Previous Index Next
Page 212
(previous) (Page 000212) (next)
 
“ I took a number of little square pieces of broadcloth from a tailor’s
pattern-card, of various colors. They were black, deep blue, lighter blue,
green, purple, red, yellow, white, and other colors, or shades of color. I
laid them all out upon the snow on a bright, sunshiny morning. In a few
hours (I cannot now be exact as to the time), the black, being warmed
most by the sun, was sunk so low as to be below the stroke of the sun’s
rays ; the dark blue almost as low, the lighter blue not quite so much as
the dark, the other colors less as they were lighter. The white remained
on the surface of the snow, not having entered it at all.

“What signifies philos0phy that does not apply to some use? May
we not learn from hence that black Clothes are not so fit to wear in a hot,
sunny climate or season as white ones ; because in such clothes the body
is more heated by the sun when we walk abroad, and are at the same time
heated by the exercise, which double heat is apt to bring on putrid, dan-
gerous fevers? That soldiers and seamen, who must march and labor in
the sun, should, in the East or West Indies, have a uniform of white?
That summer hats for men or women should be white, as repelling that
heat which gives headaches to so many, and to some the fatal stroke that
the French call coup de soleil .9 That the ladies’ summer hats, however,
should be lined with black, as not reverberating on their faces those rays
which are reflected upward from the earth or water? That the putting
of a white cap of paper or linen within the crown of a black hat, as most
do, will not keep out the heat, though it would if placed without? That
fruit walls being blacked may receive so much heat from the sun in the
daytime as to continue warm in some degree through the night, and
thereby preserve the fruit from frosts, or forward its growth—with sun-
dry other particulars of greater or less importance that will occur from
time to time to attentive minds ? ”

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN,
Letter to Miss filmy Stevenson.

Previous Index Next