Tag: American Newspapers (Page 1 of 2)

Death Blow of the Atmospheric Railway

From the Weekly National Intelligencer, October 7, 1848

The atmospheric railway has probably received its death-blow by the abandonment of that mode of traction by the South Devon Railway Company, after having spent £300,000 in experimenting upon it. The system is found to be too expensive. It costs £108 to earn £100! No more need be said about it. Punch places it in his obituary of this week.


Source: Weekly national intelligencer. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]), 07 Oct. 1848. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045784/1848-10-07/ed-1/seq-2/>

Note on the Death of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

From The Penny Press, October 7, 1859

We have already announced the death of the distinguished engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. His father, Mark Isambard Brunel, came from the vicinity of Rouen, and his architectural achievements exist both in his native country and the United States. In 1793 fled for political reasons from France to New York, where he undertook the exploration and survey of some lands for a French land company, and in 1794 commenced the survey of the Champlain Canal. He sent in a design for the houses of Congress, and was much employed as an engineer and Architect in New York, both by the State and by private individuals. After a stay of a few years he returned to Europe, and visited England. In London, the famous Thames Tunnel remains an enduring monument of his engineering skill. The son appears to have inherited the genius of his parent. Born at Portsmouth, England, and educated at Caen, in Normandy, he early embraced his father’s profession, and when but little over twenty years of age, was resident engineer of the Thames Tunnel. Here he had several narrow escapes from drowning, from the breaking in of the water. After the tunnel was finished, Brunel planned the Great Western Railway of England, and superintended its construction. He also built the Great Western steamer, which at one time created such a sensation, though in every respect it was as far surpassed by subsequently built steamers, as they are by the builder’s last work the Great Eastern. Later, Mr. Brunel conducted the works of the Tuscan portion of the Sardinian railways, and other foreign railways, and during the Crimean war he had the entire charge of the establishment and organizing the Renkioi hospitals on the Dardanelles. He was, at the time of his death, Vice-President of the Institution of Engineers and of the Society of Art, fellow and member of the Council of the Royal Society, and member of many other learned societies. He also received the Cross of the Legion of Honor from Louis Philippe.


Source: The penny press. [volume] (Cincinnati [Ohio]), 07 Oct. 1859. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025750/1859-10-07/ed-1/seq-1/>

Proposed Tunnel Under Dover Straits

From The Evening Telegraph, January 27, 1869

The project of tunnelling {sic] a passage from England to France under Dover Straits is still talked of in England. The London Daily News of December 25 says of it:

“The plan of tunnelling beneath the Straits is not altogether a new one. Probably the success with which the Mont Cenis tunnel has been worked through the solid backbone of the Alpine range has attracted new attention to a scheme which on the face of it seems far from being impracticable. It must be remembered, however, that the difficulties to be encountered in tunnelling beneath the Straits of Dover are of a totally different character from those which the French engineers have had to meet with in tunnelling through the Alps The soil to be traversed in the former instance would probably be the ‘second chalk formation,’ which may be assumed to extend in an unbroken course from the place of its uprising in England to the place in which it makes its appearance in France. It need hardly be said that the difficulty of perforating this soil would be very much less than that of perforating the hard and complicated material which has been encountered by the French engineers. On the other hand, however, there are dangers and difficulties in tunnelling under the Straits which more than make up for the comparative ease with which the mere process of perforation could be pursued. It needs but a slight acquaintance with the history of the construction of the Thames Tunnel to enable one to recognize the fact that the workers in the suggested tunnel beneath the Straits would be exposed to enormous risks from the effect of the pressure of the sea upon the stratum through which they would have to work. Again and again the water burst into the Thames Tunnel, and drove the workmen out. Brunel himself nearly lost his life during one of these irruptions. Now, if this happened beneath the Thames, what might be looked for from the effects of the enormous pressure of the sea to say nothing of the increased danger during heavy storms ? and then the workmen in the Thames Tunnel had but a comparatively short distance to run, when they were threatened with an irruption of water, if such an event threatened workmen engaged nine or ten miles from either outlet of the suggested tunnel, escape would be hopeless. In a short time the whole length 0f the tunnel would be filled with the waters of the sea, and the labors of years would be rendered useless.

“We urge these considerations, however, not as deprecating the suggested attempt. Doubtless the dangers which we have pointed out may be surmounted by a judicious choice of the stratum to be worked through, and by cautious progress – defenses being continually prepared around every fresh portion tunnelled. The experience pained during the tunnelling of the Thames shows that much can be done in this way; and we also have every reason to believe that once a tunnel was constructed it would be as safe as the Thames Tunnel now is. There are difficulties in the way of ventilation, but such difficulties as these have to be dealt with (and have been most successfully dealt with in the construction of the Mont Cenis Tunnel). Three eminent engineers, Messrs. Hawkshaw, Brunfees, and Lowe, have pronounced the plan to be feasible; and the estimated cost – nine millions sterling – though large, is still reasonable when the value of the tunnel is considered.

