Page:The fairy tales of science.djvu/365

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317
THE WONDERFUL LAMP.

merits of the wave-line principle, one hundred and fifty models were constructed, and no less than 20,000 experiments were made, which all tended towards one result—the desirability of assimilating the form of a ship in certain parts to the shape of waves.

The great point in practical navigation is to obtain a passage for a ship by removing or displacing the particles of water as quietly as possible, and to no further distance on either side than the greatest width of the vessel.

On one occasion Scott Russell caused a model boat, 75 feet long, to be drawn along a canal at a very high speed, and made the prow pass between two oranges floating on the water. These oranges, which represented on a large and visible scale two particles of water, were observed merely to touch the sides of the vessel until they got amidships, where they remained quiescent until they closed in behind the stern.

The first boat constructed on the new principle was called the Wave. This little yacht, some seventy feet long, and seven and a-half tons burden, verified all the inventor's predictions, and may be said to have heralded in a new era of ship-building. The Leviathan, as far as its lines are concerned, is but a magnified copy of the little Wave boat; and there is little doubt that it will eclipse all other vessels in speed, as well as in vastness, whenever it has a chance of displaying its powers.

We have dwelt upon the wave-line principle, as