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countries, amounting to little more than onethird of that performed by an European mechanic.
A labourer working ten hours per day, can raise in one minute a weight equivalent to 3750 pounds one foot high, or about sixty cubic feet of water in the same time; while the power of a horse working eight hours per day, may be correctly averaged at 20,000 pounds. Smeaton states, that this animal, by means of pumps, can raise two hundred and fifty hogsheads of water ten feet high in an hour. It is a well known fact, also, that men when trained to running, are able on the average of several days being taken, to outstrip the fleetest horse; and yet it will be seen from the above statement, that his force, if properly applied, is at least six times that of the most powerful man.
The use of water as an impelling power, both for the turning of machinery and other purposes connected with the useful arts, appears to have been known at a very early period. Vitruvius describes a variety of machines for this purpose, the earliest of which were employed merely to raise a portion of the fluid by which they were impelled. The
most simple method of applying this element as a mechanical agent, evidently consisted in the construction of a wheel, the periphery of which was composed of a number of floatboards. This, on being exposed to the action of a running stream, was afterwards employed to give motion to a variety of mills, and is at the present time employed in almost every species of machinery.
Among the most celebrated hydraulic machines, we may enumerate the Machine of Marly. This, when first constructed, appears to have produced one-eighth of the power expended, so that seven-eighths of its power were usually lost. This misapplied power has been injurious to the engine; and the wear it has occasioned, has reduced the mechanical effect very materially. But this may be considered as an extreme case, and we select it merely as an instance of that total ignorance of the first principles of mechanics, which characterized some foreign engineers of the last century.
It may, however, be advisable to examine the ratio of power expended in comparison with that of the effect produced in some of the most simple hydraulic machines; and by
this calculation, the amount of friction, &c. may be accurately ascertained.
Undershot water wheel...
9 = 3
10 = 8
Hydraulic Ram. (This machine
will make from 20 to 100 strokes per minute.)
Large machine at Chremnitz, (each stroke occupying about three minutes.)..........
9 = 3
But the water-mill, which is the usual machine employed, even in its most improved form, is far from being beneficial either to the agriculturist or the manufacturer. The former is injured by the laws which prohibit the draining of mill-streams for the purposes of irrigation, by which much improvement is kept back that would otherwise take place; while the health of the latter, in the immediate neighbourhood of manufacturing districts, is much injured by the stagnant condition of the water which is thus unnecessarily dammed up.
Wind, which we may consider as the next substitute for animal power, appears to have been first employed to give motion to machinery in the beginning of the sixth century.
The use of this species of mechanic force, is however principally limited to the grinding of corn, the pressing of seed, and other simple manipulations; the great irregularity of this element precluding its application to those processes which require a continued motion.
A windmill with four sails, measuring seventy feet from the extremity of one sail, to that of the opposite one, each being six feet and an half in width, is capable of raising 926 pounds, two hundred and thirty-two feet in a minute; and of working on an average eight hours per day. This is equivalent to the work of thirty-four men; twenty-five square feet of canvas performing the average work of a day labourer. A mill of this magnitude seldom requires the attention of more than two men ; and it will thus be seen, that making allowance for its irregularity, wind possesses a decided superiority over every species of animal labour.
To shew, however, the great advantage the Steam Engine, even in its rudest state, possesses over mere pneumatic or hydraulic machinery, we will now examine its effective force when employed in the working of pumps.
It has been already stated, that
the Machine of Marly, formerly considered the most powerful engine in the world, when first erected lost seven-eighths of its power from friction, and other causes; while the overshot water-wheel which can act only in favourable situations, produces nearly eight-tenths of the force employed. Now it is stated by Dr. Desaguliers, that the atmospheric engine working at Griff-mine, nearly a century back, produced full twothirds of effective force for the power employed; and this too at a comparatively moderate expense. We find, farther, that an hundred weight of coals burned in an engine on the old construction, would raise at least twenty thousand cubic feet of water twentyfour feet high; an engine with a twenty-fourinch cylinder doing the work of seventy-four horses. From this it will be seen that a bushel of coals is equal to two horses, and that every inch of the cylinder performs nearly the work of a man.
An engine upon Captain Savery's plan, constructed by Mr. Keir, has been found to raise nearly three millions of pounds of water one foot high with a single bushel of coals; while the best engine on Newcomen's principle will raise ten millions, and Mr. Watt's