We have this week to chronicle the de-:ease of our old cotemporary, the "Farmer ind Mechanic," at the end of the tenth volume. A.s it was of old so it is now, " the house o f Saul waxed weaker and weaker, while the bouse of David waxed stronger and stronger." We experience no feeling of joy and none of regret in seeing that paper wrapt in the habiliments of '; that sleep which knows no waking." It offers a theme to say a few words about the difficulty of sustaining periodicals devoted to any department of mechanics. Since the Scientific American was ushered into the world, a great number of mechanical papers have come and gone. Our cotemporary just named, The Eureka, The Engineer, the Scientific Mechanic, and a number of other such papers in this city alone, have come into existence and gone out of it. " The Mirror of the Patent Office," the " Mechanics Advocate," and a number of other periodicals of the same fraternity in other places have come into being and gone out of it within the same period. It is no easy matter to establish and maintain a periodical devoted to science and mechanics, the readers of such papers are a select classa special few in large communities. They are generally intelligent, and possess logical minds, they are the judges of what is sound and what is Worthless in science, hence we have a clue to one cause why so many periodicals professedly devoted to such subjects have partially succeeded, then failed. It requires capital, talent, and great industry to make such periodicals successful. A manly dignity, independence, fearless honesty, and fairness are also characteristics which should distinguish such papers, for readers ot a scientific taste cannot be fed on husks, they must have choice food or none at all. It has been our custom to pursue the even tenor of our way, without regard to what was said about us ; we have never attacked a cotemporary, nor have we ever published a single letter reflecting on one of them, although we have received many to that effect ; to do so would have been ungentlemanly, and we have always felt strong enough to fight our own battles. This course, with scarcely a single exception, was not pursued by our co-temporaries towards us ; they seemed to gloat over a communication reflecting upon us, and always seemed to rejoice in giving the same (and they were universally false or incorrect,) a prominent place in their columns. This was oftentimes done by our deceased cotemporary, and done by an editor of a magazine who has recently vacated uch a position. These things, however, never moved us, and we hope never will. We are gratified for our success, and we would have rejoiced at the success of any of our deceased cotemporaries, if they had been well conducted, but as they were conducted, they advanced no useful interest, and could not compete with superior intelligence, enterprise, and assiduity, hence they have gone down to the grave without a friend who walked by their cradles to weep over their tombs.
Mechanical Papers—A Deceased Contemporary
This article was originally published with the title "Mechanical Papers—A Deceased Cotemporary" in Scientific American 8, 17, 133 (January 1853)