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In order that I might be able to ascertain correctly the state and changes of the atmosphere, both external and internal, I kept a thermometer suspended in a northern exposure, both on the outside and inside of the window. The thermometer on the inside was within half an inch of the glass. I observed a circumstance which marked strongly the extreme cold of the external at
It was between three and four o'clock in the afternoon"; the room had been kept very warm during the whole of the morning; and, at the time, I observed that the thermometer shewed 73. though almost touching the ice on the window. Notwithstanding of this, the inside of the window remained covered with ice, in the way you sometimes see it in England, in the morning, after a severe frost.
This not only proves the severity of the frost, but also that glass is a very bad conductor of heat; else it would have been affected, and penetrated by the heat, in such a manner as to counteract the operation of the cold air of the atmosphere; but the cold was so intense, as to destroy and absorb, as it were, the heat, faster than it could be received from the atmosphere of the room, notwithstanding its being so very much warmed.
You will probably suppose that a room, at the temperature of 73. must be uncom- . fortably hot. It is beyond what summer heat in England usually shews. I, like all other Englishmen, came to this country, strongly prejudiced against stoves and warm rooms; but I have found that warm rooms are very comfortable in cold weather; and that they are more likely to be comfortable, if heated by a stove, than if by an open fire-place.
The prejudices against stoves are, I think, ill founded. When one who has not been accustomed to it, comes into a room heated by a stove, he is struck with the equal degree of warmth that prevails; and he is apt to fancy the air is close, meaning, I suppose, unwholesome; he probably throws open a window, and cold air immediately rushes in. I question if that is more wholesome; a strong current of air is produced, from which very bad effects often arise.
Where the air of a room is kept üniformly warm, it must be changing every moment. By being heated, it is rarified and presses upwards ; its place is supplied by the cold air from without, which, being more dense, rushes in at every little crevice in the lower part of the room.
The principal advantage arising from the uniform heat of a stove, is, that the walls of the room become warmed, and communicate their warmth to the air which comes into the room, and gets in contact with them. In a room, the walls of which are cold, if the air is heated and rarified, it will be cooled and condensed the moment it comes in contact with the cold walls; and as by condensation it becomes heavier, it will rush downwards, producing a current of air towards the floor, which will be felt by those sitting close to the
You will uniformly see these observations exemplified in assembly rooms and churches, the walls of which, being cold, condense the warm air. By condensation, it parts with the moisture which it held in solution, and which is seen running down the walls in streams. All rooms which are not meant to be frequently used, such as assembly rooms, ought to be plastered on laths, or, what would be better still, papered, or painted on canvas. In the latter case, at least, I should suppose they never would be so cold as to condense the air, and produce the effects above mentioned.
I must own, I am a friend to warmth. It is said, that by custom, we may inure ourselves to cold, in such a manner as to render our bodies in some degree insensible to it; but supposing this to be attained, it does not follow that its pernicious effects on us are prevented. Rheumatisms, and other diseases, may be the consequence.
The Canadians keep their houses very hot; and they themselves, while exces-sively warm, go immediately into the cold air, without seeming to feel any inconvenience from it; which would induce one to believe that the sudden transition from a hot room into the cold air, if the person be properly clothed, were not so dangerous as is generally imagined. This is further illustrated by the instances I have formerly mentioned of ladies and gentlemen going into the cold night air, out of a warm ballroom, without suffering any inconvenience from it.
I am disposed to join in the opinion of those who think that the living in a warm room, so far from weakening and making you delicate, as it is termed, and rendering you unfit to bear cold, is the best preservative against the bad effects of cold, when you may be under the necessity of exposing yourself to it.
It has been observed by an eminent philosopher, that if, during the time we are sitting still, the circulation of the blood is gradually and insensibly diminished by the cold which surrounds us, it is not possible that we should be able to support a great additional degree of cold, without sinking under it. We should be like water, which, by exposure to moderate cold in a state of rest, has been slowly cooled down below the freezing point; the smallest additional cold, or a small degree of agitation, changes it to ice in an instant; but water, at a high temperature, will support the same degree of frost, for a considerable time, without appearing to be at all affected by it.
In giving you facts, illustrative of the