free ebooks

A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine

The period of speculation from hero to worcester


style="text-align: justify;"> PORTRAITS.

NO. PAGE 1. Edward Somerset, the Second Marquis of Worcester 20 2. Thomas Savery 31 3. Denys Papin 46 4. James Watt 80 5. Matthew Boulton 94 6. Oliver Evans 154 7. Richard Trevithick 174 8. Colonel John Stevens 178 9. George Stephenson 183 10. Robert Fulton 251 11. Robert L. Stevens 270 12. John Elder 393 13. Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford 434 14. James Prescott Joule 439 15. Prof. W. J. M. Rankine 443

["A Machine, receiving at distant times and from many hands new combinations and improvements, and becoming at last of signal benefit to mankind, may be compared to a rivulet swelled in

its course by tributary streams, until it rolls along a majestic river, enriching, in its progress, provinces and kingdoms.

"In retracing the current, too, from where it mingles with the ocean, the pretensions of even ample subsidiary streams are merged in our admiration of the master-flood, glorying, as it were, in its expansion. But as we continue to ascend, those waters which, nearer the sea, would have been disregarded as unimportant, begin to rival in magnitude and share our attention with the parent stream; until, at length, on our approaching the fountains of the river, it appears trickling from the rock, or oozing from among the flowers of the valley.

"So, also, in developing the rise of a machine, a coarse instrument or a toy may be recognized as the germ of that production of mechanical genius, whose power and usefulness have stimulated our curiosity to mark its changes and to trace its origin. The same feelings of reverential gratitude which attached holiness to the spot whence mighty rivers sprang, also clothed with divinity, and raised altars in honor of, inventors of the saw, the plough, the potter's wheel, and the loom."--STUART.]

THE GROWTH OF THE STEAM-ENGINE.

CHAPTER I.

_THE STEAM-ENGINE AS A SIMPLE MACHINE._

SECTION I.--THE PERIOD OF SPECULATION--FROM HERO TO WORCESTER, B. C. 200 TO A. D. 1650.

One of the greatest of modern philosophers--the founder of that system of scientific philosophy which traces the processes of evolution in every department, whether physical or intellectual--has devoted a chapter of his "First Principles" of the new system to the consideration of the multiplication of the effects of the various forces, social and other, which are continually modifying this wonderful and mysterious universe of which we form a part. Herbert Spencer, himself an engineer, there traces the wide-spreading, never-ceasing influences of new inventions, of the introduction of new forms of mechanism, and of the growth of industrial organization, with a clearness and a conciseness which are so eminently characteristic of his style. His illustration of this idea by reference to the manifold effects of the introduction of steam-power and its latest embodiment, the locomotive-engine, is one of the strongest passages in his work. The power of the steam-engine, and its inconceivable importance as an agent of civilization, has always been a favorite theme with philosophers and historians as well as poets. As Religion has always been, and still is, the great _moral_ agent in civilizing the world, and as Science is the great _intellectual_ promoter of civilization, so the Steam-Engine is, in modern times, the most important _physical_ agent in that great work.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us