Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
Written by JulieW
(4/19/2006 2:59 p.m.)
An abbey! Yes, it was delightful to be really in an abbey! But she doubted, as she looked round the room, whether anything within her observation would have given her the consciousness. The furniture was in all the profusion and elegance of modern taste. The fireplace, where she had expected the ample width and ponderous carving of former times, was contracted to a Rumford, with slabs of plain though handsome marble, and ornaments over it of the prettiest English china.
Let's find out......first, a little about the Count.
Here he is,in all his glory,painted by Thomas Gainsborough.
He was born plain Benjamin Thompson in Woburn, Massachusetts in 1753 and, because he was a loyal to the British Crown, he left Massachusetts with the British in 1776.
On returning to England, he set to investigating and improving the properties of gunpowder. He was knighted in 1784, and then became an aide-de-camp to the Elector of Bavaria.
He spent , in all ,eleven years in Bavaria, reorganizing the Bavarian army and establishing workhouses for the poor. In 1791 he was rewarded by being invested as a Count of the Holy Roman Empire.It was while working in Munich that his scientific investigations into the nature of heat took place: he demonstrated in his paper
"An Experimental Enqury Concerning the Source of the Heat which is Excited by Friction" (1798)
that heat was not a liquid form of matter but a form of mechanical energy.
Rumford was an active inventor,and whilst being famous primarily for his developments improving the efficinecy of chimneys and fireplaces, he also invented the double boiler, a kitchen range, and a non-drip coffee pot, amongst other items.
Rumford wrote two papers detailing his improvements on fireplaces in 1796 and in 1798.(see link below)
This picture shows the Count warming his derriere in front of a Rumford fireplace: you can see that the fireplace opening has been reduced, so as to improve it's performance and to stop the chimmney smoking.
So ,you see, our heroine had expected great big open fireplaces at the Abbey: she would not have objected, in principle at least , to ones that smoked and did not give off much heat!Intead, she was instantly met ,on her arrival at the Abbey, with an example of modern efficney at its non-Romanticpragmatic best!
Another example of the General putting comfort and luxury first,and romantic sensibilities a poor second.
Unfeeling man!....Poor Catherine.......LOL
|ESSAY IV...On Chimney Pieces.....|
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.