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Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XIV, No. 362.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

* * * * *


I. ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS - Recent Improvements in
Textile Machinery. - Harris's revolving ring spinning frame. -
New electric stop motion. - New positive motion loom. 6 figures.

Spinning Without a Mule. - Harris's improvements in ring

New Binding Machines. 3 figures.

Flumes and their construction. 1 figure.

Chuwab's Rolling Mill for Dressing and Rounding Bar Iron.
9 figures.

Burning of Town Refuse at Leeds. 6 figures. - Sections and
elevations of destructor and carbonizer.

II. TECHNOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. - Friedrich Wohler. - His
labors and discoveries.

New Gas Burner. 3 figures. - Grimstone's improved gas burner.

Defty's Improvements in Gas Burners and Heaters. 4 figures.

The Collotype in Practice.

Determination of Potassa in Manures. - By M. E. DREYFUS.

III. HYGIENE, MEDICINE, ETC. - The Air in Relation to Health.
By Prof. C. F. CHANDLER.

The Plantain as a Styptic.


IV. ELECTRICITY, ETC. - Gustavo Trouvé and his Electrical Inventions.
- Portrait of Gustave Trouvé. - Trouvé's electric boat competing
in the regatta at Troyes.

Domestic Electricity. - Loiseau's electric naphtha and gas
lighters. - Ranque's new form of lighter with extinguisher.

Theiler's Telephone Receiver. 2 figures.

An Electric Power Hammer. By MARCEL DEPRETZ. 1 figure.

Solignac's New Electric Lamp. 3 figures.

Mondos's Electric Lamp. 2 figures.

V. METALLURGY AND MINERALOGY. - Aluminum. - Its properties,
cost, and uses.

The Origin and Relations of the Carbon Minerals.
By J.S. NEWBERRY. - An elaborate and extremely valuable review
of the genesis of carbon minerals, and the modes and conditions
of their occurrence.

Estimation of Sulphur in Iron and Steel. By GEORGE CRAIG.
1 figure.

VI. ARCHITECTURE, ETC. - The Armitage House.

Suggestions in Architecture. - An English country residence.

VII. BOTANY, HORTICULTURE, ETC. - The Soy Bean. 1 figure. -
The Soy bean (_Soja hispida_).

Erica Cavendishiana. 1 figure.

Philesia Buxifolia. 1 figure.


VIII. MISCELLANEOUS. - Our Hebrew Population.

The Mysteries of Lake Baikal.

Traveling Sand Hills on Lake Ontario.

Animals in the Arts. - Corals. - The conch shell. - Living beetles,
etc. - Pearls. - Sepia and silk.

* * * * *


The accompanying portrait of M. Gustave Trouvé is taken from a small
volume devoted to an account of his labors recently published by M.
Georges Dary. M. Trouvé, who may be said to have had no ancestors from
an electric point of view, was born in 1839 in the little village of
Haye-Descartes. He was sent by his parents to the College of Chinon,
whence he entered the École des Arts et Metiers, and afterward went
to Paris to work in the shop of a clock-maker. This was an excellent
apprenticeship for our future electrician, since it is in small works
that electricity excels; and, if its domain is to be increased, it is
only on condition that the electric mechanician shall never lose sight
of the fact that he should be a clock-maker, and that his fingers, to
use M. Dumas's apt words, should possess at once the strength of those
of the Titans and the delicacy of those of fairies. It was not long ere
Trouvé set up a shop of his own, whither inventors flocked in crowds;
and the work he did for these soon gave up to him the secrets of the art
of creating. The first applications that he attempted related to the use
of electricity in surgery, a wonderfully fecund branch, but one whose
importance was scarcely suspected, notwithstanding the results
already obtained through the application of the insufflation pile to
galvano-cautery. What the surgeon needed was to see plainly into the
cavities of the human body. Trouvé found a means of lighting these
up with lamps whose illuminating power was fitted for that sort of
exploration. This new mode of illumination having been adopted, it was
but natural that it should afterward find an application in dangerous
mines, powder mills, and for a host of different purposes. But the
perfection of this sort of instruments was the wound explorer, by the
aid of which a great surgeon sounded the wounds that Italian balls had
made in Garibaldi's foot.

