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brushes conneded with them touch the disc about 90* be-
hind the centre of the indudors.

The peculiarity of the machine is that although sparks
can be readily obtained from it, a Leyden jar cannot be
charged by bringing it to one of the terminals. From this
the author concluded that the eledricity produced was
alternately of positive and negative sign, and this he
showed to be the case by means of an etedroscope. The
alternations, he raid, occurred about every | of a revolu-
tion, the suspended paper disc which he used as eledro-
scope remaining apart for that period and collapsing
during the next quarter of a turn.

Using discs with various numbers and sizes of sedors,
the author finds that the smaller the sedor and the fewer
the number, the greater the quantity of eledricity pro-
duced. Plain varnished glass is the best in this resped.
Such a disc, however, does not excite itself quite so freely
as one having numerous metallic sedors.

By removing two of the indudors and placing an
insulating rod carrying coUeding brushes at its ends

across a diameter of the disc, the machine was used to
produce dired currents. Numerous discs and various
shaped indudors accompanied the machine, by means of
which a Holtz, Voss, or ordinary influence machine could
be imitated.

Prof. S. P. Thompson congratulated the author on the
most interesting and puzzling machine he had brought
before the Society. He enquired if the machine would
work if the diredion of the rotation was reversed, or if
two of the indudors were removed, and also whether all
the four indudors are eledrically of the same sign at the
same instant.

In reply, Mr. Wimshurst said the machine would not
excite if the diredion of rotation be changed without also
changing the diredion of the brush arms, but it would
work as a dired current machine when two indudors were

•• On Erecting Prisms for the Optical Lantern, and on a
New Form 0/ Erecting Prism made by Mr, Ahrens," By
Prof. S. P. IHOMPSON, D.Sc.

The ordinary form of ereding prism, viz., a right-angled
isosceles one, was, the author pointed out, open to the
objedion that the top halves of the faces enclosing the
right angle were nearly useless, for only the light which
after the first refradion is totally refieded by the hypo-
thenuse face can be utilised. The fradion of the side
which is useful varies with the refradive index, being 0*46
when /i=i'5, and 0*525 when /t=i*65. To increase these
proportions, prisms with angles of 105° and 126* have
been used by Wright and others, and in some cases the
prisms have been truncated. With such large angles,
much light is lost by refledion. Berlin employed two
truncated right-angled prisms placed base to base with an
air film between them. Nachet has also made ereding
prisms for microscopes, in which internal refledions occur
from faces inclined at an angle of Si** to each other. This
form of prism suggested to Mr. Ahrens the new form now
shown, and which may be described as a long right-angled
prism whose ends are cut off so as to be parallel to each
other and inclined at 45** to the hypothenuse face. The
longitudinal acute angles, not being required, are

Light falling parallel to the axis on one end of the
prism is refraded, and after internal refledions emerges
parallel but perverted.

It is claimed that this form of prism gives, weight for
weight, a larger angular field than any previously made.

The performance of the new form of prism and also of
the ordmary form was tested before the Society.

At the close of the meeting. Dr. Atkinson, who had pre-
viously taken the chair, announced that the next meeting
would be held at Cambridge on May gth, instead of May
8th as previously intended.


A System of Inorganic Chemistry. By William Ramsay,
Ph.D., F.R.S., Professor of Chemistry in University
College, London. London : J. and A. Churchill (8vo.,
pp. 700).
With the exception of bulky works of reference, such as
those of Watts and of Roscoe and Schorlemmer, it is
rare to meet with a systematic treatise on chemistry
which can be examined without weariness. We have
generally to exclaim : ** all this is no doubt quite
accurate, but it has already been written, with unimpor-
tant verbal modifications, over and over again. \fVhere-
fore cui bono ? " The present work forms a happy
exception. In size it is a useful medium between the
encyclopadic treatises above referred to, and the bald
manuals and manualettes admittedly written to meet the
requirements of this or that syllabus. Professor Ramsay

Digitized by



A Treatise on Chemistry.

t CttiMicAL Nun,
1 May T, 1891.

writes to teach chemical sciences, not to aid in that
unhappy '* sacrifice of education to examination/* which
is still going on as grimly and as ruinously as ever.

