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

. (page 123 of 203)
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 123 of 203)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

peculiar want of vocal resonance is apparently due to this deficiency. They communi-
cate on each side with the upper part of the nostril by a funnel shaped opening, which
transmits a prolongation of mucus membrane to line their interior. These cells are
much more highly developed in certain mammels and birds than in man. Prof. Owen
observes that "they extend backward over the top of the skull in the ruminant nnd
some other quadrupeds, and penetrate the cores of the horns in oxen, sheep, and a few
antelopes. The most remarkable development of air-cells in the mammalian class is pre-
sented by the elephant; the intellectual physiognomy of this huge quadruped being
caused, as in the owl, not by the actual capacity of the brain-case, but by the enormous
extent of the pneumatic cellular structure .between the outer and inner plates of the
skull." The sphenoidal sinuses are two large irregular cavities, formed, after the period
of childhood, in the body of the sphenoid bone. They communicate with the upper
part of the nose, from which they receive a layer of mucus membrane. Like the frontal
sinuses, they serve to lessen the weight of the skull, and to add to the resonance of the
voice. The ethmoid sinuses or cells lie in the lateral masses of the ethmoid bone. They
open into the cavities of the nose. Their main use is to diminish the weight of the fore-
part of the skull. The superior maxillary sinus commonly known as the antrum of
Ififfhmore (the anatomist who first accurately described it) is -the largest of the facial si-
nuses. Its uses are the same as those of the others, '"and, like them, it communicates with
the nasal cavities.

The sinuses of the dura mater are quite distinct from the above described bony sinuses;
they are irregular channels for the transmission of venous blood, and are formed in the
following way: the dura mater consists of two layers an outer, belonging to the skull:
and an inner, belonging to the brain. They can be easily separated in infancy, but in
the adult they are blended together for the greater part of their extent. In some places,
however, as beneath the sagittal suture (formed by the two parietal bones at the top of
the head, and running from before backward), they are separated on either side of the
mesial line, the outer layer being continued beneath the bone, and in contact with it;
while the inner one dips inward, and meeting with the corresponding layer of the oppo-
site tide, forms a triangular canal or sinus, which is strengthened at the sides nnd angles'
by interlacing bands of fibrous tissue. The sinus whose fc-mation we have thus
described is called the superior longitudinal sinus, and the other sinuses are formed in
the same way. They are all lodged in the intervals between the great divisions of the
brain, and they are so constructed "that their shape cannot easily be altered- by any
external pressure; consequently, the flow of blood through them cannot be impeded by
th pulsations or pressure of the brain, in the varying positions of the body. The tense,
yielding character of their walls, moreover, does not admit of either collapse or dis-
tension; hence, they must be equally full at all times, and must exert a uniform pressure
on the brain." Humphrey On Vie Human Skeleton, p. 200.

In surgery the term sinus is nearly equivalent in fistula (q.v.).

SIGN, a small t. of Switzerland, capital of the canton of Valais, in a picturesque situ-
ation on the right bank of the Rhone, 18 in. n.e. of Martigny by the Simplon railway.

KOI Slnople.


It is defended by walls, towers, and a ditch, and contains a large cathedral, a handsome
Gothic town- house, a Jesuits' convent, and an ancient prison. Ou the n. of the town
is a lofty rock, divided into two peaks by a deeply-cut ravine. On the highest peak is
the ruined castle of Tourbillon, built in 1294; on" the other, the castle of Valeria, now
used as a seminary. An excellent wine, called Malvoise is made here. Sioii is called
an in a still existing inscription in honor of Augustus, to he seen iu the
cathedral: in the middle ages it was named &dnnum. Pop. '70, 4,895.

SIOUT, also Es- Stout said Osiut, the chief city of upper Egypt, stands near the w. bank
of the Nile, and is 200 m. in direct line s. of Cairo. It has several fine mosques, bazaars
almost as well furnished as those of the capital, some good baths, and one or two well-built
houses. Siout manufactures great quantities of the best pipe-bowls. It is the residence of
the governor of uppef Egypt ; the resort of the caravans from Darfur, that come by the way
of the great oasis, and until recently was the principal seat of the Egyptian slave trade.
Pop. about 2.1.000. Siout is built on the site of the ancient Lycopolis, but few remains
of the Grajco-Egyptian city are extant. From the neighboring heights of the Libyan
mountains, which contain numerous rock-sepulchers, the view over the valley of the Nile
is, in the opinion of Lepsius, the finest in Egypt.

