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Description of a new Stove for burning Pitcoal, and consuming all its Smoke.
READ AT A MEETING OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, JANUARY 28TH, 1786.
TOWARDS the end of the last century an ingenious French philosopher, whose name I am sorry I cannot recollect, exhibited an experiment to show, that very offensive things might be burnt in the middle of a chamber, such as woollen rags, feathers, &c., without creating the least smoke or smell. The machine in which it was made, if I remember right, was of this form, (Plate XV. Fig. 1;) made of plate iron. Some clear burning charcoals were put into the opening of the short tube A, and supported there by the grate B. The air, as soon as the tubes grew warm, would ascend in the longer leg C and go out at D, consequently air must enter at A descending to B. In this course it must be heated by the burning coals through which it passed, and rise more forcibly in the longer tube, in proportion to its degree of heat or rarefaction, and length of that tube. For such a machine is a kind of inverted siphon; and, as the greater weight of water in the longer leg of a common siphon in descending is accompanied by an ascent of the same fluid in the shorter; so, in this inverted siphon, the greater quantity of levity of air in the longer leg, in rising is accompanied by the descent of air in the shorter. The things to be burned being laid on the hot coals at A, the smoke must descend through those coals, and be converted into flame, which, after destroying the offensive smell, came out at the end of the longer tube as mere heated air.
Whoever would repeat this experiment with success, must take care that the part A B, of the short tube, be
quite full of burning coals, so that no part of the smoke may descend and pass by them without going through them, and being converted into flame; and that the longer tube be so heated as that the current of ascending hot air is established in it before the things to be burnt are laid on the coals; otherwise there will be a disappointment.
It does not appear, either in the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences, or Philosophical Transactions of the English Royal Society, that any improvement was ever made of this ingenious experiment, by applying i to useful purposes. But there is a German book, enti tled Vulcanus Famulans, by John George Leutmann, P. D., printed at Wirtemberg in 1723, which describes, among a great variety of other stoves for warming rooms, one, which seems to have been formed on the same principle, and probably from the hint thereby given, though the French experiment is not mentioned. This book being scarce, I have translated the chapter describing the stove, viz.
"On a Stove, which draws downwards.
"Here follows the description of a sort of stove, which can easily be removed, and again replaced at pleasure. This drives the fire down under itself, and gives no smoke, but, however, a very unwholesome
"In the figure, A is an iron vessel like a funnel, (Plate XV. Fig. 20,) in diameter at the top about twelve inches, at the bottom near the grate about five inches; its height twelve inches. This is set on the barrel C, which is ten inches diameter and two feet long, closed at each end E E. From one end rises a
pipe or flue about four inches diameter, on which other pieces of pipe are set, which are gradually contracted to D, where the opening is but about two inches. Those pipes must together be at least four feet high. B is an iron grate. FF are iron handles guarded with wood, by which the stove is to be lifted and moved. It stands on three legs. Care must be taken to stop well all the joints, that no smoke may leak through. "When this stove is to be used, it must first be carried into the kitchen and placed in the chimney near the fire. There burning wood must be laid and left upon its grate till the barrel C is warm, and the smoke no longer rises at A, but descends towards C. Then it is to be carried into the room which it is to warm. When once the barrel C is warm, fresh wood may be thrown into the vessel A as often as one pleases, the flame descends and without smoke, which is so consumed that only a vapor passes out at D.
"As this vapor is unwholesome, and affects the head, one may be freed from it, by fixing in the wall of the room an inverted funnel, such as people use to hang over lamps, through which their smoke goes out as through a chimney. This funnel carries out all the vapor cleverly, so that one finds no inconvenience from it, even though the opening D be placed a span below the mouth of the said funnel G. The neck of the funnel is better when made gradually bending, than if turned in a right angle.
"The cause of the draft downwards in the stove is the pressure of the outward air, which, falling into the vessel A in a column of twelve inches diameter, finds only a resisting passage at the grate B, of five inches, and one at D, of two inches, which are much too weak to drive it back again; besides, A stands much higher than B, and so the pressure on it is greater and more