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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Boston,   pp. 276-312 ff.


Page 279

THE SOUTI BOSTON IRON COMPANYS WORKS.
triple strength over ordinary castings, and which proved to be of im-
mense value in the manufacture of Ordnance, in which he was for many
years engaged. The United States Government largely relied upon him
for this department of their supplies, and since his death that reliance
has been continued to his successors. His cannon sustained most ex-
traordinary tests when subjected to extreme proof. The mortar gun
" Columbiad," the largest gun of cast-iron that had then been cast in
America, was made under his personal supervision. It was of twelve-
inch calibre, and had a range exceeding three miles. He also first
introduced and patented the method of making cast-iron chilled rolls,
by which the part subject to wear should be hard, while the neck
remained unchanged as to hardness and strength-this being cast
in sand, while the body is cast in a chill or iron cylinder.  Until
his time all the reverberatory furnaces for melting iron were made
with hearths inclining from the fire, the metal thus running from the
heat. He changed the form so as to allow the iron to flow towards the
flame where the heat would be the most intense.
In 1836 Mr. Alger manufactured the first Malleable Iron Guns made
in this country, and supplied our Government with quite a number.
The first gun ever Rifled in America was done at his works in 1834.
Cylinder Stoves were first designed by him in 1822.
Our Government stands indebted to him for numerous improvements
in the construction of Time Fuses for bomb-shells and grenades. The
following are some of his inventions:
The interposing a non-combustible material between the fuse and burst-
ing charge in shell, so constructed that it shall be detached by the
violent concussion it receives when the projectile is discharged from
the gun;
The covering of a fuse-hole on the inside of shell with a wafer or disk
of lead, which must be taken out previous to the firing of the shell in
order to expose the surface of fuse and allow of its ignition when dis-
charged from gun;
The angles given to the vent-holes in the head of fuse-cases, to allow
the escape of gases formed by the burning fuse, and at the same time
prevent the entrance of water and extinction of fuse when fired at sea;
The improved method of casting Shells, by using a metal arbor to
support the core, and having the arbor hollow, so as to allow all the
gases generated by moisture and organic matter in the core to escape,
thus preventing porosity in the shell.
Mr. Alger also manufactured the first perfect Bronze Cannon for the
United States Ordnance Department, and for the State of Massachusetts,
and was, it is said, the first manufacturer to introduce the ten-hour
2 P.


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