On the History and Classification of Fishes, Amphibians, and Reptiles Volume 1

On the History and Classification of Fishes, Amphibians, and Reptiles Volume 1

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1838 edition. Excerpt: ...the electric powers of its body, which must depend on the energy of the nerves. (l6l.) The effects produced by this highly singular organisation were well known to the ancients; but they--being ignorant of electricity, and prone to invest every uncommon operation of nature with an air of mystery--attributed these shocks to magic, at least, if we may believe some of their poets; and Pliny, whose credulity was excessive, affirms that the torpedo, even when touched with a spear or stick, can benumb the strongest arm and stop the swiftest foot. The celebrated Redi, in the 17th century, contributed greatly to dissipate these exaggerated notions, by elucidating much of the true history and structure of this wonderful fish; but our learned coutryman Walsh, by a series of experiments made before the Royal Society, was the first who proved that its powers were truly electric. The effects of the torpedo (he observes) are absolutely electrical, forming its circuit through the same conductors with electricity, and being intercepted by the same nonconductors, as glass and sealing-wax. The back and breast of the animal appear to be in different states of electricity; by a knowledge of which circumstance, we have been able to direct his shocks, though they were small, through a circuit of four persons, all feeling them; and also through a considerable length of wire held by two insulated persons--one touching the lower surface of the fish, and the other the upper. When the wire was exchanged for glass or sealing-wax, no effect could be obtained; but as soon as it was resumed, the two persons became liable to the shock. Numberless experiments of this sort determined the choice of the conductors to be precisely the same in the torpedo as in the Leyden phial;...show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 116 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 6mm | 222g
  • Rarebooksclub.com
  • Miami Fl, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236540093
  • 9781236540096