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Title: Scientific American Supplement, No. 385, May 19, 1883
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Scientific American Supplement, No. 385, May 19, 1883" ***

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NEW YORK, MAY 19, 1883

Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XV., No. 385.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

       *       *       *       *       *


I.    NATURAL HISTORY.--Fishes of Cuban Waters.

      Panax Victoriæ.--1 Illustration.

      A Note on Sap. By Prof. ATTFIELD.

      The Crow.--Illustration.

      The Praying Mantis and its Allies.--Illustration.

      May Flies.--2 illustrations.

II.   TECHNOLOGY.--A Quick Way to Ascertain the Focus
      of a Lens.--1 diagram.

      The History of the Pianoforte. By A.J.
      HIPKINS.--Different parts of a pianoforte and
      their uses.--Inventor of the instrument and his
      "action."--First German piano-maker.--Square
      pianos.--Pianos of Broadwood, Backers, Stodart,
      and Erard.--Introduction of metal tubes, plates,
      bars, and frames.--Improvements of Meyer, the
      Steinways, Chickerings, and others.--Upright
      pianos.--Several figures.

III.  MEDICINE AND HYGIENE.--The Poisonous Properties of
      Nitrate of Silver and a Recent Case of Poisoning
      with the Same. By H. A. MOTT, Jr.

      Tubercle Bacilli in Sputa.

      Malaria. By Dr. JAMES H. SALISBURY.--VIII. Local
      observations.--Effect of the sun on ague
      plants.--Investigations into the cause of
      ague.--Notes on marsh miasm.--Analysis of malari a
      plant.--Numerous figures.

IV.   ENGINEERING.--Torpedo Boats.--Full page illustration.

      Pictet's High Speed Boat.--Several figures and

      Initial Stability Indicator for Ships.--4 figures.

V.    ELECTRICITY, LIGHT, AND HEAT.--Scrivanow's Chloride of
      Silver Pile.--2 figures.

      On the Luminosity of Flame.

VI.   CHEMISTRY.--New Bleaching Process, with Regeneration of
      the Baths Used. By M. BONNEVILLE.

      Detection of Magenta, Archil, and Cudbear in Wine.

VII.  ARCHITECTURE.--The Pantheon at Rome.

VIII. MISCELLANEOUS.--The Raphael Celebration at
      Rome.--3 Illustrations.

      Great International Fisheries Exhibition.--1 figure.

      Puppet Shows among the Greeks.--3 illustrations.

       *       *       *       *       *


The most famous of Italian painters, Raffaele Sanzio, whom the world
commonly calls Raphael, was born at Urbino, in Umbria, part of the Papal
States, four hundred years ago. The anniversary was celebrated, on March
28, 1883, both in that town and in Rome, where he lived and worked, and
where he died in 1520, with processions, orations, poetical recitations,
performances of music, exhibitions of pictures, statues, and busts,
visits to the tomb of the great artist in the Pantheon, and with
banquets and other festivities. The King and Queen of Italy were present
at the Capitol of Rome (the Palace of the City Municipality) where one
part of these proceedings took place.

IN 1833.]

At ten o'clock in the morning a procession set forth from the Capitol to
the Pantheon, to render homage at the tomb of Raphael. It was arranged
in the following order: Two Fedeli, or municipal ushers, in picturesque
costumes of the sixteenth century, headed the procession, carrying two
laurel wreaths fastened with ribbons representing the colors of Rome,
red and dark yellow; a company of Vigili, the Roman firemen; the
municipal band; the standard of Rome, carried by an officer of the
Vigili; and the banners of the fourteen quarters of the city. Then came
the Minister of Public Instruction and the Minister of Public Works; the
Syndic of Rome, Duke Leopoldo Torlonia; and the Prefect of Rome, the
Marquis Gravina. The members of the communal giunta, the provincial
deputation, and the communal and provincial council followed the
principal authorities. Next in order came the presidents of Italian and
foreign academies and art institutions, the president of the academy of
the Licei, the representatives of all the foreign academies, the members
of the academy of St. Luke, the general direction of antiquities, the
members of the Permanent Commission of Fine Arts, the members of the
Communal Archæological Commission, the guardians of the Pantheon, the
members of the International Artistic Club, presided over by Prince
Odescalchi; the members of the art schools, the pupils of the San
Michele and Termini schools with their bands, the pupils of the
elementary and female art schools. The procession was rendered more
interesting by the presence of many Italian and foreign artists. Having
arrived at the Pantheon, the chief personages took their place in front
of Raphael's tomb. Every visitor to Rome knows this tomb, which is
situated behind the third chapel on the left of the visitor entering the
Pantheon. The altar was endowed by Raphael, and behind it is a picture
of the Virgin and Child, known as the Madonna del Sasso, which was
executed at his request and was produced by Lorenzo Lotto, a friend and
pupil of the great painter. Above the inscription usually hang a few
small pictures, which were presented by very poor artists who thought
themselves cured by prayers at the shrine. This is confirmed by a crutch
hanging up close to the pilaster. The bones of Raphael are laid in this
tomb since 1520, with an epitaph recording the esteem in which he was
held by Popes Julius II. and Leo X.; but they have not always been
allowed to lie undisturbed. On Sept. 14, 1833, the tomb was opened to
inspect the mouldering skeleton, of which drawings were made, and are
reproduced in two of our illustrations. The proceedings at the tomb in
the recent anniversary visit were brief and simple; a number of laurel
or floral wreaths were suspended there, one sent by the president and
members of the Royal Academy of London; and the Syndic of Rome unveiled
a bronze bust of Raphael, which had been placed in a niche at the side.


This ceremony at the Pantheon was concluded by all visitors writing
their names on two albums which had been placed near Victor Emmanuel's
tomb and Raphael's tomb. The commemoration in the hall of the Horatii
and Curiatii in the Capitol was a great success, their Majesties, the
Ministers, the members of the diplomatic body, and a distinguished
assembly being present. Signor Quirino Leoni read an admirable discourse
on Raphael and his times.

The ancient city of Urbino, Raphael's birthplace, has fallen into
decay, but has remembered its historic renown upon this occasion.
The representatives of the Government and municipal authorities, and
delegates of the leading Italian cities went in procession to visit the
house where Raphael was born. Commemoration speeches were pronounced
in the great hall of the ducal palace by Signor Minghetti and Senator
Massarani. The commemoration ended with a cantata composed by Signor
Rossi. The Via Raffaelle was illuminated in the evening, and a gala
spectacle was given at the Sanzio Theater. Next day the exhibition of
designs for a monument to Raphael was inaugurated at Urbino, and at
night a great torchlight procession took place.--_Illustrated London


       *       *       *       *       *


The edifice known as the Pantheon, in Rome, is one of the best preserved
specimens of Roman architecture. It was erected in the year 26 B.C.,
and is therefore now about one thousand nine hundred years old. It was
consecrated as a Christian church in the year 608. Its rotunda is 143
ft. in diameter and also 143 ft. high. Its portico is remarkable for the
elegance and number of its Corinthian columns.

       *       *       *       *       *

Señor Felipe Poey, a famous ichthyologist of Cuba, has recently brought
out an exhaustive work upon the fishes of Cuban waters, in which he
describes and depicts no fewer than 782 distinct varieties, although he
admits some doubts about 105 kinds, concerning which he has yet to get
more exact information. There can be no question, however, he claims,
about the 677 species remaining, more than half of which he first
described in previous works upon this subject, which has been the study
of his life.

       *       *       *       *       *


Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the 12th of May for the opening
of the International Fisheries Exhibition, which an influential and
energetic committee, under the active presidency of the Prince of Wales,
had developed to a magnitude undreamt of by those concerned in its early

The idea of an _international_ Fisheries Exhibition arose out of the
success of the show of British fishery held at Norwich a short time ago;
and the president and executive of the latter formed the nucleus of the
far more powerful body by whom the present enterprise has been brought

The plan of the buildings embraces the whole of the twenty-two acres of
the Horticultural Gardens; the upper half, left in its usual state of
cultivation, will form a pleasant lounge and resting place for visitors
in the intervals of their study of the collections. This element of
garden accommodation was one of the most attractive features at the
Paris Exhibition of 1878.

As the plan of the buildings is straggling and extended, and widely
separates the classes, the most convenient mode of seeing the show will
probably be found by going through the surrounding buildings first, and
then taking the annexes as they occur.


BLOCK PLAN.--A, Switzerland; B, Isle of Man; C, Bahamas and W.I.
Islands; D, Hawaii; E, Poland; F, Portugal; G, Austria; H, Germany; I,
France; J, Italy; K, Greece; L, China; M, India and Ceylon; N, Straits
Settlements; O, Japan; P, Tasmania; Q, New South Wales.--Scale 200 feet
to the inch.]

On entering the main doors in the Exhibition Road, we pass through the
Vestibule to the Council Room of the Royal Horticultural Society,
which has been decorated for the reception of marine paintings, river
subjects, and fish pictures of all sorts, by modern artists.

Leaving the Fine Arts behind, the principal building of the Exhibition
is before us--that devoted to the deep sea fisheries of Great Britain.
It is a handsome wooden structure, 750 feet in length, 50 feet wide, and
30 feet at its greatest height. The model of this, as well as of the
other temporary wooden buildings, is the same as that of the annexes of
the great Exhibition of 1862.

On our left are the Dining Rooms with the kitchens in the rear. The
third room, set apart for cheap fish dinners (one of the features of the
Exhibition), is to be decorated at the expense of the Baroness Burdett
Coutts, and its walls are to be hung with pictures lent by the
Fishmongers' Company, who have also furnished the requisite chairs and
tables, and have made arrangements for a daily supply of cheap fish,
while almost everything necessary to its maintenance (forks, spoons,
table-linen, etc.) will be lent by various firms.

The apsidal building attached is to be devoted to lectures on the
cooking of fish.

Having crossed the British Section, and turning to the right and passing
by another entrance, we come upon what will be to all one of the most
interesting features of the Exhibition, and to the scientific student
of ichthyology a collection of paramount importance. We allude to the
Western Arcade, in which are placed the Aquaria, which have in their
construction given rise to more thoughtful care and deliberation than
any other part of the works. On the right, in the bays, are the twenty
large asphalt tanks, about 12 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet deep.
These are the largest dimensions that the space at command will allow,
but it is feared by some that it will be found somewhat confined for
fast going fish. Along the wall on the left are ranged twenty smaller or
table tanks of slate, which vary somewhat in size; the ten largest are
about 5 feet 8 inches long, 2 feet 9 inches wide, and 1 foot 9 inches

In this Western Arcade will be found all the new inventions in fish
culture--models of hatching, breeding, and rearing establishments,
apparatus for the transporting of fish, ova, models and drawings of
fish-passes and ladders, and representations of the development and
growth of fish. The chief exhibitors are specialists, and are already
well known to our readers. Sir James Gibson Maitland has taken an active
part in the arrangement of this branch, and is himself one of the
principal contributors.

In the north of the Arcade, where it curves toward the Conservatory,
will be shown an enormous collection of examples of stuffed fish,
contributed by many prominent angling societies. In front of these on
the counter will be ranged microscopic preparations of parasites,
etc., and a stand from the Norwich Exhibition of a fauna of fish and
fish-eating birds.

Passing behind the Conservatory and down the Eastern Arcade--in which
will be arranged algæ, sponges, mollusca, star-fish, worms used for
bait, insects which destroy spawn or which serve as food for fish,
etc.--on turning to the left, we find ourselves in the fish market,
which will probably vie with the aquaria on the other side in attracting
popular attention. This model Billingsgate is to be divided into two
parts, the one for the sale of fresh, the other of dried and cured fish.

Next in order come the two long iron sheds appropriated respectively to
life-boats and machinery in motion. Then past the Royal pavilion (the
idea of which was doubtless taken from its prototype at the Paris
Exhibition) to the southern end of the central block, which is shared
by the Netherlands and Newfoundland; just to the north of the former
Belgium has a place.

While the Committee of the Netherlands was one of the earliest formed,
Belgium only came in at the eleventh hour; she will, however, owing
to the zealous activity of Mr. Lenders, the consul in London, send
an important contribution worthy of her interest in the North Sea
fisheries. We ought also to mention that Newfoundland is among those
colonies which have shown great energy, and she may be expected to send
a large collection.

Passing northward we come to Sweden and Norway, with Chili between them.
These two countries were, like the Netherlands, early in preparing to
participate in the Exhibition. Each has had its own committee, which has
been working hard since early in 1882.

Parallel to the Scandinavian section is that devoted to Canada and the
United States, and each will occupy an equal space--ten thousand square

In the northern Transept will be placed the inland fisheries of the
United Kingdom. At each end of the building is aptly inclosed a basin
formerly standing in the gardens: and over the eastern one will be
erected the dais from which the Queen will formally declare the
Exhibition open.

Shooting out at right angles are the Spanish annex, and the building
shared by India and Ceylon. China and Japan and New South Wales; while
corresponding to those at the western end are the Russian annex, and a
shed allotted to several countries and colonies. The Isle of Man, the
Bahamas, Switzerland, Germany, Hawaii, Italy, and Greece--all find their
space under its roof.

After all the buildings were planned, the Governments of Russia and
Spain declared their intention of participating; and accordingly for
each of these countries a commodious iron building has been specially

The Spanish collection will be of peculiar interest; it has been
gathered together by a Government vessel ordered round the coast for the
purpose, and taking up contributions at all the seaports as it passed.

Of the countries whose Governments for inscrutable reasons of state show
disfavor and lack of sympathy, Germany is prominent; although by the
active initiative of the London Committee some important contributions
have been secured from private individuals; among them, we are happy to
say, is Mr. Max von dem Borne, who will send his celebrated incubators,
which the English Committee have arranged to exhibit in operation at
their own expense.

Although the Italian Government, like that of Germany, holds aloof,
individuals, especially Dr. Dohrn, of the Naples Zoological Station,
will send contributions of great scientific value.

In the Chinese and Japanese annex, on the east, will be seen a large
collection of specimens (including the gigantic crabs), which have been
collected, to great extent, at the suggestion of Dr. Günther, of the
British Museum.

It is at the same time fortunate and unfortunate that a similar
Fisheries Exhibition is now being held at Yokohama, as many specimens
which have been collected specially for their own use would otherwise be
wanting; and on the other hand, many are held back for their own show.

China, of all foreign countries, was the first to send her goods, which
arrived at the building on the 30th of March, accompanied by native
workmen who are preparing to erect over a basin contiguous to their
annex models of the summer house and bridge with which the willow
pattern plate has made us familiar; while on the basin will float models
of Chinese junks.

Of British colonies, New South Wales will contribute a very interesting
collection placed under the care of the Curator of the Sydney Museum;
and from the Indian Empire will come a large gathering of specimens in
spirits under the superintendence of Dr. Francis Day.

Of great scientific interest are the exhibits, to be placed in two
neighboring sheds, of the Native Guano Company and the Millowners'
Association. The former will show all the patents used for the
purification of the rivers from sewage, and the latter will display in
action their method of rendering innocuous the chemical pollutions which
factories pour into the river.

In the large piece of water in the northern part of the gardens, which
has been deepened on purpose, apparatus in connection with diving will
be seen; and hard by, in a shed, Messrs. Siebe, Gorman & Co. will show
a selection of beautiful minute shells dredged from the bottom of the

In the open basins in the gardens will be seen beavers, seals,
sea-lions, waders, and other aquatic birds.

From this preliminary walk round enough has, we think, been seen to show
that the Great International Fisheries Exhibition will prove of interest
alike to the ordinary visitor, to those anxious for the well-being
of fishermen, to fishermen themselves of every degree, and to the
scientific student of ichthyology in all its branches.--_Nature_.

       *       *       *       *       *


The ancients, especially the Greeks, were very fond of theatrical
representations; but, as Mr. Magnin has remarked in his _Origines du
Théâtre Moderne_, public representations were very expensive, and for
that very reason very rare. Moreover, those who were not in a condition
of freedom were excluded from them; and, finally, all cities could not
have a large theater, and provide for the expenses that it carried with
it. It became necessary, then, for every day needs, for all conditions
and for all places, that there should be comedians of an inferior order,
charged with the duty of offering continuously and inexpensively the
emotions of the drama to all classes of inhabitants.

Formerly, as to-day, there were seen wandering from village to village
menageries, puppet shows, fortune tellers, jugglers, and performers of
tricks of all kinds. These prestidigitators even obtained at times such
celebrity that history has preserved their names for us--at least of two
of them, Euclides and Theodosius, to whom statues were erected by their
contemporaries. One of these was put up at Athens in the Theater of
Bacchus, alongside of that of the great writer of tragedy, Æschylus, and
the other at the Theater of the Istiaians, holding in the hand a small
ball. The grammarian Athenæus, who reports these facts in his "Banquet
of the Sages," profits by the occasion to deplore the taste of the
Athenians, who preferred the inventions of mechanics to the culture of
mind and histrions to philosophers. He adds with vexation that Diophites
of Locris passed down to posterity simply because he came one day to
Thebes wearing around his body bladders filled with wine and milk,
and so arranged that he could spurt at will one of these liquids in
apparently drawing it from his mouth. What would Athenæus say if he knew
that it was through him alone that the name of this histrion had come
down to us?


Philo, of Byzantium, and Heron, of Alexandria, to whom we always have
to have recourse when we desire accurate information as to the mechanic
arts of antiquity, both composed treatises on puppet shows. That of
Philo is lost, but Heron's treatise has been preserved to us, and has
recently been translated in part by Mr. Victor Prou.

According to the Greek engineer, there were several kinds of puppet
shows. The oldest and simplest consisted of a small stationary case,
isolated on every side, in which the stage was closed by doors that
opened automatically several times to exhibit the different tableaux.
The programme of the representation was generally as follows: The first
tableau showed a head, painted on the back of the stage, which moved
its eyes, and lowered and raised them alternately. The door having been
closed, and then opened again, there was seen, instead of the head, a
group of persons. Finally, the stage opened a third time to show a new
group, and this finished the representation. There were, then, only
three movements to be made, that of the doors, that of the eyes, and
that of the change of background.

As such representations were often given on the stages of large
theaters, a method was devised later on of causing the case to start
from the scenes behind which it was bidden from the spectators, and of
moving automatically to the front of the stage, where it exhibited in
succession the different tableaux; after which it returned automatically
behind the scenes. Here is one of the scenes indicated by Heron,
entitled the "Triumph of Bacchus":

The movable case shows, at its upper part, a platform from which arises
a cylindrical temple, the roof of which, supported by six columns, is
conical and surmounted by a figure of Victory with spread wings and
holding a crown in her right hand. In the center of the temple Bacchus
is seen standing, holding a thyrsus in his left hand, and a cup in his
right. At his feet lies a panther. In front of and behind the god, on
the platform of the stage, are two altars provided with combustible
material. Very near the columns, but external to them, there are
bacchantes placed in any posture that may be desired. All being thus
prepared, says Heron, the automatic apparatus is set in motion. The
theater then moves of itself to the spot selected, and there stops. Then
the altar in front of Jupiter becomes lighted, and, at the same time,
milk and water spurt from his thyrsus, while his cup pours wine over the
panther. The four faces of the base become encircled with crowns, and,
to the noise of drums and cymbals, the bacchantes dance round about the
temple. Soon, the noise having ceased, Victory on the top of the temple,
and Bacchus within it, face about. The altar that was behind the god
is now in front of him, and becomes lighted in its turn. Then occurs
another outflow from the thyrsus and cup, and another round of the
bacchantes to the sound of drums and cymbals. The dance being finished,
the theater returns to its former station. Thus ends the apotheosis.

I shall try to briefly indicate the processes which permitted of these
different operations being performed, and which offer a much more
general interest than one might at first sight be led to believe; for
almost all of them had been employed in former times for producing the
illusions to which ancient religions owed their power.

The automatic movement of the case was obtained by means of
counterpoises and two cords wound about horizontal bobbins in such a way
as to produce by their winding up a forward motion in a vertical plane,
and subsequently a backward movement to the starting place. Supposing
the motive cords properly wound around vertical bobbins, instead of a
horizontal one, and we have the half revolution of Bacchus and Victory,
as well as the complete revolution of the bacchantes.

The successive lighting of the two altars, the flow of milk and wine,
and the noise of drums and cymbals were likewise obtained by the aid of
cords moved by counterpoises, and the lengths of which were graduated
in such a way as to open and close orifices, at the proper moment, by
acting through traction on sliding valves which kept them closed.

Small pieces of combustible material were piled up beforehand on the two
altars, the bodies of which were of metal, and in the interior of which
were hidden small lamps that were separated from the combustible by a
metal plate which was drawn aside at the proper moment by a small
chain. The flame, on traversing the orifice, thus communicated with the

The milk and wine which flowed out at two different times through the
thyrsus and cup of Bacchus came from a double reservoir hidden under the
roof of the temple, over the orifices. The latter communicated, each of
them, with one of the halves of the reservoir through two tubes inserted
in the columns of the small edifice. These tubes were prolonged under
the floor of the stage, and extended upward to the hands of Bacchus. A
key, maneuvered by cords, alternately opened and closed the orifices
which gave passage to the two liquids.

