Isn't it strange that almost every boy thinks of the hardest thing in the world when he wants to become an inventor? Frank Hornby's first attempt at invention was a machine that would give perpetual motion. For a hundred years in every land and among every people, boys and men have been thinking about perpetual motion and what a marvelous thing it would be if they could create something that would give perpetual motion.
Reverently, boys, just stop to think that there is only one being who has ever created perpetual motion-He is God. The world keeps on turning on its own axis and also keeps moving perpetually around the sun.

What makes it go forward? What makes it whirl on its own axis? We think of the world as a great place, a wonderful place. We talk about traveling around the world as if that were the most marvelous thing that could ever happen to anybody. Yet scientists tell us that this world, the earth, is only one of hundreds and thousands, yes, millions of other planets, or "earths," which keep revolving around the sun, just as our earth does. We do not know whether there are boys on the other planets. We do not know whether they have inventors there, but we do know that they all move in their own circles around the sun and that the whole universe is governed by some divine force or natural law which seems to us mortals to be perpetual motion. Every boy, every man, every human being has a spark of the Divine in him.

God is in each one of us; that is, each one has a soul, which is capable of desiring to be like God. Possibly, that is why so many boys think of perpetual motion. They see the water running down the brook into the river and then into the ocean, drawn up out of the ocean by the sun's rays, blown back over the land in clouds driven by the wind, and rained down again upon the land to make the crops grow, and coming out of the land into the brook and down the brook into the river, down the river into the ocean again, continually from year to year, from age to age, running down, being drawn up and carried back, and running down again, forever and ever-a perpetual going and coming.
We see the Summer come and then the Autumn, and the leaves turn a beautiful golden red, and then Winter with snow and ice and Spring with the birds singing and the flowers breaking open and the planting being done. Then Summer comes again.

The older we grow, the faster the seasons seem to go by, but they always come back. Here also there seems to be a perpetual motion in the coming and going of the seasons.
If God created the clouds, the mountains, the land, the brooks and rivers and seas and if He created the Summer, the Autumn, the Winter and the Spring, and if He created the birds, the flowers, the fields and the grain and the cattle and man, then we, His children, with God in us, naturally think the same thoughts that He has thought and we naturally try to do the same things that He has done. So that when Frank Hornby wanted to create perpetual motion, he was merely following his natural inclination to be a healthy boy and respond to the spirit of God that was working in him. But, then he became a very practical boy immediately afterward. He next tried to invent something that would save him working so hard.

If you work on a farm, haven't you often wished that somebody would invent something that would milk the cows, so that you would not have to get up at four o'clock in the morning and have the old cow hit you in the head with her stub tail and kick you over and spill the milk on you and make you get whipped for spilling the milk, when she was trying to kick the flies? Now, lo and behold! Some inventor has made a milking machine, so that the machine does the milking while you can do something else, or go and play.
Haven't you as a boy wished that somebody would invent a machine that would chop the wood and bring it in, build the fire and carry out the ashes? Somebody has invented such a machine, for now we merely turn the button and we have electric fires, electric stoves, electric heaters, electric irons, electric coffee-pots. Haven't you as a boy wished that somebody would invent some machine so that you would not have to hoe corn and potatoes and cabbages and get all hot, sweaty and tired out in the field, while other boys were playing baseball or going to the circus?

Somebody has invented a cultivator, a mowing machine, a plow, a harvester, a driller, and a tractor to pull farm machinery and do many of the things that boys in olden days had to do. Frank Hornby worked for a meat importer. England is a damp, foggy country. When bacon was piled up in the warehouses in great piles waiting to be distributed throughout the country to the small stores, the brine would drip from the bacon and run down leads or troughs to a pit or well in the center. This well would fill with brine. One day Frank was told what a siphon was. So he immediately got a little tube, put one end in a glass of water, sucked on the other end and then quickly put the end that was in his mouth down below the top of the water outside of the glass.

Of course, the water all ran out of the glass. Wasn't that a strange thing to a boy who had never seen such a thing happen before? How he must have wondered what made that water run up hill over the top of the glass and down the outside! Do you know what makes it do that? It is because there is a little more water in the tube outside of the glass than there is inside. As the water that is outside of the glass begins to fall, it forms a vacuum in the tube. Now a vacuum is a space where there is no air and as there are fifteen pounds of air pressure on each square inch of space all around us, that fifteen pounds pressing on the water in the glass forces it up into the tube and makes it run right up and does not let that vacuum exist. Now, since the water on the out- side is continually falling, the vacuum continues to exist, and the water continues to run into the tube and up over the top and down, being forced by the fifteen pounds of atmospheric pressure after you have started the water running.