He bases his work on the periodic classification of the
elements, which, long as it has been in our hands, has
been negle&ed by the routine teachers of chemistry. He
ignores the absolute boundary line between the metals
and the non-metals, or *' metalloids,*' as France still
persists in calling them. He protests against the undue
importance still allotted to the supposed antithesis be-
tween the acid and the basic hydroxides, and regrets that
our text-books, whilst professing to teach pure chemistry,
have still been too much swayed by commercial con-
siderations. Why, indeed, should the notions of rarity
or abundance, of utility or uselessness, be regarded at all
in a scientific work. Such considerations we must hand
over to works on technical and industrial chemistry, where
they are all important. It is scarcely necessary to add
that none of the elements are omitted. The rare earths
are most ably discussed in a separate chapter in conjunc-
tion with spfdrum analysis, which has played so impor-
tant a part in their discovery and study. We are
exceedingly glad to find this important method of
research receiving here an attention which contrasts
happily with the perfundory notice which it meets with
in books not a few.

The arrangement adopted in the woik is first to take
the elements in their periodic order, next their halogen
compounds, single and double, the oxides, sulphides,
selenides, and tellurides following next. The borides,
carbides, and silicides, the nitrides, phosphides, arsenides,
and antimonides succeed, along with the organo- metallic
compounds, the double ammonia compounds, and the

Manufacturing processes are transferred to the end of
the work, those substances which are usually made in
the same class of establishments being treated together.
The chemical principles involved are brought into promi-
nence rather than the details of the plant.

After a careful examination we must declare ourselves
well satisfied with this work. We consider it especially
adapted for that numerous class of readers who need
something superior to the current cram-books, but who
yet have not time to devote to such works as that of
Roscoe and Schorleromer.

InttHsity Coils: How Made and How Used. By "Dybr."
With a Description of the Eledric Light, Elearic
Bells, Eledric Motors, the Telephone, the Microphone,
and the Phonograph. Sixteenth Edition. London:
Perken, Son, and Rayment.
This wotk must have met a public want, as we see at
once from the fad of its having reached its sixteenth
edition. Some of the matter which is added scarcely
falls within the original scope of the work, though it
may attrad public attention at present. The author
describes, with the necessary illustrations, a number of
experiments calculated to explain the construdion, pro-
perties, and uses of the battery, and of the Ruhmkorff
coil. This important instrument of research is figured
three times, on pp. 5, 28, and 38. We are not quite sure
whether here or in other departments of physical science
the amateur will derive much advantage from making or
attempting to make his own apparatus.

Supposing him completely successful it will still have
been at the cost of a great outlay of time which might
have been better employed. The experiments are, gener-
ally speaking, described with corredness, and the work
will doubtless be of advantage to persons who wish to
acquire a pradical knowledge of the rudiments of eledric

As regards the final chapter, •• seeing by eledncity,"
we must not forget that the question can scarcely be
considered within the bounds of possibility. That its
importance, if really eflfeded, would be almost infinitely

p^eater than that of all the devices for transmitting sound
IS undeniable.

A Treatise on Chemistry, By Sir H. E. RoscoE, F.R-S.
and C. ScHORLEMMBR, F.R.S. Volume 111, The Che-
mistry of the Hydrocarbons and their Derivatives or
Organic Chemistry, Part lU. New and thoroughly
revised Edition. London and New York: Macmiilan
and Co.
The volume before us discupses that most important
series of bodies known as the aromatic compounds, which
indeed have increased so rapidly in numbers that the
authors are justified in speaking of ** Aromatic Chemi-
stry." It has been found necessary to re-cast the present
edition cf the work to a very great extent. The rapid
flow of discovery involves not merely additions to what is
already known, but very often important modifications.
Hence the task of keeping fully abreast of the present
position of the science is most arduous, and the credit
due to the authors for the manner in which they are
executing their undertaking is correspondingly high.

After an introdudion the authors describe benzene,
hydroxybenzene, and its allies, its amido-derivatives, its
diazo-hydrazine and azo- derivatives, including the azo«
dyes, the thio-amido compounds, and the phosphorus,
arsenic, antimony, bismuth, boron, silicon, tin, lead, and
mercury derivatives of benzene.

As a systematic treatise on chemistry, the work taken
in its entirety has no equal in the English language.

Examen Quimico y Bacteriologico de las Aquas Portables,

Par A. E. Salazar y C. Newman. Con un Capitulo

del Dr. Rafael Blanchard solne los Animales Parasitos

introducidos par el Aqua en el Organism. (** Chemical

and Baderiological Examination of Potable Waters,"

by A. E. Salazer and C. Newman ; with a Chapter by

Dr. R. Blanchard on Parasitic Animals, introduced into

the Organism by Water). London : Burns and Oates.

