The Lozarithm Lens

By lozarithm

Priestley's Pool

This is the section of the River Marden known as Priestley's Pool, because of its connection to Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen. The building at the top of the picture is Mill House, now a chartered architects practice, and formerly the home of the actor David Hemmings up until his death. In the 18th century Joseph Priestley lived nearby, on The Green in Calne, and was employed as librarian and literary companion to the 1st Marquess of Lansdowne, William Petty Fitzmaurice, at Bowood House.

"This appointment gave Priestley the time and facilities to pursue his own experiments and, he devised a new apparatus, known as a pneumatic trough, that allowed him to collect gases over mercury. Being a dense liquid, mercury does not absorb gases as easily as water. This device enabled Priestley to float various substances on the surface, the whole being enclosed by a glass vessel into which he could collect any gaseous emanations. He then used a burning lens to focus the sun's rays through the glass and onto the substance under study.

"One of his first experiments with this device, in 1772, produced a new gas, nitrous oxide. It wasn't long before it was discovered that this gas had unusual effects on people, inducing a state of euphoria. Because of these properties it became known as 'Laughing Gas'. In time, this gas would become the first surgical anaesthetic. Close by Bowood House is a pond known as 'Priestley's Pool', or sometimes 'Doctor's Pool' after Priestley. It was here that Priestley collected gases bubbling naturally from the bottom of the pool for analytical experiments.

"On 1 August, 1774 Priestley discovered that the gas produced by heating a sample of mercury(II) oxide in this way would allow a candle to burn more brightly, and enable a mouse to live up to four times as long as in normal air. Priestley wrote:

   I have discovered an air five or six times as good as common air.

"Thus Priestley discovered oxygen and described its role in combustion and respiration. An advocate of the 'phlogiston theory', however, Priestley called this gas 'dephlogisticated air' and did not fully understand the future importance of this discovery."
- from (h2g2 - The guide to life, the universe and everything)


Blip #857
Consecutive Blip #070
Day #978

Ivy Close-up

Calne series
Olympus Tough TG-1 series

Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Chile (recorded 3 May 1968, New York NY)(Spotify)
Jimi Hendrix (vcl, gtr), Mitch Mitchell (drums)
with Stevie Winwood (organ), Jack Casady (bass)
Today would have been Jimi Hendrix's 70th birthday, fittingly for this 70th consecutive blip.
James Marshall Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970)
Voodoo Chile (Wikipedia page)

One year ago: Swan Patrol

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