SIOUX, a co. inn.w. Iowa, bounded by Sioux river on the w., which separates it
from Dakota, crossed by the Sioux city and St. Paul railroad, and drained by Rock
river and Willow creek; 750 sq.m., pop. '80, 5,426. The surface is slightly undulating;
the soil is fertile. Co. seat, Orange City.

SIOUX, a tribe of north American Indians, calling themselves also Dakotas, inhabit-
ing Dakota territory. They are a brave and warlike people, generally at war with the
Chippeways. Formerly they numbered 30,000, and counted 7,000 warriors;, at present
tliL-ir whoie number is estimated at 23,250. Roman Catholic missions were established
among them 200 years ago, and Presbyterian missions recently. The Sioux are more
advanced toward civilization than any tribe of the north-west. <

SIOUX (ante), or DAKOTAS, a race or collection of Indians, inhabiting Dakota,
Nebraska, Wyoming, etc., comprising the Santees. Yanktons, Minikonges, Brules, Sis-
setons, Unkpapas, Ogalallahs, Aldewakantons, AVahpetons, and Te-ions. When found
by the French iu 1640, near the head-waters of the Mississippi, they were called the
Nadowessioux. whence the name Sioux. In 1689 Nicolas Perrot took possession of
their country for the French. In wars with the French they were driven down the Mis-
sissippi and into the plains of the Missouri. Their territory extended from the Mississippi
to the Black Hills, and from Devil's lake to the mouth of the Big Sioux. The American
board sent missionaries to the Wahpetons near fort Snelling in 1835, and the Methodists
iu 1836, who established schools and printed books in their language. In 1837, Sep. 29,
the Sioux ceded to the United States all their lands e. of the Mississippi for $300,000. and
in 1851 for 3,000,000. all the lands from Otter Tail lake through lake Traverse to the junction
of the Big Sioux and the Missouri, comprising 35. 000, 000 acres, except a reservation of 20
by 140 miles. The government's neglect to perform its treaties led to hostilities, but the
Sioux were defeated l)y gen. Harr-ey at Little Blue Water, Sep. 3, 1855, and a treaty of peace
was concluded. Subsequently their annuities being withheld and frauds practiced upon
them, they rose and killed nearly 1000 settlers. They were conquered by gen. Sibley
and gen Sully, 1000 were captured and 39 hung. Gold having been discovered in the
Black Hills in 1868, the United States wished to purchase the tract, and induce the
Indians to emigrate to the Indian territory. In 1875 Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Spot-
ted Tail visited Washington, but refused to sign a treaty. Much mission work has been
done among these Indians. See RIGGS, STEPHEN.

SIOUX CITY, a city in n.w. Iowa, co. seat of Woodbury co., incorporated 1S57;
on the e. bank of the Missouri river, at the mouth of the Big Sioux, 125 m. above Omaha,
and 61 m. s.e. of Yankton; pop. '80, 7.366. It is the junction of the Illinois Central,
the Dubuque and Sioux City, the Dakota Southern, the Sioux City and St. Paul, the
Sioux City and Pacific, and the Sioux City and Dakota railroads. It is situated between
Perry and Floyd's creeks, on bench land sloping from the river, and at the u. and w.
the ground rises into bluffs on which the finest residences are placed. The streets cross
each other at right angles; it has a new court-house, 9 churches, a public hall, a library
association. 4 newspapers (1 German), and 2 graded schools. It has an academy of
music costing $80,000, a hotel, 3 banks a national bank, a private bank, and a savings
bank. It is supplied with water and lighted by gas; has 4 grain elevators and a pork-
packing establishment; and an important trade with Iowa, Nebraska. Dakota, ami, by the
Missouri, with Montana. It has a well-regulated fire department. Among its manufac-
tories are the rmilrotd repair-shops, foundries and machinc-thops, breweries, and mar-

SIPHON is a tube bent so that the two legs are either parallel, or incline at an acute
angle, and is employed to draw off liquids from vessels which it is not convenient or
desirable to move. If the end of the short leg of a siphon be plunged into the liquid, and
the other leg be suffered to hang outside the vessel, then, whenever the siphon is exhausted
of air (a process which can be performed by suction by the mouth or a pump, or by fill-
img the tube with the liquid it is employed to decant, and keeping it so filled till it is

