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J. A. RUTH & CO., 




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This book has been produced at great expense: 
it is 'not a compilation: it is copyrighted; any and 
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J. A. KUTH & CO. 








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T T is safe to assert that no class of effort lias been as 
pre-eminent in the development of civilization as that 
of invention. It has given us substantially everything 
we possess which distinguishes 'us from our savage ances- 
tors. When invention has slept, humanity has slept 
also, or else has retrograded towards barbarism. Effort 
so conspicuous, so deserving of commendation is enti- 
tled to more substantial recognition than it has yet 

Hitherto what has been said of invention has been 
scattered through the books. Nobody has apparently 
thought it worth while to collect what may be said of 
inventors and their works as has been done with other 
classes of efforts and the men who were promiaent in 
their production. Frequently this has been done in 
cases where the classes of results have been far less 
influential than invention in the part played in the 
drama of the world's progress. It is to remedy this 
injustice that this work has been prepared. 

It wiU undertake to show how civilization has been 
influenced by invention, and how the latter has been the 
leader and not the follower of the former. It will 


endeavor to give faithful sketches of a class of mea who 
have often been derided, generally misunderstood, and 
as a rule, underpaid for their great services. 

Another of its objects is to correct a popular igno- 
rance in regard to the origin of inventions. It will 
endeavor to show that there is a widely-diffused behef as 
to the beginning of many practical appHances which is 
without foundation, as for instance that Stephenson 
constructed the first locomotive, that Fulton was the 
" inventor " of the steamboat, that Jenner was the first 
to use vaccine matter as a remedy against small-pox. 
Innumerable errors of this kind are in existence, and 
should be corrected, not only in the interests of truth, 
but that credit for these great results should be dis- 
tributed where they belong. 

These are the practical reasons why this work has 
been undertaken and given to the pubHc. It is beheved 
to be the first attempt to group inventors and inven- 
tions within the compass of a book. In this particular, 
it is beheved that it will have an especial value as a work 
of reference, as dates have been carefully prepared, and 
occurrences so located that a very large class of valua- 
ble information is made available, at sight, for those who 
may be in search of it. It is also thought that the 
sketches of the lives of inventors of prominence, which 
are woven in the woof of the book, will possess no small 
value, as they present models which will be of the high- 
est utiUty to the American youth during the progress of 

their development. 

F. B. W. 











The Bieth and the Childhood of a Giant. 
The grand role filled by invention — Invention and civilization insepa- 
rable — The chief factor to be found in invention — An outline of what we 
■would be without invention— Inventive genius — Birth, origin — Weapons 
of offense and defense — Palaeolithic age — Advent of man in Northern 
Europe — Invention takes the initial step of a long inarch — Neolithic age 
— Implements cut and polished-^Discovery of copper — Age of bronze — 
Most curious remnants of prehistoric man — Probabilities of this mystic 
period - Pages 17-27 

The Pbogress op a Stalwakt Youth. 
The period when iron was brought into use — First case of ship-build- 
ing — Women taught to weave and spin — Invention bided its tine— Civiliza- 
tion developed in Europe — Remote date of Chinese and Egyptian civiliza- 
tion — Eome and Greece founded — Illustrations of ancient genius — Hero's 
steam-machine — Fire-engine — Hasty glance over condition of ancient 
civilization— Gold and linen weaving — Greeks in medicine, sculpture and 
architecture — Koads, aqueducts, bridges, baths, colosseums — Archimedes 
as a mathematician, inventor — Power of the lever — Ships — Phoenicians — 
Mechanical evolution — Anglo-Saxon vessels — Hebrews, their power and 
glory — Fall of the Eoman empire — Invention a creator, but not a pre- 
server - - 28-43 


Acknowledgments to the Past. 
• Extinct civilization— Tunnel under the Euphrates — Chinese anaes- 
thetics — Eoman surgical instruments — Dentistry — Hydropathy — Chem- 
istry — Lightning-rods — Congreve rockets — Hindoo vaccination — Arte- 
sian wells — Aluminium — Metallurgy — Etruscan jewelry — Mechanical 


occupations considered degrading — Man's modern progress founded on a 
stratum by the ancients ' - 44^55 

The Daek Ages. 
Might and ignorance — The decline of literature — Earliest sign of its 
revival — Its relapse — Feudal system — What the Moors accomplished — 
Byzantine empire — Present civilization indebted to the Moors — The 
renaissance — Gunpowder brought to Europe — The value of the manufac- 
ture of paper to printing — Advances in the character of arms and armor — 
Closing of the dark ages — Bevival of frescoing, book-binding — Luther, 
Columbus — Mariner's compass — A new act in the drama of human pro- 
gress 56-64 

Gttnpowdee; or, the New Bieth op Invention. 
Changes wrought by gunpowder — Chronological statement compiled 
by Rziha — Date of its general use — As an evangelist — A revolution of the 
popular estimate of personal hugeness— Social and moral value — Descrip- 
tion of the first cannon — Original fire-arms — Berthold Swartz — Why gun- 
powder ^was so long in making its appearance 65-75 

Printing; or, the "Art Peesekvative of Arts." 
The world indebted to the Chinese for printing — Their method — 
When it came to Europe — Johann Gutenburg the German inventor — 
Laurens Coster the Dutch claimant — Outline of his early life — Lamartine's 
prophetic dream of the German inventor — Is persecuted and withdraws 
himself from the world to carry on his labors — His claim to the invention 
of printing disputed — Tedious litigation — He loses his case — Prints the 
Psalter and the Mayence Bible— Once more a wanderer — Death of Guten- 
berg — Stephen Dolet — He is arrested and imprisoned — Put to torture and 
finally burned — Progress of the new agency of civilization 76-93 

The Progress of Peintit^g. 
Popularity of the new art — Sovereigns and nobles participate in the 
manual labor of printing — First press set up in Westminster, England — 
Antique facsimile — The noted Oaxton — His peculiar writing — How he is 
regarded to-day in England — Slowness of press-work — An obstacle of 
magnitude — Invention of power-presses — The perfecting printing press 
and others — The addition of steam to the perfecting-press — The first 
newspaper — Chronology of the early newspaper press — The first press in 
this country - 94^103 


The Mabineks' Compass. 
The flfteenth century— How the various nations regarded each other 
—Doubt as to who was the originator— Chinese the probable originators 
—Its aid to destiny in making room for the superabundant millions of the 
old world— America discovered— The arduous efforts of Columbus to bring 
about this discovery — His appearance before a learned council— The 
theories of Lactance and Augustin— Columbus confounded— His responses 
despised and his entreaties unheeded— Still enthusiastic in what he 
believed to be his divine mission— His failure before the learned com- 
mittee—Spain spurned Columbus but has the credit of the discovery of 
America 104-111 

The Period of the New Birth. 
Renaissance — Eeason why printing flourished in Italy — Celebrities of 
the renaissance — The literary celebrities of the fourteenth century — 
Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, the triumvirate — Appearance of printing in 
the fifteenth century — Tasso and Machiavelli make their appearance — 
Some of the prominent painters, and scientific experts^The cradle in 
which was rocked the new-born civilization — Columbus and Vespucci 
born — Copernicus and his ideas of the planetary system— Bacon and 
Galileo preparing the way for Newton — Luther close at hand — The 
renaissance in England — The first results of printing — It brings into 
England translations of the classics — The literature of Italy — Valuable 
aid to Luther — The press as his herald— The period of violent con- 
trasts — Legitimate results of the new birth— Invention a potent agency 
in reconstruction — Gunpowder and printing as auxilliaries of the move- 
ment — Spectacles, watches, microscope, etc. — The invention of Ludolph, 
of Nuremburg, in the fourteenth century — Inferiority of the English in 
the sixteenth century— The next century brings competition \i;ith foreign 
manufactures — First mention of a sun-dial — Different instruments for 
marking the passage of time — Clocks in the thirteenth century — Wheat- 
stone'a electric watches in the sixteenth century — The chronometer, its 
value and use — Otlfer improvements and inventions of the fifteenth 
century— Bronze cannon — Engraving on steel — Letter-post in France— 
The carbine— Copernicus, the telescope, etc. 112-125 



Grandest event of the sixteenth century — Birth of Galileo — His extra- 
ordinary character — First discovery, the isochronism of the pendulum — 
His education — His investigations into gravitation — His discoveries make 
him enemies— Invention of the thermascope— Letters written by him ir. 
1597 and 1610 — Adoxots the Copernician theory — Takes up the telescope— 


Experiments and improvements — Creates a tremendous furore with the 
telescope — Foundations ol his subsequent misfortunes — His enemies plot 
against him — He appeal's before the inquisitors — The result — His penance 
— Au edict from Eome — Abjuration of Galileo — Sentence of the tribunal 
■which convicted him — How his admirers regard his abjuration — What his 
apologists teach— His persecution not unanimous in the church — Earnest 
endeavors on the part of the highest ecclesiastics to mitigate the severity 
of his sentence— Extracts from Madden 126-142 


The Micboscope and the Telescope. 
Their likeness and their unlikeness — Creation a crowded tenement- 
house — A fanciful picture of a celestial Colossus — Uses of the microscope 
— Its power — Things both curious and instructive — Its infinite service to 
medicine — Discoveries of Pasteur and Koch — Origin of the microscope — 
Found in the ruins of Nineveh and Herculaneum — Difficulty in locating 
the invention of the modern instrument — Method of using the earlier 
microscopes — Newton's design presented in 1672 — Curious developments 
of the microscope — The astronomer and the naturalist — The composition 
of vast mountain ranges — Uses of the infusoria — Nature's invisible police 
— The telescope comes to upset accepted theories — The task a severe one 
— Science inexorable — Curious beliefs preceding Copernicus— What Cos- 
mos taught, and what was believed by Bede, Xenophon, Ptolemy and 
others — Sketch of Copernicus, and his achievements — His ideas corrected 
by Kepler in 1609 — Origin and Invention of the telescope — Galileo takes it 
up — Galileo's discoveries — King of Saturn discovered — Keflecting tele- 
scopes — Iconoclasts among the idols and fetiches of the past — Ideas of the 
Creator enlarged — Jupiter the type of a perfect world — What an observer 
could see in one of the furthest fixed stars — A means of verifying 
history . - 143-173 

Descartes, Kepler, and Newton. 
Descartes a philosopher, an inventor, and a discoverer — His birth and 
education — A new system of philosophy — His theory of vortices — Gives 
his attention to dioptrics and hydrostatics — Discovery of the "-law of 
sines " — Johann Kepler — Discovers the ellipticity of the orbit of Mars — 
Immense value of his labor — His Kudolphine tables — Huyghens — Fourth 
satellite of Saturn discovered by his powerful glass — Invents the spiral 
spring for watches — Invents the chronometer — Birth of Newton — Early 
life — Aptitude for mathematics — Earlier discoveries — Makes a reflecting 
telescope — New theories as to colors — Newton as a theologian — His great 
discoveries — His death and burial — Some of the astronomers who carried 
on the work left by Newton — Laplace — He invents the calorimeter — Laws 
of sound — His crowning glory — Later discoveries — Gen. Mitchell — Proctor 
— A diligent student and worker - 174-192 



Alchemy and Chemistey. 
Various definitions of alchemy— Is of comparatively recent origin- 
Hermes Trismegistns, the mythical Egyptian— MetaUty of metals— The 
philosopher's stone— Keoipes for its composition— Search for alkahest- 
Demand for palingenesis— The homunculi— Extracts from Paracelsus- 
Alchemy not without its value— What it discovered— Chemistry separates 
from alchemy and forms an alliance with medicine— Noted chemists- 
Georg Ernst Stahl — What he did for chemistry— Theories which he 
evolved— Joseph Black and his discoveries— The famous Priestly, and 
some of his experiences— His life and death in America— Lavoisier— Dis- 
poses of the phlogiston theory— Cavendish expands the area of chemis- 
try—Sir Humphry Davy — The safety-lamp and other inventions and 
discoveries - . 193-207 

Peepbtual Motion. 
How it was regarded a century or so ago— The first attempts to secure 
something which would move itself— The six machines of Leonardo da 
Vinci in the fifteenth century- Drebble's famous effort — Marquis of 
Worcester, the inventor of the steam-pump— The claims of Orffryreus- 
The vast discussion over his wheel— What has been accomplished in the 
shape of patenting self-acting machines — What has been done in England, 
France and other places — The futility of the attempt to secure perpetual 
motion substantially established 208-225 

Hydeatoics, Hybeostatics, etc. 
First invention for raising water — Windlass used by the Romans — 
Chinamen find something easier — Improvements of the Hindoos — Various 
ancient appliances— Atmospheric pump — Stomach-pump— Its first use — 
Trying it on a dog — Germany the first to use modern water- works- 
Systems of water-works in use — The Gravity system, and the HoUy 
system^ — Turbine wheels — Hydraulic rams — Steam fire-engine — Mediaeval 
fire-engines — Squirts, and syringes — Steamer in use in this country — 
Chicago fire-department — Appliances of the Garden city fpr the handling 
of fires — The pastoral water-wheel — Its restfulness and its beneficent 
aspects - 226-247 


Spinning-wheel, Loom, etc. 

The old home spinning-wheel — Cotton gives a new theme to the 

music of the wheel — Spinning and weaving in the country homes — The 

footfalls of the spinner — Origin of the spinning-wheel — Its introduction 

into England — Improvements by Hargreaves — Modern factory system — 


Cruelty to children — Crampton's automatiomacliine— Cotton-gin— Sketch 
of Whitney — Art of ■» eaving— Specimens of oriental work now in Europe 
— First weavers— Weaving assumes prominence — Flemish weavers induced 
to go to England— England's supremacy in the manufacture of woollen 
cloth — Origin of the term "Woolsack" — First spinning-machine — First 
power-loom for the weaving of wide cloth — Sketch of Arkwright — Sketch 
of Cartwright — Hostility against machinery — Jacquard's important inven- 
tion—Sketch of Jacquard 248-275 

The Jacquakd and otheb Looms. 
Pattern loom — Development of the machine — Description of tha 
Jacquard attachment — Stocking-loom — The knitting-machine — Lee pro- 
duces a revolution — Refused a patent — Failure and death — Brunei's tri- 
coteiir — Lee machine first brought to America — Lamb knitter — Lace- 
making — Hand-lace made in England — French laces — First attempts to 
1 se machinery — Heathcote's invention — Carpets — Antiquity and earliest 
manufacture — Bigelow's invention — ^Calico -printing — Methods by which 
various patterns are produced — Peel family of England — Picture of the 
world as it was and is 276-297 



First wood-saw — Inventor of the saw deified — First saw-mills — Stan- 
fleld'a windmill for sawing — Planing-miUs — Bramah's invention — Wads- 
worth and DanieU's improvements — Numberless modifications in the pro- 
cess of sawing — Scroll or jigger-saw — First use and various improvements 
of the mortising machine — Green's chain-saw mortiser — Machiuery for 
cutting veneers — Wood-hangings— Machine for turning irregular forms 
invented by Blanchard — The jack-knife— Canonization of the omnipotent 
axid invaluable ax 298-317 

Enoraving on Wood, Metals, etc. 
The art known to the ancients — First illustrated books — Uses and 
benefits- Engraving on metals— Perkin's process of decarbonizing steel — 
Different processes for transferring designs to steel— Birth and process of 
lithographing — Chromo-lithographing — Osborne process of photo-lithog- 
raphy — Nature painting — Branson's method of electrotyping impres- 
sions of natural objects — Italy first to use engraving — Metal plate 
engraving said to have been discovered by accident— Albert Diirer— Hans 
Holbein—" Dance of death"— The art in France— Jean Cousin and Salo- 
mon— Revival of engraving in England— Modern engraving— Its educa- 
tional work — The world brought under every man's roof-tree, 318-333 



Ageioultbeal Implements. 
Primitive plow — CMnese plows — Tlie Eoman plow still in use — First 
plow patented in this country — Austin's rotary plow — Ploughing by 
steam — The English in advance of other iiations — Traction engine — 
Steam-plows— Flail, scythe, sickle, etc.— The cradle a Yankee invention 
— Forging of scythes — First reaping-machine — Case's reaper — Reaper in 
Gaul — MoCormick's — Sketch of latter — Large variety of reaping-machines 
— Chronology of reaper and mower — Material changes in the life of the 
farmer — Other machines in use in agriculture — Their name is legion — 
The threshing machine and its inventor — French fanning-mills — The 
future of agriculture in this country— What is yet lacking 334^-361 



Earliest weapons — What the Greeks, Eomans, and other nations used 
— Weapons of knighthood — The English bow — Cloth-yard shaft — Cross- 
bow, catapult, and battering-ram — Summary of ancient weapons — Some 
of the arms, of modern savages — Early breech-loaders — Cannon of extra- 
ordinary dimensions — '^hen iron balls were first used — Mortars at Malta 
— Rifling cannon — Various kinds of cannon — Whitworth, Rodman, Arm- 
strong, Krupp, and others — Sketches of some of the prominent inventors 
— The Gatling — Its capabilities — Small-arms — The culverin — Arquebuse — 
The musket — Falcon and falconet— The wheel-lock — ^Percussion caps — 
"Brown Bess" — Value of rifling — Elongated bullet — Bullet of Minie — 
Needle gun — Chassepot's invention — Colt's revolver — Sketch of Colt's life 
— Beneficial results of the improvements in fire-arms - 362-393 

Steam and its Appliances. 
Discovery of steam — Papin, Newcomen, Savery and Watt not in- 
ventors but improvers — Pagan use of steam — Steam-clock in the twelfth, 
century — Drawings of De Caus Ramsaye's patents — Discoveries of the 
Marquis of Worcester — His ' ' Century of Invention " — Torpedoes and 
other modern things foreshadowed — His steam-pump — The forerunner of 
a Savery, Newcomen and others — Oificial documents in regard to the 
steamboat of DeGaray — Facts show that no one person is entitled to the 
discovery of steam as a motor, or of the invention of the steam- 
engine - . . 394r-412. 


Steam and its Appliances— Continued. 

Sir SamueJ. Morland and his investigations — Denys Papin and hia 

inventions — Sketch of his life — Savery's first efforts — His engine the 

same as that of Worcester — Advances made by Newcomen — His early life 


—Constructs the walking-beam — Uses the safety-valve — Accident reveals 
a rapid process of condensation — Discovers automatic-valve motion — Vast 
importance of Newcomen's engine to the mines of Great Britain — Birth 
of James Vatt — His youth and education — His improvements in the 
steam-engine so radical as to amount almost to its invention — Steam on 
both sides of the piston — Eotary motion — Throttle-valve and governor — 
Steam-hammer — Chronology of steam, and the steam-engine 413-432 

( Steam and the Steamboat. 

Necessity of additional means of transportation — Agencies of pro- 
duction — The paddle-wheel — De Garay at Barcelona — Jonathan Hull, of 
England — Dr. Franklin and Oliver Evans — John Fitch — Sketch of his life 
— Builds a model of a steamboat — Pitch constructs a steamboat — Its suc- 
cess, and subsequent uses — Final failure — Becomes despondent, goes to 
Kentucky and dies by his own hand — His obscure grave — His prophecy — 
Bumsy, Miller, Symmington, Oliver Evans — Fulton — His birth — Builds 
and launches a steamboat — Builds other steamboats — The Savannah, and 
other sea-going vessels — Number and tonnage of steam vessels in the 
world - - - 433-461 


Steam and the Locomotive. 
No one inventor of the locomotive — First idea of the railway — 
Newton's land-carriage to be driven by steam — Suggestions by Watt — 
Locomotives in the eighteenth century — Oliver Evans' locomotive — His 
prophecies — Blenkinsopp and Hedley — "Pufflng BiUy" — George Stephen- 
son — His birth, education and 'rise — First engine— Becomes engineer of 
the London and Manchester Kailway — Surveys the route — Vaticinations of 
the press and public speakers — Stephenson before a parliamentary com- 
mittee — "Awkward for the coo" — Kailway built — Urgent objections to 
the locomotive — Stephenson fights for a movable engine — He wins — Com- 
petition ordered — Four engines compete — Stephenson's engine, the 
" Rocket," victorious — First engines in this country — Peter Cooper built 
the first one — Railways in the world 462-485 

Electeicity and its Appliances. 
Nature unknown — Molecules which repel and attract — Uses of elec- 
"tricity — Telegraphing — Foreshadowed in the seventeenth century — First 
telegraph — A wire for each letter — Discovery of the voltaic pile — The 
fractional process — First underground telegraph — Advent of Prof. Morse 
— Development of magnetism — Telegraph of Ampere — Prof. Henry and 
the electro-magnet — His telegraph — Wheatstone's galvanometer telegraph 
— Morse files a caveat — Sketch of his life — Morse's first exhibition — 
First message — Honors extended to Morse — Fac-simile telegraphs — Print- 
ing telegraph .... 486-505 




District telegraph and messengers— Burglar alarms — ^Automatic flre- 
alarms — Barrett's inventions — Patrol boxes — The " Little Joker " — Various 
uses to which electricity is put — Submarine cable — Cyrus W. Field — His 
efforts to lay a cable across the Atlantic — His failures — Prodigious perse- 
verance — Final success — The telephone — Speculations — Bourseul an- 
nounces the possibility of an electric telephone — Invented by Philip 
Eeiss — Perfected by Bell and Edison — Gray and his achievements — 
Edison — Sketch of his life — The phonograph and other inventions — 
Multiple telegraphy— Electric lights - 506-526. 


Electeicitt and its Appliances- Continued. 
Generating electricity — Plate machines — Galvanic batteries — Wolla- 
ston, Daniells, Grove, Bunsen, Leclanch^, and others — Magneto-electri© 
machines — Siemens, Wild, Gramme, Edison, etc.^ — The arc light — Incan- 
descent light— Lamps — Brush, Kapiefif, Werdermann, Wallace and Jab- 
lochoff — Niagara Falls — Instantaneous photography — Electro -plating — 
Electrotyping — Galvanizing iron — Galvanoglyph — The Faure battery, 
or "accumulator" — Brush storage battery — Faraday — His life and ser. 
vices — Influence of electricity on civilization — Electricity yet in its. 
infancy - . ^ 527-542. 

Age of Ikon. 
The world without iron — First use unknown — Known in the indefinite 
past — Pillar of Delhi — Iron-working among the ancients — Early furnaces 
— Iron-working in Britain — Mineral coal discovered — First iron-works 
in this country — Hot-blast introduced — Process of smelting — Howells' 
patent — Making pig into cast or malleable iron — Steel — Its antiquity- 
First patents — Bessemer and his process — The, rolling-mill — Henry Cort 
and what he accomplished — His life — Rolling of armor-plates — A volcano 
of fire - 543-564 

Age of Ikon — Continued. 
Shipbuilding — Astonishing results — Steel vessels — Armor for ships — 
When first used — Iron as a building material — Suspension bridges — 
Accounts of the various notable suspension bridges in existence — Capt. 
James B. Eads, and what he has accomplished — The jetties — John A. 
Roebling — Forging iron — The steam-hammer — Manufacture of wire — 
Pins, horse-nails, tacks, etc.— Future uses f6r iron - - 565-581 


Its early history — Berzelius — Effect of light— Daguerre— Talbot — 
Sketch of Daguerre — Draper's improvement — Old daguerreotypes— Dis- 
overy of collodion — The ambrotype — Vast number oi photographic 
processes — The stereoscope — Astronomical studies — Microscopic photo- 
graphy — Pyro-photography — Photographs in colors 582-600 

The Sewing-Machine. 
First attempts — French inventions — Date of the Howe machine — Order 
of inventions— Walter Hunt— Sketch of Elias Howe— Isaac M. Singer— His 
efforts and inventions — Doubts as to his claim— Wheeler and Wilson — 
Grover and others — History of Howe's invention - His suffering, struggles 
and triumph — Pinal success — Lawsuits — Elaboration of the sewing-ma- 
chine — Motors — Various kinds of sewing-machines — Value of the sewing- 
machine as a factor in the problems of labor 601-622 

Caol'ichouo or India Rubber. 
Caoutchouc defined — Gutta percha— First recorded discovery of rub- 
ber — Described by Torquemada in 1615 — What the French found — 
Priestly's notable discovery — Efforts to utilize it— Mackintosh's gi'eat dis- 
covery — Thomas Hancock — What he invented and what he pirated — 
Charles Goodyear — Life of Goodyear— Attention given to India rubber — 
Years devoted to attempts at improvement — Finally discovers the process 
of vulcanization — A life of prodigious suffering — Repeated failures- 
Final success — Reaps nothing but honor for a life of exertion— His death 
— Uses of rubber and its value — Is found everywhere — Its utility second 
to that of no modern discovery 623-647 

Glass and Its Manufacture. 
Fabled discovery — Sailors on the banks of the river Belus — Known to 
the ancients— Highly valued by the Romans— Glass articles found in 
ancient ruins — Valuable specimens— What glass is composed of— Process 
of fliodern manufacture — Plate and flint glass— How each is made — Curi- 
ous processes — Glass manufacturing in various parts of the world- What 
glass enters into — Its uses in the telescope — Some late efforts in this 
direction — Some statistics of its production — France, England, and the 
United States - 648-666 

Conclusion - 667-678 



Pkimitive Man 21 

John Gtjtenbebg 81 


Pac- SIMILE OF Ancient MS. 95 

Ancient Feinting Office 98 

Hob Pebfecting Type-Eevolving Pbess 101 

Galii/EO Galilei - 127 


Equatorial Telescope 165 

SiE Isaac Newton 179 

SiK W. Herschel 189 

Chinese Windlass 228 

Fusee "Windlass - 228 

Hindoo Sweep 229 

KoMAN Chain Pots 230 

Holly Pumping Engine 237 

Syringe Fiee-Engine (A. D. 1568) 241 

American Steam Fire-Engine 243 

Baboock Chemical Fibb-Engine • 246 

Loom of the Eighteenth Century 249 

Spinning— The Old and New Way - 251 

Modern Spinning Mule 255 

BiNG Spinning Frame - - 258 

Eagle Cotton Gin - 260 

Knowles' Light Fancy Power Loom - - - - 268 
Lamb Knitting Machines - .... 285 



Top and Bottom Sawxer - . . 300 
Band-Saw . 305 

Chain Saw Moetiseb - - - 309 

Specimen of Engraving in Fifteenth Century 319' 

The SiCKiiE . . . 345. 

The Cradle - 345 

Reaper in Gaul (A. D. 64) 347 

Self-Binding Reaper - 351 

Armstrong One Hundred Ton Gun . 371 

Gatling Gun Mounted on Tripod 375. 

Gatling Gun with Improved Feed 377 

Hero's Engine (B. C. 200) 395 

Newcomen's Engine (A. D. 1705) . 419. 

James Watt 425 

John Fitch's Steam-Boat . 441 

Robert Fulton 449 

Fulton's First Boat — The " Clermont " - 455 

The " Savannah "—First Sea-Going Vessel 457 

Modern Ocean Steamer . 4591 

George Stephenson - 469 

The "Rocket" . 480 

Samuel F. B. Morse - 499 

Dtnamo-Room — Generating Electricity - - 529 

The Brush Light — Street Illumination in New York 533 

The Brush Storage Battery - S38 

Piston Bellows of Africa - 54& 

Manufacture of Steel — Bessemer Process 555 

Steel Plate Manufacturing - - 561 

Bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis - . 571 

Elias Howe - 605 

Howe's First Sewing-Machine . 613 
Ancient Egyptian Glass-Blowing . 651 
Manufacture of Common Window-Glass .... 657 




ONE of the grandest roles in the great drama of 
Human Progress has been filled by Invention. 
Invention and civUization have come up out of the ages, 
hand in hand. They stand to each other in the relation 
of cause and effect, in which they act as alternately the 
one and the other. One day, invention creates on the 
demand of civiHzation ; and the next day, the latter, 
impelled by the former, makes a long stride in advance. 

There are many factors to he considered in an elabo- 
ration of the growth of the world — they are itmumerable, 
in fact ; but the peer of them all, and, in many phases, 
the chief of them, is to be found in invention. It has 
made the waters a highway which men traverse as they 
do sohd land; it, and its other self, discovery, have hfted 
the nations from skins and caves to royal purple and 
palaces. The air of this planet, echoiag the hum of 
spindles, the soughing of locomotives, the roar of the 
speeding trains, the clang of hammers, the murmurs of 
the telegraph wires, and aU the innumerable clamors of 
machinery, chants to all its remotest hmits, a hymn of 
praise over the labors of invention. 

Fancy for a single moment what this world would 



be if deprived of the inventions of the Stephensons, the 
Morses, the Fultons, and others of their kind ! The slen- 
der wires along the sky-line "would vanish ; the tapping of 
the telegraph sounder would cease; the gas-jets would 
die out ; the clack of the looms would be replaced by 
silence ; the ocean would become an awful, an impassable 
desert. The world would wander in sloughs of mud. 
Pestilence would take the place of cleanUness and 
health. The stars would become mysterious, and men- 
acing eyes glaring at us from the fathomless blue. 
Hovels and caves would come where homes of marble 
and beauty now stand. The sun would resolve itself 
into a ball- of fire revolving about us; the Grothic 
churches, with aU their freightful memories, would sink 
as into the yawning abyss of an earthquake. Men would 
hunt for caves for dweUing-places, and clothe themselves 
with the skins of animals slain in hand-to-hand conflicts. 

Savagery pure and simple would supplant all that 
there is of art, of the beautiful; and the world would 
become a desert in which man would skulk, and hide, 
shivering at the unending unknown which would every- 
where envelop him. 

This is but the faintest of outhnes of the condition 
to which we should be reduced were we suddenly de- 
prived of all that invention has conferred on us ; and from 
this, we obtain somewhat of an idea of what we would 
be had not inventive genius, at the very infancy of the 
race, come to our assistance, and led us from the in-' 
clement past into the warmth and brightness of the 

The birthplace of the beneficent genius which has 
done so much for man is not even known. It is less so 
than in the case of the Greek poet, of whom it was 

" Seven cities warr'd for Homer being dead; 
Who living, liad no roofe to shrewd his head." 

man's need of invention. 19 

But Ve may infer somewhat as to its origin. Somewhere 
it was in the mi^ty, the unknown past. Some'v^her'e 
among the caves in which dwelt the primitive man. 
The locality was near some stream, when the earth stiU 
bore the wounds inflicted on its bosom by the great 
glacier that moved down on it from the Arctic areas. In 
some gloomy cave lay the embryo of the genius which 
was to revolutionize the world. About were the colossal 
mastodon, the enormous ant-eater, the vast armadillo, 
ox-hke as to size, and toothed like a shark as to strength 
of jaw and cruel keenness of its armament. Here, amid 
what was but a faint resemblance of man, invention was 
needed and it was bom. It was needed to enable the 
groveling savage to save his apparently worthless Ufe ; 
it was needed to protect him against the monsters which 
patrolled the land, and waded and swam in the turbid 
pools, and that breasted the fierce torrents of the dilu- 
vial period. It was needed to protect him against the 
cold of winter, the summer heats, the consequences of 
floods, the results of wounds acquired in naked conflicts 
with beasts of prey, and to enable htm to commence 
that career to which he was destined. 

Thus needed, invention came to the relief of man. 
"What was the very first of its creations, we do not know. 
Possibly a hatchet of stone ; possibly a simple club, a 
weight at the end of a stick. A fallen hmb was probably 
the first weapon of offence and defence adopted by 
primitive man ; a chance stick whose knotted end sug- 
gested the knob at the extremity of a war club. From 
the possession of this simple instrument came the sug- 
gestion to weight the end with something more enduring 
than wood. Hence the stick with a stone somehow 
fastened to the end. Almost inevitable after this was 
the suggestion of a cutting edge to one face of the 
stone. In time, it became evident from experience that 


the harder the stone, the more endurable; hence the 
flint, hardest of all substances known to the primitive 
world. It is these rude hatchets which first came into 
existence, and their originator was the genius of inven- 
tion. They were as much an invention as the ponderous 
battle-axes of a later period ; as much so as the breech- 
loading gun of to-day, which tosses a missile of a ton's 
weight, a distance of from fifteen to twenty miles. 

The innumerable tumuH which have been unearthed 
in late years contain these primitive weapons without 
limit. They are found almost everywhere ; in this 
country in the greatest profusion. Their age is not 
known. They may date back to a period not more 
remote than a score, or two scores of centuries. In the 
excavations of the lake dwellings of Switzerland these 
weapons are found in abundance, and with them other 
evidences that man was on the highway of advance- 
ment. In one of them at Moosseedorf, there were a 
knife made of a boar's tooth; a bone chisel, and bone 
knife; an awl of the same material; a saw of flint; a 
harpoon of a stag's horn; and a fish-hook and needles 
constructed from the tusks of the boar. At what age 
the making of these weapons occurred makes no differ- 
ence as to the fact under consideration ; they were pure 
inventions, and were the first step which was taken by 
this genius in the wonderful career which was before it. 

It is a long way from the harpoon wrought from the 
horn of a stag to the harpoon-gun now in use ; long was 
the route, and numerous and vexatious the delays ; but, 
as we shall see, the route has been traveled; the cen- 
turies have all been bridged and crossed ; all the centuries 
which lie between us and the troglodytes who existed 
somewhere in the misty distance of prehistoric ages. 
But, in this connection, it should be borne in mind that 
there is no period or date which may be assigned as the 



chipped flint, or palseolithic age ; that is to say, it is not 
the fact that simultaneously among aU the tribes, all 
over the earth, men used roughly-fashioned flints for 
implements of "the Vfar or the chase. On the contrary, 
this palseoUthio period is stiU in existence. It was in 
existence when Columbus discovered America, for he 
found a continent peopled by men who knew substan- 
tially nothing of the metals, and who still used flints for 
8pear and arrow-heads as did the tribes whose traces are 
to be found as far back as the time when the northern 
"half of Europe was covered with ice. Even to-day 
there are peoples in the southern portion of South 
America who have in no material sense advanced beyond 
the period when "the Thames was a tributary of the 
Rhine, the Enghsh channel not yet in existence, and 
Britain only existed as part of a continent which 
stretched away uninterruptedly northward towards the 
Arctic circle." * 

The advent of man in Northern Europe is said by 
an eminent authority to have occurred at , a' period 
" when the mammoth and the tichorine rhinoceros stiU 
roamed its forests, and the great cave-tiger and other 
extinct carnivora haunted its caverns ; when the gigantic 
Irish elk, the reindeer, the musk-ox, and the wild horse 
were objects of the chase ; and the hippopotamus major 
was a summer visitor to the Seine, and the Thames." 

Invention having enabled man to provide for his 
most pressing wants ; having put him in a position to 
slay the animals on which he fed, to defend himself from 
the attacks of foes, and to take the initiative against his 
enemies, now went a step further. It began to minister 
to his taste, to develop the artistic in his nature. The 
step was a short one; but it was an initial one of a 

* Prehistoric Man, by Dr. Daniel Wilson. 


marcli that has continued with scarcely an interruption 
through all the centuries to the present moment. This 
next movement on the part of invention was the polish- 
ing, and the finish of the rude weapons already formed. 
The first implements of the primitive man were rudely 
fashioned — the knife, the spear-head, the hatchet being 
chipped from pieces of flint; the next was to fashion 
them so that they would please the eye. The roughness 
of the surfaces were removed by rubbing; the edges 
were ground to a condition of keenness, and the pointed 
instruments were brought to a pohshed point. The 
time which elapsed between the age of the two kinds of 
weapons is unknown. It may have been thousands of 
years ; but however great or small the intervening space, 
it is sufiiciently marked to separate two very defined 
ages, known as the palaeolithic, and the neolithic ages ; 
the former referring to the rough, and the latter to the 
pohshed instruments. The specimens found of the 
pohshed implements exhibit a vast amount of taste, 
many of them being fashioned and finished in a most 
elaborate manner. 

Having taken man in hand, invention was persistent 
in continuing its work. Copper was discovered by some 
of the wandering tribes, or in some way feU under their 
notice, and finding it hard, and yet more easy to work 
than flint and stones, it speedily became of general use. 
This was but a transition stage, for, in some way it 
was discovered that a more valuable material was to be 
found in copper in which a httle tin had been melted 
and thereupon ensued the age of bronze. " This 
sequence," referring to the flint stQne, copper, and 
bronze periods, " affords an interesting and important 
proof of progress in the earliest phases of civiliza- 
tion, evinced in the ingenuity and skill, and the adapta- 
tion of power to the practical purpose displayed in 


these implements by man in all countries, in those early 
ages." * 

In one sense, civilization had already commenced 
when invention had elaborated the alloy of bronze, and 
its fashioning into implements, utensils and ornaments. 
" The beginning of civilization," says Sir H. Davy, "is 
the discovery of some useful arts by which men acquire 
property, comfort and luxuries." The art of making 
bronze gave additional value to the property of men and 
aided them in the securing of comforts and luxuries. 

There were embryo VanderbUts in those far- off days ; 
men who with their bronze possessions, and such other 
property in the shape of tents, skins, and possibly some 
domesticated animals, were as much above the masses, 
who yet fished with hooks of bone, and stabbed with 
spears of flint, as a Gould is above the coal-heavers in 
the matter of possessions. 

The bronze age and its, predecessor, the stone age, 
may have had no possible connection; and what was 
learned by one may have had no relations with what was 
acquired by the other ; but it is stiU the case that the 
latter was a vast improvement over the former. The 
bronze age reached a very fair condition of development, 
judging from the " finds " of articles connected with this 
period. In tombs, and lake dwellings, there have been 
foimd swords with hilts, the connection between the hilt 
and the blade being made by rivets, and the whole 
ornamented in a manner which experts term " splendid." 
Another case is given in which a knife of the bronze 
epoch was found whose handle represented a human 
figure executed with marvellous skill as to imitation. 
Razors are among the things which the age possessed, 
whose blades were profusely ornamented. In another 

* Prehistoric Phases. Westropp. 


case, in Jutland, a tomb was opened which contained 
" a woolen shawl, a cloak, cap, three swords, a knife, an 
awl, a bodkin, a ball of amber, and a flint spear head." 
In this country, there have been various " finds " which 
throw some light on the habits and character of the 
men. The use of copper as a metal seems to have been 
known, but simply as if it had been a species of stone. 
The copper was mined, and was hammered and ground 
into the state which was required. It was made into 
weapons, utensils of various kinds, and ornaments. 

Perhaps the most curious of all the remnants of pre- 
iistoric man are to be found in the new world. That 
there has at one time existed on this continent a highly 
civihzed race does not admit of dispute. The fact has 
no bearing on the discussion of invention further than 
to demonstrate that it is possible that a race may exist, 
reach a high development, and leave no trace further 
than such as are to be found: ^^ i^'S tumuH, and the rem- 
nants of an ancient city. Stephens, in his explorations 
of Central America, was very much impressed with the 
extent and grandeur of a civilization which had disap- 
peared, and left no written record. He found works of 
art, which "proved, hke newly-discovered historical 
records, that the people who once occupied the continent 
of America, were not savages." He found workmanship 
equal to the finest monuments of Egypt. In a dense 
undergrowth, he found friezes and statuary, and " ascend- 
ing the steps of a vast enclosure terraced with sculp- 
tured tiers, he looked down on evidence of native energy 
and intellect not less wonderful than aU that America 
has since borrowed from nations of another continent." 
'th.eie is one locahty distributed with ruins which cover 
a space some twenty miles in extent. It is an extinct 
city. Its architecture "wrought out edifices of magni- 
ficent extent without the use of the arch;" it had 


sculptures, hieroglyphic tablets, paintings, and bas-reliefs 
in stucco; but to this day no more is known of the 
nameless city or its builders, than of the significance of 
the hieroglyphics which mock its explorers with their 
tantalizing records." Their sculptures alone throw any 
hght on the mystery, but even this saddens rather than 
affords relief, for all of them point unmistakably to the 
conclusion " that they indicate a people now lost and 

Such are some of the sahent facts connected with 
prehistoric man. They can scarcely be called "facts," 
but rather the probabilities of this mystic period. That 
men have existed cannot admit of a doubt; and that 
they passed through the epochs which have been out- 
lined may not be absolutely demonstrated . as may a 
problem in mathematics, but yet to an extent that per- 
mits Httle, if any doubt. There is no other history of 
their hfe than is to be gathered from the mute rehcs 
which are to be found in the tombs which they con- 
structed, and the dwellings which have been discovered 
beneath the waters of various lakes. It is to be observed 
that the story told by these relics is a logical one, one 
analogous to events, facts, and occurrences within our own 
period. There are exhibitions of progress. "We see the 
rude tools of the earher men improved on by succeeding 
peoples. Invention is shown to be at work. It rescued 
man from caves, during this period, gave him comfort- 
able clothing, taught him how to spin and weave, con- 
structed for him utensils, pohshed his rude weapons, 
improved them in appearance, number and efficiency, 
taught him sculpture and carving, developed his artistic 
tendencies, and placed his feet on a highway which led 
directly in the direction of an ultimate civilization. 

But after all this trouble in the interests of these 
people, what came of it? Who were the people thus 


benefitted, and what has become of them? Were they 
the original Caucasian from whose Aryan branch there 
came the nations who were destined, in time, to take up 
the burdens of an energetic, progressive hfe, and carry 
them onward until the domain of civilization should be 
reached? Have they become extinct like the builders 
and occupants of Palenque, that mysterious city whose 
present condition indicates, " a people now lost and un- 
known?" We know not. On these points, history, 
geology, archgeology, and palaeontology are silent. There 
is a mysterious period between prehistoric man and the 
historic concerning which we know nothing. There 
are traditions which claim to explain it ; there are histo- 
rians who sometimes reach back and fancy they have 
penetrated its secrets ; but they deceive themselves 
and those who trust their assertions. Crossing this un- 
known, debatable land, we shall place foot on a land 
which is no more a nameless one ; but which has been 
to some extent surveyed, and whose points and shores, 
whose people and their work have been examined, and 
named so that there will be no more groping in the 
darkness of a No-man's land. 

The description of the birthplace of the genius of 
invention has been a meagre one; but mystery is in 
accord with the genesis of the potential. Gods are not 
born as are men; they come out from the silent Un- 
known, and earthly conjecture is unable to fathom the 
travail of their birth, or the solemn silence which 
shrouds their advent into the domain of human exist- 

^^f©^ ^ 


'^^^ ^S^ejM' 






"CpEOM the ages which have just been described at 
-L some length, to the period when iron was brought 
into use, there is an indefinite lapse of time, concerning 
whose length there is no use in speculating. Probably 
the first mention in writing of the beginning of the iron 
age is, " And Zillah, she bare Tubal-cain, an instructor 
of every artificer in brass and iron." (Genesis iv., 22.) 

In the same connection, the assertion is made that 
Jubal, the half brother of Tubal-cain, was "the father 
of all such as handle the harp and the organ." This 
date is, according to the Pentateuch, nearly four thou- 
sand years ago. The Samaritan Pentateuch places it 
some seven hundred years later ; and that of the Septua- 
gint, and the Talmudists some seventeen hundred years 
earher. But the exact date is of no consequence. The 
fact remains that in Jewish history the working of iron 
was known to the Jewish people. The reappearance of 
invention, after its disappearance in the age of bronze, 
was among the Jews. Thenceforward, for a period of 
some twenty-five centuries, it played a moderate part 
in assisting in the development of portions of the human 

The ark of Noah is one of the first vessels spoken of 
in the Bible, and is probably the first case of ship-buUd- 
ing of which the world has any knowledge ; not exactly 



of ship-building, for the ark is described as simply a 
Tast, coyered, floating scow ; in no sense comparable to 
the magnificent specimens of a marine architecture 
"which invention gave to the world at a later date. But 
it answered the purpose for which it was constructed, 
and in this respect was all that is afforded by the finest 
vessel that ever clove the seas. The world was not yet 
leady for fleets. A log hollowed out with hatchets, dr 
burned out by fire, was furnished the people of the 
earher portion of the iron age, by invention, and this 
answered all their wants. It taught the women to weave 
and spin, in a most primitive fashion, but one which 
met all the requirements of the populations. The men 
fished, fought, hunted; the women cared for the house- 
hold. Their wants were simple and easily supphed. For 
a period of perhaps fifteen hundred years, the genius of 
invention had little to do save to aid in the providing of 
the absolute necessities of man. It assisted to clothe 
and feed him, to provide him shelter against inclement 
winters, or torrid summers^this was all. It was a sea- 
son of preparation, and invention bided its time. 

At varying periods after the bronze age, civiHzations 
were developed in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In Africa 
rose the mighty Egyptian empire whose origin as to date 
is uncertain, but certainly as far back as twenty-seven 
centuries before the birth of Christ. Three or four 
hundred years later saw the beginning of the Assyrian 
empire, and that of Chaldea, of which famous Babylon 
was the seat. Eight centuries after, the Phoenicians 
located themselves on the east coast of the Mediterra- 
nean, and became immortal as traders, pirates, and in- 
ventors of the alphabet which we now use with but 
slight modifications. The civihzation which found its 
development in Judea arose in the twentieth century 
JB. C, and lasted till within a couple of generations of 


the beginning of the Christian era. The Persian dynasty 
was mainly erected on the ruiris of Assyrian civihzation, 
and lasted for a little over a century, ending its career 
some five centuries B.C. The Chinese had their form 
of civihzation, which was founded, as they claim, at a 
period so remote that no calculations can be made as ta 
its exact date. It is usually conceded, however, that 
the Chinese were as early ia the field as the Egyptians, 
that is, nearly thirty centuries before the Christian era. 
Greece began to take shape and prominence many a^ 
thousand years B. C, and held its lease of existence as 
a great civiUzed power for some six centuries. Eome 
was founded but little later than Greece ; and outhved 
it by some; eight centuries. 

These include all the notable civiHzations of the 
ancients so far as known to history. The existence of 
others is alleged, upon authority more or less doubtful; 
but, admitting all that is claimed for them, they were 
inferior in extent and value to those named ; and, hence, 
need play no part in our search for the character and 
influences of invention. 

It is common for people to sneer at the ancients on 
account of a certain supposed lack in the inventive 
faculty. It is believed that they were, as a rule, a spe- 
cies of splendid barbarians, given to war, to specious 
philosophy, to the worship of false gods, and to a 
morahty which was at once the highest and the lowest 
in its character. We are apt to think of Eome as the 
headquarters of grand banditti; of Greece as the home 
of learning, and of lasciviousness ; of the Persians as 
effeminate idolaters, resplendent in barbaric ornamenta- 
tion; and of the Egjrptians as a curious people who wor- 
' shipped a bull, embalmed their dead, furnished the world 
with mummies, and constructed pyramids, sphinxes,, 
colossi, and invented hieroglyphics for no reasonable 


purpose whatever. It is not within the design of this 
work to expose any fallacies of this kind further than it 
may happen to be the case from giving a brief outhne 
of what was done by inventors and discoverers. In 
doing even this it may happen that we shall find not 
only that these ancient civilizations are of a much 
higher type than is popularly supposed, but that our 
civilization lacks very much being the originator of 
many things on which it felicitates itself, and which it 
believes to have been potential in aiding our lofty de- 

" II n' a de nouveau que ce qui est ouhlie" * said a 
modiste when remodeUing some fanfreluche (gewgaw) 
for Marie Antoinette. Possibly this remark has a wider 
apphcation than was intended by the woman who uttered 
~it. Long forgotten in the ancient civilizations are many 
things which to us would be new, and equally is it the 
fact that many things which we beheve to be new were 
weU known to peoples who lived on the Tiber, the Nile 
and the Euphrates. Some illustrations to show that the 
inventor is not exclusively a product of modern days, 
that we are not the originators of all that we assert our- 
selves to be, may be of interest at this point in the 
career of invention. 

It is a well known fact that an Alexandrian named 
Hero, who Hved more than a century before Christ, m- 
vented and operated a machine by which he secured a 
rotary motion from steam sent through a cyhnder, and 
which issued through holes in the arms placed at right 
angles to the cyhnder. This revolving, upright tube 
with its lateral arms was not the modem steam engine, 
but it was a machine made to operate by steam, and in 
this respect, just as much a steam machine as the 

* There is nothing new only that -which is forgotten. 


mighty combination of pistons, cylinders, valves, and 
rods wrhicli drive an ocean steamer from continent to 

If there be anything which this age claims as its ex- 
clusive invention, it is the fire-engine. Beckmann says 
that the sipho w^as a machine for forcing water on a 
burning building, and it was in use two hundred years 
before Christ. He cites Phny as having alluded to a, 
fire-engine. " Spouting engines for the throwing of 
liquid fire" to a great distance were in use before the 
termination of the Eoman civilization. It may be in- 
teresting to add at this point some recommendations 
which, according to Beckmann, were made by Apollo- 
dorus, "how assistance maybe given when the upper 
part of a building is on fire, and the machine sipho is 
not to be reached." In this case, leathern bags filled 
vsdth water are to be fastened to long pipes in such a 
manner, that by pressing the bags the water may be 
forced through the pipes to the place which is in 
flames." , 

Steel is not a modern invention. It is asserted that 
it was known to, and spoken of by writers in the Old 
Testament. It was used in the time of Homer. The 
steel in use by the ancients was not as brittle as that in 
use in modern times; but was nevertheless steel, and 
which entered into very general use. Phny refers to 
soap, and says there were two kinds of it — hard and soft. 
A passage in Strabo permits the inference that zinc was 
known to the ancients; and zinc ore is mentioned by 
several writers such as Aristotle, Strabo, and Galen. 
Mirrors frequently in the Old Testament are mentioned; 
and there is every reason for beheving that their manu- 
facture during the height of Eoman glory was carried 
to a very high state of perfection. The Greek artists 
(formed on glass both raised and engraved figures; and 


they knew some process by wEich glass could be molded 
like paste."* Pliny describes the method of cutting, 
, shaping, and preparing glass ; and there is reason to be- 
lieve that a wheel was used by the ancient artisan as 
there is by the modem one ; and yet it is the opinion of 
many that the art of glass-cutting was discovered in the 
seventeenth century. The hydrometer is said by some 
to have been the invention of Archimedes, although it 
is generally claimed to have been a product of some five 
centuries later. Tin was known to the Greeks, and so 
was the process known as tinning. Indigo was used by 
the ancients for dying, and as a medicine, cejituries be- 
fore its existence was known to Europeans. Gilding 
substances with gold was well known to the Egyptians, 
and is frequently referred to in the Bible. Stamp-mills 
for the crushing of ores were in use by the Eomans, and 
they fully understood the processes of separating. 

The citation of these few instances proves that the 
ancients knew many things which are supposed by many 
to be modern in their origin. It is already evident that 
the inventor and the discoverer were not idle even in 
these remote days ; and this fact will further appear as 
we glance hastily over the condition of some of the 
more prominent of the ancient civihzations. 

The enormous structures erected by the Egyptians 
prove that the people understood the handling of heavy 
weights, even to those of many tons. Eoadways were 
constructed over long distances between the quarries, 
and the site of the pyramid, or other contemplated 
work. They must have had a knowledge of the in- 
chned plane, of rollers, and of the lever, although some 
of the scores of pyramids must have been built ages be- 
fore the Archimedean period. They were expert in the 

* Traite dea Pierres graves. Mariette. 


use of tools for the cutting of the hardest granite. 
They knew of glass and could color it in a manner 
which cannot be done by any of the experts of the 
present day — even the most ingenious of them. They 
could weave gold; they could spin and weave; they 
knew how to make the finest of Unen ; they had all the 
implements necessary to carry on the trades of wood- 
workers, lapidaries, and other labors connected with the 
guild of the artisan. " Stupendous size and mysterious 
symbohsm," says Barnes, " characterize all of the 
monuments of this strange people. They built immense 
pyramids holding closely-hidden chambers ; gigantic 
temples whose massive entrances, guarded by great 
stone statues, were approached by long avenues of 
colossal sphinxes ; vast temple-courts, areas and halls in 
which were forests of carved and gaily-painted columns 
and lofty obeHsks, towers and sitting statues which stOl 
endure, though desert winds and drifting sands have 
beaten upon them for thousands of years." 

The Assyrian civilization was in every essential re- 
spect the peer of that of any of the others. It manu- 
factured a superior article of bronze, and wrought it 
into almost every conceivable shape. The Assyrians 
made vases, and excelled in the making of carpets ; they 
were at home in metal work ; and in brief possessed an 
ingenuity in the matter of decoration, and in many 
other directions which is in no sense surpassed by the 
very best of our modern artists and artisans. 

In art and learning, the Greek civilization had no 
rival in the other civihzations, and in many respects it is 
not excelled by aught that the modern world has accom- 
plished in these directions. It h^^s given the world much 
which, had it not been furnished by the Greeks, would 
have left our civilization far in the rear of what it is at 
the present day. Sculpture, and especially architecture, 


owe mucli to Greece. Its schools of philosophy have 
more or less affected aU subsequent thought. Its archi- 
tectural results have become models from which all 
time has borrowed the most valuable of its character- 
istics. Invention was at the bottom of all this progress. 
It suggested models, it shaped and modeled the Corin- 
thian and Ionic capitals; and these remain to-day in 
architecture as they were when the Parthenon was fin- 
ished, and the Ephesian temple, opened to the world — 
that temple of which it was written : 

" The aspiring youth that flred the Ephesian dome, 
Outlives in fame the pious fool who reared it." 

The Eoman civilization was one in which conquest 
played a leading part ; but in time, it rose to the dignity 
of literature, and the cultivation of the arts and sciences. 
It developed a high inventive faculty in the construc- 
tion of roads, aqueducts, bridges, sewers and water- 
works. What it constructed was for all time, many of 
its works being yet in perfect condition. Its system of 
water-supply has never been excelled either in magni- 
tude, in breadth of design, or in perfection of finish. 
Yast aqueducts were constructed which brought water 
into Eome from many miles distant, and the contents of 
these were taken in pipes and carried through the build- 
ings. Eighteen centuries have affected but httle many 
of -the bridges and roads thus built; and sewers formed 
for use long before Christ still do duty for the Eomans 
of to-day. The Coloseum, which seated eighty thousand 
people, was one of the achievements of Eoman civiliza- 
tion, as were the wonderful baths, and the harbors, than 
^Hch the world has never known anything superior of 
the same character. 

It was during this period in ancient history, and of 
Irhe existence of the civilizations under discussion, that 
Archimedes Uved. He was to the ancients what no one 


has ever since been to the world in the matter of inven- 
tion. He was a mathematician as well as an inventor. 
Some of his mathematical works are yet in use, and 
prove him to have been incomparably superior to all 
who had preceded him. He discovered specific gravity, 
or the principle that a body plunged in water loses as 
much of its weight as an equal volume of the fluid dis- 
placed. In connection with this discovery occurred the 
famous incident of the crown of King Hiero. Suspect- 
ing that it had been debased by the admixture of some 
alloy, he referred the matter to Archimedes, who took it 
under consideration. One day, entering his bath when 
the tub was full, a quantity of the water ran over on the 
floor. It suddenly occurred to him that the amount of 
water which ran over was equal to the bulk of his body, 
and that by weighing the crown in water he could detect 
whether there was any alloy in its composition. Carried 
away by the conviction, he jumped from his bath, and 
ran through the streets in his nude condition, exclaim- 
ing : " Eureka !" (I have found it !) 

This great inventor, who hved some three centuries 
B. C, is credited with about forty inventions, among 
which some hydraulic machines are the most noted. 
While on a visit to Egypt, he saw the difficulties con- 
nected with the necessities of irrigation, and invented 
what is known aB the Archimedean screw, which is in 
use yet in the country in which it was invented. There 
is much that is probably fabulous in the accounts which 
have been handed down in regard to some of his alleged 
inventions. It is said that when the Koman fleet was 
attacking the town in which he was born, he set it on 
fire several times by the use of enormous burning- 
glasses; that he projected from the walls great hooks 
which caught the galleys of the Eomans, and hfted 
them from the water. It was he who, in expatiating on 


the power of the lever, said that if he had a fulcrum, 
and a place to stand on, he could move the earth. The 
latter assertion cannot be disputed ; but supposing that 
he had a fulcrum, a lever sufficiently long to move the 
earth with his weight at the end of it, he would have to 
travel many millions of miles at its extremity to move 
the earth a single inch. 

It was during this period of ancient civiHzations that 
ships were produced which could make long voyages, 
and in which the Phoenicians took a leading part. The 
first vessel to which there is allusion in ancient history 
is the ark ; but this was at a period long before the art 
of navigation had been discovered. It may be remarked, 
in this connection, that it is " remarkable that its pro- 
portions of length, breadth and depth are almost pre- 
cisely the same as those considered by eminent architects 
the best for combining the elements of strength, capa- 
city and stability." * 

There is no record as to the inventor, nor is there 
probably any particular person, or even nation to whom 
the credit may be assigned for the invention of water 
craft. They were probably "evolved" from the hol- 
lowed log of the savage, and by slow degrees grew in 
the galleys of the Eomans and the sailing vessels of the 
Phoenicians. Pliny asserts that the Thasians were the 
first to use full decks, which is an important step be- 
tween the hollowed log and the ship which navigates 
the open seas. Oars and sails were both in use. It is, 
however, certain that the vessels used by the Eomans, 
the Persians, and the Phoenicians were superior to those 
which were in use during the period known as the middle 
ages. The vessels in which the Anglo-Saxons invaded 
England were in every essential respect inferior to those 

* Am. Cyclopmdia. 


whicli were long in use on the Mediterranean. The 
means of comparison are to be found in the raising of a 
Eoman vessel, built in the time of Trajan, vyhich was 
sunk in the lake of Eicoia, and which had lain there 
some thirteen centuries. It was built of planks of pine 
and cypress, according to Leo Baptista Alberta, was 
daubed over with Greek pitch, and caulked with linen 
rags ; the outside was sheathed with sheet lead fastened 
with copper nails. On the other hand, the ships in 
which the Saxons invaded England, in about 460 A. D., 
were simply wicker work covered with skins. At the 
battle of Marathon, 490 B. C, the Persian force was car- 
ried over in six himdred ships, or triremes. In their 
third expedition against the Greeks, the Persians had 
over a thousand ships, and three thousand transports ; 
all of which goes to show that the omnipresent inventor 
was abroad in the land. 

The Hebrews also had their civiUzation — broken, it is 
true ; but one which, at times, was as splendid as many 
of those which preceded or followed it. Some ten cen- 
turies B. C, Solomon was on the throne, the Jewish 
people rose to the topmost height of their power and 
their glory. They had won their place by an arduous 
struggle ; they had been slaves ; they had to exterminate 
with the sword the hostile nations who barred their pro- 
gress ; but now their long struggles culminated in a reign 
of peace. The temple was built, that wondrous struc- 
ture, "the house when it was building, was built of 
stones made ready : so that there was neither hammer 
nor axe, nor any tool of iron, heard in the house when 
it was building."* It was a fairy structure, with its 
cherubims overlaid with gold, its inner court of three 
rows of polished stones, and beams of cedar. And then 

■ 1 Kings vi. , 7. 


came that cunning artificer, Hiram of Tyre, a worker in 
brass, the son of a widow, "full of wisdom and under- 
standing, and skill to work all work of brass." He 
proved a true inventor in the labor of decoration. He 
cast pillars in brass, and made chapiters in molten brass, 
and a "kind of net-work and chain-work wreathed to- 
gether with wonderful effect." And he "made also a 
molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, all about 
. . . and a graven work, under the brim of it, com- 
passed it, for ten cubits going about the sea; there were 
two rows of chamfered sculpture. And it stood upon 
twelve oxen . . . The laver was a handbreadth thick ; 
and the brim thereof, was like the brim of a cup, or the 
leaf of a crisped hly. . . . And he made ten bases of 
brass, . . . and the work itself of the bases was inter- 
graven; and there were gravings between the jointings. 
And between the httle crowns and the ledges were hons, 
and oxen and cherubims ; and imder the lions and oxen, 
as it were, bands of brass hanging down. And every 
base had four wheels, and axletrees of brass, and at the 
four sides were undersetters, under the laver molten, 
looking one against another. And the four wheels 
which were at the four corners of the base were joined 
one to another under the base; . . . and they were 
such wheels as are used to be made in a chariot ; and 
their axletrees, and spokes, and strakes, and naves were 
aU cast."* 

These elaborate details wUl afford somewhat of an 
idea of the extent to which decoration was carried in 
the building of the temple, and the iaventive faculties 
required to originate aU these minute particulars and 
to carry them into effect. Solomon had a throne of 
ivory overlaid with gold ; and the vessels out of which 

" 1 Kings vii., 14-33. 


he drank were of gold ; for the furniture of his palace, as 
we are told, in those munificent days, "there was no 
silver, nor was any account made of it in the days 
of Solomon." Once in three years, "the king's navy 
went with the navy of Hiram, hy sea, to Tharsis, and 
brought from thence gold, and silver, and elephants' 
teeth, and apes and peacocks." He had a thousand 
and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horse- 
men; ia fine, the gorgeous splendors of the reign of 
Solomon surpass those of the most luxurious of ancient 

There were other minor civilizations in various parts 
of the world before the beginning of the Christian era ; 
but there is no need that they shall be specially men- 
tioned. In the details which have been given of the 
greater civihzations there is to be found enough to con- 
vince any one that one of the most active of the stimu- 
lants in their rise and progress is to be found in inven- 
tion. All the civilizations of the Asiatic country had a 
warm love of luxury, of adornment, and architectural 
splendor. To gratify these tastes was the task of 
invention and discovery. From aU that we can learn, 
they well performed their duty. Everything which 
could gratify the senses was provided. There were 
sculpture, wonderful buildings, splendid ornamentation, 
stained glass, towering monuments, monoHthic works 
whose handhng puzzles the modern observer, the 
finest of weapons, barges whose splendors have dazzled 
the ages, luxury, refinement, a lavishness of wealth 
vrithout parallel, paintings, busts, bronzes, arms, equip- 
ments, everything in fact which could minister to 
the indolent ease and warm imaginations of oriental 

The exhibition of the conspicuous part taken by 
invention and discovery in building up these various 


civilizations cannot be doubted ; but, if an active agent 
in building up, it would appear in the cases of these 
ancient civilizations, at least, to have no influence in 
preventing decay. Egypt flourished for two thousand 
years, and after having been successively conquered by 
the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans, finally be- 
came a mere province vpith none of its ancient splendor. 
The Jewish development was overrun by the Assyrians, 
and finally extinguished by the Eomans. Greece fell 
before the Eoman eagles; Persia went dovpn before 
Alexander; the Babylonian empire was hewed down 
by the swords of the Persians; and lastly, the great 
Roman civUization, in the fifth century of the Chris- 
tian era, went down before the swarms of Goths, 
Huns and Yandals. Invention could assist, could 
almost create civihzation, but it could not preserve 
it. With the fall of the Roman empire, the curtain 
went down on the tremendous dramas which had 
been enacted for nearly three thousand years, and 
darkness settled over the vast areas which for so 
many centuries contained so many grand civiliza- 

One is almost tempted, in watching the rise, decline 
and fall of these ancient glories, to doubt that there is 
any such thing as permanent progress in man. It is the 
belief of many that the present occupants or inhabitants 
of some parts of America are the descendants of the 
powerful and cultivated race who, at some centuries or 
ages before, constructed the palaces whose remains are 
here and there found, and whose character is an assur- 
ance of a high civilization of the men who constructed 
and. inhabited them. The Italians are the. successors of 
the men who conquered the known world ; and yet for 
centuries they were but a miserable counterpart of their 
ancestors. The present civilization largely comes from 



men who for centuries have lived in debasement, and 
who are the lineal descendants of warriors who once 
were invincible ; of orators, of poets, and statesmen who 
were second to none of their respective classes. As it 
were, it is the same people, with but few modifications, 
who rise, reach a grand development, faU, live near the 
earth for centuries, and then rise and fall again. In this 
case, human progress is simply like the movement of the 
waves — an uprising and a falling of the same mass. This 
is not progress; it is simply repetition, an oscOlation, 
but not a movement in a forward direction. 











BEFOEE taking final leave of the country from which 
we have just been driven by Attila, Alaric, and the 
chief of the Vandals, it may be no more than just to 
give these extinct civilizations some acknowledgments 
of the service they have conferred on the era of modern 
inventions. In the last chapter, the names of a few 
things were given which were unmistakably the inven- 
tion of the ancients ; but they cover only a small part of 
our indebtedness. There are others which can be men- 
tioned to advantage ; and which wiU demonstrate that 
it is only the forgotten which is new. 

Ballooning, not as elaborated by the French Montgol- 
fiers, but the same in principle, was known to the an- 
cients. It was a flying dove which is described as made 
of wood, and as flying "thanks to a subtile air with 
which its body was fiUed." It was but a plaything, to be 
sure ; which, however, is about aU that can be said of 
the balloon of the present. It has been of some ser- 
vice, but this has been more than counterbalanced by 
the damage it has inflicted in the loss of life. 

The origin of the roads known as the macadam is 
usually attributed to a gentleman from whom the road 
takes its name ; but the roads built by the Eomans in 
Gaul were precisely of the kind which are now being 
built in Prance and England as macadam. The same 



sort of road is in use in China, and it is charged that the 
so-called originator of them secured his idea of them from 
reading accounts of some roads which were in use among 
the Celestials. 

Suspension bridges have been in use in China for 
periods long beyond the historical. The same is true 
of swinging bridges. The Babylonians had a tunnel 
under the Euphrates a score or more of centuries be- 
fore the process of crossing beneath a river was in use 
by the modems. 

In the matter of anaesthetics, long before the Chris- 
tian era, the Chinese used a preparation of the canna- 
hiis indica which produced insensibility. The Biblio- 
theque Imperiale, in speaking of the doings of a Chinese 
surgeon, says: "He gave to the sick man a preparation 
of ma-yo, and at the end of a few moments, the patient 
became as insensible as if he had been plunged into 
intoxication, or deprived of life. Then Hao-Tho made 
some openings, some incisions, some amputations, and 
cut away the cause of the illness. He apphed some lin- 
iments. After a certain number of days, the invalid 
found himself reestabhshed, without having experienced 
the slightest pain during the operation." The nepen- 
the of the Greeks is supposed to be the same thing ; it 
is alluded to by Homer. The same thing was in use in 
Egypt. It is also a matter of strong proof that the 
ancients, and especially the Chinese, were in the habit 
of using iodine for the cure of goitre, and pomegranate as 
a vermifuge. From remote ages, the Chinese and the 
Japanese have employed acupuncture (cupping with 
needles) and moxa, the irritation of the spine with a 
heated iron. This is the same treatment which Charles 
Sumner went to Paris to receive, under the behef that 
it was a lately-invented French method, and which could 
only be properly treated in the French metropoHs. 


Camphor as a preventive of nausea and as a relief 
for intoxication, and aloes as aid to the digestion were 
in use among the ancients. In fact, the medical frater- 
nity is very largely indebted to the skill of the ancients 
for the discovery of drugs of value and for the inven- 
tion of surgical instruments, which are popularly sup- 
posed to be of recent origin. Metal probes were in use 
among the Eomans ; in the ruins of Pompeii there has 
been found a complete set of surgical instruments, in- 
cluding a catheter of bronze, a speculum, an instrument 
for examining the orifice of the ear, a volsella, a sort 
of pincers for readjusting fractured bones. In addition 
to all these, there have been found instruments for the 
drawing of decayed teeth ; and it has also been shown 
that the art of replacing arms and legs was practiced — 
a something which has generally supposed to have been 
invented and practiced towards the close of the seven- 
teenth century. * 

The case of instruments in use to-day by a dentist 
could be replaced by instruments possessed among the an- 
cients. Foumier is of the opinion that the filling of teeth 
was known by the Eomans, and hints at some authority 
to that effect. Hydropathy is usually ascribed to Priess- 
nitz, but it is spoken of by Horace. Suetonius is author- 
ity for the assertion that the physician of Augustus caused 
the death of young MarceUus by the use of the hydro- 
pathic treatment, and that this was the end of this class 
of medical practice. From a passage in TertuUian, 
some modem scientific writers have inferred that the 

* " Quand on ne pouvait aveo la volsella, remettre comme il faut les os 
brises, on coupait la jambe on le bras, et on leur substituait un membre 
artiflciel dont le mecanisme, figure sur quleque monuments, a surpris, 
par ses adroites articulations, nos chirurgiens les plus experts. Gelui qu' 
inventa Du Quet, h, la fin duXVII sieole, et qui lui valut de si grands eloges 
de la part de Eontenelle, n' etait pas plus habilament combine. — Le Vieux- 
Neue, par Fournier. 


ancients knew as much of accoucheinents as the most 
advanced experts of the present day. A verse in Lucre- 
tius gives vinegar as a remedy for the poisonous mush- 
rooms, but the remedy was not known among the mod- 
ems till many centuries later. In the history of chem- 
istry it is stated that the ancients knew of the virtues of 
mineral waters. It says that one of their remedies 
against dysentery was water in which a hot iron has 
been- cooled, and is still in use. 

Stoves are spoken of by Seneca, under the name of 
Jiypocausta; they were heated by wood, and distrib- 
uted their heat equally by means of tubes carried into 
and through the walls. This system not only includes 
the modern stove, but also the modem furnace, both of 
which are considered to be of very late origin. Verily, 
there is nothing new under the sun ! AUusion was made 
in the last chapter to veritable fire engines, which were 
named siphones, or sometimes the " Ctesbius machine." 
In regard to them, it is said by Anthony Eich, that 
"this pump is in reahty founded on the apphcation of 
the same principles in use among us." It was not till 
the sixteenth century that anything of the kind was 
introduced among modern peoples. The ancients knew 
how to make wood incombustible by the use of alum, 
than which nothing better is known to modern times. 
Says Fournier, in a long article on the lightning rod, 
and in which he cites numerous authorities, "the hght- 
ning-rod, which is to us so useful a protection, is like the 
greater part of things which precede, only an old inven- 
tion taken from the ancients and rejuvenated by wise 
men for our benefit." The evidence quoted to sustain 
this assertion is very copious and convincing, but too 
long to be employed in this chapter. Suffice it that he 
makes out his case with great completeness. 

It may be added while on this subject that in a 


book known as Sciences Occulte, it is claimed by the 
author, that the use of the Hghtning rod was known 
to the ancient Jews, and that the Temple built by Solo- 
mon was protected by this agent. Flavins Josephus 
says that the immunity which the temple had from hght- 
ning was owing to the innumerable gilded iron points 
which rose above the roof. Lucretius, in De Natura 
Berum, aUudes to magnetic attraction and repulsion as 
exhibited in yeUow amber when it is rubbed, and to 
which was given the name electron, from which we have 
obtained the word- electricity. But nothing came of it. 
It was supposed to be a quahty due to the form and color 
of the substance. It was httle thought of by the observ- 
ers that they stood at the very threshold of one of the 
most important scientific discoveries. 

In an article translated from some ancient manu- 
scripts in the possession of the French Institute, by 
Delecluze, there occurs the following : " Invention of 
Archimedes. The architonnerre is a machine made of 
fine leather which throws iron balls with a great noise 
and great force. They are used in this manner: the 
third of this machine consists of a furnace for the hold- 
ing of a coal fire and the heating of water." (Here fol- 
lows a description of some machinery not necessary to 
translate.) "At the proper moment a quantity of water 
is precipitated on the hve bed of coals, which suddenly 
bursts into a vapor, and out of the tube with great vio- 
lence and noise. This machine can throw a ball sixty 
pounds in weight." It is not probable that this is wholly 
rehable, for the reason that a leathern tube could not 
probably be of sufficient strength to resist the force of 
the explosion of the steam, or the sudden changing of a 
quantity of water into steam. However, the fact that 
such an invention is credited to the Greek mechanicians, 
and given in such detail — there even being a drawing of 


the architonnerre in the manuscript alluded to — makes 
the matter one of sufficient magnitude to at least deserve 

The once-terrible Congreve rockets were borrowed in 
1804 from a machine in use by the East Indians. There 
is excellent reason for concluding that the use of this 
agent was known to the Indians during the time of 
Alexander the G-reat. Philostratus speaks of the fright- 
ful effects produced by these engines of war, and which 
were supposed to be Ughtning which, in some manner, 
had been put in harness by the natives, and to act in 
their defience when commanded to attack an invader, 
Philostratus speaks of them as "torrents of fire, naked 
flames, charged with deadly thunderbolts, and faUing on 
armies and devouring them." There is something in 
this description which suggests the idea of artillery, 
charged with gunpowder, and carrying destruction in 
their vomited flames. It is perhaps worthy of note that 
despite these facts as referred to by ancient writers, it 
is still claimed by Enghshmen that they are the invent- 
ors of this deadly missile — the rocket. While speaking 
of the East Indians, it may be said that the discovery 
which is attributed to Jenner, of vaccination, or the 
practice of preventing or modifying a disease by the 
use of the virus of cow-pox, was known to the Indians 
centuries before it was introduced by Jenner as a 
novelty in the treatment of smaU-pox. This fact is 
so very interesting that it deserves more than a mere 

Fournier says that, "the remedy sought during so 
many centuries of contagion, as a counter-poison to the 
terrible virus was an useless search ; but all this time it 
was in the hands of the Hindoos, and the Persians. 
Dhanwantari, the Hindoo Esculapius, had spoken of it 
in his sacred book, the Sactaya Grantham, one of the 


Vedas." An eminent authority* in speaking of the 
manner of using the vaccine, says: "The Hindoos 
steeped a thread in the pustule of a cow, and preserved 
this thread, which enabled them to be in condition to 
render the eruption of small-pox light in the case of all 
children which were presented to them. Their mode of 
operation was to thread a needle with the steeped thread, 
then to pass it in under the skin on the upper portion of 
the child's arm, and then the same operation was per- 
formed on the other arm, the thread being left in both 
places. They assert that this operation never failed to 
secure a light eruption ; that there was but a small scab 
on the arm, and that there never was a case of a death 
among those who had undergone the operation." 

The account in the sacred book referred to, the Sac- 
taya Grantham, of the manner in which the vaccine 
matter should be taken from the cow, or from the arm 
of a human being who had been innoculated with the 
virus, and apphed to the arm of the subject, is substan- 
tially the same as if it had been written after witnessing 
the operation of vaccination in the office of a modern 
physician. The pointed instrument, the puncture which 
mingles the virus with the blood, the symptoms follow- 
ing, the temporary indisposition, are all described as 
exactly as if the writer had taken his inspiration from 
witnessing a case of vaccination at the present time. In 
regard to innoculation, it is asserted in a Memoire de la 
Condamine, to the French Academy of Sciences, that, 
from time immemorial, innoculation was practiced in 
Circassia, Georgia, and even among the Greeks. 

Many of the ideas of Adam Smith, and of other 
writers on poHtical economy, are not only the same as 
those advanced by Aristotle and Xenophon, but they are 

* BMiotheque Britannique. T. xxx., p. 134. 


in almost the exact words, showing that it is not a mere 
accident of suggestion, but wilful piracy; socialism, and 
its famous maxim "property is theft," is ancient, even 
the motto being due "to Aristophanes in his " Assemblies 
of Women." Asphalt was well known to various an- 
cient nations. It was used for paving roads, streets, for 
building walls, towers, and the hke ; the famous tower 
of Ackerouf, near Bagdad, and built about the same 
time as the Tower of Babel, being constructed of blocks 
of this material. It is but lately that this valuable ma- 
terial has been discovered by the moderns, and its main 
use as yet is in the paving of streets. Even now, with 
all our genius, the asphalt which we use, is vastly infe- 
rior to that which was used by the Chaldeans. The 
origin of artesian weUs, usually supposed to be a modern 
discovery, can be traced as far back as Solomon. "He 
cutteth rivers out of the rocks " is thought by Lenor- 
mant to be understood as referring to wells bored in the 
desert ; and in the same way he explains the water which 
was produced by Moses "smiting the rock" to give 
water to his thirsty followers. The existence of these 
weUs in Palmyra at a very ancient date appears to be 
estabhshed. " They bored in the oases some pits from 
200 to 300, and even 600 aunes (about six inches) from 
which the water burst forth, and flowed away in every 

Some Egyptian hieroglyphs show that the work of dig- 
-ging these wells was done by an iron tool which was raised 
and let fall by means of a line carried over a pulley. 
Window glass has been discovered at Pompeii ; and now 
it is asserted that the glass which a Eoman working- 
man threw down before the emperor was the modern 
substance known as aluminium. It has always been 

* Olympiodorus. 



supposed that the vessel was made of glass ; and as it was 
indented by the fall, and restored to shape by a few blows 
from a hammer, it is supposed that the ancients had. 
the secret of making flexible glass. As remembered, 
the emperor was pleased with the exhibition, and, after 
he had learned that nobody had the secret of making 
the material save the artisan, he ordered his workshop 
to be razed and the man's head to be struck off, his 
action being influenced by the fear that a metal of the 
kind would be likely to depreciate the so-called precious 
metals — gold and silver. The modern discoverer of alu- 
minium did not lose* his workshop, or his head ; on the 
contrary, he was the recipient of large rewards, and of 
no small honor from the scientific world. 

A matter which has of late excited a good deal of 
discussion, and one of very general interest, has refer- 
ence to the effects of the clearing away of forests. The 
conclusion has been reached that the removal of timber 
has the effect to increase the damage from floods by 
increasing their dimensions. Phny in Lib. xxxi., recog- 
nizes this fact of the influence of forests on water, fore- 
seeing that the suppression of the one would "lead to 
the unchaining of the other, and the greater frequency 
of inundations on account of the increasing removal of 
the Hving wood." 

It will perhaps surprise the ladies to learn that crin- 
ohne is not in the catalogue of the new. One of the 
ancient Greek poets warns young men to " beware of 
women whose vestments are ballooned in the rear." To 
the same class will be of interest the facts that in the 
time of Marcus Aurehus (100 A. D.), women were in the 
habit of changing their hair from black to blonde ; and 
that, according to another authority, "the women heat 
some irons to make curls which nature has denied them. 
The hair should be worn so as to fall on the forehead 


nearly to the eyebrows ; behind, it should float very low 
on the shoulders." Does not this suggest the modern 
."bang," and other developments of the coiffure of the 
present day? There is authority for asserting that in 
the matter of fashion of dress there has been less change ; 
or, more strictly speaking, fashions in vogue among the 
ancient civihzations have been more often repeated than 
anything else which owes its birth to periods of anti- 

In metallurgy, the ancients knew many processes, 
both chemical and mechanical, which have escaped us. 
Eossignal says that the ancients could handle iron in a 
manner which made it superior to our best steel — in a 
manner "concerning which we are ignorant." They 
could mix copper and leather, and zinc and leather. The 
Britannic Review, on the subject of the utensils of the 
Egyptians, refers to tempered copper, which has the 
elasticity of steel, and which was not hable to oxydation. 
CasteUani, an eminent authority on the subject concern- 
ing which he speaks, says: "The ancients had some 
chemical processes of which we are ignorant, for fixing 
the sinuosities of small granulations which run in bor- 
ders on the greater part of Etruscan jewelry. In fact, 
despite aU our efforts we have not been able to reach to 
the reproduction of certain works of an exquisite fine- 
ness to which we despair of attaining unless there shall 
be some new discoveries in science." Said a great artist 
to Clement VII., when showing him a collar of gold 
found in an Etruscan hypogeum, "Alas! it is better for 
us to seek a new way, than attempt to equal the Etrus- 
cans on their own ground in the working of metals. To 
undertake to rival them would be a certain method of 
demonstrating that we are simply wretched copyists." 

The enumeration of the various articles which are 
beheved to be modern, but which were known to the 


ancient civilizations, might be continued through a vol- 
ume. There are scores or hundreds of results in chem- 
istry, supposed to be of late origin, but which were 
known twenty or thirty centuries ago. There were 
some forty mechanical inventions given to the world by 
Archimedes, and a rather larger number by Aristotle, 
nearly all of which are in use now, either in their origi- 
nal form, or after having undergone some modifications. 
That there would have been even more discoveries made 
by the ancients is probable, were it not that among the 
thinking men of that age, and more especially among 
the Greeks and Eomans, anything of a mechanical 
nature was considered a degradation. Mechanical inven- 
tions were thought by Archimedes to be unworthy a 
philosopher, so that what he gave to the world, he re- 
garded, or affected to regard, as mere playthings. 

When it is known how very extensive were the apph- 
ances of the ancients in the shape of inventions, there 
is less difficulty in accounting for the high order of civi- 
lization which they attained. But this element did not 
prevent their fall. What were the causes which under- 
mined these ancient civihzations is not an apropos 
consideration in this work; but without referring to 
anything in the nature of causation, it may be remarked, 
that some good purpose was intended, as in the case of 
the geological development of the world, the waving 
forests grew to luxurious beauty, fell, and were again 
and again renewed to constitute the fuel which is now 
one of the main factors in the modern world's develop- 
ment. It may be that the rise, the growth, the faU of 
the successive civihzations is the slow process of form- 
ing a stratum which, in the moral and mental geology 
of the future, will play an essential part. The various 
accretions of the ages have their purpose ; the dead of 
to-day form the foundation, and the nutrition of more 


valuable growths of to-morrow. Somewhere in the com- 
ing time the value of the work done by the ancient civi- 
Hzations, and the benefits conferred by their death wiU 
be recognized. It will be seen that they were forming 
a stratum without which the progress of man would be 

There were seeds sown centuries ago in Egypt, China, 
Assyria, Judea, Greek, Eome, and the other centres of 
exceptional development, which are already bearing 
fruits. We owe to them very much in the matter of 
suggestions in law, in morals, and in government ; and 
what we have thus gathered is but the first fruits of the 
harvest. As the mighty past is more and more devel- 
oped under the pick and shovel of a Schliemann; and 
the hieroglyphics of Assyria, Egypt, Central America, 
and other portions of the ancient world, become read- 
able under the keen eyes of ,the ChampoUions, we shall 
find that every element in the past had a beneficial use 
intended for advantage of the future. 






THEEE have been numerous sub-divisions of the 
period during which man has occupied the earth. 
There were four given by Ovid, five by Hesiod ; Fichte 
mentions five, while Hegel and Compte decided on three, 
the last being the one in which we Hve. However, the 
generally accepted division consists of three: the first 
being the ancient ; the second, the Middle, or Dark Ages ; 
and the third the modern age. The middle or dark 
ages are generally agreed upon as extending from the 
fall of the western empire to the discovery of America 
by Columbus. 

" The dark ages is a term appHed in its widest sense 
to that period of intellectual depression in the history of 
Europe from the estabHshment of the barbarian suprem- 
acy in the fifth century to the revival of learning about 
the beginning of the fifteenth, thus nearly corresponding 
in extent with the middle ages. The last of the ancient 
authors was Boethius, after whose death, in about 624, 
the decline of Hterature, prepared during several previous 
centuries, became inconceivably rapid. The darkest 
period for Europe generally was about the seventh cen- 
tury. The earhest sign of revival, however, was seen in 
Ireland as far back as the sixth century. In the tenth, 
England and Italy were in a deplorable condition of 
barbarism, while in France and Germany there was more 


or less culture, which increased considerably duriag the 
eleventh. The comparative prosperity of scholastic 
learning in the eleventh and twelfth centuries was fol- 
lowed by a relapse in taste and classical knowledge which 
lasted through the twelfth and fourteenth." * 

This is a definition which very fairly covers the period 
referred to. The debasement of these centuries does 
not, however, apply to every phase of human develop- 
ment. It is true that learning was at its ebb ; the masses 
were ignorant and brutal beyond conception; morals 
were at a grade too low for measurement. Society was 
composed of a mixture of barbarism, ignorance and gross 
superstition. Might made right. The feudal system 
prevailed during a portion of the period ; and feudalism, 
although having many admirable traits, was, in the main, 
organizations of various bands of robbers led by different 
chiefs. They were permitted to carry on their profession 
of rapine and murder subject only to a head, called a 
king, or emperor, as the case might be, and who himself 
differed from his subordinates in being a robber on a 
more colossal scale. They robbed each other ; he robbed 
provinces, states, kingdoms according as they were weak 
and unable to defend their own. 

Learning disappeared, but a certain amount of growth 
was exhibited in other directions. Painting grew to be 
an art whose practical development in the opinion of 
many has never since been equaled. A good deal, too, 
was accomplished in the direction of architectural re- 
sults, in which the Gothic is a conspicuous example. 
Some advance was made in some portions of Europe, in 
certain directions, which are worth a hasty glance. 

To a certain extent, the Byzantine empire, with its 
capital at Constantiifople, preserved what httle Mght 

* Am. CyclopcBdia, vol. i., p. 186. 


there was amidst the Cimmerian gloom that spread over 
'every part of Europe save for a few centuries in Spain. 
It preserved a certain amount of civihzation, and it was 
the custodian of such letters as there were to be cared 
for. The history of this empire is most interesting, and 
it fails to receive the recognition which it deserves at 
the hands of posterity. Anything more than a mere 
allusion to it does not come within the scope of this 
work, as it did not, to any perceptible extent, add to the 
arts or inventions during its existence. It Hved some 
eight centuries, and was extinguished by the Moslem, 
whose descendants now possess it. 

Far more interesting is the history presented by the 
Moors during their eight hundred years occupation of 
Spain. Modern Anglo-Saxon writers seem chary of ac- 
knowledging the indebtedness of modern civihzation to 
the Hispano-Moors, fearing, perhaps, that their race will 
be shorn of some of its glory if it be shown in any instance 
that they are not the authors of all the great improve- 
ments of the modern peoples. However this may be, 
there is most excellent reason for concluding that, had not 
the Moors been in occupancy of Spain, our present civihza- 
tion would be retarded for indefinite centuries. The 
Arab wave that swept over Spain in the seventh century 
seemed at the outset a damaging inundation, but it left, 
when it receded, deposits which have made fertile the 
otherwise unfruitful fields of western and central Europe. 
The influence of the Moorish occupation on the Htera- 
ture of considerable portions of Europe is very great. 
"It can be traced in the reproduction of many of the 
stories as weU as in the structure of the French metrical 
tales. ... It extended into Italy, and is found in 
the charming stanzas of Ariosto, both as to matter and 
manner, and in ' twice-told tales ' of Boccaccio's De- 
cameron. In a word, the entire southern literature of 


Europe, up to the Eenaissance, owes as much to the 
Spanish Arabians for matter and form, as it does to the 
Latin for language." * 

But it is in the matter of arts and inventions, that 
the indebtedness is very great. In no particular instance 
did these people prove themselves original in the matter 
of invention, but they utihzed, and put in circulation 
that which they had learned in the far east, more 
especially in China and in India. That they brought 
gunpowder into Europe is not disputed by the more in-. 
teUigent; they did not claim to have discovered it, but 
simply to have brought it to Europe from Chiua, where 
it had been in use, within a limited area — as to purposes 
— for several thousand years. Amiot, a missionary to 
China, says that it was known some three centuries B.C., 
and gives the ingredients as being sulphur, saltpetre, and 
charcoal. There is a manuscript of oriental origin, ex- 
tracts from which are given in the Journal de V Institute 
Historique, in which it is declared "that gunpowder 
came from China to Persia, thence to Arabia. Thence 
it was taken into Spain." It is asserted to have been 
used by the Arabs at the siege of Mecca, in the year 690, 
or some six hundred and forty years before its first re- 
corded use by the Europeans at the battle of Crecy. 

Concerning the much-disputed priority for the inven- 
tion of printing on movable blocks, the historians of the 
Spanish-Moors are not at all backward in asserting that 
they played a most important part in giving the world 
this, the greatest invention of the ages. They do not 
claim that the Moors were the inventors of movable 
types ; but they do insist that it was they who brought 
paper into Europe, and thab, without paper, printing 
would have been of no practicable value. "It has not 

Conquest of Spain. Coppee. Vol. ii., p. 353. 

60 THE "bark ages." 

been sufficienjily noticed," says Coppee, "that what re- 
tarded the printing-press, and. greatly restricted its use- 
fulness, when it appeared, was the want of paper. It 
was not so much the stolidity of man that kept the art 
hack so long, as the cloth, the papyrus leaf, the sheep- 
skin called pergamina, or parchment, and the calf-skin 
called vellum." The Arabians had gotten from the Chi- 
nese a paper made from sUk, and catching a hint from 
it, proceeded to manufacture paper from cotton at Mecca, 
in the eighth century. This method was introduced into 
Spain, and in place of cotton, flax was substituted. 
Hallam says that the " Saracens of the Peninsula were 
acquainted with that species of -paper made ex rasuris 
veterum pannorum," — which means the rags of old 
clothes. So soon as paper became known, the print- 
ing-press became of value ; but up to that time it was 
almost as valueless as a cannon without any gunpowder. 
From this point of view, it will be admitted that the 
Spanish-Moors are entitled to a large share of the colos- 
sal results which have been achieved by the invention of 
the art of printing with movable types. 

The magnet and the needle are asserted by Coppee 
to have been known by the Moors ia Spain, they having 
discovered them among some of their eastern conquests. 
They made no use of their knowledge for the reason that 
their sea voyages were limited to " short trips in the 
Mediterranean from headland to headland, which did 
not require the use of the compass ; and therefore the 
invention languished because no imperious necessity 
called for its apphcation." 

" Before the twelfth century," says Gibbon, "the se- 
cret of silk-manufacture had been stolen by the dexterity 
and dihgence of the Arabs . The khaliff s of the east and the 
west scorned to borrow from the unbelievers their furni- 
ture and their apparel, and two cities of Spain, Almeria 


and Lisbon, were famous for the manufacture, the use, 
and perhaps the exportation of silk. The Moors were 
noted for their Damascus sword-blades, which they had 
probably discovered in the city of that name ; and they 
manufactured also the Toledo blade, whose reputation 
extended all over Europe. They manufactured a very 
superior leather known as Cordovan, taking its name 
from Cordova, and which now appears under the name 
of Morocco, from the place iii which it is made." 

Europe and the world owe much to the Moors for 
novelties which have not been enumerated in this brief 
outline. Their civiHzation was a bright one, and the 
Moors themselves were in the nature of a feeder which 
ran around the first centuries, and which, beginning in 
China, Egypt, and other portions of the East, emptied 
into the close of the dark ages, and furnished much of 
the material of the new civihzation. The great river of 
human progress hadbeen dammed in middle and southern 
Europe until it had become a stagnant lake — emotionless, 
dead, tideless. From China and Egypt, the Arabs cut a 
canal which ran by way of Arabia, the Mediterranean, 
through Spain, and was finally emptied into the hither 
end of this stagnant basin. This current was reinforced 
by the streams which began to flow from every direction, 
until it became the grand river which bears on its bosom 
the ghttering burden, the precious freight of modern 

And the great stagnant lake remains dead even unto 
this day. Its bottom is lined with the skeletons of 
strangled thoughts. In the ooze and slime of its vast 
basin are the bones of a slaughtered civiHzation. It is a 
receptacle filled with the bodies of those who attempted 
to work for human advancement, who behoved that 
right should dominate might, that free thought was 
man's birthright. Here are the corpses of the hundreds 



of thousands who gave their lives for the sake of rescuing 
a sepulchre — which they did not rescue. 

This great basin in central and southern Europe 
filled with the dead waters, and crowded with the corpses 
of those who struggled for the right to think for them- 
selves, is the blackest spot known to human history. 
Like the cave in which dwelt the fabulous Cimmerii, it 
is covered with eternal darkness. 

Invention had but httle to do with the earher portion 
of the period known as the dark ages. Some advance 
in furniture was made in the seventh century. S omething 
was done for ceramics in the eleventh century, and about 
this time, there were made some valuable tapestries, more 
especially the famous Bayeux, supposed to be largely the 
work of Matilda, the wife of WiUiam the Conqueror. 
There was some creditable gold and silver work done ; 
but the main advance, until very late in the ages, was in 
the character of arms and armor. Great results were 
achieved in the days when it was the custom of the 
titled warrior to envelop himself in a case of steel, and 
then with lance in rest to charge on the footmen who, 
unprotected by armor, were bowled down like ten-pins 
by the the steel-clad knights. But a gallant show was 
it that was made in the days of chivahy, as the armored 
hosts rode out on their cuirassed chargers to rescue the 
sepulchre from the infidel, to rob a neighboring chief, to 
seek for opportunities to rescue imperilled " damosels! " 
Their burnished armor, their champing steeds, their 
clanking arms, the masses of waving plumes must have 
been a glorious thing to see and hear — so glorious that 
it even gave a certain sort of dignity to murder, to rob- 
bery, to the gross superstitions for which they so freely 
gave their hves. As may be expected, the main improve- 
ment which this element indulged in was the inven- 
tion of new kinds of armor, and in this direction, they 


displayed a taste and an ingenuity which, if directed into 
channels for the benefit, instead of the killing, of man- 
kind, might have saved a portion of the dark ages from 
the infamy which envelops them. 

The early part of the dark ages did nothing that is 
worth recaUing. Towards the close, something was 
done in watches, playing cards were introduced, the 
art of frescoing was revived, as practiced by the ancients, 
architecture began to exhibit signs of life. Something 
was thought of in the shape of book- binding, although 
there were few books to bind. Byzantine styles began to 
be succeeded by the Norman, the Gothic made an ap- 
pearance, and the continent assumed somewhat less 
than before, the appearance of being a country in which 
a few of the people occupied palaces, and the vast 
majority, pens Uke swine. 

There is some little compensation in the last portion 
of the middle ages for all the damage they had inflicted 
on the cause of humanity. Some painters on wood and 
canvas grew into existence, and their works have pre- 
served their memories to this day, and wiU continue to 
preserve them when another century or two shall have 
rolled away. Such men were born as Leonardo da Vinci, 
Michael Angelo, Perugino, Eaphael, Titians, Tintoretto, 
Veronese, Correggio, Parmigiano, Albert Durer, Guido, 
Holbein, and many others who, for the first time in the 
history of art, attempted to represent nature in art, and 
to present to the world the figures, the events, the 
scenes of Christianity, not through some mystic repre- 
sentation, but as they actually presented themselves 
to the living observer. The Mater Doloroso, the bleed- 
ing and thorn-crowned head of the Christ, the awful 
agonies of the crucifixion, the dying sufferings of the 
saints, these were the subjects brought in by the differ- 
ent schools, and given with all the reahsm possible to 


ardent imaginations imbued with a desire to make the 
most of their faith and its sufferings and its benignant 
acts and promises. 

Finally there came Luther. Printing was discovered. 
Columbus ran the prows of his little fleet against the 
immovable shores of a new world. Gunpowder was in 
use — the mariner's compass was a fact. The curtain 
which had fallen on the nations when the barbarians 
swarmed over the sacred city agaia rose on a new 
act in the drama of Human Progress. Invention, which 
had been terrorized into inaction by the vision of the 
stake, the thumb-screws, and the rack, was hberated as 
to thought, and at once it sprang forward to aid in 
building up and developing the new and latest civili- 



THE world has never done justice to the part which 
gunpowder has played in the awakening and the 
establishing of our modern civilization. Perhaps had 
not this explosive made its appearance, at this very 
moment, when steamers are ploughing across the ocean, 
and railway trains are threading their way across 
almost every township in Europe and America, and the 
smoke of factories everywhere obscures the sun, the 
world would have been where it was ten centuries ago ; 
armored squadrons of knights would have been charg- 
ing with lance in rest on the serried ranks of unarmed 
footmen, and the great sport of killing in which the 
killer could not be killed, and the victim could not avoid 
his fate, would still be in progress. But gunpowder 
came along after the titled had had a few centuries of 
sport — of enjoyment of the battue, of a healthy chase 
like unto that of pig-sticking, with men for pigs — and 
changed all that. Gunpowder is the democrat of inven- 
tions. It is no respecter of persons ; it is the great lev- 
eler. A pigmy, with a small quantity of this levehng 
mixture, nicely packed behind a diminutive piece of lead, 
and the whole enclosed in an iron tube which could be 
carried on the shoulder, or even in the pocket; this 
pigmy, base-born perhaps, a herder of swine it may be, 
not the friend of any "lady fair," or desirous of being 

S 65 

66 gunpowdee; or, the new birth op invention. 

crowned by the queen of beauty ; nothing of the kind, 
in fact; yet this base-born churl who could not Uft a 
battle-axe, and possibly did not know a lance from a 
lamp-post, was the equal, the superior, in fact, of the 
proudest knights that, clad in full armor, ever rode a 
champing steed to battle. 

Gunpowder ended all the cruelty, the inequaHty, the 
braggadocio of knighthood. It made fighting as dan- 
gerous for the knight as for the unprotected wretch 
whom he used to spear, hack, and brain in his charges. 
Armor came off, lances were placed in rest in a manner 
different from that when unsteeled breasts were the tar- 
gets aimed at; the battle-axes, and breast-plates, the 
greaves and the helmets were hung upon the walls 
to be taken down no more forever. 

Who knows, too, what effect this dark-looking mix- 
ture may have had on the arrogance of the spiritual and 
temporal heads that dominated through the dark ages, 
both holding the lives and the fortunes of their subjects 
at the disposal of their will? Who knows what influ- 
ence saltpetre may have had in securing the concession 
of Magna Charta, in euforciag the demands of the peo- 
ple that they had the right to think, and that they were 
not by mere accident of birth the slaves, the chattels 
of the men who had claimed to own them from time 
immemorial? Undoubtedly the dominant classes of 
that day thought : 

" It was a great pity, so it was, 
That villainous saltpetre should be digged 
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth. 
Which many a good, tall fellow had destroyed 
So cowardly; and but for these vile guns 
He would himself have been a soldier." 

The explosive qualities of gunpowder are often put in 
use to remove obstacles which occupy sites intended for 
an improvement. So, on its introduction, and its use in 


Europe. There was a new civilization contemplated. 
The site on which it was proposed to erect it was en- 
cumbered with all sorts of natural and artificial impedi- 
ments. G-unpowder was apphed to them, and they were 
blown into fragments. The ground was cleared of the 
encumbering, unsightly, centuries-old obstacles. The 
site was now in readiness for the materials and the 
builders of the new civihzation. 

That which has done so much for the good of man- 
kind deserves some special mention. There are dozens 
of claims as to the men who invented it, and the period, 
the nation in which gunpowder was first known. The 
popular behef ascribes its invention to a monk named 
Swartz ; and to Eoger Bacon. There is no probabiHty 
that either of these is the inventor. A chronological 
statement has been compiled by Eziha, as follows : 

In the year 80 A. D., the Chinese are credited with 
possessing a knowledge which they had obtained from 
India. In the year 215, according to Meyer, Julius 
Africanus described its preparation. In 668, CaUinicus 
of HehopoUs introduced Greek fire to the Byzantines, 
which was probably gunpowder, and was used to project 
stone balls from ' ' pipes . " In 690, the Arabians employed 
fire-arms against Mecca, having gotten the knowledge of 
gunpowder from India. In 811, the emperor Leo em- 
ployed fire-arms. In 846, Marcus Gracchus described 
the composition of gunpowder. In 880, Leo, the philos- 
opher, made rockets for the army of the eastern empire. 

In 1073, King Solomon of Hungary bombarded Bel- 
grade with a cannon. In 1085, in a naval battle near 
Toledo, the ships of Tunis "shot fiery thunder," In 
1098, the Greeks used artillery against the Pisans. In 
1232, the Tartars employed "fire-pipes" against the 
Chinese. In 1228, Don Jaime threw into Valencia fiery 
balls, which burst. In 1247, Seville was bombarded with 

68 gunpowdee; ob, the new bieth of invention. 

^artillery. In 1249, Damietta was defended against St. 
Jjouis with bombs, which on this and other occasions 
were much dreaded by the Crusaders. In 1280, there 
■died at Cologne, Albertus Magnus, a preaching monk, 
said by some ancient writers to have invented " Bom- 
bar dum, bombardulam et scolpum manualum." In 1294, 
Eoger Bacon died, in whose works the destructive qual- 
ities of saltpetre, and the production of terrible thunder 
and Hghtning from its compounds, are alluded to, as is 
weU known. On a cannon, now in an arsenal in Batavia, 
is the date 1303. In 1311, Henry VII. bombarded Bres- 
cia with "thunder-guns." In 1312, the Arabs had can- 
non before Baza. In 1326, Martos was attacked with 
artillery. In 1330, Berthold Swartz is said to have dis- 
covered gunpowder. Other authors place the date at 
1320, 1354, and 1380. * 

It has often been asserted that the first use of gun- 
powder was at the battle of Crecy, in 1846 ; but there are 
authorities for its use at a much earher date. In 1334, 
Petrarch elaborates on the terrible character of the new 
powder and cannon, which, as he states, were then very 
largely in use. Among the battles in which artillery and 
gunpowder were employed, as stated by various authori- 
ties, were those of Alicante, in 1331 ; at Pui Gruillame, in 
1838; at Salado, in 1340; at Algeciras, in 1342; and at 
Crecy, in 1346. In the latter part of the same century, 
the Enghsh had four hundred cannon in position before 
St. Malo. At the close of the fourteenth and the begin- 
ning of the fifteenth, powder came into very general use. 
England imported it until about the middle of the six- 
teenth century, and then commenced its ov^ni manufac- 

Since that period gunpowder has been used for an 

* Am. Cyclopcedia. 


interminable number of purposes, of which, however, 
war has claimed no inconsiderable portion. It has been 
employed for hurling projectiles, for blowing up mines 
under fortifications, for the manufacture of innumerable 
forms of fire-works. At first, in accord with the spirit of 
the age during which it came in use, it was harnessed to 
the car of. Mars, and forced to assist in the great game 
of slaughter in which the world at that time was mainly 
engaged. The outflash of its flames was seen over 
Europe for centuries ; the hurtling of its missiles, and 
the crash of its exploding shells were the music which 
saluted the ears of the armies engaged in their mission 
of encroachment or defence. 

In this labor, there is no doubt that gunpowder was 
an evangeHst, a piissionary whose general average of 
results was beneficial. The centuries immediately suc- 
ceeding the dark ages needed something with the energy 
of the new invention to disrupt them ; to rend their co- 
hesive ignorance. There was gold to be had in the lodes 
of these centuries, but it was deep-buried in the soHd 
granite which had formed during the epoch which had 
preceded them. Something which embodied tremendous 
energy was imperative in order to open these veins, to 
tear apart their encrustations, to grind them to powder, 
and thus render them susceptible to the moral processes 
of separation. Hundreds of thousands were killed, but 
many of them deserved it ; others were in the way of the 
approaching civiUzation, and their removal was essen- 
tial. Upon the whole, the cannoneers of that period did 
the world no mean service. Castles which had been the 
refuge of powerful assassins, whose dungeons had been 
the living tomb of myriads of the weak, were leveled to 
the ground. Murder, rapine, oppression became less de- 
monstrative as they found that stone walls could no 
longer preserve from the vengeance of the masses. 

