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ON THE LAW OF PATENTS.

BY JUXIUS REDIVIVUS.

457

This system operates rather to retard invention than to make it an efficient source of

revenue.

4. An objection may be alleged against this system of granting påtents without expense, that they would multiply in amount to a mischievous extent that the whole ground of improvement would be occupied by designing schemers, not intending to work inventions, but anxious to make a profit by selling previously secured rights to men really intending to work. This difficulty occurs also under the present system, and althougli the exaction of high' fees certainly has a tendency to prevent the schemes of rogues being

so widely extended, yet, at the same time, it * offers almost insurmountable obstacles to the

pursuits of poor but worthy men. It is clear that if men could make themselves masters of certain rights-probably profitable ones at a small expense, many would be the claimants; but it would not be difficult, and without injustice, to put a check on this. After the lapse of a certain period of time from the date of the patent, the patentee might be called on for a certain amount of fees proportioned to the extent and value of the inrention, and in default of payment his patent should become void, and the right accrue to the public at large. If the patent were worth any thing the fees would be paid, and if it were worth nothing, the inventor would lose' nothing but his time and the small sums paid as fees of registration. Under such an arrangement patents might be made a source of very considerable revenue to the public, which being raised from newlycreated wealth, and not from overburdened industry, would not be obnoxious. The same principle should be applied to patents, which ought to be applied to public water, or gas, or railroad companies. The public grants a monopoly in a thriving business, and it has a claim to some advantage in return, but it would be hard indeed if it were to claim contributions from the companies, before they had commenced working ; before they were making a profit. It is true that the inventor renders tbe public a service, by producing a new commodity or labour-saving machine, but when he obtains a monopoly he closes the door against the chances of any other person inreoting it. In the space of fourteen years it is probable that large numbers of persons would be engaged in working out the same idea, and many of them might be successful, but if the first obtains the monopoly all the others are thrown out. Whenever any new invention engages the peculiai' attention of the public, numbers of patents for similar things follow in its train. The great hard-' ship is, that while some inventions are enormously and disproportionately recompensed, and others of probably equal utility do not repay the inventor his outlay, the same amount of tax is collected from all alike.

It is a maxim in English jurisprudence that every man is bound to know all the laws, i. e. every man is liable to all the penalties incurred by breaches of the laws, even though it is in some' instances morally impossible to know them. This is a difficulty which cannot be altogether avoided, for it is clear that if pleading ignorance were held a sufficient answer, it would be difficult to convict any one. The penalties of the laws would become mere nullities. But it is at least the diety of legislators to take all possible pains to promulgate a knowledge of the laws in every practicable mode. And thus in the case of patents it should be the duty of the legislative body to remove all difficulties from inventors arising from 'circumstances over which they have no control. An inventor requires to know what ground has been trodden before him, or he will waste his time unprofitably in re-inventing. It is usual for patent agents to possess lists of all the patents which have ever been taken out, and to these the poor man cannot get access. А public record office should possess this work of reference, as to titles; and yet more, it should possess a descriptive catalogue properly classed.

With such a guide, the valuable time of an inventor would be saved, and his spirit remain unbroken ; and if any inventor applied for a patent for any thing before done, the registering officer ouglit, as à matter of duty, to point it out to him, when refusing to comply with the application.

Grievous indeed are the hardships under which the poor inventor labours. He has no hope of raising himself above daily labour, but by his knowledge and skill; and yet, although he may exercise them for the benefit of others, he may not reap himself any corresponding advantage. The patent laws, as at present existing, are a contrivance where. by a capitalist may increase bis capital, but which leave the poor inventor wholly dependent on the capitalist. He who is already helped may help himself, while he who needs help cannot procure it. This blot should forth with be removed from the national escutcheon, or the shield of freedom which Britannia is made to wear under the cap of liberty, must be held but as an escutcheon of pretence. Give to the mechanics fair play, and the vation will soon find the advantage of it in the compound progress which will be made in all the arts tending to human convenience or human happiness. It is a claim of policy upon the worldly wise, and of justice upon the bigh-minded.