As for the noise of the drums and cymbals, that resulted from the
falling of granules of lead, contained in an invisible box provided with
an automatic sliding-valve, upon an inclined tambourine, whence they
rebounded against little cymbals in the interior of the base of the car.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--MARVELOUS ALTAR (According to Heron).]

Finally, the crowns and garlands that suddenly made their appearance on
the four faces of the base of the stage were hidden there in advance
between the two walls surrounding the base. The space thus made for the
crowns was closed beneath, along each face, by a horizontal trap moving
on hinges that connected it with the inner wall of the base, but which
was held temporarily stationary by means of a catch. The crowns were
attached to the top of their compartment by cords that would have
allowed them to fall to the level of the pedestal, had they not been
supported by the traps.

At the desired moment, the catch, which was controlled by a special
cord, ceased to hold the trap, and the latter, falling vertically, gave
passage to the festoons and crowns that small leaden weights then drew
along with all the quickness necessary.

Two points here are specially worthy of attracting our attention, and
these are the flow of wine or milk from the statue of Bacchus, and
the spontaneous lighting of the altar. These, in fact, were the two
illusions that were most admired in ancient times, and there were
several processes of performing them. Father Kircher possessed in his
museum an apparatus which he describes in _Oedipus Egyptiacus_ (t. ii.,
p. 333), and which probably came from some ancient Egyptian temple.
(Fig. 1.)

It consisted of a hollow hemispherical dome, supported by four columns,
and placed over the statue of the goddess of many breasts. To two of
these columns were adapted movable brackets, at whose extremities there
were fixed lamps. The hemisphere was hermetically closed underneath by a
metal plate. The small altar which supported the statue, and which was
filled with milk, communicated with the interior of the statue by a tube
reaching nearly to the bottom. The altar likewise communicated with
the hollow dome by a tube having a double bend. At the moment of the
sacrifice the two lamps were lighted and the brackets turned so that the
flames should come in contact with and heat the bottom of the dome. The
air contained in the latter, being dilated, issued through the tube, X
M, pressed on the milk contained in the altar, and caused it to rise
through the straight tube into the interior of the statue as high as
the breasts. A series of small conduits, into which the principal tube
divided, carried the liquid to the breasts, whence it spurted out, to
the great admiration of the spectators, who cried out at the miracle.
The sacrifice being ended, the lamps were put out, and the milk ceased
to flow.

Heron, of Alexandria, describes in his _Pneumatics_ several analogous
apparatus. Here is one of them. (We translate the Greek text literally.)

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--MARVELOUS ALTAR (According to Heron).]

"To construct an altar in such a way that, when a fire is lighted
thereon, the statues at the side of it shall make libations. (Fig. 2.)

"Let there be a pedestal. A B [Gamma] [Delta], on which are placed
statues, and an altar, E Z H, closed on every side. The pedestal should
also be hermetically closed, but is communicated with the altar through
a central tube. It is traversed likewise by the tube, e [Lambda] (in
the interior of the statue to the right), not far from the bottom which
terminates in a cup held by the statue, e. Water is poured into the
pedestal through a hole, M, which is afterward corked up.

"If, then, a fire be lighted on the altar, the internal air will be
dilated and will enter the pedestal and drive out the water contained in
it. But the latter, having no other exit than the tube, e [Lambda], will
rise into the cup, and so the statue will make a libation. This will
last as long as the fire does. On extinguishing the fire the libation
ceases, and occurs anew as often as the fire is relighted.

"It is necessary that the tube through which the heat is to introduce
itself shall be wider in the middle; and it is necessary, in fact, that
the heat, or rather that the draught that it produces, shall accumulate
in an inflation in order to have more effect."

According to Father Kircher (_l. c._), an author whom he calls Bitho
reports that there was at Sais a temple of Minerva in which there was an
altar on which, when a fire was lighted, Dyonysos and Artemis (Bacchus
and Diana) poured milk and wine, while a dragon hissed.

It is easy to conceive of the modification to be introduced into the
apparatus above described by Heron, in order to cause the outflow of
milk from one side and of wine from the other.

After having indicated it, Father Kircher adds: "It is thus that Bacchus
and Diana appeared to pour, one of them wine, and the other milk, and
that the dragon seemed to applaud their action by hisses. As the people
who were present at the spectacle did not see what was going on within,
it is not astonishing that they believed it due to divine intervention.
We know, in fact, that Osiris or Bacchus was considered as the
discoverer of the vine and of milk; that Iris was the genius of the
waters of the Nile; and that the Serpent, or good genius, was the first
cause of all these things. Since, moreover, sacrifices had to be made to
the gods in order to obtain benefits, the flow of milk, wine, or water,
as well as the hissing of the serpent, when the sacrificial flame was
lighted, appeared to demonstrate clearly the existence of the gods."

In another analogous apparatus of Heron's, it is steam that performs the
role that we have just seen played by dilated air. But the ancients do
not appear to have perceived the essential difference, as regards motive
power, that exists between these two agents; indeed, their preferences
were wholly for air, although the effects produced were not very great.
We might cite several small machines of this sort, but we shall confine
ourselves to one example that has some relation to our subject. This
also is borrowed from Heron's _Pneumatics_. (Fig. 3.)

"Fire being lighted on an altar, figures will appear to execute a round
dance. The altars should be transparent, and of glass or horn. From the
fire-place there starts a tube which runs to the base of the altar,
where it revolves on a pivot, while its upper part revolves in a tube
fixed to the fire-place. To the tube there should be adjusted other
tubes (horizontal) in communication with it, which cross each other
at right angles, and which are bent in opposite directions at their
extremities. There is likewise fixed to it a disk upon which are
attached figures which form a round. When the fire of the altar is
lighted, the air, becoming heated, will pass into the tube; but being
driven from the latter, it will pass through the small bent tubes and
... cause the tube as well as the figures to revolve."

Father Kircher, who had at his disposal either many documents that we
are not acquainted with, or else a very lively imagination, alleges
(_Oedip. Æg._, t. ii., p. 338) that King Menes took much delight in
seeing such figures revolve.

Nor are the examples of holy fire-places that kindled spontaneously
wanting in antiquity.

Pliny (_Hist. Nat_., ii., 7) and Horace (_Serm., Sat. v._) tell us that
this phenomenon occurred in the temple of Gnatia, and Solin (Ch. V.)
says that it was observed likewise on an altar near Agrigentum.
Athenæus (_Deipn_. i., 15) says that the celebrated prestidigitator,
Cratisthenes, of Phlius, pupil of another celebrated prestidigitator
named Xenophon, knew the art of preparing a fire which lighted

Pausanias tells us that in a city of Lydia, whose inhabitants, having
fallen under the yoke of the Persians, had embraced the religion of the
Magi, "there exists an altar upon which there are ashes which, in color,
resemble no other. The priest puts wood on the altar, and invokes I
know not what god by harangues taken from a book written in a barbarous
tongue unknown to the Greeks, when the wood soon lights of itself
without fire, and the flame from it is very clear."

The secret, or rather one of the secrets of the Magi, has been revealed
to us by one of the Fathers of the Church (Saint Hippolytus, it is
thought), who has left, in a work entitled _Philosophumena_, which
is designed to refute the doctrines of the pagans, a chapter on the
illusions of their priests. According to him, the altars on which this
miracle took place contained, instead of ashes, calcined lime and a
large quantity of incense reduced to powder; and this would explain the
unusual color of the ashes observed by Pausanias. The process, moreover,
is excellent; for it is only necessary to throw a little water on the
lime, with certain precautions, to develop a heat capable of setting on
fire incense or any other material that is more readily combustible,
such as sulphur and phosphorus. The same author points out still another
means, and this consists in hiding firebrands in small bells that were
afterward covered with shavings, the latter having previously been
covered with a composition made of naphtha and bitumen (Greek fire).
As may be seen, a very small movement sufficed to bring about
combustion.--_A. De Rochas, in La Nature_.

       *       *       *       *       *


There are several kinds of torpedoes. The one which is most used in the
French navy is called the "carried" torpedo (_torpille portée_), thus
named because the torpedo boat literally _carries_ it right under the
sides of the enemy's ship. It consists of a cartridge of about 20
kilogrammes of gun cotton, placed at the extremity of an iron rod, 12
meters in length, projecting in a downward direction from the fore part
of the boat. The charge is fired by an electric spark by means of an
apparatus placed in the lookout compartment. Our engraving represents an
attack on an ironclad by means of one of these torpedoes. Under cover of
darkness, the torpedo boat has been enabled to approach without being
disabled by the projectiles from the revolving guns of the man-of-war,
and has stopped suddenly and ignited the torpedo as soon as the latter
came in contact with the enemy's hull.

The water spout produced by the explosion sometimes completely covers
the torpedo boat, and the latter would be sunk by it were not
all apertures closed so as to make her a true buoy. What appears
extraordinary is that the explosion does not prove as dangerous to the
assailant as to the adversary. To understand this it must be remembered
that, although the material with which the cartridges are filled is of
an extreme _shattering_ nature, and makes a breach in the most resistant
armor plate, when in _contact_ with it, yet, at a distance of a few
meters, no other effect is felt from it than the disturbance caused by
the water. This is why a space of 12 meters, represented by the length
of the torpedo spar, is sufficient to protect the torpedo boat. The
attack of an ironclad, however, under the conditions that we have just
described, is, nevertheless, a perilous operation, and one that requires
men of coolness, courage, and great experience.


There is another system which is likewise in use in the French navy, and
that is the Whitehead torpedo. This consists of a metallic cylinder,
tapering at each end, and containing not only a charge of gun cotton,
but a compressed air engine which actuates two helices. It is, in fact,
a small submarine vessel, which moves of itself in the direction toward
which it has been launched, and at a depth that has been regulated
beforehand by a special apparatus which is a secret with the inventor.
The torpedo is placed in a tube situated in the fore part of the torpedo
boat, and whence it is driven out by means of compressed air. Once
fired, it makes its way under the surface to the spot where the shock of
its point is to bring about an explosion, and the torpedo boat is thus
enabled to operate at a distance and avoid the dangers of an immediate
contact with the enemy. Unfortunately this advantage is offset by grave
drawbacks; for, in the first place, each of the Whitehead torpedoes
costs about ten thousand francs, without counting the expense of
obtaining the right to use the patent, and, in the second place, its
action is very uncertain, since currents very readily change its
direction. However this may be, the inventor has realized a considerable
sum by the sale of his secret to the different maritime powers, most of
whom have adopted his system.

All our ports are provided with flotillas and torpedo boats, and with
schools in which the officers and men charged with this service are
trained by frequent exercises. It was near L'Orient, at Port Louis, that
we were permitted to be witnesses of these maneuvers, and where we saw
the torpedo boats that were lying in ambush behind Rohellan Isle glide
between the rocks, all of which appeared familiar to them, and start out
seaward at the first signal. It was here, too, that we were witnesses
of the sham attack against a pleasure yacht, shown in one of our
engravings. A torpedo boat, driven at full speed, stopped at one meter
from the said yacht with a precision that denoted an oft-repeated study.


Before we close, we must mention some very recent experiments that have
been made with a torpedo analogous to Whitehead's, that is to say, one
that runs alone by means of helices actuated by compressed air, but
having the great advantage that it can be steered at a distance from the
very place whence it has been launched. This extraordinary result is
obtained by the use of a rudder actuated by an electric current which is
transmitted by a small metallic cable wound up in the interior of the
torpedo, and paying out behind as the torpedo moves forward on its
mission. The operator, stationed at the starting point, is obliged to
follow the torpedo's course with his eyes in order to direct it during
its submarine voyage. For this reason the torpedo carries a vertical
mast, that projects above the surface, and at the top of which is placed
a lantern, whose light is thrown astern but is invisible from the front,
that is, from the direction of the enemy. A trial of this ingenious
invention was made a few weeks ago on the Bosphorus, with complete
success, as it appears. From the shore where the torpedo was put into
the water, the weapon was steered with sufficient accuracy to cause it
to pass, at a distance of two kilometers, between two vessels placed in
observation at a distance apart of ten meters. After this, it was made
to turn about so as to come back to its starting point. What makes this
result the more remarkable is that the waters of the Bosphorus are
disturbed by powerful currents that run in different directions,
according to the place.--_L'Illustration_.

       *       *       *       *       *


It is now nearly a year ago since we announced to our readers the
researches that had been undertaken by the learned physicist, Raoul
Pictet, in order to demonstrate theoretically and practically the forms
that are required for a fast-sailing vessel, and since we pointed out
how great an interest is connected with the question, while at the same
time promising to revert to the subject at some opportune moment. We
shall now keep our promise by making known a work that Mr. Pictet has
just published in the _Archives Physiques et Naturelles_, of Geneva,
in which he gives the first results of his labors, and which we shall
analyze rapidly, neglecting in doing so the somewhat dry mathematical
part of the article.

For a given tonnage and identical tractive stresses, the greater or less
sharpness of the fore and aft part of the keel allows boats to attain
different speeds, the sharper lines corresponding to the highest speeds,
but, in practice, considerably diminishing the weight of freight capable
of being carried by the boat.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. PICTET'S HIGH SPEED BOAT.

A. Lateral View. B. Plan. C. Section of the boiler room. D. Section of
the cabin.]

Mr. Pictet proposed the problem to himself in a different manner, and as

Determine by analysis, and verify experimentally, what form of keel will
allow of the quickest and most economical carriage of a given weight of
merchandise on water.

We know that for a given transverse or midship section, the tractive
stress necessary for the progression of the ship is proportional to the
_square_ of the velocity; and the motive power, as a consequence, to the
_cube_ of such velocity.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.--Diagram of tractive stresses at different

The _friction_ of water against the polished surfaces of the vessel's
sides has not as yet been directly measured, but some indirect
experiments permit us to consider the resistances due thereto as small.
The entire power expended for the progress of the vessel is, then,
utilized solely in displacing certain masses of water and in giving them
a certain amount of acceleration. The masses of water set in motion
depend upon the surface submerged, and their acceleration depends upon
the speed of the vessel. Mr. Pictet has studied a form of vessel in
which the greatest part possible of the masses of water set in motion
shall be given a vertical acceleration, and the smallest part possible
a horizontal one; and this is the reason why: All those masses of water
which shall receive a vertical acceleration from the keel will tend to
move downward and produce a vertical reaction in an upward direction
applied to the very surface that gives rise to the motion. Such reaction
will have the effect of changing the level of the floating body; of
lifting it while relieving it of a weight exactly equal to the value
of the vertical thrust; and of diminishing the midship section, and,
consequently, the motive power.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.--Diagram of variations in tractive stresses and
tonnage taken as a function of the speed.]

All those masses of water which receive a horizontal acceleration from
the keel run counter, on the contrary, to the propulsive stress, and it
becomes of interest, therefore, to bring them to a minimum. The vertical
stress is limited by the weight of the boat, and, theoretically, with an
infinite degree of speed, the boat would graze the water without being
able to enter it.

The annexed diagram (Fig. 1) shows the form that calculation has led Mr.
Pictet to. The sides of the boat are two planes parallel with its axis,
and perfectly vertical. The keel (properly so called) is formed by
the joining of the two vertical planes. The surface thus formed is a
parabola whose apex is in front, the maximum ordinate behind, and the
concavity directed toward the bottom of the water. The stern is a
vertical plane intersecting at right angles the two lateral faces and
the parabolic curve, which thus terminates in a sharp edge. The prow of
the boat is connected with the apex of the parabola by a curve whose
concavity is directed upward.

[Illustration: Fig. 4.--Diagram of the variations in the power as a
function of the speed.]

When we trace the curve of the tractive stresses in a boat thus
constructed, by putting the speeds in abscisses and the tractive
stresses in ordinates, we obtain a curve (Fig. 2) which shows that the
same tractive stress applied to a boat may give it three different
speeds, M, M', and M'', only two of which, M and M'', are stable.

Experimental verifications of this study have been partially realized
(thanks to the financial aid of a number of persons who are interested
in the question) through the construction of a boat (Fig. 1) by the
Geneva Society for the Construction of Physical Instruments. The vessel
is 20.25 m. in length at the water line, has an everywhere equal width
of 3.9 m., and a length of 16 m. from the stern to the apex of the
parabola of the keel. The bottom of the boat is nearly absolutely flat.
The keel, which is 30 centimeters in width, contains the shaft of the
screw. The boiler, which is designed for running at twelve atmospheres,
furnishes steam to a two cylinder engine, which may be run at will,
either the two cylinders separately, or as a _compound_ engine. The
bronze screw is 1.3 m. in diameter, and has a pitch of 2.5 m. The vessel
has two rudders, one in front for slight speeds, and the other at the
stern. At rest, the total displacement is 52,300 kilogrammes.
This weight far exceeds what was first expected, by reason of the
superthickness given the iron plates of the vertical sides, of the
supplementary cross bracing, and of the superposition of the netting
necessary to resist the flexion of the whole. On another hand,
the tractive stress of the screw, which should reach about 4,000
kilogrammes, has never been able to exceed 1,800, because of the
numerous imperfections in the engine. It became necessary, therefore,
to steady the vessel by having her towed by the _Winkelried_, which was
chartered for such a purpose, to the General Navigation Company. It
became possible to thus carry on observations on speeds up to 27
kilometers per hour.

Fig. 3 shows how the tractive stress varies with each speed in a
theoretic case (dotted curve) in which the stress is proportional to the
square of the speed, in Madame Rothschild's boat, the _Gitana_ (curve
E), and in the Pictet high speed vessel (curve B).

The _Gitana_ was tried with speeds varying between 0 and 4 kilometers.
The corresponding tractive stresses have been reduced to the same
transverse section as in the Pictet model in order to render the
observations comparable. At slight speeds, and up to 19.5 kilometers per
hour, the _Gitana_, which is the sharper, runs easier and requires a
slighter tractive stress. At such a speed there is an equality; but,
beyond this, the Pictet boat presents the greater advantages, and, at a
speed of 27 kilometers, requires a stress about half less than does the
_Gitana_. Such results explain themselves when we reflect that at these
great speeds the _Gitana_ sinks to such a degree that the afterside
planks are at the level of the water, while the Pictet model rises
simultaneously fore and aft, thus considerably diminishing the submerged

With low or moderate speeds there is a perceptible equality between the
theoretic curve and the curve of the fast boat; but, starting from 16
kilometers, the stress diminishes. The greater does the speed become,
the more considerable is the diminution in stress; and, starting from a
certain speed, the rise of the boat is such as to diminish its absolute
tractive stress--a fact of prime importance established by theory and
confirmed by experiment.

The curves in Fig. 4 show the power in horses necessary to effect
progression at different speeds. The curve, A, has reference to an
ordinary boat that preserves its water lines constant, and the curve,
B, to a swift boat of the same tonnage. Up to 16 kilometers, the swift
vessel presents no advantage; but beyond that speed, the advantage
becomes marked, and, at a speed of 27 kilometers, the power to be
expended is no more than half that which corresponds to the same speed
for an ordinary boat.

The water escapes in a thin and even sheet as soon as the tractive
stress exceeds 2,000 kilogrammes; and the intensity and size of
the eddies from the boat sensibly diminish in measure as the speed

The interesting experiments made by Mr. Pictet seem, then to clearly
establish the fact that the forms deduced by calculation are favorable
to high speeds, and will permit of realizing, in the future, important
saving in the power expended, and, consequently, in the fuel (much less
of which will need to be carried), in order to perform a given passage
within a given length of time. Thus is explained the great interest that
attaches to Mr. Pictet's labors, and the desire that we have to soon be
able to make known the results obtained with such great speeds, not when
the boat is towed, but when its propulsion is effected through its
own helix actuated by its own engine, which, up to the present,
unfortunately, has through its defects been powerless to furnish the
necessary amount of power for the purpose.--_La Nature_.

       *       *       *       *       *


For a vessel with a given displacement, the metacenter and center of
gravity being known, it is easy to lay off in the form of a diagram
its stability or power of righting for any given angle of heel. Such a
diagram is shown in Fig. 3, in which the abscissæ are the angles of the
heel, and the ordinates the various lengths of the levers, at the end
of which the whole weight of the vessel is acting to right itself.
The curve may be constructed in the following manner: Having found by
calculation the position of the transverse metacenter, M, for a given
displacement--Figs. 1 and 2--the metacentric height, G M, is then
determined either by calculations, or more correctly by experiment, by
varying the position of weights of known magnitude, or by the stability
indicator itself. Suppose, now, the vessel to be listed over to various
angles of heel--say 20 deg., 40 deg., 60 deg., and 80 deg.--the water
lines will then be A C, D E, F K, and H J respectively, and the centers
of buoyancy, which must be found by calculation, will be B1, B2, B3, and
B4. If lines are drawn from these points at right angles to the water
levels at the respective heels, the righting power of the vessel in each
position is found by taking the perpendicular distances between these
lines and the center of gravity, G. This method of construction is shown
to an enlarged scale in Fig. 2, where G is the center of gravity, B1
Z1, B2 Z2, B3 Z3, and B4 Z4 the lines from centers of buoyancy to water
levels; and G N, G O, and G P the distances showing the righting power
at the angles of 20 deg., 40 deg., and 60 deg. respectively, and which
to any convenient scale are set off as the ordinates in the stability
curve shown in Fig 3.


