Scientific American Supplement, No. 497, July 11, 1885

Part 2 out of 2

a discovery should be one of the results of the present Forestry
Exhibition, one of its aims will have been fulfilled.

For several years past the gradual diminution in the supplies of
boxwood, and the deterioration in its quality, have occupied the
attention of hardwood merchants, of engravers, and of scientific men.

Of merchants, because of the difficulties in obtaining supplies to meet
the ever increasing demand; of engravers, because of the higher prices
asked for the wood, and the difficulty of securing wood of good size and
firm texture, so that the artistic excellence of the engraving might be
maintained; and of the man of science, who was specially interested
in the preservation of the indigenous boxwood forests, and in the
utilization of other woods, natives, it might be, of far distant
countries, whose adaptation would open not only a new source of revenue,
but would also be the means of relieving the strain upon existing
boxwood forests.

While by far the most important use of boxwood is for engraving
purposes, it must be borne in mind that the wood is also applied to
numerous other uses, such, for instance, as weaving shuttles, for
mathematical instruments, turnery purposes, carving, and for various
ornamental articles, as well as for inlaying in cabinet work. The
question, therefore, of finding suitable substitutes for boxwood divides
itself into two branches, first, directly for engraving purposes, and,
secondly, to supply its place for the other uses to which it is now put.
This, to a certain extent, might set free some of the boxwood so used,
and leave it available for the higher purposes of art. At the same time,
it must not be forgotten that much of the wood used for general purposes
is unsuited for engraving, and can only therefore be used by the turner
or cabinet maker. Nevertheless, the application of woods other than box
for purposes for which that wood is now used would tend to lessen the
demand for box, and thus might have an effect in lowering the price.

So far back as 1875 a real uneasiness began to be felt as to the future
supplies of box. In the _Gardeners' Chronicle_ for September 25, of that
year, page 398, it is said that the boxwood forests of Mingrelia in the
Caucasian range were almost exhausted. Old forests, long abandoned, were
even then explored in search of trees that might have escaped the notice
of former proprietors, and wood that was rejected by them was, in 1875,
eagerly purchased at high prices for England. The export of wood was at
that time prohibited from Abhasia and all the government forests in
the Caucasus. A report, dated at about the same period from Trebizond,
points out that the Porte had prohibited the cutting of boxwood in the
crown forests. (_Gardeners' Chronicle_, Aug. 19, 1876, p. 239.) Later
on, the British Consul at Tiflis says: "_Bona fide_ Caucasian boxwood
may be said to be commercially non-existent, almost every marketable
tree having been exported." (_Gardeners' Chronicle_, Dec. 6, 1879, p.

The characters of boxwood are so marked and so distinct from those of
most other woods that some extracts from a report of Messrs. J. Gardner
& Sons, of London and Liverpool, addressed to the Inspector-General of
Forests in India, bearing on this subject, will not be without value;
indeed, its more general circulation than its reprint in Mr. J.S.
Gamble's "Manual of Indian Timbers" will, it is hoped, be the means of
directing attention to this very important matter, and by pointing
out the characters that make boxwood so valuable, may be the means of
directing observation to the detection of similar characters in other
woods. Messrs. Gardner say:

"The most suitable texture of wood will be found growing upon the sides
of mountains. If grown in the plains the growth is usually too quick,
and consequently the grain is too coarse, the wood of best texture being
of slow growth, and very fine in the grain.

"It should be cut down in the winter, and, if possible, stored at once
in airy wooden sheds well protected from sun and rain, and not to have
too much air through the sides of the sheds, more especially for the
wood under four inches diameter.

"The boxwood also must not be piled upon the ground, but be well skidded
under, so as to be kept quite free from the effects of any damp from the

"After the trees are cut down, the longer they are exposed the more
danger is there afterward of the wood splitting more than is absolutely
necessary during the necessary seasoning before shipment to this

"If shipped green, there is great danger of the wood sweating and
becoming mildewed during transit, which causes the wood afterward to dry
light and of a defective color, and in fact rendering it of little value
for commercial purposes.

"There is no occasion to strip the bark off or to put cowdung or
anything else upon the ends of the pieces to prevent their splitting.

"Boxwood is the nearest approach to ivory of any wood known, and will,
therefore, probably gradually increase in value, as it, as well
as ivory, becomes scarcer. It is now used very considerably in
manufacturing concerns, but on account of its gradual advance in price
during the past few years, cheaper woods are in some instances being

"Small wood under four inches is used principally by flax spinners for
rollers, and by turners for various purposes, rollers for rink skates,
etc., etc., and if free from splits, is of equal value with the larger
wood. It is imported here as small as one a half inches in diameter, but
the most useful sizes are from 21/2 to 31/2 inches, and would therefore,
we suppose, be from fifteen to thirty or forty years in growing, while
larger wood would require fifty years and upward at least, perhaps we
ought to say one hundred years and upward. It is used principally for
shuttles, for weaving silk, linen, and cotton, and also for rule making
and wood engraving. _Punch, The Illustrated London News, The Graphic_,
and all the first class pictorial papers use large quantities of

In 1880, Messrs. Churchill and Sim reported favorably on some
consignments of Indian boxwood, concluding with the remarks that if the
wood could be regularly placed on the market at a moderate figure, there
was no reason why a trade should not be developed in it. Notwithstanding
these prospects, which seemed promising in 1877 and 1880, little or
nothing has been accually done up to the present time in bringing Indian
boxwood into general use, in consequence, as Mr. Gamble shows, of
the cost of transit through India. The necessity, therefore, of the
discovery of some wood akin to box is even more important now than ever
it was.


First among the substitutes that have been proposed to replace boxwood
may be mentioned an invention of Mr. Edward Badoureau, referred to in
the _Gardeners' Chronicle_, March 23, 1878, p. 374, under the title of
artificial boxwood. It is stated to consist of some soft wood which has
been subject to heavy pressure. It is stated that some English engravers
have given their opinion on this prepared wood as follows:

It has not the power of resistance of boxwood, so that it would be
imposible to make use of it, except in the shape of an electro obtained
from it, as it is too soft to sustain the pressure of a machine, and
would be easily worn out. In reply to these opinions, Mr. Badoureau
wrote: "My wood resists the wear and tear of the press as well as
boxwood, and I can show engravings of English and French artists which
have been obtained direct from the wood, and are as perfect as they are
possible to be; several of them have been drawn by Mr. Gustave Dore."

Mr. Badoureau further says that "while as an engraver he has so high an
opinion of the qualities of compressed wood as a substitute for boxwood,
as the inventor of the new process he considered that it possesses
numerous advantages both for artistic and industrial purposes." In
short, he says, "My wood is to other wood what steel is to iron."

The following woods are those which have, from time to time, been
proposed or experimented upon as substitutes for boxwood, for engraving
purposes. They are arranged according to their scientific classification
in the natural orders to which they belong:

_Natural Order Pittosporeae_.

1. _Pittosporum undulatum_. Vent.--A tree growing in favorable
situations to a height of forty or even sixty feet, and is a native of
New South Wales and Victoria. It furnishes a light, even grained wood,
which attracted some attention at the International Exhibition in 1862;
blocks were prepared from it, and submitted to Prof. De la Motte, of
King's College, who reported as follows:

"I consider this wood well adapted to certain kinds of wood engraving.
It is not equal to Turkey box, but it is superior to that generally used
for posters, and I have no doubt that it would answer for the rollers
of mangles and wringing machines." Mr. W.G. Smith, in a report in the
_Gardeners' Chronicle_ for July 26, 1873, p. 1017, on some foreign woods
which I submitted to him for trial, says that the wood of _Pittosporum
undulatum_ is suitable only for bold outlines; compared with box, it is
soft and tough, and requires more force to cut than box. The toughness
of the wood causes the tools to drag back, so that great care is
required in cutting to prevent the lines clipping. The average diameter
of the wood is from 18 to 30 inches.

2. _Pittosporum bicolor_, Hook.--A closely allied species, sometimes
forty feet high, native of New South Wales and Tasmania. This wood is
stated to be decidedly superior to the last named.

3. _Bursaria spinosa_, Cav.--A tree about forty feet high, native of
North, South, and West Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria,
and Tasmania, in which island it is known as boxwood. It has been
reported upon as being equal to common or inferior box, and with
further trials might be found suitable for common subjects; it has the
disadvantage, however, of blunting the edges and points of the tools.

_Natural Order Meliaceae_.

4. _Swietenia mahagoni_, L. (mahogany).--A large timber tree of
Honduras, Cuba, Central America, and Mexico. It is one of the most
valuable of furniture woods, but for engraving purposes it is but of
little value, nevertheless it has been used for large, coarse subjects.
Spanish mahogany is the kind which has been so used.

_Natural Order Ilicineae_.

_Ilex opaca_, L. (North American holly).--It is a widely diffused tree,
the wood of which is said to closely resemble English holly, being white
in color, and hard, with a fine grain, so that it is used for a
great number of purposes by turners, engineers, cabinet makers, and
philosophical instrument makers. For engraving purposes it is not equal
to the dog-wood of America (_Cornus florida_); it yields, however, more
readily to the graver's tools.

_Natural Order Celastrineae_.

6. _Elaeodendron australe_, Vent.--A tree twenty to twenty-five feet
high, native of Queensland and New South Wales. The wood is used in the
colony for turning and cabinet work, and Mr. W.G. Smith reports that for
engraving purposes it seems suitable only for rough work, as diagrams,
posters, etc.

