Born in Warren, Mass., July 2, 1759. Died near Belfast, Me., January 20, 1849.
Graduated from Harvard College in 1781, Read was a tutor at Harvard for four years. In 1788 he began experimenting to discover some way of utilizing the steam engine for propelling boats and carriages.
Born in 1755 or 1756, in Newport, Del. Died in Philadelphia, April 21, 1819.
Little has been preserved respecting the early history of Oliver Evans, who has been aptly styled “The Watt of America.” His parents were farming people, and he had only an ordinary common-school education. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a wheelwright or wagonmaker, and continued his meager education by studying at night time by the light that he made by burning chips and shavings in the fireplace.
Born in Illogan, in the west of Cornwall, England, April 13, 1771. Died in Dartford, Kent, April 22, 1833.
In 1780 he built a double-acting high-pressure engine with a crank, for Cook’s Kitchen mine. This was known as the Puffer, from the noise that it made, and it soon came into general use in Cornwall and South Wales, a successful rival of the low-pressure steam vacuum engine of Watt.
Born in Sutton, Mass., June 24, 1788. Died, April 16, 1864.
Blanchard was a prolific inventor, having taken out no less than thirty or forty patents for as many different inventions. He did not reap great benefit from his labors, for many of his inventions scarcely paid the cost of getting them up, while others were appropriated without payment to him, or even giving him credit.
Born in Bellow Mill, near Old Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, August 21, 1754. Died at Sycamore Hill, November 15, 1839.
When he was twenty-three years of age he entered the employment of the famous engineering firm of Boulton & Watt, at Soho, and there remained throughout his active life.
Watt recognized in him a valuable assistant, and his services were jealously regarded. On his part he devoted himself unreservedly to the interests of his employers.
The first Switchback
Twenty years after Evelina, the novel of femininity took a further step in technique and breadth of design. Miss Austen, who in the last decade of the eighteenth century was writing the novels that were not to be published till after the first decade of the nineteenth, learnt from both her precursors. She was a proper follower of Richardson, but dispensed altogether with the artifice of letters, although the whole of her work is so intimate and particular in expression that it would almost seem to be written in a letter to the reader.
Fanny Burney took more material with a lighter hand, stealing away the business of The Tatler, The Spectator, The Citizen of the World, and trying not only to 'draw characters from nature' but also to 'mark the manners of the time.'
With an imagination scarcely less opulent than Bunyan's, Defoe, if he had described a dream, would have managed somehow to make it as short-winded and inconsequent as a real one. He was in love with verisimilitude, and delighted in facts for their own sakes. 'To read Defoe,' wrote Charles Lamb, 'is like hearing evidence in a Court of Justice.' No compliment could have pleased him better.
It was through caring for his setting in this way that Chateaubriand came as if by accident to the discovery of local colour. He wanted his savages to love in the wilderness, and happening to have seen a wilderness, reproduced it, and made his savages not merely savages but Muskogees, fashioned their talk to fit their race, and made it quite clear that this tale, at any rate, could not be imagined as passing on the Mountains of the Moon.
Scott was a part of this revivified world, and his importance in it is not that of its inventor, but of the man who brought so many of its qualities into the art of story-telling that his novels became a secondary inspiration, and moved men as different as Hugo, Balzac, and Dumas, to express themselves in narrative.
I am a little ungracious to Smollett in saying so loud that he was an artist inferior to Fielding. Inferior he was, but when I set their best books side by side, I remember that there is little to choose between the pleasures they have given me, and am compelled to admit that the less scrupulous Smollett had the wider range.
Out of this general efflorescence were to spring two branches of story-telling different and hostile from the start. The novel was given sex. Richardson had scarcely invented the feminine novel before Fielding and Smollett were at work producing books of a masculinity correspondingly pronounced. Fielding was the first to mark the difference, and Richardson to the end of his life hated him for writing Joseph Andrews. It often happens that one philosopher hates another whose system though less elaborate is obviously founded on a broader basis than his own. Fielding could afford to laugh at Richardson, but Richardson could never laugh at Fielding.
