International Engineering Congress (1901 : Glasgow.

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Competition, however, killed itself. The last effort in that direc-
tion was the formation of the Great Central Gas Company to
supply the city of London and the Surrey Consumers Company
to supply South London ; whereby the price of gas was temporarily
reduced from 6s. to 45. per 1000 cubic feet in 1850. The com-
panies soon came to the conclusion that competition was suicidal,
and allotted a separate district to each company thus creating
a monopoly of the supply of gas in London. The example of
London was followed in other large towns. Hence so many " United
Gas Companies." In 1860 Parliament sanctioned the districting
in the whole of the Metropolis ; and henceforth competition ceased.
Then came a period of great prosperity. Gas had no competitor;
for candles, and oil at from 55. to 75. per gallon, could not be so

* The full Proceedings of Section VIII. are published for the Committee
of the Section by Walter King, n Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London, E.G.,
price 55., post free.


regarded. Many companies' capitals increased ; and, to protect
the consumers, Parliament was led, in 1860, to introduce the
system of testing the illuminating power and purity of the gas
legislation that has never done an atom of good, but an infinity
of harm, tt> the public; and it has culminated in the elaborate
and costly and worrying system in vogue in the Metropolis.

From the early days of gas lighting up to' the end of the century
the public, and gas makers also, have believed that gas of as
high an illuminating power as possible was the desideratum.
Instead of trying to develop the lighting power of the gas, the
idea was to make it as rich as possible in hydrocarbons. Then,
to prevent the inconvenience of dirt and smoky flames, burners
were used that certainly accomplished that object; but they gave
very little light. Burners of the regenerative class were all impor-
tant steps in increasing the duty per cubic foot, until Welsbach's
wonderful invention capped, and seems destined to supercede them
all, by the introduction of an entirely novel and really scientific
method of obtaining light from gas. The consumers now have
it in their power to get out of 5 cubic feet of gas per hour anything
from 5 to 150 candles from ordinary coal gas; whether it be
nominally 10, 15, or 20 so-called candle power.

What a useless absurdity does this make of all the illuminating
power tests ! Photometers, that for forty years have given so
much trouble, caused so much anxiety to, and wasted so 1 much
of the time of, gas managers, and have also caused so much loss
to the consumer, are now proved to be, what they always have
been, most useless instruments, and must sooner or later have their
woodwork converted into firewood, and their metal consigned to' the
old-brass tub to trouble gas managers no more.

Reverting to the historical summary, the period of fictitious
prosperity, with nothing in the shape of competition, lasted . about
ten years (to the early seventies). Then appeared the first serious
competitor, in the shape of cheap mineral oil ; and a few years later
the electric light entered the field. Gas had no longer a monopoly
as a lighting agent. But Parliament, at the instigation of the
Local Authorities, instead of relaxing the restrictions increased
them. The old legislation, dating from 1847, governing the price
of gas and the rate of dividend, was adapted to> competing gas
companies. When that competition ceased which was the real
protection of the public in the matter of price 1 the legislative
enactments had no effect on the price; while they gave ample
protection to the shareholders' dividends. In fact, it separated
rather than drew together consumers and shareholders. This was
remedied by the sliding scale, introduced in gas legislation in 1875
its sole merit being that it identifies the interests of consumers


and shareholders, and, in effect, makes them partners. Whether
or not it is the best means for accomplishing that object may
be questioned. The sliding scale as embodied in gas legislation,
supposing it to be the best known means of accomplishing the
object in view, at present stops half way. There is another to
be included in the partnership. The speaker tried to make a
triple partnership capitalist, employee, and customer; and the
results of twelve years' working have greatly exceeded expectations.
If, ten years ago, anyone had said that the employees in 1901
would have ^ 140,000 invested in the stock of, or on deposit at
interest with, the South Metropolitan Company, the author should
have pitied his ignorance; for of such a result the author never
dreamed. The result of about seven years' working in the Crystal
Palace District Gas Company is equally satisfactory. In a sense
better even than the money earned and saved by the men is the
feeling of mutual confidence and goodwill that exists between all
ranks in both companies. The workmen of another large com-
pany have, with practical unanimity, just accepted the system, as
the men at Chester did a few months ago ; and profit-sharing
without shareholding was, about two years ago, adopted at the
Corporation gas works at Stafford.