7. _Euonymus sieboldianus_, Blume.--A Chinese tree, where the wood,
which is known as pai'cha, is used for carving and engraving. Attention
was first drawn to this wood by Mr. Jean von Volxem, in the _Gardeners'
Chronicle_ for April 20, 1878. In the Kew Report for 1878, p. 41, the
following extract of a letter from Mr. W.M. Cooper, Her Majesty's Consul
at Ningpo, is given: "The wood in universal use for book blocks, wood
engravings, seals, etc., is that of the pear tree, of which large
quantities are grown in Shantung, and Shan-se, especially. Pai'cha is
sometimes used as an indifferent substitute. Pai'cha is a very fine
white wood of fine fiber, without apparent grains, and cuts easily; is
well suited for carved frames, cabinets, caskets, etc., for which large
quantities are manufactured here for export. The tree itself resembles
somewhat the _Stillingia_, but has a rougher bark, larger and thinner
leaves, which are serrated at the edge, more delicate twigs, and is
deciduous." In 1879, a block of this wood was received at the Kew
Museum, from Mr. Cooper, a specimen of which was submitted to Mr. Robson
J. Scott, of Whitefriars Street, to whom I am much indebted for reports
on various occasions, and upon this wood Mr. Scott reported as follows:
"The most striking quality I have observed in this wood is its capacity
for retaining water, and the facility with which it surrenders it. This
section (one prepared and sent to the Kew Museum), which represents
one-tenth of the original piece, weighed 3 lb. 41/2 ounces. At the end of
twenty one days it had lost 1 lb. 63/4 ounces in an unheated chamber. At
the end of another fourteen days, in a much elevated temperature, it
only lost 1/4 ounce. In its present state of reduced bulk its weight is 1
lb. 10 ounces. It is not at all likely to supersede box, but it may be
fit for coarser work than that for which box is necessary." Later on,
namely in the Kew Report for 1880, p. 51, Mr. R.D. Keene, an engraver,
to whom Mr. Scott submitted specimens of the wood for trial, writes: "I
like the wood very much, and prefer it to box in some instances; it is
freer to work, and consequently quicker, and its being uniform in color
and quality is a great advantage; we often have great difficulty in
box in having to work from a hard piece into a soft. I think it a very
useful wood, especially for solid bold work. I question if you could get
so extreme a fine black line as on box, but am sure there would be a
large demand for it at a moderate price." Referring to this letter, Mr.
Scott remarks that the writer does not intend it to be understood that
pai'cha is qualified to supersede box, but for inferior subjects for
which coarse brittle box is used. Mr. Scott further says that of the
woods he has tried he prefers pear and hawthorn to pai'cha.

_Natural Order Sapindaceae_.

8. _Acer saccharinum_, L. (sugar or bird's eye maple).--A North American
tree, forming extensive forests in Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova
Scotia. The wood is well known as a cabinet or furniture wood. It has
been tried for engraving, but it does not seem to have attracted much
notice. Mr. Scott says it is sufficiently good, so far as the grain is
concerned. From this it would seem not to promise favorably.

_Natural Order Leguminoseae. Sub-order Papilionaceae_.

9. _Brya ebenus_, [Delta]. DC.--A small tree of Jamaica, where the wood
is known as green ebony, and is used for making various small articles.
It is imported into this country under the name of cocus wood, and
is used with us for making flutes and other wind instruments. Mr.
Worthington Smith considers that the wood equals bad box for engraving

_Natural Order Rosaceae_.

10. _Pyrus communis_, L. (common pear).--A tree averaging from 20 to 40
feet high. Found in a wild state, and very extensively cultivated as a
fruit tree. The wood is of a light brown color, and somewhat resembles
limewood in grain. It is, however, harder and tougher. It is considered
a good wood for carving, because it can be cut with or across the grain
with equal facility. It stands well when well seasoned, and is used for
engraved blocks for calico printers, paper stainers, and for various
other purposes. Pear-wood has been tried for engraving purposes, but
with no great success. Mr. Scott's opinion of its relative value is
referred to under pai'cha wood _(Euonymus sieboldianus)_.

11. _Amelanchier canadensis_. L. (shade tree or service tree of
America).--A shrub or small tree found throughout Canada, Newfoundland,
and Virginia. Of this wood, Porcher says, in his "Resources of the
Southern Fields and Forests": "Upon examining with a sharp instrument
the specimens of various southern woods deposited in the museum of the
Elliott Society, ... I was struck with the singular weight, density, and
fineness of this wood. I think I can confidently recommend it as one of
the best to be experimented upon by the wood engraver."

12. _Cratoegus oxyacantha_, L. (hawthorn).--A well-known shrub or small
tree in forests and hedges in this country. The wood is very dense and
close grained. Of this wood, Mr. Scott reports that it is by far the
best wood after box that he has had the opportunity of testing.

_Natural Order Myrtaceae_.

13. _Eugenia procera_, Poir.--A tree 20 to 30 feet high, native of
Jamaica, Antigua, Martinique, and Santa Cruz. A badly seasoned sample
of this wood was submitted to Mr. R.H. Keene, who reported that "it is
suited for bold, solid newspaper work."

_Natural Order Cornaceae_.

14. _Cornus florida_, L. (North American dogwood).--A deciduous tree,
about 30 feet high, common in the woods in various parts of North
America. The wood is hard, heavy, and very fine grained. It is used in
America for making the handles of light tools, as mallets, plane stocks,
harrow teeth, cogwheels, etc. It has also been used in America for

In a letter from Prof. Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum,
Brookline, Massachusetts, quoted in the Kew Report for 1882, p. 35, he
says: "I have been now, for a long time, examining our native woods
in the hope of finding something to take the place of boxwood for
engraving, but so far I am sorry to say with no very brilliant success.
The best work here is entirely done from boxwood, and some _Cornus
florida_ is used for less expensive engraving. This wood answers fairly
well for coarse work, but it is a difficult wood to manage, splitting,
or rather 'checking,' very badly in drying." This, however, he states in
a later letter, "can be overcome by sawing the logs through the center
as soon as cut. It can be obtained in large quantities." Mr. R.H. Keene,
the engraver before referred to, reports that the wood is very rough,
and suitable for bold work.

_Natural Order Ericaceae_.

15. _Rhododendron maximum_, L. (mountain laurel of North America).--Of
this wood it is stated in Porcher's "Resources of the Southern Fields
and Forests," p. 419, that upon the authority of a well-known engraver
at Nashville, Tennessee, the wood is equaled only by the best boxwood.
This species of _Rhododendron_ "abounds on every mountain from Mason and
Dixon's line to North Georgia that has a rocky branch." Specimens of
this wood submitted to Mr. Scott were so badly selected and seasoned
that it was almost impossible to give it a trial. In consideration of
its hardness and apparent good qualities, further experiments should be
made with it.

16. _Rhododendron californicum_.--Likewise a North American species, the
wood of which is similar to the last named. Specimens were sent to Kew
by Professor Sargent for report in 1882, but were so badly seasoned that
no satisfactory opinion could be obtained regarding it.

17. _Kalmia latifolia_, L. (calico bush or ivy bush of North
America).--The wood is hard and dense, and is much used in America for
mechanical purposes. It has been recommended as a substitute for boxwood
for engraving, and trials should, therefore, be made with it.

_Natural Order Epacrideae_.

18. _Monotoca elliptica_, R. Br.--A tall shrub or tree 20 or 30 feet
high, native of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.
The wood has been experimented upon in this country, and though to all
appearances it is an excellent wood, yet Mr. Worthington Smith reported
upon it as having a bad surface, and readily breaking away so that the
cuts require much retouching after engraving.

_Natural Order Ebenaceae_.

19. _Diospyros texana_.--A North American tree, of the wood of which
Professor Sargent speaks favorably. "It is, however," he says, "in
Texas, at least, rather small, scarcely six inches in diameter, and not
very common. In northern Mexico it is said to grow much larger, and
could probably be obtained with some trouble in sufficient quantities
to become an article of commerce." Of this wood Mr. Scott says: "It is
sufficiently good as regards the grain, but the specimen sent for
trial was much too small for practical purposes." Mr. R.H. Keene, the
engraver, says it "is nearly equal to the best box."

20. _Diospyros virginiana_, L. (the persimmon of America).--A good-sized
tree, widely diffused, and common in some districts. The wood is of a
very dark color, hard, and of a fairly close grain. It has been used in
America for engraving, but so far as I am aware has not been tried
in this country. It has, however, been lately introduced for making

21. _Dyospyros ebenum_, Koenig (ebony).--A wood so well known as to
need no description. It has been tried for engraving by Mr. Worthington
Smith, who considers it nearly as good as box.

_Natural Order Apocyneae_.

22. _Hunteria zeylanica_, Gard.--A small tree, common in the warmer
parts of Ceylon. This is a very hard and compact wood, and is used for
engraving purposes in Ceylon, where it is said, by residents, to come
nearer to box than any other wood known. On this wood Mr. Worthington
Smith gave a very favorable opinion, but it is doubtful whether it would
ever be brought from Ceylon in sufficient quantities to meet a demand.

_Natural Order Bignoniaceae_.

23. _Tecoma pentaphylla_, Dl.--A moderate-sized tree, native of the West
Indies and Brazil. The wood is compact, very fine, and even grained, and
much resembles box in general appearance. Blocks for engraving have been
prepared from it by Mr. R.J. Scott, who reported upon it as follows: "It
is the only likely successor to box that I have yet seen, but it is not
embraced as a deliverer should be, but its time may not be far off."

_Natural Order Corylaceae_.

24. _Carpinus betulus_, L. (hornbeam).--A tree from 20 to 70 feet high,
with a trunk sometimes 10 feet in girth, indigenous in the southern
counties of England. The wood is very tough, heavy, and close grained.
It is largely used in France for handles for agricultural and mining
implements, and of late years has been much used in this country for
lasts. The wood of large growth is apt to became shaky, and it is
consequently not used as a building wood. It is said to have been used
as a substitute for box in engraving, but with what success does not

25. _Ostrya virginica_, Willd (ironwood, or American hornbeam).--A
moderate-sized tree, widely spread over North America. The wood is
light-colored, and extremely hard and heavy; hence the name of ironwood.
It is used in America by turners, as well as for mill cogs, etc., and
has been suggested as a substitute for boxwood for engraving, though no
actual trials, so far as I am aware, have been made with it.

Besides the foregoing list of woods, there are others that have been
occasionally used for posters and the coarser kinds of engraving, such,
for instance, as lime, sycamore, yew, beech, and even pine; and in
America, _Vaccinium arboreum_ and _Azalea nudiflora_. Of these, however,
but little is known as to their value.

It will be noticed that in those woods that have passed through the
engraver's hands, some which promised best, so far as their texture
or grain is concerned, have been tried upon very imperfect or badly
seasoned samples.

The subject is one of so much importance, as was pointed out at the
commencement of this paper, that a thoroughly organized series of
experiments should be undertaken upon carefully seasoned and properly
prepared woods, not only of those mentioned in the preceding list, but
also of any others that may suggest themselves, as being suitable, It
must, moreover, always be borne in mind that the questions of price,
and the considerations of supply and demand, must, to a great extent,
regulate the adaptation of any particular wood.

With regard to those woods referred to as being tried by Mr. Worthington
Smith, he remarks in his report that any of them would be useful for
some classes of work, if they could be imported, prepared, and sold for
a farthing, or less than a halfpenny, per square inch.

