ONE THOUSAND WAYS TO MAKE FORTUNE – CHAPTER XXII.
FORTUNE IN THE POWERS OF NATURE.
Vast Forces yet Unknown–The Human Form a Key to unlock Nature’s Caskets of Gold–The Storage of Air–The Waste of Steam–The March of Electricity–How One Company saved $50 a Day–Sunbeams for Sale–Winds and Waves awaiting Man’s Sail and Wheel–How a Western Man Invented a Sand Mill–Enormous Power of Sea Waves–A New Use for the Artesian Well–Eureka! The Right Kind of a Storage Battery–Opportunities for Enterprise and Wealth.
The finding and unlocking of the forces of nature have been sources of some of the world’s largest fortunes. Steam and electricity are to-day among the earth’s greatest contributors to wealth. It is not, however, the simple discovery of a new force, but its ingenious application, that brings financial reward, and there may be a hundred, or even a thousand ways of applying a new power. These powers are perhaps all known at the present time, but many of them are little utilized, and some have never been harnessed. It is probable that we have as yet only begun to unlock the secrets of nature.
852. COMPRESSED AIRThere are vast possibilities in the use of this power. In a few years lightning expresses will fly over the land, swift vessels will skim the deep, monster passenger eagles will soar in the air, and tons of mail matter will be blown through tubes from sea to sea, all driven by this powerful motor, compressed air. These things only wait for money and brains.
853. STEAMIn the application of steam about ninety per cent. of power is lost. This is an enormous waste. Here is room for a second Watt. In the race for primacy as a power, steam need take no second place if only its unutilized forces be turned to account by some inventor. Here is a field worthy of the noblest powers of man.
854. ELECTRICITYAt present electricity sends our telegraph messages, projects our voices through the telephone, propels our street cars, lights our streets and dwellings, and in some States executes our criminals. But it is altogether likely that this as yet comparatively unknown power will be extended into a hundred untried fields. Here is a single example of the economy in its use: The Baldwin Locomotive Company discovered that they were losing eighty per cent. of steam power in shafts and belts. They installed electric motors and reduced the bill for power immensely. Hundreds of large establishments waste from one-fourth to three-fourth of steam in the same way. If electricity can save from $14 to $50 per day, as in the case just quoted, it is surely well worth a trial.
855. CALORICThe time will come when the billions of cubic feet of sunlight that fall upon our earth will be utilized and will doubtless be the cheapest and most efficient of all the motor forces. If you can only focus this widely distributed energy, you can obtain any amount of heat and consequently power. It has been proved that you can boil two pints of water with the heat of the sun falling upon one and one-half square yards of surface. One square yard of sunshine represents one horse power. The problem, therefore, is to concentrate. This will be done some day by the use of immense convex mirrors. Already experiments are being tried, and the first promoters of this scheme will have the power of the world at their feet and its treasure in their hands.
856. WATER POWERThe time will also come when the thousands of cataracts and rapids that now waste their energies will all be harnessed and set to work. It is estimated that the water power of Niagara is as great as would be the steam power produced by 226,000,000 tons of coal a year. This one cataract has power enough to make a thousand millionaires, and there are hundreds of smaller waterfalls running to waste.
857. WINDMILLSSteam is costly and water is not always available, but the wind is everywhere, and costs little or nothing. It has the disadvantage of inconstancy and uncertainty, but it is invaluable for storing up force for future use. The windmill is susceptible of great improvements, and waits for another Morse or Watt.
858. A SAND MILLOne ingenious man out West has equipped his windmill with an endless belt provided with buckets, like a grain elevator. These dip into a box of dry sand and discharge it upon a large wheel like an overshot water-wheel, which it turns as water would. The sand is discharged again into the box and thus is used over again endlessly. We think the man has not patented his invention; he has missed a fortune which somebody else will pick up.
859. SEA POWERNext to the power of the sun is the power of the ocean. An experiment with a dynanometer has shown that the pressure exerted by the sea waves during a storm often exceeds 7,600 pounds per square foot. Multiply this by 1,393,920,000,000,000 feet, which the surface of the ocean presents, and we gather some little notion of the inconceivable power that is running to waste. When will come the inventor who will harness the sea and set it to lighting our cities and carrying men and mail-bags? There is said to be millions upon millions of gold strewn on the ocean’s bed as the result of wrecks, but there is vastly more gold for the daring inventor in the waves that forever pound upon the beach.
860. ARTESIAN WELLThe artesian well plant is coming into prominence. Formerly the well was only employed as a means of getting water to drink; it is only recently that it has occurred to people that here is an immense and unused water motor. Water power from running streams is only available here and there, but with the advent of the artesian well there is no spot on earth that may not have as much cheap power as it needs, the cost being almost nothing when once the power is obtained. Here is another opportunity for enterprise and fortune.
861. LIQUID AIRThis is a new discovery, and one very rich in promise. Here is doubtless the long-sought-for method of the storage battery. It has been found that the same force of liquid air as applied in the electric storage battery scores from one-tenth to one-twentieth more than the electric fluid is able to do. Here we have a power whose application will result in such unknown quantities of usefulness and treasure as to defy the power of figures and even the imagination itself.