70 gunpowder; oe, the new birth of invention. 

There was in all this killing which followed the advent 
of gunpowder, a general tendency in the direction of the 
right. There were instances in which simple might tri- 
umphed over right, but the average of the results ac- 
complished was in the interests of man. 

The value of gunpowder as an assistant of the indus- 
tries of the world has been incalculable, Without it 
many of the grandest railway routes of the world would 
not only not have been built, but even unthought of. It 
rendered possible the Hoosac and Mont Cenis tunnels ; it 
has opened rivers to navigation and rendered new areas 
accessible, and thereby populous, fertile, and valuable. 
It has opened new harbors, has made possible railways 
across the Rocky Mountains and the Sierras ; it has ex- 
cavated weUs without which vast areas would be unin- 
habitable; it has rent the marbles from which come 
sculptured forms; it has furnished the blocks of stone 
for the construction of cities, churches, and palaces ; but 
above all has it been of inconceivable value in the assist- 
ance which it has given the miner. The auriferous and 
argentiferous mines of the world would be, in the main, 
unknown had it not been for the inventive genuis which 
gave us gunpowder. Millions and millions and stiU more 
millions have been added to the values possessed by 
mankind from the aid of this obedient but most potent 

It has greatly blunted in the popular estimate the 
value of personal hugeness. Once there was a time 
when a man's value was measured by the extent of his 
muscles, the height of his figure, and the potency of his 
arm. This was in the brute age — an age that once 
dominated the world, and which even yet is not extinct. 
The weak were everywhere the prey of the strong. 
Nations cultivated men of muscle, and size, as they 
encourage the breed of certain cattle. Physical strength 


was valued above mental vigor. In that brute age, men 
coulji neither read nor write ; they did not need to. If 
they could wield a sword so as to cleave a man from 
scalp to chin, and could swing a ponderous battleraxe, 
their career was assured. They needed no learning save 
to despise the common people, and to hew and bruise, 
and kill. Gunpowder came, and soon everywhere the 
stature of mankind rose to the elevation of the tallest. 
With finger on trigger, and eye sighting along a slender 
tube, the smallest of men became of the height of the 
largest. One thus prepared was the peer of the kiagly 
Goeur de Lion, whose mighty battle-axe was a load for a 

Socially, morally, and in an industrial sense, the in- 
vention is immeasurably invaluable. It has brought up 
the stature of the small of the world until all are of a 
height. It has changed the contempt of the powerful 
for the weak, if not to regard, at least, then, to a 
wholesome respect. It has been the great leveller of 
modern ages. It has swept down dynasties, " divinely" 
established and endowed, and brought the people from 
the vilenesss and degradation of serfdom to a position 
where they are listened to, respected, and where they 
have established the formula that their "voice is the 
voice of God." 

It is curious to note the increase in industries which 
the invention of gunpowder created and which relate 
solely to arms for warlike and sporting purposes. To- 
day there are but few branches of manufactures which 
are more important, in the amount involved, operatives 
employed, and results attained, than is that one which 
has the construction of arms as its specialty. The cannon 
which were fir^t used after the introduction of gunpow- 
der were a species of mortar, shaped like the mortar of 
an apothecary, and were known as bombards, and threw 


balls of stone. The progress of the bombard from its 
original form to its final result was a long one. It was 
at first made of bars of iron hooped together like a bar- 
rel; it was next made of wrought iron, and then of 
bronze, and finally of steel. The culverin was the suc- 
cessor of the bombard, and was shaped substantially 
hke the modern cannon. Some of them were of enor- 
mous length, one of which was not less than twenty-five 
feet, and may be seen at Dover, and concerning which 
the piece itself is pleased to say : " Sponge me out and 
keep me clean, and I'll send a ball to Calais green !" As 
the ball which it would carry weighs only twenty-five 
pounds, it would not do a very great amount of damage, 
even should the promise of the gun be carried into effect. 
In the fifteenth century shells were introduced, and 
from that time to the present, all sorts of improvements 
have been made. The difference between an ancient 
culverin, throwing a small stone, and the hundred-ton 
gun of Armstrong, with its breech-loading apparatus, 
and its elongated missile of nearly a ton in weight, and 
with an effective range of several miles, is a difference 
which is fairly characteristic of the peculiarities of the 
two periods in which they appear. The change in ^mall 
arms is equally marked. The first fire-arm was a simple 
tube supported by a stick, and braced against the shoul- 
der, and fired with a coal. From this primitive weapon 
came the arquebuss, which was fired by the wheel-lock, 
then the flint-lock, then the percussion-lock, with cap 
and nipple, and finally the modern gun with its metallic 
cartridge, its elongated bullet, and its wonderful pre- 

The amount of capital employed in the manufacture 
of material brought into use by the invention of gun- 
powder is simply stupendous. Every country has its 
arsenals for the making of cannon and small arms. The 


Krupps occupy acres of ground, and employ thousands 
of operatives in the making of steel cannon alone. 
Woolwich, in England, is a vast enclosure devoted to 
the manufacture of the monster eighty-ton cannon, and 
other guns, and articles needed in the operations of war. 
The smaU-arms manufactories all over the civiMzed 
world are hives of industry ; some of them are run by 
the governments, and others by private capital. The 
Winchester company in this country, and the Reming- 
tons, send their guns to all parts of the world, civiHzed 
and uncivilized. In the war between Eussia and the 
Turks, the latter were supphed with American guns, 
whose value is attested by the cost of the resistance to 
the invader. The manufacture of arms is a curious art, 
which forms no part of this article on gunpowder, save 
as it serves to illustrate the value of the industries 
which have been fostered into existence by the inven- 
tion of this explosive. It is an evidence of what a 
single branch of invention has done for the world in the 
stimulation of industries, and the expansion of human 

In the manufacture of gunpowder, there have been 
many advances. The Berthold Swartz, who is by many 
given the credit of the invention of gunpowder, is 
thought by good authorities to be the inventor of gran- 
ulation. The powder now in use is substantially the 
same as that in use at the outset ; but there have been 
improvements in the processes of manufacture. There 
are different methods of granulation, different as to the 
size of the grains, and also as to their shape. The 
branch of industry created in this direction is by no 
means a small one. There are factories for its making 
to be found in every country, although latterly, for min- 
irig and similar purposes, a much better substance has. 
been found in nitro-glycerine, and in dynamite, although 

74 gunpowdee; or, the new bieth of invention. 

neither is in any respect of a nature that will permit 
its being used in cannon or small arms. 

This is aU that needs be said of the invention and the 
value of gunpowder. It may be asked very naturally 
why it did not make its appearance before, if so long 
known to the inhabitants of China and India? One rea- 
son is that the world was not ready for it; that is, that 
part of the world which was destined to become the 
foundations of this modern civiHzation. From 1150, the 
date of the discovery of the mariner's compass, to the 
Reformation in 1517, there were some centuries which 
had a special use. They were the threshold of the new 
civilization. It was necessary that they should be event- 
ful ones, crowded with incidents which should shock the 
sleeping powers of Western Europe, and awake the 
nations from the lethargy in which they had been so 
long plunged. The mariner's compass, gunpowder, 
printing, the discovery of America, and, later, the tele- 
scope, were the agencies that were developed at this 
crisis. Gunpowder, so to speak, jarred the nations, up- 
turned and overthrew existing things, and resolved in- 
stitutions, forms, orders, and the hke, into their original- 
elements. Many things were effaced, oth'ers obliterated, 
the hurtful crystallizations in social, rehgious, pohtical 
and other directions, were dissolved into elements capa- 
ble of reconstruction in other and better forms. Then 
came printing, which diffused somewhat of intelhgence 
through these disintegrated elements, and which began 
to act as a bond of union, to form new crystallizations, 
to cement new accretions, all of which were congenial 
and possessed of potent afl^nities, and which were to be- 
come the material of which the new order of things was 
to be composed. Gunpowder could have come sooner, 
if it had been needed ; and so could printing. The latter 
was known for a long period before it was needed in the 


projected genesis; but it assumed shape when its ser- 
vices were most in demand. Had the order of the com- 
ing of these two been reversed there is no reason for 
thinking that mankind would have made as rapid pro- 
gress, or that it would have made any at all so as it 
might be influenced by these agencies. The Eeforma- 
tion, before the use of movable types, and the printing 
press, would have been no reformation, but an effort 
which would have fallen lifeless on the public, and would 
have been speedily ended by the removal of its author. 
What agencies are at work to adjust such apphances 
as these to the necessities of man so that they come 
only at the opportune moment needs not be examined 
here. Experiencfe will bear out the assertion that occa- 
sion creates .the instrument. The world has had thou- 
sands of unknown Alexanders and .Napoleons ; and the 
reason that they remained obscure, and never conquered 
worlds, was that there were no worlds to conquer. Had 
the Macedonian hved a century earHer, or later, than he 
did, he would never have been heard of, but there would 
have been some other one, with aU his masterly genius, 
to take his place. 













AS in many other cases, the world is indebted to the 
despised Chinese for its first knowledge of printing ; 
not printing as now practiced with movable types, but 
printing in which an impression of the types is taken on 
paper. So far as can be ascertained, the Chinese were 
in the habit of printing from types as early as the com- 
mencement of the dark ages. In their method, the 
matter to be printed was first written on a sheet of paper, 
and then laid on a flat surface of some species of hard 
wood. The characters of the paper being damp, left 
their impression on wood ; then all of the surface was 
dug out excepting the marks which had been left by the 
inked paper, with the result that the surface of the wood 
left a perfect fac simile of the characters. These were 
then inked, a clean piece of paper was laid over the block, 
and either pressed down by some weight, or rubbed with 
a brush, as is now done in printing offices in taking a 
" proof " of an article in type. By this slow process, the 
Chinese carried on printing with entire success, and 
produced a large number of works — aU of their manu- 
scripts which contained the literature of former ages 
being reproduced in book form with printed contents. 

Before movable types were discovered, printing ac- 
cording to the Chinese method was in use in Japan ; also 
in Italy, Spain and Sicily, but mainly for figures on silk 


and cotton stnSs. It was also used for producing tlie 
various figures on playing cards. In the early part of 
the fifteenth century, there were hooks produced hy the 
block process, a religious book known as the Biblia 
Pauperum being the most celebrated, and which bears 
date of the earher part of the fifteenth century. 

As said in another place, there was no necessity for 
any improvement in the art of printing until there should 
be a supply of paper, and this was furnished by the 
Hispano-Moors at about the beginning of the century 
in which movable types were invented. The supply of 
paper furnished the opportunity for an increase in the 
rapidity of printing, and then the improvement came. 
The most that can be said of what very soon followed is 
that printing was not invented, but improved ; so much 
unproved, however, that it scarcely in its improved form 
bore any resemblance to its olden self. 

The improvement referred to, or what is generally 
known as the invention of printing, consisted in the dis- 
covery that if each letter was made by itself, it could be 
used again and again as occasion required. This is all 
the difference in theory there is between printing as 
practiced to-day and printing as practiced by the Chi- 
nese inventors. The difference, however, is one of the 
greatest importance; it is the difference between the 
speed of a train drawn by a locomotive, and a cart drawn 
by a yoke of oxen. The one required only the letters of 
the alphabet, which could be used until worn out ; and 
used for a thousand different articles without reference to 
the subject. The other demanded new letters in every 
change of page, for every new article, and which had to 
be thrown away when any work was completed. Some- 
thing analagous to the cost of block printing can be fan- 
cied, if one will suppose that the type for each page of 
a newspaper had to be cut out on a block each day, and 

78 feinting; oe, the "art peeseevative of aets." 

that the page of type, when used should be useless, and 
have to be destroyed. There would be no such' thing as 
a newspaper if this were the method. It would take 
weeks to produce the page, and the immediate destruc- 
tion of a page after being used would involve an expense 
which would make a single issue of an average news- 
paper cost a fortune. There would be no newspapers, no 
books for general use. The printing of a book would 
require years of labor, and would be so costly when fin- 
ished, that only corporations, or men of the greatest 
wealth, could afford to purchase one of them. In fact, 
without the invention of movable types, the world, so 
far as any benefit it may have received from printing is 
concerned, would be just where it was at the beginning 
of the fifteenth century. The invention of printing is 
entitled to credit ; but it is to an invention in the improve- 
ment of printing that the world owes its gratitude. 

Despite the nearness — comparatively — of the inven- 
tion of movable type, there is some doubt as to the 
name of the inventor. It is generally credited to Johann 
Gutenberg, of Metz; but there other claimants who 
have their adherents. The Dutch ascribe the invention 
to Laurens Coster, of Haarlem, asserting that he was the 
inventor, and that it was stolen by an employe named 
Gutenberg. In 1823, the Dutch celebrated the fourth 
centennial of the invention of movable types by Coster, 
and erected a monument to his memory. The other 
claimants are Johann Ji'aust, of Mentz, and his son-in- 
law, Peter Schoffer. It is, however, the general opin- 
ion that Gutenberg is the one entitled to the honor, 
that is to say, the general opinion among the Anglo- 
Saxon, and the German peoples. 

There has been a claim that the Eomans knew some- 
thing of movable types ; but there is no adequate proof 
of the truth of the assertion ; and even if it were the 


case, it cuts no figure, and detracts nothing from the 
honor due the modern inventor. "Printing should 
rather be considered as the result of general causes on 
which the progress of society depends, than as the sim- 
ple outcome of a happy hazard." * Printing came when 
the world had need of it, when it could have value. It 
came in about 1440; in season for the grand events 
about to be unfolded. It had no relation to the present. 
The great mass of the people could not read ; and if they 
had been able to read, there was nothing to print that 
would have been of value. The monasteries were in 
possession of many of the ancient manuscripts, but they 
contained nothing which was of interest to the masses. 
It might have been of some use in distributing the offi- 
cial papers of the higher rehgious authorities to their 
subordinates; there might, and probably would have 
been found for it, certain clerical uses, but nothing which 
would reach the body of the people. A little more than 
half a century later, Columbus was to discover the 
western continent ; in three-quarters of a century, the 
Reformation was to make its appearance, and then there 
would be a use for the printing-press. The masses would 
begin to think, and when this should be the case, they 
would need books. 

It cannot be said that printing led to the great Refor- 
mation, for the reason that it had not done anything to 
reach the people and render possible thought of reform. 
The period was one in which destiny was gathering its 
forces for the renaissance of the race. Gunpowder was 
one of the agencies ; the printing-press came next, and 
fell into line ; the discovery of America was another of 
the agencies, and the Reformation was still another, and 
of all, not the least potent. 

' Dugald Stewart. 

80 feinting; oe, the "aet peeseevative of aets." 

To "an obscure meclianic" the world owes the "art 
preservative of arts." In speaking of the origin of writ- 
ing, Lamartine says: "It is not known who invented 
writing; all that which is almost divine is anonymous." 
Knowing that Grutenberg's name is prominent in connec- 
tion with printing, he adds that this " obscure mechanic 
did not employ his invention as do ordinary inventors ; 
no, he employed it through piety, through a holy en- 
deavor to secure a certain end." The same writer 
quotes Gutenberg as having written in these pious 
words : " God suffers because there are such multi- 
tudes of souls to whom His sacred word cannot be given; 
religious truth is captive in a smaU number of Uttle man- 
uscripts, which guard the common treasures instead of 
expanding them. Let us break the seal which binds 
these holy things ; let us give wings to truth that it may 
fly with the Word, no longer prepared at vast expense, 
but multiplied everlastingly by a machine which never 
wearies — to every soul which enters hfe!" 

Gutenberg was born at Metz, or Mayence, one of the 
free and wealthy cities on the Ehine, in the year 1400. 
His father's name was Friele Gensfleich, his mother's 
Elsie Gutenberg. He was a second son, and took the 
combined name of his parents, Johann Gensfleich Gut- 
enberg. Mingling in some intestine quarrels he was 
banished ; he returned, and soon after he was again ban- 
ished at the age of nineteen years. He went to Stras- 
burg, where he remained ten years in study; he was 
invited to return to Mayence and refused, whereupon he 
was proscribed as a pubhc enemy, and in the meantime 
received concealed aid from his mother. His popularity 
in Strasburg was so great that, on an occasion when the 
chief magistrate of Mayence passed near the city, he 
was seized, imprisoned in a chateau, and was only re- 
leased when he signed an agreement to give to Gutenberg 

(From a print in Uie National lAbrary at Paris.) 

■ (p. 81) 


Ms confiscated patrimony. With Ms wealth in Ms 
possession, he was able to study and travel, during wMch 
he visited men of science, artisans and artists. 

"It was at the epoch," says Lamartine, "in which 
the trades, then scarcely known, were confounded with 
the arts. . . . The artisans then held in Germany 
the same rank as the artists. He traveled alone, the 
vaUse contaimng Ms clothing and Ms books on Ms back, 
hke a simple student visiting the schools, or as an arti- 
san in search of a master." He traveled though sev- 
eral of the states of Central Europe, and, according to an 
authority, filled with one thought : " how to expand the 
Word of God among a greater number of souls." 

It is said that when in Haarlem, Holland, he one day 
met Laurens Coster, the sacristan of the cathedral, and 
formed for Mm a curious but strong attachment. Dur- 
ing their intimacy. Coster one day exhibited to Mm a 
Latm grammar wMch had been produced on a wooden 
plank for the instruction of the students. It is related 
of Coster that he was in love, and, one day, when taking a 
walk, he seated Mmself under the wiUows on the banks 
of the canal. His heart was filled with the image of his 
beloved, and with his knife he attempted to trace out a 
monogram in wMch should appear the first letter of Ms 
own name and that of the woman he loved. In place 
of cutting the letters on the bark of the tree, where they 
could be seen, he took small pieces of willow, stripped off 
their bark, yet dripping with the sap of spring, and 
then kept them as a souvemr of his dreams of one 
whom he loved. One day, having thus cut these letters 
with more than usual care, he wrapped them up in a 
sheet of parchment and took them to Haarlem. The 
next day, upon unwrappmg them he was astoMshed to 
find Ms monogram perfectly produced on the parchment 
in bistre, by the action of the sap through exudation. 

84 pbinting; ok, ihe "art peeseevative of aets." 

It was a revelation. He cut some other letters in wood, 
on a large block, substituted a black liquor for the sap. 
He had in reality advanced to the point in printing 
occupied by the Chinese, but he knew it not. He sub- 
mitted his discovery to his friend Gutenberg, who saw, 
as by inspiration, that a great discovery had been made. 
He examined it in every possible aspect, he borrowed it, 
and the next day left for Strasburg, where he shut him- 
self up in a laboratory, and there gave himself up to 
study. Here he fashioned his own tools; he experi- 
mented, broke, adopted, rejected, until at last he se- 
cured an outline of an impression on parchment from 
movable characters, made from wood, which had a httle 
hole through each of them through which a thread was 
passed which held them in place, and on the face of 
which there appeared in rehef the letters of the alpha- 

How far this incident may be true, carmot be told, 
but it is at least worth relating, as it shows a connection 
between Coster, whom the Dutch regard as the inventor 
of movable types, and G-utenberg, who has the credit of 
the most of the world as the one to whom the honor of 
the invention should be given. 

The account then continues : He was so distracted 
with his success that he could scarcely sleep the follow- 
ing night. In his troubled sleep he had a dream, which 
he himself recounted to his friends. This dream was' 
so prophetic, and so near the truth, that no one who 
reads it can doubt that it was as much the reflection of 
a sage awake as the feverish dream of a sleeping artisan. 
This curious dream is found in the library of the Aulic 
CounciHer Beck, and is as foUows : 

Gutenberg fell asleep in a delirium, murmuring, " I 
am immortal ! " And then he heard two voices which 
spoke to him alternately. The first said : " Eejoice, thou 


art immortal ! Hencefortli all light wiU expand through 
thee in the world ! The peoples who live thousands of 
leagues from thee, foreigners who think not the thoughts 
of thy country, wiU read and comprehend aU the thoughts, 
to-day mute, but which through thee, through thy work, 
will expand and multiply throughout the entire world ! 
Kejoice, thou art immortal; for thou art the interpreter 
which awaits to assist the nations in conversing among 
each other ! Thou art immortal, for thy discovery will 
give immortahty to genius which would be stiU-born 
without thee, and which in its turn will immortalize the 
one who has made its name eternal ! " 

The voice then became silent, and left him in a de- 
Hrium of ecstacy. Then said the other voice: "Yes, 
thou art immortal ; but at what price ? Are the thoughts 
of thy fellow-men always so pure and holy that they 
merit being transferred to the comprehension of the 
hTiman race? Are there not many of these thoughts, 
the greater number, perhaps, which deserve more anni- 
hilation than they do to be repeated and multiplied in 
the world ? Man is oftener perverse than wise and good ; 
he will profane the gift which thou wilt make him ; he 
will debase that which thou hast created for him ! In a 
century or so, thou wilt be cursed in place of being 
blessed ! 

" Men wiU be bom whose wit wiU be powerful and 
seductive, but whose hearts will be arrogant and corrupt ; 
without thee they would have rested in the shadows ; 
enclosed in. a narrow circle, they would have never car- 
ried unhappiness only to their immediate surroundings 
and to their own lives ; .through thee they wiU dissemi- 
nate madness, wretchedness, and crime through all men 
and all ages ! See the millions of souls corrupted through 
the agency of a single one ! See the sons perverted by 
books whose pages give out a moral poison ! See the 

'86 feinting; oe, the "aet peesebvative of aets." 

daughters become immodest, unbelieving, severe to tbe 
poor through these books into which have been poured 
the poisons of the soul ! Bee the mothers who weep for 
their sons ! See the fathers who blush for their daugh- 

"Is not the immortahty which costs so many tears 
and so much anguish, too dear ? Dost thou desire 
glory at this price ? Dost thou not shudder at the re- 
sponsibihty which wlU be cast upon thy soul? Beheve 
me it is better that thou shouldst regard thy invention 
as a ravishing dream, but baleful, and which would be 
useful and holy if man were good ! But man is wicked ; 
and to give arms to the wicked, is it not to become a 
participant in their crimes? " 

It is related that Gutenberg then awoke, and said : 
* ' I awoke in the horror of doubt ! I hesitated an instant ; 
hut I considered that the gifts of God, while they are 
often perilous, are never bad, and that to give another 
weapon to reason and to hberty was to give a field more 
vast to intelligence and virtue, both of which are Divine ! 
" I followed on in the execution of my projects." * 
It may be that there was such a dream ; and whether 
or not there was one, there is much in it to evoke 
thought. But we may conclude that, however forebod- 
ing were the words of the warning genius of the dream, 
the balance of the account of humanity has been on the 
side of right. So commanding have been the results for 
the right through the instrumentality of the press, that 
even thrice the amount of harm it. may have done would 
not outweigh them. It may have here and there been 
the instrument of oppression, of immodest Hves, of im- 
pure sentiments ; in fact it has been this, but even then 
it can be forgiven. That Peter slept a moment in the 

' Translated from the original into French by Garand. 


Garden was a grave fault, a striking act of ingratitude, 
but it does not obliterate the services of a life devoted 
to his Master ; nor do the exceptional lapses of the press 
militate against the beUef that its labors, in the great 
majority of cases, have been in the interests of the twin 
divinities, InteUigenoe and Virtue. 

Gutenberg soon saw the tremendous value of his in- 
vention, and at once took steps to utilize it to its full 
extent. To secure this end, he was forced to associate 
himself with men who had the necessary capital, and 
mechanical skill. In the pursuit of this end he had 
several partners, among whom was Faust, goldsmith and 
banker at Mayence, and who has often been popu- 
larly supposed to be Faust, the magician who sold him- 
self to the evil one for a renewal of his youth. The 
partnership was for the purpose of carrying on a trade 
in jewelry, watchmaking and the like ; meanwhile Guten- 
berg continued his labors in secret in perfecting his in- 
vention, while openly, belabored at other handicrafts.. 
He cut precious stones, and in other labors kept himself 
before the pubhc, and his associates, in order to the 
more effectively conceal his real effort. But despite all 
his precautions, the fact that he did work in secret be- 
came noised abroad, and the superstitious animals by 
whom he was surrounded began to have, and impart, 
suspicions that he was a sorcerer, and engaged in unholy 

To avoid anything like publicity, he left the city and 
erected his workshops in the ruins of the monastery, 
known as the convent of St. Arbogaste. There, in a 
secluded locaHty, inhabited only at times by wandering 
tramps from the city, he carried on his labors. He re- 
served to himself a cell, which he had fitted with bars 
and locks, and in which he pursued his investigations. 
It was given out, and believed that he was occupied in 

88 printing; or, the "art preservative op arts." 

designing various patterns connected with the ostensible 
business of the firm with which he was connected ; but 
it was there that he cut his letters, and planned the use 
of metal for his types, and studied out the thousand and 
one problems which would assuredly present themselves 
at the outset of his invention. He manufactured a 
model for a press, and gave it to a turner named Sas- 
pach to make in fuU size. An imaginative French writer 
relates that the mechanic took it in his hands, examined 
it on all sides with disdain, and then, with an air of 
raillery, said: 

" Now, are you quite sure that it is a simple press 
that you wish me to make? " 

"Yes," answered Grutenberg in a grave and exalted 
tone ; " It is a press, in fact ; but it is a press which will 
throw forth in ever-flowing waves the most abundant 
and the most marvelous hquor which has ever existed to 
quench the thirst of man. Through it, God wiU expand 
His Word; it vdll become the source of a pure truth. 
Like a new star, it will dissipate the shadows of ignor- 
ance, and inundate mankind with a light which they 
have never yet known." * 

His first books are supposed to have been of a sacred 
character; indeed they were likely to be, as rehgious 
MSS. were the only matter within his reach. It is said 
that the Psalms and the Latin Bible were the first of his 
works. " Praise and prayer were, under the hands of 
this pious man, the first voices of the Press." There 
are no means of identifying any of his works at this 
period, for the reason that he did not attach his name to 
any of them ; and, hence, it is the most attenuated of 
conjecture which assigns any book as the work of his 

* IJamartine. 

•^btfuatiiivtytfvciff -t^ffitiwytiwntt- 

<rt^(i|rtl «/iy»ir(qfc. 

"^ , , bctwcnet^etwuers. onftlrtft bcD^b* t »« 

S* f b^ytl e«re« funbcr. C!)«i(Gr«bmAbe :» (irmrtmic, 

ttenttdK^i (^it Btmetop^^ 2inb<Br«& collet ^ fxu* 

AiAcmpete, 3(nb<Bfo^|&7t)e:lat^eKK«ter«iDtibe(^ 
anb »arcF- pot aac^crd^fjUnte vnt^«iK place, | d^e 
nee umw «. ptylonteuMyAppMK.Slnbfbtt cameto 
f on ^e bC' Mdfli^nb <8o^ coUcb ^ ti<;c l«nb*, ieattt>t 
p*,zf^i arioclWSat^rtCngetogettmrtfnNittTecAl 
te or®«& |eb^feAr«.2(nb<SF«^f<'wf»^<*'«9fe«b 
wowb «pS :2tnb ®«b rotbe: te f «iRi^tui>9cf^it^ 
OftvMUt. gKit<8r«||E(utb0crbe.c^a»bMR»$|il>«t 


(Size of original, Cx9K inches.) (89) 

90 peinting; ob, the "art peeseevatite of aets." 

But now, when his grand invention was fairly 
launched, the real troubles of his life began. In order 
to continue his labors, more capital was necessary, and 
to obtain this he had to admit several people into an as- 
sociation. Then came long and tedious Htigation. One 
of the heirs of one of his partners commenced proceed- 
ings to compel him to admit that the invention was not 
his own, and to prevent his having anything further to 
do with the business. Gutenberg underwent an exami- 
nation of great length, and which placed him in a pecu- 
Uar position. In order to defend his rights, he was 
under the necessity of explaining his secret ; but this he 
was not prepared to do at the present stage of the inven- 
tion. He was pressed by the judge with all sorts of 
questions. " He eluded them, preferring condemnation 
to the vulgarization of his art." He lost the case, and 
was ruined. He returned to his native town, and made 
another effort to carry out his plans. 

At this point there occurred a bit of romance in his 
active hfe. The second time that he was expelled from 
his native town, he was under an engagement of mar- 
riage to a young lady named Annetta. She kept her 
faith, and waited during aU his absence. When he re- 
turned to Mayence, he made no movement to redeem 
his pledge to his fiancee, perhaps not wishing to drag her 
into the poverty which was now his fate ; or perhaps his 
sentiments had undergone a change, owing to his devo- 
tion to his new idol, the art of printing. She besought 
hiTn to redeem his promise ; and he finally was induced 
to keep his word, only by the institution of judicial pro- 
ceedings. The summons secured by the young lady is 
yet in existence. They were married; they had some 
children, but none of them hved beyond childhood. 

He soon after returned to Strasburg, and opened a 
workshop in the city. This was in 1439 ; but in 1446, he 


was again forced to leave. Some of his workmen started 
the printing business after his departure, and soon ac- 
quired fame and fortune. Gutenberg returned to May- 
ence, took as partners two men, erected shops, and once 
more began the business of printing. It was then that 
he brought out what is substantially his first authentic, 
work. He printed the Psalter, and the Mayence Bible ;. 
the first bearing date 1467. After these sacred books, 
were finished, the works qf Cicero were next in order. 

His future seemed assured, but it was not. His part- 
ners, emulous of the glory which he was acquiring,, 
began a series of legal prosecutions which ended in the 
defeat of Gutenberg. He once more became a wan- 
derer; his children were dead, his wife attended him 
faithfully through all his vicissitudes, but she suc- 
cumbed, and was laid by her children. Old, without 
food, Gutenberg was a pitiable object, without wife^ 
home, or children ; but at this critical moment he was 
offered a home by Adolphus, the elector of Nassau. And 
now, thus bereft of all that would make hfe desirable, he 
remained in such comfort as could be afforded by an 
abundant hospitahty, carrying on his favorite pursuit 
until his death. By his will, he left his sister, who was 
in a convent, aU the books which he had printed while a 
recluse in St. Arbogaste. He died, but his works hved 
after him. It was but a short time after his death that 
printing presses were in use in most of the capitals o£ 

The progress of the invention of printing was as 
rapid as one would expect considering the character of 
an age in which there were so few readers ; but the pro- 
gress was not always attended with sunshine. Stephert 
Dolet, who was born at Lyons, France, in 1609, was a 
man of high attainments. He had while young filled 
responsible positions in the diplomatic service. He had 

92 printing: or, the "art preservative of arts. 

studied and acquired high honors at Toulouse; was a 
man who was at once poet, logician, and a cosmopohtan. 
He became a printer, or publisher, and took some part 
iu the furious discussions which then raged concerning 
the doctrines of Luther. He was arrested and thrown 
into prison. Through the intercession of Bishop John 
Pinus he was released, but refusing to voluntarily quit 
Toulouse, he was finally banished. 

Eeturning to Lyons, he obtained, after immense 
effort, the privilege to print his Commentaries on the- 
Latin Language, a work of great learning. An attempt 
Was made to kill him about this time, but he succeeded 
in killing his assailant, and was then locked up as an 
assassin. He was released by Francois I., and was for 
a time imder'the patronage of the queen of Navarre. 
He next proceeded to print successively several very 
valuable works; but in 1642, the persecutions of him 
were recommenced. Various petty annoyances were 
resorted to, but these not having the effect to drive him 
out of the business, some vague charges of heresy were 
brought against him ; his books were burned by order of 
parliament, and he was thrown into prison for fifteen 
months in Paris. He was finally released, and returned 
to Lyons, instead of quitting France as he should have 
done. At Lyons, he pubUshed a poem on his captivity, 
and a translation of the Dialogues of Plato. He was 
again thrown into prison in 1544. Suspicious of the 
impartiality of his judges he succeeded in making his 
escape from prison, and went to Piedmont. From thence 
he vprote to the king in verse imploring his protection, 
but unable to await the response by the usual routes, he 
determined to go, and see in person, what effect was 
being produced by his letter. He returned secretly to 
Lyons, but was recognized and arrested. He was tried 
before the theological faculty of Paris, where he was 



condemned as a relapsed atheist for passages in Ms books 
which, for the third time, he protested vehemently that 
he had never written. 

He was then put to the torture in order to make him 
reveal his accomplices ; then he was burned at the stake ; 
"his body and his books were converted into ashes, and 
his property was confiscated." But fanaticism did not 
stop the progress of the new agency of civiUzation ; and 
the work went on as if Gutenberg had not died in pov- 
erty, and Dolet had not been burned at the Maubert 
square in Paris. 



THE new art spread rapidly over almost every por- 
tion of Europe. Men and women of the highest 
rank were proud to become patrons of it, and in some 
cases to give its practical details their personal attention. 
" Sovereigns themselves," says a French writer, " prided 
themselves for engraving and printing with their own 
hands the newly-found works of antiquity, as if their 
manual participation in the labor of the great work of 
genius made them a sharer of the honors of genius 
itself." Marie de Medicis, the wife of Henry IV., de- 
signed and printed some stamps for the royal editions. 
Louis XV., when a boy gave considerable attention to 
printing, and with his own hand performed the work on 
a book on European geography. "The grand printers 
of the centuries which followed Gutenberg were, at the 
same time, artists, sages, and writers. They exhumed 
antiquity in its entireness ; and in this labor of exhum- 
ation, they took the greatest works, commented on 
them, explained them, and interpreted them to the new 
world. History was born again in the invention of print- 

Venice did most of the printing at this period of 
its history. As early as 1462, before Columbus had 

* Lamartine. 



discovered America, all the great cities of Europe had 
their houses of pubUcation. The new art had spread like 
a conflagration. Within the next ten years the Caxton 




press had been set up in "Westminster, England. There 
are many noted names coimected with this period of the 
history on printing, among whom was the ItaHan Aldus — 
whence the renowned " Aldine " press — the Etiennes in 


Prance, and Caxton in England. The Etiennes were 
interfered with a good deal by the clerical authorities for 
some errors, or asserted errors in an edition of the Bible, 
and were driven from point to point ; were imprisoned 
by the Calvinists in Greneva for something printed not 
complimentary to the Eeformation; but for over one 
hundred and fifty years, they and their descendants were 
at the head of their profession. The Didot line of print- 
ers of France was also a long and a famous one. Cax- 
ton, in England, is probably the most famous of them 

Of himself Caxton said, or rather, wrote: "I was 
bom and lerned myn englissh in Kente in the weald 
where I doubte not is spoke, as brode and rude englissh 
as is in ony place of englond." In this "weald," a 
country covered with a dense forest, and whose chief 
industry was the raising of wild hogs, the great printer 
was born in 1491. He was apprenticed to a wealthy 
mercer, but his master died and he was sent over to the 
low countries, as was customary in those days in the 
case of young men that they might learn trade and good 
manners. He occupied many positions of trust, but in 
his old age he turned printer. He established himself 
at Westminster, and issued his first work The Becuyell, 
which was issued before 1447. His next was The Game 
of Chess, and the next The Life of Jason, aU anterior 
to November, 1477. During the course of his career 
as a printer, he issued about a thousand books, in some 
six different kinds of ty^ie, and of which some were 
illustrated with wood-cuts of his own manufacture. The 
total product of his press is estimated at eighteen 
thousand pages. He died in 1491, just on the eve of a 
discovery that was to vitally affect the destinies of all 
the nations. It was written of him after his decease : 
"Of your charitee pray for the soul of Mayster Wyllyam 


Gaxton, that in hys time was a man of moclie ornate 
and moohe renomned wysdome and connyng, and 
decessed ful crystenly the yere of our Lord 

" Moder of Meroi sliyld him Iro thorrible fynd 
And bring hym to ly£f etemall that neuyr hath ynd." 

Gaxton to-day is regarded in England, with reference 
to printing, what Columbus is to America. He made 
his own paper, cast his own type, constructed his own 
presses, and did his own binding. Some of his works 
are still in existence, of course not in circulation, but 
held as mementoes in various hbraries, and in the anti- 
quarian collections of private gentlemen of wealth. 

Printing gave an extraordinary impetus to learning, 
so much so that in a century it had almost revolution- 
ized the world's intellectual condition. But there was 
still new worlds for it to conquer, and to bring this about 
there was a necessity of an alliance between it and some 
other forces. At this period in the fifteenth century, 
the process of printing a book was a long' and tedious 
one. The type at first in use were made to imitate the 
writing of the scribes of the period. It was hard to 
decipher, unhandsome in appearance on the printed 
page ; but the greatest obstacle was the slowness of the 
press-work. There is evidence that Gaxton " set up " a 
page in type, and then proceeded to print off that page 
before going on with the next one. In many cases the 
Ghinese style was followed in which two pages were 
printed, and then these two folded back to back, leaving 
the intermediate two pages blank. The process of print- 
ing the impressions from the page of type was a slow 
one. Being printed, one page at a time, and with a 
most inferior press, it was a Herculean labor to issue a 
complete book. The press was a most primitive ma- 
chine, in which the page of type was laid face uppermost 



on some solid support, and then the paper pressed 
down on it by a platform lowered by a screw passing 
through a support above. What was needed was some- 
thing which would aid in the distribution of printed 
matter; make it more rapid, and less laborious. Then 
there was a search for an improved press. In time there 
was something of an improvement. The hand-press 
now and then added a feature of value. The toggle- 
joint was a vast advance in the use of the lever ; but it 


remained for the nineteenth century to make the press 
what it is to-day. 

Various kinds of hand-presses succeeded one another, 
but it was not tiU near the close of the last century that 
the modern power-press was discovered, or invented. 
There were the Stanhope press, the Franklin of more 
than a century ago, the Columbian, and Washington 


presses ; and near the close of the last century, there 
"was an attempt to secure a power-press by the invention 
and the patenting of a cyUnder printing-press ; but the 
first effort of the kind which took practical shape was 
the invention of a German named Koenig, and which 
was adopted by The Times of London. It was first used 
in November, 1814, and was the first press ever run by 
steam. Its best work was about eighteen hundred im- 
pressions an hour. From this time forward, the im- 
provement in this class of machine continued, until we 
have to-day presses which wiU throw off completely 
printed, and folded, more thousands per hour than the 
hundreds of the primitive press of Koenig. In these 
modern machines, for newspaper work, the blank paper 
is taken from an endless roll through the machine, 
which prints it on both sides, outs off the sheet, folds it 
and numbers it. There are several of these " perfecting 
presses," as they are called, among which the Hoe, the 
Bullock, the Walter, are the most noted. The Walter 
press is in use in the office of The Times of London, and 
is the invention of an employe, although named after 
the editor of the sheet. It is a very rapid machine, but 
insufferably noisy. Many of Hoe's presses are in use in 
England, although an American invention. There are 
many other perfecting presses, which work with pro- 
digious rapidity, and in this respect, they are being con- 
stantly improved. From a speed of eighteen hundred 
an hour to that of twenty thousand, in less than seventy 
years, is a remarkable progress in this invention, but it 
becomes still more wonderful when it is considered that 
the greater portion of this progress has been made 
within the last twenty years. With the hand-press, the 
result of a day's hard work was low down in the thou- 
sands ; now what a hand-press could do in ten hours can 
be done by a modern press in as many minutes. 


Thus reinforced by the modern perfecting press, 
driven by steam, the invention of printing has reached 
what may seem the Hmit of its advance. It may be that 
there may be a further reduction in the time required to 
print a newspaper, but there cannot be much. Time is 
now practically annihilated. The great modern news- 
paper can keep its columns open for the reception of 
news imtil a given hour, and thirty minutes later can 
have the papers on the street, or speeding away bn the 
early trains to all parts of the country. The man who 
gets an enterprising newspaper just fresh from the press 
can know all the events of importance which have oc- 
curred up to an hour previous to the time when he pur- 
chased it. Printing is at the foundation of these results ; 
but it has added to itseK an army of auxiliaries to attain 
this perfection. The Hghtning-press is one of the assist- 
ants, the process of stereotyping is another, and the 
telegraph is the third and most potent of aU the forces 
which have allied themselves to, and enlisted under the 
banner of, Invention. 

The first newspaper printed is said to have been the 
Gazette de Venice, in 1563 ; the next was the Gazette de 
France, in 1631; the London Gazette, in 1642; the Dub- 
hn News-Letter, in 1704; the Germans had their first in 
1716 ; the first in this country in Philadelphia, in 1719 ; 
and the next in Holland, in 1732. Since the estabHsh- 
ment of the newspaper in this country, the increase has 
been enormous, until the present, when we now have an 
aggregate represented by a very substantial fractional 
number of all in the world. The newspaper is not pre- 
cisely a part of the history of printing ; but it is a result 
which cannot wholly be ignored in ascertaining the 
credit due to the invention of this art. The daily issues 
of the newspapers of the world amount to millions of 
copies. They are read everywhere, by everybody, and 



beyond all question are the most potential of all tha 
results which have flowed from the invention of Guten- 

It may be of interest to state that the first press 
which came to this country was to Mexico, in about the 
year 1600. The next was at Lima, 1686, and the first in 
the United States, or rather in what subsequently be- 
came the United States, was at Cambridge, in 1639. In 
1709, a press was put up at New London, Connecticut; 
at Annapolis, in 1726 ; at Wilhamsburg, Virginia, 1729 ; 
at Charleston, South Carolina, 1730; at Newport, Ehode 
Island, 1732; at Hahfax, Nova Scotia, 1761; at Wood- 
bridge, New Jersey, 1762; Newbern, North CaroHna, 
1766; Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1766; Savannah, 
Georgia, 1763 ; Quebec, Canada, 1764. The first press 
west of the Alleghardes was at Cincinnati, in 1793 ; and 
the first west of the Mississippi, at St. Louis, 1808. * 

* Edward H. Knight. 

Kuv/ivasw aSN rasK. 



THE fifteenth century is a grand one in that it saw the 
renaissance of the human race, of that portion of it 
which has since become the abode of civilization. It 
gave the world artists whose works have never been ex- 
celled ; it gave us printing, and it gave us the discovery 
of America. But before these potential events took 
place there was another, scarcely less potent in its influ- 
ence than any of the others ; and which began the labor 
of changing mankind from a series of warring tribes into 
one great family. Anciently, nations were in di-ead of 
each other, or jealous, or suspicious. If they inter- 
mingled, it was usually sword in hand and prepared for 
the worst. The visits were rare ; each people kept jeal- 
ously to itself any invention or improvement that it pos- 
sessed. The nations were as would be a great area 
peopled by different communities, and so separated by 
natural obstacles that intercommunication would be a 
matter of the greatest difficulty. In such a case the 
residents of each community would very naturally rally 
about itself. It would gradually grow to distrust the 
character, the motives, of all the others. Each would 
see that what it knew of value in offence or defence, 
and which it esteemed to be especially valuable should 
not get to the knowledge of the others. As a conse- 
quence, advance would be hampered. On the other 


hand, if there were a free interchange of views, of dis- 
coveries, there would necessarily follow improvement. 

If this one should invent gunpowder, being a thing 
of value and utihty, it would be beneficial in proportion 
as its uses were extended to others. A machine for 
reaping would be valuable in proportion to the extent to 
which it should be known. As with small communities, 
so with nations. In proportion as useful appliances be- 
came known and distributed, the average of the comfort 
of the human race would be increased. From this point 
of view great inventions are valuable in proportion to 
the number of people whom they reach. 

As if expressly designed to meet this requirement, 
the invention of printing was preceded by another with- 
out which the inestimable value of printing would have 
been small compared to what it has become, thanks to 
the invention which preceded, and which brought the 
remotest parts of the world into contact. Without the 
mariner's compass, inventions would have centered 
about a smaU spot, and would have conferred their 
benefits on the few. Indeed, the hmit of invention 
itself would be very materially circumscribed had not 
the needle been ready to assist in distributing its work ; 
for, vdthout the increase of area which the compass 
brought to the knowledge, one-half, or more, of the 
necessities which have stimulated invention would have 
been unknown. 

As to the inventor of the instrument known as the 
mariner's compass, there is nothing certainly known. 
It is true that a certain number of authorities unite in 
a conclusion to the effect that its first use in Europe is 
due to Flavio Gioja in the early part of the thirteenth 
century. Others again are of the opinion that it was 
brought to Italy from China, in 1295. There are still 
others who are of the behef that it was used in France 


in about the middle of the twelfth century, in Syria at 
about the same time, and in Norway previous to 1266.* 
But there is no satisfactory proof of the truth of any of 
these theories. There is very excellent authority for the 
conclusion that the virtues of the magnetized needle was 
known to the Chinese 2364 B.C. A Chinese dictionary 
pubhshed 121 A. D., speaks of a loadstone, as a " stone by 
which attraction is given to a needle." The Chinese 
have long used a needle for navigation, exactly hke ours 
in fact, but unlike us they give their attention to the 
south end of the needle instead of the north. It is quite 
a possible thing that the needle was brought by the 
Arabs to Europe, and then was introduced to the other 
peoples along the north coast of the Meditterranean. 

Of the claim of Flavio Gioja, Barlow says: "The 
lame tale of one Flavio Gioja of Amalfi, in the kingdom 
of Naples, to have devised it, is of very slender probabiH- 
ties." Col. Yule, Book of the Mariner's Compass, says: 
" Respecting the mariner's compass, and gunpowder, I 
shall say nothing, as no one now beheves or imagines 
Marco Polo to have aught to do with their introduction." 
Another writer beheves it to be a thousand years older 
than Christianity." t 

There are some who are of the opinion that the com- 
pass was brought home by the Crusaders ; and, there are 
others who have still a different conclusion. Prom this 
array of opinions, it is easily seen that there is nothing 
known in reahty ; and that of the various opinions most 
Hkely to be true, is the one which ascribes its origin to 
the Chinese ; and to whom we are indebted for so many 
other inventions, and discoveries which are popularly 
supposed to be of modern origin. Up to the period 

* Am. Cyclopmdia. 

f " L' usage de la boussole etait connu en Chine plus de mille ans avant 
r ^re Cliretienne." Despres. 

"the stone which loves." 107 

when the mariner's compass came into use in Europe, 
such navigation as there was, was done within sight of 
the land. Certain headlands along the Mediterranean 
became landmarks, and the navigators, by keeping in 
sight of them, were always able to reach their destina- 
tion. Sometimes, in case they were blown out of sight 
of land, they were in the habit of freeing birds, and then 
judging of the direction of the land by that of their 
flight. The biblical studetit vnll remember an incident 
of this kind which is related in connection with Noah's 
voyage in the ark, with the difference that the dove 
returned at first because it had found no land on which 
to rest the sole of its foot ; and that when it came back 
after having been released the second time, it bore in its 
beak a green leaf, thus showing that the waters had un- 
covered the land. In other instances, when the sky 
would permit, the "eaman held his course by the hght 
of the polar star. 

It is perhaps worthy of mention that the loadstone, 
or magnet, is known as " handhakogohah " or "the 
stone which loves," among the East Indians; and 
among the French it is termed " aimant," meaning 
"lover;" in both cases being evidently thus named on 
account of its quahties of attracting to it and holding, 
as it were, in a loving embrace the object to which it 

" The compass," says Eacine, " makes us all citizens 
of the world." This is the fact. Without the compass 
there could have been no discovery of America from 
Europe ; and, in every probabihty, without it, this coun- 
try would have been in about the same condition to-day 
that it was anterior to the year 1492. The copper-col- 
ored aborigines would have been hunting the buffalo 
over aU the country west of the AUeghanies ; and where 
the great city of New York now stands, there would 


have been ' a few tepees ; and some tawny fishermen 
would have been dropping their bone hooks into the 
waters of a harbor that now floats annually a tonnage 
equal to that of the entire world. The fifty millions of 
people who are now here would neither have found 
birth or existence in the crowded areas of the old world ; 
and it is doubtful if, in progress, the human race would 
have been far in advance of its resting-place in the 
fifteenth or sixteenth century. It was essential to the 
outcome which destiny was working out for mankind 
that there should be room made for the millions who 
were each decade or so being added to the population of 
Europe ; and this room was to be found in a new world, 
without traditions, without any divinely-commissioned 
autocrat to sway the destinies of a nation ; and where 
there could be, without interruption, the travail of 
humanity — the birth and growth of a new civilization. 

As it was not so very long after the mariner's com- 
passs had come in use that Columbus made the voyage 
in which the American continent was discovered, and 
as the two are so intimately associated in the enormous 
continent which was soon to be added to the known 
areas of the earth, it may be of interest to reproduce 
the interview which was held between Columbus and 
the council of examination at Salamanca, presided over 
by the prior of Prado. Peliminary to this there is a pic- 
ture of Columbus, as weary, foot-sore, almost discouraged 
with the rebuffs which he had everywhere met in his 
efforts to secure sufficient patronage to enable him to 
test his conviction that there was to the westward a new 
world. In this description he, accompanied by his son, 
a youth of sixteen, is at the monastery of Eabida, and 
it is the superior who learned to respect and love him. 
" That which he loved," says the writer, " was not only 
his grand design, but his courage, his modesty, his 


gravity, his eloquence, piety, gentleness, virtue, grace, 
patience, his noble bearing under the weight of misfor- 
tune, all of which revealed in this wandering stranger 
one of those natures characterized by a thousand per- 
fections, and so stamped by the divine seal that he could 
not be forgotten, and which forced him to be regarded 
as a man without an equal." And then comes the ex- 
amination before the board. 

Ferdinand, king of Spain, after having heard Colum- 
bus, named a council, composed of men versed in the 
divine and human sciences of Spain and Portugal. 
They assembled at Salamanca, the Mterary capital of 
Spain, in a convent of the Dominicans. The priests 
and the religeux then decided everything for all Spain. 
Civilization was then in the sanctuary. Kings only 
reigned on their merits, or acts, and everything in the 
nature of ideas emanated from the pontiffs. The inqui- 
sition, the sacerdotal pohce watched, arrested, struck, 
close up to the very throne, aU that which had about it 
the smallest taint of heresy. The king had added to 
this council some professors of geography, astronomy, 
and mathematics, and of aU the professed sciences at 
Salamanca. This gathering did not intimidate Colum- 
bus; he flattered himself that he was to be judged by 
his peers, and not by those who contemned him. 

When he appeared in the grand hall of the monastery, 
the monks and the pretended savants, convinced in ad- 
vance that every theory which was outside of their 
ignorance, or their routine knowledge, could only be the 
dream of a diseased spirit or an enthusiast, saw in this 
obscure stranger one seeking a fortune by the aid of his 
chimeras. Nobody deigned to listen to him with the 
exception of two or three members of the convent of St. 
Stephen of Salamanca; people who were obscure and 
without authority, and who had access in their cloister 


to studies despised by the superior clergy. The other 
examiners of Columbus confounded him with citations 
from the prophets, the gospels, and the fathers of the 
church; and which, in advance, annihilate, by indis- 
putable texts, the theory of a globular form of the earth, 
and more especially that of the existence of the anti- 
podes. Among others, Lactance said : 

" Can anything be more absurd than to suppose there 
are people opposite us who have their feet opposed to 
ours, or men who travel with their heels up and their 
heads down, or a world in which the trees grow with 
their roots above, and their branches in the earth?" 

Augustin, afterwards canonized, went even still 
further than the other, for he characterized as a sin any 
belief in the antipodes; "for," said he, "it would be to 
suppose the existence of some nation which has not 
descended from Adam ; and the Bible has declared that 
all the nations of the earth have descended from one 

Some of the other doctors, mistaking a poetic meta- 
phor for genuine cosmogony, cited the words of the 
Psahnist in which he says the Lord extended the heav- 
ens above the earth as a tent, from which it must result, 
according to them, that the earth must be flat. 

Columbus responded in vain to his examiners; he 
proved himself to be more religious, and more orthodox 
than they, because he was more intelligent and more 
enthusiastic in what he beheved to be his divine mis- 
sion. All the thunders and the hghtnings of his elo- 
quence werelostinthe voluntary darkness of his listeners. 
One or two made some effort to defend him, but the 
burden was too great; but even reinforced by this 
assistance, he accomphshed nothing. Meetings of the 
conference continued to be held, but nothing could 
overcome the obstinate indifference of his examiners. 


The conference languished, and wore out the truth by- 
delays, which are the last refuge of error.* 

It was against such a spirit that advance had to 
move at this age of the world ; and it is rather mortify- 
ing to reflect that a nation which treated Columbus 
with such indignity, and in a spirit at once mahgnant, 
brutal, and ignorant, should be the one to whom should 
Anally accrue the credit of a discovery of a new world. 
It may be, however, that this contumely afterwards 
met its reward. The wealth which fell into the hands' 
of Spain may have been one of the potent causes which, 
in time, hurled her from her lofty position to the one 
which she now occupies. The atrocities which the 
Spaniards inflicted on the gentle and trusting Americans 
for the sole purpose of wringing from them their gold, 
are the most shameful of all the horrors narrated in his- 

* (Euvrea de Lamartine. 

y/^r^y*is\ Atl=i|n. --;^~gg;;^ 








nPHE word Eenaisssance is usually applied to the re- 
-'- vival, or rather the rise of art which followed the 
dark ages. There is no good reason why this word 
should be restricted to paintiilg and architecture. It 
was a period when everything experienced a new birth. 
The art of printing was as much re-born as any depart- 
ment of painting and sculpture ; and as its influence was 
much more potent than that of any other agency which 
made its appearance at this time, it has the right to be 
termed a portion of the Renaissance. In fact, the art of 
printing extended at once from Germany into Italy after 
its invention, and there immediately established a foot- 
hold that it long retained. It was at this time that the 
Renaissance in Italy received a stimulus that speedily 
placed it at the head of every centre of improvement in 
Europe. It did a majority of all the printing for all 
Western Europe, for the reason that it possessed greater 
taste, and better facilities for the transacting of the 
work demanded. One reason why printing so flourished 
in Italy is to be found in the fact that the soil had been 
prepared for it, and when once transplanted thither, it 
took immediate root, grew and flourished beyond par- 

Dante had lived and written in the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries, and preceding him had been a host 

112 • 


of poets and writers, all of whom had been preparing 
the ground for what was to follow. At the beginning of 
the fourteenth century Dante had written his Divina 
Gommedia, a work which is as fresh to-day as when, 
nearly six hundred years ago, it was given birth. It is 
a production whose influence on taste has never been 
excelled by that of any other work. Soon after Dante 
had made his appearance on the literary stage, he was 
reinforced by Petrarch and Boccaccio, and who formed 
with him what has justly been termed " that great tri- 
umvirate which gave to the fourteenth century its glory 
in Itahan history." Of the innumerable writers of that 
period, these three have survived; and to-day are as 
. bright stars in the Uterary firmament as any of which 
the world has ever known. In the fifteenth century, 
printing made its appearance, and thereupon Itahan ht- 
erature advanced steadily until the sixteenth century, 
which is considered the Golden Age of the Itahan 
nation. It was this century which produced Ariosto, 
Tasso, and others whom the world dehghts to honor by 
remembering, by its unalloyed admiration. In the fif- 
teenth century the renewed MacchiavelK made his ap- 
pearance, and gave utterance to political thoughts which 
have not yet been forgotten, and which still are of value 
to the politicians of the present time. 

AU this revival, or rather birth and spread of htera- 
ture, is owing mainly to the invention of printing. It 
gave the world at that remote epoch a Uterary splendor 
which has rarely if ever since been excelled. Poetry, 
history, comedy, opera, all had their origin in this won- 
derful era; and what was then written, painted, and 
sung has influenced human progress from that moment 
to this, without intermission, or abatement of strength. 
But it is not alone in hterature that there was such pro- 
gress made. More than even in this direction did art 


exert itself; and glorious as is what was accomplislied 
by the former, the latter even excelled it. At about the 
time when printing obtained possession of Western and 
Southern Europe, Diirer, Michael Angelo, Raphael, 
Da Vinci, G-uido Eeni, II Tintorretto (Giacomo Eoberti), 
Paolo Caghari (Paul Veronese), became prominent as 
painters, and in the cases of some of them, as mathe- 
maticians, and scientific experts ; and the success which 
they attained has been marvelous beyond estimate. In 
the new order of things Italy took the lead. It was 
Italy that furnished the cradle in which was rocked the 
new-bom of civihzation. In addition to the long hst of 
authors, artists, mathematicians, it gave the world other 
names which are immortal. It was in the fifteenth cen- 
tury that Columbus was born, that Amerigo Vespucci, 
who gave his name to this great hemisphere, first saw 
the Hght. It was Italy that gave birth to Galileo. 
Surely the world is under irredeemable obHgations to 
the peninsula in which the ancient civilization was 
buried, and the modern one was born. 

Copernicus, who first strongly enunciated the idea that 
the earth and other planets move about the sun, was the 
product of this marvelous fifteenth century. Amerigo 
Vespucci was born in 1415; Bacon came in the middle 
of the next century ; Galileo was his cotemporary ; the 
way was being prepared for Newton and his immortal 
discoveries. What fame these men attained; to what 
extent they have become immortal; the vast benefits 
which they conferred on mankind ; aU are largely due to 
the invention of the art of printing. Luther was close 
at hand to give his aid to the great labor which was be- 
ing performed by the world at this most important era. 

"Three sons of serfs, heroic workmen,. shaped the 
three stones on which the new church was founded; 
Columbus, Copernicus, and Luther. The ItaHan found 


the world ; the Pole found its movement, and the har- 
mony, and the infiniteness of the heavens. The German 
reconstructed the family, and reared within it a sacred 
altar. He sought to found the world upon man. Effort 
enormous, unique! Never before were such obstacles. 
to be encountered." * 

The progress of the Eenaissance m England was much 
slower than in Italy. Perhaps the stohdity of the Saxon 
constitution was less easily affected than the more viva- 
cious and volatile Itahans. The first results of the in- 
vention of printing was to bring into England trans- 
lations of the classics, and it became the fashion to study 
them. Many of the historical women of the age were 
able to read the prominent Greek and Eoman authors 
in the original. Warton says that before 1600, aU the 
great poets were translated into EngHsh, and between 
1550 and 1616, all the great historians of Greece and 
Eome. "After the terrible night of the middle age," 
says Taine, in referring to this period in Enghsh litera- 
ture, " and the dolorous legends of spirits, and the 
damned, it was delightful to see again Olympus shining 
upon us from Greece ; its heroic and beautiful deities 
once more ravishing the hearts of men. They raised 
and instructed the young world by speaking to it the 
language of passion and genius ; and the age of strong 
deeds, free sensuahty, bold invention had only to follow 
its own bent, in order to discover in them the eternal 
promoters of Hberty and beauty." While England took 
readily to the paganism of the Greeks and the Eomans, in 
the Uterature with which the printing-press was flooding 
it, it did not look so favorably upon what began to flow 
from Italy at the same time. The productions of the 
ItaHan authors, to whom allusion has been made in this. 

* Histoire de France. Miohelet. 


chapter, did not suit the sternness of the Saxon charac- 
ter. It was too warm, too imaginative, too voluptuous. 
In 1507 it was written : 

" These bee the inchantmentes of Circes, brought out 
of Itahe to marre mens maners in England; much by ex- 
ample of ill-hfe, but more by preceptes of fonde bookes 
of late translated out of ItaUan into English, sold in 
every shop in London. There be moe of these ungrat- 
ious bookes set out in printe wythin these few monethes 
than have been seene in England many score yeares be- 
fore. Than they have in more reverence the triumphes 
of Petrarche, than the Genesis of Moses; they make 
more account of Tullies offices thati S. Paules epistles; 
of a tale in Bocace than a story of the Bible." * 

Nevertheless, the literature of Italy made its way and 
held possession of the Anglo- Saxotis. Many of the lead- 
ing writers of the early period following the invention 
of printing, borrowed their style, meir tone of thought, 
their dramatic incident free from the literature of the 
Itahans. Eeaders of Shakespeare WiU recall how many 
of his characters are Italian, and how many of his plays 
are located in Italy. Without Italy, the world would 
never have had Shakespeare, at least at the period when 
he appeared. There might have come at some other 
age a something in the nature of a Shakespeare to com- 
pile, originate, invent the marvellous aggregate attribu- 
ted to the Bard of Avon ; for the Shakespeares, Hke the 
Napoleons, are not men, but expressions of the age in 
which they Uve. They are the escape- valve of the sen- 
timents, the yearnings, the ambitions, the determina- 
tions of the communities in which they reside. 

So far as the paganism of the new civilization of the 
Italians is concerned, it was soon encountered by the 

* The Scholemaster. Asoham. 3570. 


Reformation inaugurated by Luther ; and, hence, if it be 
charged that the heathenish Eenaissance which first 
made its appearance in Italy owes much of its advance 
to the art of printing, it is equally true that printing 
furnished the antidote which was furnished by the Ger- 
man monk, Luther. Without the aid of the press he 
could not have made his voice heard outside of the town 
in which he lived. Not one-third, not one-twentieth of 
the people whom he must reach to make his reformatory 
labor of any value, would not have been reached had not 
the printing-press supplied him with an agency for the 
distribution of his experiences, his opinions, his expos- 
ures, his demands for a radical reform of the rehgious 
system with which he bad been so long connected. 
Without the press, Luther would be simply a monk who 
was dissatisfied with indulgences, who rebelled from his 
mother-church, but who did not inaugurate a movement 
which lias become mightier in its volume and impetus 
each year of its existence, and which has eventuated in 
a power than which there is none more far-reaching or 
influential. The press was his herald. It bore his pro- 
tests to every valley, every mountain top. It made 
itself heard, throughout the length and breadth of 
Europe, it crossed to England and awoke with its blast 
the attention and the consciences of the Anglo-Saxon; 
it crossed the stormy Atlantic to the new world, and 
made itself felt among the sparse settlers with the 
result that the colonists laid the foundations of a struc- 
ture which will last as long as man. 

There is a vast deal in the Eenaissance of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries to admire, and much to deplore. 
It was an era in which men were at once good, bad, 
brilhant, learned and superstitious; a time of great 
advance in learning, and yet one in which the grossest 
ignorance of life social problems, fraternity, human. 


rights prevailed. The inquisition flourished ; thousands 
of Jews were expelled from Spain ; heresy was pursued 
and punished as relentlessly as society now pursues and 
punishes murder. Everywhere there were flagrant con- 
trasts. It was an age in which society was governed by 
rehgion, and which was yet pagan. The period was one 
of atheism, sometimes avowed, as often concealed under 
the guise of religion. There were thinkers who frittered 
away their time with the examination of problems of no 
possible value; sorcery and witches were of the com- 
monest occurrence so far as the popular behef affected 
their existence. Hundreds of witches were sent to the 
stake in the fuU belief that they were leagued with the 
devil, and that they exerted a mahgn influence over the 
lives of others. It was an age in which genuine piety 
was scarcely known save in name. The priesthood was 
licentious and intolerant, not so much of acts as of 
opinion. Men who lived debauched lives encountered 
no obstacles, but men who ventured on conclusions out- 
side certain hmits, were suspected, and liable to be exe- 
cuted. The inquisition was brought from Spain to 
Germany, the very source of the rehgious reformation. 
Men and women were sensual; they labored more to 
secure enjoyment in this world than security for the 
next. There were no depths into which men did not 
descend, no heights which they did not chmb. 

It was a period of violent contrasts ; it was a time 
swept by whirlwinds, and warmed by genial sunshine ; 
there were intellectual torrents and floods which carried 
everything before them, and there were placid waters in 
restful valleys, where the air was always warm and sen- 
suous, and where the votaries of fancy and imagination 
could dream their hves away without disturbance. 

But all these were the legitimate results of the new 
birth. In the wonderful transitions which men and 


women were undergoing, there could be no such thing 
as universal ease, harmony, and smoothness. For cen- 
turies the races of Europe had been congealed, and now 
the ice was breaking up. There were floods ; there was 
the roar of the grinding, crashing ice ; there were gorges, 
high-piled, which interrupted movement ; and there was 
the giving way of these accumulations which bore down 
everything before them, which inundated the adjacent 
region, effacing, destroying all which barred the onward 
rush. There is travail in all birth. Even the mountain 
which brought forth a mouse, groaned, and shook in its 

The Eenaissance was the parturition of a world. Its 
throes were mighty. As the mother solaces herself, in 
her poignant suffering in reflecting that she is, in a sense, 
a creator, and that she is about to give a life to the 
world — a new life whose caresses will reward her for her 
pain — so may we look on the travail which the world 
then endured, and feel that the new-born was destined 
to become a new creature, one that would gratify the 
maternal heart, and in this way more than repay her for 
all that she had endured at the supreme moment. 

Out of all this evil, there was destined to come good. 
It was the clamor of the working-men engaged in re- 
erecting the structures which had been built by super- 
stition, ignorance, and usurpation. The agencies which 
had forced this reconstruction of the old, the unsafe, the 
inharmonious; which were tearing down the uncouth 
and undesirable, were the inventions that preceded the 
work. They were the compass, gunpowder, and print- 
ing; they had shaken the world to its foundation, and 
they were now engaged in restoring in a new and more 
permanent form, and from the better portion of the old 
materials, that which had been thrown down. 

The inventions thus far referred to, since the 


awakening from the sleep of the dark ages, are not all that 
first came into existence during this period. Others there 
were which, as auxiliaries of printing and gunpowder, 
have been of almost supreme importance. Among these 
were spectacles, various improvements in fire-arms, 
watches, engraving on steel, the air-pump, submarine 
vessels, the spinning-wheel, the pendulum, the micro- 
scope, and the telescope. A brief allusion to some of 
these, the less important of them, wiU be of interest. 
According to the generally-received opinion, spectacles 
are the invention of Alexander Spina, of Pisa, some time . 
between 1280 and 1311. Egger says that the rules for 
making spectacles were given in Euclid ; but, despite all 
this, the most intelligent account of them refers them to 
the latter portion of the thirteenth and the first part of 
the fourteenth century. The principal use of spectacles 
is for reading ; and it was not a very long time after their 
invention, and just about the time when they would 
be somewhat reheved of the crudities attending their 
origin, that printed books came into existence. 

It was during the middle of the fourteenth century 
that invention gave to the world that very valuable 
article of industry known as wire. Anterior to its dis- 
covery, such wire as there was, was made by ham- 
mering iron or copper into very thin plates, and then 
cutting the plate into narrow strips. "And they did 
beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to 
work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the scarlet, 
and in the fine Hnen, with cunning woA." * Thus of 
the ephod of the Jewish high priest. The process of the 
fourteenth century was at first confined to doing the 
work with a hammer, and mainly to the precious metals. 
Soon after, Ludolph, of Nuremberg, invented a process 

* Exodus xxxix., 3. 


by which, the work was performed by a machine, and 
without the use of the hand. It was not till the six- 
teenth century that the Bnghsh succeeded in making 
wire by machinery, and then it was so poorly done as to 
be in every respect inferior to that manufactured in the 
German shops. It was not till the seventeenth century 
that England succeeded in estabhshing a paying compe- 
tition with foreign manufacturers, and then the business 
grew to great dimensions. At the present time, the 
drawing of wire is an immense improvement over the 
methods of the early days of its invention. In some in- 
stances, the hardest of precious stones are used for the 
plate through which the metal is drawn. So dehcate 
are some of the machines for the drawing of wire that 
platinum, according to Dr. WoUaston, has been drawn 
to the one-thirty-thousandth of an inch, and of which 
a mile's length would weigh less than a single grain. 
By covering platinum or silver rods with gold leaf, the 
metal may be reduced to an incredible fineness, and yet 
retain the coating of gold. Brass wire is drawn to such 
a fineness, by even the ordinary processes, that gauze 
may be woven from it which shall have sixty-seven 
thousand meshes to the square inch.* The utility of 
wire is very great. It enters into the manufacture of 
gauze, and is woven in a loom like ordinary thread. 
One meets wire everywhere, from the sieve to the fence 
on the prairie ; in strings of pianos ; in fiUagree work; in 
pins, needles ; in the ornamentation of dress ; in cables 
for the suspension of bridges ; and in the innumerable 
uses connected with telegraphic and telephonic systems. 
In fine, it is an adjunct of civilization with which it 
would be very difficult to dispense. 

The most ancient method of marking the passage of 

* Am. Cyclopcedia. 


time is that of some instrument which indicates the 
movement of the shadow of the sun. The sun dial is 
mentioned in the Bible, although it is generally credited 
with having first been known during the age of Anaxi- 
mander, the Grecian philosopher, who was born some 
600 B. C. The next agent for marking the passage of time, 
was the clepsydra, a water-clock, which measured time 
by the amount of water which escaped from it. It was 
simply a vase with an opening through which the water 
slowly passed, and the hour was designated by the height 
of the water in the receptacle. It has before been 
alluded to as the invention of Ctesibius, or rather that 
he made a valuable improvement in the original form of 
construction. He had the water drop on, and turn a 
small wheel which was connected with a small statue 
which gradually rose, and with a wand pointed to the 
hours arranged on a diagram. They were in very ex- 
tensive use among the ancients, and later, and were only 
abandoned upon the introduction of the pendulum-clock. 
The sand-glass succeeded the clepsydra, and this, in time 
was displaced by clocks, although it is yet in use, not to 
mark the passage of the hours, but some designated 
comparatively short space of time. Just when clocks 
with wheels and weights came into use is not certainly 
known. From Archimedes down to the fourteenth cen- 
tury there have been many men credited with their 
invention. One was made in Magdeburg as early as 
996 ; and there are authorities who agree that one was 
made by Boethius as far back as the year 510 A. D. Clocks 
were in use in the monasteries as early as the tenth cen- 
tury. In any case, clocks impelled by weights are known 
to have been in use in England during the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries. At the present time, we have 
clocks of the most ingenious construction, and whose 
uses are far in advance of those of the clocks of even 


one 01 two centuries ago. A very common modem 
clock is one which is placed within an electrical circuit, 
and which was the invention of Prof. Wheatstone, an 
English electrician of great renown. By this, all the 
clocks within the circuit move their hands at the same 
instant, and hence all record the time, which is given 
out by some clock at some central point, and which has 
the means of recording rehable time. In many places, the 
central clock is loca,ted at an observatory, and from this 
the movement is taken by a greater or less number of 
clocks which may be within the circuit. There are also 
clocks in which the motor, in place of being a weight or 
a coiled spring, is electricity; in this case, the pendulum 
has its bob of wire, and passes back and forward between 
two magnets, and thus gives motion to the machinery 
of the clock, and at the same time acts as its regulator. 
Now we have clocks in which the hours, the day of the 
week and month are recorded, and with which many 
very curious attachments are in use. Watches seem to 
have been known in the sixteenth century, but they 
must have been very far from being the time-keepers 
that are in use at the present day. They had nothing 
in the shape of a balance-wheel and balance-spring ; but 
what they lacked in value as to keeping an accurate 
record of the flight of time, they made up in other qual- 
ities. One writer mentioned one that was no larger 
than an almond. In his Memoir es, Abbe Arnauld says 
that his mother saw, 1589, on the finger of Princess Anne 
of Denmark, who married James I., a large crystal of 
average size, in which there was set a watch, with all 
its wheels, which struck the hours, not on a metal sur- 
face, but in a manner whereby the hammer struck softly 
on the finger with Ught blows.* Watches in rings were 

Vieux-Neuf. Fournier. 


a common article in the fifteenth century ; they were 
also made in the form of a cross, and in various other 
fantastic shapes. The watches of the present day have 
reached a very high state approximating to perfection, 
among which the chronometer takes front rank, being 
used in cases where the greatest exactness is demanded. 
It is so named from the character of its escapement ; and 
is carried so as to avoid anything Hke irregularity in 
position. Its use is mainly for sea voyages and for 
astronomical observations. The value of this kind of 
a time-keeper may be estimated when it is known that a 
watchmaker of England, named Harrison, received from 
the Enghsh government over one hundred thousand 
dollars for a chronometer, which made an error of less 
than two minutes in a voyage to Jamaica and back. 

In this country, nearly every part of a watch is made 
by machinery, so that any piece in any one watch wiU 
exactly fill the place of a similar piece in any other watch 
of the same class. The manufacture of American 
watches has assumed prodigious dimensions in the 
United States, so great indeed that theAmerican watch 
now enters the markets of the world and competes suc- 
cessfully with the long-established manufactories of the 
old world, both as to quality and cheapness, as well as 
beauty of form, and artistic finish. The principal points 
at which watches are manufactured in Europe are in 
many towns in Switzerland, and at Liverpool and other 
parts of England. There are also some places in France 
and Germany where watches are made for exportation ; 
but the main points are those enumerated. 

There were various other inventions of this, the 
fifteenth century, among which may be mentioned 
bronze cannon ; an improvement in painting in oil intro- 
duced by Van Eyck, a Hollander ; engraving on steel, 
the air-pump, the letter-post in Prance, and the carbine. 


The sixteenth century also witnessed some very impor- 
tant advances in science and in the arts. The sword 
was changed into a bayonet and placed on the end of a 
musket, and the whole thus became a lance. The 
Copernican system, as elsewhere referred to, was intro- 
duced, and for the first time in the history of modern 
times, the human race began to be taught that the earth, 
instead of being the centre around which the sun, moon, 
and stars revolved, is itself but a humble satellite of 
which the sun is the centre. It was the sixteenth 
which first gave the spinning-wheel practical shape ; in 
which a submarine vessel was launched — although sub- 
marine navigation is claimed, like so many other things, 
by the ancients ; the microscope by Jansen, the projec- 
tion of maps by Mercator, and the pendulum and im- 
proved telescope by G-aHleo. 



PEEHAPS the grandest event of the sixteenth cen- 
tury was the birth of G-ahleo GaHlei, usually 
known simply as Galileo. He was born in Florence, 
Italy, in February, 1564, on the same day that a man 
almost equally renowned, Michael Angelo Buonarotti 
died in Eome. 

It might almost seem as if the great soul which had 
disappeared at Eome had entered and vivified a human 
body in a new form. Both these men are so great, each 
in his way, that it would seem to be impossible to sup- 
ply the place of the one save by the substitution of the 
other. The one was to mechanics what the other was 
to painting ; each at the head of his chosen specialties, 
and both destined to immortality. 

The contributions of Galileo to the arts and sciences 
are great, and deserve more than mere mention. His 
life is one of the most extraordinary character, attended 
with episodes which convulsed the world, and which are 
yet the subject of a hot contention as to the truth or 
falsity of charges made against the church which then 
substantially dominated the world. Some of the salient 
incidents of his hie, and the main assertions of the two 
great parties who have so long fought over the treat- 
ment which he was accorded by the clerical and secular 
authorities, wiU also receive mention before dismissing 

{From a painting by Ramsay, in Trinity Coliege, Cambridge.) 



the progress made by the sixteenth century. His first 
discovery was of the isochronism of the pendulum ; that 
is, that it moves through differing arcs in the same time. 
This was followed by the invention of the hydrostatic 
scales, the thermoscope, the giving of a practical turn 
to the telescope which, according to very excellent 
authority, was not his invention ; the pendulum-clock, 
and a vast number of discoveries in sciences of the most 
valuable character. 

Galileo was of a noble family, legitimately born 
despite the fact that a report as to his illegitimacy was 
circulated soon after his death, and received by his ene- 
mies as truth for more than a century. The publication 
of the certificate of the marriage of his parents has been 
produced, and through it the mahcious tongues of slan- 
der have been silenced. The fact, howevet, that he was 
illegitimate would have no effect on his works, their in- 
fluence, or the loftiness of the place which he occupies 
in the estimate of posterity. He received a hberal edu- 
cation considering the poverty of his parents, who were 
poor although noble, and developed a very versatile tal- 
ent, but was especially ingenious in mechanics. He 
was destined by his father to be a doctor, but fate had a 
more important career in store for him than the cure of 
bodily ailments. It was while in school at Pisa that 
there occurred an incident which is often related of him, 
and which, according to Nelh, is true. He was lying on 
his back in the cathedral dreamily watching the great 
lamp which was suspended from an arch, and which, 
having been drawn to one side to permit its being 
Hghted, was swinging slowly from side to side. Gahleo 
discovered by feehng of his pulse that the oscillations, 
although shortening gradually, -were all made in the 
same time ; that it required no more time for the lamp 
to swing from one end to the other of the longer arcs 


than it did to swing between the extremes of the shorter 
ones ; and in this way, the world became possessed of 
the very important fact that the vibrations of the pendu- 
lum are isochronous. His discoveries attracted much 
attention, and he was soon promoted to the professor- 
ship of mathematics at Pisa, for which he received the 
somewhat extraordinary remuneration of sixty-five dol- 
lars per annum; a salary which, as stated by Gebler, 
proves the estimate in which mathematics was held, and 
the more so when it is added that the professor of medi- 
cine in the same institution was in receipt of nearly 
two thousand dollars per annum. It was while he was 
at this university that he made his investigations into 
gravitation. The ancient theory of gravitation had 
been to the effect that the rapidity of the fall of a body 
depends whoUy on its weight ; this had been disputed by 
some thinkers, who asserted, a priori, that the fall of a 
body depends on its density, and not on its weight, but 
there had been no experimental effort. Galileo adopted 
this theory, and demonstrated it by climbing to the top 
of the celebrated leaning tower of Pisa, and dropping 
certain objects of different weights and densities, and at 
once demonstrated beyond any appeal that the faU of 
bodies is controlled by density in place of weight. The 
effect of these discoveries was to make him enemies, 
and, then, to escape their machinations he left Pisa, and 
soon after was made professor of mathematics at Padua. 
While here, he constructed various machines for the use 
of the republic, and wrote several treatises, the larger of 
which were " on the laws of motion, on fortifications, on 
gnomonic (the making of sun-dials) mechanics, the 
celestial globe, and on fortifications."* It was while 
here he invented the thermoscope, or a heat-indicator, 

* Viviana. 


which, has led many to credit him with the invention of 
the thermometer ; but this is not the fact according to 
cotemporary writers. The thermometer came later, 
the idea being probably taken from Galileo's instrument. 

In 1597 he wrote a letter in which he stated that he 
was a behever in the Copernican theory as to the motion 
of the world, which doctrine at that time was held in 
abhorrence by the church element, or an influential por- 
tion of it, on the ground that it was in opposition to the 
teachings of the Scriptures, and the beliefs of the fathers. 
Galileo accepted the teachings of Copernicus, but did 
not deem it prudent to give publicity to the conviction 
till he had received some confirmation of the new astro- 
nomical theory from his. own observations. A letter 
written in 1610, while at Padua, to Behsario Vinta, sec- 
retary of the Grand Duke, will afford a capital idea of 
the floods of scientific ideas which were pouring through 
his mind. He writes : 

" Of curious and useful things I possess so many that 
their very abundance does me harm; for if I had but one, 
I should have esteemed it greatly, and perhaps, through 
it, I might have found that fortune which as yet I have 
not met with, nor have I sought it : Magna longeque 
admirabilia apud me habeo (freely rendered : I am sur- 
rounded with great projects) ; but they are no good to 
me, or rather, they can be no good except to princes ; for 
they alone make war, erect fortresses, and for their royal 
pleasure spend such sums of money as private gentlemen 
cannot, any more than I can. The works which I prin- 
cipally wish to finish are these : Two books on the sys- 
tem of the universe; an immense work (idea, concetto), 
full of philosophy, astronomy, and geometry ; three books 
on local motion, a science entirely new — no one, either 
ancient or modern, having discovered any of the marvel- 
ous accidents which I demonstrate in natural and violent 


motions — so that I may with very great reason call it a 
new science, discovered by me from its very first princi- 
ples ; three books on mechanics, two on the demonstra- 
tion of its first principles, and one on the problems — and 
though this is a subject which has already been treated 
by various writers, yet aU of which has been writ- 
ten hitherto, neither in quantity nor otherwise, is 
a quarter of what I am writing on it. I have also 
various treatises on natural subjects, on sound, and 
speech, on sight and colors, on the tide, on the com- 
position of continuous quantity, on the motion of ani- 
mals, and others ; besides, I have also the idea of writing 
some books on the military art, giving not only a model 
of a soldier, but teaching with very exact rules, all 
which it is his duty to know, which depends on mathe- 
matics ; as, for instance, the knowledge of encampment, 
drawing up battahons, fortifications, assaults, planning, 
surveying, the knowledge of artillery, the use of various 
instruments, etc. Besides this, I wish to reprint the Use 
of my geometrical compass, which is entirely out of 
print. In fact, this instrument has met with such favor 
from the public, that no others of the kind are ever 
made ; and I know that up to this period some thousands 
of mine have been made. I will not say what amount 
of labor will be required to fix the period of the four new 
planets ; a task the more laborious, the more one thinks 
of it, as they are separated from one another only by 
very brief intervals, and are very similar to one another 
in size and color."* The object of this letter was that 
he might secure some position under the ducal govern- 
ment which would afford him the leisure to carry out all 
these projected works. Fancy the intellectual activity 
of a man who devises all these works for his own labor ! 

* Private lAfe of Galileo. 


They constitute enough to fill a library, and to keep 
employed a half dozen men during their life-time. 

The next step in the career of this wonderful genius 
was to bring the telescope to bear on the great question 
which, at that time, was seriously agitating the learned 
world. The theories of Copernicus were broached, and 
secured some believers ; but many were shy, on account 
of the hostility of the theological element, in giving 
utterance to their behef that the Aristotehan doctrines 
were no longer tenable. Such had been the position of 
Galileo ; he had favored the teachings of Copernicus that 
the world was merely a very small item in the grand 
whole of the universe, instead of being, as was generally 
beheved, the great centre around which the sun, stars, 
and planets all revolved. In a work called the Siderius 
Nuncius, by Galileo, and published in Yenice in 1610, he 
says that he heard some ten months before "that an 
instrument had been made by a Dutchman, by means of 
which distant objects were brought nearer and could be 
seen plainly." This report was confirmed by one of his 
pupils, and this set him to thinking how the end could 
be attained. He finally placed a plano-convex glass at 
one end of a leaden tube, and a plano-concave glass at 
the other, by which " objects were made to appear three 
times larger and nine times nearer." He improved on 
this primitive instrument tiU he secured one which 
"magnified one thousand times, and brought objects 
thirty times nearer." * It is thus seen that although he 
did not discover the telescope, as is popularly taught; 
and did not have the idea presented to him by looking 
through a couple of glasses at a vane which seemed nearer 
and turned upside down ; although all these popular tales 
have no foundation in fact— not even the one which states 

* Astronomicus Nuncius. Galileo. 



that his father was a spectacle maker — it is still true that 
he was the first to push the theory to a practical use, 
and may therefore be entitled to the credit of having- 
made a vital improvement. In a letter pubhshed from 
the private correspondence of himself and his daughter, 
a nun, he says : "I write now because I have a piece of 
news for you, though whether you wiU be glad or sorry 
to hear it, I cannot say, for I have now no hope of re- 
turning to my own country, though the occurrence 
which destroyed that hope has results both useful and 
horiorable. You must know then that about two months 
ago, there was a report spread here that in Flanders 
some one had presented to Count Maurice (of Nassau) 
a glass manufactured in such a way as to make distant 
objects to appear very near, so that a man at the dis- 
tance of two miles could be clearly seen. This appeared 
to me so marvelous that I began to think about it ; as it 
appeared to me to have a foundation in the science of 
perspective, I set about thinking how to make it, and at 
length I have found out, and have succeeded so well 
that the one I have made is far superior to the Dutch 
telescope. . . . Many gentlemen and senators, even 
the oldest, have ascended at various times the highest 
bell-towers in Yenice, to spy out ships at sea making 
sail for the mouth of the harbor, and have seen them 
clearly, though without my telescope they would have 
been invisible for more than two hours. The effect of 
this instrument is to show an object at a distance of, say 
fifty miles, as if it were five miles off." 

With his telescope he created a tremendous furore. 
It was a cardinal doctrine of the day that the heavens 
were unchangeable ; this fell before his observation. He 
soon discovered four satellites, the solar spots, and vari- 
ous other phenomena of the planetary and sidereal sys- 
tems, with the result that he soon began to make 


endless enemies — some of whom were envious of the f ame- 
which he was acquiring, and the honors being heaped, 
upon him — while another element found that their theo- 
logical teachings were being mined at the foundations. 
About this time he received a most hberal offer to at- 
tach himself to the ducal court of Tuscany, a change 
which his biographers assert to be at the foundation of 
aU his subsequent misfortunes. Florence, which he was 
about to leave, was tolerant in rehgious matters, had 
even gone to the extremity of defying a bull of excom- 
munication issued against some of their officials, and was 
the place in which the expanding genius of the great 
discoverer would have found no obstacle. At the first, 
however, he had no difficulty. He was invited to visit 
Rome, and did so, being received with honor, and treated 
with the greatest consideration. But there were envious 
men who began to plot against him, and who finally as- 
serted that his teachings were contrary to the Holy 
Scriptures. It would have been well had he paid no at- 
tention to this assertion ; but he proceeded to answer it 
in a long letter to Benedetto CasteUi in which he under- 
took to answer the objections urged against his dis- 
coveries as being in conflict with the Bible ; but in the 
course of it he was unfortunate enough to make the as- 
sertion that the Scriptures had nothing whatever to do 
with scientific matters. He also undertook to explain 
'the "standing still" of the sun at the command of 
Joshua from a scientific stand-point, showing that the 
theologians did not correctly understand the bibhcal 
narration ; in doing which he became guilty of the hein- 
ous offence, being a mere layman, of undertaking to ex- 
plain the Scriptures. Many of the pulpits opened their 
batteries on him, and denounced him as one who was 
teaching a doctrine calculated to bring the Holy Scrip- 
tures into contempt. Cardinal Bellarmine, the first 


authority in the sacred college, in referring to the 
Copernican theories, " held their teachings to be hereti- 
cal, and that the principle of the double motion of the 
earth was undoubtedly contrary toHoly Scripture." * 

The letter of GralUeo feU into the hands of some Dom- 
inicans, by treachery it is asserted, who were horrified 
at the idea of a layman's undertaking the task of inter- 
preting the Holy Scriptures, and thereupon he was 
denounced to the Holy Office. There was much con- 
fusion over the matter, with the result that he was 
admonished by Cardinal BeUarmine ; but he continued 
to uphold the Copernican theory with his usual vigor, and 
herein made a mistake. He should have bowed until the 
storm had passed ; but he was too firm in his opinions, 
too bhnded by his discoveries to see the storm which 
was rising on the horizon. Soon after he was " admon- 
ished " the congregation denounced the Copernican 
theory by which to teach it became a dehcate and dan- 
gerous attempt. 

In 1632, he issued the great work, The Dialogue, in 
which, in a conversation purporting to be held between 
several persons he developed all his theories in regard to 
the motion of the earth and the system as enunciated 
by Copernicus. Hardly had the distribution of the work 
been commenced when there came a positive order from 
the Inquisition to seize every copy in the booksellers' 
shops throughout aU Italy. The pubHsher was ordered 
to discontinue the pubhcation of the book, and to for- 
ward to Eome aU the copies he had left. A Congrega- 
tion was called ; and at the age of seventy-five, Gahleo, 
broken, and in ill health, was cited to appear before the 
Inquisition. He went, and during the year, had three 
examinations, the result being that he was declared to 

* Karl Von Gebler. 


be " vehemently suspected of heresy," and condemned 
to imprisonment during the pleasure of the Holy See. 
His penance was that he was ordered to repeat the Pen- 
itential Psalms once a week, for three years ; and then, 
on his knees he was to recite the abjuration which had 
been prepared at the dictation of the pope. Urban YIII. 
At the same time, all the works of Galileo were placed 
in the Index Expurgatorius. On the 1st of April, 1634, 
an edict came from Eome which ordered that he should 
be practically separated from all personal contact with 
the world. He soon after became bHnd; and after a 
long period of intense suffering, he died on the 8th of 
January, 1642. There was a desire expressed to give 
him a grand funeral by his admirers, but they were dis- 
suaded from doing it by reports from the Inquisition 
and the Vatican that such a course would be viewed 
with displeasure. There was for a time considerable 
discussion as to whether he had the right to make his 
will, and likewise as to whether his body should be per- 
mitted to rest in a consecrated ground. His will was 
finally allowed to be carried out, and his remains were 
entombed. He was buried in Santa Croce, in a chapel 
known as Del Noviziato, where it remained in obscurity 
for more than a century. And this was the end of one 
of the greatest geniuses whom the world has ever 

The sentence of the Tribunal of the " Supreme In- 
quisition" which tried and convicted Galileo, on the 
22nd day of June, 1633, contains the following: "We 
say, pronounce, sentence, and declare, that thoa, the 
said Galileo, by the things deduced during the trial, 
and by thee confessed as above, hast rendered thyself 
vehemently suspected of heresy by this Holy Office; 
that is, of having beheved and held a doctrine which is 
false, and contrary to the Holy Scriptures, to-wit: 


That the sim is the centre of the universe, and that it 
does not move from east to west, and that the earth 
moves and is not the centre of the universe ; and that 
an opinion may be held and defended as probable after 
having been declared and defined as contrary to the 
Holy Scripture ; and in consequence, thou hast incurred 
all the penalties and censures of the Holy Canons, and 
other decrees both general and particular against such 
offenders imposed and promulgated. From the which, 
we are content that thou shouldst be absolved, if, first 
of all, with a sincere heart, and unfeigned faith, thou 
dost before us abjure, curse, and detest the above-men- 
tioned errors and heresies, and any other error or heresy 
contrary to the Catholic ApostoHc Eoman Church, after 
the manner that we shall require of thee." This sen- 
tence was signed by several cardinals, who describe 
themselves "By the mercy of God, cardinals of the 
Holy Eoman Church, Inquisitors of the Holy Apostoho 
See, in the whole Christian Eepubhc especially deputed 
against heretical depravity." 

The abjuration of Galileo is a document which de- 
serves to be given a popular distribution, and is there- 
fore herein given entire : "I, Gahleo Gahlei, son of the 
late Vincenzio Galilei, of Florence, aged seventy years, 
tried personally by this court, and kneeling before you, 
the most Eminent and Eeverend Lord Cardinals, Inquis- 
itors-generals throughout the Christian Eepubhc against 
heretical depravity, having before my eyes the Most 
Holy Gospels, and laying on them my own hands; I 
swear that I have always beHeved, I beHeve now, and 
with God's help I will in future beheve all which the 
Holy Cathohc and ApostoHc Church doth hold, preach, 
and teach. But since I, after having been admonished by 
this Holy Office entirely to abandon the false opinion that 
the sun was the centre of the universe and immovable, 

Galileo's eecantation. 139 

and that the earth was not the centre of the same 
and that it moved, and that I was neither to hold, de- 
fend, nor teach in any manner whatever, either orally or 
in writing, the said false doctrine; .and after having 
received a notification that the said doctrine is con- 
trary to Holy Writ, I did write and cause to be 
printed a book in which I treat of the already-con- 
demned doctrine, and bring forward arguments of much 
efl&cacy in its favor, without arriving at any solution : 
I have been vehement suspected of heresy, that is, 
of having held and believed that the Sun is the 
centre of the universe and immovable, and that the 
earth is not the centre of the same, and that it does 

" Nevertheless, wishing to remove from the minds 
of your Eminences and all faithful Christians this 
vehement suspicion reasonably conceived against me, 
I abjure with a sincere heart, an unfeigned faith, I 
curse and detest the said errors and heresies, and 
generally all and every error and sect contrary to the 
Holy Cathohc Church. And I swear that for the 
future I wiU neither say nor assert in speaking and 
writing such things as may bring upon me similar 
suspicion; and if I do know any heretic, or one sus- 
pected of heresy, I wiU denounce him to this Holy 
OflSce ; or to the Inquisitor and Ordinary of the place 
in which I may be. And if I contravene any of these 
said promises, protests, or oaths (which God forbid!) 
I submit myself to all the pains and penalties which 
by the Sacred Canons and other Decrees general and 
particular are against such offenders imposed and promul- 
gated. I, G-aUleo Galilei aforesaid, have abjured, sworn, 
and promised, and hold myseh bound as above ; and in 
token of the truth, with my own hand have subscribed 
to the present schedule of my abjuration, and have 



recited it word by word. In Eome, at the Convent 
della Minerva, this 22nd of June, 1633. 

" I, Galileo Galilei, have abjured as above, 
" With my own hand." 

It is a popular legend that Gahleo, on rising from his 
knees said, in a low tone : " Eppure si muove I " (" It 
does move, though!") It is not at aU probable that any- 
thing of the kind would have occurred without the re- 
mark being heard by some of the members of the court, 
in which case he would not have escaped severer pun- 
ishment. It is something which he might have said; 
but which there is no reason for beheving that he did 
say — at least at that time. 

The admirers of G-alileo must regard with unalloyed 
contempt his abjuration, as it cannot be said to be any- 
thing but rank perjury, unless it be assumed that at his 
age, and weakened by long iUness, the death of his 
daughter, and various other inflictions, his mind may 
have become impaired as to the character of what he 
had taught, and the sacred nature of an oath. Some of 
his apologists have undertaken to teach that he did not 
in reahty recant ; that there are double meaning to some 
of the phrases of the abjuration, as for instance, that 
the sun does move, for he must have seen that the sun 
did move on its own axis: and that the earth is a 
centre, for he knew that it is a centre for certain bodies; 
but this would seem to be trivial. There is another 
theory held by some of the more orthodox of those who 
were engaged in his persecution, and that is that he did 
in reahty disbeheve what he had for so many years 
taught ; but even this is not probable. The more rea- 
sonable conclusion is that he was overcome by the diffi- 
culties of his situation, and that he abjured rather than 
incur the terrible fate which would have waited him at 
the hands of the Inquisition. It should be said here 


that there is no rehable evidence to prove the often- 
urged charge that he was submitted to torture by the 
Inquisition; that is, of the rack and thumb-screw kind. 
In a sense, he was tortured by being dragged from his 
home while seriously ill to be present at his trial, and in 
being sentenced to the confinement of his own house, 
and forbidden to meet any of the outside world. 

In justice to the then dominant religion, it should be 
added that the persecution which he endured was very 
far from being one in which the church acted as a unit. 
Urban VIII., before becoming pope, had met Galileo, 
had learned aU the new theories in regard to the uni- 
verse, had given them a quasi endorsement by treating 
Gahleo with the greatest consideration. It was only 
after he had become pope that he changed his attitude, 
and assisted in the punishment which was infhcted on 
the victim. There were ten cardinals engaged in his 
trial, and of these only seven signed the condemnation. 
Many of the highest dignitaries of the church were 
among his warmest admirers, were behevers in what he 
taught, and endeavored by every means in their power 
to prevent his arrest by the Inquisition, and to mitigate 
the severity of his punishment after condemnation. It 
is a very general belief that all the proceedings against 
him were inspired by the Jesuits, who, anterior to his 
discoveries, arrogated to themselves the possession of 
aU the mysteries of science, and the right of its inter- 
pretation to the world. 

Should the reader wish to look more closely mto this 
question as to the torture of GalUeo, there are abun- 
dant authorities.* 

* Galileo and the Inquisition, Madden. Sur la Verity de Proces de 
Galileo, Biot. Galileo- Galilei, sa Vie, son Proces, et ses Cotemporains, 
Philarete Chasles. Galileo and the Roman Curia, L. Von Gebler. Life of 
Galileo, compiled principally from his correspondence and that of his 


It may be stated in closing this chapter of the great 
Italian discoverer that there has never been any very 
spirited attempt to defend the trial and condemnation 
by the church in power at the time, and which is held 
responsible for the act. In his defence Madden* says: 
" I do not believe it is incumbent on any Eoman Catho- 
lic to attempt to justify the proceedings that were actu- 
ally carried into effect against Galileo. The fuUest con- 
sideration I have given this subject leaves a conviction 
on my mind that these proceedings were not expedient 
or productive of any temporary advantage or permanent 
utility to rehgion, civiUzation, science, or learning. I 
think it is to be lamented that they were adopted, how- 
ever much they were provoked by Galileo." Such 
defence as he offers is to the effect that GaJileo had 
broken faith with the Inquisition when he had been 
admonished by them that he must not promulgate the 
doctrines of Copernicus ; that he was unwise in under- 
taking to show that the Scriptures, not being in accord 
with his discoveries, were not worthy of credence ; and 
that the actions of the Inquisition are not those of 
the Romish Church. In fine, this writer admits that 
action would not have been taken against Gahleo : "I 
know full well, they (the proceedings against Gahleo) 
would not have been adopted against Gahleo by the 
Pontiff, Urban VIII., if they had not been forced on him 
and the court of Rome by some members of rehgious 
orders, of zeal that was not regulated by prudence tem- 
pered by charity, and not directed by a pohcy that is 
'wise unto salvation,' as well as bold and undeviating." 

daughter. Galilee, son Procea, so Condamnation, byM. Henri de 1' Epinois. 
Psychological Inquiries, by Sir Benjamin Brodie, Bart. Histoire de V Egliae, 
by M. Bercastel. Contributions to Italian History, by Alfred Von Eeu- 
mont. Histoire dea Sciences Mathematics en Italie, by M. Libri, etc., etc. 
* Oalileo and the Inquisition. 



THE microscope and the telescope are alike, and yet 
unlike. They are alike in that they penetrate dis- 
tances which, before their invention, were unknown, 
and in opening np new worlds where, before, nothing of 
importance was supposed to exist. They are unhke in 
that one apphes itself to the infinitely vast, and the 
other to the infinitely little. "Extremes meet." The 
telescope, directed upwards, reveals millions of great 
wrorlds doubtlessly inhabited; the other brings into 
view biUions of infinitesimal worlds, each of which 
is thronged with uncountable mjnriads of existences. 
Both have extended beyond all comprehension the scope 
of man's vision ; have shown him that creation includes 
vastly more than an earth in the middle, a sun to hght 
it by day, and moon and stars to illuminate it by night ; 
that Hfe is more than man and a few animals, and that 
animate existence is everywhere through all the inimit- 
able stars of the sky, the waters of the ocean, the tissues 
of the body, in the air, in the dust, in the pools, in vege- 
tation, in the sod, in the marsh, in fine — everywhere. 
We find that the fecundity of nature is the most mar- 
vellous of her developments. All creation is a crowded 
tenement house — every room, every corner, every inter- 
stice fiUed to its utmost capacity. There are in this 
vast tenement house even tenants within tenants, so 



great is the demand for room. There are existences 
which support within themselves other existences, and 
these again give within themselves sustenance to others. 

As it is certain that beyond those starry worlds 
which the most powerful of telescopes have revealed, 
there are stiE. other worlds, and beyond them still 
others ilLimitably, so in the opposite direction there are 
remoter existences which the utmost power of the 
microscope has not yet unveiled, and which, growing 
less in magnitude, may extend to infinity. 

It requires no great stretch of imagination to con- 
struct some being, not divine, who is as much greater 
than we, as we are greater than the most minute of the 
existences which we have discovered by the aid of the 
microscope. Let us imagine this superior being an 
occupant of some central body of some one of the great 
steUar systems. To such an one all the surrounding 
stars would seem to be a soUd crystal mass. He would 
beheve himself in the centre of a vast and limitless 
ocean. This environment would appear to him as the 
ocean does to us, compact, each drop in contact with 
every other adjacent drop. Now, suppose that he should 
become the possessor of a microscope powerful in pro- 
portion to his stature. He brings it to bear on the cir- 
cumjacent mass, and discovers that what he supposed 
to be a compact and dense body is reaUy made of crystal 
drops which do not touch each. These drops are to us 
the stars which we know to be millions of miles apart ; 
to this being they seem to have a slight separation. He 
examines further, and there is revealed to him sorne 
evidences of life. He may even be able to discover that 
some of these existences move in an upright position on 
two legs, and others on four legs. He concludes that 
one of these drops is inhabited. But how infinitely 
remote is he from discovering aU the facts ! He would 


miss the small birds, the vermin, the insects, and the 
thousands of other lives that are visible to the unaided 
sight. How little would he suspect that beyond -the 
extreme of his microscope there are to be found exis- 
tences billions of times more numerous than those which 
he has seen ! So with us. As there are hmits beyond 
the power of the microscope of this great being — at 
which real existence, as to number, commences — so 
beyond the Hmits of our instruments it may be that the 
great majority of things that live are to be found. Who 
knows what would be revealed could investigation of 
the httle commence where it ceases with us, and extend 
from this new point of departure as far in nroportion as 
it now extends from us ? 

The telescope, and the microscope have revealed to 
us only the outskirts of the infinitely great and the 
infinitely httle. The antipodean concept — if it may 
be so termed for the sake of the convenience of the ex- 
pression — of space is the infinite divisibihty of matter. 
There are worlds above us ; there are others below us, 
and in the case of either of these directions, there may 
be no necessary hmit to animate existence. 

Let us look at this matter, for a moment, from the 
stand-point of the infinitely Little. Let us suppose that 
one of the million inhabitants in a drop of water becomes 
in some way possessed of an instrument which enables 
him to scan the distance as we do with the telescope. 
Before getting possession of such an instrument, he has 
always been of the behef that his drop of water is a com- 
plete world. Away in the vast distance he sees other 
minute bodies, which are really drops of water, but 
which to him are vast bodies from which he gets hght 
and heat. He gets possession of the telescope, and his 
first discovery is that his drop of water is not the only 
world in existence; but that there are all about him 



other worlds. He perhaps speculates as to their being 
inhabited; he sees these enormous worlds as far as the 
instrument can aid his eye to reach. In fact, he is forced 
to the conclusion that there are other worlds, although 
to him they are vast and inaccessible distances away. 
He Uves but a second or two, and yet during that time 
he may make computations of the laws which govem his 
world, its relations to the others ; for his second of ex- 
istence to him is as long in proportion to his dimensions 
and his surroundings as our threescore years and ten 
are to the human race. He may have his cycles, his 
epochs, his aeons. In short, it may be that there is a 
series of worlds extended from the one extreme to the 
other, and from the stand-point of an observer in each of 
them, there may be appear, in looking towards the ht- 
tle, only a compact mass, which to the actual inhabitant 
is, in each instance, the centre of some great system. 

