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other, rather than with minimum points or depressions. Indeed, the researches of Broun and others, from a different point of view, strengthen this conclusion, which is, however, abundantly supported by a glance at the curves themselves;

(2.) The oscillations of the Trevandrum curve are greater than those of the Kew curve;

(3.) In many cases where there is a want of striking likeness between the oscillations of the two curves, there are yet noticeable traces in the one curve corresponding to the oscillations of the other. There are, however, a few cases where there is a want of apparent likeness.

(4.) In general, though not invariably, the oscillations of the Trevandrum curve follow rather than precede the corresponding oscillations of the Kew curve. This will be perceived from the following numerical estimate:

TABLE I.-Exhibiting the lagging behind of the Trevandrum Curve in

Point of Time.

Trevandrum minus

Kew in days.

6 1859




+15 +30 +11 +32 + 8 +11

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-13 - 30 -11 - 8


+40 +19





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We venture to present the evidence in its present form, but forbear, in the meantime, to discuss the subject at greater length.

III. “On the Determination of the Rate of Vibration of Tuning

SYDENHAM CLARKE, Lieut. R.E. Communicated by Lord
RAYLEIGH, F.R.S. Received January 16, 1879.

(Abstract.) The paper contains a description of some experiments made with a view to determine the absolute pitch of tuning forks by means of a method proposed by the writers in a previous paper (“Proc. Roy. Soc.," vol. xxvi, p. 162).

It commences with a description of the time measurer adopted, consisting of a compensated pendulum, worked by electricity, the impulse being given by a driver depending for its action on gravity alone. The pendulum is arranged to give second contacts, driving a clock wheel with sixty teeth. This wheel has a platinum pin giving minute contacts, but it is used merely as a switch, the circuit being closed by the pendulum itself. The current works a relay, and closes the circuit required.

The tuning fork apparatus consists of a brass drum resting on friction wheels, and driven by a weight and train. Uniformity of motion being of great importance, an air-regulator, consisting of a fan enclosed in the lower compartment of a cylindrical box, is employed. By means of a diaphragm and vanes the fan can be made to do more or less work by pumping air from the lower into the upper compartment. The fan spindle carries a pulley driven by a thread passing round the drum.

Round one end of the drum are wrapped strips of paper on which white equidistant lines have been so ruled that they are parallel to the axis of the drum when the strips are in position. The strip most frequently used has 486 lines round the complete circumference of the drum. Opposite this graduated strip is placed a microscope with its axis horizontal. In the substage is placed a 2" objective, producing an image of the graduations at the focus of the object-glass of the instrument. At the common focus of the two lenses is placed the tuning fork, the stem of which is held vertical in a vice. The fork is partially enclosed in a glass case, and is so adjusted that the image of one of its limbs seems to cut the image of the graduations at right angles. The fork is set in motion by a suspended double-bass bow. If when the fork is in vibration the drum is made to rotate with such a velocity that one of the graduations passes over the interval between two adjacent graduations in the time of one vibration of the fork, a stationary wave is seen of length equal to the length of that interval. To determine the number of vibrations of the fork in a given time, it is only necessary, therefore, to be able to count the number of graduations which pass in that period. As a perfectly uniform rotation has not been obtained, a regulator under the control of the operator is employed. This consists merely of a piece of string which passes round the axis of the drum, and also round a pulley which can be turned by the operator's left hand. An upward or downward motion of the way

denotes that the drum is going too fast or too slow, and by means of the pulley a gentle check or acceleration sufficient to keep the wave steady is given to the drum.

An electric counter gives the number of complete revolutions accom. plished by the drum in any given period, and a fine-pointed tube, containing magenta, is carried by a saddle above the drum, and being actuated by an electro-magnet, makes a dot on a piece of white paper wrapped round the drum at the beginning and end of the experiment. The distance apart of these dots gives the additional fraction of a revolution accomplished by the drum during the period of the experiment. Electric circuits are so arranged that a reverser turned a few seconds before the minute at which it is intended to begin the experiment, causes a current to be sent exactly at that minute by the clock relay, which starts the electric counter, and also makes a dot on the drum. Just before the expiration of the last minute of the experiment, the reverser is turned in the opposite direction, and at the expiration of that minute the counter is stopped, and a second mark made on the drum.

Some of the results obtained with different forks are given.

The results of further experiments made to determine the effect of temperature, of continuous and intermittent bowing, and of the mode of fixing the fork are appended.

An optical method by which two slightly dissonant forks may be compared without altering the period of either, is described.

Figures and diagrams fully explaining the apparatus employed, accompany



IV. “On certain means of Measuring and Regulating Electric

Currents.” By C. WILLIAM SIEMENS, D.C.L., F.R.S. Received January 16, 1879.

