Scientific American Supplement, No. 385, May 19, 1883
Part 2 out of 2
maker, Tomkisson, who acquired Pape's rights for this country. The iron
framing in a single casting is a distinctly American invention, but
proceeding, like the overstringing, from a German by birth. The iron
casting for a square piano of the American Alpheus Babcock, may have
suggested Meyer's invention; it was, however, Conrad Meyer, who,
in Philadelphia, and in 1833, first made a real iron frame square
pianoforte. The gradual improvement upon Meyer's invention, during the
next quarter of a century, are first due to the Chickerings and then
the Steinways. The former overstrung an iron frame square, the latter
overstrung an iron frame grand, the culmination of this special make
since of general American and German adoption. It will be seen that, in
the American make, the number of tension bars has not been reduced, but
a diagonal support has, to a certain extent, been accepted and adopted.
The sound-board bridges are much further apart than obtains with the
English grand, or with the Anglo-French Erard. The advocates of the
American principle point out the advantages of a more open scale, and
more equal pressure on the sound-board. They likewise claim, as a gain,
a greater tension. I have no quite accurate information as to what
the sum of the tension may be of an American grand piano. One of
Broadwood's, twenty years ago, had a strain of sixteen and one-half
tons; the strain has somewhat increased since then. The remarkable
improvement in wiredrawing which has been made in Birmingham, Vienna,
and Nuremberg, of late years, has rendered these high tensions of far
easier attainment than they would have been earlier in the century.
[Illustration: FIG. 3.--BROADWOOD.]
For me the great drawback to one unbroken casting is in the vibratory
ring inseparable from any metal system that has no resting places to
break the uniform reverberation proceeding from metal. We have already
seen how readily the strings take up vibrations which are only pure
when, as secondary vibrations, they arise by reversion from the
sound-board. If vibration arises from imperfectly elastic wood, we hear
a dull wooden thud; if it comes from metal, partials of the strings are
re-enforced that should be left undeveloped, which give a false ring to
the tone, and an after ring that blurs _legato_ playing, and nullifies
the _staccato_. I do not pose as the obstinate advocate of parallel
stringing, although I believe that, so far, it is the most logical and
the best; the best, because the left hand division of the instrument is
free from a preponderance of dissonant high partials, and we hear the
light and shade, as well as the cantabile of that part, better than by
any overstrung scale that I have yet met with. I will not, I say, offer
a final judgment, because there may come a possible improvement of the
overstrung or double diagonal scale, if that scale is persisted in, and
inventive power is brought to bear upon it, as valuable as that which
has carried the idea thus far.
[Illustration: FIG. 4.--BROADWOOD.]
I have not had time to refer other than incidentally to the square
pianoforte, which has become obsolete. I must, however, give a separate
historical sketch of the upright pianoforte, which has risen into
great favor and importance, and in its development--I may say its
invention--belongs to this present 19th century. The form has always
recommended the upright on the score of convenience, but it was long
before it occurred to any one to make an upright key board instrument
reasonably. Upright harpsichords were made nearly four hundred years
ago. A very interesting 17th century one was sold lately in the
great Hamilton sale--sold, I grieve to say, to be demolished for its
paintings. But all vertical harpsichords were horizontal ones, put on
end on a frame; and the book-case upright grand pianos, which, from the
eighties, were made right into the present century, were horizontal
grands similarly elevated. The real inventor of the upright piano, in
its modern and useful form, was that remarkable Englishman, John Isaac
Hawkins, the inventor of ever-pointed pencils; a civil engineer, poet,
preacher, and phrenologist. While living at Border Town, New Jersey, U.
S. A., Hawkins invented the cottage piano--portable grand, he called
it--and his father, Isaac Hawkins, to whom, in Grove's "Dictionary,"
I have attributed the invention, took out, in the year 1800, the
English patent for it. I can fortunately show you one of these original
pianinos, which belongs to Messrs. Broadwood. It is a wreck, but you
will discern that the strings descend nearly to the floor, while the
key-board, a folding one, is raised to a convenient height between the
floor and the upper extremities of the strings. Hawkins had an iron
frame and tension rods, within which the belly was entirely suspended;
a system of tuning by mechanical screws; an upper metal bridge; equal
length of string throughout; metal supports to the action, in which a
later help to the repetition was anticipated--the whole instrument being
independent of the case. Hawkins tried also a lately revived notion of
coiled strings in the bass, doing away with tension. Lastly, he sought
for a _sostinente_, which has been tried for from generation to
generation, always to fail, but which, even if it does succeed, will
produce another kind of instrument, not a pianoforte, which owes so much
of its charm to its unsatiating, evanescent tone.
[Transcribers note 1: 3rd digit illegible, best guess from context.]
[Illustration: Fig. 5.--MEYER.]
Once introduced into Hawkins' native country, England, the rise of the
upright piano became rapid. In 1807, at latest, the now obsolete high
cabinet piano was fairly launched. In 1811, Wornum produced a diagonal.
In 1813, a vertical cottage piano. Previously, essays had been made to
place a square piano upright on its side, for which Southwell, an Irish
maker, took out a patent in 1798; and I can fortunately show you one of
these instruments, kindly lent for this paper by Mr. Walter Gilbey. I
have also been favored with photographs by Mr. Simpson, of Dundee, of a
precisely similar upright square. I show his drawing of the action--the
Southwell sticker action. W. F. Collard patented another similar
experiment in 1811. At first the sticker action with a leather hinge
to the hammer-butt was the favorite, and lasted long in England. The
French, however, were quick to recognize the greater merit of Wornum's
principle of the crank action, which, and strangely enough through
France, has become very generally adopted in England, as well as Germany
and elsewhere. I regret I am unable to show a model of the original
crank action, but Mr. Wornum has favored me with an early engraving of
his father's invention. It was originally intended for the high cabinet
piano, and a patent was taken out for it in 1826. But many difficulties
arose, and it was not until 1829 that the first cabinet was so finished.
Wornum then applied it in the same year to the small upright--the
piccolo, as he called it--the principle of which was, through Pleyel and
Pape, adopted for the piano manufacture in Paris. Within the last few
years we have seen the general introduction of Bord's little pianino,
called in England, ungrammatically enough, pianette, in the action of
which that maker cleverly introduced the spiral spring. And, also, of
those large German overstrung and double overstrung upright pianos,
which, originally derived from America, have so far met with favor and
sale in this country as to induce some English makers, at least in the
principle, to copy them.
[Illustration: Fig. 6.--STEINWAY.]
I will conclude this historical sketch by remarking, and as a remarkable
historical fact, that the English firms which in the last century
introduced the pianoforte, to whose honorable exertions we owe a debt of
gratitude, with the exception of Stodart, still exist, and are in the
front rank of the world's competition. I will name Broadwood (whose flag
I serve under), Collard (in the last years of the last century known
as Longman and Clementi), Erard (the London branch), Kirkman, and, I
believe, Wornum. On the Continent there is the Paris Erard house; and,
at Vienna, Streicher, a firm which descends directly from Stein of
Augsburg, the inventor of the German pianoforte, the favorite of Mozart,
and of Beethoven in his virtuoso period, for he used Stein's grands at
Bonn. Distinguished names have risen in the present century, some of
whom have been referred to. To those already mentioned, I should like
to add the names of Hopkinson and Brinsmead in England; Bechstein and
Bluthner in Germany; all well-known makers.
* * * * *
THE POISONOUS PROPERTIES OF NITRATE OF SILVER, AND A RECENT CASE OF
POISONING WITH THE SAME.
[Footnote: Read before the Medico Legal Society, April 5, 1883.]
By HENRY A. MOTT, JR., Ph.D., etc.
Of the various salts of silver, the nitrate, both crystallized and in
sticks (lunar caustic, _Lapis infernalis_), is the only one interesting
to the toxicologist.
This salt is an article of commerce, and is used technically and
Its extensive employment for marking linen, in the preparation of
various hair dyes (Eau de Perse, d'Egypte, de Chiene, d'Afrique), in the
photographer's laboratory, etc., affords ample opportunity to use the
same for poisoning purposes.
Nitrate of silver possesses an acrid metallic taste and acts as a
When injected into a vein of an animal, even in small quantities, the
symptoms produced are dyspnoea, choking, spasms of the limbs and then
of the trunk, signs of vertigo, consisting of inability to stand erect
or walk steadily, and, finally retching and vomiting, and death by
asphyxia. These symptoms, which have usually been attributed to the
coagulating action of the salt upon the blood, have been shown not to
depend upon that change, which, indeed, does not occur, but upon a
direct paralyzing operation upon the cerebro-spinal centers and upon
the heart; but the latter action is subordinate and secondary, and the
former is fatal through asphyxia.
[Footnote 1: Nat. Dispensatory. Alf. Stille & John M. Maisch, Phila.,
1879, p. 232.]
One-third of a grain injected into the jugular vein killed a dog in four
and one-half hours, with violent tetanic spasms.
[Footnote 1: Medical Jurisprudence. Thomas S. Traill, 1857, p 117.]
Devergie states that acute poisoning with nitrate of silver,
administered in the shape of pills, is more frequent than one would
suppose. Yet Dr. Powell states that it should always be given in
pills, as the system bears a dose three times as large as when given in
solution. The usual dose is from one-quarter of a grain to one grain
three times a day when administered as a medicine. In cases of epilepsy
Dr. Powell recommends one grain at first, to be gradually increased
to six. Clocquet has given as much as fifteen grains in a day, and
Ricord has given sixteen grains of argentum chloratum ammoniacale.
[Footnote 1: U.S. Dispensatory, 18th ed., p. 1049. Wood & Bache.]
[Footnote 2: Handbuch der Giftlehre, von A. W. M. Von Hasselt. 1862, p.
Cases of poisoning have resulted from sticks of lunar caustic getting
into the stomach in the process of touching the throat (Boerhave);
in one case, according to Albers, a stick of lunar caustic got into the
[Footnote 1: Virchow's Archiv, Bd. xvii., s. 135. 1859.]
Von Hasselt therefore urges the utmost caution in using lunar caustic;
the sticks and holder should always be carefully examined before use.
An apprentice to an apothecary attempted to commit suicide by taking
nearly one ounce of a solution of nitrate of silver without fatal
result. It must be remarked, however, that the strength of the solution
was not stated.
