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QO Edison. fapers

A SELECTIVE MICROFILM EDITION

PART IV (1899-1910)

Thomas E. Jeffrey Theresa M. Collins Lisa Gitelman Gregory Field Gregory Jankunis ; Aldo E. Salerno David W. Hutchings Karen A. Detig Leslie Fields Lorie Stock Editors Robert Rosenberg

Director and Editor

Sponsors Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey National Park Service, Edison National Historic Site New Jersey Historical Commission Smithsonian Institution

University Publications of America / Bethesda, MD i 1999

Edison signature used with permission of McGraw-Edison Company

Sonnets pean mn

meaner (eee

Thomas A. Edison Papers at Ruigers, The State University endorsed by National Historical Publications and Records Commission 18 June 1981

Copyright © 1999 by Rutgers, The State University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication including any portion of the guide and index or of the microfilm may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—graphic, electronic, mechanical, or chemical, includingphotocopying, recording or taping, or information storage and retrieval systems—without written permission of Rutgers, The State University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The original documents in this edition are from the archives at the Edison National Historic Site at West Orange, New Jersey. ; :

ISBN 0-89093-703-6

: : : pees are! 7 : ; d 5 a A A A y= egg npn a ae

THOMAS A. EDISON PAPERS

Robert A. Rosenberg Director and Editor

Thomas E. Jeffrey Associate Director and Coeditor

Paul B. Israel Managing Editor, Book Edition

Helen Endick Assistant Director for Administration

Associate Editors Assistant Editors Theresa M. Collins Louis Carlat Lisa Gitelman Aldo E. Salerno Keith A. Nier Research Associates Secretary Gregory Jankunis Grace Kurkowski Lorie Stock

Student Assistants Amy Cohen Jessica Rosenberg Bethany Jankunis Stacey Saelg Laura Konrad Wojtek Szymkowiak Vishal Nayak Matthew Wosniak

BOARD OF SPONSORS

Rutgers, The State University of New National Park Service

Jersey John Maounis Francis L. Lawrence Maryanne Gerbauckas Joseph J. Seneca Roger Durham Richard F. Foley George Tselos David M. Oshinsky Smithsonian Institution

New Jersey Historical Commission Bernard Finn Howard L. Green Arthur P. Molella EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

James Brittain, Georgia Institute of Technology

R. Frank Colson, University of Southampton Louis Galambos, Joins Hopkins University

Susan Hockey, University of Alberta :

Thomas Parke Hughes, University of Pennsylvania

Peter Robinson, Oxford University Philip Scranton, Georgia Institute of Technology/Hagley Museum and Library Merritt Roe Smith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTORS

PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Charles Edison Fund

The Hyde and Watson Foundation National Trust for the Humanities Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

PUBLIC FOUNDATIONS

National Science Foundation

National Endowment for the Humanities

National Historical Publications and Records Commission

PRIVATE CORPORATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS

Alabama Power Company

Anonymous .

AT&T

Atlantic Electric

Association of Edison Mluminating Companies

Battelle Memorial Institute

The Boston Edison Foundation

Cabot Corporation Foundation, Inc.

Carolina Power & Light Company

Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Ine.

Consumers Power Company

Cooper Industries

Corning Incorporated

Duke Power Company

Entergy Corporation (Middle South Electric System)

Exxon Corporation

Florida Power & Light Company

General Electric Foundation

Gould Inc. Foundation

Gulf States Utilities Company

David and Nina Heitz

Hess Foundation, Inc.

Idaho Power Company

IMO Industries

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley H. Katz

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

. Midwest Resources, Ine.

Minnesota Power

New Jersey Bell

New York State Electric & Gas Corporation

North American Philips Corporation

Philadelphia Electric Company

Philips Lighting B.V.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company

RCA Corporation

Robert Bosch GmbH

Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation

San Diego Gas and Electric

Savannah Electric and Power Company

Schering-Plough Foundation

Texas Utilities Company

Thomas & Betts Corporation

Thomson Grand Public

Transamerica Delaval Inc.

Westinghouse Foundation

Wisconsin Public Service Corporation

i eae

; i i aed, az areas N

A Note on the Sources

The pages which have been

filmed are the best copies available. Every technical effort possible has been ‘made to ensure legibility.

