Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885.

Mr. J. Paterson (Warrington) expressed his appreciation of the paper, as one of exceptional interest and value.  He said he did not rise with a view to make any observations thereon.  The analysis of first principles required more matured consideration and thought than could be given to it here.  The opinion, however, he had formed of the paper placed it beyond the reach of criticism.  It was now many years since his attention had been drawn to the name of Denny Lane; and everything that had come from his facile pen conveyed sound scientific conclusions.  The paper to which they had just listened was no exception.  It was invested with great interest, and would be regarded as a valuable contribution to the Transactions of the Institute.

Mr. Lane, in reply, thanked the members for the kind expressions used with respect to his paper.  His object in writing it was that any one who had not paid any attention to the subject before should be able to understand thoroughly the principles on which gas and hot-air engines operated; and he believed any one who read it with moderate care would perfectly understand all the essential conditions of the gas-engine.  He might mention that not long after the thermo-dynamic theory was so far developed as to determine the amount of heat converted into power, a very eminent French Engineer—­M.  Hirn—­conducted some experiments on steam-engines at a large factory, and thought he could account for the whole heat of combustion in the condensed water and the heat which passed away; so much so that he actually doubted altogether the theory of thermo-dynamics.  However, being open to conviction, he made further experiments, and discovered that he had been in error, and ultimately became one of the most energetic supporters of the theory.  This showed how necessary it was to be careful before arriving at a conclusion on such a subject.  He had endeavored, as far as the nature of the case allowed, to avoid any scientific abstractions, because he knew that when practical men came to theory—­x’s and y’s, differentials, integrals, and other mathematical formulae—­they were apt to be terrified.

The President said it was like coming down to every day life to say that it was important that gas managers should be familiar with the appliances used in the consumption of gas, and should be able, when called upon, to give an intelligent description of their method of working.  A study of Mr. Lane’s paper would reveal many matters of interest with regard to this wonderful motor, which was coming daily more and more into use, not only to the advantage of gas manufacturers, but of those who employed them.

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 508, September 26, 1885 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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