ELECTROLYSIS IN BROOKLYN.
According to the report of the outgoing subway commissioners of Brooklyn, it has been found that the water mains large or small, have not been much affected by electrolysis. They are of cast iron, and. while there are evidences that the currents follow them for long distances, they have not been found corroded or eaten away to any extent. The case is different with small service pipes made of wrought iron or lead; gaspipes also suffer severely. The damage thus caused is momentous as respects the trolley companies, and the results in Brooklyn are being regarded with interest in other cities, inasmuch as Brooklyn has a greater mileage of trolley lines than any other city. Quite recently a case involving this question came up in the courts. A florist brought suit against a gas company for damages because his flow ers were destroyed by escaping gas. T he company frankly admitted that the gas had caused the trouble, but affirmed that the responsibility ought to be shouldered by the trolley companies, whose electricity had destroyed its pipes.
No way of preventing the escape of electricity into the earth when it passes into the rails has yet been discovered. It has been proposed that the rails should be insulated, but, as Professor Plympton, one of the outgoing commissioners, has pointed out, that would make it possible for a horse to form a circuit by contact with the rails with a current of sufficient strength to kill him, as horses are extremely susceptible to electricity. 1‘rosessor Plympton also said that there had bevin called to his attention apian for insulating the entire roadbed of trolley railroads; he knew nothing of the details of the plan and coulc not speak as to its practicability. He regards the matter as a most serious one for the railroad companies, since they will doubtless have large bills of damages to pay, or, on the other hand, it will cost them a good deal to relay their tracks so that electricity shall not escape into the earth. All that has been done as yet is to retard the escape of electricity, which makes the corrosion of pipes slower than it would otherwise be. In this way the amount of electricity set free in the ground may be reduced to 10 per cent., whereas it is now about 30 per cent.