Scientific American—April 5, 1890

A signal for automatically recording the time of passage of a train past a station, and delivering any desired message or orders for station agents or employee, is illustrated herewith, and forms the subject of a patent issued to Mr. James B. Ivey, of Macon, Ga. A carrier is connected to the engine, caboose, or one of the cars, and a receiver located on the road bed at the side of the track, into which signal balls are automatically dropped by the carrier, the balls being marked with or containing the instructions or messages to be delivered. A face plate carried by the truck frame, or by a frame carried by the axle boxes of the engine, is provided with lugs having vertical grooves in which .the side flanges or wings of a barrel may slide up and down, and into the top of this barrel is fitted an upper pipe or tube passing through a cap or head plate. The upper end of the carrier barrel projects a little above the floor of the car to permit signal balls to be conveniently dropped into it by a conductor or trainman, and the arrangement is such that the barrel may be held at various heights to keep a swinging striker and valve device on its lower end at any required distance above the trip plate of the signal ball receiver. This striker and valve device is designed to operate by the striker being moved either forward or backward, but in any case drops only the lowest ball from the carrier barrel into the receiver. The latter has a ball-catching trough of considerable length, and a shorter and deeper box into which the balls pass from the trough, there being in this box a clockwork mechanism by means of which the exact time of the dropping of each ball is marked by a prick, punch, or stamp on a ribbon or band. The signal ball may be made hollow, with one or more holes communicating with its interior, or in two detachable parts, to contain reports, orders, etc., or it may be made solid and marked on its exterior with the desired information, but the ball receiver is designed to be locked, so that only authorized persons having a key shall have access thereto.

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