A report on the success, during Sir William Thomson’s experimental trials, of the electrical energy accumulator of M. Faure, from a letter to the Times of London, deemed of sufficient importance to be transmitted to this country by cable by the agents of the associated press.

Quoted in The Manufacturer and Builder, Volume 13, Issue 7, July 1881; page 147.

The million “foot-pounds” kept in the box during the seventy-two hours’ journey from Paris to Glasgow was no exaggeration. One of the four cells, after being discharged, was re-charged again by its laboratory battery, and was then left to itself absolutely undisturbed for ten days. After that, it yeilded me 260,000 “foot-pounds,” or a little more than a quarter of a million. This not only confirms M. Reynier’s measurments, but it seems further to show that the waste of stored energy by time is not great, and that for days and weeks, at all events, it may not be of practical moment. I have already ascertained enough regarding its qualities to make it quite certain that it solves the problem of storing electric energy in a manner and on a scale useful for many important practical applications. It has already had in this country one interesting application of the smallest in respect to dynamical energy used, but not of the smallest in respect to beneficence, of all that may be expected of it. A few days ago, my colleague, Prof. George Buchanan, carried away from my laboratory one of the lead cells, weighing about 18 pounds, in his carriage, and by it ignited the thick platinum wire of a galvanic écraseur and bloodlessly removed a tumor from the tongue of a young boy in about a minute. The operation would have occupied over ten minutes if it had been performed by the ordinary chain écraseur, as it must have been had not the Faure cell been available, because, under the circumstances, the surgical electrician, with his paraphernalia of voltaic battery to be set up beforehand, would not have been practically admissable. The largest useful application is waiting just now for the Faure battery, and I hope that a very minimum time will be allowed to pass until it is to do for electric light what a water cistern in a house does for an inconstant water supply. A little battery of seven boxes suffices to give the incandescence in the Swan or Edison lights to the extant of one hundred candles for six hours without any perceptible diminuation of brilliancy. Thus, instead of needing a gas engine or steam engine to be kept at work as long as the light is wanted, with the liability of the light failing at any moment through the slipping of the belt or any other breakdown or stoppage of the machinery, and instead of the wasteful inactivity during the hours of day or night when the light is not needed, the engine may be kept going all day and stopped at night, or it may be kept going day and night, which undoubtedly will be the most economical plan when the electric light comes in general enough use. Another very important application of the accumulator is for the electric lighting of steamships. A dynamo-electric machine of very moderate magnitude and expense, driven by a belt from a drum on the main shaft, working through the twenty-four hours, will keep a Faure accumulatior full and thus, notithstanding the irregularities of the speed of the engine at sea, or the occasional stoppages, the supply of electricity will always be ready to feed the Swan or Edison lamps in the engine-rooms and cabins, or arc lights for the mast-head, and red and green side lamps, with more certainty and regularity than have yet been achieved in the gas supply for any house on terra firma.