Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/752

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ever traffic is dense and the distance to be traversed not too great, the conditions are already present for the advent of this form of locomotive; and when we recall the rapidity with which city and suburban railways have spread, we can not doubt that once the problems of electric railway engineering are worked out, and the necessary preliminary work of demonstration gone through with, we will witness an equally rapid extension of electric traction to the steam highways of the world.

Ever since Faure started electricians on the quest of an economical storage battery, the peculiar fitness of such batteries as a source of power for pleasure boats has been recognized, and they have frequently been used for such purpose. The slow development

PSM V43 D752 Electric launch.jpg
Fig. 5.—Electric Launch.

of this type of battery into an efficient instrument, the absence of any means of getting the batteries recharged, and the much greater cost of this method of propulsion, have heretofore acted to effectually prevent its adoption by the owners of such craft. But after riding in the launches of the exhibition one can not help but wish for the early dawn of the day in which this ideal method of water propulsion becomes generally available. The exhibition launches are of a very graceful model, about thirty-six feet long and six feet breadth of beam. They are designed to carry thirty passengers, and have motors capable of exerting four horse power. The batteries are placed beneath the seats and flooring, and as the motor is also beneath the flooring the cockpit is clear of any obstruction. Each launch carries seventy-eight battery cells, which, by appropriate connections, may