Siphonostoma. F.QO


placed in its proper position), the liquid will at once flow out of the vessel through the
tube, and continue to do so either till it falls below the level of the outside end, or till
the inside end ceases to be immersed. The principle of this simple and efficient instru-
ment is easy of explanation: let ABO (fig.) be a siphon with
one leg, BC, partially immersed in liquid, and suppose the
whole siphon filled with the same liquid; then at A we have
the pressure of the atmosphere acting upward into the tube
in opposition to the pressure of the liquid in the leg BA: at
C we have the pressure of the atmosphere (transmitted through
the liquid), and the pressure of the liquid in the vessel out-
side (which balances an equal height of liquid inside) the tube,
acting upward into the tube in opposition to the pressure
downward of the liquid in the leg BC. The effective pres-
sures inward at A and C are, respectively, the atmospheric
pressure less by the pressure of the liquid in BA, and the at-
mospheric pressure less by the pressure of the liquid in ED;
and as the latter of these two is the greater, it overcomes the
Siphon other, forces the liquid in the tube out atA, and that in the ves-

sel into the tube at C, the process continuing till the liquid falls

to the level of C (when air is admited), or of A (when the two pressures become equal).
It is evident from the above explanation that when A is on or above the level of D, the
surface of the fluid, there can be no flow through the tube; also, that it is quite immate-
rial whether the longer or the shorter leg be immersed, if or.]y A be below the level of
D. If the bend of the siphon be 33 ft. for water, or 30 in. for mercury, above D. the
pressure at C, which produces the action of the siphon, becomes the" weight of the
atmosphere, diminished by an equal weight of a column of fluid, in which case the
resulting pressure is zero, and there is no flow through the tube. The flow increases in
rapidity and force as the difference of level between D and A increases, and as the dif-
ference of level between D audB diminishes. Many siphons have a suction-pump per-
manently attached to the end of the outer leg for the purpose of exhausting the air
inside. Another variety is the Wurtemberg siphon, which has two equal legs, the extremi-
ties of which are bent upward, so that when the siphon is once filled with fluid .'t
remains full, and is always ready for use.


SIPHONOSTOM'ATA, a large group of gasteropodous mollusks, of the order pectini
branchiata, having the mantle prolonged into a siphon, by which the water enters the
gill-chamber. The shell is spiral, the aperture notched or produced into a canal i
front, often much produced. To this group belong the families cyprccidce (cowries, etc.),
colutidce, bitccinidce (whelks, etc.), muricidce, and sfrombidce. They are almost all carnivo-
rous, and move about with considerable activity.

SIPUN'CUI/US, a genus of ecMnodermata, giving its name to a family,
and to an order, sipunculidce. The sipvnculidce, although ranked among the
and having the essential characters of that division of Ihe animal kingdom, resemble
the anndida in form, general appearance, motions, and habits, as well as in their softer
covering, which is leathery and not calcareous, and in the absence of calcareous spines.
The sipunculacea have a retractile proboscis, around the extremity of which is a circle
of tentacula, and at the base of it the anus. In the genus sipnncvlits the proboscis is long
and cylindrical, with a circle of tentacula near its extremity. 8. Bernhardus is com
mon on many parts of the British coast, living at the bottom of the sea, at a depth of
from 10 to 30 fathoms, and occupying as a habitation the shell of some univalve mol-
lusk, for the protection of its soft wormlike body. It secures the entrance of the shell
by a plaster-work of sand, leaving only a hole wide enough for the protrusion of its
long flexible proboscis. Other species, instead of sheltering themselves in shells.
burrow in the sand. Among these is the EDIBLE SIPUXCULUS (S. edulii<), much esteemed
by the Chinese.

SIR (Fr. rieur and sire, contracted from seigncvr; from Lat. senior, elder), a term
originally corresponding to dominus in Latin, and which has come, when appended to
the Christian name and surname, to be the distinctive mark of knighthood. It was at
one time the practice to use the same title in addressing the clergy, a familiar instance
being sir Hugh Evans in the Merry Wice* of Windsor. To so great an extent did this
usage obtain, that a "sir John'' came to be a common sobriquet for a priest. " Sir"
was here a translation of domipva, the term used for a bachelor of arts, originally in
contradistinction from the mnrjixtcr. or master of arts, but eventually extended to the
clergy without distinction. Used along with the Christian name and surname, "sir" is
now applied exclusively to knights and baronets. Standing alone, it is a common com
plimcntary mode of address used without much consideration of rank or social status.
"Sire" is another form of the same monosyllable, which has been adopted from France
as a mode of addressing royalty. .__..




