MODERN DRILLING MACHINES.
In large undertakings such as railroad construction, canal building and excavating in stone and cement quarries, as well as in mine prospective and drilling of artesian wells, the modern drilling machine plays an important part. The accompanying illustration, Fig. 1, shows a portable type of drilling machine being transported across China to drill for gold. A great part of the 400 miles to be traveled was low and marshy and the machine had to be hauled by coolie convicts. Portable drilling machines are self-propelled except under the most difficult conditions. Where electric current is available they are operated by motors, while a double-cylinder opposed gasoline engine of 7 horsepower capacity, with a 5-inch bore and a 5-inch stroke, is used to do the work where liquid fuel can be utilized to advantage. Where it is necessary to use coal or wood as a fuel, a boiler and engine is strongly and compactly mounted on wheels, the traction machines propelling themselves from place to place with their own power, strongly back geared for hill climbing and with high speed for fast traveling on good roads. A 5-horsepower steam engine has a cylinder of 5-inch bore and 5-inch stroke and the boiler is about 28 inches in diameter and 64 inches high, including ash pan. In Fig. 2 is shown the first artesian well drilled in the bed of an artificial lake in South Africa while Fig. 3 shows this lake, formed and fed by artesian wells, one of which is seen in the foreground at the left and the ostriches noted at the right having come to the lake to drink water. Whether drilling for water, oil, excavation or mineral prospecting, it is a fact that one of the main factors to be considered is speed, not merely spurt speed, but lasting speed. It is claimed that a 2,000-foot hole drilled in the shortest possible time with no stoppage for breaks or adjustment, is a real test of speed, as well as of the real value of the drilling machine and it is maintained that the modern portable drilling machine has demonstrated its ability to do this work. For blast hole drilling many engineers hold this form of machine is more desirable than air or electric drills. It is said that a single drilling machine of this construction with two men will accomplish more in less time than five air drills with ten men working, at the same time the formations to he removed may he handled more readily since the size of the hole enables the charging to suit the various conditions. This is true whether in ledge work where it is important to make the charge carry the deoosit entirely out of the way, or in pit work, where the discharge must he handled by shovels. The use of portable drilling machines on the Panama Canal is seen in illustration Fig. 4, where more than 200 of them are employed in advance of the steam shovels. It is hard to realize what it means to remove seventy-six million cubic yards of rock and earth per day and the great amount of work to be accomplished with these labor saving devices. It is difficult to grasp the meaning of the figures that the engineers arc confronted with in the solution of the Panama Canal problem. When the United States engineer took hold of the work May 4, 1904, it was found that the 40,000,000 cubic yards of earth and rock already removed by the French, and to be utilized in the American plan of construction, was less than one-tifth of the entire amount to be taken out. It may be stated that the total amount of excavation as estimated at the outset was 214,666,595 cubic yards, of which only 40,000,000 has been removed. It is true that for some time the progress was comparatively slow, owing to many conditions that were impossible to obviate. From May 4, 1904, to April 1, 1909, about 70,000,000 cubic yards more had been excavated, leaving some 150,000,000 still to be dug. Since that time the work has progressed at remarkable speed, even running as high as nearly 4,000,000 cubic yards in a single month. There are two hundred and fourteen Star drilling machines at work, as seen in the illustration, and they have become very important factors in this work. Operating in advance of the steam shovels, these drillers have eaten their way down through from the highest points in varied earth-construction. The drilling is carried onward and downward to the desired level and when the work is completed, when the waters have been turned into their new course and the Atlantic and Pacific at last united, modern drilling machines and shovels will have left a record for success in construction that shall stand as long as the Panama Canal itself. It is of interest to note when done the canal will be about 50 miles in length from deep water in the Caribbean Sea to deep water in the Pacific Ocean. The distance from deep water to the shore line in Linton Bay (Atlantic Side) is about 4 1/2 miles, and from the Pacific shore line to deep water about 5 miles; hence the length of the canal proper front shore to shore will be about 40 1/2 miles. The bottom width of the canal will vary from 300 feet in Culebra Cut to an indefinite width in deep waters of the lakes. The approaches from deep water to land on both sides of the canal are to be 500 feet wide, and the cuts in the shallow parts of the lakes front 500 to 1,000 feet wide. The canal will have a minimum depth of 41 feet. The bottom of the canal was to have been 200 feet wide, but a change was authorized to the 300-foot base. This change makes the entire canal through the nine miles of the Culebra Cut from Bas Obispo to Petro Miguel Locks 300 feet wide at the bottom. It means an additional excavation of 12,997,000 cubic yards and an additional expense of some $14,000,000. This will not materially change the line of the canal, since the additional amount will be removed about equally from both sides, with the exception of two points. Between Las Cascadas and Empire the increased excavation will nearly all be taken from the west side in order to avoid interference with Obispo diversion; from Enterprise to Paraiso it will nearly all be taken from the east side, cutting out a small angle in the old line opposite Cucarachia. An average crosssection shows that the canal will be 300 feet wide at the bottom, with nearly perpendicular sides to an elevation of 85 feet above sea-level Under the original plan the width of the canal from Bas Obispo to a point opposite the south of Las Cascadas was to be 300 feet at the bottom. From that point to Paraiso it was to be 200 feet at the bottom. It is the latter section which is to be widened over the original plan, making it a minimum width of 300 feet at the bottom along the entire length of the canal. A peculiar feature of the canal is that owing to a complete loop or bend like a swan’s neck the Pacific entrance to the canal, or Panama City, is at the eastern end, while the Atlantic entrance, or Colon, is at the western entrance. Panama City is the only city in the western hemisphere where one can witness the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean.
A public test and demonstration of the new 55-foot Scagrave ladder truck for tinFelton hire Company, Chester, Pa., was made last week. The exhibition was under the direction of R. B. Storm, manager of the New York office of the Scagrave Company, who is also a former chief of the fire department of Long Branch, N. J. After the demonstration the fire committee unanimously accepted the truck.