Imagine Frank's delight and enthusiasm and wild joy as he started to invent a siphon which would lift all of the brine out of the well automatically without his doing any work.
But that was a hard nut to crack! New York City has spent almost two-hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) to build a new water System, bringing a vast river of pure water down from the Catskill Mountains. New York City is on the east side of the Hudson River. The Catskills are on the west side. The Hudson River itself is not pure drinking water. Therefore, this river of pure drinking water had to be brought either over or under the Hudson River. Furthermore, it was such a tremendous stream-it can supply New York with five hundred million (500,000,000) gallons of water a day-that it was almost impossible to think of pumping it over the river or under the river. Therefore, some system of siphoning had to be invented so that the water would automatically run under the Hudson River and up on the other side.

Before Frank could have siphoned the brine out of the pit in Liverpool, he would have had to get machinery for taking the air out of the tube that ran from the brine pit, and he would have had to dig a space outside of the brine pit and below the brine in the pit, so that it could fall and in that way suck up more brine over the top of the pit and out into a space lower on the outside. Something like that is what the engineers did with the water for New York City. The great tube under the Hudson, just above West Point-where the
United States Military Academy is located-goes 1,200 feet under the ground and then along through solid rock under the Hudson River, then up on the other side.

On the Catskill side of the river the Olive bridge dam was built. It is nearly a mile long; 220 feet high and 190 feet thick at the base. Behind this enormous dam is a lake, known as the Ashokan reservoir. This reservoir holds one hundred and thirty-two billion gallons of water (132,000,000,000). This great lake of pure water forms behind the enormous dam high up in the mountains. When it reaches the top, it falls by gravity out of this man-made lake into this great siphon under the river. It goes down to the bottom, across through the solid rocks and up the other side. But since the Catskill side is higher than the other side, the water is forced ever on and on until it reaches New York City. It is distributed through New York City in tubes which are 600 to 800 feet under the ground. It goes under the East River into Brooklyn and furnishes these great cities with an inexhaustible supply of pure water; a supply big enough for a city as big, or twice as big, as London.

Frank failed in his attempt to build an automatic siphon-pumping device to empty the brine pit, but Samuel Smiles' books had taught him that failure was the most valuable thing in the world to teach a boy success. Next, Frank got a workshop with the money that he had saved.

One of the first things for any boy to do who wants to succeed is to save some money so that he will have capital to work with. How marvelously has Samuel Smiles in his book "Thrift" described how the great successes in the world of business have come from thrift, from saving so that you will have capital to work with when you want to do your great work.

Frank Hornby bought tools for working with brass and other metals. He had to save a long time and he had to buy tools one at a time. All in all he spent a great deal of money in order to work with these tools. It took him years and years to save money enough to buy the tools to make the parts that have since become the Meccano System, which any boy can buy for a very small price. Every inventor is interested in making something, which will be useful to the people among whom he lives. Eli Whitney made a cotton gin because he had traveled down South and knew that they needed a machine for taking the seeds out of cotton. In England the people ride to and fro in busses, just as in this country we do in streetcars. So Frank spent weary weeks and months trying to invent a ticket box, which would take the various shapes of metal checks, which were required to record the various distances which passengers traveled.

Such a box would save confusion and the extra labor of the conductor and be a convenience to the public. But he was again doomed to disappointment. As he failed, he went over his favorite book and read again of the great hero, the inventor of the process of glazing china, who, after almost everything else in the house had been broken up and used to build a fire to run the kiln, at last smashed his own bed-stead and afterwards slept on the floor. His determination to succeed was so strong that he used his bedstead to increase the heat of his fire so he could melt the materials for glazing the chinaware. Think of the hardship, boys, of that man, Bernard Palissy, who suffered hunger and hardship and ridicule in order that we might enjoy the beautiful china of today.

So Frank Hornby knew that although he had failed two, or three, or four, or five times, yet there were the histories, the biographies of so many great men who had failed, and failed, and failed many more times than he had and yet who were the world's heroes today because they had kept on and on, until at last they achieved success. How beautiful is that poem representing Columbus, telling his sailors day after day to "Sail on and on and on." When they muttered and objected, his command was to "Sail on and on and on."
When they threatened mutiny and were determined to kill him if he did not turn back, he finally had to trust in God and tell them to "Sail on" for one more day, anyway. Think of the hero with the divine faith that he could discover a passage to the wealth and the glory of the East Indies by going westward, fighting, even almost deceiving his sailors, to make them go on and on westward just "one more day."

No wonder that when he came to the land, which he thought, was the wealthy
East Indies, but which in reality held in the future, hundreds of times the wealth of the East Indies (no wonder that he was looked upon as almost divine). Any boy, any man, any human being who perseveres, who feels down deep in his heart that he is right, who is willing to sacrifice comfort, friendship, immediate success, ease, popularity, admiration, everything that we all like, in order that he can keep on and on and on until he accomplishes the thing that he sets out to do-that man is almost divine. In 1861, only two years before Frank Hornby was born, Kansas was admitted as one of the States of our Union, and took as its motto "Ad Aspera Per Asperum," meaning "To the stars through difficulty." That in reality was Frank Hornby's motto. Indeed! That is the unconscious motto of every ambitious boy, be his skin white or black, brown or yellow, in this land or any other land.

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