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BLIZZARD-BLOAT.

there had been a heavier fall of snow than for several years, and the high winds had piled it in drifts in every direction. Through the day the wind averaged a velocity of 46 m. per hour, but there were frequent and brief squalls in which the velocity was much greater; direction of the wind due n.; temperature 15°. Before noon horsecar service in the cities within range of the storm was wholly suspended, and as the day wore on streets and roads became impassable, all railroad trains were blocked, telegraphic communication ceased, and telegraph, telephone, and electric-lighting poles, trees, chimneys, roofs, and other portions of building were blown down or far away. Snow ceased falling early in the afternoon, but the violence of the wind did not abate, and as the snow was very light the wind kept on piling it up in huge drifts and embankments. On Tuesday. the wind continued at a velocity of 47-60 m. per hour, and the temperature ranged 8° to 15°. Toward night the wind began to subside, and on Wednesday the snow began to melt. Many railroad trains were helplessly snowed in, the region between New York and Pittsburgh via Philadelphia, between New York and Albany, and between New York and the cities on the Delaware Lackawanna and Western railroad appearing to have the worst drifts. The Pennsylvania railroad had more than 12,000 men at work nearly two days, clearing the track and extricating the storm-bound trains between Elizabeth and Jersey City alone. In New York the melting of the snow was expedited by fires of wood and oil kindled in the streets, and business was wholly suspended. The first train through from New York to Philadelphia left Jersey City at 6 A.M. on Monday, and reached Philadelphia at 5 P.M. on Thursday. On the Delaware river and the N. J. coast the injury to shipping was very great, over 30 vessels being sunk or stranded, and several seamen drowned. Short-distance travel by rail was partially resumed Wednesday morning, but the snow did not wholly disappear for several weeks.

BLOAT, v. blot [Icel. blautr, soft: Dan. blöd; Sw. blot, soft: blöta, to soften by soaking]: to cause to have an unsound swollen look; to swell; to puff up; to make vain; to make or grow turgid. BLOATING, imp. BLOAT ED, pp.: ADJ. having an unsound swollen look, as if soaked in water. BLOAT EDNESS, n. the quality of having an unsound swollen look. BLOAT ER, n. small fish partially dried, generally applied to half-cured herring.

BLOCH-BLOCK.

BLOCH, block, MARCUS ELIESER: 1723-1799, Aug. 6; b. Anspach, Bavaria: ichthyologist. He grew up in extreme ignorance till 19 years old; then studied medicine, surgery, and natural history in Hamburg and Berlin; took his medical degree at Frankfort; and practiced in Berlin till his death. He is best known for his Allegemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische (12 vols. Berlin 1782-95, with 432 colored plates), and his collection of fishes now in the Berlin zoological museum.

BLOCK, n. blok [F. bloc, a log or mass: W. ploc, a block: Gael. bloc, round: Dut. blok: Ger. block]: a thick log or mass; a heavy piece of timber or stone; any mass of matter; the lump of wood on which persons were beheaded; any hindrance or obstruction; the piece of wood in which the wheels of a pulley run; a row of houses: V. to shut up; to stop; to obstruct. BLOCK'ING, imp. BLOCKED, pp. blokt. BLOCKHEAD, n. blok hed, a stupid fellow; a dolt. BLOCK'ISH, a. dull; stupid. BLOCK'ISHLY, ad. -li. BLOCKISHNESS, n. stupidity; dulness. BLOCK LIKE, a. resembling a block or blockhead. BLOCK-TIN, n. pure tin in stamped bars or blocks; also an inferior variety of tin. When the metal is reduced from its ores, it is first poured into molds, and the ingots thus procured are heated to incipient fusion in a reverberatory furnace, when the pure tin first fuses, and is withdrawn; and the less pure tin left behind, being melted at a higher temperature, is poured into molds, and is known as block tin (see TIN): ADJ. denoting a vessel made of double or triple plates of tinned iron. BLOCK HOUSE, n. a kind of fort chiefly constructed of hewn timber, loopholed for defense. BLOCK-SHIP, a vessel for the protection of a harbor-generally an old large one. Since war-steamers have almost superseded the old sailing men-of-war, the latter are of little service except as block-ships, or for training-ships. BLOCK-SYSTEM, the system of working a railway when it is divided into sections of 3 or 4 miles, generally between stations, having at the end of each a signal and a connection with the electric telegraph, so worked that no train is allowed to pass into any one section till it is wholly clear-thus between two successive trains there is not merely an interval of time, but an absolute interval of space. See RAILWAYS (Signals). To BLOCK OUT, to sketch out the whole roughly, as a plan.

