JF Ptak Science Books
Life going on underground has always been very interesting to me--particularly so when a good tech story is accompanied by great art. This is certainly the case with the cover story for the September 15, 1890 issue of Scientific American, featuring the St. Claire Tunnel between Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan. This was the world's first "full size" (that is, large enough for a train) tunnel and spanned (?) 6,025' between tunnel portals and 2,290 of river width, making for a great technological achievement.
- The article occupies a very densely packed three-columned pages from 165-6; the issue comprises pp (159)-174. Removed from a larger bound volume with some roughness around the spine. Nice issue with much else of interest including 3pp of (illustrated) ads at the end. $75
[The issue is too large for the scanner so it is reproduced in two scans with a gap in the middle.]
The Scientific American celebrates the meeting of the two tunneling halves, each just about to join their excavation efforts at midway under the river. It is interesting that the artist would include those 40 tiny figures at work around the "Great Shields", which were functioning as a sort of enclosure for the working going on to remove the earth. Better yet is the smallish inset at bottom depicting the scale of the venture--in Real Life those images of people in the inset are only 1mm tall.
- We have nearly 4000 Scientific American issues available, overall, some bound as half-year issues, some as single weeklies, from 1845-1930 or so. If you have any interest in this journal please send an email...