[Illustration: GUSTAVE TROUVE.]

The misfortunes of France afterward directed Trouvé's attention to
military electricity, and led him to devise a perfect system of portable
telegraphy, in which his hermetic pile lends itself perfectly to all
maneuvers and withstands all sorts of moving about.

The small volume of which we have spoken is devoted more particularly to
electric navigation, for which M. Trouvé specially designed the motor of
his invention, and by the aid of which he performed numerous experiments
on the ocean, on the Seine at Paris, and before Rouen and at Troyes. In
this latter case M. Trouvé gained a medal of honor on the occasion of a
regatta. Our engraving represents him competing with the rowers of whom
he kept ahead with so distinguished success. We could not undertake to
enumerate all the inventions which we owe to M. Trouvé; but we cannot,
however, omit mention of the pendulum escapement that beats the second
or half second without any variation in the length of the balance; of
the electric gyroscope constructed at the request of M. Louis Foucault;
of the electro-medical pocket-case; of the apparatus for determining the
most advantageous inclination to give a helix; of the electric bit for
stopping unruly horses; and of the universal caustic-holder. He has
given the electric polyscope features such that every cavity in the
human body may be explored by its aid. As for his electric motor, he
has given that a form that makes the rotation regular and suppresses
dead-centers - a result that he has obtained by utilizing the
eccentrization of the Siemens bobbin.

Although devoting himself mainly to improving his motor (which, by
the way, he has applied to the tricycle), M. Trouvé does not disdain
telephony, but has introduced into the manufacture of magnets for the
purpose many valuable improvements. - _Electricité_.

TROYES, AUG. 6, 1882.]

* * * * *


At the age of eighty-two years, and full of honor, after a life actively
devoted to scientific work of the highest and most accurate kind, which
has contributed more than that of any other contemporary to establish
the principles on which an exact science like chemistry is founded, the
illustrious Wöhler has gone to his rest.

After he had worked for some time with Berzelius in Sweden, he taught
chemistry from 1825 to 1831 at the Polytechnic School in Berlin; then
till 1836 he was stationed at the Higher Polytechnic School at Cassel,
and then he became Ordinary Professor of Chemistry in the University of
Göttingen, where he remained till his death. He was born, July 31, 1800,
at Eschersheim, near Frankfort-on-the-Main.

Until the year 1828 it was believed that organic substances could only
be formed under the influence of the vital force in the bodies of
animals and plants. It was Wöhler who proved by the artificial
preparation of urea from inorganic materials that this view could not be
maintained. This discovery has always been considered as one of the most
important contributions to our scientific knowledge. By showing that
ammonium cyanate can become urea by an internal arrangement of its
atoms, without gaining or losing in weight, Wöhler furnished one of the
first and best examples of isomerism, which helped to demolish the old
view that equality of composition could not coexist in two bodies, A
and B, with differences in their respective physical and chemical
properties. Two years later, in 1830, Wöhler published, jointly with
Liebig, the results of a research on cyanic and cyanuric acid and on
urea. Berzelius, in his report to the Swedish Academy of Sciences,
called it the most important of all researches in physics, chemistry,
and mineralogy published in that year. The results obtained were quite
unexpected, and furnished additional and most important evidence in
favor of the doctrine of isomerism. In the year 1834, Wöhler and Liebig
published an investigation of the oil of bitter almonds. They prove by
their experiments that a group of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms
can behave like an element, take the place of an element, and can be
exchanged for elements in chemical compounds. Thus the foundation was
laid of the doctrine of compound radicals, a doctrine which has had
and has still the most profound influence on the development of
chemistry - so much so that its importance can hardly be exaggerated.
Since the discovery of potassium by Davy, it was assumed that alumina
also, the basis of clay, contained a metal in combination with oxygen.
Davy, Oerstedt, and Berzelius attempted the extraction of this metal,
but could not succeed. Wöhler then worked on the same subject, and
discovered the metal aluminum. To him also is due the isolation of the
elements yttrium, beryllium, and titanium, the observation that silicium
can be obtained in crystals, and that some meteoric stones contain
organic matter. He analyzed a number of meteorites, and for many years
wrote the digest on the literature of meteorites in the _Jahresbericht
der Chemie_; he possessed, perhaps, the best private collection of
meteoric stones and irons existing. Wöhler and Sainte Claire Deville
discovered the crystalline form of boron, and Wöhler and Buff the
hydrogen compounds of silicium and a lower oxide of the same element.
This is by no means a full statement of Wöhler's scientific work; it
even does not mention all the discoveries which have had great influence
on the theory of chemistry. The mere titles of the papers would fill
several closely-printed pages. The journals of every year from 1820 to
1881 contain contributions from his pen, and even his minor publications
are always interesting. As was truly remarked ten years ago, when it was
proposed by a Fellow of the Royal Society that a Copley medal should be
conferred upon him, "for two or three of his researches he deserves the
highest honor a scientific man can obtain, but the sum of his work is
absolutely overwhelming. Had he never lived, the aspect of chemistry
would be very different from that it is now."