The present work is a step in a diredion very much

needed. Spain and her former magnificent colonies in

America have not been precipitate in sanitary reforms,

and it is therefore very pleasing to welcome a volume on

this subjed, which, if published in London, has been

written in Chili, and is based upon researches conduded

in the laboratory of the Naval School of Valparaiso.

The authors have taken up their subjed in a compre*
hensive manner, treating successively of the search for
mineral impurities, for organic pollutions, and for

They consider that a good potable water should contain
0*30 grm. of useful saline elements per litre. They suggest
that bright, hard waters are likely to contain less organic
impurity than such as are soft. They admit, however,
that waters containing much magnesia, especially in the
state of nitrates, have a debilitating adion. The presence
of copper they regard as less formidable than that of

As noxious salts they class those of iron, lead, and
copper. Now iron salts are certainly very objedionable
in technical operations, but they may be pronounced
harmless to the human system in any proportion in which
they are likely to occur in potable waters. Instrudiont
are given for the detedion of arsenic, barium, and zinc,
but chrome is overlooked— an impurity which sometimes
finds its way into the waters of industrial distrids.

For the determination of the organic impurities the
authors give in full the processes of Wanklyn, Chapman,
and Smith, and three modifications of the permanganate
process, that with alkaline permanganate and ferrous
sulphate, that with alkaline permanganate and oxalic
acid, and that with acid permanganate and oxalic acid.

The remainder of the work is devoted to an account of
the methods for deteding baderia, taking the term in its
widest sense. The authors lay great weight upon such

Digitized by


May 1, 1891. f

A German Account of Joseph Priestley.


researches, but they insist upon the necessity for experi-
mental infe^ion as the means of verifying the results
obtained. This method is at present open to sanitary
experts in Chile ; but as that country has succeeded in
naturalising cholera it may sometime be visited by an
epidemic of " zoophily.*'

The work is illustrated with 127 engravings, sixteen
micro-photographs, and five photographs of cultivations.
It will be found a most valuable contribution to sanitary
science wherever the Spanish language is spoken.

Die EUktischtn Vsrbrauch^s Mssser, ('* Measuring In-
struments for the Consumption of Eledricity.") By
Etibnne db Foder. Vienna, Port, Leipzig : Hart-
leben (small 8vo., pp. 219).
This work forms the 43rd volume of the ** Eledro-
technical Library '* {BUktrotechnischi Bihliothek)^ issued
by the well-known publisher whose name it bears. It
appears that almost all the operations of the ele^ric
current have been pressed into the important service oi
measuring its quantity. Thus we have ele^ro-chemical,
eledro-motive, galvanometric (so-calledj, eledlro- thermic,
and eledtro- capillary measuring instruments. More than
eighty such appliances are described in the work before
us, though many others are admittedly left out of con-
sideration. As units of consumption there are desciibed
the Edison lamp-hour, the Amp ere- hour, and the Watt-

The properties which an ele^rical measuring instru-
ment must possess are enumerated, as accuracy, capacity
— f.«., adaptability tocurrents of great and small strength —
minimum waste of energy, simplicity—a point in which
most instruments are sadly deficient — durability, care,
registratioa of results, an obje^ which is far from having
been attained. The author in discussing this point goes
out of his way to defend the accuracy of gas-meters, an
utterly untenable position in the face of demonstrated

Another property required from a good instrument is
that it should admit of ready verification. A very impor-
tant condition is that the instrument should not admit of
fraudulent interference.

The author divides the instruments into the following
classes : ele&ro- chemical meters without self-registering
mechanism depending on the laws of eledrolysis; similar
instruments with a registering mechanism ; electro-
chemical meters with a movable or reversible eledtrode ;
gas-expansion meters depending on the volt-metre ;
eledro mechanical meters ; ele&ro-motive meters in
which the current ef!e^8 the rotation of a motor ;
alternating current meters on the eledro-motive principle;
ampere or coulomb meters, in which the vibrations of the
needle of an ammeter are registered by clockwork ; mer-
curial rotation meters, eledtro-thermic meters ; photo-
graphic meters; meters depending on Foucault's disc;
meters worked by accumulators; meters with eledro-
dynamometers ; and lamp-hour or consumption meters.
The author then proceeds to an account of the most
successful of these instruments, descriptions being made
.more intelligible by means of seventy-seven well executed

This work must be pronounced exceedingly useful,
though it is, perhaps, written too much in tbe interests of
the supplier, who it is to be hoped will adt more uprightly
than gas companies have generally done.

