Scientific American Supplement, No. 799, April 25, 1891 online

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the pans to a standstill. We then read the difference of the divisions
traversed to the left and right upon the luminous dial through the image
of the reticule. The images are reversed upon the dial, but practice
soon causes this petty difficulty to disappear. This number of divisions
indicates the number of milligrammes and fractions of a milligramme by
which it is necessary to shift the counterpoise on its arm in order to
obtain a perfect equilibrium, which latter is verified by a simple
reading. Every half division of the dial corresponds, as to weight, to
the sensitiveness indicated for the instrument.

With a little practice a weighing effected as above described takes but
a quarter or a fifth of the time that it does with an ordinary
balance. - _Revue Industrielle._

* * * * *


The starches have been classified by Dr. Muter, according to the
appearance they give under the microscope, into five groups:

_Class I_. - Hilum and concentric rings visible. All the granules, oval
or ovate. Tous-le-mois, potato, arrowroot, etc.

_Class II_. - The concentric rings are all but invisible, the hilum is
stellate. Maize, pea, bean, etc.

_Class III_. - The concentric rings are all but invisible, also the hilum
in the majority of granules. Wheat, barley, rye, chestnut, etc.

_Class IV_. - All the granules truncated at one end. Sago, tapioca, etc.

_Class V_. - All the granules angular in form. Rice, tacca, arrowroot,
oats, etc.

The principal starches used for finishing cotton fabrics are potato
(farina), wheat, Indian corn (maize), rice, tapioca, arrowroot, sago;
the last three not so often as those previously named.

[Illustration: POTATO STARCH.]

[Illustration: ARROWROOT STARCH.]

[Illustration: WHEAT STARCH]

[Illustration: RICE STARCH]

[Illustration: SAGO STARCH]

[Illustration: INDIAN CORN STARCH]

[Illustration: TAPIOCA STARCH]

* * * * *


[Footnote: A paper recently read before the Architectural Association,
London. - _From the Architect_.]


I do not propose to enter into any historical details as to the first
and subsequent application of mosaics. In a general sense we understand
mosaic as a combination of various more or less imperishable
materials - fixed together by cement or other adhesive substances - and
laid over walls, floors, etc., with a view to permanent decorative
effect. The substance of the tesseræ is of many kinds, namely, glass,
cheap and precious marbles, hard stone, and burnt clay, these mentioned
being mainly in use for architectural purposes. For decorative schemes
we collect as many gradations of color as are obtainable in such durable
materials in their natural or manufactured state, and thus form a color
palette which we regard in the same sense as a painter would his

Of course, the first proceeding is to prepare a design on a small scale,
which shall embrace your notions of color only. Then follows a
full-sized cartoon, which I need hardly add shall embrace your best
efforts in drawing. A tracing is made of the latter and transferred to
sheets of cardboard. This cardboard is cut to the size of certain
sections of your design, and, for convenience, should not be more than,
say, 20 in. square. Of course, it will not always be square, but will
bear the same relation to your complete cartoon as a map of the counties
would to that of all England. Now, working from the small design (of
color), the tesseræ are cut to the forms required, laid face downward,
and glued on to the cardboard sections containing your enlarged cartoon.
When the design is all worked out on these sections they are ready for
fixing on walls or floor by laying them home on a float of cement. When
the cement sets, the cardboard sticking to the face is washed off, and
the joints of tesseræ flushed over with cement and cleaned off, leaving
all joints filled up level.

There are other processes used for the same end. The technical processes
need not occupy our attention at present. There is one process that may
appeal to you, and that is executing the work _in situ_ by floating on a
limited expanse of cement, and sticking on the tesseræ at once. It has
the advantage of enabling the artist or architect to see the effect of
his efforts under the fixed conditions of light and height.

