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 127 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 127 of 203)
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discerning few of clearer vision or cooler head are often brought into collision with
popular beliefs more especially in religion, the sphere in which popular beliefs are
most numerous, most positive, and most inconsiderate and fire compelled by the vio-
lent shock given to their reason to " doubt," it may be to " disbelieve" what they hear
affirmed by tb,e multitude with indefensible emphasis of speech. Thus it is that in com-
mon parlance a skeptic has come to mean an infidel, and skepticism infidelity. But the
field of thought in which skepticism properly so-called has preferred to exercise itself
is not religion but philosophy. Philosophical skeptics in all ages and countries have
generally denied or at least doubted the trustworthiness of the senses as vehicles of
absolute truth, and so have destroyed the very possibility of speculation. In ancient
times Pyrrhon (q.v.), in modern, David Hume (q.v.), are the most characteristic repre-
sentatives of this kind of skepticism.

SKERRIES, THE (skerry is a term for any isolated sea-girt rock"*, small islands about
2 miles off the n.w. coast of Anglesey, having a light-house 117 ft. high. See also

SKER RYVORE is the chief rock of a reef which lies about 10 m. s.s.w. of the s.w.
point of the island of Tiree (q.v.), and 24 m. w. of lona. This reef, which stretches
from 8 to 10 m. in a w.s.w. direction, is composed to compact gneiss, worn smooth by
the constant action of the waves, and was long a terror to mariners, having caused the
loss of one ship annually for forty years previous to 1844. The northern light-house com-
mission had long intended the erection of a light-house on Skerryvore, the only point of
this dangerous reef which could afford the needful foundation; but the difficulty of
landing on the rock, from the immense force (three tons to the superficial foot) with
which the Atlantic waves boat upon it. caused the delay of the scheme till 1834, when
preparations were made in earnest. The design and superintendence of the construction
of the buildinsr were intrusted to Mr. Alan Stevenson, who commenced operations om
the rock in 1838. following generallv the mode adopted by his father. Mr. Robert Ste-
venson (q.v ). in the construction of the Bell rock (q.v.) light-houe; nnd. in spite of occa-
sional disasters from tempests, completed his work in 1844. The light-house is 138^
ft. high; at the base 42 ft., and at the top 16 ft. in dinmeter. Thelhrht, a revolving one,
is produced by the revolution of eierht large annular lenses round a lamp of four wicks,
according to Fresnel's first dioptric system, and can be seen at a distance of 18 miles.
The co=t of erection wasclose upon 87,000. Skerryvore light-house is nearly higher
than that on the Bell rock, and more than twice ns hiffh as the F.ddystone. A small'
group of rocks belonging to this reef, and situated 3 m. westward of the light-house, ia
known as Stevenson's rocks.

SKEW, a sloping water-table as on the set-off of a buttress, the cope of a gable, etc.
This term is more generally used in Scotland than in England. The large stone at
bottom is called the skew-putt.

SKEW-BRIDGE, a bridle placed obliquely so ns to cross a road or river at an angle
not a right anirle. Such bridges, built of stone, are not easy of construction, owing to
the peculiar twisted forms which the voussoirs assume, and were scarcely ever used till'
the necessities of railway curves compelled their introduction. They are evidently a


great improvement on the old-fashioned mode of twisting a road, first to the right, and
then to the left, iu order to get the bridge at right angles to the place to he
crossed. Since the introduction of iron girders as the supports of bridges, skew-bridges
have become easy of construction, and are now quite generally used.

SKIBBEREEN, a market-t, of the county of Cork, Ireland, and situated in lat. 51" C-l'
n., long. 9 16' w., distant from Cork 52 m. s.w. It is a place of little commerce-, r.nd
almost entirely without manufactures. The pop. in 1871 was 3,695, of whom 3,200 were
N Roman Catholics.

SKID, in military and naval language, is any timber which is used as a 1-aso to keep
one object from resting on another. Thus, a row of cannon in store will be kept from
the ground b}' skids.

1 he term is also applied to the drag which is put on the wheels of carriages in going
up hills, to prevent rolling backward.

SKID DAW, a mountain in Cumberland, near the center of the county; height, 3,022
feet, A few miles to the s. lie Derwent Water and the town of Keswick.

