talented hands of artists like Honorè-Victorine Daumier.

Today, the balloon prints produced by 18th and 19th century artists remain as a priceless window into the past. They enable us to share some sense of the excitement that gripped those watching their fellow beings rise into the sky for the first time. Engraved portraits tell us something of the appearance, and even the personality, of the first men and women to fly. Satirical prints utilizing balloon motifs help us to understand the impact that flight on the first generations to experience it.

The National Air and Space Museum owes its collection of balloon prints to the generosity of several leading 20th century collectors. The bulk of the prints in our collection come from Harry Frank Guggenheim (August 23, 1890 - January 22, 1971).. The son of industrialist and philanthropist Daniel Guggenheim and his wife Florence, Harry Guggenheim enjoyed multiple careers as a business leader, diplomat, publisher, philanthropist, and sportsman.

Aviation was the thread that tied his diverse activities together. A graduate of Yale and Pembroke College, Cambridge University, he learned to fly before the U.S. entered WW I and served as a Naval aviator during that conflict and as a Naval officer during WW II. In the mid- 1920's, he convinced his father to establish the Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, which had an enormous impact on aeronautical engineering and aviation in the U.S.

A collector of everything from fine art to thoroughbred horses, Guggenheim began to acquire aeronautica during the 1920's, gradually focusing his attention of aeronautical prints. His collection had grown to be one of the most complete in the world by the 1940's, when he loaned his prints to the New York museum maintained by the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences. When the IAS dissolved its museum in the 1950's, Guggenheim donated his own collection to the National Air and Space Museum.

The NASM collection of aeronautical prints also includes items donated by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and by a number of other private collectors, notably Constance Fiske in memory of her husband Gardiner Fiske, who served with the U.S. Army Air Service during WW I and with the USAAF in WWII; Thomas Knowles, a long-time executive with Goodyear Aircraft and Goodyear Aerospace; and Bella Clara Landauer, one of the great American collectors of aeronautica.

There can be little doubt that William Armistead Moale Burden was one of the most significant contributors to the NASM collection of furnishings, ceramics and other objects related to ballooning and the early history of flight. . Burden began collecting aeronautical literature and memorabilia during the 1920's, while still a Harvard undergraduate. Following graduation he rode the post-Lindbergh boom to prosperity as a financial analyst specializing in aviation securities. His business success was inextricably bound to his enthusiasm for the past, present and future of flight.

By 1939, Burden was reputed to have built a personal aeronautical library second only to that of the Library of Congress. He loaned that collection to the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, an organization that he served as president in 1949. In addition to his library of aeronautica, Burden built a world-class collection of historic objects dating to the late 18th century - desks, chairs, bureaus, sofas, mirrors, clocks, ceramics and other examples of material culture -- inspired by the first balloons and featuring balloon motifs. After a period on display in the IAS museum, William A.M. Burden's balloon-decorated furnishings and aeronautica went into insured off-site storage in 1959. A member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, Mr. Burden ultimately donated his treasures to the NASM, as well.

Thanks to the efforts of these and other donors, the NASM can share one of the world's finest collections of works of art and examples of material culture inspired b y the birth of flight with our visitors. We are pleased to extend the reach of our collections to those who visit our web site. Welcome, and enjoy.

Tom D. Crouch

Senior Curator, Aeronautics

National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Institution

Fickardt’s Patent Model of a Furnace – ca 1836

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 23 issued to Frederick A. Fickardt of Easton, Pennsylvania on September 8, 1836. His patent was for an improvement in furnaces for heating the upper rooms of a building. He claimed as new the use of an inner and outer chamber with insulating material on the outer chamber to reduce loss of heat into the furnace room. A gap of three to four inches was provided between the inner and outer chambers to further reduce loss of heat into the furnace room. The stove, or combustion chamber, was located within the inner chamber. Access to it for fueling and cleaning was via doors in both the inner and outer chambers. The inner chamber was open at the bottom allowing fresh air entry. The flue of the stove exited through this chamber via a sealed pipe. Heated air in the inner chamber was supplied to rooms above the furnace via a larger pipe, or duct, surrounding the flue of the stove. A sliding lid for the hot air duct was provided to stop cold or foul air entering the heated rooms from the cellar when the furnace was not in use. One of Fickardt’s claims was “Immediate heat, great heat, and economy of heat, and consequently economy of fuel, money, time, patience, and domestic comfort are the advantages which the subscriber hopes he is but reasonably led to anticipate by these improvements.” Research of available trade literature and other sources has not revealed any commercial use that may have made use of Mr. Fickardt’s invention.