PUBLICATION AND MICROFILM COPYING RESTRICTIONS

Reel duplication of the whole or of any part of this film is Prohibited, In lieu: of transcripts, however, enlarged photocopies of selected items contained on these reels

may be made in order to facilitate research.

Seine Malden hil wile 36

SCRAPBOOK SERIES

The four scrapbooks in this series cover the period 1901-1904. They contain clippings from newspapers, popular magazines, and technical journals, along with other printed material. Two scrapbooks from 1901-1902 pertain to the development, testing, and manufacture of Edison's alkaline storage battery. The one selected book includes articles by former Edison employee Arthur E. Kennelly and by electrochemist Eugene F. Roeber. The other two scrapbooks (not selected) contain material regarding the International Correspondence Schools—an organization based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which promoted Edison's phonograph for educational use.

In addition to these items, the Scrapbook Collection in the Edison National Historic Site archives has several books from the period 1899-1910. These contain souvenirs, postcards, and holiday greetings collected by Mina Miller Edison and others. Two undated scrapbooks contain the original labels from Edison's mineral cabinet, indicating the names and origins of the samples collected. A finding aid to the archival collection is available.

i aeeeinen Ce

Scrapbook, Cat. 44,496

This scrapbook covers the period January-December 1901. In addition, two loose items from September 1902 have been inserted into the book. Included are articles about Edison's alkaline storage battery by former associate Arthur E. Kennelly and by electrochemist Eugene F. Roeber, along with other battery-related clippings from the Electrical Review, Electrical World and Engineer, Western Electrician, and New York Tribune.

Scrapbook, Cat. 44,495 [not selected]

This scrapbook covers the period February-August 1901 and relates to the development, testing, and manufacture of Edison's alkaline storage battery. The clippings are primarily from daily newspapers, but some are from technical journals and popular magazines. Included is material pertaining to Edison's storage battery factory at Glen Ridge, New Jersey; his visit to the Sudbury region of Ontario; and a conflict with the General Electric Co. over the use of the battery.

Scrapbook, Cat. 44,493 and Cat. 44,494 [not selected]

These two scrapbooks probably cover the period 1903-1904, but some of the items may be from earlier or later dates. Included are clippings and printed promotional material relating to the International Correspondence Schools (I.C.S.)—an organization based on Scranton, Pennsylvania, which promoted Edison's phonograph for educational use. The material was apparently collected by Nelson C. Durand at |.C.S. before he joined the National Phonograph Co. in 1905 as manager of the Commercial Department. Several items from these scrapbooks can be found in the Primary Printed Series.

i

CL ERA ween SE aT Eee

Scrapbook, Cat. 44,496

This scrapbook covers the period January-December 1901. In addition, two loose items from September 1902 have been inserted into the book. Included are articles about Edison's alkaline storage battery by former associate Arthur E. Kennelly and by electrochemist Eugene F. Roeber, along with other battery-related clippings from the Electrical Review, Electrical World and Engineer, Western Electrician, and New York Tribune. The cover is labeled "Edison Storage Battery Newspaper clippings From January 5, 1901 To ." The pages are unnumbered. Approximately 40 pages have been used.

{1 Ans HBRMOUNTaiN 8 coy a etini ctiets :

By Dr ALE, Kenney," fa iskvell known that a piece of good coal contains enough energy,

gravitation a vertical distance of 2000 miles. Otherwise stated, a pound of good coal, when burned in air, liberates about 5.7-hp- hoirs of energy, or at the rate of 0.175 Ib, per horse-power-hour,

engine, and in the best steam engines the consumption of coal instead of being one-sixth of a pound per brake horse-power-hour is about 1% Ibs. while in ordinary fairly large good engines it is between 2 and 3 Ibs.

with for many years. The best steam engines of the year 1801 had the nineteenth century has been to increase the net or-total efficiency

A of the best engines from 4 per cent. to 14 per cent. The great source of waste in the steam engine is a consequence of

2

working substance, such as hydrogen gas, a certain quantity of' heat, at the temperature say of melting fead, in a heat-tight cylinder from Awhich all thermal waste could be eliminated, and allow the gas to

2

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gout a piston, with a subsequent retraction, we cannot obtain the full mechanical equivalent of the heat energy unless the expansion goes

2

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bn indefinitely, with a simultaneous depression of the temperature pf the expanded gas down to the theoretically absolute zero of +273 legs. C. at which there would be no heat left in it, The ratio of the working range, to the total ideal range of temperature down to Absolute zero, represents the thermodynamic efficiency, and the limita- tions of the heat engine, It would seem that any heat engine or energy- converting apparatus that involves a rejection of heat at a lower tem- perature must be subject to this limitation and disastrous waste. The question has therefore often arisen whether the energy can- not be extracted from coal without having recourse to the thermo- dynamic process, and, therefore, without having to pay such heavy tribute to the absolute temperature of 300 degs, C., or 300 degs. above absolute zero, at which we happen to live, and below which we are iw unable to carry our expansion.

