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December 9, 2015
A Book of Exposition
The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Book of Exposition, by Homer Heath Nugent This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: A Book of Exposition
Author: Homer Heath Nugent
Release Date: October 31, 2004 [EBook #13910]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII
Produced by Stephen Schulze and the Online Distributed Proofreaders Team.
[Transcribers note: subscripts in the text are represented by _{X} markup]
It is a pleasure to acknowledge indebtedness to my wife for assistance in editing and to Dr. Ray Palmer Baker, Head of the Department of English at the Institute, for suggestions and advice without which this collection would hardly have been made.
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The articles here presented are modern and unhackneyed. Selected primarily as models for teaching the methods of exposition employed in the explanation of mechanisms, processes, and ideas, they are nevertheless sufficiently representative of certain tendencies in science to be of intrinsic value. Indeed, each author is a recognized authority.
Another feature is worthy of mention. Although the material covers so wide a field--anatomy, zoölogy, physics, psychology, and applied science--that the collection will appeal to instructors in every type of college and technical school, the selections are related in such a way as to produce an impression of unity. This relation is apparent between the first selection, which deals with the student's body, and the third, which deals with another organism in nature. The second and fourth selections deal with kindred aspects of modern industry--the manufacture of paper and the Linotype machine, by which it is used. The fifth selection is a protest against certain developments of the industrial regime; the last, an attempt to reconcile the spirit of
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science with that of religion. While monotony has been avoided, the essays form a distinct unit.
In most cases, selections are longer than usual, long enough in fact to introduce a student to each field. As a result, he can be made to feel that every subject is of importance and to realize that every chapter contains a fund of valuable information. Instead of confusing him by having him read twenty selections in, let us say, six weeks, it is possible by assigning but six in the same period, to impress him definitely with each.
The text-book machinery has been sequestered in the Biographical and Critical Notes at the end of the book. Their character and position are intended to permit instructors freedom of treatment. Some may wish to test a student's ability in the use of reference books by having him report on allusions. Some may wish to explain these themselves. A few may find my experience helpful. For them suggestions are included in the Critical Notes. In general, I have assumed that instructors will prefer their own methods and have tried to leave them unhampered.
Sir Arthur Keith
In all the foregoing chapters we have been considering only the muscular engines of the human machine, counting them over and comparing their construction and their mechanism with those of the internal-combustion engine of a motor cycle. But of the levers or crank-pins through which muscular engines exert their power we have said nothing hitherto. Nor shall we get any help by now spending time on the levers of a motor cycle. We have already confessed that they are arranged in a way which is quite different from that which we find in the human machine. In the motor cycle all the levers are of that complex kind which are called wheels, and the joints at which these levers work are also
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circular, for the joints of a motor cycle are the surfaces between the axle and the bushes, which have to be kept constantly oiled. No, we freely admit that the systems of levers in the human machine are quite unlike those of a motor cycle. They are more simple, and it is easy to find in our bodies examples of all the three orders of levers. The joints at which bony levers meet and move on each other are very different from those we find in motor cycles. Indeed, I must confess they are not nearly so simple. And, lastly, I must not forget to mention another difference. These levers we are going to study are living--at least, are so densely inhabited by myriads of minute bone builders that we must speak of them as living. I want to lay emphasis on that fact because I did not insist enough on the living nature of muscular engines.
[Illustration: Fig. 1.--Showing a chisel 10 inches long used as a lever of the first order.]
