On Wednesday evening (29th. ult.,) Geo. W. Curtis, Esq., delivered one of the course of " Popular Lectures at the Tabernacle. The subject chosen was "The Age of Steam," The attendance was not so numerous as it should have beenmdash;steam not being such a fashionable subject as the life of the Dean (Swift). His lecture was characterized by some very happy hits. This is truly the age of iron and steam, it rules the land and sea. The locomotive and steamship are the civilizing agents of modern times. He said, " the children of this age are baptised in steam, and handle the lightning with perfect safety.mdash; The literary aspect of affairs is also improved by steam. We read by steam. No rebel Persian can aim a deadly blow at the Shahmdash; no affairs of Louis Napoleonmdash;-no accident can happen unless they are related to us either by steam or by telegraph. Before the Duke of Wellington was buried the squatters in the far West were reading his life. At the immortal Webster's death the news was conveyed to the principal cities of the Union almost instantaneously. ""Our artists need not be ashamed of themselves. A few days ago a painting was sold at auction for $1,300, which was painted by a young American. It is said by some that steam ruins the fine, arts ; but it is not somdash;ifc rather serves to improve their condition.mdash; Every country is celebrated for excelling each other in some particular branch of business, and not knowing much aboufc the others: the Yankees have superficial knowledge of every branch of business, and every art, and in some of which they excel all other nations. Ifc was true that: the men who entered the colleges of this country did not receive such a profound education as in those of other countries, but: still they received what they required, which is a " superficial one." In a railroad car, when you are told that you are going afc the rate of forty miles an hour, it does not seem to surprise you. He then alluded to the accidents that happen from steam explosions, and said thafc those ivho use steam ought to be carefulmdash;for, if by steam ve sin, by steam we shall be surely punished. In this age a man can travel from New York to Buffalo in less than a day by railroad, and looks upon that mode ot conveyance as safe as the canal of twenty years ago. In all our prosperity let faith, hope, and charity be our conductors; and if we take them ior guides, we will have no reason to fear any heavy misfortunes. In our last number, under the head of Iron Making, there appeared an article descriptive of a new process for obtaining wrought iron direct from the ore, in which it was stated that measures had been taken to secure a patent. Ifc is, however, requisite to mention that the present application is not intended for the main features of the invention, as ifc has been already patented, but for valuable additional improvements. We are, moreover, empowered to add that applications for patents have been made in foreign countries. For further particulars address by letter or otherwise, to James Renton, or A. H. Brown, of Newark, N. J.
This article was originally published with the title "The Age of Steam" in Scientific American 8, 18, 142 (January 1853)