Scientific American, Vol. XXXIX.—No. 6. [New Series.], August 10, 1878 online

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* * * * *



Vol. XXXIX. - No. 6 NEW YORK, AUGUST 10, 1878 $3.20 per Annum.


Our engraving, which represents a portion of the park at the Paris
Exhibition grounds, needs little mention beyond that it is one of those
delightful retreats so refreshing to the weary visitor, who, tired out
with tramping about the buildings and grounds, is only too pleased to
refresh his eyes with some of that exquisite miniature water scenery
which is scattered about the grounds. We take our illustration from the
London _Graphic_.

* * * * *

=Improvements in Silk Worm Breeding.=

_Galignani_ states that a very curious discovery has just been made,
which, if found as practicable in application as it seems to promise,
may create a very considerable change in the production of silk. It is
nothing more nor less than the possibility of obtaining two yields in
the year of the raw material instead of one, as at present. The moth
lays its eggs in May or June, and these do not hatch before the spring
of the following year. But sometimes they are observed to hatch
spontaneously ten or twelve days after they are laid. It was such a
circumstance as this coming to the attention of M. Ducloux, Professor of
the Faculty of Sciences at Lyons, that led him to undertake a series of
experiments on the subject, by means of which he has found that this
premature hatching can be produced at will. The means for effecting the
object are very simple - rubbing the eggs with a hair brush, subjecting
them to the action of electricity, or more surely still by dipping them
for half a minute in concentrated sulphuric acid. M. Bollé, who has also
turned his attention to the same subject, states that the same effect is
produced by hydrochloric, nitric, or even acetic and tartaric acid.
Finally, a submersion of a few seconds in water heated to 50° Cent.
(122° Fah.) is equally efficacious. However, M. Ducloux states that the
operation must be performed while the eggs are quite young, the second
or third day at the outside. When this new hatching is accomplished the
mulberry tree is in its full vigor, and the weather so favorable that
the rearing of the worm is liable to much less risk than during the
early days of spring, when the sudden atmospheric changes are very
detrimental, and frequently fatal to the growing caterpillars.

* * * * *

=The Natural History of the Eel.=

According to the reports of shad fishermen, the chief enemy of the shad
is the eel, which not only follows that fish up the streams and devours
the spawn, but often attacks the shad after they are caught in the nets.
Entering the shad at the gill openings the eels suck out the spawn and
entrails, and leave the fish perfectly clean. The finest and fattest
shad are the ones selected. It is a curious circumstance that of a fish
so well known as the eel so many of its life habits should be in
dispute. An animated discussion has been going on in Germany quite
recently with regard to the natural history of this fish, and in a late
number of a scientific journal the following points are set down as
pretty well substantiated. Though a fresh water fish which passes the
greater part of its life in rivers, the eel spawns in the sea. That it
is viviparous is extremely improbable. The eel found in the upper waters
of rivers is almost always female. At the age of four years it goes down
to the sea to spawn and never returns to fresh water. The spawning
process is somehow dangerous to the eel, thousands being found dead near
the mouths of rivers, with their ovaries empty. The descent of the fish
to the sea does not appear to take place at any definite period, but is
probably dependent on the season for spawning. The male is always much
smaller than the female, and never exceeds half a yard in length. The
males never ascend to the head waters of rivers, but keep continually in
the sea or in the lower reaches of the river. Nothing is definitely
known about the spawning season, though it is probable that the eggs are
deposited in the sea not far from the mouths of rivers.

* * * * *


* * * * *

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VOL. XXXIX., No. 6. [NEW SERIES.] _Thirty-third Year._
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


(Illustrated articles are marked with an asterisk.)

