• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Preface
 Lecture I
 Lecture II
 Lecture III
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Romance of science series
Title: The story of a tinder-box
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00065161/00001
 Material Information
Title: The story of a tinder-box a course of lectures delivered before a juvenile auditory at the London Institution during the Christmas holidays of 1888-89
Series Title: Romance of science series
Physical Description: 105, 6 p. : ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Tidy, Charles Meymott, 1843-1892
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) -- Committee of General Literature and Education ( Publisher )
E. & J.B. Young & Co ( Publisher )
Richard Clay and Sons ( Printer )
Publisher: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
E. & J.B. Young & Co.
Place of Publication: London ;
Brighton
New York
Manufacturer: Richard Clay & Sons
Publication Date: 1889
 Subjects
Subject: Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Combustion -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Physical sciences -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Light -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Heat -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1889   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1889
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Brighton
United States -- New York -- New York
England -- Bungay
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Charles Meymott Tidy ; published under the direction of the Committee of General Literature and Education appointed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065161
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002238561
notis - ALH9077
oclc - 10744608

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Preface
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Lecture I
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Lecture II
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    Lecture III
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    Advertising
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text








Lill
tE TO RA,
OF A
N U---'Efz Box.









F' O~,~/~_Ou OCd9/w
~i41< CU____





















THE STORY

OF

A TINDER-BOX.


















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f^fAilil,^ A


T&L* 2[~ 1 i


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P`





THE ROMANCE OF SCIENCE.



THE STORY

OF


A TINDER-BOX.




A COURSE OF LECTURES

DELIVERED BEFORE A JUVENILE AUDITORY AT THE
LONDON INSTITUTION DURING THE CHRISTMAS
HOLIDAYS OF 1888-89


BY
CHARLES MEYMOTT TIDY, M.B., M.S., F.C.S.,
BARRISTER-AT-LAW;
PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY AND OF FORENSIC MEDICINE AT THE LONDON
HOSPITAL; -MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH FOR ISLINGTON; VICE-
PRESIDENT OF THE INSTITUTE OF CHEMISTRY; ONE OF
TIE OFFICIAL ANALYSTS TO THE HOME OFFICE.



PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF
GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED
BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN
KNOWLEDGE.



LONDON:
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,
NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.; 43, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.C.
BRIGHTON: 135, NORTH STREET.
NEW YORK: E. & J. B. YOUNG & CO.
1889.












PREFACE.


THESE lectures were delivered with the
assistance merely of a few notes, the author
in preparing them for the press adhering as
nearly as possible to the shorthand writer's
manuscript. They must be read as inten-
tionally untechnical holiday lectures intended for
juveniles. But as the print cannot convey the
experiments or the demonstrations, the reader
is begged to make the necessary allowance.
The author desires to take this opportunity
of expressing his thanks to Messrs. Bryant and
May; to Messrs. Woodhouse and Rawson,
electrical engineers; to Mr. Woolf, the lead-
pencil manufacturer; and to Mr. Gardiner, for
numerous specimens with which the lectures
were illustrated.














THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


LECTURE I.
MY YOUNG FRIENDS,-Some months ago
the Directors of this Institution honoured me
with a request that I should deliver a course of
Christmas Juvenile Lectures. I must admit I
did my best to shirk the task, feeling that the
duty would be better intrusted to one who had
fewer demands upon his time. It was under
the genial influence of a bright summer's
afternoon, when one thought Christmas-tide
such a long way off that it might never come,
that I consented to undertake this course of
lectures. No sooner had I done go than I






8 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

was pressed to name a subject. Now it is a
very difficult thing to choose a subject, and
especially a subject for a course of juvenile
lectures; and I will take you thus much into
my confidence by telling you that I selected
the subject upon which I am to speak to you,
long before I had a notion what I could
make of it, or indeed whether I could make
anything at all of it. I mention these details
to ask you and our elders who honour us-
you and me-with their company at these
lectures, for some little indulgence, if at times
the story I have to tell proves somewhat
commonplace, something you may have heard
before, a tale oft told. My sole desire is
that these lectures should be true juvenile
lectures.
Well, you all know what this is? [Holding
up a box of matches.] It is a box of matches.
And you know, moreover, what it is used for,
and how to use it. I will take out one of the






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


matches, rub it on the box, and "strike a
light." You say that experiment is common-
place enough. Be it so. At any rate, I want
you to recollect that phrase-" strike a light."
It will occur, again in our course of lectures.
But, you must know, there was a time when
people wanted fire, but had no matches where-
with to procure it. How did they obtain
fire? The necessity for, and therefore the art
of producing, fire is, I should suppose, as old
as the world itself. Although it may be true
that our very earliest ancestors relied for
necessary food chiefly on an uncooked vege-
table diet, nevertheless it is certain that very
early in the history of the world people dis-
covered that cooked meat (the venison that
our souls love) was a thing not altogether to
be despised. Certainly by the time of Tubal
Cain, an early worker in metals, not only the
methods of producing fire, but also the uses to
which fire could be applied, must have been


9






IO THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


well understood. Imagine the astonishment
of our ancestors when they first saw fire!
Possibly, the first sight of this wonderful
"element" vouchsafed to mortals was a burn-
ing mountain, or something of that kind.
One is scarcely astonished that there should
have been in those early times a number of
people who were professed fire-worshippers.
No wonder, I say, that fire should have been
regarded with intense reverence. It constituted
an essential part of early sacrificial worship.
Some of my young friends, too, may remember
how in ancient Rome there was a special order
(called the order of the Vestal Virgins), whose
duty it was to preserve the sacred fire, which
if once extinguished, it was thought would
bring ruin and destruction upon their city.
How did our ancestors, think you, obtain fire
in those early times? I suggested a burning
mountain as a source of fire. You remember,
too, perhaps reading about Prometheus, who






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


stole fire from heaven, bringing it to earth in
a copper rod, which combined act of theft and
scientific experiment made the gods very angry,
because they were afraid mortals might learn
as many wonderful things as they knew them-















Fig.

selves. History seems to show that the
energetic rubbing together of dry sticks was
one of the earliest methods adopted by our
ancestors for producing fire. I find, for in-
stance, described and pictured by an early


II






12 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


author some such plan as the following:-A
thick piece of wood was placed upon the
ground. Into a hole bored in this piece of
wood a cone of wood was fitted. By placing
a boy or man on the top of the cone, and
whirling him round, sufficient friction resulted
where the two pieces of wood rubbed one
against the other to produce fire. Our artist
has modernized the picture to give you an
idea of the operation (Fig. i). Now instead
Sof repeating that experiment
ZI, /exactly, I will try to obtain
fire by the friction of wood
with wood. I take this piece
Sof boxwood, and having cut
Sit to a point, rub it briskly
on another piece of wood
(Fig. 2). If I employ suffi-
Fig. 2. cient energy, I have no doubt
I may make it hot enough to fire tinder.
Yes! I have done so, as you see. (I will at






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


once apologize for the smoke. Unfortunately
we cannot generally have fire without smoke.)
Every boy knows that experiment in another
form. A boy takes a brass button, and after
giving it a good rub on his desk, applies
it to the cheek of some inoffensive boy at
his side, much to the astonishment of his
quiet neighbour. Well, I am going to
see whether I can produce fire with a brass
button. I have mounted my button, as
you see, for certain reasons on a cork, and
I will endeavour by rubbing the button
on a piece of pinewood to make it suf-
ficiently hot to fire tinder. Already I have
done so.
Talking about friction as a means of pro-
ducing heat, I should like to mention that at
the last Paris Exhibition I saw water made to
boil, and coffee prepared from it, by the heat
resulting from the friction of two copper plates
within the liquid.


