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72

THEORY OF ARCHITECTUKE. Book IL


In tho case of Jibrarics, the destruction of book-bindings may be assigned more justly to
the heat tliaii to the chemical action of the products of combustion. No doubt the bi-
sulphide of carbon, which is present in even the most carefully purified g:ises, must give
rise to the formation of minute quantities of sulphurous acid : and this, in its turn, must
be destructive to some descriptions of leatherespecially Russian (as noticed in the
Builder, vi.
89), but a rapid removal of the products of combustion would almost entirely
obviate this effect. It seems, however, that the excessive dryness and the heat of the air in
the upper part of rooms where gns is burnt may occasion the injury quite as much as the
chemical reactions supposed to take place ; the books which suffcT most being always
those placed above the level of tho lamps. Under any circumstances, ventilation should
take place close to the plane of tho ceilings. Even when provision is made for ventilation
over gas burners, a stratum of heated air is often allowed to stagnate over the openings,
close under the line of the ceiling; and the area of the openings is rarely sufiBcient to allow
llio escape of the decomposed gases. Again, if any sulphurous acid should be produced,
it will be found also to tarnish the colours of tapestry and hangings, and to turn imitation
gold
;
hence none but the best leaf-gold should be employed in rooms where gas is burnt.
The injury caused by the use of such gas as is supplied in London, Paris, Bruxelles, &c.,
is very small compared with the brilliance of the light; and the gas of Liverpool, Edin-
burgh, Manchester, and some other places having, bulk for bulk, a higher illuminating
power than that of London, is even less injurious. Mr, Spencer has reported that the
quantity of gas leaking from London gas pipes is not less than 9 per cent , or between six
and seven million cubic feet pi*r annum, which causes the stinking black earth of the
London street subsoil. No such leakage occurs at Liverpool or Manchester, where the
joints of the pipes are bored, turned, and fitted to each other, like ground stoppers in glass
bottles; whereas in London the pipes are jointed with tow and lead, so that after expansion
and contraccion in summer and winter the perfection of the joiuts is destroyed. The gas
then, acting upon the subsoil, forms sulphuretted carbon, which corrodes not only the gas
pipes, but the water mains also, and converts them in ten years almost entirely into a sort
of plumbago, although in pure London subsoil they lust a century,
ELECTRIC APPLIANCES.
2264/t. For the important subject of Lightning Conductors, reference should be made
to R. Anderson, Their History, Nature, and Mode
of
Application, of which the third
edition, revised, rearranged, and enlarged, was published in 1887: "The numerous
accidents to buildings fitted with conductors sufficiently indicate the indispensable
necessity for occasional inspection. The chief causes that detr; ct from their efficacy aro
original defects of capacity, conductivity, and fitting, faulty earth "conne.tions, accidental
injury and mechanical derangements, oxidation of joints and of earth contacts, and
alterations in the conductive capacity of the ground in consequence of improved drainage."
The efficiency of a conductor is in proportion to the sectional area of the metal. Tapes
are made y^th of an iuch thick, being inch, l^ inches, and 2 inches wide
;
^th of an inch
thick, being |ths of an inch wide; ^th of an inch thick, being |ths of an inch, inch, and
1|
inches wide. The conductors should not be less than ^th of an inch thick and ^ths
of an inch wide, weighing
G oz. per foot, as recommended by the Lightning Rod Con-
ference, 1882. The upper terminal should be in the form of a sharp point, or a cluster
of sharp points. As this point may become blunted, an alloy of 835 parts silver and
165 parts of copper is therefore used for it, at Paris. Tho earth termination should ba
taken some depth, and into moist ground or water, and have a large area of contact.
"When this is not to bo obtained, a copper plate at least 9 feet square should be carefully
riveted to the end of the tape and be buried in a well, packed with cinders or coke.
Professor Fleming has pointed out that the ultimate safety of a conductor lies in the
proper periodical testing of the earth connection of the conductor.
'I'l&U. Electricity for lighting purposes can be obtained by chemical action, as by an
arrangement of a voltaic battery, and the combination of cells is termed a
"
primary
battery." A steady light is stated to be maintained at a cost not much in excess of that
from a "dynamo "machine. Such a battery may suffice for a small country house, but a
large number of lamps will require a battery of great bulk ; hence it is more economical
to produce electricity mechanically, by converting the energy of the prime motor into
electric force by the use of the dynamo machine. This motive power is obtained by
steam, water, or gas, according to circumstances. The engine house would contain tho
dynamos for generating the electric current. The current is then taken to a
'
switch
lioard," which is a simple apparatus on which all connections are made with suitable
arrangements, so that either one or more machines can be made to deliver into the same
conductor. On this board is an instrument for measuring the strength of the current,
so fixed that it can be read by the attendant by turning the handle of a switch. From
this board the mains go towards the lamps, starting as a cable, which ramifies into