William Thomson (Lord Kelvin)William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) argued as early as 1852 that the dissipation of energy was an irreversible process. This led him to the conclusion that the universe would end in what Hermann Helmholtz came to call a "heat death," unless some creative process were to reverse the inevitable loss of mechanical energy to heat, what we now see to be an irreversible loss of information.
In this 1852 article, Thomson specifically cited interaction with radiation as responsible for irreversibility,
When radiant heat of light is absorbed, otherwise than in vegetation, or in chemical action, there is a dissipation of mechanical energy, and perfect restoration is impossible.In 1874, two years before Josef Loschmidt objected to Ludwig Boltzmann's dynamical derivation of the H-Theorem on the grounds that time reversibility would show that entropy could decrease, Thomson described time reversibility and gave a dozen physical reasons why it fails, including radiation interactions.
In abstract dynamics the instantaneous reversal of the motion of every moving particle of a system causes the system to move backwards, each particle of it along its old path, and at the same speed as before, when again in the same position. That is to say, in mathematical language, any solution remains a solution when t is changed into -t. In physical dynamics this simple and perfect reversibility fails, on account of forces depending on friction of solids; imperfect fluidity of fluids; imperfect elasticity of solids; inequalities of temperature, and consequent conduction of heat produced by stresses in solids and fluids; imperfect magnetic retentiveness; residual electric polarization of dielectrics; generation of heat by electric currents induced by motion; diffusion of fluids, solution of solids in fluids, and other chemical changes; and absorption of radiant heat and light.Thomson drew a vivid description of what time reversibility implies for mechanical dynamics
If, then, the motion of every particle of matter in the universe were precisely reversed at any instant, the course of nature would be simply reversed for ever after. The bursting bubble of foam at the foot of a waterfall would reunite and descend into the water; the thermal motions would reconcentrate their energy, and throw the mass up the fall in drops re-forming into a close column of ascending water. Heat which had been generated by the friction of solids and dissipated by conduction, and radiation with absorption, would come again to the place of contact, and throw the moving body back against the force to which it had previously yielded. Boulders would recover from the mud the materials required to rebuild them into their previous jagged forms, and would become reunited to the mountain peak from which they had formerly broken away. And if also the materialistic hypothesis of life were true, living creatures would grow backwards, with conscious knowledge of the future, but no memory of the past, and would become again unborn. But the real phenomena of life infinitely transcend human science; and speculation regarding consequences of their imagined reversal is utterly unprofitable. Far otherwise, however, is it in respect to the reversal of the motions of matter uninfluenced by life, a very elementary consideration of which leads to the full explanation of the theory of dissipation of energy.In this 1874 article, Thomson gave the name "intelligent demon" to James Clerk Maxwell's being that could theoretically reverse the dissipation of energy into heat. In an 1879 article, Thomson elaborated further on the demon:
The definition of a demon, according to the use of this word by Maxwell, is an intelligent being endowed with free-will and fine enough tactile and perceptive organization to give him the faculty of observing and influencing individual molecules of matter. Clerk Maxwell's 'demon' is a creature of imagination having certain, perfectly well defined powers of action, purely mechanical in their character, invented to help us to understand the 'Dissipation of Energy' in nature. He is a being with no preternatural qualities and differs from real living animals only in extreme smallness and agility. ... He cannot create or annul energy; but just as a living animal does, he can store up limited quantities of energy, and reproduce them at will. By operating selectively on individual atoms he can reverse the natural dissipation of energy, can cause one-half of a closed jar of air, or of a bar of iron, to become glowingly hot and the other ice cold; can direct the energy of the moving molecules of a basin of water to throw the water up to a height and leave it there proportionately cooled...; can 'sort' the molecules in a solution of salt or in a mixture of two gases, so as to reverse the natural process of diffusion, and produce concentration of the solution in one portion of the water, leaving pure water in the remainder of the space occupied; or, in the other case separate the gases into different parts of the containing vessel.
On a Universal Tendency in Nature to the Dissipation of Energy (1852) The Kinetic Theory of the Dissipation of Energy (1874)