Hydraulic Tunnel at Niagara Falls.
The first practical test of the great hydraulic tunnel, which has been under construction at Niagara for the last three years, was made January 25. When the gates were raised at the entrance to the feeder, leading from the big hydraulic canal to the wheel-pit of the Niagara Falls Paper Company’s mill, the waters of the upper river rushed through their new-found channel to the wheel-house, where they poured down the penstock of the pit, a hugh iron structure, thirteen feet in diameter, for a distance of 155 feet, then striking in an upward direction three of the largest turbine wheels ever built, and thence passing into the big tunnel, and flowing out under the city to the river below the falls, nearly two miles distant from the point of the fall. This test shows what many thousands have been waiting to see—a practical demonstration of the great scheme for harnessing the terrific power of the Niagara—a scheme which has already cost nearly $4,000,000. The paper mill which is the first to get the benefit of the power, is the largest of its kind in the world. Its contract calls for 6,600 horsepower, one-half of which is being used now, and the cost, including the lease of the land occupied by the mill, is$S a horsepower a year for twenty-four hours a day, the cheapest, it is said, ever obtained. The test proved a satisfactory one, and the mill is now in full operation. The hydraulic tunnel, with a capacity of 120,000 horse-power, is a success, and now’ there remains only the formal opening of the general power house, where 5,000 horse-power turbines will operate 5,000 horse-power electric generators for the transmission of power in this form. This opening will take place on June 1, and it is intended to give the affair a celebration at which distinguished scientists, engineers and State officials will be present. The test was made in the presence only of the officials of the paper mill and of the R. D. Wood Company, of Philadelphia, who built and placed the machinery in position, and Prof. Geyeliu, the designer of the turbines used. The first water drove one of the three turbines until 1 o’clock, then the second was turned on and a third at 2 o’clock. The public were not acquainted with the fact until an hour later, owing to the desire of the company to make all possible allowances for newness of machinery, etc. Not a hitch was made, however, and everything ran as smoothly as could be desired.