[Footnote 1: Handbuch der Giftlehre, von A. W. M. Von Hasselt. Zweiter
Theil, 1862. p. 316.]
In 1861, a woman, fifty-one years old, died in three days from the
effects of taking a six-ounce mixture containing fifty grains of nitrate
of silver given in divided doses. She vomited a brownish yellow fluid
before death. The stomach and intestines were found inflamed. It is
stated that silver was found in the substance of the stomach and liver.
[Footnote 1: Treatise on Poison. Taylor, 1875, p. 475.]
It is evident that the poisonous dose, when taken internally, is not so
very small, but still it would not be safe to administer much over the
amounts prescribed by Ricord, for in the case of the dog mentioned one
third of a grain injected into the jugular vein produced death in four
and one-half hours.
The circumstance that more can be taken internally is explained by the
rapid decomposition to which this silver salt is liable in the body by
the proteine substance and chlorine combinations in the stomach, the
hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice, and salt from food.
The first reaction produced by taking nitrate of silver internally is a
combination of this salt with the proteinaceous tissues with which it
comes in contact, as also a precipitation of chloride of silver.
According to Mitscherlich, the combination with the proteine or
albuminous substance is not a permanent one, but suffers a decomposition
by various acids, as dilute acetic and lactic acid.
The absorption of the silver into the system is slow, as the albuminoid
and chlorine combinations formed in the intestinal canal cannot be
immediately dissolved again.
In the tissues the absorbed silver salt is decomposed by the tissues,
and the oxide and metallic silver separate.
Partly for this reason and partly on account of the formation of the
solid albuminates, etc., the elimination of the silver from the body
takes place very slowly. Some of the silver, however, passed out in the
faeces, and, according to Lauderer, Orfila, and Panizza, some can be
detected in the urine.
Bogolowsky has also shown that in rabbits poisoned with preparations
of silver, the (often albuminous) urine and the contents of the (very
full) gall bladder contained silver.
[Footnote 1: Arch. f. Path. Anatomie, xlvi., p. 409. Gaz. Med de Paris,
1868, No. 39. Also Journ. de l'Anatomie et de la Physiologie, 1873, p.
Mayencon and Bergeret have also shown that in men and rabbits the silver
salt administered is quickly distributed in the body, and is but slowly
excreted by the urine and faeces.
Chronic poisoning shows itself in a peculiar coloring of the skin
(Argyria Fuchs), especially in the face, beginning first on the
sclerotic. The skin does not always take the same color; it becomes in
most cases grayish blue, slaty sometimes, though, a greenish brown or
Von Hasselt thinks that probably chloride of silver is deposited in
the rete malpighii, which is blackened by the action of light, or that
sulphide of silver is formed by direct union of the silver with the
sulphur of the epidermis. That the action of light is not absolutely
necessary, Patterson states, follows from the often simultaneous
appearance of this coloring upon the mucous membrane, especially that of
the mouth and upon the gums; and Dr. Frommann Hermann and others have
shown that a similar coloring is also found in the internal parts.
[Footnote 1: Leh der Experiment. Tox. Dr. Hermann, Berlin, 1874, p.
Versmann found 14.1 grms. of dried liver to contain 0.009 grm. chloride
of silver, or 0.047 per cent. of metallic silver. In the kidneys he
found 0.007 grm. chloride of silver, or 0.061 per cent. of metallic
silver; this was in a case of chronic poisoning, the percentage will be
seen to be very small. Orfila Jun. found silver in the liver five months
after the poisoning.
Lionville found a deposit of silver in the kidneys, suprarenal gland,
and plexus choroideus of a woman who had gone through a cure with lunar
caustic five years before death.
[Footnote 1: Gaz. Med., 1868. No. 39.]
Sydney Jones states that in the case of an old epileptic who had been
accustomed to take nitrate of silver as a remedy, the choroid plexuses
were remarkably dark, and from their surface could be scraped a brownish
black, soot-like material, and a similar substance was found lying quite
free in the cavity of the fourth ventricle, apparently detached from the
[Footnote 1: Trans. Path. Soc., xi. vol.]
Attempts at poisoning for suicidal purposes with nitrate of silver
are in most cases prevented from the fact that this salt has such a
disagreeable metallic taste as to be repulsive; cases therefore of
poisoning are only liable to occur by accident or by the willful
administration of the poison by another person.
Such a case occurred quite recently, to a very valuable mare belonging
to August Belmont.
I received on Dec. 6, 1882, a sealed box from Dr. Wm. J. Provost,
containing the stomach, heart, kidney, portion of liver, spleen, and
portion of rectum of this mare for analysis.
Dr. Provost reported to me that the animal died quite suddenly, and that
there was complete paralysis of the hind quarters, including rectum and
The total weight of the stomach and contents was 18 lb., the stomach
itself weighing 3 lb. and 8 oz.
Portions were taken from each organ, weighed, and put in alcohol for
The contents of the stomach were thoroughly mixed together and measured,
and a weighed portion preserved for analysis.
The stomach, when cut open, was perfectly white on its inner surface,
and presented a highly corroded appearance.
The contents of the stomach were first submitted to qualitative
analysis, and the presence of a considerable quantity of nitrate of
silver was detected.
The other organs were next examined, and the presence of silver was
readily detected, with the exception of the heart!
The liver had a very dark brown color. A quantitative analysis of the
contents of the stomach gave 59.8 grains of nitrate of silver. In the
liver 30.5 grains of silver, calculated as nitrate, were found (average
weight, 11 lb.). From the analysis made there was reason to believe that
at least one-half an ounce of nitrate of silver was given to the animal.
Some naturally passed out in the faeces and urine.
I was able to prepare several globules of metallic silver, as also all
the well known chemical combinations, such as sulphide, chloride, oxide,
iodide, bromide, bichromate of silver, etc.
From the result of my investigation I was led to the conclusion that the
animal came to death by the willful administering of nitrate of silver,
probably mixed with the food.
The paralysis of the hind quarters, mentioned by Dr. Provost, accords
perfectly with the action of this poison, as it acts on the nerve
centers, especially the cerebro-spinal centers, and produces spasms of
the limbs, then of the trunk, and finally paralysis.
I might also state in this connection that, only two weeks previous
to my receiving news of the poisoning of the mare, I examined for
Mr. Belmont the contents of the stomach of a colt which died very
mysteriously, and found large quantities of corrosive sublimate to be
Calomel is often given as a medicine, but not so with corrosive
sublimate, which is usually employed in the arts as a poison.
It is to be regretted that up to the present moment, even with the best
detectives, the perpetrator of this outrage has been at large. Surely
the very limit of the law should be exercised against any man who would
willfully poison an innocent animal for revenge upon an individual.
Cases have been reported in England where one groom would poison the
colts under the care of another groom, so that the owner would discharge
their keeper and promote the other groom to his place.
A few good examples, in cases where punishment was liberally meted out,
would probably check such unfeeling outrages.
* * * * *
TUBERCLE BACILLI IN SPUTA.
Prof. Baumgarten has just published in the _Ctbl. f. d. Med. Wiss_., 25,
1882, the following easy method to detect in the expectorated matter of
phthisical persons the pathogenic tubercle bacilli:
Phthisical sputa are dried and made moist with very much diluted potash
lye (1 to 2 drops of a 33 per cent. potash lye in a watch glass of
distilled water). The tubercle bacilli are then easily recognized with a
magnifying power of 400 to 500. By light pressure upon the cover glass
the bacilli are easily pressed out of the masses of detritus and
secretion. To prevent, however, the possibility of mistaking the
tubercle bacilli for other septic bacteria, or vice versa, the following
procedure is necessary: After the examination just mentioned, the cover
glass is lifted up and the little fluid sticking to its under side
allowed to dry, which is done within one or two minutes. Now the cover
glass is drawn two or three times rapidly through a gas flame; one
drop of a diluted (but not too light) common watery aniline solution
(splendid for this purpose is the watery extract of a common aniline ink
paper) is placed upon the glass. When now brought under the microscope,
all the septic bacteria appear colored intensely blue, while the
tubercle bacilli are absolutely colorless, and can be seen as clearly as
in the pure potash lye. We may add, however, that Klebs considers his
own method preferable.
As the whole procedure does not take longer than ten minutes, it is to
be recommended in general practice. The consequences of Koch's important
discovery become daily more apparent, and their application more
* * * * *
[Concluded from SUPPLEMENT No. 384, page 6132.]
By JAMES H. SALISBURY, A.M., M.D.
PRIZE ESSAY OF THE ALBANY MEDICAL COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, FEB.,
Observations in Washington, D. C., September 5, 1879, 8:35 A.M., Boston
time, near Congressional Cemetery.
1. Seized with sneezing on my way to cemetery. Examined nasal excretions
and found no Palmellae.
2. Pool near cemetery. Examined a spot one inch in diameter, raised
in center, green, found Oedegonium abundant. Some desmids, Cosmarium
binoculatum plenty. One or two red Gemiasmas, starch, Protuberans
3. Specimen soft magma of the pool margin. Oedogonium abundant, spores,
yeast plants, dirt.
4. Sand scraped. No organized forms but pollen, and mobile spores of
5. Dew on grass. One stellate compound plant hair, one Gemiasma verdans,
6. Grass flower dew. Some large white sporangia filled with spores.
7. Grass blade dew, not anything of account. One pale Gemiasma, three
blue Gemiasmas, Cosmarium, Closterium. Diatoms, pollen, found in
greenish earth and wet with the dew. Remarks: Observations made at the
pool with clinical microscope, one-quarter inch objective. Day cloudy,
8. Green earth in water way from pump near cemetery. Anabaina plentiful.
Diatoms, Oscillatoriaceae. Polycoccus species. Pollen, Cosmarium,
Leptothrix, Gemiasma, old sporangia, spores many. Fungi belonging to
fruit. Puccinia. Anguillula fluviatilis.
9. Mr. Smith's blood. Spores, enlarged white corpuscles. Two sporangia?
Gemiasma dark brown, black. Mr. Smith is superintendent Congressional
Cemetery. Lived here for seven years. Been a great sufferer with ague.
Says the doctors told him that they could do no more for him than he
could for himself. So he used Ayer's ague cure with good effect for six
months. Then he found the best effect from the use of the Holman liver
ague pad in his own case and that of his children. From his account one
would infer that, notwithstanding the excellence of the ague pad, when
he is attacked, he uses blue mass, followed with purgatives, then 20
grains of quinine. Also has used arsenic, but it did not agree with him.
