Like his countryman and contemporary Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Thompson (later Count Rumford) aimed by his inventions and scientific research to increase the degree of comfort in daily life. During the fourteen years spent in Munich, he made important reforms in the city’s public service and social welfare institutions; he also introduced improvements in the hospitals and workhouses in Ireland, England, and Italy. Rumford’s contributions to our knowledge of the nature of heat were as valuable as Franklin’s to our knowledge of electricity.
Volume I of this edition of Rumford’s Works contained his papers on the nature of heat. This second volume presents Rumford’s work on the practical applications of heat. Of particular interest are his papers on the propagation of heat in liquids, chimney fire-places, supplementary observations on chimney fire-places, and the management of fire and the economy of fuel. Subsequent volumes contain papers on devices and techniques, light and armament, and public institutions.