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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/50

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PSM V73 D050 Rumford experiment of the nature of heat.png

Drawing by Rumford, illustrating his Experiment as to Nature of Heat.

involving the provision of the most costly and complicated apparatus. No institution in the world can boast such a record of original research and important discoveries as that of the Royal Institution for the last one hundred years. Public lectures by eminent investigators are given in the lecture room. Weekly meetings are held by the members. There is a library of 60,000 volumes, and a reading room containing journals, magazines, etc. Here are preserved the historical apparatus of Davy, Faraday and others. Some of the models of Rumford's inventions are to be seen and his portrait, as founder of the institution, appears as frontispiece of the society's pamphlet.

In 1801 war with France had paralyzed industry in England, and Rumford interested himself in practical methods for relieving the poor. On his recommendations, public kitchens were established in all the great towns of England and Scotland. Sixty thousand people were fed daily from the public kitchens in London. The same plan for feeding the poor was adopted in Paris, and the name of Rumford was printed on the tickets issued to the poor authorizing them to receive food. In Geneva the tickets contained Rumford's portrait as well as his name. He, at this time, wrote to his daughter—"My greatest delight arises from the silent contemplation of having succeeded in schemes and labors for the benefit of mankind."

Rumford left England for the last time in May, 1802. His intentions to return were defeated by the obstacles of war, and the next two years were spent between Paris and Munich, finally making his permanent residence in Paris.

He was made a member of the Institute of France, and read more than a dozen papers before that body on the subjects of light, heat, combustion, illumination, etc. His lectures before the Academy of Sciences were beautifully illustrated by drawings of his own execution. Napoleon granted him the favor, as a distinguished man of science, to