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 4 of 14)
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aerology. Some readers may not have directed their
attention to this subject, and it may, therefore, not be
superfluous here, to give briefly an idea of it, inas-
much as it relates to the statement I have in view.

The air that surrounds the earth, or atmosphere, is
an ocean of a ponderable fluid, which, although very
thin or light, yet, by its extensive height of many


miles, presses with its weight upon the surface of the
earth, like water in a vessel, river, or sea, will do upon
its bottom. We do not immediately feel or perceive
this weight or pressure of the atmosphere, because it
presses equally in the inside and on the outside of our
own body, and so on every other body or matter. But
as soon as we destroy the equilibrium of this pressure by
any artificial means, we discover the effect of this pres-
sure, or weight, and may measure it perfectly. When
we, for instance, take a pipe thirty feet and upwards
long, in a vertical position, closed at the lower end,
and open at the upper end, lill it w ith water, and turn
it, in a proper manner, upside down, that is, tlie closed
end uppermost, the water in it will not fall out alto-
gether through the lower end, but remain about thirty
feet high in the pipe suspended, though the lower end
is open, and whatever be the diameter or width of the
pipe. The reason of this phenomenon is, that the
atmosphere presses with an equal weight against the
lower end of the pipe, while at the upper one the same
is intercepted by the closure of the pipe; which ap-
pears to be true as soon as the upper end is opened
when the water immediately rushes out of the pipe, the
e(|uilibrium being then restored at both ends of the

This experiment shows, in the same time, that the
atmosphere presses upon the surface of the earth, and
any thing that is thereupon, with a weight equal to
that of an ocean of water about thirty feet high.

The air, being elastic, may be compressed into a
smaller room, and will then always resist with an ex-
pansive power equal to thatapplied for its compression.


Thus, when air is compressed into a room lialf as large
as it was before, its rc.sistar.ee will be twice r.s i^reat as
it was before; but being before counterbalanced by
the pressure of the atmosphere, and therefore rot per-
cepti1)le, it will now in its compressed state show a
resistance equal to that of the pressure of the atmo-
sphere. When air is compressed into one-third, one-
fourth, &c. of its former room, it will resist with a
power of expansion three, four. Sic. times that of the
pressure of the atmosphere ;and the expansive power
would be called three, four. Sec. atmospheres.

Steam is also elastic, and its expansive power, when
confined, is thus measured and expressed by the num-
ber of atmospheres that would counterbalance it. To
find, the weight in pounds, which would counterba-
lance a certain power of steam, the weight of a water
column about thirty feet high, with a basis equal to
that on which the steam is to operate, is to be found,
and this to be multiplied by the number of atmo-
spheres, that equal to the power of steam. If, for
instance, a steam power of 100 atmospheres is to
operate upon a piston of one square foot of surface
exposed to the steam, the pressure or power of the
steam will equal to the weight of a water column
having for its basis one square foot, and being thirty
times 100, or 3000 feet high. Now, for the sake of
round numbers, suppose a water column of thirty feet
in height and one square foot for its basis, that is,
thirty cubic feet of w ater to be equal to 20,000 pounds,
the pressure of 100 atmosph'^rcs upon one square
foot would be equal to 2000 times 100, or 200,000


The expansive power of steam is not always the
same, but increases uniformly with the increase of
heat, when the quantity of applied water and the room
of confinement remain the same.

Experiments have shown, that the pressure of steam
is, by eighty degrees Reaumur, or the heat of boiling
water, equal to one jvtmosphere, or about 2000 pounds
on one square foot.

By .97 degr. 11. 2 atmospheres.

' 108 3

116,5 4

124 5 ;

130 6

135 7

140 8

148 10

270 100

300 150

370 309

400 400

440 547

460 631

600 820

680 2004

800 30S0

1000 5316

The pressure on one square foot being about 2000
pounds for one atmosphere, the pressure ai 1 000 de-
grees K. of 5316 atmospheres, is equal to 10,630,000
pounds on one square foot.

If there is no substance more, the expansive power


increases unirovmly, at every degree R. of increased
heat, with 0,0047 pressure of one atmosphere.

