Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, July 30, 1905, Image 20

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Eloctrlclty -T
Illustrated Bee s:
Entered Second Class at Omaha Postofilce Published Weekly by The Bee Publishing Co. Subocription, f 2.50 Ter Year.
JULY 30, 1903.
Electricity in Its Practical Application to Our Modern Every-Day Life
THE word "electricity" is derived from the Greek "electron,"
which meant amber. The first discovery of electricity vu
made by the old Romans, when they found that If a piece of
amber be rubbed with cloth it comes into possession of a
power which enables It to attract and hold small quantities of certain
natter, such as chaff, pith, paper or its like. Ihis was looked at by
the old Romans as an Inexplicable phenomenon, as no one seemed
to be able to explain the reason.
We have- records of this discovery back in time as far as BOO
years before the Christian era, so it will be noticed that electricity la
not a discovery of late, as generally understood. .
Step by step It has been developed, until today we would bardly
recognize It as the same power originally discovered in the amber. In
stead of producing It by rubbing amber with, cloth we have con
atructed dynamos for Its generation, and Instead of being able to at
tract and hold only small bodies we have developed It Into a force
that turns the world's wheels of Industry and that has so revolntlon
lzed the methods of transacting business that it has firmly established
Itself aa a necessity for a modern future to do much of the world's
work, as well as to make life's play more fascinating.
The only similarity between the feeble power of the amber and
modern electricity is the mystery. What is It? And how does it
look? These questions were all right for the old Romans, but serve
as but a poor excuse for the man of normal brains in these enlight
ened days of ours. It ought not be necessary for us to see or feel a
thing In order to utilize It. We do not apply the same mystery to
gas or steam; stillwho has ever seen either?
No Mystery (o Electricity
There is no mystery to electricity, villi the possible exception of
the action of lightning, whi h human brains have not so far been uble
to master. Electricity follows nil the common laws of nature, and
the fact that its pressure and quantity is measured in volts and am
peres instead of iounds nud cubic feet should not confound or mys-'
tlfy auy mind that claims ordinary intelligence. 1 lay particular
stress on and do most emphaticuliy condemn the very thought of
mystery in connection with electricity, because 1 believe it to be one
of the very greatest stumbling blocks that could ever be pu in the
way of the broadest developments of this, nature's chosen agent
Matters of law need only be thoroughly learned by lawyers, med
icine only thoroughly known by physicians, architecture by architects,
engineering by engineers, for the reason that these branches will only
' develop In their own respective lines, but electricity Is rapidly entering
every branch and vocation of every day life. Already at this day It
Is employed in medicine, in surgery, in chemistry," In office work. In
farming. In mining, in railroading, in
the factory, in the residence, etc., bo
sides all its special branches, such as
telegraphy, telephony, street railway,
lighting and power; it is hard in fact,
to name a single branch of Industry
where . electricity is not employed in
one capacity or the other.
' ...
Its Laws.Should Be Known'
For this' reason 'It seems to me Ino
perative,! that a more 'common knowl--edge
of It should be spread. . A young '
Wan starting-Into, the world finds him
self confronted with electrical appara
tus of some kind or other iu every walk
of lire. The man who .understands the
common pVopertles of the current with
lis iunuamentai laws ana rules, wno
realizes that It is a friend, not an enemy
of mankind, will be broader and better
fitted for life's battle. I do not ask
that every. man make of himself an ex
IK'rt electrical engineer, but simply to
acquaint himself with Its fundamental
principles and adaptabilities, so that he
may handle the apparatus with intelli
gence and eliminate all thoughts of
mystery. If this could be accomplished,
the field of electricity would be broad
ened through new discoveries and ap
plications, and humanity benefited to
an extent that we can hardly ap
preciate. To this end I firmly believe
end sincerely hope that the day is not
far distant, when such fundamental
principles of electricity will be taught
In our public schools, so as to encourage
every brain of normal standard to con
tribute its share to the broadest devel
opment of this nature's most valuable
agent, the possibilities of which today
bceem without limit.
In regard to the dangers of elee
trlclty which discourage many people
pie from taking the Interest in it they might, a very few remarks will
suffice. Electricity, w hen properly harnessed, is as harmless as a new
born babe. Compare it for a moment with steam. We are con
tinually raising the pressure of steam to commercially meet its in
creasing demands. E.'.actly so with electricity; we are continually
raising the voltage or pressure in order to cover more and more ter
ritory, which is crying for the assistance of electicity. As these dan
gers Increase, It must be borne In mind that millions of dollars are
expended every years in salaries, etc., for men of ability aud long actual
experience to prescribe safeguards to the public from dangers incident
to electricity. It is but fair and Just to say that we are steadfastly
keeping abreast with the modern improvements aud without prevent
ing a single application, which will benefit the world at large, we have
lieou able to make and euforce such measures that render accidents
from this source a minimum. If Ignorance and carelessness on the
part of Individuals could be obliterated, then our task in this respect
would be nearer an end.
