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The Spanish and Portuguese papers have recently made known some interesting experiments that have been made by Mr. Carlos Relvas with a new life-boat which parts the waves with great facility and exhibits remarkable stability. This boat, which is shown in front view in one of the corners of our engraving, is T-shaped, and consists of a very thin keel connected with the side-timbers by iron rods. Cushions of cork and canvas are adapted to the upper part, and, when the boat is on the sea, it has the appearance of an ordinary canoe, although, as may be seen, it differs essentially therefrom in the submerged part. When the sea is heavy, says Mr. Relvas, and the high waves are tumbling over each other, they pass over my boat, and are powerless to capsize it. My boat clears waves that others are obliged to recoil before. It has the advantage of being able to move forward, whatever be the fury of the sea, and is capable, besides, of approaching rocks without any danger of its being broken.
[Illustration: RELVAS’S NEW LIFE BOAT.] A committee was appointed by the Portuguese government to examine this new life-boat, and comparative experiments were made with it and an ordinary life-boat at Porto on a very rough sea. Mr. Relvas’s boat was manned by eight rowers all provided with cork girdles, while the government life-boat was manned by twelve rowers and a pilot, all likewise wearing cork girdles. The chief of the maritime department, an engineer of the Portuguese navy and a Portuguese deputy were present at the trial in a pilot boat. The three boats proceeded to the entrance of the bar, where the sea was roughest, and numerous spectators collected upon the shore and wharfs followed their evolutions from afar.
The experiments began at half past three o’clock in the afternoon. The two life-boats shot forward to seek the most furious waves, and were seen from afar to surmount the billows and then suddenly disappear. It was a spectacle as moving as it was curious. It was observed that Mr. Relvas’s boat cleft the waves, while the other floated upon their surface like a nut-shell. After an hour’s navigation the two boats returned to their starting point.
The official committee that presided over these experiments has again found in this new boat decided advantages, and has pointed out to its inventor a few slight modifications that will render it still more efficient.—La Nature.
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The series of experiments we are about to describe has recently been made by Mr. Horatio Phillips, a practical gun maker of London. The results will no doubt prove of interest to those concerned in the use or manufacture of firearms.