While sojourning at Cassel, Wöhler made, among other chemical
discoveries, one for obtaining the metal nickel in a state of purity,
and with two attached friends he founded a factory there for the
preparation of the metal.

Among the works which he published were "Grundriss der Anorganischen
Chemie," Berlin, 1830, and the "Grundriss der Organischen Chemie,"
Berlin, 1840. Nor must we omit to mention "Praktischen Uebringen der
Chemischen Analyse," Berlin, 1854, and the "Lehrbuch der Chemie,"
Dresden, 1825, 4 vols.

At a sitting of the Academy, held on October 2, 1882, M. Jean Baptiste
Dumas, the permanent secretary, with profound regret, made known
the intelligence of the death of the illustrious foreign associate,
Friedrich Wöhler, professor in the University of Göttingen. He said: "M.
Friedrich Wöhler, the favorite pupil of Berzelius, had followed in the
lines and methods of work of his master. From 1821 till his last year he
has continuously published memoirs or simple notes, always remarkable
for their exactness, and often of such a nature that they took among
contemporaneous production the first rank by their importance, their
novelty, or their fullness. Employed chiefly, during his sojourn in
Sweden, in work on mineral chemistry, he has remained all his life the
undisputed chief in this branch of science in German universities. This
preparation and preoccupation, which one might have thought sufficient
to occupy his time, did not, however, prevent him from taking the chief
part in the development of organic chemistry, and of filling one of the
most elevated positions in it.

"His contemporaries have not forgotten the unusual sensation produced by
the unexpected discovery by which he was enabled to make artificially,
and by a purely chemical method, urea, the most nitrogenous of animal
substances. Other transformations or combinations giving birth to
substances which, until then, had only been met with in animals or
plants, have since been obtained, but the artificial formation of urea
still remains the neatest and most elegant example of this order of
creation. All chemists know and admire the classical memoir in which
Wöhler and Liebig some time after made known the nature of the benzoic
series, and connected them with the radicals of which we may consider
them as being the derivatives comparable with products of a mineral
nature. Their memoirs on the derivatives of uric acid, a prolific source
of new and remarkable substances, has been an inexhaustible mine in the
hands of their successors.

"This is not a moment when we should pretend to review the work which M.
Wöhler has done in mineral chemistry. Among the 240 papers which he has
published in scientific journals, there are few which the treatises of
chemistry have not immediately turned to account. We need only confine
ourselves to the discovery of aluminum, to which the energy and
inventive genius of our _confrère_, Henry Deville, soon gave a place
near the noble metals. United by a rivalry which would have divided
less noble minds, these two great chemists carried on together their
researches in chemistry, and joined their forces to clear up points
still obscure in the history of boron, silicium, and the metals of
the platinum group, and remained closely united, which each year only

"The reader will pardon me a souvenir entirely personal. We were born,
M. Wöhler and I, in 1800. I am his senior by a few days. Our scientific
life began at the same date, and during sixty years everything has
combined to bind more closely the links of brotherhood which has existed
for so long a time."

