Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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ste,m by papillae, which were buried in deep cylindrical hollows in the stem. Brongniart
first suspected that they were roots, and Binney placed the question beyond doubt by
discovering a specimen in which the trunk of a sigillaria rose from the crown of a stig-
maria. Several observers have subsequently seen these fossils also in actual contact. It
is believed that the mud (now converted into shale) in which they grew was very soft,
and easily permitted the passage of the large* roots, while they gave off all around
innumerable large hollow rootlets. The stems of sigillaria are abundant in the coal-beds.
They are marked by parallel longitudinal flutings, and regular scars formed by the base
of the leaf-stalks, which had fallen off. They are known to have attained a height of
70 ft. and a diameter of 5 feet. The stem rose without branching till near the summit,
when it branched several times dichotomously. The proportion of woody matter to cel-
lular tissue in the stem was very small. The woody fiber is characterized by the
abundance of scalariform vessels, similar to those which occur in lepidodendron, and in
the recent vascular cryptogamia. The stem is seldom found preserved so as to exhibit
any structure, or even its cylindrical form; it generally occurs as a double layer of coal,
showing on the outer surfaces the scars produced by the bases of the leaf-stalks. The
form and arrangement of these scars have been used to distinguish the species, and,
indeed, no other materials exist, for hitherto no foliage of any kind has been certainly
found connected with the trunks. The restoration of the genus has been consequently
quite imaginary. Some, with Brongniart, have supposed that the trunk terminated in a
crown of simple leaves, like that of many palms, and that it was a gymnosperm near to
the cycads. Others, with King, consider that the fronds of pecopteris nervosa, which are
very abundant in the coal measures, are its foliage, and they would restore it so as to
have the appearance of a modern tree fern. And others, with Binney, consider that its
affinities are nearer to lepidodendron, and that some of the numerous fragments which have
been referred to this genus may really be the branches of the sigillaria. They would
restore it as if it were a huge lywpodium, and refer to it some of those fruits which,
under the names of lepidostrobus and flemingites, have been described by Brown, Hooker,
and Carruthers.

SIGISMUND, Emperor of Germany (1411-37), was the son of the emperor Karl IV.
He was well educated, and having married Maria of Anjou, on her accession to the
throne of Hungary he became chief administrator of that kingdom. The death of his
wife in 1392 made him king of Hungary; and at the head of a numerous army of more
than 100.000 men, composed of Hungarians, French, Germans, and Poles, he attempted
to relieve the Byzantine empire from the fierce Turks, but was terribly defeated at
Nicopolis (Sept. 28, 1396). On his return to Hungary, he found on the throne a new
monarch, Ladislas of Naples, who imprisoned him (1401); but through the good offices
of his elder brother, Wenceslas, he was freed, and obtained the throne (1402), rewarding
his elder brother by snatching from him his kingdom of Bohemia, which he retained for
some time. In 1411 he was proclaimed emperor, on the death of Rupert. He was
present at the council of Constance, which he had prevailed upon pope John XXIII. to
nold for the purpose of putting an end to the Hussite and other schisms. He contented
himself with protesting against the violation of the imperial safe-conduct which was
given to Huss, and ultimately consented to his judicial murder, for the purpose, as his
apologists say, of conciliating the council, and so settling the disputes concerning the
papacy. His succession to the throne of Bohemia, after his brother's death, was opposed
by th Hussites, who were now in insurrection; and after a fruitless attempt to conquer
them, he confined himself to the defense of Hungary against the Turks, whom he
defeated in a great battle near Nissa (1419). For ten years afterward, he left Germany
rery much to the guidance of its self-willed petty rulers, who speedily brought the
countrv into such a deplorable state that they were glad to beseech Sigismund to return
to the helm of affairs which he did, but with little good effect. He obtained, by con-
cessions to the Calixtines (q.v.), the crown of Bohemia in 1436; but once on the throne,
he gradually withdrew these concessions, which provoked such discontent that his death
(1437) alone averted a civil war. Sigismund possessed a large intelligence, and remark-
able political talents, but these were much neutralized by his impetuosity, indecision,
selfishness, and extraordinary avarice; and his well-meaning endeavors after peace and
improvement ended in nothing. Carlyle distinguishes Sigismund by the epithet supra
grammaticam, in allusion to his answer to a cardinal at the council of Constance, who


ventured to correct bis majesty's grammar "lam the Roman king, aud above- gram-;