But the microscope has other uses than merely the 
creation of suggestions as to the deeper recesses of the 
minute. Its power may be estimated from an assertion 
that the minutest animalcule is 34,660,000,000,000,000,000 
times smaller than a whale ; that there are at least 100,000 
species of animalcules.* We have been able to deduce 
from observations made by it that some animalcules 
propagate so rapidly that one of them in four days would 
produce over 70,000,000,000 of its species, t It also 
shows us that 300,000 of these animate bodies may in- 
habit a drop of water. A species of fungus {hovista gi- 
gantea) has been known to increase its size more than a 
million times during a single night. Having shown us 
these things which are both curious and instructive, the 
microscope has a utihty part which is of the greatest 

* Dick. 

-f Ehrenberg. 




importance in innumerable departments of labor, both 
scientific and practical. The world knew but compara- 
tively httle of the minuter composition of the human 
body until the microscope gave its potent assistance. 
To medicine, it has been of infinite service'. It gave to 
the surgeon facts of the greatest value which he could 
nowhere else have obtained. Morbid structure placed 
under its powerful Hght affords information as to the 
causes of disease which could not otherwise be obtained. 
It is not very long since, a twelve-month, that the world 
was electrified by the discoveries of Pasteur in regard to 
a disease which was very fatal among sheep. The micro- 
scope was brought into use to solve the problem, when 
it was found that the disease was owing to a parasite ; 
the discovery led to the cure. He weakened the para- 
sitic virus by exposure, then innoculated the sheep with 
it, and the result was that the epidemic was arrested. 
Koch, a German savant, brought this instrument into 
use to locate the cause of pulmonary consumption. He 
found that the matter expectorated from the lungs of 
this class of consumptives contained an enormous num- 
ber of minute parasites known as baciUi. A series of ex- 
periments is being conducted, after the principle of that 
of Pasteur, Avith the hope that, in time, by innoculatioh, 
tbis scourge of modern civilization will be mitigated, if 
not wholly obhterated. Its value is by no means con- 
fined to the demands of medicine and physiology. It 
has performed valuable service in the department of jus- 
tice. In the celebrated BurdeU murder trial which took 
place many years ago in New York, a very essential 
change was'made in the condition of the accused by the 
microscope, which showed that some blood on the hand- 
rail of the stairway, and in other places, was not the 
blood of the victim, but catamenial in its origin. It has 
shown in other instances that what was supposed to be 


blood on the knife of a person suspected of committing 
a murder, was merely rust. 

In the detection of the adulteration of food and drugs, 
and other articles, the microscope has been invaluable. 
In the study of the physiology of vegetables, it enables 
an examination of the earliest processes of vegetable 
grov^th, and the parts which are played by the different 
tissues in the growth, and maturing of the plant. It 
shows the existence of poison in cases where the dis- 
closures can be reached by no other agencies. " It teUs 
the murderer that the blood which stains him is that of 
his brother, and not that of the other hfe he pretends to 
have taken ; and as a witness against a criminal, it ap- 
pealed to the very sand on which he trod at midnight." * 

The microscope consists of the simple and the com- 
pound. The latter is a comparatively modern inven- 
tion ; the other, in one form and another can be traced 
back to the ancients. The original instrument must 
have been known to the Greeks and Eomans, but in a 
very primitive form, and as little Hke the modern, as a 
watch is like a clepsydra. Aristophanes speaks of glo- 
bules of glass that were sold in the shops ; Cicero men- 
tions a Homer's Ihad which was, written on parchment 
which was contained in a nut-shell; and PHny speaks of 
an elaborate work executed in ivory by a Milesian, which 
a fly could cover with its wings. These facts show that 
there must have been some artificial aid to the natural 
vision. The most simple form of the microscope is a 
glass which is flat on one side, and rounded out on the 
other (plano-convex), and which is placed in a small tube, 
blackened on the inside. These forms are valuable for 
a good deal of useful work, among which the examina- 
tion of bank biUs, signatures, and the hke, are the 

* Hogg. 


best known and most common. These instruments with 
only one lens have been found in the ruins of Herculan- 
eum, in those of Nineveh, the latter being undoubtedly 
used for optical purposes, and never as an article of 
dress. * But, however it may be as to the knowledge 
of the ancients, there is great difficulty in locating 
the invention of the original of the present microscope. 
The credit of having introduced it is usually given to 
Jansens, and who made it at least as early as 1590. 
About the same time a species of microscope was 
brought to England by the manufacturer, WiUiam 
Drebell. According to some authorities, it was Hke one 
.lately described, and of which M. Aepinus said, " it was- 
formed of a copper tube six feet long, and one inch in 
diameter, supported by three brass pillars in the shape of 
dolphins ; these were fixed to a base of ebony, on which 
the objects to be viewed were placed." This was not a 
microscope of the kind now in use ; but is surmised by 
some experts to have been a species of microscopic tele- 
scope. In 1665, it was discovered that globules of glass 
possess great magnifying power, and were apphed to 
microscopes instead of the plano-convex lens. The 
method of using one of these primitive, or simple instru- 
ments is thus described: " If you are desirous of obtain- 
ing a microscope with but one single refraction, and 
consequently capable of procuring the greatest clearness 
and brightness, any one kind of a microscope is suscep- 
tible of, spread a httle of the fluid you intend examining 
on a glass plate; bring this under one of the glass glo- 
blues, then move it gently upwards tiU the fluid touches 
the globule, to which it will soon adhere, and that so 
firmly as to admit being moved a little backwards and for- 
wards. By looking through the globule you wiU then have 

* Sir David Brewster. 


a perfect view of the animalcules in the drop." * In the , 
middle of the seventeenth century, compound micro- 
scopes were constructed, and in 1736, the celebrated 
Lieberkuhn produced the solar microscope. Anterior 
to this, Newton, 1672, had submitted a design for a mi- 
croscope by reflection. Following Lieberkuhn, there 
were rapid improvements in the microscope. Even 
to-day, the instrument is not beheved to have reached 
the limits of its powers, although it has employed upon 
it some of the most ingenious and ambitious minds of 
the age. It is believed by some that the hmit of its 
power is within sight ; but even its present prodigious 
capacity may advance to an unforeseen extent. 

Some of the most curious of the developments of 
the microscope have been made in the examination of 
the structure, habits, and life of the minute animals 
known as infusoria. "The astronomer turns his tele- 
scope from the earth, and ranges over the vast vault of 
heaven, to detect and dehneate the beautiful objects of 
his pursuit. The naturahst turns his microscope to the 
earth, and in a drop of water finds a wondrous world of 
animated beings, more numerous than the stars of the 
Milky Way. . . The infusoria are a mighty family, 
as they frequently, in countless myriads, cover leagues of 
the ocean, and give to it a tinge from their beautiful 
hue. They are discovered in all chmes, having been 
found aHve sixty feet below the surface of the earth, and 
in the mud brought up from a depth of sixteen hundred 
feet of the ocean. They exist at the poles and the equa- 
tor, in the fluids of the animal body and plants, and in 
the most powerful acids. A brotherhood will be found in a 
little transparent shell, to which a drop of water is a world ; 
and within these are sometimes other communities, 

* Dr. Hooke. 


performing all the functions granted them by their 
Creator, and eagerly pursuing the chase of those less 
than themselves. The forms of the infusoria are end- 
less; some changing their shape at pleasure, others 
resembHng globes, eels, trumpets, boats, stars, pitchers, 
wheels, flasks, cups, funnels, fans, fruits. 

"The infusoria have no night in their existence; 
they issue into life in a state of activity, and continue 
to the duration of their being in one ceaseless state of 
motion; their term is short, they have no time for rest, 
and therefore have but one day which ends in their 
death and decomposition. Nevertheless, they appear to 
love that which promotes life — the light of heaven ; but 
when others, born in the bowels of the earth, and who 
never partook of the blessing, like the ignorant among 
mankind, they have their own round of unenlightened 
joys, perform their mechanical duties, and expire hidden 
and unknown." * 

One of the most curious of the minute animals which 
have been examined, is the polype. It looks, at a 
cursory glance, hke a hair. It is a glutton which 
stops at nothing to gratify its voracious appetite. It 
is a robber, which fears nothing, and will attack any- 
thing which gives it promise of food. It has long 
tentacles, which it can extend and contract, and which 
it uses to feel for its prey, and with which to lasso 
the prey when within reach. " Sometimes it hap- 
pens," says Dr. Johnson, "that two polypes will seize 
upon the same worm, when a struggle for the prey 
ensues, in which the strongest gains, of course, the 
victory; or each polype begins quietly to swallow his 
portion, and continues to gulp down his half, until the 
mouths of the pair near, and come at length into 

* The Microscope, by Hogg. 


actual contact. The rest that now ensues appears to 
prove that they are sensible of their untoward posi- 
tion, from which they are frequently liberated by the 
opportune break of the worm, when each obtains his 
share ; but should the prey prove too tough, woe to the 
-unready! the more resolute dilates the mouth to the 
requisite extent and deliberately swallows his opponent ; 
sometimes partially, so as, however, to compel the dis- 
charge of the bait, while at other times, the entire 
polype is engulphed ! But a polype is no fitting food for 
a polype, and his capacity for endurance saves him from 
a living tomb ; for, after a time, when the worm is sucked 
out of him, the sufferer is disgorged with no other loss 
than his dinner." 

Another curious feature of this polype has been 
brought to light by the microscope. If one of them be 
cut in two, the fore-part, which contains the head, and 
mouth and arms, lengthens itself, creeps, and eats on 
the same day. The tail forms a head and mouth at the 
wounded end, and shoots forth arms more or less 
speedily, as the heat is favorable. If the polype be cut 
the long way through the head, stomach, and body, each 
part is half a pipe, with half a head, half a mouth, and 
some of the arms at one of its ends. The edges, of these 
half pipes gradually round themselves and unite, begin- 
ning at the tail end ; and the half mouth and half stom- 
ach of each becomes complete. A polype has been cut 
lengthways at seven in the morning, and in eight hours 
afterwards, each part had devoured a worm as long as 
itself. StiU more wonderful is the fact that, if turned 
inside out, the parts at once accommodate them- 
selves to their new condition, and carry on aU their 
functions as before the accident. Indeed, this animal 
seems so peculiarly endowed with the germs of vitality 
in every part of its body, that it may be cut in ten 


pieces, and every one will become a new, perfect, living 
animal." * 

Startling and incredible as the assertion may appear 
to some, it is none the less the fact, established beyond 
aU question by the microscope, that some of our most 
gigantic mountain ranges, such as the mighty Andes, 
towering into space twenty-five thousand, two hundred 
and fifty feet above the level of the sea, their base occu- 
pying so vast an area of land ; as also our massive lime- 
stone rocks, the sand that covers our boundless deserts, 
and the soil of many of our widely-extended plains, are 
principally composed of invisible animalcules. The 
stratum of slate, fourteen feet thick, found at BiHn, in 
Austria, was the first that was discovered to consist 
almost entirely of minute flinty shells. A cubic inch 
does not weigh quite half an ounce, and in this bulk it 
is estimated that there are not less than forty thousand 
millions of individual organic remains. t It is stated by 
Dr. Buckland that " the remains of such minute animals 
have added much more to the mass of materials which 
compose the exterior crust of the globe than the bones 
of elephants, hippopotami, and whales." 

The uses of these infusoria are more than merely to 
build up the sohd crusts of the earth. They have still 
another mission that is essential in the system of crea- 
tion. " Consider their incredible numbers, their univer- 
sal distribution, their iusatiable voracity; and that it is 
the particles of decaying vegetable and animal bodies 
which they are appointed to devour and assimilate. 
Surely we must, in some degree, be indebted to these 
ever-active, invisible scavengers, for the salubrity of the 
atmosphere, and the purity of the water. Nor is this 

* M. Trembly. 

|- The Microscope. Hogg. 

natuee's invisible police. 155 

all; they perform a still more important office in pre- 
venting the gradual diminution of the present amount 
of organized matter on the earth. For, when this mat- 
ter is dissolved or suspended in water, in that state, of 
comminution and decay which immediately precedes its 
final decomposition into the elementary gases, and its 
consequent return from the organic to the inorganic 
world, these wakeful members of nature's invisible pohce 
are everywhere ready to arrest the fugitive organized 
particles, and turn them back into the ascending stream 
of animal life. Having converted the dead and decom- 
posing particles into their own living tissues, they them- 
selves become the food of the larger infusoria, and of 
numerous other small animals, which in their turn are 
devoured by larger animals ; and thus a food fit for the 
nourishment of the higher organized beings is brought 
back, by a short route, from the extremity of the realms 
of organized matter. These invisible animalcules may 
be compared, in the great organic world, to the minute 
capillaries in the microcosm of the animal body; receiv- 
ing organic matter in its minutest subdivision, and when 
in full career to escape from the organic system, turning 
it back by a new route, towards the central and the 
highest point of that system." * 

The microscope revealed to us a world concerning 
which there had been httle difference of opinion, and 
not much thought anterior to its invention. Far other- 
wise is it with the telescope. It came to unsettle 
theories which had existed for centuries, to scatter 
behefs that had become indurated by ages of use, to cor- 
rect and develop hali-formed guesses, to revolutionize 
the astronomical accretions of thousands of years. It 
was no slight task, as has been shown in the references 

* Professor Owen. 


to Galileo ; but what he encountered was but a small 
part of the labor to be performed, the errors to be cor- 
rected, the calculations to be jnade, before the world 
obtained even a gHmpse of the steUar and planetary sys- 
tems as we know them to-day. It wiU serve to heighten 
the value of the invention of the telescope, and to in- 
crease the renown of its potent resources, and results 
accomphshed, if one takes a glance over what it had to 
encounter in the shape of the theories which had been 
buUt anterior to its appearance on the field. 

During all ancient ages the earth was a flat surface 
on which rested a great firmament, concave on the side 
towards the earth, and a plane on the upper side. The 
sun, moon, and stars were the attendants of this majes- 
tic body, the earth. They were created solely to minis- 
ter to its needs, to afford it heat and Hght during the 
day, and hght through the night. The sun was a com- 
bination furnace and lamp ; the moon and stars, a larger 
lamp, and some smaller ones, whose sole duty it was to 
light up the vaults during the absence of the sun. What 
wonder that these ancient men beheved themselves a 
great people to be the centre of such a grand system 
constructed expressly for their benefit! And how in- 
tense was the humiliation of the race when it was de- 
monstrated that the earth, in place of being the centre 
of a system with sun, and moon, and myriads of stars 
shining expressly for their delectation, was simply one of 
the very least of all the bodies which filled the heavens ! 
Fancy some man who supposes that he is king of a great 
country, to suddenly discover that he is the very least 
among all the thousands over whom he claimed to exer- 
cise imperial powers ! Is it any wonder that the teach- 
ings of Copernicus excited derision ; that the investiga- 
tions of Gahleo and others drove men to distraction? 
It was a terrible downfall for the race ; hurled from the 


very pinnacle of the universe to find themselves mere 
parasites crawHng over a contemptible body, the most 
insignificant of even the least of those whom they had 
supposed to be their slaves. 

But science was inexorable. The earth fell from its 
high estate. It became the very least of those among 
whom, for centuries, it had stridden as a superior. The 
lamps in the heavens were extinguished ; they no more 
shone for the illumination of the poor httle earth. If 
there were inhabitants on these shining heights, it was 
certain almost that they had never even noticed the 
earth crawling through space in its annual revolution 
around the sun. As little might the mighty emperor of 
Eome know of the whereabouts and character of some 
insignificant serf, hAdng in the sohtude of some vast 
forest in some remote portion of his dominions. Who 
would not struggle against being precipitated from such 
a height to such depths ? The f aU of the haughty Lucifer 
from the topmost battlements of the Celestial City into 
the fathomless depths of the infernal regions was no 
greater than that of mankind, when the earth was sud- 
denly changed from the principal in the universe to a 
miserable satelhte ; and crawled along obscure and un- 
known on a highway where for ages it had fancied itself 
the grandest among all the heavenly hosts. 

Some of the behefs which preceded the discoveries of 
Copernicus were sufficiently curious to deserve mention. 
Some of the earher theories were that the earth rested 
on water ; others had it that it rested on nothing in par- 
ticular ; some taught that it was supported on columns ; 
among the Hindoos the theory was that the earth was a 
hemisphere whose flat sides rested on the backs of four 
elephants, they in turn on the back of a tortoise, and 
this floated on the surface of a boundless ocean. Many 
of the ancient Greeks thought it rested on the top of a 


great cylinder ; some of them held to the opinion that it 
"was cubical with the countries on the upper surface of 
the cube ; still others thought it was an immense inclined 
plane which extended to infinity in every direction. In 
the mythology of the Greeks, the earth was flat, there 
was a solid vault above in which the stars represented 
various things, and were carried in their course by 
chariots. There was an inhabitable heaven above, and 
a Tarturus beneath. 

The ideas of the earth which obtained among the 
nations after the fall of the Roman empire were not very 
much of an improvement over those which prevailed 
among the pagans. In the fourth century, several noted 
hghts gave adhesion to the fiat earth, with a firmament 
above, among whom was Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus; 
and another dignitary, Severianus, bishop of Gabala, 
compared the world to a house in which the earth is the 
ground fioor, the lower heavens the ceiling, and the 
upper, or heaven of heavens, the roof. This double 
heaven was also admitted by Eusebius of Csesarse. * 
Cosmas, in the sixth century, wrote a book to prove that 
the assumed sphericity of the earth, as dimly suggested 
to those who noticed that, during an eclipse, the shadow 
cast by the earth was round, was against the Bible, and 
the teachings of the church. He constructed a map of 
the earth which showed that it is a parallelogram, twice 
as long as its breadth. On all sides are oceans, and be- 
yond these oceans is another continent which was in- 
h^jbited by man before the deluge. On the outsides of 
the earth are four great waUs, which rise to a great 
height and which are rounded off at the top in a dome. 
Men hved in the box thus formed ; and above the dome 
were the heavens in which the higher spirits find their 

* Astronomical Myths. Blake. 


habitation. He modeled this queer world after the form 
of the tabernacle that Moses built. The movement of 
the sun and stars he explained by asserting that it was 
done by angels, some of whom attended to the sun, 
others to the motions of the moon, and some to the duty 
of collecting clouds and seeing that the supply of rain 
was attended to. It was not an uncommon idea, in 
those days that the business of steering the stars along 
their routes was entrusted to angels, some carrying 
them on their shoulders, "like the omophores of the 
Manicheeans ; others that they rolled them in front of 
them or drew them behind; while the Jesuit Eiocioh, 
who made astronomical observations, remarks that each 
angel that pushes a star takes great care to observe 
what the others are doing, so that the relative distances 
between the stars may always remain what they ought 
to be."* 

Another cosmographer was the famous Venerable 
Bede, whom all the world has heard of, and who is re- 
garded as one of the most learned inen of his times. He 
announced that the earth is an element placed in the 
middle of the world, as the yolk is in the middle of the 
egg ; around it is the water, like the white surrounding 
the yolk ; outside this is the air, Hke the membrane of 
the egg ; and round all is the fire which closes it in as 
the shell does. The earth being thus in the centre, re- 
ceives every weight upon itself, and though by nature it 
is cold and dry in its different parts, it acquires accident- 
ally different qualities ; for the portion which is exposed 
to the torrid action of the air, is burnt by the sun, and 
is uninhabitable ; its two extremities are too cold to be 
inhabited, but the portion which Hes in the temperate 
region of the atmosphere is habitable. The ocean which 

■ History of the Heavens. 


surrounds it by its waves as far as the horizon, divides 
it into two parts, the upper of which is inhabited 'by us, 
while the lower is inhabited by our antipodes ; although 
not one of them can come to us, nor one of us to them. 
There were other theories in which the earth was also 
an egg with the lower half of it plunged in water ; one in 
which the earth was shaped like a wheel and placed in 
the middle of the universe, being surrounded by the 
ocean ; * another in which, in the ninth century, repre- 
sents the earth as a round flat, or planosphere ; and so 
oil to an almost inimitable extent down as late as the 
fifteenth century. 

If the telescope had aU. this mass of misconception, 
backed by a large element of bigotry, to encounter, with 
reference to the earth, it had no less than this to meet in 
the prevailing ideas in regard to the heavens. Originally, 
the ancients were believers in a solid sky; and then 
came change in thought, in which it was a matter of 
much disputation whether it was sohd, gaseous, or a 
liquid. It was beUeved by many of the eminent sages 
and philosophers that the stars were fixed in this sohd 
sphere, and that stars and sphere all revolved as one, 
the motion engendering heat, which was communicated 
to the earth below. As a rule, the church, for many 
centuries after the faU of the Eoman empire, held to the 
opinion of not merely one, but many soHd spheres, one 
within the other; the number, at one time having 
reached as many sixty-seven. It was taught by Xeno- 
phanes, 360 B. C, that the stars were hghted every 
night and extinguished every morning ; that the sun is a 
fiery cloud ; that eclipses take place from the sun being 
extinguished, and then re-lighted ; that the moon is in- 
habited, but is eighteen times larger than the earth ; 

* De Universo, Kaban Maur. 


that there are several suns and moons for giving Hght to 
different countries. * 

Of all the ancient systems, the Ptolemaic is the most 
noted. In this system, according to Cicero, the " uni- 
verse is composed of nine circles, or rather of nine mov- 
ing globes each within the others, the outermost sphere 
of which surrounds all others, and on which are the fixed 
stars. Beneath and within this revolves seven other 
globes, moving in a direction contrary to that of the 
outer one, or the heavens. On the first circle revolves 
the star which men call Saturn : on the second Jupiter 
shines, that beneficent and propitious star to human 
eyes ; then follows Mars, ruddy and awful. Below and 
occupying the middle region revolves the sun — the chief, 
prince, and moderator of the other stars — the soul of 
the world, whose immense globe spreads its hght through 
space. After him come, like two companions, Yenus 
and Mercury. Lastly, the lowest globe is occupied by the 
moon, which borrows its hght from the star of day. 
Below this last circle, there is nothing but what is mor- 
tal and corruptible except the souls given by a benefi- 
cent Divinity to the race of men. Above the moon, all 
is eternal. The earth, situated in the centre of the 
world, and separated from heaven on all sides, forms the 
ninth sphere; it remains immovable, and all heavy 
bodies are drawn to it by their own weight." The earth 
itself, in this system composed of land and water, is a 
globe, and has two envelopes, one of air, next to it, and 
one of fire which is separated by a short space from the 
environment of air. Each of the globes above, or out- 
side of the earth, is a heaven, named after the star, such 
as the heaven of the moon, the heaven of the sun, the 
heaven of Mercury. Outside of Saturn was the heaven 

'History of the Heavens. Blake. 


of the firmament, filled with the remoter fixed stars, 
and enveloping this, the crystalline heavens, or the 
abode of the blessed. By some of the Fathers, who 
from time to time worked over the system of Ptolemy, 
in order to meet constantly accruing difficulties, hell was 
placed in the middle of the earth, thus making it the 
very centre of the universe. 

There might be mentioned scores of other systems 
in relation to the heavens and the earth; but nothing 
would be gained by it. Enough has been given to sat- 
isfy curiosity, and to show how wide the ancients, as a 
rule, were from divining the real conditions of the astro- 
nomical situation. 

It was not till the early part of the sixteenth century 
that there was anything Hke a satisfactory solution of 
the problem which, for so many ages, had puzzled man- 
kind. Nikolaus Copernicus was born in Thorn, Prus- 
sia, February 19th, 1473; and soon after, in 1603, he 
announced to the world his theory of the location, and 
movements of the earth, the sun, the planets, and the 
stars. He' came to the conclusion that the sun and stars 
are stationary; that the moon revolves about the earth; 
that the earth and other planets revolve about the sun ; 
and that the apparent movement of the heavens is 
caused by the revolution of the earth on its own axis. 
He gave years of study to this theory, and finally devel- 
oped it in six books, De Orhium CcBlestium Bevolution- 
ibics, in 1543, the first copy of which was handed bim as 
he lay on his death-bed, and on the very day that he 
died. He did not claim that he was the originator of 
the suggestion that the world moves ; on the contary, 
he acknowledged that the idea had been presented before. 
Despite this, he was the first which gave to the world a 
rational and coherent system, and to him belongs the 
credit of the discovery. He was far from the truth in 


what he did discover, for he had no idea of the elliptical 
character of the orbits of the planets ; and he accounted 
for the changes in the seasons by a third motion in the 
earth, which was corrected by Kepler, in 1609, by his 
discovery of the eUipticity of the orbit of Mats, 

It was while the astronomical world was in this con- 
dition that the invention of the telescope enabled the 
detection of the false, and the confirmation of the true 
in the discoveries of Copernicus and Kepler. As to the 
origin of this instrument, there is a great variety of opin- 
ion. That Gahleo heard of such a thing, and produced 
one without ever having seen one seems to be established. 
But there is somewhat of a history in connection with 
the origin of the telescope which is worth mentioning. 

The story of the origin, in which a boy plays the part 
of an accidental discoverer, is located in Middleburg, 
Zealand, at the shop of an optician named Jean Lipper- 
shy, in the year 1606. His little boy happened to be 
playing with some lenses, and in the course of it, looked 
through them, holding one before the other, and in 
doing this, he noticed that a distant clock appeared 
much nearer than usual ; he called his father's attention 
to it, and who followed the matter up by making a draw 
tube, and on which he appHed to the Holland author- 
ities for a patent. He was refused on the ground 
that only one eye could be used in looking through it. 
It is from Lippershy's invention that Galileo obtained 
his idea of the telescope, and from which he constructed 
and improved the one with which he made his astrono- 
-mical observations. A passage in Strabo, in chapter 138, 
strongly proves, despite the denials of modern science, 
the existence of the telescopes among the ancients.* 

* Quant aux longues-vues, un passage du livre de Strabon, Chap. 
OXXXVIII., poiirraint bien, malgre les denegations de la science mod- 
erne, en proTiver deflnitivement 1' existence chez les anciens. Fournier. 


In 1611, Kepler improved the astronomical telescope 
by the introduction of two concave glasses. With his 
telescope, GaHleo succeeded in reaching a magnifying 
power of thirty, by which he discovered the phases of 
Yenus, the spots on the sun, the satellites of Jupiter, 
and the mountains of the moon. By the improvements 
of Huyghens, the magnifying power was increased to 
ninety-two, by which he was enabled to discover the 
the ring of Saturn, and one of his satellites. Cassini, of 
the Paris Observatoire, brought the magnifying power 
to one hundred and fifty, in about 1665, and was the 
discoverer of the rotation of Jupiter at the same period. 
The earliest telescopes which were reflectors were made 
by Gregory, in 1663, and by Newton, in 1672. Among 
the largest now in use are that of Herschel, which mag- 
nifies three thousand times; and Lord Eoss', which 
magnifies six thousand ,times ; one at Melbourne, seven 
thoiisand, and one at Marseilles, four thousand.* Wash- 
ington and Chicago have each an instrument which , 
take high rank among the noted telescopes of the 

After this brief outline of the telescope, it is hardly 
necessary to ask if it has been influential in the develop- 
ment of civilization? If civihzation, in its higher sense, 
be the expansion of knowledge, the increase of informa- 
tion, the breaking up of ignorance and superstition, the 
immeasurable enlargement of the horizon of information, 
then, indeed, has the telescope been a potent agency in 
the labor of aiding in the civilizing of the human race. 
It has been the iconoclast, than which the world has 
rarely, if ever, known one more destructive, or which 
has carried such wholesale devastation among the 
stupid, and unworthy fetiches and idols of the past. 

* Flammarion. 




It shattered with a single blow the crystal spheres 
which so snugly and so long ensconced the earth, like a 
cocoon that envelops the silk-worm. It took the earth 
from this fragile centre, redistributed the planetary 
worlds, brought the mighty sun to the central point, 
and sent the earth spinning far out in space, the very 
least of all those over whom it once, and for so many 
thousands of years, arrogated an insolent supremacy. 

Nor is this aU. It revolutionized the prevaihng 
behef that a few men living on the borders of the Medi- 
terranean constituted aU of created intelligence; that 
the Supreme Eider had no higher mission than to watch 
over this httle area, and assign His angels to rolHng the 
stars across the skies to give these few people hght, 
while other angels fed the fires of the sun to keep its 
flames aglow. In heu of all this, it has come to them, 
and all the world, that creation is endless ; that there 
are no Umits to the number and extent of worlds ; that 
in remote as weU as near space there are systems, plan- 
etary and stellar, compared with which ours, in mag- 
nitude, is as the flame of a feeble match to the confla- 
gration of a continent. The Great First Cause, in 
whatever shape it may be regarded, is shown to be no 
mere local potentate, with half a continent as his king- 
dom, and his sole charge ; but one which cares for and 
superintends all immensity. If nothing more had been 
done than to destroy this small idea of the Creator it 
would have played a most essential part in the drama of 
creation. Thanks to the telescope, and the spectro- 
scope, it has been permitted the thinkers of the age to 
conclude that this is not the only inhabitable world; 
but that many of the planets, and aU the members of the 
unlimited starry systems, have their inhabitants ; people 
who Hve, love, die ; who have perhaps their Petrarchs, 
their Lauras; their Alexanders and their Napoleons; 


their, Coperniouses, their Keplers, and their Newtons; 
who have statesmen, poets, philanthropists ; who have 
graves at which they weep, and bedsides at which fare- 
wells are spoken, and last glances taken through stream- 
ing eyes; who have their philosophies of the future, 
their httle or grand universes ; who have in fact, all or 
many, of the qualities characteristic of the races who 
inhabit the earth. This globe on which we hve is full 
of inequahties. The extremities are everlastingly clad 
in ice. Through its equatorial regions there prevails an 
unvarying heat, in which there gather the deadhest of 
miasms, in which disease lurks in shme and ooze and in 
decaying vegetation. Wild animals, the fiercest, dead- 
hest; reptiles, loathsome, noxious — mortal in their 
wounds inflicted on man or beast ; plants that exude poi- 
son ; days that scorch hke a thrice-heated furnace, and 
nights that chill the marrow — these are what are offered 
us by the tropical areas. There are here and there some 
pleasant regions ; but few in comparison to those that 
are hateful. 

Now, by way of contrast, look for a moment at Jupi- 
ter: "Jupiter is a world apart, privileged above all 
others; it has but a single season, and one which is 
unvarying during its slow, annual journey around the 
sun. The day and night there are of equal length; un- 
changeable chmates rule in each latitude, extending in a 
harmonious, descending reach from the equator to the 
poles. The seasons of this magnificent Jupiter last 
twelve times as long as with us; they are shaded by 
insensible differences that are never rigorous or unde- 
sirable. It is the reahzed type of Jbhe world which has 
been dreamed of from all time ; it is a world so superior 
that the earth will never attain even the most remote 
of its perfections. This planetary giant seems to have 
been placed in the heavens as a perpetual mockery of 


the feeble efforts of man, and of his unhappy environ- 
ment ; or, better, I may say, as a symbol of hope which 
should stimulate men in their search for science and the 
good, and enable them to catch ghmpses of the stately 
tableaux of a long and fruitful existence." * 

It has been said by Brewster : " Upon a planet grander 
than ours, may there not exist a type of intelligence of 
which the most feeble may yet be superior to that of 
Newtdn ? Have not its inhabitants provided themselves 
with telescopes more penetrating, and microscopes more 
powerful than ours? Have they not some process of 
induction more subtile, some means of analysis more 
fecund, and combinations more profound? There, have 
they not resolved the problem of the triune-unity, ex- 
plained the enigma of luminiferous ether, and embodied 
the transcendent force of the soul, in the definitions, the 
axioms, and the theorems of geometry? These men 
possess, without doubt, a lofty and puissant power of 
reasoning which conducts them to a more healthy, and 
a more perfect knowledge of the designs, and the works 
of Deity. But, whatever may be theii" intellectual occu- 
pations, who can doubt that they study and develop the 
laws of matter, which are in action about them, above 
them, and beneath them? " t 

Not the least of the wonderful things which have 
been revealed to us by the telescope is the awful dis- 
tances of some of the fixed stars. The very nearest to 
us, a star in the constellation of Centaur, is not less 
than twenty triUions of miles ; and a ray of hght, in 
passing from this star to the earth, requires not less than 
three years. It requires twenty years for Hght to pass 
from one of the second magnitude to the earth ; and one 

* Physiologie des Etres. Flammarion. 
f More Wortds than Ours. 


hundred and eighty years for one of the seventh. In the 
case of a star of the twelfth magnitude, not less than 
/o'MT thousand years are required for its light to reach 
the earth ; and it wiU emphasize this statement when it 
is recollected that light travels at the rate of over two 
hundred thousand miles a second. What an incredible 
distance ! It follows from this, that a star of the magni- 
tude referred to might become extinct, and yet the 
earth would not know the fact until the lapse of forty 
centuries ; or a star at that distance might opme into 
existence, and the earth would not learn of it till four 
thousand years after the creation. Upon this state of 
things is based a very novel, and most striking series of 
conclusions. There is in existence a small publication,* 
in which these conclusions, and their data are given, 
and which are so curious, and the volume so Httle known, ' 
that some extracts will be given from it at this point. 
After having given'the velocity of hght, and the time 
required for it to travel between various points, the 
writer says: "From what we have already said; vi25. : 
that the ray of light meeting our eye is not sent forth 
from the star at the same moment, but arrives here ac- 
cording to the corresponding and requisite number of 
seconds, minutes, or years, it follows that we do not see 
the star as it is, but as it was at the time when the ray 
of light was emitted. 

" Thus, we see the star in Centaur as it was three 
years ago, Vega as it was twelve years ago, and so on to 
the star of the twelfth magnitude, which we look up6n 
as it shone four thousand years ago. Hence foUows the 
conclusion, which has frequently been made by astrono- 
mers, and which in its result has become popular, viz., 
that a star of the twelfth magnitude may have been 

* The Stars and the Earth. Anonymous. 


extinguished, four thousand years ago, whilst we, never- 
theless continue to see its light shining. 

" This conclusion, when apphed to each of the former 
positions, gives'the following results. We do not see 
the moon as it is, but as it was a second and a quarter 
before, i. e., the moon may have already been dispersed 
•into atoms for more than a second and we should still 
see it entire and perfect. We do not see the sun as it 
now is, but as it was eight minutes before ; Jupiter as it 
was forty- two minutes ; Uranus as it was more than two 
hours before ; the star in Centaur as it was three years 
ago; Vega as it was nine and a quarter years; and a 
star of the twelfth magnitude as it was four thousand 
years ago. These propositions are well known, and 
have already been pubUshed in popular works on as- 

" It is really marvelous that nobody has thought of 
reversing them, and of drawing the very remarkable and 
astonishing eonclusions which pour in on us in a full 
stream from the converse, and the inferences which may 
thence be drawn. The following is the relative view of 
the matter: As we have before remarked, we see the 
disk of the moon, not in the form which it now is, but 
as it was five-quarters of a second before the time of 

" In exactly the same way, an imaginary observer in 
the moon would not see the earth as it was at the 
moment of observation, but as it was five-quarters of a 
second-before. An observer from the sun sees the earth 
as it was eight minutes before. From Uranus the time 
between the reality and the perception by the eye being 
two hours and a half apart — if, for example, the summit 
of the Alps on a certain morning was illumined by the 
first rays of the sun at six o'clock, an observer in the 
planet, who was provided either with the requisite power 


of vision or a sufficiently good telescope, would see this 
rising at half-past eight of our time. 

"An observer in Centaur can, of course, never see 
the northern hemisphere of the earth, because this con- 
stellation never rises above our horizon. But supposing it 
possible, and that an observer were standing in this star 
with such powerful vision as to be able to distinguish all 
particulars upon our little earth, shining but feebly 
luminous in its borrowed light, he would see, in the year 
1843, the pubho illuminations which, in the year 1840, 
made the cities of our native land shine with the bright- 
ness of the day during the darkness of the night. An 
ohserver in Vega would see what happened with us 
twelve years ago, and so on, until an inhabitant of a star 
of the twelfth magnitude, if we imagine him with unlim- 
ited power of vision contemplating the earth, sees it as 
it was four thousand years ago, when Memphis was 
founded, and the patriarch Abraham wandered on its 

" In the immeasurably great number of fixed stars 
which are scattered about the universe, floating in ether 
at a distance of between fifteen and twenty bniions of 
miles from us, reckoning backwards any given number 
of years, doubtless a star could be found which sees the 
past epochs of our earth as if existing now, or so nearly 
corresponding to the time, that the observer need wait 
no long time to see its condition at the required moment. 

" Supposing it to be possible that a man could move 
from point to point without any employment Of time, 
and provided with a telescope which would penetrate 
any distance and render all things visible, it would be 
entirely possible to recall every event in history, and to 
look on it at the very moment of its occurrence. If, 
for instance, we wished to recall Luther, and see him 
before the council of Worms, we must transport ourselves 


in a second, to a fixed star, from which the hght 
requires about three hundred years (or so much more or 
less) in order to reach the earth. Thence the earth will 
appear in the same state, and with the same persons 
moving on it, as it actually was at the time of the 

" The pictures of aU secret deeds which have ever 
been transacted, remain indissolubly and indehbly for 
ever, reaching from one sun beyond another. Not 
only on the floor of the chamber is the blood-spot of 
murder indehbly fixed, but the deed glances further and 
further into the spacious heaven. 

"At this moment is seen, in one of the stars, the 
image of the cradle from which Caspar Hauser was 
taken to be enclosed in a hving tomb for so many years ; 
in another star glances the flash of the shot which killed 
Charles XII. 

" Let us imagine an observer, with infinite powers of 
vision, in a star of the twelfth magnitude. He would 
see the earth at this moment as it was in the time of 
Abraham. Let us moreover, imagine him moved for- 
ward in the direction of the earth, with such speed that 
in a short time (say in an hour) he comes to within the 
distance of a hundred millions of miles, being then as 
near to us as the sun is, whence the earth was seen as 
it was eight minutes before ; let us imagine all this, and 
then we have the following result : that before the eye 
of this observer the entire history of the world, from 
the time of Abraham to the present day, passes by in 
the space of an hour, . . and if we give the observer 
time to halt at pleasure in his path, as he is flying 
through the ether, he will be able to represent to him- 
self, as rapidly as he pleases, that moment in the world's 
history which he wishes to observe at leisure, provided 
he remains at a distance when this moment of Mstory 



appears to have just arrived ; allowing for the time which 
the light consumes in travehng to the position of the 

If one can imagine a condition, after having become 
disembodied, in which the spirit can move at will, from 
point to point in space, without the element of time, 
then may the spirit, by transporting itself to the proper 
distance from the star to be viewed, see at once, not 
only on this planet, but on every other planet, and every 
other star in space, any particular event in its career. 

How much that passes for history, in this world, 
would become verified by the apphcation of this test? 



RENE DESCARTES was more of a philosopher than 
a discoverer or an inventor, in the usual accepta- 
tion of the words. He was born in Touraine, France, 
MarchSl, 1696, and died in Stockholm, February 11, 1650. 
He received a liberal education, traveled a good deal, 
and served in the Dutch army under Maurice of Nassau, 
and later, served as a volunteer, in 1619-20, under Max- 
imiUan of Bavaria, and was present at the battle of 
Prague. In 1637, he pubhshed his first book,* in which 
were treatises on method, on dioptrics, on meteors, and 
geometry. He followed these with other pubhcations. 
His philosophical speculations play no part in a work of 
this kind ; and may be dismissed with the statement that 
he created a new system of philosophy which occupied 
a conspicuous position for more than a hundred years, 
and is stiU hot without influence, its cardinal point be- 
ing the supremacy of evidence and reason in solving 
cases of doubt. 

Among his discoveries, or alleged discoveries, was 
that known as the theory of vortices, by which he under- 
took to explain why celestial bodies are held in their 
places ; but Newton soon after supplanted it by the pro- 
duction of the theory of gravitation. He made some 

* Diacoura de la Methode. 



very important discoveries as to the application of 
algebra to geometry ; and gave a good deal of attention 
to that branch of optics, known as dioptrics, and which 
treats of the reflection of hght, and to hydrostatics. 
" The actual relation, known as the ' law of sines,' was 
discovered by Willebrord Snell, about the year 1621. 
Descartes, who unjustly claimed this discovery, has 
really the merit of having appHed it so as to explain the 
general formation and the angles of the rainbow." * 

Johann Kepler was born in Wurtemberg, 1671, and 
died November 15, 1630. He received an excellent edu- 
cation, and devoted himself to optics at the beginning 
of his career. His father was a nobleman, but had 
become reduced, and kept an inn, his son during his 
youth ofl&ciating as a servant before he entered the mon- 
astic school of Maulbronn, and after this studied astron- 
omy under one of the pupils of Copernicus. He made 
some discoveries in optics which would have given him 
a permanent reputation, had it not been that he followed 
them with others of such transcendent importance that 
his work on dioptrics sinks into insignificance. Up to 
the time that he discovered otherwise, it was the opin- 
ion of those who adopted the lately-discovered theories 
of Copernicus, that the planets moved about the sun in 
a circular orbit. After long and repeated efiforts, he dis- 
covered the ellipticity of Mars ; and he further discov- 
ered that a Une connecting the sun and the planet 
{radius vector) describes equal areas in equal times ; and 
some years later, he discovered that the squares of the 
periodic times of the planets are proportional to the 
cubes of their mean distances from the sun. These are 
known as the three laws of Kepler ; the last was discov- 
ered in May, 1618, and was regarded by Kepler as the 

* Am. Cyclopmdia. 


chief of all his labors. This third discovery cost him 
nearly twenty years of the severest of study, although 
its value to astronotay is such that it would have 
been worth a thousand times as much labor to attain it. 
It is said of him that he pubhshed a book containing 
the last-named discovery, and said : "It may well wait 
a century for a reader, as Grod has waited six thousand 
for an observer. " He invented the gauge, owing it is said, 
to the fact that he believed that the wine which was fur- 
nished for his wedding was not of the quality represented. 
About 1620, he published the seven books comprising his 
Epitome of the Copernican Astronomy, and which was 
very promptly prohibited by the Inquisition. Later, 
1627, he pubhshed the Budolphine Tables, which are so re- 
markable a monument of patience and industry, that had 
Kepler done nothing more than compute them, he would 
be regarded as a benefactor of science. His discover- 
ies are all of the most original and valuable character, 
so much so that he occupies a place in the very front 
rank of the scientific discoverers of modern years. He 
was constantly in debt ; he had much to harass him in 
his domestic life, and in other directions ; but despite aU 
these, he gave to the world thirty-three works, in addi- 
tion to twenty- two which he left in manuscripi;, and a 
volume of his correspondence. 

Following Kepler, and preceding Newton, was Chris- 
tian Huygens, who was born at the Hague, in April, 
1629, and died there July, 1695. He came of a good 
family, and received a liberal education. He early turned 
his attention to telescopes, and in 1655, he produced one 
with a focal length of ten feet, the most powerful then 
known, and with it discovered what is now known as 
the fourth satellite of Saturn. He next gave consider- 
able attention to theoretical mathematics, and produced 
some new calculations and discoveries in this line ; but 

huygen's discoveeies. 177 

later he gave his attention to more practical matters. 
It is said that, in order to count the beats of an isoch- 
ronous pendulum, he invented the clock; which is 
something which would be very naturally the exact 
opposite of the conclusion of one who knows nothing of 
the facts, as it would naturally be concluded that the 
pendulum was invented to regulate the movement of the 
clock, and not the clock to merely record the movements 
of the pendulum. In 1659, he constructed a telescope 
with a focal length of twenty-two feet, and two eye 
pieces, Avith which he discovered a ring of Saturn. He 
also discovered the bands on the disks of Jupiter and 
Mars. In 1673, he invented the spiral spring used in 
watches, although there are two other claimants, Hooke, 
of England, and Hautefeuille of France. He published 
a treatise on Kght, a very famous paper, and one on 
gravity, whose cause he attempts to explain by suppos- 
ing that ethereal matter revolves about the earth with a 
velocity greater than that of the planet, and compares 
it to the " force which causes bodies a httle heavier than 
water, and lying Hghtly upon the smooth bottom of a 
cylindrical vessel containing water, to move towards the 
centre when the circular motion of the vessel by which 
its fluid contents have caused to revolve is arrested." 
He did not solve the problem, nor has any other thinker 
from that day to this been able to explain why bodies 
fall toward the earth instead of falling from it. He is 
credited with having made the first chronometers which 
were carried on ships. 

As to the rank which he occupied, as an astronomer 
and a mathematician, he must be credited with a lofty 
position. , He was regarded as the first astronomer of 
his period, and second to none in his mathematical re- 
searches, and their results. 

The grandest figure of the seventeenth century, one 



whose noble dimensions are not corroded, nor dwarfed by- 
time, was Sir Issac Newton, who was born at Wools- 
thorpe, county of Lincohi, England, December 25, 
1642. His father was a farmer, who died before the birth 
of his son. There was nothing auspicious about his 
advent into life; he was a posthumous child, prema- 
turely born, and so diminutive and feeble that he was 
not expected to hve. JEe is said to have been a very 
idle student, when first sent to school, standing low in 
his class ; and was only finally induced to study for the 
purpose of passing a boy who stood higher than he, and 
whom he had worsted in a fisticuff encounter. Although 
he made this advance in this instance, he seemed more 
in love with mechanical objects than with the school 
curriculum. While a school-boy, he was incessantly 
engaged in the invention of mechanical contrivances, 
and in the imitation of those already known. He thus 
made a windmill, a water-clock, and a sort of a bicycle 
to be moved by the person who rode it. He constructed 
also various other httle machines; a sun-dial on the 
house, kites for the othei* boys, and at the same time 
developed an expertness with both pen and pencil ; and 
it is even hinted that he wrote poetry; if so, none of -it 
has ever come down to us. On leaving the school at 
about the age of sixteen years, for a time he was engaged 
in assisting his mother in farming and grazing. It is 
related that when he went to market with any of the 
produce of the farm, he would leave all the business of 
disposing of the produce to a servant who accompanied 
him; and that, in time, he would stop when hah- way to 
the market and pore over books while waiting the return 
of his companion. He neglected his duties on the farm 
to devour some book, or to whittle out some new ma- 
chine, or to watch the operations of some one that he 
had finished. His mother finally became convinced that 

(From the original lyy Yanderbank.) 


Newton's eaeliee discovebies. 181 

he would never make a farmer, and thereupon deter- 
mined to give him an education. He entered Cambridge 
University in 1661, and while there displayed a most sur- 
prising aptitude for mathematics ; and it was while here 
that is said to have occurred the incident of the falling 
apple, although at the time he was temporarily at his 
homestead. Seeing the apple fall, it occun-ed to him 
that as the same power which drew the apple to the 
ground, operated from greater heights, its extension 
might be indefinite as to distance, and, hence, it might 
be the power which held the moon in her place. He rea- 
soned that, as a ball fired from a cannon, describes a 
curve towards the earth in its flight, the same force 
which draws it to the ground might be the one which 
holds the moon in the curve which she describes in her 
motion aboiit the earth. This was in 1666; but meet- 
ing some difficulty in adapting the theory to the facts, 
he abandoned the pursuit of the problem, and returned 
to some other occupation. He devoted some consider- 
able time to experiments on refracting telescopes, and 
finally gave them up, and turned his attention to reflect- 
ing telescopes. He constructed one "with a concave 
metalhc speculum, the radius of curvature of which was 
twelve and two-thirds, or thirteen inches, so that it col- 
lected the sun's rays at a distance of six and one-third 
inches. The rays reflected by the speculum were re- 
ceived upon a plane metallic speculum inclined forty- 
five degrees to the axis of the tube, so as to reflect them 
to the side of the tube in which there was an aperture 
to receive a small tube with a plano-convex eye-glass, 
whose radius was one-twelfth of an inch, by means of 
which the image formed by the speculum was magnified 
thirty-eight times."* This instrument was sent by 

' Life of Sir Isaac Newton. Brewster. 


request to the Eoyal Society, where it was still carefully 
preserved, in 1866, with this inscription: "The first 
reflecting telescope invented hy Sir Isaac Newton, and 
made with his own hands." 

' This was in 1671 ; the next year he gave to the pubhc 
his new theory of the doctrine of colors (the compound 
nature of Hght) and this involved him in a controversy, 
"which took up most of his time for the next four 

It will present a fair idea of some of the absurd 
speculations which were prevalent in those days to 
cite here one of Newton's conjectures as to the cause 
of gravity. " I shall set down one conjecture more 
which came into my mind, even as I was writing this 
letter; it is about the cause of gravity. For this end 
I wiU suppose ether to consist of parts differing from 
one another in subtlety by indefinite degrees; that 
in the pores of bodies there is less of the grosser ether 
in proportion to the finer, than in open spaces; and 
consequently, that in the great body of the earth there 
is much less of the grosser ether^ in proportion to the 
purer, than in the regions of the air; and that yet 
the grosser ether in the air affects the upper region 
of the earth, and the finer ether in the earth, the lower 
regions of the air; in such a manner, that from the 
top of the air to the surface of the earth, and again 
from the surface of the earth to the centre thereof, 
the ether is insensibly finer and finer. Imagine now 
any body suspended in the air or lying on the earth, 
and the ether being by the hypothesis grosser in the 
pores which are in the upper parts of the body, than 
in those which are in its lowest parts, and that grosser 
ether being less apt to be lodged in the pores than 
the finer ether below, it will endeavor to get out and 
give way to the purer ether below, which cannot be 


without the bodies descending to make room above for 
it to go out into." * 

Apart from this, it does not seem that Newton 
gave very much attention to gravitation, except as 
he says in his Principia as a purely mathematical con- 
cept, involving no consideration of real and primary 
physical causes. In the same work, he also says, the 
"reason of this property of matter, I have not as yet 
been able to deduce; and I frame no hypothesis." 
But, however careful Newton was not to definitely 
commit himself to an explanation of the cause of 
gravity, there were innumerable theories afloat during 
his time, among the most curious of which was that 
of Le Sage, and which is substantially as follows : 
" Space is constantly traversed in all directions by 
streams of infinitely small bodies moving with an almost 
infinite velocity, and coming from unknown regions 
of the universe. These bodies are termed ' ultra- 
mundane corpuscles.' By reason of their minute- 
ness they rarely, if ever, collide, and the greater part 
of them find ready passage through ordinary sensible 
bodies, so that all parts of these bodies — those in 
the interior as well as those on the surface — are 
equally Hable to be struck by the corpuscles, the 
force of the impact being thus proportional, not to 
the surfaces, but to the masses of the body. A single 
body or particle would be equally battered by these 
corpuscles on all sides; but any two bodies act as 
mutual screens, so that each receives a less number 
of impacts on the side facing the other. They are 
consequently driven toward each other. The motion 
of the corpuscles being rectilinear in all directions, 
the diminution of pressure thus resulting is inversely 

* Letter to Boyle. 


as the squares of the distances between the bodies 

There are many discoveries to the credit of Newton, 
but there are three among them which are recognized 
as preeminent ; they are fluxions, the theory of gravita- 
tion, and the compound character of hght. It is perhaps 
worthy of note that all of these were discovered before 
he had reached twenty-five years of his life. His most 
celebrated work is his Principia, which consists of three 
parts, in the first of which he treats of motion in free 
space ; in the second he speaks mainly of resisted motion ; 
and from these two he deduces the system of the world. 
Something as to the profundity of the contents of this 
work may be inferred from the fact that not a half a 
dozen of the men of his times were able to comprehend 
them, and that even at the present day, the number who 
can follow their mathematical reasoning, and compre- 
hend the elaborate conclusions is very hmited; there 
are certainly none at all outside of mathematicians of 
the very highest proficiency. From the discovery of 
gravitation, he was able to explain nearly all the phe- 
nomena of the solar system. He found that the motion 
of the earth must have flattened it at the poles ; that 
the influence of the sun and moon produced those oscil- 
lations of the ocean known as tides ; and by a series of 
elaborate observations and calculations he was able to 
explain the precession of the equinoxes ; although in the 
latter, he left much to explain by later astronomers. He 
gave much attention to the perturbations of the moon, 
but omitted all those in other heavenly bodies, while the 
most marked of those in the moon, known as evection, 
and relating to inequalities in the motion of the moon 
in its orbit, he failed to notice at all. Despite these and 

Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics. Stallo. 


other defects, the importance and the generahty of his 
discoveries respecting the system of the universe, and 
the most interesting points of natural philosophy, the 
great number of profound and original views which have 
been the origin of the most brilliant discoveries of the 
mathematicians of the last century, which were all pre- 
sented with much elegance, will insure to the Principia 
a lasting preeminence over aU other productions of the 
human mind.* 

Newton not only gave a vast amount of study to the 
mathematics of astronomy, but he wrote and thought in 
other directions. He»was one of the delegates to the 
noted high commission which was appointed to pass on 
the question as to whether or not James II., in his en- 
deavor to estabhsh Cathohcism in England, could oblige ■ 
one of the universities to confer a degree on a Benedic- 
tine monk without requiring of him that he should take 
the oath required by the laws against the Cathohc re- 
ligion. The opposition to the command of the king was 
so spirited that he withdrew the demand. Newton was 
appointed, and acted as warden of the mint ; and wrote 
two works quite outside of his mathematical course of 
study and invention, one of which was. Observations on 
the Prophecies of Holy Writ, particularly the Prophecies 
of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John, and the other, 
An Account of Two Notable Corruptions of the Scrip- 

The first-named of these works contains a vast 
amount of research, covers an enormous field, and is a 
very curious production. He says of the scope of the 
work that the value and intent of prophecy are not that 
men may know what is to come, but that after events 
had occurred the prophecies might be verified. " The 

* Expoaiiion du Syateme du Monde. Par Compte Laplace. 1813. 


folly of interpreters hath been to foretell things and 
times by this prophecy, as if God designed to make them 
prophets. By this rashness, they have not only exposed 
themselves, but brought the prophecy also into con- 
tempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He 
gave this and the prophecies of the Old Testament, not 
to gratify men's curiosity, by enabhng them to foreknow 
things ; but that after they were fulfilled, they might be 
interpreted by the event ; and His own Providence, and 
not the interpreter's, be then manifested to the world.* 
Newton was never married, and being frugal in his 
habits, he acquired a large fortun*. He died at the age 
of eighty-five, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. 
The world's estimate of his character is summed up in 
"the inscription on his monument: " 8ibi gratulentur 
onortales tale tantumque exstitisse humani generis decus."\ ' 
His life was a rather uneventful one, its only distur- 
bances being some controversies with some cotempo- 
raries in regard to the priority and value of some of his 
discoveries. As a mathematician, the world has pre- 
sented few, if any, who are his superiors ; and yet with 
all his learning, he comprehended how very broad is 
■the e^tpanse of the unknown compared to that which he 
had investigated. It is of this phase of his nature, his 
humbleness, and his appreciation of how little he knew 
in comparison to what was yet to be learned, that is 
related the anecdote of the congratulations of his 
admiring friends, and the reply : " I know not what the 
world will think of my labors, but, to myself, it seems 
that I have been but a child playing on the sea-shore ; 
now finding some pebble rather more polished, and now 
some other shell rather more agreeably variegated than 

* Age of Apocalypse. Newton. 

f Let mortals congratulate themselves that so great an ornament of the 
human race has existed. 


another, while the immense ocean of truth extended 
itself unexplored before me." 

His gentleness is also exhibited in another weU- 
known occurrence in which a favorite dog named " Dia- 
mond," played the leading part. The dog was left in 
his study while he went to church, and during his 
absence, upset a taper on some papers on the table, 
which were consumed, and which contained notes of 
experiments carried on through many years. He simply 
said, upon viewing the hard labor of years thus obliter- 
ated: "Oh Diamond! Diamond! thou httle knowest 
the mischief thou hast done!" 

It is useless to give any time to an effort proving the 
enormous value of Newton's hfe and discoveries to the 
world. No panegyric can over-estimate, no praise can " 
rise to exaggeration. He discovered the key which un- 
locked the mysteries of the movements of the ufiiverse. 
He broadened immeasurably the area of human knowl- 
edge, and left it possible to extend, almost hmitlessly, the 
field which he had so much enlarged. Before Newton, 
the world saw the planets moving about the sun, but 
they understood it as httle as the savage understands 
the cause of the motion of the ocean steamer, or the 
railway train which speeds across the western plains. 
What was an enigma, and whose solution had wandered 
into the domain of the absurd, he made clear, rational, 
^0 that thenceforth men saw that behind every move- 
ment there is to be discovered an adequate cause. 

While thus referring to astronomers, it may be weU 
to give a httle attention to some of those who suc- 
ceeded Newton, and carried forward the work where he 
left it. Sir WiUiam Herschel is a name which is most 
f amihar to the intelligent, and belongs to one who has 
played a very important part in modern science. He 
was the son of a musician, born in Hanover, November 


15, 1733, and died near Windsor, England, August 23, 
1822. He became a musician at the outset of his hie, and 
remained thus till he was twenty-eight years of age, when 
he turned his attention to astronomy, in connection with 
the manufacture of optical instruments. He made some 
telescopes of very excellent quahties, with one of which, 
in March, 1781, he discovered what at first was supposed 
to he a comet, but soon after was pronounced a planet, 
which was known by the name of its discoverer, but 
which is now known as Uranus. A httle later, he dis- 
covered two of the sateUites of the new planet. For 
these discoveries he was rewarded by a royal appoint- 
ment, and a substantial salary. He now began his won- 
derful telescope, with which he estimated that not less 
than nearly twenty miUions of the stars in the mUky 
way could be seen. He made an important discovery 
in the character of twin, or binary stars, to the effect 
that both of the stars revolve around their common 
centre of gravity. His other discoveries are the resolv- 
ing of the nebulous patches into clusters of stars, neb- 
ulae, and nebulous stars ; the fact that the stars decrease 
in number in both directions from the milky way in 
directions opposite to the northern and southern poles ; 
and the further fact that our system is moving in a. 
direct hne towards another part of the sidereal system. 
He discovered two of the sateUites of Saturn, and also 
made some additions to the knowledge of the properties, 
of hght and heat. 

Pierre Simon Lapiace was a cotemporary of Her- 
schel, having been bom in France, March 23, 1749, dying^ 
in Paris, March 5, 1827. Like Herschel, he was of humble 
origin. Like Newton, he did some remarkably good 
work before he was twenty-four years of age ; and per- 
haps, it is but fair to regard him as second only to New- 
ton in his knowledge of mathematics. He invented the 



calorimeter for measuring the capacity of bodies of heat ; 
" his discoveries of the cause of the discrepancy between 
the theoretical and observed velocity of sound, his rules 
for barometrical measurement, and his theories regard- 
ing capillary attraction, titles, and atmospheric refrac- 
tion, show that in some of the most important branches 
of general physics, his mind was not less actively and 
profitably employed than in mathematical analysis. The 
crowning glory of his scientific career was his Mecan- 
ique Celeste, a book which has been truly said to have no 
predecessor, and which must wait for a second Laplace 
to arise ere it shall find a rival. In it he sought to digest 
on a uniform scientific basis the abundant materials re- 
lating to the appHcation of analysis to physical astron- 
omy, which had been so accumulating during nearly a 
century, and which, written in various languages, with 
differing notations and in various stages of scientific 
progress, presented a mass of matter not only difficult 
of access, but almost incomprehensible to any but the 
most recondite student." * 

Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier is of the present cen- 
tury, having been born in France in 1811, and died 1877. 
He made several corrections of theories in existence rel- 
ative to astronomical matters, but the first event that 
gained him notoriety was his announcement that certain 
movements in the perihelion of Mercury could only be 
accounted for by the existence of another planet which 
was soon after discovered within two degrees of the 
point which he had indicated. At first, as in the case of 
the discovery by Herschel of a planet, it was named 
from the discoverer; but, in time, the new planet, Lever- 
rier, became changed to Neptune. His subsequent 
discoveries have reference mainly to the existence of 

*Am. Cyclopaedia. 


\ asteroids, and investigations into the theories of the 

four large planets. 

General Mitchel, who died during the late civil war, 
obtained some considerable repute as an astronomer, for 
some discoveries which he made in the heavens, and for 
the construction of some ingenious instrument for obser- 
vation of the heavenly bodies. Mr. Proctor, of England, 
has a world-wide reputation. He has been a most dih- 
gent student and worker, having pubhshed a large num- 
ber of different volumes on astronomical subjects, aU of 
which have been well received, and some of which have 
attained a fabulous circulation. 



CHEMISTEY is variously defined; it has been re- 
garded as the making of gold and silver ; as the art 
of making chemical preparations and the extracting of 
pure essences in a separate form from mixtures ; as the 
science which makes known to us the nature and prop- 
erty of all bodies by composing and decomposing them ; 
as the art of separating the different substances which 
occur in mixtures ; as the science which investigates the 
components of bodies in regard to their nature, their 
properties, and the manner in which they are combined; 
and finally that in which it stated that " Nature is com- 
posed of certain elementary bodies or elements. The 
knowledge of these bodies, of their mutual combinations, 
of the forces by which these combinations are brought 
about, and of the laws in accordance with which these 
forces act, constitute chemistry."* 

In its present character, chemistry is of recent origin. 
That it was known, in some of its present forms, to the 
ancients, cannot very well be disputed. There is every- 
where to be found evidence in the architectural remains, 
and the writings of the Egyptians, the Hebrews, the 
Phoenicians and the Greeks, that they possessed a cer- 
tain amount of chemical knowledge. The smelting of 

' Berzelius. 

13 19S 


ores is a chemical act ; so is dyeing ; the making of glass, 
and its coloring are chemical operations ; and all these 
were known to, and practiced by, the ancients long an- 
terior to the Christian era. 

The first that is definitely known to us of chemistry 
since the time of Christ, is in the form of alchemy, or 
the effort to make the precious metals by artificial 
means. For nearly or quite fifteen hundred years 
chemistry was devoted to this single end, and such 
discoveries as there were in chemical science during 
this long period were accidental, or incidental to the 
main effort. It is supposed by some writers that the 
attempt to transmute the baser metals into gold — or 
what was the same thing, to find the philosopher's stone 
whose simple touch would produce the desired result. — 
came from the Egyptians to the Arabs, and thence 
through Spain to the nations of northern Europe. 

The alchemists always attempted to throw an air of 
mystery around their art, and hence, the majority of 
them have carried its origin back to the mythical Egypt- 
tian, Hermes Trismegistus, of whom the world has heard 
so much, and knows so Uttle. He was a species of embodi- 
ment of the highest attainments of the human mind ; the 
name being derived from Hermes meaning the intellect, 
and the Greek words, tris megistos (thrice greatest). His 
works are claimed to " contain the sum total of human 
and divine wisdom." The works which were attributed 
to his authorship were probably written by others ; in 
any case there is not the shghtest reason for concluding 
that any such person ever had an existence. There are 
evidences of the presence of alchemy through the earlier 
centuries; but its greatest triumph was during the 
fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth. During the last- 
named, it rose to its highest point, and then disappeared 
as suddenly as a morning mist at sunrise. 


According to the majority of the alchemists, all 
metals are composed of sulphur and mercury — the latter 
not being the substance now known under that name — 
but a something which represents the element proper of 
metals, the cause of theii brightness, their ductihty, in 
brief, the metality of metals ; while what was called sul- 
phur indicated the element of combustibihty. The 
theory of the generation of metals was clearly taught by 
the alchemists. They compared the birth or formation 
of metals to that of the birth and growth of animal hfe ; 
they saw no difference between the development of the 
foetus in the matrix of the animal, and that of the metals 
in the bosom of the globe.* They were of the opinion 
that the metals were endowed with a species of life ; and 
that if anything but gold had birth, it was of the sa,me 
character as the monsters of abortion which occasionally 
occur in human experience. Salmon says that it must 
be admitted that the intention of nature is not to create 
lead, iron, copper, tin, nor even silver ; but to create only 
gold. If some other metal than gold is produced, it is 
not the fault of nature, but of circumstances, of obstacles 
which are encountered. What was intended, and should 
be gold, owing to the impurity with which the mercury 
has become tinged by contact with the matrix, and by the 
alliance which it makes under unfavorable circumstances 
with bad and combustible sulphur, becomes some other 

Later, the alchemists gave more attention to the dis- 
covery of the philosopher's stone, which had three qual- 
ities ; to change the baser metals into silver or gold, to 
cure all maladies, and to prolong human life far beyond 
its natural limits. The efforts to find this stone were 
made assiduously for hundreds of years, and includej. 

* Doctrines et Travaux des Alehi/miaiea. Louis Figuier. 


researches in directions the most bizarre, and the most 
unexpected. The recipes for constructing this wonder- 
ful stone are innumerable; sometimes given in compre- 
hensible language, but oftener veiled in mysterious 
terms. One cannot but help thinking that all this mys- 
tery was employed as a veil of ignorance. One of these 
recipes commences with, "take of some unknown thing 
the quantity that you wish;" and another says: "take 
some mercury, and soHdify it with magnesia, or with 
sulphur, or with silver foam, or with lime, or alum, or 
anything that you wish." The idea of sex was promi- 
nent ; arsenic was regarded as one of the greatest value ; 
salt stood in high favor ; saltpetre had its day ; the vege- 
table world was investigated to furnish the materials for 
the stone ; and later, it was sought for in animal products. 
The human body was for many years believed to be a 
receptacle which contained the sought-for treasure. All 
forms of human excrementory matter was regarded as 
of value, and innumerable were the investigations made 
in this direction whose particulars would be too inde- 
cent, or too disgusting for pubhcation. 

During the sixteenth century, the alchemists occu- 
pied themselves in trying to obtain a universal solvent, 
or menstruum, which they termed alkahest. The search 
for this universal dissolvent was continued till the eigh- 
teenth century, when it was succeeded by a demand for 
pahngenesis, or the power to secure the re-birth of 
plants and animals from their ashes. Perhaps it is bet- 
ter to say the resurrection of something which resem- 
bles the plant and the animal, which can be recognized, 
but which is not the original in aU its quahties. The 
pahngenesis epidemic was followed by one having refer- 
ence to the homunculus ; that is, the creation by chem- 
ical processes of a miniature man not more than an inch 
in length, and which possessed all the quahties of a 


imman being. It is needless to say that although there 
are many reports of success in this effort, there is noth- 
ing on record which permits the conclusion that any 
homunculi were created by chemical processes. 

If the reader have any curiosity in regard to the 
creation of the homuncuh, he may have it gratified in 
the following from the noted Paracelsus : 

" As for me, I affirm that the creation or producing 
man outside of the natural processes is not above the art 
of the chemist ; that it is not at all repugnant to nature, 
and that it is perfectly possible. This is the manner of 
proceeding in order to attain this result : Enclose dur- 
ing a space of forty days some sperma viri in an alembic 
tiU it putrefies, and to the point where it commences to 
live and to move, which is easy to be recognized. After 
this it wiU begin to appear in a form hke that of a man, 
but transparent, and nearly without substance. If, after 
this, this young product is nourished every day carefuUy 
and prudently with human blood, and kept, during a 
space of four weeks, in a temperature unchangeably equal 
to that of the belly of a horse, the existence wiU become 
that of a true and living infant, with aU its members, 
just like that born of woman, only smaller. This is 
what we call the homunculus. It is necessary to rear it 
with much intelligence and care while it is growing, and 
up to the time that it begins to be possessed of intelli- 
gence. This is one of the grandest secrets which God 
has revealed to sinful man. It is a miracle, one of the 
grandest results of the power of God, a. secret above all 
secrets, which deserves to be concealed until that time 
when there shall no longer be anything concealed from 

Despite aU the foUy, and the absurdities involved in 

* De Natura Rerum. Paracelsus, 


these pursuits, they have not hBen without benefit to 
science, although rarely, if ever, in any intended direc- 
tion. They spent their Uves and the centuries, did these 
alchemists, in the search for the philosopher's stone, the 
ehxir of hfe and health, and various other potent agen- 
cies. Modem chemistry owes much to these hermetic 
explorers. Geber, an Arab, and a writer, describes mer- 
cury, silver, lead, copper and iron, and he also gives the 
first description to be found of many substances in use 
in modern laboratories. The Arabs knew of and de- 
scribed alum, saltpetre, sal ammoniac, and green vitriol; 
and the preparation of sulphuric acid by the distillation 
of alum; the carbonates of the fixed alkahes, and the 
use of hme to render them caustic ;* the making of nitric 
acid, by the distillation of saltpetre and green vitriol; 
the preparation of strong acetic acid from vinegar, and 
of aqua regia from nitric acid and sal ammoniac. In 
the thirteenth century hved Albertus and Roger Bacon, 
both of whom in their search for the philosopher's stone 
made many discoveries of value. In the fifteenth cen- 
tury, Basil Valentine describes bismuth and zinc; he 
prepared antimony and several new salts, also muriatic 
acid by distilling common salt with green vitriol. He 
had a very fair knowledge of what is known as precipi- 
tation. Paracelsus in the first part of the sixteenth 
century, an explorer for gold, was yet the means of in- 
augurating a reform, during the existence of which 
chemistry and alchemy began to break their long and 
intimate connection. He held to the behef that there 
are but three elements in aU things, organic and inor- 
ganic — mercury, sulphur, and salt ; a number which has 
vastly increased within the period since his day to the 
present, there being at the present not less than sixty- 
three elements recognized, whUe at least two others are 
held in doubt. When the separation between alchemy 


and chemistry had been continued a short time, a new 
alliance "was formed between chemistry and medicine.* 
There is something most remarkable in the length of 
the existence of this search for the philosopher's stone ; 
in the extent to which it spread, and the number of peo- 
ple who were deluded into beHeving its verity. One 
pope launched a bufl. against the search, and Henry IV. 
of England tried his hand at putting it down by a law 
making it a penal offence; but all to no end. There 
were mighty people who patronized it despite the action 
of Henry and Pope John. Rudolph II., emperor of Ger- 
many, in 1676; the elector of Saxony, Augustus, his 
wife, Anne of Denmark, and his successor. Christian; 
Ferdinand III., emperor of Germany; Leopold I., also 
emperor of Germany; Frederic I. and Frederic II., 
kings of Prussia; Queen BUzabeth; Alphonse X.,king 
of Castile ; Charles IX., of France ; Christian IV., king of 
Denmark; and many another of high degree, put their 
trust in alchemy, and patronized and pensioned hberaUy 
the impostors who prevailed on them to beheve that 
they had the power to transmute the base metals. The 
strength of this delusion may be inferred also from the 
fact that despite the fact that there is not a single per- 
fectly-authenticated case in which the base metals have 
been transmuted, the search for the grand secret con- 
tinued even into the present century. As late as 1864, 
a French chemist presented to the French Academy of 
Sciences some minutes, in which he undertook to prove 
that by the use of an acid on silver, he had produced, 
gold artificially; although, in an attempt to produce the 
same result in Paris — the other experiments having 
occurred in. America — he failed disastrously. Even at^ 
the present time there [are to be found alchemists in. 

*Am. CychopcBdia. 


many of the cities of Europe, and more especially in 
Germany. They are of the belief that the secret has 
been known, and they are ready to cite innumerable 
instances in which gold in unhmited quantities has 
been produced by this or that professor of the hermetic 
art. Legends of this nature circulate among them as 
facts, are beheved, and stimulate their endeavor to 
recover the precious secret. 

There have been some noted men brought to the 
notice of the world in connection with the study of 
chemistry, ancient as well as modem. One of those, 
whose name is often quoted, is Paracelsus, who was born 
in Switzerland in 1493, and died in Saltzburg in 1641. 
He had another name, which may be worth mentioning 
as a curiosity, viz: Phihppus Aureolus Theophrastus 
Bombastus von Hohenheim, which, being of inconven- 
ient length for family use, was probably contracted into 
the name by which he was best known to the cotem- 
porary world. He picked up some medicine, some 
chemistry; some thaumaturgics, a httle astrology, and 
a few other accomphshments, and then started for the 
, grand tour of Europe. He secured some remedies for 
the cure of human ailments, during his travels, and then 
set up business as the only great healer of the age. He 
did perform some cures, for which he received the 
appointment of professor of physic and surgery in the 
University of Basle. He then took the position that he 
was the only true exponent of physic; he pubHcly 
burned all the books of the accepted authorities on medi- 
cine, and declared that he was able to prolong life and 
cure all human maladies. In these assumptions he was 
the ancestor of the modern quack, who professes with 
his single remedy to cure all diseases. In his chemical 
character, he was of the opinion that there are three 
elements, or three compound principles — salt, sulphur 


and mercury. The soul, he taught, was united to the 
body by an animal fluid ; that man is an image of the 
Trinity, his intellect being God, his body the world, and 
the fluid the stars. He recognized a mysterious har- 
mony between the body and the earth and salt ; between 
the soul and water and mercury ; and between the intel- 
lect and the air and sulphur.* Despite the renown 
which he obtained, he became an inebriate, lost his posi- 
tion, became a vagabond, and died among strangers. 
Despite the character thus obtained by him, there are 
authorities which look on him as the one to whom is 
due the credit of having inaugurated the reform which 
chemistry experienced at this period. He made some 
discoveries, it is true ; but it is nevertheless true that if 
he was of value in chemistry, he was a quack who has 
been without a rival unless it be in the person of the 
famous Cagliostro, of a later period. 

Another man who did much to raise chemistry from 
the vulgar and useless domain of transmutation, was 
Georg Ernst Stahl, who was born in Germany in 1660, 
and died in BerUn in 1734. He was highly educated, a 
physician, and a chemist. He was a strong believer of 
the phlogiston theory, to the effect that all combustible 
things owe their character to the possession of a certain 
ingredient, which is termed phlogiston. A body was 
combustible in proportion to the amount of phlogiston 
which it contained. But he did not confine himself 
to this single idea; he still gave a little attention 
to alchemy, and his contributions to the science of 
chemistry have been neither limited nor valueless. 
Another theory which he evolved was the "existence 
of an anima, or immaterial principle resident in the 
body, creating its organization, and governing all its 

* Am. Cyclopmdia. 


processes with, reference to the final purpose of pre- 
serving Hfe." 

Joseph Black, son of Scotch parents, was bom in 
Bordeaux in 1721, and died in 1799, at Edinburgh. He 
held the chemistry professorship for many years in the 
city where he died. He was a deHcate man, with some 
hereditary weaknesses, but managed to prolong his hfe 
by rigorous care of himself and by an abstinence that 
was almost miraculous. His first discovery of note was 
of carbonic acid gas, and his next of what is termed 
latent heat, which was followed by his announcement of 
specific heat, or the capacity of different bodies for heat. 
The discovery thus made was regarded as of great im- 
portance. " The universal operation of heat, and the 
agency which, by its absorption and its evolution, it 
exerts on the structure of aU bodies, renders the dis- 
covery of its nature and action in these respects, next 
to that of gravitation, the most important step which, 
has been made in the progress of physical science. The 
new field opened to philosophical inquiry by the dis- 
covery of the gaseous bodies is only second to the 
former in the importance of its consequences." * 

As in the case of Newton, Black developed early. 
His first discovery was made when he was \but twenty- 
four years of age ; and his second, when he was thirty- 

Another weU-known name in coimection with chemi- 
cal progress is that of Dr. Joseph Priestly, who was born 
at Leeds, England, in 1733, and died in 1804. He was of 
humble birth, his father being a cloth-dresser, but he 
was cared for by his aunt, who gave him some schooling. 
When he was twenty-two, he took orders, but did not 
prove acceptable as a clergyman, and thereupon he left 

* Philosophers. Lord Brougham. 


the pulpit and became a teacher. He then began a 
series of works on natural and revealed rehgion, the 
claims of the Eoman CathoHos, the French revolution, 
the American war, and in brief, on aU possible topics 
save those upon which his reputation rests. His first 
chemical studies were directed to an examination of 
"fixed airs," and he soon made the very important dis- 
covery that atmospheric air which has been vitiated by 
the respiration of animals is purified by the action of 
plants ; and a year later, in 1774, in making some experi- 
ments, he discovered an aeriform body which had the 
effect to increase the intensity of flame, and which was 
at first called " dephlogisticated air," but which soon 
came to be known as oxygen. It is asserted by Lavoi- 
sier that he. Priestly, and another chemist named 
Scheele, all discovered this gas at the same time ; but 
this is vehemently denied by English authorities, who 
affirm that the knowledge of it was communicated by 
Priestly to Lavoisier, and that he took advantage of 
this fact to claim that he was one of the discoverers. 
He was an intolerant polemic in regard to rehgious doc- 
trines, for which he was so persecuted — his house and 
chapel, and all their contents being burned by an excited 
mob — that he came to America, in 1794, where he re- 
mained for some ten years. He soon created many 
enemies on account of his pohtical and rehgious doc- 
trines; and concerning this, there is a curious anecdote 
related by Lord Brougham : 

"In America, we find all his leanings against the 
federal party, and his censures of the great chief of the 
union Httle concealed. He felt for the democratic party, 
the Erench alliance, the enemies of Enghsh partialities, 
and he regarded Washington as ungrateful because he 
would not, from a recollection of the services of Erance 
twenty years before to American independence, consent 


to make America dependent upon France. The indif- 
ferent reception which he met with in society was prob- 
ably owing to this party violence fuU as much as to dis- 
hke of his Unitarian opinions. But it must be added 
that his temper was so mild, and his manners so gentle, 
as to disarm his most prejudiced adversaries whenever 
they came into his society. Many instances of this are 
given in his correspondence, of which one may be cited. 
He happened to visit a friend whose wife received him 
in. the absence of her husband, but feared to name him 
before a Calvinistic divine who was present. By acci- 
dent his name was mentioned, and then the lady intro- 
duced him. But he of the Genevan school drew back, 
saying, ' Dr. Joseph Priestly ! ' and then added in the 
American tongue, 'I cannot be cordial!' Whereupon 
the doctor said that he and the lady might be permitted 
to converse until the return of the host, saying this with 
his usual placid demeanor. By degrees the conversa- 
tion became general ; the repudiator was won over by 
curiosity at first, then by gratification ; he remained till 
a iate hour hanging on Priestly's hps ; he took his de- 
parture at length, and told his host as he left the house, 
that never had he passed so delightful an evening, 
though he admitted that he had begun it by ' behaving 
like a fool and a brute ! ' * He endeavored to estabhsh 
a. congregation of Unitarians at Philadelphia, and to 
extend his Unitarian behef as widely as possible. He 
was an invalid two years before his death, but bore 
all his sufferings, and faced death at last without 

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, whose period extended 
from 1743 to 1794, played no inconsiderable part in 
bringing chemistry forward. He was the first to dispose 

' lAves of Philosophers. 


01 the phlogiston theory, by showing that the reason why 
metals undergoing combustion become heavier is, that 
they take something from the atmosphere. Says a well- 
known writer: "As an investigator, Lavoisier stands 
preeminent. His precision of observation, ingenuity in 
devising apparatus, and his patience, are only equalled 
by the clearness of his conclusions and his masterly de- 
scription of facts." He made many discoveries of the 
most important character, more especially in regard to 
the gases, the composition of sulphuric and other acids, 
etc., etc. 

Another chemist who came forward at this period, 
and assisted in elevating his chosen science by expand- 
ing its area, and increasing its practical value, was 
Henry Cavendish, who was born in Nice, where his 
mother had gone from England for her health, in 1731, 
and who died in March, 1810. He was of noble parent- 
age, and of colossal wealth ; but he gave his entire life to 
science. He is noted for two great discoveries, the com- 
position of water, which although before suggested, was 
by him demonstrated by synthetic experiments. He 
fiUed a glass globe with a portion of hydrogen gas, and 
then sent through the mass an electric spark. There 
remained no hydrogen, and a considerable portion of the 
common air had disappeared, and there was some water, 
and with it an acid. By another experiment, he burned 
a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen in the glass globe, 
when both of them disappeared, and there remained 
water, equal in weight to the two gases before their 
combustion. The other discovery was that nitrous acid 
is composed of nitrogen and oxygen, with the latter in a 
lower proportion than in the composition of nitric acid; 
or, as Cavendish's biographer expresses it, " that nitrous 
acid is composed of the two airs which form our 
atmosphere, deprived of latent heat." He made some 


important investigations upon the force of gravity; and 
wrote some papers on electricity. 

Sir Humphry Davy is a scientist who has earned 
and occupied a large share of the world's attention, 
owing to his invention of the safety-lamp, and which 
has been the means of preventing the loss of thousands 
of Hves from explosions in mines from "fire-damp. " He 
was born near Penzance, in England, 1778, and died in 
Greneva from an apoplectic stroke, in May, 1829. He 
made many chemical investigations with electricity, and 
is claimed by Enghsh writers to have discovered the 
metals known as potassium and sodium. However great 
these may have been as discoveries, they faU far short 
of the safety-lamp. In making some experiments as to 
how the flames are communicated to the fire-damp, he 
found that the flames would not pass through certain 
tubes having a small bore. He also found that the short- 
ness of the tubes made no difference provided the size 
of the opening was proportionally reduced. Thus short- 
ening the length of the tube, and the diameter of the 
opening, he finally reached the conclusion that the flames 
would not communicate through the fine meshes of 
woven wire. Thereupon he surrounded the flame of the 
lamp, or candle, with a fine wire gauze ; and from that 
time, there have been no accidents from explosions not 
produced by the carelessness, or recklessness of the work- 
ing men. 

It would require a volume to give the names of all 
those who have been conspicuous for their discoveries 
in chemistry, and to give even the briefest outhnes of 
their Hves. There are Liebig, Dalton, Gay-Lussac, 
Thenard, Berzelius, the noted Faraday, Mitscherlich 
of Berlin, "Woenler, Kopp, Gibbs of New York, Genth 
of Philadelphia, Bunsen of Heidelberg, Prof. Cooke 
of Cambridge, Mass., Schoenbein, Schroetter, Draper, 


Gerhardt, all of whom have done much to assist in the 
development of chemistry, and to bring it to its present 
lofty position. 

As to the value of chemistry in pracbical liffe, or as to 
its value in the development of civihzation, there is no 
necessity of saying a vpord. It is to-day an element in 
human development, whose absence would be almost 
fatal. In the detection of cases of poisoning its assist- 
ance is invaluable. By its aid, the pharmacopceia has 
been enriched beyond estimate. In commerce, manufac- 
tures and the trades, it is of incalculable value. It dis- 
covered malt, glucose, glycerine, uses for petroleum, 
anaesthetics, and artificial ice. It analyzes ores, and pro- 
nounces on their value, and directs their smelting ; froiji 
the refuse of the gas manufactories it has obtained ma- 
terials so valuable that the making of gas for the sake of 
the residuum would be valuable, were the illuminating 
product given away. It discovers adulterations in food 
and in Mquids; it gives the formula for the "baking- 
powder;" it has discovered all the thousand dyes in use 
in stuffs for wear ; it bleaches cloths, it washes them ; it 
disinfects the nests of epidemics, prevents the spread of 
disease, is the principal assistant of the sanitarian; it 
purifies the food we eat, and the air we breathe; fur- 
nishes the soap with which we wash, and in ten-thousand 
other ways, and methods, is an ingredient in the orna- 
mentation, the utilities, the comforts, and luxuries of 



SOME details connected with the search for perpet- 
ual motion will be of value, if simply to demonstrate 
its impossibility. It may be supposed that the search 
for this kind of a movement died out when alchemy had 
run its course, some one or two hundred years ago. 
That there is less now of this pursuit than there was 
then needs not be doubted ; but that it has lost its hold 
upon the fancy and effort of men is a mistake. Twenty 
years ago there were to be found so-called inventors who 
sought for a machine which would move itself, and con- 
tinue in motion so long as its materials lasted ; and there 
are many even to-day; but as a rule, they have so much 
to encounter in public opinion, that they carry on their 
experiments in private. 

The fact that there are men who still devote them- 
selves to this search can be explained on the ground 
that there is a belief, not narrow in its extent, to the 
effect that perpetual motion machines have been con- 
structed. They who attempt to construct one of this 
class, do not labor to invent one, but to reconstruct, or 
reproduce one. They are firm in the belief that such 
machines have been made ; : there are those who claim to 
have seen them ; the thing can be done, they assert • 
but they -do not know the secret of the construction 
and this is what they are engaged in solving. Could 



such, men be conYinced. that no such machine has ever 
been made, it ■wonld materially alter their plans. The 
mischief in their case is that they insist that the secret 
has been discovered, and that what has been done can 
be done again. 

There was a time when the search for perpetual 
motion engaged the attention of the very best talent of 
the age ; of late years, the men who have wasted their 
Hves in a futile effort to discover the undiscoverable are 
often men without education, and without mechanical 

It may be remarked that the modern condemnation 
of perpetual motion as being both an absurdity and an 
impossibihty is not in accord with the writers of a 
half a century, or a century ago. In fact, there have 
been many eminent authorities who claim that it is pos- 
sible, among whom are Bishop Wilkins, Leopold, Nich- 
olson; and others who occupied high positions in the 
world of science and mathematics. The answer to them 
is that, although an infinite number of attempts have 
been made in this direction, and an almost equal num- 
ber of claims have been made of success attained, there 
is not in history a single reliable instance of any such 
machine being constructed. 

What is perpetual motion? In briefest terms, it is a 
machine which will move itself, and will continue mov- 
ing so long as is not interfered with, till the materials of 
which it is composed wear out. A machine that wiU 
continue in motion till it is worn out is not necessarily 
a perpetual motion machine, for such a one might be 
put in motion by a stream of water, by the tides, or the 
wind. Nor would a machine in which the motor is' elec- 
tricity belong to this class ; it must be one in which the 
motor is a part of itself, which is not renewable from 
external sources. A water-wheel turned by water from 



a reservoir, wMch should put in motion a pump wHch 
would elevate the water used to turn the wheel back to 
the reservoir, would be perpetual motion. Ogilvie de- 
fines it thus: " That which generates a power of con- 
tinuing itself forever, or indefinitely, by means of mech- 
anism or some application of the force of gravity not 
yet discovered. The celebrated problem of a perpetual 
motion consists in the inventing of a machine which 
shall have the principle of its motion within itself, and 
numberless schemes have been proposed for its solution ; 
but unless friction and the resistance of the air — which 
necessarily retard, and finally stop, the motion of ma- 
chines — could be removed, a perpetual motion must be 
impossible from any pure mechanical combination. The 
problem, when strictly investigated, amounts to this: 
namely, to find a body which is both heavier and hghter 
at the same time, or to find a body which is heravier than 
itself. In speaking of perpetual motion, it is to be under- 
stood that from among the forces by which motion 
may be produced we are to exclude not only air and 
water, but other agents such as heat, atmospheric 
changes, etc. The only admissible agents are the iner- 
tia of matter and its attractive forces, which may all be 
considered of the same kind as gravitation."* 

According to Dircks, the fijst recorded attempt to 
secure perpetual motion was made in the thirteenth cen- 
tury ; and what seems strange is that the original attempt 
(and failure) is substantially the same as has been tried 
a thousand times since. The inventor was a French 
engineer, named WUars de Honecort, and there yet re- 
mains in Paris his own drawing of the machine. The 
machine consisted of a wheel, to whose periphery were 

* The Imperial Dictionary, English, Technologic, and Scientific. Jolm 
Ogilvie, LL. D. Glasgow, 1854. 


attached seven mallets vrith long arms, so jointed to the 
wheel that they w^ould either extend out from the wheel 
or lie close to it, according to the position in which they 
were placed. The theory of the inventor was that as 
one side of the wheel descended, the arms of the mallet 
would be extended, while on the ascending side they 
would he close to the wheel, falling there by their ovm 
weight. At first sight it would seem as if the side with 
the extended mallets would be carried on down by the 
extended weights, and carry up the other side, whose 
weights he close to the surface; but in practice, it is 
found that no matter how many weights there are used, 
there would be more on the ascending, than the descend- 
ing sides. 

In the fifteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci, the cele- 
brated artist and mathematician, designed six forms of 
machines embodying the principle of perpetual motion. 
In each of them, as in the case of the machine of Hone- 
cort, the device for securing the motion is one which it 
is sought to over- weight a wheel on the descending side. 

In 1610, Cornelius Drebble constructed a machine 
which was beheved to be self- operative, and which was 
designed to prove that the heavens move about the 
earth. The inventor was a German, but was acting as 
engineer for King James of England, to whom he pre- 
sented the machine. A cotemporary writer describes 
the principle of the machine in a manner which is at 
least curious, if it does fail to be comprehensible. He 
says that "fire is the most active and powerfuU element, 
and the cause of all motion in nature. This was well 
known to Cornelius, by his practice in the untwining of 
elements, and, therefore, to the effecting of this great 
worke, he extracted a fierie spirit out of the minerall 
matter, jointing the same with his proper aire, which 
encluded in the Axletree, being hollow, carrieth the 


wheels, making a continuall rotation or revolution, ex- 
cept issue or vent be given to the axletree, whereby that 
imprisoned spirit may get forth. ... To the end of 
time may not weare these wheels by their motion, you 
must knowe that they move in such slow measure, that 
they cannot weare, and the lesse, for that they are not 
forced by any poyse of weight." He then refers to an 
instrument of "perpetuall motion" which he afterwards 
presented to "Charles the fift Emperour, wherein was 
one wheele of such invisible motion, that in seventy 
yeares onely his owne period should be finished." * 

This machine of Drabble is a famous one among 
those who beheve that perpetual motion has been ac- 
complished ; but the reader will be able to draw his own 
conclusion from Tymme's explanation of the power by 
which this wonderful machine was driven. 

The original of the hydrauHco-perpetual motion ma- 
chines was the invention of Yalentine Stansel. In this, 
there are two cisterns, one above the other; from the 
upper one there flows a small stream which turns an 
overshot-wheel. This wheel, by means of a crank, works 
the piston of a force-pump which drives the water from 
the lower cistern up the upper one, where it supplies the 
waste employed in driving the wheel. During this period 
there were many attempts to produce perpetual motion, 
many of them being in the nature of demonstrations (so- 
caUed) on paper, no machine or model being constructed. 
There was a water-clockprojected by Martin in 1640 which 
was expected to be self-acting ; and in fact was so in 
theory, but was a failure in practice. A writer of a little 
later period describes a score or more of machines which 
were to be self-acting, and for the purpose of raising 
water. Then there were some attempts made to secure 

' Thomas Tymme, Professour of Divinitie; 1612. 


perpetual motion by the use of the load-stone acting on 
iron-balls, the most famous of "which was by Dr. Jacobus. 

During the seventeenth century, there was published 
a multiphoity of books by such men as Gaspar Schott, 
Bettinus, BoreUi, Dr. Becher, De Stair, Bernoulli, 
Eobert Stewart, Ernest Neumann, Ferguson the as- 
tronomer, and scores of other men, eminent many of 
them in learning, with a view of demonstrating the 
feasibility of constructing machines that would be per- 
petual and self-acting. The first machine which has 
come prominently before the world is the invention of 
the Marquis of Worcester, the inventor of the use of 
steam for the pumping of water. It was in about 1641 
that he completed his machine; and it may be added 
that the fact — if it be a fact — that he created a machine 
possessed of perpetual motion, rests largely on some of 
his own utterances. It is described as consisting of a 
wheel some fourteen feet in diameter, and carrying forty 
weights of fifty pounds each ; and it is supposed that it 
was of that kind of perpetual motion machines, in which 
an attempt is made to secure movement by pushing the 
weights out from the centre on the descending side of 
the wheel, and having them fall nearer the centre on the 
ascending side. If the marquis succeeded in making his 
machine work, he did what nobody else has been able to 
do with precisely the same class of machine. 

The Marquis of Worcester was a man who cannot 
well be suspected of knowingly perverting the truth; 
there, then, only remains the conclusion that he has 
been, misunderstood as to his statement that the motion 
he secured was perpetual in its character. As the in- 
ventor of the steam-pump, Worcester does not need the 
doubtful honor of an invention which the world believes 
to be impossible ; his steam-pump remains as an evidence 
of his genius ; of his perpetual motion machine there is 


not a trace. Those who are familiar with the pecuUar 
style and language in which he announced his discover- 
ies are in a condition to very easily understand that 
nothing is easier than to misapprehend his meaning. 
This will be seen by the reader when the Marquis is 
handled more in detail in a later portion of this work. 

Far in advance of the discussion over the alleged 
invention of perpetual motion by the Marquis of Wor- 
cester, is that which has taken place over the machine 
of Orffryreus. He was born in Saxony, and his machine 
attained its greatest celebrity in 1712. It is thus 
alluded to : 

" We find in this case, that a wheel, freely suspended 
on 'one axis, and impelled by no perceivable external 
motive power, revolved swiftly, and continued to do so 
with an extremely equable motion. There were not 
wanting some among those who saw it, who endeavored 
to injure the ingenious inventor. A paper was distribu- 
ted asserting that the wheel was set in motion by a con- 
cealed artifice, viz: by a man seated in an adjoining 
room, and the contrivance was hidden from the view of 
the spectators by an engraved brass plate. J. E. E. 
Orffryreus, in the meantime, went from the village of 
Draschwitz to the suburbs of Martinsbury, and there 
constructed a perpetual motion machine on a somewhat 
larger scale. The diameter was almost twelve feet, and 
the thickness one foot: the diameter of the axle-hole 
was six finger-breadths ; but the thickness of the small 
iron axle was scarcely a fourth part of this, in order that 
the friction might be reduced as much as possible, and 
the motion not retarded by a weight of seven hundred 
pounds, which was raised by the machine. He thus 
silenced his detractors, not by words, but by deeds. 

" On the 31st of October, in the presence of com- 
missioners whom he had requested from the most serene 


Duke of Saxony, Maurice William, to attend, viz : that 
truly high-minded man, celebrated in several writings, 
now published and received in these ' Transactions,' and 
skilled also in mathematics — JuUus Bernhard of Eohr, 
assessor of the reigning duke — the ducal secretary, and 
other officials, eminent for birth, station, and gifts of 
dignity and erudition, of whom it may suffice to men- 
tion Wolff Dietrich, of Boshen, Frederick Hoffman, the 
celebrated physician, Christian Wolff, and Menckenius, 
he transported the wheel from its place to another situa- 
tion, where there were no walls contiguous to it, and 
where one might go freely round it on every side. Orf- 
f3rry did not attempt to conceal that his machine was set 
in. motion by weights. 

" He came again to see the machine, with some of 
his ministers on the 26th of November ; and the cham- 
ber, having been unsealed and opened, the machine 
appeared in motion as before. He then ordered the 
windows and doors to be again closed and sealed up; 
and on the 4th of January of the present year, the seals 
having been removed, which were acknowledged to be 
untampered with, he ordered the chamber to be looked 
into, and saw Orffyry's wheel even then going round at 
its accustomed speed. 

" The prince, inclined as he was to mathematical 
science, and especially to mechanics, did not hesitate to 
attest this under his name and seal, and at the same 
time to pledge himself that the construction of the 
machine was not such that it required winding up."* 

In regard to the same machine, there is the testi- 
mony of Baron Fischer, the architect to the Emperor, 
who says of it that, " it is awheel which is twelve inches 
in diameter, and covered with oil-cloth. At every turn 

* Learned Transactions. Leipsic, 1777. 


of the wheel can be neara about eiglit weignts, which 
fall gently on the side on which the wheel turns. This 
wheel turns with astonishing rapidity, making twenty- 
six turns in a minute, when the axle works free. Hav- 
ing tied a cord to the axle, to turn an Archimedean screw 
to raise water, the wheel then made twenty turns a min- 
ute. I then stopped the wheel with much difficulty, 
holding on the circumference of the wheel with both 
hands. An attempt to stop it suddenly would raise a 
man from the ground. Having stopped it suddenly (and 
here is the greatest proof of perpetual motion) I com- 
menced the movement very gently to see if it would of 
itself regain its former rapidity, which I doubted, be- 
Meving as they said in London, that it only preserved 
for a long time the impetus of the impulse first commu- 
nicated to it. But to my great astonishment I observed 
the rapidity of the wheel augmented httle by httle until 
it made two turns, and then it regained its former speed, 
until I observed by my watch that it made the same 
twenty-six turns in a minute as before, when acting 
freely; and twenty turns when it was attached to the 
screw for raising water. This experiment, showing the 
rapidity of the wheel augmented from the slow move- 
ment that I gave it, to an extraordinary rapid one, con- 
vinces me more than if I had seen the wheel moving a 
whole year, which would not have persuaded me that it 
was perpetual motion, because it might have diminished 
Httle by Httle until it ceased altogether; but to gain 
speed instead of losing it, and to increase that speed to 
a certain degree in spite of the resistance of the air and 
the friction of the axles, I do not see how any one can 
doubt the truth of this action. I also turned it in a con- 
trary direction, when the wheel produced the same 
effect. I examiiTSd weU the axles of this wheel to see if 
there was any hidden artifice, but I was unable to see 


anytnmg more than the two small axles on which the 
wheel was suspended by the centre." * 

In truth, the machine of Orffryreus excited a vast 
amount of discussion, in which several men of eminence 
took part ; the inventor broke it up in a rage one day, 
owing to some insinuations from an exdJminer to the 
effect he was an impostor, and its secret was never dis- 
covered. Yolumes have been written concerning this 
wheel ; and up to the close of the last century, it was 
the opinion of the majority of those who gave the mat- 
ter attentioQ, that it was a genuine case of perpetual 
motion; and it maybe said of it that if it were an impos- 
ture (as it must have been) nobody has succeeded in 
demonstrating it. 

During the seventeenth century, there were three 
patents taken out in England for machines self-acting 
and perpetual in their movement, and several times as 
many during the next century. One of the f ormQ^r was 
patented by David Eamsaye in 1630, as follows : " David ' 
Bamsaye esquire, and one of the groomes of the Privie 
Chamber." Among other claims to a patent for his 
" great paines, Industrie, and charge " in finding out 
the same, he names, " to make any sort of mills to goe 
on standing waters by continual! mocion without the 
helpe of winde, water, or horse." No description is 
given, as none was required. Ealph Wayne, gentleman, 
in 1662, "hath through his great charge, labor and 
industry attained the knowledge of an engine which, 
with the perpetual motion of itselfe without the help or 
strength of any creature or person, will not only drain 
great levels of vast quantities of water, but also mines of 
fifty fathoms deep or more." 

A curious machine is that of Hildebrand Morley, of 

* Baron Fischer to Dr. DesaguUers. 


Clement's Inn, Middlesex, gentleman, in 1782, and 
which is for the purpose of communicating motion to 
clocks, mills, time-pieces, or other "instruments or en- 
gines requiring the same properties, a constant and per- 
petual force and motion." Fortunately for posterity, 
the inventor ^ives some specifications which will enable 
us to comprehend somewhat the principles which were 
involved in the construction of his machine. He de- 
scribes it as follows : 

"My said invented wheel, engine, or machine, 
whereby to give or communicate to mills, clocks, time- 
pieces, or other instruments or engines requiring the 
same properties, a constant and perpetual motion, has a 
frame-work of wood, iron, or other metal to which the 
machinery is fixed and supported. It consists of a 
wheel, which is divided on the rim or outward edge into 
any number of divisions, in the manner of a water-wheel, 
so that each division be sufficient to contain a round 
ball, which balls are made of wood, or hollow balls made 
of tin, copper, iron, or other metal, or of glass. These balls, 
as the wheel moves round, fall off on an inclined plane or 
spout, from whence they acquire sufficient velocity or 
force to enter through a passage a tall, square tube fiUed 
either with quicksilver, water, or other fluids, which is 
there supported by the pressure of the outward air. As 
soon as the balls enter the aforesaid tube they will rise 
upwards therein, being lighter than the fluid, and 
through a certain number of newly contrived valves, 
which support the fluids alternately in the tube. When 
the balls are arrived at the top or broad head of the 
aforesaid tube, they are conducted to a wheel with a cer- 
tain number of teeth, on which are place-lifters to lift 
the balls out of the said fluid. This said wheel is drove 
by another wheel with the same number of teeth and 
diameter, to which is joined a puUey, over which passes 


a cord, chain, catgut, silken thread, or any other Hne 
or twist, which, being joined at both ends, is passed 
over another pulley fixed to the axle of the great 
wheel, which great wheel, when loaded with the afore- 
said balls, turns round the aforesaid two other wheels, 
by which means the balls are Hfted out of and from 
the fluids, and fall on an inchned plane or spout, 
which leads to the great wheel. At the lower end of 
this inclined plane or spout is fixed a small wheel, 
which is put into motion by spokes fixed on the rim or 
outward edge of the great wheel, which turns the balls 
separately on itself to continue the motion." 

During the present century, there have been innum- 
erable applications to the French Academy of Sciences 
for the appointments of committees to examine alleged 
inventions of perpetual motion; but, as is the rule in 
that body, the appUcations have been received, and 
a note made of the name of the applicant and the 
nature of his invention ; and also, in accordance with 
the rules, the demand for a coiiimittee of examination 
has always been refused. There have also been many 
models of machines of the kind placed in the patent- 
office of this country ; despite the number, there is no 
case on record in which one of them yet continues in 
motion, or ever has been in motion for any length of 

It may not be known to everybody that the inventor 
of the rocket which bears his name. Sir WilUam Con- 
greve, not only beheved in perpetual motion, but abso- 
lutely was of the opinion that . he had constructed a 
machine which was self-acting. This was in 1827, at 
which time he pubhshed a pamphlet in which he de- 
scribed his machine, and at the same time demonstrated 
(to Ms own satisfaction) that it must be a success, al- 
though there is nothing on record to prove that it ever 


did make so much as a single revolution. As is ^nown, 
Congrevewas a man of education and of a Mgh. intellec- 
tual grade. It may not be the fact that he ever con- 
structed the machine which he advocated, having car- 
ried it no further than a demonstration on paper. 

The present century has not failed to contribute its 
share of the foUy connected with perpetual motion. In 
this country, and in England and France, there have 
been several hundred processes patented for machines 
self-impelled, and which are claimed by their owners to 
be capable of perpetual motion. It is somewhat singular 
that of all the thousand attempts which have been made, 
and recorded, and aU the patents which have been issued, 
there is not a single machine in existence which is 
now running ; nor is there any adequate proof that there 
ever was one that had life for a single instant. There is 
something remarkable in the fact that there have been 
so many patents during this century, as it is one in 
which all other departments of science have passed from 
the regions of the doubtful, the mysterious, the magical, 
into that in which everything is demonstrable. Some of 
the efforts of the nineteenth century will bear a detailed 
notice ; if one can learn nothing else from them, one can 
at least discover that human ignorance still has a for- 
midable existence, despite the light of knowledge which 
has so thoroughly inundated the world. 