I3






14 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.
That then is the earliest history I can give
you of the production of fire, and at once from
that history I come to the reign of the tinder-
box. The tinder-box constitutes one of the
very earliest methods, no doubt, of obtaining
fire. I have searched for some history of the
tinder-box, and all I can say for certain is that
it was in use long before the age of printing.
I have here several rare old tinder-boxes. I
intend showing you in the course of these
lectures every detail of their construction and
use. I have no doubt this very old tinder-box
that you see here (Fig. 3 A) was once upon
a time kept on the mantel-piece of the kitchen
well polished and bright, and I do not doubt
but that it has lit hundreds and thousands of
fires, and, what is more, has very often been
spoken to very disrespectfully when the servant
wanted to light the fire, and her master was
waiting for his breakfast. I will project a
picture of it on the screen, so that you may






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX. 15

all see it. There it is. It is a beautiful piece


(2


b


a


a
Fig. 3.
of apparatus. There is the tinder, the steel






I6 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


(Fig. 3 b), the flint (c), and the matches (d)
complete.
It was with this instrument, long before the
invention of matches, that our grandfathers
obtained light. I want to show you how
the trick was managed. First of all it was











Fig. 4.

necessary to have good tinder. To obtain
this, they took a piece of linen and simply
charred or burnt it, as you see I am doing
now (Fig. 4). (Cambric, I am told, makes
the best tinder for match-lighting, and the
ladies, in the kindness of their hearts, formerly






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


made a point of saving their old cambric
handkerchiefs for this purpose.) The servants
prepared the tinder over-night, for reasons I
shall explain to you directly. Having made
the tinder, they shut it down in the box with
the lid (Fig. 3 A) to prevent contact with air.
You see I have the tinder now safely secured
in my tinder-box. Here is a piece of common
flint, and here is the steel. Here too are
the matches, and I am fortunate in having
some of the old matches made many years
ago, prepared as you see with a little sulphur
upon their tips. Well, having got all these
etceteras, box, tinder, flint and steel, we set
to work in this way:-Taking the steel in one
hand, and the flint in the other, I must give
the steel a blow, or rather a succession of
blows with the flint (Fig. 3 B). Notice what
beautiful sparks I obtain! I want one of these
sparks, if I can persuade it to do so, to fall
on my tinder. There! it has done so, and
B


I7






18 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

my tinder has caught fire. I blow my fired
tinder a little to make it burn better, and now
I apply a sulphur match to the red-hot tinder.
See, I have succeeded in getting my match in
flame. I will now set light to one of these
old-fashioned candles-a rushlight-with which
our ancestors were satisfied before the days of
gas and electric lighting. This was their light,
and this was the way they lighted it. No
wonder (perhaps you say) that they went to
bed early.
I should like to draw your attention to one
other form of tinder-box, because I do not
suppose you have ever seen these kind of
things before. I have here two specimens of
the pistol form of tinder-box (Fig. 5). Here
is the flint, the tinder being contained in
this little box. It is the same sort of tinder
as we made just now. The tinder was fired
with flint and steel in the same way as the
old-fashioned flint pistols fired the gunpowder.






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


And you see this pistol tinder-box is so con-
structed as to serve as a candlestick as well
as a tinder-box. I have fired, as you perceive,
my charred linen with this curious tinder-box,
and thus I get my sulphur match alight once
more!
It was in the year 1669 that Brandt, an










Fig. 5.

alchemist and a merchant-a very distinguished
scientific man-discovered the remarkable
substance I have here, which we call phos-
phorus. Brandt was an alchemist. I do
not know whether you know what an alchemist
is. An alchemist was an old-fashioned chemist.
B a


%I


I9






20 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

These alchemists had three prominent ideas
before them. The first thing they sought for
was to discover a something-a powder they
thought it ought to be-that would change
the commoner or baser metals (such as iron)
into gold. The second idea was to discover
" a universal solvent," that is, a liquid which
would dissolve everything, and they hoped
out of this liquid to be able to crystallize
gems. And then, having obtained gold and
gems, the third thing they desired was "a vital
elixir" to prolong their lives indefinitely to
enjoy the gold and gems they had manufactured.
These were the modest aims of alchemy. Well
now-although you may say such notions
sound very foolish-let me tell you that great
practical discoveries had their origin in the very
out-of-the-way researches of the alchemists.
Depend upon this, that an object of lofty
pursuit, though that object be one of prac-
tically impossible attainment, is not unworthy






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


the ambition of the scientific man. Though
we cannot scale the summit of the volcanic
cone, we may notwithstanding reach a point
where we can examine the lava its fires have
melted. We may do a great deal even in our
attempt to grasp the impossible. It was so
with Brandt. He was searching for a some-
thing that would change the baser metals into
gold, and, in the search, he discovered phos-
phorus. The chief thing that struck Brandt
about phosphorus was its property of shining
in the dark without having previously been
exposed to light. A great many substances
were known to science even at that time that
shone in the dark after they had been exposed
to light. But it was not until Brandt, in
the year 1669, discovered phosphorus that a
substance luminous in the dark, without having
been previously exposed to light, had been
observed. I should like, in passing, to show
you how beautifully these phosphorescent


2,1






22 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


powders shine after having been exposed to
a powerful light. See how magnificently
brilliant they are! These, or something like
them, were known before the time of Brandt.
Shortly after phosphorus had been dis-
covered, people came to the conclusion that
it might be employed for the purpose of
procuring artificial light. But I' want you to
note, that although phosphorus was discovered
in 1669 (and the general properties of phos-
phorus seem to have been studied and were well
understood within five years of its discovery),
it was not until the year 1833 that phosphorus
matches became a commercial success, so that
until the year 1833, our old friend the tinder-
box held its ground. I will try and give
you as nearly as I can a complete list of the
various attempts made with the purpose of
'procuring fire between the years 1669 and
1833.
The first invention was what were called






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


"phosphoric tapers." From the accounts
given (although it is not easy to understand
the description), phosphoric tapers seem to
have been sulphur matches with a little piece
of phosphorus enclosed in glass fixed on the
top of the match, the idea being that you had
only to break the glass and expose the phos-
phorus to air for it to catch fire immediately
and ignite the sulphur. If this was the notion
(although I am not sure), it is not easy to
understand how the phosphoric tapers were
worked. The second invention for the pur-
pose of utilizing phosphorus for getting fire
was by scraping with a match a little phos-
phorus from a bottle coated with a phosphorus
composition, and firing it by friction. The
fact is, phosphorus may be easily ignited by
slight friction. If I wrap a small piece of
phosphorus in paper, as I am doing now, and
rub the paper on the table, you see I readily
fire my phosphorus.


23





24 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


After this, "Homberg's Pyrophorus," con-
sisting of a roasted mixture of alum and flour,
was suggested as a means of obtaining fire.
"V-----r 2" ,


I


-C- -~""'~V~i!IIllIU~


Fig. 6.
Then comes the "Electrophorus," an electrical
instrument suggested by Volta, which was
thought at the time a grand invention for the






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX. 25

purpose of getting light (Fig. 6 A). The
nuisance about this instrument was that it
proved somewhat capricious in its action, and
altogether declined to work in damp foggy
weather. I do not know whether I shall be
successful in lighting a gas-jet with the electro-
phorus, but I will try. I excite
this plate of resin with a cat-skin
(Fig. 6 B), then put this brass
plate upon the resin plate and
touch the brass (Fig. 6 c); then
take the brass plate off the resin
plate by the insulating handle
and draw a spark from it, which
I hope will light the gas. There,
I have done it! (Fig. 6 D.)
Well, next after the electro- o
phorus comes the "fire syringe" "
(Fig. 7). The necessary heat Fig. 7.
in this case is produced by the compression
of air. You see in this syringe stopped at






