Page:Scientific Memoirs, Vol. 1 (1837).djvu/13

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Article I.

Memoir on the Free Transmission of Radiant Heat through different Solid and Liquid Bodies; presented to the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris, on the 4th of February, 1833, by M. Melloni.

From the Annales de Chimie et de Physique, t. liii. p. 1.

Mariotte was the first, so far as I am aware, who attempted to appretiate the action of diaphanous substances in transmitting or intercepting the calorific rays which emanate from terrestrial sources. After having observed that solar heat concentrated at the focus of a metallic mirror, suffered no sensible diminution of intensity by being made to pass through a glass plate, he took and placed his apparatus before the fire of a stove, and found, that at the distance of five or six feet the temperature of the reflected image at the focus, when the rays were allowed to meet there without impediment, was such as the hand could not bear; but that when the plate of glass was interposed there was no longer any sensible heat, although the image had lost none of its brilliancy. Whence he concluded that none[1], or certainly but a very small portion, of the heat of terrestrial fire passes through glass.

About a century after Mariotte's time, the same experiment was repeated by Scheele, who, instead of imitating the cautious reserve of his predecessor, asserted that from the moment when the glass was interposed there was no longer any heat whatever at the focus of the mirror[2].

  1. Mariotte, Traité de la Nature des Couleurs; Paris, 1686, part 2, at the end of the Introduction.
  2. Scheele, Traité de l'Air et du Feu; Paris, 1781, §56.—The original work of Scheele was published in 1777. Mariotte died in 1684.