In 1801, WilUam Parkes, of Newington, England, 
" Professor of Philosophy," patented a " perpetual power 
that wiU give motion to all classes of machinery, mills, 
engines, ships of war, mercantile vessels, lighters, crafts, 
and boats of every description." In brief, the invention 
of the " Professor of Philosophy" was very simple. Air 
Tvas the power ; air which is to be found everywhere, in 
the valleys, on the mountain-tops, above the plains, 
over the ocean, in the depths of the mines ; hence it is 


available as a motor whereverman may exist. Mr. Partes 
evidently took the cheapness of air into consideration, 
and through his machine made a bid for the patronage 
of those who had to resort to steam, water, wind, or 
something of the kind to find power which would do 
their work. To use this air, he would first condense it, 
and then pour it out against the buckets of a wheel, as 
if it were a stream of water. This gave the motion; and 
when the wheel was in motion, by means of a crank it 
would work the bellows which condensed the air in the 
magazine. Probably nothing more stupid in theory or 
in practice than the machine of Parkes, " Professor of 
Philosophy," was ever devised or constructed. 

In 1868, James Smith, of Liverpoal, and Sydney 
Arthur Chase, of Liverpool, "gentleman," a firm evi- 
dently consisting of a capitalist and a mechanic — the 
one furnishing the brains, and the other the capital — 
entered upon the work of discovering perpetual motion. 
Between the years 1858 and 1865, they filed no less than 
five appHcations for patents for a perpetual motion ma- 
chine, and various improvements connected with it. It 
is ■ said by Dirck' that the cost of these attempts was 
some ten thousand pounds sterhng; and yet there is 
nothing to-day to prove that they succeeded in a single 
particular in accomplishing what they so assiduously 
sought for. Their machine was termed the " atomic 
engine," and was very elaborate in its construction, con- 
sisting of an infinite number of parts ; and withal, was so 
intricate that an attempt to describe it without the de- 
tail drawings would be useless on account of its inevit- 
able obscurity. The power to be used was compressed 
air; and in principle, the invention consisted of " certain 
mechanical appliances so arranged as td cooperate with 
the motive power of the atmosphere." Another form of 
their invention was the production of an engine which 


should be self-acting, and whose purpose was to raise 
water above its level, the "fluids so raised to be the 
motive power." This was a very elaborate machine, and 
had but a single fault ; it would not work. Then it was 
made stiU more elaborate and costly by the addition of 
" improvements," which made it still more complex, and 
imposing ; and then it had but a single defect — it would 
not move. 

In 1860, Greorge Augustus Huddart, " gentleman," of 
Wales, patented something which presented some new 
features, in that it was not an attempt to make water 
turn a wheel to elevate itself, or a system of weights ex- 
tended on one side and drawn in on the other side of a 
wheel. He announces it as a novel mode of applying 
the principle of buoyancy for obtaining a motive power. 
He describes it in detail as follows : 

" For this purpose I set around the periphery of a 
wheel, or mount upon an endless belt or chain, a series 
of compressible air-vessels at equal distances apart, and 
these I connect together in pairs in air- tubes. The air- 
vessels I furnish with a weight which is free to move in 
parallel guides as the wheel which carries them rotates, 
and by its downward pressure the weight compresses the 
air-vessel to which it is attached, forcing the air through 
the air-tube in connection with the air-vessel to the air- 
vessel on the opposite side of the wheel, in which, at the 
same time, a vacuum is formed or being formed by the 
drag of its own weight, which is now attaining or has 
attained a pendant position. The apparatus I immerse 
in water or other Hquid, and the expanded vessels being^ 
on one side of the wheel, while those on the other side 
are more or less in a state of collapse, will by their buoy- 
ancy move around the wheel and cause the collapsed 
vessels in their turn to expand and receive the air 
from the descending vessels, and thereby become the- 


ascending vessels or propelling power of the wheel. It wiU 
thus be understood that as the vessels attain a position 
in which their respective weights will act upon the air 
contained therein, and force it down the air-conductors, 
they will severally become compressed, and the vessels 
opposite thereto wiU expand and receive the air thus ex- 
pelled; the vessels on the descending side, therefore, of 
the wheel will not expand until they attain their lowest 
position, and those on the ascending side of the wheel 
will not be compressed and have the air wholly excluded 
therefrom, irntU they have attained their highest posi- 

The year 1860 seems to have been fruitful for the pro- 
duction of perpetual motion machines, none of which 
present any novelties save the one just described, and 
one by Claude Joseph Napoleon Eebour, of Paris, en- 
gineer, who presents a patent for a perpetual motion in 
which gravity is the motive power. His description is 
very long, and obscure, so much so that it is useless to 
present it to the reader, for the reason that it cannot be 
weU understood, the more especially that there is no ex- 
planatory diagram. In 1862, Eeginald Courtenay, bishop 
of Kingston, Jamaica, patented an improvement in the 
obtaining of motive power, which consisted in the pro- 
ducing of motion by changing (increasing or diminish- 
ing) the specific gravity of an elastic fluid, the change 
being affected by revolving weights. Despite his rank, 
the bishop of Kingstoh, Jamaica, does not seem to have 
secured any especial success with his improvement ; in 
fact, his process was a failure just as if the inventor had 
been a common engineer, " gentleman," mechanic, or 

And thus the patents are developed, many ingenious 
in conception, graceful in appearance, and satisfactory 
in every respect save one; and. that one, the very one 


for which they are constructed. The failures of all the 
centuries before do not seem to have any effect on the 
would-be inventors of perpetual liiotion of the nineteenth 
century. Nor does any special class seem exempt from 
the foUy. In commenting on the men who have, during- 
this century, taken out patents in England for perpetual 
motion, Dircks says they " consist of a colonial bishop, a 
professor of philosophy, and another of languages, two 
barons, a knight of the most noble and ancient order of 
the Temple, four military men, a doctor of medicine, a 
barrister, several gentlemen, two civil engineers, several 
mechanical engineers, a brass manufacturer, miUer, mill- 
wright, smith, saddler, bobbin manufacturer, surveyor, 
a geologist, besides others whose professions are not 

The subject of perpetual motion has been pursued far 
enough to demonstrate conclusively, that it is an impos- 
sible attainment. The records of six centuries have 
been carefuUy examined ; and in them there is not to be 
found a single authenticated case of a successful self- 
acting machine. The machine of OrfEryreus is the only 
one that presents any claims worth considering ; and in 
this instance there is no evidence that there was ever 
made an exhaustive examination of its parts with a view 
of discovering whether or not there might be some con- 
cealed spring, or other appliance for the generation of 
power; aU the testimony is simply to the effect that 
those who saw it could find no cofmection with another 
room; they could walk aU about it, and they could find 
no power outside of it. There is still other evidence 
in this case tending to strengthen the convictions of 
those who beHeve in the possibility of perpetual motion, 
and which would be of more value were it not that 

' Perpetuum Mobile. Uenry Dircks. 


all other machines of the kind have been absolute 

In fact, it is so contrary to human experience, and so 
opposed by all the known laws of matter that any one is 
permitted to deny the success of the Orffryreus machine, 
no matter what may be the evidence favoring the genu- 
ineness of the result. If a dozen witnesses should testify 
that they saw a man hft himself by puUing at the straps 
of his boots, still the world would at once reject the 

It is to be hoped that what has been gathered in this 
chapter in regard to the perpetual motion mania may 
satisfy some inventor that, if he chooses to undertake 
such a work, he will simply be doing that which has a 
thousand times been demonstrated to be impossible. 
There are abundant popular legends asserting that 
such machines have been invented, and that there are 
even now some in operation ; and they do a vast 
amount of mischief ; biit they are not true ; and the in- 
ventor who reHes on them does so at the expense of his 
good sense, and if he goes further, at the expense of his 
time, his fortune, his reputation, and finally of his sanity. 



ABOUT the very first thing which the inventor among 
the primitive tribes found himself called on to 
produce was a machine for raising water, and of trans- 
porting it from points where it was to be found to others 
where it did not exist. From this simple problem at the 
outset, the improvements in methods of raising water 
continued until the steam-engine and the force-pumps 
of to-day. The advance of invention in this direction 
may be estimated by a comparison of the mussel-shell, 
or the hollowed gourd, or the leathern bag of the river- 
drift, or the stone ages, with which man elevated water, 
and the colossal machinery for the pumping of water 
which is in use in large cities. Men have had to drink 
water from all time ; but as they advanced, and the cul- 
tivation of the ground was added to fishing and the 
chase for the supply of food, it was found that there 
were places and times where there was sometimes too 
much water, and sometimes too little. In the one case 
some method and machinery had to be devised to get 
rid of the surplus, and in the other to supply that which 
was lacking. Dipping up water with some hollow ves- 
sel was probably the first resort ; in time, Archimedes 
furnished the nations with his screw for the raising of 
water, and this is in use even unto this day in some 
parts of the country bordering on the Mediterranean. 



It was at first designed to _ aid the raising of water for 
the ends of irrigation. When the world began the dig- 
ging of wells is only a supposition; but when they 
were in use^ there was necessary some hydrauMc machin- 
ery to raise the water to the top. We may" get a hint as 
to what was done by the earher races from that which 
is practiced among some of the primitive nations at the 
present time, who, in some portions of Africa, use the 
ioUow bones of animals for buckets, which they lower 
into the water by means of thongs. From the string and 
"the bucket, the ages advanced slowly ; the string went 
over a puUey; then a buUock was harnessed to the end- 
■of the rope, and drew the bucket to the top. Then some 
Arkwright or Newton of these primitive days added 
another bucket to the other end of the rope, and thus 
came the double bucket system, one bucket going down 
■empty as the other came up brimming from the cool 
depths. According to PKny, the Eomans used the 
windlass for the elevation of water ; it is precisely the 
■same windlass which is in use to-day in the mines for 
raising the ore and the dirt, and in so many places for 
lifting the material which is to be removed in the 
digging of wells. The ingenious Chinaman — Mke the 
modern Yankee, always in search of some method of 
doing things easier — discovered, or invented a modifica- 
tion of the windlass in which one-half of the roller or 
axle was considerably greater in diameter than the 
other half. The rope ran off the one and was wound 
Tip by the other, the weight to be raised or lowered slid- 
ing on, and suspended from the rope between them. 
As the crank turned the machine in one direction, the 
thicker diameter gave off the rope faster than the other 
took it up, and thus the weight was lowered ; in turning 
it the other, the larger part took up the rope faster than 
the other payed it out, and thus the weight was elevated. 



Sometimes some of the ancients had a big drum at one 
end of the windlass, and within its rim, there were 
httle steps on which a man, or some other animal 
walked, and made the roller revolve, treadmiU-wise. 



In some parts of the Orient, water is sometimes 
raised to extraordinary heights by a very simple pro- 
cess. A long gutter, or trough, is hinged to the banks 
of the stream : a native at the other end dips it in the 
stream, allows some water to flow in, when he raises the 
end till it forms an incline, and then the water pours 
out into a reservoir, whence, by a repetition of the same 
process, it is elevated to another reservoir, and so on to 
an unlimited height ; the increase in each case, being 
about three feet. * There were modifications of this ; 
and then the " sweep," yet so much in use in many of the 
farm-houses in the older-settled portions of the eastern 
states. There is in use among the Hindoos, a very 
ingenious modification of the sweep, which consists in 
constructing it so that a man can walk along the upper 
portion of it. There are hand-rails on both sides which 
prevent his falling off ; he steps past the centre towards. 

* History of the Hindoos. Ward. 


the bucket, and the end descends until the bucket 
reaches the water; then he passes towards the other 
end, which is weighted, and the rear descends, and the 
bucket is raised from the well. 


Following these came various sorts of apphances in 
the shape of wheels whose outer rim bore buckets, which 
were filled as they descended into and rose from the 
water, and were emptied as they reached the top by 
being inverted over gutters for carrying the water away. 
There were scores of these various wheels, aU different 
in their make, and all more or less efficient in carrying 
on the work for which they were constructed. The 
Eomans had in use a system of raising water, which is 
very hke the modern chain-pump. They ran double 
chains over an axis, at the height at which they wished 
to raise the water ; and then ran the chains underneath 



■fche water and beneath a fixed roller. To the chains 
-fchey suspended buckets shaped like one-half of a cyhn- 
drioal tin-can such as is used for the packing of pre- 
served vegetables; the separation being lengthwise of 
the can. This gave a vessel twice or three times as long 
as its depth. The, buckets rose from the water with 
their open surface up, and descended with them down. 


It was well along in the seventeenth century that the 
influence of the atmosphere became known. A ' ' sucking " 
pump was made by a Florentine, which had no difficulty 
in raising water to a distance of about thirty-three feet ; 
but beyond this it would not operate. It is said that 
the facts were submitted to Galileo, who gave the prob- 
lem only a brief attention, and then said that it was 
owing to nature's abhorrence of a vacuum being limited, 
and ceased to operate above thirty-two feet. Some two 
years later, an Italian named Torricelli, announced that 
water was raised in a pump, not by any abhorrence on 
the part of nature to a vacuum — which had been beheved 


SO many centuries— but by the pressure of the atmos- 
phere. He demonstrated this fact by a long series of 
careful experiments which proved that the pressure of 
the air is equal to the weight of a column of water nearly 
thirty- three feet high, and of a column of mercury twen- 
ty-eight inches high. TorriceUi, and his successor, who 
continued the experiments owing to the death of the 
ItaHan, drew upon themselves the anger of the Jesuits, 
who claimed to be the exponents of science, as well as 
the possessors of all scientific knowledge; but fortu- 
nately for the discoverer, nothing further than abuse was 
resorted to, for the reason probably, that there is noth- 
ing in the Scriptures which could be construed as being 
contradicted by this new enunciation of a scientific fact. 

The demonstration was a very simple one. It was 
argued that if it were the atmosphere which produced 
the pressure, then there would be a variation at the foot 
and the top of a mountain. A Frenchman named Per- 
nor, conducted the experiments, with the result that the 
conclusion as to the pressure of the atmosphere became 
estabHshed, and thereafter the air-pump became a 
reaHty. This was in 1651, and some five years later, in 
Cork, Ireland, Hooker, who was acting as an assistant 
of Boyle, invented the air-pump, and by its use he de- 
monstrated the elasticity of air. The credit, however, of 
the invention is usually given to Boyle, but is claimed 
also for Otto Guerrichte of Magdeburg, and for Candido 
del Buono of Florence. It is also believed by many 
that the experiments made by Torricelli and his friends, 
in the use of mercury, to ascertain the pressure of the 
air, suggested the barometer. 

Just when the atmospheric pump was discovered is 
not certain ; probably for some time before the question 
was raised as to why water could not be raised over 
thirty-three feet by /" suction." Industrious writers. 


fancy they find traces of it among the ancients, or claim 
that they must have had it, because they were so far 
advanced in other directions. There is proof that 
pumps were in use in the sixteenth century, and very 
soon they became very much varied in form, but all of 
them dependent on the atmosphere for their success. 
The force-pump came into use sometime during the lat- 
ter portion of the seventeenth century. It was a great 
advance in the raising of water, for its operations were 
not Hmited to the thirty-three feet of the atmospheric 
pump ; but by its use water can be raised to any height 
hmited only by the strength of the materials of which it 
is composed, and the power applied in its operation. 

The well-known stomach-pump is a forcing pump, 
and is claimed as the invention of John Read, an 
Englishman, in 1819. Concerning its first use the inven- 
tor wrote : " After visiting London twice for the pur- 
pose of getting some suitable tubes, and faihng, I made 
a third visit, and succeeded in getting an indifferent one 
which I thought might answer, and then, after adapting 
it to the pump, I handed it to Sir Astley Cooper, who 
asked me for what purpose it was intended. I told him 
it was intended for the removal of fluid poisons from 
the human stomach; after a few minutes' inspection 
of the instrument. Sir Astley made the following 
reply : ' About three weeks ago I was called to attend 
a young lady about ten o'clock in the morning who 
had taken opium; I gave her sulphate of copper, 
sulphate of zinc, and other things: I sat by her until 
eight in the evening, when she died! If I had been in 
possession of this instrument at the time, I could have 
relieved her in five minutes, and have saved her life.' 
After many questions how I came to think of such a 
thing, which I satisfactorily explained, he said : ' What 
can I do for you? ' My answer was, ' The pubUcity of 


your opinion is all I wish.' He replied, ' That you shall 
soon have ; ' and he ordered me to meet him the next 
day at Gruy's Hospital, at one o'clock, when he proposed 
to try an experiment on a dog ; btit as no dog could be 
procured that day, Sir Astley proposed Friday at the 
same hour; when I attended as before, the dog was then 
ready for the experiment in the operating theatre, which 
was crowded to excess. The dog was brought to Sir 
Astley, who gave him four drachms of opium dissolved 
in water. The dog's pulse was first at one hundred and 
twenty ; in seven minutes it fell to one hundred and ten, 
and from that to ninety. The poison was suffered to 
xemain in the dog's stomach thirty-three miautes, till 
he appeared to be dead, and I was doubtful it would be 
the case before Sir Astley would let me use the pump. 
I must confess I was very impatient to be at work on 
the dog, with my instrument in hand ready for action. 
Sir Astley kept his finger on the dog's pulse, then at 
ninety, and said very deliberately, ' I think it will do 
now, as it is thirty-three minutes since I gave him the 
dose.' A basin of warm water being then brought, Sir 
Astley passed the tube I had provided into the dog's 
stomach. I immediately pumped the whole contents of 
the basin (the warm water) into the stomach, and as 
quickly re-pumped the whole from the stomach, contain- 
ing the laudanum, back again into the basin. Sir. Astley 
observed, while I was emptying the dog's stomach, the 
laudanum swimming on the surface, and said : ' It will do.' 
A second basin of water was then injected and withdrawn 
by the pump as before. I asked for a third, but Sir Astley 
said it was unnecessary, as the laudanum had all been 
returned in the first basin." In half an hour the animal 
was completely revived, and running about the theatre.* 

* Pamphlet by John Read. 1819. 


There were various advances in the constraction of 
pumps until the double cylinder forcing-pump was 
reached; a pump in which there were two cyhnders, 
and from which the issue of the water was continuous. 
The first modern invention of this improvement was in 
1716, by La Hire, a Frenchman ; and as usual, in many 
of the inventions, the idea was borrowed from the 
ancients, having in principle been in use both by the 
Chinese — in the case of the wind-pump — and probably 
by other of the ancient civilizations. After this, there 
was no end to the varieties of pumps, there being Hfting- 
pumps of all possible pattern ; rotary-pumps of a dozen 
different kinds, some of which are in use in the modern 
steam fire-engines. 

Up to this point, it will be noticed that all the efforts 
made for the handhng of water have had reference to its 
elevation. They had been for raising it to levels where it 
could be used ; from wells,, to higher levels of land for 
the purposes of irrigation ; to the upper stories of houses ; 
and it is to this desire to secure machines for the raising 
of water that we owe the discovery of steam, or its ap- 
phoation, as a motor. To get rid of the water in mines 
was a desideratum of the greatest value, and it was to 
this end that steam was first applied. This gigantic 
motor, which was destined to revolutionize the traffic of 
the world, was a regular development of an endeavor to 
improve machinery for the raising of water. This, how- 
ever, will be treated of in full in another place. 

One of the most important uses to which hydraulic 
machinery has been apphed is in the watfer-works of 
cities, and in the operation of steam fire-engines. About 
the first hydrauho engines used in modern times for the 
supply of cities were in Germany, in about the middle of 
the sixteenth century. They were located in Augsburg. 
There is no description of the pumps used, but a writer 


tlius refers to the water- works : " The towers which fur- 
nish water to this city are also curious. They are near 
the gate called the Red Port, upon a branch of the Leek 
which runs through the city. Mills which go day and 
night, by means of this torrent, work a great many 
pumps, which raise water in large leaden pipes to the 
highest stories in these towers. In the middle of a 
chamber on each of them, which is very neatly and 
handsomely ceihnged, is a reservoir of hexagonal figure, 
into which the water is carried by a large pipe, the ex- 
tremity of which is made like a doljfliin, and through an 
■urn or va^se held by a statue sitting in the middle of the 
reservoir. One of these towers sends water to all the 
public fountains by smaller pipes, and the three others 
supply with water a thousand houses in the city ; each 
of which pays about eight crowns yearly, and receives a 
hundred and twenty pretty large measures of water every 
hour." * 

There are two systems of water- works in use ; one ia 
which the water is forced from some central point by 
machinery to all parts of the city using it; and the other 
is known as the gravity system, in which the water is 
collected in a reservoir located above the level to which 
the water is to be carried, or is forced by pumps into a 
stand-pipe high above the points where it is to be used, 
and from each of these the water is forced by gravity 
into the locaHties where it is desired. The gravity sys- 
tem is in use in the shape of reservoirs in the city of 
New York, and through the stand-pipe in the city of 
Chicago. The forcing system is kncrwn as the Holly, 
and is very economical in cities which cannot well 
afford the cost of reservoirs or stand-pipes. New York 
City uses about ten billion gallons of water per year, 

' Blainville's Travels. 1705. 


all of which, is brought to the city from considerable dis- 
tances through aqueducts and conduits. The Holly sys- 
tem has the advantage that the place employing it has no 
necessity for an expensive fire department ; for the rea- 
son that, in case of a fire, the pressure on the water 
pipes at the central point can be increased in a moment 
so that each hydrant, through a hose, can throw water- 
to the top of the highest buildings. In cities using this 
system, the fire department is limited to hose-cart, and 
hook-and-ladder companies. The system has also an 
advantage in the fact that the speed of the engine, and 
consequently the supply of water, is automatically regu- 
lated according to the demand. 

Another class of water machinery is that which is 
used in giving motion, or for "power," as it is popularly 
termed. Of this there are several varieties, among 
which are the over-shot, and the under-shot wheels, and 
the various forms of the turbine wheels. The latter 
wheel is the invention of a Frenchman named Fourney- 
ron ; or at least he introduced it into France in 1827, 
and soon after Fairburn took it into England, and Boy- 
den brought it to this country. Some EngHsh authori- 
ties claim Fairburn as the discoverer,* but there is no 
reason for concluding that he did more than to improve 
a machine which owed its existence to some other inven- 
tor. These wheels' are very largely in use, their effi- 
ciency being rated from seventy-five to eighty per cent, 
of the power employed in driving them. They have many 
advantages over many other forms, in that they occupy 
but httle room ; they have a very high rotation ; they do 
not require much gearing to communicate the motion, 
and may be used under almost all heights of fall with- 
out interference with their value. 

* Industrial Biography, p. 392. Smiles. 


Mucli value is gained from the use of water in hydrau- 
lic presses and the hydraulic ram, as well as in other 
directions. The hydrauhc press is very simple in con- 
struction and principle, but very powerful in its action. 
In principle, it may be spoken of as as mall pump forcing 
water into a large cylinder, the latter containing a pis- 
ton which is movable. As the water is driven in from 
the small pump, the piston of the large one is forced up 
with a force proportionately greater than its diameter is 
larger than that of the small cylinder or pump. This 
machine has many uses ; the pressing of books, hay and 
' cotton; testing the strength of steam-boilers, water- 
pipes, and in some instances, of cannon. Ships of the 
largest size can be raised out of the water by the power 
of this appliance ; in fact, the hmit of its strength is that 
of the materials of which it is composed. 

The hydrauhc ram is a very ingenious machine, and 
of the greatest utihty in ipany directiotis, more espe- 
cially in country places where the house stands on a 
height, and there is a stream near, and a demand that 
the water be brought up to the building. What is caUed 
an impulse-pipe leads from a cistern or reservoir, and 
is placed at an angle of about thirty-five degrees, or at 
such an angle of declination as may secure the amount 
of faU that may be desired. There is a bell-shaped valve 
at the lower end, which closes at the moment 'that the 
water comes rushing down through the pipe. There is 
a reaction towards the direction from which the water 
descends which, at a short distance from the lower end, 
forces open another valve opening up into a bell-shaped 
chamber, and into which the water rushes. This relieves 
the pressure against the lower valve, which opens, when 
the force of the stream closes it again, and the reaction 
of the water again opens the other valve, and the water 
is again forced into the chamber. This chamber connects 


with a delivery pipe into which the water is forced, 
and carried to the point where it is needed. The cham- 
ber being filled with air, there is a constant, instead of 
an intermitting stream, through the dehvery pipe, for the 
reason that the upper portion of the chamber is filled 
with air, which is compressed when the water rushes in 
through the valve, and whose expansion keeps k, steady 
pressure on the water, and thus secures an unbroken flow. 
The steam fire-engine of to-day has very few points 
in common with its primitive ancestor, or the machine 
which was employed for the extinguishment of fires. 
At the beginning, buckets were probably used, but as 
these could not be of service in reaching any height, 
some other device had to be resorted to. The fire- 
engine of the ancients has been aUuded to in another 
place ; the first fire-engine used by the moderns was a 
syringe which was introduced into London, in the latter 
part of the sixteenth century. Hook, ladders and buck- 
ets were the only things in use before the syringe came 
on the stage ; and beyond doubt, it was hailed, on its 
advent, as being the ne plus ultra of invention in that 
direction. These fire-engines usually held from three to 
four quarts; they were from three to four feet long, 
from one and a half to two inches in diameter, the nozzle 
being reduced to an inch. Three men were required to 
work one of these machines; two held it by handles, 
dipping it into a bucket when empty, and directing it 
against the fire when charged, while one man agitated 
the piston. This engine had one advantage over the 
modern appliance, it had no other ; it did not have to have 
a pair of horses hitched to it ; when there was an alarm, a 
fireman took the machine under his arm, another man 
caught up the cistern ; there was no time lost in making 
connections with the hydrant ; and there was a stream 
on the blaze in an incredibly short time. 



It is not probable that the fire was ever extinguished, 
unless no larger than that of a match ; but the house and 
its contents were not ruined by an inundation of water; 
and in these respects the ancient syringe had its advan- 
tages over the fire-engine of to-day. The next improve- 
ment of the syringe was to mount it on a pair of wheels, 
and to increase its size. In this improved shape it had 
the appearance of a huge sausage stuffer. The piston 

{Frrym Bessmi. A. D. 1568.) 

was a screw which fitted threads cut on the inner 
side of the cyUnder ; and there was a crank at the end 
of the screw which was turned, and the screw was 
forced in, driving the water before it, and out through 
the nozzle in quite a formidable stream. When the 
water was all driven out, the piston was screwed back, 
a stop-cock near the nozzle was opened, a funnel was 
inserted, and another fireman filled the syringe with 
a bucket, on the end of a stick, taking water from 
a tub at his side which was kept filled by the_ by- 
standers. When it was necessary to change the direc- 
tion of the stream, the entire machine had to be shifted 
to meet the new requirement. This machine came 



into use in about 1568, and is known as the syringe 

This was a vast improvement on the original syringe ; 
it held a barrel of water, could be raised or lowered, or 
moved to the right or left in order to secure a needed 
change in the direction of the jet. It was ciunbersome ; 
there was considerable time lost while the attendant re- 
filled the emptied magazine ; but still it was so much of 
an advance over its predecessor that it demonstrated 
that invention was at work, and getting ahead famously 
considering the period in which the labor had to -be 

In 1615, pumping fire-engines were in use in Germany. 
They were very rude and primitive, being a wooden tub 
with a cylinder, and a single piston which was operated 
with a long lever which men hfted up, and bore down, 
admitting the water into the cylinder, and then forcing 
it out through a short bit of hose and a pipe. It was 
placed on a sled, and was dragged to the fire by means 
of ropes. This machine did not supplant the squirt in 
England till some twenty years later. The great fire 
occurred in London in 1666; and at that time the " en- 
gine" and the hand-squirts were still in use. Maitland 
mentions some ordinances of the common council in 
which certain householders were ordered to provide 
themselves with implements to be used in case of a fire, 

* Propositio de 1 Aiatlieur: Artifice autant singulier (comme jepense) 
que non point commun, pour jecter 1' eau centre un grand feu, mesme- 
ment lors que pour la grandeur de la flamme, nul pent entrer ny approcher 
de la maison qui brusle. Declaration de la figure: C est instrument, qui 
est faict en forme de Cone, se son soustient sur deux Roues; ayant sa 
bouclie tourn^e vers le septentrion; et aupres de sa base il y a des demi- 
cercles, qui servent a 1' bausser, au baisser, d' avantage vers sa dlcte 
bouclie septentrionale est un Entennoir, pour y verser 1' dadans; et en 
sa base, ou bie, partie meridionale, est une vie, dont est pouss^e dedans et 
recule un Baston auquel sont des Estoupps ainsi qu' aux siringues. Le 
reste appert. Besson's Theatre. 


and in whicli hand-squirts are particularly mentioned, 
and ordered as a part of the outfit. In 1739, Strasbourg 
had a fire-engine with two pumps, which were a rude 
imitation of the modern brake-machine, with the differ- 
ence that, in place of the brakes, there were two levers 
which were operated like the handles of a pump. This 
was in the first half of the last century, and at this time 
hose came into use, and not very long after, the value of 
the air-chamber was discovered ; but it was not till the 
■esbilj part of the present century that the hand-machine 
was introduced ; and which continued with little alter- 
' ation until replaced by the " steamer." It may be added 
that the " hand-machine," or the one which is operated 
by brakes, is still in use in many places too small to own 
a steam fire-engine ; and even in the great city of Lon- 
don, small hand-engines are stiU kept, and are started to 
a fire on its first being signaled. 

Fire-engines were first introduced in this country in 
1730, being of the pattern known as the Newsham ma- 
chine, an Enghsh invention. They arrived in New York 
in December, 1731 ; and the first fire company was legally 
organized in 1738. In 1840, the first steam fire-engine 
was manufactured in this country, being designed by 
Mr. Hodges, according to some authorities, and accord- 
ing to others, by a European engineer named Ericsson ; 
but in any case, although about the last of the great 
nations to use steam as an agent for the extinguishment 
of fires, this country now is incomparably superior to aU 
others in its " steamers " and the personnel of its organi- 
zations. The city of Chicago has undoubtedly led aU 
other parts of the union in the direction of improvements 
in the management of fire apparatus. Its men and horses 
are so well trained that it is regarded as a very inefficient 
company that will not within fourteen seconds after an 
alarm of fire, take its horses from their stalls, hitch 


them to the machines, and drive out of the building. In 
the make-up of a department of the fire system, there is 
what is known as the fire-patrol. A thousand times 
have the men connected with the fire-patrol wagons, 
been placed in bed, over the room in which the wagon 
is stationed, and within four seconds from the first 
stroke of an alarm, have their horse hitched to the 
wagons, themselves all in their seats on the wagon, and 
the hind wheels of the machine crossing the threshold. 

This celerity is so very remarkable that it is very dif- 
ficult to beheve it unless one sees it. 

Some of the American fire steam-engines are self- 
propelling. A good steamer can throw water to the 
height of nearly one hundred and fiity feet, and on a 
level to a distance of two hundred and fifty feet with an 
inch and three-quarter nozzle; or with an inch and a 
quarter nozzle, wiU throw a vertical stream two hundred 
and twenty feet, and horizontally a distance of over 
three hundred feet. In the Chicago engine-houses the 
water is always kept hot by steam circulated through it 
from a boiler below ; and a Hght so arranged that as the 
engine moves out in response to a call for a fire, a gas 
flame ignites the kindhng in the fire-box so that in a 
gaUop of a short distance, steam is up and the engine 
ready for operation when it reaches the locahty of the 

Apropos of appliances for the extinguishment of fires, 
there are 'several chemical machines, which operate by 
the Uberation of a gas in which combustion is impossible. 
Among these, the Babcock is the most famous ; which, 
with all others of the kind, is too well known to require 
detailed description. 

It may be said of the use of hydrauUc machinery that 
it has been always substantially in the interests of peace. 
There are no blood stains on it from the earUest record of 



its existence. It has been pastoral in its tendencies, 
taking kindly and naturally, as it were, to the peaceful- 
ness and simplicity of country life, where it has leagued 
itself with the industries which are most intimately con- 
nected with the support of hfe. It is to be found on re- 
mote streams, in the depths of the country — the whirr of 
its revolutions mingling harmoniously with the splash 


and the rush of the waters — engaged in changing the 
products of the golden wheat fields, or the yellow tas- 
seled corn into healthful food. It is a frequenter of the 
primeval forests, where it goes to assist the pioneer in 
his effort to clear the land for cultivation by affording 
him the lumber with which to build a shelter, and the 
barns in which to store his products. It speeds the 
spindle and drives the looms which give men garments 



to protect them from the cold, and carpets with which 
to make comfortable, or to decorate their homes. Its 
economy places it within the reach of the poorest com- 
munities ; it is harmless as it is potent, for tmlLke steam, 
it carries no element of destruction in its composition 
which may at any moment explode, and impose death or 
torture on aU within its reach. * 

In aU its relations and its aspects, it is beneficent, 
laboring mainly to supply the needs of the human 
family, having no agency in the construction of imple- 
ments for the destruction of Ufe. In the great cities, 
where there are water-mains, it drives the sewing 
machine, and assists in a thousand ways in carrying on 
the simpler, but always necessary industries connected 
with every-day life. It is always simple, unpretentious, 
philanthropic, tireless in its labor, faithful to its mission, 
and apart from the more showy of the harnessed energies 
of modern life. It requires no monumental stack to 
indicate its locahty, and to pretentiously point out a 
fussy existence. Quiet, retiring, it works while Hfe 
lasts, and does its labor conscientiously and well. 



THE term spinrdng-wheel may very properly stand 
as the type, the representative of the grandest 
industries known to the modern world. It is the suc- 
cessor of the distaff, and the predecessor of the spin- 
ning-jenny, the marvellous power looms, the colossal 
cloth manufactories of the nineteenth century. 

It is less than half a century since the spinning-wheel 
was an honored resident of every household of every 
farmer not close to some city. The sheep were reared on 
the farm; they were washed, sheared, and the wool was 
sent to the miU to be washed again, to he carded into 
roUs, and in that shape sent hack to the farmer's home. 
Then the spinning-wheel commenced its merry winter's 
song ; the long rolls of wool were spun into thread ; and 
this, in the family loom was woven into cloth, and then 
dyed and made up into homespun for the wear of the 
family. Even to-day, there are innumerable famihes, 
remote from the centres of trade and commerce, who 
have their own spinning-wheel, their looms, their own 
dye-pots in which, with the brown extract of butternut, 
the cloth for the family wear is prepared for the scissors 
and the needle to be fashioned into garments. 

There came a time among these people when there 
appeared on the scene an article known as "cotton-yarn," 
and this gave a new theme to the busy spinning-wheel, 



which it sang through winter and summer. This 
cotton-yarn consisted of skeins composed of very fine 
threads. It was the mission of the younger members 
of the family to "wind" this "yarn," which consisted 
in uniting the thread of several of the skeins into one 
thread, and winding them into baUs. Then some of the 
older members, the largest girl generally, who had 

(,1i¥(im " The Tim Apprentices." Hogarth.) 

reached the age sufficient to guarantee her judgment 
and integrity, was assigned to the important task of 
" twisting " the balls into a single thread in which were 
united those which had been wound off on the balls. As 
fast as the spindle was fiUed, it was reeled off into other 
skeins ; and these were taken off on spools, this by one 
of the youngsters. Then the grand genius of the 


female head of the house was needea to carry the thread 
to its further destination. All the contents of the spools 
were wound off on the " warping-bars," and now ap- 
peared Hke a huge cable, whose length was equal to the 
number of yards required in the " piece." Then it was 
carried to the loom, and slowly wound around the great 
roller till the ends were reached; when each end of 
all the threads was " handed in," and then the work of 
the weaver was ready to begin. The wool that had been 
spun and reeled into skeins was now wound on the tiny 
spools, and these were placed in the shuttle. And now 
the weaver began her work. The swift shuttle flew 
between the threads of the warp as if through open 
jaws ; the treadles under the feet of the weaver, reversed 
the threads of the warp, closing tightly on the woolen 
thread, or "filling," which had just been run through, 
and opening their capacious jaws for another mouth- 
ful; and thus on till cotton- warp and woolen- filling 
became as united as if grown on the back of some Hving 

The man who has in his memory the pulsatile clang 
of the beam that drove the woolen threads home, the 
swift whirr of the revolving spool of the shuttle as it 
unwound its treasure and delivered it to be buried in 
the voracious woof; the song of the weaver as the shut- 
tle flew to the right and the left, beating the time of her 
music ; the concentrated hum of the spinning-wheel as 
it twisted or spun, interspersed with the foot-falls of the 
spinner, has something than which no music of Meyer- 
beer, or Beethoven will awake more tender recollections, 
or arouse more acutely the flagging sensibilities. Age 
may impair the later occurrences of life ; but these, un- 
hke as they are all that modern life affords, will cling 
with tenacity proportionate to the lack of anything in 
these days to suggest them. 


' The old family spinning-wlieel was a poem of the 
household. It sang, in the winter evenings, of the future ; 
of weddings to come as it spun the garments to be worn ; 
of cloths that were to he worn by the boy that was 
about to venture out into the broad world ; of expected 
comfort and certain sorrow ; and it hummed low memo- 
ries of the past as it recalled those who had so often 
marched sentinel-hke in front of it, but who now were 
silent and motionless for ever. Glorious old spinning- 
wheel! It deserves to-be canonized! A thousand 
things there were among ancient nations which, for far 
less service, were classed as divine, and received the 
honors to which they were entitled by their elevation 
into the ranks of the sacred. 

The origin of the spinning-wheel is lost somewhere 
in the past ; but it probably had its birth in the Orient, 
where the making of cloth was known long anterior to 
its introduction into Europe. Cotton cloth or cahco, 
and mushn, both came to the European peoples from 
India. The authorities place the introduction of the 
spinning-wheel into England during the reign of Henry 
YIII., previous to which time, all the spinning had been 
done by the distaff and spindle. A mass of cotton fibre 
was attached to the forked end of a stick, and the thread 
was twisted by the fingers, and when a small length of 
it was finished it was wound on a spindle. It was not 
till the eighteenth century that there was any improve- 
ment over the spinning-wheel; and this improvement 
was made by an Englishman named James Hargreaves, 
producing what he called the spinning-jenny. The main 
difference between it and the spinning-wheel is that his 
jenny spun eight threads at once, in place of one. Eight 
spindles were set in a frame, and made to revolve ; the 
operative carried in his hand a wooden frame of two 
pieces, the upper closing on the lower and clasping 


between them the eight rolls to be spun. This was in 
1765, at a time when there were no cotton mills or 
woolen ones known ; but the wool to be spun was given 
out to the operatives to be done on the spinning-wheel 
at their own homes. Hargreaves, after the invention of 
his jenny, turned out so much yarn that the other oper- 
atives became alarmed, and broke into his house, dis- 
covered his secret, and at once smashed his machine, 
which had, at that time, grown to a much larger num- 
ber of spindles. He was a poor working-man, but he 
was not discouraged by his unlucky beginning. He went 
to Nottingham, secured some financial assistance, built 
a small mill, and began the spinning of yarn by his pro- 
cess, in which he was very successful; but, about this 
time, Arkwright, in 1769, produced his mule, which was 
improved by the incorporation of some of the ideas of 
Hargreaves, and which was subsequently improved until 
about 1785, when it was considered completed. It was 
at first driven by water-power, and then by steam; 
and in its completed form is ascribed to some Enghsh 
writers as the work of Samuel Crompton. " The cotem- 
poraneous inventions of Hargreaves and Arkwright, 
though at first encountering violent opposition, in con- 
junction with the invention of the mule, a few years 
later by Samuel Crompton, united to bring about speedy 
and important changes in the process of cotton spin- 
ning, and have since given to this branch of our national 
industry a development which has been the wonder and 
the admiration of the world. This remarkable progress 
is, of course, also to be largely ascribed to the invention 
of the steam-engine." * 

In order to give . all the credit due under the circum- 
stances, it is but proper to add that there are several 

* British Manufacturing Industries. Bevan. 



other claimants to the honor of the invention of the 
spinning-machine, among whom are Paul, Wyatt, and 

Higley. That Crompton did make some valuable 
improvements in the spinning-machine may be fairly 


allowed ; he' took the machines of Arkwright and Har- 
greaves, and eliminated some of their faults, for which 
he was rewarded with a pension of twenty-five thousand 
dollars by the British goTernment — although not till 
some thirty-three years after he had produced his spin- 

Arkwright has a name far better known than that of 
any of his competitors. His history is a curious one. 
He was bom in England in 1732, and was the youngest 
of a family of thirteen children. He was apprenticed 
to a barber, learned the business ; ran a shop for a time 
on his own account ; and, then, as " trade " became dull, 
he entered on the business of traveling about the coun- 
try buying up human hair. He followed this for awhile, 
and then tried his hand at the problem of perpetual 
motion ; and soon after, in response to a general demand 
for the improvement of the process of spinning, he, in 
common with many others, began a search in the popu- 
lar direction. Like the majority of inventors, he grew 
poor in his search, and lost at once all his money and 
his friends ; and to crown his misfortune, his wife, who 
was opposed to his spending his time in this useless 
pursuit, broke all his models during his absence one day 
from home. He left her, and continued his search, with 
the result that by the aid of a friendly mechanic he was 
able to design a machine and construct a model. He 
put his model on exhibition, but was so ragged and 
dirty, that some sympathizers subscribed enough money 
to enable him to make a creditable appearance. He 
was forced to leave Preston owing to the menaces of 
the operatives in the vicinity, and went to Nottingham, 
where he found a friend in a banker named Strutt, him- 
self an inventor ; and in 1769 the improvement was pat- 
ented. It did not, however, work at once, nor in fact, 
did it tiU several years later ; and then success was won 

aekwbight's laboes. 257 

only through an opposition which would have disheart- 
ened a man less persevering than Arkwright. A mill 
that he erected was destroyed by a mob of working-men, 
inspired by the old grievance that his machine was an 
injury to working-men, by doing what it required many 
hands to do under the manual method. Other manu- 
facturers found that his superiority was injuring them, 
and they then undertook to crush him by refusing to 
buy his products, although superior to all others in the 
market. They also refused to pay for the use of his 
patents, and combining, they fought him in the courts, 
and for a time broke down his patents. 

He refused to yield, and fought doggedly on, with the 
result that in a few years he had succeeded in becoming 
the largest miU-owner in that region, and controlled the 
markets by the superiority of his work. He became very 
wealthy, and was knighted by George III. He died in 
1792. In many respects he was a most wonderful man, 
especially when it is considered that he knew but Httle 
of reading till after he was fifty years of age, at which 
period he studied Enghsh grammar, and improved him- 
self in. writing and spelling. Before he became a miU- 
owner of prominence, it had been the custom of the 
owners to have the various branches of their work per- 
formed at different places. Sir Eichard Arkwright intro- 
duced the modern system of the factory, in which all is 
done under a single roof. It may be that in this move- 
ment he increased the value of the labor which he 
.employed; but it is certain that he did it at the expense 
of the health, mora,ls, and comfort of the operatives. 
There have been some amehorating features introduced 
of late ; but taken as a whole, the modern factory sys- 
tem is, next to African slavery, one of the most dis- 
graceful blots of civilization. The infamous cruelty 
practiced by the employment of young children has had 



the effect to give us a race of people scarcely human in 
their developments. / 

While it is true that Arkwright was the first to em- 
ploy his operatives in masses under one roof, he cannot 
very well be held responsible for its results. If he had 
not initiated the system, some other one would. It was 
an outgrowth of the times ; its introduction was not a, 
question of men, but simply of the occasion. 


The machine perfected, or improved by Crompton, is 
substantially the one in use in spinning at the present 
time, except that where he had some twenty-five or 
thirty spindles, those now in use have often from fifty to 
seventy times as many. This machine is automatic. 
The carriage with the spindles recedes from the roller 
holding the material to be spun ; the thread is stretched 
to the proper length ; twisted the requisite number of 
times ; and the carriage with the spindles returns to the 


place whence it started, the spun thread being taken np 
and wound on a cop on the spindle. Previous to the in- 
Yention of the mule, few spinners could make yarns of 
two hundred hanks to the pound, the hank being always . 
eight hundred and forty yards. The natives of India 
were at the same time making hanks of numbers varying 
from three hundred to four hundred. By the best con- 
structed mules, yarn has been made in Manchester of 
number seven hundred, which was woven in France.* 

We have now reached a period in the history of spin- 
ning in which arrangements have been completed for an 
ujihmited supply of spun yarn, and which fact wiU sug- 
gest to any reader, that two other things are essential to 
the economical employment of all the facilities in use for 
spinning ; these two being an ample supply of the raw 
material, cotton and wool, and looms with which to 
weave the products of the spinners. At the time when 
Crompton, Arkwright, and the others had completed 
'their improvements, the means for the supply of cotton, 
for instance, were only equal to the comparatively mod- 
erate demand which had before existed. 

In 1793, a period substantially cotemporary with Ark- 
wiight and Crompton, an American invented a machine 
for separating the seed of the cotton from the fibre, 
which process had hitherto been performed by hand. In 
1791, the cotton crop of the Southern States was two 
milhon pounds; in 1801, Whitney's cotton-gin was in 
operation, and the product of the same area was nearly 
fifty mUHon pounds, the increase being largely due to 
the invention of this machine. Here was a case — seen 
So often before in these pages — in which an invention 
came in response to an urgent demand. If Eli Whitney 
had not met the want, there is no reason for doubting 

* Mechanical Progress. Edward H. Enight. 



that it would have appeared about the same time, and 
would have conferred immortality on some other name. 
Before the invention of the gin, it was the labor of a day 
. for one hand to pick a pound of cotton from the seeds ; 
the Whitney gin ran the amount which could be cleaned 
by the machine to over three thousand pounds. This 
was the solution of the problem which had been formu- 
lated by the inventions of Arkwright and others, of the 


spinning machines ; the cotton-gin settled the question 
of supply; and there only remained the other problem 
relative to the looms for the disposition of the products 
of the spinners. 

Before touching on this, a word may be said of Whit- 
ney, who thus solved a problem whose importance can- 
not be over-estimated. He was born in Massachusetts, 
in December, 1765, and died in Connecticut, in January, 


1825. He was a graduate of Yale College, and a gradu- 
ate in law in Savannah, whither he went after leaving 
coUege. His attention was called to the tedious process 
of separating the green seed from the cotton, and he ap- 
phed himself to discovering means of doing the same 
work by machinery. He had no facihties for work, hav- 
ing to manufacture the tools with which he worked ; but 
he accomphshed what he labored for. When he had 
about finished his machine, some rumors got abroad as 
to what he had done, when the house where he had the 
machine stowed away was broken open, and the machine 
was stolen. Soon after, the same kind of a machine was 
put in use in various parts of South Carohna. He finally 
seciired his patents, but they were incessantly infringed 
on. He was voted a gift of fifty thousand doUars, which 
he only gained after a vast deal of trouble and litigation. 
He had an arrangement with the state of Tennessee ; 
but that state failed to keep its contract in a single par- 
ticular, and had the benefit of his invention for nothing. 
His troubles were so great, and his labor so arduous in 
securing from the South compensation for the use of his 
machine, that he finally gave the whole matter up in 
disgust, and turned his attention to manufacturing arms 
for the government. He was the first who constructed 
small arms in such a manner that every piece in one gun 
would exaclily fit the same place in every other gun. 

The art of weaving is one of the oldest of which we 
have any traces. Remnants of woven material have 
been found in the Swiss Lake dwellings, in the graves of 
Egyptians, and in other places having an ancient origin. 
Weaving is mentioned in the Bible in various places, as 
when allusion is made to " curtains of fine-twined hnen, 
and blue and purple, and scarlet," to the "vestures of 
fine hnen " in which Joseph was arrayed by Pharaoh, and 
to " days that are swifter than the weaver's shuttle, and 


are spent without hope," by Job. As the periods in 
which these references are made are located several 
thousand years in the past, it is very evident that the 
art of weaving was then understood ; and had we not 
this evidence, there is still enough to be found in the 
remnants left by other ancient peoples. The new tribes 
"who have become known to us of late, and who are yet 
in a condition of savagery, all have some form of weav- 
ing at their command. In some instances, grass is the 
material used ; in other cases a species of bark is made 
into cloth ; and in others, it is found that among the 
ancients, and modern savages who have no other knowl- 
edge of weaving than such as they developed among 
themselves, a large number of substances have been and 
are used, such as sheep's wool, the hair of goats and 
camels, silk, flax, hemp, cotton, gold, silver and asbestos 
— the last-named article being used for lamp- wicks and 
cremation. * 

Some of the looms seen by Mungo Park in Mandingo 
were exactly like the English looms, but so small and 
narrow that a web was not more than four inches "wide. 
The women prepared the cotton for spinning, and the 
men did the weaving. The ancient Egyptians wore 
"woolen and cotton clothing and Hnen, the latter being 
worn by the priest on account of its superior purity, " for 
they were not allowed to enter the templds with any 
article of dress composed of wool, and on no account 
were they allowed to wear it for under-clothing, that 
material being considered unclean, owing to its property 
of breeding, or being liable to become infested "with, 
"worms and insects." f 

It is thought that it is owing to the excellence of the 
linen in which the Egyptian mummies were enshrouded 

' Textrinum Antiquorum. Yates. f Ibid. Yates. 


that they have remained so v? ell preserved for more than 
a score of centuries. "'It was from this circumstance 
that what actual knowledge is now possessed of Egyp- 
tian weaving is owing, and the preservation of numerous 
specimens found in the mummy pits of Europe, Linen 
was chosen to enshroud the dead on account of its clean- 
hness, and its lasting quahties. The dead were encased 
in its folds so that the bodies should be preserved unin- 
jured, for a space of three thousand years, when it was 
beheved the former spirit would return after its transi- 
tion state and habitation of the bodies of various ani^ 
mals, to resume its former existenqe." * 

After the tenth century, weaving made some progress 
in various parts of the continent of Europe, and among 
some of the Oriental people, specimens of whose work 
are to be found in various museums in the capitals of 
Europe. It is about the tenth and eleventh centuries 
that weaving began to assume any prominence in 
Europe ; and so far as is known the first weavers were 
Flemings who commenced operations in the tenth cen- 
tury, and furnished the most of the woolen goods used 
in the other parts of Europe. In the thirteenth cen- 
tury, Spain entered the field, and was able to furnish 
cloth that at once took high rank in the European mar- 
kets. At about the same time woolen manufactories 
were estabhshed in Florence which produced annually 
one hundred thousand pieces of cloth. Long anterior 
to this, according to English authorities, weaving was 
known in England to a very great extent ; but it was to 
the Flemings that was owing the excellence which the 
Enghsh weavers attained at a later date. It is claimed 
that it was introduced to the Britons by the Eomans, 
and that it was carried on and improved during the 

'* Ancient Egyptians. Sir G. Wilkinson. 


Anglo-Saxon occupation. Among the Anglo-Norman 
ladies there was developed a good deal of skill with the 
needle, to which fact the world owes much of the beau- 
tiful tapestry of that period. It was at this period that 
the famous Bayeux tapestry was made, and the work is 
popularly attributed to Matilda, the wife of William, 
the Norman conqueror; but other authorities assert 
that it was done by English hands in London by order 
of one of the three knights who came from Bayeux.* 

During the reign of the Conqueror, a large number 
of Flemish weavers came over to England, and there- 
after, the great wool manufacturing interests of England 
were estabhshed. It was during the reiga of Edward 
III., in about 1340 to 1353, that England estabhshed its 
supremacy in the making of woolen cloth. Some three 
hundred years later. Puller alludes to this period in a 
paragraph whose quaintness and odd information enti- 
tles it to be quoted : 

" The king, observing the great gain to the Nether- 
lands by the export of wool, in memory whereof the 
Duke of Burgundy instituted the order of the Golden 
Fleece — where indeed the fleece was ours, the gold 
theirs — so vast was their emolument by the trade of 
clothing. The king therefore resolved if possible to 
reduce the trade to this country, for Enghshmen at this 
time knew no more what to do with the wool than the 
sheep which wear it, as to any artificial or curious 
drapery, their best clothes being no better than friezes — 
such their coarseness from want of skill in the making. 
Unsuspected emissaries were employed by our king in 
those countries, who wrought themselves into f amiharity 
with those Dutchmen as were absolute masters of their 
trade, but not masters of themselves, as journeymen 

* Kev. D. Kook. 


and apprentices; these bemoaned the slavishness of 
these poor servants, whom their masters used rather like 
heathens than Christians — yea, rather like horses than 
men; early up and late in bed, -and all day hard work, 
and harder fare, as a few herrings and mouldy cheese, 
and aU to enrich the churls their masters, without profit 
to themselves. But, oh, how happy should they be if 
they would but come to England, bringing their mystery 
with them, which would provide their welcome in all 
places ! Here they would feed on fat beef and mutton 
till nothing but their f uUness should stint their stomachs. 
Yea, they should feed on the labors of their own hands, 
enjoying a proportionable profit of their gains to them- 
selves : their beds should be good, and their bed-f eUows 
better, seeing that the richest yeomen in England would 
not disdain to marry their daughters unto them, and 
such the English beauties that the most envious for- 
eigner could not but commend them. Many Dutch ser- 
vants left their masters and brought over their trade and 
their tools, such as could not be made in England ; and 
happy the yeoman's house into which one of these 
Dutchmen did enter, bringing industry and wealth along 
with them. Such who were strangers within, soon after 
went out bridegrooms and returned sons-in-law. Yea, 
those yeomen in whose house they harbored soon pro- 
ceeded gentlemen, gaining great estates to themselves, 
arms and worship to their families. The king sprinkled 
them throughout the country, though, generally, when 
left to themselves, they preferred a maritime habita- 

When England had discovered the great value of the 
woolen manufactories, she took the greatest pains to 
prevent anything which was thought to be injurious to 

* Fuller's Church History. 


stand in their way. Out of this jealous guardianship 
there grew a term which is in common use, but whose 
origin is not generally known. Laws were passed to 
prevent the exportation of wool, and on the seat of each 
member of the House of Lords there was placed a sack 
of wool to keep him in incessant remembrance of the 
value of the trade which the wool represented. Hence 
the term wool-sack. Then as now in England, the 
judges sat on the wool-sack; in this country, the term 
has no reference to a bag stufied with wool; but the 
wool-sack is used to indicate the judicial seat. The 
word appears in some of the parHamentary acts with 
reference to the seats which shall be occupied by the 

In 1519, cotton was discovered by Magellan in use 
among the Brazilians, and not long after the use of 
this "vegetable down" became known to the Enghsh, 
and its manufacture was entered upon. In 1558, an act 
was passed by parhament which wiU suggest that there 
is nothing new under the sun. That making " shoddy " 
is not, as many have supposed, a modern invention may 
be inferred from the act in question. It says: "Cer- 
tain evil-disposed persons who buy and engross great 
store of linen cloth, do cast the pieces of cloth over a 
beam or piece of timber made for their purpose, and do 
by sundry devices rack, stretch, and draw the same both 
of length and breadth, and that done do then with bat- 
tledores, pieces of timber and wood, and other things 
sore beat the same, ever casting thereupon certain 
deceitful liquors mingling with chalk and other things, 
whereby the said cloth is not only made to seem much 
thicker and finer to the eye that it is indeed, but also 
the thread thereof being so loosed and made weak that 

* Notes and Queries. 


after three or four washings it will hardly hold together, 
to the great loss and hindrance of the natives." Fol- 
lowing this comes a clause forbidding these practices. 
The evil was so serious that not only was the practice 
thus taken up and forbidden by act of parHament, but 
it was naade the occasion of sermons of denunciation 
from the pulpit. Among others, the celebrated Latimer 
denounced it roundly, especially that portion of the pro- 
cess in which by the use of " flock powder" or chipped 
wool, the thickness which the cloth had lost by the 
stretching and beating was restored. Some method of 
incorporating this material was employed which made 
the cloth seem of greater thickness than it was when 
originally woven. 

In 1621, cotton was planted in this country; but 
there was but little shipment of it till after the war of 
the Eevolution. In a little more than a century after 
having been planted, the crop amounted to forty-eight 
million pounds per annum ; it has since in a single year 
reached the dimensions of one billion eight million 
pounds; in fact, even this extraordinary amount has 
been exceeded in certain favored years, as notably in 
1859-60, when the total crop ran above two billions of 

Up to the period now under notice, weaving was aH 
done by hand. A large portion of the products of the 
spinning-machines was sold as yarn to dealers who re- 
sold it to families, by whom it was used as described in 
the opening of this chapter. Such a thing as a power- 
loom was not known. The first spinning-machine put 
up in this country was one of Arkwright's, which was 
brought over, and erected in Providence by an English 
operative named John Slater. This was in the year 
1790; and it was not till some twenty- two years later, 
in 1812, that the first power-loom was constructed. It 



was the invention of Francis C. Lowell, of Boston, who 
had spent some time abroad, and had there obtained 
some suggestions of the power-loom, which had at that 
period been introduced, and was in operation in Eng- 
land. The loom was erected in Waltham, Mass. 


The first power-loom for the weaving of wide cloth, 
as a practical result, was made by an Enghshman, Dr. 
Edmund Cartwright, in 1787. There had been various 
attempts to reach this result, made long before the suc- 
cess of Cartwright. More than a century before, a 
Erenchman had invented w!hat was called a "A New 


Machine for Making Linen Cloth without the aid of a 
Workman," which was described in the Journal des 
Savants, in 1678; but it does not appear that it ever 
came into use. In 1745, Yaucanson, a Frenchman, con- ■ 
structed a self-acting loom ; in 1774, another self-acting 
loom was produced by Robert and James Barber, of 
Nottingham, England. 

The loom invented by Cartwright is probably the 
first which fully answered the purpose for which it was 
constructed. The fact that the inventor was not a 
mechanician in any sense of the word, but a clergyman 
who had never given the smallest attention to practical 
mechanics, makes him and his invention worthy of 
some special notice. He was born in 1743, at Maroham, 
Notts, England, of an old family. He attended Uni- 
versity CoUege, Oxford; became a clergyman, and till 
1779, he devoted himself to the duties of his calhng, 
and to Hterary efforts. It was in 1784 that he suddenly 
took to invention, and for reasons which are sufficiently 
curious to permit the publication of a letter written by 
him to a Mr. Bannatyne, and in which he explains his 
sudden change from a cleric to an inventor. 

"Happening to be at Matlock in the summer of 1784, 
I fell in company of some gentlemen of Manchester, 
when the conversation turned on the Arkwright spin- 
ning-machinery. One of the company observed, ' That 
as soon as Arkwright's patent expired so many mills 
would be erected, and so much cotton spun, that hands 
never could be found to weave it.' To this observation 
I rephed, that Arkwrighfc must then set his wits to work 
to invent a weaving-mill. This brought on a conversa- 
tion on the subject, in which the Manchester gentlemen 
unanimously agreed that the thing was impracticable ; 
and in defence of their, opinion they adduced argu- 
ments which I certainly was incompetent to answer, 


or even to oomprenend, being totally ignorant of the 
subject, having never at any time seen a person weave. 
I controverted, however, the impracticability of the 
thing, by remarking that there had lately been exhibited 
in London an automaton figure which played at chess. 
'Now, you will not assert, gentlemen,' said I, 'that it is 
more difficult to construct a machine which shall weave 
than one which shall make all varieties of moves which 
are required in that comphcated game?' 

"Some httle time afterwards a particular circum- 
stance recalling this conversation to my mind, it struck 
me that, as in plain weaving, according to the concep- 
tion I then had of the business, there could only be 
three movements, which were to follow each other in 
succession, there would be Httle difficulty in producing 
and repeating them. Full of these ideas I immediately 
employed a carpenter and smith to carry them into 
effect. As soon as the machine was finished, I got a 
weaver to put in the warp, which was of such materials 
as sail-cloth is usually made of. To my great dehght a 
piece of cloth, such as it was, was the produce. As I 
had never before turned my thoughts to anything 
mechanical, either in theory or practice, nor had even 
seen a loom at work, or knew anything of its construc- 
tion, you will readily suppose that my first loom was a 
most rude piece of machinery. The warp was placed 
perpendicularly, the reed fell with the weight of at 
least half a hundred weight, and the springs which 
threw the shuttle were strong enough to throw a Con- 
greve rocket. In short, it required the strength of two 
powerful men to work the machine at a slow rate, and 
only for a short time. Conceiving in my great simpHc- 
ity, that I had accomphshed all that was required, I 
then secured what I thought a most valuable property 
by a patent — April 4th, 1785. This being done I then 


oonaesoended to see how other people wove ; ana you 
will guess my astonishment when I compared their easy 
mode of operation with mine. Availing myself, how- 
ever, of what I then saw I made a loom, in its general 
principles nearly as they are now made. But it was not 
until the year 1787 that I completed my invention, when 
I took out my last weaving patent, August 1st, in that 

In speaking of the invention of Cartwright, Knight 
says : " The justness of his claim to the power-loom may 
be appreciated when it is stated that his loom, patented 
in 1787, has automatical mechanical devices to operate 
aU its parts." Having once given his genius to inven- 
tion, the reverend gentleman seems to have become in- 
fatuated with his new pursuit. In 1791, he took out 
patents for metallic packing to the piston in the steam- 
engine, and soon after he patented a combing-machine. 
He also invented bread-making and brick-making ma- 
chines, and also some improvements in rope-making. 
He expended some thirty thousand pounds sterling in an 
attempt to estabHsh a spinning and weaving factory in 
which all sorts of mechanical experiments could be car- 
ried on ; but which was a failure after an existence of 
some nine or ten years. He made a contract at Man- 
chester for the use of four hundred of his looms which 
did their work well, but, with the factory, were burned 
by a mob of weavers who thought that the new weaving- 
machines would deprive them of their employment. For 
all that he had done for the advancement of weaving, he 
received a grant of ten thousand pounds sterling from 
the English government. 

It has been seen that, in the cases of two or three of 
the characters which have been referred to, each inventor 

* History and Principles of Weaving. Alfred Barlow. 


of an improvement, or of some appliance for use in 
manufacturing, was regarded as a public enemy by the 
working-men, and was treated as such. Hargreaves, 
Arkwright, Cartwright, and others, drew upon them the 
displeasure of the mob. These operatives were of the 
opinion that every machine which could do the work of 
two men threw one of them out of employment. This 
was true; but their mistake was in not seeing that 
where one man was displaced in a certain specialty by 
the machine, it at once so enlarged the demand for raw 
material that two or more men were given employment 
for the one thrown out. Thus, the spinning-machine, 
followed by the power-lootn, threw a great many spin- 
ners and weavers out of their emplojonent at the spin- 
ning-wheel and the hand-loom; but it so increased the 
demand for cotton that thousands of men were given 
work in growing and handhng it ; there was 'a demand 
for additional seamen to transport it ; for other men to 
care for it at the factories ; for the additional artisans 
given employment in the construction of the new inven- 
tions, and for innumerable other necessary industries 
which grew from the increased supply ; so that in place 
of one spinner or weaver thrown out of work, scores and 
perhaps hundreds of others were given labor under the 
new order of things. But the working-men did not take 
this enlarged view of the matter ; and hence, when any 
machine was produced they proceeded to smash it. 

The same thing occurred on several occasions when 
foreign artisans were brought into England. Mob after 
mob attacked the Flemish weavers who had located in 
Great Britain ; many lives were lost, and great quanti- 
ties of property were destroyed by the native spinners 
and weavers, with the insensate hope that it would im- 
prove their condition. In 1685, when the persecution of 
the Protestants was at its height in France, there were 


not less than a iialf million of Frenchmen who left their 
native country, of whom it is estimated that not less, 
than seventy thousand went to England. This was at. 
the period when Louis XIV. revoked the Edict of Nantes. 
— which, as every one knows, was issued after the mas- 
sacre of St. Bartholomew, and was a guarantee of the 
toleration of the Protestants. These new-comers brought 
many improvements in the arts with them ; but they had 
to encounter the hostihty of the insular Anglo-Saxon- 
Norman population ; so that, except that their hves were 
safer, they were but Httle better as to condition than be- 
fore they left France. 

The same hostihty against mechanical improvement 
obtains in England to-day. The employers are largely 
at the service of the trade-unions ; but while these organ- 
izations may not be harmful in most respects, there are 
others in which they have shown that men can be as 
brutal, as bhnd to the general interests, as they were twa 
and three centuries ago. To the extent that they oppose 
improvements in machinery ; to the extent that they re- 
sort to "ratting" to carry out their opposition, and yet 
again, to the extent that they do not hesitate to maim,, 
and not unfrequently to even kill those who have be- 
come obnoxious, they are no improvement on their 
ignorant and savage ancestry. 

Another inventor who was destined to undergo hard- 
ships without end, was Marie Jacquard, who was born in 
Lyons, France, in July, 1752, and who died in 1834, at 
Oullins. His parents were weavers and very poor, in 
consequence of which the son received substantially no 
education save such as he obtained at the loom, and a 
very few months in school. He was apprenticed to a 
book-binder when he was twelve years old; and later, 
in turn, to a cutler and type-founder. During the 
periods of his apprenticeship, he developed a fondness for 



invention, and made several valuable improvements in 
the processes of the different trades with which he was 
connected. At the age of twenty, his father died, and he 
was called home to care for his mother. There were two 
looms left by his father, which he took charge of, and 
became a weaver. He did not succeed in his new voca- 
tion, for the reason that he gave so much time to studies 
of improvements in weaving that his business fell away, 
and he became bankrupt. He then became the assistant 
of a Hme-burner, until 1793, when he joined the revolu- 
tionary party, and later, assisted in defending Lyons 
against the army in which he had at first enhsted. He 
enlisted in the army of the Rhine, and fought until his 
son, a youth of only fifteen, was killed by his side, and 
then he deserted. At first he found employment with a 
wealthy silk manufacturer, to whom he communicated 
some ideas which he possessed in regard to shortening 
the processes of pattern weaving. Up to this time the 
variety in the production of the various woven patterns, 
and in fact the patterns themselves, were the result of 
hand action, being accomphshed by men and boys, 
whose condition was such that their Hfe was much 
shortened. Jacquard was of the behef that all these 
manipulations might be done by mechanical processes. 
His employer, being struck with his suggestions, and 
being a man of a hberal nature, gave him a sum of 
money and set him at work to evolve his idea. In 1800, 
he produced a model of his automatical attachment for 
the weaving of figured goods ; and met with success, re- 
ceiving a medal for his invention at the National Expo- 
sition in 1801. He also invented a machine for the 
weaving of nets without the use of the shuttle, £.nd for 
this was given a gold medal. 

In 1804 he returned from Paris, where he had been 
handsomely treated, and employed by the government. 


and became at once the target for the attacks of the 
mob. They thought that the looms, or attachments, 
which he had invented, would take the place of weavers, 
and thus reduce them to starvation. Great meetings 
were held, at which it was determined to destroy his 
looms which had been erected in Lyons ; and they were 
only prevented from carrying out their designs by the 
interference of the military. Prevented from venting 
their spite on him or his property, they denounced him 
in unsparing terms, and proceeded to hang him in effigy. 
At another attempt, one of his looms was captured and 
broken in pieces ; he was seized by the mob, who dragged 
him towards the river for the purpose of drowning him, 
which they were only prevented from doing by the 
interference of the soldiery. It was only when other 
cities had adopted the loom, and began to show signs of 
prosperity, that the people of Lyons were induced to 
alter their mind. They admitted the loom; and very 
soon found that in place of ruining their business, it had 
the effect to largely increase it. Jacquard hved quietly 
and humbly, and died without any fortune. Some of 
his relatives, a few years after his death, were so pressed 
by poverty, that they were obliged to sell the gold medal 
which had been given him by Louis XVIII. His im- 
provement was of the very highest importance, and has 
been the means of placing his name in ineffaceable char- 
acters on the roU of honor of the Inventors. 



IT should be stated that what is known as Jac- 
quard's pattern-loom is not universally conceded to 
be his creation from the conception to the completion ; 
but there are some who hold that he simply carried for- 
ward to a practical end a machine which had been sug- 
gested by another person. Enghsh writers assert that 
the first inventors of the pattern loom were Bouchon 
and Falcon; and that a noble and ingenious person, 
named Jacques de Vaucanson, had a good deal to do 
with it before it was taken up by Jacquard and brought 
to comparative perfection. In a report of the Paris Ex- 
position of 1856, it is stated that there were nine models 
of the Jacquard loom on exhibition, showing the develop- 
ment of the machine. These models went to show that, 
in 1725, Bouchon employed a band of pierced paper 
pressed by a hand-bar against a row of horizontal wires, 
so as to push forward those which happened to He oppo- 
site the blank spaces, and thus bring loops at the lower 
extremity of vertical wires in connection with a comb- 
hke rack below. Three years later, Falcon substituted 
a chain of cards, and the cylinder in place of the band of 
paper used by Bouchon. In 1745, Yaucanson "suppressed 
altogether the cumbrous tail-cards of the draw loom, 
and made the loom completely self-acting, by placing 
the pierced paper or card upon the surface of a large, 



pierced cylinder, wMcli traveled backwards and forwards 
at each stroke, and revolved through a small angle by 
ratchet work. He , also invented the rising and falling 
griffe, and thus brought the machine very nearly resem- 
bling the actual Jacquard." * 

A description of the Jacquard invention cannot be 
made that will be readily understood by the reader un- 
f amihar with the processes of weaving, or the technicah- 
ties of this branch of industry. The following from the 
pen of one of the first mechanics of this country will 
come more nearly to having a general comprehension 
than any other which can be constructed. " The appen- 
dage to the loom which constitutes the Jacquard attach- 
ment is to elevate or depress the warp threads for the 
reception of the shuttle, the action being produced by 
cards with punched holes, which admit the passage of 
needles which govern the warp thread. The holes in a 
card represent warps to be raised for a certain passage 
of the shuttle, and the needles, dropping into the holes, 
govern the formation of the shed, so that the required 
threads of warp come to the surface. The next card 
governs the next motion of the warps ; and so on, the 
required color being brought up, or kept as the case may 
be. For figured stuff, from the finest silk, to the most 
soHd carpet, figured velvet and Wilton carpets, we are 
indebted to the genius of Jacquard, who made it possi- 
ble to do by machinery what was before an expensive 
operation requiring skillful hands." t 

The process of preparing the perforated patterns for 
the loom is no small task, especially in the larger works. 
For heavy materials, the cards must be of sheet iron. 
It is said that an elaborate damask design may require 

* Report on the Paris ExMbilion. Kev. E. Willis, 
f Mechanical Progress. Edward H. Knight. 


as many as four thousand cards and four hundred 
needles. Some designs have required twenty thousand 
cards, and the lahor of a single man for a year in pre- 
paring them. Several efforts have been made to reduce 
the expense and time involved in these preparations, 
among which that of a Frenchman named Bonelh, has 
attracted wide attention. In 1854, he began, and subse- 
quently improved very greatly an electric loom, in which 
the cards of the Jacquard apparatus are superseded by 
an endless roll of paper covered with tin-foil. This is 
arranged by the making of the tin-foil non-conducting 
at points which would represent the perforations in the 
cards in the Jacquard attachment. By means of a gal- 
vanic battery connected with the tin-foil, metallic teeth 
are connected with a soft iron magnet, by which certain 
rods are moved so that the needles lift the warp the same 
as in the original machine. By other electric attach- 
ments, different sorts of weft and colors can be worked, 
as may be desired. 

There are also some improvements made in this loom 
in this country, but nothing of an essential character. 

A very curious invention is that of the stocking-loom 
for the manufacture of stockings, which was made by 
William Lee in about the year 1589. Of late, the knit- 
ting-machine has come into such general use that it has 
almost whoUy supplanted the knitting by hand; and one 
more of the pleasant memories of childhood is about to 
be effaced. Who does not remember the old open fire- 
place, with its ruddy flames, and in the evening, the long 
shadows which stalked across the floor, and hid in the 
corners, flashed fitfully over the walls and across the 
ceiling, and within whose radiance sat the family ; the 
men discussing the probable crops, the latest pohtical 
gossip, or the newest sensation ; the women with their 
knitting, their fingers flying; the grandmother looking 


dreamily into the depths of the ^ fire; the eyes of the 
younger bright as with the anticipation of some benefi- 
cent fact ? There were the grandmother, with her far- 
away gaze ; the mother, with her more practical face, 
mentally taking stock of supphes of butter and eggs and 
the possibilities of a rise in these comniodities ; the eldest 
daughter, robust, healthful, strong in feature, with lumi- 
nous eyes full of anticipatory joyousness ; and the young- 
sters, with their heads pillowed in the lap of their mother, 
sitting on low stools, asleep, perhaps, or studying possi- 
bilities in the shape of breaking a colt, or the future of 
the pair of steers which they were permitted to call their 
own. But who knows what a boy thinks ; now of the 
zenith, then of the nadir ; now of a star, and anon of the 
earth — thought darting hither and thither, everywhere 
— like the eccentric and sudden flights of the humming- 

It was in such scenes as these that the knitting- 
needles held their place. Each girl was taught, as she 
was the catechism, how to " set up " a stocking ; how to 
" cast on " the stitches; how to " seam " in " one or in 
two;" how to "narrow," to " set " .the heel, and to 
" bind it off," aU. in first-class shape. When the ladies 
exchanged calls, the knitting work was a regular attend- 
ant, and the rapidity of their tongues was only equalled 
by the swiftness of the busy fingers. " Come and bring 
your knitting! " was an invitation that meant, " Come 
and spend the afternoon with me ! " 

But, alas, a grimy man now sits in front of a machine 
all steely in glow, with hooks, and needles which ply 
back and forth incessantly, into whose maw go colored 
threads, and from whose alimentary duct there issues 
the stocking! No romance here ! No back- log fire, with 
its glancing flames, its furtive shadows, and molten 
depths in which castles rear their turreted heads, and 


long vistas of glorious expectation lead into the unfath- 
omable depths! 

The origin of knitting is not known. So far as can 
be ascertained, the first stockings known in England 
were a pair of silk ones that came from Spain. Hose 
were worn in England in early days,* but they were not 
knitted, but made of pieces of cloth sewn together. In 
1564, an Enghsh apprentice, who was in Mantua, saw in 
the windows of an ItaUan merchant a pair of knit worsted 
stockings, which he borrowed, and made a pair exactly 
Uke them, which are said to have been the first stockings 
of woolen yarn knit in England. * Queen Ehzabeth 
seems to have been about the first lady in England who 
wore stockings, the first pair having been presented to 
her by Mrs. Montague. In her reign, knitting became 
a pervading industry, as weU in private famiUes as in 
shops in which knitted goods were a specialty. 

Eecognizing the value of knitted stockings over the 
clumsy cloth hose, invention at once contributed its aid 
to extend the benefits of the new discovery. The aid of 
machinery was invoked by the genius of invention, and 
the result was a. revolution. The man who produced 
this revolution was named William Lee, who was born 
near Nottingham, about the year 1563. Concerning him 
there are many legends and romances extant, few or 
none of which are probably founded on truth, but all of 
which are interesting. That he was of a good family is 
conceded, and so are the statements that he graduated 
at St. John's College, and that he became curate of Cal- 
verton, a place not far from Nottingham. It was while 
curate at this place, in about 1589-90, that he invented 
the stocking-loom. 

It is as to the motive which induced him to undertake 

* Stowe. 


this invention, concerning vphich there are extant so 
many romances. One of them is to the effect that he 
was in love with a country girl, who was always so occu- 
pied with her knitting that she would give him no hear- 
ing. From motives of revenge he was actuated in this 
instance ; he wished to have a machine to make stock- 
ings so that the making of them by hand would be with- 
out profit; and thus deprive the cold-hearted young 
woman of her means of hvelihood. Another romance is 
that he was deeply in love with a young country girl, 
and that he set himself at work. to invent a machine 
which would lessen her labors with the needles. StiU 
another is that he, being afflicted at seeing his wife so 
incessantly occupied with knitting — which she had to do 
in order to aid him in securing a hving — sought some 
means of attaining the same end by machinery, which 
would at once reheve her, and procure for them a liveli- 
hood. There is doubt as to all these stories ; there is an 
especial and well-grounded doubt in the incident of the 
story of the suffering wife, as nearly all the Enghsh 
authorities are unanimous in the conclusion that he was 
not married. 

Curious as are all these romances, they are not more 
so than the invention taken in connection vfith all its 
surroundings. He was a clergyman; he had not the 
smallest notion of mechanics ; and it is difficult to see 
what led him into the direction of thinking of inventing 
a knitting machine. Despite aU the disadvantages of 
his situation, he commenced work, and in three years, 
had completed the stocking-frame. The only parallel of 
his case is furnished by Eev. Cartvn:ight, the inventor 
of the power-loom. 

One of the incidents which led to his determination 
to invent a knitting-machine, is thus related : It was an 
ancient tradition around Woodborough, his birthplace, 


that Lee in youth was enamored by a mistress of the 
knitting craft who had become rich by the employment 
of young women at this highly-prized and lucrative 
industry. By studying fondly the dextrous movements 
of the lady's fingers, he became himself an adept, and 
had imagined a scheme of artificial fingers for knitting 
many loops at once. Whether this feminine accomphsh- 
ment excited jealousy or detracted from his manly at- 
tractions is not said, but his suit was received with cold- 
ness, and he rejected with scorn. Revenge prompted 
him to reahze the idea which love first inspired, and to 
give days and nights to the work. This ere long he 
brought to such perfection as that it has since remained 
without essential improvement, the most remarkable 
stride in modern invention. He thus taught his mistress 
that the love of a man of genius is not to be sHghted 
with impunity.* 

After his loom was completed, he worked it for 
some time at Nottingham ; but the prevaihng prejudice 
cropped up ; he was taking the bread out of the mouths 
of the laboring men; and thereupon he removed his 
looms to London. He attempted, after reaching Lon- 
don, to secure a patent from Ehzabeth. In time she 
consented to visit his works, which had been erected in 
Bunhill Fields, accompanied by Lord Hunsdon; but 
expressed herself after the visit, as pleased with the 
ingeniousness of the loom, although evidently disap- 
pointed that it did not knit silk in place of worsted hose. 
She finally refused the application for the patent, say- 
ing to Lord Hunsdon: "My Lord, I have too much 
love for my poor people who obtain their bread by the 
employment of knitting, to give my money to forward 
an invention that will tend to their ruin by depriving 

* Dr. Ure. 1833. 

lee's pailuee and death. 283 

them of employment, and thus make them beggars. 
Had Mr. Lee made a machine that would have made 
silk stockings, I should, I think, have been somewhat 
justified in granting him a patent for that monopoly, 
which would have affected only a small number of my 
subjects; but to enjoy the exclusive privilege of making 
stockings for the whole of my subjects is too important 
to be granted to any individual." * Lee thought there 
might be a suggestion in the remarks of the "virgin 
queen," and proceeded to construct a machine with 
which he wove silk stockings, a pair of which he sent 
to her majesty; who took the stockings, and again re- 
fused the apphcation for a patent. His friend, Lord 
Hunsdon, died, and he was deserted by everybody. He 
was invited over to France by Henry IV., to estabhsh 
his business in that country. Before he had gotten his 
business in shape, his patron fell under the knife of the 
fanatic EavaiUac; and Lee, losing all hope, fell sick, and 
died in Paris in 1610. Before his death he attempted to 
press his claims before the court at Paris ; but being a 
foreigner, and not of the prevaiUng religion, he received 
no attention, dying, when he did die, in extreme poverty 
and distress. 

Such was the fate of another inventor; his case 
another contribution to the martyrology of a profession 
the world owes more than to any other class. 

It is a pecuharity of Lee's invention that it was in 
no particular the result of suggestions which had al- 
ready been developed, or of initial efforts by other 
inventors. He gave birth to the conception; and his 
was the design. It is rarely that such is the fact with 
inventions in general; the invention is the fruitage of 
a plant which has been long in existence. 

* Barlow. 


Various improvements have been made from time to 
time ia the loom invented by Lee. The Lee machine 
knitted the material in flat strips, so that in the making 
of a stocking, the strips were cut the proper length, and 
then seamed together at the edges. In 1816, Brunei 
constructed a circular knitting-machine, which was 
named the Tricoteur, and which produced the knitted 
product in the form of a tube ; and it was so arranged 
that it could he adapted to any size, even that of the 
largest carpets. Brunei was for a time in the United 
States. He was bom in Normandy, in 1769, and entered 
the French navy ; hut when the revolution came, as he 
was a royahst, he left the country, and came to this 
country. In 1799, he went to England, where he was 
engaged in extensive engineering works, and in devel- 
oping certain other inventions, among which nail- 
making machinery, veneer-cutting, and shoe-making 
machines may be mentioned. He received a large gift 
from the Eiighsh government : was knighted, and died 
at the age of eighty, in 1849. 

It is said that there have been over three hundred 
improvements added to the Lee machine since its in- 
vention. Many of these have been by EngHshmen, and 
some by Americans. 

In the latter portion of the eighteenth century, the 
Lee machine was first brought to this country, and set 
up at Philadelphia, and Germantown, Pa., New York 
city, and several other places in the Eastern and Middle 
States. The first one who apphed power to them is said 
to have been Timothy Baily, of Albany, in 1831. Sev- 
eral improvements have been made by Americans, one 
of which by Gist, is a circular frame in which eight feed- 
ers can be worked at once instead of one ; and striped 
work of sixteeh colors on a head four inches in diame- 
ter, making three hundred and fifty pounds of loops, or 



a yaxd in length of web, in a minute. * The rapidity 
which is attained by some of these machines may be 
known from a statement that a person can by hand 
form one hundred loops a minute, while the Attenbor- 
ough loom for the weaving of shirts, makes in the same 
time, nearly three hundred thousand loops. 

At present, the knitting-machines are used for mak- 
ing many other articles than stockings, among which 


may be mentioned undershirts, drawers, comforters, 
scarfs, opera-hoods, talmas, nubias, gloves, mittens, 
mits, etc., etc. 

One of the most remarkable of these knitting ma- 
chines is one known as the Lamb knitter, from the name 

* Hosiery and Lace. William Felkin 


of its inventor. " He is, as were Lee and Cartwright, a 
member of the clerical profession, and without any pre- 
vious knowledge of mechanics. It is very simple, con- 
sisting of two straight rows of needles, and knits over 
twenty kinds of garments in addition to hosiery, gloves, 
and mittens of all sizes. The inventor. Rev. I. Lamb, is 
now in Michigan, engaged in trying to invent the paro- 
dox of a single-thread, lock-stitch sewing machine. 

Lace-making belongs to the department occupied by 
the loom, although it was not until after the middle of 
the sixteenth century that lace began to be made by 
machinery. Before that time, it was all made by hand, 
and a great deal is still thus made at the present day. 
The manufacture of lace, in its origin is so remote in 
antiquity, that there is no authority from which it can 
be located with anything hke exactness. Some writers 
are of the opinion that the lace mentioned in the Bible, 
and in other of the earUer writings, was merely some form 
of embroidery, or needle-work. About aU that we do 
knpw, and even this we do not know with entire certainty, 
is that lace was first manufactured in either Italy or 
Flanders, as early as the fifteenth century. The earliest 
laces known are from Genoa, Venice and Milan ; and that 
known as " Venice point " had an almost fabulous value. 
What is known as pillow lace is credited with being the 
invention of a woman named Barbar Uttman, who began 
its manufacture in 1661, at Annaberg, Saxony, although 
there are some authorities that assert that it was in exist- 
ence in Flanders long before the date at which she is 
said to have invented it, and that her only connection 
with it was to introduce it into G-ermany. 

During the sixteenth century, Flanders was the great 
centre of the manufacture of the finer kinds of lace; 
"the article ;^roduced was of great beauty; the old 
Flemish laces, the Brussels point, and Mechlin rivalled 


the best of the Italian." It was not tiU 1666 that lace 
began to be made in France, in Alengon, by the famous 
Colbert, who imported some thirty women from Venice 
to form the nucleus of the new industry. It was at this 
point that was produced the celebrated point d'Alengon, 
or, as it was first named, point de France. The new 
industry grew with great rapidity, being valued at not 
less than one million, six hundred thousand doUars per 
annum, in less than half a century after its estabhsh- 
ment. Spain at the same time produced a lace of a 
very high value ; but the manufacture of it did not last 
for any great length of time. The making of hand lace 
came into England in the latter part of the fifteenth 

The making of lace by hand is stiU a large and profit- 
able industry in many parts of Europe, in England, 
France, Germany, and Belgium. The most noted made 
in England is the Honiton, which obtained its celebrity 
from the fact that Queen Victoria ordered her wedding 
dress of this material, at a cost of five thousand doUars ; 
and ia this respect, her example was followed by two of 
her daughters, and Alexandrina. Of the French laces, 
that which is most noted is the point d' Alengon. In 
the Exposition of 1867, there was exhibited a dress made 
of this material, at Bayeux, "consisting of two flounces 
and trimmings, the price of which was seventeen thou- 
sand dollars; and which required the labor of forty 
women for seven years to complete it." The Chantilly 
laces of France have a very excellent reputation. In 
one manufactory, in Auvergne, there are one hundred 
and thirty thousand women employed in the making of 
lace. Belgium ranks high in the quality of its laces; 
and there are one hundred and fifty thousand women 
employed in its manufacture. The most noted of the 
laces of Belgium are those known as Brussels. " The 


thread used, which is made at Hal and Kebecq-Eognon, 
of flax grown ia Brabant, is of extraordinary fineness. 
The finest quahty is spun in dark, underground rooms, 
to avoid the dry air, which causes the thread to break, 
and to secure the best hght, which is done by admitting 
a single beam and directing it on the work. It is the 
fineness of the thread, as well as the dehcacy of the 
^workmanship, which has given to the best Brussels lace 
such celebrity, and rendered it so costly. It is often 
sold at one thousand, two hundred doUars a pound, and 
has been quoted as high as two thousand, five hundred 
doUars." * Mechlin lace stiU has its favorites, although 
it is said that there is a dechne in the demand for it. 
The celebrated Valenciennes, once the product of the 
Belgian workers, is now made in Flanders. 

The first attempt to use machinery for the making 
of lace was in England, in the latter part of the eigh- 
teenth century. The loom of William Lee was one of 
the main agencies employed in the new method of lace- 
making ; but there were other attachments. Not very 
much progress was made until about 1808, when a 
machine was produced by John Heathcoat, which 
answered his purpose for a time ; which was pronounced 
by Lord Lyndhuist "the most extraordinary machine 
ever invented; " but which he soon threw aside, and in 
1809, he had invented and completed another, upon 
which there has since been no substantial improvement. 
The new invention was called the bobbin-net machine, 
and it at once brought its inventor into prominence. 

Like so many other inventors, he was of humble 
parentage, being the son of a small farmer, hving in 
Leicestershire, where the son was born in 1784. He 
had just enough education at the school to enable birr) 

* Am. Cyclopmdia. 


to read and write, and was apprenticed to a frame- smith. 
When he was only fifteen years of age, he expressed his 
conception of an invention by which lace conld he made 
which would be as good as the lace then made by hand. 
He did make an improvement in the warp-frame; but 
while the result was that the product looked hke lace, it 
was not lace, and therefore his "improvement" was 
abandoned. " Many ingenious Nottingham mechanics 
had, during a long session of years, been laboring at the 
problem of inventing a machine by which the mesh of 
threads should be twisted round each other on the for- 
mation of the net. Some of these men died in poverty, 
some were driven insane, and all ahke failed in the 
object of their search. The old warp-machine held its 

Heathcoat married when he attained his majority, 
and settled in Nottingham, where he occupied his mind 
with attempts to solve the problem of the lace-machine. 
He was poor, but so far as known, his wife had faith in 
him, and made no complaint when they were face to 
face, as they often were, with poverty. He had to give 
up a good deal of his time when he was earning wages to 
attend to his invention, and this made their income a 
most scanty one. It is related by Felkin, in his memoir, 
that " many years after, when all difficulties had been 
overcome, the conversation which occurred between the 
husband and vsdfe one eventful Saturday evening was 
vividly remembered. ' Well, John,' said the anxious wife 
looking in her husband's face, 'wiU it work?' 'No, 
Aime,' was the sad answer, ' I have had to take it all to 
pieces again ! ' Though he could still speak hopefully 
and cheerfully, his poor wife could restrain her feehngs 
no longer, but sat down and cried bitterly. She had, 

* Self-Help. Smiles. 



however, to wait only a few weeks longer ; for success, 
long labored for and richly deserved, came at last; and 
a proud and happy man was John Heathcoat when he 
brought home the first narrow strip of bobbin-net made 
by his machine, and placed it in the hands of his wife." 

That department of weaving which produces carpets 
is one of great interest, not only on account of the beauty 
of the fabrics but the great place it fills in modern in- 
dustries. "Carpets," says Christopher Dresser, "hke 
nations, have their place in history. The palace of the 
Pharaohs, the temples of Heliopohs, the mansions of 
Greece and Eome, the dwellings of Persia, China, India, 
and Morocco, aU had their carpets, which therefore come 
to us from a venerable antiquity." * The same writer 
quotes from Plautus, who speaks of Sardinian carpets as 
being spread beneath " the ivory feet of purple-cushioned 
couches; " and also of the banquet of Ptolemy PhUadel- 
phus, at which there were two hundred golden lounges, 
among which were strewed purple carpets of the finest 
wool, with the carpet pattern on both sides ; and hand- 
somely-embroidered rugs "beautifully elaborated with 
figures," and thin Persian cloths covered the space 
where the guests walked, having the most accurate 
representations of animals embroidered on them. 

Of the antiquity of carpets, there can be no doubt, as 
they are met everywhere in the annals of the past. 
They were not merely woven stuff ; they were works of 
art, on which was embroidered an iUimitable number of 
fanciful figures of all sorts. 

So far as known, the earhest manufactories of carpets 
were in Persia and India, and as there is a similarity be- 
tween the products of the two, it seems probable that 
they had a common origin. The Moors brought the 

* British Manufacturing Industries. 


first carpets into Europe, during their occupation of 
Spain, and from thence they spread into Italy, and a 
httle later into Western Europe. The manufacture of 
carpets is said to have been introduced by France during 
the reign of Henry IV., and into England in the time of 
James I. Prior to their importation, the floors of rooms 
were covered with fragrant rushes. 

At the outset, carpet-making was simply an imita- 
tion, an attempt to reproduce the beautiful products of 
the East. Even as late as 1750, in England, the Society 
of Arts gave a prize for the best imitation Turkey carpet. 
At the present time, with all our advances, our Turkish 
carpets are made as they are in Persia, and the well- 
known Axminster is simply another imitation of another 
form of Persian manufacture ; it takes its napie from the 
town, iu Devonshire, England, in which it was formerly 

The weaving of carpets in Europe was for many 
years done at the hand-loom. The Jacquard attach- 
ment simplified very much the weaving of patterns. 
Under this method of weaving, eight yards a day was 
considered aU that could be done by a single person in 
weaving "two-ply ingrains." In 1839, an American, 
named E. B. Bigelow, of Boston, invented a power- 
loom, by which the productive capacity of a single loom 
was increased many fold, which was followed by a very 
material reduction in the price of carpeting. The value 
of this industry may be approximately estimated from 
the fact that England alone exports each year carpeting 
to the value of some fifty millions of doUars, of which 
more than one-half comes to this country; and this, 
despite the fact that there are many millions of yards of 
carpet made each year in the United States. 

Calico-printing is also one of the oldest of the pro- 
cesses of weaving known to the ancients, although, of 


course, not to the extent to "which it is known at the 
present day. Two thousand years ago, the art of print- 
ing cloth in colors was known in India, and as were also 
" one or more styles of caMco-printing, including chintz 
patterns and the resist process." * Calico, as everybody 
probably knows, is cotton cloth, of various colored pat- 
terns, which, in place of being woven in, as is done in 
carpets, shawls, and the like, are painted, or dyed in by 
machinery. As calico is no more than white woven cot- 
ton, the only facts of interest connected with it in this 
chapter, relate to the methods by which the various pat- 
terns are produced. 

The process which at first prevailed for the coloring 
of this fabric, and which, indeed, is yet not out of use, is 
known as block-printing. In this method, the pattern 
which it is designed to give to the cloth is drawn on a 
wooden block, on which the pattern is cut in relief; or 
in some instances the pattern is formed by the insertion 
of small slips of copper wire, the interstices being filled 
with felt. At each corner of the block, there are pin 
points fixed which enable the printer to place it in its 
proper position on the cloth. The white cloth is then 
laid on a firm surface, and the wooden block, having 
been dipped in the proper coloring matter, is pressed on 
the cloth. This is a very brief outline of the methods of 
block-printing ; the processes are much more complex in 
detail than here described ; but the principle of the art 
can be understood from this outline description. In 
1834, a Frenchman, named Perrot of Eouen, invented a 
machine for doing this block process; and which is a 
vast improvement over the tedious hand application. It 
was improved in 1844, to an extent that enabled it to 
produce the most desirable effects, and perform the work 

* Knight. 


of fifty men, requiring only two for its manipiQation. It 
is named the perrotine, after its inventor, and is not very 
much used outside of France. 

The other form of pattern-printing is also a mechan- 
ical one, being in principle very much Hke ordinary print- 
ing, except that the design is cut on a cyHnder. This 
process was introduced in London more than a century 
ago, or in the year 1770. There are several claimants 
to the invention of cylinder printing of cahcoes, among 
whom is a German, named Oberkampf, at Jouy, in 
France, and a Scotchman, named HiU, who brought 
out his machine in 1785. In this process, there is a. 
copper cyhnder of some thirty inches in length, and 
from four inches to one foot in diameter. The pattern 
is impressed on it from a cyhndrical die. The required 
color is spread on the rollers, and as they revolve, they 
impart the color and the pattern to the cahco, as it 
passes beneath them. One of these machines can do 
the work of two hundred men ; and do it much more 

It may not be generally known that the influential 
Peel family of England, the greatest of whose members 
became prime minister, owe their rise from obscurity 
to their connection with, and their improvement in cal- 
ico-printing. In about 1750, there lived a Eobert Peel, 
with a large family, in a place named Blackburn. In 
intervals of farm- work he employed himself in making 
cahco. He was of very humble circumstances ; but is 
claimed to have been ingenious, and that while at work 
on cahcoes he gave much attention to designs of im- 
provements ; and it is asserted by Enghsh writers that he 
was the inventor of roUing-printing. It is also asserted 
that the "process of calico-printing by what is called 
the mule-machine — that is, by means of a wooden cyl- 
inder in reUef, with an engraved copper cyhnder — was 


afterwards brought to perfection by one of bis sons."* 
His son, who was afterwards knigbted, and tbe father of 
the prime minister, began hfe with all the energy of his 
father, all his determination to succeed, and with but 
httle capital. In company with two other men, he man- 
aged to secure about two thousand five hundred dollars, 
and with this amount began in a small way, in cahco- 
printing, to which in 1870, he added cotton-spinning. 
He married the daughter of one of his partners, a hum- 
ble, modest girl, who made him an excellent wife, and a 
most valued assistant in his business correspondence; 
for it is the fact that Peel knew a good deal more about 
calico-printing than he did of the pot-hooks and hang- 
ers connected with hand-writing. The main event in 
his business career was his bringing before the public 
what is known as the "resist" process in calico-print- 
ing. He bought the secret of a commercial traveler for 
a small sum, but the results of the process were so 
marked that they speedily placed his house at the head 
of all the printing-houses in Great Britain. The resist 
process is one in which a paste, or a "resist" is used on 
such parts of the cloth as are desired to remain white. 

His son, the prime minister, was a great man. It 
was he who reorganized the constables of Great Britain, 
and made of them policemen, such as they are now in 
England ; and also in this country. It is for this reason 
that pohcemen are often referred to as "Bobbies," or 
"Peelers," Sir Eobert Peel, the first, was given a bar- 
onetcy in the year 1800. 

It is almost in the nature of surplusage to say any- 
thing as to the influence which has been exerted by the 
invention of machines for spinning and weaving. To- 
day, the products of the power-looms and spinners, and 

*Self-Help. Smiles. 


the various improvements which invention has given to 
the world, amount to not less than two biUions of dol- 
lars per annum ! To this most extraordinary extent has 
invention increased the value of the world's products 
in textile fabrics, but at the same time, it has immeas- 
urably added to the comforts and the luxuries of living. 
Carpets are now vpithin the reach of every household; 
hosiery, infinite in pattern and supply, can be had by 
all; lace, which once was only within the command of 
the wealthy, can now be worn by the humblest. There 
is almost no Hmit to the benefits which have accrued to 
the world since spinning and weaving have reached their 
.modern state of development. 

Fancy the difference between the world as it is and 
as it was during the days of Queen Bhzabeth ! Then, 
titled women wore cloth stockings, the common women 
none at all. Then the floors were covered with rushes ; 
the Axminster, Brussels, the Wilton were undreamed 
of. There were no curtains to fke vpindows ; the cheap 
prints were unknown; shawls were luxuries imported 
at a heavy expense from the Orient ; the comfortable 
"wraps, the infinite variety of goods in use to-day were 
unknown. The women wore the coarse products of 
their hand-looms ; the men were often clad in sheepskin 
jackets, hke the savages of the colder regions at the 
present time. 

The poorest woman to-aay can afford to dress in 
some pretty stuff; and there are few but can afford to 
be clad always comfortably, and frequently in that 
"which is becoming and durable. 

What has been the average of benefit to the world 
from the improvements referred to, must be considera- 
bly lowered by the disastrous effects which have re- 
sulted to operatives by the establishment of factories. 
That the comfort of the human race has been vastly 


increased by the machines invented for the handhng of ' 
textile fabrics cannot be doubted ; but the factory system 
has been fruitful of immeasurable evil to certain classes, 
more especially to the operatives. It may be said that 
it is the case that the happiness of the many invariably 
impinges with disastrous e£fort upon the rights of the 
few, and that in the factories of the world, while there 
is suffering inflicted on the minimum the maximum is 
greatly benefited. Possibly this is the only conclusion 
which can be reached that may be regarded with tolera- 
tion ; but even this does not reconcile the philanthro- 
pist to the condition in which so many operatives of the 
cotton and woolen factories are to be found. It may be 
said in extenuation of these results, that even as they 
are now, these operatives are better off than the same 
class of working-men and women were a couple or more 
centuries ago, before the introduction of automatic 
machinery ; and that, while they are no worse, the aver- 
age of the remainder of the race, in the matter of com- 
fort and happiness, has largely advanced. In other 
words, such misery as appertains to these operatives is 
no greater than it would have been had there been none 
of these inventions ; in fact, there is even less wretch- 
edness than there was among them — as can easily be 
ascertained by comparing their condition now with that 
of their class before machinery came into use ; and that 
it seems much greater by comparison with the comforts, 
luxuries, and other benefits which these mechanical 
apphances have given to the world. 

But this phase of the results of invention forms no 
essential portion of the scope of this work. That the 
civihzation of the race has been advanced by what 
invention has done for the production of textile fab- 
rics cannot be doubted; that while the benefit to the 
whole cannot be doubted, it is equally true that this 



benefit has not been equally distributed ; that some get 
much more than others. The remedy for this inequal- 
ity in the distribution of the results of labor is one 
of the most profound and difficult problems of modem 
times. Its nature and appMcation are being agitated and 
discussed in all parts of the civihzed world. Whether a 
solution of the problem does exist, and if so, can be 
found, is something which is as yet hidden in the pro- 
foundest depths of the future. 



PEOBABLY the very first wood-saw was made of 
the backbone of a fish ; and with equal probabiUty, 
this saw was the first thing or implement invented for 
the working of wood. It may be that a sharp flint was 
in use before it for the hollowing out of logs for the 
construction of canoes ; but the saw, in some form or 
another, must have been the very earhest of inventions. 
A serrated flint would make a fair kind of a saw, and 
this kind of an implement might be found in a natural 
state, in a flint quarry, and its use would almost at once 
suggest itself. 

By-the-way, does the popular reader know what a 
wood-saw is? That is, not a saw when he sees it; but 
the principles of its construction ? In modern use, 
there are two kinds of saws; the " cross-cut " and the 
"rip-saw." The former is so named for the reason that 
it is used for sawing across the grain of a piece of wood, 
and the other, or "rip," because it is used in cutting 
wood in the direction of the grain. In sawing a log in 
two, that is, across the grain, the cross-cut is used ; but 
in sawing lengthwise, the rip is brought into play. In 
the cross-saw, the teeth are flat on the outer surface, 
and beveled down to a sharp point on the inside. Then 
the teeth are "set;" that is, every alternate tooth is 
bent a little outward, so that, in looking along the lower 


surface of a saw, one sees, as it were, a groove with 
the sharp-pointed teeth on each side. Now, when this 
saw is laid on the wood, across the grain, the wood is 
cut by two rows of teeth, which are apart a yery small 
fraction of an inch. A tooth cuts a fiber of the wood, 
and the tooth following on the opposite side, cuts the 
same fiber at a trifling distance from where it was cut 
by the other ; and this httle piece is dragged out in the 
form of sawdust, although it is really a small section of 
the fiber cut out ; and its length is equal to the width of 
the cut made by the passage of the saw. 

Now, if one were to take the same machine, and 
undertake to cut a piece of wood lengthwise, there 
would be no progress. It is readily to be seen that 
teeth thus arranged would not sever the grain or fibers of 
the wood, and hence there would be nothing taken out. 
The rip-saw is constructed on entirely different princi- 
ples. It is precisely the same as if a series of smaU. 
chisels were set one in front of the other, in such a man- 
ner that they could be pushed against a piece of wood, 
each one following the other, and cutting as it passes a 
small width of the wood. A rip-saw is simply a set 
of such chisels, each chisel being the size of a tooth, 
chisehng oat a small fragment of the wood as it is 
driven through the article to be sawed. On looking at 
an ordinary hand-saw one would scarcely be hkely to 
imagine that such principles are involved in its con- 

The earHest saws known were of bronze ; and were 
regarded with such reverence that in some of the ancient 
nations, its inventor was deified. Perdix, or Talus, was 
the name by which the inventor was worshipped among 
the Greeks ; and his is the only well-authenticated case 
in which the patent inventor has attained such high 
distinction. It is but justice to the inventor to say that 



the lack of cases in wMcli he has been apotheosized is 
owing, not to the fact that he has not deserved it, but 
to the failure of the world to appreciate his value. 

The saw, the primitive instrument in the kit of the 
carpenter, was at first made with one handle, and then 
with two, a man standing at each end, and alternately 
puUing the instrument across the wood to be severed. 


