Roy Glashan's Library
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UNKNOWN AUTHOE
WRITING AS
RICHARD CASEY

AUTOMATIC SCALES

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First published in Amazing Stories, March 1949

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2022
Version Date: 2022-04-26
Produced by Matthias Kaether and Roy Glashan

All original content added by RGL is protected by copyright.

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Cover Image

Amazing Stories, March 1949, with "Automatic Scales"



Illustration


SOMETIMES things which appear simple are difficult. An excellent example of this, is the problem of measuring the consumption of liquids—not alcoholic ones. When aircraft and automotive engines are put on the test stand, it is extremely desirable to know very accurately what their consumption of fuel is in terms of gallons per hour. This is ordinarily not easy to measure, but with the aid of electronics, which is creeping into every phase of industrial activity, it is now a solved problem.

An ordinary scale is used, a scale such as foods are weighed on. A measured sample of fuel is placed on the scale, and the pointer of the scale is watched by a clever photo-electric cell arrangement coupled with an amplifier and a recording mechanism. As the pointer moves in the scale, it intercepts a beam of light which passes through the photocell. This in turn naturally causes a change in the electric current which is passing through the cell. The changing current passes through the amplifier and then through the recorder and because the whole apparatus is suitably calibrated, an accurate knowledge of the loss of weight of the measured sample of fuel is known.

This is but one example of a gradually increasing change in modern industry. Within the past ten years there has been a gradual but definite revolution in industry. It took a long time for industry to accept the vacuum tube, but now that it has, it's going all the way.

A vacuum tube, with a suitable combination of amplifiers, relays, selsyns and other gadgets can do almost anything a human being can do—and do it faster and more accurately. Above all, when vacuum tubes are used, there is no time-lag in the machinery, and as fast as a change is noted, it can be used to correct a process. This is extremely valuable, because before damage can be done, the correct change has already been made.

This has been mentioned before but it is worthy of repeating. The change that is taking place in industry is this: it is becoming more and more automatic. Put a photocell where once there was a human eye. Put a selsyn where once there was a human muscle. Machines never tire, never make mistakes, and have built within them gadgets which warn of their failure. Such an arrangement cannot be approached by man. Consequently they are superior to him in most routine jobs.

But regardless of the substitution of machines for men, men always remain the brains and the designers. The machines can do nothing there—even the vaunted mechanical brains are nothing but extensions of Man's faculties.

More and more industry is becoming a vast assemblage of robots, beneficient robots, willing and able to work without rest, able to produce tirelessly, and able to produce efficiently. Men are automatically falling into their place as the designers and watchers of the machines. The results are wonderful and even if a reversion to their past was desired, it is too late to accomplish it.

The only limits to this robotic procedure are applied by Man's ingenuity. That seems limitless. God only knows how many hundreds of millions or billions of vacuum tubes have been applied to industry. And the end is not in sight. The United States produces and uses half of all the vacuum tubes in the world and it seems unbelievable that this figure will increase as time goes on. Remember that every time a vacuum tube is put into industry, it is making it easier for us to live.


THE END


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.