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most curious and the most imposing of all the styles-the Gothic architecture, which, notwithstanding the fastidiousness of the southern taste, will long continue to command the admiration of the northern nations, with the wild songs and irregular dramas of the romantic school of poetry.
On this part of the subject, it would have been well if Dr Bigelow had been more full. There is no part of the history of the art, so little known in this country, indeed there is hardly a branch of any art so little known, as the different modes, the different eras, and the best examples of Gothic architecture; and there is certainly none more fully deserving and more sure to reward inquiry.
The section concludes with what is called, by a well known term, the application.
'In edifices erected at the present day, the Grecian and Gothic outlines, are commonly employed to the exclusion of the rest. In choosing between them, the fancy of the builder, more than any positive rule of fitness, must direct the decision. Modern dwellinghouses have necessarily a style of their own, as far as stories and apartments, and windows and chimnies, can give them one. No more of the styles of former ages can be applied to them, than what may be called the unessential and decorative parts. In general, the Grecian style, from its right angles and straight entablatures, is more convenient and fits better with the distribution of our common edifices, than the pointed and irregular Gothic. The expense, also, is generally less, especially if anything like thorough and genuine Gothic is attempted; a thing, however, rarely undertaken as yet, in this country. But the occasional introduction of the Gothic outline, and the partial employment of its ornaments, have undoubtedly an agreeable effect, both in public and private edifices; and we are indebted to it, among other things, for the spire, a structure exclusively Gothic, which, though often misplaced, has become an object of general approbation, and a pleasing landmark to our cities and villages.'
We would beg leave here to suggest the want and the value of some exact information, and some wholesome suggestions, in regard to what would properly be called domestic architecture. By this we mean, plans and elevations of large and small houses, suited to the town and to the country; plans for the arrangements of the rooms of the different stories, so as to combine, within a given space, the greatest possible amount of conveniences; some account of what constitutes the comforts and conveniences of a house; the most useful arrangements for heat and for water, for light and for air.
Nothing certainly is more wanted by the great mass of our people, than correct notions upon the modes of building cheap, convenient, and comfortable houses. Great improvements have been made within a few years, in the mode of disposing the space within the walls. But how much is still suffered from mistaken and defective plans. How much is thrown away on brick and wood, in situations where stone, a material peculiarly suited to our climate, as warmer in winter and cooler in summer than any other, would be less expensive in its first cost, and would be laid for a distant generation.
Of the plates of illustrations of this chapter, we can speak in great praise, for their selection, arrangement, and easy comprehensibility.
The valuable chapter on Heating and Ventilation is well suited to our climate, fuel, and modes of building. Of the chapter upon the Arts of Locomotion, it is sufficient to say that it gives a perfectly clear description, accompanied by many important suggestions, of the structure, form, &c. of wheels; of the best modes of attaching horses; of the different kinds of Roads, Bridges, Railroads; Canals, Tunnels, Aqueducts, Locks, Boats; form and motion of Ships; Steamboats, Diving-bell; Balloon, and other modes of passing on air, earth, and water;
ἠμὲν ἐφ ̓ ὑγρὴν,
δ ̓ ἐπ ̓ ἀπείρονα γαῖαν.
We were sorry not to see added to this useful mass of information, particular directions upon the making of country roads. Two points demand the attention of legislators and of all, whose business it is to superintend the construction of roads, namely, the form of surface best suited to secure a dry and firm way, and the angle of declivity, which will allow vehicles to go quite to the middle of the gutter on each side, without being overturned. This, for safety, ought always to be possible, where the sides are not guarded by some firm barrier.
The value of the chapter upon the Elements of Machinery is suggested by its title. Every person, who is not somewhat skilled in mechanics, should read it before he can expect to derive the greatest satisfaction from a visit to any manufacturing establishment whatever. Among other curious contrivances described in this chapter, are, that for changing velocities, by means of two cones situated with their axes parallel to each other, and their larger diameters in opposite direc
tions; the Sun and Planet wheel of Watt; that combination of power called the Toggle Joint; the Fly Wheel, commonly supposed to have the faculty of creating force, and really acting as if it had; and that miracle of self-regulating power, which has already been spoken of, the Governor.
It is not a common fault of authors to think too well of their readers, but it is one into which most writers on this part of Mechanics have fallen. To be suited to unlearned readers, several of the descriptions should, we think, be longer and more minute. A person must have uncommon quickness of perception, to understand immediately, from the description here and usually given of the Sun and Planet wheel of Watt, why the fly wheel revolves twice while the other is revolving once, and yet a line or two of explanation would make it perfectly plain. So the principle on which a fly wheel, the effect of which is very accurately described, accumulates power, does not become evident, until after mature reflection upon the nature of inertia, and a more full and particular account of that property of matter than is usually given. We recommend these and some other like points to the care of the author in future editions.