I shall confine myself to vitreous or glass mosaic, which for
durability, extended scales of primary colors and their numerous
semi-transparent gradations is unequaled by any substance yet used for
wall or floor decoration. I am surprised, having all these fine
qualities, it is not more used by architects. If you require proofs of
its triumphs, go to St. Mark's, of Venice, and stand under its mellow
golden roof. There you will find its domes and vaulted aisles, nave and
transepts entirely overlaid with gold mosaic, into which ground is
worked - in the deepest and richest colors and their gradations that
contemporary manufacturers could produce - subjects selected from the
creation down to the life of Christ, in addition containing a complete
alphabet of early Christian symbolism. The roof surfaces being one
succession of over-arching curves become receptive of innumerable waves
of light and broad unities of soft shadows, giving the whole an
incomparable quality of tone and low juicy color.

Never use your gold but on curved or undulating surfaces. Flat planes of
gold only give the effect of a monotonous metallic yellow, and can never
be beautiful, owing to the absence of the variations that come with
waves of shadow. By letting out the reins of imagination we might feel
that in this a tenth century Giorgione has given off the mental
impressions of all the golden autumn of his life. His material gave him
an advantage over his great followers of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, insomuch that glass has a living and glowing quality of light
not existing in the somewhat clouded purity of oil or fresco.

In St. Mark's we have an example of the superb treatment in deepest and
most Titianesque scales applied to curved forms, but to find a similarly
complete example of the use of lighter tones and on flat surfaces, we
must turn to Ravenna. I can give you no adequate description of the wall
mosaics of Ravenna. In the sense of delicate color they remind me of
some of the subtile harmonies of many of the finest works of the modern
French school - of the Impressionists and others who combine that quality
with a true instinct for design. In standing before them you feel that
the Dagnan Bouverets, the Mersons, the Cazins, the Puvis de Chavannes,
etc., of the fifth century have had a hand in the conception and
realization of the beautiful compositions to be found on the nave walls
of the two churches of St. Appollinare Nuovo and St. Appollinare in
Classe. Here all the scales are of delicate degrees of light tones,
supreme in their beauty, completeness, and, most important to us, their
true decorative instinct. In the Baptistery we find what I may term a
third essay in color, by weaving in rich, dark, and glowing colors on
figures and bold sinuous forms of ornament in such a skillful and
judicious manner that the whole dome seems to be alive with harmonies,
although they are mostly primaries.

As you know, rules for the disposition of color are futile, yet some
details that struck me as eminently satisfactory may interest you. In
all cases the tesseræ are of small dimensions, about a quarter of an
inch square. The stucco joints are large and open, surfaces far from
level, but undulating considerably. The tesseræ stick up in parts,
brilliant edges showing. Absence of flatness gives play to the light.
The gray of the stucco joints brings the whole composition together,
serving as cool grays in a picture to give tender unity. Gold, apart
from backgrounds and large surfaces, is used very cleverly in small
pieces in borders of garments, and more especially in thin outlines to
make out the drawing and certain flowing forms of ornament. Brilliant
pieces of glass actually moulded at the kiln into forms of jewels add
brilliancy to crowns, borders, etc. These stick boldly out from the
surface. I noticed in the Baptistery below the springing of the dome a
frieze about 2 ft. 6 in. deep, having the ground entirely in black,
through which was woven in thin gold lines a delicate foliated design.
This, in conjunction with the upper surfaces in dark, rich color, had a
most delightful effect.

We, as students, can learn most from the Ravenna examples, for great are
the needs of light and silvery color in this country, where gray and
gloomy days far outnumber those in which the sun gives liberally of his
light. I may say, in passing, as our subject is really a matter of
decoration, that our nineteenth century efforts in this direction are
all of a somewhat gloomy tendency. We fill our rooms with imitations of
somber Spanish leather, stain and paint our woodwork in leathery and
muddy tones, to arrive at what is now a sort of decorator's god.
Quaintness is the name of that god. Many are the sins for which he has
to answer. Had we not better worship a deity called beauty, whose place
is a little higher up Parnassus? Why should we not in our endeavors
attempt in some measure to transfix the brilliant harmonies that follow
the sun in his liberal and gracious course? This muddy quaintness is
certainly pleasant for brief periods, when lamps are low and fire light
gilds and deepens its parts. Turn the sunlight on these so-called
triumphs of the modern decorator's art, and then you feel the lack of
many a phase of color that might have been borrowed from the thousand
and one examples that in nature he vivifies and makes brilliant.

