Toys that do Great Work

M. A. Henry
1920 Scientific American  
A :\HJDEL engine, or a model steamship 01' sky seraper is not always a toy or merely a thing of sentimental value. \Ve 00. 0 often think of a model as the work of a "tinkerer" and are apt to forget that model making has its definite place in modern indu"· try and that the model maker is a highly skilled workman who works with great precision. Recently at an important murder trial a model of the scene of the tragedy was introduced to show mOI ' l!" clearly to the jury "just how it happened." The
more » ... w it happened." The model had been made by a "tinkerer." It was shown to be inaccurate and was ruled out as evidence. The professional model maker knows that one of the mo"t important uses for models is in lawsuits and he knows that this may prove a most exacting test fOI' the accuracy of his work. llIodel served its purpose so well that it "saved the day." For the trial of another s.uit, involving-the patent rights for a well known make of steam turbine, more than $3,000 worth of models were constructed and used as evidence. In the trial of the German, Fay, who was caught a ttaching bombs to the stern of vessels, a model was again. used to advantage. The bomb Fay used was attached so that it was actuated by the ship's rudder in much the same manner as the balance wheel of a watch regulates its movement. Fay had calculated the number of turns the ship would make so that the bom.b would explode after the ship was well at sea. The whole concepfion was so fantastic that to convince the jury a six-foot model of a !>hip's stern was made and a small working model of Fay's bomb (minus the explosives) was attached. Fay was convicted. During the war an engineering firm undertook the erection of a large drydock for the Navy at Seattle, Wash. It was found that because of conditions whie-h could not have been. foreseen, a great deal more con struction work than had been thought necessary was required. Suit was finally brought against the Nayy for the extra expense incurred. The case was a very complicated one and difficult to present to a jur�' of non-tee-hnical men. The attorney for the company ad Irlitted he had failed to "put across" his point ancl then u happy thought occurred. He called in Horace E. BoUCher, a famous model maker of New Y.ork, a model was constructed to exact scale and the jury could then be readily shown the point at issue. The Model or a boiler, showing tubes and aU other reatures There ' are almost countless other instances where models have played important parts in lawsuits,but this is not their only practical use. They are very essential in the shipbuilding industry. For every steel ship built a "plating model" is made. This is a wooden form of half of the ship's hull. On this the steel plates of which the real hull will be made are laid out and the plates are ordered from this model. This is necessary because of the irregular shape of the hull, making an accurate blue-print impossible. Another model of the hull is made and towed in a test ing tank and its resistance to motion in the water (Continued on page 50) H tlIe model will do its work, the engineer is_sare in assuming that the finished crane will be equal to the demllnds made upon it © 1920 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC. A . model built for the guidance or t. be construction roreman on a big coft'er-dam and caisson job
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican07101920-38 fatcat:mmtaepsikbewpdy2ymejhherli