SIGISMUND. worthily surnamed the GKEAT, King of Poland, was the youngest son
of Casimir IV., and was born at Kozienice, 1467. He was chosen grand (Juke of Lith-
uania, 1506, and succeeded to the kingdom of Poland on Dec. 8 of the same year.
The affairs of Poland and Lithuania were at that time in a sad condition; the southern
portions of the country reduced almost to a desert by the ravages of the Tartars, while
the east was continually in dread of the Russians, who had become an independent,
united, and powerful monarchy. The Russians inva'ded Lithuania, and conquered some
provinces, but Sigisnumd gained a brilliant victory over them at Orsza on the Dnieper
(July 14, 1508). BogdaUj prince of Moldavia and Wallachia, now invaded the southern
provinces, as that semi-barbarous race were accustomed to do without let or hindrance;
but he was so decisively routed on the banks of the Dniester, that he gladly agreed to
acknowledge himself a vassal of Poland. Disregarding the suggestions of the pope to
head a crusade against the Turks, Sigismund next read the Tartars, through his gen.,
Ostrogski, a very forcible lesson, in 1512, against aggressive practices, which cost them
27,000 men, and assured the tranquillity of his frontier for a long period. His alliance
in 1513 with Stephen Zapoli, voyvode of Transylvania, whose daughter, Barbara, he aleo
married, alarmed the emperor Maximilian, who incited the Russians to resume their
aggressions, which that ill-advised nation cheerfully agreed to do; paying dearly for
their rashness, for their army of 80,000, which had invaded Lithuania, was met and cut
to pieces (Sept. 8, 1514) by Ostrogski, with 32,000 men, at Orsza, leaving its standards,
cannons, and other arms, 2 generals, 37 princes, 6,000 prisoners, and 30,000 dead in the
possession of the enemy. Subsequent invasions of Moscovites and Tartars were repelled
as before, and a rebellion of the Wallachs was punished by numerous defeats, chief of
which was that of Obertyn (1531). The insolence of the Teutonic order, who had invaded
Polish Prussia, was effectually chastised by Sigismund, who defeated their grand master
Albert, his own nephew, in two great battles, in the latter of which the knights were
assisted by the Danes (1520). In 1525 he agreed to confer on Albert the title of duke of
Prussia (now known as East Prussia), on condition of fealty and homage. The dukes
of Prussia continued as vassals of the Polish crown till 1657. In 1526 Sigismund alone
of the monarchs of Christendom lent aid to Hungary against the formidable array of
Solyman the magnificent, and a numerous force of Polish cavaliers fought bravely ou
the fatal field of Mohacz (1526). The only other important event of Sigismund's reign
was the introduction and extension of Lutheranism in Poland, a change which Sigis.
mund did nothing 1o prevent, only taking precautions, and sometimes severe ones,
against its affecting the civil and political condition of the country. It is told of him
that, when John Eck exhorted him to take severe measures with the Lutherans, whom
lie compared to goats among the sheep (" the faithful Catholics"), Sigismund replied
that he was desirous of being "king of goats as well as king of sheep." After a long
and glorious reign, Sigismund died at Cracow, April 1, 1548, leaving the character of a
just,"wise, and magnanimous prince, who had restored to his country its ancient pros-
perity, and had raised it from the very feet of its enemies to a worthy superiority over


SIGNALS are the means of transmitting intelligence to a greater or less distance by
the agency of sight or hearing. Incomparably the most powerful medium yet known
for this purpose is the electric current. See TELEGRAPH. Sound signals have obviously
but a short circuit. The electric current requires fixed apparatus establishing an actual
communication between the two points; and is therefore inapplicable to the ordinary
cases of ships interchanging signals with each other or with the shore; and, except
under unusual circumstances, it would not apply to armies maneuvering in the field.
For these purposes, so far as present knowledge extends, signals by sight or sound must
always be tlie resort. For railway signals, see RAILWAYS.