We are all well acquainted with levers. We apply them every day. A box arrives with its lid nailed down; we take a chisel, use it as a lever, pry the lid open, and see no marvel in what we have done (Fig. 1). And yet we thereby did with ease what would have been impossible for us even if we had put out the whole of our unaided strength. The use of levers is an old discovery; more than 1500 years before Christ, Englishmen, living on Salisbury Plain, applied the invention when they raised the great stones at Stonehenge and at Avebury; more than 2000 years earlier still, Egyptians employed it in raising the pyramids. Even at that time men had made great progress; they were already reaping the rewards of discoveries and inventions. But none, I am sure, surprised them more than the discovery of the lever; by its use one man could exert the strength of a hundred men. They soon observed that levers could be used in three different ways. The instance already given, the prying open of a lid by using a chisel as a lever, is an example of one way (Fig. 1); it is then used as a lever of the
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first order. Now in the first order, one end of the lever is applied to the point of resistance, which in the case just mentioned was the lid of the box. At the other end we apply our strength, force, or power. The edge of the box against which the chisel is worked serves as a fulcrum and lies between the handle where the power is applied and the bevelled edge which moves the resistance or weight. A pair of ordinary weighing scales also exemplifies the first order of levers. The knife edge on which the beam is balanced serves as a fulcrum; it is placed exactly in the middle of the beam, which we shall suppose to be 10 inches long. If we place a 1-lb. weight in one scale to represent the resistance to be overcome, the weight will be lifted the moment that a pound of sugar has been placed in the opposite scale--the sugar thus representing the power. If, however, we move the knife-edge or fulcrum so that it is only 1 inch from the sugar end of the beam and 9 inches from the weight end, then we find that we have to pour in 9 lb. of sugar to equalise the 1-lb. weight. The chisel used in prying open the box lid was 10 inches long; it was pushed under the lid for a distance of 1 inch, leaving 9 inches for use as a power lever. By using a lever in this way, we increased our strength ninefold. The longer we make the power arm, the nearer we push the fulcrum towards the weight or resistance end, the greater becomes our power. This we shall find is a discovery which Nature made use of many millions of years ago in fashioning the body of man and of beast. When we apply our force to the long end of a lever, we increase our power. We may also apply it, as Nature has done in our bodies, for another purpose. We have just noted that if the weight end of the beam of a pair of scales is nine times the length of the sugar end, that a 1-lb. weight will counterpoise 9 lb. of sugar. We also see that the weight scale moves at nine times the speed of the sugar scale. Now it often happens that Nature wants to increase, not the power, but the speed
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with which a load is lifted. In that case the "sugar scale" is placed at the long end of the beam and the "weight scale" at the short end; it then takes a 9-lb. weight to raise a single pound of sugar, but the sugar scale moves with nine times the speed of the weight scale. Nature often sacrifices power to obtain speed. The arm is used as a lever of this kind when a cricket ball is thrown.
Nothing could look less like a pair of scales than a man's head or skull, and yet when we watch how it is poised and the manner in which it is moved, we find that it, too, acts as a lever of the first order. The fulcrum on which it moves is the atlas--the first vertebra of the spine (Fig. 2). When a man stands quite erect, with the head well thrown back, the ear passages are almost directly over the fulcrum. It will be convenient to call that part of the head which is behind the ear passages the _post-fulcral,_ and the part which is in front the _pre-fulcral._ Now the face is attached to the pre-fulcral part of the lever and represents the weight or load to be moved, while the muscles of the neck, which represent the power, are yoked to the post-fulcral end of the lever. The hinder part of the head serves as a crank-pin for seven pairs of neck muscles, but in Fig. 2 only the chief pair is drawn, known as the complex muscles. When that pair is set in action, the post-fulcral end of the head lever is tilted downwards, while the pre-fulcral end, on which the face is set, is turned upwards.
[Illustration: Fig. 2.--The skull as a lever of the first order.]
The complex muscles thus tilt the head backwards and the face upwards, but where are the muscles which serve as their opponents or antagonists and reverse the movement? In a previous chapter it has been shown that every muscle has to work against an opponent or antagonist muscle. Here we seem to come across a defect in the human machine, for the greater straight muscles in the front of the neck, which serve as opposing muscles, are not only much
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smaller but at a further disadvantage by being yoked to the pre-fulcral end of the lever, very close to the cup on which the head rocks. However, if the greater straight muscles lose power by working on a very short lever, they gain, in speed; we set them quickly and easily into action when we give a nod of recognition. All the strength or power is yoked to the post-fulcral end of the head; the pre-fulcral end of its lever is poorly guarded. Japanese wrestlers know this fact very well, and seek to gain victory by pressing up the poorly guarded pre-fulcral lever of the head, thus producing a deadly lock at the fulcral joint. Indeed, it will be found that those who use the jiu-jitsu method of fighting have discovered a great deal about the construction and weaknesses of the levers of the human body.
