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Engineers and Mechanics Encyclopedia 1839: Railways: Robert Whitesides

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Some improvements of considerable originality have been proposed by Robert Whitesides, a wine merchant, of Air, in Scotland, for which he obtained a patent, dated the 20th of November, 1834.

The object of his first improvement is, to obtain a firm connexion between the moving and the moved parts, or between the steam engine, and the axle of the wheels which move the carriage. In order to perform this effectually, the springs usually placed over those wheels are placed in them; and to prevent the twisting force of the machinery from tearing them out, two quadrangular framings are attached to the wheels, which will be explained with reference to the cut on the following page. a, b, c, d, is the outer circumference of the wheel, formed of iron the spokes are riveted, or otherwise fastened, to the tire at one end, and at the other, either riveted to a flat ring, or screwed to one which is thickened in parts to receive the screw. The central space of this ring varies according to the play intended to be allowed to the springs; in the present instance, it is eight inches diameter. The points, a, b, c, d, are equidistant from each other. Between a and c, and b and d, are placed two rods, which must be firmly attached to the rim of the wheel at both ends, and parallel to each other. On these rods traverses a quadrangular iron framing, e, f, g, h, by means of rings which embrace the rods.

On this framing, e, f, g, h, slides another frame, of the same nature, in a direction at right angles to that of the first, but instead of the rings, as in the first, being attached to rods, and the cross- bars i and j, they are affixed to a plate of iron, in the centre of which is a hole, to allow of an axle-box passing through. The box is bolted to the aforesaid plate (by means of a flanch, cast along with it), and passes through the hole or opening in the centre of the wheel, so that one end of the springs may be fastened to it, and the other end to the circumference of the wheel.

The whole wheel may then be covered over on each side, with a thin iron plate, to preserve the frames, &c. from the wet and dust, taking care, at the same time, to allow in the inside plate, a hole of sufficient size (say eight inches diameter) for the axle to play: this hole may be covered over with a piece of water-proof cloth, connected water-tight, on one part to the axle, and on the other to the inside covering-plate.

The patentee observes, that springs have been before placed in, or adapted to, wheels; but he confines his claim to the application of the two quadrangular frames, as above described, for preventing the strain of the power applied to propel the same coming on to the springs.

Another improvement included under this patent, relates to a method of reducing the friction of rotary engines, by placing the lubricating fluid in one or more reservoirs, under a pressure a little superior to the force of the steam, which presses upon the piston, for the purpose of forcing it into every crevice, and between all the moving parts of the engine, where there is a liability of leakage of steam, no as to prevent both the loss of steam when these parts wear, and the reduction of friction to its minimum. The arrangements for this purpose we have not space to describe.

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