* * * * *


The United Jewish Association has made a canvass of the denomination in
this country, finding 278 congregations, and a total Jewish population
of 230,984. New York has the largest number - 80,565. Then follows
Pennsylvania, with 20,000; California, with 18,580; Ohio with 14,581;
Illinois, with 12,625, and Maryland, with 10,357.

The Jewish population in the largest cities is as follows:

New York 60,000
San Francisco 16,000
Brooklyn 14,000
Philadelphia 13,000
Chicago 12,000
Baltimore 10,000
Cincinnati 8,000
Boston 7,000
St. Louis 6,500
New Orleans 5,000
Cleveland 3,500
Newark 3,500
Milwaukee 3,500
Louisville 2,500
Pittsburg 2,000
Detroit 2,000
Washington 1,500
New Haven 1,000
Rochester 1,000

This total Jewish population of 230,984 has six hospitals, eleven
orphan asylums and homes, fourteen free colleges and schools, and 602
benevolent lodges. Of the free schools maintained by the Hebrews, five
are in New York, four in Philadelphia, and one each in Cincinnati, St.
Louis, Chicago, and San Francisco. Their hospitals are in New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Chicago, while
their orphan asylums, homes, and other benevolent institutions are
scattered all over the country.

* * * * *


The Angara is cold as ice all the summer through, so cold, indeed, that
to bathe in it is to court inevitable illness, and in winter a sled
drive over its frozen surface is made in a temperature some degrees
lower than that prevailing on the banks. This comes from the fact that
its waters are fresh from the yet unfathomed depths of the Baikal, which
during the five short months of summer has scarcely time to properly
unfreeze. In winter the lake resembles in all respects a miniature
Arctic Ocean, having its great ice hummocks and immense leads, over
which the caravan sleds have to be ferried on large pieces of ice, just
as in the frozen North. In winter, too, the air is so cold in the region
above the lake that birds flying across its icy bosom sometimes drop
down dead on the surface. Some authors say that seals have been caught
in the lake of the same character as those found in the Arctic seas; for
this assertion I have no proof. An immense caravan traffic is carried
across the frozen lake every season between Russia and China. To
accommodate this the Russian postal authorities once established a post
house on the middle of the lake, where horses were kept for travelers.
But this was discontinued after one winter, when an early thaw suddenly
set in, and horses, yemschliks and post house all disappeared beneath
the ice, and were never seen more. In summer the lake is navigated by an
antiquated steamer called the General Korsakoff, which ventures out
in calm weather, but cannot face the violent storms and squalls that
sometimes rise with sudden impetuosity. Irkutskians say, indeed, that it
is only upon Lake Baikal and upon this old hull that a man really learns
to pray from his heart. The lake is held in superstitious reverence by
the natives. It is called by them Svyatoe More, or the Holy Lake, and
they believe that no Christian was ever lost in its waters, for even
when a person is drowned in it the waves always take the trouble to cast
the body on shore.

Its length is 400 miles, its width an average of 35 miles, covers an
area of 14,000 square miles and has a circumference of nearly 1,200
miles, being the largest fresh water lake in the Old World, and, next to
the Caspian and the Aral, the largest inland sheet of water in Asia. Its
shores are bold and rugged and very picturesque, in some places 1,000
feet high. In the surrounding forests are found game of the largest
description, bears, deer, foxes, wolves, elk and these afford capital
sport for the sportsmen of Irkutsk.

Around the coasts are many mineral springs, hot and cold, which have a
great reputation among the Irkutskians. The hot springs of Yurka, on the
Selenga, 200 versts from Verchore Udevisk and not many miles from the
eastern shore of the Baikal, which have a temperature of 48 degrees
Réaumur and whose waters are strongly impregnated with sulphur, are
a favorite watering place for natives as well as Russians and
Buriats. - _Herald Correspondent with the Jeannette Search Expedition_.