“Certainly the idea is at once a bold and an attractive one. Nature’s barriers are being, one after another, overcome. Now a mountain is tunnelled, then an isthmus is cut through, next the Falls of Niagara are spanned by a railway bridge. Hitherto, however, sea-straits have not been successfully attacked, except where – as in the case of the Menai Straits – they are of very moderate extent. When voyagers can pass to France without encountering the terrors of sea-sickness, a veritable triumph will have been achieved over nature.


Source: The evening telegraph. [volume] (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 27 Jan. 1869. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025925/1869-01-27/ed-1/seq-6/>

 

The Railroad Engineer

From The Aegis & Intelligencer, March 30, 1866

One of our railroad engineers, some years since, was running an express train of ten well filled cars. It was in the night and a very dark night too. His train was behind time, he was putting the engine to the utmost speed of which it was capable, in order to reach a certain point at the proper hour, he was running on a straight and level hack, and at this unusual velocity, when a conviction struck him that he must stop. “A something seemed to tell me,” he said, “that, to go on was dangerous, and that I must stop if I would save life.

I looked back at my train and it was all right. I strained my eyes and peered into the darkness, and could see no signal of danger, nor anything betokening danger, and there in the daytime I could have seen five miles. I listened to the working of my engine, tried the water, looked at the scales, and all was right.— I tried to laugh myself out of what I then considered a foolish fear; but like Banquo’s ghost, it would not down at my bidding, but grew stronger in its hold upon me. I thought of the ridicule I would have heaped upon me if I did stop but it was of no avail.

The conviction—for by this time it had ripened into a conviction—that I must stop, grew stronger, and I resolved to stop. I shut oil, blew the whistle for brakes accordingly. I came to a dead halt, got out and went ahead a little without saying anything to anybody what was the matter. I had a lamp in my hand and had gone about sixty feet, when I saw what convinced me that premonitions are sometimes possible. I dropped the lantern from my nervous grasp, and sat down on the track utterly unable to stand.”

He goes on to tell us that there he found that some one had drawn a spike which had long fastened a switch rail, and opened a switch which had always been kept locked, which led on to a track —only about one hundred and fifty feet long which terminated in a stone quarry! “Here it was wide open, and had I not obeyed my premonitory warning—call it what you will—l should have run into it, and at tho end of the track, only about ten rods long, my heavy engine and train moving at the rate of forty-five miles an hour, would have come into collision with a solid wall of rock eighteen feet high.


Source: The aegis & intelligencer. [volume] (Bel Air, Md.), 30 March 1866. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016107/1866-03-30/ed-1/seq-1/>

Mining Under the Sea

From The Aegis & Intelligencer, March 30, 1866

Some of the coal and copper mines of England are at this time being worked in what appears to he a most singularly dangerous manner. They extend out four hundred yards (near a quarter of a mile) under the bed of the sea, and, in some places two hundred and sixty feet below the level. The beating of the waves against the shores and rocks is distinctly audible, even in calm weather when the explorer gets near the sea level. When storms arise the roar is terrible, and the boldest of men are at times afraid to work lest the sea should break through and fill the mine. Nor is this fear without great cause, for the salt water actually oozes through, and drips, impregnated with the copper ore, into the mine. Three feet of rock is about all that is left, on an average, between the mine and the sea in many galleries. A day’s work in the wrong place with the pickaxe might cause the destruction of the whole works. Indeed, in stormy weather, the salt water jets and spurts through in thin continuous streams. Plugs, sometimes the thickness of a man s leg, alone standing between the miner and the sea to keep it out. — No accident has ever yet happened, but those who remember the Thames Tunnel, twice or thrice filled with water, must feel that some day an accident is almost certain to happen. If it should, the  damage must be immense, and the loss of life great and certain. The veins of copper, however, are rich, and men will follow them to their uttermost, the proprietors of the mines feeling that were an invasion of the water to take place they could slop the leak, as Mr. Brunel did that of the Thames Tunnel, by sinking bags of clay over the hole, and then pumping out the water with their enormous engines.

The consequences, had I done so, can neither be imagined or described, but they could by no possibility have been otherwise than fatally horrible. No one can here doubt of a special interposition of God by which from calamity most terrible, hundreds of lives were wonderfully spared —Home Monthly


Source: The aegis & intelligencer. [volume] (Bel Air, Md.), 30 March 1866. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016107/1866-03-30/ed-1/seq-1/>

Thames Tunnel Sold to East London Railway Company

From The Aegis & Intelligencer, September 03, 1869

The Thames Tunnel — The Thames Tunnel, which was opened on August 2d, 1848, was closed on July 21, having thus been a public footway for a period of twenty-six years, less thirteen days. It has been purchased for £200,000. (one-third of its cost) by the East London Railway Company, which line will be completed as far as Wapping in a short time. The new Thames Subway from Tower Hill to Bermondsey (Mr. Barlow’s scheme) commenced on February 16th of the present year, is proceeding very rapidly, and, if all goes well will be opened for traffic in three months time. Its cost will be under £200,000. The works of the old Thames Tunnel were commenced in 1852. Physical and financial difficulties delayed the opening for eighteen years.


