The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 206

compliance with custom, use the expression _draw_, when in
fact it is the superior weight of the surrounding atmosphere that
_presses_ to enter the funnel below, and so _drives up_ before it the
smoke and warm air it meets with in its passage.

I have been the more particular in explaining these first principles,
because, for want of clear ideas respecting them, much fruitless
expence has been occasioned; not only single chimneys, but in some
instances, within my knowledge, whole stacks having been pulled down
and rebuilt with funnels of different forms, imagined more powerful
in _drawing_ smoke; but having still the same height and the same
opening below, have performed no better than their predecessors.

What is it then which makes a _smoky chimney_, that is, a chimney
which, instead of conveying up all the smoke, discharges a part of it
into the room, offending the eyes and damaging the furniture?

The causes of this effect, which have fallen under my observation,
amount to _nine_, differing from each other, and therefore requiring
different remedies.

1. _Smoky chimneys in a new house, are such, frequently from mere
want of air._ The workmanship of the rooms being all good, and just
out of the workman's hand, the joints of the boards of the flooring,
and of the pannels of wainscotting are all true and tight, the more
so as the walls, perhaps not yet thoroughly dry, preserve a dampness
in the air of the room which keeps the wood-work swelled and close.
The doors and the sashes too, being worked with truth, shut with
exactness, so that the room is as tight as a snuff-box, no passage
being left open for air to enter, except the key-hole, and even that
is sometimes covered by a little dropping shutter. Now if smoke
cannot rise but as connected with rarefied air, and a column of such
air, suppose it filling the funnel, cannot rise, unless other air
be admitted to supply its place; and if, therefore, no current of
air enter the opening of the chimney, there is nothing to prevent
the smoke coming out into the room. If the motion upwards of the
air in a chimney that is freely supplied, be observed by the rising
of the smoke or a feather in it, and it be considered that in the
time such feather takes in rising from the fire to the top of the
chimney, a column of air equal to the content of the funnel must be
discharged, and an equal quantity supplied from the room below, it
will appear absolutely impossible that this operation should go

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Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.