When it was necessary to cut a piece of timber, or a 
log lengthwise, then the wood was raised high enough 
to permit one of the sawyers to stand underneath, the 
other standing on the body of the wood being divided. 
Prom the fact that one hears, now and then, of a person 
being a "top-sawyer ;" meaning thereby that he is super- 
ior in some pursuit or profession, it is to be inferred that 


the working-man who stood on the top was regarded as 
occupying the most honorable position. 

Many people not yet old will have no difficulty in 
remembering the use of the saw in this manner. As a 
matter of fact, improvements in the methods of sawing 
timber, logs and the like, have only come into prominent 
and general use within the last generation. There are 
statements to the effect that saw-miUs driven by water 
were in use in Augsburg, Germany, in the year 1337; 
and that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there 
"were mills in use — in Breslau, 1427; Holstein, 1645; 
Lyons, 1565 ; Eatisbon, 1675 ; and in Norway in 1530. * 

The first known saw-miU was erected in Holland, in 
1696, and in Sweden about the year 1653 ; and although 
no account is given of the motor used, it was probably 
that generated by the windmiU. 

England came last in the list, the first mill of which 
there is any record being erected in 1663, by a Hollan- 
der, in the vicinity of London. This prehminary effort 
shared the fate of many of its initial predecessors and 
successors ; it was regarded as taking the bread out of 
the mouth of the top and bottom, as well as the other 
sawyers, and was thereupon smashed without the sUght- 
est compunction by the angry mob. More than a hun- 
dred years after this, in 1768, a saw-miU driven by wind, 
was erected by an Enghshman named Stansfield; but 
even he was in advance, and his mill went down before 
the mob. However, the government came to his aid, 
and he erected other saw-mills driven by wind in various 
parts of the country, which the mob graciously permit- 
ted, for some reason which does not appear, to escape 
destruction. In all these miUs only the straight saw 
was known, the circular saw not being known tiU about 

* Kunat und Handswerks-Oeachicte der Stadt Augsbv/rg. Stetten. 


the beginning of the seventeenth century, in Holland; 
but it was not introduced into England till near the 
close of the eighteenth century, at which time there is 
a record of a patent applied for by Samuel Miller, of 
Southampton, and in which a specification states that 
the implement is of a circular figure. He also claimed 
a method of bringing the timber up to the saw, the lat- 
ter remaining stationary so far as a motion toward the 
wood is concerned. The first definite information as to 
a marked improvement in sawing was in 1805, when an 
Bnghshman, named Brulen, took out some patents for 
improvements in processes; and in which the circular 
saw appears, the whole of his processes being regarded 
as most wonderful at the time they were introduced to 
the pubHc. 

Saw-mills were in use in this country before they 
were in England, being introduced by the Dutch, who 
were at least a century in advance of the Enghsh in the 
use of that machine. In 1634, one was buUt on the Pis- 
cataqua river ; and in 1636, several were erected by the 
Dutch, one of which was put up on what is now known 
as Grovernor's Island. In the improvement of the 
machinery of this class of mills, the Americans have 
taken a marked lead. In 1824, Eobert Eastman, of 
Maine, patented a very ingenious machine by which 
planks were cut off a log from the circumference to the 
centre, instead of directly through the log, as is the 
usual method; it being claimed that planks thus cut 
possessed better quahties than if cut in the ordinary 
way. Erom 1810 to 1835, this branch of engineer- 
ing remained ahnost stationary in England. "Even 
America, with Httle or no iron and less general re- 
sources, made far greater progress than ourselves, a 
number of patents being taken out for inventions and 
improvements in curvilinear sawing for ships' timbers, 


mitre-oiitting saws, barrel saws, etc., of which little or 
nothing was known in this country." * 

It was not nntn about 1827, in England, that planing- 
mills came into use, being made from the patents of 
Malcom Muir, of Edinburgh. There had been -various 
attempts before this time to introduce machines for 
planing, among which may be mentioned the invention 
of Mr. Bramah, in 1802, an Englishman, in which there 
was an upright spindle, on the lower portion of which 
there was a horizontal wheel to which there were fas- 
tened twenty-eight gouges. As the spindle revolved, 
the gouges cut the surface of the wood; these were 
followed by a plane, also fastened to the revolving 
wheel, which smoothed the rough cuts left by the 
gouges. This circular cutter has been improved by T. 
E. Daniels, of Worcester, Massachusetts, who substi- 
tuted two cutters for the twenty-eight gouges; and in 
this shape it is stiU used, more especially in some 
departments of cabinet work. But the greatest im- 
provement in the planing machine was made by Wil- 
Ham Woodworth, of New York, in 1828, in which there 
are cyhndrical cutters such as are now seen in every 
modern planing apparatus. The cutters are attached 
to a horizontal shaft which revolves with great velocity, 
while the board to be planed is carried along under the 
cutters by rollers, which also clamp the board and hold 
it in place. There have been minor improvements 
added to the Woodworth planer; but it is yet to be 
superseded by something more rapid and efficient. 

The invention of the saw-miU, using either recipro- 
cating or circular saws; and the introduction of the 
planing miU were to the working of wood what the mule- 
spinner, and the power-loom were to weaving. They at 

* M. Powis Bale. 


once increased the capacity of the sawing and planing 
industries more than a thousand-fold. Fancy the time 
and manual labor involved in cutting a log into boards 
when it had to be done by an upright saw worked by 
two men ! Again, f andy the labor of planing an ordmary 
board, as it is often done yet, when a man had to go 
over its surface once with a "jack-plane," then with a 
" smoother," and lastly with a " jointer ! " Now such a 
board is planed by machinery in less time than it takes 
the ordinary carpenter to make half a dozen preliminary 
strokes with the first of his three planes. 

In the construction of planing-machines, the United 
States have led all the other nations. The Whitney 
machine, that by Fay, and others, have always attracted 
attention when exhibited abroad; and are in use in 
other countries as weU as in that of their invention. 

Processes of sawing have undergone numberless 
modifications. One of these is in the use of the band- 
saw, which is simply a thin, very flexible steel belt, 
revolving on pulleys, and having the teeth cut on one 
edge. These are used for innumerable purposes; in 
some instances for the sawing of logs into boards; in 
others for the finest of scroll-work, and the cutting of 
irregular forms, such as the varying timbers of ships. 
So far as is known, the invention of these is due to a 
Frenchman named Touroude, who patented the band- 
saw, in 1816. In 1845, the band-saw was again patented 
by another Frenchman named Thouard. But it was not 
tiU the International Exposition of 1855 that this class 
of saws received much attention, at which time Perin, a 
Frenchman, exhibited one which contained all the ele- 
ments of those now in use. The Enghsh claim that 
the saw was invented by an Enghshman named WiUiam 
Newberry, in 1808 ; but it is certain that if such were 
the case, it was not in use in England, except, tiU after 



the year 1856, it was operated under French patents. 
In fact, the machines at first in use in England were 
some which were purchased from the French in 1856, 
and used in the government arsenal at Woolwich. 


In 1878, at the Paris International Exposition, the 
most complete band-saw machine was that exhibited by 



Fay, of Cincinnati. Eogers, of Norwich, Connecticut, 
also exhibited one which attracted much attention. 
Even English authorities were constrained to admit 
the superiority of the American machines. "For gen- 
eral purposes, perhaps the most complete machine in 
the Exposition was that shown by Fay, of Cincinnati;" 
and then, in giving a detailed description of these ma- 
chines, and their elaboration of the minutest details, 
it is said: "Eecording these small matters may appear 
to be trivial; but, owing to the keen competition of the 
day, anything, be it ever so small, that either saves labor 
or adds to the productive capacity of a machine, all 
practical men will admit is of importance. And here we 
may add it is our opinion that much of the present suc- 
cess of American competition is due to the attention 
paid to the smallest details in their machine construc- 
tion, which either increases the range of the work per- 
formed, improves the quahty, or lessens the cost of pro- 
duction, which saving in a day may be infinitesimal, 
but when multiplied by days and years, amounts to a 
gigantic total. In point of fact, in comparing Enghsh 
and American machines for performing the same class 
of work, many American machines are carried further 
than our own." * 

The scroU, or jigger-saw, is believed to be an Ameri- 
can invention. Wells of Pennsylvania, Talpey of New 
York, Beach, the Fays, and the Rogers, are among those 
who have invented this machine, or brought it to its 
present state of perfection. Despite the poverty of the 
American exhibit at Paris, in 1878, about the only scroU 
saws to be seen were those in the collections of the 
American department. The value of this ingenious in- 
vention is an extended one ; it may be driven by power, 

* M. Powis Bale. 


or by a treadle worked by the foot. It is of use in a 
thousand directions in the cutting of varying Hnes, and 
is an article which wiU afford unlimited amusement in 
a household for the cutting of wood into all kinds of 
fanciful shapes. 

When the tree has been feUed in the forests, dragged 
to the mill in the shape of a log, has been sawed into 
boards or timber, then has been taken to the mill and 
planed, it has but just commenced its journey; the 
gauntlet of machines which it has to run is yet mainly 
in front of it. If its destiny be for a moulding, it is 
sawed to the proper dimensions, and then is run through 
a machine whose teeth of steel eat away its projecting 
surfaces, and almost in an instant, it is an ogee, or some 
other form, designed for the cornice of a wooden build- 
ing — ^the slender mould which is to be gilded and sup- 
port the pictures upon the wall — or to become a portion 
of the massive finish of an interior doorway, or the slen- 
der "quarter-round" which holds the canvas in place 
in its frame. 

Or it may be that the newly-cut board is intended for 
flooring ; in this case it runs through a machine which 
grooves it on one edge, and " tongues "it on the other. 
Or it may be a heavier piece, intended to form the soHd 
frame of some machine, in which case a mass of iron, 
chisels, and other apphances seize upon it, and in a 
moment the mortises are dug out, and the tenons 
formed, to construct which the patient carpenter would 
have to saw, and chisel for a time vastly longer than re- 
quired by the untiring and unconscious machine which, 
aided by steam or water-power, has to perform the same 
work. The mortising-machine is claimed by English 
writers to be the invention of Sir Samuel Bentham, in 
1798. The first use of the machine in England was in 
1807, when Brunei, in connection with Henry Maudslay, 


constructed several for tlie use of the government. In 
principle, the mortising-machine is precisely that of per- 
forming the same operation by hand. A chisel — ^in some 
cases — the width of the mortise, is driven into the wood 
by the force of an apphance driven by water or steam, 
instead of by a mallet as when done by hand. As the 
chisel is withdrawn the wood is moved a trifle forward, 
and so on till the mortise is completed. The difference 
between the machine and the hand is that the former 
never tires ; that the machine drives the chisel vastly 
more rapidly; and that by increasing the number of 
chisels, as many mortises can be cut at once as may be 
desired. Thus, in making the mortises in window-sash, 
the hand- worker can make but one mortise at a time, 
while with the machine, a half dozen can be made at 
once as easily as one. Since the invention of this ma- 
chine there have been various improvements on it, in 
which Americans have played a principal part. In 1826, 
A. Branch, of New York, brought out a mortising- augur 
for the making of square holes. An important improve- 
ment was made by H. B. Smith, of LoweU, Massachu- 
setts, in 1853; and Thomas Guild, also an American, 
made some valuable additions, among which was one 
for graduating the stroke of the chisel by means of a 
treadle ; and the next year, Adancourt, an American, in- 
vented an improvement by which by the use of an ex- 
panding boring-bit, a conical hole could be made and the 
chips removed at the surface. 

In 1877, WilHam W. Green, of Chicago, obtained a 
patent for a novel mortising-machine, thus described : 
It consists of a revolving endless chain-saw, formed of 
pivoted sections or Hnks with cutting teeth, to which 
the proper tension is imparted by a grooved tension-bar, 
the wood being fed and guided to the mortising-saw by 
a movable treadle-acted table or bench. It is known as 



the Chain-Saw Mortiser ; is very simple, noiseless, and in 
excellent repute among those who use it. 

Bale, in some remarks on these machines, says that, 
on the whole, the "American mortising-machine may 
be said to be in advance of ours." The same sort of 
testimony is appHcable to the tenoning-machines, which 
have for their purpose the shaping of the tenon which is 
to fit into the mortise. At the Paris Exposition in 1878, 


the Fay exhibit, and that of Eogers, were far in advance 
of aU others ; and the same is true of the machines which 
were exhibited in the American department, for the pur- 
pose of doing what is known as dove-tailed work. 

Machinery for the cutting of veneers has been in use 
for a long time, it being claimed that Bentham patented 
some for veneer-cutting as far back as in 1793. In 1805, 
Brunei took out a patent for veneer-cutting by the use 
of a circular saw ; and since that period, there have been 
many improvements. In 1847, a German, named Belter, 
hving in the United States, patented some valuable 


improvements ; he was soon after followed by some others, 
the invention of a Mr. Meadows ; and some few years 
later, L. E. Hawes still further improved the machine, 
in which he had the knife remain stationary, and which 
cuts off the veneer somewhat as a chopper slices a piece 
of cheese. There is also in use a machine in this country 
in which wood-hangings are prepared, to be used for 
curtains, for decorations of walls, and similar purposes. 

Perhaps the most remarkable machine in use in the 
working of wood is the one that constructs irregular 
forms, such as spokes for wagon-wheels, axe-handles, 
gun-stocks, and similar articles. In the United States 
ifris claimed, and universally believed, that the invention 
of this machine is due to Thomas Blanchard, who was 
born in Sutton, Massachusetts, in June, 1788. The Eng- 
lish authorities say that the principle of most of the ma- 
chines now in use for the turning and dressing of irregu- 
lar shapes is contained in Boyd's patent of 1822; then 
they say that an Enghshman, named Jordan, in 1845, 
introduced a machine for the copying and carving of 
irregular forms; and then the same authorities assert 
that about 1855, an Englishman, named Hughes, pat- 
ented a machine for dressing spokes, and other irregular 
forms ; finally they state that some of the greatest im- 
provements "in automatic lathes for turning irregular 
shapes were made and patented by Mr. Blanchard, an 
American, many years back, whose machine was un- 
doubtedly one of the most remarkable inventions of the 
day." This is appa-rently a fair statement, but it is 
nevertheless a very disingenuous one, as the invention 
of Blanchard was made and patented before the very 
earhest invention of the kind accredited to an English- 
man, namely, Boyd's patent of 1822. Blanchard pat- 
ented his machine for the turning of irregular forms as 
early as 1816, at least geven years before anything of the 

blanchabd's invention. 311- 

kind was known in England. This is the " many years 
back " alluded to by Bale ; his intention evidently being 
to convey the idea by the expression that Blanchard was 
long after Boyd, Hughes, and Jordan. 

Blanchard was a man who was quite as remarkable as 
his machine. He was a mechanic, whose earhest occu- 
pation was that of making tacks by hand, a process so 
very slow, that he conceived the idea that the same re- 
sults could be reached by the aid of machinery. He 
gave six years to the study of his conception, and at the 
age of twenty-four, he completed a machine so admirable, 
that by merely placing the iron in the hopper, and apply- 
ing the power, it would turn out five hundred finished 
tacks each minute, and furnish a much better article 
than that made by hand. His next invention was a self- 
acting lathe that would turn out a gun-barrel ; and this 
was followed by one for the turning of gun-stocks, which 
was a success, which was at once adopted, and with but 
Httle change has held its place to the present day. He 
interested himself in other things; he constructed a 
steam-boat which would ascend rapids of considerable 
force ; and invented a steam- wagon before any railroad 
had ever been built. In aU, during his active career, he 
obtained twenty-five patents for inventions, the last of 
which was a process for the bending of heavy timbers to 
any desired shape. He was engaged in applying this 
patent to a practical use when he died, in Boston, in 

The machine on which his fame rests in this country, 
is for the turning of gun-stocks, and other irregular 
forms. There have been some improvements on his 
invention, but the principle is substantially the same as 
when the machine was first introduced. It is used for 
the turning of ax-handles and the spokes of carriage- 
wheels. At the Paris Exposition of 1878, there was 


exMbited an American macliine by Mr. Hosier, in which 
the spokes are driven into the hub by the blows of a 
mallet driven by steam-power, and which is so regulated 
that they could be given hard or light, or fast or slow, 
as might be desired. There is stiU another by Corr, an 
American, which not only drove the spokes into the 
hub, but which automatically cut off the spoke the 
proper length, and made the tenon on the end for in- 
sertion into the felloe. 

The making of barrels by machinery has within late 
years become a very important branch of industry ; and 
in this work, the inventors of the United States have 
been active and have secured their due share of credit. 
At the present time, more barrels are manufactured in 
this country than in any other, and all the work is done 
with machines of American invention, and American 

There are innumerable other machines for the work- 
ing of wood which cannot be taken up in detail. There 
is a machine for using sand-paper in the finishing of wood 
surfaces ; there are automatic, self-acting machines for 
the turning of broom-handles, and similar round objects. 
Machines are used for the sawing of the curved timbers 
of ships; for making boxes out of the solid block; for 
cutting down trees; for carving in some of its depart- 
ments ; for the puUing up of stumps ; for the making of 
the splints of matches ; for innumerable uses in the turn- 
ing of wood for the making of furniture ; and there are 
still scores — hundreds, perhaps — which have not even 
been alluded to in this article. 

There is no country in the world where there is as 
much working of wood as in the United States. The 
value of the sawed and planed lumber alone is nearly or 
quite three hundred million dollars per annum. We ex- 
port annually of wood and its manufactures from twenty 


to thirty million dollars worth. It would need a large 
volume to describe all the uses to which this wood is 
put ; and in view of this enormous consumption, a very 
serious question arises as to whence is to come the sup- 
ply of the raw material at no very distant date in the 
future? The question is one of transcendent import- 
ance, but it cannot well be discussed in this volume. 

Before closing the subject of the working of wood, 
there are two machines which should be mentioned, 
ajid which are not generally aUuded to in works treat- 
ing of wood-working machinery. They are of universal 
use ; they have merits which entitle them to a conspic- 
uous place among implements of utihty, among those 
which have played a most important part in the devel- 
opments of civiHzation. They are the pocket or "jack" 
knife, and the ax. 

The former is at once an implement and a sentiment. 
As a machine, its uses are innumerable, its value ines- 
timable. The farmer could no more get along without 
his jack-knife than he could without his plow, or ani- 
mals for draught. It is in demand a score of times 
every day; it labors when its owner labors, and rests 
only when he sleeps. If the whiifletree band becomes 
loose it is the jack-knife which furnishes the wedge and 
the remedy. It provides a plug for the leaky wash-tub 
or the barrel of vinegar; it whittles the kindling for 
the morning's fire ; and shapes the shingle into a spoon 
with which the boy appUes ashes to the young and 
growing corn. It supplies a substitute for the missing 
bung; it reduces the dimensions of the new helve 
for the ax, and supplies the wedges with which it is 
held in place. It furnishes the missing pegs for the 
warping-bars, the sticks for the complaining swifts; 
hollows the boat, and shoes the finger of the boy as 
he labors to secure a craft for the goose-pond or the 


neighboring creek ; it trims the slender sticks for the kite, 
notches the points of intersection, and hollows the ends 
of the sticks for the reception of the exterior cord. It 
cuts the young hemlock, or the branch of hickory, 
which is destined for the bow, and prepares the arrows 
with their notched end to fit the string. It carves on 
the gray surface of the beech grotesque faces, inter- 
twined initials, and impossible monsters ; it makes huge, 
yawning chasms in the pine of the school-desk, gouges 
holes through the seats, sHces shvers from the slate- 
frame, and decorates the adjacent fences with notches, 
hoUows, and all species of figures in has and alto rehef. 

Two men lean over a fence, each has in his hand the 
faithful jack-knife; they cut into the wood; they pare 
off the little projections; and the while, they talk. 
National poHtics are argued, the latest gossip is over- 
hauled, and trades of horse for horse, or horse for cow, 
with so much "boot," are accomphshed as the industri- 
ous knife goes on with its unintermitting work. Two 
men sitting on casks, in front of the "store" at the 
cross-roads, each with bowed head, each with a pine 
shingle in one hand and jack-knife in the other, repre- 
sent the sociabihty, the business conventions, the poht- 
ical mass-meeting of many a district. As the keen knife " 
pushes its way through the yielding pine, commenda- 
tion or the reverse is extended to the congressional 
representative, the needs of the old school-house are 
discussed, and the leakage of the church steeple is 
passed on, and the remedy provided. 

As a sentiment, the jack-knife has an important 
place. It is to the Yankee inventor what the caduceus 
is to Mercury, the sceptre to royalty, or the tricolor to 
France ; it is an emblem, a representative, a trade-mark. 
With it he has finished many a dream of new methods, 
processes and improvements ; it has sympathized with 


Ms thoughts as he oyerran the necessities and the pos- 
sibiHties of a situation — he pondering the while, it with 
keen and noiseless edge, shaving the shingle away to 
nothingness. It is his sympathizer, his companion, his 
friend; the sharer of his designs, the partner of bis la- 
bors, and participant of his triumphs. With its aid he 
has fashioned into shape many a crude idea, and given 
form to what was before intangible. If the world owes 
much to the Yankee inventor, it is none the less indebted 
to his inseparable coadjutor, the jack-knife. 

It migbt also be asked what the world would be with- 
out the ax? Where would be the civilization of this 
continent had it not been for this implement? Its 
ancestors came into being not long after man first saw 
the hght of existence. Like them, it was crude, awk- 
ward, unfinished at the beginning ; but has grown with 
the races until now, when its polished, steel-bitted blade 
is as bright, as enduring, as valuable as the best of them. 

If one were asked to give an opinion to-day as to the 
most valuable of the machines for the working of wood, 
he would not be very far out of the way if he should 
give the place of honor to the gleaming ax. Grlance, in 
imagination, over this continent as it was three centur- 
ies ago. Everywhere there would be an endless wilder- 
ness of vegetation, the spear-like poplar, the arrowy 
pine, the sturdy spread of the oak, the white trunks of 
the birches, the grand elms with their sweeping out- 
lines, the fiery red of the sumach, the fragile and bend- 
ing willows, and scores of other forms of every shade of 
green and every conceivable outhne. All this area has 
to be cleared for the occupancy of man. Eoom must be 
made for tillage, the hill-sides must be bared for the 
sheep, and there must be place for the meadows for 
the cattle. There must be houses for the' occupants, 
churches for the people, school-houses for the young, 


prisons for tlie criminals, and courts for the location of 
justice and its assistants. 

It is now that the ax comes forward and assumes 
this mighty labor. Day by day, year by year, and cen- 
tury by century, the music of its blows has rung out 
through the woodlands as it has cleared the way for the 
coming millions. The crash of the falling walls of the 
forest fortresses, has rung incessantly, passing from 
ocean to ocean, from lakes to gulf, until now, when a 
continent is cleared of obstacles to the march of a great 

Nor is this all. It has accompanied the pioneer in 
his march into the wilderness. It has hewn the circle 
where a home was to be founded, and the beginning of 
generations estabhshed. It has squared the logs which 
were to form the walls of the home. It jointed them; 
it cut the materials for the chimney; it furnished the 
back-log and the fuel for the fire ; it fashioned the first 
rude cot on which little children slept ; dug the cradle 
from the trunk of a tree, and in which slept as soundly 
as if piUowed on down, and rocked in mahogany, infants 
that grew to be stalwart men and women, fuU of energy, 
free from taint of crime, fresh as the balsamic odors of 
the forests which environed them. 

Who that ever has swung a keen and well-balanced 
ax against the base of a lofty tree, when the snow and 
the air were crisp, when the wintry sun looked on low 
down on the horizon, has ever felt a thrill like that 
which at this time rushed through his veins hke a 
torrent, when every inhalation was intoxication and 
every blow taxed the strength as little as the swinging 
of a bunch of thistle-down? There is almost ecstacy 
in the very remembrance of these glorious days, when 
the air was Champagne, when every nerve vibrated with 
an exquisite pleasure; when the soul swelled with aH 


the pride of a victor, as the great tree, shivering at its 
coming fate, tottered feebly for a moment, and then 
went thundering to the earth. How the crash of the 
fall was taken np by the forests ! How the trees told it 
to the other trees, in tones which grew fainter, as if they 
were overcome by the disaster, and felt a premonition of 
their own fate ! 

The ancients worshipped the saw> The moderns 
have far more reason to extend the honors of canoniza- 
tion to the ax. It is the greatest of aU that have 
assisted in the development of the destiny of man, 
especially on the western, continent. When its steel 
edges have worn away ; when its head is battered and 
indented from long years of service; when its bitt is 
notched, and broken, it should be given an honorable 
place among the Lares and Penates of the household. 



IN regard to the ferigin of engravings, there is rather 
more obscurity than thqre is in reference to that 
of many other arts which have come down to ns through 
the centuries. For a long time it was supposed that 
the first authenticated engraving of which we have any 
knowledge was one of St. Christopher, which is a very 
famous one among those who take an interest in such 
enquiries, and which bears date of 1423. It represents 
the saint fording a river with the infant Christ on his 
shoulders; and was found in the middle of the eight- 
eenth century, fastened to the inside of the cover of a 
MS. in a convent in Suabia. But it is claimed that at 
least two earher discoveries have been made, one of 
which, found by Baron de Reiffenberg, is ascribed to the 
year 1418. In the case of the other, two plates found in 
an ancient manuscript, there is reason for concluding 
that there was a knowledge of engraving possessed an- 
terior to the year 1306.* 

The Germans were for a long time of the opinion 
that the art of engraving on copper was the invention of 
Martin Schongauer, sometime about the year 1460; but 
this claim was set aside by finding a proof of the Peace 
of Florence, executed by Maso Piniguerra, dated 1452. 

* Oazette des Beaux-arts. 1869. Henri Delaborde. 




Later investigations snow that several pieces were m 
existence before the date claimed as the one when 
Schongauer gave his first essay to the pubhc. 

Sedxuxd fae-simile. 

That the ancients knew of engraving, so far as the 
art relates to the cutting of figures, cannot be doubted ; 
for there are several places in the Scriptures in which 
engraving on metallic plates is mentioned. What the 
ancients did not know was the art of transferring the 
engraving to paper in the sense in which it is done in 
modem days. As was seen in the article on printing, 
the Chinese long before the period of Gutenberg, were 
in the habit of cutting letters on wooden blocks, and 
then printing from them; and this is, in all essential 
respects, engraving. But engraving is now defined as 
"the art of producing designs, either by incision, or 
corrosion, on the smooth surface of a wooden block, 
metallic plate or other substance, for the purpose of 
transferring them to paper. It is in this sense that 


engraving is comparatively a modern invention, which 
began to be practiced a little in the fourteenth century, 
and considerably in the succeeding one. 

Between 1430 and 1450, there was issued what is 
supposed the first of illustrated books, in the shape of 
what is known as the Bihlia Pauperum, a small work of 
some forty pages, each of which was illustrated with a 
wood-cut, and contained in addition a text of scripture. 
The book was so named for the reason that it was for 
the use of the poor preachers, who were unable to own 
the manuscript of an entire Bible. It was thought, and 
properly, that it was much more easy to reach the com- 
prehension of the masses from the view of a picture, 
than by reading and expounding of scriptural passages. 
A facsimile of it is now in the British Museum. It is 
described as a small foHo, containing forty pages printed 
on one 'side only, with the pale brownish ink used in 
most early prints, and by means of a rubber. The 
pages are so arranged that they can be pasted back to 
back; each page is divided into five compartments, 
separated by the pillars and moldings of an architec- 
tural design, which immediately recall the divisions of a 
church window; in the cenbre some scene from the gos- 
pels, and on either side are placed scenes from the Old 
Testament history illustrative or typical of the scene com- 
memorated in the central design ; both above and below 
are two half-length representations of holy men. Yari- 
ous texts are interspersed in the field, and Latin verses 
are written below the central compartments. It will be 
seen that the designs not only served to illustrate the 
preacher's lesson, but suggested the subject, and indi- 
cated and directed the course of his sermon; they 
taught him before they taught the people.* 

' George E. Woodbury. 


There was another illustrated book which dates back 
to about the time of the publication of the Bihlia Pau- 
perum, and which has excited a vast amount of discus- 
sion as to its origin. It is known as the Speculum 
Humance Balvationis ( Mirror of Human Salvation) ; 
and is rather larger than the edition just described of 
the Bihlia Pauperum, having sixty-three leaves and 
fifty-eight pictures. It was probably issued about 1470. 
The discussion concerning it has been with reference to 
its origin, this being located in several varying direc- 
tions ; but the majority unite in ascribing its production 
to the artists of the Netherlands. 

Wood engraving spread very rapidly until the begin- 
ning of the seventeenth century, when it experienced a 
decline. Its use, from about .1610 to 1833, was confined 
mainly to the printing of calico, and the production of 
figures on tapestry. To-day it occupies a front rank ; 
and this fact is due mainly, if not whoUy, to the ad- 
vances made by American artists. 

Wood engraving, as understood in its modern sense, 
is the oldest form of engraving ; and is now in common 
use. It is otherwise termed Xylography ; and consists 
in tracing or cutting certain designs on wood, which are 
then transferred to paper. The w6od used for the best 
of work is boxwood, on account of its hardness and the 
fineness of its grain. A block is prepared by smoothing 
it, and then covering with a thin coating of white, after 
which the artist draws on the block the design to be en- 
graved. The engraver then proceeds to cut away aU the 
block except that portion covered by the hnes of the de- 
sign. It is then exactly like an ordinary type ; the hnes 
of the picture are aU in reHef , and if inked and a piece of 
paper be pressed on the block, the hnes wiU be trans- 
ferred to the paper ; and the result is an engraving. A 
considerable portion of the engraving of a block is done 



by machinery, especially where it is desired to produce 
an even, flat appearance, by the use of parallel lines. 
Frequently before being printed, the wooden blocks are 
stereotyped, or electrotyped, in which case, they and not 
the original blocks are placed on the press to receive the 

The uses to which wood engraving are put would 
almost fill a large volume if accompanied by full details. 
Among the more prominent is, of course, the illustration 
of books. To what extent this branch of the industry is 
in use needs not be described, for the reason that it is 
patent to all who are in the habit of reading the book 
issues of the day. Besides the use for books, there is 
the department of wood engraving which prints the 
thousand forms of bill advertising with which the coun- 
try is flooded. Every fence in every city, every dead 
wall, every open space in any city or village bears testi- 
mony to the magnitude, the value, the utihty of engrav- 
ing on wood. The benefit of this universal distribution 
of the result of the wood engraver's art connot be over- 
estimated. Any book whose pages are illustrated has 
an added value to the reader. If it be of geography, he 
learns more from a single picture than he can from 
pages of the reading matter. If it be of machinery, it 
is impossible that he should comprehend the technical 
details unless accompanied by an engraving of the ma- 
chine described. 

Metals in place of wood are used for engraving, and 
the process is known as plate-engraving. About the 
same instruments are used in the processes on metals as 
in the engraving on wood. In plate engraving, there 
are several kinds produced, such as etching, stipple, 
Hne, mezzotint, and aquatint, each of which is wrought 
in a manner peculiar to itself. As said, engraving on 
wood is performed by cutting away from the surface of 


the wood all save Hnes which are to appear in the printed 
copy ; in plate engraving, the exact reverse is resorted to 
to secure the end sought, the lines which are to appear 
in the printed copy being cut out of the surface of the 
plate, aU other portions of the surface being untouched. 

In etching, the lines are cut out, or " bitten " by the 
use of acids. The surface of the metal is first covered 
with a preparation of asphaltum and wax, made dark by 
the admixture of blacking. The desired picture is then 
made in the wax, each line cutting through to the plate ; 
when the drawing is finished, a border of wax is raised 
around the plate, and diluted nitric acid is poured over 
it. In three or four minutes, this is removed, the plate 
is washed, and the Hnes appear, having been bitten by 
the acid. 

Line engraving is a process in which all the effects 
are produced by hnes cut in the plate, and in which all 
the varying effects are brought out by the depth and 
width of the tracings. Stipple engraving is a kind in 
which dots are used in place of hnes ; mezzotint differs 
from the others in the manner of working and in the 
effects. " In ordinary engraving the process is from 
hght to dark; in mezzotint, from dark to light." By 
the operation of a machine, a burr is raised on the sur- 
face of the plate and which, if printed from at this stage, 
would give only a black surface. To produce the pic- 
ture, the burr is rubbed away where light is required, and 
the indentations are made deeper where heavier shad- 
ows are demanded. Aquatint is another form of etch- 
ing by which the result obtained has the appearance of 
a drawing in Indian ink. It is, however, a process which 
is now little used, or not at all, having been superseded 
by lithography, and chromo-hthography, which will be 
presently alluded to. 

The metals used in plate engraving are copper and 


steel, the latter having only come into use at a com- 
paratiyely late period. Steel did not come into use until 
the present centuryj its hardness proving an insuperable 
objection. Jacob Perkins, of Massachusetts, discovered 
a process of decarbonizing steel, since which steel plates 
have almost wholly supplanted copper for the purposes 
of engraving. Perkins not only discovered the process 
of rendering steel soft, but he invented a meljhod by 
which engraving on steel can be transferred. After the 
design has been cut on the soft steel plate, it is recon- 
verted into steel, and a cylinder of decarbonized steel is 
rolled over it until the sunken lines of the plate are 
reproduced in rehef on the cylinder. This is then hard- 
ened, and the designs in rehef are then rolled into soft- 
ened plates, and are, of course, facsimiles of the design 
which appeared on the first plate. 

In taking an impression from the wooden block, the 
ink is evenly distributed all over the surface, and the 
paper is then pressed against ifr, the same as in printing 
from type ; but in plate engraving the ink is so distrib- 
uted that it reaches only the cavities of the hues. 
When the paper is laid, the ink is transferred to the 
paper, and the Hnes are the same as those cut in the 
metal. In taking impressions of a metal plate engrav- 
ing, the process is vastly slower than in the cases of 

There is a third process for the transfer of designs, 
in which neither wood nor metal is used, but which now 
fills a very large place once occupied by wood and steel 
in metal engraving. It is known as lithography; and 
in this process stone is used as the bed for the designs. 
It is the invention of a German named Aloys Senefel- 
der, a resident of Munich, who brought it before the 
public about the year 1798. At the outset, he simply 
used stone in place of copper, for the reason that he was 


too poor to purchase the copper, and produced his pic- 
tures by etching. He was not the inventor of etching 
on stone, for this had been known in France as early as 
1728; and in England in 1788, by WiUiam Blake, a 
painter, and who, by-the-way, has a very curious his- 
tory. He was born in 1757, in London, and died there 
in August, 1827. He was the son of a hosier; was 
apprenticed to an engraver, and soon after developed 
some talent for drawing and for poetry. He tried a vol- 
ume of poems on the market, but it failed wretchedly. 
He next conceived the idea of printing and illustrating 
them himself. He took copper-plates, and on these he 
drew the words and the illustrations in varnish, and 
then ate away the intervening spaces with an acid ; by 
this means he produced a plate Hke a wood engraving, 
•with all the letters and lines in reUef . It may be said 
of him that although visionary — he believed that every- 
thing was " revealed " to him, including his process of 
engraving — and attracting no attention during his Ufe, 
his genius was a grand and unappreciated one. " The 
time will come when the finest of Blake's designs will 
be as much sought for and treasured up as those of 
Michael Angelo." * 

Senefelder was in the habit of using a crayon made of 
wax and tallow ; and made use of etching to secure the 
end sought, on his stone slabs ; but one day it occurred 
to him that he might make use of the repulsion between 
water and oily substances, and thereupon lithography 
was bom. In brief, in this process, a design is made on 
the smooth surface of a block of Hmestone, with a 
greasy crayon. The surface is then wetted with a 
sponge, which the stone absorbs, so that when the roller 
of printing ink is passed over the stone, the only portions* 

* Flaxmam. 


which retain it are those of the design, the water in 
the stone repelling the grease in the ink. This is the 
principle involved ; but the process, in reality, is much 
more complex than thus described. In taking an im- 
pression, the paper is laid over the drawing, and a heavy- 
pressure appUed, by which the ink is transferred to the 
paper. The process of printing is a slow one ; the stone 
must be wetted before each impression, and the ink 
laid on, with the result that not more than a hundred 
impressions a day can be worked by a single press — 
although the rapidity depends very much on the size 
of the drawing. Latterly power-presses have been 
invented, with the result that the celerity of the work 
is vastly increased. This new method of printing spread 
very rapidly, and became a great favorite with artistic 
engravers. It has undergone many improvements, 
among which may be noticed what is called the trans- 
fer process. In this, the drawing is made with the 
greasy crayon on paper, and when completed is laid on 
the stone, and a pressure applied. The drawing, having 
an affinity for the stone, adheres to it, and the paper, 
being dampened, readily peels off, leaving the drawing 
on the stone ; when it is treated the same as if it had 
been originally drawn on it. 

Another and very important advance was the print- 
ing in colors from the stone ; or what is known as chro- 
mo-lithography. In this process, different colors are 
produced in a single picture, each color requiring a dif- 
ferent stone, and the different colors being the result of 
as many impressions as there are colors. So weU-known 
are the chromos to be found in every house in the land, 
that there is no use whatever in attempting to describe 
their excellence, and how difficult it often is to distin- 
guish the best of them from oil paintings. 

There is still another branch of the processes. 


lithographj'- which is known as photo-Hthography, and 
which is probably the most important of all of the litho- 
graphic processes in use. It is one which has several 
branches; but the essential principle of aU of them is 
the preparation of a stone to which can be transferred 
an object which has been photographed on some sensi- 
tized chemical substance. It may be worth while to 
transfer an account of the Osborne process, invented 
by J. W. Osborne, of Melbom-ne, Austraha, in 1859, and 
which is in very general use : 

"He prepares a sheet of paper by coating one side 
with a viscid solution, consisting of a mixture of albu- 
men, gelatine, and bichromate of potash; this, after 
being dried in the dark, is exposed xmder a negative of 
the original to be reproduced. The photographic posi- 
tive picture thus obtained, is inked all over while dry by 
"pulling it " through the press face down, in contact 
with a lithographic stone to which an even coating of 
transfer ink has been applied. When the sheet is re- 
moved from the stone, the adhesive ink covers its sur- 
face, and nearly conceals the underlying photographic 
picture below it. This sheet is next placed floating on 
hot water, with the inked side upwards; the moisture 
and heat together effects a coagulation of the albumen 
in the compound organic film, while the gelatine por- 
tion of the same gelatinizes and swells. The sheet is 
now lifted from the water, laid flat on a slab, and fric- 
tion applied to its inked surface by means of a wet 
sponge. The superfluous ink not needed to form the 
transferable picture is hereby removed ; the sheet is 
flooded with abundance of warm water, dried, damped 
again slightly, and transferred to stone by simply invert- 
ing it thereon and pulling it through the press the usual 
way. When removed, the ink on the surface of the 
transfer sheet will be found to have passed over to the 


stone, whicli is then rolled up and etched, after which it 
is ready for the printer." * 

It is by this process of photo-Hthography that the 
daily illustrated papers are furnished with their pictures. 
In the use of this process for such illustration, one of 
the sahent advantages which it possesses is the speed at 
which an object may be hthographed, and made ready 
for the printing-press. Probably not more than a couple 
of hours may be required, so that it is possible to 
illustrate events by pictures within a very brief period 
after their occurrence. 

There are other processes in connection with engrav- 
ing that are of interest. One of these is known as 
Nature-painting, and was, at some period since its 
invention, in extended xise. It has several branches, 
but the most interesting one is perhaps that in which 
the impression on the plate is obtained direct from the 
object which it is designed to represent. In 1847, Dr. 
Perguson Branson, of SheflBeld, introduced a process 
for electrotyping impressions of natural objects which 
had been formed by pressing them into gutta-percha. 
With molds thus procured, he also took casts of brass ; 
and in a httle time, it was thought that it would be pos- 
sible to procure copies of natural objects direct on metal 
plates. At first, experiments were conducted with 
wooden blocks, as they are much softer than metal 
plates. Two blocks of boxwood were softened by being 
steamed, the object to be copied was laid between them, 
and the blocks subjected to pressure, with the result 
that when the blocks were separated there would be a 
perfect impression of the objects in the wood. By ink- 
ing the blocks, and lajdng a piece of paper on them, 
there could be obtained a facsimile of the object in 

* Alfred H. Guernsey. 


■wMte, all the rest of the paper being the color of the 

In 1852, a very high development of this process was 
in use in Austria, by which impressions of natural 
objects were taken on metal plates. It had been dis- 
covered that any object, however delicate, could be 
impressed into the surface of steel, if desired, by means 
of roUing pressure, without crushing the object so im- 
bedded, although an infinitely smaller amount would 
crush the same object if a flat pressure were applied.* 
The principle was apphed to the copying of ferns, flow- 
ers and all such natural objects. In getting the impres- 
sion of the objects, lead or gutta-percha was used as the 
body in which the object was imbedded, and from these, 
copper plates were obtained by the electrotyping pro- 
cess. But, strange as it may seem, it is not impossible 
to indent hard surfaces through objects much softer 
than the one by which the impression is made. " Who 
could have predicted that so tender and fragile a fabric 
as ordinary thread lace would have sustained a pressure 
of not less than ten tons, and come out from under such 
pressure comparatively uninjured, leaving its impres- 
sion even on so soft a substance as Britannia metal; but 
how much greater is our wonder increased when we find 
the same result produced on copper and on harder 
metal, formed by its alloy with zinc, viz., brass ; the yet 
harder German silver, iron, or tin plate ; and more won- 
derful still, on what we are led to beheve is the most 
dense and hardest metal in ordinary use, viz., steel! " t 

What have thus far been described are among the 
more prominent, but are not all of the processes which 
are connected directly with engraving or some of its 
brandies. There are still others which are used for 

* Samuel Davenport. f Aitken. 


various ornamental and industrious purposes, such as 
the printing of carpets, paper hangings, floor cloths (or 
oil-cloths), the ornamentation of pottery ware, or print- 
ing on glass, and the decoration of all classes of Britan- 
nia metal ware. The subject of engraving would fill a 
volume, or a score of them, should one attempt its 
history in all its details, and the enumeration of the 
masters who have exercised their influence on its 
development, and their principal achievements. 

It would not be just to the great men who have been 
connected with the rise and progress of invention in 
engraving to pass over them without some shght recog- 
nition of their labors, and a word or two as to what 
some of them have done. 

Italy was the first to seize upon the new art, and to 
afford us the earhest illustrations of its uses. Many 
were the engravings which the Italian artists had pro- 
duced for the embeUishment of books; but it was not 
until Albert Diirer took up the art, about the year 1500, 
that it advanced much beyond the crudities of drawing 
characteristic of the untutored races. There was but 
httle in the nature of perspective, the details of the 
drawings were coarse and unfinished, many of these 
early attempts resembhng very much the efforts which 
children make at pictures on their slates. It is said 
that it was in Florence that metal plate engraving was 
discovered by accident by a goldsmith, who had en- 
graved a picture of "Peace." In order to observe bet- 
ter the effect of his hues, he filled them with a mixture 
of oil and lamp-black, upon which, by accident, there was 
laid a package of paper, and to which there was com- 
municated the outhnes of the lines cut in the metal. 
This suggested printing from metal, and in this way 
was the invention born. 

Durer's most remarkable works are his designs taken 


from the Apocalypse, which consist of some fifteen wood- 
cuts illustrative of the Apocalypse of St. John ; but in 
all, he executed several hundred, the greater number of 
which have reference to the events and men of his own 
time. Hans Holbein, whose name has been mentioned 
elsewhere, was also an artist who took a high place as 
an engraver. He was born in Augsburg, just at the 
close of the 16th century, and early removed to Basle, 
where his greatest works were accompHshed. Two of 
his works in wood-engraving have become famous ; one 
of them is the "Dance of Death," and the other "Fig- 
ures of the Bible." 

During this period, France produced some great men 
of genius as artistic engravers. Jean Cousin, who was 
born in the first year of the sixteenth century, made his 
mark, the most notable of which is the " Entry of Henry 
II. into Paris." Salomon was another French artist 
who attained distinction. He must have been a very 
industrious worker if all be true that is claimed for him, 
there being not less than some two thousand cuts which 
are attributed to him. In England during this period, 
there were produced no names of note ; at the close of 
the seventeenth century, this early development of en- 
graving on wood became extinct. There had come a 
change in the rehgious opinions of men, and in many 
other respects ; there was a time when a good deal that 
was old wa8 disappearing, and thir art, as it had so long 
existed, disappeared with them. 

At the beginning of the present century, there was a 
revival, since which this class of engraving has held its 
own against all others, and had a popularity second to 
none of the methods of illustration. Some artists whose 
names have become household words, have been asso- 
ciated with its success, and its wonderful popularity. 
Among these may be mentioned Branston, Cruikshank, 


Leech ; and in our own country, Linton, Marsh, King, 
and many others. 

Of the value which engraving in all its various forms 
has possessed as an educator, and in increasing the di- 
mensions of the industries, nothing really needs be said. 
It is something which asserts itself, and needs no sum- 
mary, nor arguments to enforce its claims. All recog- 
nize the difference in the worth of a book which has its 
topics illustrated, and one which lacks them. In a thou- 
sand cases, an engraving of a few lines will teU what 
cannot possibly be told in words so as to be compre- 
hensible. In this direction alone engraving has been of 
a value that is quite equal to that of a printed page. It 
has been one of the most valuable assistants of the 
author in his attempts to enhghten the public. In this 
use alone its utiHty has been beyond estimate. A sin- 
gle word may be said of its uses from another stand- 
point. It has developed the love of the artistic of the 
nations to an extent as to width and depth which could 
have been accomphshed in no other way. It has en- 
abled people of every walk in life to become familiar 
with the great works of the great masters. People who 
could never by any possibihty be in a position to see the 
works of Landseer, Murillo, Guido, Turner, Eeynolds, 
Wilkie, Angelo, Eaphael, and others, are now as familiar 
with them as if they were in condition to walk every day 
of their lives in the Louvre, the Luxembourg, the Brit- 
ish National GaUery, and the galleries at Eome. The 
engraving brings home aU the facsimiles of the great 
pieces of statuary, the- marvelous paintings, the archi- 
tecture, as one would see them who stands in their pres- 
ence. It has broken down distance ; it enables one who 
is too poor to travel to visit aU the world at his own fire- 
side. He can thus see the sombre fagades of Westmin- 
ster abbey, the dome of the Invalides at Paris, the 


mountains of Switzerland, the falls of Niagara, the 
spires of Notre Dame, the seal fisheries of Alaska, the 
Kremlin, the huts and warriors of the Zulus ; in short, 
there is no part of the world that he cannot see, at a 
cost which is next to nothing. Engraying, and after it, 
photography, has shortened distance so that a man may 
stand beneath his own roof-tree, and there will pass be- 
fore him a panorama from which wiU be omitted no 
essential feature of all that is great or small on the 
earth, in the earth, or in the heavens. 



JUST what was tie first implement used by the first 
farmer is something which can be very closely 
guessed at. It was probably the limb of a tree with 
one of its forks cut off nearly at the body of the original 
hmb, thus forming a rude sort of a hoe. With this a 
hole could be beaten into the ground in which the seed 
could be dropped, and with which it could be covered. 
In a little time, perhaps in the course of a hundred or a 
thousand years after the hoe was evolved, it may have 
occurred to some inventive genius to leave the portion 
of the short arm of the branch a trifle longer ; and then 
he would have a plow the same in principle as the most 
elaborate in use to-day in the most civihzed countries, 
and like those which are yet in use among some of the 
more primitive races. Of course, when the original in- 
ventor had gotten thus far, it would very naturally occur 
to him, that it would very much aid the manipulation of 
the new agricultural implement if some one should take 
hold of the long end of the branch and puU, while an- 
other had hold of the other end and pushed. 

Not a bad plow this ! The long arm of the branch 
was the beam of the plow ; the short arm was the tail, 
or handle, and the projecting branch, which had been 
sawed ofif, and hacked to a point, was the plowshare. 
Not many acres could be plowed each day by one of 



these; but the early man was not an energetic being, 
and was not over-anxious as to the amount of soil which 
he uncovered, and stirred up. It is quite likely that after 
he had invented the plow, and tested its capabihties, he 
turned it over to the ladies of the family, and gave him- 
self up to the more masculine duty of chasing the deer, 
or of surprising, and clubbing to death the members of 
some tribe which Hved across a stream, or on the thither 
side of some range of hiUs. 

There were some httle improvements to this original 
plow, but not many until iron became known. Then 
there were changes, but mainly of detail. The share 
was retained, but it was shod with an iron point. Per- 
haps it was discovered that two handles were better 
than one, and somehow one was sphced on the other, or 
a long, forked Hmb was selected, with a jagged branch 
running at right angles, the latter serving as the share, 
the other for the beam, and the two handles. Then a 
piece of pointed iron was added to the plowshare, and 
there was a model plow ; one which attracted as much 
attention as the introduction of some of the most fam- 
ous implements of modern times. 

In thus tracing the evolution of the plow, it is com- 
paratively easy to see that there came a time when the 
day was hot, the soil tough, and the shade of an umbra- 
geous tree a desirable retreat. Then it was that one or 
the other of those two who were pushing and puUing the 
forked branch said, as he wiped tbe perspiration from 
his eyes : 

" Kadosh, see yon bullocks in the shade ! Stout, idle 
animals are they, with nought to do save chew their 
cuds, and hunt the cool shades and the waters in the 
heat of the day. Would they had to puU this wearisome 

' ' Why not ? " A bright idea strikes the also-perspiring 


Kadosh. One of the gentlest of the bullocks is led 
up ; a leathern thong is attached to his horns and to the 
end of the forked branch. And then with solicitations, 
■objurgations, and with a bolt, balk, and tossing of head, 
he is led along dragging the branch after him. And 
thus is solved one of the great problems of utihzing 
force. And thus the buUock, the patient ox, and even 
the docile cow, came under the yoke, from which they 
have never since emerged. 

At the Paris Exposition in 1878, there were to be 
seen plows from China and Japan that were but a 
very little, if any, in advance of the kind which has 
just been described. There was another kind, said 
to be in use yet in some parts of Scotland, which 
consists of a single stick, with one end thicker than 
the other, the latter being sharpened to cut the soil, 
and the other bending up in a curve to serve as the 
Jhandle. That the plow is of the very highest antiquity 
needs scarcely to be said. It is often mentioned in 
the Bible, and is frequently mentioned by the ancient 

The plow used by the Komans is stiU in use in var- 
ious parts of Europe. It consists of a beam, the handle, 
the share — which had in the meanwhile been evolved — 
the coulter, and a mold-board. That the Eoman imple- 
ment was not as rapid as its modern successor may be 
inferred from the fact that one-third of an acre was 
regarded by the Eomans as a good day's plowing, in 
sod ; and two-thirds in ground which had already been 
broken ; in these days more than three times as much is 
' easily accomphshed by the skUled plow-man in average 

It seems to be the case that many other of the mod- 
ern implements of farming were known to the ancients, 
that is, within a few centuries before Christ. They had 


different kinds of plows for different soils ; they also had 
rakes, harrows, hoes and spades. 

When the tide of barbarism from the north over- 
whelmed the Eoman empire, it extirpated agriculture, as 
it did many another institution of value, and for a time, 
save in Spain, agriculture almost disappeared from 
Europe, The Moors in Spain retained what little civi- 
lization there was is that portion of the world, and 
among other industries, they diligently cultivated the 
soil. But it was not till the eleventh century that 
anything worthy the name of agriculture made its 
appearance in any other part of the continent; and 
then it came to light in the Netherlands. The Eomans 
taught the Britons something about tiUing the earth, 
but this legacy was uprooted by the Saxons, whose 
beefy natures, gross and sensual, preferred the pro- 
ducts of the chase rather than those of the earth for 
their sustenance. They kept large numbers of animals, 
and hke some of their descendants, preferred the semi- 
raw beef and under-done mutton to any other edible 
which could be furnished them. "No hoed crops, or 
edible vegetables were cultivated, and even as late as 
the reign of Henry VIII., Queen Catherine was obhged 
to send to Flanders or Holland for salad to supply her 
tabic. Neither Indian corn, nor squashes, nor carrots, 
nor cabbages, nor turnips, were known in England tUl 
after the beginning of the sixteenth century. The 
peasants subsisted chiefly upon bread made of barley, 
ground in the quern or hand-mill, and baked by them- 
selves. The tenant peasantry had no security for their 
property till after the fifteenth century. If the estate 
was sold by the landlord, they were obhged to quit all, 
giving up even their standing crops without compensa- 
tion. They were liable for the debts of the landlord to 
an amount equal to their whole property, and it was not 



till after that time that they were held only for the 
amount of rent due from them." * 

It was not till the sixteenth century that agriculture 
began to take any prominence in Europe. The modern 
plow came from the Low Countries ; and in fact, it was 
not till the last part of the last century that England 
began to supply her own wants in this direction. At 
first the mold-boards were made of wrought-iron or 
steel, which were changed to cast-iron in 1784, by a 
Scotchman named James Small. During the earher 
portion of our history, we used mold-boards covered 
with sheet-iron. The first cast-iron plow patented in 
this country was by Charles Newbold, of New Jersey. 
Thomas Jefferson, pohtician that he was — ^president, 
statesman, aUy of France, and ail else — gave a good deal 
of time to the principles on which a plow should be con- 
structed, and finally reached the conclusion that the 
proper shape of the mold-board, should consist of "a 
hfting, and an upsetting wedge, with an easy connecting 
curve." Since that time, an almost infinite'number of 
improvements, real or alleged, have been given to this 
implement, although every one of them stiU adheres 
with wondrous fidehty to the very first principles in the 
construction of the first forked branch with which our 
very remote ancestors prepared the ground for their 
scanty crops. 

The almost infinite variety of plows in use can be 
inferred' from the fact that, at the Paris Exposition, in 
1878, there were over fifty varieties on exhibition, and 
this is very far from including all the kinds that are in 
use. There were those with wheels of equal size, and 
of unequal size ; those with one wheel ; those with two 
wheels and a skim coulter ; with revolving coulter; 

* Am. Cyclopmdia. 


Tod-beam plows ; with, turning mold-boards ; double 
plows ; plows for subsoiling, for trenching, for ridging, 
clearing; and, in fine, almost every conceivable purpose. 
There were sulky-plows, gang-plows ; some which cut two 
furrows at once, some which cut three, and even some 
which rose to the dignity and reponsibility of plowing 
four furrows, and even six, at the same time. There were 
still other varieties under the head of potato-diggers, 
leveling implements, beet-root pullers, and ingenious 
appliances for the performing of the less heav«y class of 
work. At this exhibit, the United States was well rep- 
resented by the Michigan Eod-beam, Iron-beam, the 
Gilpin Sulky; the gang-plow, by Deere, of Moline, lU. ; 
the Center-level, the Hillside; the Potato-digger, by 
Speer & Sons of Philadelphia; and still others by other 
Americans. It may be added, that in some test, which 
took place between some American and French plows 
the mean was in favor of the American. 

An American plow which has attracted a good deal 
of attention is Austin's rotary plow, patented in 1879 
and 1881. The ground is turned by a revolving disk of 
steel, set vertically. The disk is dishing, the concave 
side being towards the side to which the soil is turned. 
Each plow has two disks, which turn each from twelve 
to fourteen inches in width. This implement is very 
eflficacious in the breaking up of all except sod surfaces, 
and pulverizes as it breaks up the ground. 

In the matter of plowing by steam, the EngUsh are 
far in advance of all other nations; and it is scarcely 
necessary to add that we are not only far behind Eng- 
land, but every other nation of any consequence ' in 
Europe, in the use of steam for plowing. This is the 
more remarkable in view of the fact that there is no 
country in the world which is better adapted than this 
for the use of steam in this direction. 


The attempt to plow by steam dates back to the last 
century when, in 1769, an Englishman named Francis 
Moore, took out a patent for a machine which would 
plow without the use of animals of draught; and in 
1810, Major Pratt, also an Enghshman, patented a pro- 
cess for the use of two steam-engines, one on each side 
of the field to be plowed, and which should draw the 
plows across by means of an endless rope. For some 
reason, Pratt's plan did not work, and plowing by steam 
remained in abeyance until 1832, when a member of 
Parhament patented the first successful steam-plow 
that came into use. Mr. Heathcotfi's plow proved that 
it would do the work required of it; but it was very 
cumbersome, and required not less than ten attendants 
to manage it. This original attempt has undergone 
many improvements, until now when there are hundreds 
of steam-plows in use in the Old World. There have 
been considerable time and effort expended in attempts 
to secure traction engines which would cross the field 
to be plowed, dragging the implements after them, but 
with no substantial success. There may be two or 
three in use in this country, but they are not regarded 
as of value. 

There are various methods of utihzing the steam- 
engine for plowing ; one being the traction-engine just 
mentioned, and others, in which the engine remains on 
one side of the field to be plowed, while there is an- 
other engine, or simply a truck, on the other side ; the 
plows being pulled from side to side by a chain or rope. 
In all cases the plow is a double-ender, that is, two sets 
of plows arranged end to end together. When a start 
is made, the front plow is raised by a lever above the 
ground, and the rear set plows across the field; when 
the other side is reached, the place of turning about, 
the rear set is raised from the ground and the front ones 


lowered. There is still another method of dragging the 
plows from side to side in which there is a single en- 
gine, a series of ropes stretched about the field on 
bearers so arranged that by shifting the bearers the 
plow can be drawn in any desired direction. 

There are in use in England and Scotland alone 
more than three thousand cultivating engines; in 
Egypt more than five hundred; in Germany and Aus- 
tria several hundreds, besides others which are in use in 
the West Indies, and in South America. In Great 
Britain, many of these appliances are owned by the pro- 
prietors of the lands, and by some of the more prosper- 
ous tenants; but there are several companies which 
plow for hire, in aU probably not less than one hundred 
and twenty-five, some of whom have as many as twenty 
full sets of the engines and all apphances for plowing. 
The advantages of plowing by steam is that deeper 
work can be done, and much more rapidly than by the 
ordinary methods. One steam-plow in crossing a field 
once, performs the same work that would be done by 
twelve horses drawing six plows, and in half the time ; 
which is equivalent to doing twelve times the work of a 
single plow drawn by one span of horses. In England 
it is estimated that the saving of steam over animal 
plowing is about one hundred and sixty-six dollars for 
each one hundred acres. 

There is a good deal of romance connected with the 
ordinary plow, such as is drawn by horses and guided by 
hand. It is especially so in the eastern communities, 
in which few or no new fashions are known in farming ; 
where the flail, and the tramp of the horses stO threshes 
out the grain, where the corn is pulled from the stalk 
and husked in the barn in the cool of the autumn eve- 
nings; where the grist is carried to the mill in a bag 
thrown across the back of a horse, and on which is 


seated a boy too young for the harvest field, but too old 
to be idle. It is in such communities as these that plow- 
ing is not only a science, but an art, and withal is artis- 
tic* Who that has ever lived in one of these drowsy 
communities, with its weekly or possible semi-weekly 
mail', its old church on the hill, its school-house at some 
cross roads, its inn with its faded sign, and its "store" 
smeUing of codfish, pickled mackerel, and its empty, 
fly-covered sugar hogsheads, does not remember that 
there was always one young man among the sons of the 
farmers who ranked among the plowmen of that section 
as Eaphael among painters, or as Napoleon among cap- 

There was no such thing as rivalry. His place was 
conferred him by unanimous consent. He was some- 
thing to imitate, to be used as a model ; but nobody ever 
aspired, in his neighborhood, to even permit the sug- 
gestion of being a rival. Away over the hills, from 
another community, there came rumors of another 
great artist at the plow; but his pretensions were 
laughed to scorn. Men sat by the blazing stove within 
the "store," in the winter, and on the cool "stoop" 
in the summer evenings, and as they whittled, they 
apotheosized their own champion of the plow, and 
treated with derision and scorn the claims of the rival. 

As he walked to church on the Sabbath day, he. was 
the recipient of many a kindly glace from the plump 
girls, and of admiring ones from the young men as they 
looked at him as something superior to the average 

But what a triumph was the exhibition of his art ! 
To see him " strike out a new land " was almost as good 
as a circus. He steps off his seven paces, and drives a 
stick in at the top of the last step, and to it he hangs 
mayhap a perspiration - drenched handkerchief of no 


particular color ; half way baCK xo the other end of the 
field, seven paces from the ridge of the last "land" 
there is another stick. He swings his plow about at 
the beginning, or on the "headland." He is not the 
least excited on the eve of his crucial endeavor. He 
brings the point of the share until it is exactly in line 
with the two sticks across the field. The horses are 
guided until the artist sees between them the two guide- 
posts which he has erected. The handles are hfted, the 
share cuts into the earth ; the keen coulter cuts into the 
green sod as a knife into a yielding cheese. And now 
he is off ! His eye is on the nearing stakes ; the reins 
across his neck and under one arm, are held taught, and 
the docile animals move as if they were machines ghd- 
ing on rails. The first stake is reached, the share cuts 
it at its very centre ; a little later, and it cuts the stake 
on the further headland with the same ex?ictitude — and 
the great artistic feat is accompHshed! Glance along 
this new furrow; a rifle ball fired from a gun is no 
straighter in its course ; the landside has left a wall that 
is as unvarying in its directness as the masonry of the 
foundations of a temple. The upturned sod hes squarely 
on its back as an inverted brick, and is as exact as to 
height, breadth, and width, as if cut out by unerring 

When the "lands " are completed, every furrow is of 
the same exact width ; the surface is as level as if it had 
been planed down and sand-papered, the lines between 
them are as straight as if they had been ruled, and the 
little ditches between the "lands " are of the same width, 
the same depth, and are as square, as neat, as if they 
had been laid out with a line and finished with a trowel. 
This is plowing ; and this is the artist who executes the 
work. It is this man who manipulates the four-legged 
"marker " which designates the rows of corn. He lays 


out the rows with all the squareness of a great chess- 
board ; when the leafy plant reaches above the surface, 
each hiU has an ahgnment with every other hill, such as 
is to be seen only in a crack regiment, when the soldiers 
have " guided left," and have come to " eyes front " in a 
Une that is without a waver, or a variation. 

When that useful implement, the flail, first came into 
existence, there are no accurate historical data for de- 
termining; but it probably made its appearance about 
as soon as there was anything which needed threshing. 
It is mentioned in the Bible, and probably was in use 
among the historical races. As for the scythe and the 
sickle, it is not hkely that they were very much in advance 
of the flail. They have been much supplanted, in late 
years, by the use of the reaping and mowing machines, 
and the machine-thresher. We read in the Scriptures 
that "thou shalt not muzzle the ox which treadeth out 
the corn," from which we may be permitted to infer that 
a method of threshing stiU in use, originated in its pres- 
ent shape at least four thousand years ago. 

The scythe and the sickle were originally weapons of 
war as well as of peace. The same weapon which was 
used to hew down an enemy was also employed to level 
the stalwart wheat or barley. They were in use from 
time immemorial, and they are substantially the same 
now that they were in the beginning, with the difference 
that modern civiHzation has found speedier and more 
effective methods of killing; and hence, leaves the 
scythe and the sickle to the peaceful pursuits of agri- 
culture. The earher scythe was a curved blade, fas- 
tened at right angles to the end of a straight stick. In 
deference to aching backs, the handle or "snath" was 
bent so that less effort on the part of the wielder gave 
greater results. The broad strip of iron, known as the 
"back " of the scythe, is a very modern invention, being 



that of a Yankee named Joseph Jenks, at Lynn, Mass., 
ha the year 1640. When to the scythe there were added 


the fingers, and the whole became a " cradle " for the 
cutting and laying graia in swathes, with the head of 
the grain all laid in one direction, cannot be stated ; but 


it must have been a Yankee invention, for it is not 
to be seen in any other country. In England, and in all 


parts of Europe, where macMnery is not used, the sickle 
is still the instrument for the cutting of grain. 

The forging of scythes was once a very important 
industry; but the introduction of mowers has under- 
mined it so that it is now but the shadow of its former 
self. The cumbrous cradle is fast getting to be a 
machine of more value to the antiquarian than to the 
farmer, although it is far from being extinct. There 
are tens of thousands of farms in this country which are 
so broken that they cannot be reached by the reaper ; in 
the cases of these, the cradle must always remain, of 
practical value. 

The first reaping-machine which is spoken of in his- 
tory is one which was alluded to by Phny, as being in 
existence in about the year 64 of the Christian era; and 
which was used, according to these writers, in Gaul. It 
consisted of a cart which was pushed by an ox, with a 
species of comb in front that caught the heads of grain, 
tore them loose, when they dropped into the body of the 
cart. During the International Exposition in Paris, in 
1878, one of the daily newspapers, in speaking' of an 
American machine on exhibition, said: "It was the 
Gauls, our fathers, who, says Palladius, made the first 
reaper. The description given by him indicates a sort 
of cart furnished with two wheels ; an ox in the reverse 
direction in the shafts pushed the machine hke a wheel- 
barrow against the wheat. The edge of the cart was 
armed with a comb having long teeth, where the ears 
were caught and cut off by the edges of the knives and 
tumbled into the body of the cart. The straw remained 
after the ears were removed, or was either left in the 
field or gathered later. 

" The reaper set up in the American section of the 
Exposition was made by the Messrs. Case, of Wisconsin, 
and is the Gallic reaper ; perfected, it is true, but based 




on the same agricultural system pursued for ages in 
some portion of China, where they reap by two opera- 
tions, first with a sickle to gather the wheat, and then 
with a scythe to save the straw. The machine of 
Messrs Case, of Wiscousin, disturbs all our ideas of 
progress in harvesting by machinery. 

KEAPER IN GAUL. (A. D. 64.) 

We have carefully examined it in the shed whero 
they have carefully hidden, along the Avenue Souffren, 
the magnificent American and English agricultural ma- 
chines, as if they did not merit a place in our e:^position 
. We cannot, however, neglect rendering our 
homage to the truth, in declaring that it is to this side 
of the grounds that agriculturists and manufacturers, 
should turn their attention." * 

From the time of Pliny and PaUadius to the inven- 
tion of the next reaper, there is a very long interval, on& 

* La France. May 28, 1878. 


of almost eighteen centuries. According to Knight, the 
next suggestion of a reaper was that of Pitt, in 1786, 
who constructed one in which there was a cyhnder, with 
combs attached, which caught the ears of grain, broke 
them from the stalk, and dropped them into the cart. 
Then there was no especial improvement for a time, 
inventors turning their attention to securing some 
means of cutting the grain by attaching revolving 
knives to the axle of the wheels which bore the body of 
the machine. The first reciprocating knife was invented 
and put in use in 1822, up to which time but four in- 
ventors had employed the horses in any other way than 
at the rear of the cart. The side-cut mower, that is, 
one in which the horses walk alongside the grain to be 
cut instead of in front, or behind it. This was in 1806; 
the invention was that of an Englishman named Glad- 
stone, and the cutters were revolving knives. In 1822, 
Ogle, an Enghshman, gave to the world the reciprocal 
knife-bar; the horses moved in advance; there was a 
platform, there was a reel to tip the grain towards the 
cutter. This contained many of the principles of the 
modern cutter. Four years later, another Enghshman 
added some improvements; his machine had knives 
which vibrated on pivots ; it had a reel, and a traveling 
apron which took the cut grain and dehvered it at the 
side. Two years later, Samuel Lane, of Maine, made a 
combination of the reaper and the thresher. In 1833, 
the well-known Hussey, of Maryland, constructed what 
has been termed the " first harvester of value. It had 
open fingers, with the knife reciprocating between the 
space. The open-toped slotted finger was patented by 
Hussey, in 1847. The cutter-bar was on a hinged 

* Dr. Edward H. Knight. 


The next harvester of importance was that known 
as the MoCormick. This harvester has played so large 
a part in the history oi agricultural machinery that it 
and its inventor are worthy of some special mention. 

Cyrus H. McCormick is the eldest son of Eobert 
McCormick, was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, 
in February, 1809. His father and mother were both 
natives of Virginia, and were of Scotch-Irish descent. 
The son did not receive much schooling, and gave his 
time to assisting his father, who was a farmer, and who 
owned some farms, grist-mills, and who had all the shops 
necessary for the repairs of the machinery in use upon 
his property. Thus the young man had about him a 
large industrial school, into which he could enter at 
will, and from which he graduated in time with very 
high honors. At the age of fifteen, he gave evidence 
of his mechanical aptitude by the invention of a 
" cradle," and which was used in the harvest field. He 
came by his mechanical genius legitimately, for the 
reason that his father was an inventor who made sev- 
eral important mechanical discoveries, among which 
was a reaping machine which he brought out in 1816. 
It did not meet, however, with the success which he 
anticipated, and, being for the time discouraged, and 
much occupied with other matters, he laid it aside, and 
did not take it up again till 1831. His machine was very 
elaborate, and very ingenious and comphcated ; the only 
defect in it being that it would not work. 

Young McCormick's first invention after the cradle 
was a side-hill plow for always throwing the furrows 
down the hill; and was followed, two years later, in 1833, 
by the invention of a self-sharpening, horizontal plow. 
During the period anterior to his invention of the side- 
hiU plow, he had been watching very closely his father's 
efforts to invent a reaper. It occurred to him that his 


father, in attempting to separate the grain into small 
bunches before cutting, had made a mistake ; that the 
grain should be cut as a single body, the requisite motion 
to the cuttiQg apparatus to be supplied laterally by a 
crank attached to a reciprocating blade. 

While he was thus engaged in experimenting with 
his reaper, he went into the smelting business, but did 
not succeed owing to the financial crisis in 1837. In 
1834, he took out patents for his reaper ; but it was not 
until after his failure in the smelting business that he 
gave his whole attention to its manufacture. In 1845, 
he removed to Cincinnati, and during that year, he took 
out another patent for an improvement ; and stiU others 
in 1846-7-8. At this time his machine was being manu- 
factured on a royalty by several firms in various parts of 
New York. In 1847, he resolved to establish himself in 
Chicago, where he entered on the manufacture of his 

The varieties of reaping machines in existence are 
almost infinite. They are hght or heavy; they are 
adapted for the cutting of grass, for the gathering of 
the heads of clover; for the cutting of wheat, oats, and 
other grain, with, or without bindiag. As to names of 
the various styles of reapers, there are Woods, the 
Champion, Manny's, the Osborne, the Aultman, all be- 
ing binding reapers ; and mowers such as the Buckeye, 
New Champion, two of the Woods patents, all of which 
are American ; and scores of others the product of other 

The chronology of the reaper and mower is as fol- 
lows, aeoordiag to Knight : Pitt, England, 1786, which 
stripped the head from the straw; Boyce, 1799, six rotat- 
ing scythes, and first reaper patented; Plunkett, 1805, 
horizontal, rotating circular blade, (the first machines 
used in England in 1811, and in use for a considerable 



time, being of this pattern) ; Gladstone, 1806, front-draft, 
side-cut, revol^dng knife macliine ; Salmon, 1807, vibrat- 
ing knives over stationary blades, fingers to gather the 
grain to the cutters, and a rake suspended to carry the 
grain ofi the side ; Ogle, 1822, first reciprocating knife- 
bar, and although poorly constructed, the " type of the 
successful machines." AU the machines thus far men- 
tioned were British. 


Bailey, American, 1822, mowing-machine mth re- 
volving scythe ; TenByk, 1825, horizontal cylinder, with 
spiral knives cutting against straight edges; Samuel 
Lane, Maine, 1828, combined reaper and thresher ; Man- 
ning, 1831, row of fingers and reciprocating knife ; Hus- 
sey, Maryland, 1833; McCormick, Virginia, 1834; Ean- 
dall, 1835, pair of knife-bars reciprocating past each 
other; Briggs and Carpenter, Moore and HaskeU, all 
of America, and Eidley in Australia, 1836, combined 
reaper and thresher; Knowles, 1837; Wheeler, 1838; 


Lamb, 1840; 1850, Heath, binder; Watkins, 1851, auto- 
matic binder; 1871, Barta, binder; James F. Gordon, 
binder, 1872-74 ; and among other binders. Carpenter, 
1868; Fowler, 1870; CUnton, 1869; Bowron. Chapman, 
and Withington, 1872; and Whitney, 1874. 

The reaping machine of to-day is the result of num- 
berless improvements which have been made to the ma- 
chine invented and in use from 1833 to 1836. 

There is danger that the introduction of so much 
labor-saving machinery may tend to make men effemi- 
nate. The fire- wood which was -once chopped is now cut 
by a "buzz" saw, driven by horse-power. The rails 
which were once spKt with ax, wedge, and beetle, are 
now displaced by boards sawed at the miUs, or by a 
barbed-wire fence, into whose construction no manual 
labor enters. Once a man marched between the tail of 
the plow from " sim-up " to sun-down ; he swung his im- 
plement about the stumps, and the stones; the sun 
shone on him, the winds beat against him, and he grew 
broad and deep of chest, mighty as to thighs, muscular 
as to arm and calf, and active as to step and movement. 
Now, when he goes out to plow, he feeds the boiler of 
an engine which befouls the air which environs it, or he 
mounts a seat on the " gang," and all the day rides with 
stooped shoulders and contracted chest. 

But it is in the harvest field where he is becoming 
effeminate. Once the man who went out to swing the 
scythe or the cradle for the livelong day, was a man in 
the fullest sense of the word. There could be nothing 
spindling or weakly in the muscles which for twelve 
hours at least, beneath a broihng sun, were to drive the 
scythe through the matted grass, or swing the ponder- 
ous cradle — a load for the modern man — through the 
heavy wheat, or the tasseled oats. It demanded brawn, 
chest, endurance for this labor. Now, when a man 


"wishes to cut his grass, or garner his wheat, he mounts 
a cushioned seat above a confusing composition of plat- 
forms, cranks, oscillating knives, cogged wheels, chain- 
belts, and levers, and drives a-field as if he were taking 
a drive for health or recreation. The distance echoes 
the clamor of the reel and the rattle and clang of the 
groaning machinery, as if complaining that its peaceful 
silence were outraged by this noisy interruption. A 
dwarf, a man with shrunk shanks, a man with the con- 
sumption, with the asthma, with the rickets, with a 
hump, with the dyspepsia, with atrophied muscles, with 
rheumatism, with any and aU of them, is just as good to 
drive a mowing machine as if he had aU the develop- 
ment of the ancient gladiator. 

Once, the stalwart timothy, the fragrant clover, the 
wheat with head drooping with the weight of its con- 
tents, had at least the satisfaction of knowing that if it 
must fall, it went down before one who was worthy to 
administer the blow. But now, a piping- voiced boy, a 
hop-o'-my-thumb, a manikin, a runt, a tomtit, can mount 
the seat of the reaper, and do more in one hour, in doing 
nothing, than the Hercules of yesterday could accom- 
pHsh yesterday, with aU his splendid development. Nor 
is this aU there is of this tendency to physical deteriora- 
tion. Like all of their class, the reaping machines ob- 
hterate all the romance of the farm-life. Time was 
when to be a farmer, one was obliged to be a whole 
man ; now he requires only sufficient brains for the man- 
agement of a few machines. The boys will not remain 
at home to play second to these insensate machines, and 
they go away to the cities or the mines, and — are lost. 

Once there was no slavery in the farmer's household. 
Himself and his sons, his wife and his daughters knew 
no dishonor in labor. They rose with the dawn ; they 
labored till the twihght; they went to bed betimes. 


and slept dreamlessly and restftdly the night through. 
But the machine has come, and muscle and brains are 
no more required. The tramp from the city is as good 
a farmer as the best of them ; he can mow, and reap, 
and thresh in an hour as well as the men who, under the 
old regime, demanded years of experience to perform 
the same work. The power-loom has left nothing for 
the girls to weave, the "mule " has left her nothing to 
spin, the sewing machine has left her nothing to sew, 
the baking-powder has left her no bread to make, the pat- 
ent wringer no healthful exercise over the wash-tub. 
She has nothing to do, she acquires a Uttle Prench, 
she paints a plaque or two, drums a httle on the piano, 
and less on the guitar, warbles a trifle; and then is 
ready for the matrimonial market. 

As machinery comes into use, the business of farm- 
ing becomes more and more hke the operations of a 
factory. There are cheap operatives who are of the 
grade of the "hands " in the mills of the cotton manu- 
facturer ; these require only an overseer ; the owner may 
reside where he will. With the power, by the aid of 
machinery, to do so much more work than by hand, 
there comes a demand for larger farms ; the smaller pro- 
prietors are being absorbed by the larger ones, untU the 
drift is toward a state of things in which the small 
farmer is the exception, and the large ones the rule. 
With this state of things comes the debasement of a 
class. In Great Britain, the farm laborer is the most 
degraded, in point of social position, in the kingdom. 
The introduction of machinery creates intense compe- 
tition, and thus prices and wages are lowered. 

It may be that the average nation is elevated. It 
may be that the demand for machines, while it may 
have a ruinous effect on the status of the farming com- 
munity, may give work to a larger number in the 


increase in the faims opened to cultivation, the demand 
for labor for the construction of the machines, and in 
men and ships for the handling of the increased product 
of agriculture. But while this may be the fact, it is 
still true that farming by machinery has the effect to 
destroy the sohd family relations of the old farming 
communities, to weaken the anchorage which these ele- 
ments afforded for the shifting morahty, political or 
otherwise, of the nation, or the communities; and to 
take from us much that is desirable, and give us some- 
thing which, while more ghttering and showy, is, never- 
theless, less substantial and less valuable. 

Thus far, but a comparatively small portion of the 
machines in use in agriculture have been described, or' 
even enumerated. There are machines for the pulhng 
of stumps; there are others for the sawing down of 
trees ; butter is made, and cows milked by machinery. 
There are mechanical processes for planting, for pitching 
hay on the wagon, for unloading it at the hay-mow and 
the stack. There are reversing and revolving hay-rakes 
all to be moved by horse-power ; there are horse tedders 
for the stirring of the hay in the new-laid swathe ; there 
are threshing-machines from those that work by hand 
up to those of many horse-power ; there are machines 
for stacking straw; there are huUers for clover and 
other seeds; there are separators without limit; there 
are sorters for separating mixed grains; there are a 
dozen kinds of machines for the removal of stone and 
sod from grain; there are straw-cutters, grain-Hatten- 
ers, grain-crushers, kibbles for cracking grain, oil-cake 
breakers, root-washers, potato assorters, root-cutters, 
root-shredders, root-diggers, grape-crushers, hay and 
bahng apparatuses without number, hedge-cutters ; and 
after all these have been enumerated, the hst of the 
machines in use has scarcely been begun. In France, an 


inveator named Albaret, of Diancourt, has produced an 
electric light by which farming operations can be car- 
ried on by night as well as by day. He attaches to the 
locomotives which furnishes the power, a Grramme 
machine, and erects a mast some sixty feet high, which 
is fixed on the engine, and which carries at its top an 
electric light. The same engine is used at the same 
time for plowing or threshing, or whatever may be the 
work in hand. 

The threshing-machine plays an important part in 
agricultural operations that it deserves a word of spe- 
cial mention. The inventor of threshing by machinery 
is due to a Scotchman, named Andrew Meikle, in 1786, 
in East Lothian. There had been previous attempts in 
1758, to produce a machine for the threshing of graiu. 
One of these, that of Menzies, at the earliest date, was 
composed of a series of revolving flails ; and the other, 
that of Stirling, had a cyUnder " with arms upon a ver- 
tical shaft, running at high velocity." There followed 
an English improvement on the Scotch invention, and 
this again was improved on by American inventors. In 
the American machine, there is a concave, having teeth, 
close to which revolves a cyhnder having also teeth. 
The grain is fed so that it passes between these teeth, 
and is thus separated from the straw. The English 
thresher is the same concave or breast, and cylinder, 
without the spikes or teeth. In 1853, an American 
thresher competed with an English one at Kelvedon, 
England. The Ainerican machine did more than three 
times as much work in the same time that did its com- 
petitor, and left the grain in a much cleaner condition. * 
The same writer from whom these facts are obtained, 
and who was one of the two men who took the machine 

* Edward H. Kniglit. 


over and operated it, quotes from an article in the Times 
of London, and whicli, speaking of the competition, 
says of the American machine : 

" This machine, which is portable, weighs only four- 
teen hundred- weight, threshes easily, and without waste, 
at the rate of one bushel in forty seconds, and turns out 
the grain perfectly clean and ready for the market. It 
is, therefore, about twice as hght as the hghtest of our 
machines of the same description ; does as much if not 
more than the best of them, and with much less power, 
dresses the grain, which they do not, and can profitably 
be disposed of at less money than our implement-makers 
charge. . . We buUd threshing-machines strong and 
dear enough, and tremendously heavy either to work or 
draw about. The American farmer demands and gets a 
machine which does not ruin him to buy, or his horses 
to puU about, which runs on coach and not on wagon- 
wheels, and which, without breaking the heart of the 
power that drives it, yields the largest and most satis- 
factory results. Nothing, therefore, can better illustrate 
the difference in the mechanical genius of the two coun- 
tries than this grain-separator as compared with its 
British rival." 

It may be remarked that the Enghsh system of 
threshing does not injure the straw as much as the 
American one ; and on this account is preferred by the 
English farmer, for the reason that there is a quite im- 
portant market for straw in that country. 

In the competition which took place between the 
various kinds of power- threshers, in Paris, in 1878, the 
United States gained no honors. This was owing in 
part to the fact that the American machines bruise the 
straw, and " because our machines were not managed by 
parties famUiar to the work. . . . The jury was prin- 
cipally French, and, of course, acted on the judgment of 


European requirements in such machines. Ours did not 
suit the country, though there are places in Europe 
where they might be successfully introduced ; but not 
at present among French or English farmers.* 

In the matter of winnowing machines, or separators, 
or fanning-mills, as they are often termed, the French 
seem to be considerably in advance of all other nations, 
if one may judge by what was exhibited at the Interna- 
tional Exposition, in Paris, in 1878. It may be that their 
superiority is to be found in the fact that there is a 
greater necessity for such machines in that country 
than in any other. In the words of the United States 
commissioner: "They (the French) frequently sow and 
harvest two crops together, such as oats and vetches 
(tares) for instance, and then sort the threshed results. 
The crops seem to be more harassed by weeds; the 
common red poppy, the wild vetch, the cockle seem to 
be ineradicable from the wheat. . . The methods of 
harvesting are somewhat slovenly. The crops are cut 
with the sickle, cradle, or scythe. He on the ground to 
cure, and the result is that stones and clods of dirt are 
very common in the threshed grain. Even the thresh- 
ing increases the quantity of this foreign matter, for it 
is largely done in iastaUments on the soil floor of barns 
and sheds." 

There are no less than eight of these machines in use 
among the French, whose uses may be gathered from 
their names : 

Tarare, blast-f anning-miU ; Aspirateur, suction-draft 
fan-mill; Nettoyer, cleaner; Gribleur, sifter; Trieur, 
sorter; Epierreur, stone-remover; Emotteur, clod-re- 
mover; Diviseur, separator 

* Reports of the United States Commissioners. Vol. v., p. 175. 


In addition to these there are combinations in which 
two, and even three of the kinds just mentioned appear. 
For instance, there is one of these combinations which 
is known as the Cribleur-trieur-diviseur, or a sifter- 
sorter-separator all in one. In the ordinary fanning- 
mill in use among many of our farmers, there are the 
sieve, the blast of wind, and the shaking, lateral move- 
ment of the frame containing the sieves. The French 
use the blast, the same as in the f anning-miU., the aspira- 
tion, in which the air is "sucked" in, and percussion. 
The iarare is almost exactly like the American fanning- 
mill; but the tarare-aspirateur is one in which the air is 
drawn in and passes through the grain before it reaches 
the revolving fan, and which deposits the heavy grains 
in one place, the next heaviest in a second place, a third, 
stiU lighter, in a third, while the chaff and dust are car- 
ried off in the usual manner. 

The processes in use in these various machines are 
interesting, but need not be described in detail. Suffice 
it that none of them are as simple as the original method 
in which the grain to be winnowed was gathered in a 
heap, and then tossed up in the wind, to be cleared of 
chaff by this simple agency. 

Agriculture in this country is yet in but its infancy 
compared to what there is every reason to hope it will 
be in a quarter of a century. At least one-ninth of the 
total population is engaged ih agriculture, of whom one- > 
half are proprietors. The cash value of the farms of this 
country is fixed at over ten billion dollars, and this, 
despite the fact that only one-half of the tillable land 
has been brought under improvement. The exports of 
agricultural produce reaches up to an annual sum which 
in some cases has been nearly a billion dollars. The 
average crops of a fairly good year may be estimated to 


amount to considerably over a billion and a half dollars ; 
a sum which, in two years, would pay off the debt in- 
curred by the nation in the great civil war. 

These statistics have reference to a country of whose 
land only about one-half is under cultivation ; and which, 
where cultivated, is very far from producing such crops 
as it would, under a more scientific mode of farming. 
Supposing all our land under cultivation, and scientific- 
ally managed, we should have a result each year of some- 
thing like ten billion dollars. In England, the amount 
of capital invested in farming is something over one 
billion dollars ; the rent of farms about three hundred 
milUon dollars. If this country should carry on farming 
as carefully and economically as in England, the result 
would be a sum so large that it would be incredible. In 
England, agriculture receives as much attention as any 
other science. There is an improved and comprehensive 
system of drainage. Artificial manuring is resorted to ; 
and in fine, every expedient which science can invent is 
employed to produce the very last possible yield from 
the soil. In this direction, this country is advancing 
with great rapidity. The old style, hap-hazard, do-it-as- 
your-father-did-it-because-he-did-it, is going out of use, 
and is being replaced by aU that can be suggested by a 
ripe and intelligent experience, and that science can 
contribute to the end in view. The government is tak- 
ing ah active part in aiding this improvement. As yet 
land is so plentiful and cheap, that men can produce aU 
they can care for with but httle trouble, and thus are 
more extravagant and careless than they will be at the 
end of the next quarter of a century. In fifty years the 
magnitude of our annual agricultural products will be 
simply stupendous. 

There is not very much work for the inventor at the 



present moment, in the department of mechanical 
devices for use in agriculture. In the department of 
chemistry, there is an ample field for discovery ; and it 
is here, and not in mechanical appliances, that invention 
should apply itself for the next quarter of a century. 
Possibly there is one exception to this, and that is, that 
-tlaeie should be invented some shorter method of get- 
ting grain from the producer to the Atlantic, or to ship- 
ping points. 






IN the chapter on gunpowder, some allusions were 
made to weapons of war, and modern improvements 
in weapons of offence and defence ; but there was nothing 
said which covers any considerable portion of the ground 
to which these agencies are entitled by their importance. 

In their very earliest existence, men probably fought 
each other with clubs, sharp flints, and such other im- 
plements of offence as were found ready fashioned at 
hand. The earliest weapon known is the bow. It is 
spoken of in the Scripture, and is known to have 
been in general use among oriental nations. Among 
the Greeks and Eomans, the bow was not used, except 
in the cases of some of the mercenaries. Among the 
Eomans and the Greeks, the pike, javeHn, and a short, 
two-handed broadsword were in use, the latter being 
the weapon which the Eomans most valued, and with 
which they secured most of their victories. In the for- 
mation of the lines, the Eomans had intervals of six 
feet between the files, which gave each man ample room 
to manage his sword and buckler ; the sword being used 
mainly as a weapon for thrusting instead of cutting. 

After the fall of the Eoman empire, the lance came 
into use. It was made of wood; was eighteen feet in 
length, with an immense butt whose weight counter- 
balanced that of the body of the weapon. This implement 


"was the weapon of knighthood. Its bearer, clad in 
impervious armor, mounted on a powerful horse, with 
lance in rest, was able to ride down the unarmored 
ranks of footmen with little danger to himself. In addi- 
tion to the lance, the knight had a mace and a battle- 
ax, a dagger, and the huge, two-handed sword. At 
this time, the infantry were armed with bows, bills — a 
short, heavy scythe set on the end of a pole; leaden 
maUets, long knives, pikes, halberds, cross-bows and 
spears. All these were in use till 1626, when at the bat- 
tle of Pavia, fire-arms were introduced; and then was 
estabhshed a dividing line between ancient and modern 

Of all the weapons used by the ancients none were 
so effective as the bow in the hands of the English 
archer. Every reader is famUiar with romances in 
v^hich the Enghsh bow plays an essential part, and of 
battles in which it decided the victory. It was brought 
into England by the Normans, who had obtained it 
from some of the Norse tribes. Its regulation height 
was that of the bowman, and the arrow was half the 
length of the bow, or about three feet, and thus obtained 
the name of the "cloth-yard shaft." Some of the tales 
Vfhich are narrated of the skill with which the bow was 
handled, would prove that even the best of the sharp- 
shooters of modem time, with their weapons of pre- 
cision, are in no respect superior to the experts who 
twanged the bow of yew in the days of Eobin Hood, and 
his"merrie archers." To hit a branch a half an inch 
in thickness, set upright at a distance of three hundred 
feet, was considered a feat of no extraordinary charac- 
ter. As to penetrating power, it was not an uncommon 
feat for an Enghsh archer to drive a shaft clean through 
a breaat-plate of steel, and through the body of the 
knight behind it. 


The cross-bow was in the hands of some of the 
nations a weapon of much value. It was a short steel 
bow, fastened at the end of a wooden stick, or barrel, 
the barrel being spHt so as to permit the string of the 
bow to move easUy through it. In some cases, a winch 
was used to draw the string back tiU it caught a species 
of trigger ; the bolt was then inserted, and the bolt dis- 
charged by springing the trigger. In fact, every boy in. 
the land is familiar with the construction of the ancient 
cross-bow, and it is now found as a toy weapon in every 
part of civihzation. There was also the catapult, which 
was a species of huge cross-bow, used for the launching 
of heavy darts, or stones from the walls of a beseiged 
place on the enemy below. There was also the batter- 
ing-ram, which was used for making breaches ia the 
walls of a hostile city, and which was a huge, metal- 
shod beam, suspended at its centre by long chains, or 
ropes fastened to the upper portion of a movable tower. 
This tower served the double purpose of protecting the 
soldiers who accompanied the ram, and of carrying 
archers, who, as the tower was always higher than the 
walls, were able to fire down on the enemy who manned 
the portion of the defence that were being attacked. 

The classes of weapons in use among the ancients 
were but few; they were implements to stab, such as. 
the sword, spear, pike, javelin, lance, dagger; to cut,, 
such as the sword, the battle-ax; and to beat, bruise, 
or crush, as the mace, the flail ; to cut and to stab both,, 
as the halberd, the guisarmes, the gauchards,the swords, 
and many others. From this hmited number of classes 
there came an almost infinite number of individuals, 
different in shape, in name and material. Of swords 
alone there are innumerable patterns. There were the 
scimitar of the Moors, the short double-edged spatha and 
the parazonium of the Romans ; the keen double-edged 


scramasax of the Franks; the scores of yarieties of 
swords worn during the middle ages, and other kinds not 
necessary to mention. There were still other weapons, 
some of which are still in use. There are the lasso, the 
boomerang, the blow-tube of the Malays, the wum- 
mera of the AustraHans, which is a piece of straight 
wood, " flat, three feet in length, having at its extremity 
a tube of bone, or a piece of tough skin in which the 
extremity of the dart is placed," and by wbich the dart 
is throvra. a considerable distance with great accuracy ; 
and the rackumitick, a species of javehn, to be thrown 
from the hand of the Hottentots. 

As said, the battle of Pavia, fought in 1625, is the 
dividing hne between the ancient and modern, for it 
was at that battle that fire-arnjs are said to have been 
introduced. It is true that gunpowder had been used 
before ; but it is claimed that the matchlock first made 
its appearance at this contest. It is not to be inferred 
that armor at once disappeared after this fight, or that 
fire-arms came into immediate use. It was a long time 
before smaU arms and artillery assumed a commanding 

According to some authorities, cannons were em- 
ployed as early as 1338, at Cambray, which were used, not 
for the launching of baUs, but what is knovm as quar- 
rels — a projectile with a square head, and which had 
hitherto been used with a weapon known as the arblast. 
In the next year, cannons were used at the siege of 
Algesiras ; and after this date their use steadily increased. 
"Cotemporary historians make mention of this novelty 
in warfare in a manner which prove them to have re- 
garded it simply as a curiosity of no great value or 
importance — a proof that the cannon, at its first appear- 
ance on the field, not only did not produce any great 
effect, but also that it altogether failed to presage ita 


own subsequent career. This is a circumstance which 
explains itself. The original cannon, of very small size, 
which discharged darts or small stone balls, at most of 
three pounds in weight, was looked upon as neither 
more nor less than a substitute for the siege-arblast, or 
as a fresh engine of the same class, more noisy indeed 
than its predecessors, but not more calculated to do 
mischief. The many tales which have been told of the 
overwhelming terror caused by cannon on their first 
appearance have been proved to be worthless fictions 
of later age." * 

It is worthy of note that among the first cannon 
made, the breech-loader occupied a conspicuous place, 
so that what has been esteemed the triumph of ingeni- 
ous invention, in late days, is something which was 
attempted, and carried out, after a fashion, hundreds 
of years ago. According to Lacombe, the French 
writer just quoted from, the earhest cannon were made 
of hammered iron, and were tubes which were open 
from end to end, the whole being strengthened by rings. 
A shorter tube, having a bore of the same size, and 
closed at one end, contained the powder and the projec- 
tile ; and this was placed with its open end to the longer 
tube, and held into place by a series of wedges. The 
most modern of breech-loaders is no more of a breech- 
loader than were these crude instruments; the differ- 
ence is in the manner of applying the principle. 

The age went in a bound from the small cannon 
which were first introduced to those of very extraordi- 
nary dimensions. Towards the end of the fourteenth 
century cannon were constructed which threw balls of 
stone weighing as many as two hundred pounds. These 
were known as bombardes; but they proved of little 

* Arms and Armor. M. P. Lacombe. 


Talue. So dangerous were the cannon of that period 
that they were not fired from the vent, or touch-hole ; 
this was filled with fine powder, then a train of more 
slowly-burning powder was laid to a safe distance. 
While this was eating its way, after being ignited, to the 
cannon, the gunners had opportunity to gain some 
secure cover until after the explosion of the piece. One 
of the first improvements in use of artillery was in the 
projectile. The stone balls were hooped with bands of 
iron from which their battering quaHties were very 
materially increased ; the next improvement was in the 
casting of cannon of bronze. 

Up to the middle of the fourteentn century, the can- 
non were taken into position by being dragged on blocks, 
with the result that when it was once in position there 
was no change in its range. Every effort was made 
to prevent recoil in the guns; consequently they 
were so wedged and braced, that once in place there 
was no such thing as varying the direction of the pro- 
jectile. After the first shot was fired it was only neces- 
sary for the attacked party to move a Httle to one side 
or the other to escape anything in the nature of damage. 
It was after they had been in use for almost or quite a 
century that they were mounted on carriage wheels. It 
was only at this late period that a means was discovered 
for elevating and depressing the gun ; the two improve- 
ments vastly increasing its value. A stiU further ad- 
vance was made in 1483, when the first iron balls were 
cast; but at first they were made so large that they 
burst the cannon; this was corrected by the use of 
smaller ones ; and then it was that the cannon of that 
period began to have some of the value which is pos- 
sessed by those of the present day. 

There is some conflict of authority as to when the 
mortar came into existence. It is said that one was 


used in the siege of Naples in 1435 ; and that it was first 
made in England in 1648. Lacombe says that the mor- 
tar is a Grerman invention, and was brought out first in 
the last half of the sixteenth century. In its construc- 
tion, a mortar may be described as a short cannon with 
a very large bore, and which is used for the firing of 
shells. Knight speaks of one which was constructed by 
Mallet, and tested at Woolwich, England, in 1857, where 
it was charged with seventy pounds of powder, and 
which threw a shell weighing two thousand, five hundred 
pounds, one and one-half miles horizontally, and three- 
fourths of a mile in the air. Mortars are used for throwing 
their missiles high in the air, so that they may reach . 
over and within fortifications, and then by the bursting 
of their shells to effect their damage. By this agency, 
men are kept under cover, and prevented from being as 
active as they otherwise would be. 

Parenthetically, it may be remarked that during the 
late civil war, the city of Vioksburg, on the Mississippi, 
was kept for weeks under an incessant fire from mortar- 
boats, throwing shells weighing two hundred pounds; 
and yet the city was never fired, many of the inmates 
remained in their houses all during the bombardment ; 
and that the loss of life and property was very small. 
In that instance, the result was in no sense adequate to 
the cost of the bombardment. 

In 1798, an account was written of the island of 
Malta, in which occurs the following: "The rocks 
here are not only scarped into fortifications, but Hkewise 
into fire-engines or artillery to defend these fortifica- 
tions ; being hollowed out in many places in the form of 
immense mortars. These mortars they fill with cantars 
of cannon-balls, shells, stones, and other deadly mate- 
rials; and if any enemy's ship should approach with 
design to land, they fire the whole into the air. The 


effect of this tremendous invention must be very great,, 
as it will produce a shov^er for two hundred or three 
hundred yards around, and would make great havoc 
among a debarkation of boats. A cantar is about one 
hundred pounds weight ; and at the mouths of some of 
these mortars are six feet wide, they wiU throw accord- 
ing to calculation, one hundred cantars each." * 

The important improvement of rifling the bores of 
cannon was not put in practical use till about 1854. 
There had been experiments made in this direction ; but 
nothing came of them tiU about 1855, when the French 
government, having been taught by the experience of 
Sebastopol that smooth-bores were of but small com- 
parative value, produced some rifled brass pieces. Col. 
Treuille de Beauheu was the one who did the work, and 
who based his attempt on what had been discovered by 
early inventors, and by what he could evolve in the 
shape of improvements from his own inventive faculties. 
The first use of rifled cannon was in the Italian cam- 
paign of the late Napoleon, and in which they accom- 
plished most wonderful results. At once every nation in 
Europe applied itself to the production of rifled cannon, 
and in which, at this date, England occupies with Prus- 
sia, a leading position. 

It is scarcely necessary to follow up the various 
stages of advances in artillery till the present time. It 
may be stated that with all the improvements which 
have been made within the last twenty-five years, can- 
non are yet in a transition state ; and that, wonderful as 
is what has occurred within that time, improvements 
not less wonderful may be looked for within the next 
quarter of a century. 

There are various guns before the public which are 

' An Account prepared for Napoleon. 


renowned for their peculiarities, and their value for siege 
and field purposes. Among these are the Whitworth, 
Armstrong, Krupp, Eodman, Parrott, the late eighty-one- 
ton muzzle-loading gun turned out from Woolwich Ar- 
senal, England, and possibly stUl others. The Armstrong 
guns are both muzzle and breech-loading. They are the 
largest guns made, some in use in the Itahan navy being 
of one hundred tons, or nineteen tons heavier than the 
latest gun in use by the British navy. It is made of a 
barrel of sohd steel, and over this are shrunk wrought- 
iron tubes. The Whitworth is made of a species of steel, 
the smaller ones being forged sohd, while the larger ones 
are " built up " with coils which are forced on by hy- 
drauhc pressure. A pecuharity of the projectiles of the 
Whitworth gun is that they are very long. Those in- 
tended to be used against armor are made of steel, with 
flat heads, so that they wiU not glance oflf when striking 
a metal plate. This class of projectiles have no fuse 
when used as shells, the firing of the charge taking place 
from the heat generated by the impact of the steel with 
the metal plate against which it is fired. 

The Krupp guns are among the very best, if not the 
best, constructed in modem times. They are made of 
cast steel, " composed of puddled steel, and pure wrought 
iron, melted in crucibles, and run into large ingots, which 
are worked under powerful steam hammers. "_ The suc- 
cess, or rather the superiority of the Krupp guns over 
the artillery in use by the French, was shown during the 
Franco-Prussian war, when they played a most import- 
ant part in the many victories which the Prussians ob- 
tained over their enemy 

Ahred Krupp was born in Essen, in Dusseldorf, in 
1812. His father was a locksmith and a worker in steel ; a 
man with a good deal of inventive genius ; but who seems 
to have been unlucky in his efforts at improvements, 


one of which was an attempt to improve the quahty 
of the steel with which he made his instruments. He 
died at forty, leaving all his business to his son, then 
only a lad of fifteen. At that time, Essen was a place of 
some eighteen thousand inhabitants; now the city of 
Essen has nearly one hundred thousand, aU of which is 
due whoUy to the genius of the inventor, Alfred Krupp. 

He gave his attention to the casting of steel, and the 
manufacture of articles from that metal. He first attract- 
ed attention outside his own immediate surroundings by 
the exhibition in London of a soHd block of his steel 
which weighed two and a quarter tons ; in 1862, he sent 
a block of the same material which weighed twenty-five 
tons ; and in 1867, he sent a block to the Paris Exposi- 
tion which weighed forty tons; and if he could con- 
veniently transport it, he could now exhibit one any- 
where which weighs over two hundred tons. 

He first conceived the idea of casting a cannon in 
steel in 1847. He had some practical difficulties at first, 
but in 1856 he produced breech-loaders of steel, cast in a 
single piece. In 1867, he exhibited the parent of monster 
guns, in a cannon which he exhibited at the Paris Expo- 
sition, which threw a projectile weighing a thousand 
pounds, and exploded a charge of one hundred pounds 
of powder. This is far from being large by comparison, 
at the present time. The eighty- one-ton gun uses some 
three hundred pounds of powder, and throws a projectile 
which weighs very nearly a ton. 

Krupp's works at Essen are the largest in the world. 
He has a city of his own ; his employes are the popula- 
tion of a metropolis, numbering many thousands. The 
number of cannon which he has cast is a very large one, 
being probably not less than ten thousand. Some ten 
years ago, his works at Essen included one thousand one 
hundred smelting and other furnaces, two hundred and 


seventy-five coke ovens, two hundred and sixty-four 
smiths' forges, three hundred steam-boilers, seventy-one 
steam-hammers, two hundred and eighty-six steam-en- 
gines with an aggregate of ten thousand horse-power, 
one thousand and fifty-six machine tools, a chemical 
laboratory, and photographic, lithographic, and printing 
and book-binding establishments. 

