Of all the properties of that moot remarkable and most important, though most common sad abduant of water no one is more remarkable than its solvent power. It is of the conditions to uIl organic life on the. Take away the solvent power of water and the eaith would a very short space of time be raen of vegetable and of anfeal life. A simple Qlvent is a fluid which does not eamer into chemical eombinati- with the Slstance dissolved. Those of the most impo are water, alcohol, ether, microform sulphide of carbon, glyeerin, and hydrocarbon oils. All these are artificial except the greatest of aH water, and the hydrocarbons The solvent power of water is so univermJ that; among the salts known very few eist that Ht in some measure, dissolve 'Fhhe fiuids in plants and animals are whafly or in part carn- rtoBfcd of solutions of solid subrtaumcs in water. Btoed and j milk are exa,mPleB of fluids whieJil: hoM undissolved organized j matter in suspension ; but the nienstraums in which tta OT- particles flont a?'” foimd upon exammation to be solutions of'various saline orgainc matters. So great i.s.the a'mouil” min af Ma:tSer taken up by water in flowing o,;er the earth to the sea, that were the process of returning to'the sotf any other than that of (tissti1- lation all the water on tte gfobe would soon become unfit for use in the animal OOOnbmy.CJ.rciiUtta of water from sea to sky, from sky to' land, and ff land back agam to the sea is one of those graft operatic of nattire, which, when understood, exdte the hIghest feelings' admiration. The sea is a great distilling appals whichvthe action of the suu's heat, throws off eeUemom voinme® of vapor jnto the grandest of all condense the atmrosphCTf!. Here the vapor is again converted mto I'J liquid, and faUs upon the earth ' but it has left in the bed 0.1 the ocean the burden 0f lime, magnesia, and other earthy aOOi saline meters it carried to the sea on former journeys It will return again with another burden, and be again (^titied, so cm as long as the earth remains in its present form and condition. There can be no question that this process of utoasioK and. solution would eventually fill the seas and level al1 ihe morntains on the face of the earth were ft not for upheavals In the manufacture of lai'l on an extensive scale, the bodies of whole hogs are exposed to the action of superheated steam, which shortly reduces them to II mass of fluid fat, the disintegrated bones falling to the bottom in a powdered state. Thus this universal and most wonderful fluid, more extensive in its applications than aily other substance, and upon which the existence of man and beast and vegetable depends, not only drives the ponderous wheels of myriad manufactures, in its ordinary form, but when heated, its mechanical and chemical energies are so vastly increased, that man stands in awe of the mighty power his daring hand has invoked.
This article was originally published with the title "The Solvent Power of Water" in Scientific American 21, 14, 217 (October 1869)