Also used Capsicum with good results. Had enlarged spleen; not so now.
2d specimen of Mr. Smith's blood. Stelline, no Gemiasma. 3d specimen,
do. One Gemiasma. 4th specimen. None. 5th specimen. Skin scraped showed
no plants. 6th specimen. Urine; amyloid bodies; spores; no sporangia.
United States Magazine store grounds. Observation 1. Margin of
Eastern Branch River. Substance from decaying part of a water plant.
Oscillatoriaceae. Diatoms. Anguillula. Chytridium. Dirt. No Gemiasma.
Observation 2. Moist soil. Near by, amid much rubbish, one or two
so-called Gemiasmas; white, clear, peripheral margin.
Observation 3. Green deposit on decaying wood. Oscillatoriaceae.
Protuberans lamella, Gemiasma alba. Much foreign matter.
Mr. Russell, Mrs. R., Miss R., residents of Magazine Grounds presented
no ague plants in their blood. Sergeant McGrath, Mrs. M., Miss M.,
presented three or four sporangias in their blood. Dr. Hodgkins, some in
urine. Dr. H.'s friend with chills, not positive as to ague. No plants
Observations in East Greenwich, R.I., Aug. 16, 1877.
1. At early morn I examined greenish earth, northwest of the town along
the margin of a beautiful brook. Found the Protuberans lamella, the
Gemiasma alba and rubra. Observation 2. Found the same. Observation 3.
Found the same.
Observation 4. Salt marsh below the railroad bridge over the river.
The scrapings of the soil showed beautiful yellow and transparent
Protuberans, beautiful green sporangias of the Gemiasma verdans.
Observation 5. Near the brook named was a good specimen of the Gemiasma
plumba. While I could not find out from the lay people I asked that any
ague was there, I now understand it is all through that locality.
Observation at Wellesley, Mass., Aug. 20, 1877.
No incrustation found. Examined the vegetation found on the margin of
the Ridge Hills Farm pond. Among other things I found an Anguillula
fluviatilis. Abundance of microspores, bacteria. Some of the Protococci.
Gelatinous masses, allied to the protuberans, of a light yellow color
scattered all over with well developed spores, larger than those found
in the Protuberans. One or two oval sporanges with double outlines. This
observation was repeated, but the specimens were not so rich. Another
specimen from the same locality was shown to be made up of mosses by the
venation of leaves.
Mine host with whom I lodged had a microscopical mount of the
Protococcus nivalis in excellent state of preservation. The sporangia
were very red and beautiful, but they showed no double cell wall.
In this locality ague is unknown; indeed, the place is one of unusual
salubrity. It is interesting to note here to show how some of the algae
are diffused. I found here an artificial pond fed by a spring, and
subject to overflow from another pond in spring and winter. A stream of
living water as large as one's arm (adult) feeds this artificial pond,
still it was crowded with the Clathrocyotis aeruginosa of some writers
and the Polycoccus of Reinsch. How it got there has not yet been
The migration of the ague eastward is a matter of great interest; it
is to be hoped that the localities may be searched carefully for your
plants, as I did in New Haven.
In this connection I desire to say something about the presence of the
Gemiasmas in the Croton water. The record I have given of finding
the Gemiasma verdans is not a solitary instance. I did not find the
gemiasmas in the Cochituate, nor generally in the drinking waters of
over thirty different municipalities or towns I have examined during
several years past. I have no difficulty in accounting for the presence
of the Gemiasmas in the Croton, as during the last summer I made studies
of the Gemiasma at Washington Heights, near 165th St. and 10th Ave.,
Plate VIII. is a photograph of a drawing of some of the Gemiasmas
projected by the sun on the wall and sketched by the artist on the wall,
putting the details in from microscopical specimens, viewed in the
ordinary way. This should make the subject of another observation.
I visited this locality several times during August and October, 1881. I
found an abundance of the saline incrustation of which you have spoken,
and at the time of my first visit there was a little pond hole just east
of the point named that was in the act of drying up. Finally it dried
completely up, and then the saline and green incrustations both were
abundant enough. The only species, however, I found of the ague plants
was the Gemiasma verdans. On two occasions of a visit with my pupils I
demonstrated the presence of the plants in the nasal excretions from my
nostrils. I had been sneezing somewhat.
There is one circumstance I would like to mention here: that was, that
when, for convenience' sake, my visits were made late in the day, I
did not find the plants abundant, still could always get enough to
demonstrate their presence; but when my visits were timed so as to come
in the early morning, when the dew was on, there was no difficulty
whatever in finding multitudes of beautiful and well developed plants.
To my mind this is a conclusive corroboration of your own statements in
which you speak of the plants bursting, and being dissipated by the
heat of the summer sun, and the disseminated spores accumulating in
aggregations so as to form the white incrustation in connection with
saline bodies which you have so often pointed out.
I also have repeated your experiments in relation to the collection
of the mud, turf, sods, etc., and have known them to be carried
many hundred miles off and identified. I have also found the little
depressions caused by the tread of cattle affording a fine nidus for the
plants. You have only to scrape the minutest point off with a needle or
tooth pick to find an abundance by examination. I have not been able to
explore many other sites, nor do I care, as I found all the materials I
sought in the vicinity of New York.
To this I must make one exception; I visited the Palisades last summer
and examined the localities about Tarrytown. This is an elevated
location, but I found no Gemiasmas. This is not equivalent to saying
there were none there. Indeed, I have only given you a mere outline of
my work in this direction, as I have made it a practice to examine the
soil wherever I went, but as most of my observations have been conducted
on non-malarious soils, and I did not find the plants, I have not
thought it worth while to record all my observations of a negative
I now come to an important part of the corroborative observations, to
wit, the blood.
I have found it as you predicted a matter of considerable difficulty to
find the mature forms of the Gemiasmas in the blood, but the spore forms
of the vegetation I have no difficulty in finding. The spores have
appeared to me to be larger than the spores of other vegetations that
grow in the blood. They are not capable of complete identification
unless they are cultivated to the full form. They are the so-called
bacteria of the writers of the day. They can be compared with the spores
of the vegetation found outside of the body in the swamps and bogs.
You said that the plants are only found as a general rule in the blood
of old cases, or in the acute, well marked cases. The plants are so few,
you said, that it was difficult to encounter them sometimes. So also of
those who have had the ague badly and got well.
Observation at Naval Hospital, N.Y., Aug., 1877. Examined with great
care the blood of Donovan, who had had intermittent fever badly.
The same was the result of examining another case of typho-malarial
(convalescent); though in this man's blood there were found some
oval and sometimes round bodies like empty Gemiasmas, 1/1000 inch in
diameter. But they had no well marked double outline. There were no
forms found in the urine of this patient. In another case (Donovan,) who
six months previous had had Panama fever, and had well nigh recovered, I
found no spores or sporangia.
Observations made at Washington, D.C., Sept., 1879. At this time I
examined with clinical microscope the blood of eight to ten persons
living near the Congressional Cemetery and in the Arsenal grounds. I was
successful in finding the plants in the blood of five or more persons
who were or had been suffering from the intermittent fever.
In 1877, at the Naval Hospital, Chelsea, I accidentally came across
three well marked and well defined Gemiasmas in the blood of a marine
whom I was studying for another disease. I learned that he had had
intermittent fever not long before.
Another positive case came to my notice in connection with micrographic
work the past summer. The artist was a physician residing in one of the
suburban cities of New York. I had demonstrated to him Gemiasma verdans,
showed how to collect them from the soil in my boxes. And he had made
outline drawings also, for the purposes of more perfectly completing his
drawings. I gave him some of the Gemiasmas between a slide and cover,
and also some of the earth containing the soil. He carried them home. It
so happened that a brother physician came to his house while he was at
work upon the drawings. My artist showed his friend the plants I had
collected, then the plants he collected himself from the earth, and then
he called his daughter, a young lady, and took a drop of blood from
her finger. The first specimen contained several of the Gemiasmas. The
demonstration, coming after the previous demonstrations, carried a
conviction that it otherwise would not have had.
AGUE PLANTS IN THE URINE.
I have found them in the urine of persons suffering or having suffered
from intermittent fever.
When I was at the Naval Hospital in Brooklyn one of the accomplished
assistant surgeons, after I had showed him some plants in the urine,
said he had often encountered them in the urine of ague cases, but did
not know their significance. I might multiply evidence, but think it
unnecessary. I am not certain that my testimony will convince any one
save myself, but I know that I had rather have my present definite,
positive belief based on this evidence, than to be floundering on doubts
and uncertainties. There is no doubt that the profession believe that
intermittents have a cause; but this belief has a vagueness which cannot
be represented by drawings or photograph. Since I have photographed the
Gemiasma, and studied their biology, I feel like holding on to your
dicta until upset by something more than words.
In relation to the belief that no Algae are parasitic, I would state on
Feb. 9, 1878, I examined the spleen of a decapitated speckled turtle
with Professor Reinsch. We found various sized red corpuscles in the
blood in various stages of formation; also filaments of a green Alga
traversing the spleen, which my associate, a specialist in Algology,
pronounced one of the Oscillatoriaceae. These were demonstrated in your
own observations made years ago. They show that Algae are parasitic in
the living spleen of healthy turtles.
This leads to the remark that all parasitic growths are not nocent. I
understand you take the same position. Prof. Reinsch has published a
work in Latin, "Contributiones ad Algologiam," Leipsic, 1874, in which
he gives a large number of drawings and descriptions of Algae, many of
them entophytic parasites on other animals or Algae. Many of these he
said were innocent guests of their host, but many guest plants were
death to their host. This is for the benefit of those who say that the
Gemiasmas are innocent plants and do no harm. All plants, phanerogams
or cryptogams, can be divided into nocent or innocent, etc., etc. I
am willing to change my position on better evidence than yours being
submitted, but till then call me an indorser of your work as to the
cause and treatment of ague.
Respectfully, yours, ------
There are quite a number of others who have been over my ground, but the
above must suffice here.
[Illustration: PLATE X.--EXPLANATION OF FIGURES.--1, Spore with thick
laminated covering, constant colorless contents, and dark nucleus.
