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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Alexander Graham Bell: Inventing the future

By  the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Like many Canadians, Alexander Graham Bell moved to the United States to get his big break, but always longed to return to the beauty and peace of Canada.  Both Alexander’s mom and wife had serious hearing impairments, a challenge that directly aided Alexander in his development of the first workable telephone.  It was while Alexander served as a teacher of the hearing-impaired that he began to really understand the fundamental principles of communication and speech.

One of Bell’s most famous pupils was Helen Keller who came to him as a child unable to see, hear or speak.  Helen Keller later said of Bell that he dedicated his life to the penetration of that ‘inhuman silence that separates and estranges.’  Dedicating her autobiography to Bell, she said: ‘You have always shown a father’s joy in my success and a father’s tenderness when things have not gone right.’

Like many millions of Canadians, Alexander Graham Bell was not born in Canada.  Rather his family fled to Canada after the tuberculosis deaths of their two other sons in Edinburgh, Scotland.  They naively believed that the pure air of Canada would save the life of Alexander who was also afflicted with tuberculosis.  While Alexander did live until age 75, he was never that well and often suffered from severe headaches.  But Alexander never let his problems hold him back from being creative.

Alexander had a pioneering mind and great vision.  He defined an inventor as someone “who looks around upon the world and is not contented with things as they are.  He wants to improve whatever he sees; he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea.”  “We should not keep going forever”, said Alexander, “on the public road, going only where others have gone.  We should leave the beaten track occasionally and enter the woods.  Every time you do that, you will be certain to find something that you have never seen before.”

While Alexander became famous from his invention of the first workable telephone, his inventive genius reached much farther.  He was the first in North America to show how x-rays could be used to treat cancers inside the body.  He invented a probe that discovered where bullets were lodged inside people.

Through creative experimenting with kites, he built the first successful airplane in the British Empire.  His Canadian airplane flew almost a kilometre at 64 kilometres per hour on February 23rd, 1909 at Beinn Bhreagh, Cape Breton.  Alexander’s hydrofoil built in 1915 reached speeds of 70 mph (112 kph).

After the death of his son from weak lungs, Alexander invented the first respirator.  To assist shipwrecked sailors, he created a machine that turned the moisture in air into drinking water.  His endless inventions also included the first practical phonograph, the first flat-disk record, an iceberg-locating device, a water purifier that removed salt from seawater, an air conditioner, and an audiometer to test people’s hearing.

But it was Bell’s invention of the telephone that caused the greatest controversy.  Some wrote Bell off as a mad scientist who was challenging the laws of nature.  Others tried to argue that telephones were somehow of the devil and against the bible.  There were widespread fears that telephones would spread disease and even insanity over the telephone wires.  During an 18-year period, Bell faced and won over 600 lawsuits challenging his telephone patent.

The first business use of the telephone began in 1877.  By 1888, there were over 150,000 users in North America.  The cost of having a phone installed in 1888 was $10, the equivalent of a whole year’s wage for a servant.  As of 2010, there are literally hundred of millions who might find it hard to imagine life without a phone.

When Bell’s body was buried in 1922 on top of a Cape Breton Island mountain, every telephone in North America observed a minute’s silence.  Thomas Edison, a rival and friend, said at that time: ‘My late friend Alexander Graham Bell,  whose world-famed invention annihilated time and space, and brought the human family in closer touch.’

The word ‘telephone’ means ‘sound over a long distance’.  Bell brought good news to many through a physical device.  May God use each of us as pioneers to bring the sound of good news throughout the world.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church, North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

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Thomas Edison: Let There Be Light….

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

I had no idea that Thomas Edison’s family were United Empire Loyalists, refugees fleeing to Canada in the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War.  Thomas’ grandfather Samuel Sr. even took part in the Canadian conquest of Detroit during the war of 1812.  But frustrated with inequalities in Canada, his son Samuel Jr. joined in Mayor William Lyon Mackenzie’s 1837 unsuccessful plot to liberate Toronto from Canada.  As Samuel Edison Jr. fled with his family to Ohio, Canada lost one of the world’s greatest inventors: Thomas Alva Edison.

