J. A. (John Adolphus) Etzler.

The paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men online

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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 3 of 14)
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contrivance can be connected, either by support or by
chains &c. anchored on the ground. As we do not


know yet the greatest depth of the ocean, it is not for
me now to tell, how far the application of this power
may be extended, tljough it may possibly be made co-
extensive with the whole ocean, by means which the
immense powers of nature aflbrd. However, the ap-
plication of the tide being by establishments fixed on
the ground, it is natural to begin with them near the
shores in shallow water, and upon sands which may
be extended gradually farther into the sea. 'fbe shores
of the continent, and of islands and the sands being
generally surrounded by shallow water, not exceeding
50 to 100 fathoms in depth, for twenty to fifty till 100
miles and upwards, the coasts of North America, with
its extensive sand-banks, islands, and rocks, may easily
afford, for this purpose, a ground of about 3000 miles
long, and in an average 100 miles broad, or 300,000
square miles, v. ith a power of 240,000 men per square
mile, as stated at ten feet's tide, of 72,000 millions of
men, or fur every mile of length of the coast a power
of twenty-four millions of men. What an enormous
power ! And this power may be rendered higlily be-
neficial for men, without occupying even any room on
dry land. In what manner? it will be asked. To
answer this question now, it will have the appearance
of fairy tales ; and reserving the answer, the state-
ment of this gigantic power will appear useless. I
will, therefore, give here some slight notice of its
applications ; though perhaps not one-thousandth part
of it may be wanted at our time, yet it will serve to
remove the narrow conceptions, prejudices, and all
apprehension of having not enough means for any pur-
pose that will come into question hereafter. We have


to accustom ourselves to conceive a state of things,
that must and will be the consequence of the applica-
tion of these means, quite different from what we are
wont to see.

Rafts of any extent, fastened on the ground of the
sea along the shore, stretching far into the sea, covered
witli fertile soil, bearing vegetables and trees of any
description, the linest gardens equal to those the dry
land may admit of, covered with buildings and ma-
chineries, which )nay operate not only on the sea, where
they are, but which also, by means of mechanical con-
nexions, extend their operations for many miles into
the continent. Thus this power may cultivate the
artilicial soil for many miles upon the surface of the
sea near the shores, and for several miles on the dry
land along the shore, in the most superior manner
imaginable: it may build cities along the shore, con-
sisting of the most magnificent palaces, every one
being surrounded by gardens and the most delightful
sceneries; it may level the hills or unevennesses, or
raise eminences along the shore, for enjoying open
prospects into the country and upon the sea; it may
cover the barren shore with fertile soil, and beautify the
same in various manners ; it may clear the sea from
the shallows, and make easy the approach, not merely
of vessels, but of large floating islands, which may
come from and go to distant parts of the world,
islands that have every commodity and security for
their inhabitants as may afford the dry land. All such
things, and many others, which may seem now to be
but extravagant fancies, require nothing but the raw



materials for their construction, and these are to be
found in plenty.

Thus may a power, derived from the gravity of the
moon and the ocean, hitherto but the object of idle
curiosity of the studious man, be made eminently
subservient for creating the most delightful abodes
along the coast, where men may enjoy in the same
time all advantages of sea and dry land. The coasts
may be hereafter continual paradisaical skirts between
land and sea, every where crowded with the densest
population. The shores, and the sea along them, will
be no more as raw nature presents them now, but they
will be every where of easy and charming access, not
even molested by the roars of waves, shaped as it may
suit the purposes of their inhabitants ; the sea will be
cleared of every obstruction of free passage every
where; its productions in fishes, &c. will be gathered
in large appropriated receptacles, to present them to
the inhabitants of the shores and of the sea.