458

TRACTABILITY OF BALLOONS. TRACTABILITY OF BALLOONSCOMPARA- whom I also knew very well, shared a

TIVE SAFETY OF MONTGOLFIER AND similar fate, though I do not remember GAS-BALLOONS, &c.

the particulars. Her father, Garnerin, a Sir,—Your correspondent,

" Umbra

professed aeronaut, came to England Montgolfieri,'' takes, on the whole, a fair some years ago, about a pasteboard view of the ballooning subject of my last

gun(!) of his invention. communication ; but some of his remarks The most distinguished of all the early and facts require emendation.

aeronauts was the rich and scientific exI do not state that no degree of motion perimenter, Count Zambeccari, of Bowhatever can be imparted to a balloon logna, who was a near relation of my through the “ vigorous manœuvring” of father. The Count constructed several properly constructed flappers by the per- balloons, both à la Montgolfier and gas. sous in the car. But it must be in a per- At that time it was a serious expense to fect calm, such as “ Umbra" himself fill a balloon with gas, which was obsays that Messrs. Roberts were favoured tained by the decompositiou of water by with in June, 1784, when they tra- means of iron and sulphuric acid. I velled 2000 yards in 35 minutes by means have abore noticed the circumstance of of their oars. This may be; but I should Blanchard and his companion having like to have seen the operation! I have a been dragged through the water, on their shrewd suspicion that the air was not per- way from Dover to Calais. I now menfectly quiescent; and that what little tion the name of Zambeccari, in order mulion it had was in favour of the rowers. 10 draw the attention of your intelli"Umbra Montgolfieri" did not see, either gent readers to a circumstance which this operation or that of M. Testu; I it would be well to investigate, bewish he had! The flying gods and devils fore our aeronauts again venture in a of our pantomimes are seen to apply gas-balloon to cross the sea. This dis themselves most vigorously to manoeuv- tinguished experimentalist made se. ring their wings;' but I doubt its being veral ascents in a Montgolfier balloon, through their aid that they fly from one with which he exhibited the faculty of side of the stage to the other!

continually rising and falling in a most With regard to the comparative dan. satisfa

With his gas bal. ger of the fire and the gas balloon, loon, however he was twice in imminent « Umbra” is not quite correct in cases danger of perishing. A south-west wind which he quotes. Pilatre de Rozier lost carried him from Bologna over the Adriatic his life by ascending with a double, or No sooner had the balloon got rather with two balloons—one of hydro- fairly over the water about six miles from gen gas, the other à la Montgolfier. shore, and although it was at the height of this strange conceit, I forget which of the 5000 feet, it suddenly began to descend, two he placed uppermost, but the fact In vain did the acronaut hasten to was, that the gas caught fire and ex- throw out his ballast, for notwithstand: ploded so as to destroy the whole con- the ejection of every particle, together

I have no encyclopedias to reser with some provisions, bottles, extra clothto, but I remember, thirty years ago, ing, and even barometer, thermometer, reading the account of this catastrophe, &c., the car soon touched the water, and as given in the Philosophical Transac- Zambeccari, half drowned, was taken up tions by Mr. Cavallo, the electrician and by his boats. Struck by this apparent chemist, who was an eye-witness of it. anomaly in aerostatics, and with a view When Blanchard and an Englishman of discovering some circumstance that passed in a gas-balloon from Dover to might account for the fact which he had Calais, they were dragged through the witnessed, Zambeccari, nothing daunted, water more than half of the distance; made another ascent, with a south-west although, to increase the buoyancy of the wind which speedily put him on bis way to balloon, they divested themselves even of sliores of Dalmatia. He had soine fast their cluthes.

going feluccas to attend bin, which, Madame Blanchard was killed at Paris with all canvas set and nimble oars, fol. (in 1816, I think) through the gas taking lowed him with almost the swifiness of fire. It is true, the car was illuminated, the sea-gull's flight. The balloon was and I think she had some fireworks to kept as full of gas as safety from exthrow down! Mademoiselle Garnerin, pansion would possibly allow. But all

manner.

sea.

In

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ELECTRICAL THEORY OF THE UNIVERSE.

