Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/465

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449
AMERICAN INDUSTRIES SINCE COLUMBUS.

brought together within the covers of the Bible. What matters it that those who incorporated the Creation lore of Babylonia and other Oriental nations into the sacred books of the Hebrews, mixed it with their own conceptions and deductions? What matters it that Darwin changed the whole aspect of our Creation myths; that Lyell and his compeers placed the Hebrew story of Creation and of the Deluge of Noah among legends; that Copernicus put an end to the literal acceptance of the standing still of the sun for Joshua; that Halley, in promulgating his law of comets, put an end to the doctrine of signs and wonders; that Pinel, in showing that all insanity is physical disease, relegated to the realm of mythology the witch of Endor and all stories of demoniacal possession; that the Rev. Dr. Schaff, and a multitude of recent Christian travelers in Palestine, have put into the realm of legend the story of Lot's wife transformed into a pillar of salt; that the anthropologists, by showing how man has risen everywhere from low and brutal beginnings, have destroyed the whole theological theory of "the fall of man"? Our great body of sacred literature is thereby only made more and more valuable to us: more and more we see how long and patiently the forces in the universe which make for righteousness have been acting in and upon mankind through the only agencies fitted for such work in the earliest ages of the world — through myth, legend, parable, and poem.


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THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN INDUSTRIES SINCE COLUMBUS.

III. IRON-SMELTING BY MODERN METHODS.

By WILLIAM F. DURFEE, Engineer.

THUS far in these papers we have dealt only with iron smelted by charcoal, and, in fact, up to the year 1830, there had been no attempt whatever to utilize either anthracite or bituminous coal for the purpose. In regard to the use of mineral coal Swank quotes as follows from a letter dated March 18, 1825, from the acting committee of the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvements to William Strikeland, who was its European agent: "No improvements have been made here in it [the manufacture of iron] within the last thirty years, and the use of bituminous and anthracite coal in our furnaces is absolutely and entirely unknown. Attempts, and of the most costly kind, have been made to use the coal of the western part of our State in the production of iron. Furnaces have been constructed according to the plan said to be adopted in Wales and elsewhere; persons claiming experience in the business have been employed; but all has been unsuccessful."