[PLATES 4, 5.] The dynamo-electric machine furnishes us with a means of producing electric currents of great magnitude, and it has become a matter of importance to measure and regulate the proportionate amount of current that shall be permitted to flow through any branch circuit, especially in such applications as the distribution of light and mechanical force.

On the 19th of June last, upon the occasion of the Soirée of the President of the Royal Society, I exhibited a first conception of an arrangement for regulating such currents, which I have since worked out into a practical form. At the same time, I have been able to realize a method by which currents passing through a circuit, or branch circuit, are measured, and graphically recorded.

It is well known that when an electric current passes through a conductor, heat is generated, which, according to Joule, is proportionate in amount to the resistance of the conductor, and to the square of the current which passes through it in a unit of time, or

H=C?R. I propose to take advantage of this well-established law of electrodynamics, in order to limit and determine the amount of current passing through a circuit, and the apparatus I employ for this purpose is represented on figs. 1 to 3, Plate 4, of the accompanying drawings. Letters of reference to the principal parts of the instrument are given on the foot-note of the drawing.

The most essential part of the instrument is a strip (A) of copper, iron, or other metal, rolled extremely thin, through which the current to be regulated has to pass. One end of this thin strip of metal is attached to a screw (B), by which its tension can be regulated; it then passes upwards over an elevated insulated pulley (I), and down again to the end of a short lever, working on an axis, armed with a counterweight and with a lever (L), whose angular position will be materially affected by any small elongation of the strip that may take place from any cause. The apparatus further consists of a number of prisms of metal (P), supported by means of metallic springs (M), so regulated by movable weights (W) as to insure the equidistant position of each prism from its neighbour, unless pressed against the neighbouring piece by the action of the lever (L), in consequence of a shortening of the metallic strip. By this action, one prism after another would be brought into contact with its neighbour, until the last prism in the series would be pressed against the contact spring (S), which is in metallic connexion with the terminal (T).

The current passing through the thin strip of metal will, under these circumstances, pass through the lever (L) and the line of prisms to the terminal (T), without encountering any sensible resistance. A second and more circuitous route is, however, provided between the lever (L) and the terminal (T), consisting of a series of comparatively thin coils of wire of German silver or other resisting metal (R, R), connecting the alternate ends of each two adjoining springs, the first and last spring being also connected to the lever (L) and terminal (T) respectively.

When the lever (L) stands in its one extreme position, as shown in the drawing, the contact pieces are all separate, and the current has to pass through the entire series of coils, which present sufficient aggregate resistance to prevent the current from exceeding the desired limit.

When the minimum current is passing, the thin metallic strip is at its minimum working temperature, and all the metallic prisms are in contact, this being the position of least resistance. As soon as the current passing through the apparatus shall increase in amount, the thin metallic strip will immediately rise in temperature, which will cause it to elongate, and will allow the lever (L) to recede from its extreme position, liberating one contact piece after another. Each such liberation will call into action the resistance coil connecting the spring ends, and an immediate corresponding diminution of the curreni through increased resistance; addi. tional resistance will thus be thrown into the circuit, until an equilibrium is established between the heating effect produced by the current in the sensitive strip, and the dimination of heat by radiation from the strip to surrounding objects. In order to obtain uniform results, it is clearly necessary that the loss of heat by radiation should be made independent of accidental causes, such as currents of air or rapid variations of the external temperature, for which purpose the strip is put under a glass shade, and the instrument itself should be placed in a room where a tolerably uniform temperature of say 15° C. is maintained. Under these circumstances, the rate of dissipation by radiation and conduction (considering that we have to deal with low degrees of heat) increases in arithmetical ratio with the temperature of the strip; the expansion of the strip, which affects the position of the lever (L), is proportionate to the temperature which is itself proportionate to the square of the current-a circumstance highly favour. able to the sensitive action of the instrument.

Suppose that the current intended to be passed through the instrument is capable of maintaining the sensitive strip at a temperature of say 60° C., and that a sudden increase of current takes place in consequence either of an augmentation of the supply of electricity or of a change in the extraneous resistance to be overcome, the result will be an augmentation of temperature, which will continue until a new equilibrium between the heat supplied and that lost by radiation is effected. If the strip is made of metal of high conductivity, such as copper or silver, and is rolled down to a thickness not exceeding 0.05 milim., its capacity for heat is exceedingly small, and its surface being relatively very great, the new equilibrium between the supply of heat and its loss by radiation is effected almost instantaneously. But, with the increase of temperature, the position of the regulating lever (L) is simultaneously affected, causing one or more contacts to be liberated, and as many additional resistance coils to be thrown

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