459 would not avail-every grain of ballast CAPTAIN ERICSSON'S PATENT SOUNDINGhad been thrown out, besides all other

INSTRUMENT. objects, as on the former occasion : the balloon descended on to the waters, as

“ His Majesty's brig Partridge, 10, Lieu.

tenant Bisson, returned on Tuesday from though overcome by an invincible at

a cruise to the westward, where she had been traction, and the intrepid, philosoper, despatched for the purpose of trying a new many miles a head of his friends in the

sounding machine invented by Captain Eriesfeluccas, was dragged along with little son, who personally superintended the expe. hopes of being overtaken. I forget whe, riments. We understand that this machine ther he was overtaken by one of his own is found to answer remarkably well. It has boats, or rescued by some other vessel.

been tried in currents and in heavy seas, and He remained, however, so long a time in was found perfectly serviceable when going the waler, or rather “ between wind and seven knots, with a depth of 600 fathoms." water," that his hands and feet were

- Devonport Telegraph. “ frost-bitten,” and his health impaired We have been favoured with a copy of for a long time after. I do not pretend the certificate granted by Commander to furnish any clue to the explanation Bisson to Captain Ericsson, which we of the above phenomena, whcih we here have great pleasure in subjoining :see repeated on three very marked occasions. Perhaps it is no phenomenon at

To Captain Ericsson. all, but was merely the result of acci- “My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty dental causes, which escaped the notice having ordered a trial of your patent sound, both of Blanchard and Zambeccari. I ing-instrument, I was directed by Rear Ad,

miral the Honourable Sir Charles Paget, on do not see how any affinity and relation.

the 12th of this month, to proceed in his ship between the hydrogen gas in the balloon, and that component of the

Majesty's brig Partridge, under my com,

mand, towards the Atlantic Ocean for that pur. water, could ever cause the effect de.

pose. I have accordingly to certify, that I have scribed. We are not prepared to rea

put your sounding instrument to a complete son upon a thing before we are well as

practical test, by using it every second hour sured that it, in fact, exists.

by day and by night for nine days, beginning • Umbra Montgolfieri” proposes to

with a depth of 5 fathoms, and extending to construct the lower portion of a fire

600 fathoms. Soundings up to 80 fathoms balloon of asbestos or woollen stuff.

being obtained whilst going at the rate of 6

knots per hour. This is not necessary. The solution of

“Respecting the accuracy of the instrų. alum in water renders paper, cotton, or ment, I have only to state that I found it linen, quite incombustible. The balloon

perfect, and as to simplicity, I need only (or any balloon) may be made so as of

say that all my crew soon understood its use, itself to answer the purpose of a para- and on these grounds I can strongly recom. chute, by fixing a broad hoop of beech- mend this instrument as being of great pracwood around its meridian. I am aware tical utility. of the non-conducting qualities of silk

“ PụILIP Bisson, Lieut. and Com. and of hydrogen gas; but should an

“Plymouth, this 22nd day of Sept., 1836." electric spark happen to pass through the mixture of gas and atmospheric air, which occurs on every opening of the ELECTRICAL THEORY OF THE UNIVERSE, valve, I should not like to be in the car

Sir, I really wish your correspondent, at the time.

Mr. Mackintosh, would endeavour to be Should any such Aeronautic Club, as a little more consistent in his explana. is proposed by“ Umbra,” ever come into tions of his electrical theory of the existence, I shall be glad to furnish all universe. In No. 645 he asserts, that the assistance in my power; but I really his theory is in accordance with Kepler's do not think that any kind of balloon is laws ; and in No, 681 he denies it. He worth the attention of men, who wish perhaps found that he could not grapple to devote their time and labour to ob

with the demonstrations I gave in No. jects of utility and benefit to mankind.