In talking to many people, I have not met one yet who hasn’t heard of Thomas Edison.  But few of us have realized just how prolific an inventor Edison really was, with 1,069 different inventions patented!   Edison of course is best known for the creation of the world’s first usable lightbulb.  Realizing that a lightbulb needed a power source, he went on to create the world’s first electrical power station, a revolutionary act that transformed modern technology, and created ten of millions of jobs.  Henry Ford once commented: ‘To find a man who has not benefited by Edison and who is not in debt to him, it would be necessary to go deep into the jungle.’

It was also interesting to discover that his own father and his teachers saw this unique genius as unintelligent.  He irritated his superiors by continually asking questions.  He also had trouble hearing which made learning difficult in school.  Years later, Thomas said, ‘My father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided I must be a dunce’.  Thomas was afraid to tell his mother how difficult school was, in case she too would lose her confidence in him.  His mother Nancy, who always stood up for him, eventually pulled him out and home-schooled him herself.  Edison later said: ‘My mother was the making of me; she let me follow my bent’.  At one particularly low point, he realized that his mother was ‘the most enthusiastic champion a boy ever had.’  At age 12, he began selling newspapers and snacks from 6am-11pm to railway passengers.  During his spare moments, he used to conduct chemistry experiments in the baggage cars until one day he was fired for setting the train car on fire. As the last of seven children, Thomas was always a kid at heart, seeing life as one big experiment.

Edison’s next job as a telegrapher allowed him to create his first invention, an automatic telegraph dispatcher that allowed him to work on his experiments and sleep the rest of the time.  His invention worked like clockwork until one day sleepy Edison was fired for not forwarding an unusual message warning of a narrowly-averted head-on train collision.

Thomas Edison changed his world before he even reached age 40.  His success in the fields of telegraph, telephone, phonograph, and the electric light were achieved between the ages of 20 to 39.  He continued inventing right up until his death at age 85.  Edison aimed to produce one minor invention every ten days and one major one every six months.  Inventing for Edison was as natural as breathing.

One co-worker said of Edison that ‘His genius for sleep equaled his genius for invention. He could go to sleep anywhere, any time on anything.’  Always a night bird, Edison would often start work at nightfall, break for ‘lunch’ at midnight, and then go until daybreak.  Because Edison believed that changing clothes was bad for creativity, he often slept fully clothed.  His wife Mary was so irritated by this habit that she often encouraged him to sleep elsewhere.  Sadly time for his wife and children often became lost in his passion for creativity and invention.

Edison created and patented both the gramophone, the ancestor of our modern CD and Tape Player, as well as the Kinetoscope, the ancestor of movie cameras.  As well as creating the world’s first Movie Studio in New Jersey, he indirectly created the Hollywood film industry by ‘driving’ his competitors right across the country in their efforts to avoid Edison’s subpoenas and court orders.  Edison struggled all his life with lawsuits over people stealing or imitating his inventions.  But it never stopped Edison’s creativity in bringing new light to age-old technological problems.

As Edison brought physical light, so Jesus brings spiritual light to the darkness and confusion that we all face on a daily basis.  Jesus said: ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.  As you are reading this article, it may be very dark outside, but you are directly benefiting from Edison’s enlightening breakthrough with workable light bulbs.

My prayer is that in the same way that each of us benefit from the light that Edison has brought into our lives, so too we may be willing to benefit from the light that Jesus is waiting to bring into our lives.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Why did the Aussies Invent Refrigeration?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Where would the NHL be today without artificial ice? Where would Coca-Cola and Pepsi be without the ice-cold ‘pause that refreshes’?  Where would your family dinner be ‘at’ without your trusty kitchen fridge?  How easy it has been for humanity to produce heat by fire.  Yet we have quickly forgottenhow hard it has been for humanity to produce cold by any means.

