VI. MODERN THEORIES OF HEAT AND LIGHT
"This short cylinder, which was supported in its horizontal position, and turned round its axis by means of the neck by which it remained united to the cannon, was now bored with the horizontal borer used in boring cannon.
"This cylinder being designed for the express purpose of generating heat by friction, by having a blunt borer forced against its solid bottom at the same time that it should be turned round its axis by the force of horses, in order that the heat accumulated in the cylinder might from time to time be measured, a small, round hole 0.37 of an inch only in diameter and 4.2 inches in depth, for the purpose of introducing a small cylindrical mercurial thermometer, was made in it, on one side, in a direction perpendicular to the axis of the cylinder, and ending in the middle of the solid part of the metal which formed the bottom of the bore.
"At the beginning of the experiment, the temperature of the air in the shade, as also in the cylinder, was just sixty degrees Fahrenheit. At the end of thirty minutes, when the cylinder had made 960 revolutions about its axis, the horses being stopped, a cylindrical mercury thermometer, whose bulb was 32/100 of an inch in diameter and 3 1/4 inches in length, was introduced into the hole made to receive it in the side of the cylinder, when the mercury rose almost instantly to one hundred and thirty degrees.
"In order, by one decisive experiment, to determine whether the air of the atmosphere had any part or not in the generation of the heat, I contrived to repeat the experiment under circumstances in which it was evidently impossible for it to produce any effect whatever. By means of a piston exactly fitted to the mouth of the bore of the cylinder, through the middle of which piston the square iron bar, to the end of which the blunt steel borer was fixed, passed in a square hole made perfectly air-tight, the excess of the external air, to the inside of the bore of the cylinder, was effectually prevented. I did not find, however, by this experiment that the exclusion of the air diminished in the smallest degree the quantity of heat excited by the friction.
"There still remained one doubt, which, though it appeared to me to be so slight as hardly to deserve any attention, I was, however, desirous to remove. The piston which choked the mouth of the bore of the cylinder, in order that it might be air-tight, was fitted into it with so much nicety, by means of its collars of leather, and pressed against it with so much force, that, notwithstanding its being oiled, it occasioned a considerable degree of friction when the hollow cylinder was turned round its axis. Was not the heat produced, or at least some part of it, occasioned by this friction of the piston? and, as the external air had free access to the extremity of the bore, where it came into contact with the piston, is it not possible that this air may have had some share in the generation of the heat produced?
"A quadrangular oblong deal box, water-tight, being provided with holes or slits in the middle of each of its ends, just large enough to receive, the one the square iron rod to the end of which the blunt steel borer was fastened, the other the small cylindrical neck which joined the hollow cylinder to the cannon; when this box (which was occasionally closed above by a wooden cover or lid moving on hinges) was put into its place— that is to say, when, by means of the two vertical opening or slits in its two ends, the box was fixed to the machinery in such a manner that its bottom being in the plane of the horizon, its axis coincided with the axis of the hollow metallic cylinder, it is evident, from the description, that the hollow, metallic cylinder would occupy the middle of the box, without touching it on either side; and that, on pouring water into the box and filling it to the brim, the cylinder would be completely covered and surrounded on every side by that fluid. And, further, as the box was held fast by the strong, square iron rod which passed in a square hole in the centre of one of its ends, while the round or cylindrical neck which joined the hollow cylinder to the end of the cannon could turn round freely on its axis in the round hole in the centre of the other end of it, it is evident that the machinery could be put in motion without the least danger of forcing the box out of its place, throwing the water out of it, or deranging any part of the apparatus."
Everything being thus ready, the box was filled with cold water, having been made water-tight by means of leather collars, and the machinery put in motion. "The result of this beautiful experiment," says Rumford, "was very striking, and the pleasure it afforded me amply repaid me for all the trouble I had had in contriving and arranging the complicated machinery used in making it. The cylinder, revolving at the rate of thirty-two times in a minute, had been in motion but a short time when I perceived, by putting my hand into the water and touching the outside of the cylinder, that heat was generated, and it was not long before the water which surrounded the cylinder began to be sensibly warm.
"At the end of one hour I found, by plunging a thermometer into the box, . . . that its temperature had been raised no less than forty-seven degrees Fahrenheit, being now one hundred and seven degrees Fahrenheit. ... One hour and thirty minutes after the machinery had been put in motion the heat of the water in the box was one hundred and forty-two degrees. At the end of two hours ... it was raised to one hundred and seventy-eight degrees; and at two hours and thirty minutes it ACTUALLY BOILED!