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pole were pressed firmly down on the paper and moved along by muscular force or clockwork; then, despite the downward pressure, the platinum strip would move along freely as long as the current continued, but if the current were interrupted, the motion of the wire would be instantly stopped by the normal friction of the moist paper. Endeavouring by additional force to overcome this friction, and at the same moment restoring the electric current, it was found that the wire would be instantly released, and would involuntarily slip over the paper as if upon ice. Here was a power to put in motion matter at a distance by means of electricity without the intervention of an electro-magnet. Mr. Edison applied this new principle to the telephone, substituting a cylinder of chalk, saturated with an alkaline solution, for the original paper, the friction of the chalk being more uniform owing to its finer particles. The cylinder is mounted on a shaft which is rotated by a hand crank. A brass strip faced with platinum, attached to the centre of a disc of mica, projects over the cylinder, and bears with considerable pressure upon the chalk by means of a spring. The electric current is made to pass from the brass strip to and through the chalk cylinder at the point of friction. When the crank is turned so as to rotate the cylinder outward from the face of the disc, the friction between the cylinder and strip drags the centre of the disc inward more or less. If now an impulse of electricity is passed over the wire, the friction is destroyed and the disc by its own tension regains its normal position. Thus the disc is drawn in one direction by the friction, in the other by its own tension; when this is united with the carbon-transmitter, we have a perfect telephone, and such power can be obtained as will cause the reproduction of the voice in greater or less volume than was given forth by the transmitter. It can either whisper a secret or roar a command. One day, while experimenting on an automatic telegraph transmitter, Mr. Edison tried tinfoil to receive the indentations of the recorder instead of paper, and was surprised to see how readily it received them. These identations, passing under another needle, were to repeat the message automatically to another wire. A few days later, the fancy seized him to fix a needle point to the diaphragm of a telephone, and try whether the vibration of the diaphragm, when spoken against, would cause the needle to prick his finger. It did so, and he wondered what would be the effect on a slip of paper. He tried the experiment, and, sure enough, there was a sort of indented tracki Then it occurred to him to try what would result from drawing this indented slip under the point again, following the working of the automatic transmitter. The effect was one which almost made him wild. A sound like a smothered cry of words seeking utterance issued from the diaphragm. He worked, oblivious of food or sleep, until he had made a grooved cylinder, and put a piece of tinfoil on it-to this be attached the diaphragm and shouted into it. On turning the crank the words were reproduced with distinct articulation and marvellous elocution, and the phonograph took its place among the wonders of the day. While pursuing experiments in electric lighting, Mr. Edison developed some striking phenomena arising from the heating of metals by flames and by the electric current. After further investigation of the phenomena, he succeeded in condensing certain metals so that they increased in density four or five times beyond what had hitherto been deemed possible. The series of experiments also referred to the volatilisation of metals in vacuo. He succeeded in obtaining with a condensed platinum wire with a radiating surface only about equal to a grain of buckwheat an electric light equal to the light of eight standard candles. The wire before being subjected to this process would scarcely give out the light of one candle. Thus he is enabled, by the increased capacity of platinum, to withstand high temperature, to employ small radiating surfaces and reduce the energy required for the light. Mr. Edison's electric light machine combines the smallest resistance with the greatest electro-motive force.

Mr. Edison has, notwithstanding his being the wizard of the day a humorous side to his character, and an imperturbable good humour, yet even he must find it difficult to be amused with the curiosity of the sight-seeing public. In 1876 he moved out to Menlo Park, some twentyfour miles from New York, where he hoped he would, at a sufficiently inconvenient distance from the city, be comparatively free from visitors. But it was no use; a gentleman asked the privilege of presenting a few friends; he arrived on the scene with a small party of one hundred and seventy-five persons !—and it is nothing uncommon for a “special train full of visitors from Boston to be announced. Edison may be driven yet to carry out a natural law and throw out some device for his own protection. He does allow sometimes that he will probably be tempted to “blow up somebody yet;" and he once declared that he was considering the idea of connecting a battery with his gate, so that everybody who touched it should be straightway knocked down.

