The patent law established Boulton and Watt and the firm paid back the nation with handsome usury, giving it unimaginable profits indirectly through its control of the work of the world and large profits directly through the business brought them from all parts of the then civilized globe. There has never, in the history of the world, been a more impressive illustration of the value to a nation of that generous public policy, that simply just legislation, which gives to the man of brain control of the products of his mind. For a hundred years, Great Britain has, largely through her encouragement of the inventor and her protection of his mental property by securing the fruits of his labors, in fair portion, to him, gained the power of dictating to the world and has gained an advance that cannot be measured. Watt and Arkwright and Stephenson and Crompton and their ilk, protected by their government and its patent laws, made their country the peaceful conqueror of the world. The story of the work of the inventor is a poem of mighty meaning and of wonderful deeds.

The inventor proved himself a mightier magician than ever the world had seen.

"A creature he called to wait on his will,
Half iron, half vapor - a dread to behold;
Which evermore panted, and evermore rolled,
And uttered his words a millionfold."

Such was the outcome of this grand modern "trust," a combination of the wisest legislation, the most brilliant invention, and the most wisely applied capital. There are "trusts" of which the outcome is most beneficent.

Since the days of Watt, the improvement of the steam engine and the work of inventors has been confined to matters of detail. All the fundamental principles were developed by Watt and his predecessors and contemporaries and it only was left to his successors to find the best ways of carrying them into effect. But these matters of detail have been found to involve opportunities to make enormous strides in the direction of securing improved efficiency of the machine. The further application of the principle which led Watt to his greatest inventions; of the principle, keep the cylinder as hot as the steam which enters it, of that which he enunciated relative to the advantage of expanding steam, and of that affecting the regulation of the machine; have reduced the costs of steam and of fuel to a small fraction of their earlier magnitude. One ton of engine to-day does the work of eight or ten in the time of Watt: one pound of fuel or of steam gives to-day ten times the power then obtained from it.

A steamship now crosses the Atlantic in one-eighth the time required by the famous "liner" of the "Black Ball Line." The wastes of the engine have been brought down from above eighty per cent. to eight; and a half-ounce of fuel on board ship will now transport a ton of cargo over a mile of ocean.

FREDERICK E. SICKELS gave us the first practicable form of expansion gear in 1841; GEORGE H. CORLISS gave a new type of engine of marvelous perfection and economy in 1849; Noble T. Green, Wm. Wright and many less well known but no less meritorious inventors have since done their part in the transformation of the old engine of Watt into the modern wonder of concentrated and economical power, and marvel of accurate and beautiful design and workmanship. The "trip cut-off," with reduced clearances, increased boiler pressure, higher rates of expansion, accelerated speeds of engine, better construction in all respects, as well as improved design, have enabled us to avail ourselves to the utmost of the principles of Watt, and our mills, our railways, our steamers and our fields, even, have gained almost as extraordinarily by these advances, since the days of the great inventor, as through his immediate labors.

With the introduction of the new form of older energy, electricity, with the reduction of the lightning into thraldom, has now come a new impulse affecting all the industries. Through its mysterious, its still unknown action, steam now reaches out far from its own place, driving the electric car along miles of rail; giving light throughout all the country about it, turning night into day, and repressing crime while encouraging legitimate labor, reaching into distant chambers and every little workshop, to offer its powerful aid in all the distributed work of cities. Without the steam engine there would be little work available for electricity, but the appearance of this, the latest and most useful handmaid of steam, has given the engine work to do in an uncounted number of new fields, has called in the inventor once more to adapt steam to its new work. The "high-speed engine" is the latest form of the universal helper. And such has been the readiness and the intelligence of the contemporary inventor that we now have engines capable of turning their shafts three hundred rotations a minute and without a perceptible variation of velocity, whatever the change of load or the suddenness with which it is varied.

In the days of Watt a fluctuation of five per cent. in speed was thought wonderfully small; in those of Corliss, the variation was restricted to two per cent. and we wondered at this unanticipated success. To-day, thanks to Porter and Allen, to Hartnell, to Hoadley, to Sims, to Thomson, to Sweet, to Ide, and to Ball, we have seen the speed fluctuation restricted to even less than one per cent. of its normal average.

The inventors of the steam engine are, through their representatives of to-day, according to the statisticians, doing the equivalent of twelve times the work of a horse, for every man, woman and child on the globe. We have not less, probably, than a half million of miles of railway, transporting something over 150,000,000,000 of tons a mile a year. A horse is reckoned to haul a ton weight about six and a half miles, day by day, by the year together. In the United States, it is reckoned that the steam engine, on the railways alone, hauls a thousand tons one mile, for every inhabitant of the country, every year, or, if it is preferred to so state it, a ton a thousand miles. This is the way in which the East and the West are, by the inventors of the steam engine, enabled to help each other. This costs about $10 each individual; it would require some 25 millions of horses to do the work, and would cost about $1,000 a family, which is more than twice the average family earnings.