The earliest method of refrigeration was the storage of food in caves and cold springs. This method of storing food in cold places slowly changed, as people began keeping food in their cellars, in their outdoor window boxes, in the snow, or underwater in nearby lakes, streams, or wells. For most of human history, perishable food have been preserved by drying, smoking, pickling, heating, and icing.

The ancient Romans were as fond of putting ice in their drinks as we are today.  In the 1st Century AD, no Roman banquet would have been complete without the provision of lavish amounts of ice or snow for guests to put into their wine goblets.  The famous Roman philosopher Seneca condemned snow-shops and ice-cold drinks as a clear sign of ever-growing decadence.  The Roman emperor Elgabalus used donkey trains to transport a literal mountain of snow to his hot summer villa: an early form of air conditioning!  Mideastern Sultans used their camel-driven postal system to transport snow all the way from the Lebanese Mountains to Cairo, Egypt.  In the early days of the British Empire, perishable Norwegian ice would be sent 8,000 miles around Cape Good Hope to colonies in India.

The invention of the icebox led to more efficient refrigeration. Ice was delivered to houses by the IceMan, and was used in wooden iceboxes that were lined in tin or zinc and insulated with sawdust or seaweed. In 1868, ice blocks cost 5 times more per pound than first-quality beefsteak.  By 1890 the U.S. was exporting 25 million tons of ice cut from her northern lakes.

The irony of artificial refrigeration is that some of its greatest breakthroughs came in the chilly land of Scotland.  From 1750 to 1850, Scotland was the world center of scientific and engineering thought.  It was in 1748 that William Cullen of Scotland demonstrated that the evaporation of ether in a partial vacuum produces cold.

Ninety years later in 1837, James Harrison, a Scottish journalist, moved to Australia from Glasgow and set about designing his own refrigeration machine.  In 1855 he succeeded in creating and patenting an ether liquid-vapour compression fridge.  The compressor worked by exerting pressure on a refrigerant gas, forcing it to pass through a condenser, where it cooled down and liquefied. The liquid then circulated through the refrigeration coils and vaporized again, cooling down the surrounding air.

Australia was in desperate need of refrigeration because of its lack of natural ice needed for keeping food cool.  Harrison was convinced that the economic salvation of Australia lay in the marketing of her millions of sheep and cows to the millions of Europeans.  But without refrigeration, it was impossible to ship the mutton across the 100 Degree-plus Equator.

Harrison spent his last penny to equip the Norfolk ship with a chemical freezing mixture for twenty tons of beef and mutton at Melbourne.  But when the meat arrived in London, it was discovered that the chemical tanks had leaked and ruined the entire cargo.  As a result, James Harrison went into bankruptcy, even being forced to sell his successful newspaper business.  Though Harrison was financially devastated, he did open the door for the economic salvation of Australia.  Other successful refrigerated voyages followed, which finally convinced Europe that Australia had something to offer, and that frozen food could be both safe and delectable.

There is a wise old saying: ‘As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him.’ (Proverbs 25:13).  I give thanks to God for James Harrison the determined Scottish inventor who CHANGED Australia, who CHANGED our workplaces, who CHANGED our family kitchens by his invention of the cold.  God grant us the Serenity to accept the things that we cannot CHANGE, the courage to CHANGE the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-award-winning author of Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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The Unforgettable Benjamin Franklin

100 top blogs awardBy the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I remember as a young child being taught Benjamin Franklin’s proverb: ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.’  As my father and I were both early to bed, early to rise, I have a lot of happy memories of time spent together aro

und the breakfast table together at 6am.

Benjamin Franklin picture

Benjamin Franklin had the common touch. As a brilliant philosopher, he shared wisdom through short pithy sayings like ‘He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.’  Many of Franklin’s sayings are so well known that people confuse them as coming from the Bible. ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is from Benjamin Franklin, not from Jesus.