Where Electricity Plays Its Pari
Space will not permit us to enumerate all the functions performed
and made possible by the applies- ,
tion of electricity, but It might be -
of interest to glance over some of
the minor instances in everyday
life where we meet electricity
"on duty."
Let us for an Illustration fol
low an Omaha business man
through a day's work after he
returns from a trip, say to Chi
cago, lie arrives at the Union
depot on time after a pleasant
night's Journey. The train was
well lighted with electric lights,
while electric fans were busily
spinning around to keep him cool,
aud a slight push of the electric
button quickly notified the porter
that his services were wanted.
While looking out of the window
he ponders over the wonderful
system of railroad signals that
automatically Inform the engi
neer, if the track Is clear, and
which In conjunction with the
mammoth electric head light, ren- ',
der a Jonrney as safe In the dark
est night aa In broad daylight
At the depot be boards the elec
tric elevator, that IlfU him to
the street level, and in a few minutes later be
finds himself comfortably seated on an elec
tric car, speeding to his home in one of the
modern flat buildings.
Before entering the car he buys a "Daily
Bee," Just off from the electrically driven
press, to glance over the news of the entire
world, received over the electric wires.
Electricity All Around I's
At the front door of the flat building he
touches the electric button at the telephone lu
the vestibule, puts the receiver to his ear,
and after - properly ldentiTying himself in
response to the question, "Who is there?"
pushes open the front door, the electric latch
of which has meanwhile been released by the
party upstairs pressing the proper button. In
order to get the breakfast ready In the short
est spnee of time, the electric cooking utensils
are readily put Into use. The house Is com
fortably heated, not too hot nor too cold; the
electric thermostat on the wall keeping the
heat constant with less than one degree vari
ation. Before breakfast he retires to the
bath room, where an electric light bath, which
combines the beneficial - effects of the light
r a y s with
thnnp f K l . .
..... VB- U1C
Turkish bath,
puts new life
and strength
into our busi
ness man for a
hard day's
As soon as
breakfast is
is over, the
electri auto
mobile is in
waiting at the
front door, and
Omaha, the other In his living
of bis private residence in
York. The conversation, however,
reveals that the writer of
letter had to leave New York on his
boat a few hours ago without the
information requested. A turn of the crank
of an "electric call box" on the side of the
disappointed Omaha mnn's desk, quickly
brings forth a messenger to whom is deliv
ered a message to be forwarded to New York
by wire, and from there by the Marconi sys
tem to one ocean steamer, speeding on its way
to the other side of the Atlantic, surrounded
by nothing but sky and water. Later iuthe
afternoon a reply from this message is re
ceived in Omaha and the business is trans
acted as satisfactorily, although a trifle more
expensively, as though the two men had been
in oral communication.
' I '. III., .
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W I t,. ! -7,:? C, '.-'-!. vfc;v
' v- ! - " '.'' '-" ULVvIAmvt-t
Electric Fire Alarms Yf'- Siv nmsssi .r uCf
All of a sudden our business man hears : J 'f $f Y ; J 'tflll
a great commotion out in the warehouse and ''f I f ' ""V " ''If 111 ? '
the call of "Fire!" lie lnstantl .. v ' J ' - ' ' ' Y'"'"
ths scene, only to see that the city Are de- r "': '' '' A ' "TtP V
, .' ' - -Hr ''' ". : v i vV.; .-: , .. , 8IO GEKSRATOR AX ELECTRIC UQHT COMPACTS TOWER. HOTJS& F'
, 7 HX ; '. V J ,:: ' '. 1, - I V 1 .... . . i
i - , v , , r ElCTRICAIi CAKOBLJUOrtJ MACHUni AT OMAHA POflTOPyiCK. -Tf 'M I H Wtitk - ' l' A tt" " ' ' ; ''' ' S'-''
' : - 1 ' V,: e'- .73 hv-S ,.
hr -I. I f . : Lv 'V.