SKIMMER, a name applied to several species of the genus rhyn chops of the gull
family (laridce, q.v.). The genus has the following characteristics: Bill longer than the
head, nearly or quite straight, compressed laterally to the end. Lower mandible nearly
one inch longer than the upper, and square at the point. Upper mandible grooved for
the reception of the lower. The mechanism is remarkable, being adapted to cut like
scissors; aud the bird is sometimes called scissor-bill. The wings are very long and nar-
row, with the first quill the longest; tail moderate and forked; feet moderately long and
slender, wilh an indented web; hind toe elevated, and claws curved and sharp. It.
nigra, is the lecen-ciseaux, and coupeur d' eau of the French; shear-water, cut-water,
skimmer, and black skimmer of the United States, and the piscatoroi the Chilians. The
male is about 19 in. long; closed wings extend 4 in. beyond the tail; alar expansion, 44
inches. Lenglh of the'lower mandible four and a half inches; upper, three and a half;
both mandibles red, tinged with orange and tipped with black. Upper patt of the head,
neck and back, and scapulars black; wings the same except the secondaries, which are
\vhite on the inner vanes, and also tipped with white. The forked tail having black
feathers, broadly edged on either side with white; tail coverts white on .the outer sides,
black in the middle, front, cheeks, neck below the eye, throat, breast, and all the lower
parts white. Legs and webbed feet red. The female is 16 in. long, with 39 in. wing
expansion; plumage similar to that cf the male, except the tail, which is white shafted
tand broadly centered with black. Mr. Nuttall says that it is a bird of passage in the
United States, appearing in New Jersey, its most northern limit as he thinks, fir/m its
tropical quarters in early May; and he believes it passes the breeding season along the
whole of the southern coast of the United States. Their nests have been found along
the shores of cape May about the beginning of June. They are made by scratching a
hollow in the sand. There are usually three eggs, which are nearly two inches long by
one in diameter; white with brown blotches, some of them large. Sometimes a bushel
of eggs are collected from a single sand bar.

SKIN. Considered in its general physiological and histologieal (or textural) relations,
the skin is merely a part of the great mucous system to which the mucous membrane
and secreting glands also belong, and which consists of two essential elements a base-
ment tmue, composed of simple cutaneous membrane, and an epithelium of nucleated
particles resting on it while beneath the basement \membrnnc are vessels, nerves, and
connective tissue. See EPITHELIUM and Mucous MEMBRANES. In the skin, the hard
and thick epithelium is termed cuticle or epidermis, and the true skin below it is termed
the derma or evt-itt vera, and is chiefly formed of modified and very dense connective (or
art-olajMnr cellular) tissue.

The external surface of the skin formed by the cuticle is marked by furrows of dif-
ferent kinds. Some (termed furrows of motion) occur transversely in the neighborhood
of joints, on the side of flexion; others correspond to the insertion of cutaneous muscles;
wliile others, of quite another kind, are seen in aged and emaciated persons, and after
the subsidence of any great distention of the integument; and besides these coarse lines,
most parts of the skin are grooved with very minute furrows, which assume various
courses in relation to one another. These minute furrows are most distinctly seen on
the pnlmnr aspect of the hand and fingers, and on the sole of the foot. The outer sur-
fac,e of the skin also presents innumerable pores for the discharge < f the contents of the
sudorip.-rousand sebaceous follicles, or the sweat and fnt glands; and the modifications
of epidermis known as hair and nails occur on the same surface.

The df-ep layer of the skin consists of connective tissue, in which both the white and
yellow fibrous elements are considerably modified as to the proportions in which they
occur, and smooth muscles are present in no inconsiderable quantity in some parts of
the skin. Where great extensibility, wi'h elasticity, is required, the ycllo\y (elastic)
element predominates: and where strength and resistance arc specially required, as in
the sole of the toot, the ciiti* is chief, y composed of a dense interweaving of the white
(inelastic) element. The thickness and strength of this layer differ greatly in different
parts, according to the amount of resistance required against pressure. The skin ia

ere; -| Sklbbereen.