Many of his sayings were published in Poor Richard’s Almanack, a book series that has had a profound impact on North American culture and identity. Some would say that the middle class dreams and ideals can be traced back directly to Benjamin Franklin’s homespun philosophy. Many of us unknowingly quote Benjamin Franklin on a regular basis: haste makes waste; no pain, no gain; and nothing is certain but death and taxes. Most of Franklin’s sayings were about encouraging diligence, honesty, industry and DH Lawrencetemperance.  Franklin saw the Judeo-Christian ethic as “the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”

Not everyone liked Benjamin Franklin. DH Lawrence said: “I do not like him….that barbed wire moral enclosure that Poor Richard rigged up….Benjamin Franklin tried to take away my wholeness and my dark forest, my freedom.”

Benjamin Franklin’s father had intended that his son Benjamin train to be a clergyman, but lacked the resources to do so. Instead Benjamin became a printer and an inventor.  Benjamin Franklin is world-famous for his kite experiments with lightning, proving that lightning was made up of electricity. Some see him as the world’s first electrician.  While visiting England, he attached his latest invention, the lightning rod, to St Paul’s Cathedral.  He also created hot-water pipes to warm up the chilly British House of Commons. Other significant Franklin inventions were bifocals and the Franklin stove.

Benjamin Franklin was far ahead of his time in terms of understanding workplace toxicity.  As a printer, he discovered that newspaper workers were being poisoned through handling hot lead type, causing stiffness and paralysis. Franklin found out Benjamin Franklin lightningthat this lead poisoning was also affecting glazers, type-founders, plumbers, potters, white-lead makers and painters.

Benjamin Franklin was so successful in business that he retired at age 42 and devoted the rest of his life to public service. He moved to England twice in order to help the relationship between England and its American colonies. While in England, Franklin wrote most of his autobiography at the home of the Bishop of St. Asaph, Jonathan Shipley. His book became the world’s most popular autobiography, and has been translated into most major languages.  Franklin’s autobiography was the one book which Davy Crockett had when slaughtered at the Alamo.

Despite his being a strong Royalist, Benjamin Franklin ended up being resented by the British House of Lords who publicly humiliated him for his efforts to bring reconciliation between England and its American colonies.  This was Franklin’s tipping point where he became a strong advocate for Independence. As America’s first postmaster general, Franklin was also put in charge of establishing the first US currency.  In the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, Franklin recommended that Americans give up tea drinking as a way to fund their new government. The constitution’s phrase ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ was the direct result of Franklin’s editing.  Franklin was the only one to sign all four of the USA’s founding papers: the Declaration of Independence, the treaty with France, the Benjamin Franklin Great Sealpeace accord with Britain, and the Constitution.  His unsuccessful proposal for the American Great Seal was to have Pharaoh being swallowed by the Red Sea, along with the words ‘Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.’

Franklin’s greatest popularity was among the French who lined the streets when he entered Paris as the USA’s first foreign diplomat. The French saw him as a simple frontier sage, and promptly put his likeness everywhere, causing the French King to become very jealous. Without Franklin’s winning the moral and financial support of the French, it is doubtful that the United States would have survived.

Franklin was a very complicated, even tragic individual with strong approach/avoidance tendencies. He loved the United States but spent most of his last years in England and then France. His relations with the opposite sex were muddled and confused.  He loved his wife and family but was away more than at home and suffered a painful split with his son William over politics.

Despite Franklin’s reputation as a religious skeptic, he went out of his way in his newspaper to promote the Rev George Whitfield who led North America’s first Great Awakening in 1739-1741.  As a scientist, he was amazed that Whitfield’s voice could be whitfieldpreachingheard without amplification by over 30,000 people at one time.  Franklin published all of Whitfield’s books and posted his sermons on the front page of his Philadelphia Gazette.  Whitfield wrote to Franklin, saying: “As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent unprejudiced pursuit and study the mystery of the new-birth. It is a most important, interesting study, and when mastered, will richly answer and repay you for all your pains.”

After jealous clergy closed their pulpits to Whitfield, Franklin and other trustees built a large hall where Whitfield could preach. Franklin commented: “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants.” After the revival ended, Franklin converted the hall into the Academy of Philadelphia which later became the University of Pennsylvania.