SIBEIT, a genus of porennibranchiate batracliia, of eel-like form, but having two
small weak limbs 011 the fore part of the body. Each foot has four toes. There is uo
vestige of a hinder pair of feet, nor of a pelvis. The vertebra are numerous, and each
of the vertebra} of the body carries a pair of short ribs. The vertebra of the tail are
compressed, and gradually diminish in size to its tip. The head is flattened, the mouth
not deeply cleft, the muzzle blunt, the eyes very small, the ears concealed. The teeth
are small; the lower jaw is furnished with them all round; there are none on the upper
ja\v, but two rows on each side of the palate. On each side of the neck are three gills,
each consisting of a short fleshy stalk, supporting a beautiful fringe-like tuft, and water
VKISSCS from the mouth to the gills through openings as in fishes. But the siren has also
lungs, which are long bags, one on each side, beginning behind the heart, and extending
al:no-t the whole length of the abdomen. The blood disks are remarkable for their
lar^e size, exceeding even those of the proteus. The sirens inhabit the swamps of the
Carolina and other southern parts of North America. They live chiefly in the mud,
but sometimes are to be seen swimming in the water, and even make excursions on.
moist ground. They feed on worms and insects. S. lacertina grows to the length
of about 3 feet. Its color is blackish. The tail is compressed. The other species are

SIREXE, an instrument for the production of musical sounds in such a manner as to
enable us to discover their ultimate nature. In the simplest form of sireue a vane con-
sisting of four equal plates, attached to a delicately supported axle, is so fixed in a
metal tube as to close it almost completely (with the help of stops), when either pair of
plates is perpendicular to the axis of the tube. When air is forced from a bellows
through a pipe, it gives the vane a rotation, and thus produces a current which is inter-
runted four times in each revolution. In other words, four times in each revolution the
air escapes freely, giving rise to a sound. While the vane revolves slowly, the ear dis-
tinguishes these successive puffs; but when the revolutions are more numerous than
about five per second, the successive puffs cannot be distinguished, and the recurrent
sounds are merged into a uniform note, whose pitch rises (i.e., it becomes more and
more shrill) the faster the vane revolves. Such an instrument works well when driven
by water instead of air. What it shows is, that musical sounds consist of the repetition,
at equal very small intervals of time, of some definite noise. By turning the vane
by means of a train of wheels, so as to give it a definite rate of rotation, the number of
such repetitions per second, necessary for the production of a given musical note, may
be measured.

But the sirene of Cagniard de la Tour is much more valuable for such a purpose, as
it counts for itself the number of repetitions per second. In principle, it is identical
with the simpler instrument just described; but the details of its construction are differ-
ent. It consists essentially of two circular disks, the upper of which is free to revolve
so as almost to touch the lower. In each a series of holes is cut, arranged at equal dis-
tances in a circle about its axis. Through the holes in the lower (fixed) plate, streams
of air are admitted from a bellows, anil pass through the corresponding holes in the
upper (movable) plate, when the pairs of holes are superposed; but are checked when
the upper plate is turned a little, readmitted when the plate turns a little further, and so
on. Th" holes are pierced obliquely through the upper plate, so that the issuing stream
makes it turn about its axis. The sounds given by this instrument are exceedingly pure
(see SOUND), like those of the flute or tuning-fork. The axis of the upper plate carries
an endless screw, which turns a light train of wheels (with dials) resembling that of a
gas meter, so that when, by proper adjustment of the pressure in the bellows', the instru-
ment give.s- steadily some definite note, we may observe the number of turns in anvnum-

we find the number of puffs per second necessary to the formation of any given musical

More complex forms, such as Helmholtz's double sirene, have been devised for more
recondite branches of the science. See SOUND.

SIHE'XIA. an order of aquatic mammals, allied to the cetaceans, and including the
manatees (q.v.) and the dugongs (q.v.).

