November 24, 1888: Engineering and Building Record. A Simple Hook Gauge to Measure Depth of Water. “The accompanying illustrations show a very simple and convenient arrangement devised and used by John T. Fanning, C. E., for determining measurements of the heights of a given water level accurately to 1-1000th of a foot.
Figure 1 is a general view showing any convenient protected tank containing water in free communication with that whose level is to be determined, with the rod and gauge in position for a reading. Fig. 2 is a detail of the hook, which is made of brass wire, about No. 10 gauge, with two points f and q, and a handle offset from their plane for convenience in applying to the scale. The lowest point, f, is chisel-shaped ; the upper one, q is conical, ground to be exactly one foot away from the lower one. In reading, the lower point or hook is immersed below the surface of the water, the point q is placed against the scale, and the hook maintained vertical while it is moved upwards until the edge of point f reaches the surface when a slight convexity is produced in the water at f before it emerges and the reading indicated by q is recorded.
Figure 3 is the scale, a square wooden rod planed true and having one face painted white, and a convenient length, as three feet, laid off as shown, with six vertical lines; the right-hand one is divided into tenths and hundreths of a foot, and from each of the latter points diagonals are drawn across the five left-hand lines; thee diagonals intersect on the left-hand vertical, and their intersection, with each vertical give a rise of exactly one one-thousandth of a foot above the next lower intersection.
The apex or left intersection thus gives the half-a-hundredth point, and the intermediate ones the single thousandths. The scale may be set and figured so that the readings shall give exact elevations above the datum, or it may be fixed at random, and the constant difference determined and always applied….
The apparatus is very easily and cheaply constructed, and has given accurate and satisfactory results. The hook can easily be made by any metal-working mechanic, and the scale can be laid off and inked in on the varnished wood with a right-line pen. The arrangement is very convenient and would often be useful for reservoirs, tide-gauges, etc.”
Commentary: I have always been fascinated by complex engineering drawings from the late 19th century with their alphabetically coded notations on mechanical equipment and detailed directions on how it works. Frankly, I had a hard time following them. This one, however, is simple and actually very cool.
November 24, 1888: Engineering and Building Record. The New Ferry House at Barclay Street, New York City. “The New Hoboken Ferry House at the foot of Barclay Street, New York City was designed, and its construction superintended by Theodore Cooper and Auguste Namure, engineers and architects, of New York, for the Hoboken Land and Improvement Co., whose engineer, Charles B. Brush, specially directed the construction of the foundations and substructure, and had general supervision of the whole work. It is the first ferry house erected in the city entirely of iron and possesses some novel and interesting features.”
Commentary: The line drawing of the ferry house is stunning and representative of the painstaking work done on architectural projects at the end of the 19th century.
Reference: Engineering and Building Record and Sanitary Engineer. 18:26 (November 24, 1888).