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POSTAL DEPARTMENT.

PROGRESS OF THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH. Prescott's Electric Telegraph gives the following sketch:

At the commencement of 1848, it was stated that the length in operation in this country was about 3,000 miles. At the end of 1850, the lines in operation, or in progress, in the United States, amounted to 22,000 miles. In 1853, the total number of miles of wire in America amounted to 26,375.

It was but fifteen years since the first line of electric telegraph was constructed in this country; and at the present time there are not less than 50,000 miles in successful operation on this continent, having over 1,400 stations, and employing upwards of 10,000 operators and clerks. The number of messages passing over all the lines in this country annually is estimated at upwards of 5,000,000, producing a revenue of $2,000,000; in addition to which, the press pays $200,000 for public dispatches.

In Europe there are lines rivaling those in America. The electric wire extends under the English Channel, the German Ocean, the Black and Red seas, and the Mediterranean ; it passes from crag to crag on the Alps, and runs through Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Russia. India, Australia, Cuba, Mexico, and several of the South American States, have also their lines ; and the wires uniting the Pacific and Atlantic States will shortly meet at the passes of the Rocky Mountains.

In Europe, Great Britain and Ireland have the greatest number of miles of electric telegraph-namely, 40.000. France has 26,000; Belgium, 1.600 ; Ger. many, 35,000 ; Switzerland, 2,000 ; Spain and Portugal, 1,200 ; Italy, 6,600 ; Turkey and Greece, 500; Russia, 12,000; Denmark and Sweden, 2,000. In Italy, Sardinia has the largest share of lines, having about 1,200 miles; and in Germany, after Austria and Prussia, the largest share belongs to Bavaria, which has 1,050. Saxony has 400 miles ; Wurtemberg, 195. The distance between stations on lines of continental telegraph is from ten to twelve miles on the average, and the number of them is about 3,800.

In France the use of the electric telegraph has rapidly increased within the last few years. In 1851, the number of dispatches transmitted was 9,014, which produced 76,723 francs. In 1858, there were 463,973 dispatches transmitted, producing 3,516,634 francs. During the last four years, that is to say, since all the chief towns in France have been in electric communication witli Paris, and consequently with each other, there have been sent, by private individuals, 1,492,420 dispatches, which have produced 12,528,591 francs. Out of the 97,728 dispatches exchanged during the last three months of 1858, 23,728 were with Paris, 15,409 with the thirty most important towns of France. These 15,109 dispatches are divided, as to their object or nature, as follows:--Private and family affairs, 3,102 ; journals, 523 ; commerce and manufactures, 6,132 ; Bourse affairs, 5,253; sundry affairs, 399.

In Great Britain, the rate of charges upon the telegraph lines was formerly very exorbitant, but within a few years a great improvement has taken place. According to the tariff, as last arranged by the Electric Telegraph Company, all messages, consisting of not more than twenty words, are transmitted to distances not exceeding 50 miles for 25 cents; to distances not exceeding 100 miles, for 62 cents; and to all greater distances, for $125. For each additional ten words, or fraction of ten words, proportionate charges are made. In certain exceptional cases the 25 cent charge is extended to much greater distances than 50 miles ; and the 62 cent charge to much greater distances than 100 miles. These exceptions include towns of the highest commercial and manufacturing importance, with which a large telegraphic business must always be transacted. Thus, between London and Birmingham, (i 12 miles.) the charge is only 25 cents ; and between London and Liverpool (210 miles,) London and Manchester (180 miles,) and London and Carlisle (309 miles,) the charge is only 62 cents.

Among the more recent improvements in the transaction of telegraphic busidess which have been made in England, the following may be mentioned :

Franked message papers, prepaid, are now issued, procurable at any stationers. These, with the message filled in, can be dispatched to the office when and how the sender likes; and the company intend very quickly to sell electric stamps, similar to our postage stamps, which may be stuck on to any piece of paper, and frank its contents without any further trouble. Another very important arrangement, for mercantile men, is the sending of remittance messages, by means of which, money can be paid in at the central office in London, and, within a few minutes, paid out at Liverpool or Manchester, or by the same means sent up to town with the like dispatch from Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburg, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Hull, York, Plymouth, and Exeter. There is a money order office in the Lothbury establishment to manage this department, which will

, no doubt, in all emergencies, speedily supersede the money order office, which works through the slower medium of the Post-office.

The actual celerity with which correspondence is transmitted, between London and parts of Europe more or less remote, may be judged from the fact that the Queen's speech, delivered at the opening of the recent Parliamentary session, was delivered verbatim, and circulated in Paris and in Berlin, before Her Majesty had left the House of Lords. Messages have been sent from the office in London to Hamburg, Vienna, and, on certain occasions, to Lemberg, in Galicia, being a distance of 1,800 miles, and their reception acknowledged by an instantaneous reply.

