50 Years Ago

From the September 26, 1931, issue

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10:29am, September 24, 2001
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FLASH WELDING JOINS METAL AMID SHOWER OF SPARKS

A brilliant shower of sparks for a few seconds, and two pieces of steel have become one, with a union as strong as the original metal itself.

The picture on the front cover from the Pittsfield, Mass., works of the General Electric Company illustrates a recent adaptation of electric welding to industry. It is joining together the sides of the open seam of a cylindrical casing for a small transformer. As the edges to be welded slowly near each other and as the minute projections come into contact first in one place and then in another, there is a spectacular flashing, and a huge shower of sparks is thrown high into the air. The edges of metal redden and become plastic with heat.

The two edges of metal join; good contact is made; and a huge current, from 100,000 to 200,000 amperes, rushes through to the new joint. It is quickly shut off. In but 6 seconds the adjoining edges of a rolled sheet have become as the sheet itself. No metal other than that of the steel plate has been used.

SIX GENERATIONS OF POLIOMYELITIS VIRUS GROWN OUTSIDE THE

BODY

The organism causing infantile paralysis has been successfully grown outside of the human body at the Mt. Zion Hospital, San Francisco, Dr. Frederick Eberson, director of clinical laboratories and research at the hospital and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, has just announced. The significance of this announcement lies in the fact that the virus or germ of infantile paralysis has never before been successfully cultivated outside the body, and investigations leading to control of the disease have been consequently hampered.

The studies at the Mt. Zion laboratories have been made during the past year with a special culture medium prepared from brain tissue. It is on this medium that the virus has been grown.

FARADAY'S RESEARCH ON METALS ANTICIPATED MODERN STEEL

Michael Faraday was a pioneer of modern alloy steel, and his metallurgical researches 107 years ago "anticipated in a remarkable manner the facts and principles on which the present enormous development of alloy steel is based." Sir Robert Hadfield, himself the father of modern alloy steel, revealed at the Faraday Centennary Celebration held in London this week analyses of 79 small specimens of steel and alloys, discovered during the rebuilding of the Royal Institution this summer, in a small box labeled in Faraday's own handwriting.

This forgotten cache, examined by modern metallurgical methods, shows that Faraday alloyed 13 metallic elements, and also carbon, silicon, and sulfur, with iron, using a forced-draft furnace capable of high heat. By adding chromium and nickel, Faraday anticipated present post-world-war developments of stainless steel. Using the noble metals–gold, iridium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhodium, and silver–Faraday surpassed present-day technical development.

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