A Great Engineering Enterprise in Japan.
The last mail from the Orient, says Engineering and Mining, brings a very interesting account of the completion and successful operation of a great government work in Japan. Lake Biwa, having an area of 500 square miles, is located seven miles from the city of Kioto, and at an elevation of 143 feet. A navigable canal has been cut from this lake to Kioto, involving two miles of tunneling and an aqueduct of considerable length. At the eastern extremity of the city, to which point the canal has been brought, there is a sharp decline of 118 feet from the base of which the canal is continued to the sea. This difference in level is overcome by inclined plane ways 2100 feet in length, on which boats are raised and lowered from one canal to the other. These ways are operated by electric power furnished from a Felton water wheel connected with a Sprague motor. The fall above named affords also a very valuable water power, a part of which has already been used for various mechanical purposes by means of electric transmission. The power station is located at the foot of the incline, and consists of three 8-foot and two 6-foot l’elton wheels, aggregating about 600 horse-power, which are supplied with water from the high level canal by three lines of 36-inch pipe 1300 feet in length delivering water to the wheels under a head of about 100 feet. These wheels are at present operating three Edison dynamos of eighty kilowatts each, the power from which is distributed about the city within a radius of two miles, running rice mills, spinning mills, a watch factory and various other machinery. One Thomson-IIouston alternating current dynamo of 2000 volts supplies the city with 1300 incandescent lights, as well as many arc lights. The above works, involving an expenditure of $1,500,000, were planned by and executed under the direct supervision of Mr. S. Tenabe, an eminent Japanese engineer, and their operation is said to be a great success, both from a mechanical and financial point of view.