No limit has yet been found to aerial telegraphing ; for, by inserting transferrers into the more extended circuits, renewed energy can be attained, and lines of several thousands of miles in length can be worked, if properly insulated, as surely as those of a hundred. The lines between New York and New Orleans are frequently connected together by means of transferrers, and direct communication is had over a distance of more than two thousand miles. Quite recently direct communication was had between Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Beloit, Wisconsin, a distance of over three thousand miles. The operators, situated at this enormous distance from each other, were able to converse as freely and rapidly as if they had been separated but a few rods. No perceptible retardation of the current takes place ; on the contrary, the lines so connected work as success. fully as when divided into shorter circuits.

This is not the case with subaqueous lines. The employment of submarine, as well as of subterranean conductors, occasions a small retardation in the velocity of the transmitted electricity. This retardation is not due to the length of the path which the electric current has to traverse, since it does not take place with a conductor equally long, insulated in the air. It arises, as FARADAY has demonstrated, from a static reaction, which is determined by the introduction of a current into a conductor well insulated, but surrounded outside its insulating coating by a conducting body, such as sea-water or moist ground, or even simply by the metallic envelop of iron wires place in communication with the ground. When this conductor is presented to one of the poles of a battery, the other pole of which communicates with the ground, it becomes charged with static electricity, like the coating of a Leyden jar-electricity which is capable of giving rise to a discharge current, even after the voltaic current has ceased to be transmitted.

ATMOSPHERIC TELEGRAPH. The Electric Telegraph Company in London have an air-tight tube laid between their central station and other stations at Cornbill and the Stock Exchange, from which the air is exhausted by a pump, and documents sent through the tube by atmospheric pressure, upon the same principle as Richardson's telegraph. This system has been in operation, privately, in London, for several years, and it is now proposed to lay down a complete and extended series of public lines in London, on a scale which will receive not merely papers and packages, but parcels of considerable bulk, including the mail bags of the Post-office between the railroads and the district offices; and a company is now in course of formation to carry out the object.

JOURNAL OF MINING, MANUFACTURES, AND ART.

BRITISH FACTORY OPERATIVES, A London correspondent of a New York paper writes as below, regarding the operatives in the factories of Great Britain. The reports of the inspectors of factories, which have just been issued, comprise three reports only : the dis. trict lately vacated by Mr. LEONARD Horner having been annexed partly to Sir Jou Kincaird's district, (Scotland,) and partly to Mr. Redgrave's district, now comprising 3,075 factories and print works; while Mr. Robert Baker's district, (Ireland and some parts of England,) remains within its old boundaries. The following is a general abstract, showing the total number of accidents reported to the three inspectors during the six months ending 30th April, 1860 :

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Total. M. F. Total. 23 7

30 9 7 16 12 4 16 67 53 120 45 42 87

66

23

29

Adults. Young persons. Children. Nature of injury.

M. F. M. F. M. F. Causing death....

14 3 7 2 2 2 Amputat'n of right hand or arm

3 1 1 of left hand or arm. 4 1 7 3 1 of part of right hand

24

22 15 7 of part of left hand 16 17 21 18 8 7

of any part of leg or foot.....

5

1 Fracture of limbs and bones of trunk....

30 11 43 11 11 4 Fracture of hand or foot.

59 43 30 37

20

15 Injuries to head and face... 20 17 23 29 11 4 Lac'tus, contusions, and other 268 255 315 352 128

66

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229

Total.......

83 30 69 26 21 10 168 66 In the infancy of the factory system, when manufacturers were in want of labor, it was obtained directly by application to the overseers of some distant parish, who forwarded a certain pumber of apprentices, children of tender age, who were bound to the manufacturers for a term of years. The children being once apprenticed, the poor-law officers congratulated their respective parishes on their deliverance from idle mouths, while the manufacturer proceeded to make the best of his bargain by keeping them at the most economical rate, by screwing from them all the labor of which they were capable. Hence the first of the series of factory acts passed in 1802, 42 Geo. III., cap. 73, has for its title, “ Au act for the preservation of the health and morals of apprentices and others employed in cotton and other mills, and cotton and other factories,” and was merely intended to mitigate the evils of the apprenticeship system. But as improvements were made in machinery, a different kind of labor was wanted, when trade became brisk and the population of the neighborhood failed to supply the mills with their full complement of hands. These manufacturers sent to Ireland, and brought over Irish families; but Ireland has ceased to be the market from wbich a supply of labor can be procured on English demand, and manufacturers have now to look to the Southern and Western counties of England and Wales for