B, Part of the wall of cell highly magnified, 0.022 millimeter in
thickness. 2, Smaller spore with verruculous covering. 3, Spore with
punctulated covering. 4, The same. 5, Minute spores with blue-greenish
colored contents, 0.0021 millimeter in diameter. 6, Larger form of 5. 7,
Transparent spherical spore, contents distinctly refracting the light,
0.022 millimeter in diameter. 8, Chroococcoid minute cells, with
transparent, colorless covering, 0.0041 millimeter in diameter. 9,
Biciliated zoospore. 10, Plant of the Gemiasma rubra, thallus on both
ends attenuated, composed of seven cells of unequal size. 11, Another
complete plant of rectangular shape composed of regularly attached
cells. 12, Another complete, irregularly shaped and arranged plant. 13,
Another plant, one end with incrassated and regularly arranged cells.
14, Another elliptical shaped plant, the covering on one end attenuated
into a long appendix. 15, Three celled plant. 16, Five celled plant.
10-16 magnified 440/1.]
I wish to conclude this paper by alluding to some published
investigations into the cause of ague, which are interesting, and which
I welcome and am thankful for, because all I ask is investigations--not
words without investigations.
The first the Bartlett following:
Dr. John Bartlett is a gentleman of Chicago, of good standing in the
profession. In January, 1874, he published in the _Chicago Medical
Journal_ a paper on a marsh plant from the Mississippi ague bottoms,
supposed to be kindred to the Gemiasmas. In a consideration of its
genetic relations to malarious disease, he states that at Keokuk, Iowa,
in 1871, near the great ague bottoms of the Mississippi, with Dr. J. P.
Safford, he procured a sod containing plants that were as large as rape
seeds. He sent specimens of the plants to distinguished botanists, among
them M. C. Cook, of London, England. Nothing came of these efforts.
2. In August, 1873, Dr. B. visited Riverside, near Chicago, to hunt up
the ague plants. Found none, and also that the ague had existed there
3. Lamonot, a town on the Illinois and Michigan Canal, was next visited.
A noted ague district. No plants were found, and only two cases of
ague, one of foreign origin. Dr. B. here speaks of these plants of Dr.
Safford's as causing ague and being different from the Gemiasmas. But he
gives no evidence that Safford's plants have been detected in the human
habitat. In justice to myself I would like to see this evidence before
giving him the place of precedence.
4. Dr. B., Sept. 1, 1873, requested Dr. Safford to search for his plants
at East Keokuk. Very few plants and no ague were found where they both
were rife in 1871.
5. Later, Sept. 15, 1873, ague was extremely prevalent at East Keokuk,
Iowa, where two weeks before no plants were found; they existed more
numerously than in 1871.
6. Dr. B. traced five cases of ague, in connection with Dr. Safford's
plants found in a cesspool of water in a cellar 100 feet distant. It is
described as a plant to be studied with a power of 200 diameters, and
consisting of a body and root. The root is a globe with a central cavity
lined with a white layer, and outside of these a layer of green cells.
Diameter of largest plant, one-quarter inch. Cavity of plant filled with
molecular liquid. Root is above six inches in length, Dr. B. found the
white incrustation; he secured the spores by exposing slides at night
over the malarious soil resembling the Gemiasmas. He speaks of finding
ague plants in the blood, one-fifteen-hundredth of an inch in diameter,
of ague patients. He found them also in his own blood associated with
the symptoms of remittent fever, quinine always diminishing or removing
the threatening symptoms. Professors Babcock and Munroe, of Chicago,
call the plants either the Hydrogastrum of Rabenhorst, or the Botrydium
of the Micrographic Dictionary, the crystalline acicular bodies being
deemed parasitic. Dr. B. deserves great credit for his honest and
careful work and for his valuable paper. Such efforts are ever worthy of
There is no report of the full development found in the urine, sputa,
and sweat. Again, Dr. B. or Dr. Safford did not communicate the disease
to unprotected persons by exposure. While then I feel satisfied that the
Gemiasmas produce ague, it is by no means proved that no other cryptogam
may not produce malaria. I observed the plants Dr. B. described, but
eliminated them from my account. I hope Dr. B. will pursue this subject
farther, as the field is very large and the observers are few.
When my facts are upset, I then surrender.
"NOTES ON MARSH MIASM (LIMNOPHYSALIS HYALINA). BY ABR. FREDRIK EKLUND,
M.D., STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, PHYSICIAN OF THE FIRST CLASS IN THE SWEDISH
[Footnote: Translated from the _Archives de la Medecine Navale_, vol.
xxx., no. 7, July, 1878, by A. Sibley Campbell, M.D., Augusta, Ga.]
Before giving a succinct account of the discovery of paludal miasma and
of its natural history, I ought in the first place to state that I
have not had the opportunity of reading or studying the great original
treatise of Professor Salisbury. I am acquainted with it only through a
resume published in the _American Journal of the Medical Sciences_
for the year 1866, new series, vol. li. p. 51. At the beginning of my
investigations I was engaged in a microscopic examination of the water
and mud of swampy shores and of the marshes, also with a comparison of
their microphytes with those which might exist in the urine of patients
affected with intermittent fevers. Nearly three months passed without
my being able to find the least agreement, the least connection. Having
lost nearly all hope of being able to attain the end which I had
proposed, I took some of the slime from the marshes and from the masses
of kelp and Confervae from the sea shores, where intermittent fevers are
endemic, and placed them in saucers under the ordinary glass desiccators
exposed on a balcony, open for twenty-four hours, the most of the time
under the action of the burning rays of the sun. With the evaporated
water deposited within the desiccators, I proceeded to an examination,
drop by drop. I at length found that which I had sought so long, but
always in vain.
The parasite of intermittent fever, which I have termed Limnophysalis
hyalina, and which has been observed before me by Drs. J. Lemaire and
Gratiolet (_Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires de l'Academie des Sciences_,
Paris, 1867, pp. 317 and 318) and B. Cauvet (_Archives de Medecine
Navale_, November, 1876), is a fungus which is developed directly
from the mycelium, each individual of which possesses one or several
filaments, which are simple or dichotomous, with double outlines,
extremely fine, plainly marked, hyaline, and pointed. Under favorable
conditions, that is, with moisture, heat, and the presence of vegetable
matter in decomposition, the filaments of mycelium increase in length.
From these long filaments springs the fungus. The sporangia, or more
exactly the conidia, are composed of unilocular vesicles, perfectly
colorless and transparent, which generally rise from one or both sides
of the filaments of the mycelium, beginning as from little buds or eyes;
very often several (two to three) sporangia occur placed one upon the
other, at least on one side of the mycelium.
With a linear magnitude of 480, the sporangia have a transverse diameter
of one to five millimeters, or a little more in the larger specimens.
The filaments of mycelium, under the same magnitude, appear exceedingly
thin and finer than a hair. The shape of the conidia, though presenting
some varieties, is, notwithstanding, always perfectly characteristic.
Sometimes they resemble in appearance the segments of a semicircle more
or less great, sometimes the wings of butterflies, double or single. It
is only exceptionally that their form is so irregular.
Again, when young, they are perfectly colorless and transparent;
sometimes they are of a beautiful violet or blue color (mykianthinin
mykocyanin). Upon this variety of the Limnophysalis hyalina depends the
vomiting of blue matters observed by Dr. John Sullivan, at Havana, in
patients affected with pernicious intermittent fever (algid and comatose
form). In the perfectly mature sporangia, the sporidia have a dark brown
color (mykophaein). From the sporidia, the Italian physicians, Lanzi and
Perrigi, in the course of their attempts at its cultivation, have seen
produced the Monilia penicinata friesii, which is, consequently, the
second generation of the Limnophysalis hyalina, in which alternate
generation takes place, admitting that their observations may be
verified. The sporangia are never spherical, but always flat. When
they are perfectly developed, they are distinctly separated from their
filament of mycelium by a septum--that is to say, by limiting lines
plainly marked. It is not rare, however, to see the individual sporangia
perfectly isolated and disembarrassed of their filament of mycelium
floating in the water. It seems to me very probable that these isolated
sporangia are identical with the hyaline coagula so accurately described
by Frerichs, who has observed them in the blood of patients dying of
intermittent fevers. But if two sporangia are observed with their bases
coherent without intermediary filaments of mycelium, it seems to me
probable that the reproduction has taken place through the union, which
happens in the following manner: Two filaments of mycelium become
juxtaposed; after which the filaments of mycelium disappear in the
sporangia newly formed, which by this same metamorphosis are deprived of
the faculty of reproducing themselves through the filaments of myclium
of which they are deprived. The smallest portion of a filament
of mycelium evidently possesses the faculty of producing the new
It is unquestionable that the Limnophysalis hyalina enter into the blood
either by the bronchial mucous membrane, by the surface of the pulmonary
vesicles, or by the mucous membrane of the intestinal canal, most often,
no doubt, by the last, with the ingested water; this introduction is
aided by the force of suction and pressure, which facilitates their
absorption. It develops in the glands of Lieberkuhn, and multiplies
itself; after which the individuals, as soon as they are formed, are
drawn out and carried away in the blood of the circulation.
The Limnophysalis hyalina is, in short, a solid body, of an extreme
levity, and endowed with a most delicate organization. It is not a
miasm, in the common signification of the term; it does not carry with
it any poison; it is not vegetable matter in decomposition, but it
flourishes by preference amid the last.
In regard to other circumstances relative to the presence of this
fungus, there are, above all, two remarkable facts, namely, its property
of adhering to surfaces as perfectly polished as that of a mirror, and
its power of resistance against the reagents, if we except the caustic
alkalies and the concentrated mineral acids. This power of resisting the
ordinary reagents explains in a plausible manner why the fungus is not
destroyed by the digestive process in the stomach, where, however, the
acid reaction of the gastric juice probably arrests its development--is
that of the schistomycetes in general--and keeps it in a state of
temporary inactivity. This property of adhering to smooth surfaces
explains perhaps the power of the Eucalyptus globulus in arresting the
progress of paludal miasm (?). But it is evident that other trees,
shrubs, and plants of resinous or balsamic foliage, as, for example, the
Populus balsamifera, Cannabis sativa, Pinus silvestris, Pinus abies,
Juniperus communis, have equally, with us, the same faculty; they are
favorable also for the drying of the soil, and the more completely, as
their roots are spreading, more extended, and more ramified.
