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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/371

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EFFECTS OF VAGRANT ELECTRICITY.

enough to warn them that before accepting Professor Ward's versions of my views, it will be prudent to verify them.

 

Postscript.—I said that I did not propose to discuss Professor Ward's own philosophy, and I contented myself with quoting his summary of it—"Nature is Spirit." It occurs to me, however, that as showing the point of view from which his criticisms are made, it may not be amiss to give readers a rather more specific conception of his philosophy, by reproducing a laudatory quotation he makes. Here it is:—

"If 'rational synthesis' of things is what we seek, it is surely more reasonable to say with Lotze: 'What lies beneath all is not a quantity which is bound eternally to the same limits and compelled through many diverse arrangements, continuously varied, to manifest always the very same total. On the contrary, should the self-realization of the Idea[!] require it, there is nothing to hinder the working elements of the world being at one period more numerous and yet more intense; at another period less intense as well as fewer'" (i., 218). [The italics are mine.]

It is worth remarking that on the opposite page some of my views are characterized as "astounding feats of philosophical jugglery"!

 

DESTRUCTIVE EFFECTS OF VAGRANT ELECTRICITY.
By HUBERT S. WYNKOOP, M. E.

REVERTING to the dictionary for a definition, electrolysis is the process of decomposing a chemical compound by the passage of an electric current through it. Electroplating is a popular illustration of this definition, having been numbered among the industrial arts for nearly a century.

If in a bath of sulphate-of-copper solution are placed a copper plate and a plumbago-covered wax mold, the passage of an electric current through the solution, from the plate to the mold, will result in the deposition of copper upon the mold, or negative electrode, and the wasting away of the plate of copper, or positive electrode. Generalizing from this and other experiments, it may be broadly stated that the passage of an electric current through a solution of electrolyzable metallic salt, from an oxidizable metal to some other conductor, will be attended by the separation of the salt into two parts: first, the metal, appearing at the negative electrode; and, second, an unstable compound of the remaining elements. This unstable compound is supposed to unite with the hydrogen of the water, liberating oxygen, and forming an acid. Both oxygen and acid appear only at the positive electrode, which