With burning mirrors we may produce any Icnown
degree of heat, without consuming any material.
1000 degrees R. is yet a moderate heal ; there is, heat
used in founderies and laboratories of 16,000 degrees
R. and upwards. If 1000 degrees R. may produce
a steam with a pressure of more than 5000 atmospheres,
or upwards of 10,000,000 of pounds upon one square
foot; and if we suppose the surface exposed to the
immediate effect of steam of ten feet square, or 100
square feet, and the motion of the piston at the rate
of but two feet at every second ; we woukl liave a
power equal to a weight of 100 times 10,000,000 of
pounds, or 1000 millions of pounds, moving or rising
at the rateof two feet per second. Experience teaches
that a common labourer is able, by steady work, to raise
twenty pounds two feet per second ; consequently,
a power of 1000 millicms of pounds, with the same
rate of motion, is equal to 1,000,000,000 divided by
20, or 50,000,000 of men's power. If we allow but
six hours' sunshine every day in an average, and twelve
hours' time for work for men, that power would
still equal to 25,000,000 of men's power. But this in-
stance shows, that we are under no limit of power for
any purpose we may conceive, and that this power re-
quires comparatively but little room in its application.

You may perhaps startle at the idea of immense ex-
penses and materials for such a powerful engine. But
here I have to recall to your mind what I have stated
already concerning the construction of steam-engines;
namely, we need no metals and no other expensive


materials for ihc engine?, tlioiigh iron and otlicr cohe-
sive metals are most convenient. The pipes, or rooms
of confinement for the steam, may be made of one
solid stone, cast or moulded, and baked to a hardness
and consistency equal to the best stone to be found, of
any thickness that may be required, and sunk into the
ground. The head of the piston may consist of the
same material. The piston itself and the cover may
preferably be of iron. The baking of such stones is
an olijcct of the sequel of my proposals.

However, there is iron in plenty over the whole
world ; nothing is more universally spread in nature
than iron : almost all stuffs are more or less impreg-
nated with iron. Places of several square miles are full
of iron ore. And though we have not explored one-
hundredth part of the surface of the earth in that re-
spect, yet wc have it at a cheapness little exceeding
the expenses for labour in digging, preparing, and
transporting it; and this price would be reduced soon
to a trifle, could we save the human labour for procur-
ing it, raid substitute labour by powers that cost us
nothing, as the case really is to be proved. We have
as yet used but a very small poriion of the immense
store of iron that is discovered already in nature; and
most probably, there is an nncomparatively greaterstore
yet to be discovered. So there is no matter of doubt,
that we are fully provided with tliis metal for all our
possible mechanical purposes. lint say, we be not for
future times ; then we may substitute this mrlal by
other materials, as mentioned.

The power of steam is therefore suitjcct to no limits,
its requisites being sunshine, water, and solid stuffs for


confining and applying the steam, of which there is
no limit, no materials heing consumed.

The generating of steam-power is not the only use
to be made of burning mirrors ; they may be applied
also to various other purposes of great importance, as
I shall show hereafter.

Havel asserted too much, when promising to show
that there are powers in nature million times greater
than the whole human race is able to effect by their
united efforts of nerves and sinew s ?

The power of steam and the power of wind may be
applied over the whole globe, land and seas, either si-
multaneously or alternately, as found convenient. The
three gigantic powers of steam, wind, and waves may
be applied on the high sea, simultaneously, or one or
two of them in the failure of others. The four powers
of steam, wind, waves, and tide, are at once at our
disposal along the coasts and upon shallows of the
ocean ; there will never be an entire stop of all at
once. There are parts of the ocean where clouds
and fogs with wind are, and other parts where a clear
sky wiih calms are prevailing: in the former, we have
wind and waves ; in the latter, sunshine for burning
mirrors at our disposal. Jn making use of one or the
other power, just as chance affords, we are enabled to
cross the ocean in any direction with floating islands,
at the rate of 1000 miles per day, in all commodities
and enjoyments, that may be found on land, w ithout
any danger. How to create rivulets of sweet and
wholesome water on floating islands in the midst of
the ocean, will be no riddle now. Sea-water changed
into steam will distil into sweet water, leaving the


salt on the bottom. Thus the steam-engines on float-
ing" ishmds for their propulsion, and other mechanical
])urposes, will serve in the same time for distillery of
sweet water, whicli, collected in basins, may be led
tljrough channels over the island, while, where re-
quired, it may be refrigerated by artificial means into
cool water, surpassing in salubrity the best spring
water, because nature hardly ever distils so purely
water of itself, without some admixture of stuffs of less
wholesome influence on the human body, as it may
be done here artificially.