Specimens of all the woods here enumerated are contained in the Kew

* * * * *


Not long since we gave a figure from a drawing by Mr. Grallieni, which,
looked at from a distance, seemed to be a death's head, but which, when
examined more closely, was seen to represent two children caressing
a dog. Since then we have had occasion to publish some landscapes of
Kircher and his imitators, which, looked at sideways, exhibited human
profiles. This sort of amusement has exercised the skill of artists of
all times, and engravings, and even paintings, of double aspect are very
numerous. Chance has recently put into our hands a very curious work of
this kind, which is due to a skillful artist named Gaillot. It is an
album of quite ancient lithographs, which was published at Berlin by
Senefelder. The author, under the title of "Arts and Trades," has drawn
some very amusing faces that are formed through the tools and objects
used in the profession represented. We reproduce a few specimens of
these essentially original compositions of Gaillot. The green grocer is
formed of a melon for the head, of an artichoke and its stem for the
forehead and nose, of a pannier for the bust, etc. The hunter is made up
of a gun, of a powder horn, and of a hunting horn, etc.; and so on for
the other professions. This is an amusing exercise in drawing that we
have thought worthy of reproducing. Any one who is skillful with his
pencil might exercise himself in imagining other compositions of the
same kind.--_La Nature_.

[Illustration: COMPOSITE PORTRAITS.--OCCUPATIONS. 1. Green-grocer. 2.
Hunter. 3. Artist. 4. Cobbler. 5. Chemist 6. Cooper.]

* * * * *


[Footnote: Read before the Worcester Free Industrial Institute, June 25,

By DANIEL C. GILMAN, President of the Johns Hopkins University,

I cannot think of a theme more fit for this hour and place than
handy-craft. I begin by saying "handy-craft," for that is the form of
the word now in vogue, that which we are wonted to see in print and hear
in speech; but I like rather the old form, "hand-craft," which was used
by our sires so long ago as the Anglo-Saxon days. Both words mean the
same thing, the power of the hand to seize, hold, shape, match, carve,
paint, dig, bake, make, or weave. Neither form is in fashion, as we know
very well, for people choose nowadays such Latin words as "technical
ability," "manual labor," "industrial pursuits," "dexterity,"
"professional artisanship," "manufacture," "decorative art," and
"technological occupations," not one of which is half as good as the
plain, old, strong term "hand-craft."

An aid to hand-craft is rede-craft--the power to read, to reason, and to
think; or, as it is said in the book of Common Prayer, "to read, mark,
learn, and inwardly digest." By rede craft we find out what other men
have done; we get our book learning, we are made heirs to thoughts that
breathe and words that burn, we enter into the life, the acts, the arts,
the loves, the lore of the wise, the witty, the cunning, and the worthy
of all ages and all places; we learn, as says the peasant poet of

"The song whose thunderous chime
Eternal echoes render--
The mournful Tuscan's haunted rhyme,
And Milton's starry splendor!"

I do not pit rede-craft against hand-craft. Quite otherwise, I call them
not foes (as some would), but friends. They are brothers, partners,
consorts, who can work together, as right hand and left hand, as science
and art, as theory and practice. Rede-craft may call for books and
hand-craft for tools, but it is by the help of both books and tools that
mankind moves on. Indeed, we shall not err wide of the mark if we say
that a book is a tool, for it is the instrument which we make use of in
certain cases when we wish to find out what other men have thought and
done. Perhaps you will not be as ready to admit that a tool is a book.
But take for example the plow. Compare the form in use to-day on a
first-rate farm with that which is pictured on ancient stones long hid
in Egypt--ages old. See how the idea of the plow has grown, and bear in
mind that its graceful curves, it fitness for a special soil, or for
a special crop, its labor-saving shape, came not by chance, but by
thought. Indeed, a plow is made up from the thoughts and toils of
generations of plowmen. Look at a Collins ax; it is also the record
of man's thought. Lay it side by side with the hatchet of Uncas or
Miantonomoh, or with an ax of the age of bronze, and think how many
minds have worked on the head and on the helve, how much skill has been
spent in getting the metal, in making it hard, in shaping the edge, in
fixing the weight, in forming the handle. From simple tools, turn to
complex; to the printing press, the sewing machine, the locomotive,
the telegraph, the ocean steamer; all are full of ideas. All are the
offspring of hand-craft and rede craft, of skill and thought, of
practice put on record, of science and art.

Now, the welfare of each one of us, the welfare of our land, the welfare
of our race, rests on this union. You may almost take the measure of a
man's brain, if you can find out what he sees with his eyes and what he
does with hands; you may judge of a country, or of a city, if you know
what it makes.

I do not know that we need ask which is best, hand-craft or rede-craft.
Certainly "the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee." At
times, hand-craft becomes rede-craft, for when the eye is blind the hand
takes its place, and the finger learns to read, running over the printed
page to find out what is written, as quickly as the eye.

In these days, there are too many who look down on hand-craft. They
think only of the tasks of a drudge or a char-boy. They do not know the
pleasure there is in working, and especially in making. They have never
learned to guide the fingers by the brain. They like to hear, or see, or
own, or eat, what others have made, but they do not like to put their
own hands to work. If you doubt what I say, put a notice in the paper
asking for a clerk, and you will have a, hundred answers for every one
that will come when you ask for a workman. So it comes to pass that
young men grow up whose hands have not been trained to any kind of
skill; they wish, therefore, to be buyers and sellers, traders, dealers,
and so the market is overstocked with clerks, book-keepers, salesmen,
and small shop-keepers, while it is understocked in all the higher walks
of hand-craft. Some men can only get on by force of arms, lifting,
pounding, heaving, or by power of sitting at counter or a desk and
"clerking it."

Machinery works against hand-craft. In many branches of labor, the hand
now has but little to do, and that little is always the same, so that
labor becomes tiresome and the workman dull. Machines can be made to cut
statuary, to weave beautiful tapestry, to fashion needles, to grind
out music, to make long calculations; alas! the machine has also
been brought into politics. Of course, a land cannot thrive without
machinery; it is that mechanical giant, the steam engine, which carries
the corn, the cotton, and the sugar from our rich valleys to the hungry
of other lands, and brings back to us the product of their looms.
Nevertheless, he who lives by the machine alone lives but half a life;
while he who uses his hand to contrive and to adorn drives dullness from
his path. A true artist and a true artisan are one. Hand-craft, the
power to shape, to curve, to beautify, to create, gives pleasure and
dignity to labor.

In other times and in other lands, hand-craft has had more honor than it
has had with us. Let me give some examples. Not long ago, I went to one
of the shrines of education, the Sorbonne in Paris. Two paintings adorn
the chapel walls, not of saints or martyrs, nor of apostles or
prophets, perhaps I should say of both saints and prophets, _Labor_ and
_Humilitas_, Industry and Modesty.

The touch of Phidias was his own, and so inimitable that a few months
ago, an American, scanning, with his practiced eye, the galleries of the
Louvre, recognized a fragment of the work of Phidias, long separated
from the Parthenon frieze which Lord Elgin sent to London. The
sculptor's touch could not be mistaken. It was as truly his own as his
signature, his autograph. Ruskin, in a lecture on the relation of Art to
Morals, calls attention to a note which Durer made on some drawings sent
him by Raphael: "These figures Raphael drew and sent to Albert Durer
in Nurnberg, to show him his hand, '_sein hand zu weisen_."' Ruskin
compares this phrase with other contests of hand-craft, Apelles and
Protogenes showing their skill by drawing a line; Giotto in striking a

In the household of the Kings of Prussia, there is a custom, if not
a law, that every boy shall learn a trade. I believe this is a fact,
though I have no certain proof of it. The Emperor Wilhelm is said to be
a glazier, the Crown Prince a compositor, and on the Emperor's birthday
not long ago his majesty received an engraving by Prince Henry and a,
book bound by Prince Waldemar, two younger sons of the Crown Prince. Let
me refer to sacred writ; the prophet Isaiah, telling of the golden days
which are to come, when the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in
the land, nor the voice of crying, when the child shall die an hundred
years old, and men shall eat of the fruit of the vineyards they have
planted, adds this striking promise, as the culm of all hope, that the
elect of the Lord shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

Now, in view of what has been said, my first point is this: We who have
to deal with the young, we all who love our fellow-men, we all who
desire that our times, our city, our country, should be thrifty, happy,
and content, must each in his place and way give high honor to labor.
We, especially, who are teachers and parents, should see to it that the
young get "hand-craft" while they are getting "rede-craft." How can this
be done?

Mothers begin right in the nursery, teaching little fingers to play
before the tongue can lisp a sentence. Alas! this natural training has
often been stopped at school. Hitherto, until quite lately, in schools
both low and high, rede-craft has had the place of honor, hand-craft has
had no chance. But a change is coming. In the highest of all schools,
universities, for example, work rooms, labor places, "laboratories," are
now thought to be as useful as book rooms, reading rooms, libraries.

What mean those buildings which you have seen spring up within a few
years past in all the college greens of New England? They are libraries
and laboratories. They show that rede-craft and hand-craft are alike
held in honor, and that a liberal education means skill in getting and
skill in using knowledge; that knowledge comes from searching books and
searching nature; that the brain and the hand are in close league. So
too, in the lowest school, as far as possible from the university, the
kindergarten has won its place and the blocks, and straws, and bands,
the chalk, the clay, the scissors, are in use to make young fingers
deft. Between the highest and the lowest schools there is a like call
for hand-craft. Seeing this need, the authorities in our public schools
have begun to project special schools for such training, and are looking
for guidance far and near. At this intermediate stage, for boy and girls
who are between the age of the kindergarten and the age of the college
or the shop, for youth between eight and sixteen, there is much to be
done; people are hardly aware how much is needed to secure fit training
for the rising generation.

It seems sometimes as if one of the most needed forms of hand-craft
would become a lost art, even good handwriting. We cannot give much
credit to schools if they send out many who are skilled in algebra, or
in Latin, but who cannot write a page of English so that it can be read
without effort.

Drawing is another kind of hand-craft, quite too much neglected. I think
it should be laid down as a law of the road to knowledge, that everybody
must learn to draw as well as to write. The pencil maybe mastered just
as readily as the pen. It is a simpler tool. The child draws before
he writes, and savages begin their language with pictures; but, we
wiseacres of this age of books let our young folks drop their slate
pencils and their Fabers, and practice with their Gillotts and their
Esterbrooks. Let us say, in every school and in every house, the child
must not only learn to read and write, he must learn to draw. We cannot
afford to let our young folks grow up without this power. A new French
book is just now much talked about, with this droll title, "The Life
of a Wise Man, by an Ignoramus." It is the story of the great Pasteur,
whose discoveries in respect to life have made him world renowned. I
turned to the book, eager to find out the key to such success, and
I found the old story--"the child was father of the man." This
philosopher, whose eye is so skilled in observing nature, and whose hand
is so apt in experiments, is the boy grown up whose pictures were so
good that the villagers thought him at thirteen an artist of rank.