680, in opposition to the theory of his I have the honour to be, Sir, five moons; and rather than acknowledge Your obedient servant,

his error on this part of the subject, he F. MACERONI. shists his ground, and allows that his

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460

ELECTRICAL THEORY OF THE UNIVERSE.

tells me,

theory is not in accordance with Kepler's to its perihelion, fell with such a force laws. Well, I gave up this point to him, obliquely upon one side of the globe of which I did the more readily, as I was the sun, as to strike off therefrom in a well convinced it was the fact. But in stream so much matter as the masses of No.683 he makes another turn-about, and all the planets amount to ; that part of

that in the end I will find this stream, being of different densities, that his theory is not at variance either were by the force of this impulse driven with the laws of Kepler nor the theory of to different distances from the sun; some Newton ;---that the electrical theory is an of the lightest were carried as far as the extension of the principles of universal orbit of Saturn, and there. by mutual gravitation; and that with some qualifi- attraction, were compacted together, and cations it is in perfect accordance with formed that with its ring and satellites, Kepler's laws," &c.: and how does Mr. and so on of all the other planets. So Mackintosh prove all this? Why, by in- that it appears that the cosmographical forming us," that the intensity of elec- part of Mr. Mackintosh's theory is, with tricity, like that of gravitation, is in the some modifications, only an attempt to inverse ratio of the squares of the dis-' revive the philosophical vagaries of Whistances,” If this can be called a demon. ton and Buffon. The terrible catastrophe, stration, it is not a long one. It belongs which, by Mr. Mackintosh's account is to that sort of information which the to be the fate of all the planets that now Scotch Highlanders designate by the name belong to our system (or the roasting of " Piper's news.” But the intensity of system, so named by an old corremagnetism, heat, light, and many more, spondent), is nearly akin to the opinions follow the same law. It appears that of Dr. Burnet, another of our great mo. Newton made a great many experiments dern cosmographers. The old Scotchfor discovering the law of magnetic ac- woman's account of the formation of the tion, but he could discover nothing that fixed stars, appears fully as feasible as would render it susceptible of a compari- any of them, who, when asked what beson with the solar force.

came of all the old moons, glibly replied, But let us draw the veil a little aside, " That she did not exacıly ken, but to and see if we can discover whether Mr. the best of her knowledge and belief, Mackintoshi's theory has any great claims they were all cut up to make stars to originality. In the first place, Mr. of.” But to be serious. Of all the opi. M. informs us, that all the planets be- nions that have been given on this sublonging to the solar system were originally ject by uninspired writers, both in ancomets revolving round the sun in very cient and modern times, that of Plato elliptic orbits," &c. Now that great for genuine orthodoxy, throws them all in cosmographer, William Whiston, some. the shade. times nicknamed “ Wise Willie" (the Plato asserts, “ That the world was same Mr. Wbiston whom your able cor- created in time, but that the idea thereof respondent, “ Zeta," speaks of in his subsisted in the divine mind froin all letter, No. 670), informs us that our eternity; that God, induced by his good. earth had originally been a comet revolv- ness, created it when he thought fit; ing round the sun in an elliptic orbit, that when the matter whereof the world which gradually was changed so as to consists was before altogether in a concome into a circular one at the time of fused chaotic state, the Divine being rethe Mosaic creation," &c. The only duced it into order, and gave it a perfect difference between the two accounts is, form, which nothing can impair or change that Mr. Wbiston only speaks of the but the same power that made it ; and earth being a comet before the Mosaic that it will continue in the same state for creation. Mr. Mackintosh assigns no ever, because it is not reasonable to inaperiod of time. But besides the earth gine that a wise and benevolent Being being a comet, he lugs in all the other will destroy his own work, which he be. planets belonging to the solar sytem. held with pleasure as soon as he had Again, Mr. Mackintosh tells us that all finished it." the planets and comets belonging to our I should now go on to make some oh. system originally formed a part of the servations on the mechanism which Mr body of the sun,” &c. Buffon

says,
· That

Mackintosh asserts gives motion to the a large comet coming with great velocity different planets belonging to our system,

*

ON THE TRANSPORT OF IIEAVY BURTHENS UPON ICE.

461

but my arocations at present prevent it. I will also bestow a few lines on the sather growling remarks made by my friend Ursa in his last letter; and if no other should, I will also make some remarks on an old correspondent's letter, which contains another example of the periodical folly of some men. I am, Sir, yours, &c.

KINCLAVEN. Sept. 28, 1836.

.