26 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

one end, I have a certain quantity of air.
My piston-rod (c) fits very closely into the
syringe (B), so that the air cannot escape. If
I push the piston down I compress the air
particles, for they can't get out;-I make them
in fact occupy less bulk. In the act of com-
pressing the air I produce heat, and the heat,
as you see, fires my tinder.
It was in or about the year 1807 that
"chemical matches" were introduced to the
public for the first time. These chemical
matches were simply sulphur matches tipped
with a mixture cf chlorate of potash and sugar.
These matches were fired by dipping them in
a bottle containing asbestos moistened with
sulphuric acid. Here is one of these chemical
matches," and here the bottle of asbestos and
sulphuric acid. I dip the match into the bottle
and, as you see, it catches fire.
In the year 1820, Dobereiner, a very learned
man, discovered a method of getting fire by






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


permitting a jet of hydrogen to play upon
finely-divided platinum. The platinum, owing
to a property it possesses in
a high degree (which pro-
perty however is not special
to platinum), has the power
of coercing the union of the I
hydrogen and oxygen. Here
is one of Dobereiner's original
lamps (Fig. 8). I am going I
to show you the experiment, I
however, on a somewhat
larger scale than this lamp
permits. Here I have a
quantity of fine platinum- i -:-
wire, made up in the form of 7i
a rosette. I place this over --- ------
the coal-gas as it issues from Fig 8
the gas-burner, and, as you see, the platinum
begins to glow, until at last it becomes suf-
ficiently hot to fire the gas (Fig. 9).


27






28 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


In the year 1826 what were called "lucifers"
were invented, and I show you here some of
the original "lucifers." They are simply
sulphur matches tipped
: with a mixture of chlorate
of potash and sulphide of
Santimony, and were ignited
by drawing them briskly
through a little piece of
folded glass-paper.
.. In the year 1828,
"Prometheans" were in-
i vented. I have here two
Fig. 9. of the original "Prome-

theans." They consist (as you see) of a
small quantity of chlorate of potash and
sugar rolled up tightly in a piece of paper.
Inside the paper roll is placed a small and
sealed glass bubble containing sulphuric acid.
When it was wanted to light a "Promethean"
you had only to break the bulb of sulphuric






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


acid, the action of which set fire to the mixture
of chlorate of potash and sugar, which ignited
the paper roll.
In the year I830 "matches" with sulphur
tips were introduced as a means of obtaining
fire. They were fired, so far as I can make
out, by dipping them into a bottle containing
a little phosphorus, which then had to be
ignited by friction.
So far as I know, I have now given you very
shortly the history of obtaining fire between
the years 1669 and I830. You see how brisk
ingenuity had been during this long period,
and yet nothing ousted our old friend the
tinder-box. The tinder-box seems, as it were,
to speak to us with a feeling of pride and say,
" Yes, all you have been talking about were the
clever ideas of clever men, but I lived through
them all; my flint and my steel were easily
procured, my ingredients were not dangerous,
and I was fairly certain in my action."






30 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.
In the year 1833 the reign of the tinder-box
came to an end. It had had a very long
innings-many, many hundred years; but in
1833 its reign was finished. It was in this
year the discovery was announced, that bone
could be made to yield large quantities of phos-
phorus at a cheap rate. Originally the price of
phosphorus was sufficient to prevent its every-
day use. Hanckwitz thus advertises it-" For
the information of the curious, he is the only
one in London who makes inflammable phos-
phorus that can be preserved in water. All
varieties unadulterated. Sells wholesale and
retail. Wholesale, 5os. per oz.; retail, -3
sterling per oz. Every description of good
drugs. My portrait will be distributed amongst
my customers as a keepsake."
Let me give you a brief account of the
method of preparing lucifer matches, and to
illustrate this part of my story, I am indebted
to Messrs. Bryant and May for specimens.






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


Pieces of wood are cut into blocks of the size
you see here (Fig. 10 A). These blocks are
then cut into little pieces, or splints, of about
one-eighth of an inch square (Fig. io B).
By the bye, abroad they usually make their
match splints round by forcing them through
a circular plate, pierced with small round holes.








Fig. Io.
I do not know why we in England make our
matches square, except for the reason that
Englishmen are fond of doing things on the
square. The next part of the process is
to coat the splints with paraffin or melted
sulphur. The necessity for this coating of
sulphur or paraffin you will understand by an


31






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


experiment. If I take some pieces of phos-
phorus and place them upon a sheet of car-
tridge paper, and then set fire to the pieces
of phosphorus, curiously enough, the ignited
phosphorus will not set fire to the paper. I
have taken five little pieces of phosphorus (as
you see), so as to give the paper every chance
of catching fire (Fig. ii). Now that is ex-





Fig. rr.
actly what would happen if paraffin (or some
similarly combustible body) was not placed
on the end of the splint; my phosphorus
would burn when I rubbed it on the box, but
it would not set fire to the match. It is
essential, therefore, as you see, in the first
instance, to put something on the match that
the ignited phosphorus will easily fire, and


32






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


which will ignite the wood. I will say no
more about this now, as I shall have to draw
your attention to the subject in another lecture.
The end of the splints are generally scorched
by contact with a hot plate before they are
dipped in the paraffin, after which the phos-
phorus composition is applied to the match.
This composition is simply a mixture of phos-
phorus, glue, and chlorate of potash. The
composition is spread upon a warm plate, and
the matches dipped on the plate, so that a
small quantity of the phosphorus mixture may
adhere to the tip of the match. Every match
passes through about seventeen people's hands
before it is finished. I told you that in
England we generally use chlorate of potash
in the preparation of the phosphorus com-
position, whilst abroad nitrate of potash is
usually employed. You know that when we
strike a light with an English match a slight
snap results, which is due to the chlorate of
c


33






34 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.
potash in the match. In the case of nitrate
of potash no such snapping noise occurs.
Some people are wicked enough to call them
"thieves' matches." Just let me show you
(in passing) how a mixture of chlorate of
potash and sulphur explodes when I strike it.
Now, then, comes a very remarkable story
to which I desire to draw your attention.
There were many disadvantages in the use of
this yellow phosphorus. First of all, it is a
poisonous substance; and what is more, the
vapour of the phosphorus was liable to affect
the workpeople engaged in the manufacture
of lucifer matches with a bad disease of the
jaw, and which was practically, I am afraid,
incurable. A very great chemist, Schrbtter,
discovered that phosphorus existed under
another form, some of which I have here.
This, which is of a red colour, was found to
be exactly the same chemical substance as the
yellow phosphorus, but possessing in many






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


respects different properties. For instance,
you see I keep this yellow phosphorus under
water; I don't keep the red phosphorus in
water. Amongst other peculiarities it was
found that red phosphorus was not a poison,
whilst the yellow phosphorus was, as I told
you, very poisonous indeed. About two to
three grains of yellow phosphorus is sufficient
to poison an adult. I have known several
cases of children poisoned by sucking the
ends of phosphorus matches. So you see it
was not unimportant for the workpeople, as
well as for the public generally, that something
should be discovered equally effective to take
the place of this poisonous yellow phosphorus.
I should like to show you what very different
properties these two kinds of phosphorus
possess. For instance, if I take a small piece
of the yellow phosphorus and pour upon it
a little of this liquid-bi-sulphide of carbon-
and in another bottle treat the red phosphorus
c2


35






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


in a similar way, we shall find the yellow
phosphorus is soluble in the liquid, whilst the
red is not. I will pour these solutions on
blotting-paper, when you will find that the
solution of the yellow phosphorus will before














A B
Fig. 12.
long catch fire spontaneously (Fig. 12 A),
whilst the solution (although it is not a
solution, for the red phosphorus is not soluble
in the bi-sulphide of carbon) of the red phos-
phorus will not fire (Fig. 12 B). Again, if I


36






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


add a little iodine to the yellow phosphorus, you
see it immediately catches fire (Fig. 13 A);
but the same result does not follow with the
red phosphorus (Fig. 13 B). I will show you
an experiment, however, to prove, notwith-


