Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/936

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
846
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mysterious benefit in it for a certain class of minds. If it pleases them, it does not do much harm to Science, which, as The Nation says, has such an army of workers at its disposal as the world never saw before.

 


Scientific Literature.

SPECIAL BOOKS.

We often see allusions to the triumphs of the inventor, and descriptions of single achievements are constantly being presented by the periodical press, but it is a long time since a goodly number of them have been brought together systematically as in the volume now before us.[1] The author has undertaken to present in popular language the chief results obtained within recent years by the arts of engineering and mechanics, together with suggestions as to what the future may bring forth, these suggestions being based upon the lines of research on which great minds are known to be pushing forward. When one stops to enumerate the notable inventions which the average city dweller makes use of in his daily life, a feeling of wonder at their array can not be repressed. On his breakfast table is sugar which has been extracted and purified by machinery; if it is warm weather, perhaps some of his food has been kept overnight by machine-made ice; either during or after the meal he reads a newspaper that may have been put in type and was certainly stereotyped and printed by machinery; he sees by a watch whose parts have been turned but by delicate machines that it is time to take a car propelled by a machine in a power house several miles away or by a storage battery and ride to the towering steel structure in which his office is. If he is a suburban dweller, he may cross a bridge of imposing span, and wish for the time when flying machines are practicable enough to shorten his journey. He ascends by an electric elevator to the tenth or twentieth story of the office building, which is perhaps partly lighted through glass containing wire netting. His business involves the sending and receiving of many telegrams which are printed by the receiving instruments. He goes home in the afternoon early enough to take a spin on his stanch nineteen-pound bicycle, or a trial ride with the agent of a motor carriage, or a sail in his electric launch; for a submarine boat he does not yearn. In the evening he reads his magazine, illustrated with photo-engravings, by light from electricity, or from enriched coal gas in an improved burner, or possibly from the product of the oil well. Other inventions, with which he does not come into immediate contact, prepare articles for his use or aid in transporting them to him. Among these may be mentioned mining, ore-concentrating, and coal-handling machinery, the steel converter, the spectroscope, the testing machine, various machine tools, compressed-air mechanisms, the plant utilizing power from Niagara, tunnels, canals, and the ocean steamer. All these and more are described in Mr. Cochrane's book, and the author is quite resigned to the idea of a reader of some future gen-


  1. The Wonders of Modern Mechanism. By Charles Henry Cochrane. Pp. 402, 8vo. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. Price, $2.