. ' :':..::.v-v.' ;iL .iA;:?i:i'7K m J
I ' rfi, i mm I.,. ... 1 ..; ,'b 4-j3 l "
TTP AMONO TIIB rXECTRIC "vTTRES. l! -1 " -1 , - " - - 4
by this he soon reaches his of
fice. Upon his arrival there
he opens the telegrams and
mail, stamping each letter and
blank with an electric time
stamp to show date and hour
of its receipt lie-calls up by
telephone the various depart
ments of the factory, where
electric motors are operating
the machinery at top-notch
speed. lie pushes various
electric buttons for office boys
to distribute mall, etc., to the
several departments and to go
errondy. One letter received
during our business man's absence from Omaha Is from an associate
In New York asking for some important Information before he leaves
for Europe. As soon as a long distance call can be put through a con
versation la carried on between two men, one sitting at his desk in
portment la Just through putting
out a fire, which, had it not been so
promptly reported, might have meant
a total loss to stock and build
ings. The alarm was sent In auto
matically by .the fire alarm system
in the building, and a few mo
ments later by the box on the uenr
est street corner. The moment the
alarm was sent in, gongs lu every fire
engine room in the city, the police
station and the newspuper offices were
sounded by the fluid ' thut travels
140,000 miles a second. Simultan
eously with this alarm the stall door
to every fire horse was electrically
. , ; , opened, the horses running to ' their
various posts of duty, where the, harness Is "dropped". on them, and
men and beasts, , equally faithful, started on their mad
dash ' to what might mean instant death to them, - to save
the property and lives of others. The time Is swiftly gliding by; but
electric lights are turned on. while tbe
electric exhaust fans are "pumping"
away to expel the foul air from the offi
ces; our business man glances at the big
clock, regulated by electricity over the
wire hourly from Washington, so the
exact time may always be known, aud
It is time to go home.
Electricity In Ihe News
After a 6 o'clock dinner, Mr. Busi
ness Man locates himself comfortably
In a large easy chair and starts to read
the dally papers. To avoid the danger
and nuisance of scratching matches an
electric cigar lighter, placed within easy
reach, is employed to light a good cigar
and aid the digestion of the news.
Here is a heading In the paper, "At
tempt to Rob Bank," while the article
further discloses that the attempt was
unsuccessful on account of the system
of electric vault protection, applied to
this and other banks, aa well aa the gov
. ernment building. The alarm was in
stantaneous and the police arrived on the
scene before the vault could be opened.
Here is an article about the wonderful
cures that have been effected by the Fin-;-en
rays, named after their discoverer,
the professor, of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Another announcement Is made of a doc
tor, who by means of X-rays Is able to
see through a human body to locate
broken bones, foreign substances in the
flesh, photograph objects through a thlr-teen-inch
steel armor plate, etc Next
his attention is attracted to an article
about the new method of purifying flour
by the electric spark and pasteurizing
milk with certain rays of an electric
lamp. Here is an article about the
Niagara Falls plants, by which thou
sands of horse power, produced by the
falls, that for centuries have been
wasted, will be harnessed and distrib
uted over the country at very low rates.
A little mention Is made of the ex
tensive street railway systems, that are
gradually honey combing this country,
making traveling both more comfortable
and cheaper.
Home Conveniences
It Is about time for the theater; the
wife Is attired In her evening gown, and
her naturally curly hair has received a
trifling assistance from the electric curl
ing iron. Our business man dons bis
evening dress, with, snow white linen,
ironed to a superior finish by electric
Ironing machines In a modern up-to-date
laundry. ,
The two of mem are soon seated In
the theater facing the big steel curtain
which, by means of an electric, motor, is
raised or lowered at will In a few sec
onds to protect life and property. The
theater is brightly lighted with hundreds
of electric lights, while electric motors
are driving large fans for the purpose of
driving hot air Into tbe theater at the
floor, as well as to remove the Impure air
at the celling. The performance Is ono
of the modern scenic productions; the
entire stage is one glare of electric light
Some of the actresses' costumes are
handsomely decorated with miniature
electric lights. There are scenes repre
senting thunder and lightning, which, by
means of electricity, are made so na
tural that the spectator at times wonders
if it could be real or if it is but an imita
tion. After the theater we find our
couple back to. their modern flat
Before retirlug the electric chafing
dish is brought out aud a light
palatable lunch is indulged in. The cord of this chafing dish is at
tached to the same receptacle on the wall, which Is sometimes used by
the ludy of the house for connecting a little electric iron to smooth
certain little delicate pieces that arc not entrusted to the laundry. Just
lefore retiring our business man puts one hand under the covers of
the bed to ascertain if the electric heating pad bas been properly placed
and turned on to take off the unpleasant cblll. All the electric lights In
the residence are turned off, except those in the bedroom and the elec
tric burglar alarm switch is thrown on, which at a glance shows
whether or not all tbe windows in the residence are closed, and during
the night will turn in an alarm if any window or door is opened or en
trance Is otherwise gained to the residence. 1
Can'l Gel Away from the Current
Both Mr. and Mrs". Business Man are soon comfortably resting on
the soft bed, well prepared for a night's rest after another strenuous
day's work. The Mr. has almost dozed off in the arms of Morpheus,
when the question is asked:
"Did you see in the paper that a man In Lonevllle was electrocuted
by an electric wire?"