If, for example, coal were converted into coke, which conversion : could be carried on commercially without loss, and perhaps even at PF A rgasig as NE : ; 24 : pe a profit, on account of the value of the distillation products; and if See os “Ata, K 4 the coke could be consumed in a galvanic battery in the same man-

a ner that zinc is ordinarily consumed, there would be no stich neces-

] sary waste of energy, and theoretically almost all of the energy of PATENTED DEC.I. 1888.

combination between coke-carbon and oxygen could be liberated in B the electrical circuit of the apparatus, This would represent the direct generation of the energy of coke-carbon into electrical energy. Un- fortunately, however, carbon refuses to behave like zinc and burn in a voltaic cell. The only known means by which carbon could be made to give out its energy in a voltaic cell, in competition with the use of coal in the steam engine, is by the formation of either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide; in other words, the same oxidization which yields the energy of carbon in the process of combustion must take place electro-chemically. The oxygen for this purpose must be obtained from some cheap elec- trolyte containing oxygen, and fay cannot, so far as is known, be ob-

tained from the atmosphere direct- ly, In other words, it is necessary 8 to rob an electrolyte of oxygen in order that the carbon shall com- bine with it electrolytically. If the oxygen of the electrolyte were but feebly held, that is to say, if the electrolyte consisted of a chemical combination with oxygen so un- stable as to require but a negligi- bly small amount of energy to tear the oxygen away,and if, moreover, the substance or substances with Awhich the oxygen was unstably M linked were capable’ of entering into combination with the other plate of the voltaic couple, with but Mlittle absorption of energy; then it might be possible for the voltaic ell to work with a power output theoretically approaching that of the combustion vatue of carbon and oxygen. The union of carbon and ¥ oxygen in the cell would take place without sensible elevation of MH temperature, the clectrolyte would give up its oxygen for the forma- fa tion of carbon dioxide, and the products of the cell would have to be

fresh electrolyte. All this requires the existence of an electrolyte possessing the properties of small chemical stability, together with the capability of forming suitable chemical combinations at botl MM plates of the couple. Moreover, the electrolyte must be so abundant as to be very cheap.

Unfortunately all the electrolytes that are abundant are very stable combinations, which require a large amount of energy to tear the oxygen away from them, and if, as commonly happens, the energy H required to abstract their oxygen is greater than the energy which

carbon will yield on combining with their oxygen, it is evident that & the voltaic cell so constituted would not work. The amount of energy which is necessary for the chemical disunion of oxygen from all the ordinary electrolytes is fairly well known by thermo-chemical meas- turements. An examination of thermo-chemical data confirms the re- sults of the very large amount of experimental enquiry made during the past century, and leads to the conclusion that there is no cheap electrolyte available for the burning of carbon in a yoltaic cell, at We ordinary tempcratures, with an efficiency that can compete with the @ steam engine. Apparently nothing short of an cpoch-making dis-

when burned with oxygen, to lift its weight against sea-level ie

The best known means of securing this energy: in mechanical form }} is the heat engine, which is in practice, on a large scale, the steam

This inefficiency of the steam engine has been known and striven |

a net efficiency of about 4 per cent, so that the progress made during : the apparently definite law of nature that if we deliver up to any fA

do mechanical work in strokes or cycles by expanding and pushing {

imervaigctin Wo The probation of Blackeceity direct fom Th Combate

EDISON: JANUARY I, I9OI,

chemically eliminated in some continuous manner, to be replaced by"

y

Turning now to the voltaic cell worked at high temperatures, in- stead of at ordinary temperatures, although the prospects from thermo-chemical data seem equally unfavorable, yet there is some hope of success in this direction, if only from the fact that there is less experimental knowledge of hot voltaic cells than of cold voltaic cells, and there is always hope so long as any reasonably available combination has been left untested. The electrolyte would now be a fused salt instead of a solution, and must give up oxygen to the car- bon for the production of carbon monoxide or dioxide. The remain- ing constituents of the electrolyte must be suitably provided for, and eliminated at the opposite plate, without serious loss of energy,