Referring again to the Ravenna mosaics, I can only add that at the
present day an extended palette of colored glass is available. The
technical difficulties are not great, and there is no question as to the
fine qualities of design and color that are to be obtained in this
material. The great point in this, as in all other schemes of
decoration, is the art, the mental quality of conception, and the sense
of color and fitness. If we hold the precious heritage of an artist's
mind - that divine and rare something which gives form, color, and
completeness to a story, a dream or a vision - then very little
difficulty follows in making vitreous mosaic a valued servant in the
realization of a fine creation.

It is the function of architects to design suitable spaces for color
decoration, so bound in by dignified mouldings and other details of his
constructive art, in such a manner that the addition of decorative color
shall in no way mar the scheme of his complete work, but shall (under
these well ordered distributions) have set on them the seal and crown of
color which is inseparable from a perfect piece of architecture. In such
spaces he may dream his dreams, tell his stories, and stamp on them for
centuries his subtilest and divinest thoughts. May I not urge that to
such spaces must be given the best that is in you? for once placed so
shall they remain unchanged through generations, time being powerless to
add any mellow garment of tone or softening quality whatever.

I mistook the title of the subject in thinking that it was mosaic only,
and at the last moment found it was marble and mosaic. However, the same
dominant principles shall underlie the treatment of marble. It is a
question of the finer instincts for form and color.

In recent years the demand for choice decorative materials has been the
means of opening out many marble quarries all over the world. Transit
being easy, a large scale of varieties is available. One fine addition
is the Mexican onyx. My feeling is that the most beautiful marbles are
those where the soft and sinuous veins melt and die into the general
body, comparatively sharp markings dying right away at the edges into
innumerable gradations. Marbles having strong and hardly marked veins
present great difficulties in distribution. If they are near, they
offend you with their coarseness; and, placed at a distance, the hard
vein lines have very little decorative value. I should say use these in
narrow slips, with very little moulded profile or as parts of intazzio.

Mouldings should be specially designed for different marbles. I should
say mainly on the principle of sudden contrasts; that is, large members
with very little curve bound with members very small in detail, thus
obtaining sharp lines, having little surface to be influenced or
distorted by the veined markings, and serving to sharpen up and give
form to the broader members (which show the color qualities of the
marble), much as you sharpen up an ink drawing by underlining. These
small members serve the architect's purpose for the expression of
vertical and horizontal lines, and where decisive and cutting shadows
are required in the composition of his work.

If delicate carving forms part of your design, I should say statuary is
the best, as you have no veins to distort your detail. I need hardly add
that economy should be studied in using precious marbles, without
injuring the durability of the work. Contours may be built up in thin

Intazzio is a beautiful form of treating marble on an inexpensive
ground. Gem-like effects may be obtained by inlaying with smaller
pieces, following such ornamental forms as your inventive brains shall
dictate. Perhaps the pockets of your clients will be the chief dictator.

Heraldic emblazonings, inlaid in marble, are highly effective. The
conditions of the heraldry necessitate the use of many varieties, but in
such small quantities that on a large simple field they are rarely out
of harmony. In addition they map out a large and interesting variety
that will save the worry of creation of designs coming entirely from
your own brain, and you know the worry of an architect's life makes him
hail with pleasure at times a rest from the strain of creation. This
heraldic work may be seen to perfection in the chapel of the tombs of
the Medici at Florence.

At the Pitti Palace are some tables which you may know where marble
intazzio can no further go. Alabaster does not appeal to me, it is
somewhat sugary in results. If you are fortunate enough to have a
sculptor who is a sort of nineteenth century Donatello, let him work his
will on statuary or such restful marble.