Having obtained the curve, A, in this manner for a given metacentric
height, we will suppose that on the next voyage, with the same
displacement, it is found that, owing to some difference in stowage,
the center of gravity is 6 in. higher than before. The ordinates of the
curve will then be G¹ N¹ and G¹ O¹--Fig.2--and the stability curve will
be as at C--Fig. 3--showing that at about 47 deg. all righting power
ceases. Similarly, if the center of gravity is lowered 6 in. on the
same displacement, the curve, B, will be found, and in this manner
comparative diagrams can be constructed giving at a glance the stability
of a vessel for any given draught of water and metacentric height.



The object of Mr. Alexander Taylor's indicator is to measure and show
by simple inspection the metacentric height under every condition of
loading, and therefore to make known the stability of the vessel. It
consists of a small reservoir, A, Fig. 4, placed at one side of the
ship, in the cabin, or other convenient locality, communicating by a
tube with the glass gauge, B, secured at the opposite side, the whole
being half filled with glycerine, which is the fluid recommended by Mr.
Wm. Denny, though water or any other liquid will answer the purpose.
At one side of the gauge is the circular scale, C, capable of being
revolved round its vertical axis, as well as adjusted up and down, so
as to bring the zero pointer exactly to the top of the fluid when the
vessel is without list. Round the top of the scale, at D, are engraved
four different draughts, and under these are the metacentric heights.
Test tanks of known capacity are placed at each side of the vessel, but
in no way connected with the reservoir or gauge. The metacentric height
is found as follows: The ship being freed from bilge water, the roller
scale is turned round to bring to the front the mark corresponding with
the mean draught of the vessel at the time, and the zero pointer is
placed opposite the surface of the liquid in the gauge. One of the test
tanks being filled with a known weight of water, the vessel is caused
to list, and in consequence the liquid in the tube takes a new position
corresponding with the degree of heel, the disturbance being greater
according as the vessel has been more or less overbalanced. The scale
having previously been properly graduated, the metacentric height for
the draught and state of loading can be at once read off in inches,
while as a check the water can be transferred from the one test tank to
the other, and the metacentric height read off as before, but on the
opposite side of the zero pointer. At the same time the angle of heel is
shown on a second graduated scale, E. Having obtained the metacentric
height, reference to a diagram will at once show the whole range of
stability; and this being ascertained at each loading, the stowage of
the cargo can be so adjusted as to avoid excessive stiffness in the one
hand and dangerous tenderness on the other. It will thus be seen that
Mr. Taylor's invention promises to be of great practical value both in
the hands of the ship-builder and ship-owner, who have now an instrument
placed before them, by the proper use of which all danger from
unskillful loading can be entirely avoided.--_The Engineer_.


       *       *       *       *       *


Considerable attention has been attracted lately at Paris among those
who are interested in electrical novelties to a chloride of silver
pile invented by Mr. Scrivanow. The experiments to which it has been
submitted are, in some respects, sufficiently extraordinary to cause us
to make them known to our readers, along with the inventor's description
of the apparatus.

Mr. Scrivanow's intention appears to be to apply this pile to the
lighting of apartments, and even to the running of small motors, and,
for the purpose of actuating sewing machines, he has already constructed
a small model whose external dimensions are 160 x 100 x 90 millimeters.

"My invention," says the inventor, "is intended as an electric pile
capable of regeneration. The annexed Fig. 1 shows a vertical arrangement
of the apparatus, and Fig. 2 a horizontal one. In the latter, two
elements are represented superposed.

"My pile consists of a prism of retort carbon (a) covered on every side
with pure chloride of silver (b). The carbon thus prepared is immersed
in a solution of hydrate of potassium (KHO) or of hydrate of sodium
(NaHO), marking 1.30 to 1.45 by the Baumé areometer, the solvent being

"In the vicinity of the carbon is arranged the plate to be attacked--a
plate of zinc (c) of good quality. The surface of the electrodes, and
their distance apart, depends upon the effects that it is desired to
obtain, and is determined in accordance with the well known principles
of electro-kinetics.

"The chemical reactions that take place in this couple are multiple.
In contact with a sufficiently concentrated solution of hydrate of
potassium or sodium, the chloride of silver, especially if it has been
recently prepared, passes partially into the state of brown or black
oxide, so that the carbon becomes covered, after remaining sufficiently
long in the exciting liquid, with a mixture of chloride and oxide of
silver. When the circuit is closed, the chloride becomes reduced to a
spongy metallic state and adheres to the surface of the carbon. At the
same time the zinc passes, in the alkaline solution, into a state of
chloride and of soluble combination of zinc oxide and of alkali.

"To avoid all loss of silver I cover the carbon with asbestos paper, or
with cloth of the same material, d. My piles are arranged in ebonite
vessels, A, which are flat, as in Fig. 1, or round, as in Fig. 2.

"In Fig 1 there is seen, at e, gutta-percha separating the zinc from the
carbon at the base.

"Under such conditions, we obtain a powerful couple that possesses an
electro-motive power of 1.5 to 1.8 volts, according to the concentration
of the exciting liquid. The internal resistance is extremely feeble. I
have obtained with piles arranged like those shown in the figures nearly
0.06 ohm, the measurements having been taken from a newly charged pile.

"When the element is used up, and, notably, when all the chloride of
silver is reduced, it is only necessary to plunge the carbon with its
asbestos covering (after washing it in water) into a chloridizing bath,
in order to bring back the metallic silver that invests the carbon to a
state of chloride, and thus restore the pile to its primitive energy.
After this the carbon is washed and put back into the exciting liquid.

"These reductions of the chloride of silver during the operation of the
pile can be reproduced _ad infinitum_, since they are accompanied by no
loss of metal. The alkaline liquid is sufficient in quantity for two
successive charges of the couple.

"The chloridizing bath consists of 100 parts of acetic acid, 5 to 6
parts, by weight, of hydrochloric acid, and about 30 parts of water.


"Other acids may be employed equally as well. A bath composed of
chlorochromate of potassium and nitric or sulphuric acid makes an
excellent regenerator.

"To sum up, I claim as the distinctive characters of my pile:

"1. The use of the potassic or sodic alkaline liquid conjointly with
chloride of silver, and the oxide of the same, that forms through the
immersion of the carbon in a chloridizing bath.

"2. The use of retort or other carbon covered with the salt of silver
above specified.

"3. The arrangement and construction of my pile as I have described."

In the experiments recently tried with Mr. Scrivanow's pile, a large
sized battery was made use of, whose dimensions were 300 x 145 x 125
millimeters, and whose weight was from 5 to 6 kilogrammes. The results
were: intensity, 1 ampere; electro-motive power, 25 volts, corresponding
to an energy of 25 volt-amperes, or about 2.5 kilogrammeters per second.
The pile was covered with a copper jacket whose upper parts supported
two Swan lamps. Upon putting on the cover a contact was formed with the
electrodes, and it was possible by means of a commutator key with three
eccentrics to light or extinguish one of the lamps or both at once.
A single element would have sufficed to keep one Swan lamp of feeble
resistance lighted for 20 hours. Accepting the data given above and
the 20 hours' uninterrupted duration of the pile's operation the power
furnished by this large model is equal to 2.5 x 20 x 3,600 = 180,000


In our opinion, Mr. Scrivanow's pile is not adapted for industrial use
because of the expense of the silver and the frequent manipulations it
requires, but it has the advantage, however, of possessing, along with
its small size and little weight, a disposable energy of from 150,000
to 200,000 kilogrammeters utilizable at the will of the consumer and
securing to him a certain number of applications, either for lighting or
the production of power. It appears to us to be specially destined to
become a rival to the bichromate of potash pile for actuating electric
motors applied to the directing of balloons.--_Revue Industrielle_.

       *       *       *       *       *


The light emitted from burning gases which burn with bright flame is
known to be a secondary phenomenon. It is the solid, or even liquid,
constituents separated out by the high temperature of combustion, and
rendered incandescent, that emit the light rays. Gases, on the other
hand, which produce no glowing solid or liquid particles during
combustion burn throughout with a weakly luminous flame of bluish or
other color, according to the kind of gas. Now, it is common to say,
merely, in explanation of this luminosity, that the gas highly heated in
combustion is self-incandescent. This explanation, however, has not been
experimentally confirmed. Dr Werner Siemens was, therefore, led recently
to investigate whether highly-heated pure gases really emit light.

The temperature employed in such experiments should, to be decisive,
be higher than those produced by luminous combustion. The author had
recourse to the regenerative furnace used by his brother, Friedrich, in
Dresden, in manufacture of hard glass. This stands in a separate room
which at night can be made perfectly dark. The furnace has, in the
middle of its longer sides, two opposite apertures, allowing free vision
through. It can be easily heated to the melting temperature of steel,
which is between 1,500° and 2,000° C. Before the furnace apertures were
placed a series of smoke blackened screens with central openings, which
enabled one to look through without receiving, on the eye, rays from the
furnace walls. If, now, all air exchange was prevented in the furnace,
and all light excluded from the room, it was found that not the least
light came to the eye from the highly-heated air in the furnace. For
success of the experiment, it was necessary to avoid any combustion in
the furnace, and to wait until the furnace-air was as free from dust as
possible. Any flame in the furnace (even when it did not reach into the
line of sight), and the least quantity of dust in it, illuminated the
field of vision.

As a result of these experiments, Dr. Siemens considers that the view
hitherto held, that highly-heated gases are self-luminous, is not
correct. In the furnace were the products of the previous combustion
and atmospheric air: consequently oxygen, nitrogen, carbonic acid, and
aqueous vapor. If even one of these gases was self-luminous, the field
of vision must have been always illuminated. The weak light given by
the flame of burning gases that separate out no solid nor liquid
constituents cannot, therefore, be explained as a phenomenon of glow of
the gaseous products.

It appealed to the author probable, that heated gases did not, either,
emit heat rays; and he set himself to test this idea, experimenting, in
company with Herr Fröhlich, in Dresden. They first convinced themselves
in this case that the light emission of pure heated gases sunk to zero,
even when the field of vision was not always quite dark, and it was
only possible to observe this a short time; but the repeatedly observed
perfect darkness of the field of vision was demonstrative. On the other
hand, experiments made with sensitive thermopiles, in order to settle
the question of emission of heat-rays from highly-heated gases, failed.

Afterward, however, Dr. Siemens was convinced, by a quite simple
experiment of a different kind, that his supposition was erroneous. An
ordinary lamp, with circular wick, and short glass cylinder, was wholly
screened with a board, and a thermopile was so placed that its axis lay
somewhat higher than the edge of the board. As the room-walls had pretty
much a uniform temperature, the deflection of the galvanometer was but
slight, when the tube-axis of the thermopile was directed anywhere
outside of the hot-air current rising from the flame. When, however, the
axis was directed to this current, a deflection occurred, which was as
great as that from the luminous flame itself. That the heat radiation
from hot gases is but very small in comparison with that from equally
hot solid bodies, was shown by the large deflection produced when a
piece of fine wire was held in the hot-air current. On the other hand,
however, it was far too considerable to admit of being attributed to
dust particles suspended in the air current.

It must be conceded to be possible (the author says) that the light
radiation of hot gases, as also the heat radiation, is only exceedingly
weak, and therefore may escape observation. It is, therefore, much to
be desired that the experiments should be repeated at still higher
temperatures and with more exact instruments, in order to determine
the limit of temperature at which heated gases undoubtedly become
self-incandescent. The fact, however, that gases, at a temperature of
more than 1,500° C, are not yet luminous, proves that the incandescence
of the flame is not to be explained as a self-incandescence of the
products of combustion. This is confirmed by the circumstance that, with
rapid mixture of the burning gases, the flame becomes shorter because
the combustion process goes on more quickly, and hotter because less
cold air has access. Further, the flame also becomes shorter and hotter
if the gases are strongly heated previous to combustion. As the rising
products of combustion still retain for a time the temperature of the
flame, the reverse must occur if the gases were self-luminous. The
luminosity of the flame, however, ceases at a sharp line of demarkation,
and evidently coincides with completion of the chemical action. The
latter, itself, therefore, and not the heating of the combustion
products, which is due to it, must be the cause of the luminosity. If
we suppose that the gas-molecules are surrounded by an ether-envelope,
then, in chemical combination of two or several such molecules, there
must occur a changed position of the ether-envelopes. The motion of
ether-particles thus caused may be represented by vibrations, which form
the starting-point of light and heat-waves.

In quite a similar manner we may also, according to Dr. Siemens,
represent the light-phenomenon occurring when an electric current
is sent through gases, which always takes place when the maximum of
polarization belonging to them is exceeded. As the passage of the
current through the gas seems to be always connected with chemical
action, the phenomenon of glow may be explained in the same way as in
flame, by oscillating transposition of the ether envelopes, by which the
passage of electricity is effected. In that case the light of flame may
be called electric light by the same light as the light of the ozone
tube or the Geissler tube, which is mainly to be distinguished from the
former in that it contains a dielectric of an extremely small maximum of
polarization. This correspondence in the causes of luminosity of flame,
and of gases traversed by electric currents, is supported by the
similarity of the flame-phenomena in strength and color of light.

[These researches were lately described by Dr. Werner Siemens to the
Berlin Academy.]

       *       *       *       *       *


It is well known that if the size of an object be ascertained, the
distance of a lens from that object, and the size of the image depicted
in a camera by that lens, a very simple calculation will give the
focus of the lens. In compound lenses the matter is complicated by the
relative foci of its constituents and their distance apart; but these
items, in an ordinary photographic objective, would so slightly affect
the result that for all practical purposes they may be ignored.

What we propose to do--what we have indeed done--is to make two of these
terms constant in connection with a diagram, here given, so that a mere
inspection may indicate, with its aid, the focus of a lens. All that is
required in making use of it is to plant the camera perfectly upright,
and place in front of it, at exactly fifteen feet from the center of the
lens, a two foot rule, also perfectly upright and with its center
the same height from the floor as the lens, and then, after focusing
accurately with as large a diaphragm as will give sharpness, to note the
size of the image and refer it to the diagram. The focus of the lens
employed will be marked under the line corresponding to the size of the
image of the rule on the ground glass.

As our object is to minimize time and trouble to the utmost, we may make
a suggestion or two as to carrying out the measuring. It will be obvious
that any object exactly two feet in length, rightly placed, will answer
quite as well as a "two-foot," which we selected as being about as
common a standard of length and as likely to be handy for use as
any. The pattern in a wall paper, a mark in a brick wall, a studio
background, or a couple of drawing pins pressed into a door, so long as
two feet exactly are indicated, will answer equally well.

And, further, as to the actual mode of measuring the image on the
ground glass (we may say that there is not the slightest need to take
a negative), it will perhaps be found the readiest method to turn the
glass the ground side outward, when two pencil marks may be made with
complete accuracy to register the length of the image, which can then be
compared with the diagram. Whatever plan is adopted, if the distance be
measured exactly between lens and rule, the result will give the focus
with exactitude sufficient for any practical purpose.--_Br. Jour. of


       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote: A paper recently read before the Society of Arts, London.]


As this paper is composed from a technical point of view, some
elucidation of facts, forming the basis of it, is desirable before we
proceed to the chronological statement of the subject. These facts are
the strings, and their strain or tension; the sound-board, which is the
resonance factor; and the bridge, connecting it with the strings. The
strings, sound-board, and bridge are indispensable, and common to
all stringed instruments. The special fact appertaining to keyboard
instruments is the mechanical action interposed between the player and
the instrument itself. The strings, owing to the slender surface they
present to the air, are, however powerfully excited, scarcely audible.
To make them sufficiently audible, their pulsations have to be
communicated to a wider elastic surface, the sound-board, which, by
accumulated energy and broader contact with the air, re-enforces the
strings' feeble sound. The properties of a string set in periodic
vibration are the best known of the phenomena appertaining to acoustics.
The molecules composing the string are disturbed in the string's
vibrating length by the means used to excite the sound, and run off into
sections, the comparative length and number of which depend partly upon
the place in the string the excitement starts from; partly upon the
force and the form of force that is employed; and partly upon the
length, thickness, weight, strain, and elasticity of the string, with
some small allowance for gravitation. The vibrating sections are of
wave-like contour; the nodes or points of apparent rest being really
knots of the greatest pressure from crossing streams of molecules. Where
the pressure slackens, the sections rise into loops, the curves of which
show the points of least pressure. Now, if the string be struck upon a
loop, less energy is communicated to the string, and the carrying power
of the sound proportionately fails. If the string be struck upon a node,
greater energy ensues, and the carrying power proportionately gains.
By this we recognize the importance of the place of contact, or
striking-place of the hammer against the string; and the necessity, in
order to obtain good fundamental tone, which shall carry, of the note
being started from a node.

If the hammer is hard, and impelled with force, the string breaks into
shorter sections, and the discordant upper partials of the string, thus
brought into prominence, make the tone harsh. If the hammer is soft, and
the force employed is moderated, the harmonious partials of the longer
sections strike the ear, and the tone is full and round. By the
frequency of vibration, that is to say, the number of times a string
runs through its complete changes one way and the other, say, for
measurement, in a second of time, we determine the pitch, or relative
acuteness of the tone as distinguished by the ear.

We know, with less exactness, that the sound-board follows similar laws.
The formation of nodes is helped by the barring of the sound-board,
a ribbing crosswise to the grain of the wood, which promotes the
elasticity, and has been called the "soul" of stringed musical
instruments. The sound-board itself is made of most carefully chosen
pine; in Europe of the _Abies excelsa_, the spruce fir, which, when well
grown, and of light, even grain, is the best of all woods for resonance.
The pulsations of the strings are communicated to the sound-board by the
bridge, a thick rail of close-grained beech, curved so as to determine
their vibrating lengths, and attached to the sound-board by dowels. The
bridge is doubly pinned, so as to cut off the vibration at the edge
of the bearing the strings exert upon the bridge. The shock of each
separate pulsation, in its complex form, is received by the bridge,
and communicated to such undamped strings as may, by their lengths, be
sensitive to them; thus producing the Æolian tone commonly known as
sympathetic, an eminently attractive charm in the tone of a pianoforte.

We have here strings, bridge, and sound-board, or belly, as it is
technically called, indispensable for the production of the tone, and
indivisible in the general effect. The proportionate weight of
stringing has to be met by a proportionate thickness and barring of the
sound-board, and a proportionate thickness and elevation of the bridge.

The tension of the strings is met by a framing, which has become more
rigid as the drawing power of the strings has been gradually increased.
In the present concert grands of Messrs. Broadwood, that drawing power
may be stated as starting from 150 lb. for each single string in the
treble, and gradually increasing to about 300 lb. for each of the single
strings in the bass. I will reserve for the historical description of
my subject some notice of the different kinds of framing that have been
introduced. It will suffice, at this stage, to say that it was at first
of wood, and became, by degrees, of wood and iron; in the present day
the iron very much preponderating. It will be at once evident that the
object of the framing is to keep the ends of the strings apart. The near
ends are wound round the wrest-pins, which are inserted in the wooden
bed, called the wrest-plank, the strength and efficiency of which are
most important for the tone and durability of the instrument. It is
composed of layers of wainscot oak and beech, the direction of the
grain being alternately longitudinal and lateral. Some makers cover the
wrest-plank with a plate of brass; in Broadwood's grands, it is a plate
of iron, into which, as well as the wood, the wrest-pins are screwed.
The tuner's business is to regulate the tension, by turning the
wrest-pins, in which he is chiefly guided by the beats which become
audible from differing numbers of vibrations. The wrest-plank is
bridged, and has its bearing like the soundboard; but the wrest-plank
has no vibrations to transfer, and should, as far as possible, offer
perfect insensibility to them.

I will close this introductory explanation with two remarks, made by the
distinguished musician, mechanician, and inventor, Theobald Boehm, of
Munich, whose inventions were not limited to the flute which bears his
name, but include the initiation of an important change in the modern
pianoforte, as made in America and Germany. Of priority of invention he
says, in a letter to an English friend, "If it were desirable to analyze
all the inventions which have been brought forward, we should find that
in scarcely any instance were they the offspring of the brain of a
single individual, but that all progress is gradual only; each worker
follows in the track of his predecessor, and eventually, perhaps,
advances a step beyond him." And concerning the relative value of
inventions in musical instruments, it appears, from an essay of his
which has been recently published, that he considers improvement in
acoustical proportions the chief foundation of the higher or lower
degree of perfection in all instruments, their mechanism being but of
secondary value.

I will now proceed to recount briefly the history of the pianoforte from
the earliest mention of that name, continuing it to our contemporary
instruments, as far as they can be said to have entered into the
historical domain. It has been my privilege to assist in proving that
Bartolommeo Cristofori was, in the first years of the 18th century,
the real inventor of the pianoforte, but with a wide knowledge and
experience of how long it has taken to make any invention in keyed
instruments practicable and successful, I cannot believe that Cristofori
was the first to attempt to contrive one. I should rather accept his
good and complete instrument as the sum of his own lifelong studies and
experiments, added to those of generations before him, which have left
no record for us as yet discovered.

The earliest mention of the name pianoforte (_piano e forte_), applied
to a musical instrument, has been recently discovered by Count Valdrighi
in documents preserved in the Estense Library, at Modena. It is dated
A.D. 1598, and the reference is evidently to an instrument of the spinet
or cembalo kind; but how the tone was produced there is no statement,
no word to base an inference upon. The name has not been met with
again between the Estense document and Scipione Maffei's well-known
description, written in 1711, of Cristofori's "gravecembalo col piano e
forte." My view of Cristofori's invention allows me to think that the
Estense "piano e forte" may have been a hammer cembalo, a very imperfect
one, of course. But I admit that the opposite view of forte and piano,
contrived by registers of spinet-jacks, is equally tenable.