An appendix gives an account of the conditions under
which eleAric current is supplied in various cities whether
for lighting or as a source of motive power.

Bzamination of Horse-Hair. — M. Goeldner {Pharm,
Ztii,), — The presence of oil is detedted by pressure be-
tween silk-paper. Vegetable fibre is recognised by its
different behaviour on burning, and by its resisting pro-
longed treatment (12 hours) with dilute soda* lye (i : 5).



To the Editor of the Chemical News.
Sir,— In the Chemical News (vol. Ixii., p. 84), I pointed
out some singular mis-statements by French authors
concerning the biography of the discoverer of oxygen.*
Though I lay no claim to be a champion of Priestlev in
particular, I do like to have justice done, and I love
truth ; allow me, therefore, to use your columns to direct
attention to a brief biography of Priestley, recently pub-
lished in Germany, that contains an amazing number of
gross mie-statements and makes important omissions.

Dr. Carl Schaedler in his ** Biographisch-litterarisches
Handworterbuch der wissenschaftlich bedeutenden
Chemiker " (Berlin iSgx), writes of Dr. Priestley thus :~
'* Im Jahre 1761 war er Sprachlehrer an der Academie
zu Warrington nachdem er die verschiedensten Lander
Holland, Frankreich, Italien, Deutschland bereist bratte.
In diesen Landern machte er, nicht vorbereitet durch
ein eigentliches naturwissenschaftliches Studium, seine
glanzenden Untersuchungen,** [&c.].

The fads are as follows :^ Priestley did not make his
journey on the Continent with Lord Shelburne until the
summer of 1774, and he visited, as he himself wrote,
** Flanders, Holland, and Germany as far as Strasburgh,'*
and spent one month in Paris. Priestley never visited
Italy, but it is not this trifling inaccuracy nor the error of
thirteen years for the date of his travels of which I would
complain; I earnestly protest against Schaedler's in-
genious attempt to transfer the scene of Priestley's
memorable chemical discoveries to the Continent; **In
diesen Landern^* forsooth, ^'machte er** his investiga-
tions on different kinds of airs.

After quoting Priestley's own account of his discovery
of oxygen Dr. Schaedler writes :— *• Priestley ist mit van
Helmont Begriinder der pneumatischen Chemie," an
association tending to belittle the Englishman's renown.

Again we read : — *' Die Unduldsamkeit in religidsen
Dingen entzweite Priestley mit seinem Gdnner Lord
Shelborne {sic), er verarmte und wanderte 1794 nach
America aus, Hess sich an den Quellen des Susquehannah
als Farmer nieder und wurde 1804 vergiftet."

To anyone familiar with the life of Priestley, this
sentence combines an amazing number of misstatements;
Priestley himself wrote he never knew the exad cause of
the coolness that arose between himself and Lord Shel-
bume. In place of a reference to the unhappy Birming-
ham Riots of 1791, we are told that " er verarmte " ; and
finally a statement so baselessly persisted in by the
French writers, that Priestley died by poison, completes
this parody of a biography.

Such blunders are inexcusable because accurate infor-
mation as to Priestley's life is accessible to every one ;
he left autobiographical *' Memoirs " that furnish data for
the innumerable biographies published in dictionaries and
encyclopedias of every nation during nearly one hundred

Dr. Schaedler's volume shows other signs of careless
compilation ; the discovery of bromine is ascribed to
** Ballard," this is perhaps a mere typographical slip.
The author states that Kunckel prepared phosphorus
from bones in 1678, >yhereas every tyro knows that nearly
one hundred years elapsed between the preparation of the
element from urine and its discovery in bones by Gahn,
or Scheele (1769).

Dr. Schaedler's little work does not claim complete-
ness, but it is difficult to understand on what principle he
sele^s the ** wissenschaftlich bedeutenden Chemiker,"
whom he honours. He does not even include all the
honorary members of the German Chemical Society,
omitting the names of Dr. Warren de la Rue, F.R.S., Dr.

* Frcpcb Accounts of Joseph Frieitley,** Chemical News, lxi.,84<

Digitized by



Indexing Chemical Literature.

t Majt 8, 1891.

The system ftilly worked out and its applications are
nearly read^ for the press.

