The sun would evaporate two inches a year, but that was too slow. So they used the old force of the sun, reservoired in former ages. Coal is condensed sunshine, still keeping all the old light and power. By a suitable engine they lifted 112 tons ten feet at every stroke, and in 1848, five years after they began to apply old sun force, 41,675 acres were ready for sale and culture.
The water that accumulates now, from rain and infiltration, is lifted out by the sun force as exhibited in wind on windmills. They groaningly work while men sleep.
The Netherlandish engineers are now devising plans to pump out the Zuyder Zee, an area of two thousand square miles. There is plenty of power of every kind for anything, material, mental, spiritual. The problem is the application of it. The thinker is king.
This is only one instance of numberless applications of old sun force. In this country coal does more work than every man, woman, and child in the whole land. It pumps out deep mines, hoists ore to the surface, speeds a thousand trains, drives great ships, in face of waves and winds, thousands of miles and faster than transcontinental trains. It digs, spins, weaves, saws, planes, grinds, plows, reaps, and does everything it is asked to do. It is a vast reservoir of force, for the accumulation of which thousands of years were required.
At Foo-Chow, China, there is a stone bridge, more than a mile long, uniting the two parts of the city. It is not constructed with arches, but piers are built up from the bottom of the river and great granite stringers are laid horizontally from pier to pier. I measured some of these great stone stringers, and found them to be three feet square and forty-five feet long. They weigh over thirty tons each.
How could they be lifted, handled, and put in place over the water on slender piers? How was it done? There was no Hercules to perform the mighty labor, nor Amphion to lure them to their place with the music of his golden lyre.
Tradition says that the Chinese, being astute astronomers, got the moon to do the work. It was certainly very shrewd, if they did. Why not use the moon for more than a lantern? Is it not a part of the “all things” over which man was made to have dominion?
Well, the Chinese engineers brought the great granite blocks to the bridge site on floats, and when the tide lifted the floats and stones they blocked up the stones on the piers and let the floats sink with the outgoing tide. Then they blocked up the stones on the floats again, and as the moon lifted the tides once more they lifted the stones farther toward their place, until at length the work was done for each set of stones.
Dear, good moon, what a pull you have! You are not merely for the delight of lovers, pleasant as you are for that, but you are ready to do gigantic work.