GREAT INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION
THE SEWING MACHINE
The following article, suggestive of the efforts of the use of such inventions as the Sewing Machine and descriptive of its powers, we take from the Exhibition Expositor of this week:
The contents of the Exhibition afford materials for reflection in various points of view. The Fine Arts Court and the numerous beautiful objects of sculpture dispersed throughout the building, are eminently suggestive of the Ideal, of the spiritual, as distinguished from the more material objects around them. While we admire the mechanical skill in the use of suitable colours, or in the application of the chisel to rude mass of marble and while no work of art can be viewed apart from such considerations, yet they are regarded as subordinate to those powers of mind whose conceptions make the canvass as eloquent in telling the story represented thereon as the most fascinating language of the poet. Here the finer feelings of our nature are called into action and here they revel in delight, in proportion to the extent to which the mind of the spectator is capable of being acted upon by such impressions.
Turning to another department of the Exhibition, we are filled with amazement at the triumphs of science and bewildered by the speculations to which they lead us. What can be more suggestive than the magnetic telegraph, the modus operandi of which may be learned in a few minutes in the Exhibition building? To what wonderful results it is destined to lead! Or, again, if we go to the Machinery Court, the attention of the least observant must be arrested by the numerous illustrations of the triumph of mechanical skill there to be seen. The operations of many of these machines take place with a degree of regularity which realises the calculations of the mathematician. They minister to the wants and conveniences of mankind to an extent which cannot fall to forcibly impress the mind with elevated notions of human destiny. To what an amazing extent they abridge human toil! Throughout man's inventive faculties they are made to do what his own hands could but imperfectly perform and when we look at the magnitude of the operations thereby obtained, masses several tons weight being arranged and disposed of almost with the same facility that a watchmaker uses the instruments of his trade, our astonishment must, if possible, be still further increased. Who shall venture to speculate on what may yet be achieved, seeing that the triumphs of mind over matter are already so stupendous? Human labour has been abridged, production has been cheapened and the position of the common people of the present day is little, if at all, inferior, in point of solid and rational enjoyment, to that of the nobles of the land in times past. Speculations of this kind, however agreeable to the philanthropist, will occasionally be encroached upon by others of a less gratifying character. In so far as machinery has thrown human labour out of employment, is it to be regarded s an unmixed good. What of the hundreds, of the thousands, who have thereby been deprived of the means of earning a livelihood in the department of industry with which all their early associations are connected? The burnings of homesteads on the introduction of threshing machines and the demolition of warehouses and workshops on the first use of the power-loom, too plainly attest the feelings of the operatives themselves on the subject of such innovations. But all such objections to the extensions of the use of machinery are founded upon a misapprehension of its effects.
Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent
Tuesday 09 August 1853