The inventor of the Whitworth gun has also a history 
not without some features of interest. Joseph, after- 
wards Sir Joseph Whitworth, was born in Stockport, 
England, in 1803. He was a mechanic from the outset, 
an inventor at an early age, and a man of accompUsh- 
ments in mechanical and engineering science. His first 
inventions were in the construction of planing and tool 
machines, which were brought out in 1861. In 1864, he 
designed a cannon with a hexagonal bore, and the pro- 
jectile before aUuded to, and later, he apphed the same 
principles to the construction of the breech-loading can- 
non which bears his name. He has been not only a 
mechanic, an inventor, and an engineer, but a writer, 
having pubHshed much on mechanical and kindred sub- 
jects. He was made a baronet in 1869 ; he was the Eng- 
Hsh commmissioner to the International Exhibition held 
in New York in 1863. 

Eraser, who constructed the thirty-five-ton gun for 
the Enghsh, is the one who also constructed the eighty- 
one-ton gun, at Woolwich, and it is this gun which is 
on the Inflexible, the latest and most formidable product 
of armored vessels in the British navy. It is not long 
since the seven-ton gun was considered the very limit of 
the construction of large guns ; this was soon followed 
by the thirty-five and the eighty-one-ton guns. The 
writer, during a late visit to Woolwich, to inspect the 
manufacture of an eighty- one-ton gun, was assured by 
Mr. Eraser that he had drawn designs for a one hundred 



and twenty-ton cannon, that he was entirely satisfied as 
to his ahility to construct, but that, as yet, the govern- 
ment did not feel willing to undertake the labor. The 
length of the eighty- one-ton gun is twenty- seven feet, 
the diameter of the bore sixteen inches, and the projec- 
tile, as already said, nearly one ton in weight, the charge 
of powder being one-third the weight of the missile. 


One of the most important of the machines in use 
for purposes of war is that known as the mitrailleuse. 
That in use in the United States is known as the G-at- 
ling gun, in which there is a series of barrels which 


reTolve, on the turning of a crank, and whicli, as they 
revolve are charged, fired, and the empty cartridges 
removed. Not less than some twelve hundred shots a 
minute* can be fired by this machine, and with great 
accuracy. The gun is capable of dehvering high-angle 
or mortar fire, so as to drop the bullets, with deadly 
effect on men behind intrenched positions, at aU dis- 
tances, from two hundred to three thousand five hun- 
dred yards. Tables of elevations and distances have 
been established, to obtain with certainty the above 
results. Experiments prove that the buUets so dis- 
charged come down in a nearly perpendicular Une, and 
with sufficient force to penetrate from two to three 
inches of timber. It is the invention of J. E. Grathng, 
of IndianapoHs ; and is now in use in most of the coun- 
tries of Europe except France, which has a machine- 
gun of its own invention. The French machine is one 
in which the cartridges, instead of being fed through a 
hopper, as in the case of the Gathngs, has charging 
blocks, somewhat the same as the Taylor gun, the 
invention of a Mr. Taylor, of KnoxviUe, Tennessee, 
Both these machines are of comparatively late inven- 
tion, and in the case of this country, have not been used 
in any great battle. 

There could be much more said upon the subject of 
the kinds of cannon in use, as their number is legion. 
Each of the, many kinds has peculiarities of its own, 
as to manner of rifling, material of which the gun is 
composed, size of projectile, the apphance by which the 
projectile is made to " take " the grooves of the gun so as 
to admit of no windage, and to secure the rotating move- 
ment ; but, however interesting aU this would be, it is 
not within the limits of this volume, and must be passed 
to admit a continuation of the history of small arms. 

* So claimed by the inventor. 



The first weapon used as a small -arm, that is, 
which was carried, and discharged by the hand of the 
soldier, was no more than a small cannon fastened at 


the end of a stick. The first small-arm may therefore 
he properly termed a hand-cannon. This kind of a 
weapon is fairly beheved to Jiave been in use in the 


latter part of the fourteenth century. The soldier carried 
something with "which to touch ofif the weapon ; and, 
except in size, it was in no essential respect different 
from an ordinary cannon either in construction, or in 
using when in action. 

In the fifteenth century, from such evidence as can 
he obtained from the museums of antiquities, and from 
other sources, it is to be inferred that there were three 
kinds of this original smaU-arm, or culverin, as it is 
called, in existence. One of these was a small cannon 
placed on a stake, and there fastened by bridles of iron, 
the cannon being made of wrought iron; it employed 
two men, one of whom loaded and aimed it, and the 
other discharged it. The second was like th» other, 
save that it was contiaued at the breech with a wooden 
stock ; and the third was a culverin which was carried 
by cavalry. The last-named is much shorter than the 
others; it had its breech continued by an iron stock, 
was supported on the pommel of the saddle by a small 
fork. Not less than six thousand of this class of cul- 
verin were in use in the battle of Morat. In the first half 
of the sixteenth century, the arquebuse was invented 
in Spain. In this, the barrel is much longer than in 
the culverin, and it had an attachment for firing the 

The arquebuse was very near the flint-lock musket 
which is wifchin the memories of men not yet old. 
The vent was bored in the side instead of the top of the 
barrel; under this vent there was placed a little pan 
to hold the priming; and so far, it was exactly hke the 
flint-lock. It had a cover which closed over the priming 
when the gun was not to be used. Behind the pan, 
there was a species of cock, with a pair of nippers at its 

* Arms and Armor. M. P. Lacombe. 


end; in tMs was inserted the fuse, or match. When 
the gun was to be fired, the pan was opened, the fuse 
was thrown forward and downward till it touched the 
priming, and thus ignited it. 

In about 1530, the musket was introduced into Italy, 
having probably been there first made ; it differed from 
the arquebuse in nothing s^ive that it was longer and 
heavier. It was so heavy that when aim was taken and 
the gun fired, there was a forked stick provided in which 
it rested. It was known as the falcon, and the falconet. 
The cahver, the fusil, the carabiae, are all simply lighter 
iorms of the musket ; the blunderbuss (thunderbuss) is a 
modification of the musket, having a shorter barrel and 
n larger bore; the musketoon is another Hghter form 
of the musket ; the very smaU arquebuse, or musket gave 
rise to the pistol, for the reason that its bore corre- 
sponded to the diameter of a coin named pistole ; and 
between the arquebuse and the pistol came the petronel. 

The Germans have the credit, according to the 
Prench writers, of having invented the wheel-lock. In 
this machine, the pan held the priming as in the case of 
the match-lock; a piece of flint was fasten'ed just over 
the powder in the pan ; there was a wheel with a fluted 
edge which touched the flint, and which, being made to 
revolve, by puUing the trigger, struck sparks from the 
flint which fell into the powder in the pan and ignited 
it. The wheel-lock continued in use till about 1630, 
vrhen the Spaniards discovered and introduced to the 
world the flint-lock, in which the pan remains as in the 
match-lock, and the flint, held between the nippers of 
the cock — as was the hghted fuse in the match-lock — 
was released by the puUing of the trigger, and forced 
forward by a spring against the cover of the pan, open- 
ing it with the blow, and in the opening emitting sparks 
which feU on the priming. At the first, this flint-lock 


did not meet with very great favor, and did not succeed 
in displacing the match-lock and wheel-lock from the 
field. From the beginning of the eighteenth century 
well into the nineteenth, the flint-lock held its own. 

One of the greatest improvements which the small- 
arm encountered was in 1803, when the percussion 
cap was invented. Here again is a case which demon- 
strates the ingenuity, and the versatiUty of clergymen, 
for the invention of this great improvement is due to 
Eev. Alexander Forsythe, a Scotchman, who at the time 
of his invention, was living at Belhelvie, England. In 
this invention the pan was replaced by a tube, ending in 
a small truncated cone, on which was placed a smaU 
metal cap containing some fulminate; this was struck 
by the descending hammer, which was simply the old 
match-holder in a solid form. The blow exploded the 
fulminate, which ignited the powder shaken into the 
tube from the charge in the gun. This arquebuse with 
the percussion lock held its place for half a century ; it 
assisted in setthng aU the great battles of the first sixty 
years of the present century. Within the last twenty 
years there may have been more improvements in smaU 
arms, than in aU. the prior five hundred years of their 

The smooth-bore musket, with the percussion look, 
invented in 1803, held its own until after the war in the 
Crimea. In the civil war, in this country, although the 
government had adopted a rifled muzzle-loader, there 
were tens of thousands of the old, smooth-bore percus- 
sion locks issued to the troops. Nor was this clumsy 
mass of iron, weighing some fourteen pounds, without its 
ardent supporters. The writer recalls a conversation 
held with General (then Major) Sturgis, in which he 
vehemently defended the smooth-bore against the rifled 
guns being sparingly issued by the government. " You 


don't want any accuracy in firing," said that officer. 
" All you have to do is to fire in the direction of the 
enemy, and if you miss one man you hit another." Gen- 
eral Sturgis was not alone in this opinion. The first 
Napoleon had an opportunity to use a rifled weapon, 
but he preferred the ancient smooth-bore with the flint- 
lock. The same is true of the Duke of Wellington. 

The history of the musket in use in England up to 
the Crimean war is a curious one. In sporting guns, 
vast improvements had obtained; but "Brown Bess" 
for the use of the soldiers remained unchanged. It is 
admitted by a writer that the EngHsh goverrmaent 
began to have some suspicion that " Brown Bess" was 
not aU that a gun might be. " Prior to 1830 some per- 
ception of the superiority of the rifle had begun to be 
felt in Great Britain, after its efficiency had been wit- 
nessed in the hands of the Americans whose marksmen 
were indebted to its skillful use for their advantages over 
ourselves, as AV^ell as for subsequent successes in their 
expeditions against the Mexicans." Some statistics as 
to what could be done by this musket which, for so many 
years, held its place as the principal arm of the infantry 
of aU the nations, are very curious. It was claimed 
that it had an effective range of two hundred yards ; the 
rule was that the soldier was to reserve his fire until he 
saw the whites of the eyes of the enemy, and yet, even 
at this distance it is said that a soldier had to fire the 
w^eight of his body in lead before he could succeed in 
bringing down one of the foe. At the battle of Sala- 
manca, there were three mOlion five hundred thousand 
cartridges, and six thousand balls fired, and several charges 
made both by the foot and cavalry, and yet there were 
only eight thousand men killed and wounded, from which 
comes the inference that only one shot in four hundred 
and thirty-seven took effect. During the Caffre war, in 


a single engagement there were eighty thousand cart- 
ridges fired, resulting in the knocking over of twenty- 
five of the enemy. A square of British infantry, at 
Waterloo, fired at short range on a body of Erench cav- 
alry which was charging, and only emptied two or three 
saddles. In another case, a fire of a square on cavalry, 
at thirty paces, only brought down three men. The 
French troops during the Crimean war fired some 
twenty-five million cartridges, of which not more than 
one in two thousand took effect. * 

The results of some experiments made with the 
musket in 1833, are given by the Beview of Edinburgh. 
The first target employed was three feet wide, and 
eleven feet six inches high, which was struck by about 
three-fourths of the balls at one hundred and fifty yards, 
fired with full charges — with reduced charges only above 
one-haH hit. Beyond this distance, the difficulty of 
hitting was so great that the width of the target had to 
be increased to six feet ; and at two hundred and fifty 
yards, of ten shots fired with full charges, not one hit 
the target ; at three hundred yards, shot after shot was 
fired without one hitting the object aimed at, or its 
whereabouts being ascertained. After various expe- 
dients in vain resorted to to hit such an object at such a 
range, the officers gave it up in despair; and proceeded 
to calculate a table of instruction for soldiers in firing 
with the musket, some of which will appear strange at 
the present day. The soldier was told in firing at a man, 
at six hundred yards, to fire one hundred and thirty feet 
above him ! Another case is given in which an expert 
marksman was provided with a regulation musket, and 
placed in position to fire at a target eighteen feet square 
at a distance of three hundred yards, with the result 

* Spectator, Edinburgh Review, etc. 


that he could not hit even this target more than once 
in twenty times. Even at two hundred yards he met 
with no greater success. * 

It was with such a gun as this that the Bnghsh 
fought all their great Taattles up to and inclusive of those 
in the Crimea. It was not till after the close of this 
long and -costly war with the Eussians that a change 
was effected. The reason why such results were ob- 
tained is said to be owing to the fact that the barrels 
were defectively bored ; that the buUet did not fit ; that . 
when fired, it bounded from side to side in the barrel, 
and once launched in the air, it was Hable to go in any 
direction save that which was desired. 

While it is very strange that the use of the rifle did 
not come into general use among the nations till within 
the last quarter of a century, there were reasons why it 
was not universally adopted when first discovered. It 
was really invented some centuries ago, it being sup- 
posed that rifling the bore of an arm was invented in the 
fifteenth century by Gaspard ZoUner, of Vienna. This 
original rifling was simply the cutting of some grooves 
which ran parallel to the axis of the bore ; the later and 
present form being one in which the grooves are spiral ; 
that is, they start from the bottom of the bore, and twist 
as they progress toward the muzzle. The date of the 
spiral grooving is not known to a certainty, although 
there are some authorities which accredit it to Augustin 
Kutter, of Nuremberg, in about the year 1600, 

For a time, rifled small-arms were in use. In 1674, 
the elector of Brandenburg, the ancestor of the present 
emperor of Germany, had riflemen distributed among 
his regiments. Frederick the Great had a regiment of 
riflemen in his army. This was in 1740; but before him> 

* Edinburgh Review, April, 1859. 


in 1645, there were three regiments of riflemen organized 
in Bavaria; and in 1689, the French had some of their 
soldiers armed with the improved gun. In the latter 
part of the eighteenth century, the Swiss and Austrians 
placed much rehance on the rifled weapon. In 1794, 
the British, having learned something from the recep- 
tion given them during the American revolt by the 
American riflemen, adopted the rifle as a part of their 
armament. But in all these cases there were many diffi- 
culties in the use of the rifle; it had no bayonet; it was 
very slow work to load it ; the bore easily became fouled, 
often requiring that the bullet should be hammered 
home with a mallet; and the result of it all was that 
this implement did not gain in favor. 

It was not tin about 1826 that rifling began to display 
some of its real value. Up to this period, there had been 
no means used to make the ball " take " the twist to any 
considerable extent. At this date, Lieut. Delvigne, at- 
tached to the French artillery, invented a rifle in which 
there was a chamber at the bottom of the bore, less in 
diameter than the bore, and less than that of the ball. 
The chamber held the charge, the ball was dropped in 
and rested on the top of the chamber, and was then 
rammed until it was driven into the grooves, and in this 
way, an effective twist was secured. Although this plan 
produced a considerable increase in range and accuracy, 
it wiU be readily seen that the interference with the 
sphericity of the ball resulted in a shape which presented 
much resistance to the air, and that in consequence, no 
great range was possible. The next invention for the 
purpose of making the ball " take " the grooves was that 
of Col. Thouvenin, who inserted at the bottom of the 
bore a small steel rod, one-fourth of an inch in diameter, 
and whose height was equal to that of the charge of 
powder. When the ball was dropped in, it was caught 


on the end of this steel rod, and was there held until it 
was rammed enough to force the sides of the ball into 
the grooves. This improvement is said to have been a 
very important one, as it enabled good practice at five 
hundred yards. 

It was in 1846 that one of the greatest improvements 
in the shape of the projectUe, and in getting the benefit 
of the rifling was invented by Capt. Minie of the French 
service. It was in the shape of an elongated bullet, 
such as are now in use in arms of all description, whether 
cannon or smaU-arms. In 1849, he improved his fiist 
bullet, and gave us that which is still in extensive use. 
It was cone-shaped, and had at the bottom a httle recesS) 
also cone-shaped, and in which was an iron cup, some- 
thing like a conical thimble. The lower edges of the 
ball being thus made thin by the hollowing out, when 
the piece was discharged, the thimble was forced for- 
ward, driving outward the thinned edges of the ball, and 
into the grooves of the bore. The invention of Capt. 
Minie revolutionized projectiles. But it was not tiU 1861, 
that a revolution took place in the use of guns which 
loaded at the muzzle. 

As was said in another place, one of the earhest of 
the improvements connected with fire-arms was the in- 
troduction of breech-loaders. But at the outset, they 
were clumsy, and, Hke the cannon to which they were 
attached, they were about as dangerous to friend as foe. 
The earliest patent on record is that of Abraham Hall, 
an Enghshman, in 1664, which recites that the arm is 
made breech-loading by " a hole at the upper end of the 
breech to receive the charge, which hole is opened or 
stopped by a piece of iron or steel which lies alongside 
of the piece, and movable by a ready and easy motion." 

The first breech-loader in this country was invented 
in 1811, by John N. Hall, of Yai-mouth, Massachusetts. 



This was adopted by the goTemment, and a large quan- 
tity of them was made and used on the frontiers ; and 
carbines, made in the same way, were in use by the 
mounted men during the war with Mexico. It was 
arranged so as to be used with both the flint, and per- 
cussion lock. But it was not tiU after the war of 1861-6 
that there was much effort made in the invention of 
breech-loaders in this country, although prior to the 
war there were several in existence, among which was 
Sharpe's, Burnside's, Maynard's, Spencer's, and Mer- 
rill's. It will surprise most people to learn that since 
January, 1837, there have been patented in this country 
perhaps not less than two thousand different forms of 
breech-loading fire-arms, in which the difference is, in 
the main, in the manner of inserting the cartridge. But 
few of these have ever been heard of outside of the pat- 
ent office. For a time, the Sharpe gun, which was pat- 
ented in about 1850, was a very noted fire-arm, more 
especially in its connection with the pohtical excitement 
concerning Kansas; and at which time the gift of a 
" Bible and a Sharpe's rifle " was considered the thing 
ior a man with anti-slavery views who was about to 
move from the east to that state. Among others which 
are more or less known are the Henry, Remington, Bal- 
lard, Berdan, Peabody, Winchester, Springfield (in use 
iby the United States government), Spencer, and others. 
It should be understood that of the large number 
patented in this country, a good many were by foreign 
inventors, such as Chassepot, the inventor of the na- 
tional small-arm of the French. The various small-arms 
in use by the various countries are as follows : France, 
the Chassepot; Belgium, the Albani; HoUand, the Sni- 
der, (an American invention) ; Turkey, the Eemington 
and Winchester ; Austria, the Wanzl ; Sweden, the Hag- 
strom ; Eussia, the Laidley , and the Berdan ; Switzerland, 


the Winchester ; Portugal, the Westley - Eichards ; 
Prussia, the Zundnadelgewahr (the famous needle-gun) 
and the Mauser rifle ; England, the Martini-Henry, or 
the Snider improvement on the Enfield ; and the United 
States, the Springfield, which is a converted muzzle- 
loader. AU of these are excellent guns, and are as 
much superior to the fire-arms in use a quarter of a cen- 
tury ago, as the steam-car is superior to the ox-cart. 

One of the most noted of these is the needle-gun in 
use hy the Prussian army, and which made the king of 
Prussia the emperor of Germany. It was the invention 
of a mechanic named Johann Nikolaus von Dreyse, who 
was horn in Sommerda, Prussia, in November, 1787, 
and who died in December, 1867. He was the son of a 
locksmith, whose trade he learned, and worked at it till 
1809, when he went to Paris, and was there employed in 
a rifle factory till 1814. In 1824 he received a patent for 
the invention of percussion caps, and a year later, he 
obtained another patent for a steam-engine worked by a 
generator instead of boiler. In 1827 he obtained a 
patent on a muzzle-loading, and in 1836, on a breech- 
loading gun. The invention and construction of these 
guns were carried on under the patronage of the Prus- 
sian government. In 1840, his breech-loader was 
adopted by the Prussian government, for whom he 
manufactured up to 1863, over three hundred thousand 
of his new pieces. This gun is a very effective weapon, 
being able to afford good target practice at from twelve 
to fifteen hundred yards. Its pecuharity is that the ful- 
minate which fires the cartridge is placed between the 
powder and the buUet; when fired, a steel needle is 
driven through the cartridge until it strikes and ex- 
plodes the fulminate. It is thought that, by this pro- 
cess, aU the powder is discharged and utilized, which 
may not happen when exploded from the rear. 


Another very notable arm is the Chassepot of the 
French, and which is not only a less clumsy weapon in 
appearance than the Prussian needle-gun, but is claimed 
by its advocates to be a much more effective weapon. 
Its inventor, Antoine Alphonse Chassepot, gave his 
name to the weapon. He was born in 1833, and like his 
father, worked in a manufactory for the construction of 
arms. His invention cost him many years of study; 
but he completed it in time to permit its adoption after 
the Prussian victories over the Austrians, and which 
demonstrated the necessity of having some weapon to 
compete with the Prussian needle-gun. It differs from 
the Prussian gun in the location of the fulminate, which 
in the chassepot, is located at the rear of the cartridge 
instead of at the rear of the bullet. 

All the breech-loaders in use have the metaUic car- 
tridge, and those which have been adopted as a national 
arm, have a range of about a thousand yards, which is 
at least eight hundred yards more than was the range 
of the musket in general use twenty-five years ago. 
The guns which have a range above one thousand yards 
are the Martini- Henry, of Great Britain ; the Beaumont, 
of HoUand ; the Chassepot, of France ; and the Mauser, 
said to be in use in North Germany. During the 
Eusso- Turkish war, a correspondent of one of the Lon- 
don papers, related that while he was sitting 
some Eussians, a bullet, fired from the Turkish works, 
struck close to them in a bank of clay. Curiosity led 
them to dig out the missile, which was found to have 
imbedded itself to the depth of sixteen inches in the 
bank.' The Turks were armed with the Eemington and 
Winchester rifles; the distance from the point where 
the gun was fired to the place where the buUet struck, 
was just one mile, as was afterwards ascertained by, 

colt's eevolvee. 389 

Pistols came into use before tlie close of the six- 
teenth century. They were, however, of httle value as 
a fire-arm untU about 1830, when Delvigne, already re- 
ferred to, invented a rifled pistol with a single barrel and 
a percussion lock, which is said to have had an effective 
range of two hundred yards (which is very extraordi- 
nary), and to have been much more efficient than the 
muskets then in use. It was not tiU 1836 that the 
splendid modern pistol, known as the revolver, came 
into existence. 

In that year. Col. Samuel Colt, of Hartford, Conn., 
invented the revolving pistol which bears his name, and 
which is the model from which aU modern revolvers have 
been constructed. It is not claimed that the principles 
involved in a fire-arm, which has several chambers 
revolving at the breach are original conceptions of Col. 
Colt ; but to him is due the reducing of these princi- 
ples to practice, and giving them the quahty of utihty. 
There is no lack of attempts to deny him credit in this 
respect on the ground that there are models of revolv- 
ing fire-arms to be found in various museums of anti- 
quities in the old world. It is true that there are sev- 
eral of these to be found. In the Tower of London 
there is a match-lock of the fifteenth century which has 
a revolving breech with four chambers, and which 
greatly resembles the modern revolver. It is so ar- 
ranged that the chambers may be turned by hand so as 
to bring the loaded one in line with the barrel of the 
gun. There is a single cock, or hammer, carrying the 
match, and on each of the barrels is a priming-pan, the 
cover of which was pushed back by the thumb when it 
was brought into position to be discharged. There is 
also another revolver in the same building which is an 
ancient arquebuse, with six chambers. Like the other, 
the breech is rotated by hand, and the main difference 


•between them is that there is but one priming-'pan for 
all the chambers instead of one for each chamber. Un- 
Hke the other, it is a wheel-lock. 

Another arquebuse in the Tower of London, has six 
chambers, in a revolving breech, in which the chambers 
are revolved automatically, and the discharge effected 
by a flint-lock, and a single priming-pan. There are 
still others with the revolving breech, several of which 
date back to the fifteenth century, and one which is the 
invention of a man named Ehsha CoUier, patented in 
the United States in 1818. In the last-named, there are 
five chambers which are turned by hand, and in the 
hammer there is a magazine of priming placed in the 

Despite all these facts as to the existence of these 
various revolving fire-arms, the credit of Colt is none 
the less for his invention. The ancient revolvers are 
rusting in the tower of London, and in other antiquar- 
ian collections ; the revolver of Colt, and all other mod- 
ern revolvers of which his was the type, are reahties, 
heard on every battle-field, and carried as a weapon for 
offence and defence in every part of the civilized globe. 

The history of Colt's hfe illustrates what has already 
so often been demonstrated in this volume, that a man, 
to win fame and fortune, does not need the aid of wealth 
or powerful friends. Each of Napoleon's soldiers car- 
ried the baton of a marshal in his knapsack ; so every 
man carries within himself the possibilities of the great- 
est achievements and the hightest rewards. He was 
born in Hartford, Conn., in July, 1814, and died there 
January 10, 1862. His father was a silk and woolen manu- 
facturer, into whose employ the son entered when he 
was but ten years of age, preferring this to going to 
school; being soon after sent to school, he ran away, 
and shipped on a vessel bound for the East Indies. It 


is said that while on the voyage, he made a model in 
wood of a revolving pistol which was the same in prin- 
ciple as the celebrated one which he gave to the world. 
This model is yet in existence. 

Upon his return from the Indies, he studied the 
chemistry of dyeing, after which he traveled through 
this country and Canada, giving lectures on the sub- 
jects which he had just mastered. In 1835, he visited 
England and France, and took out patents for a revolv- 
ing fire-arm, and the next year took out patents for the 
same in the United States. In a subsequent visit ta 
Europe, he saw for the first time the specimens of an- 
cient revolving fire-arms, and in order to free himself 
from any suspicion of having borrowed his conceptions 
from these weapons, he prepared a very elaborate paper 
on the subject of ancient revolvers, and his own inven- 
tion, which he read before the Institution of Civil Engi- 
neers of England. 

It was a long and wearisome labor for him to secure 
any substantial returns for his investments in the time, 
money, and effort which his invention had cost him. 
He started a company for the manufacture of the new 
weapon, but it became insolvent. It was not till the 
great gold excitement in California broke out that there 
began to be a steady demand for his revolver; and then 
it became so great that he found it impossible to supply 
all the weapons that were called for. The demand for 
them began to come from all parts of the world ; another 
company was started; works were constructed which 
cost him some three million doUars; and now these 
works are turning out about one thousand of the Colt 
revolver each day. 

It may be added that aU the machinery used in the 
manufacture of the Colt's arms was made on the ground; 
and that it was from his shops that they were furnished 


to the British government, and to that of Russia the 
machines with which they carry on the manufacture of 
revolving weapons. Colt also invented a submarine 
battery which has taken high rank among mihtary men ; 
and a method of insulating submarine cables which met 
with success. He was the recipient of medals, deco- 
rations, and various other evidences of favor from most 
of the governments of Europe and from many of the 
Asiatic sovereigns. 

Very much more might be said on the subject of 
fire-arms, and other appliances for offence and defence; 
but, in reality, the subject is one which is practically 
unlimited. The subjects of the various projectiles in use ; 
of metallic cartridges; of shells, case, cannister and 
schrapnel; these alone would furnish ample material 
for a book of no mean size. Then, under the head of 
apphances for offence and defence, would come armored 
ships, their armament ; the innumerable torpedo vessels 
and their missiles ; all of which and many others would 
furnish matter of intense interest, but which cannot be 
entered on in detail in a volume of the dimensions of 
the present one. 

It wiU be conceded that the vast and numerous im- 
provements which have been made within a few years 
in guns will have a most beneficial result. All these 
improvements have the effect to render war too expen- 
sive in the matter of life for the idle indulgence of any 
ruler. Monarchs can no longer declare war from a mere 
whim, for purposes of robbery, for the smile of a woman, 
as has been so often the case in the history of the 
nations. The arms of precision, which project their 
deadly missiles for a thousand yards, have had a sub- 
duing effect on mere wars of conquest. It was the rifled 
guns of the Boers, their improved bullets, and the fault- 
less marksmanship of these loutish farmers which gave 


them such an advantage over the forces of Great Brit- 
ain, that they were conceded their hberty. Great wars 
are infrequent just now, for the reason that they are so 
deadly; it is only the gravest of causes which wiU force 
any nation to invoke their hurricanes of destruction. 

The time is not distant when war will be still more 
deadly, and the nations proportionately unwUling to 
breast its horrors. The invention of new explosives, in 
the shape of nitro-glycerine, and others that are in use, 
opens up a possibiUty, even a probability, that war may 
be soon rendered so costly that there will be none who 
will dare venture upon it. Torpedoes, charged with 
this tremendous energy, may make armored ships use- 
less, and the encounter of ships, and armies the equiva- 
lent of mutual annihilation. Balloons carrying bombs 
of this new agent may rise above cities, and in a few 
moments inflict a destruction in property which will be 
so vast that it will be beyond remedy. Instead of enor- 
mous standing armies, vast accumulation of expensive 
material, the war-powers of the future may consist of a 
small supply of nitro-glycerine and a few hght, serial 
vehicles for its employment. When this shall come to 
pass, the nations will have arrived at permanent peace. 



THE discovery of steam, or the invention of a steam- 
engine, that is, an engine for the employment of 
the forces of steam, belongs exclusively to no man, and 
scarcely to any age. As far back as one can scan the 
past, steam was known, and some appliance for its utili- 
zation in one form or another. 

It is a something which has been developed slowly, 
and which has reached its present development by a 
gradual series of advances whose beginning is lost in the 
remoter ages. Here and there, men have accelerated its 
progress beyond its average speed ; such men as Papin, 
Newcomen, Watts, and others; but aU of them were no 
more than improvers. They took the powerful gas, and 
changed the form of its apphcation so as to produce bet- 
ter effects; they took machinery which was vitahzed 
with power by steam, and altered it so that its purpose 
was widened, and its utihty was increased in new direc- 
tions. But none of them discovered steam, or invented 
the steam-engine. The -.Elopile of Hero, or the device 
of the same for the opening of the doors of a temple, are 
just as much steam-engines as the proudest of modern 

The writings of Hero, some 200 years before Christ, de- 
scribe hydrauhc inventions which were made before his 
time, and such as were made by himself. Among these 




are many njachines which were operated by steam, and 
still others which were moved by the expansion of heated 
air. In his works, several " steam-boilers are described, 
usually simple pipes or cyhndrical vessels, the steam be- 
ing generated in them by the fire on the altar, and thus 
forms a steam-blast." But it is to be observed that, so 
far as can be ascertained, while there are abundant evi- 
dences that steam was known long before Christ, its use 
was mainly in toys such as the ^oHpile of Hero, and in 
operations connected with the administration of the 

HERO'S ENGINE. (B. C. 800.) 

pagan priests, designed to excite the wonder and fear of 
the masses, and lead them into the behef that the priests 
were possessed of supernatural powers. 

From the time of Hero, 200 B. C, there is substan- 
tially nothing said of steam for more than a thousand 
years. Even at the end of this period, what is mentioned 
is in the nature of a very attenuated legend. There is- 
said to have been a clock in the twelfth century, in 
Rheims, whose motor was air which was compressed by 
heated water. It was not till the sixteenth century that 
we began to get any definite information as to the knowl- 
edge of steam as a motor. A late modem writer* states. 

* Kobt. A. Thurston. 


that Hieronymus Cardan, of the middle of the sixteenth 
century, in his writings called attention to the power of 
steam, and the facility with which a vacuum can he ob- 
tained by its condensation. The sam§ modern writer 
says that many traces are found in the history of the 
sixteenth century of some knowledge of the properties 
of steam, and some anticipation of the advantages to 
follow its apphcation. He quotes from Matthesius, who, 
in 1571, described in one of his sermons, a " contrivance 
which may be termed a steam-engine," and sets forth 
the " tremendous results which may foUow the volcanic 
action of a smaU quantity of confined vapor." About 
the same time, the ^ohpile of Hero was made use of to 
turn the spit. 

In 1669, Jacob Besson, at Orleans, published among 
many other things, a tract which, according to Thurs- 
ton, " described very intelligently the generation of 
steam by the communication of heat to water, and its 
peculiar properties." In 1588, an Italian named Agos- 
tino Ramelli, born and educated at Rome, pubhshed a 
book in which he described many machines adapted to 
various ends, some of which have furnished the stock- 
in-trade of many later and so-called inventors. The 
Spaniards claim that as early as 1543, a Spanish naval- 
ofl&oer, named Blasco de Garay, undertook to move a 
ship by paddle-wheels, from which they infer that the 
use of steam was known at that early period. This is 
inferred from the statement in the discovered account 
that a vessel of boihng water was a part of the apph- 
ances that was used in the attempt. 

Giambattista deUa Porta, who was born in Naples in 
1540, and who died at the same place in 1615, devoted 
his time to study. He pubhshed several works, such as 
De Humana, Physiognomia, and Spiritali, in the latter 
of which he describes how a column of water can be 


raised by the production of a vacuum by the condeasa- 
tion of steam. Porta occupied a distinguished position ; 
he knew too much for his age, and brought himself 
under the displeasure of the church from a behef that 
he vpas engaged in the practice of magic ; vphich meant, 
in those days, knovping more than the law allowed. He 
improved the theories of optics, was the inventor of the 
camera obsoura; and wrote voluminously of natural 
magic, secret writing, landscape gardening, chemistry, 
meteorology, etc. A rude engraving of his steam-appa- 
ratus was left in his works, in which there is a furnace 
on which is a boiler. A tube leads from the boiler into 
a tank, and terminates near the top of the tank. An- 
other tube starts from near the bottom of the tank and 
passes out through the top into the open air. As the 
steam issues into the tank through the tube from the 
boUer below, it creates a pressure on the surface of the 
water, and thus forces it down, into, and up through the 
tube which leads into the open air. 

"In 1615, Salomon de Caus, a Frenchman, made a 
drawing of a plan of a machine which, while different in 
outHne, is precisely the same as that of Porta, for the 
raising of water by the use of steam. In 1629, Giovanno 
Branca, an Itahan, described a steam-engine in which 
he secured motion for machinery by having steam issue 
from a tube and strike against the vanes of a horizontal 
wheel. In 1630, a patent was granted to David Eamsay, 
of England, for several inventions, among which was 
one for raising water from pits by the use of fire ; another 
to make any sort of mills " goe on standing waters by 
continual motion, vsdthout help of wind, water, or horse ; 
to make boats, shippes, and barges to goe against strong 
wind and tide ; to raise water from low places and mynes 
and coal pitts by a new waie never yet in use. " * Several 

* Thurston. 


of these are unmistakably steam-engines. There were 
patents issued in England in 1632 and 1640 for machines 
to move ships against wind and tide. 

Up to 1663, the use of steam had been mainly con- 
fined to the production of blasts for the smelting of ores, 
for turning spits, and other Hght work. That steam had 
been carried further than this is assertedj by the inven- 
tions of the famous Edward Somerset, better known as 
the second Marquis of Worcester. He is claimed by 
many to be the real and only inventor of the steam-en- 
gine ; and to prove, and to refute this, a library of books 
has been written. It has even been asserted that such 
a man never had any existence ; and yet there is no lack 
of a work by him named the Century, which was issued 
first in 1663, and which has several times been since re- 
published. This title. Century, does not have reference 
to the space of time of a hundred years, but to one hun- 
dred inventions in it which he puts on record, and claims 
as his own. 

These one hundred inventions are made up of those 
which refer to seals and watches^ games, arithmetic and 
perspective, automata, ciphers, correspondence and sig- 
nals, domestic affairs, mechanical apphances, naval and 
mihtary affairs, hydrauhcs and the water-engine. Many 
of his inventions are very curious. He shows a system 
of short-hand in which the pen needs never be raised 
from the paper. Nos. 6 and 7 refer to a method of com- 
municating between two persons, by day or night, as far 
as the eye can discover black from white, " without noise 
made or notice taken," and which may be practiced at 
the moment, without premeditation. No. 9 is "an en- 
gine, portable in one's pocket, which may be carried and 
fastened on the inside of the greatest ship, tanquam 
aliud agens, and at any appointed minute, though a 
week after, either day or night, it shall irrevocably sink 


that ship." Is not here the ante-type of some " infernal 
machines " which have seen the hght vpithin the last ten 
years? It is within ten years that a German steamer 
was hlown up hy an iafernal machine which had been 
placed on board, and which was arranged to explode by 
the agency of clock-work. The next invention foreshad- 
ows the torpedo, for it says : " A way from a mile off to 
dive and fasten a like engine to any ship, so as it may 
punctually work the same effect either for time or for 
execution." His next invention, No. 11, is a panacea 
for the poison of the last, for it is, " How to prevent and 
safeguard any ship from such attempt by day or night." 
No. 13 is an invention for making such false decks to 
a ship as should kiU and take prisoners as many as 
should board the ship, and without in any way interfer- 
ing vdth the integrity of the decks, so that in half an 
hour they should aU be replaced in their original posi- 
tion. No. 15 shows, " how to make a boat work itself 
against wind and tide, yea both vnthout the help of man 
or beast ; yet so that the wind or tide, though directly 
opposite, shall force the ship against itself; and in no 
point of compass but it shall be as effectual as if the 
vpind were in the Pupp, or the stream actually with the 
course it is to steer, according to which the oars shall 
row, and necessary motions work and move towards the 
desired port or point of the compass." It is supposed 
that the machine here referred to is one in which pad- 
dles are driven by wind or water. That paddles were 
known at this period is proved by the fact that there is 
an engraving extant, of the first part of the sixteenth 
century, of large vessels vsdth paddles which are worked 
by animal power. " The ancients had a way to drive 
their ships without oar or sail, so that they never could 
be wind-bound." * 

* Humane Industry. 1661. 


The sixteenth invention of Worcester was, "how to 
make a sea-castle or fortification cannon-proof, contain- 
ing a thousand men, yet sailable at pleasure to defend a 
passage, or in an hour's time to divide itself into three 
ships as fit and trimmed to sail as before; and even 
whilst it is a fort or castle, they shall be unanimously 
steered, and effectually driven by an indifferent strong 
wind." The suggestion in this instance is not wholly 
original, as the plan of a ship which should be divisible 
into three or united as one, at pleasure, was often sug- 
gested by the early writers. 

No. 18 is an " artificial fountain, to be turned hke an 
hour-glass by a child, in the twinkhng of an eye, yet 
holding great quantities of water, and of force sufficient 
to make snow, ice, and thunder, with the chirping of 
birds, and shewing of several shapes and effects usual to 
fountains of pleasure." No. 19 would be of great value 
if it could be introduced at the present day. It is a 
"Httle engine within a coach, whereby a child may stop 
it, and secure aU persons in it, and the coachman him- 
self, though the horses be ever so unruly and running ia 
a fuU career; a child being sufficiently capable to unloose 
them in what posture soever they should have put them- 
selves, turning never so short ; for a child can do it in 
the twinkling of an eye." Something of the same sort 
has lately been made the subject of a patent in this 
country; it is an attachment which, by a motion of a 
lever, releases the horses from the carriage, and is so 
very simple that even a child can handle it. 

No. 20 is a very non-understandable machine ; and if it 
has ever been put in operation, the fact is not on record. 
It is " how to bring up water balancewise, so that a ht- 
tle weight or force as will turn a balance will be only 
needful, more than the weight of the water within the 
buckets, which counterpoise and empty themselves one 


into the other, the uppermost yielding its water (how 
great a quantity soever it holds) at the same time the 
lowermost taketh it in, though it be an hundred fathom 

No. 28 would be of the greatest advantage in modern 
days when the material for pontooning a stream, in war 
time especially, demands a large amount of transporta- 
tion, and considerable time to lay it. See how simple is 
the invention of Worcester: "A bridge, portable in a 
cart with six horses, which in a few hours time may be 
placed over a river half a mile broad, whereon with much 
expedition may be transported horse, foot, and cannon." 
The following one may be found of use to miMtary men : 
" A portable fortification able to contain five hundred 
fighting men, and in six hours time may be set up, and 
made cannon-proof, upon the side of a river, or a pass, 
with cannon mounted on it, and as complete as a regular 
fortification, with half -moons and counterscarps." 

Another of his suggestions would be a capital thing if 
it could be put in use to-day : "How to compose an uni- 
versal character methodical and easy to be written, yet 
inteUigible in any language ; so that if an Enghshman 
write it in English, a French, Italian, Spaniard, Irish, 
Welshman, being scholars ; yea, Grecian, or Hebritian 
shall as perfectly understand it in their own tongue, as 
if they were Enghsh, distinguishing the verbs from the 
nouns, the numbers, tenses, cases as properly expressed 
in their own language as it was written in Enghsh." 
No clue is given by the marquis as to how he would 
bring about this wonderful reform ; for certainly, next to 
use of electricity, and that of steam, there could be 
nothing which would be of more universal benefit than 
this "universal character." 

From 33 to 43, the " Century " is taken up with var- 
ious ways of constructing alphabets. Among these 


are a needle alphabet which is made by the manner 
in which the stitches are taken — an alphabet depend- 
ent on the manner in which a silk string is knotted; 
the same by the fringe of the gloves, by the string- 
ing of a bracelet, the holes in the bottom of a sleeve, 
by a lantern, by the taste, the touch and the smeU; 
aU being for the purpose of carrying on a correspond- 
ence which can only be understood by those in the 
secret. The last of them is one which is: "how to 
vary aU these, so that ten thousand may know them, 
and keep the understanding part from any but their cor- 
respondents." This is, perhaps, more ingenious rather 
than valuable. Cipher writing is very old. Long before 
even Worcester, the Neapohtan, Porta, who died in 
1615, wrote a work * in which he gave no less than one 
hundred and eighty different methods of secret writing.* 
No. 44 might be valuable as a curiosity in these days, 
but it has been supplanted by more effective weapons : 
"To make a key of a chamber, which to your sight hath 
its wards, rose-pipe but paper thick, and yet at pleasure 
in a minute of an hour shaU become a perfect pistol, 
capable to shoot through a breast-plate commonly of 
carabine- proof, with prime, powder, and fire-look, undis- 
coverable in a stranger's hand." The next possesses 
considerable utiHty. It is : " How to hght a fire and a 
candle at what hour of the night one awaketh, without 
rising or putting one's hand out of the bed. And the 
same becomes to be a serviceable pistol at pleasure ; yet 
by a stranger, not knowing the secret, seemeth but a 
dextrous tinder-box." It might not be very difficult to 
construct something of the kind, if one should have 
clock-work which when loosened, should strike a flint 
and ignite some tinder. 

* De Occultis Literarium Notts. 


In his fiftieth invention the marquis attained some- 
thing which would be of great utihty could it come into 
general use. It is a " complete light, portable ladder, 
which taken out of one's pocket, may be by himself fas- 
tened an hundred foot high to get up by from the 
ground. " Worcester was not alone in this class of inven- 
tion, nor even original. In 1659, there was published 
the following from a very noted source : " Tt is possible 
to invent an engine of a httle bulk, yet of great efficacy, 
either to the depressing or the elevating of the greatest 
weight; which would be of much consequence in sev- 
eral accidents ; for hereby a man may ascend or descend 
any walls, dehvering himself or his comrades from 
prison ; and this engine is only three fingers high, and 
four broad."* Unfortunately neither of these inven- 
tors has left us any hints which will enable us to recon- 
struct the convenient and ingenious " engine " thus 
referred to. 

The marquis gave a good deal of time to the improve- 
ments of fire-arms; No. 58, and several subsequent 
inventions have reference to rapid firing. The first of 
them is : " How to make a pistol to discharge a dozen 
times with one loading, and without so much as one new 
pruning requisite, or to change it out of one hand into 
the other, or stop one's horse." The principle here 
involved is probably the same as that given in Natural 
Magick by Porta, in 1668, in which there is first put 
some powder, and then a ball in the gun, and on this 
some! " dark clammy powder," then more powder and a 
bullet, alternating the charge and the " dark clammy " 
powder- till the gun was filled. This "dark clammy" 
powder was probably something in the nature of salt- 
petre, which would burn slowly, and which as it burned 

*IH8C0very of the Miracles of Art, Natv/re and Magick. Friar Bacon. 


down the barrel would, in turn, reach each charge of 
gunpowder, and discharge it. This is further proven by 
the fact that Porta says the ball must go in loosely, this 
being to allow the slow fire to fill the space about the 
baU, and, in this way, reach the powder below each 

No. 64 is an invention, "tried and approved before 
the late Bang (of ever blessed memory) and an hundred 
Lords and Commons, in a Cannon of eight inches and a 
quarter, to shoot Bullets of sixty-four pounds weight, and 
twenty-four pounds of powder, twenty times in six min- 
utes ; so clear from danger, that after all were discharged, 
a Pound of Butter did not melt, being laid on the Cannon- 
britch, nor the green Oile discoloured that was first 
anointed it, and used between the Barrel thereof, and the 
engine, having never in it, nor within six foot, but one 
charge at a time." Nothing has been left to indicate 
the processes which the inventor used to secure such 
rapid results with no perceptible heating of the barrel. 
In these days an invention which would prevent the 
heating of gun-barrels would speedily enrich the inven- 

The next three are still war-Hke inventions. (1) "A 
way that one man in the Cabin may govern the whole 
side of Ship-musquets, to the number (if need required) 
of two or three thousand shots." (2) " A way that against 
several Avenues to a fort or a Castle, one man may 
charge fifty Cannons playing, and stopping when he 
pleaseth, though out of sight of the Cannon." (3) "A 
rare way hkewise for musquettoons fastened to the 
Pummel of the Saddle, so that a Common Trooper can- 
not miss to charge them, with twenty or thirty Bullets 
at a time, even in a fuU career." 

No. 68 of his inventions is the most important of 
all of them, and would make him famous had all the 

woecester's steam-pump. 405 

others of his Century heen unknown. In full, it is as 
follows : 

" An admirable and most forcible way to drive up 
water by fire, not by drawing or sucking it upwards, for 
that must be as the Philosopher calleth it Intra sphceram 
activitatis, which is but at such a distance. But this 
way hath no Bounder, if the vessels be strong enough; 
for I have taken a piece of a whole cannon, whereof the 
end was burst, and filled it three-quarters full of water, 
stopping and scruing up the broken end; as also the 
Touch-hole ; and making a constant fire under it, within 
twenty-four hours it burst, and made a great crack : so 
that having a way to make my vessels so that they are 
strengthened by the force within them, and the one to 
fill after the other. I have seen the water run hke a 
constant fountaine-stream forty foot high; one vessel of 
water rarified by fire driveth up forty of cold water. 
And the man that tends the work is but to turn two 
cocks that one vessel of water being consumed, another 
begins to force and re-fill with cold water, and so suc- 
cessively, the fire being tended and kept constant, which 
the self-same person may hkewise abundantly perform 
in the interim between the necessity of turning the said 

In 1702, Thomas Savery made a pubhcation of his 
invention for raising water by means of vacuums pro- 
duced by the condensation of steam in a vessel, and 
alludes to it as "its first appearance in the world." In 
speaking of his invention in the same publication, he 
says : "A man that tends the work is but to turn two 
cocks, that one vessel of water being consumed, another 
begins to force and refill with cold water, and so suc- 
cessively, the fire being tended and kept constant, which 
the self-same person may hkewise abundantly perform 
between the necessity of turning the said cooks." If 


the reader will glance back over No. 68, whicli was pub- 
lished more than thirty years anterior to the so-called 
invention of Savery, he will see that not only is the 
machine referred to by Worcester the same as that of 
Savery, but that the latter, in the extracts given, uses 
substantially the same words. In other words, Savery 
took his ideas of the raising of water by the use of fire 
and water from Worcester, and even his language in 
order to describe it.* 

There seems to be a very powerful weight of authori- 
ties against Savery as the inventor of the engine for the 
raising of water by the agency of steam. The one- 
hundredth invention of the Marquis of Worcester is a 
further affirmation of his invention of the " Water- 
commanding " engine. He describes it thus : " A 
water-work is by many years' experience and labor so 
advantageously by me contrived that a child's force 
bringeth up a hundred foot high an incredible quantity 
of water, even two foot diameter, so naturally, that the 
work will not be heard even in the next Eoom ; and with 

* Captain Savery having read the Marquis of Worcester's book, was the 
first to put in practice the raising of water by fire, which he proposed for 
the draining of mines. His engine is described in Harris' Lexicon, 
which being compared with the Marquis of Worcester's description, will 
easily appear to have been taken from him; though Captain Savery 
denied it, and the better to conceal the matter bought up all of the Mar- 
quis of Worcester's books that he could purchase in Paternoster Eow 
and elsewhere, and burned them in the presence of the gentleman, his 
friend, who told me this. He (Savery) said that he found out the power 
of steam by chance, and invented the following story to persuade people 
to believe it, viz., that having drunk a flask of Florence at a tavern, and 
thrown the empty flask on the fire, he called for a basin of water to wash 
his hands, and perceiving that the little wine left in the flask had filled 
up the flask with steam, he took the flask by the neck, and plunged the 
mouth <of it under the surface of the water in the basin, and the water 
of the basin was immediately driven up into the flask by the pressure of 
the air. Course of Experimental Philosophy. 1763. Dr. J. T. Desagu- 
liers, F. K. S. and Chaplain to His Royal Highness, Frederick, late Prince 
of Wales, etc. 


SO great ease and geometrical symmetry, that though, it 
work day and night from one" end of the year to the 
other, it will not require forty shillings reparation to 
the whole engine nor hinder one day-work. And I may 
boldly call it the most stupendous work in the whole 
world; not only with Httle charge to drein aU sorts of' 
mines, and furnish cities with water, though never so 
high seated, as weU as to keep them sweet, running 
through several streets, and so performing the work of 
scavengers, as well as furnishing the inhabitants with 
sufficient water for their private occasions ; but hkewise 
supplying rivers with sufficient to maintaine and make 
them portable from towne to towne, and for the better- 
ing of lands all the way it runs ; with many more advan- 
tageous and yet greater efifects of profit, admiration, 
and consequence ; so that I deservedly deem this inven- ' 
tion to crown my labours, to reward my expences, and 
make my thoughts acquiesce in way of further inven- 
tions." It will be of interest to glance at some of the 
other inventions recorded by the Marquis of Worcester, 
for the reason that many of them are curious, and for 
the further reason that one may see in some of them 
suggestions which have furnished modern inventors 
with many of their " original " ideas. 

No. 69 describes "A way how a Httle triangle scrued 
key, not weighing a shilling, shall be capable and strong 
enough to bolt and unbolt round about a great chest an 
hundred bolts through fifty staples, two in each, with a 
direct contrary motion, and as many more from both 
sides and ends, and at the self-same time shall fasten it 
to a place beyond a man's natural strength to take it 
away; and in one and the same turn both locketh and 
openeth it." Following this are four other inventions 
all relating to keys and escutcheons, the latter of which 
is very curious. When the escutcheon is over the lock, 


it has two qualities ; the owner though a woman, may 
with her "deUcatehand vary the wayes of coming to open 
the lock ten milhons of times, beyond the knowledge of 
the smith that made it, or of me who invented it." If a 
stranger should open it, "it setteth an alarm a-goiag, 
which the stranger cannot stop from running out ; and 
besides, though none should be within hearing, yet it 
catcheth his hand as a trap doth a fox; and though far 
from maiming him, yet it leaveth such a mark behind 
it, as will discover him if suspected ; the escocheon or 
lock plainly shewing what monies he hath taken out of 
the box to a farthing, and how many times opened since 
the owner hath been in it." Who knows if it be not the 
case that from these hints some of the ingenious artif- 
icers of modern days have borrowed some hints as to 
' locks which are opened by a word ; or the time-lock, which 
only opens at a certain hour and then opens itself, or 
others of all the marvellous ones which are attached 
to the doors of the modern safe? 

No. 77 is " how to make a man to fly; which I have 
tried with a little boy of ten years old in a Barn, from 
one end to the other on a Hay-mow." It is something 
of a pity that more cannot be learned of this invention ; 
for were it known as to detail, it would save many hard 
students of this generation the mortification of working 
to solve a problem, which ever seems on the eve of solu- 
tion, but which always remains unsolved. No. 78 is a 
watch to go constantly without winding, except for the 
first time, and which if consulted daily will keep good 
time. It is evident that this invention is one in which 
it is designed to wind the watch by the opening of the 
case; hence the statement that the oftener it is con- 
sulted the better the time that it wiU keep. 

No. 79 is a contrivance for the locking of aU the 
boxes of a cabinet with one key at one time ; a method 


"whicli is now in use, and which is probably claimed as a 
modern inyention. .No. 90 wiU astonish most people, 
even in these days when there is no complaint that 
cheating in gaming has wholly disappeared. It is termed 
," a most dextrous Dicing Box, with h6les transparent, 
after the usual fashion, with a Device so dextrous, that, 
ynth a knock of it against the Table the four good Dice 
are fastened, and it looseneth four false Dice made fit 
for his purpose." The biographer * of the marquis pro- 
nounces his chent not guilty of any attempt to provide 
means for cheating at dice, but thinks that he invented 
this machine simply for the purpose of warnings to the 
nnwary. As he kept the invention a secret, and would 
part with only to those who were able to pay for the 
information, it would hardly seem as if he had invented 
this machine as a moral example. 

No. 92 is the progenitor, or in the hne of the descent 
of the modern dredging machine. It is a " scrue made 
like a Water-scrue, but the bottom made of Iron-plate 
Spade-vfise, which at the side of a Boat emptieth the 
mud of a Pond, or raiseth Gravel. No. 93 is an engine 
by which one man can draw a ship out of the water so 
that it may be repaired, and let back again without the 
use of stocks. The next one is a "little Engine, porta- 
ble in one's pocket, which may be placed to any door, 
without any noise, but one crack, openeth any door or 

Such are some of the more saHent of the " Century" 
inventions of the Marquis of Worcester. The total is a 
most creditable one, in view of the fact that he was a 
nobleman by birth, and a poHtician in practice. He un- 
derwent a good many reverses, being at one time wealthy 
and a court favorite, at another time a prisoner in the 

* Henry Dircks. 


Tower,- and for a considerable portion of his life reduced 
to the greatest poverty. He has not received the credit 
he should have from posterity. There are any number 
of people who have never even heard that there was 
such a man; and thousands of others who have only 
heard of him in connection with the ridiculous pot-lid 
story ;. in which his attention was called to the existence 
of steam as a power by seeing the rise and fall of the hd 
of the pot in which he was boihng his dinner. This is 
pronounced by his biographer to be false. However, the 
story does not have to go begging for a companion, this 
pot-hd, or this tea-kettle ; sometimes it is apphed to one 
man and sometimes to another. It is of the greatest 
value in the instruction of the young. They can remem- 
ber that steam as a motor was discovered by a young 
man who was watching a tea-kettle ; but they would not 
be likely to remember it aU if they were taught the facts, 
to-wit: that nobody in particular ever discovered this 
quality of water ; that it has been known and utilized as 
such from the very earHest period concerning which 
there are any records. 

Dircks, his biographer, speaks of him as having been 
a learned, thoughtful, studious and good man ; a Eoman- 
ist, without prejudice or bigotry; a loyal subject, free 
from partisan intolerance; as a pubHo man, upright, 
honorable, and humane; as a scholar, learned without 
being pedantic ; as a mechanic, patient, skiUful, persever- 
ing, and of wonderful ingenuity, and of clear, almost 
intuitive, apprehension. 

Before going on with the inventors who succeeded 
Worcester, it may be worth while to reproduce a docu- 
ment in regard to the claim of Blasco de Garay, the 
, Spanish sea captain, whose claim to have discovered 
steam as a motor, and the steam-boat, has before been 
alluded to. In 1825, there was discovered ia the national 

gabat's steam-boat. 411 

archives, at Simancas, Spain, a document, of which a 
translation has been furnished by Hon. George Marsh. 
It reads as follows : 

"Blasco de Garay, a sea-captain, proposed to the 
emperor and king, Charles V., in the year 1543, an 
engine to move vessels and large ships, even in a calm, 
without oars or sails. In spite of the obstacles and 
opposition which the project met, the emperor ordered 
trial to be made, and this in fact took place in the port 
of Barcelona, on the 17th of June, in the year 1543. 

" Garay never publicly exhibited his machinery, but 
at the time of trial it was observed that it consisted of a 
large caldron of boihng water, and wheels of propulsion 
attached to the two sides of the ship. The experiment 
was tried with a vessel of two hundred tons — ^which had 
lately arrived from Colibre with a cargo of wheat — caUed 
the Trinity, and commanded by Captain Pedro de 

"As commissioners on the part of Charles Y. and the 
Prince PhQip, his son, there were present on this occa- 
sion, Don Henry, of Toledo, the governor, Don Pedro 
Cardona, the treasurer Ranago, the vice-chancellor, 
the master-accountant of Catalonia, D. Francisco 
Gralla, and several other persons of condition, both 
Castilians and Catalans, and among them several sea- 
captains, who were present at the experiment, some on 
board, and others on the beach. 

"In the report made to the emperor and the prince, 
they all agreed in praising the machinery, and particu- 
larly the facihty of the steerage of the ship. The treas- 
urer, Eanago, who was unfriendly to the project, states ' 
that the vessel would make but two leagues in three 
hours; that the machinery was complicated and expen- 
sive, and that there was much danger of the frequent 
bursting of the caldron. The other commissioners 


declared, that the vessel would put about twice as quick 
as a galley by ordinary navigation, and that she made at 
least a league an hour." * 

An expedition taken soon after prevented the follow- 
ing up of the invention, and it was no more heard from. 
Mr. Marsh endorses the responsibility of the authority 
of the one from whom he obtained the document. 

The facts thus far cited wiU show that nobody is 
entitled to claim the merit of being the original discov- 
erer of steam, or the steam-engine. 

* Nathan Read and the Steam-engine. 



SOME authors reckon the Marquis of Worcester as 
about the last of the inventors who dealt with 
steam in what they term the period of speculation, and 
that the period which followed him was that of apphca- 
tion. This is not just to the author of a " Century " of in- 
ventions. His apphcation of steam was directly in the 
direction of the useful. He erected a machine for the 
raising of water, he enumerated among its advantages 
the raising of water from mines, then the great desider- 
atum of the mine owners in England. He certainly is 
entitled, as much as any who followed him, to be classed 
among those who used steam for practical purposes. 

Soon after the death of Worcester, much study was 
given to steam by men all over Europe, but especially 
among the English. In 1682, Sir Samuel Morland, an 
Enghshman, furnished some statistics in regard to steam 
which have not yet had to undergo much alteration. 
He announced that when water is evaporated by fire, it 
requires, as a vapor, a space about two thousand times 
greater than before; and "rather than submit to impris- 
onment, it will burst a piece of ordinance." Morland is 
supposed to have constructed some engines worked by 
steam; and that Savery, in his inventions, was indebted 
to Morland as well as to the Marquis of Worcester. 

In 1698, the famous Savery came to the front as an 


inventor, and has occupied a distinguished position as 
such to the present time. He is often said to he the in- 
ventor of tihe steam-engine ; in reahty, he was nothing 
of the kind. That he greatly aided in the utihzing of 
the new motor will not be denied ; he took what others 
had invented and improved it ; and in this direction he 
is entitled to the most distinguished consideration. His 
improvements on the engines of the Marquis of Worces- 
ter, aided by the suggestions of Sir Samuel Morland, 
enabled him to claim the proud place of being the first 
to make steam of wide utiUty. Daguerre invented the 
daguerreotype; the man who later so cheapened his 
processes that every person was able to afford the ex- 
pense of a picture was not the inventor of the daguerreo- 
type ; he occupies the same relation towards the original 
inventor that Savery does toward the Marquis of Wor- 

Ten years before Savery had produced his engine, 
Denys Papin had discovered, or invented the safety- 
valve, having discovered in the course of some of his 
experiments with steam that it was dangerously explo- 
sive. He also produced a species of steam-engine, in 
which there was a cylinder and a piston. He placed a 
small quantity of water in the cyhnder, and then built a 
fire under it ; as the steam expanded, it raised the piston 
to the top of the cyhnder ; and, then, to get the piston 
down again, he raked the fire from under the cyhnder. 
As it cooled, the steam would condense, and the piston 
would descend. There have been some improvements 
since in the processes of getting a piston from one end 
to the other of a cylinder ! Papin was somewhat of a 
character. He was born in Blois, France, in 1647, and 
died in Germany, in 1712. He was the inventor of what 
is known, and stiU. in use, as " Papin's Digester." Being a 
Protestant, he removed to Germany to escape persecution 

saveby's bibth, etc. 415 

and was appointed to a professorsHp at Marburg, where 
he devoted such leisure as he had from his mathe- 
matical teachings to investigations of steam. His Acta 
Eruditorum, published in 1690, announced that steam 
will become the universal motive power; it describes a 
steam-engine, and a steamer to be moved by paddles. 
In 1707, he pubhshed an essay upon raising water by the 
action of fire ; and had a steam-boat built with which to 
try his system. As there is no record that he succeeded 
in his experiment, it is probable that it was a failure. 

Thomas Savery was born three years later than 
Papin, in Devonshire, England. He was a military 
engineer by profession, and possessed of a tendency 
toward invention. Among his earlier products was a 
clock, yet in existence, and a set of paddle-wheels to be 
worked by a capstan, and intended for the propelling of 
vessels in calm weather. He spent some time in at- 
tempting to get it adopted by the naval authorities, 
without success. " The principal objector was the sur- 
veyor of the navy, who dismissed Savery, with a remark 
which Ulustrates a spirit which, although not yet ex- 
tinct, is less frequently met with in pubhc service now 
than then : 'What have interloping people, that 
concern with us, to do to pretend, to contrive or invent 
things for us?' "* He failed to get it adopted by the 
government, although he went to the expense of equip- 
ping a vessel with his apparatus, and exhibiting it on 
the Thames. 

His first engine, patented in 1698, was precisely the 
same as that of Worcester. Steam was admitted from a 
boiler into a receiver, which, when filled, was discon- 
nected with the steam-pipe from the boiler. Then the 
steam in the receiver was condensed, creating a vacuum, 

* Growth of the Steam-Engine. Thurston. 


"when, to fill the vacuum, water was forced by the atmo- 
sphere into the receiver through a pipe that led to the 
water below. When the receiver was filled with water, 
a cock was turned that opened into a pipe that led up- 
wards, and then the pressure of the steam on the water 
forced it out through this pipe to some point above. All 
this is very simple. There were two of these receivers, 
and while one of them was being emptied, the other was 
being fiUed. The steam in the receivers was condensed 
by pouring cold water over the surface of the cyhnder. 
The only point in which he exhibited any difference from 
the water-raising engine of Worcester was, that he added 
a second boiler with which to keep the main boiler sup- 
phed with water. He would fiU this secondary boiler 
from any convenient source, and then put under it a fire. 
It had a pipe which ran from its bottom to that of the 
main boiler ; when the steam in the second boiler be- 
came more powerful than that in the other, the water 
from it was driven into the other, and in this way a sup- 
ply was kept up. 

It may readily be imagined that as the action of the 
receivers was dependent on the condensing of the steam 
in ihem by surface-cooHng, the action must have been 
very slow. Accident later improved this defect by re- 
vealing a more rapid process of condensation. 

Savery's engine was a very fair success considering 
its defects. He did not use the safety-valve, and in con- 
sequence, it did not obtain a foothold in the mines. 
The height to which the water had to be raised was very 
great, requiring an immense pressure of steam, which 
was fatal to the boiler. As the water was taken into the 
receivers by the force of the atmosphere, the engine 
had to stand within not less than thirty feet of the 
water to be raised, and this increased the height to 
which it was to be forced. In fine, he met with no 

savbey's engine. 417 

success in getting his engines into use in draining mines, 
although he advertised most extensively, and labored 
assiduously to secure this class of patronage. 

So far as Savery's engine is concerned, it is difficult 
to see what there is in it which entitles him to the 
credit which he has enjoyed among posterity. It would 
seem to be founded largely on the claim that he invented 
his engine ; the facts are as set forth in this work, and 
go to prove that if he did invent it, he did so under cir- 
cumstances which would invalidate the claim if submit- 
ted to a court of law and a jury. Suppose that, at this 
stage of the advance of telegraphy, some person who 
lives within a few miles of Edison, should suddenly 
come before the pubHc, producing a telephone substan- 
tially hke that in use, and assert that he had just in- 
vented it; that he had never heard of a telephone by 
Edison, or any other man — what would be the reception 
which would be given such a claim? And yet such a 
preposterous assertion would be no more improbable 
than that which is madein the interests of Savery. He 
improved somewhat the construction of the engine of 
Worcester, nothing more. 

The first substantial advance made in the use of the 
steam-engine, after Worcester, was the work of New- 
comen, assisted by John Cawley. It is somewhat singu- 
lar, and much to be regretted, that so little is known of 
Thomas Newcomen, the man who gave to the world the 
first engine of real practical value. About aU that is 
known of him is that he was a blacksmith, and that he 
lived in Dartmouth, England. He does not seem to 
have had any standing; not being a gentleman by birth, 
or a graduate of one of the universities, or one able to 
read the Greek and Eoman writers in the original; 
nobody apparently thought him worthy of any atten- 
tion. " His position in Hfe was humble, and the 



inventor was not then looked on as even an individual of 
possible importance in the community. He was con- 
sidered as one of an eccentric class of schemers, and of 
an order which, concerning itself with mechanical mat- 
ters, held the lowest position in the class."* And yet 
Thomas Newcomen is remembered to-day when every 
one of the tens of thousands who despised him, or men 
of his class, are as forgotten as if they had never hved. 
It is not generally claimed that he invented the 
steam-engine with which his name is associated, or that 
he was absolutely in ignorance of what had been done 
by Savery, then his immediate predecessor. It is even 
thought by some that he may have been employed by 
Savery, in his capacity of an iron-worker, to assist in 
the construction of some of the parts of his engines. 
Be this as it may, the fact is known that, assisted by 
John Galley, in 1705, in connection with Savery — ^for 
the latter's patent covered surface condensation — took 
out a patent for what is now known as the Newcomen 
engine. His new machine had the piston which had 
been invented and used by Papin in his machine in 
which gunpowder was the expansive force. He used 
the vacuum in the cyUnder which contained the piston 
as a means of working a pump, and not as was done by 
his predecessors, as a vacuum in which the water was 
driven by atmospheric pressure. He used the walking- 
beam, in a rude sort of a way, one end carrying the rod 
of the piston, and the other the pump-rod. In fact, the 
engine was very simple. The weight of the pump-rod 
was suflScient to secure the lowering of that end of the 
walking-beam, and, at the same time, to draw the piston 
to the top of the oyhnder; then steam was admitted 
below the piston and condensed by the application of 

* Thurston. 

newcombn's engine. 


surface water to the cylinder ; this created a condition 
approaching a vacuum, whereupon, the atmosphere 
forced the piston to the bottom of the cyhnder, raising 
the pump-rod, and then by its own weight, the pump- 
rod descended and drew the piston to the top of the 


cyhnder. Newcomen also used the safety-valve. It 
wUl be seen that the engine was an admirable pump 
with a single defect; that is the loss of time experi- 
enced in condensing the steam in the cylinder so as to 


permit the ascent of the pump-rod. The method of 
condensation was that of all who had preceded him, that 
of cooling by a flow of water over the cyHnder. It would 
natlirally take some time for the cyhnder to cool suffi- 
ciently to condense the steam, and then, when thus 
cooled, the fresh steam introduced had to warm the 
cyHnder up to a certain degree before it would retain 
the steam without condensing it. Thus, there was a 
loss of time in cooHng the cylinder to the condensing 
point, and another loss of time in heating it up to the 
point where it would retain the steam. 

At this point comes in one of those pretty legends 
which crop out so plentifully in connection with new 
inventions. It is said that, by accident, a leak was 
made in the cylinder through which a jet of water 
passed ; and which to the great surprise of the inventors 
produced the condensation almost instantaneously; the 
hint was taken, a pipe was arranged so as to throw a jet 
or spray of cold water into the cylinder when filled with 
steam; and a great advance was made. The discovery 
was of very high value; it economized time; it saved 
the steam which was lost at the moment when it entered 
the cylinder cooled by the surface process of condensa- 

That Newcomen's engine was appreciated is shown 
by the fact that it became at once in great demand for 
the drainage of mines. 

Newcomen had another happy accident in connection 
with his engine, and which became the parent of a pos- 
terity which is yet in the height of prosperity. It was 
the suggestion of automatic valve-motion. In his en- 
gine, as at first constructed, the valves which admitted 
the steam above the piston, and the jet of water into the 
cylinder for the purposes of condensation, had to be 
worked by hand. Thus, one valve was opened to admit 


the steam, and the other was kept closed ; when tne cyl- 
inder was filled with steam, the steam-valve was shut, 
and the one which admitted the condensing jet was 
opened. This work of handUng the valves was being 
done by a boy named Humphrey Potter, who, becoming 
tired of the monotony of alternately pulling these valves 
open and shut, tied some strings to the ends of the lev- 
ers, and the other ends to the walking-beam, so that the 
valves were opened and closed by the motion of the 
beam. This gave him some time to amuse himself; he 
was '* caught at it ; " the value of his process was natur- 
ally seen at a glance ; the action of the valves was made 
automatic, and the boy was probably rewarded for his 
unintentional invention by being discharged, as he had 
rendered his assistance unnecessary. 

Some improvements in construction were made by 
Smeaton, on the Newcomen engine, in 1769; with this 
exception, his engine remained as he invented it tiQ the 
appearance of Watts, in 1764. Thus, the Newcomen 
engine, with Smeaton's improvements in detaU, was in 
use for something more than half a century. 

What it accompUshed in that time is worthy of some 

Very soon after the engine had been introduced to 
the public, it was employed in aU the mines of Grreat 
Britain; that is, all of them that required drainage. The 
advantages to the mine owners was an incalculable one. 
Many of the mines had been abandoned owing to the 
impossibihty of removing the water ; these were drained, 
and in many other instances, mines were carried far 
down below the usual level, which otherwise would have 
remained as they were. Not only were engines thus valu- 
able to the mine owners, but they found employment in 
other directions. They were used for the supplying of 
water to large houses, and for water-works. They were 


extensively applied to the drainage of marshes in Eng- 
land and in places on the continent. 

One of the largest of the Newcomen engines was one 
built to drain the dry-dock at Cronstadt, Eussia. Its 
cylinder was five and one-half feet in diameter, its stroke 
of piston eight and one-half feet. There were three 
boilers, each ten feet in diameter, and over sixteen feet 
high. There was another built to drain a lake near Rot- 
terdam, whose cylinder was fifty-two inches in diameter, 
stroke of piston nine feet, a boiler eighteen feet in diame- 
ter, with six pumps, and the main beam twenty-seven 
feet in length. 

One of the drawbacks of the Newcomen engine was 
its use of fuel, it being estimated that the cost of one of 
them per aimum for fuel was not less than fifteen thou- 
sand doUars, constituting a tax, which, as was said by one 
of the mine owners, " amounts almost to a prohibition." 

In a certain sense, the engine of Newcomen was not 
a steam, but an atmospheric engine. The reader wiU 
remember that in the description given of its working, it 
is shown that the pump-rod, in its descent, was weighted 
so as to draw up the other end of the working-beam, and 
in this way the piston was drawn to the top of the cylin- 
der. The steam was admitted into the space below the 
piston, and when filled, it was condensed by the use of 
water. This left a vacuum under the piston, whereupon 
the piston was forced down by atmospheric pressure. 
Steam was only used to create a vacuum ; the work was 
done by the pressure of the atmosphere. The steam-en- 
gine was yet to be invented; all that had yet been done 
was to create an atmospheric engine, in which steam 
was merely used to enable the atmosphere to accomphsh 
the required work. But Newcomen had made immense 
progress ; he had utiHzed steam. Nevertheless, he was 
but a forerunner of a greater who was to foUow. 


James Watt was bom in Grreenook, Scotland, Janu- 
ary 19, 1736. He came of a good family, his father being 
a man of fair education, although a carpenter, and who 
held places of trust in the town in which he resided. 
The son was very delicate in health, so much so that he 
was unable to attend school with regularity. Meanwhile, 
he developed a tendency toward mechanical pursuits, and 
was placed in a position by the use of tools to acquire 
dexterity in a practical direction. He gave a good deal 
of attention to mathematics, and is said to have been 
phenomenally bright in some branches of mathematics 
at a very tender age. Of him, there is also related the 
incident of the boning kettle, the same which is related 
of Worcester and Savery ; and how the motion suggested 
to him that steam had a force which might be utilized, 
and from which grew the steam-engine. 

When fourteen years of age, he began to develop 
some ability as a scholar ; at eighteen he was sent to 
Glasgow to learn the trade of a mathematical instru- 
ment-maker. For some reason, he did not remain long ; 
he left Glasgow and went to London. He there worked 
for a year at the trade he had commenced to learn in 
Glasgow, when, on account of his health, he was obhged 
to return home. In 1761, he was installed in Glasgow, 
where he devoted himself mainly to mechanical pur- 
suits. In 1763, a model of the Newcomen engine was 
brought to him for repairs, which led him to take up the 
subject of steam, and steam machinery. At this time, 
hfe had educated himself to a fair degree. He had 
learned to sketch; was a superior model-maker; had 
mastered some of the sciences, and had studied German 
and Itahan. If his profession had been defined at the 
time he began to turn his attention to steam, he would 
have been spoken of as a musical instrument-maker. It 
was to this class of effort that he principally directed his 


labors and studies up to the time that he became inter- 
ested in steam. 

It is related that some four years before this he had 
given some attention to steam, but gave it up after some 
brief efforts. Leaving for the moment his connection 
with steam, the remainder of his biography may be given 
in a few words. He devoted considerable time to land 
surveying, and to engineering works of a public charac- 
ter; he invented a micrometer, and was extensively 
engaged in the manufacture of steam-engines in Lon- 
don. He was the first to apply steam for the warming 
of houses, and invented the letter-copying press. In 
1809, he invented a flexible iron pipe with ball-and- 
socket joints for the purpose of carrying water across 
the Clyde, the flexibihty being designed to permit the 
pipe to adapt itself to the inequahties of the bed of the 
river. At the time of his death, he was a member of 
many distinguished societies, both British and foreign. 
He died August 25, 1819 ; and was buried in Handsworth 
Church. Those who have visited Westminster Abbey 
will recollect his statue, a colossal sitting figure, in the 
chapel of St. Paul — a most imposing work, executed by 

On the pedestal is the following : 

"Not to perpetuate a name, which must endure while 
the peaceful arts flourish, but to show that mankind 
have learned to honor those who best deserve their grati- 
tude, the King, his Ministers and many of his nobles 
and commoners of the realm, raised this monument up 
to James Watt, who, directing the force of an original 
genius, early exercised in philosophical research, to the 
improvement of the steam-engine, enlarged the resources 
of his country, increased the power of man, and rose to 
an eminent place among the most illustrious followers 
of science and the real benefactors of the world. Bom 



watt's impbovements. 427 

at Greenock, MDCCXXXYI. Died at HeatMeld, in 
Staffordshire, MDCCCXIX." 

The improvements which Watt made in the con- 
struction of the steam-engine were so radical and num- 
erous that they aknost amount to its invention. In 
truth he did construct the steam-engine, for, as said, 
the Newcomen was an atmospheric engine in which 
steam was only used to the end that the forces of the 
atmosphere might be brought into play. 

When he had made himself famihar with the work- 
ings of the Newcomen engine, he discovered that there 
was an immense waste of heat ; and the first thing he did 
io check this was to cover the boiler and the conducting 
pipes with substances that were poor conductors of heat. 
His final conclusion was that three-fourths of the heat 
of the Newcomen was wasted, the largest loss being in 
the method of condensing the steam. As any one can 
see, the necessity in the Newcomen engine of cooling 
the cylinder at every down stroke of the piston was a 
total loss of the heat employed ; Watt met this by add- 
ing another vessel into which the steam from the cylin- 
der rushed, and was condensed in the added receptacle. 
This left the cylinder and aU its connections always hot, 
so that fuel was not required to heat them up again to 
the point at which steam could be admitted without 
being condensed. 

In the Newcomen, the cylinder had but one head, 
there being nothing above the piston ; when the piston 
descended, the air followed it down into the cylinder, and 
cooled its surface ; Watt added a head to the cylinder, 
as is now the custom, and had the rod of the piston 
work through a stuflBng-box, which kept out the air, and 
thus kept the inside of the piston from being cooled at 
each descent of the piston. It may be Worth mention 
that at this stage of his career, in about 1758, Watt's 


partner, Matthew Boulton and Dr. Benjamin Franklin, 
were in correspondence concerning the construction of 
a steam-engine, and that a model was constructed which 
Franklin exhibited in London, but which seems to have 
attracted no especial notice. In the apphcations for the 
patents of his improved "fire-engine" as he terms it, 
in 1769, he mentions among other things that he "in- 
tends in many cases to employ the expansive force of 
steam to press on the pistons, or whatever may be used 
instead of them in the same manner as the pressure 
of the atmosphere is now employed in common fire- 

In what he nad thus far done, and which has just 
been specified, Watt gave to the world the modern 
steam-engine of the condensing pattern, and which was 
the same in principle as the condensing engines now in 
use. He also secured rotary motion, at first, by the 
pecuhar gearing known as the " sun-and-planet " sys- 
tem; a Httle later and he adopted the crank. It is 
claimed that he was the inventor of the crank, but that 
through one of his working-men, a man named Matthew 
Washborough, obtained a knowledge of the device, and 
patented it. It was only at the expiration of the patent 
held by Washborough that Watt was enabled to use his 
own invention. In 1782, he secured another patent for 
additional improvements, all of which were important. 
The claim included (1) the expansion of steam, and six 
methods of applying the principle and equahzing the 
expansive power; (2) the double-acting steam-engine, 
in which the steam acts on each side the piston alter- 
nately, the opposite side being in communication with 
the condenser ; (3) the double, or coupled steam-engine — 
two engines capable of working together or independ- 
ently, as may be desired ; (4) the use of a rack on the 
piston-rod working into a sector on the end of the beam. 

watt's invention. 429 

thus securing a perfect rectilinear motion of the rod; 
(5) a rotary engine or steam- wheel. 

The invention of a ratchet on the piston rod to work 
into a sector on the working-beam was a very ingenious 
method for securing an unvarying Hne of motion in 
the piston, but was soon superseded by Watt's inven- 
tion of what was called the parallel bars. This was a 
vast improvement over the other; it has been super- 
seded by the guides and cross-head, which can be seen 
on any stationary engine in the shape of the contri- 
vances which keep the rod of the piston running always 
in a straight line. This is also substantially the inven- 
tion of Watt, as well as are the throttle-valve, the " fly- 
ball governor," the mercury gauge, an improved valve- 
gear, and still others that need not be mentioned. It is 
asserted that so far as the invention of the governor is 
concerned, he did not invent it, but adapted it from a 
device that was in use on wind-mills. As is generally 
known, it is one of the valuable attachments connected 
with the improvements of the steam-engine ; it being so 
constructed that as the speed of the engine slackens it 
opens the throttle- valve and admits more steam, and as 
the engine increases its speed beyond a desirable point, it 
operates so as to decrease the quantity of steam which 
is admitted into the cyKnder. 

Among other machines which Watt constructed was 
a steam-hammer; one whose hammer weighed over 
seven tons, which had a drop of two feet, and which 
would strike three hundred blows a minute. At his 
death he left unfinished an attempted invention for the 
copying of statuary by the use of machinery. 

The value of Watt's services to the world cannot be 
over-estimated. In a certain sense, he found it a swamp, 
and left it dry land. It is not possible to express in 
dollars the value which came from his drainage of 


inundated mines, of swamps, and the saving whicli he 
effected in the cost of such lahors. He also gave the 
crank, and the balance-wheel, and thereupon steam 
became available for the turning of mUls, for forging 
with the trip-hammer, for driving the shuttle, for whirl- 
ing the spindle, and, in fine, for doing all that which 
liad hitherto been done by water-power, or by machinery 
driven by hand. 

The increase in the power of production demanded a 
commensurate increase in the supply of raw material, 
and in the capabilities of transporting the manufactured 
product to the home of the consumer. There could be 
but little use in doubhng the capacity of the factories 
and the work-shops, unless there should be a propor- 
tionate advance in the means of transportation. The 
inventions and improvements of Watt made imperative 
the demand for increased facilities of intercommunica- 
tion between the producer, the manufacturer, and the 
consumer. The response to the demand came in due 
season, in the shape of granting all that was asked. It 
may, then, be credited to Watt that he not only im- 
proved beyond proper characterization the productive 
f acihties of his own period and that of the future, but 
he created a demand for another vast department of 
industry, which speedily came in existence. His work 
was as beneficent to the future as it was to the present ; 
and in this direction it is rare to find a life which has 
been so far-reaching and comprehensive in its results. 

He took the work which had been roughly laid out 
by the Marquis of Worcester, and improved by Savery, 
and others, and brought it to completion. He did more 
than this; he not only completed aU that they had 
designed, but he made infinitely more out of the block 
to which they had given no more than the faintest of 
outlines. In fact, he went so far beyond them that he 


seems to have scarcely been engaged in the same line 
except to the extent that he experimented with the 
same vapor. He produced a steam-engine, they gave 
the world only an atmospheric engine. It is to the 
credit of the others, however, that they furnished the 
suggestion for the perfect machine which he con- 
structed; they supphed some of the foundations on 
which he built ; had they not gone as far as they did,, 
Watt would have had nothing to engage his attention^ 
no errors to invoke his exact scrutiny, nothing on whicL 
to found an advance. One of the very things which 
first provoked his notice was the crudities of their 
efforts ; had he not seen at a glance the wastefulness of 
the Newcomen engine, he might never have given it an 

Before commencing on the era of transportation 
which succeeded the inventions and improvement of 
Watt, it may be of some convenience to give in their 
chronological order the date of the inventions connected 
with steam, and the name of the inventor. It is to be 
understood that some of the earher dates are not always, 


.Eolipile Hero, (described by) 200 B. C. 

Opening Temple Doors " " 200 " 

Description Generation Steam Besson 1569 A. D.. 

Steam-boat De Garay 1543 " 

Production Vacuum by Steam Porta 1601 " 

Power Confined Steam Kivault 1605 " 

Baising Water by Steam De Caus 1615 " 

Steam as a Motor Branca 1629 " 

Improvements Use of Steam Bamsaye 1630 ■• 

Baising Water by Steam Worcester 1663 " 

Gunpowder Engine Hautefeuille 1678 " 

" " Huyghens 1680 " 

Paddle-wheels Savery 1685 " 

Improvements Worcester Engine ... " 1698 ' ' 

Safety-valve Papin 1680 " 

Engine and Water-wheel " 1707 " 



Engine to Drive Pump Newcomen 1705 A. D. 

Walking-beam, Cylinder, Piston ... " 1705 

Condensing-jet " 1718 

Valve-gear, Automatic Beighton 1718 

Proper Proportions Engine Smeaton 1774 

Steam-engine Watt 1774 

Crank and Fly- wheel " 1771 

Double-acting Engines Watt & Boulton 1784 

Steam-hammer Watt 1784 

Steam Governor, Parallel Motion. . . " 1784 

Throttle, Puppet-valve, etc " 178- 

Oscillating Steam-engine Murdoch 1784 

Double-cylinder Engine Homblower 1781 

Eotary Engine Murdoch 1786 
















AS was said in the last chapter, the improvements ia 
the use of steam as a motor had vastly increased 
the productive capacity of the world through the use of 
machinery; and then there came a necessity for more 
celerity in transportation in order that the new manu- 
facturing capacity could be supphed and the additional 
products be carried to the consumer. Very naturally as 
this necessity forced itself on the attention of the world, 
the thoughts of those most interested turned themselves 
to the highways of water. There were the water and 
the boats ; but much of the time, the winds and currents 
were contrary; ships were detained by the varying tides ; 
they were becalmed by the fitful winds as they died 
away to nothingness ; time was an uncertain element ; in 
fine, the world demanded something more rapid, and less 
subject to the caprice of winds and tides. 

When steam was found to be turning the miUs, 
pumping the mines, draining marshes, and other things, 
and was showing itself to be obedient to the touch of a 
child, and yet powerful as a hurricane, men very natur- 
ally associated this new power with the slow-going ships. 
They asked themselves, if this giant can perform aU 
these labors, always tireless, reliable, and wilh'ng, why 
can it not propel these ships? And thereupon began a 
search for a means of harnessing this new energy to the 

28 433 


vessels that crawled, all too slowly, from shores . to 

From the time that Watt and his capable assistants 
brought the engine to the state of excellence which they 
attained, there were thousands of busy minds engaged 
in the effort to secure a method of applying steam to the 
moving of vessels. For a few years before the opening 
of the present century, there were so many plans sug- 
gested to attain this end; there were so many who 
claimed to have solved the problem, that it is quite 
bewildering to keep a record of their results, and vastly 
more so to attempt to reach any conclusion when exam- 
ining the conflicting claims as to which is entitled to the 
credit of inventing and constructing the first steam-boat. 
This country claims this honor ; England never suspects 
that the steam-boat had its origin anywhere save in Eng- 
land, while France is equally certain that the first steam- 
boat was launched on the Seine. The stately Spaniards 
look with dignified contempt on all this fierce debate, 
and point with unswerving finger to Garay, hundreds of 
years anterior to the dates claimed by the present con- 

There can be no dispute as to priority in the inven- 
tion of the paddle-wheel, as it was in use among the 
Eomans. The first recorded attempt at steam propul- 
sion of vessels is that which has already been given in 
detail in another place, that of Garay, in the harbor of 
Barcelona, in 1543. Worcester, as will be remembered 
from one of his inventions given in another chapter, 
speaks of a method of propelling " shipps " without sails, 
and directly against wind, tide, and current; he un- 
doubtedly referred to the employment of steam. Papin, 
as already stated, built and ran a model boat, in which a 
steam-pump was used to raise water to a certain height 
where it was poured on an overshot-wheel, and this 


communicated motion to the paddles. It is impossible to 
say what the ingenious doctor might have accomplished 
had the stars been more favorable. He struck a snag 
and went to the bottom about as soon as his novel craft 
was launched. The government refused to give him an 
opportunity for the desired trial; and then a mob of 
boatmen, who were under the usual impression that the 
machine was going to take the bread out of their mouths, 
fell foul of his craft and broke it in pieces. This ended 
Papin's efforts to establish navigation by steam. In 
1736, Jonathan Hull, of England, described a method of 
propelling a vessel by steam. In his description he 
placed the wheel at the stern, as he said, for the reason 
that water-fowl, in propelling themselves, have their pad- 
dles behind them. As Watt had not yet invented the 
crank, he undertook to secure a rotary motion by the use 
of cords and pulleys, the motive power being an atmos- 
pheric engine of the Worcester-Savery-Newcomen kind. 
From 1756 to 1760, there were plans for propelling 
vessels by steam, submitted by BernouiUi, a Frenchman ; 
Genevoise, a Swiss clergyman; and Abbe Gauthier, a 
citizen of France. In 1760, the epidemic broke out in 
the United States. According to Thurston, William 
Henry, a resident of Pennsylvania, and who was born in 
1729, in 1760 went to England, where for the first time 
he saw Watt's invention; when he returned to this 
country, he constructed an engine and placed it in a 
boat fitted with paddle-wheels. He tried it on the 
Conestoga river, near Lancaster, and by accident it was 
sunk. There is a design in existence of one of his steam- 
boats. It is related by a German traveler who visited 
Henry that he showed him a model of his steam-boat, 
and expressed the strongest faith in the conviction that 
such a boat would come into use on all the great rivers 
of the country. 


In 1781, the Marquis de Jouffroy, constructed and 
ran a steam-boat on the Seine. A drawing of the craft 
shows that the paddle was modeled after the foot of a 
duck. The boat was one hundred and forty feet long, 
and fifteen feet beam. In 1783, Jouflfroy had finished 
another boat which he tested at Lyons, and concerning 
whose success there is not much doubt. However, there 
was some misunderstanding with the government, the 
latter dechning, for some reason, to guarantee his exclu- 
sive use of the invention, whereupon he gave it up, and 
returned to the army. In 1786, James Rumsey, of Shep- 
pardtown, Virginia, constructed a boat eighty feet long, 
which he ran at a speed of four miles an hour. He em- 
ployed steam to work a pump by which water was drawn 
in at the bow, and expelled at the stern. By many, 
Rumsey is thought entitled to the credit of the inven- 
tion of the steam-boat, the State of Kentucky having 
given his son a gold medal for the sake of the father who 
had " given the world the benefit of the steam-boat." 

In 1785, Dr. Franklin and OHver Evans suggested a 
steam-boat to be propelled precisely in the same manner 
as that constructed by Rumsey. It may be added that 
this plan has been " invented " several times since, and 
is now in use in some vessels constructed in Great 
Britain. In 1786, the well-known John Fitch came 
before the pubhc. He was totally ignorant, when he 
commenced his search after a boat to be propelled by 
steam, that there was such a thing as a steam-engine in 
existence. He had heard nothing of what had been 
accompHshed by Watt, and, thus, in fact, commenced 
his investigations, so far as steam was concerned, de 
novo. He and Rumsey conceived the idea of using 
steam for navigation, at about the same date, and were 
for a time very fierce rivals. It may be added before 
temporarily dismissing Rumsey, that he was a man of 


nmch genius, and had he not been struck down by apo- 
plexy, he would have been very apt to have left a differ- 
ent record. His plans — for he had several — for propel- 
hng steam-boats were neither aU practicable nor original ; 
he failed in one of them, that of using the current of 
rivers to turn a wheel in the centre of the boat, and this 
by the aid of a crank, was to secure through setting 
poles the desired motion. As to the propulsion of water 
through the stern, this was the plan of Bernouilli, the 
Frenchman, about 1768. It is shown in the Documen- 
tary History of New York that Frankhn, after his 
return from France, had submitted to the Philosophical 
Society of Philadelphia, in 1785, a plan for a steam-boat 
substantially like that of BernouiUi, and which was the 
same as that which was brought before the pubhc by 

John Fitch was born in the colony of Connecticut, 
in January, 1743. The exact locahty of the house in 
which he was bom was on the Hne of Hartford and 
Windsor ; but as the larger portion of the house was in 
the former, Hartford is usually given as his birth-place. 
An incident occurred when he was about five years old 
which he thought presaged his life, and the rewards he 
was to receive from his countrymen. A younger sister 
and himself were left alone, when she accidentally set 
fire to a couple of bundles of flax which were in the 
toom. The boy seized them and dragged them to the 
fire-place where they could burn out without doing fur- 
ther damage. In the occurrence, he was most severely 
burned, and the act was that of a hero. The little girl 
ran out in her fright, and in her confusion, told some 
of the older children something; they rushed in, and 
the oldest one proceeded to immediately chastise the 
scorched young hero iu a most severe manner. It 
was afterwards explained, but he received no apology, 


and the event is said to have embittered his whole 

He was allowed to go to school tUl he was ten years 
of age ; that is, he was sent to school when there could 
be found nothing for bim to do at home ; at ten, he was 
taken from the school and set at work. He was very 
bright and ambitious while a boy, but such information 
as he managed to pick up was gathered from stray books 
which he could borrow or which he could buy with 
occasional accumulations of hard-earned pennies. He 
was apprenticed in time, to a watchmaker, who kept 
bim the most of the time of his apprenticeship at work 
on a farm which he owned ; he married a woman older 
than himself, and was compelled to leave her ; he went 
to sea for a voyage; and had a desolate, starved hfe, 
TintU a short time before the breaking out of the war 
with Great Britain, when he managed to accumulate 
some little money by the manufacture of brass sleeve- 
buttons, which he hawked about the country. When 
the war broke but, he was living in Trenton, New Jer- 
sey : he enlisted and was made second lieutenant. After 
the war, he removed to Bucks county, Pennsylvania; 
and in 1782, he made a journey down the Ohio, and was 
captured by the Indians. I'or some time he was with 
them and was treated with great cruelty, but was finally 
exchanged at Detroit, and in time reached his home in 
Pennsylvania. For a couple of years after his return 
he was engaged in the survey of public lands in Ohio ; 
after this, he was laid up with an attack of rheumatism 
which produced on him a very curious effect. He was 
hobbHng along from church one day, when somebody 
driving a powerful horse passed him with great rapidity, 
which set him to thinking how fine it would be to have 
some means of getting on without so much pain and 


He asserts in his papers that he had never heard of a 
steam-engine, and that he had noticed expansive quaU- 
ties of steam, and that the suggestion had come to him 
that it might be used to propel carriages on land. He 
soon 'gave up this idea on account of the roughness of 
the roads, and gave his attention to some form of mov 
ing something on the water, which presented no such 
diflSculty as the unmade roads of the country ahout him. 
"Although it was not to my credit," wrote Fitch, "I 
did not know that there was a steam-engine on earth, 
when I proposed to gain a force by steam." He only 
learned it when he was given a book, Martin's Philoso- 
phy, in which there were descriptions of the engines 
made by Newcomen and Savery. 

In 1785 he presented a model of his boat to the 
American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. At 
first he had determined on paddle-wheels, but on reflec- 
tion he substituted for these an endless chain with 
floats ; this model is still in existence, in the keeping of 
the society. With the model is an entry of Tuesday, 
September 27, 1785: " The model, with a drawing and 
description, of a machine for working a boat against the 
stream, by means of a steam-engine, was laid before the 
society by Mr. John Fitch." Another entry of Decem- 
ber of the same year: "A copy of the drawing and 
■ description of a machine for rowing a boat against the 
current, which some time ago was laid before the society 
by Mr. John Fitch, he, this evening presented to them." 

There is some very good evidence that Fitch did not 
obtain his ideas of a steam-boat from Franklin, as has 
been charged by some, for the reason that FrankKn did 
not advocate the use of paddles, but of the plan first 
made known by Bemouilli, that of securing motion by 
driving water out 'through the stem. In fact, a grand- 
son of FranMin says: "Dr. Frankhn, in 1785, planned 


a simple method of applying steam to give motion to 
boats." And then follows a description of the appara- 
tus to be used in forcing the water out at the stem of 
the boat.* 

Fitch had a good aeal of trouble as soon as his inven- 
tion, or rather his claims, had become known. Rumsey 
had been at work on his plan and produced the machine 
which was to operate by means of setting poles ; there 
were other claimants in the field; but in July, 1786, 
Pitch, aided by a mechanic named Voight, succeeded 
in completing a skiff as a model of his new boat, which 
was impelled by oars driven by steam. His next diffi- 
culty was to raise enough money to construct a large 
boat ; then he met with all sorts of difficulties. He could 
not raise it by subscription ; he appealed to the legisla- 
ture of Pennsylvania for assistance, and a bill to reheve 
him was rejected by a small majority. He did, however, 
succeed in getting a bill through the assembly which 
gave him the exclusive right to construct, and use on aU 
the navigable water of the state, boats to be impelled by 
fire or steam. In the same year, his' rights were recog- 
nized by the states of Delaware and New York. The 
action of these states had the effect to stimulate the 
confidence of the public, so that money began to come 
in, and the building of the boat progressed rapidly. 

Pitch and Voight had almost insuperable obstacles ' 
to encounter, but they slowly overcame them all, and on 
the 22nd of August, 1787, the new craft was tried. It 
went, although it moved but slowly. " The cyHnder was 
only twelve inches in diameter, and the force of the ma- 
chinery was not sufficient to move the boat at a rate of 
speed which would render it valuable for use on the Del- 
aware as a packet-boat." As to the success of Pitch up 

* General Advertiser. Nov., 1791. Benj. Franklin Bache. 



to the point mentioned, there can be no doubt ; the tes- 
timony as to the experiment of the Delaware is abundant 
and incontrovertible. 

While an effort was being made to raise more money 
in order to enlarge the cyhnder, there sprang up a furi- 
ous controversy between Fitch and Eumsey as to prior- 
. ity in the invention of the steam-boat. The fight was a 
long and a hotly-contested one, but it is far too long to 
find any place here. It is probable that the real facts 


are that Eumsey was the first to think of a boat to move 
against the current, and that for this purpose he em- 
ployed the crank and setting-poles, and that he did not 
contemplate steam as the power, until after the idea had 
occurred to Fitch and been by him made pubhc. So far 
as the two men are concerned, it will be about the fair 
thing to give Eumsey the credit of the first mechanical 
boat, and Fitch that of the first steam-boat. 


The next experiment of Fitch was in July, 1788. The 
hoat had been hghtened by being made narrower, a boiler 
weighing some three tons less than the old one had been 
placed in it, and the oars were placed at the stem. The 
boat was loaded with the share-holders, and the banks of 
the river were lined for nearly twenty miles of the dis- 
tance traveled. The boat moved along steadily, and was 
all along received with the greatest possible enthusiasm. 
It had nearly reached the dock, when the boiler sprang 
a leak, and the boat came to a sudden stop. However, 
the trip was a success to the extent of demonstrating 
that steam could be used as power for the propulsion of 
a boat. The difficulty was remedied, in a very short 
time, and the trips were resumed. The average rate of 
speed attained was four miles an hour ; this was not sat- 
isfactory to Fitch, and there were some alterations made. 
In June, 1790, the boat was again tested, and found to 
be able to make a mile in one-eighth of an hour. From 
this date the boat ran on the Delaware, carrying passen- 
gers and freight. The newspapers of that date are found 
to contain many advertisements in regard to the hours 
at which the vessel would leave certain points, and the 
price of passage from point to point. " Here are no less 
than twenty-three advertisements, counting all the days 
of pubhcation, specifying the times at which no less than 
thirty-one trips would take place, counting each passage 
from Philadelphia to the place of destination as one. If 
the steam-boat had done no more than make the passage 
on the days mentioned, it would have passed over one 
thousand three hundred and eighty miles. But as the 
city was small, and the performances of the boat a mat- 
ter of notoriety, it is quite probable that from June 14th 
to September 10th, and perhaps for some weeks after- 
wards, the vessel ran steadily. If we average all the 
trips at twenty-five miles each, the steam-boat must 


have run, before she was laid up, from two thousand to 
three thousand miles." * 

In the New York Magazine of 1790, in August, there 
is an account of the vessel, the statement that she per- 
forms admirably, and an expression of the pleasure one 
experiences in riding on her, as she passes all the other 
vessels on the river. Eembrandt Peale, in 1848, wrote a 
letter as to his recollections of this steam-boat, of the 
number of persons whom he saw on b6ard, and the de- 
hght with which he saw it puU. out from the dock, and 
move slowly up the river. Certificates are in existence 
proving that during this season of the year 1790, Fitch's 
boat made some wonderful trips ; one was when the wind 
and tide were contrary during a considerable portion of 
the trip, and yet ninety miles was made in twelve hours, 
the speed during some portions of the trip reaching as 
high as from ten to twelve miles an hour, when both wind 
and tide were favorable. 

At this very moment, when the success of Fitch 
seemed assured, he commenced a rapid dechne. The 
story is too long to teU. His first effort was to get up a 
company to build a larger boat ; this was partly effected, 
and then through lukewarmness of the men who were to 
subscribe the money, the scheme fell through. Some of 
the rights which he had guaranteed him by the states, 
expired; law-suits were commenced against bim by 
Eumsey; the federal government refused to give him 
a patent exclusive in its character, but gave to him and 
Eumsey substantially the same patent, leaving them to 
fight the matter in court. Fitch became broken down. 
He went to Kentucky, where he had considerable quan- 
tities of land, and undertook to awaken some interest in 
his schemes for navigating the great rivers with boats 

* Life of John Fitch. Westoott. 



propelled by steam. He failed; grew discouraged, gave 
everything up ; made a bargaia with a local landlord to 
board him and furnish him with a pint of whisky a day 
during his life, for which he gave him one hundred and 
fifty acres of land, to which he soon added another one 
hundred and fifty acres provided the allowance of whisky 
should be doubled. He died at last by his own hand, 
from a dose of opium. His death occurred in July, 
1798, at Bardstown, Kentucky. He was buried in the 
pubUo burjdng-ground, and it was not till 1855 that his 
grave was discovered. Strange as it may seem, he has 
as yet no monument commensurate with his achieve- 
ments. An attempt was made by some Pennsylvanians 
to have his remains removed to Philadelphia, but some 
Kentuckians interfered, and promised to give his grave 
a suitable memorial. The most they ever did in the ful- 
fillment of their promise was to erect a rough stone over 
his grave without lettering or inscription. The follow- 
ing has been proposed as the inscription on his monu- 
ment, when a suitable one shall be erected : 

His darling wish (he said) was to be buried 

On the margin of the Ohio; 
Where the song of the boatman might penetrate 

The stillness of his resting-place, 
And where the sound of the steam-engine 

Might send its echoes abroad. 
Nihil nihi optatius accidere poterat 

One of his assertions now sounds like a prophecy : 
*' The day wiU come when some more powerful man will 
get fame and riches from my invention ; but no one will 
beheve that poor John Fitch can do anything worthy of 
attention." It may serve to illustrate how far advanced 
navigation was in England to state, that both Fitch and 
Eumsey visited England for the purpose of urging on the 
EngUsh the advantages to be derived from using steam 
as a motor for the propelling of vessels. Before his 


death, he constructed a toy steam-hoat which was pro- 
pelled by a screw, and of which a model is yet in exist- 

In 1785, both Fitch and Eumsey had made claims for 
a device for the driving of vessels by steam ; in 1786-87, 
Patrick Miller, of England, made an application for a 
patent for a plan for moving a vessel by steam — at least 
two years after the same plan as to steam had been pat- 
ented in this country, or had been brought before at 
least one philosophical society, and three of the colonial 
legislatures. In 1788, William Symmington constructed, 
after a new pattern, an engine with a cyhnder only four 
inches in diameter. The vessel was twenty-seven feet 
long, seven feet beam, and on a trial made five miles an 
hour. In 1789, a larger vessel was built for Miller, 
Tvhich, on trial, made seven miles an hour. There was 
nothing more done in England in the matter of naviga- 
tion by steam until 1801 ; in the meanwhile. Miller 
satisfied with the success he had obtained gave the 
matter no further attention. In 1789, Oliver Evans, of 
Philadelphia, built a dredging machine for the board of 
health of that city. He ran it overland for two mUes 
ito the river Schuylkill, then, by means of a paddle- 
wheel ran up to the Delaware, and thence up to Phila- 
delphia. He also made a contract to construct a steam- 
boat to run between New Orleans and Natchez; he 
was weU under way with the contract,. when the boat 
was destroyed by a hurricane. 