families which can be tempted by the present rate of wages in the Northern counties to commence a new career of industry. Agents have been sent throughout the country, to set forth the advantages offered to families by removing to the manufacturing districts, and they are empowered to make arrangements for the emigration to the North. Many families are said to have been forwarded by these agents. Still, the importation into a manufacturing town of a man with his wife and family has this peculiar advantage, that while the younger members of the family, who cau soon be taught, and whose services become valu. able in a comparatively short period, are most in request, there is no ready demand for the labor of the man and his wife, unskilled in factory labor. This has induced some manufacturers to return, in some measure, to the old apprenticeship system, and to enter into engagements for specific periods, with boards of guardians, for the labor of destitute pauper children. In these cases, the marufacturer lodges, clothes, and feeds the children, but pays them no regular wages. With the return of this system, complaints of its abuse seem also to have revived. However, this kind of bor, it should be remembered, would only be sought after when none other could be procured, for it is a high priced labor. The ordinary wages of a boy of 13 would be about 4 shillings per week; but to lodge, to clothe, to feed, and to provide medical attendance and proper superintendence for 50 or 100 of these boys, and to set aside some remuneration for them, could not be accomplished for 4 shillings a head per

week. A comparison of the rate of wages paid to factory operatives in 1839 and that paid in 1859 proves the highly interesting fact that the rate of wages has risen, at least nominally, in factories where the hours of work were restricted to 60 per week, while, with a few exceptions, a real reduction has been suffered in the printing, bleaching, and dying works in which the labor of children, young persons, and women is unrestricted, and where they are at times employed fourteen and fifteen hours per day. The following statements have reference to the cotton trade in Manchester and its neighborhood :

WEEKLY WAGES.

OCCUPATIONS.

men..

25
6

1839. 18:9. Hours of work per week..

69 60 Steam engine tender..

shilllings 24 30 Warehouse boys

7

8

18 22 Carding departmentScutchers, (young women and girls)..

7

8 Skippers, (young men)...

11 14 Overlookers... Card minders, (boys from 14 to 18)..

7 Drawing-frame tenders, (young women).

6 6d. 8 Spinning departmentSpinners on self-acting mules...

16 to 18 20 to 22 Piecers (women and young men)..

8 10 Overlookers....

20 Doubling departmentDoublers (women)..

7 Doffers (girls)....

5 Overlookers.....

24

28 Jobbers, (young men)..

10 In the reeling, gassing, and power loom departments there has also been a slight increase of wages. The anticipations of those who warned the factory

20

9

4

13

operatives that they would seriously suffer by the diminution of their hours of work, have thus been completely disappointed. Compare, on the other hand, the movement of wages in those branches where the hours of daily labor are legally unrestricted.

CALICO-PRINTING, DYEING, BLEACHING, SIXTY HOURS PER WEEK.
Weekly wages. 1

Weekly wages. 1839. 1859.

1839. 1859. Color-mixers..

35
32' Block printer.

40 28 Machine printer.

40
38 Dyer...

18 16 Foreman..

40 40 Washer and laborer... 16 & 15 16 & 15 Block-cutter.

85

25

FUSTIAN DYEING, EIXTY-ONE HOURS PER WEEK. Dressers.. 18 22 | Dyers,....

21

16 Bleachers. 21 18 Finishers..

21

22 By far the most interesting portion of the reports of Mr. ALEXANDER REDGRAVE and Sir John Kincaid relates to the development and extension of co-operative societies for the erection and working of mills in Lancashire, and also to some degree in Yorkshire. These co-operative societies, which have multiplied since the passing of the Limited Liability Act, are generally composed of operatives. Each society has a capital of £10,000 and upward, divided into shares of £5 and £10, with power to borrow in certain proportions to the capi. tal subscribed, the money borrowed being made up of small loans by operatives and persons of the like class. In Bury, for instance, upward of £300,000 will be required to put the co-operative mills there built and building into working order. In cotton spinning mills the spinners and persons employed are frequently shareholders in the same will, working for wages and receiving interest upon their shares. In cotton weaving sheds, the partners frequently bire and work looms. This is attractive to operatives, becausc no great capital is required to start them in their undertaking. They purchase the yard ready for the loom, weave the cloth, and the factory operation is completed; or else they receive the yarn from some manufacturer who trades with them, and return to him the woven fabric. But this co-operative system is not confined to the spinning and weaving of cotton. It has extended to the trade on a variety of articles of consumption, such as four, groceries, draperies, etc.

The co-operative company at Rochdale paid a dividend of 44 per cent on their paid up capital, for the half year ending in October, 1859 ; and another dividend of 48 per cent has been declared since that time; the capital now being £60,000.

MANUFACTURE OF SEMI-STEEL, The method of making semi-steel, at the Albany Iron Works, is as follows :The furnace employed is substantially the ordinary boiling furnace, that is, a puddling furnace adapted to a higher degree of heat than is used in the ordinary process. The pig iron, broken into small pieces, is placed on a trough-shaped hearth, removed from the solid fuel. The flame, as usual, passes over a bridge wall, and is deflected upon the iron. For a charge of 336 lbs. of pigs, about two barrow loads of cinders and scales, from the forge (oxyde of iron) and other fluxes, are added to the cinder, previously melted on the hearth, the whole form

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