As Governor of Pennsylvania, Franklin in 1748 proposed a day of fasting and prayer. In 1778, Franklin wrote to the French Government, saying: “Whoever shall introduce into public affairs the principals of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.”, recommending that every French home have a Bible and newspaper, and a good school in every district.

Benjamin Franklin 2 pictureAt the 1787 American Constitutional Convention, Franklin commented: “the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” On that basis, Franklin arranged that prayers led by local clergy would be held each morning before Assembly business. Franklin said: “If I had ever before been an atheist, I should now have been convinced of the Being and government of a Deity!”

Franklin memorably commented: “Think of three things: Whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must give account.”  May each of us, like Benjamin Franklin, be willing to be accountable to God in the midst of life’s challenges.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

 St. Simon’s North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


20 Comments

James Watt: Creative Genius

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

James Watt was a creative genius who radically transformed the world from an agricultural society into an industrial one. Through Watt’s invention of the first practical engine, our modern world eventually moved from a 90% rural basis to a 90% urban basis. Everywhere in our world today, countless engines, many of them micro-computerized, power us.

Engines have played a big role in my family’s history. My maternal Grandpa Allen was a CPR Railway Engineer who was ‘bumped’ during the depression into shoveling coal into massive steam-driven engines. My paternal Grandpa Hird was a master mechanic and blacksmith who invented and raced one of the first jet-engine snowmobiles along the Edmonton River. In high school, I took numerous electronics courses in which I learned how to create an electronic mosquito-repellent engine and a voice-activated light switch. From Grade 3 to Grade 10, my fascination with electronic engines led me to want to become an electrical engineer, like my father. You can imagine the surprise of some of my family when their future engineer became a social worker and Anglican priest. My master-mechanic grandfather was not too impressed about Social Work, and proceeded to suggest that I should get a haircut and become a dentist!

James Watt, through the creation of the first practical engine, became the first modern-day engineer. The terms ‘engine’ and ‘engineer’ come from the Latin word ‘ingenium’, from which we get the words ‘ingenuity’ and ‘ingenious’. James Watt, by that definition, was a truly ingenious engineer who never let impossible obstacles hold him back. Born in 1736 at Greenock Scotland, James was a sickly child whose migraines and dreadful toothaches forced his parents to home-school him. Of the five children in James’ family, only James didn’t die at a young age. At age 11, James entered public school, and immediately became the daily target of vicious bullies, preying on his shyness and social ineptness. His teachers wrote him off as unintelligent.

Due to his aptitude at repairing his father’s navigation aids, James decided that he would become a maker of scientific instruments. James went first to Glasgow and then London in his search for proper training, but was blocked by the Guild of ‘The Worshipful Company of Clock-makers’ who had a stranglehold on apprenticing. Being a 20-year-old Scot, the Clockmakers saw James as too old to begin the required 7-year apprenticeship. As well, it was strictly forbidden for foreigners, which meant non-Londoners, to be trained as apprentices! Fortunately James found a renegade brassworker, John Morgan, who was willing to bend the rules and train him in just one year. James learned very quickly, but the overwork and near-starvation brought about a complete physical breakdown. Returning to Scotland, James regained his health quickly and attempted to set himself up as an instrument-maker in Glasgow. Because James was not a Glasgow native, the local Hammerman Guild did their best to drive him out. Fortunately for all of us who use engines, the Glasgow University gave him diplomatic immunity by declaring James the ‘Mathematical Instrument Maker to the University’.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9e/Maquina_vapor_Watt_ETSIIM.jpg/300px-Maquina_vapor_Watt_ETSIIM.jpg

Even though he had no ear for music and if anything, disliked it, James Watt the official Instrument Maker used his mathematics genius to create high-quality harps, flutes, bagpipes, and even organs. To him, one instrument was the same as another! When one of Watt’s organs was installed for the first time ever in a Scottish church, the angry parishioners stormed St. Andrew’s Glasgow and forcibly removed such an ungodly instrument from their Kirk!