There is no subject on which there is more vagueness of thought among practical men, or more inaccuracy of statement in most writers, than the subject of the next chapter, the Sources and Comparative Value of the Moving Forces used in the Arts. All of them, animal strength, water, wind, steam, and gunpowder, are extremely difficult to estimate accurately by themselves, and still more so to compare with each other. Notwithstanding the many careful experiments that have been made, much still remains to be determined, and we shall look with great impatience for the conclusions arrived at, in the experiments which, we understand, have been lately undertaken in a neighboring town, by a person, who has uncommon qualifications and extraordinary facilities for experimenting. Some fixed unit of measure ought to be adopted, as Hachette many years ago endeavored to persuade mechanics, to which all forces should be referred. The unit he proposed, or the dynamic unit, was the force required to raise a kilogramme to the height of a metre in a given time.
The measure recommended by Mr Watt, and generally, as Dr Bigelow says, adopted, is the average power of a horse. The measure of a horse's power, according to Mr Watt, is,
that he can raise a weight of 33,000 pounds to the height of one foot in a minute.' p. 256. Now, to say nothing of the uncertain quantity of a horse's power, and of its difference among different breeds and in different countries, what an awkward unit is 33. How much simpler to refer at once to some absolute unit, such as the force necessary to raise one or one thousand pounds one foot in one minute.
In the chapter upon the Moving Forces, we have accounts of the different kinds of water and wind mills; of the steam engine, carriage, and gun; of the useful application of gunpowder. Some fuller developement might have been given with advantage, of the three modes of action of steam; but the drawings and description of the machine are exceedingly clear and satisfactory, and taken from the latest and best authorities.
The fifteenth chapter treats of the modes and means of making ropes, carpets, cotton, woollen, and linen cloths; hats and paper, and of spinning jennies, mules, power looms, double speeders; with a word of memorial (may it prove a monument of lasting fame) to Hargreaves, Arkwright, Crompton, Moody, and others. We can only say of it, that as we found a great deal of it new ourselves, we are much inclined to think others will find it so likewise.
In the two succeeding chapters are contained descriptions of clocks, watches, and other instruments for measuring time; and of the modes of extracting, with many processes of working, the precious and useful metals. In these and the succeeding chapters, the bountiful contributions of the sciences of Mechanics and Chemistry to the arts, are exhibited, with a great mass of facts usually hidden from all eyes but those of artists and operatives, yet amply deserving the attention of every one. Three of these chapters are upon the subjects of communicating and modifying Color, by paints, dyes, and other processes; Vitrification, or the making and cutting of glass, artificial gems, and Reaumur's porcelain; and Induration by heat, or the arts of making bricks, and various kinds of pottery and porcelain, ancient and modern, from the unburnt bricks of Babylon, to the Etruscan vases.
The use of bricks in building, may be traced to the earliest ages, and they are found among the ruins of almost every ancient nation. The walls of Babylon, some of the ancient structures of Egypt and Persia, the walls of Athens, the Rotunda of the Pan
theon, the temple of Peace, and the Therma, at Rome, were all of brick. The earliest bricks were dried in the sun, and were never exposed to great heat, as appears from the fact that they contain reeds and straws, upon which no mark of burning is visible. These bricks owe their preservation to the extreme dryness of the climate in which they have remained, since the earth of which they are made, often crumbles to pieces when immersed in water, after having kept its shape for more than two thousand years. This is the case with some of the Babylonian bricks, with inscriptions in the arrow-headed character, which have been brought to this country. The ancients, however, at a later period, burnt their bricks, and it is these chiefly which remain at the present day. The antique bricks were larger than those employed by the moderns, and were almost universally of a square form. Besides bricks made of clay, the ancients also employed a kind of factitious stone, composed of a calcareous mortar.
pp. 463, 464. The work very properly concludes with a chapter upon the Preservation of Organic Substances; and appended are twenty neatly executed plates.
A complete cabinet of apparatus, suitable to the illustration of the several subjects of the volume, would exhibit models of most of the curious engines and machines, which are employed in the useful arts, and collections of substances and instruments that would be, at the same time, useful in the departments of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy. Beautiful models of columns and other parts of buildings, and of some of the most remarkable ancient and modern edifices, may be easily imported. A common carpenter might be instructed to make wooden models of arches, domes, bridges, fireplaces, stoves, carriage wheels, water wheels, and many other parts of simple machines. A common clock of large size and the parts of a watch, would exhibit everything of greatest importance in Horology, and furnish specimens of many of the Elements of Machinery. Spinning jennies and double speeders might be found among the machinery in our manufactories, that has been superseded by the ever active ingenuity of our inventive countrymen. A working model of a steam-engine ought to be found in every place of education, for without it no one can get perfectly accurate ideas of its mode of action.
Much of what we have enumerated, may, however, be dis
*Some travellers have even advanced the opinion that the Pyramids of Egypt are constructed with an artificial stone.'