Instead of sending sound-vibrations toward a distant wall, I have sent electrical vibrations toward the remote boundaries of the earth, and instead of the wall the earth has replied. The effect of such s stream upon both halves of the disk would be equal, and the latter would not rotate ordinarily; but if one half should be guarded by a plate arresting the movement, then it would turn. Heat, though following certain general laws of mechanics, like a fluid, is not such; it is energy which may be converted into other forms of energy as it passes from a high to a low level. Evidently the automaton should respond only to an individual call, as a person responds to a name. Naturally, the improvements were not quick in coming; still, little by little, I advanced.
Thus we are inspired both by Christianity and Science to do our utmost toward increasing the performance of mankind. Relying on this estimate and on practical data with reference to a certain kind of sand ore existing in abundance in the region of the Great Lakes, including cost of transportation and labor, I found that in some localities iron could be manufactured in this manner cheaper than by any of the adopted methods. It is wiser to preach moderation than abstinence. Perhaps it is better in this present world of ours that a revolutionary idea or invention instead of being helped and patted, be hampered and ill-treated in its adolescence — by want of means, by selfish interest, pedantry, stupidity and ignorance; that it be attacked and stifled; that it pass through bitter trials and tribulations, through the strife of commercial existence. Any new demand for this gas would secure a higher revenue from the plant, thus cheapening the iron. But my conclusions showed that if an engine of a peculiar kind could be brought to a high degree of perfection, the plan I had conceived was realizable, and I resolved to proceed with the development of such an engine, the primary object of which was to secure the greatest economy of transformation of heat into mechanical energy. .
In our electric- lighting systems we scarcely utilize one third of one per cent. Modern science says: The sun is the past, the earth is the present, the moon is the future. Even in our enlightened communities, and not withstanding the many charitable efforts, this is still, in all probability, the chief evil. Thermodynamic processes are at the heart of everything that involves heat, energy, and work, making an understanding of the subject indispensable for careers in engineering, physical science, biology, meteorology, and even nutrition and culinary arts. The establishment of permanent peaceful relations between nations would most effec- tively reduce the force retarding the human mass, and would be the best solution of this great human problem. Such conditions are not of this earth.
But growth was not necessary in this case, since a machine could be manufactured full grown, so to speak. In many other branches of industry, as shipbuilding, or wherever lightness of structure is required, the progress of the new metal will be much quicker. If we realize the transmission of electrical energy without wires on an industrial scale, we shall be compelled to use. That communication without wires to any point of the globe is practicable with such apparatus would need no demonstration, but through a discovery which I made I obtained absolute certitude. It is characteristic of modern development that progress has been effected in the same order. Gradually the desire arose in me to find out, every time, what caused the images to appear, and the satisfaction of this desire soon became a necessity.
If the process of heat transformation were absolutely perfect, no heat at all would arrive at the low level, since all of it would be converted into other forms of energy. These requirements made it imperative to use, in the control of the automaton, instead of light or other rays, waves or disturbances which propagate in all directions through space, like sound, or which follow a path of least resistance, however curved. The sun is the spring that drives all. No effort could be better spent. It is only seventy years since this wonderful metal was discovered by Woehler, and the aluminium industry, scarcely forty years old, commands already the attention of the entire world.
It is in this field as much as in the transmission of energy to great distance that the alternating system, with its ideally simple machinery, is bringing about an industrial revolution. This was the only experimental proof which I was still wanting that energy was obtainable from the medium in the manner contemplated by me. To illustrate this distinction I may name, for example, ignorance, stupidity, and imbecility as some of the purely frictional forces, or resistances devoid of any directive tendency. The difficulties of sinking shafts and placing boilers at depths of, say, twelve thousand feet, corresponding to an increase in temperature of about 120 degrees C. Still more energy is now being obtained from coal by the latest improved gas-engine, the economy of which is, on the average, probably twice that of the best steam-engine.
Todo un visionario, y este un libro para leer, releer y reflexionar sobre la situación y el avance de la humanidad. But the seemingly insuperable difficulties which are now in the way may be overcome in the end, and then iron will be done away with, and all electric machinery will be manufactured of aluminium, in all probability, at prices ridiculously low. About thirty-three years ago Maxwell, following up a suggestive experiment made by Faraday in 1845, evolved an ideally simple theory which intimately connected light, radiant heat, and electrical phenomena, interpreting them as being all due to vibrations of a hypothetical fluid of inconceivable tenuity, called the ether. Soon I found, however, that the turbine, too, was unsuitable. A fire, found accidentally, taught the savage to appreciate its beneficial heat. Constantly increasing the motive power will result in a constant increase of human energy. The next change which should naturally fol- low from modern developments should be the continuous diminution of the number of individuals engaged in battle.
Those who are coming after us will need fuel more than we do. The quantity of electricity set in movement is so great that, although most of it escapes through the rim of the pan or opening provided, the ball or reservoir is nevertheless alternately emptied and filled to over-flowing as is evident from the discharge escaping on the top of the ball one hundred and fifty thousand times per second. But can anyone doubt today that all the millions of individuals and all the innumerable types and characters constitute an entity, a unit? But how accomplish that which seems impossible? Human performance will be increased, but men will remain strangers as they were. Under these assumptions the energy would flow through the path O, as in- dicated by the arrow, and might then be con- verted on its passage into some other form of energy. Then, again, the new metal is much more easily workable, which adds to its value. And no wonder, for the establishment of universal peace is, for the time being, a physical im- possibility. In its most sensitive state, which is difficult to obtain, it is responsive to electric or magnetic influences to an incredible degree.
So I myself thought for a long time, but now I believe this to be a profound mistake. Conceive, then, man as a mass urged on by a force. Science, too, recognizes this connectedness of separate individuals, though not quite in the same sense as it admits that the suns, planets, and moons of a constellation are one body. Simply, spend more energy and spend it towards the most efficient possible direction. Some years ago I made known a method of electrical transformation which renders the first part of this task easy, but the storing of the energy of lightning dis- charges will be difficult to accomplish. There can be no doubt that, of all the frictional resistances, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance. This principle evidently was applicable to any kind of machine that moves on land or in the water or in the air.