F. (François) Arago.

Biographies of distinguished scientific men (Volume 2) online

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Nominal Power of living

Engines. Horse-power. Horses required to do

the same work.
283 for pumping and blowing 11,247X4 44,988

805 rotative . . .12,618X3 37,854

76 boat engines . . 2,080X3 6,240

1,164 25,945 89,082

"And between January 1824 and January 1854, the num-
bers are the following : —

34 for pumping and blowing 2,403X4 9,612

164 rotative . . . 7,517X3 22,551

243 boat engines . .15,358X3 46,074

441 25,278 78,237

" Giving the following total numbers : —

1,164 25,945


441 . . • . . 25,278


1,605 51,223 167,319

" The first engine seems to have been made for Bedworth,
in 1776."

It will be noticed that for pumping engines the nominal
horse-power is multiplied by four to give the real horse-power
required to do the same work in the same time ; and this is
on the supposition that a horse can work only six hours a day,
whilst the engine can work twenty-four. But in rotative en-
gines an allowance has been made in the above table for loss
of power in the action of the crank, &c. as compared with the
direct action in the other case, and the nominal horse-power
is multiplied by three only.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to suppose that a horse
can work for eight hours out of the twenty-four ; but at the same
time to multiply the nominal horse-power by two, because


each indicated horse-power of the engine = 33,000 lbs. raised
one foot high per minute, is at least twice as much as its
nominal power, or twice as much as an ordinary horse could
work up to. We shall then find that it would require no less
than 250,974 living horses to perform the work of the engines
constructed by Messrs. Boulton and Watt up to January

One of Watt's fellow labourers should hardly be passed over
in any statement connected with the steam-engine ; we allude
to the late Mr. William Murdock, whose vast practical knowl-
edge was employed in carrying out the designs of Watt for
upwards of half a century. Mr, Murdock directed the appli-
cation of the new steam-engines to drain the water of the
Cornish mines. In order to adapt that moving power to ex-
hausting pumps, and to establish the system in mines of
extreme depth inundated by appalling quantities of water,
great skill in practical mechanics was requisite. Mr. Murdock
showed that he had sufficient resources of genius and wisdom
of experience to triumph over every difficulty. He was the
introducer of the system of lighting by coal gas, and for his
paper on that subject sent to the Royal Society he received
the Rumford gold medal. He was also the patentee of some
new methods of constructing steam-engines, &c., and his sug-
gestions often enriched the Soho machinery. We have there-
fore great pleasure in bearing testimony to the merits of one
of our first practical mechanics, the able assistant and coadju-
tor of James Watt.

W. F.


Q^ Any books in this list will be sent free of postage, on receipt
of price.

Boston, 135 Washington Steeet,
Janoart, 1859.




Sir Walter Scott.

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Online LibraryF. (François) AragoBiographies of distinguished scientific men (Volume 2) → online text (page 38 of 38)