There is yet another power on sea of equal, if not
of greater importance : it is the power of the waves,
caused by the impression of the wind upon the surface
of the water. Though this power is included in that
of wind, and is therefore comprehended in the estima-
tion of this power as stated ; and though, generally, it
cannot exceed the power of wind, being but a reaction
of it, yet it may be rendered very useful in cases where
no wind or much less power of the same exists. The
sea, when once disturbed in its equilibrium, continues
for several days in its motion after the wind has sub-
sided, like a pendulum or a flying wheel when put in


motion. This motion of the sea is not confined to the
place where the wind just blows, but it extends itself
over the whole surface of the ocean until it meets with
some resistance. We have an image, on a small scale,
of this motion, when we drop a stone into a pond. We
see then a circular ring arising round the spot where
the stone dropped into it. This ring is again succeeded
by another around it, this second by a third, and so on
with larger and larger rings extending finally over the
whole pond. The nature of this motion is thus ex-
plained : — The stone forces a mass of water out of its
place, which is equal to the body of the stone ; but the
water all around it pressing with its weight against it,
the removed water recedes in that direction where the
resistance is the least, that is, right upwards, or per-
pendicularly to the surface. But here the water presses
now with a greater weight, being risen higher than
the next surrounding water. This again cannot yield
immediately on account of the pressure of its sur-
rounding water ; so it must move in that direction
where the resistance is the least, this is, perpendicu-
larly up to the surface ; forming, consequently, a ring.
I n the same manner, and for the same reason, this ring
forms a second ring around it, and so every succeeding
one. The formation of these rings affects the water
nut deeper than the rings themselves are high ; for if
it did, it would raise the water higher than it was it-
self, which is impossible. For the same reason the
interval of any two rings next to each other cannot
be larger than the rings themselves, and the basis of
these must join each other; for if the intervals were
larger, the rings would move water to the sides, where


it cannot recede on account of the greater resistance.
Therefore, if, for instance, the rings he one inch high,
they cannot affect the water deeper than one inch ;
and if their basis be two inches broad, the distar>ce of
the top of any two rings next to each other cannot be.
more than two inches. The sura of the room of tlie
intervals must be equal to the sum of the room of the
rings, if a body, a ball, for instance, of ten feet in
diameter, be sunk with sufficient quickness into the
water, it will raise a ring ten feet high,' this a concen-
trical ring of the same height, then a third, (Sec, leav-
ing always an interval of equal breadth, and affecting
thus the water not deeper than ten feet. What here
is done by the weight of the body, is effected in the*
same manner by the pressure of the wind in the forma-
tion of the waves; if the wind would give but one
single blow upon still water, the effect would be ex-
actly the same ; but as it is blowing in a very irregu-
lar manner, dashing in many places at once and in
succession upctn the water, the waves caused by wind
must move and rise very irregularly, following, how-
ever, the direction of the wind. But whatever the
irregularity of these motions be, the laws of nature are
always the same, that is, the waves cannot affect the
water deeper than they are high, and the intervals
carmot be larger than the waves themselves. Thus
waves of from ten to twenty feet high will affect the
water generally not deeper than from ten to twenty
feet. This is confirmed too by the experiences of

This motion being but near the surface, the applica-
tion of this power requires no connexion with the

' 29

ground, but can be made operative by a certain con-
trivance of connecting the macliinery with the lower
depth of still water.

The motions of the water are swinging like a pen-
dulum, and subject to the same'law as the swinging
of a pendulum, but counteracted in part by the pres-
sure of the wind and of eacli other. Allowing in an
average- for each swinging of waves of ten feet four
seconds, or. fifteen in every minute, which will be
slower than reality shows, we may form an idea of
this power, in the same manner as for the tide's power
is stated.

The computation shows, that a tide of ten feet affords
lor every square mile, or 6000 feet square, a power of
240,000 men at every six and a quarter hours' rise or fall.
The waves caused by wind, supposed to rise or fall at every
minute fifteen times, or at every six and a quarter hours,
5775 times, that is, about 6000 times as quick as the
tide, the power would, consequently, be a,s many times
great. But the waves of the wind leaving always
intervals equal to the waves, the quantity of the waves
is but the half of what the tide raises, and the power,
therefore,amountsto3000times240,000, or 720,000,000
of men's power. But covering the surface of the sea
with any large square, it would obstruct the motions of
the water, and be affected only along the wind-sides.
Tlie resistance which is to be opposed to the motions
of the waves is, therefore, to be but linear, that is, by
long and narrow bodies receiving the motions of the
waves from one side. For instance, a vessel 200 feet
long and 50 feet broad would be fully affected by such
waves, as experiences show by ships of the first rank.