Menlo Park is a little hamlet, quiet enough in itself, a mere group of some 'half - a - dozen yellow and chocolate houses. Upon a hill Edison has built his laboratory. On the ground floor he has a machine room, where there is an engine of ten-horse power and a collection of expensive tools, so that any appliance can be made under his own eye. He has a costly scientific library; but his great possessions appear to be those which are of use to him in his work. He has thousands of bottles containing chemicals, and he makes a point of having some of every known chemical or mineral, in case he should need it.

When you go to his house he may very possibly answer your inquiry for "Mr. Edison," himself; or, if not, you will be shown into his laboratory, where you will find him among his assistants; and if you try to guess which is Mr. Edison, your best plan will be to select the least obtrusive person in the group. His figure is slight and young-looking, though the face, from its long habit of concentration, has an old look; he has a frank, cordial expression, and, like most men of great powers, can be almost a boy when his attention is turned away from his absorbing interests. But when he is not roused, he seems to retire within himself as if his mind had travelled a long way off, and his attention comes back slowly. He has the peculiar pallor of a night-worker, and if you stay with him through the night you will find him as bright at the end of the vigil as at the beginning.

As Edison is said to be somewhat timid with ladies, it is pleasant to know that he has married, and married well. His wife was a lady telegraph operator. His two little ones are nicknamed Dot and Dash after the letters of that telegraphic alphabet which has been so interwoven with their father's life. Now and then they visit the scene of these wonderful labours of their father, to amuse themselves with that invariable delight to children, seeing “the wheels go round.”

When Mr. Edison chooses to vary his vast labours by a holiday he is sure to be welcomed anywhere. People are glad to have him only to look at. But he does not always succeed in pleasing those whose idea of entertaining a lion is to feast him. Invited to dine at Delmonico's, that restaurant which has become historical from the celebrities it has feasted, he astounded his entertainer by contenting himself with a piece of pie and a cup of tea. If anybody has a right to say such a thing, certainly Edison may justify himself by saying he has no time to cultivate Epicurean tastes. Many people make this kind of excuse for not sharing in the tastes of most men, who would succumb at a hun. dredth part of the work Edison accomplishes. He must needs have holiday sometimes ; but his difficulty would probably be how to escape from the great public eye. He laughingly said, a year ago, when speaking of taking a rest, “The proprietors of White Mountain hotels have generously placed that region at my disposal. They even offer to place a locomotive at my command. If I can get there I shall talk ten miles, from one peak to another, with my telescopophon!”

He admires Victor Hugo and Jules Verne ; small wonder, for to him no flight of imagination can seem absurd, and these authors are rather suggestors than romancists. And what a hero must Edison be to the boys who read Jules Verne. Let them picture to themselves a living man, who, when he talks of going to the White Mountains for a holiday, proposes to amuse himself by talking to his friends from peak to peak!

OVER THE

THE THRESHOLD;

OR, THIRTY YEARS AGO.

A NOVEL

By a New Contributor.

(Continued from page 482.)

CHAPTER LII.

not glass was gold-all that was

not gold was glass; it was a hall MADAME DE FAUBOURG.

of ormolu and crystal. In the “Wait in the court, Petit,” said centre a marble font gave forth a the managing director of the Bank tiny jet of water, rising with a sort of Athens, on emerging, like a limp of irregular, inefficient beat, and Jack-in-the-box, from the miracu- falling into a glass basin containing lous little brougham, at the door gold and silver fish; to the overflow which gave admission to the stair- of which receptacle the marble font case of the establishment.