Samuel Morey, of Oxford, New Hampshire, in 1790, 
constructed a steam-boat with paddle-wheels, which 
went at the rate of five miles an hour ; he constructed a 
side- wheel boat in 1793 ; and was in consultation with 
Pulton, Stevens, Livingston and others; but did not 
construct anything which survived him. Nathan Eead, 
who will be noticed more at length later, also invented, 


or constructed a steam-boat in 1788, but which, except 
so far as the boiler is concerned, and which is yet in use, 
did not attain any success. A boat built by Elijah 
Ormebee, of Rhode Island, in 1792, using an atmos- 
pheric engine and a duck's foot-paddle, attained a speed 
of four miles an hour. * 

In 1801, Symmington, who has been before referred 
to in connection with the construction of an engine for 
Patrick MiUer, constructed a steam-boat for Lord Dun- 
das, and which is famous in the history of steam-boats 
as the " Charlotte Dundas," and which is claimed by 
the BngUsh to be the first steam-boat built which was a 
success, and whose use was contiauous. It was a paddle- 
wheel steamer, the wheel being at the stem, and for 
propeUing-machinery had Watt's double-acting steam- 
engine, connecting rod, and crank, also the invention of 
Watt. After the completion of the " Charlotte Dun- 
das," she was tried as a tow-boat, and succeeded in 
hauhng two, each of seventy tons, through the Forth 
and Clyde canal. The vessel appears to have been a 
complete success; but it was thought that the " wash " 
would injure the canal, and thereupon she was aban- 
doned. It is stated by Knight that Fulton called on 
Symmington, and took a trip with him. The " Char- 
lotte Dundas " was the end of efforts at the building of 
steam-boats in Great Britain ; from 1802 to about 1810, 
there was nothing done in this direction ; at that time, 
Henry Bell constructed the fainous passenger boat, the 
" Comet," and from that period forward, there was no 
interregnum in navigation by steam in that country. 

During this period of inactivity in Great Britain, 
there was activity in the United States. In 1804, John 
Stevens, of Hoboken, N. Y., built a steam-boat with a 

* Thurston. 


screw propeller. It had twin-screws ; the boat was six- 
ty-eight feet long with breadth of fourteen feet. The 
machinery of this vessel is yet in Hoboken, in a state of 
excellent preservation. 

We have the way now clearfor the career of Fulton. 
There is not a steam-boat ninning anywhere on the 
water of the earth. Symmington has run the " Char- 
lotte Dundas " into a creek where she is rotting, and 
from whence she will never emerge. The inventor, him- 
self, a disappointed man, will follow the example of 
Fitch and die of a broken heart. There is opportunity 
for some one to come forward, select the merits from all 
these efforts, reject their defects, and give the world 
what it so imperatively demands, a steam-boat which 
will be a commercial and financial success. The man 
for the opportunity is an American, and his name is 
Robert Fulton. He is not to be the inventor of the 
steam-boat ; but he is the man who is to gather up aU 
the wasted efforts of the last half hundred years, and 
crystaUize them into success. 

Robert Fulton was bom, as was Fitch, in Pennsyl- 
vania, in the year 1765; hke Fitch he was born on a 
farm, and still again like him he learned a trade. His 
father was a tailor, who had emigrated from Ireland 
when young ; he married an American woman, and set- 
tled on a farm. His father died when he was three years 
old, and when he became large enough he was sent to 
the country school, in which, however, he did not learn 
much, as he was always engaged in contriving or con- 
structing some apparatus. He very early developed 
abihty with the pencil, and in the course of his hfe 
achieved some creditable results as an artist. 

When about twenty-one years of age, he had suc- 
ceeded in saving enough money to purchase for his wid- 
owed mother a small farm which he gave to her, and 


then went abroad to continue Ms artistic studies under 
Benjamin West, also a Pennsylvanian, and who then 
enjoyed a well-deserved celebrity. However, he soon 
gave up the study of art for that of civil engineer, which 
was done at the suggestion of the Duke of Bridgewater, 
with whom he had become acquainted. It was while ia 
England that, according to his biographers, he first be- 
came possessed with the idea that steam could be used 
as a motor for the propulsion of vessels. In Septem- 
ber, 1793, he wrote a letter to the Earl of Stanhope, 
whose nature may be inferred from the reply, and which 
is as follows : " Sir, I have received yours of the 30th 
of September, in which you propose to communicate to 
me the principles of an invention, which you say you 
have discovered, respecting the moving of ships by 
steam. I shall be glad to receive the communication 
which you intend, as I have made the principles of 
mechanics my particular study." The importance of 
this letter is in the fact that it gives the date when Ful- 
ton had turned his attention to steam, although it was a 
long time after before he actually gave his attention to 
devising means to give practical effect to his ideas. 

Fulton remained in London till 1797, when he re- 
moved to Paris. While a resident of London, he gave 
his attention to mechanics, and obtained several patents, 
one of which was for an improved mill for the sawing of 
marble, another for spinning flax, making ropes, and 
excavating the chamiels of canals. During this period, 
he made the acquaintance of Watt, who had just made 
his great improvements in the steam-engine, and with 
which it is certain, Fulton made himself familiar. 

While in Paris, he gave a good deal of attention to 
the construction of a torpedo, and which he tried vainly 
to sell to the French, and later to the Dutch govern- 
ment. In 1801, he had brought his submarine boat to a 



pulton's toepedo vessel. ,451 

state of perfection which has not since been attained, 
if we may judge of its character from a report made to 
the French government : 

" On the 3d of July, 1801, he embarked with three 
companions on board his plunging boat in the harbor of 
Brest, and descended in it to the depth of five, ten, fif- 
teen, and so on to twenty-five feet; but he did not 
attempt to go lower, because he found that his imperfect 
machine would not bear the pressure of a greater depth. 
He remained below the surface one hour. During the 
time, they were in utter darkness. Afterwards he de- 
scended with candles ; but finding a great disadvantage 
from their consumption of vital air, he caused previously 
to his next experiment, a small window of thick glass ta 
be made near the bow of his boat, and he again de- 
scended with her on the 24th of July, 1801. He found 
that he received from his window, or rather aperture 
covered with glass, for it was no more than an inch and a 
half in diameter, sufficient hght to enable him to count 
the minutes on his wa,tch. Having satisfied himself 
that he could have sufficient light when under water ; 
that he could do without a supply of fresh air for a con- 
siderable time ; that he could descend to any depth, and 
rise to the surface v?ith equal facility; his next object 
was to try her movements, as well on the surface as 
beneath it. On the 26th of July, he weighed his anchor 
and hoisted his sails ; his boat had one mast, a mainsail, 
and a jib. There was only a light breeze, and therefore,, 
she did not move on the surface at more than the rate 
of two mUes an hour ; but it was found that she would 
tack and steer, and sail on a wind or before it, as well as. 
any common saihng-boat. He then struck her masts 
and sails ; to do which and to perfectly prepare the boat 
for plunging, required about two minutes. Having 
plunged to a certain depth, he placed two men at the- 


engine, which was intended to give her progressive 
motion, and one at the helm, while he, with a barometer 
before him, governed the machine, which kept her bal- 
anced between the upper and lower waters. He found 
that with the exertion of one hand only, he could keep 
her at any depth he pleased. The propelling engine was 
then put in motion, and he found that on coming to the 
surface, he had, in about seven minutes, made a pro- 
gress of four hundred metres, or five hundred yards. 
He then again plunged, turned her round while under 
the water, and returned to near the place he began to 
move from. He repeated his experiments several days 
successively, until he became familiar with the opera- 
tion of the machinery, and the movements of the boat. 
He found that she was as obedient to her helm under 
water, as any boat could be on the surface, and that the 
magnetic needle traversed as well in the one as in the 
other. On the 7th of August, Mt. Fulton again de- 
scended with a store of atmospheric air compressed into 
a copper globe of a cubic foot capacity, iato which two 
hundred atmospheres were forced. Thus prepared, he 
descended with three companions to the depth of five 
feet. At the expiration of an hour and forty minutes, 
he began to take small suppHes of pure air from his res- 
ervoir, and did so as he found occasion for four hours 
and twenty minutes. At the expiration of the time, he 
came to the surface, without having experienced any 
inconvenience from having been so long under the 

It is very doubtful that in the matter of submarine 
navigation there has been any improvement on this 
original construction of Mr. Fulton. He failed to in; 
duce the French government to purchase his rights; 

* Biographical Memoir of Robert Fulton. Prepared by Cadwallader D. 
Golden, Esq., for the Literary and PMlosophioal Society of New York. 

Fulton's torpedo. 463 

and then he passed over to England, and undertook to 
negotiate a sale to the Enghsh government ; but again 
met with failure. There has been some criticism of this 
part of the life of Fulton, that, while England and 
France were at war, he should passfrom the one coun- 
try to the obher endeavoring to make sale of an infernal 
machine; but this is explained by his friends by the 
assertion that Fulton's object was peace and not war; 
that he wished by his machine to make war impossible. 

Fulton returned to this country in 1806, and spent 
some time in trying to induce this government to adopt 
his torpedo system ; but after a time, and after having 
made some failures, he gave up the torpedo experiments, 
and gave his attention whoUy to efforts to construct a 
vessel to be moved by steam. 

The history of Fulton's connection with the intro- 
duction of navigation by steam can be very soon told. 
As has been shown, his principal occupation during his 
residence abroad was the construction of the submarine 
boat and the torpedo, and yet he gave some time to 
other pui'suits. His Stanhope correspondence proves 
that moving vessels by steam was one of the subjects 
which engaged his attention. In 1798, the legislature of 
New York had passed an act in which Chancellor Liv- 
ingstone was vested with the exclusive right of naviga- 
ting aU boats which might be moved by fire and steam — 
he having conceived it possible that a new motor might 
be introduced. This was passed on the condition that 
he should build such a boat within a year whose pro- 
gress should be not less than four miles an hour. He 
made some efforts, but did not meet with the success ex- 
pected by him. He went to France as the American 
ambassador, and there formed an alliance with Fulton 
for the purpose of constructing a boat which should 
be moved by steam. 


Fulton at once gave Ms attention to the matter. 
His first essay was the use of endless chains with resist- 
ing boards on them as propellers. In 1802, he was at 
Plombiers, where he constructed models; in 1803, he 
had constructed another model in which the wheel was 
introduced; and in the spring of that year, he and Mr. 
Livingstone had completed an experimental boat, but 
which was broken by its own weight before there was 
any opportunity to make any tests. In July, the vessel 
was repaired, and a test was made on the Seine in the 
presence of the French officials, and, with the exception 
that it did not move as fast as was expected, the trial 
was in every other essential respect satisfactory. Ful- 
ton at once ordered from Watt and Bolton machinery 
which was to be sent to the United States. Mr. Liv- 
ingstone, also satisfied as to the result of the experiment, 
wrote over to his friends to have another extension of 
his exclusive right to employ boats impelled by fire or 
steam, and this was given by the legislature. 

Fulton at once came to America, and commenced 
building a boat. In the spring of 1807, it was launched 
from a ship-yard on the East river. It was the " Cler- 
mont," the first practical steamboat, and from that day 
to the present, there has been no cessatioui in steam- 
navigation. The first trip of the " Clermont " was made 
to Albany. 

" She had the most terrific appearance, from other 
vessels which were navigating the river, when she was 
making her passage. The first steam-boats used dry 
pine for fuel, which sends forth a column of ignited 
vapor many feet above the flue, and whenever the fire 
is stirred, a galaxy of sparks fly off, and in the night have 
a very beautiful and brilliant appearance. This uncom- 
mon Hght first attracted the attention of the crews of 
the other vessels. Notwithstanding the wind and tide 


were adverse to its approach, they saw with astonish- 
merit that it was coming rapidly towards them; and 
when it came so near that the noise of the machinery 
and paddles was heard, the crews (if what was said at 
the time in the newspapers be true) in some instances 
shrunk beneath the decks from the terrific sight, and 
left the vessels to go ashore, while others prostrated 
themselves, and besought Providence to protect them 
from the approach of the horrible monster, which was 
marching on the tides, and lighting its path by the fires 
it vomited."* 

The " Clermont" was one hundred and thirty-three 
feet in length ; depth seven feet ; breadth eighteen feet ; 
burden one hundred and sixty tons; cylinder (one) 
diameter two feet, stroke four feet; paddle wheels 
fifteen feet in diameter, two feet dip, and four feet 
broad; boiler twenty feet long, seven deep, eight in 
breadth ; speed on the first trip five miles an hour. Up 
to 1812, Fulton had constructed six other steamers, 
besides one for the western rivers, named the Orleans, 
and which was launched in 1811, at Pittsburgh. He 
afterwards built three others for the western rivers, and 
then gave up the construction of steam-boats, and gave 
his attention to a submarine battery, for which he 
obtained a patent in 1813. On the 24th of February, 
1816, he died from the effects of a cold caught a short 
time before, while he had been over to New Jersey as a 
witness before the legislature to secure a repeal of a law 
which had forbidden a ferry-boat to ply between New 
York and New Jersey. 

As to the position which Fulton should occupy 
among those who are entitled to credit for services 
which they have rendered in securing to the world the 

* Life of RoberJ Fulton. 1817. Golden. 


benefit of navigation by steam, tbere need be no ques- 
tion. He invented but little; but be was tbe first to 
apply principles already establisbed, and give tbem a 
practical and lasting effect. He did not invent tbe 
steam-boat, but be gave it existence. 

Tbe first steam-boat built in Europe wbicb corres- 
ponded to tbe " Clermont " of Fulton, and tbe " Pboenix" 
of Stevens, was tbe "Comet," constructed by Henry 
Bell, in 1811, several years after river steamers were an 
accompbsbed fact in tbis country. From tbe time of 
tbe building of tbe " Comet," tbere was no interregnum 
in tbe employment of steam in navigation in Great^rit- 
ain. Knigbt quotes from tbe report of a parliamentary 
commission wbicb sat in 1817, at wbicb time tbere were 
seven steam-boats plying on tbe Tbames, wbicb urges 
tbe necessity of steam as a marine, and a river motor, 
and cites tbe extensive use of tbe same in America, 
"wbicb preceded by some years tbe estabbsbment of 
practical steam- vessels carrying passengers in any part 
of Europe." 

In 1818, tbe Savannab, a steam-vessel purcbased in 
New York, by Mr. Scarborougb, a resident of -Savannab, 
Georgia — a vessel of tbree bundred and fifty tons- 
steamed from New York to Savannab, being tbe first ' 
vessel to undertake an ocean voyage. Sbe reached 
Savannab in safety; in May of the same year, sbe 
crossed tbe ocean, reacbing Liverpool in twenty-two 
days. In 1838, two EngHsb vessels, tbe " Sirius " and 
tbe " Great Western," crossed from Bristol to New 
York, in nineteen and eighteen days respectively. Tbe 
screw for the propulsion of vessels was first brought 
into notice by John C. Stevens, of Hoboken, New Jersey, 
tbe inventor who came so near carrying off tbe honors 
from Fulton, as tbe first to make steam navigation prac- 
ticable. It was later taken up by the noted Ericsson, 





placed in two vessels which he built for citizens of the 
United States; and thereafter, to a very large extent, 
the screw-propeUer supplanted the paddle-wheel in 
ocean-going vessels. 

At the present time, the total number of steamers in 
use in the world, is something over five thousand ; this 
is not inclusive of vessels in use for inland transporta- 
tion. The total tonnage of these is about three million 



IT has been seen in an examination of the development 
of the steam-boat, that there is no one person who 
can be credited with its invention ; in the course of the 
investigation of the growth of the locomotive and the 
steam-carriage, it will be found that to no one person 
can be given the entire credit of their invention. Steph- 
enson is usually believed to be the inventor of the loco- 
motive ; that is to say, this is the popular conclusion. 
As a matter of fact, he invented it as httle as Fulton in- 
vented the steam-boat ; he was the one whose locomo- 
tive was successful in a test of locomotives. He con- 
structed the best locomotive, not the first one. 

It was not till 1602 that the first crude idea of the 
railway made its appearance in the shape of wooden rails 
laid down for the wheels of wagons engaged in hauUng 
coal; in 1676, the rails were first laid parallel, and the 
wheels so constructed that they would not leave the 
rails. It was not tiU 1715 that flat plates of iron were 
nailed to the wooden rails. In 1767, cast-iron rails were 
introduced, and two years later, flat cast-iron rails with 
an upright flange came into use. Steel rails .of the kind 
now in use were first made in 1857. It will be seen that 
the rail was in use long before the locomotive. It may 
be here mentioned that what is now called the " tram- 
road" in the old world had its origin in 1791, in the 



construction of a railway by Benjamin Outram, in which 
the upper surface of the rails were convex, and the peri- 
phery of the wheels concave. The Outram road has be- 
come shortened to tram-road, and is now appUed, in 
England and France, to the street-cars drawn by horses. 

The perfection of the steam-engine by Watt led al- 
most irresistibly to the suggestion of its use to supplant 
horse-power on the tramways. Watt himself suggested 
that it could be done, but took no steps to carry the idea 
into effect. Sir Isaac Newton, in 1680, outHned a land- 
carriage to be driven by steam. It had four wheels, a 
boiler, from which steam issued through a pipe in the 
rear, it being intended that the vehicle would move from 
the reaction of the steam. A man sitting on the front 
controlled the steam, and steered the carriage. Watt 
took out patents for engines to run carriages on land, 
but he never made any use of them. According to 
Thurston, Dr. Erasmus Darwin urged Boulton, Watt's 
partner, to construct a steam-carriage, or "fiery chariot," 
as he termed it. 

The first practicable steam-carriage knovra, is that 
invented by Nicholas Cugnot, a Frenchman, in 1769, 
and which is still preserved in the Conservatoire des 
Arts et Metiers, at Paris. It has a copper boiler, and 
a pair of single-acting, thirteen-inch cylinders, which 
communicated power to a single dri^ng-wheel. Thurs- 
ton, who examined the engine, says of it that it was^a 
very creditable piece of work, and was intended for the 
transportation of artillery. The connection between the 
engines and the wheel " was effected by means of pawls, 
as first proposed by Papin, which could be reversed when 
it was desired to move the machine backward. . . . 
This locomotive was found to have been built on a toler- 
ably satisfactory plan; but the boiler was too smaU, and 
the steering apparatus was incapable of handhng the 


carriage with promptness. The death of one of Cugnot's 
patrons, and the exile of the other, put an end to 
Cugnot's experiments." * 

If there were such a thing as an actual first locomo- 
tive, this would be the one, and Cugnot would be en- 
titled to be called its inventor. The fact that his effort 
did not extend beyond the date of its creation proves 
that posterity is not indebted to him for the locomotive. 

Sjrmmington, whose name has been mentioned in 
connection with MUler's, and Lord Dundas' steam- 
boats, also in the same year produced a road locomo- 
tive. It was a machine that would run over the roads, 
but nothing came of it. There was another locomotive 
constructed by Hornblower, in 1769. 

In 1784; one of Watt's assistants made a locomotive 
for use on common roads. This was WiUiam Murdoch, 
of Cornwall. His locomotive was a working model in 
which the heat for the boiler was supphed by a lamp. It 
is related that one night he determined to give his model 
a trial; the heat was apphed, the machinery thrown into 
gear; when the locomotive got away from him, ran out 
into and along a lane, frightening people with its unex- 
pected and uncanny appearance. Among others who 
met the smoking, blazing, whizzing object, was the cler- 
gyman of the parish, who supposed it was the devil, and 
set up a vigorous cry for help. That it was a success is 
shown by the fact that it would move at a rate of speed 
equal to seven miles an hour. This model is yet beUeved 
to be in existence. Why Murdoch did not follow up his 
model with something larger is not known. 

In 1787, Oliver Evans, of Philadelphia, obtained a 
patent in Maryland for the exclusive right to make 
steam-carriages for roads and railways. Evans was a 

' Crrowth of the Steam- Engine. 


man of considerable note. He was bom in Newport, 
Del., in 1755, and died in New York in 1819. He learned 
the trade of a wheelwright, and began to devise a land- 
carriage before he was of age. When but little past his 
majority, he invented a machine for making card-teeth 
which had before been done by hand. When he was 
twenty-four, he was taken in partnership by his brothers, 
who were millers, and soon after he made some import- 
ant inventions in mill-machinery, among which were the 
elevator, descender, conveyor and the hke, whose effect 
was to revolutionize the process of manufacturing flour. 
Meanwhile he had obtained the right referred to from 
Maryland in regard to the exclusive use of steam-car- 
riages ; but it was not till about 1800 that he found time 
to give his attention to the construction of this vehicle ; 
but after completing the engine for it, he concluded that 
it would be of more value to him if applied to the driv- 
ing of mills. His engine was what is known as high 
pressure, double-acting; that is, it used steam at a pres- 
sure higher than fifty pounds to the inch, and applied it 
to both sides of the piston. He is claimed to be the 
inventor of the system of high-pressure, although in 
England, the credit for this is given to Trevethick. " To 
Oliver Evans," says Ernst Alban, a well-known German 
engineer, "was it reserved to show the true value of a 
long-known principle, and to establish thereon a new 
and more simple method of applying the power of steam, 
a method that will remain an eternal memorial to its 
introducer." He sent his plans to England to secure 
patents in 1787, and again in 1794-95; and it is probably 
from this source that Trevethick obtained the hint 
which enabled him to lay claim to the invention. In 
1804, he constructed the steam-dredging machine already 
alluded to, which he ran on wheels to the river, and 
then ran to its destination as a steam-boat. It was 


named by him, tlie " Qrukter Amphibolos," and was- 
probably the first land carriage ever used in America. 
He predicted that the time would come, "when people 
wiU travel in stages moved by steam-engines from one 
city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly, fifteen or 
twenty miles an hour. A carriage wiU start from Wash- 
ington in the morning, the passengers will breakfast at 
Baltimore, dine at Philadelphia, and sup in New York 
the same day. I have no doubt that my engines will 
propel boats against the current of the Mississippi, and 
wagons on turnpike roads with great profit. Engines. 
wiU drive boats ten to twelve miles an hour, and there 
wiU be hundreds of steamers running on the Mississippi 

It was only the limited means of Evans which pre- 
vented his carrying into practice the theories which he 
entertained in regard to steam as a motor for land car- 
riages and for vessels. 

It is stated that, in 1803, a man named Frederick, 
made a locomotive which was used in connection with a 
silver mine in Hanover; and that in 1806, a locomotive, 
driven by hot air, was constructed at Chalons, France,. . 
by Niepce. 

Trevethick built a high-pressure engine for the pro- 
pulsion of a road locoinotive in 1803. He came in three 
years behind Evans as the inventor of the high-pres- 
sure engine, and some time after Evans' plans and spe- 
cifications had been on file in London; nevertheless, he 
is regarded in England as the one to whom is due the 
credit of the invention. His locomotive was a success ; 
but for some reason, he lost his interest in it, took it 
apart, and returned to his home with a view of com- 
mencing work on a locomotive to be used on a railway. 

In 1821, Juhus GriflQths, of Middlesex, England, con- 
structed a locomotive for use on a common road. It 



was in use for several years. In 1811, an Englishman 
named Blenkinsop constructed a locomotive for use in 
the Midland colliery, and which was employed on a 
tramway. Traction was secured by having spur-wheels 
which worked into a rack at the side of the track. This 
is really the first railroad locomotive which is known. 
It was in use many years, and drew trains of thirty tons 
in weight at the rate of three and a half miles an hour. 

In 1812, it was proved by a series of experiments that 
the traction could be obtained without any spur or gear- 
ing of any kind, which was immediately followed by the 
patenting of a locomotive with eight wheels, driven by 
gearing, for the purpose of increasing the adhesion to 
the rails. In 1813, WiUiam Hedley constructed a loco- 
motive which had eight wheels, and which w&s known 
as "Puffing Billy." It was used as late as 1862, when 
it was given a sanctuary in the British Museum. One 
would be also almost tempted to think that Hedley 
came as near as any one could of having invented the 
railway locomotive. In the same year that Hedley 
invented his locomotive, Brunton invented one in which 
the driving power was two propellers, jointed so as to 
imitate the actions of the hind legs of a horse. * 

At about 1730, and for some years later, land car^ 
riages were very common in England, more especially in 
London, where they ran with as much regularity as the 
modem omnibusses. In time all these gave way; at 
the present time, there are few road locomotives in use 
in any part of the world. 

The modern English world is practically a unit in 
conceding to George Stephenson the credit of making 
the locomotive for the railway a practical success ; and 
there is no lack of those who are firmly of the opinion 

* Edward H. Knight. 


that lie is the inventor of the locomotive ; that without 
him, there would have been nothing of the kind, even 
at the present day. The career of Stephenson is so 
remarkable that it is worthy of some special attention. 

In the mean, httle collection of houses known as 
Wylam, a little west of Newcastle-on-Tyne, George 
Stephenson was born on June 9, 1781. His father was 
a very humble workman who filled the position of fire- 
man of the pumping-engine in use at the colHery. At 
the age of eight years he was made to earn his own 
bread, and to this end was employed by a woman in the 
vicinity to herd a few cows of which she was the owner. 
Of course, it is always the rule to find in the boy some 
indications of the man, and in Stephenson's case, his- 
tory, or legend, furnishes the required material. His 
favorite amusement while acting as herder -^as, in com- 
pany with some other boys, to model engines out of 
clay. In time he joined his father at the colliery, where 
he was employed at Ught work befitting his age. In 
time he became promoted to fireman, and then engine- 
man, showing an especial fondness for the engine, which 
he studied till he had thoroughly mastered aU its details. 

He was a man, getting the pay of a man, and doing 
the work of a man before he learned to read. After he 
was eighteen years of age, he began to long for some 
education, so that he might fit himself for a higher place 
in his business ; and he commenced his studies by tak- 
ing lessons in reading three nights in a week of a neigh- 
boring school-master, at a cost of three pence a week. 
At nineteen he could read and spell some, and could 
also write his own name. His next aspiration was for 
some knowledge of mathematics, and thereupon he 
began taking lessons in "figuring" at four pence a 
week. He also gave some attention at odd moments to 
the mending of shoes, by which he was able to earn a 


few extra pence. Among some shoes that were sent 
him to repair was a pair belonging to a young lady 
whom he later married, and of whom he probably be- 
came enamored on account of something suggestive ia 
the shoe which he had the pleasure of cobbling. 

One of the ideas with which he was possessed was 
that of the discovery of perpetual motion ; and it may 
be added here, lest there be those who may be dis- 
posed to disparage him on this account, that many 
of the brightest geniuses of the middle and later ages 
have been employed in this pursuit; as was shown in 
another place. Meanwhile he had been promoted to 
brakeman, and always gave the closest attention to his 
duties, and from time to time was able to observe little 
defects in the workings of the pulleys, or the ropes, and 
to suggest aaeasures for their remedy. His first oppor- 
tunity to show his superiority was when an expensive 
pump had been put up in a coUiery, and utterly failed 
to do the work required of it. Various experts gave it 
their best efforts, but could make no impression on its 
obstinate refusal to do what it was expected to do. By 
accident he was heard to say that he could repair it ; and 
after all others had failed, the overseer, in despair, em- 
ployed Stephenson to attempt the cure; although he 
had httle if any hope that anything would be accom- 
pHshed by the raw coUiery hand. He took the engine 
to pieces, and at the end of four days he reported it 
ready for work. In two days it cleared the pit of water. 
He received a present of ten pounds for his work, and 
was promoted to the position of engineer. 

In 1813, he had risen to the dignity of being engineer 
of several collieries ; had acquired a fair amount of book 
knowledge, and by his economical habits had saved a few 
hundred pounds. At this time, the question of the trans- 
portation of the coal from the collieries was attracting 




a good deal of attention. The Blenkinsop engine had 
then been constructed, and was at work; Stephenson 
was among those who saw it, when it was first put 
on the track, and after watching it for some time, he 
ventured the remark that he thought he could make a 
better machine. He found a friend in Lord Eavens- 
worth, who agreeed to advance him the money for his 
effort. His first engine was very hke the Blenkinsop 
machine, save in a trifling change in the connecting 
gear, and in the absence of any gearing to prevent the 
slipping of the wheels on the rail. It had before been 
proved that a smooth wheel would not slip on a tram- 
rail; Stephenson thought the same would be the case 
on an edge-rail ; hence he left smooth the periphery of 
the wheels of his new engine. In 1814, it was placed at 
work on the KiUinworth railway, where, on a gradient 
of one in four hundred and fifty, it drew eight loaded 
carriages of thirty tons weight at the rate of four miles 
an hour. 

It was regarded as a success, and was kept at work 
for some time ; but it was found to be inconveniently 
clumsy and awkward. It was found also that it was not 
more economical than horses for the work it performed ; 
and had he not been able to increase the value of the 
fuel burned by the introduction of the steam-blast, his 
engine would have been thrown aside as not an eco- 
nomical machine. The blast more than doubled the 
value of the engine. 

In 1815, he took out, in company with a Mr. Dodds, 
a patent for a second engine, whose improvements were 
the steam-blast, the joint action of the wheels by con- 
necting them with horizontal bars on the outside, and a 
simplifying of the connection between the cyhnder and 
the wheels. 

After the completion of his second engine, he gave 


some considerable attention to the construction of a 
safety-lamp, which he finally perfected under the name 
of the "Greorgy Lamp," and which is still in use in 
many of the mines, being preferred by some to the 
safety-lamp of Sir Humphry Davy. The lamp of the 
latter came out about the same time as that of Stephen- 
son; and there are not lackiag those who aver that 
Stephenson is not entitled to the credit of the inven- 
tion. It does not foUow that because the two lamps 
were constructed about the same time that one was 
stolen from the other. However, in the district in 
which Stephenson Hved, he is beheved to be the origina- 
tor of the safety-lamp, while throughout the remainder 
of the world, the credit, rightly or wrongly, is given to 
his titled opponent. However, Stephenson lost nothing 
by it in a pecuniary sense, as his friends, indignant that 
he should be treated as he was by the partisans of Davy, 
presented him with a purse of $6,000, and a silver 

After having completed the safety-lamp, he turned 
his attention to the improvement of railway tracks, and 
patented an improved rail and chair, whereby the jolting 
in the track was much lessened. In the same patent, he 
included some changes in the locomotive; the wheels 
were to be malleable iron ; there was also what may be 
termed steam-springs for the support of the boiler. 
There were four oyhnders which supported the boiler 
on the frame of the engine ; these opened into the boiler. 
Within each was a piston, the rod of which rested on 
the frame of the carriage ; within the boiler, the steam 
pressed on the piston with a force about equal to one- 
fourth the weight of the engine, and ia this way very 
materially reheved the jar which would othervvise occur. 
This ingenious process remained in use for some time. 

The next matter which engaged his attention was 

Stephenson's advance. 473 

the construction of a railway for the Hetton colliery, on 
■which his engines were used, five of them heing em- 
ployed on the level parts, while stationary engines were 
employed for the heavy grades. The road was eight 
miles in length. In 1825, a railway was opened between 
Stockton and Darnngton,of which he was made engi- 
neer; in the meantime, he had opened an establishment 
for the manufacture of locomotives, in connection with 
Mr. Pease, in Newcastle-on-Tyne. In 1825, he was em- 
ployed as engineer of the Liverpool and Manchester Eail- 
way ; the first railway of any importance in the world. 
Its completion, and what soon after occurred, gave 
Stephenson a greater Hft into publicity than anything 
which had ever before occurred in his career. When 
the road was completed, many of the controlling spirits 
were of the opinion 'that the means of transportation 
should be furnished by stationary engines, as they pro- 
fessed to have no faith whatever in any locomotives 
which had been created. Stephenson fought this vigor- 
ously, and finally succeeded in inducing the directors to 
offer a prize for the best locomotive for the purpose of 
the road ; they at last consented ; and from out this com- 
petition grew the world-wide fame which Stephenson 
has since enjoyed. 

The history of this Liverpool and Manchester Railway 
is a very remarkable one. The two towns were connected 
by canals, but their business had grown to such dimen- 
sions that the necessity of further facilities for transporta- 
tion became imperative. An attempt had been made to 
survey the route some three or four years before it was 
undertaken by Stephenson. All sorts of difficulties were 
encountered. The residents along the proposed line 
made every possible resistance. The same was the case 
when Stephenson went over the ground. He found an 
army on the watch. His party were ordered off the 


farms ; they were threatened with legal prooeedings as 
trespassers; they were assaulted, stoned, their instru- 
ments smashed; they were followed incessantly by a 
hooting mob of women and children. All sorts of ex- 
pedients were resorted to by both parties ; work was done 
early in the morning before the residents were out of 
bed ; some progress was made at meal-times ; occasion- 
ally some progress was gained at night. Perseverance 
finally triumphed, and the survey was completed. The 
estimates were made up, and submitted to the company, 
who were satisfied, and then the apphcation was made 
to Parhament for the necessary act to enable the con- 
struction of the road. 

Here thfe fight was long and bitter. The canal com- 
panies entered the field in opposition, and almost with- 
out exception, all the landed interests along the pro- 
posed route of the hne fought the project from the very 
outset. The newspapers took sides, but the majority of 
them opposed it. The people were told by these " organs 
of pubUc opinion," that the presence of a railway on 
which there were locomotives, " would prevent cows 
from grazing and hens from laying. The poisoned air 
from the locomotives would kill birds as they flew over 
them, and render the preservation of pheasants and 
foxes no longer possible. House-holders adjoiniug the 
projected hne were told that their houses would be 
burnt up by the fire thrown from the engine-chimneys, 
while the air around would be polluted by the clouds of 
smoke. There would no longer be any use for horses ; 
and if the railways extended, the species would become 
extinguished, and oats and hay unsaleable commodities. 
Travehng by road would become rendered highly dan- 
gerous, and country inns would be ruined. Boilers 
would burst and blow passengers to atoms. But there 
was always the consolation to wind up with — that the 


weiglit of the locomotive would completely prevent its 
moving, and that railways, even if made, could never be 
worked by steam-power ! " * 

In 1826, a writer, in referring to the expectations of 
Stephenson, said : " It is far from my wish to promul- 
gate to the world that the ridiculous expectations, or 
rather professions, of the enthusiastic speculator will be 
realized, and that we shall see engines travehng at the 
rate of twelve, sixteen, eighteen, or twenty mUes an 
hour. Nothing could do more harm toward^ their gen- 
eral adoption and improvement, than the promulgation 
of such nonsense." t 

The Quarterly Review for March, 1825, had an article 
on the projected railway from Liverpool to Manchester, 
in which it admits the necessity of the road, but ridi- 
cules the idea of traveling more than eight or nine miles 
an hour ; which is something less than the stage coaches, 
which averaged ten miles an hour. "The gross exag- 
gerations," it says, " of the powers of the locomotive en- 
gine, or, to speak in plain Enghsh, the steam-carriage, 
may delude for a time, but must end in the mortification 
of those concerned. . . What can be more palpably 
absurd and ridiculous than the prospect held out of loco- 
motives traveling twice as fast as stage-coaches! We 
should as soon expect the people of Woolwich to suffer 
themselves to be fired off upon one of Congreve's richo- 
chet rockets, as to trust themselves to the mercy of 
such a machine going at such a rate. We will back old 
Father Thames against the Woolwich Eailway for any 
sum. We trust that Parliament will, in all the railways 
it may sanction, limit the speed to eight or nine miles 
an hour, which we entirely agree with Mr. Sylvester, is 

* George Stephenson. Smiles. 

i A Practical Treatise on Railroads. Nicholas Wood. 


as great as can be ventured on with safety." This com- 
ment was upon a project to build a railway between the 
metropohs and Woolwich. Dr. Lardner afl&rmed that 
carriages could not go at anything like the contemplated 
speed ; if driven to it, the wheels would merely spin on 
their axles, and the carriage would stand stock stiU." 
Evidently the press of that day was as much in the rear 
of the van of improvement, as in modern days it is in 
advance of it. 

Stephenson was in time brought before the par- 
Hamentary committee to whom had been referred the 
consideration of the apphcation of the grant for the 
Liverpool and Manchester Eailway. The ordeal which 
he underwent was a long and exhaustive one. The canal 
companies opposed the grant in the committee, and so 
did other hostile interests. There was no end to the 
questions which were propounded to him. He was 
asked about the effect the increase of speed would 
have on the security of the track, to which he answered 
that the greater the momentum the less the weight on 
the track ; as in skating, when a person can cross a weak 
spot in the ice at a high rate of speed, when the same 
would give way if crossed at a lower rate. He was 
asked if the locomotive would not frighten horses ; he 
thought the horses would, in time, become accustomed 
to it. Would not the wheels sHp on the rails; it was 
impossible that they should so long as the adhesive 
weight of the wheel on the rail was greater than the 
weight to be dragged after it. What would become of 
a locomotive, going at twelve miles an hour, which 
should come to a curve; it would go round the turn. 
During the course of the cross-examination before the 
committee, there occurred an incident which has become 

" Suppose, now," asked one of the committee, "that 

"awkwaed foe the coo." 477 

one of these engines shotild be going along a railroad at 
the rate of nine or ten miles an hour, and a cow were to 
stray on the track ; would not that, think you, be a very 
awkward circumstance !" " Yes," answered the witness, 
with a twinkle in his eye, " very awkward indeed — ^for 
the coo!'' 

The bill was thrown out, but it was again brought up 
at the next session, and carried. Stephenson was ap- 
pointed engineer of the construction of the road, and 
he went at it with his usual vigor. As it approached 
completion, there was a bitter fight over the power 
which should be employed in moving the wagons to be 
used on it. Many were in favor of horses ; others were 
firm in the opinion that stationary engines should draw 
the trains of wagons from point to point. Apparently 
nobody but Stephenson was of the behef that the loco- 
motive was of value. Some of the roads which had 
used the locomotive for the hauling of coal had aban- 
doned it and returned to horses. No engineer of any 
standing would permit himself to believe that the loco- 
motive was of value, or that it could be made to go as 
fast as twelve miles an hour without tearing itself and 
the track to pieces. Two of the most eminent engi- 
neers in England, Messrs. Walker and Eastrick, were 
employed to give a professional opinion on the point, 
and unanimously decided against the locomotive, rec- 
ommending that the road be divided into nineteen sta- 
tions of a mile and a half each, with twenty-one engines 
fixed at the different points to move the trains. 

It was only the pertinacity of Stephenson which 
saved him from being borne down by this adverse report. 
Yielding at least to his entreaties, the directors consented 
to offer a prize of five hundred pounds for the best 

* Evidence, p. 207. 


locomotive v^liicli should be produced by a certain day, 
under the following conditions : 

1. The engine must effectually consume its own 

, 2. The engine, if of six tons weight, must be able to 
draw after it, day by day, twenty tons weight (including 
the tender and water-tank) at ten miles an hour, with a 
pressure of steam on the boiler not exceeding fifty 
pounds to the square inch. 

3. The boiler must have two safety-valves, neither 
of which must be fastened dovm, and one of them be 
completely out of the control of the engineman. 

4. The engine and boiler must be supported on 
springs, and rest on six wheels, the height of the whole 
not exceeding fifteen feet to the top of the chimney. 

5. The engine with water must not weigh more than 
six tons; but an engine of less weight would be pre- 
ferred on its drawing a proportionate load behind it ; if 
of only four and a half tons, then it might be put on 
only four wheels. The company to be at Hberty to test 
the boiler, etc., by a pressure of one hundred and fifty 
pounds to the square inch. 

6. A mercurial gauge must be affixed to the machine, 
showing the steam pressure above forty-five pounds to 
the square inch. 

7. The engine must be deUvered complete and ready 
for the trial at the Liverpool end of the railway, no 
later than the 1st of October, 1829. 

8. The price of the engine must not exceed five 
hundred pounds. * 

The same writer says that many persons of influence 
declared the conditions published by the directors of 
the railway to be chimerical in the extreme. One 

* Smiles. 


gentleman of some eminence in Liverpool, Mr. P. Ewart, 
"who afterwards fiUed the office of government inspector 
of post-office steam-packets, declared that "only a parcel 
of charlatans would ever have issued such a set of con- 
ditions; that it had been provefd to be impossible to 
make a locomotive engine to go ten miles an hour ; but 
if it ever was done, he would eat a stewed engine wheel 
ior his breakfast." 

It was this test which decided the fate of the loco- 
motive, at least for that period. Had the directors 
yielded to the claims of scientific engineering, to the 
solemn clamors of the press, to the warnings cf the 
wiseacres of aU the professions, to the popular opposi- 
tion, or even to their own wishes, the locomotive would 
bave put off making its appearance for many years. The 
conclusion to order a trial, and the results of the test, 
estabHshed the locomotive at once on a footin from 
which it has never for a moment been displaced. 

On the 6th of October, 1829, there were four engines 
on the ground as competitors for the honors, and the 
fiLve hundred pounds; they were the "Novelty," the 
^' Sanspareil," the "Eocket," and the "Perseverance." 
Thousands of spectators were present, among whom 
were several of the more scientific engineers who had 
prophecied the failure of the locomotive, and who came 
probably with the hope of seeing the fulfillment of their 
vaticinations. One of the three judges was Mr. East- 
rick, who had pronounced against the employment of 
locomotives on the line, preferring twenty-one stationary 
engines to do the work. The " Novelty" was the first 
called out ; the trial track was two miles in length, level, 
and well ?,dapted to the purposes of the test. It was an 
engine which weighed a little over three tons, with a 
blast furnished by a bellows. It made a few runs back 
and forth, making in some cases as many as twenty-four 



miles an hour. In the final tests, the " Novelty " per- 
formed excellent work, but burst a pipe, by which it was 
forced out of the competition. The " Sanspareil " made 
an average speed of about fourteen miles an hour, but it 
burst a water-pipe before the trial was over, and it too 
lost its place. The " Perseverance " could only make 
about six miles an hour, and this left the field to. Steph- 
enson's engine, the " Rocket." It worked " Hke a 
charm." It did aU that the competition caUed for. 

THE "ROCKET." (1829.) 

and a good deal more. During its test, its average 
speed was fifteen miles an hour ; in a certain part of the 
trial its average was about twenty-nine miles an hour. 

It ought to be mentioned at this point that one of 
the most material of the elements which led to the suc- 
cess was the superiority of its boiler, which was known 
as the multitubular, and which was an American inven- 
tion, having been invented and patented by Nathan 
Eead, in 1791, nearly forty years before the trial in 


"which the "Kooket" ■won the prize. Indeed, Smiles, 
the biographer of Stephenson, does not assert that 
Stephenson was its inventor ; but he is careful to sug- 
gest that various Englishmen had used it prior to its 
use by the "Eocket." He does even go to the length 
of admitting that there was a stiU prior claim made by a. 
Mr. Stevens, of New York, who claimed to have used it 
as early as 1807 ; and then it is said by Eobert Stephen- 
son, the son of the great engineer, "but certain it is 
that the perfect estabMshment of the success of the. 
multitubular boiler is more immediately due to the sug- 
gestions of Mr. Henry Booth, and to my father's prac- 
tical knowledge in carrying it out." 

Stephenson Uved till 1848, and was able to witness a 
development of the locomotive and the railway which 
more than answered his most ardent expectations. He 
was great in his self-culture, great in his ingenuity and 
perseverance, but the greatest of the things which he 
accomphshed was in his waging a conflict, almost single- 
handed, with all England for the introduction of the 
locomotive on the Liverpool and Manchester Eailway. 
His victory, won after gigantic efforts, and against in- 
credible odds, was not merely a personal triumph of the 
grandest dimensions; it was also a victory of incalcu- 
lable value to commerce, to labor, and to the world^s 
advancement. It is true that had he not made the fight, 
it would have been made, and would have been won by 
some later athlete. The delay might have cost the 
world ten or even twenty years of its progress ; without 
Stephenson's victory, the world might be to-day where 
it was ten or twenty years ago. The locomotive is at 
the head of modern advancement. Without it a steam- 
marine would be a mere shadow of what it is at the 
present time. 

This century has a vast debt to Stephenson. He was 


far in advance of his time ; and he drew the v7orld up to 
the point vphich he had gained. His moral hfe is hke- 
wise of the greatest value on account of its character ; 
it proves that there is no har to the progress of the poor- 
est, the most humble. Stephenson could have received 
a title, and he refused it ; he is better remembered as 
the Great Engineer, than he would have been had he 
been gazetted a prince. What he accomphshed is within 
the reach of all others who have natural ability, backed 
by industry and perseverance. 

Since the estabHshment of the thirty miles of the 
Liverpool and Manchester Railway, fifty-four years ago, 
there has grown a system in the United Kingdom which 
includes over eighteen thousand miles of roads, some 
fourteen thousand locomotives, over four hundred and 
forty thousand vehicles for the transportation of goods, 
passengers, etc., and some seven hundred miUion pounds 
of capital, yielding a return of over thirty miUion pounds. 
Is not this figure of the income from the railways some- 
thing which reflects infinite credit on the man who pro- 
cured the substitution of the " Eocket " for stationary 
engines to be placed one and a half miles apart, with 
Topes, pulleys and the hke for the hauling of the trains? 

The first railway was laid in France about 1823, for 
the purpose of hauHng coals, and the horse was the 
motor at first used; these gave way to engines. Loco- 
motives were not used till near 1840. Belgium and Ger- 
many very soon followed the example of Great Britain 
in the use of locomotives for railways. 

The first railway in the United States was one built 
from Quincy to Milton, Massachusetts, a distance of two 
miles, in 1826. The first locomotive in this country was 
constructed by Col. John Stevens, of Hoboken, in 1825, 
and was shown to be a success by being run on a circu- 
lar track in front of his residence. The next, so far as 


known, was built in 1829, by the late Peter Cooper, and 
although but an experimental machine, with a three and 
a half inch cylinder, and rated at one-horse power, it ran 
on the Baltimore and Ohio Eailway at the rate of eigh- 
teen miles an hour, drawing a coach containing thirty- 
six passengers. * The first locomotive in use in this 
country was on the Delaware and Hudson Canal Com- 
pany's KaUway, and was built by Eastrick, in England. 
It was found to be unequal to the work required of it,, 
and was followed by the use of American-made locomo- 
tives. The first locomotive built in this country for use 
on an estabhshed railway was the " Best Friend," built 
at the West Point foundry, in 1830, for the Charleston, 
and Hamburg Eailway. From this time forward, this. 
country has suppUed its own locomotives, and so suc- 
cessful have been some of the types constructed that, in. 
the case at least of the " George Washington," built by 
the celebrated Norris, several of the same kind were 
ordered for use on the British railways. 

That this country commenced to supply itself with 
locomotives proves the value of its mechanics. They 
were not copyists in any sense of the word, none of the 
machines produced here being in any sense reproduc- 
tions of the English models. Even at this date, the 
English and American locomotives are unhke in many 
respects. They have but little external resemblance; 
and it is the opinion of experts that the American 
engine is in aU essential respects the equal of the Eng- 
hsh machine, and in many particulars its superior. 

The increase of the miles of railway in this country 
since the inauguration of this first railway has been 
commensurate with the growth of the rest of the coun- 
try. The United States now have about eighty thousand 

* Tlitirstoii. 



miles, or more than all Europe together, or perhaps 
all the rest of the world. We have about eight times as 
many miles as France ; more than four times as many as 
Great Britain; eight times as many as Eussia; nearly 
twelve times as many as Prussia; and about twenty 
times as many as Austria. The amount of capital in- 
vested in railways in this country is over four and a half 
billions of dollars ; and the total receipts over six hun- 
dred mUhon doUars per annum. 

The following will afford a chronological sequence of 
the various inventions and discoveries in the steam-boat 
and the steam-carriage. The dates are approximately 
correct : 


Garay 1543 

Papin 1690 

Hulls 1736 

Bernouilli 1750 

Gauthier 1750 

Henry 1770 

D'Auxiron 1770 

Jouffroy 1770 

Rumsey 1786 


Fitch 1787-8 

Miller 1787-8 

Read 1789 

Morey 1790 

Ormsbee 1792 

Dundas and Symmington 1802 

Fulton 1803-7 

Stephens 1805 

Ne-wton 1680 

Cughnot 1769 

Symmington 1769 

Homblower 1769 

Murdoch 1784 

Read 1790 

Trevithick 1803 

Evans 1804 

Blenkinsop 1811 

Hedley 1813 

Brunton 1813 

Losh and Stephenson 1815 

Griffith 1821 

Peter Cooper 1829 

West Point foundry ("Best 
Friend ") 1830 

Of the other apphcations of steam, nothing wiU be 
said in this connection. Nor is it necessary to enlarge 
on its value in the development of civilization. This is 
patent to the most superficial thinker. That it has rev- 
olutionized travel, transportation, and manufactures; 
that it has broken down geographical, and almost coex- 
tensively, pohtical boundaries is recognized by every 


one. Much of the old hostility of nations once grew 
from jealousy of each other ; they erected barriers, and 
fancied that their security depended on their isolation. 
Now this has all been removed among civilized peoples. 
Steam has produced a solidarity which could have been 
produced in no other way. There has grown up an 
inter-dependence which is potent in restraining hostile 
feehng, and which forbids wars, except under the most 
inevitable circumstances. So intimate and valuable 
have become the comniercial relations of the various 
countries, through the agency of communication by 
steam, that it is against the pubho policy to permit their 
disturbance by war unless there is no other resource. 
Even as the motor Of the iron- clad, it is engaged in a 
mission of peace ; for, the more effective and formidable 
become the implements and engines of war, the greater 
is the tendency to peace. 

In fine, within the last fifty years there has been a 
more rapid development of the commerce, wealth, the 
comfort, the general intelligence of the world, than in 
any two centuries, apart from this period, which the 
nations have known. In this development, steam has 
been the most potent factor. 



THERE is no possible utility in a popular work Uke 
the present one to attempt any explanation as to 
the nature of electricity. One of the essential reasons- 
for not attempting it is that its nature is unknown. Its 
phenomena may be ; but nothing more. Chemistry can- 
not analyze it ; there are no symbols which wiU explain 
its composition ; we know what it will do ; what it is, is 
a profound secret, and may always remain so. To show 
how little is known, an extract may be given from the 
ablest of modem writers on electricity. He says at the 
outset that it has not yet been positively decided what 
electricity is, but the most favored idea is contrary to its 
being material. The best known theories treat it as a 
substance existing in the form of two fluids or one. In 
the former, every non-electrified body has an enormous 
and equal quantity of each of the electric fluids in it, 
and they are then said to be neutral, fixed, or combined; 
so great is this quantity, that by no possible electrifica- 
tion can a body be deprived entirely of either kind. 
These fluids have no mass nor weight, nor any other 
property of fluids, save that of mobiUty, and attraction 
and repulsion. They are not confined to the molecules 
of the body, and can be separated — one fluid being 
drawn to one part of the body, and the other to the 
opposite. They may also pass from one body to another. 



The molecules of either fluid repel like molecules, and 
attract those of the other fluid, with a force varying 
inversely as the square of the distance between them. 
The single fluid theory supposes that all bodies are com- 
posed of two kinds of material particles — one ordinary 
matter, and the other electric fluid. The former has all 
the properties of matter ; the latter has only mobihty, 
and attraction, and repulsion. The particles of matter 
repel other particles of matter, but attract the particles 
of the fluid with a force varying inversely as the squares 
of the distance between the particles. The particles of 
fluid have similar properties ; but the attraction between 
any given quantities of unlike molecules is shghtly 
greater, than the repulsion between the same quantities 
of Hke molecules when the other conditions are the 
same ; consequently there is a slight resultant attraction 
between an amount of matter in combination with an 
equal amount of fluid, and another similar combination 
of matter and fluid. When equal quantities of matter 
and fluid are present in a body, it is non-electrified, and 
the matter and the fluid are then said to be combined. 
When more fluid than matter is present, the body is 
positively electrified ; when there is a deficiency of the 
electric fluid, the electrification is negative." * 

This explanation is one of several; and should be 
considered in connection with the assertion that " it has 
not been positively decided yet what electricity is." 
For aU popular purposes electricity may be regarded as 
in the nature of a simple fluid which moves through the 
spaces of a conducting object at a speed so rapid that 
practically no time is taken up in the transmission. 

It is more than two thousand years ago that it was 
known that some objects when excited bv friction would 

* Ferguson. 


attract other objects. The substance known as amber 
was the most sensitive to this influence ; the Greek name 
of the amber being elehtron, we get from it electricity. 
This was electricity as originally known; and for aU 
practical purposes it is the same fluid which to-day goes 
blazing and roaring through the air when there is a 
thunder-storm; the same as that which is evolved by 
chemical decomposition in the various batteries in use ; 
the same as that which is produced by the use of dynamo- 
electric machines which generate electricity for hght, 
and the energizing of motors ; the same as that which 
dives into the ocean and swims to the further shore, and 
in a second's time dehvers the message which it has 
been charged to deliver ; and the same as that produced 
by the various friction machines. There are many ways 
of coaxing this shy but mighty power into an active ex- 
istence; but however produced, it is substantially the 
same always, with the same steely flame, the same nim- 
ble spark, the same murderous nature when not under 
control; the same energetic servant and slave when held 
steadily under command. 

This is enough to know in regard to this agent unless 
one wishes to lose one's self in the mazes of the theoreti- 
cal and the unknowable. 

The most important use to which electricity is put at 
the present day is that of telegraphing. It is supposed 
to be an invention of yesterday ; in reaUty, it is more 
than a century old ; that is, the first telegraph which, by 
the means of electricity, conveyed signals between dis- 
tant points. There was a telegraph back of this one, but 
it had its existence only in the dream of an enthusiast ; 
and yet it foreshadowed the modern telegraph with an 
astonishing accuracy. In 1617, it was suggested by a 
Eoman writer, Famianus Strada, that two friends could 
hold a conversation, however widely they might be 


separated, by the use of a marvelous loadstone, and a steel 
needle. A dial containing all the letters of the alphabet 
was arranged upon a plate, and over these the needle 
was suspended so as to be able to move freely in every 
direction. Each of the two being provided with a dial- 
plate and loadstone, was in condition for conversation, 
although separated from the other by an ocean. When- 
ever one touched a needle with his loadstone, and held 
the needle over a certain letter, the needle on the dial of 
the other moved to the same letter ; and in this way 
communication was carried on.* Given the dial-plates, 
the loadstones, the steel needles, with the addition of 
an electric current, and we have all there is of the tele- 
graph of to-day. There were suggestions of an electric 
telegraph as early as 1760, in which it was proposed to 
suspend twenty-four insulated wires between distant 
points, each wire to represent a letter of the alphabet, 
at the end of each being a bell to be rung by an eloctric 
current sent through the wires. t 

This is just as much an electric telegraph as any in 
use at the present day. The first telegraph to use elec- 
tricity was in 1774, and was the product of Georges Louis 
Lesage ; it had twenty-four wires, each ending in pith- 
balls, each of which represented a letter. Lesage, in 
1782, asserted that he had the method in his brain for 
the telegraph which he produced, some thirty-five years 
before he carried it into practice. Arthur Young, an 
Enghshman, who traveled through France in 1787, 1788, 
and 1789, thus speaks of a very ingenious mechanic, 
named Lomond : " In electricity, he had made a remark- 
able discovery. You write two or three words on a piece 
of paper ; he takes it with him into a room, and turns a 

* Proluaioim$i Academicm. 

I Scott's Magazine. February, 1753. 


macliine enclosed in a cylindrical case, at the top of 
whicli is an electrometer, a small, fine pith-baU ; a wire 
connects with a similar cylinder and electrometer in a 
distant apartment ; and his wife, by observing the cor- 
responding motions of the ball, writes down the words 
they indicate. From which it appears that he has 
formed an alphabet of motions. As the length of the 
wire makes no difference in the effect, a correspondence 
might be carried on at any distance." * 

In 1794, according to Voight's Magazine, Reiser, of 
Geneva, constructed a telegraph in which there were 
thirty-six wires, which represented the twenty-four let- 
ters and the ten numerals. In this there were narrow 
strips of tin-foil pasted on glass at the receiving station. 
" The instant the discharge is made through the wire, 
the spark is seen simultaneously at each of the interrup- 
tions or breaks of the tin-foil constituting the letter, and 
the whole letter is rendered visible at once." 

In 1795, Tiberius CavaUo, of England, pubhshed a 
plan of an electric telegraph, in which he suggested that 
by sending a number of sparks along a wire, a system of 
communication could be established by the length of 
time between the sparks, which is about the same thing 
to the eye that reading from sound is in. the case of the 
Morse system. In 1797, Don Francisco Salva, of Spain, 
constructed a telegraph hne of twenty-six miles in 
length ; the next year, Betancourt, of the same nation- 
ahty, also erected a telegraph Hne, both of which proved 
a success. The means used was the electric current for 
explosion in the Leyden jar, the difference in the rapid- 
ity of the appearance of the sparks indicating the sign 
intended to be conveyed. The next attempt of import- 
ance was that of Francis Eonalds, at Hammersmith, 

* Travels in the Kingdom of France. Arthur Young. 


England, on a line eight miles in length. His telegraph 
■was so very excellent that, many years later, it was sub- 
stantially reintroduced in the well-known Hughes tele- 
graph, the invention of David E. Hughes, a Kentuckian. 
The plan of Eonalds included a clock at each end of the 
wire, both so arranged as to run exactly together, and 
each having lettered dials. Before each was a screen 
which permitted one letter only to be seen ; when this 
letter was before the opening, the discharge was sent ; 
" the electrometer at the far end then diverged, and thus 
informed the receiver of the message which letter was 
designated by the sender." 

The earhest known telegraph in this country was 
constructed by Harrison Gray Dyar at the race-course 
on Long Island, in 1827. His plan was to send electri- 
cal currents through wires in the usual way, to be 
received on litmus paper. Each discharge made a red 
mark ; the difference of time between the different dis- 
charges was the key of the signs. As in all the other 
cases which preceded the last-mentioned, the electricity 
was produced by friction. Of these cases it is said by 
an expert electrician that they are in no sense as trivial 
and inefficient as they are so often represented by mod- 
ern writers. " On the contrary, but for the practical 
diflBculty of perfect and constant insulation, owing to 
the intense self- repulsion of mechanical electricity, and 
the reaction and retardation from induction currents in 
long hues of coated wires, this method would really con- 
stitute an economical and satisfactory medium of dis- 
tant communication." * 

In 1800, AUessandro Volta, an Italian, discovered 
and constructed what is now known as the Voltaic 
pile, or in other words, a chemical battery by which 

*Heivry and the Telegraph. W. B. Taylor. 


electricity could be produced in greater quantities than 
by the usual frictional methods. He was born at Comb, 
February 18th, 1745, and died at the same place April 
6th, 1827. He was of a noble family, was properly edu- 
cated, and began at an early period to make a study of 
electricity. In 1775, he constructed an instrument for 
the generation of electricity, known as the electropho- 
rus, and in 1782, he made other discoveries in the pro- 
duction of electricity; but his greatest invention was 
that of the pile. His electrical discoveries up to this 
point had been of apparatuses for generating electricity 
by friction ; but at this time, in 1800, he discovered a 
chemical method for producing the same results, only 
they were very much increased as to value. His dis- 
coveries were received with the greatest enthusiasm by 
the scientific world, and he thereafter was the recipient 
of the very highest honors. 

The voltaic pile consists of a number of circular 
plates of copper and zinc ; each plate being made up of 
a plate of copper and one of zinc soldered together, and 
with each pair of compound plates separated by a woolen 
cloth moistened with a solution of salt, or dilute sul- 
phuric acid. 

The first one to avail himself of the new method was 
Dr. Thomas Ssemmering, of Munich. He constructed 
an apparatus by means of which he succeeded in sending 
signals through two miles of wire. His signals were 
obtained by the decomposition of water in thirty-five 
test-tubes at the receiving station, the tubes represent- 
ing the alphabet and the numerals. This was in 1808. 
The only difiiculty with his invention was its lack of 
simphcity. It required thirty-five wires between the 
stages, but in other respects, it performed weU all 
that was required of it. In 1810, Dr. John Coxe, of 
Philadelphia, proposed almost precisely the plan of 


Ssemmering, without being aware that it was already 
in existence ; and he added the suggestion that signals 
might be conveyed by currents which should decompose 
metallic salts. About the same time, Schweigger pro- 
posed a method by which the thirty-five wires of Saem- 
mering could be cut down to two. 

In 1828, a Frenchman proposed a telegraph hne from 
Paris to Brussels, which should consist of a single wire, 
which should be laid underground for the entire dis- 
tance. In 1843, Robert Smith, of Blackford, Scotland, 
constructed a telegraph which had but two wires, and 
which recorded by means of the decomposition of 
metallic salts. In 1846, Alexander Bain, of Edinburgh, 
obtaiued a patent for a form of telegraph which was 
essentially in principle Hke that of Smith three years 
before. In 1849, the well-known Professor F, B. Morse, 
of New York, patented a telegraph, in which there was 
a siagle circuit as in that of Smith, and in which the 
recording was done in metaUic salts as in the case of 
those of the Scotchmen, Bain and Smith. 

The effort of Prof. Morse was the last of those 
directed to securing means of communication at a dis- 
tance by the application of the galvano-chemical pro- 
cesses. It needed something yet more efficient in the 
shape of electro-magnetism. This came in due season, 
and since its discovery, the advance in the use of elec- 
tricity has been as rapid as the use of steam after the 
improvements and inventions of Watt, or of locomotives 
after the " Eocket " had won the first prize for George 

It would scarcely be the proper thing to do in a 
popular work to explain the properties of magnetism, 
and the resultant of its union with electricity. Per- 
haps all that need be said is, that a soft iron bar, if sur- 
rounded by copper wire, and a current of electricity be 


passed through the wire, the iron becomes magnetic. 
Another fact may be stated — and this is almost at the 
very base of electro-magnetism — that if a current of 
electricity be passed through a wire, and the wire be 
held above and parallel to a magnetic needle, the latter 
will at once turn at right angles to the current, and thus 
remain so long as the current is continued. This dis- 
covery seems a very little one, yet when the fact became 
known that a current would thus deflect the needle, 
through a Dane, named Hans Christian Anderson, in 
1820, and was given to the world, it created more com- 
ment and curiosity than any other single development 
connected with the advance of electrical science. It 
gave to the world the galvanometer, an instrument of 
almost inestimable value in the various operations con- 
nected with the uses of the electric current. As soon 
as this fact became known, the famous Andre Marie 
Ampere, suggested that it might be made of value as a 
means of communicating between distant points; but, 
as in many former cases his system was too cumbrous 
to be of value. He too, had as many wires as there are 
letters, and numerals, and as many needles as wires and 
letters, with a name of a letter to each needle. In work- 
ing this telegraph, it was only necessary to touch the 
wire, say of the letter "A," whereupon the needle " A " 
at the other end of the line would be deflected, and at 
once the reader would know what letter was intended. 
The telegraph of Ampere was very much improved by 
Baron Paul Ludovitsh SchiUing, of Cronstadt, Eussia, ' 
in the year 1823. He reduced the number of needles to 
five, in his first experiment ; and later, on the authority 
of Dr. Hamel, he succeeded in operating with only one 
needle. The length of the wire through which he suc- 
ceeded in conveying the signals is not given ; it is in- 
definitely stated at "considerable;" and in the same 


way are we ignorant of the rapidity with which commu- 
nication could be made, or the signals read. It seems 
tolerably certain, however, that he did succeed in in- 
venting a system in which a single needle was aU that 
was required, the various letters being represented by a 
certain number of deflections to the right or left. 

In 1825, Sturgeon, of Woolwich, England, substi- 
tuted soft iron for steel, and this was the first appear- 
ance of what is known as the electro-magnet. It con- 
sisted of a small bar of soft iron bent into horse-shoe 
form, wound loosely with a copper wire. In 1828, and in 
1829, Prof. Joseph Henry, of Albany, N. Y., introduced 
a material improvement in the character of the electro- 
magnet. It is described by Henry as a round piece of 
iron, about one-quarter of an inch thick, bent in the 
form of the horse-shoe ; and instead of the few feet of 
wire coiled about it as in the Sturgeon magnet, it was 
wound closely with thirty-five feet of wire (the wire 
being wound with silk), making about four hundred 
turns around the iron, to accomphsh which the wire was 
coiled on itseU'. 

The construction of this form of magnet added enor- 
mously to its power. It is stated that, up to this time, 
the strongest magnet in Europe was that of Sturgeon, 
which, with one hundred and thirty square inches of 
surface of zinc in the battery, sustained only nine 
pounds ; while the Henry magnet, with only two and a 
half square inches of zinc surface in the battery, sus- 
tained a weight of fourteen pounds. The value of his 
improvements is, that currents could be sent through 
long distances of wires. What he did made the present 
telegraphic system a possibUity. According to the bio- 
grapher of Prof. Henry, seven years after he had exper- 
imentally demonstrated the conditions required for 
"magnetizing iron at great distances through very long 


conducting wires, Prof. Charles Wheatstone, of King's 
College, London, having found a difficulty in signaULng 
through four miles of wire, was ahle to work out the 
problem for his own telegraph, by help derived from 
Henry's labors. And yet he permitted his colleague, 
Prof. John F. Daniell, to state: 'Ingenious as Prof. 
Wheatstone's contrivances are, they would have been of 
no avail for telegraphic purposes without the investiga- 
tion, which he was the first to make, of the law of elec- 
tro-magnets, when acted on through great lengths of 
wire.' And this erroneous declaration was made long 
after Henry's ' quantity ' and ' intensity ' magnets had 
been employed in the experiments of European electri- 
cians ; and years after Wheatstone had formed the ac- 
quaintance of Henry, and, in April, 1837, had learned 
from his own hps an account of his elaborate investiga- 
tions and successful results." * 

In 1831, Prof. Henry suspended a mile of wire around 
a room in the Albany Academy, connecting a small 
Cruickshanks battery, and an intensity magnet. A per- 
manent magnet, in the shape of a small steel rod was 
suspended near the intensity magnet, so that it could 
move freely. When a current was sent tm-ough the 
wire, the excitation of the soft iron magnet repelled the 
permanent magnet which touched it at one of its ends, 
and then it was drawn to the other limb of the electro- 
magnet. As it passed from one hmb to the other, the 
free end struck a small bell. It is easy to be seen that 
this telegraph contained all the essential principles of 
the Morse system of to-day. Originally the Morse sys- 
tem was remarkable in that it recorded the messages 
which it received ; now it is read by the ear ; and in this 
particular, it is precisely what Henry's was in 1831. 

* Henry and the Telegraph. Taylor. 


There is a small diflference in detail between the two 
systems ; in the case of the Morse telegraph, the excita- 
tion of the magnet moves a flat bar of metal known as 
the armature, whose click as it strikes a post near the 
ends of the magnet, is the signal which conveys the 
desired meaning ; in the other, the magnet gave motion 
to a suspended steel bar, which gave the signal by strik- 
ing a beU. Here is to be found all the principles of the 
successful electro-magnetic telegraph. 

In 1833, Gauss and Weber constructed a galvano- 
meter telegraph in Gottingen, for a distance of over a 
mUe and a half. The alphabet was made up, as in later 
telegraphs of the kind, from right and left deflections of 
the needle. Three years later, in Munich, Prof. 0. A. 
SteinheU, at the request of Gauss, took up his telegraph 
for the purpose of improving it. He suspended the 
wires in the air for a distance of about two miles. He 
succeeded in making some improvement, but the most 
valuable of his discoveries was that the earth might be 
used to complete the " circuit," instead of using an 
extra wire for the return of the current. 

In 1837, Cooke and Wheatstone patented, on June 
12, a galvanometer telegraph, which had no essential 
unhkeness to that first constructed by Baron Schilling. 
There are not wanting those who assert that Wheat- 
stone owes his success to the improvements in magnets 
made by Prof. Henry. At the outset, he experienced 
great difficulty in the feebleness of the currents in 
attempts to use it for considerable distances; and 
although Henry's improvement had been before the 
world several years, and although Henry had visited 
London and conversed with Wheatstone (the latter only 
a couple of months before Wheatstone overcame his dif- 
ficulty), yet Wheatstone claims expressly to have dis- 
covered the electro-magnet which enabled him to meet 



with success. Either this is a misstatement of the 
facts, or else Prof. Wheatstone was strangely ignorant 
of what had occurred in the scientific world. 

Three months after the apphcation of a patent for a 
galvanometer telegraph, Morse filed a caveat for the 
invention of the electro-magnetic telegraph ; the patent 
was obtained in 1840, and the first practical use of it 
was May 27, 1844, on a line between Washington and 

Whatever may be the facts as to the inventions 
which preceded his, there is no question of the fact that 
Morse did more than all others who were in advance of 
him to bring the telegraph from little more than a toy 
into the practical thing it is to-day. He is not the in- 
ventor of the telegraph, as many suppose, any more than 
Watt was the inventor of the steam-engine ; in fact, he 
was to the telegraph what Watt was to the steam-en- 
gine; he made it what it is. Samuel Finley Breese 
Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, April 
27, 1791, and died in New York, April 2, 1872. His 
father was the weU-known geographer, and was also a 
historian, preacher and editor. The son was a graduate 
of Yale CoUege, after which he went to England, and 
studied painting under Benjamin West. He gave some 
attention to sculpture, and received a medal for one of 
his efforts with the chisel. He gave his attention to his 
profession till he was thirty-eight years of age, and 
then again visited Europe in the interests of art, and 
remained there three years. At the close of his visit, in 
1832, he had become very much interested in electrical 
studies ; and it is said that, at that time, became pos- 
sessed with the idea that he could construct a telegraph 
to be operated with electricity, and also electio-magnet- 
ism. It is asserted that the conception was entirely an 
original one with him, and such may be the case. It is 




difficult, however, to comprehend, in view of what had 
been done in both these directions, that he should have 
known nothing of it, the more so that he was a man of 
education as well as a man of information ; unlike poor 
Fitch, who conceived the idea that steam might be used 
as a motor, a century or longer after it had been in prac- 
tical use. In view of the testimony of the passengers of 
the ship on which he was coming home from Europe, 
the year 1832 is fixed by his biographers as the date of 
the conception of the telegraph by Morse as a wholly 
original idea. There was one passenger who did not 
agree with this claim, and who afterwards entered the 
courts to dispute the claim of Morse to originality in the 
invention of the telegraph. The name of this witness was 
Dr. Charles Thomas Jackson, who, later in life, claimed 
to be the discoverer of anaesthetics, and for which he re- 
ceived one-half of the five thousand francs given by the 
French Academy of Sciences ; the half being given him 
for its discovery, and the other half to Dr. W. T. Gr. 
Morton for his application of etherization to surgical 
' practice. 

Dr. Jackson asserts that on the voyage over, in 1832, 
he had an electro-magnet,, two galvanic batteries, and 
some other philosophical apparatus; that a discussion 
arose between Prof. Morse, himself and others, in regard 
to the practicability of correspondence; and that he 
pointed out several ways in which it could be done. 
" His plan," he asserts, " as then developed in conversa- 
tion, embraced the essential and the peculiar features, 
of the American telegraph, patented in 1840, by Prof. 
Morse. Dr. Jackson also declares that in the spring of 
1884, he constructed and successfully worked, and ex- 
hibited to Francis Alger and other friends, a telegraph 
combining the peculiar features of that which he had in- 
vented on the steamer "Sully," though he did not think it 


could be profitably brought into public use till the inven- 
tion of the sustaining battery, in 1837, furnished the 
means of obtaining a long-continued voltaic current of 
uniform strength." * 

The first practical test of the Morse telegraph was in 
1835, when he exhibited one with half a mile of wire in 
a room in New York. In 1837, as said, he filed his 
caveat at Washington, and then went to Europe to 
patent his invention ; but was refused one in every coun- 
try to which he appUed. At the time he filed his caveat, 
he asked Congress for an appropriation to assist him in 
constructing a line for a test. For four years he be- 
seiged Congress in vain for assistance, and at the last 
moment, and when he had given up all hope, he was 
given an appropriation of thirty thousand dollars. With 
this amount, a line was constructed between Washing- 
ton and Baltimore. "What hath God wrought! " were 
the first words sent over the line ; and then the success 
of Morse was assured. Whether or not he was the in- 
ventor of the electro-magnetic telegraph, it is certain 
that he has received the widest recognition. Yale Col- 
lege gave him the degree of LL. D. ; the sultan of Tur- 
key gave him a decoration set with precious stones ; by 
the French he was presented with the cross of the legion 
of honor ; be was made a knight commander by Den- 
mark; a knight commander of the first class by the 
queen of Spain ; from Italy, he was the recipient of the 
cross of the order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus ; and 
of another cross from Portugal. He was banqueted by 
the telegraph companies in Great Britain, by the Ameri- 
cans in Paris, and by the citizens of New York. In 1856, 
at the suggestion of the third Napoleon, there was a 
gathering of the representatives of France, Belgium, 

* Am. CyclopcBdia. 


Holland, Eussia, Sweden, Austria, Sardinia, Tuscany, 
the Holy See, and Turkey, at which, it was voted to 
make him a present, which was carried out hy a dona- 
tion of the substantial sum of four hundred thousand 
francs. If these gifts and testimonials have any signifi- 
cance, it cannot but be that he is entitled to some credit 
in connection with the development of the electro-mag- 
netic telegraph. It is said by his biographer, that he 
made the acquaintance of Daguerre while in Paris, and 
on his return constructed the proper apparatus, and took 
the first sun-pictures ever taken in the United States. 
In addition to his other labors, he was a quite volumi- 
nous writer. 

In the development of his idea of the telegraph, 
Prof. Morse was assisted by L. D. Gale, and George and 
Alfred Yail. At first he had another form of recording 
than that of dots and dashes, which has since become 
so famous. His apparatus was always a recording one, 
but at the outset, it had none of the celerity which it 
possessed when the dot-and-dash method of recording 
was perfected. In the original it was so arranged that 
a continuous mark was made on paper, and variations 
from a straight hne gave opportunity for a combination 
of signals. Thus, two vertical marks meant the num- 
eral 2; three variations, 3; and so on through the num- 
erals. This constituted a cipher, which was read by ref- 
erence to an agreed-on code, of which the dictionary was 
the base. Now, the familiar dots and dashes are used 
sometimes with a paper on which they are graved by a 
steel pointer connected with an armature; but more 
generally, they are recognized by the ear. After long 
experience in reading the dots and dashes, the operator 
would begin to recognize each letter by a certain sound ; 
in time, the marks on the paper would become gradually 
less and less noticed, and the ear would become more 


and more expen in detecting the letter by the sound. 
At the present time, the number of operators who de- 
pend on the printed ribbon for the deciphering of the 
message is very small ; that is to say, in this country. 
In the government telegraphic offices of Great Britain, 
the Morse recorder is in general use, and in the majority 
of cases a message is taken off the printed shp. On the 
railways in England, the needle telegraph is largely 
used. It does not record the message ; it dehvers its 
communication in the right and left variations of the 
needle. One can see that an alphabet can be very easily 
constructed from these deflections. Thus, two deflec- 
tions to the left, the one following closely on the other, 
might be agreed on as meaning the letter " a " ; three 
following closely, as " b," and so on through the alpha- 
bet and the numerals. 

There have not been any noted inventions ia con- 
nection with the transmission of correspondence since 
the Morse system was estabHshed ; that is to say, any- 
thing strikingly new in the matter of instruments of 
transmission. Alexander Bain introduced the automa- 
tic process, in which a narrow strip of paper is punched 
in lines and dots, and this perforated strip is run at 
great speed over a roller, and is taken off by a receiving 
machine, running at the same speed as the sending 
machine, in dots and dashes. The rapidity of this, 
machine is something marvellous ; from five to six thous- 
and letters a minute being transmitted. One of its 
great advantages is exhibited in cases where a message 
from a central point is to be taken off at several places 
along the line, as in cases of despatches for an associa- 
tion of newspapers receiving its news from a given 

The fac-simile telegraph is a very curious and ingen- 
ious instrument. It is claimed as the invention of an 
Englishman, F. C. Bakewell, in 1860. A cylinder at one 


station is duplicated in every particular at another sta- 
tion. The message to be dupHcated in fac-simile, is 
written on tin-foil with varnish, and then is laid on one 
of the cylinders. At the receiving station, the cylinder 
is covered with a chemically-prepared paper, and has a 
pointer. Both cylinders are then set in motion; the 
pointer, as it touches the chemical paper leaves a red 
hne, but when the metal pointer at the other end is 
Hfted from the tin-foil by the varnish, the pointer at the 
receiving station ceases to mark. The result is that the 
outhnes of the varnish are left in a blank space on the 
receiving paper. As the pointers move about the cyHn- 
der, they advance in a slow spiral, of which about ten 
lines are required for one hne of writing. This was the 
manner in which the original fac-simile telegraph was 
operated; but there have been some substantial im- 
provements. In France, more than in any other coun- 
try, this form of telegraph is used ; and is now so im- 
proved that the fac-simile is produced in black on a 
white ground. • 

The printing telegraph was one in very general use, 
but has been superseded by the telephone. There were 
several kinds, among which may be mentioned the 
House, and the Hughes ; the Phelps, a combination of 
the better qualities of the two just mentioned; the 
Anders, and perhaps some others. The dial telegraph 
was for a time very popular ; it was the one in which a 
needle pointed to the letters as desired by the operator., 
Unlike the others, it did not record the messages sent. 
In this country the dial telegraph, before the comple- 
tion of the telephone, was in extensive use, and was 
operated by a small battery. In England they are used 
so as to be worked from the electricity generated by 
magnets. The generating of the electricity is an easy 
matter, it being done by treadles which set in motion 
the armature around the poles of the magnet. 



FOE some little time prior to the introduction of the 
telephone, the district telegraph had a very large 
popularity ; in fact, it is not yet disused, although largely 
merged into the telephone system. It consists of a dial 
fastened on the wall of the subscriber, and on which are 
lettered indications such as " Messenger," " Policeman," 
"Fire," "Carriage," "Doctor," and the Hke. A wire 
connects this with the district office. Upon turning the 
pointer on the dial to any one of the wants lettered on 
the margin, and pulhng a lever, a connection is estab- 
lished with the central office, and the particular want, 
and the place from whence the demand comes, are indi- 
cated, and the necessary action at once taken. 

There are many burglar alarms, which are simply 
forms of telegraphing. They are so constructed that 
the opening of a door or a window, or tampering with a 
safe, wiU estabhsh a circuit which sets a bell to ringing, 
and thus alarms the inmates of the house. 

A very ingenious telegraph is that which communi- 
cates the fact that there is a fire in a certain locahty. 
In each room of a building in which this form of tele- 
graph is used, there is placed in the wall or ceiling, a 
Httle cup of mercury. In case the heat of the room 
passes above a certain number of degrees, the mercury 
rises until it touches the ends of two wires ; a circuit is 

babeett's inventions. 307 

thus completed, and there is an alarm given, vsrhioh is 
sometimes carried to a fire-station, where the number of 
the building is signaled. On the side of the houses 
thus guarded, there is usually a square iron box, within 
which is a dial noting the floors of the building. When 
the circuit is completed by the rise of the mercury, the 
pointers connected with the dials in the street-box indi- 
cate the floor in which the disturbance is occurring. 

Prof. J. P. Barrett', the electrician of the city of 
Chicago, in 1879 invented an adjunct to the poHce and 
fire system — more especially the former — which is at 
once very ingenious, and of the greatest utihty. It 
consists of a series of what are termed "patrol-boxes" 
placed at various parts of the city ; say one, two, or even 
three for each block, according to the character of the 
various locaUties. These boxes have wires which con- 
nect them with the nearest pohce station. In case of 
the occurrence of anything demanding the interference 
of the poHce, the box is opened, and an alarm given by 
the pulling of a lever. This signals to the station an 
alarm, and the number of the box. A horse which is 
kept constantly harnessed to a " patrol wagon," accom- 
panied by three policemen, is instantly started on a 
gallop for the box, reaching there always within a min- 
ute after the alarm is sounded. There is a further use 
in the box; there is in it a telephone, through which 
the poHcemen on patrol duty are obliged to report at 
stated intervals. The time is taken at the station, and 
thus it is always known whether or not the patrolman 
is at his post. 

The same ingenious electrician has devised another 
thing which is of the greatest possible utility in signal- 
ing the existence of a fire in any part of a city. As the 
fire-alarms of the larger towns were arranged, before the 
invention of Prof. Barrett, the process of signaling was 


a comparatively slow one. In signaling an alarm from- 
any one of the street-boxes, the number of the box was 
sent to the central station. From this point, it was 
telegraphed to the various fire-engine stations. Sup- 
pose that the point from whence the signal was sent is 
895. Twenty seconds would be consumed in the an- 
nouncement to the central station; then the operator 
would cross to another part of the room, and adjust his 
dials so as to send the number to the sub-stations, at 
which it would be received in the shape of blows on a 
gong. Eight blows would first be struck, then an inter- 
val of five seconds; then nine blows, another interval,, 
and lastly five blows. Here we have sixty-seven sec- 
onds from the time of pulling of the street-box till the 
alarm reaches the engines. Sometimes the men at the 
engine-houses would not be certain as to the numbers, 
and would wait for the second announcement. Fifteen 
seconds would elapse before the second alarm would be 
struck, and then forty-seven seconds would be required 
to strike the 895; that is, seventeen seconds for the 
8, twenty seconds for the 9, and ten seconds for the 5, 
with an additional interval of five seconds between the 
8 and 9, and another five seconds between the 9 and 5. 
Thus it might occur that there would be a total interval 
of one hundred and twenty-nine seconds between the 
time when the alarm would be first struck and that 
when the engines had become satisfied as to the location 
of the fire. Under this system, there would be no 
record of the alarm at the engine-houses, from which it 
would sometimes appear that the engine would be late 
in reaching the fire, and would urge as an excuse that 
the first alarm was not understood, and that the second 
notification had to be waited for. The invention of 
Prof. Barrett is what is not very elegantly termed the 
" little joker." It is a registering fillet of paper, enclosed 


in a glass case at each, engine-house. The instant a 
street box is "pulled" the number is sent in dashes 
not only to the central station, but to every engine- 
house in the city. The notification is substantially 
instantaneous, and at the same instant the electric cur- 
rent loosens the chains which hold the horses in the 
stalls. There is no delay whatever. The men cannot 
claim that they had to wait for a second notification ; 
the call is recorded on the fiUet, and as the glass en- 
closure cannot be opened without detection, the record 
remains to show for itself. The invention of this httle 
instrument saves from one to two minutes ia the time 
of getting to a fire; a gain of great importance in its 
early stages. 

There are innumerable minor uses to which elec- 
tricity is apphed. One of the most common is for ring- 
ing beUs from the various rooms of a house, or a hotel. 
There is now scarcely a first-class hotel in the country 
that is without its annunciator. There are electric 
clocks invented by Wheatstone, in 1840; there is an 
electric log used on vessels ; tin-foil traced with patterns 
in varnish takes the place of the perforated paper in the 
Jacquard loom, and which, by the opening and closing 
of circuits, as metallic teeth touch the tin-foil and the 
varnish, perform aU the work of the original invention — 
an electric loom invented in 1852 by Bonelli, of Italy; 
there are pianos operated by electricity, and which can 
be played by a performer in another town; there are 
railway signals which are moved by electricity, and 
which vastly increase the safety of railway travel; it 
furnishes in the electrophorus a convenient and certain 
gas-lighter; it, in the chronograph, records time and 
occurrences; it aids in etching by biting-in an engrav- 
ing; it plays an important part in the treatment and 
cure of human maladies ; it plates metals ; it prints ; it 


engraves ; it explodes the charge in the harpoon ; it acts 
as the governing-power of machinery in stimulating lag- 
gard motion, and in restraining that which is too rapid; 
it fires the charge which is laid in the mountain-side, or 
heneath the ocean; it furnishes Hght, the power for 
moving vehicles, the light at the mast-head of a ship ; 
the warning-blaze in the Hght-house, and the gentle 
radiance which lights the salou, and the theatre; in fine, 
it is omnipresent, indispensable, and almost omnipotent. 

Its character as a news-bearer has been in part given 
in the description of the electro-magnetic telegraph. 
There is one phase of this department of electric effort 
which deserves some special attention. It is that con- 
nected with the submarine cable. 

To whom the credit of the first submarine cable is 
due is not clearly known. There is said to have been a 
suggestion of one near the close of the last century ; but 
the condition of electrical knowledge was such at that 
time, that there is Httle reason for behoving that there 
could have been a scheme of value developed at that 
early period. It is said that some experiments were 
made in India, in 1839 ; and a year later, Wheatstone 
gave it as his opinion, in an official enquiry, that a wire 
could be laid between England and France. Morse and 
Colt both laid wires under water, the first in 1842, and 
the other, in 1843. Lieutenant Siemens, brother of the 
well-known Siemens in England, laid what is claimed to 
be the first submarine cable, across the Ehine at Cologne, 
a distance of half a mile. The first one of any conse- 
quence was one laid from Dover to Calais, in 1850. It 
was a single wire, covered with guttapercha; the year 
following, it was replaced by a cable of four wires, and 
proved a permanent success. Up to 1867, not more than 
a thousand miles of submarine hnes had been made ; and 
then an effort was made to lay one beneath the Atlantic 


for the purpose of connecting the United States and 
England. The genius to whom we are indebted for the 
conception, and for the attempt, as well as for its suc- 
cess, was an American, Cyrus W. Field. 

This gentleman was born in Stockbridge, Massachu- 
setts, in November, 1819. He commenced hfe as a mer- 
chant, in which he continued until he grew wealthy, 
and from which he retired in 1853. During his travels, 
he became impressed with the idea of the value and feas- 
ibihty of a cable beneath the ocean. For several years, 
he spent his time and his money unsparingly in his effort 
to carry his idea into practical effect. A less resolute 
man, or a man of the average endurance, would have 
yielded to what seemed the impossible, before he had 
traversed one-third of the distance which was covered 
by Field before success was attained. He succeeded in 
enlisting the sympathy and the capital of some men in 
New York, in aid of the enterprise ; and thenceforward 
gave himself up to the labor which he had in view. 
Among those who were enUsted by him were men well- 
known throughout the country, among them being the 
late Peter Cooper, Marshall 0. Eoberts, Moses Taylor, 
and others. 

In 1855, he had completed a land line of some four 
hundred miles across Newfoundland, and then went to 
England, and had constructed cable sufficient to extend 
from Cape Eay to Cape Breton. It was lost in an at- 
tempt to lay it across the St. Lawrence. The next year, 
he ordered in London a sufficient length of cable to cross 
the Atlantic. When completed, he made three attempts 
to lay it. The first, in 1857, failed, and so with the sec- 
ond, the next year. The third attempt, in 1858, was a 
success, but only for a short period ; and then the cable, 
after responding for a month or so, became suddenly and 
permanently silent. The loss of three cables discouraged 


everybody 9onnected with it except Field; he kept up 
his courage, and would have sooner re-attempted the 
enterprise except for the breaking out of the civil war 
in the United States. It was not tUl 1865, that he re- 
newed the attempt, and then under more favorable cir- 
cumstances. The "Great Eastern" had been built, 
tried, and proved a failure as a passenger ship ; she was 
employed by the cable company, and for the first time in 
her career, it became apparent as to what she was fitted 
for. There had been an improvement, in the meanwhile, 
in the construction of cables ; and success seemed this 
time to be within reach. At the distance of something 
over a thousand miles, the cable snapped, and the fourth 
attempt was a failure. Who would not, at this period, 
have given up the effort as an impossible one? Field 
did not. He tried it again in 1866, and this time the 
cable was landed, and was a success from the begin- 
ning. Then the " Great Eastern " returned to mid: 
ocean, and after a long search, grappled with the lost 
cable, sphced it, and returned to America. The results 
accomplished by Cyrus W. Field, from their inception 
to their success, have few parallels in history. There 
have been several cables laid since, between the old and 
the new worlds, but in none of them has there been a 
tithe of the difficulty which was experienced by Field in 
getting the first successful one into place. 

At the present time, there are more than fifty-five 
thousand mUes of submarine cables in use, and seven 
hundred and fifty thousand miles of land wire, of which 
this country has more than any other. The time is 
probably not distant when the Pacifid will be crossed, 
and the circuit of the world will be completed. 

A most important development of the uses of elec- ' 
tiicity is in the telephone, which, a few years ago, a mere 
curiosity, a scientific toy, has become an indispensable 


part of our civilization. It has almost wholly driven 
the once-industrious district messenger system out of 
existence, and is very rapidly, within certain hmits, sup- 
planting the telegraph. 

In principle, the telephone is very old ; for, in fact, 
anything is a telephone which conveys a sound to a dis- 
tance as a means of communicated ideas. A steam- 
whistle which announces the approach of a train is a 
telephone in every sense of the word, as much so as the 
latest improvement of the Bell-Edison combination. 
The knowledge that sounds could be carried to a dis- 
tance by the use of a wire, a string, or some other con- 
ductor, is no new thing ; but that electricity could be 
used as an adjunct in the transmission, is a late discov- 
ery. The germ of the discovery of the electro-magnetic 
telephone was in the result of some investigations made 
in 1837, by Prof. Charles G. Page, of Washington. He 
found that the rapid magnetization and demagnetization 
of a magnetic bar would produce sounds, and that the 
sounds corresponded with the number of currents which 
produced them. Although there was much speculation 
over this discovery, nothing came of it until, in 1854, 
when Charles Bourseul, a Frenchman, published an 
article in which he announced his conviction that the 
transmission of speech by electricity was entirely a prac- 
ticable fact. 

In this paper, Bourseul said : " We know that sounds 
are made by vibrations, and are adapted to the ear by 
the same vibrations which are reproduced by the inter- 
vening medium. But the intensity of the vibrations 
diminishes very rapidly with the distance ; so that it is, 
even with the aid of speaking-tubes and trumpets, im- 
possible to exceed somewhat narrow hmits. Suppose 
that a man speaks near a movable disk, sufficiently flex- 
ible to lose none of the vibrations of the voice, that 


this disk alternately makes and breaks the currents 
from a battery; you may have at a distance another 
disk, which 'wiU simultaneously execute the same vibra- 

" It is true that the intensity of the sounds produced 
will be variable at the point of departure, at which the 
disk vibrates by means of the voice, and constant at the 
point of arrival, where it vibrates by means of electricity ; 
but it has been shown that this does not change the 
sounds. It is, moreover, evident that the sounds will 
be produced at the same pitch. . . . 

"... Observe that the syllables can only repro- 
duce on the sense of hearing the vibrations of the inter- 
vening medium; reproduce precisely these vibrations, 
and you will reproduce precisely these syllables. It is, 
at all events, impossible, in the present condition of sci- 
ence, to prove the impossibihty of transmitting sound 
by electricity. Everything tends to prove, on the con- 
trary, that there is such a possibihty. When the appli- 
cation of electro-magnetism to the transmission of mes- 
sages was first discussed, a man of great scientific 
attainments treated the idea as Utopian, and yet there 
is now a direct communication between London and 
Vienna by means of a simple wire. Men declared it im- 
possible, but so it is. 

"It need not be said that numerous appHcations of 
the hightest importance will immediately arise for the 
transmission of speech by electricity. Any one who is 
not deaf and dumb may use this mode of transmission, 
which would require no apparatus except an electric bat- 
tery, two vibrating disks, and a wire. In many cases, 
as for example in large establishments, orders might be 
transmitted in this way, although transmission by elec- 
tricity will not be used while it is necessary to go from 
letter to letter, and to make use of telegraphs which 


require use and apprenticeship. However this may be, 
it is certain that, in a more or less distant future, speech 
will be transmitted by electricity. I have made some 
experiments in this direction; they are delicate and 
demand time and patience, but the approximations • 
obtaiaed promise a favorable result." * 

This was written in 1864, and at this day, in view of 
what has been reaUzed, it sounds more hke a prophecy 
than the mere speculations of a man of science. The 
modern telephone is to-day what he then described it, 
as exactly as if he had had one of the latest of the im- 
proved telephones before him. For twenty-two years 
the telephone remained where it was left by Bourseul. 
That Bourseul has priority in the conception of the tel- 
ephone, there can be no doubt ; as to who is entitled to 
the credit of the instrument itself there is considerable 
discrepancy of opinion. On the 14th of February, 1876, 
Ehsha Gray and Alexander ■ Graham Bell, of Boston, 
deposited in the patent office in Washington, the former 
a caveat, and the latter an application for a patent for 
an instrument of the same kind, but with some modifi- 
cations. Before specifying the differences in the two 
appHcations, it may be added that there is authority for 
the statement that before this time, in the year 1861, 
Phihp Eeis, a German, avaiHng himself of the discov- 
eries of Prof. Page, in regard to the sounds produced by 
the rapid magnetization and demagnetization of a mag- 
netic bar, had constructed a telephone in which a vibrat- 
ing diaphragm was caused to make and break a galvanic 
circuit. " Eeis' apparatus reprpduced the tone or pitch 
of sound, so that the successive notes of a melody could 
be distinctly recognized ; but they were aU of the same 
intensity, because the currents which formed them 

* Count du Moncel. 


Tvere all of the same strength. It was, therefore, only 
a philosophical toy, and therefore of no value." * 

In 1873, Prof. Gray produced an instrument for the 
■conveyance of musical tones, and which he did to the 
great delight of crowded audiences in Chicago, and per- 
haps in other places. John Camack, an Enghshman, 
claims to have discovered the telephone in 1865 ; but he 
did not get beyond the drawings, for the reason that he 
had no means of carrying it into practical shape. An 
Itahan named Manzetti, claims that he described in sev- 
eral newspapers, in 1865, a telephone ; but there seems 
to have been nothing in his assertion that permits the 
conclusion that his suggestion would have reached the 
end sought and obtained by Bell, Gray, Edison, and the 

In regard to the claim as to priority of Bell and Gray, 
it is not within the intent of this volume to settle or 
even to comment on controverted points. It wiU an- 
swer aU present purposes to state that the matter has 
been passed on by experts, and that the verdict of the 
civilized world has been in favor of Prof. Bell. There 
is, however, opportunity for an argument against this 
conclusion ; for there are those who are firm in the opin- 
ion that Mr. Gray is the one to whom should be assigned 
the verdict and the honors of the controversy. 

EHsha Gray, however, is not without a history, and 
one that will do him honor. He w as born in 1836, in 
Barnesville, Ohio, where he learned the trade of black- 
smithing, and later, that of a carpenter and boat-builder. 
After having completed his apprenticeship, he resolved 
to study, which he did at Oberlin, supporting himself by 
working at his trades between the terms. He was inter- 
ested in electricity at a very early age, whose results 

'Am. Cyclopmdia. 


were that, later in life, he was able to place many inven- 
tions and improvements before the public, all of which 
have reference to electrical apphances. He did invent 
a telephone for speaking, but his first production appears 
to have been, not a speaking telephone, but a musical 
one — an electric harmonica. In his own account of the 
invention of the musical telephone, he says that the 
idea was suggested by an incident which occurred in his 
bath-room, in which he found his nephew playing with 
an induction coil. One end of the coil was connected 
to the zinc lining of bath-tub, the other end was held in 
his left hand, while with the right, he touched the zinc 
lining, moving his hand at the time along the surface. 
As he did so a sound was produced at the point of con- 
tact ; this excited the attention of Gray, and an inves- 
tigation followed, whose result was the musical tele- 
phone, and later, the speaking telephone. It does not 
mihtate against his statement that his idea was not a new 
one in the world of science; it may have been an entirely 
original one with him. Some years even before the sug- 
gestion of conveying sound by electricity occurred to 
him, in 1860, the Eeiss telephone was in existence for 
the transmission of melodious sounds. It was not as 
complete as Gray's and later instruments. Count du 
Moncel, long before either the production of the Gray, 
or even the Eeiss' musical telephone, suggested that 
electro-magnetism would come to the aid of certain 
instruments, such as pianos, organs, etc., in order to 
enable them to be played at a distance. 

Mr. Gray has taken out in all some fifty or sixty 
patents, among others for multiplex telegraphy, or the 
transmission of more than one message at a time on a 
single wire, and which has since been so improved that 
now eight messages are sent along a wire at one time, 
each being taken off at the receiving point without tha 


slightest confusion. The principle, in his own words, 
"is based upon the ability to transmit a number of tones 
simultaneously over the same wire and analyze them at 

' the receiving end, so that each tone will be audible on 
a particidar instrument which is tuned to it, but to no 
other. He was engaged in the manufacture of tele- 

. graphic apparatus, and was for a time the electrician of 
the Western Union Telegraph Company. His latest 
telephone was a speaking one, and obtained for a time a 
wide use. It will be remembered as the one in which the 
two mouth-pieces were side by side. 

The Bell telephone was constructed in 1876, and 
exhibited the same year at the Centennial in Philadel- 
phia, wher-e it excited the greatest attention, and was 
the theme of universal comment. As compared with the 
telephone of to-day, it was as a muttered whisper to the 
clear, distinct tones of a speaker in a public hall. The 
writer, in 1878, talked and heard through it, and talked 
with Prof. Bell through a hne of a quarter of a mile in 
length. Even then, although two years old, it was with 
the greatest diflSculty that a communication could be 
heard for the short distance it had to traverse ; but even 
in this condition, it was readily taken hold of by the 
Enghsh, more especially for use in the mines. The fact 
that, in such an imperfect condition, it could excite a 
most enthusiastic support proves how valuable was the 
use to which it was devoted. To-day, it is far from 
being the same whispering, muttering, gurgling instru- 
ment. It has united its forces with the Edison instru- 
ment, under the name and title of the " Bell-Edison," 
and may be heard for miles, conveying a voice with all 
the distinctness that does the air of a room through a 
distance of ten feet, and retaining all the pecuHarities of 
the tones of the speaker. The invention of the Bell 
instrument was the first which transmitted, so to speak, 


all. of a voice; it was the first, in its improved state, to 
preserve all the quahties of the sound which it dealt 

The Dolbear telephone presents another case of what 
may be simultaneous conception ; he constructed a tele- 
phone about the same time as BeU, and which was very 
much hke that of Bell. There has been, and is still, an 
enprmous variety of telephones in use, but unquestion- 
ably the most valued is the united BeU-Bdison instru- 
ment, in which are believed to be combined the very 
highest results of telephonic improvements. And this 
suggests some special mention of one of the most 
remarkable men of modern times, in connection with 
discoveries of appUcations of electricity. 

Thomas A. Edison, like EUsha Gray, is an Ohioan, 
having been born in Milan, February 11, 1845. He is 
thus not yet forty years of age, and has already obtained 
a fame as an inventor that is without a parallel. He, 
too, was of humble birth, and received such schooling 
as he had from his mother. He commenced hfe as a 
train-boy on the Grand Trunk railway when he was but 
twelve years of age. His earliest noticed development 
was in the direction of electrical appliances, which he 
examined, and studied as he could from the operations 
of the telegraphic lines and stations along the road. 
He was finally taught telegraphing by an operator whose 
child's life he had saved, and in this way began his 
march as an electrician. After he had learned operating 
thoroughly, he wandered for a time over this country and 
Canada, living by the wages of an operator, but mean- 
while keeping up his studies and experiments in elec- 
trical directions. 

In 1868, he had reached Boston in his wanderings, 
and there brought out several inventions, one of which 
was duplex telegraphy, but which proved a failure, and 


induced him to leave for New York. There he suggested 
the printing telegraph for stock and gold quotations, and 
at once was retained by the gold and stock company and 
a telegraph company, at a high salary, for which he was 
to do what he pleased in the hne of experiment and in- 
vestigation, and to give them the refusal of his improve- 
ments. In 1876, he removed to the now famous Menlo 
Park, in New Jersey, a short distance from New York 
City, in order that he might carry out his investigations 
without interruption. There he fitted up large work- 
shops for the manufacture of electrical apparatus, and 
the practical development of his conceptions. 

From that date to this, the name of Edison has been 
a household world. For years he kept the two worlds 
in a state of constant wonderment and expectation. His 
achievements were so wondrous that he seemed to be 
possessed of supernatural power. His carbon telephone 
brought the telephone of Bell and others from an instru- 
ment with little power and small value, to one of the 
greatest importance; it changed in an hour, a weak- 
voiced, stuttering, piping infant into a man — deep- 
chested, powerful as to voice, and energetic as to action. 
But of all the inventions, although as yet, the least in 
value, which he has given to the world, the phonograph 
attracted the most attention, the most undiluted amaze- 
ment. He was not the originator of the idea. It is, 
however, an improvement on aU which preceded it, as 
much so as a Whitworth gun is an advance beyond the ' 
rude cannon which soon followed the introduction of 
gunpowder. In 1856, Leo Scott invented an instrument 
which is known as the phonautograph, which is so ar- 
ranged as to record the impulses of the air made from 
the mouth in uttering articulate sounds. In this, as in 
the phonograph, there is a membrane against which the 
voice (so to speak) strikes, and agitates the membrane ;. 


there is a delicate marker connected with the membrane 
which vibrates as the membrane is agitated, and these 
agitations are traced by the marker on a travehng-rib- 
bon. At the very most, this can be called but a method 
of registering speech ; and there does not seem to be any 
certainty that what was thus written could be deciph- 
ered. It resembled a series of mountain peaks, and the 
intervening hollows ; with here and there peaks shoot- 
ing suddenly high in the air, and dropping as suddenly 
down some sharp declivity. These elevations and de- 
pressions correspond to the force, duration, and other 
qualities of the tone. 