Girls should learn the first lesson of hand-craft with the needle; boys
may (and they will always prize the knowledge), but girls must. It is
wise that our schools are going back to old fashioned ways, and saying
that girls must be taught to sew.

Boys should practice their hands upon the knife. John Bull used to laugh
at Brother Jonathan for whittling, and Mr. Punch always drew the Yankee
with a blade in his fingers; but they found out long ago in Great
Britain that whittling in this land led to something, a Boston notion,
a wooden clock, a yacht America, a labor-saving machine, a cargo of
wooden-ware, a shop full of knick-knacks, an age of inventions. Boys
need not be kept back to the hand-craft of the knife. For in-doors there
are the type case and printing press, the paint box, the tool box, the
lathe; and for out doors, the trowel, the spade, the grafting knife. It
matters not how many of the minor arts the youth acquires. The more the
merrier. Let each one gain the most he can in all such ways; for arts
like these bring no harm in their train; quite otherwise, they lure good
fortune to their company.

Play, as well as work, may bring out hand-craft. The gun, the bat, the
rein, the rod, the oar, all manly sports, are good training for the
hand. Walking insures fresh air, but it does not train the body or mind
like games and sports which are played out of doors. A man of great fame
as an explorer and as a student of nature (he who discovered, in the
West, bones of horses with two, three, and four toes, and who found the
remains of birds with teeth) once told me that his success was largely
due to the sports of his youth. His boyish love of fishing gave him his
manly skill in exploration.

I speak as if hand-craft was to be learned by sport. So it may. It may
also be learned by labor. Day by day for weeks I have been watching from
my study window a stately inn rise from the cellar just across the road.
A bricklayer has been there employed whose touch is like the stroke of
an artist. He handled each brick as if it were porcelain, balanced it
carefully in his hand, measured with his eye just the amount of mortar
which it needed, and dropped the block into its bed, without staining
its edge, without varying from the plumb line, by a stroke of hand-craft
as true as the sculptor's. Toil gave him skill.

The second point I make is this: If you really value hand-craft,
buy that which shows hand-craft, encourage those who are engaged in
hand-craft, help on with your voice and with your pocket, those who
bring taste and skill and art into the works of their hand. If your
means are so small that you only buy what you need for your daily wants,
you cannot have much choice, you must buy that which is cheapest; but
hardly any one within the sound of my voice is so restricted as that;
almost if not quite every one buys something every year for his
pleasure, a curtain, a rug, a wall paper, a chair, or a table not
certainly needed, a vase, a clock, a, mantel ornament, a piece of
jewelry, a portrait, an etching, a picture. Now whenever you make such a
purchase, to please your taste, to make your parlor or your chamber more
attractive, choose that which shows good handiwork. Such a choice will
last. You will not tire of it as you will of that which has but a
commonplace form or pattern.

I come now to a third point. That which has just been said applies
chiefly to things whose price is fixed by beauty. But handicraft gives
us many works not pleasing to the eye, yet of the highest skill--a
Jacquard loom, a Corliss engine, a Hoe printing press, a Winchester
rifle, an Edison dynamo, a Bell telephone. Ruskin may scout the work of
machinery, and up to a certain point may take us with him. Let us
allow that works of art marked by the artist's own touch--the gates of
Paradise by Ghiberti, a shield by Cellini, a statue by Michael Angelo,
are better than all reproductions and imitations, better than plaster
casts by Eichler, electrotypes by Barbedienne, or chromos by Prang. But
even Ruskin cannot suppress the fact that machinery brings to every
thrifty cottage in New England comforts and adornments which, in the
days of Queen Bess, were not known outside of the palace. Be mindful,
then, that handicraft makes machines which are wonders of productive
force--weaving tissues such as Penelope never saw, of woolen, cotton,
linen, and silk, to carpet our floors, cover our tables, cushion our
chairs, and clothe our bodies; machines of which Vulcan never dreamed,
to point a needle, bore a rifle, cut a watch wheel, or rule a series
of lines, measuring forty thousand to an inch, with sureness which the
unaided hand can never equal. Machinery is a triumph of handicraft as
truly as sculpture and architecture. The fingers which can plan and
build a steamship or a suspension bridge, which can make the Quinebaug
and the Blackstone turn spindles by the hundred thousand, which can turn
a rag heap into spotless paper, and make myriads of useful and artful
articles from rough metal, are fingers which this age alone has evolved.
The craft which makes useful things cheap can make cheap things
beautiful. The Japanese will teach us how to form and finish, if we do
not first teach them how to slight and sham.

A fourth point is this. If hand-craft is of such worth, boys and girls
must be trained in it. This, I am well aware is no new thought. Forty
years ago schools of applied science were added to Harvard and Yale
colleges; twenty years ago Congress gave enough land-scrip to aid in
founding at least one such school in every state; men of wealth, like
many whom you have known and whom you honor, have given large sums for
like ends. Now the people at large are waking up. They see their needs;
they have the means to supply what they want. Is there the will? Know
they the way? Far and near the cry is heard for a different training
from that now given in the public schools. Many are trying to find it.
Almost every large town has its experiment--and many smaller places have
theirs. Nobody seems to know just what is best. Even the words which
express the want are vague. Bright and thoughtful people differ as to
what might, can, and should be done. A society has been formed in New
York to bring together the needed data. The Slater trustees, charged
with the care of a large fund for the training of freedmen, have said
that manual training must be given in all the schools they aid. The
town of Toledo in Ohio opened, some time since, a school of practical
training for boys, which worked so well that another has lately been
opened for girls. St. Louis is doing famously. Philadelphia has several
experiments in progress. Baltimore has made a start. In New York there
are many noteworthy movements--half a dozen at least full of life and
hope. Boston was never behindhand in knowledge, and in the new education
is very alert, the efforts of a single lady deserving praise of high
degree. These are but signs of the times.

Some things may be set down as fixed; for example, most of those who
have thought on this theme will agree on the points I am about to name,
though they may or may not like the names which I venture to propose:

1. Kindergarten work should be taught in the nurseries and infant
schools of rich and poor.

2. Drawing should be taught in schools of every grade, till the hand
uses the pencil as readily as the pen.

3. Every girl at school if not at home should learn to sew.

4. Every boy should learn the use of tools, the gardener's or the
carpenter's, or both.

5. Well planned exercises, fitted to strengthen the various bodily
organs, arms, fingers, wrists, lungs, etc., are good. Driving, swimming,
rowing, and other manly sports should be favored.

What precedes is at the basis of good work.

In addition:

6. With good teachers, quite young children may learn the minor
decorative arts, carving, leather stamping, brass beating and the like,
as is shown in the Leland classes of Philadelphia.

7. In towns, boys who begin to earn a living when they enter their teens
may be taught in evening schools to practice the craft of carpentry,
bricklaying, plastering, plumbing, gas fitting, etc., as is shown
successfully in the Auchmuty schools of New York. Trade schools they are
called; schools of practice for workmen would be a better name.

8. Boys who can carry their studies through the later teens may learn,
while at the high school or technical school or college, to work in wood
and metals with precision, as I have lately seen in the College of the
City of New York, at Cornell University, and elsewhere-colleges or high
schools with work-shops and practice classes. If they can take the
time to fit themselves to be foremen and leaders in machine shops and
factories, they may be trained in theoretical and practical mechanics,
as in the Worcester Industrial Institute and in a score of other places;
but the youth must have talent as well as time to win the race in these
hard paths. These are schools for foremen, or, if we may use a foreign
word like Kindergarten, they are Meisterschaft schools.

9. Youths who wish to enter the highest departments of engineering must
follow advanced courses of mathematics and physics, and must learn
to apply this knowledge. The better colleges and universities afford
abundant opportunities for such training, but their scientific
laboratories are fitted only for those who love long study as well as
hard. These are schools for engineers.

10. Girls are most likely to excel in the lighter arts--to design (for
furniture or fabrics), to embroider, to carve, to engrave, to etch, to
model, to paint. Here also success depends largely upon that which was
inborn, though girls of moderate talent in art, by patience, may become
skilled in many kinds of art work. Schools for this instruction are
schools of art (elementary, decorative, professional, etc.).

If there be those in this hall who think that hand-craft is adverse to
rede-craft, let me ask them to study the lives of men of mark. Isaac
Newton began his life as a farm-boy who carried truck to a market town;
Spinoza, the philosopher of Amsterdam, ground lenses for his livelihood;
Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, was mechanic to the University
of Glasgow; Porson, the great professor of Greek, was trained as a
weaver; George Washington was a land surveyor; Benjamin Franklin a

Before I close let me draw a lesson from the history of our land. Some
of you doubtless bear in mind that before the late war men used to say,
"Cotton is king;" and why so? Because the trades which hung on this crop
were so many and so strong that they ruled all others. The rise or fall
of a penny in the price of cotton at Liverpool affected planters in
the South, spinners in the North, seamen on the ocean, bankers
and money-changers everywhere. Now wheat and petroleum share the
sovereignty; but then cotton was king. Who enthroned this harmless
plant? Two masters of hand-craft, one of whom was born a few miles east
of this place in Westborough; the other was a native of England who
spent most of his days a few miles south of this city. Within five
years--not quite a century ago--these two men were putting in forms
which could be seen, ideas which brought our countrymen large measures
of both weal and woe. In 1790, Samuel Slater, once an apprentice to
Strutt and Arkwright, built the mill at Pawtucket which taught Americans
the art of cotton-spinning; and before 1795, Eli Whitney had invented
the gin which easily cleansed the cotton boll of its seeds, and so made
marketable the great crop we have spoken of. Many men have made more
noise in the world than Slater and Whitney; few if any can be named
whose peaceable hand-craft has done so much to give this country its
front place in the markets of the globe.

Let me come nearer home, and as I take my seat let me name a son of
this very town who loved hand-craft and rede-craft, and worthily aided
both--Isaiah Thomas, the patriot printer, editor, and publisher,
historian of the printer's craft in this land, and founder of the far
famed antiquarian library, eldest in that group of institutions which
gave to Worcester its rank in the world of letters, as its many products
give it standing in the world of industry and art.

Mindful of three such worthies, it is not strange that Salisbury,
Washburn, Boylston, and many more have built up this high school of
handicraft; it will be no wonder if others like minded build on the
foundations which have been so fitly laid.

* * * * *


[Footnote: Read lately before the Manchester Literary and Philosophical

By THOMAS KAY, President of the Stockport Natural History Society.

The author called attention to the absence of research in this
direction, and how man, endowed to overcome every physical disability
which encompassed him on land, was powerless to live on the wide ocean,
although it is teeming with life.