SI BENS (Gr. sdrcncn, the " entanglers," probably from seira, "a cord " or " string")
figure in Greek mythology as young maidens, who sat on the shores of a certain island
or promontory near the south-western coast of Ital^-, and samr with bewitching sweetness
pongs that allured the passing sailor to draw near, but onlv to meet with death. llo-ner
speaks of them in the plural, but does not specify their number; later writers mention
two and three by name, and assignee) them various genealogies. Their tenure of life
was dependent on the successful exercise of their charms, "if any seamen could resist
the enticements 01 their magic music, they were doomed, but Ulvs<es or tiie Argonauts
alone succeeded in doing so. It is related by Homer, in the O7//x.w //. that when the
former in the course of his wanderings approached their perilous home. he. by Die
advice of the sorceress Circe, stuffed the ears of his companions with wax, and lashed


himself to a mast, until he had sailed out of hearing of the fatal songs. Others say that
it was the Argonauts who got safely past, owing to the superior enchantment of
Orpheus's singing, whereupon the sirens threw themselves into the sea, and were trans-
formed into rocks. The Latin poets give them wings, and in works of art they are
often represented as birds with the faces of virgins, and are provided with musical
instruments. There is obviously a close resemblance between the mermaid (q.v.) of
northern mythology, and these Greeco-Mediterranean sirens. The Loreley of the Rhine is
only a river-siren, though a more exquisite enchantress than ever Greek fancy con-


SIRI-PUL, at. of Afghan Turkistan, 45 m. s.w. from Balkh, in lat. 86 21' n., and
long. 66 28' e., on a river which loses itself without reaching the Jihoou. It is the
capital of an Uzbek chief. Pop. 18,000.

SIETTJS, otherwise called canicula, or the dog-star, is a star of the first magnitude,
the brightest in the heavens, and is situated in the constellation of cards major, or the
"great dog." It is about 123 billions of miles distant from the earth. See STAKS. It
has long been known to possess a "proper motion" (i.e., an independent progressive
motion), which was for a time believed to be in a straight line, but has now been shown
to consist of an undulatory progressive motion on each side of a middle line. This
motion was investigated by prof. Peters of the Pulkowa observatory, Russia, on the
supposition that its anomalous character was produced by the attraction of some unseen
neighbor, and his calculations being completed and verified (on this supposition) by Mr.
Safford of Washington, the distance of Sirius from the center of gravity of both was
determined to be 1495 millions of miles. In Jan., 1862, Mr. Alvan Clark of New York,
chancing to observe Sirius through a powerful telescope, detected a minute star (which
had never before been observed) situated at an angular distance of 7" from Sirius repre-
senting about 4,300 millions of miles, and it is generally believed that this is the disturber
in question. By photometric measurement it has been shown, that, supposing the intensity
of the sun's light for unit of surface to equal that of Sirius, it would require 400 suns at the
distance of Sirius to send us the light which that star does; and our sun at the distance
of Sirius would appear less than a star of the sixth magnitude, and be invisible to the
naked eye. The Egyptians called this star Sothis, and at one time its " heliacal rising''
(q.v.) was a sure forerunner of the rising of the Nile; while among the Romans it was
considered as a star of evil omen, whose appearance above the horizon coincided with
(or even caused) the unhealthy and oppressive heats of summer. Hence the origin of
the various superstitions regarding the dog days (q.v.), many of which are still current.
The term "dog star" was also applied to Procyon, a bright star in canix minor, whose
heliacal rising differs only by a few days from that of Sirius.


SISCO, a common name for several species of small fishes of the genus argyrosomiis,
inhabiting the northern lakes of the United States. They resemble the herrings in form;
low r er jaw longest, short intermaxillary bones. They rarely attain a pound in weight.
A. dupeiformis is found in all the great lakes, generally inhabiting shoaler waters, while
A. lioyi is found only in the deep waters of lake Michigan, from 30 to 70 fathoms
beneath the surface. When salted and smoked they are much -esteemed.

SIS'COWET, SISKAWITZ, Salmo siscowet, a species of lake trout. It is about five
times as long as the head, exclusive of the tail fin ; and there is about the same proportion
between the length and breadth. The color varies with the feeding ground, and is
brighter during the breeding season, as is commonly the case with the family. This spe-
cies is characteristic of lake Superior, but is found in the deep water of the other great
lakes. It is said to have been first scientifically noticed by prof. L. Agassiz. in 1850. Its
average weight is about four and a half pounds, maximum eight poxmds. The color of
the fleh resembles that of the great lake trout, as well as its texture. It is very much
valued, particularly for salting and packing. It spawns in August and September,
in deep water, never ascending the rivers.

SIS'KIYOU, a co. in n. California, adjoining Oregon; drained by the Klamath

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 123 of 203)