There is httle similarity between this phonautograph 
of Leon Scott, and the phonograph of Edison. Both 
are speech recorders, but here the likeness ends ; for, by 
the recording instrument of the latter, the words re- 
corded can be again turned into sound, and be re-dehv- 
ered in the same words, and quahty of voice with which 
they were given to the keeping of the machine. It may 
be that the re-transmission of the words might have been 
accomphshed by the Scott machine ; but if so, it does 
not seem to have been thought of. It remained for the 
genius of Edison to produce this marvellous result. The 
principle of the registration is the same, except that in 
the case of the Scott instrument, there is no apparent 
use to be made of the results save as a curiosity. Edison 
may have availed himself of such advantages as were to 
be found in the instrument of Scott ; but it is claimed 
that the suggestion of the phonograph came to him by 
accident. They say that one day, when engaged in test- 
ing a telephone, the stylus attached to the vibrating 
membrane pricked his finger, and drew blood, the vibra- 
tion being caused by the action of the voice, whereupon 
it occurred to him that if the stylus, under the influence 
of the voice, had sufficient force to prick the skin, it 


would have enough force so as to produce on a flexible 
surface lines whicli would represent all the undulations 
of the voice. Ait the same time, came the suggestion 
that " the same outlines might mechanically reproduce 
the vibrations which had caused them, by reacting on a 
plate capable of vibrating in the same way as that which 
he had already used for the reproduction of the Morse 

Everybody knows the workings of the phonograph, 
but its outUnes may be briefly sketched. There is a 
cylinder, which may be of any desired length, but say 
twelve inches. Around this, beginning at one end and 
extending to the other, in a close spiral, a light groove 
is out. Over this cyhnder there is placed a covering of 
tin-foil. There is a mouth-piece, as in the telephone, 
which has a vibrating membrane hke the tympanum of 
the ear ; to the other side of this membrane, there is a 
light metal point, or stylus, which touches the tin-foil 
just over the groove. A forward motion is given the 
cyliader by a crank, and an axle that is a screw, and 
meanwhile the operator talks into the mouth-piece. Of 
course, the membrane vibrates under the impulses of the 
voice, and the stylus marks the tin-foil in a manner 
which corresponds to the varying vibrations of the mem- 
brane. When the speaking into the mouth-piece is com- 
pleted, the stylus and mouth-piece are set back to the 
point whence they started. If now the screw be turned 
at the same rate of speed as at the first, the stylus will 
pass in and out the marks made in its first passage, and 
in doing this will produce the same vibrations in the 
membrane that it underwent when the marks were madet 
These vibrations will affect the air, and this again the 
ear of the listener, who will hear repeated the same pre- 
cise words which were " talked into " the instrument. 

If, after the tin-foil has recorded what has been 


spoRen, the covering oe removed carefully, and laid 
away where it will not be disturbed, it can be replaced 
on the cyhnder at any time, and the spoken words be 
reproduced -as they were uttered. 

March 11, 1878, Mr. Edison exhibited his phonograph 
before the Academy of Sciences in Paris. The account 
of the exhibition is quite curious, and will bear repro- 
duction : " When his agent, Mr. Puskas, caused the 
wonderful instrument to speak, a murmur of admiration 
was heard from all parts of the hall — a murmur suc- 
ceeded by repeated applause. A letter appeared in the 
newspapers from one of the persons present in which he 
said that the learned academy, generally so cold, had 
never before abandoned itself to such enthusiasm. Yet 
some members of a sceptical turn of mind, instead of 
examining the physical fact, ascribed it to moral causes, 
and a report soon ran through the room which seemed 
to accuse the academy of having been mystified by a 
clever ventriloquist. Certainly the spirit of ancient 
Gaul is still to be found among the French, and even in 
the academy. One said that the sounds emitted by the 
instrument were precisely those of a ventriloquist. 
Another asked if the movements of Puskas' face and 
hps as he turned the instrument did not resemble the 
grimaces of a ventriloquist? A third admitted that the 
phonograph might emit sounds, but believed that it was 
much helped by the manipulator. Finally, the academy 
requested Du Moncel to try the experiment, and as he 
was not accustomed to speak into the instrument, it 
was unsuccessful, to the great joy of the incredulous. 
Some members of the academy, however, desirous of 
ascertaining the real nature of the effects, begged 
Puskas to repeat the experiments in the secretary's 
office under such conditions as they should lay down. 
The agent compHed with the request, and they were 


absolutely satisfied with the result. Yet others remained 
incredulous, and it was necessary that they should make 
the experiment for themselves before they accepted the 
fact that speech could be reproduced in so simple a 
way." * 

One of the peculiarities of the phonograph is that a, 
series of sentences may be registered, over this another, 
and still another over the two ; they may all three be in 
different languages ; one of them may be a spoken com- 
munication, another maybe vocal or instrumental music j 
and yet when the movement is made for reproducing 
what has been said, sung, or played, each comes out with 
a distinctness which can be recognized. It is a wonder- 
fully capable machine ; it can talk in three languages all 
at the same moment, or can talk and sing at the same 
time without the smallest confusion. What may he 
the mission of this instrument in the future is not 
known ; at present it is httle more than a curious toy. 
The time may come when by some process the words of 
an orator or the song of a prima donna, may be taken ; 
or the last words of the victim of a murderer may be 
recorded, and all preserved ia metal to be used when 
occasion demands. 

Edison gave to the world the improved benefits of 
sextuplex telegraphy, the microtasimeter, the aerophone, 
the megaphone, the phonometer, the electric hght by 
the incandescence of a carbon loop in a vacuum, the 
electric pen, and a host of other inventions. The mega- 
phone is a combination of the ear-trumpet and the 
speaking trumpet, by which very light sounds can be 
heard at a great distance, and by which persons can con- 
verse over a distance of a mile. The aerophone is a. 
device for bringing steam to the aid of the human voice. 

* Count Du Moncel. 


80 that its penetrating power may be increased a great 
number of times, the purpose being to enable converse 
between ships at sea when a great distance apart. The 
microtasimeter is an exceedingly dehcate instrument for 
measuring variations in temperature, and incidentally 
variations in bodies, the most infinitesimal change 
being noted and recorded by this invention. 

That Edison is the inventor of multiple telegraphy 
cannot be justly claimed; he may have improved its 
processes ; but the credit is due to others, at least for 
the conception. As long ago as 1854, Starke devised a 
method of sending two messages at the same time on 
the same wire. Both Siemens and Halske, independ- 
ently of each other, in the same year, 1854, discovered 
a method of sending two messages at the same time in 
opposite directions. What Edison did was to improve 
on the processes already in use. It is claimed his method 
is wholly original; in the words of his biographer, " The 
method invented by Starke in 1855, and improved by 
Kraemer, Bernstein, Schreder, and other German elec- 
tricians, consisted in employing a number of relays, and 
was only practicable on short Hues. Proceeding by 
entirely original methods, Edison confined himself to 
two relays, avoiding by an ingenious device the obhtera- 
tion of signals caused by changing the polarity of the 
current. By the contrivance of the electric-motograph, 
the most sensitive recording instrument ever invented, 
Edison gave to the world the duplex system of tele- 
graphy in a working shape, and rendered quadruplex, 
and sextuplex transmission possible." * 

One of the greatest of the inventions of Edison was 
that by which electric incandescence has become of 
practical utility. He is not the inventor of the principle 

*A'm,. Cyclopced/ia. 


of incandescent light ; but lie is the one who has devel- 
oped the principle into a practical form, and has given 
the world a lamp which can be used for substantially all 
illuminating purposes. In 1845, E. A. King, of London, 
introduced a lamp, in which the strip of platinum was 
brought to incandescence by a current of electricity. 
In 1849, another experimenter named Petrie substituted 
iridium for platinum. In 1873, a Eussian named Lody- 
guine produced a lamp in which the material to be 
illuminated was carbon. He inclosed the carbon in a 
glass vessel which was hermetically sealed, and from 
which the air had been exhausted; but he could not 
succeed in prolonging the hf e of the carbon above a few 
hours. In 1875, Kohn, also of St. Petersburg, tried to 
remedy the fault of the other by the use of carbons, side 
by side, and so arranged, that as fast as one was exhaus- 
ted, another would take its place, and by this means, 
secured a fair success. 

The incandescent hght which was brought out by 
Edison involves no new principles ; what he was so long 
in search for was some material that could be made into 
suitable carbon, and a process by which the glass globes 
containing the carbon could be made into a complete 
vacuum. The latter was accomplished by the use of a 
mercury pump, and the heat of electricity, to an extent 
which left in the globe but a Uttle more than the mill- 
ionth of an atmosphere. The material for the carbon 
was finally found in bamboo fibre ; and now the incan- 
descent lamp is in use in this country, and is pronounced 
a complete success. It is being rapidly introduced into 
hotels, theatres, pubhc halls, and dwelling houses. 



THEEE are various methods in use for the genera- 
tion of electricity; and for the developments of 
these methods there is an almost endless variety of 
apparatuses. In the development of frictional elec- 
tricity, there are two machines ; one is of the kind in 
which a cyhnder is used ; and the other, one in which 
plate-glass is the object which sustains the friction — the 
former is the more convenient and the latter more power- 
ful. The first plate machine was the invention of 
Charles Winter, of Vienna ; the next of any consequence 
after this was made in Edinburgh, by Dr. Ferguson, in 
1858. In this class of machines, the glass, being cut in 
circular form is revolved rapidly. Hard rubbers regu- 
lated by a screw, are pressed against the revolving plate, 
and the electricity generated is carried off by strips of 
tin-foU. In the cylinder machines, the cylinder is com- 
posed of glass, is turned rapidly, being touched by a 
rubber, and the electricity generated by the friction is 
taken off by a comb with pointed teeth. 

Under the head of galvanic batteries, there is a large 
number for the production or development of electricity. 
In these batteries, the composition consists of a strip of 
ziao and one of copper, in a vessel in which there is 
water, into which has been poured a small quantity 
of sulphuric acid. So long as these plates are kept 



separate there is no action ; but if they be placed so as to 
touch, or are connected by a copper wire, there begins 
at once the evolution of electricity. A number of these 
jars placed side by side, and so arranged that the copper 
plate of one jar is connected by a wire with the zinc in 
next, and the outer copper-plate of the first jar or cell, 
is connected with the last copper plate of the last cell, 
a current is formed which runs from one jar to the other 
and passes around the wire back to the first cell. This 
current leaves the battery where the wire is connected 
with the copper plate, and enters the battery at the 
other end through the zinc plate in the first jar, thus 
forming what is termed a circuit, and which may be ten 
feet in length, or any number of miles. The jars thus 
connected form a battery. 

The number of these chemical or galvanic batteries 
is very large. There is the WoUaston battery, which dif- 
fers from the one just described in the particular that 
the copper plate is doubled up, and includes within it a 
plate of zinc. DanieU's battery is one which has a large 
use ; the copper plate is united at the edges so as form a 
solid cyhnder ; within this is another cylinder of porous, 
unglazed earthen-ware, and within this is a rod of zinc. 
A solution of sulphate of copper is placed between the 
copper and the earthen-ware, and dilute sulphuric acid 
between the earthen-ware and the zinc. The DanieU's 
cell has several modifications which it is unnecessary to 
particularize. In addition there are the G-rove, the 
Bunsen, the Leclanche, the gravity, and many others. 
In all these the effect produced is from the action of 
chemical fluids on materials such as copper, zinc, plati- 
num and iron. There is also the thermo-electric bat- 
tery, which is a machine for the evolving of electricity 
by the application of heat or cold to the junction of a 
circuit composed of two metals. 


The magneto-electric macMnes have of late assumed 
a great prominence, the more so as there is a growing 
demand for the electric Hght, which cannot he furnished 
from battery power, owing to its costliness. 

Zinc is far more expensive than coal; hence the 
necessity of some more economical process of securing 
an electrical supply. Coal furnishes the heat which 
impels the steam-engine, and in this direction is the 
world looking for that supply of electric power which it 
so much needs. The steam-engine drives the magneto- 
electric machine, or the dynamo-electric machine, and 
from this we now get the power which furnishes the elec- 
tric hght, and supphes the motor for the propulsion of 
vehicles, and other mechanical labors. In all these, the 
principle involved is that currents of electricity are 
brought into existence by the rapid revolution of an 
armature between the opposite holes of a horse-shoe 
magnet. In some of these, the current is continuous, 
in others it is an alternating one. The most noted of 
the machines of the kind in use are the Clarke, the 
Wilde, the Gramme, and the Edison. There are per- 
haps scores of these machines, aU substantially the 
same in principle, but which employ varying devices to 
obtain the same end. Thus far the principal use of this 
class of machines has been for the supply of the arc 
and incandescent hght, and in a few instances for the 
driving of cars, as is done in London by Siemens' experi- 
mental electric railway line, and in Berlin for the trans- 
portation of passengers. 

The sudden development of the magneto-electric 
machines has been one of the highest importance, for 
it is leading to the solution of the question of illumina- 
tion, and the furnishing a substitute for steam as a 

One of the triumphs which this class of machines has 


furnished, is that connected with illumination. Until 
they were invented there was no adequate illumination 
for scores of places. There was no such thing as effici- 
ent street-lighting ; the comparatively insigni^cant jets 
of hght in the light-house did not at all answer the end 
which they should. The world was too dependent on 
the moon and stars at night ; we were left at the mercy, 
of expensive, and often times offensive gas; the sleep- 
ing-rooms are yet too often redolent of the stifling^ 
vapors of kerosene ; the great cities are fuU of ambus- 
cades hollowed out in the darkness in which assassina- 
tion lurks, and the- robber awaits his victim. The intel- 
lectual brightness of the age has found no corresponding 
illumiuation of terrestrial night. That there wiU soon 
be something approaching an equality between the tw& 
seems assured. 

The arc light which is now in so general use for the 
illumination of streets and large buildings, is a very 
simple affair in its principle. Two sticl^s of carbon are 
arranged so that their points touch, or nearly so; a. 
stream of electricity is sent through them; and as it 
passes from one to the other, produces intense heat- 
ing and volatilization of the carbon points, and thus 
creates the intense glow which is seen at the point of 
junction. The differences of the lamps are in minor 
details. One of the main differences is to be found in 
the methods of so controlling the sticks of carbon that, 
as they are eaten away by the currents, they shall always- 
preserve the same distance from each other at their 
points. Herein has been exhibited an immense amount 
of investigation. In the main, it is the variation in the 
length of the arc which causes the "flickering " in the 
light. If the carbons are just the proper distance apart, 
the Hght remains substantially continuous and equal; 
but if the approach of the carbons towards each other 


be spasmodic, there is a marked variation in the flow of 
the current. There are various devices to secure this 
equal advance of the carbons, and this constitutes the 
main difference in the various kinds of "hghts " before 
the pubhc. In what is known as the Jablochofi lamp 
there is a difference in the arrangement of the carbons ; 
they are arranged side by side, separated by some non- 
oonducting materials. The current passes from the end 
of one to the other of these perpendicular carbons, the 
light being made at the point where the electric flow 
passes from the one to the other. As, in the ordinary 
lamp, the positive carbon is consumed twice as fast as 
the negative one, there would result in the Jablochofi 
system, that the two carbons would soon become uneven 
were it not that the current is alternated and sent once 
through the positive, and then through the negative 
■carbon. The principal lamps for the use of the arc 
light are the Brush, Eapief, Werdermann, Wallace, and 

The Brush Hght made an excellent record as to 
economy in London, ia 1880, where, in competition 
against two other lights, it carried off all the honors. 
It not only gave a better Hght than the others, but at 
less cost. The test was a very thorough one, involving 
a considerable portion of the river between Chariag Cross 
and the Cannon Street Bridge, the vacant space w^st of 
the Exchange, and some distance along Cheapside. The 
American competitor could hght a given space for less 
than one-half the cost of the lowest of the others. 

The use of electro-motors is a matter which is now at- - 
tracting a vast amount of study, investigation and ex- 
pectation. The present dynamo-machines can all be 
used as motors, and electro-magnet machines can be con- 
structed at no great cost. So long as the consumption 
of zinc was the cost of energizing an electro-motor, it 








was useless to attempt its construction; but now that 
coal has entered the field as a competitor, the question 
of expense is eliminated. It is quite within the limits of 
the possible that, in the next five years, electricity will 
be found as common as steam for the driving of ma- 
chinery. Not only will it be the motor for tramways, 
arid perhaps all forms of intramural vehicles of transpor- 
tation, but it will extend its utiHty to a thousand forms 
of machinery which are now run by water, steam, or 

Much speculation has been indulged in upon the pos- 
sibility and feasibihty of utiUzing the power of water-falls 
for the driving of dynamo-machines, whose currents wiU 
be conducted by wires and used at points where power is 
desirable, and none to be had. The first expressed pub- 
lic opinion as to this was given in 1872, by Prof. Blyth, 
who said, "magneto-electric machines might be em- 
ployed to utilize the water-power at present running to 
waste, of mountain torrents, by first employing these 
torrents to generate current electricity by means of 
magneto-electric machines, and then transmitting the 
currents by means of wires to drive an electro-magiletio 
machine wherever wanted." Sir WOham Armstrong 
and Dr. Siemens have both given this suggestion a prac- 
tical solution by using water-power to transmit electric 
power for the driving of saw-miEs, and for several other 
useful purposes. 

There are dreamers in this country who have often 
oast an enquiring eye at Niagara Falls, as if to measure 
its capabiHties for usefulness. Here is enough power 
going to absolute waste, which is perhaps sufficient to 
drive aU the mills in the union. It is not a power which 
would cost a doUar to put in use; to harness steam 
demands an immense expense in fuel; in this other 
case, no fuel is demanded. It would be as if aU the 


steam-engines could be furnished with steam ready made 
for use, and which would not involve the expenditure of 
a cent in preparation. Some da,y not distant, Niagara 
Falls will have another role given it ; it will be no longer a 
romantic torrent, thundering and smoking as it leaps 
from the verge of the precipice into the tremendous 
depths below. This is the age of utihty. All power is 
needed to employ the busy hands of labor, to increase 
the utihty of materials, to enhance the value of produc- 
tion, to clear up the waste places in our industrial areas, 
and to make this the wealthiest, and the most powerful 
of aU. the nations. And to this end shall the roar of 
Niagara be blended in the great, harmonious song of 
labor. , 

The patent office reports wiU afford something as to 
the growth of the electrical science. In the year 1882, 
there were over two thousand appUcants for patents in 
electricity, of which over two-thirds were granted. Five 
years ago, electricity was a sub-class in a division ; now 
it has risen to the dignity of a division, and the largest 
and most important in the department. One of the ex- 
aminers, in commenting on this astonishing growth, at- 
tributed it to two causes — the invention of the telephone, 
and the development of the magneto-electrical machine. 
He was of the opinion that there has been but Uttle in 
the shape of invention within late years, but there has 
been a most wonderful growth in the application of 
known principles. "The present activity," he said, 
" springs from the application of weU-known exhibitions 
of the still unknown force ; and moreover, only a few of 
these features of the science have yet been made of 
practical value. One of the broadest and most success- 
ful patents appears to have been the telephone. The 
man whose name is perhaps more widely known than 
any other in connection with inventions, in his hne of 



investigation, is Edison. His most famous achieve- 
ments have been in the improvement of telegraphy, 
and the incandescent hght." * 

Not only are the possibilities of the electrical science 
almost illimitable, but its practical uses are already enor- 
mously extended. Many of the uses of this potent and 
versatile energy have already been specified. There are 
still others whose mention would reach an indefinite ex- 
tension. It enters into almost every department of the 
decorative and the useful. One of the uses to which it 
has lately been put is as an assistant of the photo- 
grapher, by which instantaneous views can be obtained 
of any object. In this direction there has lately been 
taken a series of photographs which overthrow all pre- 
vious notions in regard to the movement of a horse in a 
trot, gaUop, or other gait. A large number of cameras 
are set side by side along a track which the horse is 
made to pass. An equal number of fine threads cross 
the track in front of the horse, which are broken as he 
strikes them, thereby bringing a current of electricity 
into action whereby the slide of the camera is raised for 
the briefest possible fraction of a second, with the result 
that the horse is taken in whatever position he may be, 
as if he were motionless. All painters have hitherto 
represented the horse at a gallop as if his fore and hind 
legs were in the air; the former pushed straight out 
level with the body, the latter extended in the same way 
to the rear. These instantaneous views have shown 
that a horse is never, under any circumstances, in any 
such position, and that the only time when he has all 
his legs off the ground is when they are doubled up un- 
der him. 

One of the uses of electricity is for electro-plating. 

* E. M. Bently. 


gilding, and the like, in whicli gold, platinum, silver, cop- 
per, zinc, lead, cobalt, and nickel are applied as a per- 
manent coating to some material. This use enters largely 
into the trades, such as in the case of Britannia-ware, 
and nickel-plated goods, which are so common in almost 
every part of the world. This plating is very simple in 
principle ; the metal to be silvered is hung in an electric 
bath, and allowed to remain there till it is coated to the 
proper thickness. 

Electrotyping is of the greatest possible consequence, 
more especially in printing. A mould of wax is made of 
the page of type or wood-cut to be copied, and is sus- 
pended in a bath of sulphate of copper and sulphuric 
acid. In a httle time the mould is covered with a face 
of copper, which is exactly a reproduction of the face of 
the mould. This is taken off, and is backed by metal 
and wood until it is the height of the types in use in 
printing, and then is ready for the press. In this process 
the electricity for the work is usually furnished by a 
Daniell's battery, but since the improved magneto- 
machines, they are being largely used in the more exten- 
sive estabhshments, for the reason that the process is not 
only cheaper as to material used, but much more rapid. 

In some of the processes of galvanizing iron, the 
plates to be tinned are so placed that a weak battery is 
formed, by whose action the tin is deposited on the iron. 
The galvanoglyph is a form of engraving in which an 
etched zinc plate is placed in an electro-bath, and a 
reverse is obtained from which printed impressions can 
be taken. There is a small magneto-electric machine 
which is much in use among medical men, in which a 
current of electricity is generated by the revolution of 
an armature at the poles of a couple of magnets. 

What is known as the Faure battery, or " accumu- 
lator," is a late discovery which promises to be of great 


value. It is not precisely a magazine for the confining 
of electricity, but it is a species of battery which may 
be charged, disconnected, carried for a considerable dis- 
tance and then its electricity given out for whatever 


uses desired. With this so-called magazine, a house may 
be lighted, the magazine being charged daily and sup- 
plied to customers as are the magazines of soda-foun- 
tains ; the empty ones being taken away to be refilled,. 


and full ones taking their places. This process .of "stor- 
ing electricity" will supply innumerable wants of a small 
kind, especially in localities where a small amount is 
wanted, and where it will be economy to erect machines 
for its production. 

An outhne of the principal facts in electricity would 
not be complete without some notice of Faraday, an 
eminent scientist, to whom the world owes a vast debt 
for his labors. Michael Faraday was bom in Surrey, 
England, September, 1791, and died at Hampton Court, 
August, 1867. He was of humble parentage, his father 
being a blacksmith, without either health or wealth. 
Young Faraday had no educational advantages up to the 
time he was thirteen years of age ; and then, for a time, 
such as he received was what he gathered while serving 
as an errand boy in the shop of a book-binder and book- 
seller in London, and after a year, as his apprentice. 
Here he had access to some scientific works, among the 
most attractive of which were articles in them which 
treated of electricity. He also managed once a week to 
hear a lecture on natural philosophy, the expense of 
which — one shilling a week — was defrayed by his brother ; 
and at about the same period of his Hfe he had the satis- 
faction of hearing four lectures by Sir Humphry Davy. 
As had been his wont, he made notes of Sir Humphry's 
lectures, which he soon afterwards extended in a form 
as full as he could, interspersed them with illustrations 
from his own pencil, and sent the whole to Sir ■Hum- 
phry "as a proof of my earnestness." 

The result of his endeavor to convince the great 
scientist of his " earnestness " was a very satisfactory 
one. He called on Davy by invitation, and was at once 
made assistant in the laboratory of the Royal Institu- 
tion, when he was twenty-two years of age. He soon 
after traveled abroad with Davy, for a year and a half, 


acting as his amanuensis and assistant in experiments. 
Upon their return he resumed his place in the labora- 
tory and delivered several series of lectures on chemical 
subjects before he was twenty-five. In 1818, he discov- 
ered that the phenomena of musical flames were not de- 
pendent "upon the sudden expansion and condensation 
of vapor," as had been supposed; but " that they were 
connected with musical vibrations produced in a manner 
similar to the tones of a flute or of an organ pipe." He 
occupied himself incessantly with chemical experiments, 
making many important discoveries, finding time, how- 
ever, to do some occasional preaching before a Sande- 
manian congregation of which he was a member. He was 
a tireless writer as well as experimenter, and gave a vast 
number of articles of speculations, and the results of his 
investigations, to current scientific hterature. In one 
year alone, he had no less than ten papers in the Quar- 
terly Journal; and despite his other duties, he had al- 
ways one paper, and often more, in progress at the same 

It was in 1831 that he commenced the course of study 
and experiment which led to his discoveries in elec- 
tricity, and which have conferred on him the greater 
portion of the popular fame which he enjoys. He 
brought the mixed theories of various of his predeces- 
sors as to magneto-electricity, into comprehensive form, 
and is beheved to be the founder of the science as it ex- 
ists to-day. He made many important investigations 
into the laws of electro-chemical decomposition ; he de- 
veloped a theory of inductive electricity ; examined the 
magnetic relations of light ; gave much study to the 
magnetic condition of gases ; he made some examina- 
tions and study of submarine telegraphy. He gave 
nearly a quarter of a century to electrical researches. 
" The record of this work which he has left in his 

fabadat's value. 641 

manuscripts and re-published in his three volumes of 
Electrical Besearches, wiU ever remain as his noblest 
monument ; full of genius in the conception ; full of fin- 
ished and most accurate work in the execution ; in quan- 
tity so vast that it seems impossible that one man could 
have done so much. Lastly, the circumstances under 
which the work was done were those of penury. During 
a great part of these twenty-six years the Eoyal Institu- 
tion was kept ahve by the lectures which Faraday gave 
for it. He had no grant from the royal society, and 
throughout almost the whole of this time the fixed in- 
come which the institution could afford to give him was 
one hundred pounds sterling a year, to which the Ful- 
lerian professorship added one hundred pounds more." * 

It will be remembered as one of the facts connected 
vrith his career that, some years since, at the time the 
phenomena of spirituaHsm were exciting some attention, 
Faraday was induced to examine the " manifestations " 
known as " table-tipping." He did give the matter con- 
siderable attention ; and after numerous experiments he 
reported that he found nothing supernatural in the 
movements of the table, and that the movements were 
made by those who had their hands on the table, through 
the means of unconscious muscular pressure. 

In his old age, he was given a home at Hampton 
Court by the queen. Hampton Court is an aristocratic 
poor-house ; once a famous palace, it is now a species of 
pauper- house to which are consigned the widows of de- 
serving oflBcers, and others who" have given so much 
time to the state, and occasionally to science, that they 
have not had the time to accumulate any provision for 
their old age. 

As to the influence which the development of elec- 
tricity has had ^n civilization, it is needless to say a 

* Dr. Bence Jones' Biography of Faraday. 


word. The result is patent to every one who has had 
the good fortune to hve anywhere in civilization within 
the last quarter of a century. It needs only be said that, 
colossal as have been its developments within the last 
thirty years, it may be regarded as yet in its infancy. 
Within-the next decade it may reasonably be anticipated 
that as men, miles apart, talk with each other as if mouth 
were at ear, they will see each others' faces as they talk ; 
wiU see each other as if face to face. Processes will be im- 
proved until the letter which is written in New York, in 
lone minute, wiU appear va. facsimile in London or Chi- 
cago, the next. The newspaper with its present facih- 
ties of distribution will undergo a change ; there will be 
a central office where the paper will be placed in type; 
wires leading to distant cities wiU take off a facsimile 
impression at these remote points, and distribution by 
mail abrogated. Each subscriber, no matter how 
distant from the office of publication, will receive his 
newspaper within a minute or two after it is in type at 
the central office. 

None of these probabihties are as wonderful as some 
of those which have already occurred; they would be 
less wonderful than the telegraph, the telephone, or the 
phonograph, or multiple telegraphy, or any of a dozen 
developments which have characterized the last decade. 

There is no reason to suppose that electricity has 
reached the limit of its availabihty so long as there re- 
mains in the operations of men anything which is known 
as time and space. When they are annihilated its mis- 
sion will be accomplished. 



IT would be di£Boult to fancy what this world would 
be without iron; we might exist, we might even at- 
tain a certain stage of development ; we might be some- 
thing considerably in advance of what our forefathers 
had gained during the bronze period. But we should be 
immeasurable periods behind where we stand now; anni- 
hilate iron, and we should roU backward unnumbered 

The same is not true were we suddenly to lose any of 
the other metals; we could get on without gold; we 
should probably find a substitute for silver ; jcopper and 
tin are vastly useful, but not indispensable. We could 
be wealthy, happy, luxurious, progressive, aU these; but 
take away from us iron, and the fabric of oivihzation 
would lose its support, and would tumble into a chaos 
such as whence it emerged thousands of years ago. 

When this useful mineral was first known can only 
be surmised. It came some time probably after the stone 
age ; but even this is too remote a period for measure- 
ment. Its first uses were probably for weapons, as the 
occupation of the world at that early period was war. 
Men fought with men, they fought with beasts. The 
wars were not wholly useless. They established the 
rights of property. The doctrine of meum and teum was 
developed in these remote periods through the persuasive 


force of the stone hatchet, and the weighty arguments 
of the club. Out of these savage conflicts grew not 
only the personal rights of property, but the rights 
of the family, the community, and the commonwealth. 
It was only the prick of the lance-head of flint that 
would convince many an ancient savage that the skin 
which his neighbor had won in the chase, was not his if 
he wished it ; and the same of all the other rights that 
are vested in the individual and in the nation. 

There is no record, however ancient, or rather docu- 
ment the most ancient, which fails to mention the 
existence of iron. The Vulcan of the Greeks, the Tubal 
Cain of the Hebrews, refer to an era in which iron was 
known ; but back of these — if one may find chronologi- 
cal differences in the fabulous ages — in the dim past of 
the Egyptian dynasties, there seems reason to conclude 
that iron was known many thousands of years before the 
Christian era. It is also known that among the earher 
peoples, iron was regarded as infinitely more valuable 
than gold ; the latter was valuable only as an ornament ; 
the former was the material which formed the swords, 
and which gave to its owner a supremacy over his less 
fortunate foe. 

A few hundred years before our era, the existence of 
iron and its uses become substantially historical. Dio- 
dorus speaks of the great venerationin which it was held 
among the Egyptians ; Herodotus shows how great wafe 
the value accorded to it in the mention of an iron saucer, 
which was deemed a present worthy to be given a king. 
Iron relics have been found at Nineveh, at Memphis, and 
in the pyramid of Grizeh. Among the remnants of the 
Chaldeans have been found ornaments in iron; writers 
living cotemporaneously with the beginning of the 
Christian era speak of very extensive mines of iron 
which were about exhausted from long working. Layard 


discovered at Nimrud great quantities of spear and 
arrow-heads, pieces of armor, daggers, picks, saws with 
handles at each end, and other things which were 
wrought from iron. Were it not that iron so readily 
rusts, and thus becomes obHterated, there would be 
remnants of iron found among still earlier ruins of the 
ancient peoples. In the ruins of Nineveh there were 
found a wheel of copper with an axle of iron, some picks 
and chains, all in iron. At the time of the conquest of 
Gaul by Julius Caesar, he found admirably made 
weapons of war, and ornaments made from iron. Steel 
was very early discovered by the ancients ; not the steel 
of to-day, but the hardening of iron by plunging it inta 

The most remarkable remnant of early work m iron 
is the famous wrought-iron piUar of Delhi, which is sup- 
posed to have been erected in about the year 319 A. D. 
It is nearly forty-eight feet in height, is sixteen and one- 
half inches in diameter at the bottom, and twelve inches 
at the top. It weighs about seventeen tons. In a tem- 
ple in India are iron beams of great magnitude, one of 
which is over twenty-six feet in length. 

Of course, nothing is known of the processes which 
were in use among the ancients for the reduction of iron 
ore, save as we find them among the savage races still 
in existence, and who, not having been brought into 
contact with civihzation, manufacture it presumably as 
have other peoples in their primitive conditions. Every- 
where among the modem savages, save perhaps those in 
America, there is to be found some simple processes for 
the manufacture of iron. Livingstone found iron-work- 
ing among all the African tribes which he visited ; each 
had his furnace for smelting, its coal charcoal-pits, its 
forges ; they constructed excellent hatchets, lance-heads, 
arrow-heads, bracelets, and other articles. Some of the 




bellows which were used were very curious and ingenious 
in their construction. In the case of one village there 
was a double-acting bellows that would reflect credit on 
a much higher class of people. Each bellows was like 
a drum, the top of which, in place of being fast, was 
loose, so as to admit its being raised and lowered, as if 
for instance, it were of some very flexible skin. In the 
centre of this loose top was fixed a stick; at the bottom 
of the drum was a pipe which led to the fire. As the 


stick was raised and lowered by the natives, the air was 
drawn in the body of the drum and driven through the 
pipe against the fire; there was another drum, precisely 
hke the first, which was operated by the other hand of 
the native, the handle of one being raised to admit the 
air as the other handle descended and forced the air 
against the flame ; in this way a continuous blast was 
Jsept in operation. A stone near by furnished the anvil; 


one native did the blowing, and second took the heated 
iron and hammered it on the stone-anvil to the required 

In India, there is in use the same kind of bellows, 
except there is a spring beneath the flexible part which 
forces it upwards. In working it, a man stands with a 
ioot on each bellows and throws his weight on one, and 
then on the other, the spring forcing the top up as he 
shifts the weight from it to the other. 

Among many of the savage races, the furnaces are 
made of clay, and the result is a very excellent article 
of iron; in other instances, equally good results are 
obtained by stacks which are dug in the hill-sides. In 
the charging of these primitive furnaces, the ore 
and charcoal are placed in alternately. In this way 
the natives, after a fire lasting from twelve to forty 
hours, get a mass of malleable iron which weighs 
from a few pounds up to one or two hundred. By re- 
peated hammering, the cinder in the mass is expelled. 

When Europe became familiar with the processes for 
the reduction of iron is not known. Perhaps as in the 
cases of the eastern nations, it was practiced in Europe 
from the earliest periods. The Bomans, in their visit to 
Britain, found on their route a familiarity with iron and 
its working, but not, so far as is known, among the 
Britons. It was introduced by the Komans, for there 
are found abundant remnants of early workings. It is 
said that the form of furnace used in these very early 
days is yet in use in many parts of England. Also a 
furnace called the Catalan can be traced back to the 
beginning of this era; a furnace which is still in use 
in many parts of the world, including the United 
States. However, the earliest date at which rehable 
history takes hold of the reduction of iron in Europe, is 
from the fourteenth to the fifteenth century. Probably 


iron metallurgy took its rise in Western Europe, 
towards the end of the fifteenth century. Of course, it 
had existed before this, but in no shape which re- 
sembles a permanent industry, In fact, it was not till 
the sixteenth century that the reduction of iron ore 
became an industry of great value ; it even may be said 
that it did not develop its real value until the introduc- 
tion of steam. 

The introduction of the iron manufacture in Eng- 
land had the effect to menace the annihilation of the 
forests, which was met by laws limiting the amount to 
be cut for charcoal. It was not tiU the first part of the 
seventeenth century that a substitute for wood was 
found in mineral coal, when the process was patented 
by Dudley. He operated very successfully for a few 
years, and then died and took his secret with him into 
the grave. It was not till near the middle of the eigh- 
teenth cfentury that Abram Darby invented the process 
of iron manufacture by the use of coal, in which he 
reduced the coal to coke before using it in the furnace. 
Prom that period, the manufacture of this metal has 
had no interruption. Steam came, and by its aid, the 
processes were vastly accelerated. 

It may be said that the Dudley above referred to had 
the usual fate of inventors of those days. He was not 
the real inventor of smelting with coal; but it came into 
his possession on account of the inabihty of others to 
use it with success. He was the originator of it to the 
extent that he was the first who was able to use coal in 
smelting iron. The moment he made the process a suc- 
cessful one, he became an object of suspicion and dis- 
Hke to others who were engaged in smelting by the old 
methods, and who happened to be in the possession of 
plenty of wood. They had a substantial monopoly of 
the business, and, of course, did not welcome opposition. 


The result was that they incited the charcoal-burners to 
destroy the works of Dudley, which they proceeded to 
do on the ground that his process was one which would 
take the bread out of their mouths. 

Something of the same sort has been heard before ! 

The first iron works in this country were estabUshed 
in 1819, near Jamestown, Va., but, some three years 
later, the works and working-men were annihilated by 
the Indians. The next effort was at Lynn, Mass., in 
1648; at which works, in 1652, were coined the silver, 
"pine-tree," shilhngs, sixpences and threepences, which 
are so much in demand by the coin-collectors. 

There was a very rapid improvement in the construc- 
tion of smelting-furnaces after the handling of iron ore 
had become firmly estabhshed in Europe. The very 
earhest furnaces known, even those yet in use among 
the savage tribes of Africa, combine aU the essentials of 
a blast-furnace; that is, a furnace in which there is an 
artificial aid given to the natural draught. Illustrations 
have been given of some of the primitive machines in 
use for producing the draft ; but these were superseded 
by improved bellows, worked at first by water, and later 
by steam. At the outset, the cold blast was used the 
same as that in use among the native metallurgists; 
with the improvement in the dimensions of the furnace, 
the hot-blast was introduced— by whom does not appear, 
with certainty, although some authorities credit its 
invention to a Scotchman, named Neilson, who was a 
resident of Glasgow. Under this original invention, 
the air was heated previous to being driven into the fur- 
nace. The value of the invention, apart from its effect 
on the process of smelting, was that it permitted the 
use of hard coal for smelting purposes ; its effect pn the 
iron is not considered as beneficial, for the reason that, 
when a superior kind of iron is wanted it is smelted in a 


cold-blast furnace. In some instances, the fuel which 
heats the blast consists mainly of the gases which 
escape from the furnace ; the temperature attained by 
the hot-blast is sometimes from one thousand to fifteen 
hundred degrees. As a matter of economy in smelting, 
the hot-blast is invaluable ; it adds about one-third to 
the value of the blast. It is estimated that for every 
ton of material in the furnace, there must be blown in 
three tons of air, whose effect, if cold, must be to greatly 
retard the smelting of the ore. There are many patents 
covering various forms of hot-blast furnaces ; but they 
are substantially the same as to the end sought, which 
is to secure the greatest economy in the processes of 
heating the blast to the required temperature. 

The introduction 0|f the hot-blast, was not, as a mat- 
ter of course, the only improvement over the ancient 
forms of furnaces. One of the first changes was to en- 
large them from their primitive size. Now there are 
some furnaces which are over one hundred feet in height, 
and whose average "make" is more than five hundred 
tons per week. The process of smelting is famihar to 
almost every one in this country; but it may be briefly 
summarized as foUows: The furnace is first charged 
with fuel, and as this burns down, alternate layers of 
fuel and mixed ore and limestone or other flux, accord- 
ing to the nature of the ore being smelted, are added. 
In a description of smelting, there occurs the following- 
statement of the employe who had charge of the work : 

" You must know that there are about one hundred 
and forty tons of material in the furnace, in the propor- 
tion of sixty to seventy tons of ore, sixty tons of coal, 
and fifteen to twenty tons of hmestone, fed into the fur- 
nace at the opening above. The furnace is forty feet 
square at the bottom, and forty feet high, with a hollow 
space, or ' flask ' in the centre, lined with fire-brick, and 


abont fourteen feet in diameter. The material dumped 
into the furnace becomes melted, and the iron, being the 
heaviest, sinks to the bottom, while the flux, like oil 
upon water, floats on the surface, and having an affinity 
for the dross of the coal and the iron, it grasps and holds 
it separately from the metal, until it is drawn off in 
what is called ' slag.' This is done once every hour. 
The gases evolved pass out at the chimney. The trouble 
is, the iron also has an affinity for the dross, and does, 
and will, retain some of it, notwithstanding aU we can 

" The floor of the bmlding is a fine sand, divided into 
two parts by a track, on either side of which gutters, or 
runners, are formed, leading from tbe mouth of the fur- 
nace. At equal distances are eight branch gutters, or 
sows, as they are technically called, which conduct the 
molten ore to feed the pigs in the bed. AU these are 
nicely formed by each set of hands after the previous 
cast has been cooled and removed. 

" You see there are twenty-six pigs in a bed, and four 
pigs in a sow; that is, they break the sow into four 
pieces, each the size of a pig. There are sixteen beds, 
and consequently there are four hundred and eighty 
pigs, or about eleven tons in each cast. At each of 
the branch gutters or sows, a man is stationed with 
a spade, with which he prevents the metal flowing 
into his bed until the bed below him is filled, when 
he suddenly transplaces it, and, cutting off the flow 
downwards, turns it into his own bed. The next man 
does the same in succession, and when all the beds on 
one side of the track are fiUed, the flow is turned in 
the same manner into the other runner, and the process 
is repeated until all are filled, when the opening in the 
flask is closed by clay prepared for that purpose. New 
supphes of coal, ore, and limestone are dumped in above. 


and the operation of smelting goes on for the next twelve 
hours. The pig iron is used either for casting, or for 
conversion into wrought iron by puddling, etc." * 

When the iron is thus run off from the furnace, it is 
known as pig iron, and also is in that condition which 
characterizes it as cast iron. It is then sent direct to 
the foundry, to be cast into needed forms, or it has to 
undergo another process which converts it into wrought, 
or malleable iron ; or into some of the various forms of 

In 1831, an American named HoweUs patented a pro- 
cess for the making of malleable iron direct from the 
furnace. It is described as combining within itself the 
advantage of a " close furnace and an open fire. In the 
upper part or close portion, being all that above the 
hearth, with anthracite coal, excited by a proper blast, 
a degree of heat is generated much greater than can pos- 
sibly be obtained in the ordinary fire with charcoal; 
while the lower portion, opening into the hearth and 
permitting the free action of the blast upon the burthen, 
performs all the offices of the open or forge fire. The 
ore, descending to the regions of the tuyeres, becomes 
perfectly fused, and, passing below the influence of the 
blast, a part is driven out at the open front. The bur- 
then in the furnace being temporarily supported by bars, 
the masses are gathered into a lowp, which is removed 
by tongs and taken to the forge-hammer." 

The processes in use for converting the pig, or cast 
iron into malleable iron, are several in number. 

Steel seems to be almost as ancient as iron. When 
and by whom invented is not known, but it was in use 
some centuries before the beginning of this era, as is 
proved by the existence of the famous Damascene 

* J. E. Chapin. 


sword-blades, "which were of sHps of iron and steel welded 
together. The mention in the Bible of steel is frequent, 
as it is among the ancient writers ; but it is not known 
by what process it was produced. In modern days, the 
manufacture of steel is one of the most important indus- 
tries, and the kinds produced are numerous, and varying 
as to quality. What is known as natural steel is, in some 
instances, produced from the ore by the use of a weak 
blast, which is directed in a horizontal Hne above the 
metal. The metal is not disturbed by stirring, and is 
kept covered by slag, and is thus retained until it is 
judged to be suflBciently refined. Cement, or bhster 
steel, is another well-known product, which is obtained 
by pihng bars of wrought iron, and layers of charcoal in 
a brick oven, which does not admit any air. The whole 
is then subjected to a high heat till such a time as it is 
supposed the iron has absorbed a sufficient amount of 
the carbon. Cast steel dates back to 1740, and is the 
invention of an EngHshman, Benjamin Huntsman. His 
process was to place fragments of blister steel in a cruci- 
ble of fine clay, cover them with broken green glass, and 
after having properly covered the crucible, and then 
placed the crucible in a furnace till the contents were 
melted, when they were drawn off in an iron mold. This 
is substantially the same process yet in operation for the 
production of steel used in producing many forms of 
tools. Huntsman is another example of a man who has 
produced great results without having the benefits of 
wealth and education. He was a German by birth; was 
of humble parentage, with no educational advantages, 
and a clock-maker by profession. 

Perhaps the most noted steel is that known as the 
Bessemer, named after its inventor, Henry Bessemer, an 
Enghsh engineer, who was born in Herefordshire in 1813. 
He devoted himself to the improvement of machinery 


for the manufacture of steel. His success was so great, 
that upon the production of what is known as Bessemer 
steel, it acquired a wide popularity, whose value is shown 
in the fact that his annual income from it was over five 
hundred thousand dollars ; that is, the income from the 
royalty on his invention. For many years he held the 
field, and justly so, for the reason that his process was a 
substantial improvement ; being, as was said by a high 
authority, the only one of one hundred and twenty-seven 
patents issued in England for improvements in steel 
which " had brought about any striking change in the 
mode of producing steel, or which had been attended 
with any real or practical commercial result." This 
was the decision of the jury at the World's Exposition, 
in 1862, in London. In 1867, at the Paris G-eneral Expo- 
sition, there was an assertion by the jury that he was 
not the first to attempt the " conversion of carburetted 
iron into steel, although he was the first to propose a 
practicable process for accomplishing so desirable an ob- 

It should be said that he did not attain an immediate 
success. His first patent was taken out in 1856; another 
was taken out the next year, after which, so many diffi- 
culties beset the progress of his improvement that he 
practically abandoned it. Aided by a suggestion from 
Eobert Mushet, he overcame one of the practical diffi- 
culties of the process by the addition to the metal to be 
converted of spiegelsisen, and thenceforward his patent 
was a success. But the pubHc had lost confidence in 
him, owing to his frequent failures, and refused to have 
dealings with him. Thereupon he started a small estab- 
hshment of his own, near Sheffield, in which he demon- 
strated the value of his improvement, and it at once be- 
came a grand success. This was in 1859; in less than 
ten years his " converter " was adopted all over the 


world. The main principle of his process is the blowing 
of a blast of air or steam through molten pig iron until 
the desired decarburization is produced. There are 
many processes of making steel which are akin to those 
in use in the Bessemer works. Krupp's steel is widely 
known. It is made of the best ore, which, after being 
melted, undergoes puddling, and then is melted in 
crucibles. The manufacture of steel by Krupp has 
amounted to as much as two hundred million pounds 
per annum. 

In addition to the various steels mentioned, there are 
innumerable others, such as chromium, Tungsten, Da- 
mascus, Wootz, Baron, titanium, and thus on ad libitum. 

In this country the Bessemer and the Martin pro- 
cesses are most in use. The latter is a French method, 
which has been less than ten years in use, and is quite 
as popular as the Bessemer process both as to cost and 
intrinsic quahty. 

The production of pig iron in the United States is 
something over three million tons per annum ; from two 
to three hundred thousand tons of steel, and some two 
milhon tons of other articles. This is about one-half 
the product of England, about the same as the united 
product of France, Prussia, and Sweden. There is no 
reason to doubt that the time is not very remote when 
the total product of this country will exceed that of aU 
these countries. 

One of the most common machines connected 
the working of iron into the various forms required is 
the rolling-mill. Next to the blast-furnace, the roUing- 
miUs occupy the most prominent place. Before the in- 
vention of the rolling process, hammering was resorted 
to for the shaping of iron ; and as may readily be im- 
agined, the labor was not only an arduous one, but one 
which was capable of covering but comparatively Httle 


ground. The first rolls in use were plain, that is, there 
were two roUers placed face to face, with unbroken sur- 
faces through which the metal was passed, by which it 
must have increased in width as it.diminished in thick- 
ness. The invention of the modern roll, which has its 
surfaces cut into grooves, and which is one of the very- 
greatest improvements in the process of so shaping 
iron, is due to Henry Cort, of England, who patented 
the rolling process as a substitute for hammering, in 
1783. The next year he patented the puddling process. 

Cort was born in Lancaster, in 1740, and died in 1800. 
He began hfe, after reaching manhood, as an iron mer- 
chant, and later erected iron works, and then entered on 
a costly course of experiment with a view to improving 
the processes of rolling and puddUng iron. It is esti- 
mated that he expended over one hundred thousand dol- 
lars in these efforts. In 1783 he was granted a patent 
for " machinery, furnace, and apparatus for preparing, 
welding, and working various sorts of iron;" and the 
next year, he was given another patent " for shingling, 
welding, and manufacturing iron and steel into bars, 
plates, and rods of purer quality and larger quantity 
than heretofore, by the more effectual means of fire and 
machinery." During all this labor he encountered the 
most persistent opposition from the iron-workers of 
Great Britain, who feared probably that his improve- 
ments would render theirs useless, or would at least 
create an opposition which might be ruinous. 

For a time, after the granting of his patents, Cort 
flourished. He secured through an influential partner 
whom he had given an interest in his business, consider- 
able contracts from the government; but his partner 
died suddenly, and Cort was involved in heavy lawsuits 
on account of the debts which had been contracted by 
the deceased. His works were broken up, mainly by the 



government, tlie principal creditor of the partner. He 
was reduced to the necessity of taking service under 
others, and thus passed the remainder of his hfe. He 
effected a revolution in the iron trade by his inventions ; 
and died poor among those whom he had made wealthy 
by his ingenuity. The only recognition he ever received 
for his great services was a pension of two hundred 
pounds granted him by the government when he was 
fifty-four years of age, and six years before his death. 
He is known as the " Father of the British iron trade." 

Cort's invention cut grooves into the surfaces of the 
rollers ; and this is substantially that which is in use at 
the present time. The grooves decrease gradually in 
size; and through these the metal is passed until it 
becomes of the required shape and dimensions. By the 
roUing-mill processes, iron is shaped for innumerable 
uses, as in the various forms of rails for railway tracks, 
and other articles ; for building purposes in all the forms 
known in building iron ; and by this rolHng-machine we 
get sheet-iron in aU its varieties, boiler-plate, the armor 
for ships, and hundreds of other things too numerous to 
particularize. Most delicate as well as irresistible are 
these machines ; they furnish the armor of a ship three 
feet — if necessary — in thickness; and when a piece of 
tin, on which is spread a delicate lace fabric, is passed 
through the roUers, the finest mesh of the lace is im- 
printed perfectly on the metal. 

The rolling of armor-plates for ships of war is about 
the heaviest work which is done by these mills. The 
following description by an anonymous writer will afford 
a lively and striking picture of how the labor is accom- 
phshed ; the purpose being to secure a plate twenty feet 
in length, four feet in width, and fifteen inches in thick- 

" The plate, when laid in the furnace, rests on Httle 


stacks of fire-bricks, so that the flame and heat play 
equally around it, till aU is glowing white, and the suc- 
cessive layers have settled down into one dense mass. 
At a signal from the furnace-man, the bands of work- 
men, to the number of about sixty, arranged themselves 
on each side of the furnace, as near to it as they could 
bear the heat. Then the doors were opened to their 
fullest, and in the midst of the great Hght lay a mass 
even whiter than the rest. To this some half a dozen 
men drew near. They were aU attired in steel leggings, 
aprons of steel, and a thin curtain of steel wire-work 
dropping over their faces hke a large, long visor. AU 
the rest of their bodies was muffled in a thick, wet sack- 
ing. Thus protected they managed, with the aid of a 
gigantic pair of forceps slung from a crane above, to 
work, as it were, amid the flames for a few seconds, and 
to nip the huge plate with the forceps. The signal was 
then given, and the whole mass of iron, fizzing, spark- 
ling, and shooting out jets of lambent flame, was by the 
main force of chains attached to the steam roUers, drawn 
forth from the furnace on to a long, wrought-iron car. 
The heat and Hght which it then diffused were almost 
unbearable in any part of the huge mill, but the men 
seemed to vie with each other to approach and detach 
the colossal pincers which had drawn the iron forth. 
More than a dozen attempts were made on this occasion 
before this was effected, and more than a dozen of the 
best and the most skiUful workmen were driven back 
one after another by the tremendous heat and glare. 
At last all was made clear. The forceps, then red-hot 
from their grip of the plate, were drawn away, the 
chains cleared from the roUers, and with a great hurrah, 
the other workmen seized the chains attached to the 
iron truck, and drew it to the incUne by main force, 
where it was left by its own weight to run into the jaws 


of the roUing-mill. It was then sauve qui pent among 
the workmen, who rushed for shelter in all directions as 
the mass was nipped between the rollers, and wound rap- 
idly in amid quick reports like those of duU musketry, 
as the melted iron was squeezed by the tremendous 
pressure of the mass, and flew out in jets of hquid fire 
on aU sides. The turning of the rollers crushes the 
plate through to the other side, where it rests for a min- 
ute on a wrought-iron truck similar to that on which it 
was brought to the furnace. The action of the roUers 
is then reversed after they have been, by the action of 
screw levers, brought closer together by about an inch. 
These again nip the plate, and drag it back in an oppo- 
site direction, and again and again does the mass go for- 
ward and backward, each time passing a smaller space 
between the rollers, tiU the whole of the huge thick- 
ness is reduced to a compact mass fifteen inches thick, 
in less than a quarter of an hour. During every stage 
of the process, quantities of fine sand are thrown on the 
plate, and this HteraUy takes fire as it touches the flam- 
ing surface, and covers it as it melts with a coat of sihca, 
or with a glaze like that of earthen- ware. After every 
-discharge of sand, and these go on almost incessantly, 
buckets of water are thrown on the plate, and explode 
in clouds of scalding steam ; and when these are partly 
dissipated, men rush forward and with wet besoms, with 
handles twenty feet long, sweep off whatever little scraps 
of oxidation may have taken place. Thus, every time 
the plate passes through the mill the sand is scattered, 
the water thrown, and the surface swept ; and at every 
roll the chief roUer of the establishment runs forward, 
and under the shelter of wet cloths, measures with a 
gauge its thickness from end to end. The required 
dimensions were obtained by less than a quarter of an 
hour's roUing, and a plate fifteen inches thick, the 


product of the labor of nearly two hundred men, and of 
the consumption of nearly two hundred and fifty tons of 
coal, was shot out by the rolhng-miUs and left to cool. 
When this had been effected, two large rollers of iron^ 
each weighing fifteen tons, were placed upon it by the 
cranes, and moved slowly backward and forward; and 
eventually, as the plate cooled, were left on its ends to 
keep the whole perfectly level. Nothing further now 
remained in order to complete it as the finest specimen 
of armor-plate manufacture ever attempted, but to plane 
off its rough ends and edges. The flat surface on either 
side, which formed what is called the skin of the plate, 
are never interfered with, for the action of the steel 
rollers leaves them Hterally almost as smooth as plate- 

This plate was rolled at Sheffield, England, in 1862. 











SOME of the most astonishing results connected with 
the development of iron are to be found in ship- 
building. It was not tiU about 1830 that iron vessels 
began to take the place of wood, the first to suggest 
the change being John Laird, of Birkenhead, England. 
He built some cargo-Hghters ; but the credit of con- 
structing sea-going vessels is due to Sir WiUiam Fair- 
bairn, the eminent English engineer, who was born in 
Kelso, in 1789, and died in Manchester in 1874. He was 
of humble parentage, and learned engineering at a col- 
liery. In time, he entered into business on his own 
account as a machinist, and while thus engaged he 
made several important inventions in various directions, 
such as simplifying the machinery for driving factories, 
improvements in steam- valves and double-fiued boilers, 
and the invention of the riveting-machine. In 1831, he 
constructed the first iron vessel in England. From this 
time, the building of vessels of iron continued without 
interruption, and has grown to be one of the most im- 
portant industries of modern days. It was from an 
investigation conducted by him, that wrought-iron gir- 
ders were introduced into building operations. He also 
gave attention to the construction of tubular bridges 
of iron; and also devoted much time to lectures and 



publications on various mechanical topics. He was 
made a baronet in 1869. 

In many cases, ships are constructed in which iron 
is used to strengthen the frame, but in a very great 
number of cases the entire body is constructed of iron. 
Iron ships are lighter than those of the same tonnage 
bunt of wood, and are, therefore, proportionately more 
valuable for the carrying of freight. All of the great 
ocean steamers are now made of iron. 

It was not until 1858 that a vessel was constructed 
of steel. The advantage of this class of material over 
iron can be readily seen ; it is much stronger than iron, 
hence the same strength can be obtained with about one- 
half the weight. But it is in the construction of armored 
vessels, that the use of iron in ship-building has found 
its most extended and pronounced development. This 
use of iron, however, is no new thing. It is thought by , 
many that the first use of iron for the defence of ships 
was during the late civil war ; but this is far from being 
the case. It was the manner in which it was used, and 
not in the fact that it was used as armor which was 
original ia the " Monitor," that checked the course of the 
" Merrimac." 

The use of armor for the protection of ships, during 
battle, is as old almost as the employment of ships for 
warhke purposes. The triremes of the Eomans had 
special defences ; in the twelfth century, the Normans 
placed a belt of iron around their vessels just above the 
water line, that being the most vulnerable part of a ship 
subjected to the fire of artillery; and it is said that the 
Crusaders of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries pro- 
tected their vessels in the same manner. Eawhide was 
employed in some cases as an armor ; in 1535 a vessel 
was plated with lead, and very easily withstood the can- 
non of that period. The " Fulton II.," built by Eobert 


Fulton, in 1838, had a thin plating of iron. Gen. Paix- 
hans, in 1834, recommended that the French vessels of 
war should be plated with iron, but the suggestipn was 
not adopted. In 1835, John Podd Drake, an EngUsh- 
man, proposed that the English navy be iron-clad ; and 
in 1842, Eobert L. Stevens, whose name has so often 
been mentioned in connection with steam-boats and other 
improvements, recommended to the United States gov- 
ernment the advisabihty of building iron-clad steam- 
batteries for the defence of our ports. After finding by 
experiment that four and a half inches of iron was proof 
against any artillery known, the battery was commenced 
in 1854. It was not finished in 1874; its present condi- 
tion is still that of progress. At the present time the 
heaviest armor-plates in use are some fifteen inches in 

The first case in which iron-armor was used, was in 
the war between England and France, and Eussia. The 
next notable case was when the "Merrimac " came into 
Hampton roads, and encountered Ericsson's " Monitor." 
Since that period, the navies of the world have been 
reconstructed ; and now, like the knights of the feudal 
ages, they are clad in iron in every exposed part. 

In its use, in this direction, iron may be said to be 
performing missionary labor. The strife between pro- 
jectiles and defensive armor is about in equipoise ; both 
have reached their extreme limit ;' and the result must 
be that offence and defence will come to a dead-lock. 
Drawn contests are of no value ; and the consequence 
wiU be that there will be a tendency towards their de- 

Iron, under its later developments,' has rendered pos- 
sible that which was before impossible. Especially is 
this the fact in buUding operations ; that is to produce 
structures of the largest dimensions, which shall be Hght 


in material, strong as a whole, fire-proof as to quality, 
and ornate in construction. Those who have seen the 
buildings in which the various world's expositions have 
been held, will agree in the conclusion that without 
the improved modern machinery, nothing approaching 
these fairy structures could have been erected. As 
a rule, they have been glass set in iron frames ; they 
have been filled with hght in every nook and aperture ; 
they have been strong, hght, fairy-like in their whole, 
and more like one of the structures which Aladdin con- 
jured with his lamp, than any other class of modern 

There are many railway stations in the world that 
are notable monuments of what can be done with iron 
under modern treatment. A very marked instance of 
this can be found in the St. Pancras Station, of the Mid- 
land Eailway, London. The building covers ten acres ; 
the roof is six hundred and ninety feet in length, with 
a clear span of two hundred and forty, and its height at 
the ridge is one hundred and twenty-five feet above the 
level of the tracks. The Union Eailway Station in New 
York, and others in various parts of this country, and in 
cities here and there in the old world, amply demon- 
strate the utihty which iron possesses under the manipu- 
lation of modern genius and invention. 

In many essential respects, by far the most marvel- 
lous results which are obtained from iron are in the 
operations of bridge building. Of these, the most won- 
derful are suspension bridges. These, although not of 
modem date as to the principle of suspension, are exclu- 
sively modern in the sole use of iron in their construc- 
tion. The first of the kind was built in 1819, across the 
Tweed at Berwick, by Sir Samuel Brown. Its span was 
four hundred and forty-nine feet ; the span of the bridge 
over the Menai, built by Telford, was five hundred and 


eighty feet; that at Fribourg, built by Chaley, in 1831, 
is eight hundred and seventy feet, and the height above 
the river is one hundred and seventy-four feet. Eoeb- 
hng's celebrated suspension over Niagara river, is some- 
what less than this, having a span of but eight hundred 
and twenty-one feet, although it excels the other vastly 
in its height above the water, being two hundred and 
forty-five feet above the torrent beneath. All these are 
excelled by the suspension bridge at Cincinnati, which 
is one hundred and three feet above low water and has 
a span of one thousand and fifty-seven feet ; but even 
these extraordinary dimensions are excelled by the bridge 
which connects New York and Brooklyn, which is high 
enough to permit the masts of the largest sailing vessels 
to pass beneath it, and which has a clear span of one 
thousand five hundred and ninety-five feet, and a total 
length of three thousand four hundred and seventy-five 

There are still other bridges worthy of note. The 
railway bridge which crosses the St. Lawrence, at Mon- 
treal, is a tubular structure, which is over two miles in 
length, and cost some five miUion dollars. It is a sub- 
stantial tube of wrought iron, carried on piers of ma- 
sonry, and is constructed after the plan of the Britannia 
and the Conway, both designed by Stephenson. " The 
tubes which constitute the bridge, were constructed at 
a distance from their respective destinations, and after- 
wards floated to their places by pontoons, and raised by 
hydrauHo presses, forming the most gigantic application 
ever made of these powerful machines." 

A very remarkable bridge is that which crosses the 
Mississippi Eiver at St. Louis, which was designed by 
Capt. James B. Eads, and which is very largely con- 
structed of steel. There are four piers of limestone and 
granite, which were sunk to their places with immense 


difficulty, in one case having to be carried down through 
sand for a distance of one hundred and twenty feet. The 
entire cost of this structure in connection with its ap- 
proaches is something hke ten million dollars. 

The highest bridge in the world is in the Andes in 
Peru, and is for the use of the Lima and Oroya Eail- 
way. It crosses a mountain stream, at a' point twelve 
thousand feet above the level of the sea. The Tay 
bridge, whose fall with a railway train laden with pas- 
sengers, not one of whom escaped, is yet remembered' 
with a shudder, was what is knovsm as an iron truss-girder ; 
was over ten thousand feet in length ; it had three spans 
of sixty feet, then twenty-two of one hundred and 
twenty feet, then fourteen of two hundred, then six- 
teen of one hundred and twenty, followed by twenty 
of sixty-six feet, next one of one hundred and sixty, and 
the concluding six of twenty-seven feet each. There 
were in aU eighty-nine spans, and the height above the 
stream, seventy-eight feet. One of the handsomest 
bridges in this country is the Grirard Avenue Bridge, of 
Philadelphia. It is one hundred feet wide, and is en- 
tirely of iron. 

Capt. James B. Eads, the builder of the St. Louis 
bridge, is yet a young man, but already a famous one. 
He was educated as an engineer, and has already exe- 
cuted some engineering works of which the St. Louis 
bridge may be considered one of the greatest, but the 
others are far from being of second-rate dimensions. 
Indeed, there are many who wiU not hesitate to assign 
him the very front rank among the engineers of the 
world should he succeed in his present undertaking, 
which is to so deepen the southwest pass at the mouth 
of the Mississippi river as to present through the bar at 
that point a navigable depth of water. His plan of deep- 
ening the mouth was finally adopted in face of the 

1 s';^ 

I ■ 


opinion of some of the most experienced engineers in the 
United States ; and if he shall succeed, it wiU be a dis- 
appointment to many eminent experts who have believed 
that his system is calculated to produce effects precisely 
opposite to those he is aiming to accompHsh. 

The theory of Captain Eads was that the narrowing 
of the channel of a river increases the rapidity of its 
flow, and proportionately increases the amount of sedi- 
ment carried away. He thought that the " great mass 
of eai-thy matters discharged at the mouth of the river 
was not pushed or rolled along the bottom, as was gen- 
erally supposed, but was brought there almost wholly in 
suspension ; and that an intimate relation exists between 
the velocity of the current and the quantity of matter 
held in suspension ; that the sHghtest retardation of the 
current, other conditions being unaltered, would per- 
mit the deposition of a portion of this burden, and that, 
conversely, the shghtest acceleration of it would cause 
the water to take up from the unstable bed of the river 
an additional quantity." His opinions were fought by 
the United States engineers ; his proposal to construct 
the works at his own expense, was rejected in the house ; 
and it was only after a long and savagely-fought battle 
that the contract was given him with the understanding 
that his pay depended wholly on his success. The nerve 
of Eads may be inferred from his wilhngness to under- 
take a work costing millions, in the face of hostile opin- 
ions from eminent experts, and upon the condition that 
he was to receive nothing in case of a failure. He began 
the work ia 1875, and has already, by the jetty system, 
succeeded in producing a depth of water which entitles 
him to a considerable portion of the amount appropriated 
for the improvement. The jetties constructed by hinj 
have not finally demonstrated a success which is with- 
out flaw, for this will be tested only by time ; but even 


what lie has already done is sufficient to prove that he 
is a grand intellect ; one who does not hesitate to meet 
odds however great, and to persist in efforts which 
would discourage a less daring spirit. 

Capt. Eads has also devised, or invented a remedy 
for the jamming which has often heen experienced in 
the revolving turrets of the monitor class of iron-clads. 
His invention is to aUow the turrets to remain station- 
ary, and revolve the guns. 

John A. Eoebling is another engineer who has taken 
high rank, more especially in the building of suspension 
bridges. He was born in Muehlhansen, Prussia, in 1806, 
and came to this country in 1831. He had been edu- 
cated in the Polytechnic School of Berlin, and at once 
entered on the practice of his profession on his arrival in 
the United States. He introduced the manufacture of 
wire ropes, and their use in suspension bridges, his first 
structure being a suspended aqueduct, in Pennsylvania, 
in 1845. He soon after built some other aqueducts of 
the same kind, and also the suspension bridge across the 
Monongahela at Pittsburg. His first great work was the 
suspension bridge across Niagara river, which was com- 
pleted about 1866 ; and in 1867, he completed the sus- 
pension bridge at Cincinnati. He appropriately finished 
his colossal works by furnishing the design for the great 
bridge connecting New York and Brooklyn. He died in 
the last named city, in July, 1869. 

In the operations of forging iron, there was not much 
done in masses of large dimensions untO. the invention 
of the steam hammer. Prior to its invention, there 
were several hammers in use, which were driven by 
power of horses, water, and steam ; and in aU of which 
the machine hammer had a handle and a head, and was 
worked by machinery that raised it so as to imitate 
the motion of the human arm. The invention of the 



steam-hammer did away with the handle, preserved only 
the head, and arranged so that the blow should be given 
by the force gathered by the hammer as it falls from a 
height. The principal involved in this case is substan- 
tially that of the pile-driver. 

Several attempts were made to invent a steam-ham- 
mer, but none were successful until 1838, when the in- 
vention was made by a Scotchman named Nasmyth. 
There was a necessity for its invention, and it was this 
necessity which forced the effort. The steam-ship 
"Great Britain" was being built, when it was found 
that there was not a forge-hammer in Great Britain 
powerful enough to shape the paddle-shaft of the 
vessel. Nasmyth very soon produced a hammer which 
has substantially all the essentials of that in use at the 
present time. It was simply an upright cylinder, car- 
rying a piston, which was extended down and ended in a 
heavy head of iron. When the piston was at the lower 
end of the cyUnder, the steam was admitted beneath the 
piston, and raised it to the top; then the steam was 
allowed to escape, and the piston fell by its own weight 
to the bottom, the weight of iron at the end acting 
as the hammer. Some improvements were afterwards 
made, steam was admitted above the piston when it 
was raised to the upper end of the cylinder, and by its 
expansive force increased the fall of the hammer. 

James Nasmyth was born in 1808, in Edinburgh, and 
graduated from the school of arts in that city. He es- 
tabhshed an extensive manufactory of machinery in 
1834, and with which he was connected till 1856. He 
was the inventor, not only of the steam-hammer, but of 
the pile-driver, and in addition to these he constructed 
some cannon after a pattern of his own, and some pow- 
erful telescopes for lunar examination. He was also an 
author, an inventor by profession, and a very valuable 


man to the present age of practical development. He 
had rather a singular experience with his invention of 
the steam-hammer. As said, he was asked to provide a 
hammer large enough to forge the paddle-shaft of the 
" Great Britain;" he furnished the plans, when just then 
the screw-propeUer came into prominence, and no 
further attention was paid to his design. He thereupon 
abandoned the matter. Several years after he visited 
Creusat, France, and in passing through the iron-works, 
he noticed a steam-hammer driven on the plan which he 
had mad-e. Enquiry developed the fact that, some years 
before, the superintendent of the works had seen the 
plans of Nasmyth, while on a visit to England, and had 
at once adopted them. He returned to England, and in 
1842 obtained a patent for his invention. 

Hammers driven by steam range from a weight of 
one hundred pounds up to one hundred tons. One of 
the last-named weight is m use in the Krupp works in 
Essen; the largest in the United States is said to be that 
in the Bessemer works at Harrisburg, and weighs thirty- 
five thousand pounds. Another very powerful forge- 
hammer is the one in use in the Woolwich Arsenal, in 
England. Its actual weight is forty tons ; but its blow 
is greatly increased by the fact that it is accelerated by 
the admission of steam above the piston; the result 
being that the blow given is estimated to be the same as 
it would be were the hammer allowed to faU of its own 
weight a distance of eighty feet. 

Some of these gigantic hammers cost a fortune to 
establish them. That of Krupp cost about a million dol- 
lars ; the one at Woolwich about a quarter of this sum ; 
and the one at the Bessemer Steel- Works, at Harrisburg, 
nearly one hundred thousand dollars. The force of the 
blow struck by the Woolwich hammer is estimated at 
eight hundred tons. The entire iron entering into the 


construction of the Woolwich hammer is estimated to 
weigh some one thousand two hundred tons. 

The invention of the steam-hammer has very largely 
extended the uses of iron ; that is to say, it has enabled 
the forging of larger masses than under the processes 
formerly in use. It has made possible the enormous 
guns which have lately come into use; the eighty- 
one ton gun of Fraser ; the one hundred ton gun of Arm- 
strong, and the gigantic steel guns of Krupp. In the 
forging of the great shafts in use for the propellers, 
the steam-hammer is indispensable. The increased 
power of the rolling-miUs is making possible larger work ; 
in fact the tendency of the forging of iron is towards 
the colossal. On the other hand, there is an equal 
increase in the invention of machines for the construc- 
tion of the little. At the time of Fairbairn, at the 
beginning of the century, all the work in the building of 
machinery was done by hand; now labor-saving machin- 
ery is the rule. The planing-machine is an invention 
which secures perfect results in the surface of iron; 
something which never was done to even approximate 
perfection by hand ; and is a machine by whose aid, for 
the first time, a modern machine can be constructed to 
do exactly the work demanded of it. 

The manufacture of wire is a case in which machin- 
ery occupies itself with the minute. Formerly, wire 
was cut out of sheets with infinite slowness, now it can 
be drawn at the rate of three to six feet a second. 
Without this machinery, the telegraph system would be 
an impossibility, or else would have been constructed at 
such a cost as to render impossible its popular employ- 
ment. Tacks, whose utility is universal, and whose use 
is indispensable, are made by machinery at an incredible 
rate of speed. Knight says that " ifis not an uncommon 
occurrence for an English tack-maker to forge one. 



thousand two hundred tacks, so small that they may be 
contained in the barrel of an ordinary goose quill." Once 
pins were made by cutting brass wire into the proper 
lengths ; then the point of each was made on a grind- 
stone ; then a slender piece of wire was bent into a cir- 
cle for a head, and was fastened on the body of the pin. 
It must have taken an expert workman not less than a 
minute to construct one of these useful articles; now 
the wire is drawn from a reel cut off the proper length, 
carried successively to a coarse and fine grind-stone, 
then to a place where it is heated and then is dropped 
into a receptacle, complete except as to poHshing ; and 
all this by machinery. After being pohshed they are 
stuck by machinery on paper. This improvement is 
owing to Wright's invention, which was given to the 
world in 1824. 

As humble an article as is a pin, it is not without a 
history and an ancestry as old as the oldest. It is 
almost safe to assume that pins came into existence at 
the date at which woman made her appearance, or very 
soon after. Wherever ancient ruins have been over- 
hauled, pins have been found among the remnants. It 
was introduced into England, as a manufacture, in the 
seventeenth century, and in this country in 1812. Dur- 
ing all this period pins were constructed in the clumsy 
and laborious manner above narrated. In 1824, Lemuel 
W. Wright, of Massachusests, patented in England 
some machines for the making of sohd-headed pins. 
There have been several improvements in this country 
patented since the time of Wright, but the most import- 
ant was that of Samuel Slocum for putting the pins on 
paper. This patent, issued in 1840, was considerably 
improved by the genius of another American, Thaddeus 
Fowler, of Connecticut, whose machine is in principle 
•the one now in use. Iron now enters very largely into 
the manufacture of pins. 


As yet, machinery is employed but comparatively 
little in the manufacture of needles, for the reason prob- 
ably that the ingenuity of the Yankee inventor has not 
been extensively turned in this direction. In the mak- 
ing of horse-nails, there are several processes of manu- 
facture by machinery in the United States, which are 
American inventions, and which have grown into such 
popularity that they have very largely supplanted the 
making of this class of nails by hand. The manufac- 
tured nail is really better than the hand-made, for the 
reason that the process is so rapid that it gives a uni- 
form result both as to the size of the nail, and the degree 
of softness. Horse-nail manufactories, furnished with 
machines made in this country, have lately been intro- 
duced into England, and have established themselves to 
an extent which guarantees a speedy, permanent suc- 

There is no limit to an attempt which should be made 
to particularize all the uses to which iron has entered in 
our later development. There is scarcely a department 
of industry in which it fails to have a conspicuous posi- 
tion. It is omnipresent. Its utiHty seems as expansive 
as the civilization with which it is connected. Its re- 
sponses increase with our demand ; and like the advance- 
ment of the human race, there seems to be no limit to 
its value. 

It can be foreseen that, as wood grows scarcer in this 
country, iron wiU become more and more in demand for 
building purposes. Entire fronts of business structures 
are now composed of this accommodating metal; the 
time is not distant when all the facades, and much of 
the interior will be of iron. As a substance to be asso- 
ciated with wood it is not valuable as a building material, 
for the reason that, in case of a fire, the wood furnishes 
the heat, the house is the furnace, the in-rushing air the 
blast in which the iron writhes, is twisted, torn from its 


places of confidence as a weight- bearer, and in thus 
losing its own integrity, brings down that which it is 
relied on to uphold and support. But possessed of 
autonomy, unentangled by aUiances with inharmonic 
associates, it will form a most reliable building material 
within the reach of all. It will need a Mttle dififerent 
treatment on the part of the architect; it must be so 
handled that it will be less rigid, stern, and forbidding 
in its natural severity; it must be toned down to the air 
of gentleness characteristic of the home of the family; 
it must be somehow given something which will be in 
harmony with the laughter of children and the sym- 
phonies of domestic life, and then, as the material from 
which to rear the walls and gables of the home, it will 
be without a rival. How this alteration can be made, 
how that which has infinite rigidity can be made to have 
an appearance of flexibility; how that which is grim and 
unyielding can be made to have a seeming of gladness 
and softness, is something which must be evolved by the 
artistic genius of the architect. 

There is no good reason why iron should not enter 
more largely into art' than it does at present. There 
are a thousand directions in art in which it can be 
utilized ; for the fencing of parks and private grounds, 
it can be made at once useful and artistic. In such oases, 
there is almost no Umit to the ideas which it may be 
wrought to develop — to the expressions which it may 
present. Every iron railing may be made to do more 
than simply to act as a protection, whether on bridge, 
or public square, or roof of house. For towers of various 
sorts, there is no material more economical, durable, and 
plastic under the hands of the artist than iron. 

Already, more particularly among the French, has 
the use of this metal been greatly utilized in artistic 
embellishment while serving a useful purpose. The iron 


gateway at the entrance of the De I'Elysee palace has 
a magnificent effect ; and the iron grille of the Palais de 
Justice, is an imposing creation. The D'Arcole bridge 
is of iron, and is fuU of beauty, with its rounded and 
graceful lines, the easy and yet strong contour of its 
arch, and its general suggestion of slenderness combined 
with an assurance of endurance and strength. Another 
very handsome bridge is that which crosses the Ehine 
at Kehl ; it is not constructed solely with reference to 
the quahties necessary to answer the demands of travel ; 
this has been amply cared for. The artist joined his 
efforts to those of the engineer, and has produced a 
structure which is imposing, majestic, and in every fea- 
ture suggestive of beauty and indestructibiUty. At 
Grenelle, France, there is a tower nearly one hundred 
and forty feet in height, which is connected with the 
tubes of the artesian weUs, which is built of iron, is 
light, airy, deHcate, elegant : and, as a whole, a triumph 
of artistic architecture. 

Grand as is the mission of iron at the present time, 
its entire utUity will not be unfolded until it shall have 
taken its place in the department of art now occupied 
by stone and other metals. Its services thus far have 
been the ministering to the wants, the necessities, and 
the conveniences of mankind. In time it will occupy 
no small space in ministering to their tastes, and then it 
will have attained the position which it is entitled to 



THE art of Photography, although born within the 
memory of men not yet old, is to-day one of the 
leading art industries of the world. The first photo- 
graph was taken in about 1839 ; at this date, less than 
half a century later, photography has extended aU over 
civihzation. Its benefits have already been incalculable 
as to their number and dimensions. 

Back of the photography of to-day is the daguerreo- 
type ; and back of the latter is a history that reaches 
into the last century. The photograph is, in the main, 
a chemical result ; it was born of chemistry, and is one 
of the grandest of its many children. It is defined as 
the " art of producing the pictures of objects by the 
action of light on chemically-prepared paper, silver, 
glass, etc., or the art of receiving and fixing on such sur- 
faces the images formed by the camera." It is based on 
the fact that certain substances, notably, chloride of sil- 
ver, is blackened by exposure to the Hght. 

The discovery of the influence of light en certain 
substances was one of the first steps toward the photo- 
graph. This was first noticed in the middle ages by the 
alchemists ; the Swedish chemist, Berzelius, in the first 
part of this century, published a list including a large 
number of bodies which were found to be subject to 
change through the effect of exposure to Hght. Before 



the time of this celebrated chemist, as early as 1777, 
another chemist, Sheele, of Pommerania, had called 
attention to the action of the sunlight upon certain 
compounds of silver. It is generally agreed that Mr. 
Wedgewood, son of the originator of the celebrated 
ware of that name, Josiah Wedgewood, was the first 
who made an application of the principles of the chem- 
ical decomposition of Hght. This was in 1802. He 
placed a solution of the nitrate of silver on leather, and 
obtained copies of objects, but was unable to fasten 
them, although he spent a good deal of time in the 
effort, and was assisted in the attempt by Sir Humphry 
Davy. It may be observed that Wedgewood would not 
have added greatly to the reputation of his estabhsh- 
ment if he should have succeeded in discovering photo- 
graphy. His pottery is on a level with that at Sevres, 
France, and is known all over civiHzation. His father, 
a poor man, was without education, learned the pottery 
trade with his brother, and in a few years rose to the 
head of the profession. He was first brought into promi- , 
nent notice by the production of the " queen's ware," 
and later, by the development of many novel and beau- 
tiful designs in pottery, whereby, as one of his numer- 
ous biographers say, " he raised British pottery to a fine 

^ In 1804, 1809, and in 1812, Dr. Thomas Young, Guy 
Lussao and Thenard, and Dr. Beard, respectively, made 
some chemical discoveries which brought the age some 
steps nearer the appearance of photography. In 1827, 
Joseph Nicephore Niepce, of France, made some ad- 
vances which induce many to ascribe to him the honor 
of being the inventor or discoverer of photography. He 
succeeded in producing some permanent pictures by a. 
process which he termed heliography. He was born in 
1765, in Chalon-sur-Saone, and died in 1833. He was a- 


soldier for a year when lie attained the proper age ; but 
left the army on account of ill health, and in 1801, he 
commenced the study of mechanics and chemistry. In 
1813, he commenced experiments with a view of discov- 
ering a method of fixing images on glass and metal, and 
with success, save that his process was so very slow that 
it was not of great practical value. The material 
which he employed to sensitize the surface on which the 
picture was to be taken, was bitumen, or asphaltum ; but 
the object to be copied required several hours' exposure. 
In 1829, he entered into a partnership with Daguerre for 
the purpose of improving the discovery which he had 
made ; but he died in 1833, six years before his process 
was brought to anything like a thoroughly practical 

There are other aspirants to fame in connection with 
photography; but, as a matter of fact, the credit remains 
with Niepce and Daguerre. In the popular estimate, 
Daguerre is the one who is entitled to all the honors ; 
but this is not in accord with the facts. What Daguerre 
did was to take the process discovered by Niepce, and 
bring it to a point where it became of practical value. 
That Niepce is entitled to a portion of the credit is 
shown by the action of the French Assembly, who, when 
the discovery of Daguerre was estabhshed, voted him a 
pension of six thousand francs, and one of four thousand 
francs to the son of the deceased partner. 

WiUiam Henry Fox Talbot is credited in England 
with being the inventor of photography, although he did 
not bring his process before the public till 1840, the next 
year after the announcement of the discovery of Da- 
guerre. It was not the same as that produced by the 
Frenchman; the latter produced his image on silver- 
plated copper; the Talbot process was one in which 
paper was sensitized by a salt of silver, and the image 


developed by gallic acid. What lie produced was what 
is termed negative, that is one in which the hghts and 
shadow of the object are reversed in the picture. He 
received the medal of the Eoyal Society, and left his 
discovery open to the use of the pubhc. Talbot's sub- 
sequent career had little reference to such investigations 
as are involved in the development of photography. He 
has pubhshed a considerable number of literary works, 
and has devoted much time to the deciphering of cunei- 
form inscriptions. 

Despite the opposition of the Talbd^t process, Da- 
guerre sprang at once into a world-wide notoriety. But 
this was mainly in the scientific world ; the general pop- 
ularity of the daguerreotype depended on its value as a 
portrait-taker, which could not be done by Daguerre. 
His process was used for taking anything rather than 
faces; it is due to an American that the daguerreotype 
attained its final popularity. 

Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre was born in 1789, at 
CormeiUes, France, and died at Petit-Brie-sur-Marne, 
in July, 1851. His first effort after he had reached man- 
hood was scene-painting, which he is said to have ex- 
celled in, none of his Parisian rivals approaching him in 
the novelty, striking effects, and artistic fidelity of his 
designs. He obtained such excellent results that he was 
employed by an eminent artist to assist him in com- 
pleting a panorama of Eome, and various other large 
cities ; and during this labor he invented the diorama. 
He continued at this business untU 1839, when he was 
induced by Niepce to enter into a partnership to improve 
the process which the latter had invented in the taking 
of pictures by solar light. 

It is stated by Daguerre's biographer that the im- 
provement made by him in the processes of Niepce were 
so great that the son of the latter consented that the 


new discovery should go to the world under the sole 
name of Daguerre. The annuity which was paid him 
and Niepce by the government was the result of a con- 
tract by which the invention was to be made public, and 
the further agreement that any new discoveries which 
should be made by him should be given to the world. 
He was promoted in the legion of honor; and in addi- 
tion to this, he became at once famous all over the world, 
a fame which he may continue to hold long after that of 
many other men shall have passed away. 

Why should not Daguerre be famous? He gave the 
world something which found a lodgment in every house- 
hold throughout the broad domaia of civilization. He 
met a want that all possessed, but which few were able 
to gratify. Up to his day, men and women had depended 
on the paint and brush of the painter for such " counter- 
feit presentments ' ' of themselves as they possessed ; the 
cost was great even at the cheapest ; the rich only could 
a,fl:ord them; the great masses of the people were de- 
barred from the enjoyment to be found in gazing at their 
own likenesses, or those of their friends. 

Draper improved the invention of Daguerre, and in 
a moment the waU of expense which barred the poor 
from one of the chief enjoyments of the rich, fell to the 
ground. Everybody could have his or her image; 
friends and relatives, Hving thousands of miles apart, 
who had rarely or never seen each other's faces, were 
at once, as it were, brought face to face. 

There is scarcely a family in the land which has not 
a collection, small or large, of daguerreotypes which were 
taken during the period which preceded the days of the 
modern photograph. Queer are these remnants of what 
is almost a bygone period ! The gray-bearded man sees 
himself as he was when a callow youth, and wonders if 
it be possible that he was ever so fresh, so young, so 


unripe. There is his wife as she was when they were 
married; how odd her dress, how queer her hair, how 
fantastic, and how long, oh, how long, it seems since he 
sat by her side for that picture ! There is the wrinkled, 
benignant face, the kindly smile, the soft gray hair, the 
high back-comb, the stiff ringlets of the mother; the 
stern features, and yet the kindly eyes of the father. 
Here is cousin John, with his hair combed up on his 
head with an unmistakable starched- Sunday-clothes 
awkwardness in his position, as he sits bolt upright, his 
hands spread across his stomach, and so out of the focus 
they appear thrice the size of the average human hand ; 
and here are Aunt Jane, and the minister, and his wife, 
and the college professor, and the baby that is dead, and 
so for dozens. 

These old daguerreotypes are not kept on the tables 
of the salon ; they are packed away in some old drawer, 
or trunk, and they are always coming up unexpectedly 
when one is not looking for them, and reminding one 
that there is a past when one was younger, and that gray 
hairs, thin and scattering, have taken the place of the 
thick, ebon locks which one sees in this shining old 
daguerreotype of years ago. 

There is a wonderful vitality in some of these daguer- 
reotypes. Many of them are just as fresh, as clean-cut, 
as undimmed as they were when they were taken thirty 
years ago. 

It is said that the first portrait ever taken from Hfe 
by the new process was by Dr. John W. Draper, of New 
York, in 1839, to whom, as is said, is due the fact that the 
daguerreotype process was not limited to artificial views. 
Dr. Draper is one of the most noted men of this coun- 
try; he was born in England, in 1811, but came to this 
country when twenty-two years of age. He has obtained 
a very high position as a chemist and physiologist, and 


for many years has been at the head of the medical and 
chemical departments of the University of the city of 
New York. He has been a most voluminous writer, and 
has created a reputation which extends over both con- 
tinents, his works being not only those relating to purely 
scientific subjects, but others, historical, political, and 
even religious ; at least rehgious to a considerable extent, 
as is exemplified in his Conflict between Beligion and 

The difference between the process of Daguerre and 
that of Talbot, may be defined; they came before the 
world at about the same time, and may, therefore, be 
confounded. In the Daguerre process, the plate on 
which the image was to be taken, was of copper, and 
silvered on one surface. It was first carefully cleaned 
so as to present a surface hke a mirror. The plate, when 
thus cleaned, was exposed to the vapor of iodine, 
(who does not remember the blackish stains of iodine 
on the finger of the daguerreotypist ?) when it passed 
through a variety of colors, until a full yellow, the color 
desired, was reached, and then was placed in the camera 
to be -exposed to the Hght from the subject. After the 
proper exposure, it was taken into a dark room, and there 
exposed to the vapor of mercury. After this had brought 
out the image, the plate was dipped in hjrposulphate of 
soda, which removed the yellow film produced by the 
vapor of iodine. It was next washed in pure water and 
dried, when the process was completed. 

In the invention of the process of the Talbot, a sheet 
of paper was used instead of the copper plate. This 
paper was covered with a changeable salt of silver, and 
then exposed in the camera, after which the latent 
image was developed by the use of a solution of gaUic 
acid. It could be multiplied a large number of times by 
a process of printing. The full process was as follows : 


"Writing paper was coated with a solution of common 
salt, and after drying was brushed over with silver nit- 
rate ; by this means silver chloride was obtained, with a 
slight excess of the nitrate, in which condition it proved 
exceedingly sensitive to light. Various bodies, such as 
lace and ferns, were laid on this paper, and a reversed 
fac- simile of them in black and white was produced; 
and he fixed the impressions by solutions of bromides 
and chlorides. When such a reversed facsimile was 
placed over similarly prepared paper, and the Hght al- 
lowed to act through it, the result was the formation of 
dt, facsimile, only this time not reversed in shades."* 

Talbot's invention was known as the calotype, or 
photogenetic drawing. What were the improvements 
which Dr. Draper introduced, by means of which por- 
traiture became possible through Daguerre's invention, 
do not seem to be known ; but whatever they were, they 
seem to have been valuable, for it is said that some 
daguerreotypes taken by him, at this early stage of the 
art, have never since been excelled. 

There were some minor improvements made in the 
daguerreotype processes, but the next decided advance 
in photography was the discovery of collodion, in 1861. 
It is generally conceded that the discovery is due to 
Scott Archer. It is claimed by EngHsh authorities that 
Le Gary suggested collodion, but that Archer was the 
first to give it a practical value. The effect of the dis- 
covery was to almost at once revolutionize photography 
and drive the daguerreotype artist out of existence. 

CoUodion ip a solution of gun-cotton in a mixture of 
alcohol and ether. When used in photography, it is 
poured on a clean glass plate, and in a few moments, the 
alcohol and ether have evaporated, leaving the coUodion 

• W. de Wiveleslie Abney, F> R. S. 


on the glass in the shape of a thin film. Next the plate 
is soaked in a bath of a solution of silver nitrate, and is 
then ready for exposure in the camera. The develop- 
ment is brought about by pouring on the plate some 
chemical preparation such as a solution of pyrogaUic 
acid ; and, after the image has been brought out, it re- 
mains to fix it. As in the case of the daguerreotype, 
this can be done by hyposulphite of soda, or a solution 
of cyanide of potassium. In the printing process, paper 
is prepared by sensitizing it, and is then laid beneath the 
negative, and exposed to the light of the sun. In this 
way a very large number of copies may be taken ; and it 
is herein that the process has its greatest advantage 
over the daguerreotype, of which there must be a sepa- 
rate sitting for every portrait made. There is stUl an- 
other important advantage in the difference in weight of 
the results of the two processes ; the daguerreotype is 
heavy, it requires an elaborate protection in the shape 
of an enclosing case ; and thus is not easily sent by post. 
One daguerreotype takes up as much room in a collec- 
tion as a dozen or more of the later production. 

One visiting a strange country can now, with little 
trouble, bring back scores, or hundreds of views of not- 
able objects, and portraits of distinguished people, while 
such a thing in the case of daguerreotypes would be im- 
possible. There are a thousand reasons why the latter 
processes of photography should supersede its earlier 

Before the collodion process had reached a high state 
of development, the ambrotype was in considerable de- 
mand. It was a negative on glass, fixed, and taken 
away by the customer. The ferrotype, or " tintype " as 
it is popularly termed, is also a collodion process, and 
very popular on account of its cheapness, and the rap- 
idity with which it can be taken. In order to avoid the 


time and expense which would be involved in taking the 
ferrotype one at a time, the camera is provided with a 
large number of lenses, by which as many can be taken 
at once as there are lenses. 

The number of processes which have grown from 
photography reach almost to the hundreds, the mention 
of which would occupy considerable space. A few of 
the more noted may be mentioned. It is true that the 
stereoscope is no part of a photographic process ; but it 
is so intimately connected with the examination of pho- 
tographic results that a brief notice of it may not be 
misplaced at this point. It is said that a stereoscope 
was invented by Prof. EUiott, of Edinburgh, some years 
before the appearance of the daguerreotype ; that is, he 
conceived the plan of one, but did not construct it tiU 
1839. About the same time, Sir Charles Wheatstone 
had produced a reflecting stereoscope, in which the ob- 
server looked into two small mirrors placed side by side, 
but separated by a partition which prevented each eye 
from seeing only its own mirror. These mirrors were 
inchned at an angle of about forty-five degrees, and 
thereby reflected into the eyes two pictures placed near 
the mirrors, and which thus seemed as one. Later, in 
1849, Sir David Brewster invented a refracting stereo- 
scope, which is the, one which, in principle, is now in 
general use. The Brewster stereoscope is in so general 
use that it is not necessary to describe its construction. 
The effect of seeing the two pictures as one is to greatly 
strengthen them, giving them greater distinctness ^nd 
bringing them more into relief. 

An amusing anecdote is related of the first introduc- 
tion of the stereoscope to some of the members of the 
Prench Academy of Sciences. " The Abbe Moigno took 
the instrument to Arago, and tried to interest him in it, 
but Arago had unluckily a defect of vision, which made 


him see double, so that on looking into the stereoscope 
he saw only a medley of four pictures. The abbe then 
went to Savart, but he was quite incapable of appreciat- 
ing the thing, for he had but one eye. Becquerel was 
next visited, but he was nearly blind, and consequently 
cared Uttle for the new optical toy. The abbe, not dis- 
couraged, called next upon Puillet, of the Conservatoire 
des et Metiers. He was a good deal interested in the 
description of the apparatus, but unfortunately he 
squinted, and therefore could see nothing in it but a 
blurred mixture of images. Last Blot was tried, but 
Blot was an earnest advocate of the corpuscular theory 
of hght, and until he could be assured that the new con- 
trivance did not contradict that theory, he would not 
see anything in it. Under the circumstances, the won- 
der is that the stereoscope ever got fairly into France."* 

There are stereoscopes constructed on a large scale 
in which, in some cases, are as many as several hundred 
pictures, and which by a simple piece of machinery, are 
brought consecutively into view. 

Photo-hthography is a very important process, and 
which has been described in the article on engraving. 
In this connection it may be said that a large number of 
photographic processes have reference to producing nega- 
tives which may be used for varioup kinds of printing. 
Thus, there is the photo-gelatine processes and the 
autotype, by which a photographic image may be trans- 
ferred to stone or metal from which impressions may be 
taken. Another process for the transferring of the image 
to a metal surface is known as photo-glyptic engraving ; 
and still another of this class is the photo-galvanograph. 
Photo-intaglio engraving is a process by which lines are 
etched on a plate which is printed from on a copper- 
plate press. 

* American Journal of Chemistry. 


In fine, photo-mechanical printing absorbs a large 
number of the processes of photography, which may be 
divided into those which are termed surface-printing, 
and others which are known as relief-printing. Among 
the former, as an example, is photo-Hthography, and 
among the latter is photo-galvanography. 

Photography has proved to be of great assistance in 
the study of the celestial bodies. This department is 
known as photo-heHography, and the first instrument 
was made by De la Eue, and has since been improved by 
Janssen and others. By means of the photo-heMograph 
the aspects of the moon have been very thoroughly pic- 
tured ; the spots on the sun have been reproduced by the 
light furnished by the great luminary itself; and in 
eclipses of the sun, photography has been of the greatest 
service, not only to science, but to the popular demand 
for views of such occurrences. One of the missions of 
photography has been to assist in recording the transits 
of Venus, and in this labor the photo-hehograph has been 
the instrument relied on. 

In astronomical observations, the ordinary camera is 
not used, but in place of it an ordinary astronomic tele- 
scope is converted into a photographic instrument. The 
first attempt to use photography for astronomical pur- 
poses was in 1851, by Berkowsky, of the Eoyal Observa- 
tory, whose result was a daguerreotjrpe of an eclipse of 
the sun. De la Eue obtained, in 1860, some fine views 
of an ecHpse by the collodion process; that which is 
now in use in photographic portraiture. The use of 
photography in connection with the stars was first be- 
gun in this country by Professor Bond, of Cambridge, 
Massachusetts; but its most industrious employer has 
been Lewis Eutherford, of New York, once the partner 
of Hamilton Fish, and who has given a large portion of 
his time to astronomical photography, concerning which 


he has pubhshed numerous papers, which have given 
him a world-wide fame ; and who has invented some very- 
ingenious apparatus for the furthering of his favorite 
pursuit. He perfected the method of stellar photo- 
graphy in the construction of a photographic objective 
whose diameter is eleven inches, and whose focus is 
about thirteen feet. His telescope is moved by clock- 
work so as to follow the movement of the stars. 

" The views of large stars taken with it, after a short 
exposure, aU appear hke smaU round points that can 
only be seen through a magnifying glass. In the case 
of a long exposure their size depends, fundamentally, on 
the more or less strong vibrations of the atmosphere, 
which occasion the flickering of the stars. Stars of the 
ninth magnitude can be photographed with an exposure 
of eight minutes ; these stars are ten times weaker than 
the faintest that can be detected on a clear night by the 
naked eye, and their images are very small points. It 
would be difficult to distinguish these small points from 
dirt spots on the plate. To do this, Eutherford makes 
use of an ingenious process. He brings the telescope, 
after the first exposure of eight minutes, into a slightly 
different direction, and makes another exposure of eight 
minutes while the clock-work continues to operate, and 
moves the telescope correctly in this second direction. In 
this manner two images are obtained of every star on the 
plate, closely adjacent; the distance and the relative 
position being in all the same. These double views can 
easily be found on the plate and distinguished from 
spots. If the telescope stops, it is evident that the 
images of the stars make a movement on the plate, the 
bright stars describing a line. This hne is of great im- 
portance to determine the direction from east to west 
on the plate. For faint stars which leave no hne a third 
exposure is necessary to determine this direction ; the 


same thing takes place after the clock-work of the tele- 
scope has been stopped for some minutes. 

"Eutherford has already taken numerous views of 
the stars, and they will serve as important means of 
comparison, after the lapse of centuries, in order to dis- 
cover what change has taken place in the position of the 
fixed stars." * 

Photographs are taken of the moon which shows its 
surface almost with the distinctness of a county map. 
Had astronomers been able to have taken these views a 
century ago, we should now be able to know definitely 
whether it be true that important changes are constantly 
occurring on that planet. 

There are photographic apparatus fbr doing many 
other things than human portraiture, and recording the 
pecuharities of the heavens. These apparatus, and their 
uses, are almost innumerable. A very ingenious use of 
photography is for the registering the variation in a ther- 
mometer during periods when it cannot be observed. A 
strip of sensitized paper is made to revolve on a drum 
behind a thermometer, and is so arranged that hght is 
admitted on it from just above the thermometer, while 
the column of mercury will not permit its passage. The 
result is that all above the mercury, on the sensitized 
paper, will be black, and the variation in the line of 
black will indicate the rise and fall of the mercury. The 
drum is arranged to revolve once in twenty-four hours ; 
this is divided into twenty-four parts ; and if the revolu- 
tion be commenced say, at noon, the precise minute of 
the occurrence of a change will be shown. Photography 
is also of service, through certain machines, in showing 
the temperature of the ocean at great depths, and also 
the existence and direction of deep sea currents. 

• Applications of Photography. Vogel. 


There are photographic instruments for photograph- 
ing the drum of the ear, the interior of the throat, and 
for various purposes, chiefly in the interests of medi- 

One of the more curious, if not the most curious of 
the uses of photography is that which is appUed to re- 
ducing the dimensions of objects, and known as micro- 
scopic photography. It has happened within a few 
years that the value of this process became very widely 
known, and proportionately appreciated. This was dur- 
ing the siege of Paris by the Prussians in 1870, when 
the city was cut off from the outside world by any of the 
usual channels. In this extremity, microscopic photo- 
graphy performed a most unwonted and useful part. 
Vast quantities of written and printed matter were 
reduced to microscopic dimensions by photography, and 
then sent out of the city by carrier pigeons, and by the 
balloon lines which ran with regular irregularity. The 
matter to be reduced was first set up in type, and printed 
on two pages side by side. A page of this matter, as 
large as that of the average newspaper, would be re- 
duced by photography to a space of one and one-half 
inches. The surface on which the pages were photo- 
graphed was simply a coUodion film, having a scarcely 
appreciable thickness, so that as many as a dozen of 
them could be placed in the barrel of a quiU. When the 
films reached their destination, they were unroUed, and 
" thrown up " by means of a magic lantern, when they 
were copied by writers, and forwarded to their proper 

Here the photograph succeeded in reducing almost 
to infinitesimal dimensions ordinary writing; it has 
equal power in the reverse direction. By the use of the 
micropantagraph, Mr. Peters of London, the inventor 
of the machine, succeeded in writing the Lord's Prayer 


withia the space of the one-three hundred and sixty-five 
thousandths of a square inch. If written in the same 
diminutive style, there could be twenty-two Bibles writ- 
ten within the space of one square inch. By the use 
of photography this class of writing can be developed. 

Pyro-photography is a process by which glass and 
porcelain can be decorated in various colors, which pro- 
cess is thus described: " The collodion image — which 
as we have seen consists of minute parts of silver — ^is 
capable of manifold changes, and that, moreover, it is 
easUy transferable, with its elastic collodion film, to 
other bodies. The film, with the picture, can be placed 
in different solutions, and then transferred to curved sur- 
faces, etc. If the Uttle collodion image is placed in a 
metal solution, a chemical change ensues. Assuming 
the metal solution to contain chloride of gold,' then the 
chlorine passes over to the silver, of which the picture 
consists, chloride of silver is formed, and metallic gold 
is precipitated as a fine blue powder on the outline of the 
picture. Thus a gold picture is obtained. With cer- 
tain precautions this can be transferred to and made 
encaustic on porcelain. By this means an unpolished 
image is obtained, which can be rendered brilhant by 
pohshing. Gruene has employed this to produce gold 
ornaments on glass and porcelain. Drawings and pat- 
terns of different kinds are photographed; the image 
obtained is changed into one of gold, then burnt in, and 
thus the most beautiful and comphcated decorations 
can be produced without the assistance of the porce- 
lain painter. * 

If the fihn be plunged into a solution of platinum, 
then a black image is produced on the porcelain or the 
glass; if a violet image is wanted, then the film is 

* Vogel. 


plunged in a mixed solution of gold and platinum ; and 
in this way various tints and colors can be secured. 

One of the problems which has most interested the 
photographer is one relating to the production of pho- 
tographs in colors. There have been innumerable efforts 
in this direction; but there never has been anything 
which may be regarded as a successful solution. Of 
course, there is no end of photographs colored, but none 
in the natural colors, such as objects present when ex- 
posed under the camera. 

The attempt to produce pictures in color was inaugu- 
rated before the discovery of photography, as far back 
as 1810, by Prof. Seeback, of Jena, who found that 
chloride of silver would develop the colors of the spec- 
trum. Sir John Herschel, after the discovery of the 
daguerreotype, submitted a solar spectrum to a paper 
properly sensitized, and succeeded in getting a fair re- 
production of the colors. Becquerel, whose name has 
before been mentioned, succeeded, by using only nitrate 
of silver, in getting better results than Herschel. After 
him there were other experiments by Niepce, Simpson, 
Poiteven, and one or two more, all of whom were enabled 
to produce an impression in colors, although none of 
them discovered any process by which the colors could be 
fastened. That is the condition in which photography 
is at the present time; no process has been found by 
which colors can be retained in the light. Ahnost every- 
thing is possible in science ; it is most sincerely to be 
hoped that the result so long and ardently sought may 
be attained. Certainly photography needs not to be able 
to reproduce permanent colors in order to become per- 

There might be an entire book devoted to photo- 
graphy, and yet the subject would be far from being ex- 
hausted. In this article, no more has been attempted 


thaQ to summarize a few of the salient points connected 
with its invention, growth and present condition. There 
are a dozen processes in the art which have not been 
even alluded to ; of its advantage in the production of 
books, newspapers, and in a hundred other directions, 
there has not been an allusion. There has been no effort 
to reckon the extent of this industry, or its value in a 
moneyed sense, to the civihzed world. All these details 
are of great interes