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- Marvels of Modern Science - 1/24 -
MARVELS OF MODERN SCIENCE
By PAUL SEVERING
Edited by THEODORE WATERS
CHAPTER I FLYING MACHINES Early attempts at flight. The Dirigible. Prof. Langley's experiments. The Wright Brothers. Count Zeppelin. Recent aeroplane records.
CHAPTER II WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY Primitive signalling. Principles of wireless telegraphy. Ether vibrations. Wireless apparatus. The Marconi system.
CHAPTER III RADIUM Experiments of Becquerel. Work of the Curies. Discovery of Radium. Enormous energy. Various uses.
CHAPTER IV MOVING PICTURES Photographing motion. Edison's Kinetoscope. Lumiere's Cinematographe. Before the camera. The mission of the moving picture. Edison's latest triumph.
CHAPTER V SKY-SCRAPERS AND HOW THEY ARE BUILT Evolution of the sky-scraper. Construction. New York's giant buildings. Dimensions.
CHAPTER VI OCEAN PALACES Ocean greyhounds. Present day floating palaces. Regal appointments. Passenger accommodation. Food consumption. The one thousand foot boat.
CHAPTER VII WONDERFUL CREATIONS IN PLANT LIFE Mating Plants. Experiments of Burbank. What he has accomplished.
CHAPTER VIII LATEST DISCOVERIES IN ARCHAEOLOGY Prehistoric time. Earliest records. Discoveries in Bible lands. American explorations.
CHAPTER IX GREAT TUNNELS OF THE WORLD Primitive Tunnelling. Hoosac Tunnel. Croton aqueduct. Great Alpine tunnels. New York subway. McAdoo tunnels. How tunnels are built.
CHAPTER X ELECTRICITY IN THE HOUSEHOLD Electrically equipped houses. Cooking by electricity. Comforts and conveniences.
CHAPTER XI HARNESSING THE WATER-FALL Electric energy. High pressure. Transformers. Development of water-power.
CHAPTER XII WONDERFUL WAR SHIPS Dimensions, displacements, cost and description of battleships. Capacity and speed. Preparing for the future.
CHAPTER XIII A TALK ON BIG GUNS The first projectiles. Introduction of cannon High pressure guns. Machine guns. Dimensions and cost of big guns.
CHAPTER XIV MYSTERY OF THE STARS Wonders of the universe. Star Photography. The infinity of space.
CHAPTER XV CAN WE COMMUNICATE WITH OTHER WORLDS? Vastness of Nature. Star distances. Problem of communicating with Mars. The Great Beyond.
The purpose of this little book is to give a general idea of a few of the great achievements of our time. Within such a limited space it was impossible to even mention thousands more of the great inventions and triumphs which mark the rushing progress of the world in the present century; therefore, only those subjects have been treated which appeal with more than passing interest to all. For instance, the flying machine is engaging the attention of the old, the young and the middle-aged, and soon the whole world will be on the wing. Radium, "the revealer," is opening the door to possibilities almost beyond human conception. Wireless Telegraphy is crossing thousands of miles of space with invisible feet and making the nations of the earth as one. 'Tis the same with the other subjects,--one and all are of vital, human interest, and are extremely attractive on account of their importance in the civilization of today. Mighty, sublime, wonderful, as have been the achievements of past science, as yet we are but on the verge of the continents of discovery. Where is the wizard who can tell what lies in the womb of time? Just as our conceptions of many things have been revolutionized in the past, those which we hold to-day of the cosmic processes may have to be remodeled in the future. The men of fifty years hence may laugh at the circumscribed knowledge of the present and shake their wise heads in contemplation of what they will term our crudities, and which we now call _progress_. Science is ever on the march and what is new to-day will be old to-morrow. We cannot go back, we must go forward, and although we can never reach finality in aught, we can improve on the _past_ to enrich the _future_. If this volume creates an interest and arouses an enthusiasm in the ordinary men and women into whose hands it may come, and stimulates them to a study of the great events making for the enlightenment, progress and elevation of the race, it shall have fulfilled its mission and serve the purpose for which it was written.
Early Attempts at Flight--The Dirigible--Professor Langley's Experiment--The Wright Brothers--Count Zeppelin--Recent Aeroplane Records.
It is hard to determine when men first essayed the attempt to fly. In myth, legend and tradition we find allusions to aerial flight and from the very dawn of authentic history, philosophers, poets, and writers have made allusion to the subject, showing that the idea must have early taken root in the restless human heart. Aeschylus exclaims:
"Oh, might I sit, sublime in air Where watery clouds the freezing snows prepare!"
Ariosto in his "Orlando Furioso" makes an English knight, whom he names Astolpho, fly to the banks of the Nile; nowadays the authors are trying to make their heroes fly to the North Pole.
Some will have it that the ancient world had a civilization much higher than the modern and was more advanced in knowledge. It is claimed that steam engines and electricity were common in Egypt thousands of years ago and that literature, science, art, and architecture flourished as never since. Certain it is that the Pyramids were for a long time the most solid "Skyscrapers" in the world.
Perhaps, after all, our boasted progress is but a case of going back to first principles, of history, or rather tradition repeating itself. The flying machine may not be as new as we think it is. At any rate the conception of it is old enough.
In the thirteenth century Roger Bacon, often called the "Father of Philosophy," maintained that the air could be navigated. He suggested a hollow globe of copper to be filled with "ethereal air or liquid fire," but he never tried to put his suggestion into practice. Father Vasson, a missionary at Canton, in a letter dated September 5, 1694, mentions a balloon that ascended on the occasion of the coronation of the Empress Fo-Kien in 1306, but he does not state where he got the information.
The balloon is the earliest form of air machine of which we have record. In 1767 a Dr. Black of Edinburgh suggested that a thin bladder could be made to ascend if filled with inflammable air, the name then given to hydrogen gas.
In 1782 Cavallo succeeded in sending up a soap bubble filled with such gas.
It was in the same year that the Montgolfier brothers of Annonay, near Lyons in France, conceived the idea of using hot air for lifting things into the air. They got this idea from watching the smoke curling up the chimney from the heat of the fire beneath.
In 1783 they constructed the first successful balloon of which we have any description. It was in the form of a round ball, 110 feet in circumference and, with the frame weighed 300 pounds. It was filled with 22,000 cubic feet of vapor. It rose to a height of 6,000 feet and proceeded almost 7,000 feet, when it gently descended. France went wild over the exhibition.
The first to risk their lives in the air were M. Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis de Arlandes, who ascended over Paris in a hot-air balloon in November, 1783. They rose five hundred feet and traveled a distance of five miles in twenty-five minutes.
In the following December Messrs. Charles and Robert, also Frenchmen, ascended ten thousand feet and traveled twenty-seven miles in two hours.
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