ON THE TRANSPORT OF HEAVY BURTHENS

UPON ICE. BY THOMAS JEFFERSON CRAM,
PRIN, ASSIST. PROF, OF NAT. AND EXP.
PHILOS., U. S. MILITARY ACADEMY
(From the Journal of the Franklin Institute.)

For ordnance purposes, it became necessary, on the 13th of January, 1835, to transport a heavy piece of artillery (an iron 24-pounder) across the Hudson, from West Point to Cold Spring Foundry. To insure safety, two ox sleds were connected, one after the other, and upon which two timbers were longitudinally placed and secured ; between these timbers, the gun, previously dismounted from its carriage, was swung, by resting its trunnions upon them, at such points that the whole pressure was distributed, as uniformly as possible, upon the ice which sustained it. A pair of horses were attached to another sled, which was connected with the foremost of those before. named, by a rope about thirty feet in length.

The ice over which the gun was taken, had been chiefly formed during that intensely cold week (in January, 1835), when the mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer ranged, here, between –24 and – 15. The effects of the pressure upon the ice were carefully observed, by myself, along the entire route, and were such as to induce the belief, that an idea of its strength could be formed with sufficient certainty to be of practical utility, in all cases where the safety of transporting any load upon ice might be jeoparded.

The ice was drilled through, and its thickness measured, to a tenth of an inch, at intervals of two hundred paces and less, along the whole extent of the track. From the place of departure to the channel of the river, the thickness diminished from 16:5 inches down to 8 inches, and no signs of cracking or bending were observed in the ice—the horses going at the rate of about four miles an hour. Across the channel, the thickness increased from eight inches to 12 inches, and no evidence of breaking or bending was exhibited,- the load moving with a speed of about eight miles an hour. From the west edge of Cold Spring flats, to the vicinity of the entrance of a creek, the thick

ness varied from 12 inches up to 15.5 inches, and no indications of yielding were perceived, the horses going at a gentle trot. Near the entrance of the creek, for an extent of fifty paces, the average thickness of the ice was only 5:56 inches, and it was covered with a sheet of snow water, two inches in depth. This fifty paces of ice was observed to bend so much under the gun, that I was very apprehensive of its breaking; indeed, had the load been stopped for a few seconds only, it undoubtedly would have gone to the bottom. The depression along here was at least two inches, and the flexure of the ice under the foremost of the sleds, bearing the gun, was less than that under the hindmost, owing to its being weakened by the former, ere the latter came upon it. On crossing this weak spot, the horses had become so much fatigued, and the resistance increasing, by being drawn up the inclined surface of the bending ice, that, with much whipping and shouting they were barely urged to drag the gun safely over, at a velocity of about four miles an hour.

To determine the pressure sustained by a given superfices of the ice under considera. tion, it is to be remarked, first, that from the dimensions of the bottom surfaces of the four sled runners under the gun, the whole surface of ice in contact with these bottom surfaces, at the same time, was 6:458 square feet. 2nd. That the weight of the gun is marked 5579 lbs., and the sleds supporting it, together with the timbers, lashing chains, wedges, blocks, &c., weighed, in all, 1624 lbs., one sled weighing as much as the other. 3rd. That the horses and their sled were so far in advance, the pressure arising from this cause may be neglected, inasmuch as it did not act at the same time, and upon the same ice, with that arising from the gun.

Therefore, the whole pressure sustained by the 6:458 square feet of ice, at the same time, was equal to 5579 + 1624 lbs., equal to 7203 lbs.; and admitting, what was very nearly the truth, that the pressure was distributed uniformly, and dividing 7203 by 6:458, we shall have 1115-361 lbs., for the pressure sustained by each square foot; at all events, 1115:361 lbs. will be the average pressure sustained by a square foot of the ice.

From the observed effects upon the fifty paces of ice at the entrance of the creek, one can form a pretty accurate estimate of the least thickness upon which we can safely bring a pressure (of 11 15:361 + 10) equal to 1125:361 lbs., (the ten ado tional pounds being the allowance for the covering sheet of water). It is evident that the ice will not be safe, if its thickness be not above 5.56 inches.

From the foregoing facts, which were obtained with the greatest care, it may be in

or

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