But be it only twenty-five feet broad, its area would be
5000 square ftct. This is l-7200tli part of one square
mile, calculated at 36,000,000 square feet. 7-^0,000,000
of men's power, as the power for one square mile,
divided by 7200, gives 100,000 men's power for the
area of the supposed vessel, being a square 200 feet
long and 50 feet broad. The size of such a vessel
would not equal to that of a ship of the first rank.
Vessels may sail at the rate of fifteen miles per hour.
A ship of the first rank propelled solely by the power of
steam, might require an engine of about 200 horses,
for to run at the rate of seven miles and a half in the
high sea, a usual rate. To run fifteen miles, would
require then 800 horses' power; for theory and prac-
tice teach that the power is to be increased in the
ratio of the square of the respective velocity. So a
double velocity requires a quadruple power, and a
treble velocity a power nine times as great. If we can
apply a power of 100,000 men, or 10,000 horses, for
propelling such a vessel, we may move it with a pro-
digious celerity. If we suppose but 64,000 men's
power, or an engine of 3200 horses' power, as the
half of the former, with continual eff'ect, that is, four
times as much as the power for the velocity at the
rate of fifteen miles per hour, it would then have
power for the rate of thirty miles per hour ; this
would amount in twenty-four hours to 720, and in
four days to nearly 3000 miles, the distance of Europe
from America.

We need not be surprised at the stated power, when
we observe how ships from 1 to 2000 tons are borne
up and down by waves, and tossed powerfully in every


direction witliin a few seconds. What power of men
would it require to raise witli tlie same swiftness such
heavy weights? This \\ill give us, at least, an im-
pression of this power.

Though the waves are not always ten feet high, they
are often twenty to thirty feet high, yet the sea is never
quiet : huge masses of water are almost continually
rising and falling, though there be no wind for many
days. We observe an almost continual violent break-
ing of waves or surf along steep rocks.

Suppose the average height of waves to be half, or
even one-third, of what is stated, there would still be
power enough to cross the Atlantic Ocean in four to six
days by this sole power, without any addition of that
of wind or steam. What is true of one vessel is
equally applicable to many hundreds when joined
together, with this great advantage, however, that the
foremost vessels, if closely joined in long rows fol-
lowing each other, or all in one piece, will only have
to cut the water, while those behind have only to over-
come a comparatively very small friction of the water
along their sides. Thus ten vessels following each
other closely joined as in one piece, may require but
the double of the power of one, while they afford the
means of ten times as great a power. Several rows
may be joined together in front, and form thus a float-
ing island. But such an island need not be composed
of vessels ; it may be constructed of solid logs of wood,
which is specifically lighter than water, and which,
therefore, can never sink, though they should be
wrecked. Such an island, having the proper form,


laiij move at the rate of 1000 miles per day, and
cross the ocean, to a certainty, in three or four days.
The island may be covered with fertile soil in the
highest cultivation, buildings, and every thing that
men may want for their enjoyment and commodity.
There will be no motion felt like on ships.

The same power will enable any single vessel or
floating island to stand still at will under all circum-
stances, against wind and waves, without anchoring.
This affords, thereby, means for telegraphical lines
across the ocean from one continent to another, and to
send intelligence over the same in less than one hour.

These are but hints, how many may rule over the
ocean without any danger or any incommodity to him-
self, how he may convert the tremendous powers and
motions of the sea to the most salutary effects and
to the greatest gratifications of his desires and curio-
sity ; how he may live and roam, in all imaginable
enjoyments of life, in the most salubrious climates of
the world ; for it is known that the atmosphere upon
the ocean is temperate and the most salubrious, even
within the tropical zone ; and how he may make thus,
not some certain fixed spot of the earth, but the whole
world, his delightful home.

