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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pipe of the single family, there is the minimum quantity collected at the foot of the
riser. The sucking action is now put in operation in the main pipe. The pressure of
the atmosphere begins to act, and the barrack pipe rapidly discharges into the main pipe,
while the smaller quantity is simply climbing up the riser, and before it has got to the
top of the riser to be in a position to discharge, all the surplus quantity in the barrack
pipe is gone, and that which is left is simply equal to that minimum which cannot be
withdrawn. In this way the fullest pipe always begin to discharge first, the next more
full waiting for it, and so on, until the minimum is reached, when simply air break*

During the day the air-pumps maintain a vacuum in the central reservoirs and
throughout, the whole extent of the central pipes connected with them. Patrols of two
men each visit the district tanks, one of whom, by opening a valve, makes a tank com-
municate with the central pipes, and so exhausts the air from it. He then shuts the
valve, and the second man immediately opens another which allows the vacuum to act
on one of the street pipes and its branches. A second, third, and fourth street pipe is
dealt with in the same manner the vacuum meanwhile being frequently renewed Jn
the tank till all the sewage in a district is collected and transferred to a central reser-

The pneumatic system of Liernur admits of ordinary water-closets being used. As,
however, the water has afterward to be got rid of. he prefers, on the score of economy,
a form of closet devised by himself which is used without water. It has no movable
mechanism at all. The space into which the excreta falls is one arm of a short bent
tube or siphon trap discharging into a soil-pipe. Each new deposit by its own weight
forces out the former one, and there are special arrangements for the ventilation of the

Capt. Liernur aims at making the sale of the fecal manure cover the working expenses
of the system. The process, or at least one process, by which he converts the sewage
material into a marketable manure, is as follows, leaving out some of the minor arrange-
ments for saving heat. Mixed with a little sulphuric acid, it is placed in a large boiler
through which pipes pass, and through these pipes waste sleam, after being superheated,
circulates, by which a rapid boiling takes place. The material is afterward transferred
to a trough in which a long hollow dram of thin metal, heated internally, revolves.
The drum takes up and dries a thin layer of the manure, which is scraped off by a fixed
knife and sold under the name of povdrette. It contains from 7 to 10 per cent of
ammonia, and it is affirmed that this method of converting the liquid manure into a dry
powder is highly remunerative.

We need hardly explain that wherever the Liernur system is adopted, the mere water
drainage such as that required for rain, waste water of houses, and the like, is provided
for by separate drains formed of earthenware pipes, but of much smaller size than in
cases where all kinds of sewage pass through them. Existing sewers in a town may of
course be used for this purpose.

The details of the Liernur system have been so recently brought to much perfection,
that we shall piijbably have to wait for some years yet before any decided opinion can
be formed of its merits as compared with other methods of treating sewage. As yet no
sanitary engineer has adopted it in England even on a small scale, but if it succeeds on

the continent no doubt any existing prejudice against it will soon be overcome.

SEWAGE EARTH-CLOSET. In addition to the arrangements noticed under SEWAGE,
and under SEWAGE, Liernur's System of, for getting rid of excreta, there is partially
in use an earth-closet, in which the powerful deodorizing and other properties of dry earth
are taken advantage of to deprive refuse of offense or harm, and to retain it in a fit con-
dition for agricultural use. There are numerous forms of this kind of closet. Perhaps
the simplest kind is that which consists of nothing more than a seat and a pan, the latter
being lined round with earth by the help of a movable central mold or core. More
convenient forms consist of a pail or a square-shaped pan on wheels under the seat, and
an earth-box rising above it at the back. The box may be made to hold as much earth .
as serves for twenty or thirty sittings. By one of several devices in use, a vaive is
opened at the bottom of the earth-box, which allows the proper quantity of earth to
descend through a spout and cover the deposit. The mechanism of one kind is such
that the seat descends with the person, thereby bringing a charge of earth to the bottom
of the spout, and when he rises it is dropped upon the faeces.

