« PrécédentContinuer »
TRIUMPHIS OF STEAM.
or out of a sixpence for the sake of themselves. I like the ample room of a steam-carriage, where there is no necessity for your neighbours to dig holes in
your sides with their elbows, or lay their soft heads Part I.
upon your sost shoulders. I hate to wait for anyOur readers will readily unite in a tribute of hearty thing; men must wait, and so must horses, but thanks to the mighty locomotive power of the nine. steam-coaches know no dependence, and are never in teenth century. During the past summer, unrivalled love. I like to have to do with porters who charge in the annals of travelling, which of them has not nothing for being civil, and haven't time to put been indebted to the agency of steam for some invi- their hands into their pockets, which is a vulgar and gorating change of scene, for mountain air or ocean idle habit. I like to travel fast. I dread vicious breezes, for rural seclusion or city excitement? City | horses, and feel for distressed ones. I don't like denizens have no small cause to bless the memories going down-hill — drag-chain breaking—coach upof Watt and Stephenson, as emerging from a commo- setting-coachman dying, leaving a wife and twelve dious carriage after an easy ride of fifty or sixty children-myself doubled up in a ditch with a broken minutes, in less time, and with incomparably less leg, when I'm going to be married the next week, and fatigue, than they could walk from Tower Hill to Hyde no threepenny assurance offices to pay the doctor." Park Corner, they find themselves in a new world, Though far from wishing to depreciate the high ad
amid corn-fields and hop-gardens ; or within ten vantages of the personal pleasure and health promoted 1 minutes' walk of rocks carpeted with sea-weed, foam- by our fire-caravans,” the benefits conferred by
ing billows, and snowy sea-gulls. Nor are country resi- them are seen in an infinitely more important and dents behindhand to honour gratefully those master imposing aspect, when viewed with reference to the minds, and congratulate themselves on the existing substantial results of the wonderfully facilitated infacilities for exchanging sea-coast scenes for inland tercourse between men and nations in every variety beauties, during a few weeks; or peaceful balmy of relationship. Rapidly to glance at the multiform valleys for the bracing breezes of our ocean shores ; advantages, commercial, social, and civilizing of this besides multiplied trips of pleasure and profit to “the puissant locomotive agent, would be to elicit grateful great metropolis.” Many of us who were mostly acclamations from peer and peasant, nabob and navvy, confined in our olden excursions to the precincts of purseful and poor, traveller and trader, retrospective our island home, now realize by personal inspection excursionists of 1850, and expectant Industrial Exthe marvels and the beauties of the Seine, the Rhine, positionists of 1851, together eliminating a whirlwind the Danube, and the Bosphorus.
of praise from the thirty-six cardinal points of the Nor does Britain alone participate in these benefits; compass. Europe and America alike share and enjoy them. In Such as have not before explored the early history River Navigation our Western brethren have greater of the great discovery of the power of steam, and its advantages to boast of than ourselves, and Jonathan application to locomotion, must, in their late journey. may well praise the memory of Fulton---though he ne- ings in pursuit of business or pleasure, have burned to glected him during his life, and left him to die in penury know all that can be learned of the past history, the -as he navigates his stupendous lakes and rivers, re- origin, rise, and progress of its wonderful machinery. velling, amid their wondrous wilds in every comfort, on It is possible some unthinking mortals may step time board the luxurious steam-boats of the Hudson and the after time into a railway train without a thought about Mississippi. He likes railroads too, as well as steam- the origin of railroads or steam-engines. The first ocats, and his recorded preference will find an echo in might be the effect of the Noachian deluge, and the many a bosom on this side of the Atlantic. “I like second, the natural product of some South Pacific railroads,” says Jonathan ; "anybody may hate rail. Island, with directions for use wrapped up in the roads, despise railroads, or rail at railroads, but I like boiler, for anything they know or care about, to the railronds. I like, when I arrive at the station a contrary. But in this educated age, such cygni nigri quarter of an hour before starting, to be shown into a must be very rare birds indeed. Few must be the
nice warm room, where the quarter of an hour passes number of those who have not thought o'er the past, i quicker than five minutes in a dirty coach-office or a replete with the most ingenious and successful ini coffee-room, where the waiters try to look you into a ventions and rapid improvements, before the present
glass of brandy-and-water for the sake of the house, high state of perfection in our means of travelling
has been attained. Ay, and penetrated, too, the, the fact of the elasticity of steam was known in the distant future in their speculations and previsions of seventeenth century. what the further unfolding of the mighty powers of It is interesting to have ascertained that the Greeks steam and engineering talents will achieve in the and Egyptians derived some practical benefits from world's history. To these the following memorabilia their acquaintance with steam; the latter in adding of steam, its existing effects, and gigantic promises, to the imposing effect of their stupendous monuments cannot prove wholly uninteresting.