Dordrecht (dated 1702)
One of the earliest authenticated devices of this kind was the invention of Blanchard, described by him in the Journal de Paris, August 28, 1781, nearly two years before the invention of the hot-air balloon, of which he became later an enthusiastic votary. As his device is but one of a large number that appeared before the close of the nineteenth century, and the advent of light motors, the reader who wishes fuller acquaintance with man-driven airships may be referred to Mr. Chanute’s book, entitled Progress in Flying-Machines, which describes a large variety of such inventions, and discusses the merit and weakness of each.
The ascent of this, the first hydrogen balloon, was a popular and a memorable event. The field was lined with troops. The curious spectators had thronged every thoroughfare and darkened every housetop. It was an all day festival, inaugurating a peculiarly French science, with French animation. The booming of cannon announced to all Paris the impending flight of the balloon. At five o’clock, in the presence of 50,000 spectators, and in a shower of rain, the balloon rose more than half a mile and entered the clouds. The people overwhelmed with surprise and enthusiasm, stood gazing upward, despite the rain, observing every maneuver till the vessel had ascended and faded from view.
The public inauguration of aëronautics occurred on June 5, 1783, at Annonay, the home of the Montgolfier family, 36 miles from Lyons. The states of Vivarais being assembled at that place, were invited to witness the ascension. The Deputies and many spectators found in the public square an enormous bag which, with its frame, weighed 300 pounds, and would inflate to a ball 35 feet in diameter. When told that this huge mass would rise to the clouds they were astonished and incredulous. The Montgolfiers, however, lit a fire beneath and let the bag speak for itself. It gradually distended, assuming a beautiful form, and struggling to free itself from the men who were holding it. At a given signal it was released; it ascended rapidly, and in ten minutes attained a height of 6,000 feet. It drifted a mile and a half and sank gently to the ground.
Stephen Montgolfier now wishing to send up human passengers, made a balloon of 100,000 cubic feet capacity. It was shaped like a full lemon pointing upward, with a cylindrical neck below, 16 feet in diameter. Around this neck was a wicker balcony three feet wide, to carry the aëronauts, bundles of straw for fuel, pails of water and sponges to extinguish incipient conflagrations, here and there in the balloon, during a journey. Through stokeholes in the side of the neck sheaves of straw could be forked to the grate suspended centrally below by radial chains. During inflation the base of the balloon rested on a platform, and its top was supported by a rope stretched between two poles. The vessel when completed, in a garden of the Faubourg St. Antoine, was 85 feet high by 48 feet across, and weighed 1,600 pounds. About its zone, painted in oil, were elegant decorations; portraits, cyphers of the king’s name, fleur-de-lis, with fancy borders below and above; while higher still, on the arching dome of the bag, were all the signs of the celestial zodiac.
The first attempts at balloon propulsion could not be seriously regarded by trained engineers, even at the inception of aëronautics; but still, as infantile steps in the new art, they may deserve passing notice.
Blanchard, on March 2, 1784, made the first real effort to steer a balloon, using for that purpose a spherical gas bag and car provided with aërial oars and a rudder. As he was about to ascend, however, from the Champs de Mars, a young officer with drawn sword persisted in accompanying the pilot, thus compelling Blanchard to leave his wings on earth to allow sufficient buoyancy for himself and his obtrusive guest. His first trial was, therefore, frustrated; but subsequent ones made with that inadequate contrivance also proved futile under the best circumstances; for the scheme was evidently puerile, though tried by various grown-up men besides M. Blanchard.
A more reasonable plan for practical navigation was devised and tried by the Robert brothers. A melon-shaped balloon, fifty-two feet long by thirty-two feet in diameter, was made of silk and inflated with pure hydrogen. Beneath was suspended a longish car of light wood covered with sky-blue silk. This elegant ship was to be rowed through heaven by means of six silken oars actuated by sturdy sailors. A silken rudder should guide her at pleasure when the winds were asleep, or softly playing in the placid sky. She was a fairy bark, indeed, a soaring castle lovely to behold.