In order to demonstrate the presence of the limnophysalis in the blood
of patients affected with intermittent fever during the febrile stage,
properly speaking, it appeared necessary for me to dilute the blood of
patients with a solution of nitrate of potassa, having at 37.5 deg.C. the
same specific gravity as the serum of the blood. With capillary tubes of
glass, a little dilated toward the middle, of the same shape and size as
those which are used in collecting vaccine lymph, I took up a little
of the solution of nitrate of potassa above indicated. After this I
introduced the point of an ordinary inoculating needle under the skin,
especially in the splenic region, where I ruptured some of the smallest
blood-vessels of the subcutaneous cellular tissue. I collected some
of the blood which flowed out or was forced out by pressure, in the
capillary tubes just described, containing a solution of potassa;
after which I melted the ends with the flame of a candle. With all the
intermittent fever patients whose blood I have collected and diluted
during the febrile stage, properly speaking, I have constantly succeeded
in finding the Limnophysalis hyalina in the blood by microscopic
It is only necessary for me to mention here that it is of the highest
importance to be able to demonstrate the presence of fungus in the blood
of the circulation and in the urine of patients in whom the diagnosis
is doubtful. The presence of the Limnophysalis hyalina in the urine
indicates that the patient is liable to a relapse, and that his
intermittent fever is not cured, which is important in a prognostic and
therapeutic point of view.
When the question is to prevent the propagation of intermittent fevers,
it is evident that it should be remembered that the Limnophysalis
hyalina enters into the blood by the mucous membrane of the organs of
respiration, of digestion, and the surface of the pulmonary vesicles. We
have also to consider the soil, and the water that is used for drinking.
In regard to the soil, several circumstances are very worthy of
attention. It is desirable, not only to lower as much as possible the
level of the subterranean water (grunawassen) by pipes of deep drainage,
the cleansing, and if there is reason, the enlargement (J. Ory) of
the capacity of the water collectors, besides covering and keeping in
perfect repair the principal ditches in all the secondary valleys to
render the lands wholesome, but also to completely drain the ground,
diverting the rain water and cultivating the land, in the cultivation of
which those trees, shrubs, and plants should be selected which thrive
the most on marshy grounds and on the shores and paludal coasts of the
sea, and which have their roots most speading and most ramified. Some
of the ordinary grasses are also quite appropriate, but crops of the
cereals, which are obtained after a suitable reformation of marshy
lands, yield a much better return. After the soil in the neighborhood of
the dwellings has been drained and cultivated with care, and in a more
systematic manner than at present, the bottoms of the cellars should be
purified as well as the foundations of the walls and of the houses.
The water intended for drinking, which contains the Limnophysalis
hyalina, should be freed from the fungus by a vigorous filtration. But,
as it is known, the filtering beds of the basins in the water conduits
are soon covered with a thick coating of confervae, and the Limnophysalis
hyalina then extends from the deepest portions of the filtering beds
into the filtered water subjacent. It is for this reason that it is
absolutely necessary to renew so often the filtering beds of the water
conduits, and, at all events, before they have become coated with a
thick layer of confervae. The disappearance of intermittent fevers will
testify to the utility of these measures. It is for a similar reason
that wooden barrels are so injurious for equipages. When the wood has
begun to decay by the contact of the impure water, the filaments of
mycelium of the Limnophysalis hyalina penetrate into the decayed wood,
which becomes a fertile soil for the intermittent fever fungi.
The employment for the preparation of mortar of water not filtered, or
of foul, muddy sand which contains the Limnophysalis hyalina, explains
how intermittent fevers may proceed from the walls of houses. This
arises also from the pasting of wall-paper with flour paste prepared
with water which contains an abundance of the fungi of intermittent
The miasm in the latter case is therefore endoecic, or more exactly
entoichic. With us the propagation of intermittent fever has been
observed in persons occupying rooms scoured with unfiltered water
containing the Limnophysalis hyalina in great quantity.
The following imperial ordinance was published on the 25th of March,
1877, by the chief of admiralty of the German marine. It has for its
object the prevention and eradication of infectious diseases:
"In those places where infectious diseases, according to experience, are
prevalent and unusually severe and frequent, it is necessary to abstain
as much as possible from the employment of water taken from without the
ship for cleansing said vessel, and also for washing out the hold when
the water of the sea or of a river, in the judgment of the commander of
a vessel, confirmed by the statement of the physician, is shown to be
surcharged with organic matter liable to putrefaction. With this end in
view, if you are unable to send elsewhere for suitable water, you must
make use of good and fresh water, but with the greatest economy. In that
event the purification of the hold must be accomplished by mechanical
means or by disinfectants."
"As I have demonstrated by my investigations that in the distillation
of paludal water, and that from the marshy shores of the sea, the
Limnophysalis hyalina, which is impalpable, is carried away and may be
detected again after the distillation, it must be insisted that the
water intended to be used for drinking on shipboard shall be carefully
filtered before and after its distillation."
The Klebs-Tommasi and Dr. Sternberg's report, as summarized in the
Supplement No. 14, National Board of Health Bulletin, Washington, D.C.,
July 18, I would cordially recommend to all students of this subject.
I welcome these observers into the field. Nothing but good can come from
such careful and accurate observations into the cause of disease. For
myself I am ready to say that it may be that the Roman gentlemen have
bit on the cause of the Roman fever, which is of such a pernicious type.
I do not see how I can judge, as I never investigated the Roman fever;
still, while giving them all due credit, and treating them with respect,
in order to put myself right I may say that I have long ago ceased to
regard all the bacilli, micrococci, and bacteria, etc., as ultimate
forms of animal or vegetable life. I look upon them as simply the
embryos of mature forms, which are capable of propagating themselves
in this embryonal state. I have observed these forms in many diseased
conditions; many of them in one disease are nothing but the vinegar
yeast developing, away from the air, in the blood where the full
development of the plant is not apt to be found. In diphtheria I
developed the bacteria to the full form--the Mucor malignans. So in the
study of ague, for the vegetation which seems to me to be connected with
ague, I look to the fully developed sporangias as the true plant.
Again, I think that crucial experiments should be made on man for his
diseases as far as it is possible. Rabbits, on which the experiments
were made, for example, are of a different organization and food than
man, and bear tests differently. While there are so many human beings
subject to ague, it seems to me they should be the subjects on whom the
crucial tests are to be made, as I did in my labors.
As far as I can see, Dr. Sternberg's inquiries tend to disprove the
Roman experiments, and as he does not offer anything positive as a
cause of ague, I can only express the hope that he will continue his
investigations with zeal and earnestness, and that he will produce
something positive and tangible in his labors in so interesting and
important a field.
I would then that all would join hands in settling the cause of this
disease; and while I do not expect that all will agree with me, still, I
shall respect others' opinions, and so long as I keep close to my facts
I shall hope my views, based on my facts, will not be treated with
Gemiasma verdans and Gemiasma rubra collected Sept. 10, 1882, on
Washington Heights, near High Bridge. The illustrations show the manner
in which the mature plants discharge their contents.
Plate VIII. A, B, and C represent very large plants of the Gemiasma
verdans. A represents a mature plant. B represents the same plant,
discharging its spores and spermatia through a small opening in the cell
walls. The discharge is quite rapid but not continuous, being spasmodic,
as if caused by intermittent contractions in the cell walls. The
discharge begins suddenly and with considerable force--a sort of
explosion which projects a portion of the contents rapidly and to quite
a little distance. This goes on for a few seconds, and then the cell is
at rest for a few seconds, when the contractions and explosions begin
again and go on as before. Under ordinary conditions it takes a plant
from half an hour to an hour to deliver itself. It is about two-thirds
emptied. C represents the mature plant, entirely emptied of its spore
contents, there remaining inside only a few actively moving spermatia,
which are slowly escaping. The spermatia differ from the spores and
young plants in being smaller, and of possessing the power of moving and
tumbling about rapidly, while the spores of young plants are larger
and quiescent. D, E, F, and G represent mature plants belonging to the
Gemiasma rubra. D represents a ripe plant, filled with spores, embryonic
plants, and spermatia. E represents a ripe plant in the act of
discharging its contents, it being about half emptied. F represents
a ripe plant after its spore and embryonic plant contents are all
discharged, leaving behind only a few actively moving spermatia, which
are slowly escaping. G represents the emptied plant in a quiescent
Figs. A, B, C represent an unusually large variety of the Gemiasma
verdans. This species is usually about the size of the rubra. This
large variety was found on the upper part of New York Island, near High
Bridge, in a natural depression where the water stands most of the
year, except in July, August, and September, when it becomes an area
of drying, cracked mud two hundred feet across. As the mud dries these
plants develop in great profusion, giving an appearance to the surface
as if covered thickly with brick dust.
These depressions and swaily places, holding water part of the year, and
becoming dry during the malarial season, can be easily dried by means
of covered drains, and grassed or sodded over, when they will cease to
grow; this vegetation and ague in such localities will disappear.
The malarial vegetations begin to develop moderately in July, but do not
spring forth abundantly enough to do much damage till about the middle
of August, when they in ague localities spring into existence in vast
multitudes, and continue to develop in great profusion till frost comes.
* * * * *
ANALYSIS OF THE MALARIA PLANT (GEMIASMA RUBRA).
By Prof Paulus F. Reinsch.
Author Algae of France, 1866; Latest Observations on Algology, 1867;
Chemical Investigation of the Connections of the Lias and Jura
Formations, 1859; Chemical Investigation of the Viscum Album, 1860;
Contributions to Algology and Fungology, 1874-75, vol. i.; New
Investigation of the Microscopic Structure of Pit Coal, 1881;
Micrographic Photographs of the Structure and Composition of Pit Coal,
Dr. Cutter writes me September 28, 1882: "My dear Professor: By this
mail I send you a specimen of the Gemiasma rubra of Salisbury, described
in 1862, as found in bogs, mud holes, and marshes of ague districts, in
the air suspended at night, in the sputa, blood, and urine, and on
the skin of persons suffering with ague. It is regarded as one of the
Palmellaceae. This rubra is found in the more malignant and fatal types
of the disease. I have found it in all the habitats described by Dr.
Salisbury. Both he and myself would like you to examine and hear what
you have to say about it."
