ROGRESS has ever been our watchward and reply. The past year has becn prolific with exciting public events. The Great Eastern has visited our shores; ambassadors from distant Japan have paraded our streets, and the prince of Old England has been our guest. The fields of OUI husbandmen have yielded abundant harvests ; om manufacturers have enjoyed a season of unequaled snccess; and e\'ery braneh of n"tional industry has advaneed and prospered. Yet amid all these causes for rejoicing, the political horizon is overelouded, and ominons sonnds of discontent come floating upon evely gale. 'Ve fondly hope that the darkness may soon pass nway, anil the sunshine of united fraternal regard beam once more into the n"tional heart. Science has marched onward with steady tread during the year that has just closed. We cannot point to any great invention which stands out as the center of a class, like the electric telegrnph or the sewing machine, hut three thousand eight lllmdred and ninety-six American patents have been granted for useful improvements, and the number of patents issued in any country is n most reli:1hle test of its material progress. It is to the inventive genins of man that we owe everything ahove the brutes. The talent of invention, however, reqnires to be put out to usury or it will rust in the casket, hence the wisdom of encouraging inventors and ploteeting inventions hy a good system of patent laws. Every wise statesman is aware of this fact, therefore the greater the number of patents which are issued, the greater cause have the people for congratulation on the progress and advancement of the commonwcalth. In recent years, improvements have advanced with electric speed in comparison with former times. For this we are greatly indebted to the public press. The great inventions which have revolutionized social life, the modes of travel, and manufacturing operations, have been practically perfected during the present century. The germs of these existed of old, but for want of the press to disseminate knowledge, each succeeding age saw inventors commencing just where their predecessors commenced—at the foot of the ladder—not where they had ended, as is now the case. Evety invention is now made the “ stepping stone “ to a suhsequent improvement; this is the reason why we progress so rapidly in the present age. Time and labor are economized, and the fair fabric of science rises steadily every succeeding year. The two volumes of the SCIENTIFIC A^LERLCAN which have been issued during the past twelve months furnish abundant evidence of the activity of inventors and the advancenent of science and art. We cannot here enumerate all the excellent improvements which have been illustrated and described ; tho whole circle of science has been represented, and a pictorial history of the arts for the year has heen furnished. Several steam fire-engines and fire-escapes have been illustrated ; the prize turbine wheel of the Philadelphia experiments ; a most ingenious gyrascopc governor : diagrams and instructions for building iron works have been given ; cultlvators, plows, telegraphs and steam englDes hayc been presented; in short, all classes of mechanism, from the humble washing machine to the majestic steamship, have Ieceived attention. The scientific press has also been a Pharos for throwing light upon disputcd questions of science, and for pointing the way to improve and progless. The water gas light has been examined and exposed ; and public attention has been re-direeted to the importance of improving our iron manufactures by the Bessemer process. Although it is only three weeks since the latter service has been done through our columns, a gentleman has since called upon us to inquire where he could obtain a license for its use, as he had tested the invention and found it of great value in treating American iron. Thus it is that errors in science arc pointed out and new iml'!"Ovements introduced to the public. Standing on the altitude of scicnce and art, to which we have attaineo during the past rear, we are enabled to nscend still higher during the year upon which we arc about to enter.
This article was originally published with the title "An Eye Backward"