The celebrated monument in the church of S. Giovanni Paulo, at Venice,
which Ruskin says is the finest monument in the world, if my
recollection serves me correctly, is in white marble, and its beauty
comes entirely from the sculptor's art. Such monuments give you much
better than any words of mine ample suggestions for marble treatment. I
may quote such names as Nicolo Pisano and Verocchio.

Photos of some of their work I have brought. Note Pisano's beautiful
white altar at Bologna, and Mina de Fiesole's work in Florence. They all
show the sculptor as supreme. Why should not we encourage individual
young sculptors more? Give them portions of your work in which they can
put all the fervor and enthusiasm of young manhood. Their powers may not
be ripe, but they possess a verve and intensity that may have forever
fled when in later years the imagination is less enthusiastic and the
pulses slower. I am sure there are many young sculptors now wanting
commissions who have been trained at the academy, and better still, in
the best French schools. I maintain that the contemporary French school
of sculpture is in its line equal to any school of sculpture that has
ever existed, not excepting that of Phidias or that of the Italian
Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. I believe history
will confirm this. Why not give these men an opportunity, and help on
the movement to found a truly English school of sculpture, rather than
give all such work to trading firms of carvers, who will do you any
number of superficial feet, properly priced and scheduled, and in the
bills of quantities, of any style you please, from prehistoric to
Victorian Gothic? Of course, this is our British way of founding a great

There is one method of treatment that appeals to me very strongly, and
that is the application of colored metals to marble, more especially
bronze and copper. I may quote as a successful example near the
Wellington Memorial at St. Paul's. Another suggestion - although it is
not used in combination with marble, but it nevertheless suggests what
might be done in the way of bronze panels - that is, the Fawcett
Memorial, by Gilbert, in the west chapel at Westminster Abbey.

* * * * *


The St. Lawrence State Hospital at Ogdensburg, N.Y., is a center of
public, professional, philanthropic, and legislative interest. Though
projected in advance of the adoption of the system of State care for the
insane, it was opened at a time to make it come under close observation
in relation to the question of State care, and the friends of this
departure from the inefficient, often almost barbarous provisions of
county house confinement could have no better example to point the
excellence of their theories than this new and progressively planned
State hospital. The members of the State Lunacy Commission and Miss
Schuyler and her colleagues of the State Charities Aid Society, who
fought the State care bills through the Legislature this winter and in
1890, would be repaid for all of their trouble by contrasting the
condition of the inmates of the St. Lawrence State Hospital with the
state they were in under their former custodians, the county officers of
the northern New York counties. At the best, even when these officials
realized the responsibility of their charge and were actuated by humane
impulses, the county houses offered no chance of remedial treatment.
Custody and maintenance, the former mainly a reliance on force, the
later often of scant provision, were the sum total of what was deemed
necessary for the lunatics. In their new environment they find
everything as different in accommodations and treatment as the word
hospital in the title of the institution is different in sound and
significance from the hope-dispelling, soul-chilling names of "asylum,"
"mad house," and "bedlam" formerly given to all retreats for the
mentally afflicted. They find, and it is an encouraging feature of the
plan that so many of them quickly see and appreciate it, that they are
considered as sufferers from disease and not from demoniacal possession.
The remarkable range of classification provided for, the adaptability of
construction to the different classifications, the reliance on
occupation, the dependence on treatment, and the subordination of the
custodial feature, except where a wise conservatism demands its
retention, are apparent alike to inmates and visitors.

