Reading lamps, circular saws and finding work for nice middle-class girls …

October 1879

An end to the dark ages

On Monday evening members of the Press were invited to meet the authorities of the British Museum to witness Siemens Brothers’ Dynamo-Electric Light Apparatus in action in the Reading Room of that institution. This apparatus produces an electric current by causing an armature or cylinder of copper wire to revolve near the poles of an electro-magnet, so that its magnetic intensity is increased. In this way the current and magnetism go on mutually reinforcing each other until a very strong current is accumulated. Thus in the case of the dynamo electric machine there is no weakening of magnets in the course of time, and the light can always be reproduced. For two weeks the experiment of lighting the British Museum with this electric light has been tried.

Well done, Mr Lakeman

An ingenious arrangement to prevent accidents with circular saws has been invented by Mr J. B. Lakeman, her Majesty’s Inspector of Factories, central metropolitan division, who has presented it freely to the public and has in no way protected it by patent right. From a lengthened experience of the many severe and fatal accidents arising from circular saws, Mr Lakeman frequently suggested a fence but was too often told that his ideas were Utopian. But upon representing the case to Messrs. Richard Garrett & Sons of the Leiston Works, Suffolk, they generously set to work to perfect Mr Lakeman’s ideas, and have produced an effective guard.

The guard is of three pieces, namely:— the mortise plate secured by three bolts to the fence; a radial arm, which is secured and adjusted vertically into the mortise plate by means of nut and collar; and the covering plate, which is secured and adjusted laterally in the radial arm, in conformity with the adjustment of the saw fence by means of the thumb screw.

The battle of life

Last summer a well-known French writer M Louis Enault, drew the attention of the world of Paris to the question of creating a free school of art aimed at girls. He says: “We are painfully impressed by the growing difficulty of the position of girls of the middle class - the poorer middle class in society - such as the daughters of clerks and also those of men belonging to the liberal professions, such as the briefless barrister - men, in fact, who often, for reasons independent of their industry or talent, have not found means of becoming milliionaires and are obliged every morning to recommence that terrible struggle so aptly called the “battle of life”. But a remedy seems possible: to supervise and direct towards certain branches of industrial art the education of girls who really want to profit by it.