The earth-closet system is, of course, scarcely practicable in large towns, as it would
be very difficult to plan an economical arrangement by which the large quantities of
earth required could be carried to and fro. But it is in use in many villages, and in
some large isolated buildings, such as jails and hospitals. It has been much adopted in
India, where, owing to the warmth of the climate, the rendering of fecal matter innox-
ious from the first must give it a peculiar advantage. It also appears to have been
tried on a considerable scale in America; and a competent authority there reports that
"experience has taught that its power for usefulness is restricted by the difficulties
involved in procuring, preparing, and removing the dry earth required in its use, and

qo q Sewage.


to some extent by those which attend, mechanically and chemically, the applicatidn of
the earth to the dejecta. The inherent defects of the earth-closet reside in the seeming
impossibility of obtaining just such perfection of mechanism as will completely do the
required work automatically. It is not applicable to our large towns on account of the
large quantity of earth required," as one hundred pounds of earth per week would be
required for a household of yx persons. Sewerage in the great towns is advancing
more generally than the earth-closet system.

SEWALL, JONATHAN, LL.D., 1728-96; b. Boston ; graduated at Harvard, 1748; taught
chool in Salem ; practiced law in Charlestown; appointed atty.gen. of Massachusetts.
1767. In 1769 he commenced suit for the freedom of a colored man, James vs. Richard
Lechmere of Cambridge, which he gained in 1770, 2 years before the celebrated Somer-
set case. At the beginning of the revolutionary war he resided at Cambridge, in the
Vassal, subsequently Washington's headquarters. He went to England, 1779.
From 1788 to his death he was judge of the vice-admiralty court at St. Johns, New

SEWALL, JOSEPH, D.D., 1688-1769; b. Boston; graduated at Harvard college ia
1707; ordained in 1713 colleague pastor of Old South church, Boston, where he remained
till his death, having declined the presidency of Harvard in 1724; was corresponding
member of the society in Scotland for promoting Christian knowledge.

SEWALL, SAMUEL, 1652-1730; b. England; came with his father to America at the
affe of nine; graduated at Harvard in 1671; preached for a short time; obtained great
wealth by his marriage in 1676; went in 1688 to England; returned in 1689; in 1692
appointed one of the council, holding the office till 1725; was a judge, 1692-1718,
when he was made chief-justice. Sharing in the general belief in Europe and America
concerning witchcraft, he concurred in the condemnations in 1692; but in 1697 made a
humble public acknowledgment of his error. He contributed liberally for the spread
of the gospel among the Indians. In 1699 he was chosen one of the commissioners of
the society in England for the propagation of the gospel in New England, and was
their secretary and treasurer. He was for many years a member of the Old South church
and held in high esteem. He published Answer to Queries respecting America; Accom-
plishment of Prophecies; A Description of the New Heavens. His diary and other papers
are in possession of the Mass, historical society.

SEWALL, SAMUEL, I/L.D., 1757-1814; b. Boston; great-grandson of the chief-just-
ice and grandson of Joseph, D.D. ; graduated at Harvard college, 1776; studied law and
for many years practiced in Marblehead. In 1800 he became judge of the supreme court,
and in 1813 was made chief -justice.

SEWARD, a co. in s.w. Kansas, having the territorial line of the Indian territory
for its s. boundary; 650 sq.m. ; pop., '80, 5 3 of American birth. It consists of a level
fertile plain destitute of timber.

SEWARD, a co. ins.e. Nebraska, drained by the Big Blue river, and its n., middle,
and s. forks, on the Nebraska railroad ; 576 sq.m. ; pop., '80, 11,147 9,185 of American .
birth. The surface is rolling. The soil is productive. Corn, wheat, and oats are the
staples. Co. seat, Seward.

SEWARD, FREDERICK W., son of Wm. H. ; b. N. Y., 1830; graduated at Union
college, 1849; admitted to the bar, 1851; associate editor of Albany Evening Journal until
1861; assistant secretary of state, U. S., 1861-69, and again under the administration of
president Hayes.