of industrial labour—the former, in administering to
their voluptuous refinement. But the swarthy worPart II.
shippers of Isis and Osiris, whatever their obligations Our first impulse is to look around, and gazing with to steam, would hardly feel flattered while contemwonder on the contrast presented between now and plating their great pyramid, five hundred feet in height, then-meaning by the latter adverb the middle of the standing upon a base measuring seven hundred feet last century-to explore with ever-increasing admi- each way, and weighing twelve thousand seven ration the details of the mighty engineering works hundred and sixty millions of pounds; requiring for sounding and abounding in all directions.
its erection the labour of one hundred thousand men But, as our object is rather to sketch the prominent for twenty years, according to Herodotus-could they achievements of steam in the bistory of locomotion, be made aware of Dr. Dionysius Lardner's calculation we shall touch very lightly upon the mechanical and that "the materials of this pyramid would be raised scientific, and confine ourselves chiefly to resultant from the ground to their present position by the facts in connexion with travel. And as practical combustion of about four hundred and eighty tons of water transit, by the impulsion of steam, dates from coals :” which reflection, mathematically expressed, an earlier period than land traffic by the same agency, would present to the indignant Pharaolis a rather odd we propose (prefixing a very brief outline of the early and depreciatory equation. If gratified to know that history of steam and the steam-engine) to treat, first, men of yore profited by their knowledge of steam, of aquatic triumphs, and, secondly, of the rail and its there is yet more cause to lament over the abuse of grim-headed caravans; subsequently indulging in that power in their hands, for it appears to have been speculations on the future mighty effects which the pressed chiefly into the service of superstition, and power of steam may be expected to impress upon the to have aided in promoting the delusions of heathen habitable globe.
idolatry. Our readers are aware that water increases its bulk Dr. Wm. Bell, in a learned and interesting paper on about seventeeen hundred times, when evaporated Æoliphiles, or the Earliest Application of Steam to under the weight of the atmosphere at the earth’s the Purposes of Superstition,” suggests that this surface. The increase of volume which water thus jugglery in the use of steam, this prostitution of its undergoes by its conversion into steam, is of course power to the designs of infamous pretenders, might diminished or increased in proportion to the amount have caused its powers, though well known, to of pressure under which it may be confined. “A remain undeveloped through the series of ages which pint of water may be evaporated by two ounces of elapsed before it was shown to the world in its coals. In its evaporation it swells into two hundred practical application as an agent in arts and manufacand sixteen gallons of steam, with a mechanical force tures. He believes that a considerable knowledge of sufficient to raise a weight of thirty-seven tons a foot the powers of steam was possessed so early as two high. The steam thus produced has a pressure equal centuries and a half before the Christian era ; and to that of common atmospheric air ; and by allowing how many centuries might then have elapsed since the it to expand, by virtue of its elasticity, a further first reasoner on the subject had given his discoveries mechanical force may be obtained, at least equal in to the world, was hidden in an impenetrable veil of amount to the former. A pint of water, therefore, obscurity. Several drawings of human and animal and two ounces of common coal, are thus rendered figures have been exhibited by Dr. Bell, showing that capable of doing as much work as is equivalent to each was only a sort of steam-boiler cast in that seventy-four tous raised a foot high." Two hundred shape, with one hole for pouring in the water, and feet of steam can be condensed in one second, by four another out of which the oracular sounds were to ounces of water, and their expansive force reduced to proceed. These figures had been found in England, one-fifth.
(the Cauld Lad of Hilton, Staffordshire, and at The power exerted by steam appears to have been Basingstoke, Hants,) in Norway, Scandinavia, Gerknown to some extent at a very early period, although many, the Crimea, and other parts. The priests, it the ancients did not at all comprehend theoretically would seem, used them to strike terror into the hearts its source. They had no idea of the expansive force of their devotees, by the unearthly sounds they exerted by water in the state of vapour, but imagined emitted, and the mode of use was to stop up one that the air expelled from water by beat, cxercised in aperture and to raise the steam inside the figure until its expulsion that immense power, the existence of it attained sufficient power to force out the stopper; which under these circumstances they had discovered. I the confined steam rushing out with a whistling It was left for Dalton and Mariotte to evolve the screeching sound, and filling the place where the laws of pressure common to all elastic fluids, though devotees were assembled, their minds were
impressed with the belief that they were in the pre- | fast press,” which, with four men to supply the blank sence of a supernatural being; and of their fears the sheets, and four more to bear away the printed ones priests were not slow to take advantage. Many as they are issued, works off twelve thousand impreslearned quotations are adduced in support of Dr. sions an hour. The construction of this machine is Beil's opinion, and reference is made especially to as beautiful as it is complete, and, notwithstanding its accounts which have come down of a German figure rapidity of motion, it cannot be heard at work in an of this kind which, even so late as the sixteenth adjoining room. That nothing may be wanting to century, was looked upon as a deity possessed of secure expedition, it may be added, that Captain Hoe strange powers.