* * * * *


An interesting example of sand-drift occurs near Wellington Bay, on Lake
Ontario, ten miles from Pictou. The lake shore near the sand banks is
indented with a succession of rock-paved bays, whose gradually shoaling
margins afford rare bathing grounds. East and West Lakes, each five
miles long, and the latter dotted with islands, are separated from
Lake Ontario by narrow strips of beach. Over the two mile-wide isthmus
separating the little lakes, the sand banks, whose glistening heights
are visible miles away, are approached. On near approach they are hidden
by the cedar woods, till the roadway in front is barred by the advancing
bank, to avoid which a roadway through the woods has been constructed
up to the eastern end of the sand range. The sand banks stretch like a
crescent along the shore, the concave side turned to the lake, along
which it leaves a pebbly beach. The length of the crescent is over two
miles, the width 600 to 3,000 or 4,000 feet.

Clambering up the steep end of the range among trees and grapevines, the
wooded summit is gained, at an elevation of nearly 150 feet. Passing
along the top, the woods soon disappear, and the visitor emerges on a
wild waste of delicately tinted saffron, rising from the slate-colored
beach in gentle undulation, and sleepily falling on the other side down
to green pastures and into the cedar woods. The whole surface of this
gradually undulating mountain desert is ribbed by little wavelets a few
inches apart, but the general aspect is one of perfect smoothness. The
sand is almost as fine as flour, and contains no admixture of dust The
foot sinks only an inch or two in walking over it; children roll about
on it and down its slopes, and, rising, shake themselves till their
clothing loses every trace of sand. Occasionally gusts stream over the
wild waste, raising a dense drift to a height of a foot or two only, and
streaming like a fringe over the steep northern edge. Though the sun is
blazing down on the glistening wilderness there is little sensation of
heat, for the cool lake breeze is ever blowing. On the landward side,
the insidious approach of the devouring sand is well marked. One hundred
and fifty feet below, the foot of this moving mountain is sharply
defined against the vivid green of the pastures, on which the grass
grows luxuriantly to within an inch of the sand wall. The ferns of the
cedar woods almost droop against the sandy slope. The roots of the trees
are bare along the white edge; a foot or two nearer the sand buries the
feet of the cedars: a few yards nearer still the bare trunks disappear;
still nearer only the withered topmast twigs of the submerged forest are
seen, and then far over the tree tops stands the sand range. Perpetual
ice is found under the foot of this steep slope, the sand covering and
consolidating the snows drifted over the hill during the winter months.
There is something awe-inspiring, says the correspondent of the Toronto
Globe, in the slow, quiet, but resistless advance of the mountain front.
Field and forest alike become completely submerged. Ten years ago a
farm-house was swallowed up, not to emerge in light until the huge sand
wave has passed over.

* * * * *


At the recent exhibition at Boston of the New England Institute, several
interesting novelties were shown which have a promise of considerable
economic and industrial value.

Fig. 1 represents the general plan and pulley connections of the Harris
Revolving-Ring Spinning Frame. The purpose of the improvements which
it embodies is to avoid the uneven draught of the yarn in spinning and
winding incident to the use of a fixed ring. With the non-revolving ring
the strain upon the yarn varies greatly, owing to the difference
in diameter of the full and empty bobbin. At the base of the cone,
especially in spinning weft, or filling, the diameter of the cop is five
or six times that of the quill at the tip. As the yarn is wound upon the
cone, the line of draught upon the traveler varies continually, the pull
being almost direct where the bobbin is full, and nearly at right angles
where it is empty. With the increasing angle the drag upon the traveler
increases, not only causing frequent breakages of the yarn, but also an
unequal stretching of the yarn, so that the yarn perceptibly varies in
fineness. The unequal strain further causes the yarn to be more tightly
wound upon the outside than upon the inside of the bobbin, giving rise
to snarls and wastage.


These difficulties have hitherto prevented the application of ring
spinning to the finer grades of yarn. They are overcome in the new
spinning frame by an ingenious device by which a revolving motion is
given to the ring in the same direction as the motion of the traveler,
thereby reducing its friction upon the ring, the speed of the ring being
variable, and so controlled as to secure a uniform tension upon the yarn

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Online LibraryVariousScientific American Supplement, No. 362, December 9, 1882 → online text (page 1 of 10)