OOl Skin.

and the intervals between these are provided with pellets of fat, formiug a cushion, as
an additional means of protection to the delicate organs it incloses and covers. Aniong
the lower animals we mav notice numberless examples of an analogous kind." Todd
and Howman's Physiological Anatomy and Pln/xiology of Man, vol. i. p. 407. The blubbev
of the whale merely represents, in a very exaggerated form, the layer of fat which gcn-
erullv occurs in the sub-cutaneous areolar tissue of man and most animals, serving as H
soft bed on which the skin may rest, and gives the appearance of plumpness and sym-
metry to the outline of the body. It is on the external surface of the cutis that the
t<ic!&' pti-iHlke. or true onrans of touch, are developed. Kolliker divides the true cutio
into the " reticular" and " papillary" portions, the latter being the reddish-gray external
superficial laver which contains the upper portion of the hair follicles and cutaneous
glands, and whose most important element is these tactile papillae. Tney are most
ibtfndant and largest in the palm of the hand* and the. sole of the foot, while in the
jack and in the outer sides of the limbs they are almost entirely absent. They occur

d a half. In its chemical characters it agrees with those ot the connective tissue, 01
jicli it is principally composed. The gelatine which it yields on boiling is derived
linly from the while fibrous tissue, audit is probably this element which is principally
ncerned in the changes which skin undergoes in the process of tanning. Arteries iroiu


as small, semi-transparent, flexible elevations, which are usually conical or dull-shaped
in form; but in certain parts, as the palm of the hand, present numerous points (in
which case they are termed compound papillae).

The thickness of the true skin varies, according to Kolliker, from of a line to a line
and a half. In its chemical characters it agrees with those of the connective tissue, of

the sub-cutaneous connective tissue fre-ly^enter into' the structure of the skin, and are
distributed to the fat-lobules, the sudoriparous and sebaceous (presently to be described),
the hair follicles, the papillae, etc. In these several parts they terminate in a close net-
work of capillaries. Those parts of the skin which border upon UK; epidermis are for
the most part very freely provided wilh nerves, while in the deeper parts the nervous '
filaments are comparatively scanty. How they terminate is still a, subject of dispute;
but the view most generally adopted is that they end in loops. .

The glands occurring in the skin next chum our consideration. They are the s>td>r-
iparouii or Kirt'.,it r/'ttiulx, the xi''>,ii-i:>n( ovfat fflanSs, and the cerumiiious ffliind-i. The sweat
gl-in-l* exi ;t in almost every part of the hum in skin. They lie in small pits in the deepest
parts of the true skin, and som-times entirely below the skin. Their orifices can be seen
in the middle of the cross grooves that intersect the ridges of the papillae on the hands
and feet, their arrangement being here necessarily regular, while in other parts they ar
irregularly scattered. Their size and number in different regions of the skin correspond
wi:h the amount of perspiration yielded by each part; thus they are nowhere so much
develop 1 I as in the axilla or armpit. In that part of this region, which in the adult is
more or L-ss covered with hair, they form a layer of a reddish color, of about an eighth
of an inch thick. They are soft, and more or less flattened by their pressure on one
another, being imbedded in delicate connective tissue, and covered and permeated with,
a net-work of capillaries. On isolating one of these glands, and highly magnifying it,
it is found to consist of a solitary tube, intricately raveled, one end of which is closed,
and hidden within the glandular mass, while the "other emerges from the gland. The
wall of the tube consists of an outer or bawment membrane, with which the blood-vessels
ate in contact, and an epitlusliit in, lining the interior, the former disappearing when the
tube reaches the surface of the pipilhse. The duet, on leaving the gland, follows a
meandering and rather spiral direction through the reticular portion of the cutis to the
interval between the papillae, when it becomes straight; and it again assumes a spiral
course in perforating the cuticle. It is not e isy to expiain how or why so beautifully
regular a spiral form should be given to the cuticular portion of the duct, which is
rather wider than the rest, the average diameter of the duct being TT l ff? y of an inch.

The sebtn: -nx {/'mul* are small whitish glands, which exist in almost every part of the
skin, except the palms and soles, and are especially abundant in the scalp, face (the nose
being particularly rich in them), and about the anus. They are usually connected with
the hairs, and consist of a duct terminating in a blind pouch-like or pear-shaped
extremity. The bnxrment ini'inbraiif, of these glands is lined by an epithelium, in the
particles of which are included granules of fatty or sebaceous matter, which, having
become detached, constitutes the secretion. These glands are the seat of the parasite
known as amrmtf^Hevtbrurn.

The ccrnminou* yhimlx are brown simple glands, in external appearance like the
sudoriparous glands, occurring in the cartilaginous portion of the external meatus of the
ear. They yield an adhesive bitter secretion, which protects the membrane of the
tympanum from the access of dust, insects, etc.