The water for experiment was taken from the English Channel, about
fifty miles southwest of the Eddystone Lighthouse, and it was found
to correspond closely with the analysis of the Atlantic published by
Roscoe, viz.: Total solids 35.976, of which the total chlorides, are
32.730, representing 19.868 of chlorine.

The waters of the Irish Sea and the English Channel nearer to the German
Ocean, from their neighborhood to great rivers, are weaker than the

Schweitzer's analysis of the waters of the English Channel, near
Brighton, was taken as representing the composition of the sea, and is
here given:

Sodium chloride 27.059
Potassium " 0.766
Magnesium " 3.666
" bromide 0.029
" sulphate 2.296
Calcium " 1.406
" carbonate 0.033
Iodine and ammoniacal salts traces
Water 964.795

The chlorides in the--

Irish Sea are about 30 per mille.
English Channel are about 31 "
Beyond the Eddystone are 32 "

As the requirement for a potable sea water does not arise except in
mid-ocean, the proportion of 32 per mille must be taken as the basis of

This represents as near 20 per mille of chlorine as possible.

From the analysis shown it will be perceived that the chlorides of
sodium and magnesium are in great preponderance.

It is to the former of these that the baneful effects of sea water when
drunk are to be ascribed, for chloride of sodium or common salt produces
thirst probably by its styptic action on the salivary glands, and scurvy
by its deleterious action on the blood when taken in excess.

Sodium chloride being the principal noxious element in sea water, and
soda in combination with a vegetable or organic acid, such as citric
acid, tartaric acid, or malic acid, being innocuous, the conclusion is
that the element of evil to be avoided is _chlorine_.

After describing various experiments, and calling attention to the power
of earthy matters in abstracting salts from solutions by which he hoped
the process would be perfected, an imperial pint of water from beyond
the Eddystone was shown mixed with 960 grains of citrate of silver and 4
grains of the free citric acid.

Each part of the chlorides requires three parts by weight of the silver
citrate to throw down the chlorine, thus:

3NaCl + Ag_{3}C_{6}H_{5}O_{7} = Na3.C_{6}H_{5}O_{7}+3AgCl.

The silver chloride formed a dense insoluble precipitate, and the
supernatant fluid was decanted and filtered through a rubber tube and
handed round as a beverage.

It contained in each fluid ounce by calculation about:

18 grains of citrate of soda.
1-1/2 " " magnesia.
1/2 " " potash.
1 " sulphate of magnesia.
1/2 " " lime.
1/5 " citric acid.

with less than half a grain of undecomposed chlorides.

To analyze this liquid therapeutically, it may be broadly stated that
salts of potash are _diuretic_, salts of magnesia _aperient_, and salts
of soda _neutral_, except in excessive doses, or in combination with
acids of varying medicinal action; thus, soda in nitric acid, nitrate
of soda, is a _diuretic_, following the law of nitrates as nitrate of
potash, a most powerful diuretic, nitrous ether, etc.; while soda in
combination with sulphuric acid as sulphate of soda is _aperient_,
following the law of sulphates, which increase aperient action, as in
sulphate of magnesia, etc.

Thus it would seem that soda holds the scales evenly between potash and
magnesia in this medical sense, and that it is weighed, so to speak, on
either side by the kind of mineral acid with which it may be combined.

With non-poisonous vegetable acids, and these slightly in excess, there
is not such an effect produced.

Sodium is an important constituent of the human body, and citric acid,
from its carbon, almost a food. Although no one would advocate saline
drinks in excess, yet, under especial circumstances, the solution of it
in the form of citrate can hardly be hurtful when used to moisten the
throat and tongue, for it will never be used under circumstances where
it can be taken in large quantities.

In the converted sea water the bulk of the solids is composed of inert
citrate of soda. There is a little citrate of potash, which is a feeble
diuretic; a little citrate and sulphate of magnesia, a slight aperient,
corrected, however, by the constipatory half grain of sulphate of lime;
so that the whole practically is inoperative.

The combination of these salts in nature's proportions would seem to
indicate that they must be the best for administration in those ailments
to which their use would be beneficial.

Citrate of silver is an almost insoluble salt, and requires to be
kept from the light, air, and organic matter, it being very easily

A stoppered bottle covered with India-rubber was exhibited as indicating
a suitable preserver of the salt, as it affords protection against
light, air, and breakage. As one ounce of silver citrate will convert
half a pint of sea water into a drinkable fluid, and a man can keep
alive upon it a day, then seven ounces of it will keep him a week, and
so on, it may not unreasonably be hoped, in proportion.

It is proposed to pack the silver citrate in hermetically sealed rubber
covered bottles or tubes, to be inserted under the canisters or thwarts
of the life-boats in ocean-going vessels, and this can be done at a
simple interest on the first outlay, without any loss by depreciation,
as it will always be worth its cost, and be invaluable in case of need.

* * * * *


All wools contain a certain amount of animal oil or grease, which
permeates every portion of the fleece. The proportion of oil varies with
the breed of sheep. A difference in climate and soil materially affects
the yield of oil. This is shown by analyses made of different kinds of
wool, both foreign and domestic. Spanish wool was found to have but
eight per cent. grease; Australian wool fifteen per cent.; while in some
fleeces of Pennsylvania wool as high as forty per cent. was obtained. To
extract the oil from the wool, a fleece was put in a tall cylinder and
naphtha poured on it. The naphtha on being allowed to drain through
slowly dissolved out the grease. This naphtha solution was distilled;
the naphtha passing off while grease remained--a dark oil having high
specific gravity and remaining nearly solid at the ordinary temperature.
I am indebted to Mrs. Richards for this method of extracting the oil.
The process is quick and inexpensive, and is applicable to the treatment
of large quantities of wool.

The object of these experiments was to find the readiest method of
separating wool oil into its bases and acids, and further to identify
the various fatty acids. A solution of the oil in naphtha was cooled to
15 deg. C. This caused a separation of the oil into two portions: a white
solid fat and a fluid dark oil. The first on examination proved to be a
mixture of palmitic and stearic acids existing uncombined in the wool
oil. The original wool oil was saponified by boiling with alcoholic

The soap formed was separated into two portions by shaking with ether
and water. On standing, the solution separated into two layers, the
upper or murial solution containing the bases, the lower or aqueous
solution containing the acids. This method of separation is very slow.
In one case it worked very well, but as a rule appeared to be almost
impracticable. Benzol and naphtha were tried, instead of ether, but the
results were less satisfactory. On suggestion of Prof. Ordway, potassium
chloride was added to the soap solution partially separated by ether and
water. This caused an immediate and complete separation. By the use of
potassium chloride it was found possible to effect a separation with
benzol and water, also with naphtha and water.

Another means of separation was tried by precipitating the calcium
salts, from a solution of the potash soap. From the portion of the
calcium salts insoluble in alcohol, a fatty acid was obtained with a
melting point and composition almost identical with the melting point
and composition of palmitic acid. The aqueous portion of the separation
effected by water and ether was examined for the fatty acid. The lead
salts of the fatty acids were digested with ether, which dissolved out
the lead oleate. From this oleic acid was obtained. This was further
purified by forming the Boreum salt of oleic acid. The lead salts not
soluble in ether were decomposed by acid. The fatty acids set free were
saponified by carbonate of potassium. A fractional precipitation was
effected by adding lead acetate in successive portions; each portion
sufficient to precipitate one-fourth of all the acids present.

The acid obtained from the first fractionation had the melting point at
75 deg.-76 deg., indicating an acid either in carbon then stearic or palmitic

The acids obtained from the third fractionation had a melting point of
53 deg.-54 deg. C. This acid in composition and general properties was very
similar to that obtained by freezing the naphtha solution of the oil,
and is probably a mixture of stearic and palmitic acids. These acids,
being in combination with the bases of the oil, would be set free only
on saponifying the oil and subsequently decomposing with acid.

In conclusion, I should say that but a small proportion of the fatty
acids exist in the wool oil uncombined; that the proportion of oleic
acid is small, and can only be obtained in an oxidized condition; that
the main portion of the fatty acids is composed of stearic and palmitic
acids in nearly equal proportions; that the existence of a fatty acid,
containing a higher per cent. of carbon than those mentioned, is not
fully established.--_N.W. Shedd, M.I.T._

* * * * *


OTTO, BARON V.D. PFORDTEN.--The author makes use of a solution of
chromous chloride, which he prepares as follows:

He first heats chromic acid with concentrated hydrochloric acid, so
as to obtain a strong green solution of chromic chloride free from
chlorine. This is then reduced with zinc and hydrochloric acid. The blue
chromous chloride solution thus obtained is poured into a saturated
solution of sodium acetate in an atmosphere of carbonic acid. A
red precipitate of chromous acetate is formed, which is washed by
decantation in water containing carbonic acid. This salt is relatively
stable, and can be preserved for an indefinite time in a moist condition
in stoppered bottles filled with carbonic acid.

In this process the following precautions are to be observed:

Spongy flocks always separate from the zinc used in the reduction, which
float about in the acid liquid for a long time and give off minute gas
bubbles. If poured into the solution of sodium acetate, they would
contaminate the precipitate; and when dissolved in hydrochloric acid,
would occasion a slight escape of hydrogen. The solution of chromous
chloride must therefore be freed from the zinc by filtration in the
absence of air. For this purpose the reduction is carried on in a flask
fitted up like a washing bottle. The long tube is bent down outside the
flask, and is here provided with a small bulb tube containing glass wool
or asbestos. The hydrogen gas liberated during reduction is at first let
escape through this tube; afterward its outer end is closed, and it is
pressed down into the liquid. The hydrogen must now pass through the
shorter tube (the mouthpiece of the washing bottle), which has an India
rubber valve. When the reduction is complete, the blue liquid is driven
up in the long tube by introducing carbonic acid through the short tube,
so that it filters through the asbestos into the solution of sodium
acetate into which the reopened end of the long tube dips. When washing
out the red precipitate, at first a little acetic acid is added to
dissolve any basic zinc carbonate which has been deposited. In this
manner a chromous acetate is obtained perfectly free from zinc.