Since gas ceased to hold the monopoly of light, nearly thirty years
ago, the advance and improvement in its manufacture, and its in-
creased uses, have been greater than ever more especially during
the last decade. The South Metropolitan Company used 637,583
tons of coal in 1890. which increased 77 per cent, in ten years.
Gas not only more than holds its own as an illuminant, but, since
its monopoly as an artificial light ceased, it has come very largely
into use for cooking, heating power, and manufacturing purposes.
By means of the " slot " meter it has taken almost universal pos-
session of workmen's dwellings, and by the Welsbach mantle it
has distanced all competitors in the beauty and cheapness of its
light We hear of decaying industries; but with such vigorous
growth, instead of decay there is abundant life, that gives promise
of more uses and greater usefulness than ever. The future of
the gas industry rests with engineers more than its past has done.
The first and greatest need of the gas industry is that the supply
of men should be maintained. Technical science will not save
the national industry; but men who love work more than play,
and who will put their heart and brain into their work, are the
necessity of the age. Technical training is very good and neces-
sary ; but you must first " catch your hare," or rather, find your
engineer, before you train him. And then take care that you do
not convert him into a man of mere routine a simple copyist.
The making of plans and sections and the calculation of strains


are not his highest work. It is not by the repetition of old designs
and ideas that progress is made. We need engineers who will
look ahead, anticipate as far as possible public requirements, and
then bring all their skill to meet them.

The gas industry wants freedom to do its best for both the
public and itself. Legislative restrictions should be removed, and
the suppliers of gas left free to do their best to meet the needs
of their customers. The great public need is cheap gas of good
heating power. We axe much behind places on the Continent in
this important advance; and we shall do well to follow their
example. With Welsbach mantles at 2^d. each the price at
which they are now being obtained from Germany only heating
gas will be required ; for incandescent lighting must then become
universal. Therefore, let. the engineer " take time by the forelock,"
forecast the future, and devise a satisfactory method of producing
the gas that the near future requires.

A last word, referring to the relations of the public authorities
with gas companies. What other article of utility has come down
from i os. to 25. the same article, and not something different?
The public does not know the extent and value of the service.
The gas consumers in Glasgow are indebted to' their gas engineer
for a saving of ^60,000 per annum. When such possibilities rest
with the gas engineer, it is surely but necessary to< mention the fact
to ensure to the capable engineer the consideration and the treat-
ment he deserves.

Dr. Leybold, on behalf of the German Association of Gas and
Water Engineers, expressed thanks for the opportunity which had
been extended to them of participating in the Congress.


Paper by the COMMITTEE.

A I) sir act.
THERE were four systems of gas lighting in use:

I. The Welsbach high-pressure incandescent system.
II. The Scott-Snell self-intensifying gas lamp.

III. Kitson's incandescent oil light.

IV. Acetylene gas.

installation of the Welsbach high-pressure incandescent system
extended from the Bank Street entrance to the main entrance of
the Exhibition buildings, and along the length of the main building
as far west as the Art Galleries, the total area of the ground
illuminated being about 20 acres.

There were about 140 cast-iron, ornamental columns, each sur-
mounted by a single lantern of the Welsbach " shadowless " pattern,
and containing a cluster of three burners, consuming 30 cubic
feet per hour at a pressure of 8 inches; the illuminating power
from the cluster being iooo candles. There were also 12 columns,
each carrying three lanterns, and 10 columns, each with five
lanterns: each lantern being fitted with three burners in a cluster
as above described. There were in all, therefore, 162 columns,
carrying 226 lanterns and containing 678 burners, giving a total
illuminating power of 237,000 candles. The gas consumed was
about 10 cubic feet per hour for each burner; and, at the price
of 2s. 6d. per iooo cubic feet, the total cost for the gas consumed
in the whole installation amounted to rather less than 175. per