Bartolommeo Cristofori was a Paduan harpsichord maker, who was invited
by Prince Ferdinand dei Medici to Florence, to take charge of the large
collection of musical instruments the Prince possessed. At Florence he
produced the invention of the pianoforte, in which he was assisted and
encouraged by this high-minded, richly-cultivated, and very musical
prince. Scipione Maffei tells us that in 1709 Cristofori had completed
four of the new instruments, three of them being of the usual
harpsichord form, and one of another form, which he leaves undescribed.
It is interesting to suppose that Handel may have tried one or more of
these four instruments during the stay he made at Florence in 1708. But
it is not likely that he was at all impressed with the potentialities of
the invention any more than John Sebastian Bach was in after years when
he tried the pianofortes of Silbermann.

The sketch of Cristofori's action in Maffei's essay, from which I have
had a working model accurately made, shows that in the first instruments
the action was not complete, and it may not have been perfected when
Prince Ferdinand died in 1713. But there are Cristofori grand pianos
preserved at Florence, dated respectively 1720 and 1726, in which an
improved construction of action is found, and of this I also exhibit
a model. There is much difference between the two. In the second,
Cristofori had obtained his escapement with an undivided key,
reconciling his depth of touch, or keyfall, with that of the
contemporary harpsichord, by driving the escapement lever through the
key. He had contrived means for regulating the escapement distance, and
had also invented the last essential of a good pianoforte action, the
check. I will explain what is meant by escapement and check. When, by
a key being put down, the hammer is impelled toward the strings, it is
necessary for their sustained vibration that, after impact, the hammer
should rebound or escape; or it would, as pianoforte makers say,
"block," damping the strings at the moment they should sound.

A dulcimer player gains his elastic blow by the free movement of the
wrist. To gain a similarly elastic blow mechanically in his first
action, Cristofori cut a notch in the butt of his hammer from which the
escapement lever, "linguetta mobile" as he called it--"hopper," as we
call it--being centered at the base, moved forward, when the key was put
down, to the extent of its radius, and after the delivery of the blow
returned to its resting place by the pressure of a spring. The first
action gave the blow with more direct force than the second, which had
the notch upon what is called the underhammer, but was defective in
the absence of any means to regulate the distance of the "go-off," or
"escapement" from the string. In the second action, a small check before
the hopper is intended to regulate it, but does so imperfectly. The
pianoforte had to wait for fifty years for satisfactory regulation of
the escapement.

In the first action, the hammer rests in a silken fork, dropping the
whole distance of the rise of every blow. The check in the second
action, the "paramartello," is next in importance to the escapement. It
catches the back part of the hammer at different points of the radius,
responding to the amount of force the player has used upon the key. So
that in repeated blows, the rise of the hammer is modified, and the
notch is nearer to the returning hopper in proportionate degree.

I have given the first place in description to Cristofori's actions,
instead of to the "cembalo" or instrument to which they were applied,
because piano and forte, from touch, became possible through them, and
what else was accomplished by Cristofori was due, primarily, to the
dynamic idea. He strengthened his harpsichord sound-board against
a thicker stringing, renouncing the cherished sound-holes. Yet the
sound-box notion clung to him, for he made openings in his sound-board
rail for air to escape. He ran a string-block round the case, entirely
independent of the sound-board, and his wrest-plank, which also became
a separate structure, removed from the sound-board by the gap for the
hammers, was now a stout oaken plank which, to gain an upward bearing
for the strings, he inverted, driving his wrest-pins through in the
manner of a harp, and turning them in like fashion to the harp. He had
two strings to a note, but it did not occur to him to space them into
pairs of unisons. He retained the equidistant harpsichord scale, and
had, at first, under-dampers, later over-dampers, which fell between the
unisons thus equally separated. Cristofori died in 1731. He had pupils,
one of whom made, in 1730, the, "Rafael d'Urbino," the favorite
instrument of the great singer Farinelli. The story of inventive
Italian pianoforte making ends thus early, but to Italy the invention
indisputably belongs.

The first to make pianofortes in Germany was the famous Freiberg
organ-builder and clavichord maker, Gottfried Silbermann. He submitted
two pianofortes to the judgment of John Sebastian Bach in 1726, which
judgment was, however, unfavorable; the trebles being found too weak,
and the touch too heavy. Silbermann, according to the account of Bach's
pupil, Agricola, being much mortified, put them aside, resolving not to
show them again unless he could improve them. We do not know what these
instruments were, but it may be inferred that they were copies of
Cristofori, or were made after the description of his invention by
Maffei, which had already been translated from Italian into German,
by Koenig, the court poet at Dresden, who was a personal friend of
Silbermann. With the next anecdote, which narrates the purchase of all
the pianofortes Silbermann had made, by Frederick the Great, we are upon
surer ground. This well accredited occurrence took place in 1746. In
the following year occurred Bach's celebrated visit to Potsdam, when he
played upon one or more of these instruments. Burney saw and described
one in 1772. I had this one, which was known to have remained in the new
palace at Potsdam until the present time unaltered, examined, and, by a
drawing of the action, found it was identical with Cristofori's. Not,
however, being satisfied with one example, I resolved to go myself to
Potsdam; and, being furnished with permission from H.R.H. the Crown
Princess of Prussia, I was enabled in September, 1881, to set the
question at rest of how many grand pianofortes by Gottfried Silbermann
there were still in existence at Potsdam, and what they were like. At
Berlin there are none, but at Potsdam, in the music-rooms of Frederick
the Great, which are in the town palace, the new palace, and Sans
Souci--left, it is understood, from the time of Frederick's death
undisturbed--there are three of these Silbermann pianofortes. All three
are with unimportant differences having nothing to do with structure,
Cristofori instruments, wrest plank, sound-board, string-block, and
action; the harpsichord scale of stringing being still retained. The
work in them is undoubtedly good; the sound-boards have given in the
trebles, as is usual with old instruments, from the strain; but I should
say all three might be satisfactorily restored. Some other pianofortes
seem to have been made in North Germany about this time, as our own
poet Gray bought one in Hamburg in 1755, in the description of which we
notice the desire to combine a hammer action with the harpsichord which
so long exercised men's minds.

The Seven Years' War put an end to pianoforte making on the lines
Silbermann had adopted in Saxony. A fresh start had to be made a few
years later, and it took place contemporaneously in South Germany and
England. The results have been so important that the grand pianofortes
of the Augsburg Stein and the London Backers may be regarded,
practically, as reinventions of the instrument. The decade 1770-80 marks
the emancipation of the pianoforte from the harpsichord, of which before
it had only been deemed a variety. Compositions appear written expressly
for it, and a man of genius, Muzio Clementi, who subsequently became the
head of the pianoforte business now conducted by Messrs. Collard, came
forward to indicate the special character of the instrument, and found
an independent technique for it.

A few years before, the familiar domestic square piano had been
invented. I do not think clavichords could have been altered to square
pianos, as they were wanting in sufficient depth of case; but that the
suggestion was from the clavichord is certain, the same kind of case and
key-board being used. German authorities attribute the invention to an
organ builder, Friederici of Gera, and give the date about 1758 or 1760.
I have advertised in public papers, and have had personal inquiry made
for one of Friederici's "Fort Biens," as he is said to have called his
instrument. I have only succeeded in learning this much--that Friederici
is considered to have been of later date than has been asserted in the
text-books. Until more conclusive information can be obtained, I must
be permitted to regard a London maker, but a German by birth, Johannes
Zumpe, as the inventor of the instrument. It is certain that he
introduced that model of square piano which speedily became the fashion,
and was chosen for general adoption everywhere. Zumpe began to make
his instruments about 1765. His little square, at first of nearly five
octaves, with the "old man's head" to raise the hammer, and "mopstick"
damper, was in great vogue, with but little alteration, for forty years;
and that in spite of the manifest improvements of John Broadwood's
wrest-plank and John Geib's "grasshopper." After the beginning of this
century, the square piano became much enlarged and improved by Collard
and Broadwood, in London, and by Petzold, in Paris. It was overdone in
the attempt to gain undue power for it, and, about twenty years ago,
sank in the competition, with the later cottage pianoforte, which was
always being improved.

To return to the grand pianoforte. The origin of the Viennese grand is
rightly accredited to Stein, the organ builder, of Augsburg. I will
call it the German grand, for I find it was as early made in Berlin as
Vienna. According to Mozart's correspondence, Stein had made some grand
pianos in 1777, with a special escapement, which did not "block"
like the pianos he had played upon before. When I wrote the article
"Pianoforte" in Dr. Grove's "Dictionary," no Stein instrument was
forthcoming, but the result of the inquiries I had instituted at that
time ultimately brought one forward, which has been secured by the
curator of the Brussels Museum, M. Victor Mahillon. This instrument,
with Stein's action and two unison scale, is dated 1780. Mozart's grand
piano, preserved at Salzburg, made by Walther, is a nearly contemporary
copy of Stein, and so also are the grands by Huhn, of Berlin, which I
took notes of at Berlin and Potsdam; the latest of these is dated 1790.

An advance shown by these instruments of Stein and Stein's followers is
in the spacing of the unisons; the Huhn grands having two strings to
a note in the lower part of the scale, and three in the upper. The
Cristofori Silbermann inverted wrest-plank has reverted to the usual
form; the tuning pins and downward bearing being the same as in the
harpsichord. There are no steel arches as yet between the wrest-plank
and the belly-rail in these German instruments. As to Stein's
escapement, his hopper was fixed behind the key; the axis of the hammer
rising on a principle which I think is older than Stein, but have not
been able to trace to its source, and the position of his hammer is
reversed. Stein's light and facile movement with shallow key-fall,
resembling Cristofori's in bearing little weight, was gratefully
accepted by the German clavichord players, and, reacting, became one of
the determining agents of the piano music and style of playing of the
Vienna school. Thus arose a fluent execution of a rich figuration and
brilliant passage playing, with but little inclination to sonorousness
of effect, lasting from the time of Mozart's immediate followers to that
of Henri Herz; a period of half a century. Knee-pedals, as we translate
"geuouillères," were probably in vogue before Stein, and were levers
pressed with the knees, to raise the dampers, and leave the pianoforte
undamped, a register approved of by Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach, who
regarded the undamped pianoforte as the more agreeable for improvising..
He appears, however, to have known but little of the capabilities of
the instrument, which seemed to him coarse and inexpressive beside his
favorite clavichord. Stein appears to have made use of the "una corda"
shift. Probably by knee-pedals, subsequently by foot-pedals, the
following effects were added to the Stein pianos.

The harpsichord "harp"-stop, which muted one string of each note by
a piece of leather, became, by the interposition of a piece of cloth
between the hammer and the strings, the piano, harp, or _celeste_. The
more complete sourdine, which muted all the strings by contact of a long
strip of leather, acted as the staccato, pizzicato, or pianissimo. The
Germans further displayed that ingenuity in fancy stops Mersenne had
attributed to them in harpsichords more than a hundred and fifty years
before, by a bassoon pedal, a card which by a rotatory half-cylinder
just impinging upon the strings produced a reedy twang; also by pedals
for triangle, cymbals, bells, and tambourine, the last drumming on the
sound-board itself.

Several of these contrivances may be seen in a six-pedal grand
pianoforte belonging to Her Majesty the Queen, at Windsor Castle,
bearing the name as maker of Stein's daughter, Nannette, who was a
friend of Beethoven. The diagram represents the wooden framing of such
an instrument.

We gather from Burney's contributions to "Rees's Cyclopaedia," that
after the arrival of John Christian Bach in London, A.D. 1759, a few
grand pianofortes were attempted, by the second-rate harpsichord makers,
but with no particular success. If the workshop tradition can be relied
upon that several of Silbermann's workmen had come to London about that
time, the so-called "twelve apostles," more than likely owing to the
Seven Years' War, we should have here men acquainted with the Cristofori
model, which Silbermann had taken up, and the early grand pianos
referred to by Burney would be on that model. I should say the "new
instrument" of Messrs. Broadwood's play-bill of 1767 was such a grand
piano; but there is small chance of ever finding one now, and if an
instrument were found, it would hardly retain the original action, as
Messrs. Broadwood's books of the last century show the practice of
refinishing instruments which had been made with the "old movement."

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

Burney distinguishes Americus Backers by special mention. He is said
to have been a Dutchman. Between 1772 and 1776, Backers produced the
well-known English action, which has remained the most durable and one
of the best up to the present day. It refers in direct leverage to
Cristofori's first action. It is opposite to Stein's contemporary
invention, which has the hopper fixed. In the English action, as in the
Florentine, the hopper rises with the key. To the direct leverage of
Cristofori's first action, Backers combined the check of the second, and
then added an important invention of his own, a regulating screw and
button for the escapement. Backers died in 1776. It is unfortunate we
can refer to no pianoforte made by him. I should regard it as treasure
trove if one were forthcoming in the same way that brought to light the
authentic one of Stein's. As, however, Backers' intimate friends, and
his assistants in carrying out the invention, were John Broadwood and
Robert Stodart, we have, in their early instruments, the principle and
all the leading features of the Backers grand. The increased weight
of stringing was met by steel arches placed at intervals between the
wrest-plank and the belly-rail, but the belly-rail was still free from
the thrust of the wooden bracing, the direction of which was confined to
the sides of the case, as it had been in the harpsichord.

Stodart appears to have preceded Broadwood in taking up the manufacture
of the grand piano by four or five years. In 1777 he patented an
alternate pianoforte and harpsichord, the drawing of which patent shows
the Backers action. The pedals he employed were to shift the harpsichord
register and to bring on the octave stop. The present pedals were
introduced in English and grand pianos by 1785, and are attributed to
John Broadwood, who appears to have given his attention at once to the
improvement of Backers' instrument. Hitherto the grand piano had been
made with an undivided belly-bridge, the same as the harpsichord had
been; the bass strings in three unisons, to the lowest note, being of
brass. Theory would require that the notes of different octaves should
be multiples of each other and that the tension should be the same for
each string. The lowest bass strings, which at that time were the note
F, would thus require a vibrating length of about twelve feet. As only
half this length could be afforded, the difference had to be made up in
the weight of the strings and their tension, which led, in these early
grands, to many inequalities. The three octaves toward the treble could,
with care, be adjusted, the lengths being practically the ideal lengths.
It was in the bass octaves (pianos were then of five octaves) the
inequalities were more conspicuous. To make a more perfect scale and
equalize the tension was the merit and achievement of John Broadwood,
who joined to his own practical knowledge and sound intuitions the aid
of professed men of science. The result was the divided bridge, the bass
strings being carried over the shorter division, and the most beautiful
grand pianoforte in its lines and curves that has ever been made was
then manufactured. In 1791 he carried his scale up to C, five and a
half octaves; in 1794 down to C, six octaves, always with care for the
artistic, form. The pedals were attached to the front legs of the stand
on which the instrument rested. The right foot-pedal acted first as
the piano register, shifting the impact of each hammer to two unisons
instead of three; a wooden stop in the right hand key-block permitted
the action to be shifted yet further to the right, and reducing the blow
to one string only, produced the pianissimo register or _una corda_ of
indescribable attractiveness of sound. The cause of this was in the
reflected vibration through the bridge to the untouched strings. The
present school of pianoforte playing rejects this effect altogether, but
Beethoven valued it, and indicated its use in some of his great works.
Steibert called the _una corda_ the _celeste_, which is more appropriate
to it than Adam's application of this name to the harp-stop, by which
the latter has gone ever since.

Up to quite the end of the last century the dampers were continued to
the highest note in the treble. They were like harpsichord dampers
raised by wooden jacks, with a rail or stretcher to regulate their rise,
which served also as a back touch to the keys. I have not discovered the
exact year when, or by whom, the treble dampers were first omitted,
thus leaving that part of the scale undamped. This bold act gave the
instrument many sympathetic strings free to vibrate from the bridge when
the rest of the instrument was played, each string, according to its
length, being an aliquot division of a lower string. This gave the
instrument a certain brightness or life throughout, an advantage which
has secured its universal adoption. The expedients of an untouched
octave string and of utilizing those lengths of wire that lie beyond the
bridges have been brought into notice of late years, but the latter was
early in the century essayed by W. F. Collard.

From difficulties of tuning, owing to friction and other causes, the
real gain of these expedients is small, and when we compare them with
the natural resources we have always at command in the normal scale
of the instrument, is not worth the cost. The inventor of the damper
register opened a floodgate to such aliquot re-enforcement as can be got
in no other way. Each lower note struck of the undamped instrument,
by excitement from the sound-board carried through the bridge, sets
vibrating higher strings, which, by measurement, are primes to its
partials; and each higher string struck calls out equivalent partials
in the lower strings. Even partials above the primes will excite
their equivalents up to the twelfth and double octave. What a glow of
tone-color there is in all this harmonic re-enforcement, and who would
now say that the pedals should never be used? By their proper use,
the student's ear is educated to a refined sense of distinction of
consonance and dissonance, and the intention and beauty of Chopin's
pedal work becomes revealed.

The next decade, 1790-1800, brings us to French grand pianoforte-making,
which was then taken up by Sebastian Erard. This ingenious mechanic and
inventor traveled the long and dreary road along which nearly all who
have tried to improve the pianoforte have had to journey. He appears, at
first, to have adopted the existing model of the English instrument in
resonance, tension, and action, and to have subsequently turned his
attention to the action, most likely with the idea of combining the
English power of gradation with the German lightness of touch. Erard
claimed, in the specification to a patent for an action, dated 1808,
"the power of giving repeated strokes, without missing or failure, by
very small angular motions of the key itself."

Once fairly started, the notion of repetition became the dominant idea
with pianoforte-makers, and to this day, although less insisted upon,
engrosses time and attention that might be more usefully directed. Some
great players, from their point of view of touch, have been downright
opposed to repetition actions. I will name Kalkbrenner, Chopin, and, in
our own day, Dr. Hans von Bülow. Yet the Erard's repetition, in the form
of Hertz's reduction, is at present in greater favor in America and
Germany, and is more extensively used, than at any previous period.

The good qualities of Erard's action, completed in 1821, the germ of
which will be found in the later Cristofori, are not, however, due to
repetition capability, but to other causes, chiefly, I will say, to
counterpoise. The radical defect of repetition is that the repeated
note can never have the tone-value of the first; it depends upon the
mechanical contrivance, rather than the finder of the player, which is
directly indispensable to the production of satisfactory tone. When the
sensibility of the player's touch is lost in the mechanical action, the
corresponding sensibility of the tone suffers; the resonance is not,
somehow or other, sympathetically excited.

Erard rediscovered an upward bearing, which had been accomplished by
Cristofori a hundred years before, in 1808. A down-bearing bridge to the
wrest-plank, with hammers striking upward, are clearly not in relation;
the tendency of the hammer must be, if there is much force used, to
lift the string from its bearing, to the detriment of the tone. Erard
reversed the direction of the bearing of the front bridge, substituting
for a long, pinned, wooden bridge, as many little brass bridges as there
were notes. The strings passing through holes bored through the little
bridges, called agraffes, or studs, turned upward toward the wrest-pin.
By this the string was forced against its rest instead of off it. It
is obvious that the merit of this invention would in time make its use
general. A variety of it was the long brass bridge, specially used
in the treble on account of the pleasant musical-box like tone its
vibration encouraged. Of late years another upward bearing has found
favor in America and on the Continent, the Capo d'Astro bar of M. Bord,
which exerts a pressure upon the strings at the bearing point.

About the year 1820, great changes and improvements were made in the
grand pianoforte both externally and in the instrument. The harpsichord
boxed up front gave way to the cylinder front, invented by Henry Pape,
a clever German pianoforte-maker who bad settled in Paris. Who put the
pedals upon the familiar lyre I have not been able to learn. It would
be in the Empire time, when a classical taste was predominant. But the
greatest change was from a wooden resisting structure to one in which
iron should play an important part. The invention belongs to this
country, and is due to a tuner named William Allen, a young Scotchman,
who was in Stodart's employ. With the assistance of the foreman, Thom,
the invention was completed, and a patent was taken out, dated the 15th
of January, 1820, in which Thom was a partner. The patent was, however,
at once secured by the Stodarts, their employers. The object of the
patent was a combination of metal tubes with metal plates, the metallic
tubes extending from the plates which were attached to the string-block
to the wrest-plank. The metal plates now held the hitch-pins, to which
the farther ends of the strings were fixed, and the force of the tension
was, in a great measure, thrown upon the tubes. The tubes were a
mistake; they were of iron over the steel strings, and brass over the
brass and spun strings, the idea being that of the compensation of
tuning when affected by atmospheric change, also a mistake. However,
the tubes were guaranteed by stout wooden bars crossing them at right
angles. At once a great advance was made in the possibility of using
heavier strings, and the great merit of the invention was everywhere

James Broadwood was one of the first to see the importance of the
invention, if it were transformed into a stable principle. He had tried
iron tension bars in past years, but without success. It was now due to
his firm to introduce a fixed stringed plate, instead of plates intended
to shift, and in a few years to combine this plate with four solid
tension bars, for which combination he, in 1827, took out a patent,
claiming as the motive for the patent the string-plate; the manner of
fixing the hitch-pins upon it, the fourth tension bar, which crossed the
instrument about the middle of the scale, and the fastening of that bar
to the wooden brace below, now abutting against the belly-rail, the
attachment being effected by a bolt passing through a hole cut in the

This construction of grand pianoforte soon became generally adopted in
England and France. Messrs. Erard, who appear to have had their own
adaptation of tension bars, introduced the harmonic bar in 1838. This,
a short bar of gun metal, was placed upon the wrest-plank immediately
above the bearings of the treble, and consolidated the plank by screws
tapped into it of alternate pressure and drawing power. In the original
invention a third screw pressed upon the bridge. By this bar a very
light, ringing treble tone was gained. This was followed by a long
harmonic bar extending above the whole length of the wrest-plank, which
it defends from any tendency to rise, by downward pressure obtained by
screws. During 1840-50, as many as five and even six tension bars were
used in grand pianofortes, to meet the ever increasing strain of
thicker stringing. The bars were strutted against a metal edging to the
wrest-plank, while the ends were prolonged forward until they abutted
against its solid mass on the key-board side of the tuning-pins. The
space required for fixing them cramped the scale, while the strings were
divided into separate batches between them. It was also difficult to
so adjust each bar that it should bear its proportionate share of the
tension; an obvious cause of inequality.

