« ZurückWeiter »
into narrow strips, and guiding them in with a stick flat at one end, to apply the more conveniently to the pasted side of the glass. I would have coated them myself, if the time had not been too short. I send the tinfoil, which I got made of a proper breadth for the purpose; they should be coated nine inches high, which brings the coating just even with the edge of the case. The tinfoil is ten inches broad, which allows for lapping over the bottom.
I have bored the holes in all the stoppers for the communicating wires, provided all the wires, and fixed one or two to show the manner. Each wire, to go into a bottle, is bent so that the two ends go in and spring against the inside coating or lining. The middle of the wire goes up into the stopper, with an eye, through which the long communicating wires pass, that connect all the bottles in one row.
To form occasional communications with more rows, there must be, on the long wires of the second and fourth rows, four other movable wires, which I call cross-wires, about two inches and a half long, with a small ball of any metal about the size of a pistol-bullet at each end. The ball of one end is to have a hole through the middle, so that it may be slipped on the long wire; and one of these cross-wires is to be placed between the third and fourth bottles of the row at each end; and on each of the abovementioned rows, that is, two to each row, they must be made to turn easy on the wires, so that when you would charge only the middle row, you turn two of them back on the first, and two on the fifth row, then the middle row will be unconnected with the others. When you would charge more rows, you turn them forwards or backwards, so as to have the communication completed with just the number of rows you want .
The brass handles of the case communicate with the outside of the bottles, when you wish to make the electrical circuit.
I see, now I have wrote it, that the greatest part of this letter would have been more properly addressed to Mr. Winthrop himself; * but probably you will send it to him with the things, and that will answer the end. Be pleased to tender my best respects to him and the rest of the gentlemen of the College.
I am, with great esteem and regard, Sir,
P. S. I beg the College will do me the favor to accept a Virgil, which I send in the case, thought to be the most curiously printed of any book hitherto done in the world, f
TO DR. WILLIAM HERERDEN, AT LONDON.
On the Electricity of the Tourmalin.
Craven Street, 7 June, 1759.
Sir, I now return the smallest of your two tourmalins, with hearty thanks for your kind present of the other, which though I value highly for its rare and wonderful properties, I shall ever esteem it more for the friendship I am honored with by the giver.
* At that time Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in Harvard University, for which institution the electrical apparatus described in this letter was designed. — Editor.
f A copy of Baskerville's quarto edition of Virgil, printed the year before at Birmingham, and perhaps the most beautiful of the various works by which this celebrated type-founder and printer gained the praise of "uniting, in a singularly happy manner, the elegance of Plantin with the clearness of the Elzevirs." — Editor.
I hear that the negative electricity of one side of the tourmalin, when heated, is absolutely denied (and all that has been related of it ascribed to prejudice in favor of a system) by some ingenious gentlemen abroad, who profess to have made the experiments on the stone with care and exactness. The experiments have succeeded differently with me; yet I would not call the accuracy of those gentlemen in question. Possibly the tourmalins they have tried were not properly cut; so that the positive and negative powers were obliquely placed, or in some manner whereby their effects were confused, or the negative parts more easily supplied by the positive. Perhaps the lapidaries, who have hitherto cut these stones, had no regard to the situation of the two powers, but chose to make the faces of the stone where they could obtain the greatest breadth, or some other advantage in the form. If any of these stones, in their natural state, can be procured here, I think it would be right to endeavour finding, before they are cut, the two sides that contain the opposite powers, and make the faces there. Possibly, in that case, the effects might be stronger, and more distinct; for, though both these stones, that I have examined, have evidently the two properties, yet, without the full heat given by boiling water, they are somewhat confused; the virtue seems strongest towards one end of the face; and in the middle, or near the other end, scarce discernible; and the negative, I think, always weaker than the positive.
I have had the large one new cut, so as to make both sides alike, and find the change of form has made no change of power, but the properties of each side remain the same as I found them before. It is now set in a ring in such a manner as to turn on an axis, that I may conveniently, in making experiments, come at both sides of the stone. The little rim of gold it is set in, has made no alteration in its effects. The warmth of my finger, when I wear it, is sufficient to give it some degree of electricity, so that it is always ready to attract light bodies.
The following experiments have satisfied me, that M. jEpinus's account of the positive and negative states of the opposite sides of the heated tourmalin is well founded.
I heated the large stone in boiling water.
As soon as it was dry, I brought it near a very small cork ball, that was suspended by a silk thread.
The ball was attracted by one face of the stone, which I call A, and then repelled.
The ball in that state was also repelled by the positively charged wire of a phial, and attracted by the other side of the stone, B.
The stone being afresh heated, and the side B brought near the ball, it was first attracted, and presently after repelled, by that side.
In this second state it was repelled by the negatively charged wire of a phial.
Therefore, if the principles now generally received, relating to positive and negative electricity, are true, the side A of the large stone, when the stone is heated in water, is in a positive state of electricity; and the side B, in a negative state.
The same experiments being made with the small stone, stuck by one edge on the end of a small glass tube, with sealing-wax, the same effects are produced. The flat side of the small stone gives the signs of positive electricity; the high side gives the signs of negative electricity.
I suspended the small stone by a silk thread.
I heated it, as it hung, in boiling water.
I heated the large one in boiling water.
Then I brought the large stone near to the suspended small one;
Which immediately turned its flat side to the side B of the large stone, and would cling to it .
I turned the ring, so as to present, the side A of the large stone to the flat side of the small one.
The flat side was repelled, and the small stone, turning quick, applied its high side to the side A of the large one.
This was precisely what ought to happen, on the supposition, that the flat side of the small stone, when heated in water, is positive, and the high side negative; the side A of the large stone positive, and the side B negative.
The effect was apparently the same as would have been produced, if one magnet had been suspended by a thread, and the different poles of another brought alternately near it.
I find that the face A of the large stone, being coated with leaf gold (attached by the white of an egg, which will bear dipping in hot water), becomes quicker and stronger in its effect on the cork ball, repelling it the instant it comes in contact; which I suppose to be occasioned by the united force of different parts of the face, collected and acting together through the metal. I am, &.c.