BLOCK, in the rigging of a ship: an important part of the apparatus for raising sails and yards, tightening ropes, etc. The B. comprises both the frame or shell, and the pulley or pulleys contained within it. In seamen's language, a tackle includes the rope as well as the B. through which it works. The uses of blocks are very numerous on shipboard; and they are distributed about the masts, yards, sails, and ropes. They vary greatly in size, shape, power, and designation; but nearly every B. comprises a shell or wooden exterior, a sheave or wheel on which the rope runs, a pin or axle on which the sheave turns, and a strap (of rope or iron) to fasten the B. to any particular station (see PULLEY). A single B. contains only one sheave; a double B., two; and so on. Besides the designations of blocks acoord

BLOCKADE.

ing to the number of sheaves they contain (single, double, treble, fourfold), ships' blocks receive numerous other names -such as bee B., cut-B., cheek-B., clew-garnet B., clew-line B., etc. Some of these names depend on the kind of service, others on the place of fixing; while the rest are examples of the odd nomenclature adopted by seamen.

Block-making-Ships blocks were made by hand until about a century ago. But mere workers in wood could not produce them; it required unusual skill and practice to fashion the several pieces, and put them together so as to possess the requisite strength and facility in working. The trade was carried on alone, or with mast-making. More *han 1,400 such blocks were required for one of the old 74's, and a proportionate number for vessels of larger or smaller

size.

b

Various forms of Ships' Blocks:

a, long-tackle block; b, clue-line block; c, double block.

1808 the Brit. admiralty adopted Sir Mark Isambard Brunel's accurate and beautiful system of B.-making by machinery; he was paid £20,000 for his invention; and its annual saving to the govt. was more than that amount, with far better product. Recent improvements in blocks provide for decrease of friction: this is effected in one very large class by roller bearings. The hole through which the pin passes is considerably larger than the pin, and into the hole is inserted a roller bushing, which consist of a brass frame carrying generally 6, sometimes 8, rollers, which surround the pin and are parallel to it. Thus as the sheave turns, the rollers turn with it, rolling friction takes the place of sliding friction, and the sheave turns much more readily. In other systems anti-friction compositions are used to avoid friction. Instead of wooden shells for blocks, metal ones, often of open work, are sometimes used. stead of rope straps, iron straps are now generally used.

In

BLOCKADE, n. blok-kād' [It. bloccare, to block up: Sp. bloquear, to blockade-from BLOCK, which see]: the sur rounding or shutting up any place with a sufficient number of soldiers or ships, in order to prevent any intercourse with its inhabitants: V. to shut up a town or a fortress with an army or with ships, to compel its surrender. BLOCKA'DING, imp. BLOCKA ́DED, PP. TO RAISE A BLOCKADE, to with. draw, or to force or drive away, the troops or ships from their positions.

BLOCKADE', in a Military Sense: operation for reduction of an enemy's town or fortress, often without bombardment or regular siege, by preventing introduction of supplies or reinforcements. Every avenue of approach is guarded by the attacking force, which erects works on neighboring heights and roads; and troops are held in reserve to

BLOCKADE.

repel sorties. When the officer in command of a post foresees B. immediately imminent, he sends out of the place as many of the non-combatants and ineffectives as possible, collects the stores in bombproofs, and subjects to military regulation the food supply. When the opposing force begins construction of the B. works, he endeavors by frequent sorties to hinder the investment of the place. The most notable instance on record of military B. was the investment of Paris by the German armies 1870-1. There the inevitable result of the absolute stoppage of supplies was hastened by bombardment. At Metz, in the same war, a great army comparatively unencumbered by presence of a civil population, was compelled to surrender under stress of B. only, without bombardment.-See SIEGE.