The patent model is constructed of painted tinplate. The central stove can be seen through access doors in the inner and outer chambers. The stove flue and hot air ductwork are shown at the top of the model. The sliding lid for the hot air duct is also shown. Diagrams showing the complete design can be found in the patent document online (/www.USPTO.gov/patents/process/search/index.jsp). The diagram submitted with the patent shows the shape of the furnace to be rectangular with a sloping top while the patent model submitted is cylindrical with a conical top.

Film Ribbon

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Unfolded box, imprinted in black (recto), blue (sides), and white (verso). Entire page of recto is imprinted in green, pink, and blue, repeating in three rows of four logos each: IBM. Verso: imprinted in black, lower right quadrant: To remove used ribbon:/ 1 Pull Load Lever to Load position (against red stop)./ 2 Using both hands, grasp Ribbon Cartridge at front ends/ and lift straight up (see diagram); a space and then beneath: To install new ribbon:/ 1 Make sure the Load Lever is in Load Position./ 2 Drape uninked ribbon over the Guide Post and both/ Ribbon Guides/ 3 Position Ribbon Cartridge between Spring Clips, then press down on both ends of the Cartridge./ 4 Thread uninked ribbon through both Ribbon Guides./ 5 Turn knob on the Cartridge in the direction of arrow/ until inked portion of the ribbon is past the/ right Ribbon Guide./ 6 Move the Load Lever to Type position; imprinted in black around the diagram to the left starting in upper left corner and going clockwise: left Ribbon/ Guide/ right Ribbon/ Guide/ Spring Clip/ grasp ends/ then lift/ Load Lever/ Type/ Load/ Red Stop/ grasp ends/ then lift/ Spring Clip/ Guide/ Post; left side, imprinted in black on blue, written vertically: Open other end.

Firmenich and Stiker’s Patent Model of a Steam Boiler - 1875

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 169,977 issued to Joseph Firmenich and Flavius P. Stiker of Buffalo, New York on November 16, 1875. The patent was for an improved design for steam boilers. The design was for a water tube type boiler in which water enclosed in a large number of pipes was exposed to the heat of the furnace. This was considered to offer safety advantages over the fire-tube type in which a large volume of water was pierced by tubes carrying hot flue gases.

Their design is shown in the image of the patent model. A brickwork encased the entire boiler. The fire grate would have been just above the two large metal drums seen at the bottom. Combustion air was drawn from the top of the boiler through passages in the brickwork. This preheated the air which increased efficiency. Vertical tubes are shown connecting upper, horizontal steam/water drums with the lower water/mud drums. Large water tubes behind the back wall of the boiler directly connect the upper and lower drums to allow cool water to circulate downward to the lower drums. The larger, horizontal drum at the top of the model collected and distributed the steam for use.

Firmenich and Stiker constructed a boiler of this design and demonstrated it at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Scientific American Magazine in June, 1878 referred to the Firmenich and Stiker boiler as a “safety steam boiler” and noted two 150 horsepower units had been installed at the Negara Starch Works in Buffalo. On October 8, 1887 a Firmenich boiler used in a flour mill in St. Louis, Missouri exploded with loss of life and significant property damage and raised questions about elements of the design.

The patent model is constructed of metal and wood painted to look like brickwork. It illustrates all of the key elements of the design. A full description of the operation of the boiler along with complete diagrams of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Fixing a Fold-Out Plate

Smithsonian Libraries

Fold-out plates are often used to feature important illustrations or diagrams in many books related to science, technology, and history. Though a fold-out is designed to be frequently folded and unfolded, the stress on the creased fold lines from constant handling often causes the paper to break. A book from the Smithsonian Libraries’s Research Annex more »

The post Fixing a Fold-Out Plate appeared first on Smithsonian Libraries Unbound.

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