The compressing plant consists of two sets of Keith's patent
" Duplex " automatic gas-compressers. The motive power was
water, drawn from the street mains; and the working was entirely
automatic. Each set of compressors consisted of two pumping
cylinders, with the motors fixed on the top, combined with a
regulating arrangement for controlling the gas pressure and the
speed of the motors and pumps. The quantity of water used is
0.86 gallon per 10 cubic feet of gas. At the price of 4d. per


1000 gallons, the cost of water for compressing 1000 cubic feet
of gas therefore only works out to 0.346. The special mains
laid in the ground for the high-pressure gas were divided into two
sections, with a bye-pass valve between them, so arranged that
either set of compressers could be used to supply either section
or all the burners.

It was estimated by the Welsbach Company, who* supplied the
lanterns and burners, and who maintained the latter, that the
mantle renewals would not exceed 12 per burner per annum.
Welsbach Kern high-pressure burners were used throughout the
installation. These require no chimney. The lighting was very
effective. In any part of the area lighted, small print could be
read with ease.

Prince of Wales Bridge and the new Exhibition Bridge, on the
north-west bank of the Kelvin, 32 lamps were erected by the
Scott-Snell Self-Intensifying Gas-Lamp Company, Limited. Each
lantern contained one burner. The pressure of the gas is raised
in the lamp itself by the waste heat of the flame. The lanterns
used were square, and were provided with a special governor
immediately under the burner; and this maintained a constant
pressure at the burner of 8 inches. The gas consumption of each
burner was 10 cubic feet per hour, giving an illuminating power
of about 330 candles.

The self-intensifying arrangement was placed in the top of the
lantern, but cannot well be described without reference to drawings.
In close proximity to this installation the company had a show-
room, where diagrams and the working of the lamps were seen
and explained.

Lighting and Heating Syndicate, Limited, erected in the eastern
portion of the grounds, extending from the south-east bank of
the Kelvin and including the area where the Japanese, Canadian,
and Russian Sections were situated, about 100 columns, each
carrying a single lantern with two burners in each. The light
from each lantern was stated to be of 1000 candle power.

The system consists of the combination of an oil-burner and
incandescent mantle. The oil (which is a specially prepared,
highly refined, hydrocarbon oil, having a flash point of about
no deg. F.) was stored in steel cylinders placed in the square
base of the columns, The oil is first vaporised by the heat of
the flame. It is then burned in incandescent burners with mantles.
Air is pumped into the oil receiver until a pressure of about
50 Ibs. per square inch is obtained. This forces the oil through
small copper or bronze tubes to a vaporising tube, where it is


vaporised by the heat from the mantles; the arrangement being
such that only a minute quantity of oil is subjected to the heat
at one time. From the end of the vaporising tube, the oil vapour
passes into a mixing tube on the top of the reflector, where suffi-
cient air is drawn in for supporting combustion. The mixture
then travels down to the burners, where it is burned inside a
mantle, as in incandescent gas lamps.

The consumption of oil was stated to be o.i gallon per hour
for 1000 candles. With oil at pjd. per gallon, and including
renewals of mantles, etc., and time and attention to the lamps,
the cost was stated to be less than a penny per 1000 candle hours.

ACETYLENE GAS. The Bon-Accord Acetylene Gas Lighting.
The Bon-Accord Acetylene Gas Company, Limited, erected a plant
for 220 lights of 25 candle power each; and the Press Pavilion,
Band Stand, and Flint's Tea Rooms (all situated in the eastern
portion of the grounds) were lighted by acetylene gas.

The carbide of calcium used was that manufactured at the Falls
of Foyers, in Inverness-shire. The carbide containers are of cast
iron, and are set in a rectangular tank, of wrought iron and steel,
surrounded by circulating water, which insures the gas being given
off at a comparatively low temperature. From these containers
the gas passes to the holder, thence to the acid waster, and
forward through the purifiers and regulator to the distributing mains.

The automatic generators only produce the gas according to the
supply required.

The Home and Colonial Acetylene Gas Syndicate's Lighting. The
Agricultural Hall and Home Farm buildings were lighted by the
Home and Colonial Acetylene Gas Syndicate, Limited. The plant
selected for this section was M'Conechy's non-automatic or storage
system. The gas was made during the day and held in storage
until required. By this means the moisture is eliminated and burner
troubles are unknown.

