Online Encyclopedia

HARRISBURG

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 21 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
HARRISBURG, the capital of Pennsylvania, U.S.A., and the county-seat of Dauphin county, on the E. bank of the Susquehanna river, about 105 M. W. by N. of Philadelphia. Pop. (1890), 39,385; (1900), 50,167, of whom 2493 were foreign-born and 4107 were negroes; (1910 census) 64,186. It is served by the Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia & Reading, the Northern Central and the Cumberland Valley railways; and the Pennsylvania canal gives it water communication with the ocean. The river here is a mile wide, and is ordinarily very shallow and dotted with islets, but rises from 4 to 6 ft. after a moderate rain; it is spanned by several bridges. The city lies for the most part on the E. slope of a hill extending from the river bank, several feet in height, across the Pennsylvania canal to Paxton Creek. Front Street, along the river, is part of a parkway connecting the park system with which the city is encircled. Overlooking it are the finest residences, among them the governor's mansion. State Street, 120 ft. in width, runs at right angles with Front Street through the business centre of the city, being interrupted by the Capitol Park (about 16 acres). The Capitol,' dedicated in 1906, was erected to re-place one burned in 1897; it is a fine building, with a dome modelled after St Peter's at Rome. At the main entrance are bronze doors, decorated in relief with scenes from the state's history; the floor of the rotunda is of tiles made at Doylestown, in the style of the pottery made by early Moravian settlers, and illustrating the state's resources; the Senate Chamber and the House Chamber have stained-glass windows by W. B. van Ingen and mural paintings by Edwin A. Abbey, who painted a series, " The Development of the Law," for the Supreme Court room in the eastern wing and decorated the rotunda. The mural decorations of the south corridor, by W. B. van Ingen, portray the state's religious sects; those in the north corridor, by John W. Alexander, represent the changes in the physical and material character of the state; and there is a frieze by Miss Violet Oakley, " The Founding of the State of Liberty Spiritual," in the governor's: reception room. Two heroic groups of statuary for the building were designed by George Grey Barnard. The state library in the Capitol contains about 15o,000 volumes. In the same park is also a monument 105 ft. high erected in and completed a course of medical studies at the university of Edinburgh, after which he established himself as a general medical practitioner in Plymouth. On his marriage in 1824 he resolved to abandon his profession on account of its duties interfering too much with his favourite study of electricity. As early as 182o he had invented a new method of arranging the lightning conductors of ships, the peculiarity of which was that the metal was permanently fixed in the masts and extended throughout the hull; but it was only with great difficulty, and not till nearly thirty years afterwards, that his invention was adopted by the government for the royal navy. In 1826 he read a paper before the Royal Society " On the Relative Powers of various Metallic Substances as Conductors of Electricity," which led to his being elected a fellow of the society in 1831. Subsequently, in 1834, 1836 and 1839, he read before the society several valuable papers on the elementary laws of electricity, and he also communicated to the Royal Society of Edinburgh various interesting accounts of his experiments and discoveries in the same field of inquiry. In 1835 he received the Copley gold medal from the Royal Society for his papers on the laws of electricity of high tension, and in 1839 he was chosen to deliver the Bakerian lecture. Meanwhile, although a government commission had recommended the general adoption of his conductors in the royal navy, and the government had granted him an annuity of I300 "in consideration of services in the cultivation of science," the naval authorities continued to offer various objections to his invention; to aid in removing these he in 1843 published his work on Thunderstorms, and also about the same time contributed a number of papers to the Nautical Magazine illustrative of damage by lightning. His system wa3 actually adopted in the Russian navy before he succeeded in removing the prejudices against it in England, and in 1845 the emperor of Russia, in acknowledgment of his services, presented him with a valuable ring and vase. At length, the efficiency of his system being acknowledged, he received in 1847 the honour of knighthood, and subsequently a grant of l5000. After succeeding in introducing his invention into general use Harris resumed his labours in the field of original research, but as he failed to realize the advances that had been made by the new school of science his application resulted in no discoveries of much value. His manuals of Electricity, Galvanism and Magnetism, published between 1848 and 1856, were, however, written with great clearness, and passed through several editions. He died at Plymouth on the 22nd of January 1867, while having in preparation a Treatise on Frictional Electricity, which was published posthumously in the same year, with a memoir of the author by Charles Tomlinson.
End of Article: HARRISBURG
[back]
WILLIAM TORREY HARRIS (1835-1909)
[next]
HARRISMITH

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.