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easily ascertained; the difficulty is to get them applied, except by compulsion, and until they are generally applied progress cannot be expected.


Horticulture in South Africa is only on the threshold of progress. In every line there is scope for improvement; in most lines possibilities are enormous. The climate varies from tropical to cold temperate, the rainfall from nothing to 60 inches, and the soil and subsoil vary immensely; the range of available kinds is consequently very large.

But the population is small and scattered, and the literature altogether inadequate. The Departmental Agricultural Journals of the respective Governments are highly useful in so far as they touch on fruit-culture and viticulture, but they leave the other lines almost out, and even in these lines red-tape prevents free discussion where Government action or non-action is concerned. An independent, inter-colonial Horticultural magazine for South Africa would fill what is meantime an empty void, and do good not only to the commercial fruit grower, but also to the amateur and to the numerous class whose members claim to know by natural intuition much more than the professional man trained abroad, and sometimes show that they do

An occasional inter-colonial conference of fruit growers is also a desideratum, at which practical work rather than parish politics should be discussed, for it is evident that South Africa requires all to pull together for action in this as in many other matters, rather than lose time in petty jealousy. Cape Colony meantime has the lead in hardy fruit culture, and supplies the other Colonies after their supply is finished, but there is no inherent reason why Cape Colony should not be also supplied with fruit from the other Colonies months before its own supply is ready, and so by reciprocity allow each Colony to enjoy a longer fruit season and live upon fruit more than it does at present.

A Conference as proposed above, representing alike the affiliated Horticultural Societies of South Africa and the nursery and fruit trades, would soon take up the central position in South Africa meantime held in England by the Royal Horticultural Society, and would do more to stimulate horticultural work than any agency meantime in existence.




I have for some time, both at Johannesburg and at Cape Town, watched the constant increase of smoke clouds, and as one who has given the matter of Public Health some attention, I have come to the conclusion that the cause of the same is preventable, and the effect both detrimental to health and wasteful. Any person who has eyes and uses them, must have noticed the clouds of smoke that hang about the environs of Johannesburg when a southerly wind is blowing, and in the early morning how the low lands north of Bellvue are hidden from view not by mist but by smoke clouds, held more or less in suspension by mist or atmospheric influence.

To be rational, I will take the cause of this nuisance or waste first, and in doing so it must be understood that I am not posing as an engineering expert, or as an authority upon the subject under review, but simply venture, as a commonsense individual, to attract the attention of other thinking people to a matter that strikes me as being wrong in every sense. Should my effort result in producing a discussion between our engineering friends who may lay bare facts that I hesitate to adduce, my reward will be secured.

It is surely only commonsense to submit that smoke fog is nothing more or less than particles of carbon or unconsumed coal, and that their presence is due to the imperfect combustion or consumption of coal from one cause or another. Commonsense will also allow that such fog is detrimental to the health and comfort of those whose lives have to be spent in contact with it, and I shall prove, later on, that its presence has much to do with the high cost of production and reduction of our gold ores, and, indeed, of industrial productions generally. I do not propose to touch upon the destructive effect of smoke upon animal or plant life, though I venture to hope that my remarks may produce some valuable evidence of the future danger its presence suggests if precautions are not taken to prevent its increase.

I submit, as nothing new, that the present system of having so many steam-power installations for the working of our mines and industries, instead of installing a few large power houses, is the primary cause of the trouble I have named. . By centralising the electric or other power stations the production of smoke must be reduced, first, on account of the great distance between smoke stacks; secondly, because the methods of fuel combustion can be better supervised ; and, thirdly, because less coal will be consumed. Electrical distribution of power, oil, hot air and internal combustion gas engines, naturally suggest themselves as smoke-reducing schemes, and it must indeed be a source of gratification and pride to our Johannesburg Municipal Council that they have been among the first to shew their appreciation of that fact by adopting gas engines for the generation of Electric Power for the Municipal Tramways and Lighting schemes.


In England and on the Continent it is generally allowed that the greatest producers of smoke in the cities and towns the domestic grates, but here it must be admitted that our mining and industrial works are the chief offenders, and it is with the keenest sympathy and hesitation that I venture to attack the system, not the works !

Let us now consider the cause of an abnormal production of smoke in furnaces.

Firstly, we must indite careless or ignorant stoking ; secondly, the use of improper coal or fuel ; thirdly, the use of obsolete or badly-designed fire-boxes; fourthly, defective draught, due to choked tubes or defective flues; fifthly, the want of scientific supervision of Furnaces and Boilers by the Managing Engineering Staff.

Then let us consider the effects of the same from a scientific point of view.

The merest engineering student knows, or ought to know, that bituminous coal can be completely consumed so as to emit no smoke, (a) by heating and regulating the supply of air to the furnace, (b) by securing and maintaining a proper temperature in the furnace, and (c) by properly controlling the gaseous products of combustion in their passage to and up the chimney.

It has been publicly reported that Messrs. Crossfield and Sons, of Warrington, have, by adopting a scientific treatment of their fuel and stoking, saved 1000 tons of coal per week, which means that they were saved the use of almost double the number of boilers, with all attendant expenses of depreciation, firing, upkeep, etc., which amounted in all to about £25,000 per annum, and the Cardiff Railway Company admit that their saving of fuel amounts to 25 per cent.

The points observed by these consumers have been the proper construction of furnaces, flues and chimneys, the regulation of air supply, mechanical and careful stoking, the preparation, elevating, and conveying of fuel, the heating of feed matter, and careful supervision by their senior engineers.

