In these days of progress, scientific knowledge is more
extended in scope and diffusion, and influences each year
more people; so that the number of those not interested in
scientific advancement is rapidly decreasing.
and periodicals are already so numerous that it would be
impossible for the average person to read even a small
portion of those in his own language, to say nothing of
those which, being in foreign tongues, are not directly
available to the majority.
To serve the
millions for whose pleasure and benefit science must no
longer be a sealed book, who wish to be reasonably
well-informed on practically the whole range of scientific
progress, but who may lack time and opportunity to read more
than a few of the excellent special periodicals from which
the text-books and cyclopedias largely draw their data.
have prepared these pages, which I hope will save time and
eyesight to the unscientific, and serve for ready reference
to those whose thought and action lie within technical
As far as
practicable, the best periodicals and other sources of
information in the entire range of useful science have been
laid under tribute, and leaders in inventive and
manufacturing circles have added from their knowledge.
mass of material thus gathered and received the main items
of interest have been selected, divested of unnecessary
detail and couched in simple language, suited to the mass of
I have tried
to make the record complete, concise, popular, useful,
interesting, convenient, and accurate. I should be glad to
receive for next year's record authentic data concerning new
and important inventions, investigations, and discoveries.
wonderful advances made in the science of electricity, and
in the many applications thereof, steam is still king of the
forces by which civilized man is enabled to make progress
against those of nature, and to increase his supremacy over
his less progressive fellows; and a record of the triumphs
in steam engineering is to some extent an index of the
degree of such progress.
The science or
profession of steam engineering has been set apart from the
rest of mechanical engineering, once so called, because of
the extent of its scope, and of the peculiarities which make
it necessary to be studied as a separate science and
practiced as a separate art.
The past year has
been noted in this particular for progress made in marine
engines, particularly in the development and application to
the propulsion of large vessels in successful commercial
practice, of the triple and quadruple expansion engines, and
the application to locomotives of the compound principle.