The ancients seem to have elaborated a fair system of night-signals by torches fof
military purposes; but in naval affairs the ships sailed so close together that orders could
be communicated by word of mouth, while the turning of a shield from right to left
sufficed as sailing directions to the several lines. In modern times signaling between
ships has become indispensable; but there is probably no department of practical science
in which progress has been slower, and every so-called system of signals has been dis-
tinctly without any system whatever. In the time of James II. a signal could only be
expressed by flags, in confusing number, hung in different parts of the vessel. By the
commencement ^bf the present century, thanks to sir Home Popham and other inventors,
the system had been adopted of hanging a number of flags under one another, each
symbol or combination having an arbitrary conventional meaning attached to it. Altera-
tions in the specific flairs have been made from time to time, but essentially this is the
system now in use. The flags are either square, triangular of the same length, or pen-
dants which are pointed and longer. These are of black, white, red, blue, and yellow
(in the Austrian service alone green is added) in mass or in combination. Specimens of
the flags in use in the present naval code are shown in Fig. 1. The signalmen find, how-

*.,. 488

ever that at a distance blue, red, and black are not readily distinguishable, nor yellow

from white. It has consequently been
the recent tendency, and apparently
most justly, to reduce all the signs to
black and white, singly or in combina-
tion, trusting to shape for different

There are, however, disadvantages
attending flags. In a still day they are
difficult to read; or the wind may so
blow that they are only seen end on.
FJQ j At sea the motion of a ship will gen-

erally neutralize these drawbacks; but

the case is otherwise on shore, and it may consequently occur that the ship can com-
municate to the land, but cannot get a reply. To obviate this signals representing solid
figures are sometimes employed. To fulfill their conditions they must appear the
same in whatever lateral direction seen. But this limits the shapes to cylinders, cones,
and the sphere, or combinations of those figures; and as the total number of distinguish-
able signs is reduced, signaling becomes reduced from the word -signal to the telegraph.
This distinction should be clearly understood, as much is involved in it. A word signal,
as in the present system, is where the whole word or message is sent up at once, and
flies simultaneously; a telegraph signal is one in which the letters composing the word
or numbers representing the signal are shown separately, and each is removed before
another is shown. At sea the^word-system is best, for it involves no act of memory;
and memory, even from signal to signal, is found difficult by signalmen in the turmoil
of perhaps storm or fighting. On the other hand, the telegraph system involves far
simpler apparatus, and the changes can be effected more rapidly. As regards the actual
time required for a message, the word-system has the advantage in a message short
enough for the whole to be shown at one time; but otherwise the difference is not
material. If all advantages be balanced, it is probable that the telegraph system will
eventually supersede the other entirely. Whether the word or the telegraph system be
practiced, another question is, whether to spell each word, or to use numerals and a
code. Under the latter principle about 14,000 of the words and sentences most com-
monly sent are arranged for easy reference in the signal-book. With the addition of 1
or 2 repeating symbols the 9 numerals and give combinations 4 together to this
number. A combination of figures is arbitrarily assigned to each expression ; and the
expression is communicated by representing those figures in their proper order. With
the book of reference at" hand, and intelligent signalmen, there can be no doubt of the
superior rapidity of the "code." A code has also this further advantage, that, the sig-
nals representing things and not words, it can be made international, the same symbols
representing the same idea in every language. It is then only necessary for universal
signaling that each nation should concur in the meaning to be attached to the several
signs. Many gentlemen of ability have devoted their attention of late years to the sim-
plification of signals; among whom conspicuous positions must be assigned to col.
Grant, col. Bolton, Mr. Redl, and capt. Colomb. R.N. Their principal object bias been
goto simplify the telegraph system that signals maybe made with any apparatus, or
without apparatus at all. To accomplish this they have, to a great extent, abjured
color and resorted to form and motion. Among the form telegraphs there is the princi-
ple of the old semaphore (q.v.), in which each letter or number
is shown by the position of two arms, as in Fig. 2. The arms are
heavy, and involve mechanism; besides which they are not
always clear on a ship in motion beyond a short distance.
Very superior in visibility and simplicity is Redl's system of
cones. This consists of 4 cones fixed to a mast. The cones F A

are collapsable, and are formed in a similar manner to umbrellas.