For the absorption of oxygen the compound just described is decomposed
with hydrochloric acid in the following simple washing apparatus: Upon
a shelf there are fixed side by side two ordinary preparation glasses,
closed with caoutchouc stoppers, each having three perforations. Each
two apertures receive the glass tubes used in gas washing bottles, while
the third holds a dropping funnel. It is filled with dilute hydrochloric
acid, and after the expulsion of the air by a current of gas, plentiful
quantities of chromous acetate are passed into the bottles. When the
current of gas has been passed in for some time, the hydrochloric acid
is let enter, which dissolves the chromous acetate, and thus, in the
absence of air, produces a solution of blue chromous chloride. It is
advisable to use an excess of chromous acetate or an insufficient
quantity of hydrochloric acid, so that there may be no free hydrochloric
acid in the liquid. To keep back any free acetic acid which might be
swept over by the current of gas, there is introduced after the washing
apparatus another washing bottle with sodium carbonate. Also solid
potassium carbonate may be used instead of calcium chloride for drying
the gas. If the two apertures of the washing apparatus are fitted with
small pinch cocks, it is ready for use, and merely requires to be
connected with the gas apparatus in action in order to free the gas
generated from oxygen. As but little chromous salt is decomposed by the
oxygen such a washing apparatus may serve for many experiments.

* * * * *


In this apparatus, which contains but one needle, and has no directing
magnet, proportionability between the intensities and deflections is
obtained by means of a special form given the frame upon which the wire
is wound.

We give herewith a figure of the curve that Mr. Gaiffe has fixed upon
after numerous experiments. Upon examination it will be seen that the
needle approaches the current in measure as the directing action of
the earth increases; and experiment proves that the two actions
counterbalance each other, and render the deflections very sensibly
proportional to the intensities up to an angle of from 65 to 75 degrees.


Another important fact has likewise been ascertained, and that is that,
under such circumstances, the magnetic intensity of the needle may
change without the indications ceasing to have the same exactness up to
65 degrees. As well known, Mr. Desains has demonstrated that this occurs
likewise in sinus or tangent galvanometers; but these have helices that
are very large in proportion to the needle. In medical galvanometers the
proportions are no longer the same, and the needle is always very near
the directing helix. If this latter is square, or even elliptical, it is
found that, beyond an angle of 15 degrees, there are differences of 4 or
5 degrees in the indications given with the same intensity of current by
the same needle, according to the latter's intensity of magnetism. This
inconvenience is quite grave, for it often happens that a needle changes
magnetic intensity, either under the influence of too strong currents
sent into the apparatus, or of other magnets in its vicinity, or as
a consequence of the bad quality of the steel, etc. It was therefore
urgently required that this should be remedied, and from this point
of view the new mode of winding the wire is an important improvement
introduced into medical galvanometers.--_La Lumiere Electrique_.

* * * * *


Every one knows that life exists in a latent state in the seeds of
plants, and may be preserved therein, so to speak, indefinitely. In
1853, Ridolfi deposited in the Egyptian Museum of Florence a sheaf of
wheat that he had obtained from seeds found in a mummy case dating back
about 3,000 years. This aptitude of revivification is found to a high
degree in animalcules of low order. The air which we breathe is loaded
with impalpable dust that awaits, for ages perhaps, proper conditions
of heat and moisture to give it an ephemeral life that it will lose and
acquire by turns.

In 1707, Spallanzani found it possible, eleven times in succession, to
suspend the life of rotifers submitted to desiccation, and to call it
back again by moistening this organic dust with water. A few years
ago Doyere brought to life some tardigrades that had been dried at a
temperature of 150 deg. and kept four weeks in a vacuum. If we ascend the
scale of beings, we find analogous phenomena produced by diverse causes.
Flies that have been imported in casks of Madeira have been resuscitated
in Europe, and chrysalids have been kept in this state for years.
Cockchafers drowned, and then dried in the sun, have been revived after
a lapse of twenty-four hours, two days, and even five days, after
submersion. Frogs, salamanders, and spiders poisoned by curare or
nicotine, have returned to life after several days of apparent death.

Cold produces some extraordinary effects. Spallanzani kept several frogs
in the center of a lump of ice for two years, and, although they became
dry, rigid, almost friable, and gave no external appearance of being
alive, it was only necessary to expose them to a gradual and moderate
heat to put an end to the lethargic state in which they lay.

Pikes and salamanders have at different epochs been revived before the
eyes of Maupertuis and Constant Dumeril (members of the Academy of
Sciences) after being frozen stiff. Auguste Dumeril, son of Constant,
and who was the reporter of the committee relative to the Blois toad in
1851, published a curious memoir the following year in which he narrates
how he interrupted life through congelation of the liquids and solids of
the organism. Some frogs, whose internal temperature had been reduced to
-2 deg. in an atmosphere of -12 deg., returned to life before his eyes, and he
observed their tissues regain their usual elasticity and their heart
pass from absolute immobility to its normal motion.

There is therefore no reason for doubting the assertions of travelers
who tell us that the inhabitants of North America and Russia transport
fish that are frozen stiff, and bring them to life again by dipping them
into water of ordinary temperature ten or fifteen days afterward. But I
think too much reliance should not be put in the process devised by
the great English physiologist, Hunter, for prolonging the life of man
indefinitely by successive freezings. It has been allowed to no one but
a romancer, Mr. Edmond About, to be present at this curious operation.

Among the mammifera we find appearances of death in their winter sleep;
but these are incomplete, since the temperature of hibernating animals
remains greater by one degree than that of the surrounding air, and the
motions of the heart and respiration are simply retarded. Dr. Preyer has
observed that a hamster sometimes goes five minutes without breathing
appreciably after a fortnight's sleep.

In man himself a suspension of life, or at least phenomena that seem
inseparable therefrom, has been observed many times. In the _Journal des
Savants_ for 1741 we read that a Col. Russel, having witnessed the
death of his wife, whom he tenderly loved, did not wish her buried, and
threatened to kill any one who should attempt to remove the body before
he witnessed its decomposition himself. Eight days passed by without the
woman giving the slightest sign of life, "when, at a moment when he was
holding her hand and shedding tears over her, the church bell began to
ring, and, to his indescribable surprise, his wife sat up and said, 'It
is the last stroke, we shall be too late.' She recovered."

At a session of the Academy of Sciences, Oct. 17, 1864, Mr. Blaudet
communicated a report upon a young woman of thirty summers who, being
subject to nervous attacks, fell, after her crises, into a sort of
lethargic sleep which lasted several weeks and sometimes several months.
One of her sleeps, especially, lasted from the beginning of the year
1862 until March, 1863.

Dr. Paul Levasseur relates that, in a certain English family, lethargy
seemed to have become hereditary. The first case was exhibited in an old
lady who remained for fifteen days in an immovable and insensible state,
and who afterward, on regaining her consciousness, lived for quite a
long time. Warned by this fact, the family preserved a young man for
several weeks who appeared to be dead, but who came to life again.

Dr. Pfendler, in an inaugural thesis (Paris, 1833), minutely describes a
case of apparent death of which he himself was a witness. A young girl
of Vienna at the age of 15 was attacked by a nervous affection that
brought on violent crises followed by lethargic states which lasted
three or four days. After a time she became so exhausted that the first
physicians of the city declared that there was no more hope. It was not
long, in fact, before she was observed to rise in her bed and fall back
as if struck with death. "For four hours she appeared to me," says Dr.
Pfendler, "completely inanimate. With Messrs. Franck and Schaeffer,
I made every possible effort to rekindle the spark of life. Neither
mirror, nor burned feather, nor ammonia, nor pricking succeeded in
giving us a sign of sensibility. Galvanism was tried without the patient
showing any contractility. Mr. Franck believed her to be dead, but
nevertheless advised me to leave her on the bed. For twenty-eight hours
no change supervened, although it was thought that a little putrefaction
was observed. The death bell was sounded, the friends of the girl had
dressed her in white and had crowned her with flowers, and all was
arranged for her burial. Desiring to convince myself of the course of
the putrefaction, I visited the body again, and found that no further
advance had been made than before. What was my astonishment when I
believed that I saw a slight respiratory motion. I looked again, and saw
that I was not mistaken. I at once used friction and irritants, and in
an hour and a half the respiration increased. The patient opened her
eyes, and, struck with the funereal paraphernalia around her, returned
to consciousness, and said, 'I am too young to die.'" All this was
followed by a ten hours' sleep. Convalescence proceeded rapidly, and the
girl became free from all her nervous troubles. During her crisis she
heard everything. She quoted some Latin words that Mr. Franck had used.
Her most fearful agony had been to hear the preparations for her burial
without being able to get rid of her torpor. Medical dictionaries are
full of anecdotes of this nature, but I shall cite but two more.

On the 10th of November, 1812, during the fatal retreat from Russia,
Commandant Tascher, desiring to bring back to France the body of his
general, who had been killed by a bullet, and who had been buried since
the day before, disinterred him, and, upon putting him into a landau,
and noticing that he was still breathing, brought him to life again by
dint of care. A long time afterward this same general was one of the
pall bearers at the funeral obsequies of the aide-de-camp who had buried
him. In 1826 a young priest returned to life at the moment the bishop
of the diocese was pronouncing the _De Profundis_ over his body. Forty
years afterward, this priest, who had become Cardinal Donnett, preached
a feeling sermon upon the danger of premature burial.

I trust I have now sufficiently prepared the mind of the reader for an
examination of the phenomena of the voluntary suspension of life that I
shall now treat of.

The body of an animal may be compared to a machine that converts the
food that it receives into motion. It receives nothing, it will produce
nothing; but there is no reason why it should get out of order if it is
not deteriorated by external agents. The legendary rustic who wanted to
accustom his ass to go without food was therefore theoretically wrong
only because he at the same time wanted the animal to work. The whole
difficulty consists in breaking with old habits. To return to the
comparison that we just made, we shall run the risk of exploding the
boiler of a steam engine if we heat it or cool it abruptly, but we can
run it very slowly and for a very long time with but very little fuel.
We may even preserve a little fire under the ashes, and this, although
it may not be capable of setting the parts running, will suffice later
on to revivify the fireplace after it has been charged anew with fuel.

We have recently had the example of Dr. Tanner, who went forty days
without any other nourishment than water. Not very long ago Liedovine de
Schiedam, who had been bedridden for twenty years, affirmed that she
had taken no food for eight of them. It is said that Saint Catharine of
Sienna gradually accustomed herself to do without food, and that she
lived twenty years in total abstinence. We know of several examples of
prolonged sleep during which the sleeper naturally took no nourishment.
In his Magic Disquisitions, Delvis cites the case of a countryman who
slept for an entire autumn and winter. Pfendler relates that a certain
young and hysterical woman fell twice into a deep slumber which each
time lasted six months. In 1883 an _enceinte_ woman was found asleep
on a bench in the Grand Armee Avenue. She was taken to the Beaujon
Hospital, where she was delivered a few days after while still asleep,
and it was not till the end of three months that she could be awakened
from her lethargy. At this very moment, at Tremeille, a woman named
Marguerite Bouyenvalle is sleeping a sleep that has lasted nearly a
year, during which the only food that she has had is a few drops of soup

What is more remarkable, Dr. Fournier says in his Dictionary of Medical
Sciences that he knew of a distinguished writer at Paris, who sometimes
went for months at a time without taking anything but emollient drinks,
while at the same time living along like other people.

