This section is from the book "A Library Of Wonders And Curiosities Found In Nature And Art, Science And Literature", by I. Platt. Also available from Amazon: A library of wonders and curiosities.
Put an empty bottle with a cork in it near the fire; the cork will be driven out.
Get a vessel of hot water, and put a phial into it, with the mouth downwards; the expanded air will bubble out. Let the water cool, or pour cold water on the phial, of which the mouth has not been drawn above the surface of the water, and as the air is now cooled, and occupies less space, a considerable part of the bottle will be filled with water.
Boil a little water in a glass phial ever a candle for a few minutes; then invert the mouth of the phial in water, and, as it cools, the air will contract, and water will be forced up the bottle, by the external air, to occupy the vacant space.
Lay a weighty book on a bladder, and blow into it with a pipe, and the book will be raised. Increase the weight on the bladder very much indeed, and you may still raise it as before.
A bladder filled with air may be compressed, and the moment the force is removed, it will recover its size If thrown on the ground it will rise like a ball.
Take a cup, and burn a few pieces of paper in it, the heat will expand the air in it. Invert the cup now m a saucer of water, and, as the enclosed air cools, it will return to its former density, and leave a vacuum, and the pressure of the external air will force a great deal of water up into the cup. If this experiment be performed with a large drinking-glass, the water may be seen to rise in the glass.
The pressure of the air may be very sensibly felt, by putting the hole of a common bellows over the knee, and then attempting to raise the upper part of it.
Boil water in a glass phial over a candle for a few minutes, then suddenly removing it, tie a piece of wetted bladder over the mouth, making it fast with a string; the pressure of the air will stretch the bladder, if it do not burst it.
Get a glass vessel, as a common tumbler, if no better be at hand, and put a piece of wetted bladder over the mouth, pressing it down in the middle, and then tie it firm with a string; then lay hold of the bladder in the middle, and try to pull it straight, or level with the rest, and the pressure of the external air will not permit it.
Do exactly the same as before, except that the vessel must be nearly full of water. Turn the vessel upside-down, and the bladder will still continue as it was placed, the pressure of the air overcoming the weight of the water.
Though air be capable of compression, it makes a resistance, and that very considerable. The ball of an air-gun has been burst asunder by overcharging it. If bottles are filled too much, they may be burst in attempting to cork them, from the air between the cork and the liquor being too much condensed.
Put a common wine-glass, with the mouth downwards, into water; and to whatever depth it may be plunged, the air will not allow much water to rise into it, as may be seen by the inside of the glass not being wet. If a bit of cork float inside of the glass, it will point out to the eye still more clearly how high the water rises. This experiment, though so very simple. will illustrate the nature of the diving-bell.