A Conversation in a Railway Carriage in 1872

From Kelvin, p. 286.

... On his way to attend the British Association in 1872, with Mr Tower for a fellow-passenger, the Author was deeply engaged in trying to find a practical solution for the the problem. Having shown his plans and attempts to Mr Tower, whose great inventiveness is well known, Mr Tower suggested: "Why not use Wheatstone's plan of the chain passing around a number of pulleys, as in his alphabetic telegraph instrument?" This proved the very thing wanted. The plan was completed on the spot; with a fine steel hair-spring, or wire, instead of the chain which was obviously too frictional for the tide predicter. Everything but the precise mode of combining the several simple harmonic motions had, in fact, been settled long before. At the Brighton meeting ... the Author described minutely the tide-predicting machine thus completed in idea, and obtained the sanction of the Tidal Committee to spend part of the funds then granted to it on the construction of a mechanism to realise the design for tidal investigation by the British Association.

Before the end of the meeting he wrote from Brighton to Mr White at Glascow, ordering the construction of a model to help in the designing of the finished mechanism for the projected machine. ...

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