Respiration is certainly more necessary to life than food is; but it is
not absolutely indispensable, as we have seen in the cases of apparent
death cited in our previous article. It is possible, through exercise,
for a person to accustom himself, up to a certain point, to abstinence
from air as he can from food. Those who dive for pearls, corals, or
sponges succeed in remaining from two to three minutes under water. Miss
Lurline, who exhibited in Paris in 1882, remained two and a half minutes
beneath the water of her aquarium without breathing. In his treatise De
la Nature, Henri de Rochas, physician to Louis XIII., gives six minutes
as the maximum length of time that can elapse between successive
inspirations of air. It is probable that this figure was based upon an
observation of hibernating animals.

In his Encyclopedic Dictionary, Dr. Dechambre relates the history of
a Hindoo who hid himself in the waters of the Ganges where women were
bathing, seized one of them by the legs, drowned her, and then removed
her jewels. Her disappearance was attributed to crocodiles. One woman
who succeeded in escaping him denounced the assassin, who was seized and
hanged in 1817.

A well known case, is that of Col. Townshend, who possessed the
remarkable faculty of stopping at will not only his respiration, but
also the beating of his heart. He performed the experiment one day in
the presence of Surgeon Gosch, who cared for him in his old age, two
physicians, and his apothecary, Mr. Shrine. In their presence, says
Gosch, the Colonel lay upon his back, Dr. Cheyne watched his pulse, Dr.
Baynard put his hand upon his heart, and Mr. Shrine held a mirror to
his mouth. After a few seconds no pulse, movement of the heart, or
respiration could be observed. At the end of half an hour, as the
spectators were beginning to get frightened, they observed the functions
progressively resuming their course, and the Colonel came back to life.

The fakirs of India habituate themselves to abstinence from air, either
by introducing into the nostrils strings that come out through the
mouth, or by dwelling in subterranean cells that air and light never
enter except through narrow crevices that are sometimes filled with
clay. Here they remain seated in profound silence, for hours at a time,
without any other motion than that of the fingers as the latter slowly
take beads from a chaplet, the mind absorbed by the mental pronunciation
of OM (the holy triune name), which they must repeat incessantly while
endeavoring to breathe as little as possible. They gradually lengthen
the intervals between their inspirations and expirations, until, in
three or four months, they succeed in making them an hour and a half.
This is not the ideal, for one of their sacred books says, in speaking
of a saint: "At the fourth month he no longer takes any food but air,
and that only every twelve days, and, master of his respiration he
embraces God in his thought. At the fifth he stands as still as a pole;
he no longer sees anything but Baghavat, and God touches his cheek to
bring him out of his ecstasy."

It will be conceived that by submitting themselves to such gymnastics
from infancy, certain men, already predisposed by atavism or a peculiar
conformation, might succeed in doing things that would seem impossible
to the common run of mortals. Do we not daily see acrobats remaining
head downward for a length of time that would suffice to kill 99 per
cent, of their spectators through congestion if they were to place
themselves in the same posture? Can the savage who laboriously learns
to spell, letter by letter, comprehend how many people get the general
sense of an entire page at a single glance?

There is no reason, then, _a priori_, for assigning to the domain of
legerdemain the astonishing facts that are told us by a large number of
witnesses, worthy of credence, regarding a young fakir who, forty years
ago, was accustomed to allow himself to be buried, and resuscitated
several months afterward.

An English officer, Mr. Osborne, gives the following account of one of
these operations, which took place in 1838 at the camp of King Randjet

"After a few preparations, which lasted some days, and that it would
prove repugnant to enumerate, the fakir declared himself ready to
undergo the ordeal. The Maharajah, the Sikhs chiefs, and Gen. Ventura,
assembled near a masonry tomb that had been constructed expressly to
receive him. Before their eyes, the fakir closed with wax all the
apertures in his body (except his mouth) that could give entrance
to air. Then, having taken off the clothing that he had on, he was
enveloped in a canvas sack, and, according to his wish, his tongue was
turned back in such a way as to close the entrance to his windpipe.
Immediately after this he fell into a sort of trance. The bag that held
him was closed and a seal was put upon it by the Maharajah. The bag was
then put into a wooden box, which was fastened by a padlock, sealed, and
let down into the tomb. A large quantity of earth was thrown into the
hole and rammed down, and then barley was sown on the surface and
sentinels placed around with orders to watch day and night.

"Despite all such precautions, the Maharajah had his doubts; so he came
twice in the space of ten months (the time during which the fakir was
buried), and had the tomb opened in his presence. The fakir was in the
bag into which he had been put, cold and inanimate. The ten months
having expired, he was disinterred, Gen. Ventura and Capt. Ward saw the
padlock removed, the seals broken, and the box taken from the tomb.
The fakir was taken out, and no pulsation either at the heart or pulse
indicated the presence of life. As a first measure for reviving him, a
person introduced a finger gently into his mouth and placed his tongue
in its natural position. The top of his head was the only place where
there was any perceptible heat. By slowly pouring warm water over his
body, signs of life were gradually obtained, and after about two hours
of care the patient got up and began to walk.

"This truly extraordinary man says that during his burial he has
delightful dreams, but that the moment of awakening is always very
painful to him. Before returning to a consciousness of his existence he
experiences vertigoes. His nails and hair cease to grow. His only fear
is that he may be harmed by worms and insects, and it is to protect
himself from these that he has the box suspended in the center of the

This sketch was published in the _Magasin Pittoresque_ in 1842 by a
writer who had just seen Gen. Ventura in Paris, and had obtained from
him a complete confirmation of the story told by Capt. Wade.

Another English officer, Mr. Boileau, in a work published in 1840,
and Dr. MacGregor, in his medical topography of Lodhiana, narrate two
analogous exhumations that they separately witnessed. The question
therefore merits serious examination.--_A. de Rochas, in La Nature_.

* * * * *

Some experiments recently made by M. Olszewsky appear to show that
liquid oxygen is one of the best of refrigerants. He found that when
liquefied oxygen was allowed to vaporize under the pressure of one
atmosphere, a temperature as low as -181.4 deg. C. was produced. The
temperature fell still further when the pressure on the liquid oxygen
was reduced to nine millimeters of mercury. Though the pressure was
reduced still further to four millimeters of mercury, yet the oxygen
remained liquid. Liquefied nitrogen, when allowed to evaporate under a
pressure of sixty millimeters of mercury, gave a temperature of -214 deg.
C., only the surface of the liquid gas became opaque from incipient
solidification. Under lower pressures the nitrogen solidified,
and temperatures as low as -225 deg. C. were recorded by the hydrogen
thermometer. The lowest temperature obtained by allowing liquefied
carbonic oxide to vaporize was -220.5 deg. C.

* * * * *


By OTTO A. WALL, M.D., Ph.G.

Cnovallaria Majalis is a stemless perennial plant, found in both
the eastern and western hemispheres, with two elliptic leaves and a
one-sided raceme bearing eight or ten bell-shaped flowers. The flowers
are fragrant, and perfumes called "Lily of the Valley" are among the
popular odors.

Both leaves and flowers have been used in medicine, but the rhizome is
the part most frequently used.

[Illustration: CONVALLARIA.]

The fresh rhizome is a creeping, branching rhizome of a pale yellowish
white color, which, on drying, darkens to a straw color, or even a
brown in places. When dry it is about the thickness of a thick knitting
needle, swelling to the thickness of a quill when soaked in water. It
is of uniform thickness, except near the leaf-bearing ends, which are
thicker marked with numerous leafscars, or bare buds covered with
scales, and often having attached the tattered remains of former leaves.
Fig. A shows a portion of rhizome, natural size, and Fig. B shows
another piece enlarged to double linear size.

The internodes are smooth, the rootlets being attached at the nodes. The
rootlets are filiform, and darker in color.

The rhizome is covered by an epidermis, composed of muriform cells of a
bright yellow color, after having been treated with liquor potassae to
clear up the tissues. These cells are shown in Fig. G. An examination of
the transverse section shows us the endogenous structure, as we find
it also in various other drugs (sarsaparilla, etc.), namely, a nucleus
sheath, inclosing the fibrovascular bundles and pith, and surrounded
by a peri-ligneous or peri-nuclear portion, consisting of soft-walled
parenchyma cells, loosely arranged with many small, irregularly
triangular, intercellular spaces in the tranverse section. Some of these
cells contain bundles of raphides (Fig. 2), one of which bundles is
shown crushed in Fig. J. Sometimes these crystals are coarser and less
needle-like, as in Fig. K. Fig. C shows a transverse section through the
leaf-bearing portion of the rhizome (at a), and is rather irregular on
account of the fibrovascular bundles diverging into the base of the
leaves of flower-stalks. A more regular appearance is seen in Fig. D,
which is a section through the internode (b). In it we see the nuclear
sheath, varying in width from one to three cells, and inclosing a number
of crescent-shaped fibrovascular bundles, with their convexities toward
the center and their horns toward the nuclear sheath. There are also
from two to four or five free closed fibrovascular bundles in the
central pith.

These fibrovascular bundles consist mainly of dotted or reticulated
ducts (Fig. F), but all gradations from, this to the spiroids, or even
true spiral ducts (Fig. E). may be found, though the annular and spiral
ducts are quite rare. These ducts are often prismatically compressed
by each other. The fibrovascular bundles also contain soft-walled
prosenchyma cells. The peri-nuclear portion consists of soft-walled
parenchyma, smaller near the nuclear sheath and the epidermis, and
larger about midway between, and of the same character as the cells of
the pith. In longitudinal section they appear rectangular, similar to
the walls of the epidermis (G), but with thinner walls.

All parts of the plant have been used in medicine, either separately or
together, and according to some authorities the whole flowering plant is
the best form in which to use this drug.

The active principles are _convallaramin_ and _convallarin_.

It is considered to act similarly to digitalis as a heart-stimulant,
especially when the failure of the heart's action is due to mechanical
impediments rather than to organic degeneration. It is best given in the
form of fluid extract in the dose of 1 to 5 cubic centimeters (15 to
75 minims), commencing with the smaller doses, and increasing, if
necessary, according to the effects produced in each individual
case.--_The Pharmacist_.