BLOCKADE, in a naval sense, is prevention of entrance or exit of the enemy's ships at a particular port, or at all the ports on a stretch of coast: ships of neutrals are prohibited from intercourse with the enemy through the same ports. An attempt of a neutral ship to introduce supplies through a blockaded port, subjects the offending party to be treated as an enemy by the belligerent. But in order to create an obligation on the part of neutrals to abstain from attempting to enter a port proclaimed under B., the B. must be effective-i.e., maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the enemy's coast. It is a growing practice among maritime powers for belligerents to notify diplomatically, to the neutral powers the fact that they have placed an enemy's port or ports under blockade. The act of sailing with intent to enter a blockaded port will warrant the capture of a merchant vessel by a belligerent cruiser on the high seas. A port having been placed under B., egress is prohibited to all neutral vessels, except such as entered before B. was established: even these must not take out cargoes, unless they were laden before the commencement of the B. The ancient usage was to confiscate both ship and cargo in case of breach of B., and to treat the crew as enemies; but now a milder practice generally prevails as regards captain and crew; often, too, a ship may be condemned, while her cargo may be released.-The most memorable of recent blockades is the B. of the ports of the s. states by the U. S. govt. during the civil war. Hobart Pasha, a noted B. runner, testified that of 66 ships sailing from England and New York to run the B., more than 40 were captured. The effect of this B. on prices in the south and in England was remarkable; Hobart sold in Liverpool for 60 cents a lb. cotton that in Wilmington, N. C., had cost him only 4 cents; he sold in Wilmington for $3 a pair of corsets that he had bought in Liverpool for 60 cents. See CHARLESTON: NEUTRALITY: PRIZE COURT. Consult Hobart Pasha, Sketches from My Life (1866). For the law of B., consult Twiss, Hall, Phillimore, Hazlitt, and Roche for England, with Lord Stowell's decisions in the prize court during the French wars: Wheaton for the United States: Hautefeuille Heffter, Gessner, and Bluntschli for the continent of Europe: also the collections of treaties; and proceedings of the Alabama Commission.

BLOCK-BOND-BLOCKHOUSE.

BLOCK BOND: in bricklaying, an arrangement in which 'headers' and 'stretchers,' or bricks laid lengthwise and crosswise succeed each other in alternate courses.

BLOCK BOOKS: see PRINTING.

BLOCK COAL: peculiar kind of coal occurring in the coal fields of Indiana. It breaks easily into large square blocks. In the smelting of iron, it is used either directly or coked.

BLOCK' HOUSE: kind of fort of logs or timber, built usually within a field fortification, thus providing a keep or place to which the defenders may retire for protection and to protract their resistance. In plan a B. may be square, rectangular, or even cruciform, according to locality and to the kind of fire that it is to deliver. The walls are usually of two rows of logs, the inner placed vertically, the outer horizontally and hewn so as to have a surface of contact of at least 8 inches. If intended to withstand artillery, these rows would be about 3 ft. apart, the space between them being filled with earth closely rammed. The roof is usually of logs laid horizontally, boarded so as to be water-tight, and covered with 3 or 4 ft. of earth, so as to make it fire-proof and splinter-proof. A B. within a field fortification should be so placed that all parts of the interior of the fortification may be commanded by, and seen from, the B. Its size depends on the number of defenders to occupy it. It should be free from dampness and well ventilated, and strong enough to resist the fire to which it is liable; a thickness of 40 inches is required to resist projectiles of field guns. Where not liable to artillery fire, the B. would usually have two stories, the sides of the upper story overhanging, or making an angle with those of the lower, so as to allow all parts of the building to be protected by its own fire. The walls are provided with loopholes for infantry fire, and with embrasures for cannon, where these are used. Additional protection is obtained for the walls by banking them with earth. Blockhouses have been much used in the United States for defense against Indians. In a wooded country they are easily and quickly constructed; and, in connection with stockades (similar structures without roofs), they form an efficient protection, capable of accommodat

[graphic][merged small]

ing a large number of defenders. The accompanying cut shows one of many kinds of blockhouses: ab, is the natural level of ground; c, the earth obtained from ditch, d, and banked against the walls; e is the earthen parapet on roof. The loopholes also are shown.

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