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artificial fight is absolutely necessary to it. This statement is quite opposed to the commonly received opinion, but is nevertheless true. No bird is lighter than the air, and no machine constructed to navigate it should aim at being specifically lighter. What is wanted is a reasonable but not cumbrous amount of weight, and a duplicate (in principle if not in practice) of those structures and movements which enable insects, bats, and birds to fly. Until the structure and uses of wings are understood, the way of “ an eagle in the air” must of necessity remain a mystery. The subject of flight has never, until quite recently, been investigated systematically or rationally, and, as a result, very little is known of the laws which regulate it. If these laws were understood, and we were in possession of trustworthy data for our guidance in devising artificial pinions, the formidable Gordian knot of flight, there is reason to believe, could be readily untied.
That artificial flight is a possible thing is proved beyond doubt-1st, by the fact that flight is a natural movement; and 2d, because the natural movements of walking and swimming have already been successfully imitated.
The very obvious bearing which natural movements have upon artificial ones, and the relation which exists between organic and inorganic movements, invest our subject with a peculiar interest.
It is the blending of natural and artificial progression in theory and practice which gives to the one and the other its chief charm. The history of artificial progression is essentially that of natural progression. The same laws regulate and determine both. The wheel of the locomotive and the screw of the steam-ship apparently greatly differ from the limb of the quadruped, the fin of the fish, and the wing of the bird ; but, as I shall show in the sequel, the curves which go to form the wheel and the screw are found in the travelling surfaces of all animals, whether they be limbs (furnished with feet), or fins, or wings.
It is a remarkable circumstance that the undulation or wave made by the wing of an insect, bat, or bird, when those animals are fixed or hovering before an object, and when they are flying, corresponds in a marked manner with the track
described by the stationary and progressive waves in fluids, and likewise with the waves of sound. This coincidence would seem to argue an intimate relation between the instrument and the medium on which it is destined to operatethe wing acting in those very curves into which the atmosphere is naturally thrown in the transmission of sound. Can it be that the animate and inanimate world reciprocate, and that animal bodies are made to impress the inanimate in precisely the same manner as the inanimate impress each other? This much seems certain :- The wind communicates to the water similar impulses to those communicated to it by the fish in swimming; and the wing in its vibrations impinges upon the air as an ordinary sound does. The extremities of quadrupeds, moreover, describe waved tracks on the land when walking and running; so that one great law apparently determines the course of the insect in the air, the fish in the water, and the quadruped on the land.
We are, unfortunately, not taught to regard the travelling surfaces and movements of animals as correlated in any way to surrounding media, and, as a consequence, are apt to consider walking as distinct from swimming, and walking and swimming as distinct from flying, than which there can be no greater mistake. Walking, swimming, and flying are in reality only modifications of each other. Walking merges into swimming, and swimming into flying, by insensible gradations. The modifications which result in walking, swimming, and flying are necessitated by the fact that the earth affords a greater amount of support than the water, and the water than the air.
That walking, swimming, and flying represent integral parts of the same problem is proved by the fact that most quadrupeds swim as well as walk, and some even fly; while many marine animals walk as well as swim, and birds and insects walk, swim, and fly indiscriminately. When the land animals, properly so called, are in the habit of taking to the water or the air; or the inhabitants of the water are constantly taking to the land or the air; or the insects and birds which are more peculiarly organized for flight, spend much of their time on the land and in the water; their organs of locomotion must possess those peculiarities of structure which characterize, as a class, those animals which live on the land, in the water, or in the air respectively.
In this we have an explanation of the gossamer wing of the insect,—the curiously modified hand of the bat and bird, -the webbed hands and feet of the Otter, Ornithorhynchus, Seal, and Walrus,—the expanded tail of the Whale, Porpoise, Dugong, and Manatee,—the feet of the Ostrich, Apteryx, and Dodo, exclusively designed for running,—the feet of the Ducks, Gulls, and Petrels, specially adapted for swimming,— and the wings and feet of the Penguins, Auks, and Guillemots, especially designed for diving. Other and intermediate modifications occur in the Flying-fish, Flying Lizard, and Flying Squirrel; and some animals, as the Frog, Newt, and several of the aquatic insects (the Ephemera or May-fly for example?) which begin their career by swimming, come ultimately to walk, leap, and even fly.
Every degree and variety of motion, which is peculiar to the land, and to the water- and air-navigating animals as such, is imitated by others which take to the elements in question secondarily or at intervals.
