Nature of the Machine-Problem.
While in appearance a machine differs greatly from any of the force- or motion-distributors of nature, yet for the theoretical or pure mechanician no such difference exists,—or rather it completely disappears on analysis, so that to him the problems of machinery fall into the same class as those of the mechanical phenomena of nature. He sees in both forces and motions existing, and subject to the same great laws which, developed in their most general form, govern and must govern every single case. In pure Mechanics machines are now treated only as illustrations; they no longer receive their complete development as they did when many of their problems were still new and strange, and apparently stood opposed to those of Mechanics. This present subdivision is quite correct, so far as the question is one of scientific comprehension only. As, however, the actual machinery itself, deriving its existence from various sources, and having its own characteristic features and methods of classification and treatment, forms a quite distinct and special subject, a separation of its scientific mechanical problems from those of Mechanics in general is possible, and indeed has already been made.