Their usual condition is shut, and they can only be held open FIG. 2. Semaphore Sytem.
while a rope attached to each is pulled. With cones of 3 ft.

base, signaling is rapid and clear up to 5. m., and the mast can be inserted at any
place. The system is very simple: each cone represents a number, 1, 2, 3, or 4; then 1
and 4 shown represent 5; 2 and 4, 6; and so on, as in Fig. 3. This very elegant system
can be applied in military or naval operations. But its chief beauty is that a person
understanding it can make the same signals without the cones: for example, if a bla<-k
flag represent an open cone, and a white flag a shut cone, a ship with 4 b'ack and 3
white flags can make every signal. Again, the arm raised horizontally may represent
the open cone; against the body, the shut cone; then two mea standing on a cliff are as
good as any signal -post see Fig. 4. Or if one person only be present, 'he may represent
an-open cone by raising his arm with a handkerchief extended, and a shut cone by his
jinn without the handkerchief. He has only then to raise his arm four times in quick
succession, with or without the handkerchief, to make the 'required signal. We have
t!m<? arrived at a universal system of the utmost simplicity, which in war, and especially
during invasion, might be of inestimable benefit to the nation. The code of signals
cannot be too generally diffused by the government, in order that every man among the

489 81gnaL

public may become an amateur signalman on emergency. A secret code, in which the
same numbers have different significations, could always be maintained for state

It only remains to apply the same system to night-signals. The old naval principle
has been to hang dingy lanterns in various shapes triangles, squares, crosses, etc.
Besides requiring large bases to be at all visible, this has been found from the motion of
a ship to be nearly useless. Redl's system has been applied by hanging four lanterns in



t r IT

FIG. 3. Cone System. FIG. 4.

a vertical line to represent the cones, and obscuring those which corresponded to shut
cones. An improvement was found in introducing a red or green light in the middle, to
show the relative position of the four. The best night-signals are, however, flashing
lights, as introduced by col. Bolton, and more elaborately by capt. Colomb, and adopted
in the navy. This consists of a bright light, covered by a shade, which shade, by
mechanism' can be lifted for any given time, exposing the light meanwhile. A flash of
about half a second's duration is negative: a line of 1-i- seconds, positive. Four exhibi-
tions of the light then represent a symbol as in Redl's cones. If the same nomenclature
be adopted we should signal as in Fig. 5. It will be seen at once that this system pro-
duces results similar to Morse's electric
telegraph. If the distance be within a .

mile or so, and the weather still, a bugle ^^ ^^^

will answer equally well, long and short *"""" *" "* "* B

notes representing the positive and nega-
tive cones. Fi- 5 - J

The fundamental principle of the fore-
going system of universal telegraph}', applicable by night or by day, by sight or by
Bound, is to employ two signals only one positive and one negative and to regulate
their exhibition by periods of time.

SIGNAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES. At the time of the organiza-
tion of the department of meteorology of the army signal office (see METEOROLOGY) there
was no general system in operation for "simultaneous meteorology," and the one ever
since in use.was devised and carried into effect by gen. Myer (q.v.), chief signal officer.
By this system the innovation was introduced of observing and reading off the instru-
ments, " at the same moment of actual (not local) time." By this arrangement the signal
office at Washington can call for and receive reports from all parts of the country, taken
at each of the stations, at any hour of the day or night. Thus, the exact condition of
the atmosphere over the whole field of inquiry is set down at a given instant, establish-
ing the existence of conditions on which predictions may be and are fearlessly made.
In Nov., 1871, a comparison of the tri-daily forecasts, or "probabilities," as they were
styled, showed a verification of 69 per cent, which rose to 76.8 per cent by 1872. These
results "afforded the best elucidation and the most complete demonstration of the law
of storms and the movements of cyclones that had ever been obtained in any country."
In 1872 and 1873 the expansion of the work of the signal office was very great; extend-
ing, through the cordial aid of agricultural societies, into a comprehensive weather-
bureau sustained in the interest of agriculture; and, through its connection with life-
saving and signal stations, becoming a most certain and effective agent for saving life
and property endangered by storms on the sea. " Indication" and "cautionary signals,"
based upon three series of simultaneous weather-reports telegraphed to Washington
daily, are issued from the office of the chief signal officer three times each day, and are
printed in all newspapers where it may be important to do so, and otherwise made
public. The preparation of a graphic weather-map embodying the telegraphic data
furnished to the chief signal officer every eight hours, preserves an accurate picture of
existing aerial phenomena, and the conditions on which storm predictions are made.
The "Farmers' Bulletins" are reprinted by signal-service observers in 19 cities, and the
telegraphic forecasts are circulated among 6, 042 sub-centers in agricultural communities,
and thence distributed among the farmers. As the predictions cover twenty-four hours,
and often hold good for twice that period, they reach the denser rural populations some-
times a day and a half and always as much as fourteen hours before the period to which
they apply expires. The railroad system has co-operated in this service, and 103 railway
companies distribute daily 3,180 reports to as many railway stations, without charge.