SEWARD, WILLIAM HENRY, American statesman, was born at Florida, N. Y.,
May 16, 1801, of Welsh and Irish descent. His father was a physician and merchant,
who, after accumulating a moderate fortune, was appointed judge of one of the inferior
courts. Seward entered Union college at 15; in 1819 he visited the south, and was
engaged for six months as a school-teacher in Georgia. Called to the bar in 1822, he
settled at Auburn, western New York, and became the partner and son-in-law of judge
Miller. In 1825 his political abilities were manifested in an oration delivered at Syra-
cuse, and in 1828 he was chosen president of a state convention. At this period New
York was the center of a wide-spread excitement against free-masons, and Seward as a
leading anti-mason, was elected to the state senate. In 1833 he visited Europe, and
wrote a series of letters, which were published in the Albany Evening Journal. In 1834, he
was a candidate for the office of governor of Ne w York, but was defeated by the demo-
eralic candidate. About this time he received the lucrative appointment of agent of the
Holland Land company, which gave him wealth and influence. In 1838 he was elected
governor of New York. In tin's position he recommended the increase of education, inter-
nal improvements, a liberal policy toward foreign immigrants,and took the side of abolition
in the growing controversies on slavery. In 1849 he was elected to the senate of the
United States, where he became the acknowledged leader of his party, and in the debate on
the admission of California he promulgated what was called his "higher-law" doctrine, in
saying that there was " a higher law than the constitution which regulated the authority of
congress over the national cfomain the law of God. and the interests of humanity." In a
speech at Rochester, N. Y.,in 1858, he declared that there was " an irrepressible conflict


between opposing and enduring forces," and that " the United States must become either
entirely slave or entirely free." In 1859 he revisited Europe, aud extended his tour to
Egypt and tlie Holy Land, and in I860 was the most prominent candidate of the repub-
lican party for nomination for the presidency ; but personal aud local interests finally
secured the election of Abraham Lincoln, while Mr. Reward accepted the important post
of secretary of state, iu wiiicu he guided the diplomacy of the federal government
through the perils of the war of secession with an annost unparalleled industry, energy,
and success. On the 14th of April, 18t>5, as the war approached its termination, and
while Seward was confined to his room by a fall from his carriage, president Lincoln
was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, an actor at a theater iu Washington. At the
same time another assassin named Paine, penetrated to the room of Mr. Seward, dan-
gerously wounded his son, and with a poulard inflicted wounds upon him which were
at first believed to be fatal, but from which he slowly recovered, and continued in office
as secretary of state for foreign affairs, throughout the presidency of Lincoln's successor,
Andrew Johnson, when he conducted the negotiations by which the United States pur-
chased from Russia those territories in North America which are now called Alaska.
Seward resigned his office in 1869, on the accession of president Grant. In the autumn
of 1871, he went on a foreign tour through southern Europe, Turkey, Palestine, Egypt,
India, China and Japan, and was everywhere received with much distinction, Seward
published speeches and oratiom in 4vols., a Life of John Quincy Adams and a Life of
DeWitt Clinton. He died in October, 1872.

SEWAKD, WILLIAM HENRY, LL.D. (ante), 1801-72; b. N. Y. Mr. Seward was the
senior member of what Horace Greeley termed the firm of " Seward, Weed & Greeley,"
which from 1839, when it succeeded in breaking down the "Albany regency;" until
1854, when Mr. Greeley withdrew, controlled politics in the'state of New York, dispensed
patronage, aud even swayed nominations, and in at least two instances elections of presi-
dents of the United States. This extraordinary political combination was chiefly the
motive-power which placed Mr. Seward iu positions where his undoubted ability, pro-
found and comprehensive knowledge of men, and shrewdness and diplomatic skill could
gain their best opportunity. His finest acts of statesmanship were undoubtedly his man-
agement of the Trent imbroglio, which threatened war with Great Britain ; his digni-
fied and determined action in the case of the French invasion of Mexico; and his
purchase from Russia of the territory of Alaska, an act of judgment and foresight whose
full value is already beginning to be appreciated. He was a relentless anti-mason, and
a bitter opponent of the American or know-nothing party in 1855. He supported Mr.
Fremont for the presidency in 1856, and did active work toward electing him, but with-
out success. In 1860 he himself was so well thought of for the presidency, that in the
republican convention he received 1 73 \ votes on the first ballot, the highest number;
being defeated, however, for the nomination by Mr. Lincoln. The account of Mr. Sew-
ard's journey in 1870-71 was published in 1873, edited by his adopted daughter, Olive
Risley Seward, and entitled William H. Seward'* Travels Around the World. His latest
published oration was that delivered at Sitka, Aug. 12, 1869. Mr. Seward was remark-
able for the ability to crystallize thought in felicitous phrases, which was possessed in so
marked a degree by the late lord" Beaconsfield. His "irrepressible conflict" and
"higher law" were expressions which gave a character to the history of his time.
. SEWELLEL, Aplodontia leporina, Rich., an animal of the size and general appearance
of the musk-rat, having the peculiarity of rootless molar teeth. It has a reddish-brown
color, small eyes, short tail, strong jaws, and a plump body. It inhabits the n.w. coast
of North America, particularly the region of Puget's sound. The natives use the fkin
as an article of dress. The animal lives in families or herds and makes extensive bur-