has produced other machinery by which in one hour | The Cauld Lad of Hilton, in connexion with which 3,600 of these newspapers are folded.
ibe Hanor of Essington, in Staffordshire, was held of Attention was attracted to the power of steam the feudal lord of Hilton, was a figure of this kind, shortly after the printing of Hero's work, and steady the use of which had been converted from paganism progress has attended the prosecution of the study to suit the times, when another form of worship until the present high pitch of efficiency has been prevailed.
attained in steam machinery. The feudal service was, that the lord of Essington One of the first names appearing in the annals of should, at a certain period, take a goose into the steam after this period is that of Blasco de Garay, a great hall at Hiltou, and drive it three times round Spaniard, whose experiments were made about the the fire, while Jack of Hilton (the image) blew the year A.D. 1543, and of whom we shall again have fre; that then the goose became the property of the occasion to speak. Solomon de Caus, a French lord of Hilton, and the lord of Essington received architect and engineer, a native of Normandy, proa mess of meat from the lord of Hilton's table. Now, secuted his researches about A.D. 1614. He was this was clearly an old Saxon custom, applied as a evidently ignorant of the elasticity of steam, for his bond for feudal service. The goose was a bird sacred theorem is “that the parts of the element water mix under the Saxon Edda; the image was the idol of the for a time with the parts of the element air; that fire same heathen system; the fire was the altar; the causes this mixture, and that on removing the fire, gouse was brought to sacrifice; and the subsequent and dissipating the heat, then the parts of the water feasts were but parts of the same pagan rite. One mixed with air return to their proper place, forming curious figure of this kind is cast in the form of a again part of the water." knight, armed at all points, seated on horseback. In January 1618, David Ramsey, a page of the
It was known that, in the time of the Crusades, king's bedchamber, obtained a patent “to exercise Christian knights who were captured were made to and put in use divers newe apt formes or kinds of saffer the cruel torture of being roasted to death in engines, and other pfitable invencons, as well to their armour, on horseback, and it is very possible plough grounds without horse or oxen, and to make that the form of this image might be suggested by fertile as well barren peats, salts, and sea-sands, as the desire to have some imitation of the horrid sport, inland and upland grounds within the realmes of when the barbarians who practised it had not the England, &c. As also, to raise waters, and to make means of providing the reality. It has been said that boats for carriages running upon the water as swift the oracular noises which are reported to have pro- in calmes, and more safe in storms, than boats fullceeded from the head of the Memnon were caused by sayled in great windes.” The water-raising engine, water in the interior raised to a high temperature by and water-carriages, have long been perfected ; and an Egyptian sun; but these sounds appear more pro- Sir Willoughby d'Eresby has lately added the steambably to have arisen from the peculiar vibrations plough. excited in the particles composing the granite by the A curious xoliphile was constructed by Giovanni sodden change of temperature at sunrise; for it is Brasca, an Italian, in 1629. It consisted of a close
sell known that some kinds of granite, especially copper vessel, in the shape of a negro's head, which " when cleft, emit sounds like those described by was filled with water, and furnished with a small tube
Pausanias and Philostratus as emanating from the proceeding from the mouth. Steam was generated statue in question.
within, and issuing fromthe tube, was directed against The earliest detailed record we possess of a veritable the vanes of a horizontal flat wheel, turning it round, steam-machine is that constructed by Hero the philo- and thus imparting motion to a pestle and mortar, sopher of Alexandria, who collected the science and employed in the alchemist's laboratory. inventions of the ancients along with some of his own But the honour of inventing and constructing the into a systematic treatise written in Greek, more first steam-engine at all analogous to the present than 120 years before the Christian era. His work method of applying the power of steam, is certainly on Pneumatics and Steam Machinery was one of the first due to Edward Somerset, Marquis of Worcester. If and finest specimens yielded by the printing-press. Newton's grand discovery originated in his observation Thus the press made the first advances in the inter- of a ribstone pippin, the Marquis was under equal change of benefits between printing and steam: that obligations to an Irish stew. The downfall of an
steam has fully repaid the attention may be satisfac- apple attracted the notice of the astronomer; and | torily ascertained by a visit to “Captain Hoe's last the upstart of a pot-lid arrested the attention of the
mechanician. During his imprisonment in the Tower, | improved by Beighton, and was the first in that series as a Royalist agent, the Marquis observed the lid of of inventions which has since rendered the steamthe saucepan, in which bis dinner was preparing, to engine so pre-eminent as a self-acting machine. fly off; and rightly conjectured that the moving We must not stay even to mention all Watt's inpower might be applied to a rather more useful genious and most important improvements, among purpose. On regaining his liberty, he pursued the wbich the Separate Condenser, the Condenser Pump, idea, and succeeded in constructing a bigh-pressure the Double-acting Engine, the Parallel Motion, and steam-engine. Of his work he has left a record, the Gorernor, are most conspicuous. He obtained his couched in mysterious language, in the well-known patent in 1769, for the invention of the “Double volume entitled "A Century of the Names and Impulse” engine by which the steam was made to Scantlings of such Inventions as at present I can call act above, as well as below, the piston, and which to mind to have tried and perfected, which (my constituted the first great improvement, by which the former notes being lost) I have, at the instance of steam-engine could be successfully employed as the a powerful friend, endeavoured now, in the year motive power in the propulsion of vessels. 1655, to set these down in such a way as may suffi
PART III. ciently instruct me to put any of them into practice.”
