« PrécédentContinuer »
SEMI-OMNIPOTENT ENGINE. 31 motions above-mentioned hindering, much less stopping, the other ; but unanimously and with barmony agreeing, they all augment and cơntribute strength unto the intended work and operation; and therefore I call this a semi-omnipotent engine, and do intend that a model thereof be buried with me."*
“ How to make one pound weight to raise an hundred as high as one pound falletli, and yet the hundred pound descending, doth what nothing less than one hundred pounds can effect."
“ Upon so potent a help as these two last-mentioned inventions, a waterwork is, by many years' experience and labour, so advantageously by me contrived, that a child's force bringeth up, an hundred foot high, an incredible quantity of water, even two foot diameter, so naturally, that the work will not be heard into the next room ; and with so great ease and geometrical symmetry, 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's work; and I may boldly call it the most stupenduous work in the whole world : and not onely with little charge to drain all sorts of mines, and furnish cities with water, though never so high seated, as well 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 likewise supplying rivers with sufficient to maintaine and make them portable from towne to towne, and for the bettering of lands all the way it runs. With many more advantageous and yet greater effects of profits, admi
• Century of Inventions, p. 72.
CENTURY OF INVENTIONS.
ration, and consequence ; so that, deservedly, I deem this invention to crown my labours, to reward my expenses, and make my thoughts acquiese in the way of further inventions."*
The primum mobile is here, evidently, the force of steam, that, flow in whatever direction it may, is still capable of exerting the same mechanical power; and the movements, however numerous, can be made not to interfere with each other. The fall of a pound weight raising a hundred pounds weight, clearly refers to a mechanism like a piston ; one weighing a pound, attached to a lever, would raise one hundred pounds as high as one pound falleth ; and were this weight of water to fall on a water-wheel, for instance, as is now often practised, it would raise a quantity very nearly equal to its own weight, and to the same height from which it fell. A child's force, too, would be sufficient to turn a cock of even a large engine; and the small noise made by this description of machinery, and its working day and night without intermission, or impairing its power, are circumstances in the use of the machine now familiar to every person. It would be difficult to give a clearer, description of the action of a
• The Century of Inventions, printed at London in 1663, was reprinted at London in 1746; at Glasgow in 1767; at Kyo, Lancashire, 1778, with a short historical notice of the steam-engine. Another reprint is dated London, 1736; a sixth London, 1813; and a seventh London, 1825.
All the problems contained in the “Century” were printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1748, with notes pointing out solutions which had been given of some of the “scantlings.” This is an ingenious commentary. The definitions are also to be found in vol. ii. of Gregory's Mechanics. The second volume of the Mechanics' Magazine contains by far the best reprint of the entire treatise that has appeared. In this will be found the variations of the printed copies from the MS. in the British Museum,
steam-engine, in general terms, without a special explanation of its minutiæ and principles. In this case, however, it obviously was the intention of Lord Worcester to conceal both.
That he did not carry all his ideas into execution,” says Mr. Wallace, “ does not seem to have been so much his fault as that of the age in which he lived;" but the doubt of his having put them into practice is greatly lessened, by considering his perseverance, and his means. We have seen that for thirty-five years he employed an ingenious mechanic, under his own eye: these must have been spent on something; and why not on those things described in his “ Century of Inventions," and especially on his machine for raising water by the force of steam? It would be almost impossible to describe effects so clearly as he has done, without actually looking at a machine in action.
The apparent impossibility of some of his projects has already been noticed, as affording to many a reason for placing but a small value on the entire collection, " To raise a hundred pounds weight,” say the cavillers, “as high as one pound falleth, by the weight of that pound alone, carries absurdity on the face of it.” And certainly it must be admitted, that a literal construction of this proposition would justify all the charges which have been made to the prejudice of its author. That the marquess, however, did not propound it to be construed so literally as it has been, very evidently appears from an account of his inventions, which is still extant in manuscript, but which has hitherto escaped the notice of his admirers as well as of his detractors. The summary is contained in two sides of a leaf of post paper; it is written in a fine ancient hand,
OTHER INVENTIONS. and appears to have been copied with care from an original paper, written by Lord Worcester; but whether before or after the date of the publication of his "scantlings,” there is now ng means of ascertaining.*
* “INVENTIONS OF YE EARLE OF WORCESTER. “ The Quint Essence of motion, or a collection of all kinds of movements, to wit, circular to and fro; perpendicular upwards and downwards ; side motions to ye right and left ; straight motions forwards & backwards, with a circular Vehi·culum, to wch any of these may bee applicable or moveable to all ye points of ye compasse : at each of wch, it will bee as powerful as if it were first to one place or Center.
