JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Grazing a volume of the Annals of Philosophy1 for 1817, looking for a significant bit of this and/or that, I found this wonderful reference to a singular cloud. (This by the way comes on the heels of a post from a few days ago about another sort of singular cloud phenomena--this one by the great chemist Michael Faraday, and his very early description of cloud shadows, in 1827.) This article is by Thomas L. Dick and is called "Account of different Currents of Wind observed at the Same Time", (with an engraved plate), on pp 16-17 of the volume, a short but very present effort. Dick offers an interesting and somewhat poetical, somewhat awe-inspired, description of different air currents working their influence on a single column of smoke. He observed, "I was very much struck with a beautiful, and very singular manifestation, of the existence of opposite currents of wind at different altitudes..." The smoke source came from burning a common bush found throughout the plains of England: "Some furze on an eminence, at several miles distance, had been set on fire" he continued, describing how the plume rose to a height and then was blown in one direction; then, on rising, it encountered another current, and was blown the opposite way, suggesting an experiment to determine what was going on at various stages of the atmosphere. This was pretty early stuff on the technical treatment of clouds as well as the depth of the ocean of air of our atmosphere.
There are many other interesting contributions to this volume, including, for example J. Dewar, "Method of preserving Volitile and Deliquescent Substances", pp 29-31 (not of course the more-famous James Dewar of the late 19th c); John Dalton, "Appendix to the Essay on Chemical Compounds of Azote and Oxygen", pp 38-47 and concluded on pp 83-93;"On sailing to the North Pole", (page 63); M.P.. Moyle, "Description of a Machine for raising heavy weights, called a Jack", pp 65-6 (including a small vignette on plate four); J. Campbell, "On Vision", pp 17-29; Luke Howard, "A Descending Spout on Land", pp 146-7 (the great cloud classifier has this short entry on a peculiar cloud formation); H. Edmonton, " Mode of exploring the interior of Africa", pp 103-112; and a short book review of the great Cuvier's "Le Regne Animal Distribute d'apres son Organisation & c." (4 volumes), published in 1817, pp 127-129, plus many other articles.
1. Annals of philosophy, natural history, chemistry, literature, agriculture, and the mechanical and fine arts, edited by Thomas Thomson, printed in London for Baldwin, Craddock, and Joy, 1817; volume X, July to December, 1817. Vii, (ii), 479pp, 8 engraved plates (half folding). Provenance: R. Crum Brown for the University Library of Edinburgh, with their bookplate.