Toward the end of this period a new direction was taken by Mr. Henry
Fowler Broadwood, by the introduction of an iron-framed pianoforte, in
which the bars should be reduced in number, and with the bars the steel
arches, as they were still called, although they were no longer arches
but struts.

In a grand pianoforte, made in 1847, Mr. Broadwood succeeded in
producing an instrument of the largest size, practically depending upon
iron alone. Two tension bars sufficed, neither of them breaking into the
scale: the first, nearly straight, being almost parallel with the lowest
bass string; the second, presenting the new feature of a diagonal bar
crossed from the bass corner to the string-plate, with its thrust at an
angle to the strings.

There were reasons which induced Mr. Broadwood to somewhat modify and
improve this framing, but with the retention of its leading feature, the
diagonal bar, which was found to be of supreme importance in bearing the
tension where it is most concentrated. From 1852, his concert grands
have had, in all, one bass bar, one diagonal bar, a middle bar with
arch beneath, and the treble cheek bar. The middle bar is the only one
directly crossing the scale, and breaking it. It is strengthened by
feathered ribs, and is fastened by screws to the wooden brace below. The
three bars and diagonal bar, which is also feathered, abut firmly on the
string plate, which is fastened down to the wooden framing by screws.
Since 1862, the wooden wrest-plank has been covered with a plate of
iron, the iron screw-pin plate bent at a right angle in front. The
wrest-pins are screwed into this plate, and again in the wood below.
The agraffes, which take the upward bearings of the strings, are firmly
screwed into this plate. The long harmonic bar of gun metal lies
immediately above the agraffes, and crossing the wrest-plank in its
entire width, serves to keep it, at the bearing line, in position. This
construction is the farthest advance of the English pianoforte.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--WILLIAM ALLEN.]

Almost simultaneously with it has arisen a new development in America,
which, beginning with Conrad Meyer, about 1833, has been advanced by the
Chickerings and Steinways to the well known American and German grand
pianoforte of the present day. It was perfected in America about in
1859, and has been taken up since by the Germans almost universally, and
with very little alteration. Two distinct principles have been developed
and combined--the iron framing in a single casting, and the cross or
overstringing. I will deal with the last first, because it originated in
England and was the invention of Theobald Boehm, the famous improver of
the flute. In Grove's "Dictionary," I have given an approximate date to
his overstringing as 1835, but reference to Boehm's correspondence with
Mr. Walter Broadwood shows me that 1831 was really the time, and
that Boehm employed Gerock and Wolf, of 79 Cornhill, London, musical
instrument makers, to carry out his experiment. Gerock being opposed
to an oblique direction of the strings and hammers, Boehm found a more
willing coadjutor in Wolf. As far as I can learn, a piccolo, a cabinet,
and a square piano were thus made overstrung. Boehm's argument was that
a diagonal was longer within a square than a vertical, which, as he
said, every schoolboy knew. The first overstrung grand pianos seen in
London were made by Lichtenthal, of St. Petersburg; not so much for tone
as for symmetry of the case; two instruments so made were among the
curiosities of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Some years before this,
Henry Pape had made experiments in cross stringing, with the intention
to economize space. His ideas were adopted and continued by the London
maker, Tomkisson, who acquired Pape's rights for this country. The iron
framing in a single casting is a distinctly American invention, but
proceeding, like the overstringing, from a German by birth. The iron
casting for a square piano of the American Alpheus Babcock, may have
suggested Meyer's invention; it was, however, Conrad Meyer, who,
in Philadelphia, and in 1833, first made a real iron frame square
pianoforte. The gradual improvement upon Meyer's invention, during the
next quarter of a century, are first due to the Chickerings and then
the Steinways. The former overstrung an iron frame square, the latter
overstrung an iron frame grand, the culmination of this special make
since of general American and German adoption. It will be seen that, in
the American make, the number of tension bars has not been reduced, but
a diagonal support has, to a certain extent, been accepted and adopted.
The sound-board bridges are much further apart than obtains with the
English grand, or with the Anglo-French Erard. The advocates of the
American principle point out the advantages of a more open scale, and
more equal pressure on the sound-board. They likewise claim, as a gain,
a greater tension. I have no quite accurate information as to what
the sum of the tension may be of an American grand piano. One of
Broadwood's, twenty years ago, had a strain of sixteen and one-half
tons; the strain has somewhat increased since then. The remarkable
improvement in wiredrawing which has been made in Birmingham, Vienna,
and Nuremberg, of late years, has rendered these high tensions of far
easier attainment than they would have been earlier in the century.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--BROADWOOD.]

For me the great drawback to one unbroken casting is in the vibratory
ring inseparable from any metal system that has no resting places to
break the uniform reverberation proceeding from metal. We have already
seen how readily the strings take up vibrations which are only pure
when, as secondary vibrations, they arise by reversion from the
sound-board. If vibration arises from imperfectly elastic wood, we hear
a dull wooden thud; if it comes from metal, partials of the strings are
re-enforced that should be left undeveloped, which give a false ring to
the tone, and an after ring that blurs _legato_ playing, and nullifies
the _staccato_. I do not pose as the obstinate advocate of parallel
stringing, although I believe that, so far, it is the most logical and
the best; the best, because the left hand division of the instrument is
free from a preponderance of dissonant high partials, and we hear the
light and shade, as well as the cantabile of that part, better than by
any overstrung scale that I have yet met with. I will not, I say, offer
a final judgment, because there may come a possible improvement of the
overstrung or double diagonal scale, if that scale is persisted in, and
inventive power is brought to bear upon it, as valuable as that which
has carried the idea thus far.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--BROADWOOD.]

I have not had time to refer other than incidentally to the square
pianoforte, which has become obsolete. I must, however, give a separate
historical sketch of the upright pianoforte, which has risen into
great favor and importance, and in its development--I may say its
invention--belongs to this present 19th century. The form has always
recommended the upright on the score of convenience, but it was long
before it occurred to any one to make an upright key board instrument
reasonably. Upright harpsichords were made nearly four hundred years
ago. A very interesting 17th century one was sold lately in the
great Hamilton sale--sold, I grieve to say, to be demolished for its
paintings. But all vertical harpsichords were horizontal ones, put on
end on a frame; and the book-case upright grand pianos, which, from the
eighties, were made right into the present century, were horizontal
grands similarly elevated. The real inventor of the upright piano, in
its modern and useful form, was that remarkable Englishman, John Isaac
Hawkins, the inventor of ever-pointed pencils; a civil engineer, poet,
preacher, and phrenologist. While living at Border Town, New Jersey, U.
S. A., Hawkins invented the cottage piano--portable grand, he called
it--and his father, Isaac Hawkins, to whom, in Grove's "Dictionary,"
I have attributed the invention, took out, in the year 1800[1], the
English patent for it. I can fortunately show you one of these original
pianinos, which belongs to Messrs. Broadwood. It is a wreck, but you
will discern that the strings descend nearly to the floor, while the
key-board, a folding one, is raised to a convenient height between the
floor and the upper extremities of the strings. Hawkins had an iron
frame and tension rods, within which the belly was entirely suspended;
a system of tuning by mechanical screws; an upper metal bridge; equal
length of string throughout; metal supports to the action, in which a
later help to the repetition was anticipated--the whole instrument being
independent of the case. Hawkins tried also a lately revived notion of
coiled strings in the bass, doing away with tension. Lastly, he sought
for a _sostinente_, which has been tried for from generation to
generation, always to fail, but which, even if it does succeed, will
produce another kind of instrument, not a pianoforte, which owes so much
of its charm to its unsatiating, evanescent tone.

[Transcribers note 1: 3rd digit illegible, best guess from context.]

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--MEYER.]

Once introduced into Hawkins' native country, England, the rise of the
upright piano became rapid. In 1807, at latest, the now obsolete high
cabinet piano was fairly launched. In 1811, Wornum produced a diagonal.
In 1813, a vertical cottage piano. Previously, essays had been made to
place a square piano upright on its side, for which Southwell, an Irish
maker, took out a patent in 1798; and I can fortunately show you one of
these instruments, kindly lent for this paper by Mr. Walter Gilbey. I
have also been favored with photographs by Mr. Simpson, of Dundee, of a
precisely similar upright square. I show his drawing of the action--the
Southwell sticker action. W. F. Collard patented another similar
experiment in 1811. At first the sticker action with a leather hinge
to the hammer-butt was the favorite, and lasted long in England. The
French, however, were quick to recognize the greater merit of Wornum's
principle of the crank action, which, and strangely enough through
France, has become very generally adopted in England, as well as Germany
and elsewhere. I regret I am unable to show a model of the original
crank action, but Mr. Wornum has favored me with an early engraving of
his father's invention. It was originally intended for the high cabinet
piano, and a patent was taken out for it in 1826. But many difficulties
arose, and it was not until 1829 that the first cabinet was so finished.
Wornum then applied it in the same year to the small upright--the
piccolo, as he called it--the principle of which was, through Pleyel and
Pape, adopted for the piano manufacture in Paris. Within the last few
years we have seen the general introduction of Bord's little pianino,
called in England, ungrammatically enough, pianette, in the action of
which that maker cleverly introduced the spiral spring. And, also, of
those large German overstrung and double overstrung upright pianos,
which, originally derived from America, have so far met with favor and
sale in this country as to induce some English makers, at least in the
principle, to copy them.

[Illustration: Fig. 6.--STEINWAY.]

I will conclude this historical sketch by remarking, and as a remarkable
historical fact, that the English firms which in the last century
introduced the pianoforte, to whose honorable exertions we owe a debt of
gratitude, with the exception of Stodart, still exist, and are in the
front rank of the world's competition. I will name Broadwood (whose flag
I serve under), Collard (in the last years of the last century known
as Longman and Clementi), Erard (the London branch), Kirkman, and, I
believe, Wornum. On the Continent there is the Paris Erard house; and,
at Vienna, Streicher, a firm which descends directly from Stein of
Augsburg, the inventor of the German pianoforte, the favorite of Mozart,
and of Beethoven in his virtuoso period, for he used Stein's grands at
Bonn. Distinguished names have risen in the present century, some of
whom have been referred to. To those already mentioned, I should like
to add the names of Hopkinson and Brinsmead in England; Bechstein and
Bluthner in Germany; all well-known makers.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote: Read before the Medico Legal Society, April 5, 1883.]

By HENRY A. MOTT, JR., Ph.D., etc.

Of the various salts of silver, the nitrate, both crystallized and in
sticks (lunar caustic, _Lapis infernalis_), is the only one interesting
to the toxicologist.

This salt is an article of commerce, and is used technically and

Its extensive employment for marking linen, in the preparation of
various hair dyes (Eau de Perse, d'Egypte, de Chiene, d'Afrique), in the
photographer's laboratory, etc., affords ample opportunity to use the
same for poisoning purposes.

Nitrate of silver possesses an acrid metallic taste and acts as a
violent poison.

When injected into a vein of an animal, even in small quantities, the
symptoms produced are dyspnoea,[1] choking, spasms of the limbs and then
of the trunk, signs of vertigo, consisting of inability to stand erect
or walk steadily, and, finally retching and vomiting, and death by
asphyxia. These symptoms, which have usually been attributed to the
coagulating action of the salt upon the blood, have been shown not to
depend upon that change, which, indeed, does not occur, but upon a
direct paralyzing operation upon the cerebro-spinal centers and upon
the heart; but the latter action is subordinate and secondary, and the
former is fatal through asphyxia.

[Footnote 1: Nat. Dispensatory. Alf. Stille & John M. Maisch, Phila.,
1879, p. 232.]

One-third of a grain injected into the jugular vein killed a dog in four
and one-half hours, with violent tetanic spasms.[1]

[Footnote 1: Medical Jurisprudence. Thomas S. Traill, 1857, p 117.]

Devergie states that acute poisoning with nitrate of silver,
administered in the shape of pills, is more frequent than one would
suppose. Yet Dr. Powell[1] states that it should always be given in
pills, as the system bears a dose three times as large as when given in
solution. The usual dose is from one-quarter of a grain to one grain
three times a day when administered as a medicine. In cases of epilepsy
Dr. Powell recommends one grain at first, to be gradually increased
to six. Clocquet[2] has given as much as fifteen grains in a day, and
Ricord has given sixteen grains of argentum chloratum ammoniacale.

[Footnote 1: U.S. Dispensatory, 18th ed., p. 1049. Wood & Bache.]

[Footnote 2: Handbuch der Giftlehre, von A. W. M. Von Hasselt. 1862, p.

Cases of poisoning have resulted from sticks of lunar caustic getting
into the stomach in the process of touching the throat (Boerhave)[1];
in one case, according to Albers, a stick of lunar caustic got into the

[Footnote 1: Virchow's Archiv, Bd. xvii., s. 135. 1859.]

Von Hasselt therefore urges the utmost caution in using lunar caustic;
the sticks and holder should always be carefully examined before use.
An apprentice[1] to an apothecary attempted to commit suicide by taking
nearly one ounce of a solution of nitrate of silver without fatal
result. It must be remarked, however, that the strength of the solution
was not stated.

[Footnote 1: Handbuch der Giftlehre, von A. W. M. Von Hasselt. Zweiter
Theil, 1862. p. 316.]

In 1861, a woman, fifty-one years old, died in three days from the
effects of taking a six-ounce mixture containing fifty grains of nitrate
of silver given in divided doses.[1] She vomited a brownish yellow fluid
before death. The stomach and intestines were found inflamed. It is
stated that silver was found in the substance of the stomach and liver.

[Footnote 1: Treatise on Poison. Taylor, 1875, p. 475.]

It is evident that the poisonous dose, when taken internally, is not so
very small, but still it would not be safe to administer much over the
amounts prescribed by Ricord, for in the case of the dog mentioned one
third of a grain injected into the jugular vein produced death in four
and one-half hours.

The circumstance that more can be taken internally is explained by the
rapid decomposition to which this silver salt is liable in the body by
the proteine substance and chlorine combinations in the stomach, the
hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice, and salt from food.

The first reaction produced by taking nitrate of silver internally is a
combination of this salt with the proteinaceous tissues with which it
comes in contact, as also a precipitation of chloride of silver.

According to Mitscherlich, the combination with the proteine or
albuminous substance is not a permanent one, but suffers a decomposition
by various acids, as dilute acetic and lactic acid.

The absorption of the silver into the system is slow, as the albuminoid
and chlorine combinations formed in the intestinal canal cannot be
immediately dissolved again.

In the tissues the absorbed silver salt is decomposed by the tissues,
and the oxide and metallic silver separate.

Partly for this reason and partly on account of the formation of the
solid albuminates, etc., the elimination of the silver from the body
takes place very slowly. Some of the silver, however, passed out in the
fæces, and, according to Lauderer, Orfila, and Panizza, some can be
detected in the urine.

Bogolowsky[1] has also shown that in rabbits poisoned with preparations
of silver, the (often albuminous) urine and the contents of the (very
full) gall bladder contained silver.

[Footnote 1: Arch. f. Path. Anatomie, xlvi., p. 409. Gaz. Med de Paris,
1868, No. 39. Also Journ. de l'Anatomie et de la Physiologie, 1873, p.

Mayencon and Bergeret have also shown that in men and rabbits the silver
salt administered is quickly distributed in the body, and is but slowly
excreted by the urine and fæces.

Chronic poisoning shows itself in a peculiar coloring of the skin
(Argyria Fuchs), especially in the face, beginning first on the
sclerotic. The skin does not always take the same color; it becomes in
most cases grayish blue, slaty sometimes, though, a greenish brown or
olive color.

Von Hasselt thinks that probably chloride of silver is deposited in
the rete malpighii, which is blackened by the action of light, or that
sulphide of silver is formed by direct union of the silver with the
sulphur of the epidermis. That the action of light is not absolutely
necessary, Patterson states, follows from the often simultaneous
appearance of this coloring upon the mucous membrane, especially that of
the mouth and upon the gums; and Dr. Frommann Hermann[1] and others have
shown that a similar coloring is also found in the internal parts.

[Footnote 1: Leh der Experiment. Tox. Dr. Hermann, Berlin, 1874, p.

Versmann found 14.1 grms. of dried liver to contain 0.009 grm. chloride
of silver, or 0.047 per cent. of metallic silver. In the kidneys he
found 0.007 grm. chloride of silver, or 0.061 per cent. of metallic
silver; this was in a case of chronic poisoning, the percentage will be
seen to be very small. Orfila Jun. found silver in the liver five months
after the poisoning.

Lionville[1] found a deposit of silver in the kidneys, suprarenal gland,
and plexus choroideus of a woman who had gone through a cure with lunar
caustic five years before death.

[Footnote 1: Gaz. Med., 1868. No. 39.]

Sydney Jones[1] states that in the case of an old epileptic who had been
accustomed to take nitrate of silver as a remedy, the choroid plexuses
were remarkably dark, and from their surface could be scraped a brownish
black, soot-like material, and a similar substance was found lying quite
free in the cavity of the fourth ventricle, apparently detached from the
choroid plexus.

[Footnote 1: Trans. Path. Soc., xi. vol.]

Attempts at poisoning for suicidal purposes with nitrate of silver
are in most cases prevented from the fact that this salt has such a
disagreeable metallic taste as to be repulsive; cases therefore of
poisoning are only liable to occur by accident or by the willful
administration of the poison by another person.

Such a case occurred quite recently, to a very valuable mare belonging
to August Belmont.

I received on Dec. 6, 1882, a sealed box from Dr. Wm. J. Provost,
containing the stomach, heart, kidney, portion of liver, spleen, and
portion of rectum of this mare for analysis.

Dr. Provost reported to me that the animal died quite suddenly, and that
there was complete paralysis of the hind quarters, including rectum and

The total weight of the stomach and contents was 18 lb., the stomach
itself weighing 3 lb. and 8 oz.

Portions were taken from each organ, weighed, and put in alcohol for

The contents of the stomach were thoroughly mixed together and measured,
and a weighed portion preserved for analysis.

The stomach, when cut open, was perfectly white on its inner surface,
and presented a highly corroded appearance.

The contents of the stomach were first submitted to qualitative
analysis, and the presence of a considerable quantity of nitrate of
silver was detected.

The other organs were next examined, and the presence of silver was
readily detected, with the exception of the heart!

The liver had a very dark brown color. A quantitative analysis of the
contents of the stomach gave 59.8 grains of nitrate of silver. In the
liver 30.5 grains of silver, calculated as nitrate, were found (average
weight, 11 lb.). From the analysis made there was reason to believe that
at least one-half an ounce of nitrate of silver was given to the animal.
Some naturally passed out in the fæces and urine.

I was able to prepare several globules of metallic silver, as also all
the well known chemical combinations, such as sulphide, chloride, oxide,
iodide, bromide, bichromate of silver, etc.

From the result of my investigation I was led to the conclusion that the
animal came to death by the willful administering of nitrate of silver,
probably mixed with the food.

The paralysis of the hind quarters, mentioned by Dr. Provost, accords
perfectly with the action of this poison, as it acts on the nerve
centers, especially the cerebro-spinal centers, and produces spasms of
the limbs, then of the trunk, and finally paralysis.

I might also state in this connection that, only two weeks previous
to my receiving news of the poisoning of the mare, I examined for
Mr. Belmont the contents of the stomach of a colt which died very
mysteriously, and found large quantities of corrosive sublimate to be

Calomel is often given as a medicine, but not so with corrosive
sublimate, which is usually employed in the arts as a poison.

It is to be regretted that up to the present moment, even with the best
detectives, the perpetrator of this outrage has been at large. Surely
the very limit of the law should be exercised against any man who would
willfully poison an innocent animal for revenge upon an individual.
Cases have been reported in England where one groom would poison the
colts under the care of another groom, so that the owner would discharge
their keeper and promote the other groom to his place.

A few good examples, in cases where punishment was liberally meted out,
would probably check such unfeeling outrages.