American goods, excellence of 89
Astronomical notes* 90
Astronomical observation* 91
Brass, recipe for cleaning [4] 91
Cancer, treatment of 85
Chloride of lime, to neutralize [6] 91
Coal, distillation of* 85
Discoveries, Prof. Marsh's recent 90
Drawings, how to mount [19] 91
Drawings, printing copies of [9] 91
Edison telephone and Hughes' microphone 80
Education, industrial 90
Eel, natural history of the 79
Electro-magnet, to construct [12] 91
England, wages in 85
Engraving, photographic 82
Exhibition, American Institute 84
Export edition, Scientific Amer. 80
Fire, chemicals to extinguish [22] 91
Flour, explosiveness of 87
Gas, saw tempering by natural 87
Germany, labor in 89
Gold, how to melt [18] 91
Hair, removing superfluous [1] 91
Hughes, letter from Prof. 80
Industrial enterprises, new 84
Ink to rule faint lines [7] 91
Inventions, new 86
Inventions, new agricultural 86
Inventions, new engineering 87
Inventions, new mechanical 89
Iron making, progress of 80
Journalism, crooked 88
Lathes, attachment for* 86
Lemon verbena, new use for 89
Life, minute forms of 85
Lime light, how to make [14] 91
Main joints, street 88
Mormons, hint from the 86
N. Y. Capitol, machinery for 87
Paris Ex., Japanese Building* 87
Paris Exhibition, the park* 79
Patent law, our 84
Pens, fountain 80
Petroleum June review 90
Petroleum oils as lubricators 89
Petroleum, short history of 85
Plants, etc., influence of light on 89
Poisoning of a lake, remarkable 90
Production, ill-balanced 89
Production, more perfect 88
Puddling, mechanical* 82
Quick work 86
Rainfall, decrease of N. Y. 86
Rhinoceros Hornbill, the* 87
Shad hatching, successful 88
Shellac, to dissolve bleached [2] 91
Shoes, dressing for ladies' [21] 91
Silk worm breeding 79
Substances, how to rate [3] 91
Sun, the* 80, 81
Teeth, replanting, etc. 84
Telephone, science promoter 80
Thermometer, new deep sea* 83
Timber, ribs on surface of [17] 91
Valve, new steam* 86
Velocipede feat, extraordinary* 89
Wires, copper finish to [24] 91
Wood, to make sound boards [11] 91
Wool product of the world 88
$150,000,000 a year, trying to save 90

=No. 136,=
=For the Week ending August 10, 1878.=

I. ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS. - The Manufacture of Wrought Iron Pipe.
Bending the Sheets. Welding the Tube. Manufacture of Gas Pipe.
Polishing and Smoothing. 4 figures.

Improved Marine Engine Governor. 1 figure. - Improved Screw
Steering Apparatus. 3 figures. - West's Reversing Gear. 1
figure. - Engineering in Peru. The Oroya Railroad over the summit
of the Andes. A remarkable engineering feat. The famous Cerro de
Pasco Silver Mines. Extensive Coal Fields.

II. TECHNOLOGY. - Coal Ashes as a Civilizer. Grading. Coal Ashes as a
Fertilizer. - Utilization of the Waste Waters of Fulling Mills and
Woolen Works. - Suggestions in Decorative Art. Marquetry Ornaments
from Florence. 3 illustrations.
Useful Recipes. By J. W. PARKINSON. Cream cake. Kisses. Apples a
la Tongue. Mead. Bread without yeast. Biscuit. Doughnuts. Glaire
of Eggs. Crumpets. Ratafia de Framboises. Ratafia de Cerises. To
color sugar sand. Raspberry and currant paste. Cheese cake.
Cocoanut macaroons. Orange slices. Ice cream. Fruit juices. Lady
fingers. White bride cake. Scalloped clams. Iced souffle. Sugar
for crystal work. To restore the fragrance of oil of lemon. Family

Exhibition. Manufacture of snuff. The two processes of
fermentation. The grinding. The packing of the snuff. Manufacture
of chewing tobacco, etc.
New Cutting Apparatus for Reapers. 1 figure. - The Algerian
Court. 1 illustration. - The French Forest Pavilion. 1

IV. CHEMISTRY AND METALLURGY. - A Reducing Agent. - Climbing
Salts. - Chloride of Lime. - Action of Watery Vapor. - The Active
Principles of Ergot. - Cadaveric Alkaloids.
Outlines of Chemistry. By HENRY M. MCINTIRE.

V. ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING. - A Cottage Costing $150. By S. B. REED,
Architect. Plans for cheap summer residence for family of four
persons. Dimensions, construction, and estimate for all materials
and labor, with 6 figures. - Buildings in Glass. Improved method of
constructing conservatories, 2 figures. - Buildings and
Earthquakes. On structures in an earthquake country. By JOHN PERRY
and W. E. AYRTON, Japan. Also a new Seismometer for the
measurement of earthquakes.

VI. NATURAL HISTORY, GEOLOGY, ETC. - Colors of Birds and
Insects. - Microscopy. Minute and low forms of life. Poisonous
Caterpillar. Sphærosia Volvox. An Australian Polyzoon.
A Chinese Tornado.

M.D. Symptoms continued. Mental depression with timidity; morbid
fear of special kinds; headaches; disturbances of the nerves and
organs of special sense; localized peripheral numbness and
hyperæsthesia; general and local chills and flashes of heat; local
spasms of the muscles. Suggestions and treatment. Electricity.
Application of cold; kind of food; exercise; medicines.
The Art of Preserving the Eyesight. V. From the French of Arthur
Chevalier. Presbyopy, or long sight. Symptoms. Causes. Artificial
light. Franklin's spectacles. Spectacles for artists. Hygiene for
long sight, and rules. Myopy, or short sight. Dilation of pupil,
and other symptoms of myopy. Glass not to be constantly used in
myopy. How to cure slight myopy. Choice of glasses. Colored
glasses for short sight. False or distant myopy, and glasses to be
used, 5 figures.

VIII. MISCELLANEOUS. - The Repair of the Burned Models after the Patent
Office Fire of 1877. By GEORGE DUDLEY LAWSON. An interesting
description of the importance and difficulty of the work, and the
enterprise and care shown. Reconstructing complicated models from
miscellaneous fragments.
Verneuil, Winner of the Ascot Cup, 1 illustration.

Price 10 cents. To be had at this office and of all newsdealers.

* * * * *


The success of the Dank's puddling furnace fired with pulverized coal
seems to be no longer a matter of doubt in England. It is stated that
Messrs. Hopkins, Gilkes & Co., the well known iron makers of the North
of England, have succeeded in turning out from it from Cleveland pig
alone iron capable of bearing tests which Staffordshire iron has not yet
surpassed. The English iron manufacturers in their struggle with us are
wisely taking advantage of every improvement in their line to keep ahead
of us, and are likely to be successful unless our manufacturers arouse
from their fancied security.

We are now underselling the English at home and abroad in many articles
of manufacture, because so much of our work is done by machinery, and is
consequently better and cheaper than can be produced by hand labor at
the lowest living rate of wages; but so soon as the English masters and
workmen shall fully appreciate this fact, the same machines run there
with cheaper labor will deprive us of our present advantages.

Already we notice several instances in which the workmen, renouncing
their prejudices, have willingly consented to the substitution of
machine for hand work, and we doubt not that the success of these
innovations, conjoined with the pressure of the times, will ere long
create a complete revolution in the ideas of the British workmen, so
that instead of longer opposing they will demand the improved appliances
and facilities for work, converting them from rivals or opponents to
allies. Such a radical change is not necessarily far in the future, for
the logic of it has long been working in the brains of both masters and
men and may reasonably bear fruit at any time. We fear that when this
time arrives our makers of iron, especially, will wake up to the
consciousness that they have not kept up with the advance.

* * * * *


Every new thing, whether it be in the realm of mind or matter, has an
influence on whatever existed before, of a similar kind, to modify,
develop, and improve it, or to doom it to oblivion. Whatever is new
necessitates a better knowledge of the old, so that the world gains not
only by the acquirement of the new thing, but also by a better
understanding of things already known.

A discovery, published, sets a thousand minds at work, and immediately
there is a host of experimentalists who, in their desire to make and try
the new thing for themselves, begin without a knowledge of the science
or art to which the discovery pertains, and inevitably fail. After
failure comes research, which to be of value must be extended. Every
investigator can recall the novelty that induced his first experiments,
and can recount his trials in his search for information.

