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THERE is a huge heap of chemical refuse
now near the banks of the Tyne at Gateshead,
which is not only a commercial nothing, but
the manufacturer who unwillingly calls it
his property, would most kindly greet any
one who would take it off his hands;
for he has to lease sundry acres of land for no
other purpose than to deposit this refuse
thereon. It is of such nothings as these that
we would speak; and of the ingenuity which,
from time to time, draws something therefrom.
And we would also direct attention to a
few miscellaneous examples of the useful application
of materials long valuedthe causing
"a little to go a great way."

Schoolboys display great skill in breaking
their slates. Shall they be allowed to
continue the exercise of this interesting practice;
or shall we invite them to use the new Wurtemberg
sheet-iron slates? A manufacturer in
that country has invented a mode of applying
a surface-coating to sheet-iron, which enables
it to take freely the mark of a slate pencil;
it is said to be much lighter, and much less
liable to injury, than a common slate. If we
have sheet-iron slates, why not sheet-iron
paper? Baron von Kleist, the proprietor of
some ironworks at Neudeck in Bohemia, has
lately produced paper of this kind, from which
great things seem to be expected. It is
remarkable for its extreme thinness, flexibility,
and strength, and is entirely without
flaws.  It is used in making buttons, and
various other articles shaped by stamping;
and it is capable of receiving a very high
polish. Whether the world is ever to see the
Times printed on a sheet of iron, we must
leave to some clairvoyante to determine; but,
no sooner did our manufacturers become
acquainted with this Bohemian product at
the Great Exhibition, than they instantly set
their wits to work to produce better and
thinner sheet-iron than had before been made
in England. In the Birmingham department,
before the Exhibition closed, there made its
appearance a book about five inches by three,
consisting of forty-four leaves of sheet-iron,
the whole weighing about two ounces and a
half.  We are thus getting on: the age of
iron literature may yet arrive.

Our learned chemists have lately discovered
that, in making or smelting iron, not less than
seven-eighths of all the heat goes off in waste;
only one-eighth being really made available
for the extrication of the metal from its stony
matrix. What a sad waste of good fuel is
here: what a provoking mode of driving
money out of one's pocket! So thought
Mr. Budd, of the Ystalyfera ironworks in
Wales.  He found that the heat which
escapes from an iron furnace is really as high
as that of melting brass; and he pondered
how he might compel this heat to render
some of its useful services.  He put a gentle
check upon it just as it was about to escape
at the top of the furnace; he gently enticed
it to pass through a channel or pipe which
bent downwards; and gently brought it under
the boiler of the steam-engine which worked
the blowing-machine for the furnace. A
clever device this: for this economised caloric
heated the boiler without any other fuel
whatever, and there was a saving of three
hundred and fifty pounds in one year in the
fuel for one boiler alone. Mr. Budd told all
about this to the British Association, at
Swansea, in 1848; and at Edinburgh, in
1850, he was able to tell them much more.
He stated that he had applied the method to
all the nine smelting-furnaces at the Ystalyfera
Works; and that it had also been applied
at the Dundyvan Works in Scotland. The
coal used in the Scotch works is of such a
kind, that the wasted heat from one furnace
is believed to be enough to heat the air for
the hot-blast, and to work the blast engines
for three furnaces.  Mr. Budd states that his
plan enabled the Dundyvan proprietors to
smelt ore with a ton and a quarter less coal
to a ton of iron than by the old method; and
he shows how this might rise to a saving of
one hundred and thirty thousand pounds a
year for the whole of Scotland. A pretty
penny-saving thisa veritable creation of
something out of a commercial nothing.

Horse-shoe nails, kicked about the world by
horses innumerable, are not the useless
fragments we might naturally deem them. Military
men may discuss the relative merits of
Minié rifles, and needle-guns, and regulation-
muskets; but all will agree that the material
of which the barrels are made should be
sound and tough, and gun-makers tell us that
no iron is so well fitted for this purpose as