Merely to poise the head on the atlas may seem to you as easy a matter as balancing the beam of a pair of scales on an upright support. I am now going to show that a great number of difficulties had to be overcome before our heads could be safely poised on our necks. The head had to be balanced in such a way that through the pivot or joint on which it rests a safe passageway could be secured for one of the most delicate and most important of all the parts or structures of the human machine. We have never found a good English name for this structure, so we use its clumsy Latin one--_Medulla oblongata_--or medulla for short. In the medulla are placed offices or centres which regulate the vital operations carried on by the heart and by the lungs. It has also to serve as a passageway for thousands of delicate gossamer-like nerve fibres passing from the brain, which fills the whole chamber of the skull, to the spinal cord, situated in the canal of the backbone. By means of these delicate fibres the brain dispatches messages which control the muscular engines of the limbs and trunk. Through it, too, ascend countless fibres along which messages pass from the limbs and trunk to the brain. In creating a movable
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joint for the head, then, a safe passage had to be obtained for the medulla--that part of the great nerve stem which joins the brain to the spinal cord. The medulla is part of the brain stem.
This was only one of the difficulties which had to be overcome. The eyes are set on the pre-fulcral lever of the head. For our safety we must be able to look in all directions--over this shoulder or that. We must also be able to turn our heads so that our ears may discover in which direction a sound is reaching us. In fashioning a fulcral joint for the head, then, two different objects had to be secured: free mobility for the head, and a safe transit for the medullary part of the brain stem. How well these objects have been attained is known to all of us, for we can move our heads in the freest manner and suffer no damage whatsoever. Indeed, so strong and perfect is the joint that damage to it is one of the most uncommon accidents of life.
Let us see, then, how this triumph in engineering has been secured. In her inventive moods Nature always hits on the simplest plan possible. In this case she adopted a ball-and-socket joint--the kind by which older astronomers mounted their telescopes. By such a joint the telescope becomes, just as the head is, a lever of the first order. The eyeglass is placed at one end of the lever, while the object-glass, which can be swept across the face of the heavens, is placed at the other or more distant end. In the human body the first vertebra of the backbone--the atlas--is trimmed to form a socket, while an adjacent part of the base of the skull is shaped to play the part of ball. The kind of joint to be used having been hit upon, the next point was to secure a safe passage for the brain stem. That, too, was worked out in the simplest fashion. The central parts of both ball and socket were cut away, or, to state the matter more exactly, were never formed. Thus a passage was obtained right through the centre of the fulcral joint of the head. The centre of the joint was selected because when a lever is
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set in motion the part at the fulcrum moves least, and the medulla, being placed at that point, is least exposed to disturbance when we bend our heads backwards, forwards, or from side to side. When we examine the base of the skull, all that we see of the ball of the joint are two knuckles of bone (Fig. 3, A), covered by smooth slippery cartilage or gristle, to which anatomists give the name of occipital condyles. If we were to try to complete the ball, of which they form a part, we should close up the great opening--the _foramen magnum_--which provides a passageway for the brain stem on its way to the spinal canal. All that is to be seen of the socket or cup is two hollows on the upper surface of the atlas into which the occipital condyles fit (Fig. 3, B). Merely two parts of the brim of the cup have been preserved to provide a socket for the condyles or ball.
[Illustration: Fig. 3.--A, The opening in the base of the skull, by which the brain stem passes to the spinal canal. The two occipital condyles represent part of the ball which fits into the cup formed by the atlas. B, The parts of the socket on the ring of the atlas.]
As we bend our heads, the occipital condyles revolve or glide on the sockets of the atlas. But what will happen if we roll our heads backwards to such an extent that the bony edge of the opening in the base of the skull is made to press hard against the brain stem and crush it? That, of course, would mean instant death. Such an accident has been made impossible (1) by making the opening in the base of the skull so much larger than the brain stem that in extreme movements there can be no scissors-like action; (2) the muscles which move the head on the atlas arrest all movements long before the danger-point is reached; (3) even if the muscles are caught off their guard, as they sometimes are, certain strong ligaments--fastenings of tough fibres--are so set as automatically to jam the joint before the edge of the foramen can come in contact with the brain stem.