M'Conechy's patent generator is of the " drown " order. The
water used to work off the carbide is contained within a jacket
round the top of the generator, and its flow is controlled by a tap
on the outside. The carbide chamber is sunk into a well of water,
and is square in form. The carbide container is round, and
perforated with holes. As the water slowly rises round the con-
tainer, the gas evolved escapes through the holes and percolates
through its own residual namely, the thick lime water; and it
is thereby thoroughly purified. The carbide container is placed
in the centre of the square chamber. The removal of the residual
is both cleanly and easily effected, as the square chamber has
handles ; and by lifting the manhole off, it is quickly cleared out.

The gas made by this system is said to be free from all trace



of odour when burning. Several portable automatic lamps were

The Manchester Acetylene Gas Company's Lighting. Messrs. W.
Moyes & Sons, of Glasgow, agents for the Manchester Acetylene Gas
Company, Limited, had a 6o-light machine at work, consisting of
Kay's acetylene gas generators and Frank's purifier. The plant
was very compact. Besides lighting their own showroom, the
model cottages of Messrs. Lever Brothers, Limited, some distance
away, were lighted from the same apparatus. Here also were
shown a number of the " Phos " acetylene lamps and burners.

The Patent Paraffin Gas Lighting Company's Exhibit . An oil-
gas plant, capable of supplying 50 lights, was in operation, belong-
ing to the Patent Paraffin Gas Lighting Company, Limited, of
Glasgow. The gas is made from crude shale oil ; and it is stated
that from 12 gallons of oil 1000 cubic feet of 60 candle power
gas can be obtained. It is used with Welsbach incandescent
mantles, as well as with open-flame burners.



A GREAT saving can be effected in the manufacture of water
gas, either carburetted or not, by modifying the usual method
of quenching coke in the open air, and by adopting steam while
the coke is at a red-white temperature; such as it is when drawn
from the retorts or coke ovens. The commercial attainment of
the reaction, EUO + C=-H 2 + CO, which invariably occurs when-
ever coke and water are brought into contact at a temperature
of 600 degrees Cent. (1112 degrees Fah.) or more, is arrived at
by the quenching producer designed by M. Emile Gobbe.

The quenching producer, briefly described, is in the form of
a vertical chamber of a certain height, constructed so as to reduce
to a minimum the loss of heat by radiation. The different openings
required for working the apparatus are so arranged as to prevent
any air getting in. The method of working is as follows. The
coke, on being taken from the retorts or coke ovens, is received
into tip- waggons, which are then emptied into the apparatus through
the door provided in its upper part, A supply of water, in the
form of steam or fine spray, is led into the bottom of the vessel.
The size of the quenching-producer is calculated from the amount
of coke to be extinguished and the time allowed, according to
the exigencies of the make, so that the coke may reach the bottom
of the producer quenched as desired.

It is in the upper part of the apparatus, where the temperature
is sufficiently high, that the reaction takes place. In the lower
part of the vessel the coke is at an insufficient temperature to
cause the decomposition of the water; but, by its contact with
the rising flow of steam, the coke becomes extinguished as it falls
by imparting the heat it still has to the steam. The water, in
becoming gradually heated to the required temperature to enter
into the reaction, quenches the coke which reaches the lower
part of the apparatus extinguished ; where it is picked, sorted,
and afterwards lifted either bv forks or by mechanical elevators.

The gases formed, consisting chiefly of hydrogen and carbon
monoxide, differ considerably from water gas made by other
processes, and are particularly suitable for use for motive power;
for lighting (either directly or after carburetting) ; or, better still,
for heating the retorts in gas works.


The paper contains calculations relating to the yield per 70
kilos., of coke- -the residual of carbonising 100 kilos, of coal fed
inte-the producer. The results show that 12.06 kilos, of steam
are required to quench the 70 kilos, of coke and 8.04 kilos, of
coke take part in the reaction with the steam. The density of the
gases produced will be .67 kilo, per cubic metre, and the volume 30
cubic metres for 70 kilos, quenched.

