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Professor Pepper's Rain Making
On Saturday last the Brisbane racecourse was attended in the afternoon seme 600 or 700 persons (says the Courier), who went then in order to witness the series of scientific experi-
ments, and especially the novel feat of " tapping the clouds" by means of a gigantic kite, and concussion promised to be attempted by Pro- fessor Pepper.
The main feature of the affair was a complete failure, and the experiment which the professor expressed his desire to attempt was not tried, although the «tinosph&ric 6oti J i tjtms Win most favourable, heavy rain-clouds hanging loir and a steady breeze blowing nearly all the time.
On arriving at the ground preparations of different kinds were visible, an anemometer, fox indicating the velocity of the win.t was at writ, and an electrical machine was in Muinws tor use. There were also fixed on post* ten small swivel gnns of an antiquated pattara. By noon a commencement was made by .(bp explosion of a small charge of dynamite by electricity, and two or three large rockets wert fired. The swivel gnns were fired separately at intervals during the afternoon, no attempt: bring qude to produce a concussion by firing them simul-
taneously by means of alootrioity. Shortly ; after 2 oclook the Bret attemptaVkiteflying] was piade. Tbpkitfj &!mL wjs aMnaro-tplifo J one, with a beavypieeeof batten-Kid rarouwise and fastened with iron for a frame. It weald scarcely be believed thit It oould have been thought possible id make each; ah affair rise from the ground in anything short of a hurri cane i every effort, to [to' so resulted utter failure., fibortlyaftorwards a ftiwmOW rockets were discharged, and a large charge of dyna mite waa exploded. Two of the rockets were very carelessly lpindjed,,, (One wept otreMtfc fence bf the course, and exploded en the ground,' and another took an emtio flight in an opposite direction, foTtqaatelyeot jjf&e way of tha crowd, or a serious accident eoight have oc curred. Jjfhe people became clamorous, for'tbe "great experiment" of tha day, an efent that had been anxionsly expsoted, "tha raising of the large kite that was to have tapped tha clouds. This ntoved an even mots conuriouoas
failure than Uhe preceding attempt Nothing wonld induoe the unwieldy affair to leave the ground, and the efforts to raise It were greeted with ahouta of laughter. At last the leering crowd took poaseaafon of the whole affair and tried their .hands, but with no greater eneoees. In bet, the good hnmour of the (feotatoVs waa remarkable; in many places a nmilar public disappointment weald have raised' angty feel ings. Not a little of their good humour was due to the'laudable exertions of a lady profes sor of the art of equiponderant disturbance, with the assistance of a^highly-traSned donkey, whioh created infinite fan by the'skilful manner in whioh it flung off all who attempted to Tide on it This ana the exoellent playing of the Artillery band served to divert the crowd, and induced them to regard in ia merciful spirit the pseudo-seiehtiflo flattxt t&ejr had come, to w/t ness. Friends of the professor's, "however, de clare that the niip experienced araoc Saturday last is,dpe mainly to his etirtioM :i an|3, frotn bis letter ifi-aiothar oolomn & W^*ee* ib*i he hit something more to aay fbrhimtslf.
Professor Pepper 'writes to the dourier in explanation of me above as follows :
The experiments of Saturday, although, ajl suocessfplexcept so faraa the stool kite was concerned, have developed certain1 truths which cannot bo . gathered from ahybooks, because vary little «r nothing Mayet been worked oht in TOlationto these Va^tivo 'flying maohines.: My object in having ft steel fnuqe for tbp laixe kite was to secure the utmost strength of material, and the. steelwork of Messrs. firookee and Foster did its wqrk wall,, bending but not breaking. The bamboo work gave way at the head of the kite, where it was made to flap or turn over to save space in packing. But the strength of the msterial (steel) ia aooompanied withtoo mnoh weight, and although I had the kite reduced 14x71 feet to make it more manageable, the weight of the steel waa fatal to the rising power of the kite, and therefore I shall return to the oldfaahioned light kites, and will have two made 12ft. high ef bainboo cane and thick line (as used in the theatres), with thin glazed calico. Directly they sire made I shall resume the experiments, beoauae I am con fident that my scientific principles are right; but the manipulation of the kite is a novelty with me, ana, like " Plalissy the Potter," I shall go on as an earnest student until I suc-
It was curious to note, after Mr. Harris's guns had been discharged, the rockets sent up, and dynamites mines exploded by the electric spark, that rais fell about 2 p.m.
t,_J .? annofrnoe thata subscription
ait of 60 goiiw* to enable me to oontinne
fey jCtpfiffiniM; in^^jnmnlti'ng^' hftl! 2)6011
JfarU. E«q.t of Kewvtead,
0 Doberty, M.D., and oftpr subscriptions, of ono guiott 6ftoh« will bS^cknowledged in the newspapera, if sent
to me, care of Mr, Jefferiee, music-seller.
1 have tried to me steel because I wanted a very strong, serviceable kite, that would 'tend wear and tear, but I find die lightest material must be used, and I need hardly .ay, that all first experiments are tentative, I, snail oM ivery thin copper wire and string
in preference to steeL
I gratefully thank Mesan. Brooke* and Foster, Finney, Isles, and Co., A. Shaw and Oo., and other firnja who have lent or £rm*
I tp&tenala for my iim experiments.
JOHN HENRY PEPPER.