Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/569

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SKETCH OF SIR CHARLES WILLIAM SIEMENS.

actual work of the farm, sawing wood and pumping water, but it was made to supply in part the place of the sun itself, and assist the growth of plants and fruits."

The latest research having a practical bearing, with which Dr. Siemens's name is associated, was that which had for its ultimate end economy of the fuel used in domestic consumption and the abolition of smoke. With these purposes he was studying plans for extracting the gas from coal, and burning the gas and the coke separately, with a promise of successful realization which Sir William Thomson has well indicated in relating an incident that happened on the day of Dr. Siemens's death. On the 19th of November Sir William was accosted in a manner of which most persons occupied with science have not infrequent experience; "Can you scientific people not save us from these black and yellow city fogs?" The instant answer was: "Sir William Siemens is going to do it; and I hope, if we live a few years longer, we shall have seen almost the last of them." An apparatus which he had devised for the application of his plan to steam-machinery was to have been set in operation at the end of November.

Another research in which Dr. Siemens was engaged, all theoretical, was into the manner in which the solar heat is kept up; and he sought to show that, as in his own regenerative furnaces, none of the heat is lost, but that all is kept alive in some form, ultimately to be returned to the sun and to renew its energies in perpetuity,

One of Sir William Siemens's biographers well says of him that, in whatever direction he turned, his thoughts seemed to perceive new methods of working out old problems, or to discover new problems which it immediately became his province to solve; and it is said to have been a common saying in his workshops, that as soon as any particular problem had been given up by everybody as a bad job, it had only to be taken to Dr. Siemens for him to suggest half a dozen ways of solving it, two of which would be complicated and impracticable, two difficult, and two perfectly satisfactory.

Sir William Siemens was not a voluminous writer, but thirty-five papers are attributed to him in the Royal Society's catalogue of scientific papers, published in 1873. He has done much since, which is probably represented by literary results. His last public lecture was delivered March 13, 1883, and was on "The Electrical Transmission and Storage of Power." He was fully supplied with honors and titles, scientific and civil, and was a member of numerous learned societies.

Sir William Thomson says that "in private life, Sir William Siemens, with his lively, bright intelligence, always present, and eager to give pleasure and benefit to those around him, was a most lovable man, singularly unselfish, and full of kind thought and care for others."

Dr. Siemens died on the 19th of November last, of ossification of the heart, in connection with the results of a fall which he had suffered on the 5th. His funeral was held in Westminster Abbey.