served by way of saucer. Around Petit removed to a convenient the room were small bronze tables, part of the court yard, and atten- fixed to the floor, with marble tops, ded to the wants of his animal Behind and between the tables without removing the harness. M. were benches and settees of carved le Directeur, however, remained in mahogany, covered with crimson his apartment merely for the time Utrecht velvet, and a few plain that was necessary to allow him to wooden chairs were interspersed cast a hasty glance over the letters amid the more costly furniture. of the morning; and to give one The morning was rather too or two to be answered, with a word early for the grand affair of breakof direction as to each. He then fast; but two or three occupants placed one or two more in his breast were seated at different tables. At pocket, and descended the staircase one which bore signs of the remwith an easy and unconcerned nants of rather a substantial repast, aspect. Taking no notice of Petit, sat two men playing at dominoes. who took none of his master until

The younger of these two men his back was turned (on which the was chiefly remarkable for a sort coachman became suddenly watch- of cat-like stealthiness and fixity ful of the retreating figure), the of gaze, and for the fitting of his man of business sauntered along clothes as if they grew on him. It the boulevard, and dropped, as if was not that he was over-dressed, by accident, into the open mouth or dressed in any way in bad taste. of a café.

But his wrists seemed as if they The room he entered was large were ever holding down his white and splendid; the walls covered and spotless cuffs; his shoulders with looking-glasses. All that was seemed as if they were keeping guard over the unruffled smooth- marched defiantly out of the café, ness and flatness of his shirt front. the other sauntered by him. His hair, moustache, imperial, and “Goldwin,” said he, as they left eyes were all of a bright reddish the precincts occupied by the auburn. He fixed his eye steal- settlers on the pavé outside the thily on the managing director, door, “I want you to go with me while his hand rattled the domi- to Therese." noes on the marble.

“ Now?" said the other. The other player was a man of “Yes, now.” more pretentious appearance.

He The two men walked in silence was a tall man-he was also very along the boulevard.

Soon they stout. Had he been less obese he turned up a street at right angles would have struck you as very tall; to their course, and from that, in as it was, you were most impressed its turn, entered one of those quiet, by the wide expanse of light colourless streets that formed a coloured waistcoat, from and across peculiar feature of pre-Hausmanic which hung an

enormous watch- Paris. It was dark and narrow, chain, of engraved and twisted but contained good, though links, from each joint or interlink. gloomy-looking houses. For the ing of which hung, by little inde- first reason, the accommodation pendent gold chainlets of their which it offered for residents was own, golden excrescences of every cheap; for the second it was goodform and variety. A large globe good if you never cared to look out of burnished gold, a locket of dead of window. The locality, too, was gold, a packet of Turkish coins, and such as to give ready access to the a bunch of Neapolitan coral amulets, most central parts of Paris. Thus played at their will over the waist- it came to pass that its population, coat. The face of the man was which was somewhat of a migracoarse-large featured, apparently tory or nomadic type, was no less English, but, if so, possibly Judai. heterogeneous than unstable. The cally English. He said something Legitimist noble from a distant in a low voice to the auburn-eyed province, the daily habitué of the man, who turned straight round to Bourse, the operatic star of second face him as he spoke, listened in- or third magnitude, the steady tently to what he had to say, and man of business, the fluttering then rose and left the room.

woman of pleasure, all found The Directeur Gérant ordered a shelter in the Rue de Quelquelittle cup of coffee, and then, pausing carelessly by the table, Entering a large and gloomy said to the domino player, “Ah! house in this dark and convenient you here!-I thought you never street, the managing director recame till half-past eleven ? By ceived from the portress the inforthe bye, I am glad to have met mation that she had not seen you.

Madame de Faubourg go forth, The stout man, with an impor- and that he could mount. After tant and lordly air, said he was the pair had ascended two flights glad to have the felicity of meet- of stairs—to the visible punishment ing the Directeur. He had just of Mr. Goldwin, who mopped his finished breakfast.

face with a cambric handkerchief, “In that case,” said the other, yet strove to trip in a juvenile if you are going eastward, we can manner up the trying rise-a thin, walk a few steps together.”

suspicious - looking Lian-servant, The one drew up his figure, and out of livery, opened a door at

chose.

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