1i .1
II






A B




Fig. 13.
standing these different properties, that this red
and yellow material are the same elementary
body. I will take a little piece of the yellow
phosphorus, and after igniting it introduce it
into a jar containing oxygen, and I will make


37






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


a similar experiment with the red phosphorus.
You will notice that the red phosphorus does
not catch fire quite so readily as the yellow.
However, exactly the same result takes place
when they burn-you get the same white
smoke with each, and they combust equally
brilliantly. The red and yellow varieties are
the same body-that is what I want to show
you-with different properties.
Then comes the next improvement in the
manufacture of matches, which is putting the
phosphorus on the box and not on the match.
This is why certain matches only strike light
on the box. This method, as well as the
use of red phosphorus, was introduced into
this country by Messrs. Bryant and May. I
have no doubt that many a good drawing-
room paper has been spared by the use of
matches that light only on the box.
I cannot help thinking that the old tinder-
box, which I have placed on the table in a


38






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


prominent position before you to-night, feels
a certain pleasure in listening to our story.
Envious perhaps a little of its successor, it
nevertheless fully recognizes that its own reign
had been a thousand times longer than that of
the lucifer match. If we could only hear that
tinder-box talk, I think we should find it
saying something of this kind to the lucifer
match-" I gave way to you, because my time
was over; but mind, your turn will come next,
and you will then have to give way to some-
thing else, as once upon a time I had to give
way to you." And that is the end of the first
chapter of my story of a tinder-box.


39













LECTURE II.


WE were engaged in our last lecture in
considering the various methods that have
been adopted from early times for obtain-
ing fire, and we left off at the invention of
the lucifer match. I ventured to hint at the
conclusion of my last lecture, that the tinder-
box had something to say to the lucifer
match, by way of suggestion, that just as the
lucifer match had ousted it, so it was not
impossible that something some day might
oust the lucifer match. Electricians have
unlimited confidence (I can assure you) in the
unlimited applications of electricity :-they be-
lieve in their science. Now one of the effects
of electricity is to cause a considerable rise
of temperature in certain substances through






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


which the electrical current is passed. Here
is a piece of platinum wire, for example, and if
I pass an electrical current through it, you see
how the wire glows (Fig. 14). If we were to
pass more current through it, which I can
easily do, we should be able to make the
platinum wire white hot, in which condition










Fig. 14.
it would give out a considerable amount of
light. There is the secret of those beautiful
incandescent glow lamps that you so often see
now-a-days (Fig. i5). Instead of a platinum
wire, a fine thread of carbon is brought to a
very high temperature by the passage through


41






42 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


it of the electrical current, in which condition
it gives out light. All that you have to do to
light up is to connect your lamp with the
battery. The reign of the match, as you see,
so far as incandescent electric lamps are con-
cerned, is a thing of
the past. We need no
S. match to fire it. Here
are various forms of
these beautiful little
i. lamps. This is, as you
see, a little rosette for
-. the coat. Notice how I
ig. can turn the minute in-
Fig. 15.
candescent lamp, placed
in the centre of the rose, off or on at my
pleasure. If I disconnect it with the battery,
which is in my pocket, the lamp goes out; if
I connect it with my battery the lamp shines
brilliantly. This all comes by "switching it
on" or "switching it off," as we commonly






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


express the act of connecting or disconnecting
the lamp with the source of electricity.
Here is another apparatus to which I desire
to call your attention. If I take a battery
such as I have here-a small galvanic battery
of some ten cells-you will see a very
little spark when I make and break
contact of the two poles. This is
what is called an electrical torch, in
which I utilize this small spark as a
gas-lighter (Fig. 16). This instru-
ment contains at its lower part a
source of electricity, and if I connect
the two wires that run through this
long tube with the apparatus which
generates the current, which I do by
pressing on this button, you see a Fig. 16.
little spark is at once produced which readily
sets fire to my gas-lamp. We have in this
electrical torch a substitute-partial substitute,
I ought to say-for the lucifer match. I


43






44 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.
think you will admit that it was with some
show of reason I suggested that after all it
is possible the lucifer match may not have
quite so long an innings as the tinder-box.
But there is another curious thing to note in
these days of great scientific progress, viz.
that there are signs of the old tinder-box
coming to the front again. Men, I have
often noticed, find it a very difficult thing
to light their pipes with a match on the top of
an omnibus on a windy day, and inventors are
always trying to find out something that will
enable them to do so without the trouble and
difficulty of striking a match, and keeping the
flame a-going long enough to light their
cigars. And so we have various forms of
pipe-lighting apparatus, of which here is one
-which is nothing more than a tinder-box
with its flint and steel (Fig. 17). You set to
work somewhat in this way : placing the tinder
(a) on the flint (b), you strike the flint with






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


the steel (c), and-there, I have done it!-my
tinder is fired by the spark. So you see
there are signs, not only of the lucifer match
being ousted by the applications of electricity,
but of the old tinder-box coming amongst us
once again in a new form.












Fig. 17.
I am now going to ask you to travel with
me step by step through the operation of
getting fire out of the tinder-box. The first
thing I have to do is to prepare my tinder,
and I told you, if you remember, that the way
we made tinder was by charring pieces of linen


45






46 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


(see Fig. 4). I told you last time what a dear
old friend told me, who from practical experi-
ence is far more familiar with tinder-boxes and
their working than I am, that no material was
better for making tinder than an old cambric
handkerchief. However, as I have no cambric
handkerchief to operate upon, I must use a
piece of common linen rag. I want you to
see precisely what takes place. I set fire to
my linen (which, by the bye, I have taken
care to wash carefully so that there should be
no dirt nor starch left in it), and while it is
burning shut it down in my tinder-box.
That is my tinder. Let us now call this
charred linen by its proper name-my tinder
is carbon in a state of somewhat fine subdi-
vision. Carbon is an elementary body. An
element-I do not say this is a very good
definition, but it is sufficiently good for my
purpose-an element is a thing from which
nothing can be obtained but the element itself.






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


Iron is an element. You cannot get anything
out of iron but iron; you cannot decompose
iron. Carbon is an element; you can get
nothing out of carbon but carbon. You can
combine it with other things, but if you have
only carbon you can get nothing out of the






a b




Fig. 18.

carbon but carbon. But this carbon is found
to exist in very different states or conditions.
For instance, it is found in the form of the
diamond (Fig. I8 a). Diamonds consist of
nothing more nor 'less than this simple ele-
mentary body-carbon. It is a very different


47






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


form of carbon, no doubt you think, to tinder.
Just let me tell you, to use a very hard word,
that we call the diamond an "allotropic" form
of carbon. Allotropic means an element with
another form to it-the diamond is simply an
allotropic form of carbon. Now the diamond
is a very hard substance indeed. You know
perfectly well that when the glass-cutter wants
to cut glass he employs a diamond for the
purpose, and the reason why glass can be cut
with a diamond is because the diamond is
harder than the glass. I dare say you have
often seen the names of people scratched on
the windows of railway-carriages, with the
object I suppose that it may be known to all
future occupants of these carriages that persons
of a certain name wore diamond rings. Well,
in addition to the diamond there is another form
of carbon, which is called black-lead. Black-
lead-or, as we term it, graphite-of which I
have several specimens here-is simply carbon


48






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


-an allotrope of carbon-the same elementary
substance,. notwithstanding, as the diamond.
This black-lead (understand black-lead, as it
is called, contains no metallic lead) is used
largely for making lead-pencils. The manu-
facture of lead-pencils, by the bye, is a very
interesting subject. Formerly they cut little
pieces of black-lead out of lumps of the natural
black-lead such as you see there; but now-a-
days they powder the black-lead, and then
compress the very fine powder into a block.
There is a block of graphite or black lead,
for instance, prepared by simple pressure (Fig.
18 b). The great pressure to which the
powder is subjected brings these fine particles
very close together, when they cohere, and
form a substantial block. I will show you an
experiment to illustrate what I mean. Here
are two pieces of common metallic lead. No
ordinary pressure would make these two pieces
stick together; but if I push them together
D


