A Century of Electricity

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Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 1892 - 243 pages
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Page 46 - When pieces of charcoal about an inch long and onesixth of an inch in diameter, were brought near each other (within the thirtieth or fortieth part of an inch) a bright spark was produced, and more than half the volume of 'the charcoal became ignited to whiteness, and by withdrawing the points from each other a constant discharge took place through the heated air, in a space equal at least to four inches, producing a most brilliant ascending arch of light, broad, and conical in form in the middle.
Page 22 - For my own part, I never was before engaged in any study that so totally engrossed my attention and my time as this has lately done ; for what with making experiments when I can be alone, and repeating them to my friends and acquaintance, who, from the novelty of the thing, come continually in crowds to see them, I have, during some months past, had little leisure for any thing else.
Page 154 - ... for the sake of younger inquirers, if not for the sake of us all, it is worth while to dwell for a moment on a power which Faraday possessed in an extraordinary degree. He united vast strength with perfect flexibility. His momentum was that of a river which combines weight and directness with the ability to yield to the flexures of its bed. The intentness of his vision in any direction did not apparently diminish his power of perception in other directions ; and when he attacked a subject, expecting...
Page 43 - Under these circumstances a vivid action was soon observed to take place. The potash began to fuse at both its points of electrization. There was a violent effervescence at the upper surface ; at...
Page 43 - A small piece of pure potash, which had been exposed for a few seconds to the atmosphere, so as to give conducting power to the surface, was placed upon an insulated disc of platina, connected with the negative side of the battery of the power of 250 of 6 and 4, in a state of intense activity ; and a platina wire, communicating with the positive side, was brought in contact with the upper surface of the alkali.
Page 25 - By this extract you will see that the thought was not so much " an out-of-the-way one " but that it might have occurred to an electrician. " Nov. 7, 1749. — Electrical fluid agrees with lightning in these particulars : 1. Giving light. 2. Color of the light. 3. Crooked direction. 4. Swift motion. 5. Being conducted by metals. 6. Crack or noise in exploding. 7. Subsisting in water or ice. 8. Rending bodies it passes through. 9. Destroying animals. 10. Melting metals. 11. Firing inflammable substances....
Page 47 - When the communication between the points positively and negatively electrified was made in air, rarefied in the receiver of the air-pump, the distance at which the discharge took place increased as the exhaustion was made; and when the atmosphere in the vessel supported only one-fourth of an inch of mercury in the barometrical gauge...
Page 44 - There was a violent effervescence at the upper surface ; at the lower, or negative surface, there was no liberation of elastic fluid ; but small globules having a high metallic lustre, and being precisely similar in visible characters to quicksilver, appeared, some of which burnt with explosion and bright flame as soon as they were formed, and others remained and were merely tarnished, and finally covered with a white film which formed on their surfaces.
Page 47 - All the phenomena of chemical decomposition were produced with intense rapidity by this combination. When the points of charcoal were brought near each other in non-conducting fluids, such as oils, ether, and oxymuriatic compounds, brilliant sparks occurred, and electric matter was rapidly generated ; and such was the intensity of the electricity that sparks were produced, even in good imperfect conductors, such as the nitric and sulphuric acids.
Page 171 - By magnetic curves I mean the lines of magnetic forces, however modified by the juxtaposition of poles, which would be depicted by iron filings, or those to which a very small magnetic needle would form a tangent.

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