* In one square line of the palm of the hand. E. FT. Weber reckons that there are 81 compoun
from 150 to :ii>0 smaller papillae, arranged in tolerably regular rows.

d, and


We shall conclude by taking a brief survey of the functions of the skin, omitting,
however, its most important function, touch (q.v.). Regarded as a protective covering,
the skin possesses the combined advantages of toughness, resistance, flexibility, and
elasticity; the connective framework being the part which mainly centers these proper-
ties, although the epidermis co operates with it. The subcutaneous layer of fat, and the
modifications of epidermis in various forms, as hairs, wool, feathers, scales, etc., serve
for the preservation of warmth, aud occasionally (when they occur as claws, talons, etc.)
as means of offense or defense. The skin is the seat of a twofold excretion, viz., of
Hint formed by the sudoriparous glands, and tliat formed by the sebaceous glands. The
fluid secreted by the sudoriparous glands is usually formed so gradually that the watery
portions of it escape by evaporation as soon as it readies the surface; but in certain
conditions, as during strong exercise, or when the external heat is excessive, or in
certain diseases, or when the evaporation is prevented by the application of a texture
impermeable to air, as for example oiled silk, or the material known as mackintosh, '-or
india-rubber cloth, the secretion, instead of evaporating, collects on the skin in the form
of drops of fluid. When it is stated that the sweat contains urea, laclates, extractive
matters, etc., and that the amount of watery vapor exhaled from the skin is, on an
average, 2-J Ibs. daily (according to Valentin's observation), the importance of the sudor-
iparous glands as organs of excretion will be at once manifest. Moreover, there is
reason to believe, from the experiments of Scharling, Gerlach, and others, that the
importance of the skin as a respiratory organ is far from inconsiderable, very appreciable
quantities of carbonic acid being exhaled hourly by the external surface of the body.
In the amphibia, in which the skin is thin and moist, the cutaneous respiration is
extremely active; and that the respiratory function of the skin in the higher animals is
also considerable, is proved not only by measuring the excreted carbonic acid, but by the
fact that if the skin is covered with an impermeable varnish, or if the body be inclosed,
all but the head, in a caoutchouc dress, animals soon die, as if asphyxiated, their heart
and lungs being gorged with blood, and their temperature before death gradually falling
many degrees. The secretion of the sebaceous glands is a semi-fluid oity mass, which
often solidifies into a white viscid tallow-like matter on the surface or in the glandular
ducts, from which it can be removed by pressure, in a form resembling that of a small
whitish worm or maggot. Under the microscope, cells containing fat, free fat mixed
with epidermic scales, and sometimes crystals of cholesterin, are observed. Its chemical
constituents, in addition to water, are a peculiar nitrogenous matter resembling casein,
fat (consisting of palmitin and olein, soaps composed of palmitic and oleic acids), choles-
terin, earthy phosphates, and chlorides and phosphates of the alkalies. Its purpose
seems to be that of keeping the skin moist and supple, and by its oily nature, of hinder-
ing too rapid evaporation. Moreover, considered as an excretion, it must take a share
in the purification of the blood.

The skin is, moreover, an organ of absorption: mercurial preparations, when rubbed
into the skin, have the same action as when given internally. Potassio-tartrate of anti-
mony, when rubbed into the skin in the form of ointment or solution, may excite
vomiting, or an eruption extending over the whole body, and many other illustrations
might be given. The effect of rubbing is probably to force the particles of the matter into
the orifices of the glands, where they are more easily absorbed than they would be
through the epidermis. It has been proved by the experiments of Madden, Berthold,
and other that the skin has the power of absorbing water, although to a less extent
than occurs in thin-skinned animals, such as frogs and lizards. This fact has a practical
application. In severe cases of dysphagia difficult swallowing when not even fluids
can be taken into the stomach, immersion in a bath of warm water, or of milk and
water, may assuage the thirst. Sailors, also, when destitute of fresh water, find their
urgent thirst allayed by soaking their clothes in salt water.

The disease* of the skin, and their classification into genera and species, have occu-
pied the attention of many of the most eminent phvsicians during the last century; but
none of the proposed classifications are very satisfactory. The more important affec-
tions are noticed in special articles. See ECZEMA, and ECTHYMA.