49





THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


50


very energetically-boys would call it giving
them "a shove" together-that is to say,
employing considerable pressure to bring them
into close contact-I have no doubt that I
can make these two pieces of lead stick
together-in other words, make them cohere.
To cohere is not to adhere. Cohesion is the
union of similar particles-like to like; ad-
hesion is the union of dissimilar particles. Now
that is exactly what is done in the preparation
of the black-lead for lead-pencils. The black-
lead powder is submitted to great pressure,
and then all these fine particles cohere into
one solid lump. The pencil maker now cuts
these blocks with a saw into very thin pieces
(Fig. 19 b). The next thing is to prepare the
wood to receive the black-lead strips. To do
this they take a piece of flat cedar wood and
cut a number of grooves in it, placing one of
these little strips of black-lead into each of the
grooves (Fig. 19 a, which represents one of






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


the grooves). Then having glued on the cover
(Fig. 19 c), they cut it into strips, and plane


each little strip into
(Fig. 19 d). But what
you have there as black-
lead in the pencil (for
this is what I more par-
ticularly wish you to
remember) is simply
carbon, being just the
same chemical substance
as the diamond. To a
chemist diamond and
black-lead have the same
composition, being in-
deed the same substance.
As to their money value


a round lead-pencil



FI
t


I
b
Fig.


19.


i
d


of course there is


some difference; still, so far as chemical com-
position is concerned, diamonds and black-lead
are both absolutely true varieties of the element
carbon.


3!


51


(






52 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

Well now, I come to another form of carbon,
called charcoal (Fig. 18 c). You all know what
charcoal is. There is a lump of wood charcoal.
It is, as you see, very soft,-so soft indeed is it
that one can cut it easily with a knife. Graphite
is not porous, but this charcoal is very porous.
But mind, whether it be diamond, or black-
lead, or this porous charcoal, each and all have
the same chemical composition; they are what
we call the elementary undecomposable sub-
stance carbon. The tinder I made a little while
ago (Fig. 4), and which I have securely shut
down in my tinder-box, is carbon. It is not a
diamond. It is not black-lead, but all the
same it is carbon-that form of porous carbon
which we generally call charcoal. Now I hope
you understand the meaning of that learned
word allotropic. Diamond, black-lead, and
tinder are allotropic forms of carbon, just as
I explained to you in my last lecture, that the
elementary body phosphorus was also known






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


to exist in two forms, the red and the yellow
variety, each having very different properties.

,, ~ b 'Lt


Fig. 20.
Now it has been noticed when substances
are in a very finely-divided state that they


53






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


often possess greater chemical activity than
they have in lump. Let me try and illustrate
what I mean. Here I have a metal called
antimony, which is easily acted upon by
chlorine. I will place this lump of anti-
mony in a jar of chlorine, and so far as
you can see very little action takes place
between the metal and the chlorine. There
is an action taking place, but it is rather slow
(Fig. 20 A). Now I will introduce into the
chlorine some of the same metal which I have
finely powdered. See it catches fire immedi-
ately (Fig. 20 B). What I want you to
understand is, that although I have in both
these cases precisely the same chlorine and the
same metal, nevertheless, that whilst the action
of the chlorine on the lump of antimony
was not very apparent, in the case of the
powdered antimony the action was very ener-
getic. Again, there is a lump of lead (Fig.
i2 a). You would be very much astonished


54






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


if the lead pipe that conveys the water through
your houses caught fire spontaneously; but
let me tell you that, if your lead water-pipes
were reduced to a sufficiently fine powder,
















Fig. 21.

they would catch fire when exposed to the
air. I have some finely-powdered lead in
this tube (Fig. 21 b), which you will notice
catches fire directly it is exposed to the
atmosphere (Fig. 21 c). There it is! Only


55






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


powder the lead sufficiently fine,-that is to
say, bring it into a state of minute subdivi-
sion,-and it fires by contact with the oxygen
of the air. And now apply this. We have in
our diamond the element carbon, but diamond-
carbon is a hard substance, and not in a finely-
divided state. We have in this tinder the
same substance as the diamond, but tinder-
carbon is finely divided, and it is because it is
in a finely-divided condition that the carbon in
our tinder-box catches fire so readily. I hope
I have made that part of my subject quite
clear to you. I should wish you to note that
this very finely-divided carbon has rather an
inclination to attract moisture. That is the
reason why our tinder is so disposed to get
damp, as I told you; and, as damp tinder is
very difficult to light, this explains the meaning
of those disrespectful words that I suggested
our tinder-box had often had addressed to it
in the course of its active life of service.


56






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX. 57

But to proceed. What do I want now? I
want a spark to fire my tinder. A spark is
enough. Do you remember the motto of the
Royal Humane Society ? Some of my young
friends can no doubt translate it, "Lateat
scintilla forsan"-perchance a spark may lie
hid. If a person rescued from drowning has
but a spark of life remaining, try and get the
spark to burst into activity. That is what the
motto of that excellent society means. How
am I to get this spark from the flint and steel
to set fire to my tinder? I take the steel in
one hand, as you see, and I set to work to
strike -it as vehemently as I can with the flint
which I hold in the other (Fig. 3 A B). Spark
follows spark. See how brilliant they are!
But I want one spark at least to fall on my
tinder. There, I have succeeded, and it has
set fire to my tinder. One spark was enough.
The spark was obtained by the collision of
the steel and flint. The sparks produced by






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


this striking of flint against steel were formerly
the only safe light the coal-miner had to light
him in his dark dreary work of procuring coal.
Here is the flint and steel lamp which originally
belonged to Sir Humphry Davy (Fig. 22).












Fig. 22.

The miners could not use candles in coal-
mines because that would have been dangerous,
and they were driven to employ an apparatus
consisting of an iron wheel revolving against
a piece of flint for the purpose of getting
as much light as the sparks would yield.


58






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX. 59

This instrument has been very kindly lent to
me by Professor Dewar. I will project a
picture of the apparatus on the screen, so that
those at a distance may be better able to see
the construction of the instrument.
And now follow me carefully. I take the
steel and the flint, and striking them together
I get sparks. I want you to ask yourselves,
Where do the sparks come from? Each
spark is due to a minute piece of iron being
knocked off the steel by the blow of flint with
steel. Note the precise character of the spark.
Let me sprinkle some iron filings into this
large gas flame. You will notice that the
sparks of burning iron filings are very similar
in appearance to the spark I produce by the
collision of my flint .and steel.
But now I want to carry you somewhat
further in our story. It would not do for me
simply to knock off a small piece of iron; I
want when I knock it off that it should be red-






60 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

hot. Stay for a moment and think of this-
iron particles knocked off-iron particles made
red-hot. All mechanical force generates heat.*
You remember, in my last lecture, I rubbed
together some pieces of wood, and they became
sufficiently hot to fire phosphorus. On a cold
day you rub your hands together to warm them,
and the cabmen buffet themselves. It is the
same story-mechanical force generating heat!
The bather knows perfectly well that a rough
sea is warmer than a smooth sea. Why?-
because the mechanical dash of the waves has
been converted into heat. Let me remind you
of the familiar phrase, "striking a light," when
I rub the match on the match-box. "Forgive
me urging such simple facts by such simple
illustrations and such simple experiments.
The facts I am endeavouring to bring before

I need scarcely say, that whatever is of any value in
the following remarks is derived from that charming book
of Professor Tyndall's, Heat a Mode of Motion.






