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Harper's Weekly 07/01/1905

Electricity at Home and in Business
By Herbert T. Wade

Electricity at Home—A Sewing-machine operated by an Electric

IN the desire to save
time, space, and energy,
and promote comfort
and convenience, nu-
merous novel and inter-
esting applications of elec-
tricity have been made. The
saving of time and space
means the saving of money,
and increased economy and
efficiency are always at a pre-
mium. In the business office
there are many applications
of electricity to achieve this
end. As an example, may be
cited the electric typewriter,
invented when it was real-
ized that increased speed
and facility of operation
could be secured if a certain
amount of the energy used
by the typist was supplied
mechanically, and that the
most convenient method for
doing this was the electric
motor operated by current
from the ordinary lighting
circuit or a small battery.
Then, by simply touching the
keys, as effective work could
be done as by a blow of con-
siderable force. The same
principle was also applied to
the adding and calculating
machines now so useful in
banks and other commercial
establishments. In this case,
after the appropriate keys
have been struck, the gearing
of the machine is revolved by
an electric motor, and the
total is automatically given
without further attention from the operator, who, with machines
of the older type, was forced to move cranks or levers.

The next interesting instrument that one finds in an up-to-date
electrically equipped office is the telautograph, which automatically
reproduces handwriting in facsimile at a point more or less dis-
tant. Where it is necessary to give exact information to a num-
ber of persons simultaneously and have the same a matter of
record this instrument is very convenient. For example, a train-
despatcher can announce the movements of trains to a number of
officials stationed at different points by simply writing a single
message. The device is also employed by newspapers and other

The Telautograph, which reproduces Facsimiles of written
Messages at a Distance—the Photograph shows both the
Receiving and Sending Instruments

concerns for writing bulletins,
while for direct communica-
tion between two persons the
apparatus possesses obvious
advantages. When used in a
bank the cashier or teller may
inquire from the bookkeeper
as to the amount of balance
or other particulars of a cus-
tomer's account, the message
and the answer being noise-
lessly sent and received. The
same instrument, aside from
its commercial applications,
finds employment in fortifica-
tions, where the artillery of-
ficer charged with observing
the target and computing the
range and direction of fire
can send from his station to
the gunners in the emplace-
ments detailed and specific
instructions as to direction,
elevation, etc., without the
possibility of mistake or mis-
understanding attending a
verbal order or audible signal.

Attention might be direct-
ed, in the typical modern of-
fice, to another set of con-
ductors, from the lighting
circuit or a battery to a curi-
ous instrument mounted on a
polished box, and consisting
apparently of a pair of metal
reels moving speedily but
noiselessly, from which a fine
steel wire is being rapidly
wound and unwound. This is
the telegraphone, which is
just being established as a
valuable adjunct to the tele-
phone, and capable of many useful applications, being, among other
things, a substitute for the phonograph. It is susceptible of nu-
merous adjustments, and can be made to record or reproduce an
ordinary conversation, not only after the manner of the phono-
graph, but also when connected with a telephone. It will record
the conversation of both parties on an ordinary telephone-line.
Such a conversation can be subsequently reproduced at will and as
many times as desired. With this same machine, by simply turn-
ing an appropriate key, a man may dictate to the machine, and
then a stenographer in an adjoining room or another building can
put on her head a telephone-receiver connected with the

The Telegraphone, to which Letters may be Dictated and
Reproduced by a Stenographer. This Invention also makes it
Possible to Receive and make a Permanent Record of a Mes-
sage over the Telephone

A Modern Laundry, in which the Clothes are Boiled, Washed, Wrung, and Ironed by Electricity

telegraphone, and by turning the reproducing key may listen to
the dictation, and transcribe it on the machine. If the desired
person is not in his office when some one wishes to communicate
with him by telephone, his clerk may arrange the telegraphone to
receive any message, or in case the office is left alone this may be
done automatically, and the message will be repeated on the
return of the person called for. The telegraphone as at present ar-
ranged contains about two miles of fine (1-100th inch in diameter)
steel wire, which is sufficient for about a half-hour's conversation,
but at any time a message or all messages may be effectively effaced
at will, when the apparatus is ready for new records. It operates
on an ordinary electric-light circuit, and does not require as much
current for its motors as an incandescent lamp of sixteen-candle
power. Another interesting form of telegraphone is one arranged
for repeating and reproducing a conversation, and it has been
found that from a single record on the steel wire a number of re-
producing circuits can be led. Thus a news bureau or press asso-
ciation would be able, by means of a single telephone and
operator, to supply information to a number of subscribers or
clients, by whom a record for subsequent reproduction would be

Or the telegraphone can be used as a relay to extend the range of
telephonic communication. In another form of the instrument the
record is made on a thin metal disc instead of on the wax cylider
of the phonograph. This can be mailed to any one having a cor-

An Electric Refrigerating-plant. A Cold Temperature is con-
stantly maintained by a Motor automatically controlled by a

responding instrument. The record is quite permanent, and can
be removed only by a strong magnet, which, however, will efface
it altogether. The steel disc is fire-proof and practically inde-
structible, and by the use of certain keys and adjustments two
machines can be so tuned that they will be able to work together,
and a disc prepared on one will be reproduced only on the other,
so that the desired secrecy may be obtained quite as effectively as
by a complicated cipher code.

Another office convenience recently invented is a type-printing
Morse recorder, whereby an ordinary telegram is printed in ordi-
nary type characters on a tape. Thus the office is independent of
the messenger-boy, as it is only necessary to connect the instru-
ment with the sending station. If there are a certain number of
telegrams to be sent out a peculiar form of typewriter which re-
quires no especial skill can be provided to transmit the messages
directly, Morse signals being communicated to the circuit.

The owner of such an up-to-date office equipment as described
above probably has his home provided with many electrical con-
veniences besides those now considered as absolutely essential. He
does this, first, if he is a dweller in a city, because he must
economize space, and, furthermore, he does not desire the expense
and possible discomfort of stoves and furnaces burning when they
are not actually needed, not to mention the annoyance of handling
fuel, ashes, etc. He may have an electric laundry, where the

(Continued on page 0957.)

An Ice-cream Freezer operated by an Electric Motor—the
Current may be taken from an ordinary Lighting Circuit

Japanese Prisoners of War doing Carpentry-work under Guard in Moscow
Another Vice of Japanese Prisoners at Work in Russian Barracks at Medved, Government of Norgorod
Recreation-hour for Japanese Prisoners held by the Russians in Moscow


The photographs show scenes among the Japanese prisoners held by the Russians at Moscow and in the government of Novgorod
in European Russia. It is necessary for the Russians to send their prisoners of war into European Russia, as there are no fa-
cilities for caring for them in Manchuria. At the request of the Japanese minister at Berlin the American vice-consul at Mos-
cow, Mr. Thomas Smith, investigated the condition of Japanese prisoners in Russia, and said their treatment was satisfactory
except for the restrictions in sending mail. M. Martens, head of the Prison Bureau in Russia, promised to rectify this, but no
statement of his plans or of the exact number of Japanese prisoners held in Russia has yet been made public

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