Cautionary signals are of two kinds: 1. Those premonishing dangerous winds to
from any direction ; 2. Those premonishing off-shore winds, likely to drive vessels out to
6ea. The first, distinctively termed the "cautionary signal," consists of a red flag with
a black square in the center, for warning in the day-time, and a red light by night. The
second, or " cautionary off-shore signal," consists of a white flag with black square in
the center shown above a red flag with square black center by day, or a white light
shown above a red light by night, indicating that while the storm has'not yet passed the
station, and dangerous winds may yet be felt there, they will probably be from a
northerly or westerly direction. The percentage of verifications for the year ending
June 30, 1879, varied between 79.8 and 93.8.

SIGNATURE, in music. In writing music in any key with sharps or flats, the sharps
and flats belonging to the key, instead of being prefixed to each note as required, are
placed together immediately after the clef on the degrees of the staff to which they
belong; and this collection of sharps or flats is called the signature. The signatures of
the several keys generally in use are as follows:



F B Efc Ajj D(j Gfe


The minor keys take the same signature with the major keys a third above them.

When a new key is introduced in the middle of a piece of music, the signature of the
former key must be contradicted, and that of the new one appended. Thus a transition

from the key of D major to that of D minor is indicated thus: r jm-tf - 1 - ; from B

P & # .. j.
riyzpri^ i JEptZ3
major to B minor: FffisBBSTISlS:* the sharps which are to continue being, in this

L VT7 ff r _ ~~H 1


last case, for distinctness' sake, appended in addition to the contradiction of those that
ajre to be discarded. A transition to another key, which is not to continue for any length
of time, is seldom indicated by a change of signature ; but the sharp, flat, or natural sign
is appended to any note as required, that sign affecting all the following notes of the
same letter in the measure in which it occurs, unless contradicted. A sharp, flat, or
natural thus introduced is called an accidental. Two accidentals are required in the
ascending scale of every minor key, to sharpen the sixth and seventh of the tonic.

Besides the signature of the key, a signature of time precedes every musical compo-
sition. It consists of two figures placed over one another as a fraction, the denominator
2, 4, 8, or 16 standing for minims, crotchets, quavers, or semiquavers (i.e., halves, fourths,
etc., of a semibreve), while the numerator points out how many of these fractional parts

of a semibreve are contained in each measure. Thus, "r" indicates that there are two


crotchets, and -^-^^ three quavers in the measure. When there are four crotchets (or

semibreve) in the measure, it is usual to write g instead of 4.


SIGNATURE, in printing, denotes the letters which are placed at the bottom of the
first page of each sheet of a book, to facilitate the arrangement of the several sheets
in the volume. The letters employed are those of the alphabet with the exception
of J, V, and W, three letters which have been invented since the use of signatures
was introduced. See ALPHABET. As the first sheet of a work, containing the title-
page, dedication, preface, etc., is generally printed last, the letter A is reserved (along
with small letters, a, b, etc., should there be more sheets of introductory matter) for this,
and the signatures commence with B; after reaching Z, they commence again at the
beginning of the alphabet, the letter being doubled for the sake of distinction, as AA, or
Art, or more frequently 2A. Should the alphabet again be exhausted, 3A, 3B, etc., are

Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 113 of 203)