I have as yet stated but the chief and most univer-
sal pow ers in nature, that are playing before our eyes
without any benefit for men hitherto; which are to be
applied without consuming any material ; ihey are de"
rived, as has been seen, from the motions of the atmo-
sphere, from sunshine, and from the motions of the
sea, caused by the gravity of the moon or by wind.
But these arc not the only powers of nature that may
be brought to our disposal ; there are many others,
though less universal and less important, whicli I shall
at present not notice, as my object of showing that
there is power enough, and superabundant fcr all pur-
poses in view, is gained.

The statement can be made but in a general way,
and no minutely-defined results can be expected in
this new and universal matter, nor would it be of any
utility. The question is not, whether the stated powers
may be somewhat less or more than stated, but
wlicthcr they arc of such a gigantic magnitude as to
afford a sulHciency for all our wants. If the statement
of the powers had rc>ulted in a Isirc sufficiency for the


grand purposes in view, it would be material to ascer-
tain, if possible, whether there might not be some
small error, some inaccuracy, or some exaggeration in
the statement of experiments ; but when it proves, by
generally known facts, or well authenticated experi-
ments, that there are, at the least estimation, thousand,
and probably ten thousand times greater powers than
we ever may possibly want, all doubts or apprehen-
sions about insufficiency of powers must vanish for ever,
and the mind be at ease on that account. It is for
this purpose that I have endeavoured to state the
whole extent of the powers to be applied for the great
purposes in view. It is but owing to the narrow con-
ceptions, to the inattention in respect to the things in
nature, that may really be applied to the improvement
of the human condition, to most deplorable prejudices
in which we are generally trained up, and in which
even the learned pass^ their lives, that proposals like
mine may appear fabulous.

The studious, the reflecting mind will soon discover
the connexions between the means and the effects to
be produced thereby. But there will be also men, who
are so ill favoured by nature, that they slovenly adhere
to their accustomed narrow notions, without inquiring
into the truth of new ideas, and will rather, in apology
for their mental sloth, pride themselves in despising,
disputing, and ridiculing whatever appears novel to

We have superabundance of power, powers without
limits, million times greater than all men on earth
could effect hitherto: this is proved : does it become to
a rational man to continue looking with apathy and


dulness at tliem ? — Has he not seen and learned enougli
of experiments in machineries in our days, to rouse
his mind to be alive at the great advantages they may
afford more and more? — Will, at the contemplation of
those gigantic powers that cost nothing to men, no
new light dawn in the mind ?

Nature plays with these mighty powers before our
eyes in the most irregular way. To apply them im-
mediately upon machineries for certain final purposes,
-would subject the latter to great irregularities and in-
terruptions. It is probably owing to this circumstance,
that men have made so little application of them as
yet. Thiese inconveniences will be remedied in put-
ting a medium between the powers and their final ap-
plication, in order to convert them into uniform opera-
lions, or, in other words, into perpetual motions with
uniform powers. As we have superabundant powers, '
irregular as they be, we may then create perpetual mo-
tions with any power that may be wanted, and any

To effect this purpose, we have to cause a re-action
of the power of wind, steam, &c. An image of re-
action gives us the weight of a clock being wound up.
The sinking of this weight is the re-action of the wind-
ing it up. It is not just necessary to wait with wind-
ing up the weight till it is entirely sunk down ; but it
may be wound up at any time partly or totally ; and
if done always before the weight reaches the bottom,
the clock will be going perpetually. In a similar,
though not in the same way, we may cause are-action
on a large scale. We may raise, for instance, water
by the immediate application of wind or steam, upon


some eminence into a pond, out of wliicli llie water
may, ilnougli .an outlet, fall upon some wluel or
other contrivance for setting some machinery agoing-.
Thus we may store up water in some eminent pond,
and take out of this store, at any time, as much water
through the outlet as we want to employ, by which
means the original power may re-act for many days
after it has cejised.

