HOW MUCH DO WE OWE TO ELECTRICITY?
Rare is the day that does not produce something to place the world under great obligation to nature for giving us this indispensable agent—electricity. Indeed, its benefits are incessant. Although their attention was attracted to it nearly three thousand years ago, scientists have never been able to analyze it and inform us what it is. We talk about a current of electricity, when in truth there is no current, and we are permitted to use the expression as a matter of convenience, or for the want of a better one. Electricity has no weight, and can be produced in unlimited quantities without the consumption of any material thing; hence it is not a substance or a material. It is a constituent part of nature, and in its natural state cannot be detected, and yet it is capable of supplying the world with something for which there has not yet appeared a substitute. To deprive the world of electricity in this age would be to paralyze industry and set us back to the mediaeval period. Innumerable things are being accomplished and lives are being saved’ every hour of the day by its use, but the world seldom hears of them. Such disasters as befell the Titanic and the Volturno show the benefit to humanity of radiotelegraphy. Among the very interesting events recently was the exploding of the Gamboa Dike in the Panama Canal by an electric spark brought into existence by the President of the United States closing a key in Washington, more than live thousand miles away, inside of a second, in France long distance wireless telegraphy is being used for communication between the earth and the aeroplane, and it is claimed that messages can be heard for a distance of sixty miles. The ability to accomplish such feats is a wonderful accomplishment to the reflecting mind, but in these days of big things and rapid changes such achievements are reckoned among the commonplace events of our daily life. In a telegraphic sense, distances are hardly a factor to be reckoned with, and are usually left out of all consideration. Franz Doering, a German electrical engineer, asserts that he has discovered a method of transmitting light and power by wireless over great distances.