Punch,  5 (1843), 63.

Punch's Easy Lessons in Mechanics



Essay, Drollery


Mechanics, Dynamics, Statics, Matter Theory, Physics

    Definitions of mechanics, matter, and 'forces applied to a point' draw on examples taken from the world of legal practice, politics, and journalism, and exploit other non-scientific meanings of terms, such as motion, cause, and matter. Mechanics, for example, is defined as 'the science that treats of the motion of bodies; and a briefless barrister, being somebody without a motion', does not 'come under the law alluded to'. Defines matter as 'for the most part, material; but there is some matter, like that of Jenkins, in the Morning Post, which though containing length and thickness, is quite immaterial'. (The reference is to Punch's spoof Morning Post journalist, Peter Jenkins, who personified the paper's sycophancy; see Altick 1997, 77–78.) To illustrate the equilibrium of a body acted on by two equal and opposite forces it claims that if 'anybody is being sued for debts on one side, he has only to get himself sued on all sides for debts of equal amount, in order to set himself at rest'.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]