James Watt then turned from the problems of church organs to water pumps. Given the unique challenge of improving the unreliable Newcomen water pump, James poured his heart and soul into this enterprise. The Newcomen pump greedily devoured coal and then would collapse from the incessant overheating and cooling. By James Watt’s addition of a separate vacuum steam condenser, he radically reduced by ¾’s the coal consumption and the wear-&-tear on the engine. This simple modification unleashed the industrial age in a way that changed the lives of most families on planet earth. One practical consequence of Watt’s engine was that mines could now be made more productive by draining the underground water at much deeper levels.

When James further modified his invention to become a rotary, double-acting parallel-motion engine, it not only produced twice the power, but it unleashed the historic cotton mills which fuelled the Western economy. During all this time, James struggled with the threat of financial bankruptcy and with the tragic death of his first wife. But he never let impossible circumstances hold him back. Instead he went on to create a prototype of our modern photo-copier, which was able to eliminate the need for endless hand-copying. James also scientifically determined the exact measurements of one horsepower, defined forevermore as one horse lifting 33,000 pounds the distance of one foot in one minute. Ironically the international measurement system has dropped the term ‘horsepower’ in favour of the James Watt-honouring term ‘watt’!

Through James Watt the Inventor, countless millions have experienced dynamic power for living. There is hardly an area of our workplaces and homes that has not been impacted by James’ ground-breaking inventions. May each of us take inspiration from James Watt’s faithfulness and creativity.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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The Irreplaceable Sandford Fleming

Sir Sanford FlemingBy the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

  Recently I dropped over to my friend Keith Cameron who had inspired the ‘Captain Robert Dollar’ article. Keith was so pleased by the Deep Cove Crier article that he gave me another tip: “Write about Sir Sandford Fleming, a Scottish Canadian. Fleming was a thinking renaissance man, organizing time for the world.  Fleming was a man’s man, bold and adventurous”

When I ask many people about Sandford Fleming, they are tempted to confuse him with Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin. At age 17, Sandford Fleming emigrated to Canada from his hometown Kirkaldy in Scotland.

Sandford Fleming’s remarkable discovery was time, Standard Meridian Time.  In the 19th Century, there were 144 different time zones in North America. Every city was its own Greenwich, having its own personal time zone. As Clarke Blaise put it, “Every self-respecting town on the continent had a right to its own newspaper, its own baseball or cricket team, and its own individual time.”

Sandford Fleming served as the Chief Engineer and Surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was an amazing visionary, first proposing a sea to sea railway in 1858, well before people would take him seriously. Several top Canadians told Fleming that since Canada already had sixteen miles of railway, there was no longer a need for engineers!  He should just go back to Scotland.  A few years later, Fleming became the sole engineer to oversee the survey for the Intercolonial Railway linking the Maritimes to Quebec. As an engineer, Fleming loved anything to do with engines and railways. .

Railway engines brought unimaginable new speed to the vast land of Canada.  They also brought new disasters when locomotives crashed into each other because of different time clocks.  Sandford knew that it was time to figure out what time it really was.  Going to the UK to argue for standardized time, he was snubbed and not even allowed to present his scheduled paper.  Jealousy between European nations for a long time paralyzed initiatives to make Greenwich Time the standard time around the world.  Sandford showed remarkable perseverance in bringing us the Standard Time that we now take for granted.  As Hugh MacLean put it, “Fleming never knew when he was licked.”

Sir Sandford Fleming bookSandford was there at the 1864 Charlottetown Conference which birthed the nation of Canada. He was there for the Last Spike at Craigellachie in November 7th 1885 when Canada was joined by rail from sea to sea.  Sandford Fleming has been called ‘the outstanding Canadian of the nineteenth century’.

