Letter | Published:

An Earthquake Invention

Naturevolume 32pages573574 (1885) | Download Citation



WHILE on a visit to the Melbourne Observatory I saw NATURE of July 2 containing two letters from Prof. Piazzi Smyth, intended to expose a piratical attempt on the part of a “B.A. man” to adopt an idea of Mr. David Stevenson with regard to the construction of houses to withstand earthquake motion. The publication of the first of these letters is at the request of Mr. D. A. Stevenson. The piracy referred to by Prof. Smyth is a brief note in a paper written by myself. My name is at the head of it (see Report to the B.A. 1814). Prof. Smyth complains that I have not taken notice of a paper written some twenty years ago by Mr. D. Stevenson. I regret to say that I am not acquainted with that paper, and how Prof. Smyth expects that I should be when living 10,000 miles away from collections of European books, I fail to see. I am, however, acquainted with very much relating to aseismic or aseismatic tables, and if I made reference to the work of Mr. David Stevenson, I must necessarily have referred to the work of others. As every report which I have hitherto written for the British Association has been in the form of notes which have subsequently been expanded in special papers, an historical account of aseismic tables would have been out of place. Prof. Smyth is apparently only acquainted with the work of Mr. D. Stevenson. Under the head of aseismic tables I include ball and plate seismographs, the lamp tables in certain Japanese lighthouses, two model houses which I constructed in Japan, together with the model lighthouse spoken of by Prof. Smyth, and my own dwelling house. All of these involve the same principles, and they only differ in their dimensions.

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  1. S.S. Waihora, Hobart, Tasmania



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