This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A period has just gone by us, in which what is called "famine prices" have been paid by the rich and the poor; our great cities have actually suffered from want: at one time, it was difficult to procure, for a large sum, a bushel of potatoes in the great city of Philadelphia, and we can testify it was eminently so in its outskirts. Why is this? Are so many people getting rich and lazy? Very probably 1 Have we so many non-producers? Yes I But may we not look to other causes also? Is not irrigation a neglected source of wealth 7 and, if so, what is the process by which we are to arrive at a remedy. We answer, without hesitation, the steam-engine must now step in and relieve us from our incubus. Just as we were pondering on this subject, we saw an advertisement in the Horticulturist of Harlan and Hollingsworfh, of Wilmington, Delaware, of the very thing wanted, and then came another advertisement from Zanesville, Ohio, and a short letter from a gentleman who seems to have studied the subject, which contains so much good sense respecting the use of steam in agriculture and horticulture, that we adopt if. Steam has long wafted us on river and ocean, but it has but lately found its way to the farm, on wheels.
Henor be to the man who thus mounted it, and sent it round, like a good physician, to visit its patients and "Cure their ills With constant rills".
Our correspondent shall tell the uses of a pedestrian steam-engine:
"The point is nearly reached, in the wonderful development of our country, when steam must be called in requisition to do very much labor heretofore done by human muscles, cattle, and horses, and to do much more, which their instrumentalities have never undertaken, but which the point reached in our progress renders necessary. In this, the horticulturist, whether commercial or amateur, as well as the agriculturist, has a deep interest.
"I will, in a suggestive way, point, out a few of the various ends which steam must be called upon to subserve.
"The nearly steady annual decrease of rain during the summer and fall months, is, I believe, an admitted fact, and the train of consequences following these protracted droughts are beginning to attract serious attention, as the supposed causes are steadily going forward, with an increase proportionate to the increasing density of population. The fact is, that the water retires into deep, subterranean cavers and artificial aid must be called into requisition to remedy this, as far as may be, and to elevate it again to the surface, where it will partially compensate for the long withheld showers of rain. This the steam-engine must do in the great majority of cases, if done at all. Cities and villages have artificial supplies of water, and why not the florist, horticulturist, and farmer?
"Again, the professional florist needs artificial heat during our protracted winters. Farmers, owing to the advanced price of grain and stock, will find it to their interest to substitute steam for many purposes, where admissible, for human, horse, and cattle labor, in threshing, cutting, crushing, and cooking feed, wood, Ac. Having thus glanced at the utility, economy, as well as the necessity for the employment of steam in the more common affairs of life, the next inquiry will naturally be, has the steam-engine been simplified and cheapened, so as to fit and qualify it for these new uses? The answer is, that it has, to a very great extent, at least - sufficiently to answer present requisitions.
"The engravings attached to two advertisements inserted in this number, will give an idea of improvements in the portable steam-engine, which are a long step in advance of all that have preceded them in simplicity, durability, and cheapness. The novelty of the design, in Blandy's engine, is apparent to any persons who have examined other attainments in steam-engine building, either portable or movable.
"The fire-box is of good size, and adapted to any kind of fuel, or mixed fuel, and, from its peculiar shape, is nearly self-supporting, and having no crown bars, and very few stay bolts. This is not its greatest novelty or superiority, for this is in the bed-plate, which is a, hollow column, having legs cast on it for its own attachment to the boiler, and seats for all the working parts of the engine, all of which are arranged in a straight line. The inside of this tubular bed-plate, is used to heat the supply of water before going into the boiler, by the waste steam.
"Its whole arrangement is as compact and artistic as a lever watch, and almost any size up to fifty-horse power can be moved on an ordinary, stout, farm wagon, and occupy not so much space as a common buggy or carriage. The exceeding simplicity enables any person, with a day's teaching, to run it safely and successfully." Farther particulars may be found by reference to the cards of the inventors and builders, in the advertising department, as well for the Ohio engine as for that of Harlan and Hollingsworth, to both of which we desire to call attention.