May this idea be considered as a mere fancy or as
something, that only a remote posterity may live to
see? No, it is within our reach within less than
ten years. The accomplishment of such purposes re-
quires nothing but the raw materials for them, that is
to say, iron, copper, wood, earth chiefly, and a union
of men, whose eyes and understanding are not shut


up by preconception?. It is, however, not meant
liere to begin with such projects, but to precede them
with enterprises .of closer interest.

I have now to state a third power, to be derived
from sunshine.

When a common flat looking-glass is held towards
the sun, so as to reflect its shine into an opposite
sliady place, it will be felt, or observed by the ther-
mometer, that this reflected shine is warmer than
the shade, and nearly as warm as the sunshine itself.
When upon the same reflected sunshine another re-
flection from a second looking-glass is cast iii the same
manner, the spot of reflection will be still warmer ;
for the second looking-glass has the same cff'ect as the
first, and must, consequently, increase the heat on the
spot where both reflections meet. When, then, a third
looking-glass is directed again so as to cast its reflection
of sunshine upon the same spot at the same time, the
heat will increase still more. Thus, by a fourth, fifth,
sixth, &c. looking-glass, the heat may be increased to
any required or known degree; nothing else is required
but asuflicient number of looking-glasses, or reflectors
of any material, to produce any heat.

It is on this principle that artificial burning mirrors
are constructed on a small scale. And it is on the
same principle, that Archimedes, about 2000 years ago,
contrived his burning mirrors, as history tells us.

The idea is very simple. There is no peculiar art
or contrivance required. We need not just looking-
glasses for these purposes: any thing with a polished
surface answers the same purpose, be it of glass,
metal, \vood, stone, even straw, paper, linen, &c,, pro-


vided it be polished or shining. There are many
various means for rendering a surface sliining, if it is
not so by nature ; varnishing, rubbing, pressing, (Sec.
may effect it on various stuffs ; in fact, any thing
that makes a surface quite smooth, such as oil, water,
any liquid material, that hardens or congeals, poured
upon a surface ; any hard material, stone, metal, wood,
maybe polished, and rendered fit for ihis purpose, by a
proper friction. It is immaterial, too, of what size,
form, or colour the pieces of such a mirror be ; they
are all to be of a flat surface. There is no curbature
of their surface required like in the usual burning
mirrors. All what is required for producing a focus,
or burning spot, where all the reflections are concen-
trated, is to give to each flat piece of such mirrors its
proper place and inclination towards the sun. This
requires no laborious computation or preparation ; but
nothing more than an adapted contrivance for fixing
every piece, and turning it until its reflection meets
the destined spot. When once fixed, the whole con-
trivance is fixed for ever, and requires nothing more
than its proper stand opposite the sun, which may be
kept either by a machine, or by a man, in moving the
mirror to the sun's motion for casting its concentrated
reflection or focus always upon the same spot. The
size of the burning mirror depends, from the degree
of heat that is required, from the size of the focus,
or burning spot, which again is depending from the
size of the machinery upon which it is to operate,
and, finally from the distance of the focus from the
mirror. If, for instance, a focus of two feet square,
that is, four square feet, were required, the burning


mirror might be constructed of pieces of flat mirrors
of less than two feet square, considering that its
reflection will increase in size by the distance of it.
Suppose such a mirror consisting of 100 pieces one
above another in a row, and 100 such rows alongside
of each other, every single piece in its proper situa-
tion, the whole mirror would be less than 200 feet
in diameter and have 100 times 100, or 10,000 flat
mirrors. The heat in the focus would, consequently,
be nearly 10,000 times as great as the reflection of one
single piece, which would be a prodigious heat, and
probably greater than any ever known. It is a fact of
experiments, that small artificial burning mirrors may
produce a greater heat than any fire in the hottest
foundery. We shall not need such a heat for the pur-
poses in view. A heat sufiicient to boil water would
do already ; and for such a heat we need not one-hun-
dredth part of what is stated ; and a burning mirror
of one-hundredth of the mentioned size, that is, from
ten to twenty feet in diameter, might answer. How-
ever, we are under no limit for producing any quantity
and degree of heat by this means.