The hot voltaic cell is complicated to some extent by the introduc- tion of thermo-electric phenomena, which inevitably accompany the contacts of dissimilar matcrials at markedly different temperatures. If the cell is a mere thermo-clectric couple, it must do work in the circuit by receiving heat, at a high temperature, at one contact, ‘and reject- ing heat, at a lower temperature, at another contact, thereby coming under the thermodynamic law of temperature limitation, just as does a heat engine, besides being subject to additional limitations imposed by purely thermo-electric conditions. Consequently, not only is the thermo-electric method of obtaining energy from carbon, by allowing its combustion heat to operate thermo-clectric couples, likely to be a failure in competition with the steam engine, owing to the tempera- ture range limitation, but any real voltaic action in which carbon is oxidized in a hot electrolyte can succeed only in spite of, and not by reason of its accompanying thermo-clectric actions,

In other words, it would scem that a hot voltaic cell can only be a successful competitor with the steam engine on account of its voltaic action, and such thermo-electric ‘actions as inevitably occur therein must be wasteful for the same reason that the steam engine is waste- ful; namely, because the tempera- ture range, instead of being be- tween the high temperature and ab- solute zero of temperature, is ac- tually between the high tempera- ture and a convenient moderate temperature, While, therefore, the prospects are not encouraging for the production of a hot voltaic cell- burning carbon, yet there is hope that it may be found, whereas, with the cool voltaic cell, the case seems to be almost hopeless for the near ‘future,

If the energy of burning carbon with oxygen cannot be liberated electrically in a direct manner, as above outlined, yet it may be pos- sible to use its chemical potential energy to perform purely chemical change in other combinations, and use the resulting products of that chemical change for the final development of electrical energy in the circuit of voltaic cells. Such exchanges of chemical energy at high temperatures are not subject to the thermo-dynamic law of tempera- tures, although incidentally much heat energy is usually wasted by the furnaces in which such substitution takes place. Theoretically, the exchange of chemical energy from carbon to some other sub- stance in this manner does not necessarily require a wasteful expen- diture of heat, and it is conceivable that the furnaces in which the exchange occurs might be made so nearly heat-tight, by gradual im- provement, as to waste but little energy.

Such indirect processes of obtaining energy from carbon are already in use and are illustrated in the ordinary voltaic cell burning zine. ‘The zine is originally taken in the form of oxide, and heated in a closed furnace with carbon; the energy necessary to tear the oxygen from the zinc, or reduce the metallic oxide to the metal, is supplied by the energy of combustion of carbon with the oxygen, and if the retort could be made heat-tight, and the waste of heat in raising the temperature of the active substance prevented, the energy of carbon would be transferred to the zinc in a fairly considerable proportion. Owing, however, to the fact that in practice very con- siderable thermal waste docs occur, the metallic zinc, when prepared for the voltaic tell, carrics but a very small fraction, usually less than 1 per cent of the energy originally possessed by the carbon used in the process. Moreover, the labor involved in the operation of ex-

changing the energy between the carbon and the zine increases the ee 8 atenenfaean ac fe walt kenawn. that the voltaic

eit.

battery employing zinc cannot possibly compete with the steam engine as a developer of power.

In this indirect method of transferring the combustion energy of carbon to some substance capable of use in a voltaic combination, there is probably much more hope of exceeding the efficiency of the steam engine, than in obtaining the energy by a direct voltaic method, if only for the reason that the experimental field is so much more extensive. If, however, a substance or combination of substances were found in which, with the aid of carbon, combustion cnergy in an improved voltaic cell could be developed so as to attain a final effi- ciency exceeding that of the steam engine, it might readily happen that the cost of the labor involved in the supply of the active sub- stance and in conducting the process might be prohibitively great, so that unless the substance were very cheap and the process of energy exchange and subsequent voltaic release very simple, no commercial realization could. be expected,

There are consequently two broad avenues in which improvement may:

“be looked for in utilizing the energy of coal. One is by improving the heat engine, and the other is by finding a suitable substance to burn in the voltaic cell, either hot or cold, transferring the chemical energy of carbon to that substance by purely chemical means in a retort as nearly heat-tight as possible,