SEWING-MACHINE, one of the most important inventions of this century. Like the
stocking-frame, which in principle it closely resembles, we owe it to the ingenuity 01 a
poor mechanic, striving to lessen the labor which he saw was a real hardship upon
his wife and other poor women. Elias Howe, a native of Massachusetts, surrounded by
a young family, for whom he was obliged to labor during the day, devoted his after-
hours to the construction of a sewing-machine. This was about the year 1841, and his
career since that period up to the present time forms a striking chapter in the annals of
intelligent labor, and furnishes another proof of the saying that " fact is stranger than
fiction." After incessant labor, during 'the latter part of which he and his family were
indebted to a friend for the means of subsistence, he completed the first working sewing-
machine, the patent for which was granted to him in May, 1841. He did not succeed in
inducing the people of his own country to see the value of his patent, and came to
England, where, after patenting it here also, he met with so much discouragement
that he sold the patent for 250 and a royalty of 3 per machine to a staymaker, Mr.
Thomas of Cheapside, London, who used it successfully in his own business, but did so
little toward making it public that for several years its existence was only known to a
very few individual manufacturers. When Howe reached his own country again, he
found his American patent pirated by a wealthy company; but with admirable spirit he
asserted his rights, and succeeded in establishing them; and it is gratifying to know that
his talent, industry, and perseverance were rewarded, for he became a wealthy man.



Howe's machine worked what is called the lock-stitch, but since his invention became
known numerous improvements and modifications have been introduced by other
inventors. The principal of these are as follows: 1. Machines which new icith one thread;
of which one kind makes the throng h-and-throuyJt, or shoemaker's stitcli, the thread being
held and pushed through with pincers, one pair on each side of th material to be sewn.
The needle is pointed at each end, and being pushed through by the pincers on one side,
is taken hold of by the corresponding pair on the other, and the thread is thus pulled
through backwards and forwards. Only a small length of thread can be used by this
machine, hence it is of but limited application. 2. Another single-thread machine makes
the runniny-stitch. In this, the needle is stationary, and receives a continuous supply of
thread from a reel; two small-toothed wheels are so arranged that their teeth, pressing
into one another, crimp the two pieces of cloth, and push them forward against the point
of the needle, which, as it gets filled, is relieved by the operator, who keeps drawing the
sewn cloth off at the eye-end of the needle. This machine answers admirably in cases
where loose tacking is required. It is the invention of an American of the name of Bost-
wick, who introduced it into England in 1844. 3. The chain or tambour stitch is also a
single-thread stitch, the machine for which was invented by M. Thimmonier, a French,
man, in 1848. In this, the thread is looped upon itself by means of a curved shuttle
after it has passed through the cloth.
This kind of stitch, though very use-
ful for some kinds of work, is easily
pujled out. 4. Wheeler & Wilson's
sewing-machine, another American
invention, has acquired the greatest
reputation in Great Britain. It is a
double-thread machine, and besides
the vertical eye-pointed needle, has
a curved shuttle or hook (fig. 1, a)
working below, with a revolving
reel, b, inside its curve. The reel is
of metal, each side being convex
externally; and so adjusted on the
axle, that the edges are so near
together as to admit only one thick-
ness of the thread to pass through
(fig. 2). The side view of the whole Fl - 3 - Fl * * * 2 -

arrangement is seen in fig. 3. It fits easily within the nearly circular hook, and gives
off its thread as required. The thread passes partly round the outer edge of the hook,
upon a slightly-grooved bevel (a, fig. 3), which forms a loop, and passes it between thd
needle and the thread which it carries with it in descending; the loop is held in position
as the needle ascends, and the cloth being moved on, the next descent of the needle
takes it through the loop and receives another below it, which renders the first one
tightly locked. For such work as male and female dressmaking generally, this kind of
machine is at present unrivaled, both for the efficiency of its work, and also for the
neatness and finish of the machines made for private use. Sewing-machines have been
patented in America and England by another American named Blake for sewing the
soles on boots and shoes; and so rapid are they in their work, that it is said during the
war in the United States as many as 150 pairs of soles have been sewed on army boots
in one day by a single machine. Special sewing-machines are also in use for sewing the
upper leathers of boots and shoes, for gloves, for embroidery, and various other pur-

SEXAGES IMA SUNDAY (Lat. sexntjesima, i.e., dies, the 60th day), the second Sunday
before Lent, and roughly reckoned the 60th day before Easter.