To form a proper idea, how long and how great a
power may be rendered re-active m this way, it will
be necessary to specify some cases here.

Suppose an elevation of ground about 100 feet high
above the adjacent ground. Let this elevatibn be
1000 feet square, and surrounded by a wall twenty
feet high. liCt, from one of the lower adjacent parts,
water be raised, in the most convenient way, hymen.
From the experience that a common labourer can
raise twenty pounds two feet high per second con-
tinually working, it follows, that he could raise twenty
pounds in from fifty to sixty seconds, 100 to 120 feet
high, that is, the height of the supposed elevation
from the bottom to the top of the reservoir ; this would
nearly be one cubic foot of water raised in three
minutes to the. same height. He would, consequently,
raise in twelve hours, or in a day, 2^ cubic feet, and
in 1 00 days 24,000 cubic feet of w ater. The supposed
reservoir is capable of holding (being 1000 feet square
and twenty deep), 20,000,000 cubic feet. To fill this
reservoir in 100 days, would therefore require from
800 to 1000 men's labour. A power that would effect
the same purpose in 100 days would then be equal to
100 men's power. Jtis evident, without further de-


monstration, that the \^ater of tlie reservoir, by falling
down again, wouhl have the same power ; for it would,
by its fall, be able to raise the same quantity of water
' within the sanie time to the same height again, de-
ducting, however, what may be lost meanwhile by its
evapora-tion, whieh may be in general very inconsider-
able. This reservoir would, consequently, be capable,
by the fall of its water, of a re-acting power of 1000
men for 100 days, or of TO ,000 men for ten days.
A period of 100 days would exceed any continual
calm ; and therefyre be far longer than might be
wanted by the sole application of wind. A period of
ten days would be more 'than sufficient for supplying
continually the reservoir witK water, by the applica-
tion of sunshine and wind together. Such reservoirs
of moderate elevation or size need not just be made
artificially, but will be found made by nature very
frequently, requiring but little aid for their completion.
They require no reg\ilarity of form. Any valley sur-
rounded by elevations, with some lower grounds in
its vicinity, would answer the purpose. Small crevices
may be tilled up. Such places may be eligible for the
"beginning of enterprises of that kind ; but thereafter,
when the powers are rendered operative for the pur-
poses in view, ^larger and more perfect contrivances
may be made without expenses. Hills and mountains
afford natural advantages for this purpose. The
higher the reservoir the less room is required ; for the
more power with the same quantity of water will then
be effected by the greater fall. But suppose even an
entirely flat country. By the application of any of
the staled powers, we may, for instance, excavate a



large hole of from 200 to 250 feet deep, and raise,
uitli the stuff that is taken out of it, an elevation of
300 feet at its edge, so as to have then a height of
from 500 to 550 feet. Suppose this elevation to be
2000 feet square, its water 100 feet deep, its fall in
an average 400 feet ; then its re-acting power may be
brought to eighty times as great as that of the reservoir
before stated ; for its area will be four times, its depth
live times, its fall four times, and consequently its
re-acting power four times five times four times as
great as the calculation in the first case shows. If
then the former reservoir aftorded a power of 10,000
men for ten days, this will be capable of eighty times
10,000, or 800,000 men's power for ten days. Water
enough may be found at such a depth any where.
But say it were not; then we may use, instead of
water, sand, stones, earth, &c., which will have the
advantage of not evaporating, and of being heavier,
and therefore requiring less room for equal quantity
of power, while these dry materials will cause some-
what more friction than water, which, however, will
not counterbalance the advantages. The room in
which this hole and the adjacent elevation occupies is
not lost for cultivation of soil. Both surfaces may be
covered with rafts decked with fertile earth and all
kinds of vegetables, which may grow there as well as
any where else.

The re-acting power is not required for all applica-
tions, but only for such which admit of no delay, as,
for instance, cultivation of the soil in its proper season.
In other cases, and in the most of the applications it is
indifferent, at which time the machinery be operating,


or whether it operates continually or at intervals. In
these cases the original powers of wind or steam, &c.
may immediately be applied.