So far as the heat engine is concerned, it is reasonable to expect improvement inthe apparatus whereby the energy thermodynamic- ally convertible may be better conserved, or the efficiency of the machine improved, when debited with all the energy that its temper- ature range will permit of being converted from heat into mass motion. But with the modern steam engine, if these wastes were entirely prevented, the efficiency would still be only about 20 per cent, and the real difficulty lies in the range of working temperatures, What is needed is a greater range of temperature, a lower tempera ture of the condenser, and a higher initial temperature of the work ing substance, the latter requirement being much the more important of the two, In the case of the steam engine, this means higher steam -Pressure, and improvements during the past century have been steadily made in this direction. A greater difference of temperature in.one and the same engine, however, tends to increase the thermal waste by leakage conduction from the hot parts to the cool, and so to diminish the relative actual efficiency. This has been, to some ex- tent, overcome by coupling three or four seperate engines to one com- mon driving shaft and expending the steam successively in the suc- cessive engines, thus producing the multiple-expansion, compound

. engine, The limits of temperature and pressure elevation seem to be

almost reached for the present in this direction, partly owing to the increased difficulties in lubrication at high ternperatures,

Tn the gas engine, however, the initial temperatures are consider: ably higher, and for this reason the thermodynamic efficiency of gas engines attains nearly 30 per cent or is considerably above that of the steam engine. All that can be said for the future of heat engines is that any marked improvements in their efficiency must come from an increased range between the limits of the initial and final temper- atures, whether this be effected in one engine, or in a plurality of associated engines. Improvement in lesser degree may, of course, be expected from the diminution of heat wastes in boiler and engine, as well as in the reduction of mechanical friction. The steam-turbing principle, if successfully adapted to large sizes of engines, would in- troduce a great simplification of parts, reduction of weight, with, per- haps, some dimintution of these losses, But the steam turbine must be as much limited by the temperature range, as the ordinary recipro- cating heat engine,

Apart from the solution of the problem by improvements in feat engines, or by the discovery of a suitable working substance in the voltaic cetl, there is always the possibility of finding some new me- chanism by which the heat energy of carbon atoms can be converted into the energy of mass motion. We are still so profoundly ignorant of how the energy of carbon is stored relatively to that of oxygen, that a discovery of the hidden mechanism of the storage principle might lead to a discovery of a new means of releasing it. In other words, there is something in a Iump of carbon in conjunction with a lump of oxygen, which corresponds either to a bent spring or to the motion of the gyrostat, All we know is that when the two sub- stances are brought into sufficiently intimate contact, with the aid of a high temperature, either the spring is released, or the gyrostatic motion is arrested, with the production of jostle-energy among the molecules of the substance, or of that particular kind of rapid oscil- latory molecular. motion which we assume heat to be. Tt is conceiv- able that if we had.a clearer idea of th

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springs, or invisible gyrostats, we might discover some means by which the springs might be released or the Gyrostats arrested, with- out the production of jostle-energy, and with the direct production of some kind of utilizable force, - ‘i 7 The mere fact that by chemical processes we are able to transfer |"! at least a part of the energy of carbon to a different substance in chemical form, without first Hiberating it in heat, should encourage the hope that we may find a means of transferring it in some forns |: other than chemical or thermal, and not until we have a clear know!l- edge of the mechanism involved, and a clear conception of its neces |: sary limitations, will that hope be destroyed, When we consider that |’ the world's annual consumption of coal is roughly 500,000,000 of tons, |: the enormous importance. of improving upon the means of obtaining |. “the energy from coal is sufficiently apparent, Perhaps the most im- portant ultimately, of all problems before the human race, is the dis- _covery of an available power supply when the world’s coal shall have become exhausted some hundreds of years hence. Every waste of this substance, diminishes to that extent the time in which the Pprob- lem must be solved, if the future of the race is to be unchecked. Meanwhile, however, there is every reason to expect that improve- ments will take place in heat-engines, and there is reason to hope that if their improvement is not sufficiently rapid, a more efficient means of utilizing the energy may be found cither indirectly in a voltaic cell, or in some manner not at present conceived of,