SEXAGESIMAL, a mode of arithmetical calculation introduced by the ancient Greek
astronomers, especially by Ptolemy (q.v.), into astronomical and geometrical reckoning.
It was founded upon the division of the circle into 360 ports, and, the radius being nearly
^ of the circumference, was considered to contain 60 of these parts or degrees. Con-
tinuing the same mode of subdivision, each degree ( c ) on the radius was divided into 60
minutes (), ench minute into 60 seconds ("). and thirds ('"), fourths (""), etc., followed
in the same relation to each other. Addition and subtraction are not altered in this
method, but multiplication, division, and the extraction of roots are so to a considerable
extent. Multiplication, the most used of these three operations, was carried on in the
descending scale, as in the following example. w r here A 8' x," is to be multiplied by
rfT IT}' vd", or (substituting Arabic numerals) 3r 4' 27" by 29 18' 54":




4' 27'
18' 54"
"116' 783"
538' 72" 486'"

1674' 216'" 1458""

899 674' 2,529* 702" 1458"" = 910 56' 21* 6'" 18""
U. K XIII. 25



Here, each of the three numbers, 31, 4, 27, is multiplied by 29; the same three by 18,
and the results placed in the line below, one step to the right; and again by 54, and the
results placed anothft step to the right. This arrangement proceeds on ihe principle
tint the product of degrees by minutes gives minutes; of minutes by minutes, seconds;
of minutes by seconds, thirds; and, in general, the denomination of a pruduct is indi-
cated by the sum of the marks superposed on the two factors. The columns are added
and rearranged by reduction (q. v.). This system, though clumsy and intricate, was a
great improvement, as regards facility and accuracy, on the former Greek method; and
so much was it admired that succeeding geometers founded on it a complete system of
general calculation, and a work on sexagesimal computation was written by Barlaam,
who died in 1348. It is almost unnecessary to state that the terms minutes, seconds,
thirds, etc., here employed only denote sixtieths, sixtieths of sixtieths, etc., and have no
other signification; further, that the degrees, minutes, and seconds in the multiplier are,
for the time being, merely abstract units and parts of units. The operation of modern
arithmetic known as duodecimal multiplication is effected in the same way, the subdisious
being twelfths in place of sixtieths.

SEXTANT, an instrument for measuring the angular distance of objects by means of
reflection. The principle of its construction depends upon the theorem, that ,'tfa ray of light
suffer double reflection, the angle between the original ray and its direction after tlte second
re/lection is double that of the angle made by the reflecting surfaces. Thus let A ar.d B (fig. 1)
be two mirrors perpendicular to the same plane, and inclined to each other, and let S4. be
a ray of light, which falling upon A is reflected on B, and re-reflected in the direction
BC, then ACB is the angle between the original and finally reflected rays, and ADB is
the angle between the mirrors. Now, as the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of
incidence ZSAF = /BAD, and Z GBA = ZDBC; but Z EBC = Z BAC4- ZBCA =
<Z BAD 4- Z DAC) 4- Z BOA = (zBAD 4- z SAF) 4- z BCA = 2 z BAD 4- Z
BCA; and Z EBC also = Z EBD 4- zDBC = Z EBD 4- zGBA = 2 Z EBD = 2 Z
BAD 4- 2 ZBDA; therefore Z BCA = 2 Z BDA, which proves the truth of Ihetheo-
The instrument of which this theorem is the principle is a brass sector of a circle
in outline; the sector being the sixth part of a complete
circle, for which reason the instrument is called a xextant.
Fig. 2 shows the essentials of its construction; AMN is the
sector whose curved side, MIN, is the sixth part of a cir-
cle; A is one mirror wholly silvered, placed perpendicular
to the plane of the sector, and on, and in line with, the
limb AI, which is movable round a joint at or near A; B
is the other mirror, also perpendicular to the plane of 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 89 of 203)