What Electricity Threatens to Do in Aen's Offices
IN the desire to save time, space and energy, and promote comfort
and convenience, says a writer in Harper's Weekly, numerous
applications of electricity have been made. The saving of time
and space means the saving of money, and Increased economy
and eificiency are .always at a premium. In the business office there
are niauy applications of electricity to achieve this end. As an exam
ple may be cited the electric typewriter, invented when it was realized
that increased speed and facility of operation could be secured if a cer
tain amount of the energy used by the typist was supplied Mechan
ically, and that the most convenient method for doing this was the
electric motor operated by current from the ordinary lighting circuit
of a small battery. Then, by simply touching the keys, as effective
work could be done as by a blow of considerable force. The same
principle was also applied to the adding and calculating machines now
so useful in banks and other commercial establishments. In this case,
after the appropriate keys have been struck, the gearing of the ma
chine is revolved by an electric motor, and the total is automatically
given without further attention from the operator, who, with machines
of the older type, was forced to move cranks or levers.
The next Interesting Instrument that one finds in an up-to-date
electrically equipped office is the telautograph, which aut6matlcally
reproduces handwriting in facsimile at- a point more or less distant
Yhere it is necessary to give exact information to a number of per
sons simultaneously and have the same a matter of record, this in
strument is very convenient For example, a train dispatcher can an
nounce the movements of trains to a number of officials stationed at
different points by 6lmply writing a single message. The device is also
employed by newspapers and other concerns for writing bulletins, while
for direct communication between two persons the apparatus possesses
obvious advantages. When used in a bank the cashier or teller may
inquire from the bookkeeper as to the amount of balance or other par
ticulars of a customer's account the message and the answer being
noiselessly sent and received. The same Instrument aside from its
commercial applications, finds employment in fortifications, where the
artillery officer charged with observing the target and computing the
range and direction of fire can send from his station to the gunners in
the emplacements detailed and specific instructions as to dlrectipn,
elevation, etc., without the possibility of mistake or misunderstanding
. attending a verbal order or audible signal.
. Attention might be directed, in the typical modern office, to another
set of conductors, from the lighting circuit or a battery to a curious
instrument mounted on a polished box, and consisting apparently of a
pair of metal reels moving speedily but noiselessly, from which a fine
steel wire Is being rapidly wound and unwound. This is the teie
gra phone, which is Just being established as a valuable adjunct to the
telephone, and capable of many useful applications, being, among other
things, a substitute for the phonograph. It is susceptible of aumerous
adjustments, and can be made to record or reproduce an ordinary con
versation, not only after tbe manner of the phonograph, but also when
connected with a telephone. It will record the conversation of both
parties on an ordinary telephone line. Buch a conversation can be
subsequently reproduced at will and as many times as desired. With
this same machine, by simply turning an appropriate key, a man may
dictate to the machine, aud then a stenographer in an adjoining room
or another building can put on her head a telephone receiver connected
with the elegraphone, and by turning tbe reproducing key may listen
to the dictation, aud transcribe it on the machine. If the desired
person is not In his office when someone wishes to communicate with
him by telephone, his clerk may arrange the telegraphone to receive
any message, or in case the office is left alone this may be done auto
matically, and the message will le repeated on the return of the person
called for. The telegraphone as a present arranged contains about
two miles of flue (1-inoth inch in diameter) steel wire, which is suffl-.
clfut for about a half hour's conversation, but at any time a message
or all messages may be effectively effaced at will when the apparatus
is ready for new records. It operates on an ordinary electric light
circuit, aud does not require as mwh currept for ts motors as an in
candescent lamp of 6lxtten-candle power. Another Interesting form
of telegraphone Is on arranged for repeating and reproducing a con
versation, and it bas been found that from 4. single record on the steel
wire a number of reproducing circuits can be led.
"I notice that paper today
states that it happened through
bis own carelessness and ignor
ance of the work in which he
was engaged."
"Oh, well! that Is the same old
excuse of these large corporations
to evade responsibility and the
city clectrlclun is brought up to
corroborate these statements," and
as he in a half dazed condition,
with great efforts, employs the
last remaining strength of tho
body to raise his hand to the
switch at the bedside to turn off
the electric lights, continues:
"Oh! this cruel electricity; It
is nothing but a mysterious death
dealing something, that ought not
be permitted to be perpetrated on
an intelligent public Just fur the
pecuniary gain of some greedy
public service corporation. Per
sonally, I won't use the stuff in
any shape, manner or form, and
don't see why other people don't
quit it"
City Electrician.