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


you are illustrations of principles that deter-
mine the polity of the whole material uni-
verse." Friction produces heat. Here is a
little toy (cracker) that you may have seen
before (Fig. 23). It is scientific in its way.
A small quantity of fulminating material is
placed between two pieces of card on which





ba b
Fig. 23.

a few fragments of sand have been sprinkled
(Fig. 23 a). The two ends of the paper (b b)
are pulled asunder. The friction produces
heat, the heat fires the fulminate, and off it
goes with a crack. And now put this question
to yourselves, What produced the friction?
Force. What is more, the amount of heat
produced is the exact measure of the amount






62 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

of force used. Heat is a form of force. I
must urge you to realize precisely this energy
of force. When you sharpen a knife you
put oil upon the hone. Why ?-When the
carpenter saws a piece of wood he greases
the saw. Why?-When you travel by train
you see the railway-porter running up and
down the platform with a box of yellow
grease with which he greases the wheels.
Why ?-The answer to these questions is
not far to seek-it is because you want your
knife sharpened; it is because you want the
saw to cut; it is because you want the train
to travel. The carpenter finds sawing hard
work, and he does not want the force of the
muscles of his arm-his labour, in short-
to be converted into heat, and so he greases
the saw, knowing that the more completely
he prevents friction, the more wood he will
cut. It is the force of steam that makes
the engine travel. Steam costs money. The






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


engine-driver does not want that steam-force to
be converted into heat, because every degree
of heat produced means diminished speed of
his train; and so the porter greases the wheels.
But as you approach the station the train must
be stopped. The steam is turned off, and the
guard puts on what he calls "the brake."
What is the brake? It is a piece of wood so
constructed and placed that it can be made to
press upon the wheel. Considerable friction
results between the wheel and the brake;-
heat is produced;-the train gradually comes
to a stop. Why? We have now the conver-
sion of that force into heat which a minute ago
was being used for the purpose of keeping the
train a-going. Given a certain force you can
have heat or motion; but you cannot have
heat and motion with the same force in the
same amount as if you had them singly. In
every-day life, you cannot have your pudding
and eat it.


63






64 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

Heat then is generated by mechanical force;
it is a mode of motion. There was an old
theory that heat was material. There was
heat, for instance, you were told, in this nail.
Suppose I hammer it, it will get hot, and at
the same time I shall reduce by hammering
the bulk of the iron nail. A pint pot will not,
hold so much as a quart pot. The nail (you
were told) cannot hold so much heat when it
occupies a less bulk as it did when it occupied
a larger bulk. Therefore if I reduce the bulk
of the nail I squeeze out some of the heat.
That was the old theory. One single experi-
ment knocked it on the head. It was certain,
that in water there is a great deal more entrapped
heat-" latent heat" it was called-than there
is in ice. If you take two pieces of ice and
rub them together, you will find the ice melts
-the solid ice changes (that is to say) into
liquid water. Where did the heat come from
to melt the ice? You could not get the heat






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


from the ice, because it was not there, there
being admittedly more latent heat in the water
than in the ice. The explanation is certain-
the heat was the result of the friction. And
now let me go to my hammer and nail.













Fig. 24.

I wish to see whether I can make this nail
hot by hammering. It is quite cold at the
present time. I hope to make the nail hot
enough by hammering it to fire that piece of
phosphorus (Fig. 24). One or two sharp
blows with the hammer suffice, and as you see
E


65






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


the thing is done-i have fired the phosphorus.
But follow the precise details of the experiment.
It was I who gave motion to the hammer. I
brought that hammer on to that nail. Where
did the motion go to that I gave the hammer?
It went into the nail, and it is that very motion
that made the nail hot, and it was that heat
which lighted the phosphorus. It was I who
fired the phosphorus: do not be mistaken, I
fired the phosphorus. It was my arm that
gave motion to the hammer. It was my force
that was communicated to the hammer. It
was I who made the hammer give the motion
to the nail. It was I myself that fired the
phosphorus.
I want you then to realize this great fact,
that when I hold the steel and strike it with
the flint, aid get sparks, I first of all knock off
a minute fragment of iron by the blow that I
impart to it, whilst the force I use in striking
the blow actually renders the little piece of


66






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


detached iron red-hot. What a wonderful
thought this is! Look at the sun, the great
centre of heat! It looks as if it were a blazing
ball of fire in the heavens. Where does the
heat of the sun come from ? It seems boldto
suggest that the heat is produced by the im-
pact of meteorites on the sun. Just as I, for
instance, take a hammer and heat the nail by
the dash of the hammer on it, so the dash
of these meteorites on the sun are supposed to
produce the heat so essential to our life and
comfort.
Let us take another step forward in the
story of our tinder-box. Having produced a
red-hot spark and set fire to my tinder, I want
you to see what I do next. I set to work
to blow upon my lighted tinder. You re-
member, by the bye, that Latin motto of our
school-books-alcre flammam, nourish the
flame. When I blow on the tinder my object
is to nourish the flame. Here is a pair of
E2


67






68 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


common kitchen bellows (Fig. 25); when the
7F L fire is low the cook blows the
fire to make it burn up. What
C is the object of this blowing
operation ? It is to supply a
larger quantity of atmospheric
oxygen to the almost lifeless
fire than it would otherwise
Fig. 25. obtain. Oxygen is the spark's
nourishment and life, and the more it gets
the better it thrives. Oxygen is an ex-
tremely active agent in nourishing flame.
If, for instance, I take a little piece of
carbon and merely set fire to one small
corner of it, and then introduce it into this
jar of oxygen, see how brilliantly it burns;
you notice how rapidly the carbon is becoming
consumed (Fig. 26). In the tinder-box I blow
on the tinder to supply a larger amount of
oxygen to my spark. A thing to burn under
ordinary conditions must have oxygen, and the






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


more oxygen it gets the better it burns. It
does not follow that the supply of oxygen to a
burning body must necessarily come directly


Fig. 26..

from the air. Here, for instance, I have a
squib. I will fire it and put it under water
(Fig. 27). You see it goes on burning


69






70 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

whether it is in the water or out of it, be-
cause one of the materials of which the squib
is composed supplies the oxygen. The


Fig. 27.

oxygen is actually locked up inside the squib.
When then I blow upon my tinder, my object
is to supply more oxygen to it than it would
get under ordinary conditions. And, as you






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX. 71

see, the more I blow, within certain limits, the
more the spark spreads, until now the whole of
my tinder has become red-hot. But my time
is gone, and we must leave the rest of our
story for the next lecture.













LECTURE III.


RECALL for a few minutes the facts I
brought before you in my last lecture. The
first point we discussed was the preparation of
the tinder. I explained to you that tinder was
nothing more than carbon in a finely-divided
state. The second point was, that I had to
strike the steel with the flint in such manner
that a minute particle of the iron should be
detached; the force used in knocking it off
being sufficient to make the small particle of
iron red-hot. This spark falling upon the
tinder set fire to it. The next stage of the
operation was to blow upon the tinder, in
order, as I said, to nourish the flame; in other
words, to promote combustion by an increased
supply of oxygen, just as we use an ordinary






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


pair of bellows for the purpose of fanning a
fire which has nearly gone out into a blaze.
And now comes the next point in my story
of a tinder-box. Having ignited the tinder I
want to set fire to the match. Now I have
here some of the old tinder-box matches, and
you will see that they are simply wooden
splints with a little sulphur at the end. Why
(you say) use sulphur? For this reason-the
wood is not combustible enough to be fired
by the red-hot tinder. We put therefore
upon the wood a substance which is more
combustible than the wood. This sulphur-
which most people call brimstone-has been
known from very early times. In the middle
ages it was regarded as the principle of fire."
It is referred to by Moses and Homer and
Pliny. A very distinguished chemist, Geber,
describes it as one of "the principles of
nature." Having fired my tinder, as you see,
and blown upon it, I place my sulphur match