Light without Heat,

By Pror, R. A. Fessenpen,

PPARENTLY the most self-suggesting way of getting light without heat would have been to have developed eyes which could see afl the rays. But with an extremely aggravating

indifference to the waste of grey matter thereby to be entailed upon their descendants, flabby one and backboned one went placidly along, developing eyes which would only respond to a quite limited range of vibrations, And if this apparent lack of business foresight had been pointed out to any particular specimen of wiggling iniquity, he might possibly have replied, “Do not tinker with development. In years to come, one with a backbone will call your attention to the fact that, ‘in the long run, the will of the people is, for the people, bet- ter than that of the wisest individual. If we developed such eyes for you, they would not be ‘of use, for what you saw with heat rays , would be blurred, and’ ultra violet rays don’t go very far. And be- sides, as regards X-rays, with the morality of the community in such a rudimentary state, I have serious: objections to my neighbors being able to sce when I have anything extra good to eat inside me. Con- sider our economical friend, the firefly, who serenely oblivious of the ineterman’s threats to turn off the gas, titillates at will his abdomen up to any desired candle-power, and go and do likewise.”

But we have been a long time trying to do likewise. x

How much the sky meant to our predecessors, we can never know. Sometimes a long stretch of camp life goes far to give one a faint conception and to make him realize, that as we have extended our knowledge, we have contracted our firmament. No one now loaks up, and we have forgotten the array of the stars,

From resinous knot to the flame of burning oil cannot have been a far step, but for more than forty centuries (how much longer we do not know) we rested at this stage. And it is a wonderful thing to contemplate, that the generation now passing has been the first, since the world began, to be able to neglect the waxing and the waning of the moon. And since gas itself is merely a light hydro-carbon, of the same general nature as that used for lamps and candles, being thus rather an improvement in the means of distributing the material than a new method of lighting, we may say that it is only within the last twenty-five years that new methods of lighting have come into use,

These may be divided into the following classes, (not fundament- ally, but merely for the purpose of dealing with them.)

First—Light produced by heat. p

Second—Light produced by heat combined with chemical action.

Three—Light produced by chemical action. }

To consider the advances already made, and which we may expect to be made in the first of these. hee %

The evolution of the incandescent lamp was a labor so tremendous ! ed that no one man could have accomplished it. The method of obtain:

i

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-{ Edison Storage Battery.~An illustrated abstract of an English patent to Edison, dated Nov. 20, 1900. <A translation of practically the entire abstract is given in another column of this issue—Central- hlatt f, Accum, Marely. 15. _.

/ "Mite EDISON STORAGE BATTERY. a In view of the deep effect that previous inventions and improves ‘| ments made by Mr, Edison have had on the arts, the excitement : aroused by the report that he is about to Jaunch a new storage bath 72 "tery of lesser weight for equipment wort: and of minimized depre- - ciation, is quite justified, We are glad, therefore, to be able to pres, ; sent our readers with an account that they are likely to find very, a interesting, of some of his latest Work in this field. The patents that,

: Mr, Edison has taken out abroad indicate.the lines along which he has, f As. working, in the production of a copper-cadmium cell, although!

jit may be stated that the mere description in the patent does not i wholly describe the most recent developments, Mr. Edison having be j been busy on improvements up to the very moment at which this! .

‘note is written. It is understood that Dr. Kennelly is to give ther Institute a paper on the subject, and in the meantime Mr. Edigon| | ; expects to have the battery at the Institute conversazione next week. : Considering the need of further modifications in the modern storage | battery for purposes not yet brought within its range, it is to be de- | Voutly hoped that Mr, Edison has now added another to his long list ' of triumphs, by success in a field which he himself has chosen for a i long time deliberately to neglect,

gaps eS sa Re ee

~ Edison’s Work in Storage Batteries,

Considerable interest has been manifested in the announcement that Edison has been working on a new type of storage battery, but no definite information has been obtainable concerning the same, While the. American Patents have not yet been issued, an English patent has, however, been recently granted, an abstract of which has just appeared in a German paper, We, therefore, give below a nearly literal translation of this abstract, it being the only informa- tion which, up to the present time, is available in this country. We assume that the accumulator described therein is the one—or one among others—on. which Mr. Edison is now working, as it’ answers to the description that it'is not a lead accumulator, and that ‘the chemical actions in it are quite different from those in the ordinary storage battery. tans

