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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:20:58
Typefacelarge in Small

The changeableness of climate to which the northern parts of this island are subject renders edifices of timber more liable to decay here than perhaps in any other country in Europe. But the bridge at Montrose is curiously circumstanced; for while it unavoidably exposes a great surface of timber to the action of the weather, some of the wooden piers are immersed twenty-two feet in the water, where they are attacked by a destructive marine worm. Some of the woodwork at the Bell Rock was infested with the same species of animal which preys upon the wooden pier at Montrose. In some of the temporary works there, as in the beams laid for carrying the railway over the inequalities of the rock, the timber was so much wormed that some logs measuring one foot when laid down would not square to more than nine inches at the end of three years. The beams which supported the wooden house for the accommodation of the artificers while the lighthouse was erecting escaped almost untouched, having been slightly charred, but the reporter, when inspecting the Bell Rock works this year, found that these worms are making some impression upon the ends of the supports resting on the rock where the charring could not take effect. The reporter is therefore of opinion that there is no better defence against the effects of this animal than slightly charring the timber, and he would recommend the practice at the bridge of Montrose wherever it can be applied. The operation of charring at the Bell Rock was performed by previously scraping off the adhering matter upon the logs and laying the skin of the wood open, and tar was applied to promote the combustion. Charcoal, besides being tasteless and inodorous,159 possesses some very curious properties in its action upon vegetable and animal substances, which may not only render it insipid, but even offensive to this insect. For those parts between the high-water mark and the roadway it will be enough to scrape the timber and lay it over with hot tar.”

In the winter of 1824 the ‘Deveron’ of Aberdeen, Captain Scott, went ashore upon the sands three miles north of Aberdeen in a gale at south-east. She was only about 300 yards from the shore, and here the whole crew must have perished had it not been for the prompt use of Captain Manby’s apparatus.

The preamble of the Act constituting the Northern Lighthouse Board, states that it would greatly conduce to the security of navigation and the fisheries if four lighthouses were erected in the north part of Great Britain. Such, it would seem, was the limited state of trade in Scotland, that the erection of these four lighthouses was5 all that was contemplated, on a coast, extending to about 2000 miles, of perhaps the most dangerous navigation in Europe. It is now marked by sixty lighthouse stations for the guidance of the sailor, but new claims continue to be made, and new lighthouses are still admitted to be required.

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