The yield, therefore, will be 3.73 metres per kilo, of coke con-
sumed in the producer.

It may be claimed that the gases made by the quenching pro-
ducer are purer than those obtained in the manufacture of water
gas. They have also a higher calorific power, and are therefore
more suitable for various uses. The combustion of the 30 cubic
metres of gas made by the coke (70 kilos.) left from the carbonisa-
tion of 100 kilos, of coal is capable of giving a larger number of
calories than that developed from coke used in the Siemens pro-
ducer. The distillation of the fresh charge of coal to be carbonised
can be effected by the gas made from the residual in the quenching
producer. In the Siemens producers the coke used is 14.80 kilos.
per 100 kilos, of coal carbonised. In the quenching producer it
will be 8.04 kilos., which is an economy of more than 45 \ per
cent. The gas made by the quenching producer will not cost
half the price of water gas. The make of serviceable gas per
kilogramme of coke is double; which is obvious, seeing that there
is no coke consumed in order to feed the incandescent mass,
as in the ordinary way of manufacturing water gas. The quenching
producer will do away with the troublesome fumes arising from
extinction in the open air and will prevent the loss of carbon caused
by ordinary extinguishing. The apparatus costs little to erect
It is simple to manage, and does not need any reversing of sensitive
and dangerous currents. In short, the adoption of this invention
in gas works will, in the author's opinion, be most advantageous;
because water gas made in the most economical way possible has
the further merit of being purer and of greater calorific power.

In the absence of die author the paper was taken as read.
A vote of thanks was accorded to the author.


Paper by Professor VIVIAN B. LEWES.


WITH the permission of Mr. George Livesey, and the co-operation
of Mr. Sydney Y. Shoubridge, a long series of experiments were
carried out during the summer months of 1900 and 1901 at the
Crystal Palace District Gas Works upon the lines indicated by the
author in a paper upon " Water Gas and its Recent Continental
Developments," communicated to the Incorporated Institution of
Gas Engineers in May, 1900.

The author pointed out that the formation of tar during the
destructive distillation of coal was partly due to the distillation
from the coal of hvdrocarbon vapours, which afterwards condensed
as liquids in the tar, and partly to decompositions and interactions
taking place in the upper part of the retort among the hydrocarbons
which were there subjected to contact with the heated crown of the
retort and to the action of radiant heat, with the result that many
compounds which would have been of value as illuminants in the
gas became broken down into methane, hydrogen, and carbon,
together with naphthalene and other hydrocarbons which went into
the tar. He suggested, therefore, that a considerable economy in
the manufacture of illuminating gas might be effected by passing a
stream of plain water gas through the retort during the process of
carbonisation, owing to the fact that the flowing water gas would
carry the rich hydrocarbons out of the retort before the detrimental
secondary reactions could take place. To test the accuracy of this
theory a series of experiments were commenced at the Crystal
Palace District Gas Works in July, 1900, with the horizontal retorts
used for carbonisation in the ordinary manner. At first six beds,
having seven retorts each, were employed; but subsequently the
experiments were conducted with twelve beds, containing seven
retorts each. The retorts were 20 feet in length and 22 x 16
inches in cross section, and were heated by regenerative furnaces,
and charged by power stoking machinery. The water gas was made
in an " Economical " water gas plant, and was conveyed from the
holder to the retort house by a pipe specially provided. This pipe
was continued over the retort bench just above the bridge pipes
along one side, and a connection was made from it to the top of
each ascension pipe on the same side of the bench. The dip pipes
on this side were blocked, and the hydraulic valves closed. The


water gas . descended the ascension pipes on this side, passed
through the retorts, and up the ascension pipes on the other side
along with the coal gas.

The gas was tested in a standard London Argand burner with a
6 x ij inch chimney, but it was found that when consumed at a
rate of 5 cubic feet per hour an excessive proportion of air was
drawn into the flame, and its illuminating efficiency was reduced,

Online LibraryInternational Engineering Congress (1901 : GlasgowReport of the proceedings and abstracts of the papers read → online text (page 25 of 37)