After a preliminary trial, accompanied by their patron, the Duke de Chartres, they were ready for a substantial journey. On September 19, 1784, the vessel was inflated and taken to the Garden of the Tuileries, in front of the palace, where its cords were held by Marshall Richelieu and three other noblemen. At eleven forty-five the two Roberts and their brother-in-law arose and drifted beyond the horizon on a seven hours’ cruise. Before coming to earth, they plied the oars vigorously, and described a curve of one kilometer radius, thus deviating 22° from the feeble wind then prevailing.
Lady-In-waiting to Marie Antoinette
Admiral Hawke in this engagement gained a decisive victory. The Royal George was the first of an improved type of ship. Her end was a tragic one, for she capsized and sank at Spithead, taking 900 people with her.
On this date Lord Howe achieved a victory over the French which was considered so important that on the return of the fleet to Spithead the King presented Howe with a gold chain and a sword valued at 3000 guineas.
In 1725, Jacob Leupold invented an engine, in which the work was done by steam alone, instead of by the atmosphere, as in the engines that immediately preceded it. Leupold used two cylinders. They were open at the top to the atmosphere as in the others, but154 he used higher pressures of steam, and arranged a four-way cock between the bottoms of the two cylinders in such a way that the bottom of each cylinder, in its turn, was connected to the boiler or to the open air. Each cylinder actuated directly a separate vibrating beam, which in turn actuated the piston of a pump; the two pistons acting reciprocally, each drawing up water in its turn.
In 1765, James Watt made the very great improvement of providing a condenser separate from the cylinder of the engine, so that the great loss of heat caused by cooling the cylinder and then heating it at each stroke was wholly avoided. He covered the cylinder entirely, and surrounded it with an external cylinder kept always full of steam, that maintained the cylinder at a high temperature. The steam, instead of being condensed within the cylinder, after it had done its work, was allowed to escape into the condenser. To facilitate this action, the condenser was fitted with an air-pump that maintained a good vacuum in it.
In 1769, Watt invented an improvement that consisted mainly of means whereby the supply of steam to the cylinder could be shut off at any desired part of the stroke, and the steam allowed to complete the rest of the stroke by virtue of its expansive force. This invention increased tremendously the efficiency of the engine: that is, the amount of work done with a given amount of steam.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Bourn’s reference to the “narrow-wheel waggon” touches a matter which formed the subject of hot debate for generations. It was urged that the narrow wheels of waggons were largely the means of cutting up the roads, and no doubt these did contribute to the general condition of rut and ridge that characterised them. This view was adopted by Parliament, and to encourage the use of wide wheels a system of turnpike tolls was adopted which treated the wide tire far more leniently than the narrow; anything under 9 inches in width being considered narrow.
Bourn was a warm advocate for wide wheels, and the book from which the above passage is taken describes an improved waggon invented by himself; the drawing is from the inventor’s work. The wheels of this vehicle resemble small garden rollers; they are 2 feet high and 16 inches wide. Each is attached independently to the body of the waggon and the fore wheels being placed side by side in the centre, while the hind wheels are set wide apart, the waggon is practically designed to fulfil the functions of a road-roller. It does not appear that Bourn’s invention obtained any general acceptance, which is perhaps not very surprising.
From Engraving, A.D. 1750.
The Kitchen of a Country Inn, 1797: showing the Turnspit Dog. (From the engraving after Rowlandson)
AN EYE SKETCH of the FALLS of NIAGARA
I.Weld del. Neele sculpt.
London Published by J. Stockdale Piccadilly 16th. Novr. 1798.
View of the FALLS of Niagara
Published Dec.14 1798, by J. Stockdale
VIEW of the Lesser FALL of NIAGARA
I.Weld del. J. Scott sculpt.
Published Dec. 22, 1798, by J. Stockdale Picadilly.