The substance of clayish soil contains, besides fragments of shells of
larger diatoms (Suriella synhedra), shells of Navicula minutissima,
Pinnularia viridis. Spores belonging to various cryptogams.
1. Spherical transparent spores with laminated covering and dark
nucleus--0.022 millimeter in diameter.
2. Spherical spores with thick covering of granulated surface.
3. Spherical spores with punctulated surface--0.007 millimeter in
4. Very minute, transparent, bluish-greenish colored spores, with thin
covering and finely granulated contents--0.006 millimeter in diameter.
5. Chroococcoid cells with two larger nuclei--0.0031 millimeter in
diameter. Sometimes biciliated minute cells are found; without any doubt
they are zoospores derived from any algoid or fungoid species.
I cannot say whether there exists any genetic connection between these
various sorts of spores. It seems to me that probably numbers 1-4
represent resting states of the hyphomycetes.
No. 5 represents one and two celled states of chroococcus species belong
to Chroococcus minutus.
The crust of the clayish earth is covered with a reddish brown covering
of about half a millimeter in thickness. This covering proves to be
composed, under the microscope, of cellular filaments and various shaped
bodies of various composition. They are made up of cells with densely
and coarsely granulated reddish colored contents--shape, size, and
composition are very variable, as shown in the figures. _The cellular
bodies make up the essential organic part of the clayish substance, and,
without any doubt, if anything of the organic compounds of the substance
is in genetical connection with the disease, these bodies would have
this role_. The structure and coloration of cell contents exhibit the
closest alliance to the characteristics of the division of Chroolepideae
and of this small division of Chlorophyllaceous Algae, nearest to
Gongrosira--a genus whose five to six species are inhabitants of fresh
water, mostly attached to various minute aquatic Algae and mosses. Each
cell of all the plants of this genus produces a large number of mobile
Fig. 9 represents very probably one zoospore developed from these plants
as figured from 10 to 16.
* * * * *
M. Berthelot, in the _Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie_ for March,
states that from peculiar physical relations he is led to suspect that
the true element carbon is unknown, and that diamond and graphite are
substances of a different order. Elementary carbon ought to be gaseous
at the ordinary temperature, and the various kinds of carbon which
occur in nature are in reality polymerized products of the true element
carbon. Spectrum analysis is thought to confirm this view; and it is
supposed the second spectrum seen in a Geissler tube belongs to gaseous
carbon. This spectrum, which has been recognized along with that of
hydrogen in the light of the tails of comets, indicates a carbide,
* * * * *
By P. CARLES.
When tinned iron serves for containing alimentary matters, it is
essential that the tin employed should be free from lead. The latter
metal is rapidly oxidized on the surface and is dissolved in this form
in the neutral acids of vegetables, meat, etc. The most exact method
of demonstrating the presence of lead consists in treating the
alloy--so-called tin--with _aqua regia_ containing relatively little
nitric acid. The whole dissolves; the excess of acid is driven off by
evaporation at a boiling heat, and the residue, diluted with water, is
saturated with hydrogen sulphide. The iron remains in solution, while
the mixed lead and tin sulphides precipitated are allowed to digest for
a long time in an alkaline sulphide. The tin sulphide only dissolves; it
is filtered off and converted into stannic acid, while the lead sulphide
is transformed into sulphate and weighed as such.
* * * * *
NEW BLEACHING PROCESS, WITH REGENERATION OF THE BATHS USED.
By MR. BONNEVILLE.
To a cold solution containing 1 per cent. of bromine, 1 per cent. of
caustic soda at 36 deg. B. is added, then the material, to be bleached is
first wet and then immersed in this bath until completely decolorized.
It is passed into a newly-acidulated bath, rinsed, and dried. After the
bromine bath has been used up, it is regenerated by adding 1 per cent.
of sulphuric acid, which liberates the bromine. To the same bath
caustic soda is added, which regenerates the hypobromite of soda. The
hydrofluosilicic acid can be used, instead of the sulphuric acid, with
greater advantage. A bath used up can also be regenerated by means of
the electric current.
* * * * *
DETECTION OF MAGENTA, ARCHIL, AND CUDBEAR IN WINE.
These colors are not suitable for converting white wine into red, but
they can be used for giving wines a faint red tint, for darkening pale
red wines, and in making up a factitious bouquet essence, which is added
to red wines. The most suitable methods for the detection of magenta are
those given by Romei and Falieres-Ritter. If a wine colored with archil
and one colored with cudbear are treated treated according to Romei's
method, the former gives, with basic lead acetate, a blue, and the
latter a fine violet precipitate. The filtrate, if shaken up with amylic
alcohol, gives it in either case a red color. A knowledge of this fact
is important, or it may be mistaken for magenta. The behavior of the
amylic alcohol, thus colored red, with hydrochloric acid and ammonia is
characteristic. If the red color is due to magenta, it is destroyed by
both these reagents, while hydrocholoric acid does not decolorize the
solutions of archil and cudbear, and ammonia turns their red color to a
purple violet. If the wine is examined according to the Falieres-Ritter
method in presence of magenta, ether, when shaken up with the wine,
previously rendered ammoniacal, remains colorless, while if archil
or cudbear is present the ether is colored red. Wartha has made a
convenient modification in the Falieres-Ritter method by adding ammonia
and ether to the concentrated wine while still warm. If the red color of
the wool is due to archil or cudbear, it is extracted by hydrochloric
acid, which is colored red. Ammonia turns the color to a purple violet.
Koenig mixed 50 c.c. wine with ammonia in slight excess, and places in
the mixture about one-half grm. clean white woolen yarn. The whole is
then boiled in a flask until all the alcohol and the excess of ammonia
are driven off. The wool taken out of the liquid and purified by washing
in water and wringing is moistened in a test-tube with pure potassa
lye at 10 per cent. It is carefully heated till the wool is completely
dissolved, and the solution, when cold, is mixed first with half its
volume of pure alcohol, upon which is carefully poured the same volume
of ether, and the whole is shaken. The stratum of ether decanted off is
mixed in a test-tube with a drop of acetic acid. A red color appears if
the slightest trace of magenta is present. The shaking must not be too
violent, lest an emulsion should be formed. If the wine is colored with
archil, on prolonged heating, after the addition of ammonia, it is
decolorized. If it is then let cool and shaken a little, the red color
returns. If the wool is taken out of the hot liquid after the red color
has disappeared, and exposed to the air, it takes a red color. But if
it is quickly taken out of the liquid and at once washed, there remains
merely a trace of color in the wool. If these precautions are observed,
magenta can be distinguished from archil with certainty according to
Koenig's method. As the coloring-matter of archil is not precipitated
by baryta and magnesia, but changed to a purple, the baryta method,
recommended by Pasteur, Balard, and Wurtz, and the magnesia test, are
useless. Magenta may in course of time be removed by the precipitates
formed in the wine. It is therefore necessary to test not merely the
clear liquid, but the sediment, if any.--_Dr. B. Haas, in Budermann's
* * * * *
Panax Victoriae is a compact and charming plant, which sends up numbers
of stems from the bottom in place of continually growing upward and thus
becoming ungainly; it bears a profusion of elegantly curled, tasseled,
and variegated foliage, very catching to the eye, and unlike any of its
predecessors. The other, P. dumosum, is of similar habit, the foliage
being crested and fringed after the manner of some of our rare crested
ferns.--_The Gardeners' Chronicle_.
[Illustration: PANAX VICTORIAE.]
* * * * *
A NOTE ON SAP.
[Footnote: Read at an evening meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society,
London, April 4, 1883.]
By Professor ATTFIELD, F.R.S.
Beneath a white birch tree growing in my garden I noticed, yesterday
evening, a very wet place on the gravel path, the water of which was
obviously being fed by the cut extremity of a branch of the birch about
an inch in diameter and some ten feet from the ground. I afterward found
that exactly fifteen days ago circumstances rendered necessary the
removal of the portion of the branch which hung over the path, 4 or 5
feet being still left on the tree. The water or sap was dropping fast
from the branch, at the rate of sixteen large drops per minute, each
drop twice or thrice the size of a "minim," and neither catkins nor
leaves had yet expanded. I decided that some interest would attach to a
determination both of the rate of flow of the fluid and of its chemical
composition, especially at such a stage of the tree's life.
A bottle was at once so suspended beneath the wound as to catch the
whole of the exuding sap. It caught nearly 5 fluid ounces between eight
and nine o'clock. During the succeeding eleven hours of the night 44
fluid ounces were collected, an average of 4 ounces per hour. From 8:15
to 9:15 this morning, very nearly 7 ounces were obtained. From 9:15
to 10:15, with bright sunshine, 8 ounces. From 10:15 until 8:15 this
evening the hourly record kept by my son Harvey shows that the amount
during that time has slowly diminished from 8 to a little below 7 ounces
per hour. Apparently the flow is faster in sunshine than in shade, and
by day than by night.
It would seem, therefore, that this slender tree, with a stem which at
the ground is only 7 inches in diameter, having a height of 39 feet,
and before it has any expanded leaves from whose united surfaces large
amounts of water might evaporate, is able to draw from the ground about
4 liters, or seven-eighths of a gallon of fluid every twenty-four hours.
That at all events was the amount flowing from this open tap in its
water system. Even the topmost branches of the tree had not become,
during the fifteen days, abnormally flaccid, so that, apparently, no
drainage of fluid from the upper portion of the tree had been taking
place. For a fortnight the tree apparently had been drawing, pumping,
sucking--I know not what word to use--nearly a gallon of fluid daily
from the soil in the neigborhood of its roots. This soil had only an
ordinary degree of dampness. It was not wet, still less was there any
actually fluid water to be seen. Indeed, usually all the adjacent soil
is of a dry kind, for we are on the plateau of a hill 265 feet above the
sea, and the level of the local water reservoir into which our wells dip
is about 80 feet below the surface. My gardener tells me that the tree
has been "bleeding" at about the same rate for fourteen of the fifteen
days, the first day the branch becoming only somewhat damp. During the
earlier part of that time we had frosts at night, and sunshine, but with
extremely cold winds, during the days. At one time the exuding sap
gave, I am told by two different observers, icicles a foot long. A much
warmer, almost summer, temperature has prevailed during the past three
days, and no wind. This morning the temperature of the sap as it escaped
was constant at 52 deg. F., while that of the surrounding air was varying
The collected sap was a clear, bright, water-like fluid. After a pint
had stood aside for twelve hours, there was the merest trace of a
sediment at the bottom of the vessel. The microscope showed this to
consist of parenchymatous cells, with here and there a group of
the wheel-like or radiating cells which botanists, I think, term
sphere-crystals. The sap was slightly heavier than water, in the
proportion of 1,005 to 1,000. It had a faintly sweet taste and a very
slight aromatic odor.