The application of burning mirrors is, as will be
already anticipated, for boiling water and producing
thereby steam.

The advantages of this application are chiefly these;
no material is consumed, consequently, no expenses
and no labours for preparing and carrying the same
to the spot of use are required ; moreover, no labour
for keeping the fire is requisite. The machinery may
be contrived so, that it operates of itself, whenever the
sun shines, without even as much as a supcriutendence


of men. All material that is required is water, and of
that there is no want any where. I am alluding not
only to the springs, rivers, and seas, hut also to the
water which is every where to be found under the
ground, if wells are sunk sulhciently deep. So there
is no exception in the application of burning mirrors
for producing steam. But it will now be objected, that
there is not always sunshine, that the nights and
cloudy or foggy weather interrupt the effect.

To obviate such interruptions, there are two ways.

1. By enveloping the boilers with stuffs that keep
the heat the longest in themselves; for instance, a
thick coat of red-hot iron, or other hot metal, enve-
loped in a thick coat of clay, loam, sand, or other
earthen material. We might thus continue a heat
sufhcient to boil water for many hours after the sun
has ceased to shine, without consuming any material.

2. By contriving a reacting power, caused by the
power of the steam, of which hereafter will be given
the description, and by which many days, and even
many months, the power of steam, caused by sun-
shine, may react at will, and thus be rendered perpe-
tual, no matter how often or how long the sunshine
may be interrupted

The interruption of sunshine, in this application,
is therefore immaterial.

To form an estimation of this power, in its utmost
possible extent, would exceed all bounds of our ima-
gination ; for the requisite stuffs for rendering this
posver operative are but water and sunshine, which
are co-extensive with the whole world. The appli-
cation of this power requires but the confining of


steam in cohesive solid material, wliicli must not just
be iron or other metals, though they are the most con-
venient ; hut stone, cast or moulded in a manner here-
after to he described, may answer the same purpose.
We are, therefore, under no limit as to the materials
for engines neither.

To conceive how, instead of iron or other metals,
stone may be used, I will state here one of the most
simple construction of a steam-engine on a larger scale
than hitherto used.

Suppose a shaft, cylindrical or square (quadrilate-
ral), of stone in one solid piece of sufficient thickness,
sunk vertically into the earth ; at the upper end closed
by a strong cover of iron, or other metal, or stone, for-
tified by cross bars, a stone tightly fitted in the shaft,
so as to be smoothly moveable up and down, con-
nected by a piston or bar with the cud of a l)a-
lance ; when this stone is near the u])per end of the
shaft, water pours into the interval between the stone
and the cover of the shaft, which cover is to be heated
immediately by being in the focus of the burning mir-
ror; and converted into steam, the stone at the piston
is now forced down the shaft by the expansion of the
steam above it, and the air or steam underneath passes
through a valve at the lower end of the shaft. When
after this the stone moves up in the shaft, the steam
above takes its vent through another valve at the
upper end of the shaft. A second shaft of the same
contrivance, whose piston is connected with the other
end of the balance, alternates with the first in the
same manner. Thus the water is alternately streaming
in the one or the other interval between the moveable



stone at the piston in the shaft and its cover, at every
motion of the balance.

There is this difference, in heating the water, from
the common way, that here the focus of the burn-
ing mirror operates more powerfully than fire, and
more uniformly, and by giving to the interval between
the stone and cover, serving instead of a boiler, a pro-
per shape, the water in it is to be heated momenta-
neously; this is effected by presenting a flat, extensive
surface to the heat of the focus, and so much the smaller
a depth of water. The details of such an engine
need not here be described. By such a contrivance
the full power of the hottest steam can be brought to
application, by the least quantity of materials for the

The power of steam may thus be rendered far
greater than in the usual application.

There is no power ever so great for any mechanical
purpose, that cannot be produced by steam. A short
sketch of what experiments have proved, will show

The power of steam is generally compared to the
pressure of the atmosphere, and this is taken for a mea-
sure. To understand the meaning of this expression,
it is necessary to be acquainted with the elements of

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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 3 of 14)