All and every of these by hight of Art, Industry, & Experimt working ye same Individuall & Intrinsecall effect without disturbance to ye other ; & yet by these absolutely contrary Motions soe performed, most strange and incredible Effects may bee brought to passe to
Admiration even of ye greatest Mathematicians.
“ The knowledge of these things, rendering all things as feasible to him, yt is Master of this Art, as it is to make a circle with a paire of Compassess, or a straight line wth a Square or Ruler. They beeing a direct abstract of Arithinetick, contrived by mee. And by ye power of those I have perfected these following Conclusions, wth some hundreds besides, all experienced by mee.
“1. I can render an ordinary Watch, wch beeing once wound up, will goe constantly during a Man's life, beeing used but once in 24 houres, & (though oftner look't on:) it is still ye saine, and though not look’t on for a weeke, still ye same if not bruised.
“2. By this I can make a Vessel of as great burthen, as ye River can beare, to goe agt ye streame, wch ye more rapid it is, ye faster it shall advance, and ye moveable part yt workes yt may be by one man still guided to take ye
best advantage of ye streame, & yet to steer
the boat to any point. And this Engine is applicable to any Vessell or Boat whatsoever; without being therefore made on purpose ; and worketh these effects. It roweth, it draweth, it driveth (if need bee) to passe London-bridge agt ye streame at low water. And a boate lying at Anchor, the Engine may be used for loading or unloading.
“3. By this I can make an Artificial] Bird to fly wch way & as long as I please,
55 In this interesting document (which is given entire in the note) the incredible proposition is stated, with a qualification, through which even
“4. By these I can make a ball of silver or gold, wch, throwne into a pale or poole of water, shall rise againe to ye perfect houre of any day or night. The superfices of ye Water shall still show the houre distinctly, even ye minutes, if I please.
“5. By this I can make a Childe in a coach, to stop ye horses (runing away) and shall be able to secure hime, & those yt be in ye Coach having a little Engine placed therein, wch shall not bee perceived in what posture soever ye horses draw: a Childes force shall bee able to disengage them from overturning ye Coach or prejudicing any body in it.
“6. By these I can make one pound raise an hundred as high as ye one pound falls, & ye one pound taken off ye 112 lb. shall againe descend performing ye intire effect of an hundred waight; (i. e.) I have yt force wch nothing lesse than 112 lb. can have any other way. An incredible effect till seene, but true as strange.
“7. By these a childe shall raise as much water 100 foot high (speaking within compasse) as 6 horses can force up any other way
“8. By these I can stop any other Man's motion and render it null, since from any point of ye compasse I can forceably and effectually cause a counterbuffe, or absolute obstruction of such Motion, wch way I please. All wayes beeing indifferent to mee to worke a perfect resistance & to countermine their Intentions, or to force theire Motions a cleane contrary way.
The 9 was left out in ye original copy. “Soe here yu have 9 figures represented, wch in Arithmetick make all numbers imaginable, soe by ye helpe of these Mctions noe Manufacture but may be demonstrated exquisitely & demonstrably & with great ease & facility, and noe Conclușion in ye Mathematicks or Mechanicks, but may by these bee brought to passe in great perfection & to admiration. Yet as ye most excellent tooles cannot worke alone, nor any Cymeter is soe sharp as to cut without an arme to guide it, so without Knowledge, Art, & Ingenuitie, these are fruitlesse; but being set to work by one of noe more knowledge then my: selfe am capable off, they will performe wt is here asserted & more than I could write from one end of ye yeare to the other,".