Chemical analysis showed that this sap consisted of 99 parts of pure
water with 1 part of dissolved solid matter. Eleven-twelfths of the
latter were sugar.
That the birch readily yields its sap when the wood is wounded is well
known. Philipps, quoted by Sowerby, says:
"Even afflictive birch,
Cursed by unlettered youth, distills,
A limpid current from her wounded bark,
Profuse of nursing sap."
And that birch sap contains sugar is known, the peasants of many
countries, especially Russia, being well acquainted with the art of
making birch wine by fermenting its saccharine juice.
But I find no hourly or daily record of the amount of sugar-bearing
sap which can be drawn from the birch, or from any tree, before it
has acquired its great digesting or rather developing and transpiring
apparatus--its leaf system. And I do not know of any extended chemical
analysis of sap either of the birch, or other tree.
Besides sugar, which is present in this sap to the extent of 616
grains--nearly an ounce and a half--per gallon, there are present a
mere trace of mucilage; no starch; no tannin; 31/2 grains per gallon
of ammoniacal salts yielding 10 per cent. of nitrogen; 3 grains of
albuminoid matter yielding 10 per cent. of nitrogen; a distinct trace of
nitrites; 7.4 grains of nitrates containing 17 per cent. of nitrogen; no
chlorides, or the merest trace; no sulphates; no sodium salts; a little
of potassium salts; much phosphate and organic salts of calcium; and
some similar magnesian compounds. These calcareous and magnesian
substances yield an ash when the sap is evaporated to dryness and the
sugar and other organic matter burnt away, the amount of this residual
matter being exactly 50 grains per gallon. The sap contained no peroxide
of hydrogen. It was faintly if at all acid. It held in solution a
ferment capable of converting starch into sugar. Exposed to the air it
soon swarmed with bacteria, its sugar being changed to alcohol.
A teaspoonful or two of, say, apple juice, and a tablespoonful of sugar
put into a gallon of such rather hard well-water as we have in our
chalky district, would very fairly represent this specimen of the sap of
the silver birch. Indeed, in the phraseology of a water-analyst, I may
say that the sap itself has 25 degrees of total, permanent hardness.
How long the tree would continue to yield such a flow of sap I cannot
say; probably until the store of sugar it manufactured last summer to
feed its young buds this spring was exhausted. Even within twenty-four
hours the sugar has slightly diminished in proportion in the fluid.
Whether or not this little note throws a single ray of light on the much
debated question of the cause of the rise of sap in plants I must leave
to botanists to decide. I cannot hope that it does, for Julius Sachs,
than whom no one appears to have more carefully considered the subject,
says, at page 677 of the recently published English translation of his
textbook of botany, that "although the movements of water in plants have
been copiously investigated and discussed for nearly two hundred years,
it is nevertheless still impossible to give a satisfactory and deductive
account of the mode of operation of these movements in detail." As
a chemist and physicist myself, knowing something about capillary
attraction, exosmose, endosmose, atmospheric pressure, and gravitation
generally, and the movements caused by chemical attraction, I am afraid
I must concur in the opinion that we do not yet know the real ultimate
cause or causes of the rise of sap in plants.
Ashlands, Watford, Herts.
* * * * *
[Footnote: Abstract of a recent discussion before the Connecticut State
Board of Agriculture.]
Prof. W. A. Stearns, in a lecture upon the utility of birds in
agriculture, stated that the few facts we do know regarding the matter
have been obtained more through the direct experience of those who have
stumbled on the facts they relate than those who have made any special
study of the matter. One great difficulty has been that people looked
too far and studied too deeply for facts which were right before them.
For instance, people are well acquainted with the fact that hawks,
becoming bold, pounce down upon and carry off chickens from the
hen-yards and eat them. How many are acquainted with the fact that in
hard winters, when pressed for food, crows do this likewise? But
what does this signify? Simply that the crow regulates its food from
necessity, not from choice.
Now, carry this fact into operation in the spring into the cornfield. Do
you suppose that the crow, being hungry, and dropping into a field of
corn wherein is abundance to satisfy his desires, stops, as many affirm,
to pick out only those kernels which are affected with mildew, larva, or
weevil? Does he instinctively know what corns, when three or four inches
beneath the ground, are thus affected? Not a bit of it. To him, a
strictly grain-feeding and not an insect-eating bird, the necessity
takes the place of the choice. He is hungry; the means of satisfying his
hunger are at hand. He naturally drops down in the first cornfield
he sees, calls all his neighbors to the feast, and then roots up and
swallows all the kernels until he can hold no more. There is no doubt
the crow is a damage to the agriculturist. He preys upon the cornfield
and eats the corn indiscriminately, whether there are any insects or
not. That has been proved by dissection of stomach and crop.
If corn can be protected by tarring, so that the crows will not eat it,
they will prove a benefit by leaving the corn and picking up grubs in
the field. Where corn has been tarred, I have never known the crows to
Mr. Sedgwick remarked that, in addition to destroying the corn crop, the
crow was also very destructive of the eggs of other birds. Last spring
I watched a pair of crows flying through an orchard, and in several
instances saw them fly into birds' nests, take out the eggs, and then go
on around the field.
In answer to Mr. Hubbard, who claimed the crow would eat animal food in
any form, and might not be rightly classified as a grain-eating bird,
Prof. Stearns said the crow was thus classified by reason of the
structure of its crop being similar to that of the finches, the
blackbird, the sparrows, and other seed-eating birds.
[Illustration: THE AMERICAN CROW.]
Mr. Wetherell said: Crows are greedy devourers of the white worm, which
sometimes destroys acres of grass. As a grub eater, the crow deserves
much praise. The crow is the scavenger of the bird family, eating
anything and everything, whether it is sweet or carrion. The only
quarrel I have with the crow is because it destroys the eggs and young
Mr. Lockwood described the experience of a neighbor who planted corn
after tarring it. This seemed to prevent the ravages of the crows until
the second hoeing, when the corn was up some eighteen inches, at which
time the crows came in and pulled nearly an acre clean.
Crows, said Dr. Riggs, have no crop, like a great many carnivorous
birds. The passage leading from the mouth goes directly to the gizzard,
something like the duck. The duck has no crop, yet the passage leading
from the mouth to the gizzard in the duck becomes considerably enlarged.
In the crow there is no enlargement of this passage, and everything
passes directly into the gizzard, where it is digested.
Dr. Riggs had raised corn and watched the operations of the crows. Going
upon the field in less than a minute after the crows had left it, he
found they had pulled the corn, hill after hill, marching from one hill
to the other. Not until the corn had become softened and had come up
would they molest it. In the fall they would come in droves on to a
field of corn, where it is in stacks, pick out the corn from the husks,
and put it into their gizzards. They raid robbins' nests and swallows'
nests, devouring eggs and young birds. Yet crows are great scavengers.
In the spring they get a great many insects and moths from the ground,
and do good work in picking up those large white grubs with red heads
that work such destruction in some of our mowing fields.
Mr. Pratt stated that he had used coal tar on his seed corn for five or
six years, and had never a spear pulled by the crows. Dr. Riggs never
had known a crow to touch corn after it got to the second tier of
leaves. Mr. Lockwood said crows would sample a whole field of corn to
find corn not tarred. Mr. Pratt recommended to pour boiling water on the
corn before applying the tar. A large tablespoonful of tar will color a
pail of water.
According to Dr. Riggs, the hot mixture with the corn must be stirred
continually; if not, the life of the corn will be killed and germination
prevented. It may be poured on very hot, if the stirring is kept up and
too much tar is not used. If the water is hot it will dissolve the tar,
and as it is poured on it will coat every kernel of corn. If the water
is allowed to stand upon the corn any great length of time, the chit of
the corn will be damaged. The liquid should be poured off and the corn
allowed to cool immediately after a good stirring.
Mr. Gold had known of crows pulling corn after the second hoeing, when
the scare-crows had been removed from the field. The corn thus pulled
had reached pretty good size. This pulling must have been done from
sheer malice on the part of the crows.
Mr. Ayer was inclined to befriend the crow. For five years he had
planted from eight to twelve acres of corn each year and had not lost
twenty hills by crows. He does not use tar, but does not allow himself
to go out of a newly-planted cornfield without first stretching a string
around it on high poles and also providing a wind-mill with a little
rattle box on it to make a noise. With him this practice keeps the crows
Mr. Goodwin thought crows were scavengers of the forests and did good
service in destroying the worms, grubs, and insects that preyed upon
our trees. He had raised some forty crops of corn, and whenever he had
thoroughly twined it at the time of planting, crows did not pull it up.
In damp spots, during the wet time and after his twine was down, he had
known crows to pull up corn that was seven or eight inches high.
Respecting crows as insect eaters, Prof. Stearns admitted that they did
devour insects; he had seen them eat insects on pear trees. Tame crows
at his home had been watched while eating insects, yet a crow will
eat corn a great deal quicker than he will eat insects.--_Boston
* * * * *
THE PRAYING MANTIS AND ITS ALLIES.
On examining the strange forms shown in the accompanying engraving, many
persons would suppose they were looking at exotic insects. Although this
is true for many species of this group, which are indigenous to warm
countries, and reach at the most only the southern temperate zone, yet
there are certain of these insects that are beginning to be found in
France, to the south of the Loire, and that are always too rare, since,
being exclusively feeders on living prey, they prove useful aids to us.
These insects belong among the orthoptera--an order including species
whose transformations are less complete than in other groups, and whose
larval and pupal forms are very active, and closely resemble the imago.
Two pairs of large wings characterize the adult state, the first pair
of which are somewhat thickened to protect the broad, net-veined hinder
pair, which fold up like a fan upon the abdomen. The hind legs are large
and adapted for leaping.
The raptorial group called _Mantidae_, which forms the subject of this
article, includes species that maybe easily recognized by their large
size, their enormous, spinous fore legs, which are adapted for seizing
other insects, and from their devotional attitude when watching their
These insects exhibit in general the phenomenon of mimicry, or
adaptation for protection, through their color and form, some being
green, like the plants upon which they live, others yellowish or
grayish, and others brownish like dead leaves.
