To the Editors of the New-York Magazine.
As I consider your Magazine a deposit as well of the arts and sciences, as of poetry, ethics, physics, and politics, I send you an account of a machine, constructed in every part by ANDREW BILLINGS, Esq: of this town; a gentleman, whose mechanical researches reflect not only great honor upon himself, but to the community of which he is a member.
The leisure hours of nearly four years were spent in its fabrication, and it has been completed five or six months. It is but little larger than an ordinary watch, being only one inch and nine tenths of an inch in diameter. It exhibits the month, days of the week, and days of the month, hours, minutes and seconds, -- strikes audibly the hours as a clock does; and repeats the hour and quarters by a pressure on the pendant as is done on French repeaters. It contains an alarm, by which a person can be awakened at any time of the night he pleases -- it is a flop watch -- and by means of a mute, its striking the hour on the bell can be prevented. It shows the different phases of the moon -- the variation of the tide -- and lastly, (upon principles entirely new) displays a thermometer, which not only shows with exactness the temperature of he weather, but is constructed to govern the balance spring in its contraction and expansion in such manner, as renders its motion (as far forth as affected by heat or cold) perfectly isochronal.
This element machine, tho' not larger than watches frequently are, contains one thousand two hundred and forty-seven different pieces.
Any gentleman have a taste for the nicer exhibitions of mechanism, will be pleased with this singular effort of art, and it equally gratifies Mr. Billings to have an opportunity of explaining its various operations.
Poughkeepsie, Dec. 17, 1792. R.