It was not, however, until thirty years after the This leads us to the next branch of our subject,death of the Marquis of Worcester, that the first the triumphs of steam in the art of Navigation, and practical steam-engine was made. This was the affords us the opportunity to redeem our promise of condensing engine, invented by Captain Thomas further reference to Blasco de Garay. On the 17th Savary, in the year 1697. Eight years subsequent to of June, 1543, this Spanish sea-captain experimented Savary's invention, an immense improvement was before Charles V. at Barcelona, with an engine he effected by Thomas Newcomer, an ironmonger, jointly had constructed, by which “ ships and vessels of the with J. Cauley, an ingenious glazier : Newcomer largest size could be propelled even in a calm, without being the inventor of the principle of the atmo- the aid of cars and sails.” The ship selected for the spheric engine. Dr. Papin, a Frenchman, introduced experiment was the Trinity, Capt. Peter de Scarza, about this time the floating piston, and safety-valve, a vessel of 200 tons burthen, which was made to and indicated indeed the atmospheric principle. His travel at the rate of three miles an hour. Revolving countrymen have sought to attribute to him the wheels were attached to the side of the ship, and a honour of having invented the steam-engine; but he prominent part of his apparatus appeared to be a huge has no just pretensions to the discovery. The Land- kettle of boiling water. No further particulars are grave of Hesse employed Dr. Papini in 1698, to exert known, as the inventor never disclosed the construction the agency of steam for the purpose of raising water, of his engine, nor did lie make any practical use of and his machinery was constructed upon the principle it
, as it did not find favour in high places, though the which had been indicated by the Marquis of Emperor suffered him not to go altogether unre
His efforts were unsuccessful; but warded. Leibnitz, who was then residing in England, forwarded Whatever merit Blasco de Garay may have deserved to him a description and plans of the engine con- is lost to him, through his selfish taciturnity, and the structed by Captain Savary; and the Doctor published recognised original inventor of steam-boats is no account of his own experiments until ten years Jonathan Hulls, who obtained a patent for a boat of after Savary had obtained his patent.
this description in December 1736, and published an Henry Beighton and James Brindley both effected account of his machine in the following year, under improvements on Newcomer's engine before the giant this title “Description and Draught of a new-ingenius of James Watt appeared to exhibit the vast vented Machine, for carrying Vessels or Ships against resources with which the steam-engine was endowed wind and tide, or in a calm, &c.” The “Draught" by his unparalleled ingenuity. Before his inventions represents a strong boat, with a smoking chimney, this mighty machine was still comparatively in its towing a two-decker; wheels are depicted on each infancy : though it may be said to have been weaned side of the stern, to the axis of which six paddles are from its juvenile nurses, the cock-boys, and taught to attached; and motion, originating in a steam-engine, help itself, by one of these attendants, Humphrey is imparted by ropes passing round the circumference Potter, whose duty it was to open and shut the cocks of the wheels. Thomas Paine succeeded Hulls in at the required intervals; but a taste, not confined to the study of steam navigation, and sought, indeed, to the sunny shores of Italy, for the dolce far niente, obtain the credit of having invented steam-boats
, but led bim to add scoggan, as he called it, (derived from their plans were not reduced to practice. In France, the verb scog, to skulk,) which consisted in a series of the Comte d'Auxiron, in 1774, and after him J. C. strings, by which the cocks were so connected with Perrier, conducted experiments on the Seine, but the moving parts of the machine, that they were though the latter employed superior machinery, both opened and shut by its own movements, independently must be considered to have failed. of all outward attention, and with a precision and A steam-boat was constructed on the Saône, at regularity far superior to that attained by the most Lyons, in the year 1781, by the Marquis de Jouffroy. attentive of cock-boys. This contrivance was much His boat was 147 feet in length. The result of his