Of all animal movements, flight is indisputably the finest. It may be regarded as the poetry of motion. The fact that a creature as heavy, bulk for bulk, as many solid substances, can by the unaided movements of its wings urge itself through
1 The Ephemeræ in the larva and pupa state reside in the water concealed during the day under stones or in horizontal burrows which they form in the banks. Although resembling the perfect insect in several respects, they differ materially in having longer antennæ, in wanting ocelli, and in possessing horn-like mandibles; the abdonien has, moreover, on each side a row of plates, mostly in pairs, which are a kind of false branchiæ, and which are employed not only in respiration, but also as puddles.-Cuvier's Animal Kingdom, p. 576. London, 1840.
2 Kirby and Spence observe that some insects which are not naturally aquatic, do, nevertheless, swim very well if they fall into the water. They instance a kind of grasshopper (Acrydium), which can paddle itself across a stream with great rapidity by the powerful strokes of its hind legs.--(Introduction to Entomology, 5th edit., 1828, p. 360.) Nor should the remarkable discovery by Sir John Lubbock of a swimming insect (Polynema natans), which uses its wings exclusively as fins, be overlooked.-Linn. Trans. vol. xxiv, p. 135.
the air with a speed little short of a cannon-ball, fills the mind with wonder. Flight (if I may be allowed the expression) is a more unstable movement than that of walking and swimming; the instability increasing as the medium to be traversed becomes less dense. It, however, does not essentially differ from the other two, and I shall be able to show in the following pages, that the materials and forces employed in flight are literally the same as those employed in walking and swimming. This is an encouraging circumstance as far as artificial flight is concerned, as the same elements and forces employed in constructing locomotives and steamboats may, and probably will at no distant period, be successfully employed in constructing flying machines. Flight is a purely mechanical problem. It is warped in and out with the other animal movements, and forms a link of a great chain of motion which drags its weary length over the land, through the water, and, notwithstanding its weight, through the air. To understand flight, it is necessary to understand walking and swimming, and it is with a view to simplifying our conceptions of this most delightful form of locomotion that the present work is mainly written. The chapters on walking and swimming naturally lead up to those on flying
In the animal kingdom the movements are adapted either to the land, the water, or the air; these constituting the three great highways of nature. As a result, the instruments by which locomotion is effected are specially modified. This is necessary because of the different densities and the different degrees of resistance furnished by the land, water, and air respectively. On the land the extremities of animals encounter the maximum of resistance, and occasion the minimum of displacement. In the air, the pinions experience the minimum of resistance, and effect the maximum of displacement; the water being intermediate both as regards the degree of resistance offered and the amount of displacement produced. The speed of an animal is determined by its shape, mass, power, and the density of the medium on or in which it moves. It is more difficult to walk on sand or snow than on a macadamized road. In like manner (unless the travelling surfaces are specially modified), it is more troublesome to swim than to walk, and to fly than to swim. This arises from the displacement produced, and the consequent want of support. The land supplies the fulcrum for the levers formed by the extremities or travelling surfaces of animals with terrestrial habits; the water furnishes the fulcrum for the levers formed by the tail and fins of fishes, sea mammals, etc.; and the air the fulcrum for the levers formed by the wings of insects, bats, and birds. The fulcrum supplied by the land is immovable; that supplied by the water and air movable. The mobility and immobility of the fulcrum constitute the principal difference between walking, swimming, and flying; the travelling surfaces of animals increasing in size as the medium to be traversed becomes less dense and the fulcrum more movable. Thus terrestrial animals have smaller travelling surfaces than amphibia, amphibia than fishes, and fishes than insects, bats, and birds. Another point to be studied in connexion with unyielding and yielding fulcra, is the resistance offered to forward motion. A land animal is supported by the earth, and experiences little resistance from the air through which it moves, unless the speed attained is high. Its principal friction is that occasioned by the contact of its travelling surfaces with the earth. If these are few, the speed is generally great, as in quadrupeds. A fish, or sea mammal, is of nearly the same specific gravity as the water it inhabits; in other words, it is supported with as little or less effort than a land animal. As, however, the fluid in which it moves is more dense than air, the resistance it experiences in forward motion is greater than that experienced by land animals, and by insects, bats, and birds. As a consequence fishes are for the most part elliptical in shape; this being the form calculated to cleave the water with the greatest ease. A flying animal is immensely heavier than the air. The support which it receives, and the resistance experienced by it in forward motion, are reduced to a minimum. Flight, because of the rarity of the air, is infinitely more rapid than either walking, running, or swimming. The flying animal receives support from the air by increasing the size of its travelling surfaces, which act after the manner of twisted