SKINK. or SCINTC, Scincus officinalix, a saurian reptile, found in the north of Africa,
and in some parts of Asia. It is from 6 to 8 in. long, generally of a reddish-dun color,
with darker transverse bands, a wedge-shaped head, and four pretty strong limbs. It
has been in great repute for imaginary medicinal virtues from remote times; it was
largely imported on this account into ancient Rome, and is still in high esteem in the
east, dried skinks finding a ready sale in many places, as Cairo and Alexandria. There
is almost no disease for which it has not been supposed to be a cure. The skink belongs
to the family scitwidw, which is interesting as one of the connecting links between
saurians and serpents. The skink itself is in general appearance quite lizard-like; but
in some of the allied genera, the limbs become rudimentary, or nearly so. In some, one
of the pairs is wanting; and even the slow worms (nngui) arc by many naturalists reck-
oned in this family, in which the limbs are not manifest externally, although they may
be observed on careful dissection. Among the genera in which the four limbs are all
externally manifest, although very small and imperfect, is ne/m, sometimes made the
type of a separate family, sepaidai, in which the body is much elongated aud snake-like.


SKIN-MOTH, a name given to certain colcoptcra which attack skins and furs, and
prepared animals in zoological collections. The most common are dermextt* v-ulpinua,
denitestc* Itirdnritts, and anthrenvt wutiorum. The two first mentioned of these insects
are less than a quarter of an inch long, and arc very destructive, both in the larval uud
imago condition. The nntltrcnus is only about one-tenth of an inch long. The best
antidote tor them all is benzine. As a preventive the skins should be treated with
arsenic during the tanning or preparing process.

SKINNER, THOMAS HARVEY, D.D.. LL.D., 1791-1871; b. N. C. ; graduated at Prince-
ton college in 1809; studied law for 18 months; was licensed to preach in 1812; was col-
league of Dr. Jam-way. Philadelphia, 1813-16; pastor of the Fifth Presbyterian church,
Philadelphia, 1816-82; professor of sacred rhetoric at Acdover theological seminary,
1832-35; pastor of Mercer st. church. 1835-48; professor of sacred rhetoric and pastoral
theology in Union theological seminary, Is'ew York, from 1848 lo his death. He
published Re'iyion of the Bible; Aids to Preaching <md Ilturhtg; Hints to Christian*;
ReKgious Lift of Francis Markoe; Viuet's Pastoral Thtology and ILomilttica (translated);
Discussions in. Theology,

SKIPS, large square baskets, lined with leather or skin, used in spinning-mills for
carrying the liobUns of yarn; sometimes they are made entirely' of thick hides. "Wood
or basket-work would be apt to catch and break the delicate threads.

SKIP TON. a market t. of England, county of York, is finely situated in a broad find
fertile valley, near the river Aire, about 38 m. w. < f York, and 16 n.n w. cf Bradford.
Skiptc.n cairies on manufactures of cotton ai:d woolen goods, and is a station on tle
Leeds and East Lancashire railway and on ihe Midland line. Pop. '71, 6,042.

EKIEMIEHZES are soldiers operating in loose array, two together i.e., front and
rear, with a lateral distance of about six paces between the files. When the army
advances, the giound in front, and for seme distance on each flank, is usually covered
by skirmishers, to prevent surprise. If cavalry crme suddenly on them, they rush
together, and form s-mall squares, called rallying squares. Skirmisheis fire independently
at their own discretion; but the rule is, that "one of the two men composing a file should
always Lave his rifle loaded. Orders are communicated by the sound of bugle.

EFIF.EET. fivm ritririim, a perennial plant of the natural order iimbeHifcrcp, a native
of China and Japan, but which has long been cultivated in gardens in Europe for the
fake of its roots, which are tuberous and clustered, sometimes 6 in. long, and of the
thickness cf the ringer. Tiny are sweet, succulent, and nutritious, with a somewhat
aromatic flavor, and when Loikd, a very agreeable article of food. A kind of spirit-
uous liquor is sometimes made from them. Good sugar can also be extracted. Skirret
was at one time more cultivated in Britain than it is al present, although there seems to
be no good reason for its having fallen into disrepute. It is propagated either by feed
or by very small offsets from the roots, li has a stem of 2 to 3 ft. high ; the lower leaves
pinnate, with oblong-serrated leaflets, and a heart shaped terminal leaf, the upper ones
ternate with lanceolate leaflets.

SKIRTING, the board round the bottom of the walls of rooms. When large, it i*
called a base-plinth.

SKITTLES, a game very popular in England among the frequenters of public-houses.
It is usually played in a covered shed, called a skittle alley, about 60 ft. in length. The

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 127 of 203)