       *       *       *       *       *


Prof. Baumgarten has just published in the _Ctbl. f. d. Med. Wiss_., 25,
1882, the following easy method to detect in the expectorated matter of
phthisical persons the pathogenic tubercle bacilli:

Phthisical sputa are dried and made moist with very much diluted potash
lye (1 to 2 drops of a 33 per cent. potash lye in a watch glass of
distilled water). The tubercle bacilli are then easily recognized with a
magnifying power of 400 to 500. By light pressure upon the cover glass
the bacilli are easily pressed out of the masses of detritus and
secretion. To prevent, however, the possibility of mistaking the
tubercle bacilli for other septic bacteria, or vice versa, the following
procedure is necessary: After the examination just mentioned, the cover
glass is lifted up and the little fluid sticking to its under side
allowed to dry, which is done within one or two minutes. Now the cover
glass is drawn two or three times rapidly through a gas flame; one
drop of a diluted (but not too light) common watery aniline solution
(splendid for this purpose is the watery extract of a common aniline ink
paper) is placed upon the glass. When now brought under the microscope,
all the septic bacteria appear colored intensely blue, while the
tubercle bacilli are absolutely colorless, and can be seen as clearly as
in the pure potash lye. We may add, however, that Klebs considers his
own method preferable.

As the whole procedure does not take longer than ten minutes, it is to
be recommended in general practice. The consequences of Koch's important
discovery become daily more apparent, and their application more

       *       *       *       *       *

[Concluded from SUPPLEMENT No. 384, page 6132.]





Observations in Washington, D. C., September 5, 1879, 8:35 A.M., Boston
time, near Congressional Cemetery.

1. Seized with sneezing on my way to cemetery. Examined nasal excretions
and found no Palmellæ.

2. Pool near cemetery. Examined a spot one inch in diameter, raised
in center, green, found Oedegonium abundant. Some desmids, Cosmarium
binoculatum plenty. One or two red Gemiasmas, starch, Protuberans
lamella, Pollen.

3. Specimen soft magma of the pool margin. Oedogonium abundant, spores,
yeast plants, dirt.

4. Sand scraped. No organized forms but pollen, and mobile spores of
some cryptogams.

5. Dew on grass. One stellate compound plant hair, one Gemiasma verdans,
two pollen.

6. Grass flower dew. Some large white sporangia filled with spores.

7. Grass blade dew, not anything of account. One pale Gemiasma, three
blue Gemiasmas, Cosmarium, Closterium. Diatoms, pollen, found in
greenish earth and wet with the dew. Remarks: Observations made at the
pool with clinical microscope, one-quarter inch objective. Day cloudy,
foggy, hot.

8. Green earth in water way from pump near cemetery. Anabaina plentiful.
Diatoms, Oscillatoriaceæ. Polycoccus species. Pollen, Cosmarium,
Leptothrix, Gemiasma, old sporangia, spores many. Fungi belonging to
fruit. Puccinia. Anguillula fluviatilis.

9. Mr. Smith's blood. Spores, enlarged white corpuscles. Two sporangia?
Gemiasma dark brown, black. Mr. Smith is superintendent Congressional
Cemetery. Lived here for seven years. Been a great sufferer with ague.
Says the doctors told him that they could do no more for him than he
could for himself. So he used Ayer's ague cure with good effect for six
months. Then he found the best effect from the use of the Holman liver
ague pad in his own case and that of his children. From his account one
would infer that, notwithstanding the excellence of the ague pad, when
he is attacked, he uses blue mass, followed with purgatives, then 20
grains of quinine. Also has used arsenic, but it did not agree with him.
Also used Capsicum with good results. Had enlarged spleen; not so now.

2d specimen of Mr. Smith's blood. Stelline, no Gemiasma. 3d specimen,
do. One Gemiasma. 4th specimen. None. 5th specimen. Skin scraped showed
no plants. 6th specimen. Urine; amyloid bodies; spores; no sporangia.

United States Magazine store grounds. Observation 1. Margin of
Eastern Branch River. Substance from decaying part of a water plant.
Oscillatoriaceæ. Diatoms. Anguillula. Chytridium. Dirt. No Gemiasma.

Observation 2. Moist soil. Near by, amid much rubbish, one or two
so-called Gemiasmas; white, clear, peripheral margin.

Observation 3. Green deposit on decaying wood. Oscillatoriaceæ.
Protuberans lamella, Gemiasma alba. Much foreign matter.

Mr. Russell, Mrs. R., Miss R., residents of Magazine Grounds presented
no ague plants in their blood. Sergeant McGrath, Mrs. M., Miss M.,
presented three or four sporangias in their blood. Dr. Hodgkins, some in
urine. Dr. H.'s friend with chills, not positive as to ague. No plants

Observations in East Greenwich, R.I., Aug. 16, 1877.

1. At early morn I examined greenish earth, northwest of the town along
the margin of a beautiful brook. Found the Protuberans lamella, the
Gemiasma alba and rubra. Observation 2. Found the same. Observation 3.
Found the same.

Observation 4. Salt marsh below the railroad bridge over the river.

The scrapings of the soil showed beautiful yellow and transparent
Protuberans, beautiful green sporangias of the Gemiasma verdans.

Observation 5. Near the brook named was a good specimen of the Gemiasma
plumba. While I could not find out from the lay people I asked that any
ague was there, I now understand it is all through that locality.

Observation at Wellesley, Mass., Aug. 20, 1877.

No incrustation found. Examined the vegetation found on the margin of
the Ridge Hills Farm pond. Among other things I found an Anguillula
fluviatilis. Abundance of microspores, bacteria. Some of the Protococci.
Gelatinous masses, allied to the protuberans, of a light yellow color
scattered all over with well developed spores, larger than those found
in the Protuberans. One or two oval sporanges with double outlines. This
observation was repeated, but the specimens were not so rich. Another
specimen from the same locality was shown to be made up of mosses by the
venation of leaves.

Mine host with whom I lodged had a microscopical mount of the
Protococcus nivalis in excellent state of preservation. The sporangia
were very red and beautiful, but they showed no double cell wall.

In this locality ague is unknown; indeed, the place is one of unusual
salubrity. It is interesting to note here to show how some of the algæ
are diffused. I found here an artificial pond fed by a spring, and
subject to overflow from another pond in spring and winter. A stream of
living water as large as one's arm (adult) feeds this artificial pond,
still it was crowded with the Clathrocyotis æruginosa of some writers
and the Polycoccus of Reinsch. How it got there has not yet been

The migration of the ague eastward is a matter of great interest; it
is to be hoped that the localities may be searched carefully for your
plants, as I did in New Haven.

In this connection I desire to say something about the presence of the
Gemiasmas in the Croton water. The record I have given of finding
the Gemiasma verdans is not a solitary instance. I did not find the
gemiasmas in the Cochituate, nor generally in the drinking waters of
over thirty different municipalities or towns I have examined during
several years past. I have no difficulty in accounting for the presence
of the Gemiasmas in the Croton, as during the last summer I made studies
of the Gemiasma at Washington Heights, near 165th St. and 10th Ave.,

Plate VIII. is a photograph of a drawing of some of the Gemiasmas
projected by the sun on the wall and sketched by the artist on the wall,
putting the details in from microscopical specimens, viewed in the
ordinary way. This should make the subject of another observation.

I visited this locality several times during August and October, 1881. I
found an abundance of the saline incrustation of which you have spoken,
and at the time of my first visit there was a little pond hole just east
of the point named that was in the act of drying up. Finally it dried
completely up, and then the saline and green incrustations both were
abundant enough. The only species, however, I found of the ague plants
was the Gemiasma verdans. On two occasions of a visit with my pupils I
demonstrated the presence of the plants in the nasal excretions from my
nostrils. I had been sneezing somewhat.

There is one circumstance I would like to mention here: that was, that
when, for convenience' sake, my visits were made late in the day, I
did not find the plants abundant, still could always get enough to
demonstrate their presence; but when my visits were timed so as to come
in the early morning, when the dew was on, there was no difficulty
whatever in finding multitudes of beautiful and well developed plants.

To my mind this is a conclusive corroboration of your own statements in
which you speak of the plants bursting, and being dissipated by the
heat of the summer sun, and the disseminated spores accumulating in
aggregations so as to form the white incrustation in connection with
saline bodies which you have so often pointed out.

I also have repeated your experiments in relation to the collection
of the mud, turf, sods, etc., and have known them to be carried
many hundred miles off and identified. I have also found the little
depressions caused by the tread of cattle affording a fine nidus for the
plants. You have only to scrape the minutest point off with a needle or
tooth pick to find an abundance by examination. I have not been able to
explore many other sites, nor do I care, as I found all the materials I
sought in the vicinity of New York.

To this I must make one exception; I visited the Palisades last summer
and examined the localities about Tarrytown. This is an elevated
location, but I found no Gemiasmas. This is not equivalent to saying
there were none there. Indeed, I have only given you a mere outline of
my work in this direction, as I have made it a practice to examine the
soil wherever I went, but as most of my observations have been conducted
on non-malarious soils, and I did not find the plants, I have not
thought it worth while to record all my observations of a negative

I now come to an important part of the corroborative observations, to
wit, the blood.

I have found it as you predicted a matter of considerable difficulty to
find the mature forms of the Gemiasmas in the blood, but the spore forms
of the vegetation I have no difficulty in finding. The spores have
appeared to me to be larger than the spores of other vegetations that
grow in the blood. They are not capable of complete identification
unless they are cultivated to the full form. They are the so-called
bacteria of the writers of the day. They can be compared with the spores
of the vegetation found outside of the body in the swamps and bogs.

You said that the plants are only found as a general rule in the blood
of old cases, or in the acute, well marked cases. The plants are so few,
you said, that it was difficult to encounter them sometimes. So also of
those who have had the ague badly and got well.

Observation at Naval Hospital, N.Y., Aug., 1877. Examined with great
care the blood of Donovan, who had had intermittent fever badly.
Negative result.

The same was the result of examining another case of typho-malarial
(convalescent); though in this man's blood there were found some
oval and sometimes round bodies like empty Gemiasmas, 1/1000 inch in
diameter. But they had no well marked double outline. There were no
forms found in the urine of this patient. In another case (Donovan,) who
six months previous had had Panama fever, and had well nigh recovered, I
found no spores or sporangia.

Observations made at Washington, D.C., Sept., 1879. At this time I
examined with clinical microscope the blood of eight to ten persons
living near the Congressional Cemetery and in the Arsenal grounds. I was
successful in finding the plants in the blood of five or more persons
who were or had been suffering from the intermittent fever.

In 1877, at the Naval Hospital, Chelsea, I accidentally came across
three well marked and well defined Gemiasmas in the blood of a marine
whom I was studying for another disease. I learned that he had had
intermittent fever not long before.

Another positive case came to my notice in connection with micrographic
work the past summer. The artist was a physician residing in one of the
suburban cities of New York. I had demonstrated to him Gemiasma verdans,
showed how to collect them from the soil in my boxes. And he had made
outline drawings also, for the purposes of more perfectly completing his
drawings. I gave him some of the Gemiasmas between a slide and cover,
and also some of the earth containing the soil. He carried them home. It
so happened that a brother physician came to his house while he was at
work upon the drawings. My artist showed his friend the plants I had
collected, then the plants he collected himself from the earth, and then
he called his daughter, a young lady, and took a drop of blood from
her finger. The first specimen contained several of the Gemiasmas. The
demonstration, coming after the previous demonstrations, carried a
conviction that it otherwise would not have had.


I have found them in the urine of persons suffering or having suffered
from intermittent fever.

When I was at the Naval Hospital in Brooklyn one of the accomplished
assistant surgeons, after I had showed him some plants in the urine,
said he had often encountered them in the urine of ague cases, but did
not know their significance. I might multiply evidence, but think it
unnecessary. I am not certain that my testimony will convince any one
save myself, but I know that I had rather have my present definite,
positive belief based on this evidence, than to be floundering on doubts
and uncertainties. There is no doubt that the profession believe that
intermittents have a cause; but this belief has a vagueness which cannot
be represented by drawings or photograph. Since I have photographed the
Gemiasma, and studied their biology, I feel like holding on to your
dicta until upset by something more than words.

In relation to the belief that no Algæ are parasitic, I would state on
Feb. 9, 1878, I examined the spleen of a decapitated speckled turtle
with Professor Reinsch. We found various sized red corpuscles in the
blood in various stages of formation; also filaments of a green Alga
traversing the spleen, which my associate, a specialist in Algology,
pronounced one of the Oscillatoriaceæ. These were demonstrated in your
own observations made years ago. They show that Algæ are parasitic in
the living spleen of healthy turtles.

This leads to the remark that all parasitic growths are not nocent. I
understand you take the same position. Prof. Reinsch has published a
work in Latin, "Contributiones ad Algologiam," Leipsic, 1874, in which
he gives a large number of drawings and descriptions of Algæ, many of
them entophytic parasites on other animals or Algæ. Many of these he
said were innocent guests of their host, but many guest plants were
death to their host. This is for the benefit of those who say that the
Gemiasmas are innocent plants and do no harm. All plants, phanerogams
or cryptogams, can be divided into nocent or innocent, etc., etc. I
am willing to change my position on better evidence than yours being
submitted, but till then call me an indorser of your work as to the
cause and treatment of ague.

Respectfully, yours, ------

There are quite a number of others who have been over my ground, but the
above must suffice here.

[Illustration: PLATE X.--EXPLANATION OF FIGURES.--1, Spore with thick
laminated covering, constant colorless contents, and dark nucleus.
B, Part of the wall of cell highly magnified, 0.022 millimeter in
thickness. 2, Smaller spore with verruculous covering. 3, Spore with
punctulated covering. 4, The same. 5, Minute spores with blue-greenish
colored contents, 0.0021 millimeter in diameter. 6, Larger form of 5. 7,
Transparent spherical spore, contents distinctly refracting the light,
0.022 millimeter in diameter. 8, Chroococcoid minute cells, with
transparent, colorless covering, 0.0041 millimeter in diameter. 9,
Biciliated zoospore. 10, Plant of the Gemiasma rubra, thallus on both
ends attenuated, composed of seven cells of unequal size. 11, Another
complete plant of rectangular shape composed of regularly attached
cells. 12, Another complete, irregularly shaped and arranged plant. 13,
Another plant, one end with incrassated and regularly arranged cells.
14, Another elliptical shaped plant, the covering on one end attenuated
into a long appendix. 15, Three celled plant. 16, Five celled plant.
10-16 magnified 440/1.]

I wish to conclude this paper by alluding to some published
investigations into the cause of ague, which are interesting, and which
I welcome and am thankful for, because all I ask is investigations--not
words without investigations.

The first the Bartlett following:

Dr. John Bartlett is a gentleman of Chicago, of good standing in the
profession. In January, 1874, he published in the _Chicago Medical
Journal_ a paper on a marsh plant from the Mississippi ague bottoms,
supposed to be kindred to the Gemiasmas. In a consideration of its
genetic relations to malarious disease, he states that at Keokuk, Iowa,
in 1871, near the great ague bottoms of the Mississippi, with Dr. J. P.
Safford, he procured a sod containing plants that were as large as rape
seeds. He sent specimens of the plants to distinguished botanists, among
them M. C. Cook, of London, England. Nothing came of these efforts.

2. In August, 1873, Dr. B. visited Riverside, near Chicago, to hunt up
the ague plants. Found none, and also that the ague had existed there
from 1871.

3. Lamonot, a town on the Illinois and Michigan Canal, was next visited.
A noted ague district. No plants were found, and only two cases of
ague, one of foreign origin. Dr. B. here speaks of these plants of Dr.
Safford's as causing ague and being different from the Gemiasmas. But he
gives no evidence that Safford's plants have been detected in the human
habitat. In justice to myself I would like to see this evidence before
giving him the place of precedence.

4. Dr. B., Sept. 1, 1873, requested Dr. Safford to search for his plants
at East Keokuk. Very few plants and no ague were found where they both
were rife in 1871.

5. Later, Sept. 15, 1873, ague was extremely prevalent at East Keokuk,
Iowa, where two weeks before no plants were found; they existed more
numerously than in 1871.

6. Dr. B. traced five cases of ague, in connection with Dr. Safford's
plants found in a cesspool of water in a cellar 100 feet distant. It is
described as a plant to be studied with a power of 200 diameters, and
consisting of a body and root. The root is a globe with a central cavity
lined with a white layer, and outside of these a layer of green cells.
Diameter of largest plant, one-quarter inch. Cavity of plant filled with
molecular liquid. Root is above six inches in length, Dr. B. found the
white incrustation; he secured the spores by exposing slides at night
over the malarious soil resembling the Gemiasmas. He speaks of finding
ague plants in the blood, one-fifteen-hundredth of an inch in diameter,
of ague patients. He found them also in his own blood associated with
the symptoms of remittent fever, quinine always diminishing or removing
the threatening symptoms. Professors Babcock and Munroe, of Chicago,
call the plants either the Hydrogastrum of Rabenhorst, or the Botrydium
of the Micrographic Dictionary, the crystalline acicular bodies being
deemed parasitic. Dr. B. deserves great credit for his honest and
careful work and for his valuable paper. Such efforts are ever worthy of

There is no report of the full development found in the urine, sputa,
and sweat. Again, Dr. B. or Dr. Safford did not communicate the disease
to unprotected persons by exposure. While then I feel satisfied that the
Gemiasmas produce ague, it is by no means proved that no other cryptogam
may not produce malaria. I observed the plants Dr. B. described, but
eliminated them from my account. I hope Dr. B. will pursue this subject
farther, as the field is very large and the observers are few.

When my facts are upset, I then surrender.


[Footnote: Translated from the _Archives de la Medecine Navale_, vol.
xxx., no. 7, July, 1878, by A. Sibley Campbell, M.D., Augusta, Ga.]

Before giving a succinct account of the discovery of paludal miasma and
of its natural history, I ought in the first place to state that I
have not had the opportunity of reading or studying the great original
treatise of Professor Salisbury. I am acquainted with it only through a
resume published in the _American Journal of the Medical Sciences_
for the year 1866, new series, vol. li. p. 51. At the beginning of my
investigations I was engaged in a microscopic examination of the water
and mud of swampy shores and of the marshes, also with a comparison of
their microphytes with those which might exist in the urine of patients
affected with intermittent fevers. Nearly three months passed without
my being able to find the least agreement, the least connection. Having
lost nearly all hope of being able to attain the end which I had
proposed, I took some of the slime from the marshes and from the masses
of kelp and Confervæ from the sea shores, where intermittent fevers are
endemic, and placed them in saucers under the ordinary glass desiccators
exposed on a balcony, open for twenty-four hours, the most of the time
under the action of the burning rays of the sun. With the evaporated
water deposited within the desiccators, I proceeded to an examination,
drop by drop. I at length found that which I had sought so long, but
always in vain.

The parasite of intermittent fever, which I have termed Limnophysalis
hyalina, and which has been observed before me by Drs. J. Lemaire and
Gratiolet (_Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires de l'Academie des Sciences_,
Paris, 1867, pp. 317 and 318) and B. Cauvet (_Archives de Medecine
Navale_, November, 1876), is a fungus which is developed directly
from the mycelium, each individual of which possesses one or several
filaments, which are simple or dichotomous, with double outlines,
extremely fine, plainly marked, hyaline, and pointed. Under favorable
conditions, that is, with moisture, heat, and the presence of vegetable
matter in decomposition, the filaments of mycelium increase in length.
From these long filaments springs the fungus. The sporangia, or more
exactly the conidia, are composed of unilocular vesicles, perfectly
colorless and transparent, which generally rise from one or both sides
of the filaments of the mycelium, beginning as from little buds or eyes;
very often several (two to three) sporangia occur placed one upon the
other, at least on one side of the mycelium.

With a linear magnitude of 480, the sporangia have a transverse diameter
of one to five millimeters, or a little more in the larger specimens.
The filaments of mycelium, under the same magnitude, appear exceedingly
thin and finer than a hair. The shape of the conidia, though presenting
some varieties, is, notwithstanding, always perfectly characteristic.
Sometimes they resemble in appearance the segments of a semicircle more
or less great, sometimes the wings of butterflies, double or single. It
is only exceptionally that their form is so irregular.

Again, when young, they are perfectly colorless and transparent;
sometimes they are of a beautiful violet or blue color (mykianthinin
mykocyanin). Upon this variety of the Limnophysalis hyalina depends the
vomiting of blue matters observed by Dr. John Sullivan, at Havana, in
patients affected with pernicious intermittent fever (algid and comatose
form). In the perfectly mature sporangia, the sporidia have a dark brown
color (mykophaein). From the sporidia, the Italian physicians, Lanzi and
Perrigi, in the course of their attempts at its cultivation, have seen
produced the Monilia penicinata friesii, which is, consequently, the
second generation of the Limnophysalis hyalina, in which alternate
generation takes place, admitting that their observations may be
verified. The sporangia are never spherical, but always flat. When
they are perfectly developed, they are distinctly separated from their
filament of mycelium by a septum--that is to say, by limiting lines
plainly marked. It is not rare, however, to see the individual sporangia
perfectly isolated and disembarrassed of their filament of mycelium
floating in the water. It seems to me very probable that these isolated
sporangia are identical with the hyaline coagula so accurately described
by Frerichs, who has observed them in the blood of patients dying of
intermittent fevers. But if two sporangia are observed with their bases
coherent without intermediary filaments of mycelium, it seems to me
probable that the reproduction has taken place through the union, which
happens in the following manner: Two filaments of mycelium become
juxtaposed; after which the filaments of mycelium disappear in the
sporangia newly formed, which by this same metamorphosis are deprived of
the faculty of reproducing themselves through the filaments of myclium
of which they are deprived. The smallest portion of a filament
of mycelium evidently possesses the faculty of producing the new

It is unquestionable that the Limnophysalis hyalina enter into the blood
either by the bronchial mucous membrane, by the surface of the pulmonary
vesicles, or by the mucous membrane of the intestinal canal, most often,
no doubt, by the last, with the ingested water; this introduction is
aided by the force of suction and pressure, which facilitates their
absorption. It develops in the glands of Lieberkuhn, and multiplies
itself; after which the individuals, as soon as they are formed, are
drawn out and carried away in the blood of the circulation.