In some respects the German abstract is not very clear, but the general principles’ of the battery can be understood from the article; It seems to be fundamentally a modification of the familiar copper oxide alkaline accumulator, for which such great claims were made a dozen or more years ago, and one form of which was known in this country as the Waddell-Entz. battery. One change seems to

apiece Bn he ee greatly increased. . Edison ‘has found that very finely divided cop-

per forms copper oxide free from water and insoluble in alkaline

lyes, whereas with the smallest particle of solid copper present or

upon the pressing together of the finely ‘divided copper, soluble

hydroxide of copper is formed, Finely divided copper is artificially

Prepared, preferably by the reduction of the carbonate with hydro-

gen. As negative electrode, finely divided cadmium is used. This

and the copper are in a tank of nickel or other metal, such as nickel

plated iron, i

Fig. 1 gives a perspective view of a plate, Fig. 2 a horizontal i cross-section of a pair of plates, and Fig. 3 a vertical cross-section’ of a cell with two pairs of plates. The plate marked 1 is made of |- relatively thin sheet nickel, The lower parts of the plates are con- |.:!. nected by insulating rods, 4, passed through the holes, 4; The: pins, |. 5, in the holes, 5, in the upper parts of the plates are used for the electrical connection. On one side of the plates there are reservoirs or “pockets” marked, 6, for the electrode metals, : These pockets | are best made of perforated nickel sheets or nickel-plated sheets. The best method of cleaning the plates is to heat them in a closed |. : compartmnt to a red heat, and then reduce the oxide by hydrogen. Cadmium in very finely divided, fibrous and vety pure condition, is obtained by electrolysis of a week solution of cadmium sulphate |, between a thin platinum wire as cathode and ,a;gadmium sheet as anode, using a strong current. The deposit ae is removed

from the cathode from time. to time, and fri the sulphate by washing with water. It is then filled into the ckets,”

Finely divided copper is obtained by the reduction of fine carbon= ate with hydrogen. The temperature must be kept as low as the completeness of the reduction allows, as otherwise the density of the 3 copper is increased too much: The finely divided copper thus ob- tained is poured under slight pressure into thin blocks which fit the “pockets” accurately. To avoid an increase of the density of ‘the copper-in parts, the molds must not scratch or otherwise injure the plates, The plates are then heated in a closed compartment for 6

22) 2D

or 7 hours, to not more than 260 degs, (probably centigrade), until | the copper is changed into the black cupric oxide. At higher tem- peratures the density is increased too much. The cupric oxide blocks are next reduced to metal electrolytically, and are then changed into the red cuprous oxide by charging, It would be pos- sible to fill the finely divided copper first obtained, directly into the pockets; but as it is not fibrous like the cadmium, the connection

“F DED

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| The Edison “Storage Battery. 4 : ; In an address delivered before the: | Brooklyn Institute recently, Mr. W.+8.: : Barstow, general manager of the Edison. | IMuminating Company of Brooklyn, gave : 1 the following account of Mr. Edison’s’ ' new storage battery: :

| “An improvement which will at-once in- terest, the electric engincering fraternity us well as the public, will be in’ ‘the ; line of storage batteries. ‘The present ' storage battery, although superior to that ; of several years ago, is’ still-a very in- ; ferior and inefficient piece of apparatus, Not only is it costly and heavy in weight, i but in portable form its ‘depreciation is , rapid, Within the last few months several ; New types of lead batteries have been de- veloped, although none of them has as yet been announced. : : . “An entire departure from the lead type lof battery has recently been invented, ‘and will soon be announced by Mr. Edi- -;60n. Mr. Edison’s battery contains no tlead of any kind, the materials compos- ‘Ing it are cheap, its weight is ‘only. about : one-third of the present battery, and its i epreciation low. Although it will’ be j found, when a description of it is seen, | . {that it.is not what may be called a new . | discovery, it is, nevertheless, a sucecsaful ‘development of what many have turned / aside as useless, In fact, this is true of .; many of Mr. Edison’s inventions. The j Rew typo of battery -will be announced Within the next few weeks,” a

eee ot FIGS, 1, 2 AND 3.—EDISON’S STORAGE BATTERY, consist in having. the copper more finely divided, ahd in the use of cadmium instead of zinc, The battery seems, apparently, to be iden- tical with an accumulator described in a Swedish patent to Schmidt and Junger. There appears to be a misprint concerning the volt- age, which is given as 44, but this is probably a misprint for 0.44, which would be @ little more than a fifth of the voltage of the ordi- nary accumulator. This voltage corresponds approximately to that, required by theory. If this is correct, it would, therefore, have to have five times thie ampere-hour