Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/325

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311
TIME-KEEPING IN PARIS.

ments is furnished by the compressed air, which automatically lifts the pistons in the cylinders, C, at the end of each minute. The pistons move the levers B and A; the first of these, B, winds up the counter-weights as much as they have fallen during the preceding minute; tin: second, A, imparts motion to the slide-valve.

2. The impulse given by the clock-work is distributed through the city by means of pipes laid like ordinary gas-pipes. In the streets the pipes are of iron, and have a diameter of twenty-seven millimetres (about one inch); but in the houses the pipes are of lead, and of different sizes—the diameters being fifteen, six, or three millimetres (practically one half, one quarter, or one eighth of an inch), depending on the number and size of the dials to be operated. These pipes are entirely hidden from view, and in no way interfere with the appearance of the dials.

3. The mechanism of each dial, whatever the size, is shown in essential PSM V20 D325 Mechanism of the pneumatic dial.jpgFig. 5.—Mechanism of a Pneumatic Dial. part in Fig. 5. A leather or rubber flap, seen in the cylinder, receives the impulse as it comes from the pipe and moves a piston, which acts upon a lever-arm arranged by simple connections to move the minute-hand one space forward. The ordinary clock-gearing (not shown in the figure) secures the proper motion for the hour-hand. This part of the apparatus can be inclosed in any case—as plain or as ornamental as desired. The cases are made in all the designs and sizes of ordinary clocks, and appear precisely like them, except that the minute-hands jump suddenly over one space at the end of each minute, and remain stationary during the minute, instead of moving gradually over the space.

All the machinery of the system is in duplicate, for use when repairs are needed. Delicate manometers indicate the pressure at all times, and the most approved electric apparatus is used to indicate the particular point at which a defect has occurred. A skilled engineer is on the watch at all times. Provision is also made so that, in case of any interruption in the regulator, the dials may be run by hand. Accuracy of time is secured by daily comparison with the observatory clock.

Excellent as the system is for general uses, the pneumatic dials can not be used for accurate time-work, because it requires in the extreme case, namely, for a distance of twenty thousand metres, at least ten