Source: The aegis & intelligencer. [volume] (Bel Air, Md.), 03 Sept. 1869. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016107/1869-09-03/ed-1/seq-4/>

Report of the Continuation of the Thames Tunnel after an Irruption

From the Morning Herald, October 6, 1837

The Thames Tunnel –  We are glad to learn that the interruption which the progress of this great national undertaking has met with is likely to be of much shorter duration than could have possibly been anticipated. Mr. Brunel has been incessant and indefatigable in his exertions to remedy the damage done, and his success has been so great that hopes, now amounting to certainty, are entertained that the works will be resumed, without danger or inconvenience, in the course of a very short time. On Saturday it was ascertained that the aperture had been completely closed, and on the pumps being applied it was found that little or no water obtained access to the shaft of the tunnel ; but as some danger was apprehended if the water were taken off until the clay newly deposited in the aperture had in some degree became consolidated, the pumping was suspended till the following day. On Sunday the pumping was resumed, and it was very soon that the engine had complete command over the water, which was reduced to nine feet in the shaft. Yesterday the water still was reduced to four fret in the shaft, and there is no doubt but the water could at once be drawn off without difficulty if that were thought desirable. Mr. Brunel, however, with great prudence, postpones the drawing off of the whole of the water till the clay becomes consolidated, and has acquired a proper consistence.


Source: Morning herald. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]), 06 Oct. 1837. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030312/1837-10-06/ed-1/seq-2/>

Report on 1837 Annual Meeting of the Thames Tunnel Company

From the Alexandria Gazette, April 18, 1837

The Thames Tunnel.—At the late annual meeting of the proprietors of the Thames Tunnel, to receive the report, and make choice.of directors, a report was read which gave much satisfaction. During, the last half year. £20,000 had been received from the government and £22,000 had been expended for the works and salaries; Since the last report the work had been advanced a farther distance of 65 feet, under the deepest part of the river, making the present length of the tunnel 725 feet 3 inches – Boston Daily Advertiser.


Source: Alexandria gazette. [volume] (Alexandria, D.C.), 18 April 1837. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025007/1837-04-18/ed-1/seq-2/>

Bets on the Completion of the Thames Tunnel

From the Alexandria Gazette, November 1, 1836

The sporting characters of Boston are taking and offering heavy bets on the completion of the Thames tunnel and the Bunker-hill monument—that is to say, on the question which will be completed first. Odds at present are in favor of the tunnel.

[editor’s note: The Bunker Hill Monument was dedicated on June 17, 1843, the Thames Tunnel opened on March 25, 1843, having proven the bookies correct.]

Source: Alexandria gazette. [volume] (Alexandria, D.C.), 01 Nov. 1836. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85025007/1836-11-01/ed-1/seq-2/>

Newspaper account of the Thames Tunnel, 1836

From the Vermont Telegraph, October 12, 1836

The Thames Tunnel – Dr. Humphrey in one of his letters from England, gives the following interesting description of the Thames Tunnel.

This great work was commenced several years ago, about a mile below London Bridge. It is agreed on all hands. I believe, that if the tunnel could be finished, and secured against the irruptions of the superincumbent waters, it would be a public accommodation, as the navigation of the Thames will not permit the erection of any bridge in that part of the city; and the river is so constantly filled and almost choked up, with all kinds of water craft, that to keep any thing like a convenient ferry open is quite impossible. The undertaking has proved much more costly than was anticipated, and for a very considerable time it was entirely suspended for want of funds.But at the last session of Parliament a large grant was made for the prosecution of it. when I was there. in the mouth of May, the arches again resounded with the heavy blows and busy hum of the workmen. A shaft is sunk to the depth of fifty or sixty feet, on the south bank of the river, over which a temporary building has been erected, and you descend into the tunnel by winding staircase. Before it can be opened. it must of course be carried out a great deal further from the river, to get a convenient slope for heavy transportation.

At the bottom of the stairs, the horizontal excavation, under the bed of the river commences. It is ten or twelve feet in height, and wide enough for two Carriage ways. with a row of strong pillars, and arches extending from pillar to pillar, between them. The sides and transverse arches, as you stand at the entrance, and by the help of lamps look down these subterraneous galleries, are built of the most substantial masonry, and have every appearance of being perfectly secure, as far as they are finished, which is about 600 feet, nearly or quite to the middle of the river. Some even now doubt whether the tunnel will ever be finished ; but I see no insuperable difficulty by the way. As I have elsewhere remarked, (I believe.) our English kinsfolk are commonly much less in a hurry than we are ; but they possess the virtue of perseverance in an eminent degree; and I have little doubt that some half dozen years hence they will be passing under the bed of their largest river with is much composure and safety as they now pass over London Bridge. – Whenever that day arrives. the tunnel will be an immense thoroughfare for the lower part of the metropolis.


Source: Vermont telegraph. [volume] (Brandon [Vt.]), 12 Oct. 1836. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025661/1836-10-12/ed-1/seq-4/>

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