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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/123

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SKETCH OF HENRY AUGUSTUS ROWLAND.

ments and studies, The subjects taught, however, were so congenial to him that one reading of the lessons assigned him was sufficient to insure a creditable recitation.

Owing to an injury to his knee during a snowball fight, he gave up his classes in Troy and studied chemistry for half a year at the Sheffield Scientific School. Here he invented and made the first continuous current dynamo ever constructed, which has since been exhibited at the World's Fair at Chicago. Young as he was, he was busily engaged in researches and experiments on magnetism. He was an earnest student of Faraday's Researches, Tyndall's Heat, Youmans's Conservation of Energy, and books of similar nature, although he had never studied the subject of physics under a competent teacher.

He returned to Troy and was graduated in 1870 with the degree of C. E. On his return home he continued to work on his favorite subjects of electricity and magnetism. About this time he published his first paper, a letter to the Scientific American describing a visit to an inventor, who professed to obtain great power from a single cell of a battery. Mr. Rowland, being familiar with the laws of the conservation of energy, knew there must be some swindling device somewhere, and finally exposed it, although a number of capitalists had already been defrauded of large sums of money by this man's claims. For part of a year Mr. Rowland was connected with a railroad in western New York as civil engineer, but routine work of this nature was so distasteful to him that he accepted the place of Instructor in Natural Science in Wooster University in Ohio. After a few months' experience here, he went to Troy, N. Y., to teach physics. During this period he had been engaged in researches on magnetic distribution, and what is now called magnetic permeability, using a system of absolute magnetic units of his own invention and calculating many cases of magnetic distribution by the method of the magnetic circuit, now always used for the calculation of dynamos and motors, and often ascribed to Hopkinson, but really due to Rowland. These researches he rewrote three separate times, and sent for three consecutive years to the leading scientific journal of America. Each time the editor, who was not a physicist, said that he had consulted the most eminent physicists of the country, and their advice to Mr. Rowland was that he had better study the subject before attempting to write any more papers. This criticism naturally discouraged and depressed the ambitious and studious' man. Since his earliest youth he had studied electricity and magnetism in spite of all opposition, traveling from place to place with his trunks full of galvanic batteries and electrical material, never receiving one word of encouragement, but always looked at askance as one no better than he