Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/769

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over by a practical teacher of cookery. This is a comparatively recent innovation, and has only been adopted after a sharp struggle."

Of course no such measure could be adopted except after severe struggle. The time in schools and the ground in education are all occupied, and new subjects are resisted instinctively by those in control of existing schools. The London advocates of the cooking-schools made a strong point by representing that, while the school board was spending a great deal of money for ornamental studies, the knowledge of the arts and interests of common life was dying out among young people. This does not imply that these practical arts have ever had a fair chance in the schools, but that absorption in other subjects stifles even the ordinary interest that would be felt in more useful studies. The difficulty in linking cooking-schools on to the common schools is, that the practice of cookery is not regarded as education, and this is but a part of the old notion that nothing practical or manipulatory is properly education. There was once the same objection to considering practice in the chemical laboratory as truly educational work. That prejudice has been gotten over now; but what is a kitchen but a chemical and physical laboratory where intelligence ought to be developed in connection with practical processes? Culinary changes go according to law as well as transformations of matter anywhere else, and they just as much require cultivated thought to guide them. No doubt a brainless automaton in a kitchen may by long practice and mere imitation acquire a certain successful facility in work, but this has always been the case in all the arts. Mind has come in play and the advancement of other arts to such an extent that to go back now to mere blind, imitative practice would be almost to abolish them. The art of preparing food is still in the empirical condition, and, what is worse, is generally abandoned to a specially ignorant class. We have no sanguine hopes about the renovation of the kitchen by the better teaching of the culinary art, but the work is nevertheless thoroughly begun, and is certainly to go steadily, though perhaps slowly, onward.


A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine. By Robert H. Thurston, A.M., C.E., Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Stevens Institute of Technology. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 490. Price, $2.50.

In the preparation of this work Prof. Thurston has made an important contribution, alike to the excellent series of works of which it will form a part, and to the historical literature of the arts and sciences. There was a niche for such a book, which ought to have been filled before. We have had many works on the steam-engine, from elementary catechisms to ponderous treatises, all of which have given more or less attention to its origin; but there was still wanting a volume that should tell the entertaining story of the growth of this wonderful machine in a way to interest the popular mind without impairing the dignity or diminishing the instructiveness of the narrative. Prof. Thurston may be congratulated on having executed his task in a manner not unworthy the remarkable interest of the subject.

And this, it must be confessed, is saying a good deal, for the steam-engine is unique and incomparable both in its present position of commanding influence, and in the romantic elements of its historical development. It is now the most powerful agency the world possesses for the improvement and extension of civilization, and its noble efficiency in this respect is but a measure of the immense intellectual labor that has been expended in producing it. It was not struck out by the creative genius of any one man, nor constructed by the combined inventive effort of any one age, but it is a product of centuries of mental exertion; and, looking back to its crude beginnings