Progress of Mechanical Science

1886 Science  
Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the mid--seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non--commercial purposes. Read more about Early Journal
more » ... ntent at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. 182 SOCIE violent one has continued to rage among physicists. Is the electricity of the galvanic cell due to chemical action or to contact of dissimilar substances ? It is to the history of the attempts to answer this question that the address is devoted. PROGRESS OF MECHANICAL SCIENCE. THErecent enlargement of the scope of this section to include all branches of engineering, and the increasing interest manifested in its meetings, warrant my making some remarks as to the true objects of the section, and the means of increasing its usefulness in the future. In marked contrast with the past, the present age is one of pronounced material development. Formerly the brightest and most gifted men devoted themselves to religion, philosophy, politics, exploration, art; but for the past hundred years the attention of the leading men of the civilized world has been directed to increasing and cheapening those products which minister to the daily life and comfort of man. Farmers, mechanics, and laborers live now more comfortably than did the middle classes of feudal times; the duration of human life has been materially lengthened, and all portions of society recognize the importance of further progress, and the advantage of organization and invention in securing it. This era of material progress may be said to have commenced with the final perfecting of the steam-engine,which, together with the various attendant machines, takes the place of hand and animal labor, and which has increased and cheapened the production of the necessaries and luxuries of life; and it has pushed the inventor and the engineer to the front rank in modern society. It may be useful to point out the absolute necessity of verbal and written intercourse between investigators and inventors, that the speculation and curiosity of the former may ripen into the effective invention of the latter.. Nothing is more remarkable than the multitude of minds and facts which are required for the perfecting of even a simple machine, nor how little the last man may need to add to complete the invention. Facts and natural laws, known for years as curiosities, are taken up by some inventor, who fails in the attempt to render them of practical use; then a second genius lays hold, and, profiting by the mistakes of the first, produces, at great cost, a working machine. Then comes the successful man, who works out the final practical design, and, whether making or los-Abstract of an address before the section of mechanical science of the American association for the advancement of science at Buffalo, Aug. 19, 1886, by 0. Chanute, Esq., Kansas City, vice-president of the section. SOCIE
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