In the best known species, _Mantis religiosa_, the head is triangular,
the eyes large, the prothorax very long, and the body narrowed and
lengthened; the anterior feet are armed with hooks and spines, and the
shanks are capable of being doubled up on the under side of the thighs.
When at rest it sits upon the four posterior legs, with the head and
prothorax nearly erect, and the anterior feet folded backward. The
female insect attains a length of 54 millimeters, and the male only 40.
The color is of a handsome green, sometimes yellow, or of a yellowish
red. The insects are slow in their motions, waiting on the branches of
trees and shrubs for some other insect to pass within their reach, when
they seize and hold it with the anterior feet, and tear it to pieces.
They are very voracious, and sometimes prey upon each other. Their eggs
are deposited in two long rows, protected by a parchment-like envelope,
and attached to the stalk of a plant. The nymph is as voracious as the
perfect insect, from which it differs principally in the less developed
The devotional attitude of these insects when watching for their
prey--their fore legs being elevated and joined in a supplicating
manner--has given them in English the popular names of "soothsayer,"
"prophet," and "praying mantis," in French, "prie-Dieu," in Portuguese,
"louva-Deos," etc. According to Sparmann, the Nubians and Hottentots
regard mantides as tutelary divinities, and worship them as such. A
monkish legend tells us that Saint Francis Xavier, having perceived a
mantis holding its legs toward heaven, ordered it to sing the praises of
God, when immediately the insect struck up one of the most exemplary of
canticles! Pison, in his "Natural History of the East Indies," makes use
of the word _Vates_ (divine) to designate these insects, and speaks of
that superstition, common to both Christians and heathens, that assigns
to them the gifts of prophecy and divination. The habit that the mantis
has of first stretching out one fore leg, and then the other, and of
preserving such a position for some little time, has also led to the
belief among the illiterate that it is in the act, in such cases, of
pointing out the road to the passer by.
[Illustration: MANTIDES AND EMPUSAE]
The old naturalist, Moufet, in his _Theatrum Insectorum_ (London, 1634),
says of the praying mantis (_M. religiosa_) that it is reported so
divine that if a child asks his way of it, it will show him the right
road by stretching out its leg, and that it will rarely or never deceive
This group of insects is most abundant in the tropical regions of
Africa, South America, and India, but some species are found in the
warmer parts of North America, Europe, and Australia. The American
species is the "race-horse" (_M. carolina_), and occurs in the Southern
and Western States. Burmeister says that _M. argentina_, of Buenos
Ayres, seizes and eats small birds.
The genera allied to _Mantis--Vates, Empusa, Harpax_, and
_Schizocephala_--occur in the tropics. The genus _Eremophila_ inhabits
the deserts of Northern Africa, where it resembles the sand in color.
The species shown in the engraving (which we borrow from _La Nature_)
* * * * *
There are usually found in the month of June, especially near water,
certain insects that are called Ephemera, and which long ago acquired
true celebrity, and furnished material for comparison to poets and
philosophers. Indeed, in the adult state they live but one day, a fact
that has given them their name. They appear for a few hours, fluttering
about in the rays of a sun whose setting they are not to see, as they
live during the space of a single twilight only. These insects have
very short antennae, an imperfect mouth incapable of taking food, and
delicate, gauze like wings, the posterior ones of which are always
small, or even rudimentary or wanting. Their legs are very delicate--the
anterior ones very long--and their abdomen terminates in two or three
long articulated filaments. One character, which is unique among
insects, is peculiar to Ephemerids; the adults issuing from the pupal
envelope undergo still another moult in divesting themselves of a thin
pellicle that covers the body, wings, and other appendages. This is what
is called the _subimago_, and precedes the imago or perfect state of the
insect. The short life of adult May-flies is, with most of them, passed
in a continual state of agitation. They are seen rising vertically in
a straight line, their long fore-legs stretched out like antennae, and
serving to balance the posterior part of the body and the filaments
of the abdomen during flight. On reaching a certain height they allow
themselves to descend, stretching out while doing so their long wings
and tail, which then serve as a parachute. Then a rapid working of these
organs suddenly changes the direction of the motion, and they begin to
ascend again. Coupling takes place during these aerial dances. Soon
afterward the females approach the surface of the water and lay therein
their eggs, spreading them out the while with the caudal filaments, or
else depositing them all together in one mass that falls to the bottom.
These insects seek the light, and are attracted by an artificial one,
describing concentric circles around it and finally falling into it and
being burnt up. Their bodies on falling into the water constitute a food
which is eagerly sought by fishes, and which is made use of by fishermen
as a bait.
But the above is not the only state of Ephemerids, for their entire
existence really lasts a year. Linnaeus has thus summed up the total life
of these little creatures: "The larvae swim in water; and, in becoming
winged insects, have only the shortest kind of joy, for they often
celebrate in a single day their wedding, parturition, and funeral
obsequies." The eggs, in fact, give birth to more or less elongated
larvae, which are always provided with three filaments at the end of
the abdomen, and which breathe the oxygen dissolved in the water by
tracheo-branchiae along the sides of the body. They are carnivorous, and
live on small animal prey. The most recent authors who have studied
them are Mr. Eaton, in England, and Mr. Vayssiere, of the Faculte des
Sciences, at Marseilles.
_A propos_ of the larvae of Ephemera or May-flies, we must speak of one
of the entomological rarities of France, the nature and zoological place
of which it has taken more than a century to demonstrate. Geoffroy, the
old historian of the insects of the vicinity of Paris, was the first to
find in the waters of the Seine a small animal resembling one of the
Daphnids. This animal has six short and slender thoracic legs, which
terminate in a hook and are borne on the under side of the cephalic
shield. This latter is provided above with two slender six-jointed
antennae, two very large faceted eyes at the side, and three ocelli
forming a triangle. The large thoraceo-abdominal shield is hollowed out
behind into two movable valves which cover the first five segments of
the abdomen (Fig. 1). The last four segments, of decreasing breadth,
are retractile beneath the carapax, as is also the broad plume that
terminates them, and which is formed of three short, transparent, and
elegantly ciliated bristles. These are the locomotive organs of the
animal, whose total length, with the segments of the tail expanded, does
not exceed seven to eight millimeters. The animal is found in running
waters, at a depth of from half a meter to a meter and a half. It hides
under stones of all sizes, and, as soon as it is touched, its first care
is to fix itself by the breast to their rough surface, and then to swim
off to a more quiet place. It fastens itself so firmly to the stone that
it is necessary to pass a thin knife-blade under it in order to detach
[Illustration: FIG. 1.--LARVA OF MAY FLY. (Magnified 12 times.)]
Geoffroy, because of the two large eyes, and without paying attention to
the ocelli, named this larva the "feather-tailed binocle." C. Dumeril,
in 1876, found it again in pools that formed after rains, and named the
creature (which is of a bluish color passing to red) the "pisciform
binocle." Since then, this larva has been found in the Seine at
Point-du-Jour, Bas-Meudon, and between Epone and Mantes. Latreille,
in 1832, decided it to be a crustacean, and named it _Prosopistoma
foliaceum_. In September, 1868, the animal was found at Toulouse by Dr.
E. Joly in the nearly dry Garonne. Finally, in 1880, Mr. Vayssiere met
with it in abundance in the Rhone, near Avignon.
The abnormal existence of a six-legged crustacean occupied the
attention of naturalists considerably. In 1869, Messrs. N. and E. Joly
demonstrated that the famous "feather-tailed binocle" was the larva of
an insect. They found in its mouth the buccal pieces of the Neuroptera,
and, under the carapax, five pairs of branchial tufts attached to the
segments that are invisible outwardly. Inside the animal were found
tracheae, the digestic tube of an insect, and malpighian canals.
Finally, in June, 1880, Mr. Vayssiere was enabled to establish the fact
definitely that the insect belonged among the Ephemerids. Two of the
larvae that he raised in water became, from yellowish, gradually brown.
Then they crawled up a stone partially out of water, the carapax
gradually split, and the adults readily issued therefrom--the head
first, then the legs, and finally the abdomen. At the same time, the
wings, which were in three folds in the direction of their length,
spread out in their definite form (Fig. 2). The insects finally flew
away to alight at a distance from the water. The wings of the insect,
which are of an iron gray, are covered with a down of fine hairs. The
posterior ones soon disappear.
[Illustration: FIG. 2.--MAY-FLY (adult magnified 14 times).]
Perhaps the subimago in this genus of Ephemerids, as in certain others,
is the permanent aerial state of the female.--_La Nature_.
* * * * *
Connecticut is rapidly advancing in the cultivation of oysters. About
90,000 acres are now planted, and thirty steamers and many sailing
vessels are engaged in the trade.
* * * * *
THE COLOR OF WATER.
It is well known that the water of different lakes and rivers differs in
color. The Mediterranean Sea is indigo blue, the ocean sky blue, Lake
Geneva is azure, while the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons and Lake
Constance, in Switzerland, as well as the river Rhine, are chrome green,
and Kloenthaler Lake is grass green.
Tyndall thought that the blue color of water had a similar cause as
the blue color of the air, being blue by reflected light and red by
transmitted light. W. Spring has recently communicated to the Belgian
Academy the results of his investigations upon the color of water.
He proved that perfectly pure water in a tube 10 meters long had a
distinctly blue color, while it ought, according to Tyndall, to look
red. Spring also showed that water in which carbonate of lime, silica,
clay, and salts were suspended in a fine state of division offered a
resistance to the passage of light that was not inconsiderable. Since
the red and violet light of the spectrum are much more feeble than the
yellow, the former will be completely absorbed, while the latter passes
through, producing, with the blue of the water itself, different shades
* * * * *
There is to be held in Paris this year, from the 1st to the 22d of July,
an insect exhibition, organized by the Central Society of Agriculture
and Insectology. It will include (1) useful insects; (2) their products,
raw, and in the first transformations; (3) apparatus and instruments
used in the preparation of these products; (4) injurious insects and
the various processes for destroying them; (5) everything relating to
* * * * *
A catalogue, containing brief notices of many important scientific
papers heretofore published in the SUPPLEMENT, may be had gratis at this
* * * * *
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