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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 228

is a
common case, if a chimney of thirty or forty feet high were built
over one of the shafts, or so near the shaft, that the chimney might
communicate with the top of the shaft, all air being excluded but
what should pass up or down by the shaft, a constant change of air
would, by this means, be produced in the passages below, tending to
secure the workmen from those damps, which so frequently incommode
them. For the fresh air would be almost always going down the open
shaft, to go up the chimney, or down the chimney, to go up the shaft.
Let me add one observation more, which is, that if that part of the
funnel of a chimney, which appears above the roof of a house, be
pretty long, and have three of its sides exposed to the heat of the
sun successively, viz. when he is in the east, in the south, and in
the west, while the north side is sheltered by the building from the
cool northerly winds; such a chimney will often be so heated by the
sun, as to continue the draft strongly upwards, through the whole
twenty-four hours, and often for many days together. If the outside
of such a chimney be painted black, the effect will be still greater,
and the current stronger.


No. III.

It is said the northern Chinese have a method of warming their ground
floors, which is ingenious. Those floors are made of tiles, a foot
square and two inches thick, their corners being supported by bricks
set on end, that are a foot long and four inches square; the tiles,
too, join into each other, by ridges and hollows along their sides.
This forms a hollow under the whole floor, which on one side of the
house has an opening into the air, where a fire is made, and it has a
funnel rising from the other side to carry off the smoke. The fuel is
a sulphurous pitcoal, the smell of which in the room is thus avoided,
while the floor, and of course the room, is well warmed. But as the
underside of the floor must grow foul with soot, and a thick coat of
soot prevents much of the direct application of the hot air to the
tiles, I conceive that burning the smoke, by obliging it to descend
through red coals, would in this construction be very advantageous,
as more heat would be given by the flame than by the smoke, and the
floor being thereby kept free from soot would be more heated

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