73






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


in contact with the red-hot tinder. And now
I want you to notice that the sulphur match
does not catch fire immediately. It wants, in
fact, a little time, and as you see a little
coaxing. Now I have got it alight. But
note, it is the sulphur that at the present
moment is burning. The burning sulphur
is now beginning to set fire to the wood.
The whole match is well alight now! But
it was the sulphur that caught fire first, and
it was the sulphur that set fire to the wood.
A little time was occupied, we said, in making
the sulphur catch fire. Ask yourselves this
question-Why was it that the sulphur took
a little time to catch fire? This was the
reason-because before the sulphur could
catch fire it was necessary to change the solid
sulphur (the condition in which it was upon the
match end) into gaseous sulphur. The solid
sulphur could not catch fire. Therefore the
heat of my tinder during the interval that


74






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


I was coaxing the match (as I called it) was
being exerted in converting my solid into
gaseous sulphur. When the solid sulphur
had had sufficient heat applied to it to
vapourize it, the sulphur gas immediately
caught fire. Now understand, that in order
to convert a solid into a liquid, or a liquid
into a gas, heat is always a necessity. I must
have heat to produce a gas out of a solid or
a liquid. I will endeavour to make this clear
to you by an experiment. I have here, as
you see, a wooden stool, and I am about to
pour a little water on this stool. I place a
glass beaker on the stool, the liquid water
only intervening between the stool and the
bottom of the glass. You see the glass is
perfectly loose, and easily lifted off the stool
notwithstanding the layer of water. I will now
pour into the beaker a little of a very volatile
liquid-i. e. a liquid that is easily converted
into a gas-(bisulphide of carbon). I wish


75






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


somewhat rapidly to effect the change of this
liquid bisulphide of carbon into gaseous bi-
sulphide of carbon, and in order to accomplish
this object I must have heat. So I take this
tube which, as you see, is connected with a
pair of bellows, and simply blow on my
bisulphide of carbon. This effects the change
of the liquid into a gas with great rapidity.
Just as I converted my solid sulphur into a
gas by the heat of the tinder, so here I am
converting this liquid bisulphide of carbon
into a gas by the wind from my bellows.
But my liquid bisulphide of carbon must get
heat somewhere or another in order that the
change of the liquid into a gas, that I desire
should take place, may be effected; and so,
seeing that. the water that I have placed be-
tween the glass and the stool is the most con-
venient place from which the liquid can derive
the necessary heat, it says, I will take the heat
out of the water." It does so, but in removing


76






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


the heat from the water it changes the liquid
water into solid ice. And see, already the
beaker is frozen to the stool, so that I can
actually lift up the stool by the beaker
(Fig. 28). Understand then why my sulphur
match wanted some time and some coaxing
before it caught fire, viz. to change this solid
sulphur into gaseous sulphur.
But let us go a step further: why must the
solid sulphur be converted into a gas? We
want a flame, and whenever we have flame it
is absolutely necessary that we should have a
gas to burn. You cannot have flame without
you have gas. Let me endeavour to illustrate
what I mean. I pour into this flask a small
quantity of ether, a liquid easily converted into
a gas. If I apply a lighted taper to the mouth
of the flask, no gas, or practically none, being
evolved at the moment, nothing happens. But
I will heat the ether so as to convert it into
a gas. And now that I have evolved a large


78






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


quantity of ether gas, when I apply a lighted
taper to the mouth of the flask I get a
large flame (Fig. 29).
There it is! The more
gas I evolve (that is, the
more actively I apply
the heat) the larger is
the flame. You see it
is a very large flame
now. If I take the
spirit lamp away, the
production of gas grows
less and less, until my
flame almost dies out;
but you see if I again
apply my heat and set
more gas free, I revive---- --
my flame. I want you Fig. 29.
to grasp this very important fact, upon which
I cannot enlarge further .now, that given flame,
I must have a gas to burn, and therefore heat


79






80 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


as a power is needed before I can obtain
flame.
Well, you ask me, is that true of all flame ?
Where is the gas, you say, in that candle flame?
Think for a moment of the science involved
in lighting a candle. What am I doing when
I apply a lighted match to this candle ? The
first thing I do is to melt the tallow, the melted
tallow being' drawn up by the capillarity of
the wick. The next thing I do is to convert
the liquid tallow into a gas. This done, I set
fire to the gas. I don't suppose you ever
thought so much was involved in lighting
a candle. My candle is nothing more than a
portable gas-works, similar in principle to the
gas-works from which the gas that I am burn-
ing here is supplied. Whether it is a lamp, or
a gas-burner, or a candle, they are all in a true
sense gas-works, and they all pre-suppose the
application of heat to some material or another
for the purpose of forming a gas which will burn.






.THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


Before I pass on, I
want to refer to the beau-
tiful burner that I have
here. It is the burner
used by the Whitechapel
stall-keepers on a Satur-
day night (Fig. 30).
(Fig. a is an enlarged
drawing of the burner.)
Just let me explain the
science of the White-
chapel burner. First of
all you will see the man
with a funnel filling this
top portion with naphtha
(c). Here is a stop-cock,
by turning which he lets
a little naphtha run down
the tube through a very
minute orifice into this
small cup at the bottom
F


C


a6


Fig. 30.






82 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


of the burner (a). This cup he heats in a
friend's lamp, thereby converting the liquid
naphtha, which runs into the cup, into a gas.
So soon as the gas is formed-in other words,
so soon as the naphtha has been sufficiently
heated-the naphtha gas catches fire, the heat
being then sufficient to maintain that little cup
hot enough to keep up a regular supply of
naphtha gas. When the lamp does not burn
very well, you will often see the man poking it
with a pin. The carbon given off from the
naphtha is very disposed to choke up the little
hole through which the naphtha -runs into the
cup, and the costermonger pushes a pin into
the little hole to allow the free passage of the
naphtha. That, then, is the mechanism of
this beautiful lamp of the Whitechapel traders,
known as Halliday's lamp.
Now I go to another point: having obtained
the gas, I must set fire to it. It is important
to note that the temperature required to set






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


fire to different gases varies with the gas. For
instance, I will set free in this bottle a small
quantity of gas, which fires at a very low
temperature. It is the vapour of carbon
disulphide. See, I merely place a hot rod
into the bottle, and the gas fires at once. If
I put a hot rod into this bottle of coal gas,
no such effect results, since coal gas requires
a very much higher temperature to ignite it
than bisulphide of carbon gas. I want almost
-not quite-actual flame to fire coal gas.
But here is another gas, about which I may
have to say something directly, called marsh
gas (the gas of coal-mines). This requires a
much higher temperature than even coal gas
to fire it. I want you to understand that
although all gases require heat to fire them,
different gases ignite at very different tem-
peratures. Bisulphide of carbon gas, e.g.,
ignites at a very low temperature, whilst marsh
gas requires a very high temperature indeed
F2


83






84 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


for its ignition. You will see directly that
this is a very important fact. Sulphur gas
ignites fortunately at a fairly low temperature,
and that is why sulphur is so useful an addition
to the wood splint by which to get fire out of
the tinder-box.
And here I wish to make a slight digression
in my story. I will show you an experiment
preparatory to bringing before you the fact I
am anxious now to make clear. I have
before me a tube, one half of which is brass
and the other half wood. I have covered the
tube, as you see, with a tightly-fitting piece
of white paper. The whole tube, wood and
brass, has been treated in exactly the same
manner. Now I will set fire to some spirit
in the trough I have here, and expose the
entire tube to the action of the flame. Notice
this very curious result, viz. that the paper
covering the brass portion of the tube does not
catch fire, whereas the paper covering the wood






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX. 85

is rapidly consumed (Fig. 31). You see the
exact line that divides wood from brass by the
burning of the paper. Well, why is that?
.Now all of you know that some things conduct
heat (i. e. carry away heat) better than other
substances. For instance, if you were to put

', y i r i, .









