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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 244

that the air
passing in the flame of my stove, and in the flame of a candle,
being already saturated with such particles, could not receive more,
and therefore left the coal undiminished as long as the outward air
was prevented from coming to it by the surrounding flame, which
kept it in a situation somewhat like that of charcoal in a well
luted crucible, which, though long kept in a strong fire, comes out
unconsumed.

An easy experiment will satisfy any one of this conserving power of
flame envelloping red coal. Take a small stick of deal or other wood
the size of a goose quill, and hold it horizontally and steadily in
the flame of the candle above the wick, without touching it, but in
the body of the flame. The wood will first be inflamed, and burn
beyond the edge of the flame of the candle, perhaps a quarter of an
inch. When the flame of the wood goes out, it will leave a red coal
at the end of the stick, part of which will be in the flame of the
candle and part out in the air. In a minute or two you will perceive
the coal in the air diminish gradually, so as to form a neck; while
the part in the flame continues of its first size, and at length the
neck being quite consumed it drops off; and by rolling it between
your fingers when extinguished you will find it still a solid coal.

However, as one cannot be always putting on fresh fuel in this stove
to furnish a continual flame as is done in a candle, the air in the
intervals of time gets at the red coals and consumes them. Yet the
conservation while it lasted, so much delayed the consumption of the
coals, that two fires, one made in the morning, and the other in the
afternoon, each made by only a hatfull of coals, were sufficient to
keep my writing room, about sixteen feet square and ten high, warm a
whole day. The fire kindled at seven in the morning would burn till
noon; and all the iron of the machine with the walls of the niche
being thereby heated, the room kept warm till evening, when another
smaller fire kindled kept it warm till midnight.

Instead of the sliding plate E, which shuts the front of the box C,
I sometimes used another which had a pane of glass, or, which is
better, of Muscovy talc, that the flame might be seen descending
from the bottom of the vase and passing

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