A History of the Roller Coaster, gives the Russians credit for building the first wheeled machine. He states that it was in the Gardens of Orienbaum in St. Petersburg. Cartmell says that this ride was built in 1784 and featured carriages that undulated over hills within grooved tracks.
Successful innovations in domestic oil lighting, 1784-1859
Magazine Antiques, Dec, 2005 by Vincent P. Plescia
Primitive lamps, which relied on capillary action to deliver oil or melted fat up a wick to the flame, were improved only marginally in form and material over many centuries. Of the oils available prior to breakthroughs in fuel technology in the nineteenth century, those most commonly used to burn for light were the nonvolatile ones. However, these animal- and plant-derived oils, such as colza, olive, and spermaceti, were generally of such weight and viscosity that they would travel only one to two inches up a wick. The light that existing oil lamps produced could be both dim and smoky. Thomas Webster and Frances Byerly Parkes, popular domestic economists of the nineteenth century, pointed out that the
smoke and disagreeable smell arising from the burning of oil in common
lamps, and the unsightly appearance of the whole process, bad long
banished the lamp from the apartments of the wealthy, and they had been
universally superseded by candles!
Equipped with the general knowledge that making a light required three components--wick, fuel, and air--men of science and entrepreneurs occupied themselves with developing oil lamps that would provide cleaner, brighter artificial light at an economical price. However, no wholesale conversion of light-generating technology occurred until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. During this period a stream of invention and innovation produced a number of successful oil-lamp forms that gained wide acceptance in competition with the candle.
In 1784 the Swiss chemist Francois Pierre Ami Argand (1753-1803) was issued a patent in England for "a lamp that is so constructed to produce neither smoak nor smell, and to give considerably more light than any lamp hitherto known" (2)--at least ten to twelve times that of a single candle. Argand's apparatus had two essential features: a dual air-current burner and a gravity feed fuel distribution system. Generally described, the dual air-current burner consists of two cylindrical tubes of different diameters and different lengths. The narrower and taller tube, is inserted in the wider, slightly shorter tube, and the two are joined at the base by a washerlike disk, creating a space for oil to gather between the walls of the two cylinders. A tubular wick, rather than a flat wick, is slipped over the central tube, and a removable metal sleeve with a slit down one side, and in some versions, perforations, is slid over the wick, encasing it but still allowing oil to saturate it. Integral to this burner assembly is a cylindrical glass chimney, which is placed over the burner to induce two constant upward drafts. First, because the central tube is open at both ends, air is drawn from the bottom of the tube to the top of the wick into the center of the flame. The second draft comes from an inlet between the chimney and the outer wall of the burner along the outside of the wick and flame.
Argand placed the oil supply lateral to the burner and connected the two with a horizontal tube that opened into a chamber called the cistern. The oil reservoir, or font, was mounted on top of the cistern, and the flow of oil into it was controlled by a valve. As oil entered the cistern, the force of gravity kept the oil level in the cistern and the oil level in the burner on the same plane by pulling oil through the feeder tube into the burner. The regulated supply of oil allowed the wick to stay completely saturated, so that it kept the flame constantly burning brightly.
In Argand's original device, the wick was manipulated by a screw-type wick raiser; which he soon abandoned in favor of a rack-and-pinion mechanism. In 1802 James Smethurst and Nicholas Paul received a patent in England for several improvements to lamps, one of which was an ingenious spiral wick raiser. (3) The latter was such a success that English Argand-type lamps manufactured after that time almost exclusively incorporated it.
Remarking on Argand's dual air-current burner, Webster and Parkes observed that it
was found to succeed perfectly on trial: the combustion was more
complete, the smoke was diminished, and the brilliancy of the light
increased, [which] brought this instrument [the oil-burning lamp] again
into general use, and made it a successful rival to the best wax
Oil lamps based on Argand's concept were soon being manufactured and used throughout England and France, (5) and quickly attracted the attention of Americans abroad. In Paris in 1786 Thomas Jefferson ordered silver plated Argand lamps for Monticello, (6) his house in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in 1790 George Washington ordered them for Mount Vernon, also in Virginia. In a short time Argand-type lamps were being exported to the United States, where they became widely available. The Charleston merchant Daniel Carrell, for example, advertised in 1795 that he "HAS JUST RECEIVED, a quantity of GOODS, Among which are: A number of different kinds of ARGAND'S ... [which] consume the Smoke ... of various prices and patterns." (7) By 1809 the firm of Leadbeater and Sheldon (1809-1842) of Philadelphia was producing Argand-type lamps domestically. (8)
The sconces above the mantel in Francois Joseph Bourgoin's painting Family Group in a New York Interior (Pl. III) document the use of Argand-type lamps in New York City households by 1807. The painting is the earliest known American interior depicting the use of dual air-current burner lamps. Numerous styles of such sconces are illustrated in the page from the trade catalogue of the French firm Marsaux et Cie shown in Plate IV, including several similar to those depicted in Bourgoin's painting and some caryatid-form sconces like the one in Plate V. (9) Also depicted are a variety of hanging lamps, as well as multiple-burner lamps that could light larger areas for dining or other family or social activities. The latter could be fashioned so that one reservoir would feed two or more burners or so that each burner had its own fuel supply.
As widely popular as the Argand-type apparatus was, it did have a drawback. Almost universally, users complained about the shadow cast by the reservoir. According to Webster and Parkes,
in the original construction of Argand's lamp, the reservoir for the oil
was placed on one side of the flame; and, consequently, the light being
obstructed by it, there was a strong and inconvenient shadow on that
Not finding the dual air-current burner lacking in any particular way, inventors directed the majority of their attention to the fuel delivery system. The French watchmaker Bernard Guillaume Carcel (1750-1818) offered one ingenious mechanical solution to the problem. He designed a lamp with the oil reservoir under the burner, in the body of the lamp. To keep the oil moving up the wick, Carcel housed a clockwork mechanism in the lamp base that acted like a piston to push oil up into the burner. The winding key was located at the bottom of the lamp base. The advantages Carcel claimed for his lamp in his 1800 patent in Paris were that the movement operated unattended, the oil could be used to the last drop, the lamp would stay lit for sixteen hours straight without refilling, and it provided illumination for several persons at the same time with a single burner. (11)
Carcel's lamp enjoyed great popularity among wealthy households in Paris, but it was never widely used in England or the United States, presumably in part because the works were prone to falter or clog with oil, and the lamp had to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair. In addition, according to Webster and Parkes, the mechanical sophistication of the lamp was thought to be too great to entrust to the care and keeping of "ordinary servants." (12)
Puddling was the first true industrial process to make steel from pig iron. A primitive version of the process was known in China already in the 3rd century. The pig iron tapped off the blast furnace was puddled with iron bars, bringing it into it contact with oxygen in the air and burning off any surplus carbon.
In Europe, the process was one of several that were developed in the second half of the 18th century for producing bar iron from pig iron without the use of charcoal. It was invented by Henry Cort at Fontley in Hampshire in 1783–4 and patented in 1784. A superficially similar (but probably less effective) process was patented the previous year by Peter Onions. Cort's process consisted of stirring molten pig iron in a reverberatory furnace in an oxidising atmosphere, thus decarburising it. When the iron 'came to nature', that is, to a pasty consistency, it was gathered into a puddled ball, shingled, and rolled (as described above). This application of the rolling mill was also Cort's invention.
Called 'double pressed point net' this net had the appearance of hand made net and was much firmer than 'single pressed point net'. It was invented in about 1784. Both sorts of net were embroidered by hand to imitate hand made lace.