This hospital is complete as to plans, and as to the power plant,
drainage, and subway construction necessary for the 1,500 patients, that
the legislature has provided for in its law establishing the
institution. Buildings are already finished and occupied that
accommodate 200 inmates, and the contractors have nearly finished part
of the central group that will bring that number up to nearly 1,300. The
appropriation asked for this year by the managers will be scaled down
considerably by Mr. McClelland, the very economical chairman of the Ways
and Means Committee of the Democratic Assembly. But, unless he has
miscalculated, there will be money enough to carry on the work of
construction to advantage for the year. An appropriation sufficient to
complete the buildings at once was thought by many to be the wisest
economy, but big figures in an appropriation bill have very little
chance this year. The bill establishing the State Hospital district and
providing for the building of the institution fixed the per capita cost
of construction, including the purchase of land, at $1,150, and the
plans have been made on that basis for 1,500 patients. But if the needs
of the district should require it, the capacity could be increased by an
almost indefinite extension of the system of outlying colony groups at a
very small per capita cost, as the central group is by far the most
expensive in construction.

The administration group in part, and one outlying group, with the
general kitchen, bakery, workshop, laundry, employes' dwelling house,
power house, and pumping station, are already erected, and have added a
feature of architectural beauty to Point Airy. This point, of itself of
picturesque and romantic beauty, juts into the St. Lawrence River at the
head of the Galoup Rapids, three miles below Ogdensburg. It is a part of
the hospital farm of 950 acres, which includes woodland, meadow, farm
land, and a market garden tract of the $100 an acre grade. The location
of the institution in these particulars and in reference to salubrity,
sewerage facilities and abundance and excellence of water supply, is
wonderfully advantageous.

In planning the hospital Dr. P.M. Wise, who has since become its medical
superintendent, aimed to take the utmost advantage of the scenic and
hygienic capabilities of the site, and to improve on all previous
combinations of the two general divisions of a mixed asylum - a hospital
department for the concentration of professional treatment, and a
maintenance department for the separate care of the chronic insane. He
was anxious to secure as much as possible of the compactness and ease of
administration of the linear plan of construction, with wings on either
side of the executive building of long corridors occupied as day rooms,
with sleeping rooms opening out of them on both sides. But he wanted to
avoid the depressing influence of this monotonous structure, as the
better results of variety and increased opportunities of subdivision and
classification are well recognized. He was not, however, prepared to
accept wholly that abrupt departure from the linear plan known as the
"cottage plan," which in some institutions has been carried to the
extreme of erecting a detached building for every ward. The climate of
St. Lawrence county forbade this. Her winters are as vigorous as those
of her Canadian neighbors, even as her people are almost as ebullient in
their politics as the vigorous warring liberals and conservatives across
the river. And there are features of the linear plan that can only be
left out of our asylum structure at the expense of efficiency. Other
rules that he formulated from his experience were that a building for
the insane should never exceed two stories in height; that fire proof
construction and at least two stairways from the upper floors should be
provided; that day rooms should be on the first and sleeping rooms on
the second floor; that all buildings for the insane who suffer from
sluggish and enfeebled circulation of the blood should be capable of
being warmed to 70° in the coldest weather; that ample cubic space and
ventilation should be provided; and that, as far as possible, without
too great increase of the cost of maintenance or sacrificing essential
provisions for treatment and necessary restraint, asylums should aim to
reproduce the conditions of domestic life.


State Architect Isaac G. Perry planned the St. Lawrence State Hospital
buildings on ideas suggested by medical experience, with a breadth of
comprehension and a technical skill in combining adaptability, utility,
and beauty that have accomplished wonders. The buildings are
satisfactory in every particular to every one who has seen them, and
even the most casual observer is impressed with the effect of beauty.
This was accomplished without elaboration of material, expressive
carving or finish. The ornamentation is purely structural and is
obtained by a handling of the materials of construction which also
yielded the largest promise of strength and durability.

The central hospital group, of which an idea is given in the cut, now
consists of five buildings. The picture shows three, the center one and
two of the flanking cottages on one side. They are matched on the other
side. The central or administration building is a three story structure
of Gouverneur marble, and, like all of the stone used, a native St.
Lawrence county stone. The marble's bluish gray is relieved by sparkling
crystallizations, and its unwrought blocks are handled with an
ornamental effect in the piers, lintels, and arches, and well set off by

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Online LibraryVariousScientific American Supplement, No. 799, April 25, 1891 → online text (page 6 of 9)