The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 8 (February 1, 1931)
Nature's Intrepid Aeronaut
Man in search of Air Conquest, devised and brought into use the balloon, the pioneer and predecessor of the modern aeroplane and airship. Yet almost from the beginning of Time, long ere man essayed in that direction, the principle of ballooning had been adapted by the Araneiads to surmount obstacles otherwise insuperable to their power. Thus we are strangely brought in contact with a bond existing between two entirely diverse terragrade forms of life —man and spider—both seeking to go beyond the limitations and bounds imposed by Nature.
The newly hatched Araneiad, compelled by the exigencies of life to seek fresh fields and pastures new, builds him a silken balloon; a balloon not gas inflated, but constructed of silken gossamer emitted from his spinarets. As soon as these threads are sufficiently numerous and long enough to give the necessary buoyancy for mounting, the intrepid little voyager casts off by springing upwards and sailing away on his great adventure. On a warm day, with a gentle breeze in evidence, thousands of these adventurers may be watched taking off from raised positions furnished by fences, plants and the like. They may be observed building their frail aircrafts and starting on their journey. They may be seen floating away overhead in their silken argosies with pennants streaming in the air; passing over the tops of tall trees, crossing wide rivers, even going out to sea. The frail aircrafts are somewhat at the mercy of the wind, but not altogether so, the pilot is able to descend at will by contracting the balloon surface and even anchoring.
Let us watch one about to set out. Facing the breeze the whole body is raised to the full extent of the legs; the spinarets are then brought into action, and several gossamer lines cast out. Gradually the legs bend in the direction of the breeze, the joints stiffen under the muscular strain of holding-down that increases in proportion to the pull of the uplifting force. Suddenly the eight anchoring claws let go simultaneously—the balloon bounds into space!
As the balloon rises upwards the bold adventurer turns over on to his back, cuts off the threads from his spinarets, and, swiftly gathering the strands together, weaves them into a silken cradle. Immediately, and while this is being done, another strand is cast out and downwards, which, floating behind, balances the now completed airship.
These argosies have been recorded out at sea, passing at comparatively high altitudes, and settling upon the masts of vessels two hundred miles from land.
At times, so densely do they descend on land, they are spoken of as “gossamer showers.” Spenser writes of them :—
“More subtle web Arachine cannot spin Nor the fine nets, which oft we woven see Of scorched dew.”
These “gossamer showers” have been known to cover the earth so thickly as to cause it to appear carpeted in white gauze gemmed in dew diamonds. The “showers” fall in flakes an inch wide and six inches long, that twinkle brightly in descent as they catch and reflect the rays of the sun. One shower is recorded as covering an area of eight miles. Pliny in describing one that fell in his days, writes:
“It rained wool about the castle.”page break
International Athletes At Wellington.
Some interesting snaps taken on the occasion of the international athletic meeting held at Wellington on Saturday, 21st February, in which J. Carlton, the crack Australian sprinter, won a notable victory over G. Simpson, U.S.A., by J. Carlton by two yards); (3) Carlton winning the 220 yards race from C. Jenkins; (4) J. Carlton; (5) The grand parade of athletes; (6) finish of the 880 yards handicap, E. Watson winning from O. Richardson; (7) H. Rothert, U.S.A., winning the shot-putting; (8) final of the 120 yards ladies' handicap (won by Miss S. Corbett; (9) S. A. Lay throwing the javelin; (10) start of the one mile international test race; (11) finish of the three miles. A Grade cycle race (won by M. Gane; (12) The American trio, Messrs. Kiser, Simpson and Rothert (from left); (13) G. Bayne (Wellington) winning the one mile scratch race from R. Kiser.
Cement a Quality Product
To appreciate the elaborate manufacturing processes that cement must go through, and the care required in all these processes, it is necessary to know something of the tests the finished cement must pass—and why it must pass them
You may never have thought of it, but the cement you purchase for a footpath or a farm feeding floor, might have gone into the foundations of Auckland's new station; into the beams of a warehouse, or the trusses of a great bridge.
For these great works, for office buildings, hotels, bridges, dams—on which the lives of thousands may depend—it is obviously necessary to have a product of known reliability. You must have cement that you can count on. And that is what you get.
Testing begins before the materials are out of the ground, taking samples as the drills go down for the blasting, and the last tests are not completed until the finished cement is in the ship or truck, ready to go out to the consumer.
The tests are for chemical content, fineness, strength, setting time, freedom from impurities—all points that are of concern to the user. Some are made every few minutes; some every hour; and the samples from which they are made are taken continuously.
The exact form of the more essential tests is prescribed by the British Engineering Standard Association, England. Whatever is necessary to ensure that the cement you get is dependable, is done.
The well-known brands of locally made Cement—“Wilsonite” Rapid Hardening Cement and “Star” Brand Portland Cement—which were used exclusively in the piles, foundations, platforms, roads, and in Auckland's magnificent new Railway Station, not only comply with the exacting British Standard Specifications for Portland Cement, but considerably exceed it.
Waygood-Otis Lift Installation
It is with great pleasure we are able to advise the public that the new Auckland Railway Station is equipped throughout with Waygood-Otis Lifts.
After considering all the factors it was decided by the New Zealand Government Engineers and the Architects for the building, to instal a Waygood-Otis Micro Drive Self-Levelling Machine for the passenger lift
This decision was inevitable, in view of the fact that only the highest quality and most improved type of lift machinery was being considered. Unvarying reliability was to be ensured. Safety—automatic and certain was called for—silence of operation was desired—and that meant Waygood-Otis.
Although this lift will work at 300 f.p.m.—an unusually high speed for alternating current machinery—it will unfailingly come to rest level with the floor which it is serving, and this in spite of the varying loads which will be placed in the car in the course of its service. This level landing is maintained at all times without regard to change of load on the platform or stretch of ropes.
A further feature of these lifts is that to ensure against the slamming of the gates, they are all fitted with Waygood-Otis silent two-speed self-closing doors.
The success of the Waygood-Otis Micro Drive Self-Levelling system has been phenomenal, and since its inception a great number of installations have been made in the two largest cities of the Dominion, and even in the smaller cities with lifts operating at slower speeds, but where the advantages of automatic operation and self-levelling were desirable.
Less pretentious, but equally efficient are the other Waygood-Otis lifts installed in the building, which include a large luggage lift, stores lift, and a restaurant lift. In the larger of these lifts the control is by double button from car and landings.