Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/98

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during the first half of the British Association's life, been raised from a mere formula of mathematical dynamics to the position it now holds of a principle pervading all nature and guiding the investigator in every field of science.

A little article, communicated to the Royal Society of Edinburgh a short time before the commencement of the epoch of energy, under the title "On the Sources available to Man for the Production of Mechanical Effect,"[1] contained the following:

"Men can obtain mechanical effect for their own purposes by working mechanically themselves, and directing other animals to work for them, or by using natural heat, the gravitation of descending solid masses, the natural motions of water and air, and the heat, or galvanic currents, or other mechanical effects produced by chemical combination, but in no other way at present known. Hence the stores from which mechanical effect may be drawn by man belong to one or other of the following classes:

"I. The food of animals.
"II. Natural heat.
"III. Solid matter found in elevated positions.
"IV. The natural motions of water and air.
"V. Natural combustibles (as wood, coal, coal-gas, oils, marsh-gas, diamond, native sulphur, native metals, meteoric iron).
"VI. Artificial combustibles (as smelted or electrically-deposited metals, hydrogen, phosphorus).

" In the present communication, known facts in natural history and physical science, with reference to the sources from which these stores have derived their mechanical energies, are adduced to establish the following general conclusions:

" 1. Heat radiated from the sun (sunlight being included in this term) is the principal source of mechanical effect available to man.[2] From it is derived the whole mechanical effect obtained by means of animals working, water-wheels worked by rivers, steam-engines, galvanic engines, windmills, and the sails of ships.

" 2. The motions of the earth, moon, and sun, and their mutual attractions, constitute an important source of available mechanical effect. From them all, but chiefly, no doubt, from the earth's motion of rotation, is derived the mechanical effect of water-wheels driven by the tides.

" 3. The other known sources of mechanical effect available to man are either terrestrial—that is, belonging to the earth, and available without the influence of any external body—or meteoric—that is, belonging to bodies deposited on the earth from external space. Ter-

  1. Read at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, on February 2, 1852 ("Proceedings" of that date).
  2. A general conclusion equivalent to this was published by Sir John Herschel in 1833. See his "Astronomy," edition 1849, § 399.