Fig. 31.

a copper rod and a glass rod into the fire,
allowing a part of each to project, the copper
rod that projects out of the fire would soon
become so very hot that you dare not touch
it, owing to the copper conducting the heat
from the fire, whereas you would be able






86 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

to take hold of the projecting end of the
glass rod long after the end of the glass
exposed to the fire had melted. The fact is,
the copper carries heat well, and the glass
carries heat badly. Now with the teaching of
that experiment before you, you will under-
stand, I hope, the exact object of one or two
experiments I am about to show you. Here
is a piece of coarse wire gauze-I am about to
place it over the flame of this Argand burner.
You will notice that it lowers the flame for a
moment, but almost immediately the flame
dashes through the gauze (Fig. 32 A). Here
is another piece of gauze, not quite so coarse
as the last. I place this over the flame, and
for a moment the flame cannot get through it.
There, you see it is through now, but it did
not pass with the same readiness that it did in
the case of the other piece of gauze, which was
coarser. Now, when I take a piece of fine
gauze, the flame does not pass through at all






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX. 87

until the gauze is nearly red-hot. There is
plenty of gas passing all the time. If I take
a still finer gauze, I shall find that the flame
won't pass even when it is almost red-hot
(Fig. 32 B). Plenty of gas is passing through,



I
'.. .'*" _-. .
,' _I




Ui
Fig. 32.
remember, all the time, but the flame does not
pass through. Now why is it that the flame
is unable to pass ? The reason is this-because
the metal gauze has so cooled the flame that
the heat on one side is not sufficient to set
fire to the gas on the other side. I must






88 THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.

have, you see, a certain temperature to fire my
gas. When therefore I experiment with a very
fine piece of gauze, where I have a good deal
of metal and a large conducting surface, there
is no possibility of the flame passing. In fact,
I have so cooled the flame by the metal gauze
that it is no longer hot enough to set fire to
the gas on the opposite side. I will give you
one or two more illustrations of the same fact.
Suppose I put upon this gauze a piece of
camphor (camphor being a substance that
gives off a heavy combustible vapour when
heated), and then heat it, you see the camphor
gas burning on the under side of the gauze,
but the camphor gas on the upper side is not
fired (Fig. 33). Plenty of camphor gas is
being given off, but the flame of the burning
camphor on the under side is not high enough
to set fire to the camphor gas on the upper
side, owing to the conducting power of the
metal between the flame and the upper gas.






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


There is one other experiment I should like
to show you. Upon this piece of metal gauze
I have piled up a small heap of gunpowder.
I will place a spirit-lamp underneath the gun-
powder, as you see I am now doing, and I
don't suppose the gunpowder will catch fire.
I see the sulphur of the gunpowder at the








Fig. 33.

present moment volatilizing, but the flame,
cooled by the action of the metal, is not hot
enough to set fire to the gunpowder.
I showed you the steel and flint lamp-if
I may call it a lamp-used by coal-miners at
the time of Davy (Fig. 22). Davy set to
work to invent a more satisfactory lamp than


89






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


that, and the result of his experiments was
the beautiful miner's lamp which I have here
(Fig. 34). I regard this lamp
with considerable affection, be-
cause I have been down many
a coal-mine with it. This is
the coal-miner's safety-lamp.
The old-fashioned form of it
that I have here has been much
improved, but it illustrates the
principle as well as, if not
better than, more elaborate
varieties. It is simply an oil
flame covered with a gauze
S shade, exactly like that gauze
With which I have been ex-
1--perimenting. I will allow a jet
S of coal gas to play upon this
Fig. 34.
lamp, but the gas, as you see,
does not catch fire. You will notice the oil
flame in the lamp elongates in a curious


9






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


91


manner. The flame of the lamp cooled by
the gauze is not hot enough to set fire
to the coal gas, but the appearance of the
flame warns the miner, and tells him- when
there is danger. And that is the explanation
of the beautiful miner's safety-lamp invented
by Sir Humphry Davy.
Now let me once more put this fact clearly
before you, that whether it is the gas- flame
or our farthing rushlight, whether it is our
lamp or our lucifer match, if we have a flame
we must have a gas to burn, and having a
gas, we must heat it to, and maintain it at, a
certain temperature. We have now reached
a point where our tinder-box has presented
us with flame. A flame is indeed the con-
summated work of the tinder-box.
Just let me say a few words about the grand
result-the consummated work of the tinder-
box. A flame is a very remarkable thing.
It looks solid, but it is not solid. You will






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


find that the inside of a flame consists of
unburnt gas-gas, that is to say, not in a
state of combustion at all. The only spot
where true combustion takes place is the
outer covering of the flame. I will try to
show you some experiments illustrating this.
I will take a large flame for this purpose.
Here is a piece of glass tube which I have
covered with ordinary white paper. Holding



Fig. 35.
the covered glass tube in our large flame
for a minute or two, you observe I get two
rings of charred paper, corresponding to the
outer envelope of the flame, whilst that portion
of the paper between the black rings has not
even been scorched, showing you that it is
only the outer part of the flame that is burn-
ing (Fig. 35). The heat of the flame is at
that part where, as I said before, the com-


92






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


bustible gases come into contact-into collision
with the atmosphere. So completely is this
true, that if I take a tube, such as I have
here, I can easily convey the unburnt gas in
the centre of the flame away from the flame,


Fig. 36.


and set fire to it, as you see, at the end of the
glass tube a long distance from the flame
(Fig. 36). I will place in the centre of my
flame some phosphorus which is at the present
moment in a state of active burning, and


93






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


observe how instantly the combustion of the
phosphorus ceases so soon as it gets into the



Si)





















Fig. 37.

centre of the flame. The crucible which con-
tains it is cooled down immediately, and


94





THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


presents an entirely different appearance within
the flame to what it did outside the flame.
It is a curious way, perhaps you think, to stop
a substance burning by putting it into a flame.
Indeed I can put a heap of gunpowder inside
a flame so that the outer envelope of burning
gas does not ignite it (Fig. 37). There you
see a heap of gunpowder in the centre of our
large flame. The flame is so completely hollow
that even it cannot explode the powder.
I want you, if you will, to go a step further.
The heat of the flame is due, as I explained
in my last lecture, to the clashing of molecules.
But what is the light of my candle and gas due
to? The light is due to the solid matter in
the flame, brought to a state of white heat or
incandescence by the heat of the flame. The
heat is due to the clashing of the particles,
the light is due to the heated solid matter in
the flame. Let me see if I can show you
that. I am setting free in this bottle some


95






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


hydrogen, which I am about to ignite at the
end of this piece of glass tube (Fig. 38 A).
I shall be a little cautious, because there is
danger if my hydrogen gets mixed with air.














A B
Fig. 38.

There is my hydrogen burning; but see, it
gives little or no light. But this candle flame
gives light. Why? The light of the candle
is due to the intensely heated solid matter in
the flame; the absence of light in the hydrogen


96






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


flame depends on the absence of solid matter.
Let me hold clean white plates over both these
flames. See the quantity of black solid matter
that I am able to collect from this candle
flame (Fig. 38 B). But my hydrogen yields
me no soot or solid matter whatsoever (Fig.
38 A). The plate remains perfectly clean, and
only a little moisture collects upon it. The
light that candle gives depends upon the solid
matter in the flame becoming intensely heated.
If what I say be true, it follows that if I take a
flame which gives no light, like this hydrogen
flame (Fig. 39 A), and give it solid particles,
I ought to change the non-luminous flame
into a luminous one. Let us see whether this
be so or not. I have here a glass tube con-
taining a little cotton wadding (Fig. 39 B a),
and I am about to pour on the wadding a
little ether, and to make the hydrogen gas
pass through the cotton wadding soaked with
ether before I fire it. And now if what I have
G


97






THE STORY OF A TINDER-BOX.


said is correct, the hydrogen flame to which I
have imparted a large quantity of solid matter


Fig. 39.
ought to produce a good light, and so it does!
See, I have converted the flame which gave


98




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