« AnteriorContinuar »
corner, where they crowded like smoked hams, as the choicest parts of the room. Nor must we be surprised when we are told that the curtains enclosing the couches whereon roposed the proudest beauties of the land shook in response to every wind that blow.
If the wretched hole which they show in Carnarvon Castle as the birthplace of Edward II. be indeed the room in which that unhappy prince first saw the light, I can only say that whatever advantages the men of a former age may have had over us, certainly domestic comfort could not be said to be one of them.
The first person who seems to have turned his serious attention with any practical result towards the subject of this paper, at least in England, was, I belleve, Dr. Desaguliers, who, in 1723, was called in to ventilate the House of Commons, upon which Wren had before tried his hand.
The Doctor discharged his commission with success, but he unfortunately provoked the hostility of one very important individual, viz., the housekeeper, a certain
Mrs. Smith, who effectually extinguished him by not lighting the fires upon the action of which his system depended, until the House had sat for some time, and the chamber had got thoroughly heated, 80 that we cannot wonder some of the members should have considered the design of cooling the House was frustrated, and requested the Doctor to employ other means. He accordingly invented a centrifugal wheel, or blowing machine, so constructed as to force air either into or out of the House, according as either was required. This machine was put in charge of a man called the ventilator, whose duty it was to wait upon Mr. Speaker every day for orders. Dr. Desaguliers was next applied to by the the Admiralty to ventilate ships, but here, as might be expected, he got inventors' allowance, viz., more kicks than halfpence. All his troubles with Mrs. Smith were nothing compared with the treatment he and his invention received from Sir Jacob Ackworth, the Surveyor to the Navy, who seems to have been the beau ideal of an official. When the Doctor attended by appointment on board the ship in which his machine was to be tried, Sir Jacob did not appear, but hearing that the company were pleased afterwards told Dr. Desaguliers that at the next experiment he (the Doctor) need not attend, as the carpenter could manage the ventilation.
When the second trial came off, Sir Jacob had scuttle holes cut at each end of the ship and then hoisted enormous windsails, and when, as might naturally be expected, he found that more air came through his windsails, which were about 2'.6" diameter than through the Doctor's tubes, which were 5''X3'; he said he could not stay longer, and that he was sorry the machine had answered no better. Sir Jacob, however, sent his “humble duty" to Dr. Desaguliers, and thought his invention might be a very pretty thing in a house.
The Lords of the Admiralty never came near nor gave themselves any trouble about it, and so the Doctor found his invention would not be used in the Navy.
The next person who came forward in the cause of ventilation for the Navy, was
Mr. Sutton, a brewer by trade. He made use of the fire which cooked the provisions of the ship's company as the motive power, laying pipes from all parts of the ship to the ashpit under the grate. When the ashpit-door was closed no air could get to the fire except throught the pipes.
The result was considered satisfactory, and the apparatus was ordered to be fitted up on board the Norwich man-of-war.
Mr. Sutton had also to contend with Sir Jacob Ackworth, but he had found powerful friends in Dr. Mead, the King's Physician, and Sir Charles Wager, so that the old knight's opposition was rather passive than active.
This, I believe, is one of the first, if not the first, instance of the scientific use of the common fire as the power for ventilating any structure. This method has been called thermo-ventilation by Mr. Bernan, to whose work, as well as to those of the inventors whose names I have mentioned, I am indebted for many of the particulars given above.
However successful Mr. Sutton may have
been in getting his apparatus fixed, he failed when he applied to the Admiralty for some reward for his seviccs ; they simply took no notice of him or his petition, although the Norwich had returned to England from the Guinea Coast, with the loss of only two men, and the Captain reported her singularly healthy.
Meanwhille, a certain Dr. Hales had been pressing an invention of his own upon the notice of my Lords. This he called a ship's lungs. The machine was, in fact, a magnified bellows, differing somewhat in construction from common bellows certainly, but the same as far as action was concerned. It consisted of a large square case with valves, enclosing a hinged midriff, which rose and fell by the action of a long handle or lever, worked by some of the ship's company. The whole machine was cumbersome, requiring about four men per hour to work it, and could not, certainly, compare with the blowing-wheel of Dr. Desaguliers. It soon fell into disuse, and became a thing of the past.
Mr. Sutton, who had at last got £100