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England's most distinguished electrical engineer, Sir William Siemens, who had tried solving the electrical lighting problem for ten years, greeted Edison's announcement with, "Such startling announcements should be deprecated as being unworthy of science and mischievous to its true progress." Edison soon perfected his light and publicly demonstrated electrical lighting in Menlo Park, lighting the streets around his laboratory. The public came from miles away to see the night lit up by electrical lighting. Edison was demonstrating the "impossible" to the public. What was the reaction of science then?
Professor Henry Morton lived near Menlo Park, and could not be bothered to stretch his legs to go see for himself. Morton instead wrote that he protested "in behalf of true science." Morton wrote that Edison's experiments were "a conspicuous failure, trumpeted as a wonderful success. A fraud upon the public." Professor Du Moncel said, "One must have lost all recollection of American hoaxes to accept such claims. The Sorcerer of Menlo Park appears not to be acquainted with the subtleties of the electrical science. Mr. Edison takes us backwards." Edwin Weston, an expert in arc lighting, said that Edison's claims were "so manifestly absurd as to indicate a positive want of knowledge of the electric circuit and the principles governing the construction and operation of electrical machines." While the public was strolling under the radiance of the electrical lighting in Menlo Park, Sir William Preece, who had studied under Faraday, and was the chief engineer of Britain's Post Office, addressed the Royal Society in London, where he read a paper under the day’s murky gaslights. Preece said that Edison's electric lamp was "a completely idiotic idea."
Edison was probably the world's most famous scientist at the time, and he was publicly demonstrating something said to be "impossible." Not one scientist could be bothered to go to Menlo Park and see it for themselves. Human feeble-mindedness also applies to scientists, in spades. Scientists had abandoned one of their most sacred principles, the principle of observation.
Originally posted by kozmo
In doing so I have discovered that not even "accepted science" is truly accepted in some instances and that laws that previoulsy governed physics have been proven to have flaws or exceptions to rules. That is what fascinates me about Bearden's work.
"... The limit which the rarity of the air places upon its power of supporting wings, taken in connection with the combined weight of a man and a machine, make a drawback which we should not too hastily assume our ability to overcome. The example of the bird does not prove that man can fly. The hundred and fifty pounds of dead weight which the manager of the machine must add to it over and above that necessary in the bird may well prove an insurmountable obstacle to success."
"The practical difficulties in the way of realizing the movement of such an object are obvious. The aeroplane must have its propellers. These must be driven by an engine with a source of power. Weight is an essential quality of every engine. The propellers must be made of metal, which has its weakness, and which is liable to give way when its speed attains a certain limit. And, granting complete success, imagine the proud possessor of the aeroplane darting through the air at a speed of several hundred feet per second! It is the speed alone that sustains him. Once he slackens his speed, down he begins to fall. He may, indeed, increase the inclination of his aeroplane. Then he increases the resistance necessary to move it. Once he stops he falls a dead mass. How shall he reach the ground without destroying his delicate machinery?"
Source: Newcomb, Simon. Outlook for the Flying Machine. The Independent, October 22, 1903. pp. 2508, 2510-2511.
Simon Newcomb also wrote:
"...The demonstration that no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery and known forms of force, can be united in a practical machine by which man shall fly long distances through the air, seems to the writer as complete as it is possible for the demonstration of any physical fact to be."