Among the inventions or discoveries that have induced extended
experiment, the telephone may, without doubt, be mentioned as the chief,
for no sooner was the first speaking telephone brought out than here and
there all over the country it was imitated. Persons who never had the
slightest knowledge of electrical science had a desire to see and test
the telephone. To do this first of all requires a degree of mechanical
skill. Acoustics must be understood, and a knowledge of the four
branches of electrical science is requisite, as the telephone involves
galvanism, magnetism, electrical resistance, induction, and many of the
nicer points which can be understood by investigation only, and this not
only in the direction indicated, but in the allied branches of physics
and also in chemistry. Familiarity with these things develops a
scientific taste that will not be easily satisfied. The characteristic
avidity with which the American people seize upon a novelty has been
wonderfully exemplified by the manner in which the telephone mania has
spread. In consequence of this science has received an impetus, and now
we have everywhere embryo electricians and experimentalists, where
before were only the unscientific.

* * * * *


We print in another column a letter received from Mr. D. E. Hughes
concerning the distinction he finds between his microphone and Mr.
Edison's carbon telephone. Mr. Hughes is very confident that the two
inventions have nothing in common, and that they bear no resemblance to
each other in form, material, or principles.

We would not question Mr. Hughes' sincerity in all this. No doubt he
honestly believes that the invention of Mr. Edison "represents no field
of discovery, and is restricted in its uses to telephony," whilst the
"microphone demonstrates and represents the whole field of nature." But
the fact of his believing this is only another proof that he utterly
fails to understand or appreciate the real scope and character of Mr.
Edison's work.

To those familiar not only with Mr. Edison's telephone but with the long
line of experimental investigation that had to be gone through with
before he was able to control the excessive sensitiveness of the
elements of his original discovery, it is very clear that Mr. Hughes has
been working upon and over-estimating the importance of one phase, and
that a limited phase, of Mr. Edison's investigations.

We propose shortly to review at length the evidence of Mr. Edison's
priority in the invention or discovery of all that the microphone
covers; this purely as a question of scientific interest. For the
personal elements of the controversy between Mr. Edison on the one side
and Messrs. Preece and Hughes on the other we care nothing.

* * * * *


The inquiry for American manufactured products and machinery abroad
seems to grow in volume and variety daily. And though, in comparison
with our capacity to produce, the foreign demand is yet small, its
possibilities are unlimited. To increase the demand the immediate
problem is to make known throughout the world in the most attractive
fashion possible the wide range of articles which America is prepared to
furnish, and which other nations have use for. As a medium for conveying
such intelligence the monthly export edition of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
is unequaled. The table of contents of the second issue, to be found in
another column, will give an idea of the wide range and permanent as
well as timely interest of the matter it circulates. It is a magazine of
valuable information that will be preserved and repeatedly read. The
handsomely illustrated advertising pages supplement the text, and make
it at once the freshest, fullest, and most attractive periodical of the
sort in the world. An examination of the index of advertisers will show
how widely its advantages for reaching foreign buyers have been
appreciated by leading American houses. In the advertising page XXV.
appears a list of some eight hundred foreign commercial places in which
the circulation of the paper is guaranteed, as evidence that it reaches
those for whom such publications are intended.

* * * * *


For several days we have had in use in our office examples of the
Mackinnon Fountain Pen, and find it to be a very serviceable and
effective instrument. This is a handsome looking pen, with a hollow
handle, in which a supply of ink is carried, and the fluid flows from
the point in the act of writing. The necessity of an inkstand is thus
avoided. One of the difficulties heretofore with pens of this character
has been to insure a free and certain delivery of the ink, and also to
bring the instrument within the compass and weight of an ordinary pen.
The inventor seems to have admirably succeeded in the example before us.
The ink flows with certainty, and there is no scratching as with the
ordinary pen; it writes with facility on either smooth or rough paper;
writes even more smoothly than a lead pencil; may be carried in the
pocket; is always ready for use; there is no spilling or blotting of
ink. The construction is simple, durable, and the action effective. One
filling lasts a week or more, according to the extent of use. These are
some of the qualities that our use of the pen so far has seemed to
demonstrate; and which made us think that whoever supplies himself with

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Online LibraryVariousScientific American, Vol. XXXIX.—No. 6. [New Series.], August 10, 1878 → online text (page 1 of 11)