Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  10 (1885), 193–216.

The City of Buffalo

Jane Meade Welch


Essay, Travelogue

Relevant illustrations:

eng. [18]


Invention, Steam-power, Technology, Industry, Railways, Engineering, Industrial Chemistry

    Proclaims that the harbour in Buffalo contains the 'scene of an experiment only less interesting than the first voyage of Robert Fulton's steam-boat, for it was here, in 1842, that a Buffalonian, Joseph Dart, built the first steam storage transfer elevator, on the well-known elevator and conveyer principle of Oliver Evans', an 'invention which, by facilitating the movement of breadstuffs, has a vital concern for all mankind' (194). Insists that 'No city, save one, owes so much to railroads as does Buffalo', and characterises the city as a 'self-satisfied spider, supreme in the centre of her web' of 'iron rails'. In fact, Buffalo's railway bridges are 'inadequate to the demands of traffic', and the city's citizens are 'mooting the revival of the old scheme of tunnelling under the Niagara'. (196). The 'marvellous railroad improvements in Buffalo since 1880' are given 'unusual interest' by the 'fact that to this construction all the newer scientific principles have been applied', principles such as the modern axiom that the 'traffic capacity of railroad lines is limited mainly by the extent of their terminal facilities' (198). Buffalo is also notable as the 'third coal depot of America'—especially for 'anthracite coal' (199), and as the city which 'originated the manufacture of grape-sugar' in its 'glucose factories' (201). In addition, the city is 'famed on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean for the greatest engineering feat of modern times—the cantilever bridge of the Michigan Central Railroad which spans the gorge of the Niagara' (200). Later, alludes briefly to a visit to Buffalo made by Herbert Spencer (212).

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