The idea of transmutation, in the country of its origin, had a philosophical basis, and was linked up with the Greek theories of matter there current; thus, by supplying a central philosophical principle, it to some extent unified and focussed chemical effort, which previously, so far as it existed at all, had been expended on acquiring empirical acquaintance with a mass of disconnected technical processes.
In Greece the idea of a fundamental unity behind the plurality of phenomena was present, though vaguely, in the minds of the early physicists (see Ionian School), but the first thinker who focussed the problem clearly was Xenophanes.
Horizontal rays of light entering at the top were reflected by a prism down the tube and focussed on to a sheet of paper in front of the helmsman inside the submarine.
The top is closed by a pressure-tight window, inside of which is a prism which reflects the light rays vertically down the tube to a prism at the bottom end, where they are reflected in a horizontal direction and focussed in an eyepiece attached to the bottom of the tube.
In Athens the Hellenic genius was focussed, its tendencies drawn together and combined; nor was it a circumstance of small moment that the Attic dialect attained, for prose, a classical authority; for if Hellenism was to be propagated in the world at large, it was obviously convenient that it should have some one definite form of speech to be its medium.
The movements of the apparatus, which when complete should consist of two similar pendulums in planes at right angles to each other, are recorded by means of a beam of light, which, after reflection from the mirror or mirrors, passes through a cylindrical lens and is focussed upon a moving surface of photographic paper.