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These are only some of the devices which Nature had to contrive in order to secure a safe passageway for the brain stem. But in obtaining safety for the brain stem, the movements of the head on the atlas had to be limited to mere nodding or side-to-side bending. The movements which are so necessary to us, that of turning our heads so that we can sweep our eyes along the whole stretch of the skyline from right to left, and from left to right, were rendered impossible. This defect was also overcome in a simple manner. The joints between the first and second vertebrae--the atlas and axis--were so modified that a turning movement could take place between them instead of between the atlas and skull. When we turn or rotate our heads, the atlas, carrying the skull upon it, swings or turns on the axis. When we search for the manner in which this has been accomplished, we see again that Nature has made use of the simplest means at her disposal. When we examine a vertebra in the course of construction within an unborn animal, we see that it is really made up by the union of four parts (see Fig. 4): a central block which becomes the "body" or supporting part; a right and a left arch which enclose a passage for the spinal cord; and, lastly, a fourth part in front of the central block which becomes big and strong only in the first vertebra--the atlas. When we look at the atlas (Fig. 4), we see that it is merely a ring made up of three of the parts--the right and left arches and the fourth element,--but the body is missing. A glance at Fig. 4, B, will show what has become of the body of the atlas. It has been joined to the central block of the second vertebra--the axis--and projects upwards within the front part of the ring of the atlas, and thus forms a pivot round which rotatory movements of the head can take place. Here we have in the atlas an approach to the formation of a wheel--a wheel which has its axle or pivot placed at some distance from its centre, and therefore a complete revolution of the atlas is impossible. A
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battery of small muscles is attached to the lateral levers of the atlas and can swing it freely, and the head which it carries, a certain number of degrees to both right and left. The extent of the movements is limited by stout check ligaments. Thus, by the simple expedient of allowing the body of the atlas to be stolen by the axis, a pivot was obtained round which the head could be turned on a horizontal plane.
[Illustration: Fig. 4.--A, The original parts of the first or atlas vertebra. B, Showing the "body" of the first vertebra fixed to the second, thus forming the pivot on which the head turns.]
Nature thus set up a double joint for the movements of the head, one between the atlas and axis for rotatory movements, another between the atlas and skull for nodding and side-to-side movements. And all these she increased by giving flexibility to the whole length of the neck. Makers of modern telescopes have imitated the method Nature invented when fixing the human head to the spine. Their instruments are mounted with a double joint--one for movements in a horizontal plane, the other for movements in a vertical plane. We thus see that the young engineer, as well as the student of medicine, can learn something from the construction of the human body.
In low forms of vertebrate animals like the fish and frog, the head is joined directly to the body, there being no neck.
No matter what part of the human body we examine, we shall find that its mechanical work is performed by means of bony levers. Having seen how the head is moved as a lever of the first order, we are now to choose a part which will show us the plan on which levers of the second order work, and there are many reasons why we should select the foot. It is a part which we are all familiar with; every day we can see it at rest and in action. The foot, as we have already noted, serves as a lever in walking. It is a bent or arched lever (Fig. 6); when we stand on one foot, the
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whole weight of our body rests on the summit of the arch. We are thus going to deal with a lever of a complex kind.
[Illustration: Fig. 5.--Showing a chisel used as a lever of the second order.]
In using a chisel to pry open the lid of a box, we may use it as a lever either of the first or of the second order. We have already seen (Fig. 1) that, in using it as a lever of the first order, we pushed the handle downwards, while the bevelled end was raised, forcing open the lid. The edge of the box served as a rest or fulcrum for the chisel. If, however, after inserting the bevelled edge under the lid, we raise the handle instead of depressing it, we change the chisel into a lever of the second order. The lid is not now forced up on the bevelled edge, but is raised on the side of the chisel, some distance from the bevelled edge, which thus comes to represent the fulcrum. By using a chisel in this way, we reverse the positions of the weight and fulcrum and turn it into a lever of the second order. Suppose we push the side of the chisel--which is 10 inches long--under the lid to the extent of 1 inch, then the advantage we gain in power is as 1 to 10; we thereby increase our strength tenfold. If we push the chisel under the lid for half its length, then our advantage stands as 10 to 5; our strength is only doubled. If we push it still further for two-thirds of its length, then our gain in strength is only as 10 to 6.6; our power is increased by only one-third. Now this has an important bearing on the problem we are going to investigate, for the weight of our body falls on the foot, so that only about one-third of the lever--that part of it which is formed by the heel--projects behind the point on which the weight of the body rests. The strength of the muscles which act on the heel will be increased only by about one-third.
We have already seen that a double engine, made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus, is the power which is applied to the heel when we walk, and that the pad of the foot, lying across the
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sole in line with the ball of the great toe, serves as a fulcrum or rest. The weight of the body falls on the foot between the fulcrum in front and the power behind, as in a lever of the second order. We have explained why the power of the muscles of the calf is increased the more the weight of the body is shifted towards the toes, but it is also evident that the speed and the extent to which the body is lifted are diminished. If, however, the weight be shifted more towards the heel, the muscles of the calf, although losing in power, can lift their load more quickly and to a greater extent.
We must look closely at the foot lever if we are to understand it. It is arched or bent; the front pillar of the arch stretches from the summit or keystone, where the weight of the body is poised, to the pad of the foot or fulcrum (Fig. 6); the posterior pillar, projecting as the heel, extends from the summit to the point at which the muscular power is applied. A foot with a short anterior pillar and a long posterior pillar or heel is one designed for power, not speed. It is one which will serve a hill-climber well or a heavy, corpulent man. The opposite kind, one with a short heel and a long pillar in front, is well adapted for running and sprinting--for speed. Now, we do find among the various races of mankind that some have been given long heels, such as the dark-skinned natives of Africa and of Australia, while other races have been given relatively short, stumpy heels, of which sort the natives of Europe and of China may be cited as examples. With long heels less powerful muscular engines are required, and hence in dark races the calf of the leg is but ill developed, because the muscles which move the heel are small. We must admit, however, that the gait of dark-skinned races is usually easy and graceful. We Europeans, on the other hand, having short heels, need more powerful muscles to move them, and hence our calves are usually well developed, but our gait is apt to be jerky.
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[Illustration: Fig. 6.--The bones forming the arch of the foot, seen from the inner side.]
If we had the power to make our heels longer or shorter at will, we should be able, as is the case in a motor cycle, to alter our "speed-gear" according to the needs of the road. With a steep hill in front of us, we should adopt a long, slow, powerful heel; while going down an incline a short one would best suit our needs. With its four-change speed-gear a motor cycle seems better adapted for easy and economical travelling than the human machine. If, however, the human machine has no change of gear, it has one very marvellous mechanism--which we may call a compensatory mechanism, for want of a short, easy name. The more we walk, the more we go hill-climbing, the more powerful do the muscular engines of the heel become. It is quite different with the engine of a motor cycle; the more it is used, the more does it become worn out. It is because a muscular engine is living that it can respond to work by growing stronger and quicker.
I have no wish to extol the human machine unduly, nor to run down the motor cycle because of certain defects. There is one defect, however, which is inherent in all motor machines which man has invented, but from which the human machine is almost completely free. We can illustrate the defect best by comparing the movements of the heel with those of the crank-pin of an engine. One serves as the lever by which the gastrocnemius helps to propel the body; the other serves the same purpose in the propulsion of a motor cycle. On referring to Fig. 7, A, the reader will see that the piston-rod and the crank-pin are in a straight line; in such a position the engine is powerless to move the crank-pin until the flywheel is started, thus setting the crank-pin in motion. Once started, the leverage increases, until the crank-pin stands at right angles to the piston-rod--a point of maximum power which is reached when the
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piston is in the position shown in Fig. 7, B. Then the leverage decreases until the second dead centre is reached (Fig. 7, C); from that point the leverage is increased until the second maximum is reached (Fig. 7, D), whereafter it decreases until the arrival at the first position completes the cycle. Thus, in each revolution there are two points where all leverage or power is lost, points which are surmounted because of the momentum given by the flywheel. Clearly we should get most out of an engine if it could be kept working near the points of maximum leverage--with the lever as nearly as possible at right angles to the crank-pin.
[Illustration: Fig. 7.--Showing the crank-pin of an engine at: A, First dead centre. B, First maximum leverage. C, Second dead centre. D, Second maximum leverage.]
Now, we have seen that the tendon of Achilles is the piston cord, and the heel the crank-pin, of the muscular engine represented by the gastrocnemius and soleus. In the standing posture the heel slopes downwards and backwards, and is thus in a position, as regards its piston cord, considerably beyond the point of maximum leverage. As the heel is lifted by the muscles, it gradually becomes horizontal and at right angles to its tendon or piston cord. As the heel rises, then, it becomes a more effective lever; the muscles gain in power. The more the foot is arched, the more obliquely is the heel set and the greater is the strength needed to start it moving. Hence, races like the European and Mongolian, which have short as well as steeply set heels, need large calf muscles. It is at the end of the upward stroke that the heel becomes most effective as a lever, and it is just then that we most need power to propel our bodies in a forward direction. It will be noted that the heel, unlike the crank-pin of an engine, never reaches, never even approaches, that point of powerlessness known to engineers as a dead centre. Work is always performed within the
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limits of the most effective working radius of the lever. It is a law for all the levers of the body; they are set and moved in such a way as to avoid the occurrence of dead centres. Think what our condition would have been were this not so; why, we should require revolving fly-wheels set in all our joints!
[Illustration: Fig. 8.--The arch of the foot from the inner side, showing some of the muscles which maintain it.]
Another property is essential in a lever: it must be rigid; otherwise it will bend, and power will be lost. Now, if the foot were a rigid lever, there would be missing two of its most useful qualities. It could no longer act as a spring or buffer to the body, nor could it adapt its sole to the various kinds of surfaces on which we have to tread or stand. Nature, with her usual ingenuity, has succeeded in combining those opposing qualities--rigidity, suppleness, and elasticity or springiness--by resorting to her favorite device, the use of muscular engines. The arch is necessarily constructed of a number of bones which can move on each other to a certain extent, so that the foot may adapt itself to all kinds of roads and paths. It is true that the bones of the arch are loosely bound together by passive ties or ligaments, but as these cannot be lengthened or shortened at will, Nature had to fall back on the use of muscular engines for the maintenance of the foot as an arched lever. Some of these are shown in Fig. 8. The foot, then, is a lever of a very remarkable kind; all the time we stand or walk, its rigidity, its power to serve as a lever, has to be maintained by an elaborate battery of muscular engines all kept constantly at work. No wonder our feet and legs become tired when we have to stand a great deal. Some of these engines, the larger ones, are kept in the leg, but their tendons or piston cords descend below the ankle-joint to be fixed to various parts of the arch, and thus help to keep it up (Fig. 8). Within the sole of the foot has been placed an
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installation of seventeen small engines, all of them springing into action when we stand up, thus helping to maintain the foot as a rigid yet flexible lever.
We have already seen why our muscles are so easily exhausted when we stand stock-still; they then get no rest at all. Now, it sometimes happens in people who have to stand for long periods at a stretch that these muscular engines which maintain the arch are overtaxed; the arch of the foot gives way. The foot becomes flat and flexible, and can no longer serve as a lever. Many men and women thus become permanently crippled; they cannot step off their toes, but must shuffle along on the inner sides of their feet. But if the case of the overworked muscles which maintain the arch is hard in grown-up people, it is even harder in boys and girls who have to stand quite still for a long time, or who have to carry such burdens as are beyond their strength. When we are young, the bony levers and muscular engines of our feet have not only their daily work to do, but they have continually to effect those wonderful alterations which we call growth. Hence, the muscular engines of young people need special care; they must be given plenty of work to do, but that kind of active action which gives them alternate strokes of work and rest. Even the engine of a motor cycle has three strokes of play for one of work. Our engines, too, must have a liberal supply of the right kind of fuel. But even with all those precautions, we have to confess that the muscular engines of the foot do sometimes break down, and the leverage of the foot becomes threatened. Nor have we succeeded in finding out why they are so liable to break down in some boys and girls and not in others. Some day we shall discover this too.
We are now to look at another part of the human machine so that we may study a lever of the third order. The lever formed by the forearm and hand will suit our purpose very well. It is pivoted or jointed at the elbow; the elbow is its
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fulcrum (Fig. 9 B). At the opposite end of the lever, in the, upturned palm of the hand, we shall place a weight of 1 lb. to represent the load to be moved. The power which we are to yoke to the lever is a strong muscular engine we have not mentioned before, called the brachialis anticus, or front brachial muscle. It lies in the upper arm, where it is fixed to the bone of that part--the humerus. It is attached to one of the bones of the forearm--the ulna--just beyond the elbow.
In the second order of lever, we have seen that the muscle worked on one end, while the weight rested on the lever somewhere between the muscular attachment and the fulcrum. In levers of the third order, the load is placed at the end of the lever, and the muscle is attached somewhere between the load and the fulcrum (Fig. 9 A). In the example we are considering, the brachial muscle is attached about half an inch beyond the fulcrum at the elbow, while the total length of the lever, measured from the elbow to the palm, is 12 inches. Now, it is very evident that the muscle or power being attached so close to the elbow, works under a great disadvantage as regards strength. It could lift a 24-lb. weight placed on the forearm directly over its attachment as easily as a single pound weight placed on the palm. But, then, there is this advantage: the 1-lb. weight placed in the hand moves with twenty-four times the speed of the 24-lb. weight situated near the elbow. What is lost in strength is gained in speed. Whenever Nature wishes to move a light load quickly, she employs levers of the third order.
[Illustration: Fig. 9A.--A chisel used as a lever of the third order. W, weight; P, power; F, fulcrum.]
We have often to move our forearm very quickly, sometimes to save our lives. The difference of one-hundredth of a second may mean life or death to us on the face of a cliff when we clutch at a branch or jutting rock to save a fall. The quickness of a blow we give or fend depends on the length of our reach. A long
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forearm and hand are ill adapted for lifting heavy burdens; strength is sacrificed if they are too long. Hence, we find that the laboring peoples of the world--Europeans and Mongolians--have usually short forearms and hands, while the peoples who live on such bounties as Nature may provide for them have relatively long forearms and hands.
[Illustration: Fig. 9B.--The forearm and hand as a lever of the third order.]
Now, man differs from anthropoid apes, which are distant cousins of his, in having a forearm which is considerably shorter than the upper arm; whereas in anthropoid apes the forearm is much the longer. That fact surprises us at first, especially when we remember that anthropoids spend most of their lives amongst trees and use their arms much more than their legs in swinging the weight of their heavy bodies from branch to branch and from tree to tree. A long forearm and hand give them a long and quick reach, so that they can seize distant branches and swing themselves along safely and at a good pace. Our first thought is to suppose that a long forearm, being a weak lever, will be ill adapted for climbing. But when you look at Fig. 10, the explanation becomes plain. When a branch is seized by the hand, and the whole weight of the body is supported from it, the entire machinery of the arm changes its action. The forearm is no longer the lever which the brachial muscle moves (Fig. 10), but now becomes the base from which it acts. The part which was its piston cord now serves as its base of fixation, and what was its base of fixation to the humerus becomes its piston cord. The humerus has become a lever of the third order; its fulcrum is at the elbow; the weight of the body is attached to it at the shoulder and represents the load which has to be lifted. We also notice that the brachial muscle is attached a long way up the humerus, thus increasing its power very greatly, although the rate at which it helps in lifting the body is
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diminished. We can see, then, why the humerus is short and the forearm long in anthropoid apes; shortening the humerus makes it more powerful as a lever for lifting the body. That is why anthropoids are strong and agile tree-climbers. But then watch them use those long hands and forearms for the varied and precise movements we have to perform in our daily lives, and you will see how clumsy they are.
[Illustration: Fig. 10.--Showing the action of the brachialis anticus in the arm of an anthropoid ape.]
In the human machine the levers of the arm have been fashioned, not for climbing, but for work of another kind--the kind which brings us a livelihood. We must have perfect control over our hands; the longer the lever of the forearm is made, the more difficult does control of the hand become. Hence, in the human machine the forearm is made relatively short and the upper arm long.
We have just seen that the brachial muscle could at one time move the forearm and hand, but that when they are fixed it could then use the humerus as a lever and thereby lift the weight of the body. What should we think of a metal engine which could reverse its action so that it could act through its piston-rod at one time and through its cylinder at another? Yet that is what a great number of the muscular engines of the human machine do every day.
There is another little point, but an important one, which I must mention before this chapter is finished. I have spoken of the forearm and hand as if they formed a single solid lever. Of course that is not so; there are joints at the wrist where the hand can be moved on the forearm. But when a weight is placed in the hand, these joints became fixed by the action of muscles. The fixing muscles are placed in the forearm, both in front and behind, and are set in action the moment the hand is loaded. The wrist joint is fixed just in the same way as the joints of the foot are made rigid
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by muscles when it has to serve as a lever. Even when we take a pen in our hand and write, these engines which balance and fix the wrist have to be in action all the time. The steadiness of our writing depends on how delicately they are balanced. Like the muscles of the foot, the fixers of the wrist may become overworked and exhausted, as occasionally happens in men and women who do not hold their pens correctly and write for long spells day after day. The break-down which happens in them is called "writer's cramp," but it is a disaster of the same kind as that which overtakes the foot when its arch collapses, and its utility as a lever is lost.
[Footnote 1: From The Engines of the Human Body, Chapters VI and VII. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1920; Williams and Norgate, London, 1920.]
_Philip T. Dodge_
The Mergenthaler Linotype machine appeared in crude form about 1886. This machine differs widely from all others in that it is adapted to produce the type-faces for each line properly justified on the edge of a solid slug or linotype.
These slugs, automatically produced and assembled by the machine, are used in the same manner as other type-forms, whether for direct printing or for electrotyping, and are remelted after use.
The general organization of the machine will first be described. After this the details will be more fully explained and attention plainly directed to the various parts which require special consideration.
[Illustration: Fig. 1.]
The machine contains, as the vital element, about sixteen hundred matrices, such as are shown in Fig. 1, each consisting of a small brass
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plate having in one edge the female character or matrix proper, and in the upper end a series of teeth, used as hereinafter explained for distributing the matrices after use to their proper places in the magazine of the machine. There are in the machine a number of matrices for each letter and also matrices representing special characters, and spaces or quadrats of different thicknesses for use in table-work. There is a series of finger keys representing the various characters and spaces, and the machine is so organized that on manipulating the keys it selects the matrices in the order in which their characters are to appear in print, and assembles them in a line, with wedge-shaped spaces or justifiers between the words. The series of matrices thus assembled in line forms a line matrix, or, in other words, a line of female dies adapted to mold or form a line of raised type on a slug cast against the matrices. After the matrix line is composed, it is automatically transferred to the face of a slotted mold into which molten type-metal is delivered to form a slug or linotype against the matrices. This done, the matrices are returned to the magazine and distributed, to be again composed in new relations for succeeding lines.
[Illustration: Fig. 2.]
Fig. 2 illustrates the general organization of the machine.
A represents an inclined channelled magazine in which the matrices are stored. Each channel has at the lower end an escapement B to release the matrices one at a time. Each of these escapements is connected by a rod C and intermediate devices to one of the finger-keys in the keyboard D. These keys represent the various characters as in a typewriter. The keys are depressed in the order in which the characters and spaces are to appear, and the matricies, released successively from the lower end of the magazine, descend between the guides E to the surface of an inclined travelling belt F, by which