Thus the medium for rendering these powers per-
petual, or operative at will at any time, may he chiefly
confined to the cultivation of the soil.

However, if there were any occasion for rendering
the re-acting power greater, on the same room, than
exemplified, the contrivance might easily be extended
to a larger scale. For instance, an elevation of 1000
feet above the bottom of the adjacent hole, and one
square mile, or 5000 feet square, its water 400 feet
deep, with a fall of from 600 to 1000 feet, or in an
average of 800 feet, would afford for ten days a power
— compared to a reservoir 1 000 feet square, 1 00 feet
high, and its water twenty feet deep, of 10,000 men's
power — of twenty-five times twenty times eight, or
•10,000,000 men's power, a power exceeding all possi-
ble wants on such a small room.

On the high sea, and along the coasts where more
powers are concurring, and where hardly ever there is
an entire cessation of all of them, there is little or no
occasion for re-acting powers.

The raising of water or other heavy materials, as
well as the falling of the same for this purpose, may
be effected in vaiious ways, which 1 need not detail
here ; localities must suggest the most proper mecha-
nism, which, however, may be very simple in all cases.
Common water-engines suggest already all what is
here required. Both for the ascent and descent of the
materials, if the height is very considerable, one roller
at the top, and another at the bottom with a chain


around them, at which huckets may he fastened in a
proper manner, is sutlicient to effect the purpose. The
contrivance lor the ascent of the materials may operate
whenever nature affords a chance, that is, whenever
there is sunshine or wind ; the contrivance for tlie
descent may perpetually operate with uniform power
upou some machinery which is to be connected with it.
Both contrivances for ascent and descent may operate
without any superintendence at all, except in cases
where some alteration is to be effected.

Thus a power of many thousands or even of millions
of men may perpetually continue its play until the
machinery is worn out by length of time ; and but
one or a few men will be required to keep it in order,
and direct its application.

In stating the magnitude and regulation of the chief
inanimate powers of nature, I have stated the basis of
my vast proposals. When we see powers at our dis-
posal million times greater, at the lowest estimation,
than all our united efforts of nerves and sinews could
effect ; when we see we have it in our power to render
these powers perpetually and uniformly operative ; can
we behold this discovery with indifference? When
the first elements of mechanics teach that there is no
motion imaginable, that could not be produced by-
some adapted mechanism ; provided we have the re-
quisite power, can we, as rational men, think of these
gigantic powers without inquiring, why they should
not be applicable and not be applied for the benefit of
men? — Can it appear to a rational man any longer
strange, that with powers exceeding the human
bodily strength by ten thousands and millions of


times, might he effected in one year more than men
could do hitherto in thousands of years ? — Can man
with sound reasoning mind think it ahsurd, extrava-
gant, to effect things, which he was not accustomed
yet to see, hy the application of such enormous powers,
that have played idly hitherto ? — Are these powers not
sufficient to change the whole face of nature by a
general application ? — What should hinder us from
making the best use of them that we can think of,
when they cost nothing? — We know already, thai, by
a persevering industry for many centuries, a populous
nation might change a barren forest into delightful
gardens, intersected by canals for their culture, filled
with mansions of splendour and ease, and provided
with every comfort and enjoyment imaginable for
human life. Where is the reason for supposing it
impossible, to effect the same things, and more, by
powers exceeding many thousand times all possible
exertions of a whole nation for many centuries ? —
There is no reason at all in such thoughts; tliey are
nothing but a blind adherence to customary impres-
sions of minds little used to reflection. Such a stupid
adherence to customs is the most baneful and most
degrading evil of the human creature ; for it ap-
proximates man to the state of brutes, by neglecting
the most precious gift of his Maker, the reasoning
faculty, the only one that may raise him above brutes.
Brutes, too, follow the customs without reasoning.
The domestic animals, for instance, sneak to their
accustomed stables and pasture grounds, though it be
for enslaving or butchering them. ]\Ian is but little
above thes? brute, if he is but a slave to customs in

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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 4 of 14)