The Limnophysalis hyalina is, in short, a solid body, of an extreme
levity, and endowed with a most delicate organization. It is not a
miasm, in the common signification of the term; it does not carry with
it any poison; it is not vegetable matter in decomposition, but it
flourishes by preference amid the last.

In regard to other circumstances relative to the presence of this
fungus, there are, above all, two remarkable facts, namely, its property
of adhering to surfaces as perfectly polished as that of a mirror, and
its power of resistance against the reagents, if we except the caustic
alkalies and the concentrated mineral acids. This power of resisting the
ordinary reagents explains in a plausible manner why the fungus is not
destroyed by the digestive process in the stomach, where, however, the
acid reaction of the gastric juice probably arrests its development--is
that of the schistomycetes in general--and keeps it in a state of
temporary inactivity. This property of adhering to smooth surfaces
explains perhaps the power of the Eucalyptus globulus in arresting the
progress of paludal miasm (?). But it is evident that other trees,
shrubs, and plants of resinous or balsamic foliage, as, for example, the
Populus balsamifera, Cannabis sativa, Pinus silvestris, Pinus abies,
Juniperus communis, have equally, with us, the same faculty; they are
favorable also for the drying of the soil, and the more completely, as
their roots are spreading, more extended, and more ramified.

In order to demonstrate the presence of the limnophysalis in the blood
of patients affected with intermittent fever during the febrile stage,
properly speaking, it appeared necessary for me to dilute the blood of
patients with a solution of nitrate of potassa, having at 37.5°C. the
same specific gravity as the serum of the blood. With capillary tubes of
glass, a little dilated toward the middle, of the same shape and size as
those which are used in collecting vaccine lymph, I took up a little
of the solution of nitrate of potassa above indicated. After this I
introduced the point of an ordinary inoculating needle under the skin,
especially in the splenic region, where I ruptured some of the smallest
blood-vessels of the subcutaneous cellular tissue. I collected some
of the blood which flowed out or was forced out by pressure, in the
capillary tubes just described, containing a solution of potassa;
after which I melted the ends with the flame of a candle. With all the
intermittent fever patients whose blood I have collected and diluted
during the febrile stage, properly speaking, I have constantly succeeded
in finding the Limnophysalis hyalina in the blood by microscopic

It is only necessary for me to mention here that it is of the highest
importance to be able to demonstrate the presence of fungus in the blood
of the circulation and in the urine of patients in whom the diagnosis
is doubtful. The presence of the Limnophysalis hyalina in the urine
indicates that the patient is liable to a relapse, and that his
intermittent fever is not cured, which is important in a prognostic and
therapeutic point of view.

When the question is to prevent the propagation of intermittent fevers,
it is evident that it should be remembered that the Limnophysalis
hyalina enters into the blood by the mucous membrane of the organs of
respiration, of digestion, and the surface of the pulmonary vesicles. We
have also to consider the soil, and the water that is used for drinking.

In regard to the soil, several circumstances are very worthy of
attention. It is desirable, not only to lower as much as possible the
level of the subterranean water (grunawassen) by pipes of deep drainage,
the cleansing, and if there is reason, the enlargement (J. Ory) of
the capacity of the water collectors, besides covering and keeping in
perfect repair the principal ditches in all the secondary valleys to
render the lands wholesome, but also to completely drain the ground,
diverting the rain water and cultivating the land, in the cultivation of
which those trees, shrubs, and plants should be selected which thrive
the most on marshy grounds and on the shores and paludal coasts of the
sea, and which have their roots most speading and most ramified. Some
of the ordinary grasses are also quite appropriate, but crops of the
cereals, which are obtained after a suitable reformation of marshy
lands, yield a much better return. After the soil in the neighborhood of
the dwellings has been drained and cultivated with care, and in a more
systematic manner than at present, the bottoms of the cellars should be
purified as well as the foundations of the walls and of the houses.

The water intended for drinking, which contains the Limnophysalis
hyalina, should be freed from the fungus by a vigorous filtration. But,
as it is known, the filtering beds of the basins in the water conduits
are soon covered with a thick coating of confervæ, and the Limnophysalis
hyalina then extends from the deepest portions of the filtering beds
into the filtered water subjacent. It is for this reason that it is
absolutely necessary to renew so often the filtering beds of the water
conduits, and, at all events, before they have become coated with a
thick layer of confervæ. The disappearance of intermittent fevers will
testify to the utility of these measures. It is for a similar reason
that wooden barrels are so injurious for equipages. When the wood has
begun to decay by the contact of the impure water, the filaments of
mycelium of the Limnophysalis hyalina penetrate into the decayed wood,
which becomes a fertile soil for the intermittent fever fungi.

The employment for the preparation of mortar of water not filtered, or
of foul, muddy sand which contains the Limnophysalis hyalina, explains
how intermittent fevers may proceed from the walls of houses. This
arises also from the pasting of wall-paper with flour paste prepared
with water which contains an abundance of the fungi of intermittent

The miasm in the latter case is therefore endoecic, or more exactly
entoichic. With us the propagation of intermittent fever has been
observed in persons occupying rooms scoured with unfiltered water
containing the Limnophysalis hyalina in great quantity.

The following imperial ordinance was published on the 25th of March,
1877, by the chief of admiralty of the German marine. It has for its
object the prevention and eradication of infectious diseases:

"In those places where infectious diseases, according to experience, are
prevalent and unusually severe and frequent, it is necessary to abstain
as much as possible from the employment of water taken from without the
ship for cleansing said vessel, and also for washing out the hold when
the water of the sea or of a river, in the judgment of the commander of
a vessel, confirmed by the statement of the physician, is shown to be
surcharged with organic matter liable to putrefaction. With this end in
view, if you are unable to send elsewhere for suitable water, you must
make use of good and fresh water, but with the greatest economy. In that
event the purification of the hold must be accomplished by mechanical
means or by disinfectants."

"As I have demonstrated by my investigations that in the distillation
of paludal water, and that from the marshy shores of the sea, the
Limnophysalis hyalina, which is impalpable, is carried away and may be
detected again after the distillation, it must be insisted that the
water intended to be used for drinking on shipboard shall be carefully
filtered before and after its distillation."

The Klebs-Tommasi and Dr. Sternberg's report, as summarized in the
Supplement No. 14, National Board of Health Bulletin, Washington, D.C.,
July 18, I would cordially recommend to all students of this subject.

I welcome these observers into the field. Nothing but good can come from
such careful and accurate observations into the cause of disease. For
myself I am ready to say that it may be that the Roman gentlemen have
bit on the cause of the Roman fever, which is of such a pernicious type.
I do not see how I can judge, as I never investigated the Roman fever;
still, while giving them all due credit, and treating them with respect,
in order to put myself right I may say that I have long ago ceased to
regard all the bacilli, micrococci, and bacteria, etc., as ultimate
forms of animal or vegetable life. I look upon them as simply the
embryos of mature forms, which are capable of propagating themselves
in this embryonal state. I have observed these forms in many diseased
conditions; many of them in one disease are nothing but the vinegar
yeast developing, away from the air, in the blood where the full
development of the plant is not apt to be found. In diphtheria I
developed the bacteria to the full form--the Mucor malignans. So in the
study of ague, for the vegetation which seems to me to be connected with
ague, I look to the fully developed sporangias as the true plant.

Again, I think that crucial experiments should be made on man for his
diseases as far as it is possible. Rabbits, on which the experiments
were made, for example, are of a different organization and food than
man, and bear tests differently. While there are so many human beings
subject to ague, it seems to me they should be the subjects on whom the
crucial tests are to be made, as I did in my labors.

As far as I can see, Dr. Sternberg's inquiries tend to disprove the
Roman experiments, and as he does not offer anything positive as a
cause of ague, I can only express the hope that he will continue his
investigations with zeal and earnestness, and that he will produce
something positive and tangible in his labors in so interesting and
important a field.

I would then that all would join hands in settling the cause of this
disease; and while I do not expect that all will agree with me, still, I
shall respect others' opinions, and so long as I keep close to my facts
I shall hope my views, based on my facts, will not be treated with


Gemiasma verdans and Gemiasma rubra collected Sept. 10, 1882, on
Washington Heights, near High Bridge. The illustrations show the manner
in which the mature plants discharge their contents.

Plate VIII. A, B, and C represent very large plants of the Gemiasma
verdans. A represents a mature plant. B represents the same plant,
discharging its spores and spermatia through a small opening in the cell
walls. The discharge is quite rapid but not continuous, being spasmodic,
as if caused by intermittent contractions in the cell walls. The
discharge begins suddenly and with considerable force--a sort of
explosion which projects a portion of the contents rapidly and to quite
a little distance. This goes on for a few seconds, and then the cell is
at rest for a few seconds, when the contractions and explosions begin
again and go on as before. Under ordinary conditions it takes a plant
from half an hour to an hour to deliver itself. It is about two-thirds
emptied. C represents the mature plant, entirely emptied of its spore
contents, there remaining inside only a few actively moving spermatia,
which are slowly escaping. The spermatia differ from the spores and
young plants in being smaller, and of possessing the power of moving and
tumbling about rapidly, while the spores of young plants are larger
and quiescent. D, E, F, and G represent mature plants belonging to the
Gemiasma rubra. D represents a ripe plant, filled with spores, embryonic
plants, and spermatia. E represents a ripe plant in the act of
discharging its contents, it being about half emptied. F represents
a ripe plant after its spore and embryonic plant contents are all
discharged, leaving behind only a few actively moving spermatia, which
are slowly escaping. G represents the emptied plant in a quiescent

Figs. A, B, C represent an unusually large variety of the Gemiasma
verdans. This species is usually about the size of the rubra. This
large variety was found on the upper part of New York Island, near High
Bridge, in a natural depression where the water stands most of the
year, except in July, August, and September, when it becomes an area
of drying, cracked mud two hundred feet across. As the mud dries these
plants develop in great profusion, giving an appearance to the surface
as if covered thickly with brick dust.

These depressions and swaily places, holding water part of the year, and
becoming dry during the malarial season, can be easily dried by means
of covered drains, and grassed or sodded over, when they will cease to
grow; this vegetation and ague in such localities will disappear.

The malarial vegetations begin to develop moderately in July, but do not
spring forth abundantly enough to do much damage till about the middle
of August, when they in ague localities spring into existence in vast
multitudes, and continue to develop in great profusion till frost comes.

       *       *       *       *       *


By Prof Paulus F. Reinsch.

Author Algæ of France, 1866; Latest Observations on Algology, 1867;
Chemical Investigation of the Connections of the Lias and Jura
Formations, 1859; Chemical Investigation of the Viscum Album, 1860;
Contributions to Algology and Fungology, 1874-75, vol. i.; New
Investigation of the Microscopic Structure of Pit Coal, 1881;
Micrographic Photographs of the Structure and Composition of Pit Coal,

Dr. Cutter writes me September 28, 1882: "My dear Professor: By this
mail I send you a specimen of the Gemiasma rubra of Salisbury, described
in 1862, as found in bogs, mud holes, and marshes of ague districts, in
the air suspended at night, in the sputa, blood, and urine, and on
the skin of persons suffering with ague. It is regarded as one of the
Palmellaceæ. This rubra is found in the more malignant and fatal types
of the disease. I have found it in all the habitats described by Dr.
Salisbury. Both he and myself would like you to examine and hear what
you have to say about it."

The substance of clayish soil contains, besides fragments of shells of
larger diatoms (Suriella synhedra), shells of Navicula minutissima,
Pinnularia viridis. Spores belonging to various cryptogams.

1. Spherical transparent spores with laminated covering and dark
nucleus--0.022 millimeter in diameter.

2. Spherical spores with thick covering of granulated surface.

3. Spherical spores with punctulated surface--0.007 millimeter in

4. Very minute, transparent, bluish-greenish colored spores, with thin
covering and finely granulated contents--0.006 millimeter in diameter.

5. Chroococcoid cells with two larger nuclei--0.0031 millimeter in
diameter. Sometimes biciliated minute cells are found; without any doubt
they are zoospores derived from any algoid or fungoid species.

I cannot say whether there exists any genetic connection between these
various sorts of spores. It seems to me that probably numbers 1-4
represent resting states of the hyphomycetes.

No. 5 represents one and two celled states of chroococcus species belong
to Chroococcus minutus.

The crust of the clayish earth is covered with a reddish brown covering
of about half a millimeter in thickness. This covering proves to be
composed, under the microscope, of cellular filaments and various shaped
bodies of various composition. They are made up of cells with densely
and coarsely granulated reddish colored contents--shape, size, and
composition are very variable, as shown in the figures. _The cellular
bodies make up the essential organic part of the clayish substance, and,
without any doubt, if anything of the organic compounds of the substance
is in genetical connection with the disease, these bodies would have
this role_. The structure and coloration of cell contents exhibit the
closest alliance to the characteristics of the division of Chroolepideæ
and of this small division of Chlorophyllaceous Algæ, nearest to
Gongrosira--a genus whose five to six species are inhabitants of fresh
water, mostly attached to various minute aquatic Algæ and mosses. Each
cell of all the plants of this genus produces a large number of mobile

Fig. 9 represents very probably one zoospore developed from these plants
as figured from 10 to 16.

       *       *       *       *       *


M. Berthelot, in the _Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie_ for March,
states that from peculiar physical relations he is led to suspect that
the true element carbon is unknown, and that diamond and graphite are
substances of a different order. Elementary carbon ought to be gaseous
at the ordinary temperature, and the various kinds of carbon which
occur in nature are in reality polymerized products of the true element
carbon. Spectrum analysis is thought to confirm this view; and it is
supposed the second spectrum seen in a Geissler tube belongs to gaseous
carbon. This spectrum, which has been recognized along with that of
hydrogen in the light of the tails of comets, indicates a carbide,
probably acetylene.

       *       *       *       *       *



When tinned iron serves for containing alimentary matters, it is
essential that the tin employed should be free from lead. The latter
metal is rapidly oxidized on the surface and is dissolved in this form
in the neutral acids of vegetables, meat, etc. The most exact method
of demonstrating the presence of lead consists in treating the
alloy--so-called tin--with _aqua regia_ containing relatively little
nitric acid. The whole dissolves; the excess of acid is driven off by
evaporation at a boiling heat, and the residue, diluted with water, is
saturated with hydrogen sulphide. The iron remains in solution, while
the mixed lead and tin sulphides precipitated are allowed to digest for
a long time in an alkaline sulphide. The tin sulphide only dissolves; it
is filtered off and converted into stannic acid, while the lead sulphide
is transformed into sulphate and weighed as such.

       *       *       *       *       *



To a cold solution containing 1 per cent. of bromine, 1 per cent. of
caustic soda at 36° B. is added, then the material, to be bleached is
first wet and then immersed in this bath until completely decolorized.
It is passed into a newly-acidulated bath, rinsed, and dried. After the
bromine bath has been used up, it is regenerated by adding 1 per cent.
of sulphuric acid, which liberates the bromine. To the same bath
caustic soda is added, which regenerates the hypobromite of soda. The
hydrofluosilicic acid can be used, instead of the sulphuric acid, with
greater advantage. A bath used up can also be regenerated by means of
the electric current.

       *       *       *       *       *


These colors are not suitable for converting white wine into red, but
they can be used for giving wines a faint red tint, for darkening pale
red wines, and in making up a factitious bouquet essence, which is added
to red wines. The most suitable methods for the detection of magenta are
those given by Romei and Falieres-Ritter. If a wine colored with archil
and one colored with cudbear are treated treated according to Romei's
method, the former gives, with basic lead acetate, a blue, and the
latter a fine violet precipitate. The filtrate, if shaken up with amylic
alcohol, gives it in either case a red color. A knowledge of this fact
is important, or it may be mistaken for magenta. The behavior of the
amylic alcohol, thus colored red, with hydrochloric acid and ammonia is
characteristic. If the red color is due to magenta, it is destroyed by
both these reagents, while hydrocholoric acid does not decolorize the
solutions of archil and cudbear, and ammonia turns their red color to a
purple violet. If the wine is examined according to the Falieres-Ritter
method in presence of magenta, ether, when shaken up with the wine,
previously rendered ammoniacal, remains colorless, while if archil
or cudbear is present the ether is colored red. Wartha has made a
convenient modification in the Falieres-Ritter method by adding ammonia
and ether to the concentrated wine while still warm. If the red color of
the wool is due to archil or cudbear, it is extracted by hydrochloric
acid, which is colored red. Ammonia turns the color to a purple violet.
König mixed 50 c.c. wine with ammonia in slight excess, and places in
the mixture about one-half grm. clean white woolen yarn. The whole is
then boiled in a flask until all the alcohol and the excess of ammonia
are driven off. The wool taken out of the liquid and purified by washing
in water and wringing is moistened in a test-tube with pure potassa
lye at 10 per cent. It is carefully heated till the wool is completely
dissolved, and the solution, when cold, is mixed first with half its
volume of pure alcohol, upon which is carefully poured the same volume
of ether, and the whole is shaken. The stratum of ether decanted off is
mixed in a test-tube with a drop of acetic acid. A red color appears if
the slightest trace of magenta is present. The shaking must not be too
violent, lest an emulsion should be formed. If the wine is colored with
archil, on prolonged heating, after the addition of ammonia, it is
decolorized. If it is then let cool and shaken a little, the red color
returns. If the wool is taken out of the hot liquid after the red color
has disappeared, and exposed to the air, it takes a red color. But if
it is quickly taken out of the liquid and at once washed, there remains
merely a trace of color in the wool. If these precautions are observed,
magenta can be distinguished from archil with certainty according to
König's method. As the coloring-matter of archil is not precipitated
by baryta and magnesia, but changed to a purple, the baryta method,
recommended by Pasteur, Balard, and Wurtz, and the magnesia test, are
useless. Magenta may in course of time be removed by the precipitates
formed in the wine. It is therefore necessary to test not merely the
clear liquid, but the sediment, if any.--_Dr. B. Haas, in Budermann's

       *       *       *       *       *


Panax Victoriæ is a compact and charming plant, which sends up numbers
of stems from the bottom in place of continually growing upward and thus
becoming ungainly; it bears a profusion of elegantly curled, tasseled,
and variegated foliage, very catching to the eye, and unlike any of its
predecessors. The other, P. dumosum, is of similar habit, the foliage
being crested and fringed after the manner of some of our rare crested
ferns.--_The Gardeners' Chronicle_.

[Illustration: PANAX VICTORIÆ.]

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote: Read at an evening meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society,
London, April 4, 1883.]

By Professor ATTFIELD, F.R.S.

Beneath a white birch tree growing in my garden I noticed, yesterday
evening, a very wet place on the gravel path, the water of which was
obviously being fed by the cut extremity of a branch of the birch about
an inch in diameter and some ten feet from the ground. I afterward found
that exactly fifteen days ago circumstances rendered necessary the
removal of the portion of the branch which hung over the path, 4 or 5
feet being still left on the tree. The water or sap was dropping fast
from the branch, at the rate of sixteen large drops per minute, each
drop twice or thrice the size of a "minim," and neither catkins nor
leaves had yet expanded. I decided that some interest would attach to a
determination both of the rate of flow of the fluid and of its chemical
composition, especially at such a stage of the tree's life.

A bottle was at once so suspended beneath the wound as to catch the
whole of the exuding sap. It caught nearly 5 fluid ounces between eight
and nine o'clock. During the succeeding eleven hours of the night 44
fluid ounces were collected, an average of 4 ounces per hour. From 8:15
to 9:15 this morning, very nearly 7 ounces were obtained. From 9:15
to 10:15, with bright sunshine, 8 ounces. From 10:15 until 8:15 this
evening the hourly record kept by my son Harvey shows that the amount
during that time has slowly diminished from 8 to a little below 7 ounces
per hour. Apparently the flow is faster in sunshine than in shade, and
by day than by night.

