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Faraday as a Discoverer

Daily and weekly, from all parts of the world, I receive publications bearing upon the
practical applications of electricity. This great movement, the ultimate outcome of which
is not to be foreseen, had its origin in the discoveries made by Michael Faraday, sixty-
two years ago. From these discoveries have sprung applications of the telephone order,
together with various forms of the electric telegraph. From them have sprung the
extraordinary advances made in electrical illumination. Faraday could have had but an
imperfect notion of the expansions of which his discoveries were capable. Still he had a
vivid and strong imagination, and I do not doubt that he saw possibilities which did not
disclose themselves to the general scientific mind. He knew that his discoveries had their
practical side, but he steadfastly resisted the seductions of this side, applying himself to
the development of principles; being well aware that the practical question would receive
due development hereafter.
During my sojourn in Switzerland this year, I read through the proofs of this new edition,
and by my reading was confirmed in the conviction that the book ought not to be suffered
to go out of print. The memoir was written under great pressure, but I am not ashamed of
it as it stands. Glimpses of Faraday's character and gleams of his discoveries are there to
be found which will be of interest to humanity to the end of time.
John Tyndall.
Hind Head,
December, 1893.
[Note.--It was, I believe, my husband's intention to substitute this Preface, written a few
days before his death, for all former Prefaces. As, however, he had not the opportunity of
revising the old prefatory pages himself, they have been allowed to remain just as they
stood in the last edition.
Louisa C. Tyndall.]
When consulted a short time ago as to the republication of 'Faraday as a Discoverer,' it
seemed to me that the labours, and points of character, of so great a worker and so good a
man should not be allowed to vanish from the public eye. I therefore willingly fell in with
the proposal of my Publishers to issue a new edition of the little book.
Royal Institution,
February, 1884.