The point I wish to bring home at this time, when the saving of working costs is our great problem, is, if a single coal consuming firm can effect the saving I have quoted, what would be the saving to our great gold industry and other industrial concerns if their example was followed ?

Human nature is hard to drive but easy to lead, if met in a rational manner. There is a class of person, unfortunately too numerous, who resents anything like interference, and such is most difficult to deal with, because out of “pure cussedness” they will do all they know to evade restraint, and look upon advice as an impertinence. The conceit that is born of ignorance is the bugbear of progress, science, and economy, and probably justified the inception of the Public Health Act (England) 1891, which fathered that splendid fighting body known as the Smoke Abatement Society. If only for economic reasons, I submit that such a body should be



immediately formed at Johannesburg under the patronage and financial support of the Gold Mining Companies and Chamber of Mines. It should not be difficult in such a commonsense community as ours to prove that money can be saved and dividends increased by preventing the discharge of the thousands of tons of unconsumed carbon which, I submit, is anything but creditable to our engineers, though it may be profitable to the colliery owners, and save our firemen some trouble.

We all realise that legislation can be made obstructive and destructive of the very object it has in view, but it cannot be denied, I think, that without legislative power behind it, persuasion, argument and commonsense would be little avail. After all, engineering science is little more than commonsense, backed up by education and experience, all of which we claim. Yet it seems to me that the practical application of those attributes to our interests, as community, is sadly neglected.

Last year the English Coal Smoke Abatement Society issued a series of questions to manufacturers and others, with a view to ascertaining the causes of waste and the best means of counteracting the same. The Society was, I believe, careful to select many facturers for their enquiries who had at one time or another been serious offenders against the Public Health Act. A typical reply to the circulars acknowledged that even when so-called smokeless coal is used, smokeless combustion cannot be secured unless both boiler and furnace are scientifically designed, and the stoking carried out with intelligence and care. Great circumspection was exercised in the selection of suitable stokers, and special attention had been given to the training of these men at their works, under the close inspection and instruction of their engineers. By way of encouragement, higher wages were paid to firemen who shewed exceptional ability, and it was acknowledged that such increased wages were more than saved by the economy in fuel and the extra power secured by the services of the more intelligent and conscientious stokers. further acknowledged that the better class of firemen fully appreciated the necessity of studying the elementary science of combustion and the different classes of fuels, so that it mattered little to him where he was located, as he was more or less conversant with the peculiarities of all classes of fuel, and soon ascertained the amount of coal per square foot of grate surface per hour that should be consumed. Such a man studied the manipulation of his dampers, the regulation of air to his furnaces, the cleaning of his fires, the working of his feed pumps and injectors, and had an intelligent idea of the proper character of his flue gases.

I have been informed that much of the smoke and consequent waste of fuel along our reef is due to the fact that the boiler power at many mines is inadequate, thus necessitating the forcing of combustion. It surely should not be a difficult matter to arrange a system by which firemen should receive a bonus upon the value of fuel saved by their care and intelligence. If such was done, the stoker would be careful to see that bad coal was not supplied to

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his employer by interested colliery owners. But, better still, I submit that our Chamber of Mines or other interested body, should follow the example of the Prussian Government, who, in 1902, arranged for a course of instruction for stokers, and ear-marked £2000 per annum for the purpose. The far-seeing and scientific promoter of the measure declared that the Government was alive to the fact that to compete successfully with other nations in certain manufactures it was necessary to reduce the cost of production. He proved conclusively that serious waste was taking place through unscientific and careless stoking, and secured the sympathy, confidence, and assistance of the Government, as I have stated above.

The Hamburg Smoke Abatement Society is a voluntary association of steam-users, and has been in existence about three years. The Society is controlled by a committee, and the technical work is managed by a permanent expert staff. The working expenses are obtained, 'firstly, from its members' subscriptions ; secondly, from payment for special work done for its members; and, thirdly, from payments by outsiders for research work or advice. The membership at present is about 150, with 420 Boilers under their supervision.

The declared objects of the Society, as set forth in its rules, are the attainment of the highest possible efficiency from heating and boiler plants with the least possible smoke. With this end in view, regular examinations are made of the plants of members and their methods of working. The education and control of firemen is undertaken, and tests are made of fuel and appliances. Reports and results are then circulated amongst members. With a view to carrying out some special steam-raising trials, a central Model Boiler installation was installed in Hamburg in 1904, and the results of the research trials are circulated among members in due

Manufacturers and fuel users generally have been taught that proper combustion of fuel produces economy, and they were advised that the first step was to provide a body of trained stokers. To do that they must be selected and taught in a uniform, practical, and scientific manner by competent engineer instructors. Now, here is an opportunity for us, as the leading scientific Society of South Africa, to justify our existence by promoting this branch of science. I am sure a ready and liberal response would be made by our Chamber of Mines, to any reasonable proposal that may be made to them. Itinerant courses of instruction could be arranged at different centres along the reef, and firemen instructors could be appointed to give the necessary lessons at some fixed centre.

A few furnaces of modern design might be provided to demonstrate their capabilities, and competitions might be arranged between boiler-makers and between firemen, which should place the directors of companies in possession of statistics that should tend to reduce the working costs of our mining, milling, and reduction generally, as well as check a danger to the comfort and health of our community that, in my opinion, is already being felt by those who think of


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