The author respedfuUy solicits thorough discussion of
this system.

Copenhageoy 3f Valdemarsgade, V.,
Apnl, i89<.


Thb Committee reports the publication of the following
works : —

z. ^' Index to the Literature of the Butines and their
Halogen Addition Produds '» (1863—1887). By Mr.
Arthur A. Noyes, in the Ttchnohgical Quarterly , Boston,
for December, 1888.

This should have been noticed earlier, but owing to the
absence of the author, now in Europe, it was overlooked.
It comprises an author- and a subjed-index ; the ab-
breviations used are those of the Standard List prepared
by this committee.

2. *' Index to the Literature of Thermodynamics.*' By
Dr. Alfred Tuckermao. Miscellaneous CoUedions of the
Smithsonian Institution, No. 741. Washington, D.C.,
1890, pp. vi.— 239.

This contains an author-index and a subjeA-index.

3. ** Index to the Literature of Amalgams.** By Prof.
Wm. L. Dudley. In his Vice-Presidential Address to the
Amer. Assoc. Adv. Science at Toronto. — Proc» Atmr.
Assoc, Adv, Scienct for 1889, PP« 161—171, 1890, 8vo.

4. ** A Bibliography of Analytical Chemistry for i883.**
'•^oum, Anai, Chem,^ iii., 1889.

5. The same for 1889.— yoMrit. Anal. Chim., iv., 1890 ;

6. ** A Bibliography of Chemistry for the Year x886."
Smithsonian Report for 1886—87. Washington, 1889.

These brief bibliographies are by Dr. H. C. Bolton.

'7. Professor A. A. Breneman, in a ** Historical Summary
to bis Memoir on the Fixation of Atmospheric Nitrogen "
^oum. Amir, Chem. 60c., xi.), gives many bibliographical
data. •

The ** Index Pharmaceuticus,** published in the
Pharmaciutical Era (monthly), and noticed in our sixth
annual report, grows in scope and value. It is an alpha-
betical subjed-list of original paperti and important reprints
and abstra^s, appearing m thirty-two periodicals, English,
American, French, and German. Ahhough pharmacy is
dominant, chemical topics are often included. The
subjed- index is followed by an author-index referring to
the former.

The committee further report that several volunteer
indexers are making progress. Dr. Alfred Tuckerman is
engaged on an Index to the Chemical Influence of Light,
and is planning more work of great value. Dr. James
Lewis Howe is indexing the metals of the platinum

Soup. Dr. H. C. Bohon reports progress on a Seled
ibliography of Chemistry, which is an extension of the
Bibliography of Historical Chemistry previously noticed ;
in the enlarged plan he is being assisted by Dr. Alfred

As often stated in these annual reports, the Committee
limits its duties to the encouragement of volunteer-
indexers and to chronicling work performed. The fad
that undertakings announced several years ago have not
been recently noticed does not always indicate their
abandonment; many will undoubtedly be brought to com-
pletion by their authors. Many chemists who are willing
to contribute their quota to the general scheme are, how-
ever, deterred from making definite offers by the in-

* From advance proofs of the *' Proceedinst of the American
'Aisodation for the Advancement of Spipnce," vol. xxzix. Commuoi-
(atfd b^ U. Carriai^tOD Bol|on«

adequacy of the libraries to which they have convenient
access. This difficulty is a real one, and suggesu that
much might be accomplished by co-operation of several
persons in a single subjed, each indexing the sets of
periodicals available, and submitting the partial work to
one of the number for editing. In such an enterprise,
conference between the several chemists uniting on a
given topic would be necessary to avoid duplication and
to secure a uniform plan.

Prof. W. O. Atwater, DireAor of the Office of Experi«
ment Stations, Department of Agriculture, Washington,
D.C., in conference with the committee, calls attention to
the desirability of securing bibliographies and indexes to
certain topics in the chemistry of plants and animals,
such as (i) chemistry of albumenoid compounds; (a) che«
mistry of the so-called amid-compounds and kindred
bodies ; (3) chemistry of the fatty bodies ; (4) chemistry
of the lecithins, waxes, chlorophylls, chloresterin, &c. ;
(5) chemistry of the carbohydrates. These to meet a
need which is being more and more keenly felt by physio-
logical and agricultural chemists.

Subsequent to the presentation of this report, the Che-
mical Sedioo authorised the insertion of the following

Online LibraryArnold BennettChemical news and journal of industrial science → online text (page 58 of 88)