* * * * *


During my visit to the Southern States of America, I have had several
opportunities of watching, under favorable conditions, the flight of the
buzzard, the scavenger of Southern cities. Although in most respect this
bird's manner of flight resembles that of the various sea-birds which I
have often watched for hours sailing steadily after ocean steamships,
yet, being a land bird, the buzzard is more apt to give examples of that
kind of flight in which a bird remains long over the same place. Instead
of sailing steadily on upon outstretched pinions, the buzzard often
ascends in a series of spirals, or descends along a similar course. I
have not been able to time the continuance of the longest flights during
which the wings have not once been flapped, for the simple reason that,
in every case where I have attempted to do so, the bird has passed out
of view either by upward or horizontal traveling. But I am satisfied
that in many cases the bird sweeps onward or about on unflapping wings
for more than half an hour.

Now, many treat this problem of aerial flotation as if it were of the
nature of a miracle--something not to be explained. Explanations which
have been advanced have, it is true, been in many cases altogether
untenable. For instance, some have asserted that the albatross, the
condor, and other birds which float for a long time without moving
their wings--and that, too, in some cases, at great heights above the
sea-level, where the air is very thin--are supported by some gas within
the hollow parts of their bones, as the balloon is supported by the
hydrogen within it. The answer to this is that a balloon is _not_
supported by the hydrogen within it, but by the surrounding air, and in
just such degree as the air is displaced by the lighter gas. The air
around a bird is only displaced by the bird's volume, and the pressure
of the air corresponding to this displacement is not equivalent to more
than one five-hundredth part of the bird's weight. Another idea is that
when a bird seems to be floating on unmoving wings there is really a
rapid fluttering of the feathers of the wings, by which a sustaining
power is obtained. But no one who knows anything of the anatomy of
the bird will adopt this idea for an instant, and no one who has ever
watched with a good field-glass a floating bird of the albatross or
buzzard kind will suppose they are fluttering their feathers in this
way, even though he should be utterly ignorant of the anatomy of the
wings. Moreover, any one acquainted with the laws of dynamics will know
that there would be tremendous loss of power in the fluttering movement
imagined as compared with the effect of sweeping downward and backward
the whole of each wing.

There is only one possible way of explaining the floating power of
birds, and that is by associating it with the rapid motion acquired
originally by wing flapping, and afterward husbanded, so to speak, by
absolutely perfect adjustment and balancing. To this the answer is often
advanced that it implies ignorance of the laws of dynamics to suppose
that rapid advance can affect the rate of falling, as is implied by the
theory that it enables the bird to float.

Now, as a matter of fact, a slight slope of the wings would undoubtedly
produce a raising power, and so an answer is at one obtained to this
objection. But I venture to assert, with the utmost confidence, that a
perfectly horizontal plane, advancing swiftly in a horizontal direction
at first, will not sink as quickly, or anything like as quickly, as a
similar plane let fall from a position of rest. A cannon-ball, rushing
horizontally from the mouth of a cannon, begins to fall just as if it
were simply dropped. But the case of a horizontal plane is altogether
different. If rapidly advancing, it passes continually over still air;
if simply let fall, the air beneath it yields, and presently currents
are set up which facilitate the descent of the flat body; but there is
no time to set up these aerial movements as the flat body passes rapidly
over still air.

As a matter of fact, we know that this difference exists, from
the difference in the observed behavior of a flat card set flying
horizontally through the air and a similar card held horizontally and
then allowed to fall.

I believe the whole mystery of aerial flotation lies here, and that as
soon as aerial floating machines are planned on this system, it will be
found that the problem of aerial transit--though presenting still many
difficulties of detail--is, nevertheless, perfectly soluble.--_R.A.
Proctor, in Newcastle Weekly Chronicle_.

* * * * *


There was exhibited at the last meeting of the Numismatic and
Antiquarian Society, in Philadelphia, on May 7, an object of great
interest to archaeologists, with which, says _The Church_, is also
connected a very curious history.

It appears that about forty years ago a young American minister, Rev.
W.F. Williams, went as a missionary to Syria, and he visited among
places of interest the site of ancient Nineveh about the time that
Austin Henry Layard was making his famous explorations and discoveries;
he wrote to a friend in Philadelphia that he had secured for him a fine
piece of Assyrian sculpture from one of the recently opened temples or
palaces, representing a life size figure of a king, clad in royal robes,
bearing in one hand a basket and in the other a fir cone. One portion
of the stone was covered with hieroglyphics, and was as sharply cut as
though it had been carved by a modern hand instead of by an artist who
was sleeping in his grave when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, was yet
an infant.

The letter describing this treasure arrived duly, but the stones did not
come. It appears that the caravan bringing them down to Alexandretta,
from whence they were to be shipped to Philadelphia, was attacked by
robbers, and the sculptured stones were thrown upon the desert as
useless, and there they remained for some years. Finally they were
recovered, shipped to this country (about twenty-five years ago), and
arriving at their destination during the absence of the consignee, were
deposited temporarily in a subterranean storeroom at his manufactory.
In some way they were overlooked, and here they have remained unopened
until they were rediscovered a few days ago; meanwhile the missionary
and his friend have both passed away, ignorant of the fact that the rare
gift had finally reached its destination and had become again lost.

The cuneiform inscription is now being translated by an Assyrian scholar
(Rev. Dr. J.P. Peters, of the Divinity School), and its identity is
established; it came from the temple of King Assur-nazir-pal, a famous
conqueror who reigned from 883 to 859 B.C.

The slab was cut into three sections, 3x31/2 feet each, for convenience
of transportation, and they have been somewhat broken on the journey;
fortunately, however, this does not obliterate the writing.

Mr. Tolcott Williams, a son of the late missionary, was present at the
meeting of the Society, and gave an interesting account of the classic
ground from which the slab was obtained. It was one of a number lining
the walls of the palace of Assur-nazir-pal. The inscriptions, as
translated by Dr. Peters, indicate that this particular slab was carved
during the first portion of this king's reign, and some conception
of its great antiquity may be gained when it is stated that he was a
contemporary of Ahab and Jehosaphat; he was born not more than a
century later than Solomon, and he reigned three centuries before
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. After the slabs were procured, it was
necessary to send them on the backs of camels a journey of eight hundred
miles across the Great Desert, through a region which was more or less
infested at all seasons with roving bands of robbers. Mr. Williams well
remembered the interview between his father and the Arab camel owner,
who told several conflicting stories by way of preliminary to the
confession of the actual facts, in order to account for the non-arrival
of the stones at Alexandretta, the sea coast town from whence they were
to be shipped to Philadelphia.

Mr. A.E. Outerbridge, Jr., gave a brief account of the finding of these
stones in the subterranean storeroom where they had reposed for a period
of a quarter of a century. The space between the slabs and the boxes
had been packed with camels' hair, which had in progress of time become
eaten by insects and reduced to a fine powder. The nails with which the
cases were fastened were remarkable both for their peculiar shape and
for the extraordinary toughness of the iron, far excelling in this
respect the wrought iron made in America to day.

The Rev. Dr. J.P. Peters gave a very instructive exposition of the
chronology of the kings of Assyria, their social and religious customs
and ceremonies, their methods of warfare, their systems of architecture,
etc. He stated that the finest Assyrian bass-reliefs in the British
Museum came from the same palace as this specimen, the carving of which
is not excelled by any period of the ancient glyptic art. The particular
piece of alabaster selected by the artist for this slab was unusually
fine, being mottled with nodules of crystallized gypsum.

The cuneiform inscription is not unlike the Hebrew in its character,
resembling it about as closely as the Yorkshire dialect resembles good
English. The characters are so large and clearly cut that it is a
pleasure to read them after the laborious scrutiny of the minute
Babylonish clay tablets. The inscription on this slab is identical with
a portion of that of the great "Standard Monolith," on which this king
subsequently caused to be transcribed the pages, as it were, from the
different slabs which were apparently cut at intervals in his reign.

_Translation of a Portion of the Cuneiform, Inscription_.--"The palace
of Assur-nazir-pal, servant of Assur, servant of the god Beltis, the
god Ninit, the shining one of Anu and Dagon, servant of the Great
Gods, Mighty King, king of hosts, king of the land of Assyria; son of
Bin-nirari, a strong warrior, who in the service of Assur his Lord
marched vigorously among the princes of the four regions, who had no
equal, a mighty leader who had no rival, a king subduing all disobedient
to him; who rules multitudes of men; crushing all his foes, even the
masses of the rebels.... The city of Calah, which my predecessor,
Shalmanezer, King of Assyria had built had fallen into decay: His city
I rebuilt; a palace of cedar, box, cypress, for the seat of my royalty,
for the fullness of my princedom, to endure for generations, I placed
upon it. With plates of copper I roofed it, I hung in its gates folding
doors of cedar wood, silver, gold, copper, and iron which my hands had
acquired in the lands which I ruled, I gathered in great quantities, and
placed them in the midst thereof." O.

* * * * *



To those interested in the electro deposition of nickel upon zinc, the
formula given below for a solution and a brief explanation of its use
will be of service.

The first sample of this solution was made as an experiment to see what
substances could be added to a solution of the double sulphate of nickel
and ammonium without spoiling it.

In addition to several other combinations and mixtures of solutions from
which I succeeded in obtaining a good deposit, I found that the solution
here given would plate almost anything I put into it, and worked
especially well upon zinc. In its use no "scraping" or rescouring or any
of the many operations which I have seen recommended for zinc needs
be resorted to, as the metal "strikes" at once and is deposited in
a continuous adherent film of reguline metal, and can be laid on as
heavily as nickel is deposited generally.

I believe that the addition of the ammonium chloride simply reduces
the resistance of the double sulphate solution, but the office of the
potassium chloride is not so easily explained. At least, I have never
been able to explain it satisfactorily to myself. It is certain,
however, that the solution does not work as well without it, nor does
the addition of ammonium chloride in its stead give as fine a result.

Some care is necessary in the management of the current, which should
have a density of about 17 amperes per square foot of surface--not much
above or below. This may seem a high figure, especially when it is
discovered that there is a considerable evolution of gas during the

I have repeatedly used this solution for coating articles of zinc, and
always with good success. I have exhibited samples of zinc plated in
this solution to those conversant with the deposition of nickel, and
they have expressed surprise at the appearance of the work. Some strips
of sheet-zinc in my possession have been bent and cut into every
conceivable shape without a sign of fracture or curling up at the edges
of the nickel coating.

The solution is composed of--

Double sulphate of nickel and ammonium 10 ounces.
Ammonium chloride 4 "
Potassium chloride 2 "
Distilled water 1 gallon.

The salts are dissolved in the water (hot), and the solution is worked
at the ordinary temperature, about 16 degrees C.

The zinc may be cleansed in any suitable manner, but must be perfectly
clean, of course, and finally rinsed in clean cold water and placed in
the bath as quickly as possible; care being taken that it is connected
before it touches the solution.--_Electrical World_.

* * * * *

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