It would seem, therefore, that this slender tree, with a stem which at
the ground is only 7 inches in diameter, having a height of 39 feet,
and before it has any expanded leaves from whose united surfaces large
amounts of water might evaporate, is able to draw from the ground about
4 liters, or seven-eighths of a gallon of fluid every twenty-four hours.
That at all events was the amount flowing from this open tap in its
water system. Even the topmost branches of the tree had not become,
during the fifteen days, abnormally flaccid, so that, apparently, no
drainage of fluid from the upper portion of the tree had been taking
place. For a fortnight the tree apparently had been drawing, pumping,
sucking--I know not what word to use--nearly a gallon of fluid daily
from the soil in the neigborhood of its roots. This soil had only an
ordinary degree of dampness. It was not wet, still less was there any
actually fluid water to be seen. Indeed, usually all the adjacent soil
is of a dry kind, for we are on the plateau of a hill 265 feet above the
sea, and the level of the local water reservoir into which our wells dip
is about 80 feet below the surface. My gardener tells me that the tree
has been "bleeding" at about the same rate for fourteen of the fifteen
days, the first day the branch becoming only somewhat damp. During the
earlier part of that time we had frosts at night, and sunshine, but with
extremely cold winds, during the days. At one time the exuding sap
gave, I am told by two different observers, icicles a foot long. A much
warmer, almost summer, temperature has prevailed during the past three
days, and no wind. This morning the temperature of the sap as it escaped
was constant at 52° F., while that of the surrounding air was varying

The collected sap was a clear, bright, water-like fluid. After a pint
had stood aside for twelve hours, there was the merest trace of a
sediment at the bottom of the vessel. The microscope showed this to
consist of parenchymatous cells, with here and there a group of
the wheel-like or radiating cells which botanists, I think, term
sphere-crystals. The sap was slightly heavier than water, in the
proportion of 1,005 to 1,000. It had a faintly sweet taste and a very
slight aromatic odor.

Chemical analysis showed that this sap consisted of 99 parts of pure
water with 1 part of dissolved solid matter. Eleven-twelfths of the
latter were sugar.

That the birch readily yields its sap when the wood is wounded is well
known. Philipps, quoted by Sowerby, says:

  "Even afflictive birch,
  Cursed by unlettered youth, distills,
  A limpid current from her wounded bark,
  Profuse of nursing sap."

And that birch sap contains sugar is known, the peasants of many
countries, especially Russia, being well acquainted with the art of
making birch wine by fermenting its saccharine juice.

But I find no hourly or daily record of the amount of sugar-bearing
sap which can be drawn from the birch, or from any tree, before it
has acquired its great digesting or rather developing and transpiring
apparatus--its leaf system. And I do not know of any extended chemical
analysis of sap either of the birch, or other tree.

Besides sugar, which is present in this sap to the extent of 616
grains--nearly an ounce and a half--per gallon, there are present a
mere trace of mucilage; no starch; no tannin; 3½ grains per gallon
of ammoniacal salts yielding 10 per cent. of nitrogen; 3 grains of
albuminoid matter yielding 10 per cent. of nitrogen; a distinct trace of
nitrites; 7.4 grains of nitrates containing 17 per cent. of nitrogen; no
chlorides, or the merest trace; no sulphates; no sodium salts; a little
of potassium salts; much phosphate and organic salts of calcium; and
some similar magnesian compounds. These calcareous and magnesian
substances yield an ash when the sap is evaporated to dryness and the
sugar and other organic matter burnt away, the amount of this residual
matter being exactly 50 grains per gallon. The sap contained no peroxide
of hydrogen. It was faintly if at all acid. It held in solution a
ferment capable of converting starch into sugar. Exposed to the air it
soon swarmed with bacteria, its sugar being changed to alcohol.

A teaspoonful or two of, say, apple juice, and a tablespoonful of sugar
put into a gallon of such rather hard well-water as we have in our
chalky district, would very fairly represent this specimen of the sap of
the silver birch. Indeed, in the phraseology of a water-analyst, I may
say that the sap itself has 25 degrees of total, permanent hardness.

How long the tree would continue to yield such a flow of sap I cannot
say; probably until the store of sugar it manufactured last summer to
feed its young buds this spring was exhausted. Even within twenty-four
hours the sugar has slightly diminished in proportion in the fluid.

Whether or not this little note throws a single ray of light on the much
debated question of the cause of the rise of sap in plants I must leave
to botanists to decide. I cannot hope that it does, for Julius Sachs,
than whom no one appears to have more carefully considered the subject,
says, at page 677 of the recently published English translation of his
textbook of botany, that "although the movements of water in plants have
been copiously investigated and discussed for nearly two hundred years,
it is nevertheless still impossible to give a satisfactory and deductive
account of the mode of operation of these movements in detail." As
a chemist and physicist myself, knowing something about capillary
attraction, exosmose, endosmose, atmospheric pressure, and gravitation
generally, and the movements caused by chemical attraction, I am afraid
I must concur in the opinion that we do not yet know the real ultimate
cause or causes of the rise of sap in plants.

Ashlands, Watford, Herts.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote: Abstract of a recent discussion before the Connecticut State
Board of Agriculture.]

Prof. W. A. Stearns, in a lecture upon the utility of birds in
agriculture, stated that the few facts we do know regarding the matter
have been obtained more through the direct experience of those who have
stumbled on the facts they relate than those who have made any special
study of the matter. One great difficulty has been that people looked
too far and studied too deeply for facts which were right before them.
For instance, people are well acquainted with the fact that hawks,
becoming bold, pounce down upon and carry off chickens from the
hen-yards and eat them. How many are acquainted with the fact that in
hard winters, when pressed for food, crows do this likewise? But
what does this signify? Simply that the crow regulates its food from
necessity, not from choice.

Now, carry this fact into operation in the spring into the cornfield. Do
you suppose that the crow, being hungry, and dropping into a field of
corn wherein is abundance to satisfy his desires, stops, as many affirm,
to pick out only those kernels which are affected with mildew, larva, or
weevil? Does he instinctively know what corns, when three or four inches
beneath the ground, are thus affected? Not a bit of it. To him, a
strictly grain-feeding and not an insect-eating bird, the necessity
takes the place of the choice. He is hungry; the means of satisfying his
hunger are at hand. He naturally drops down in the first cornfield
he sees, calls all his neighbors to the feast, and then roots up and
swallows all the kernels until he can hold no more. There is no doubt
the crow is a damage to the agriculturist. He preys upon the cornfield
and eats the corn indiscriminately, whether there are any insects or
not. That has been proved by dissection of stomach and crop.

If corn can be protected by tarring, so that the crows will not eat it,
they will prove a benefit by leaving the corn and picking up grubs in
the field. Where corn has been tarred, I have never known the crows to
touch it.

Mr. Sedgwick remarked that, in addition to destroying the corn crop, the
crow was also very destructive of the eggs of other birds. Last spring
I watched a pair of crows flying through an orchard, and in several
instances saw them fly into birds' nests, take out the eggs, and then go
on around the field.

In answer to Mr. Hubbard, who claimed the crow would eat animal food in
any form, and might not be rightly classified as a grain-eating bird,
Prof. Stearns said the crow was thus classified by reason of the
structure of its crop being similar to that of the finches, the
blackbird, the sparrows, and other seed-eating birds.

[Illustration: THE AMERICAN CROW.]

Mr. Wetherell said: Crows are greedy devourers of the white worm, which
sometimes destroys acres of grass. As a grub eater, the crow deserves
much praise. The crow is the scavenger of the bird family, eating
anything and everything, whether it is sweet or carrion. The only
quarrel I have with the crow is because it destroys the eggs and young

Mr. Lockwood described the experience of a neighbor who planted corn
after tarring it. This seemed to prevent the ravages of the crows until
the second hoeing, when the corn was up some eighteen inches, at which
time the crows came in and pulled nearly an acre clean.

Crows, said Dr. Riggs, have no crop, like a great many carnivorous
birds. The passage leading from the mouth goes directly to the gizzard,
something like the duck. The duck has no crop, yet the passage leading
from the mouth to the gizzard in the duck becomes considerably enlarged.
In the crow there is no enlargement of this passage, and everything
passes directly into the gizzard, where it is digested.

Dr. Riggs had raised corn and watched the operations of the crows. Going
upon the field in less than a minute after the crows had left it, he
found they had pulled the corn, hill after hill, marching from one hill
to the other. Not until the corn had become softened and had come up
would they molest it. In the fall they would come in droves on to a
field of corn, where it is in stacks, pick out the corn from the husks,
and put it into their gizzards. They raid robbins' nests and swallows'
nests, devouring eggs and young birds. Yet crows are great scavengers.
In the spring they get a great many insects and moths from the ground,
and do good work in picking up those large white grubs with red heads
that work such destruction in some of our mowing fields.

Mr. Pratt stated that he had used coal tar on his seed corn for five or
six years, and had never a spear pulled by the crows. Dr. Riggs never
had known a crow to touch corn after it got to the second tier of
leaves. Mr. Lockwood said crows would sample a whole field of corn to
find corn not tarred. Mr. Pratt recommended to pour boiling water on the
corn before applying the tar. A large tablespoonful of tar will color a
pail of water.

According to Dr. Riggs, the hot mixture with the corn must be stirred
continually; if not, the life of the corn will be killed and germination
prevented. It may be poured on very hot, if the stirring is kept up and
too much tar is not used. If the water is hot it will dissolve the tar,
and as it is poured on it will coat every kernel of corn. If the water
is allowed to stand upon the corn any great length of time, the chit of
the corn will be damaged. The liquid should be poured off and the corn
allowed to cool immediately after a good stirring.

Mr. Gold had known of crows pulling corn after the second hoeing, when
the scare-crows had been removed from the field. The corn thus pulled
had reached pretty good size. This pulling must have been done from
sheer malice on the part of the crows.

Mr. Ayer was inclined to befriend the crow. For five years he had
planted from eight to twelve acres of corn each year and had not lost
twenty hills by crows. He does not use tar, but does not allow himself
to go out of a newly-planted cornfield without first stretching a string
around it on high poles and also providing a wind-mill with a little
rattle box on it to make a noise. With him this practice keeps the crows

Mr. Goodwin thought crows were scavengers of the forests and did good
service in destroying the worms, grubs, and insects that preyed upon
our trees. He had raised some forty crops of corn, and whenever he had
thoroughly twined it at the time of planting, crows did not pull it up.
In damp spots, during the wet time and after his twine was down, he had
known crows to pull up corn that was seven or eight inches high.

Respecting crows as insect eaters, Prof. Stearns admitted that they did
devour insects; he had seen them eat insects on pear trees. Tame crows
at his home had been watched while eating insects, yet a crow will
eat corn a great deal quicker than he will eat insects.--_Boston

       *       *       *       *       *


On examining the strange forms shown in the accompanying engraving, many
persons would suppose they were looking at exotic insects. Although this
is true for many species of this group, which are indigenous to warm
countries, and reach at the most only the southern temperate zone, yet
there are certain of these insects that are beginning to be found in
France, to the south of the Loire, and that are always too rare, since,
being exclusively feeders on living prey, they prove useful aids to us.

These insects belong among the orthoptera--an order including species
whose transformations are less complete than in other groups, and whose
larval and pupal forms are very active, and closely resemble the imago.
Two pairs of large wings characterize the adult state, the first pair
of which are somewhat thickened to protect the broad, net-veined hinder
pair, which fold up like a fan upon the abdomen. The hind legs are large
and adapted for leaping.

The raptorial group called _Mantidæ_, which forms the subject of this
article, includes species that maybe easily recognized by their large
size, their enormous, spinous fore legs, which are adapted for seizing
other insects, and from their devotional attitude when watching their

These insects exhibit in general the phenomenon of mimicry, or
adaptation for protection, through their color and form, some being
green, like the plants upon which they live, others yellowish or
grayish, and others brownish like dead leaves.

In the best known species, _Mantis religiosa_, the head is triangular,
the eyes large, the prothorax very long, and the body narrowed and
lengthened; the anterior feet are armed with hooks and spines, and the
shanks are capable of being doubled up on the under side of the thighs.
When at rest it sits upon the four posterior legs, with the head and
prothorax nearly erect, and the anterior feet folded backward. The
female insect attains a length of 54 millimeters, and the male only 40.

The color is of a handsome green, sometimes yellow, or of a yellowish
red. The insects are slow in their motions, waiting on the branches of
trees and shrubs for some other insect to pass within their reach, when
they seize and hold it with the anterior feet, and tear it to pieces.
They are very voracious, and sometimes prey upon each other. Their eggs
are deposited in two long rows, protected by a parchment-like envelope,
and attached to the stalk of a plant. The nymph is as voracious as the
perfect insect, from which it differs principally in the less developed

The devotional attitude of these insects when watching for their
prey--their fore legs being elevated and joined in a supplicating
manner--has given them in English the popular names of "soothsayer,"
"prophet," and "praying mantis," in French, "prie-Dieu," in Portuguese,
"louva-Deos," etc. According to Sparmann, the Nubians and Hottentots
regard mantides as tutelary divinities, and worship them as such. A
monkish legend tells us that Saint Francis Xavier, having perceived a
mantis holding its legs toward heaven, ordered it to sing the praises of
God, when immediately the insect struck up one of the most exemplary of
canticles! Pison, in his "Natural History of the East Indies," makes use
of the word _Vates_ (divine) to designate these insects, and speaks of
that superstition, common to both Christians and heathens, that assigns
to them the gifts of prophecy and divination. The habit that the mantis
has of first stretching out one fore leg, and then the other, and of
preserving such a position for some little time, has also led to the
belief among the illiterate that it is in the act, in such cases, of
pointing out the road to the passer by.


The old naturalist, Moufet, in his _Theatrum Insectorum_ (London, 1634),
says of the praying mantis (_M. religiosa_) that it is reported so
divine that if a child asks his way of it, it will show him the right
road by stretching out its leg, and that it will rarely or never deceive

This group of insects is most abundant in the tropical regions of
Africa, South America, and India, but some species are found in the
warmer parts of North America, Europe, and Australia. The American
species is the "race-horse" (_M. carolina_), and occurs in the Southern
and Western States. Burmeister says that _M. argentina_, of Buenos
Ayres, seizes and eats small birds.

The genera allied to _Mantis--Vates, Empusa, Harpax_, and
_Schizocephala_--occur in the tropics. The genus _Eremophila_ inhabits
the deserts of Northern Africa, where it resembles the sand in color.

The species shown in the engraving (which we borrow from _La Nature_)
inhabit France.

       *       *       *       *       *


There are usually found in the month of June, especially near water,
certain insects that are called Ephemera, and which long ago acquired
true celebrity, and furnished material for comparison to poets and
philosophers. Indeed, in the adult state they live but one day, a fact
that has given them their name. They appear for a few hours, fluttering
about in the rays of a sun whose setting they are not to see, as they
live during the space of a single twilight only. These insects have
very short antennæ, an imperfect mouth incapable of taking food, and
delicate, gauze like wings, the posterior ones of which are always
small, or even rudimentary or wanting. Their legs are very delicate--the
anterior ones very long--and their abdomen terminates in two or three
long articulated filaments. One character, which is unique among
insects, is peculiar to Ephemerids; the adults issuing from the pupal
envelope undergo still another moult in divesting themselves of a thin
pellicle that covers the body, wings, and other appendages. This is what
is called the _subimago_, and precedes the imago or perfect state of the
insect. The short life of adult May-flies is, with most of them, passed
in a continual state of agitation. They are seen rising vertically in
a straight line, their long fore-legs stretched out like antennæ, and
serving to balance the posterior part of the body and the filaments
of the abdomen during flight. On reaching a certain height they allow
themselves to descend, stretching out while doing so their long wings
and tail, which then serve as a parachute. Then a rapid working of these
organs suddenly changes the direction of the motion, and they begin to
ascend again. Coupling takes place during these aerial dances. Soon
afterward the females approach the surface of the water and lay therein
their eggs, spreading them out the while with the caudal filaments, or
else depositing them all together in one mass that falls to the bottom.

These insects seek the light, and are attracted by an artificial one,
describing concentric circles around it and finally falling into it and
being burnt up. Their bodies on falling into the water constitute a food
which is eagerly sought by fishes, and which is made use of by fishermen
as a bait.

But the above is not the only state of Ephemerids, for their entire
existence really lasts a year. Linnæus has thus summed up the total life
of these little creatures: "The larvæ swim in water; and, in becoming
winged insects, have only the shortest kind of joy, for they often
celebrate in a single day their wedding, parturition, and funeral
obsequies." The eggs, in fact, give birth to more or less elongated
larvæ, which are always provided with three filaments at the end of
the abdomen, and which breathe the oxygen dissolved in the water by
tracheo-branchiæ along the sides of the body. They are carnivorous, and
live on small animal prey. The most recent authors who have studied
them are Mr. Eaton, in England, and Mr. Vayssiere, of the Faculte des
Sciences, at Marseilles.

_A propos_ of the larvæ of Ephemera or May-flies, we must speak of one
of the entomological rarities of France, the nature and zoological place
of which it has taken more than a century to demonstrate. Geoffroy, the
old historian of the insects of the vicinity of Paris, was the first to
find in the waters of the Seine a small animal resembling one of the
Daphnids. This animal has six short and slender thoracic legs, which
terminate in a hook and are borne on the under side of the cephalic
shield. This latter is provided above with two slender six-jointed
antennæ, two very large faceted eyes at the side, and three ocelli
forming a triangle. The large thoraceo-abdominal shield is hollowed out
behind into two movable valves which cover the first five segments of
the abdomen (Fig. 1). The last four segments, of decreasing breadth,
are retractile beneath the carapax, as is also the broad plume that
terminates them, and which is formed of three short, transparent, and
elegantly ciliated bristles. These are the locomotive organs of the
animal, whose total length, with the segments of the tail expanded, does
not exceed seven to eight millimeters. The animal is found in running
waters, at a depth of from half a meter to a meter and a half. It hides
under stones of all sizes, and, as soon as it is touched, its first care
is to fix itself by the breast to their rough surface, and then to swim
off to a more quiet place. It fastens itself so firmly to the stone that
it is necessary to pass a thin knife-blade under it in order to detach

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--LARVA OF MAY FLY. (Magnified 12 times.)]

Geoffroy, because of the two large eyes, and without paying attention to
the ocelli, named this larva the "feather-tailed binocle." C. Dumeril,
in 1876, found it again in pools that formed after rains, and named the
creature (which is of a bluish color passing to red) the "pisciform
binocle." Since then, this larva has been found in the Seine at
Point-du-Jour, Bas-Meudon, and between Epone and Mantes. Latreille,
in 1832, decided it to be a crustacean, and named it _Prosopistoma
foliaceum_. In September, 1868, the animal was found at Toulouse by Dr.
E. Joly in the nearly dry Garonne. Finally, in 1880, Mr. Vayssiere met
with it in abundance in the Rhone, near Avignon.

The abnormal existence of a six-legged crustacean occupied the
attention of naturalists considerably. In 1869, Messrs. N. and E. Joly
demonstrated that the famous "feather-tailed binocle" was the larva of
an insect. They found in its mouth the buccal pieces of the Neuroptera,
and, under the carapax, five pairs of branchial tufts attached to the
segments that are invisible outwardly. Inside the animal were found
tracheæ, the digestic tube of an insect, and malpighian canals.
Finally, in June, 1880, Mr. Vayssière was enabled to establish the fact
definitely that the insect belonged among the Ephemerids. Two of the
larvae that he raised in water became, from yellowish, gradually brown.
Then they crawled up a stone partially out of water, the carapax
gradually split, and the adults readily issued therefrom--the head
first, then the legs, and finally the abdomen. At the same time, the
wings, which were in three folds in the direction of their length,
spread out in their definite form (Fig. 2). The insects finally flew
away to alight at a distance from the water. The wings of the insect,
which are of an iron gray, are covered with a down of fine hairs. The
posterior ones soon disappear.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--MAY-FLY (adult magnified 14 times).]

Perhaps the subimago in this genus of Ephemerids, as in certain others,
is the permanent aerial state of the female.--_La Nature_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Connecticut is rapidly advancing in the cultivation of oysters. About
90,000 acres are now planted, and thirty steamers and many sailing
vessels are engaged in the trade.

       *       *       *       *       *


It is well known that the water of different lakes and rivers differs in
color. The Mediterranean Sea is indigo blue, the ocean sky blue, Lake
Geneva is azure, while the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons and Lake
Constance, in Switzerland, as well as the river Rhine, are chrome green,
and Kloenthaler Lake is grass green.

Tyndall thought that the blue color of water had a similar cause as
the blue color of the air, being blue by reflected light and red by
transmitted light. W. Spring has recently communicated to the Belgian
Academy the results of his investigations upon the color of water.
He proved that perfectly pure water in a tube 10 meters long had a
distinctly blue color, while it ought, according to Tyndall, to look
red. Spring also showed that water in which carbonate of lime, silica,
clay, and salts were suspended in a fine state of division offered a
resistance to the passage of light that was not inconsiderable. Since
the red and violet light of the spectrum are much more feeble than the
yellow, the former will be completely absorbed, while the latter passes
through, producing, with the blue of the water itself, different shades
of green.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is to be held in Paris this year, from the 1st to the 22d of July,
an insect exhibition, organized by the Central Society of Agriculture
and Insectology. It will include (1) useful insects; (2) their products,
raw, and in the first transformations; (3) apparatus and instruments
used in the preparation of these products; (4) injurious insects and
the various processes for destroying them; (5) everything relating to

       *       *       *       *       *

A catalogue, containing brief notices of many important scientific
papers heretofore published in the SUPPLEMENT, may be had gratis at this

       *       *       *       *       *




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