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light incorrodible scale-pans, opaque chemical
bottles, ornaments of many kinds. Fifty patents
were taken out by the firm of Macintosh and
Hancock for new applications of the vulcanised
material. Mr. Cow, of one of the royal dockyards,
suggested the use by ships at sea of a
large sheet of vulcanised Indian-rubber to be
thrown over the side in case of leak by
accident or shot-hole. The pressure of the water
forcing it against the ship's bottom would stop
the leak until the carpenter had done his work
on it. The quantity of caoutchouc imported
has been doubled and again doubled within ten
years. Mr. Brockedon has kept vulcanised
Indian-rubber for fourteen years in still water,
and for ten years in damp earth without visible
change. He has beaten a small piece, an inch
and a half thick, with a steam hammer of five
tons falling two feet, without injuring it or
destroying its elasticityfalling four feet, with
the result of tearing it, but without injuring its
elasticity, which has borne the test of a pounding
as between cannon-balls under the heaviest
steam-hammers. Logs of wood, coated with
vulcanised rubber, have been towed in a ship's
wake to Demerara and back: the coated logs
coming home perfectly sound, while the
uncoated timber was riddled by marine creatures.
Several projectors have declared that Indian-
rubber resists cannon and rifle balls, and some
have even offered to stand fire in their shot-
proof Indian-rubber armour. But a leg of
mutton so armed, shows in itself the bullet-
hole, though the complete contraction of the
elastic sheath effaces all trace of the points at
which the bullet entered and passed out.

Such is the story of a trade yet in its infancy.
At Silvertownthe Woolwich works of Messrs.
Silver and Co. of Cornhill and Bishopsgate
all the processes here indicated may be seen
at work, from the masticating-room with a
cupboard full of raw material in bottle and crude
lump, and the central machine that converts it
into workable blocks, to the show-room of
" ebonite " manufactures from the hardest
vulcanised material, useful and ornamental, including
even a hard and pleasantly elastic Indian-
rubber pen. Beyond this, is to be seen evidence
of the constant tendency of the new trade to
conquer to itself new ground. Here, is an
electrical room, with an outlook upon railway
posts carrying electric wires, passed through all
forms of insulators in addition to those of
the crockery-ware or glass now commonly used.
Each wire runs to a test apparatus, and it is
demonstrated that no material can be employed
that insulates so perfectly as the vulcanised
Indian-rubber, which is also indestructible
whether by fracture or corrosion. Over the way,
therefore, we find in the factory, women and
girls at work, making insulators.

In another room, is a marine telegraph cable,
running across great reels, and being swathed
in successive bands of the same tough
incorrodible and perfectly insulating substance; for
to this use of caoutchouc Messrs. Silver and
Co. have for some time past paid peculiar
attention. The workpeople of the factory have
their invention stimulated by the capabilities of
the material they work upon. Here, for
example, is a shrewd foreman who has stumbled
over the vulcanised Indian-rubber honeycomb
mats now in much use, whereof all the hexagons
have to be separately cut from cast tubes, and
glued together. " Why the waste labour?" he
asks; and turning to account the elasticity of
his material, and the fact that a certain treatment
with heat will make it retain any form
into which it is stretched, he stamps his mat out
of a single block, without letting fall a shred of
waste, and so produces, with an enormous
economy of labour, the same article, cheaper, nearer
to perfection, and by far more durable.

Every inventive workman at Silvertown has
credit for his own contrivances, not only from the
firm, but from all visitors to the works who are
informed of his discovery. It is most noteworthy
that beyond this, in the space that is to represent
Silvertown industry at this year's International
Exhibition, inventions peculiar to the establishment
will not be claimed in gross by the heads
of the house. Every device originating with
the men will have attached to it the name of
the workman who is its inventor. This is part
of a liberal and wise system, by which factory
life is being greatly humanised in the hands of
many English firms. At Silvertown, employment
is found for women as far as possible, and
in departments of those works occupied by other
branches of the business of a great outfitting
contractoras in the caning of chairs among
the cabinet-makersthere is work for children.
For the children there is a school; for all
hands there is a chapel, with the superintendence
of an active chaplain-schoolmaster. The
men form a rifle-corps of their own, with a head
of the house for major; and they have mustered
among themselves a good brass band.
Comfortable dwellings are built in a little street
outside the factory gates. There is a Silver-
town Mechanics' Institute, with free weekly
lectures, there is a school-treat on Easter
Monday, and there is a concert on Whit
Monday. The tall chimney by the river-side at
Woolwich, marks, in fact, not only a place of
mechanical industry, but the centre of a cheerful,
wholesome influence; and this is, happily
and honourably, becoming true now-a-days of
many a tall chimney in our land of factories.

On Thursday, April 24th, at ST. JAMES'S HALL, Piccadilly,
at 8 o'clock precisely,
MR. CHARLES DICKENS  will read his
(In Six Chapters),