Where would Canada be today without dedicated engineers like Fleming?  Engineers have built Canada from the ground up.  Clark Blaise comments: “The engineering profession, always a high calling – and often a source of profound despair – for Fleming, is the link between science and society.  The engineer calculates the cost of change, understands debentures and interest rates, the politically possible, the socially beneficial.  He reads the future.”  As a person of faith, Fleming saw the Engineering profession through the eyes of Isaiah 40 which talked about every valley being exalted: “It is one of the misfortunes of the profession to which I am proud to belong that our business is to make and not to enjoy; we no sooner make a rough place smooth than we must move to another and fresh field, leaving others to enjoy what we have accomplished.”

In 1872 Sandford and his good friend the Rev. George Grant led an expedition to BC in order to survey the future Canadian Pacific Railway. The travelogue they wrote about their adventures became a Canadian best-seller. Both Sandford and George shared a deep Christian faith that sustained them through many trials and tribulations. Wherever Sandford went, he always found time to worship on Sundays, even if it was simply kneeling by the railway tracks and giving thanks to Almighty God.  Sandford even wrote a simplified worship service that travellers and busy construction crews could use.

 

Sandford was always inventing.  He created Canada’s first postage stamp, the three-penny beaver.   In 1849, he founded the Royal Canadian Institute which became the Royal Society of Canada, a leading scientific institute. He wrote twelve books and served as Chancellor of Queen’s University for thirty-five years. Despite enormous opposition, Fleming built the world’s first sub-Pacific cable bringing instantaneous communication around much of the world. It was for this amazing feat that Queen Victoria knighted Fleming in 1897.

My prayer for those reading this article is that we too like Sir Sandford Fleming may be creative, persevering, and ground-breaking.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Sir Sandford Fleming: Inventor of Time

Sir Sanford Fleming1

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed Hird

When Sir Sanford Fleming first came to Canada, he was told “Go back to Scotland”.  The need for engineers was over. Some were convinced that we would only need sixteen miles of railway in Canada. Fortunately for us, Fleming loved a challenge.  He was passionate about railways, once driving a bear off the railway tracks with nothing but an umbrella and a loud cry.

Fleming has been described as the outstanding Canadian of the nineteenth century. Prime Minister John A Macdonald appointed him as chief surveyor and engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  Fleming knew that he needed to see the route first-hand.  With the Rev George Grant, he canoed and portaged across Canada in 1872, creating a best-selling travelogue ‘Ocean to Ocean’.  The beauty and ruggedness of Canada’s wilderness spoke to the depths of his soul.

Our most recognizable Canadian photo is ‘The Last Spike’, celebrating the completion of our national railway on November 7th 1885.  Fleming, our most famous Canadian engineer, was right there at the centre of the photo.

To complete the Canadian Pacific Railway in just ten years was an astronomical task, but Fleming always made time for God in his busyness. Fleming only missed attending church twelve times in his entire life. Sometimes ‘church’ was simply kneeling by the Rocky mountain railway tracks and giving thanks. On all his surveying trips, no work and travel was done on Sunday if he could help it. He even wrote a worship service that his busy construction crews could use.

After the frustration of his missing an Irish train, Fleming went on to create Meridian Standard Time in 1878.  Standard Time replaced the dangerous chaos of 144 different North American time zones. Every city had its own Sir Sanford Fleming Stampunique time, none of which agreed with any other city.  Standard Time went a long way towards keeping locomotives from crashing into each other because of different clocks.

Fleming founded the Canadian Institute which grew into the Royal Society of Canada. He published a dozen books, served for thirty-five years as Chancellor of Queen’s University. Canada’s very first postage stamp: the three-cent beaver, was the creation of Fleming.  Fleming was knighted in 1897 by Queen Victoria for building the world-circling sub-Pacific cable. For the first time in history, the world could communicate instantaneously around the globe.  With membership in over seventy international societies, he was Canada’s preeminent voice on the world stage.  Everyone looked to Sir Sanford Fleming.

Fleming was often snubbed, sidelined, criticized but he never let the nay-sayers stop him from accomplishing his life-goals.  Fleming knew that God had put him here on earth to make a difference, to help raise up the nation of Canada from sea to sea.  Fleming’s strength came from a deep sense that God would never abandon his children.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the North Shore News

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide