Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/623

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SKETCH OF EDWARD ORTON

The two brothers evidently found the germ of their invention in it.

It is fair to say that the Montgolfiers, who were already known in the learned world by their discoveries in the mechanical sciences, had thought, before they knew of Priestley's book, of a way of imitating Nature by inclosing vapor of water, a gas lighter than air, in a paper bag, which would be lifted up, the vapor contained in the bag being sustained in the air like a cloud. But the vapor condensed, and the weighted balloon shortly fell to the ground. The smoke produced by burning wood inclosed in a bag gave no better results. After seeing Priestley's book, they substituted hydrogen for vapor and for smoke, but the gas passed through the paper bag, and they gave up this attempt.

They then fancied that electricity was one of the causes of the rise of clouds, and sought for a gas that had electrical properties. They thought they could obtain it by burning wet straw and wool together. A box made of silk was filled with this gas, and they had the great satisfaction of seeing it rise to the ceiling of their room, and, in a second experiment, into the air. This was in November, 1782.

Five months previously, Tiberius Cavallo, in England, had repeated Black's experiment of filling a paper sack with hydrogen; but, as the Montgolfiers had found, the hydrogen leaked through the paper. Cavallo had better success with soap bubbles, which held the gas. His experiments stopped here, while the Montgolfiers carried theirs on to practical success.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.

 

SKETCH OF EDWARD ORTON,

LATE STATE GEOLOGIST OF OHIO; LATE PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE.

ALL persons interested in American science were surprised and shocked at learning of the death, from heart trouble, on October 16, 1899, of Prof. Edward Orton, of the Ohio State University. The event occurred only little less than two months after Professor Orton had presided, with a simplicity of manner that did not hide but rather heightened the traits of vigor in his character, over the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at his home in Columbus, Ohio. The services he rendered to geology, his long and honorable career as an educator, and his continual and consistent insistence upon the faithful use of