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Scientific American Supplement, No. 829, November 21, 1891
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SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT NO. 829



NEW YORK, November 21, 1891.

Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XXXII, No. 829.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS.

I. ASTRONOMY.—The Sun's Motion in Space.—By A.M. CLERKE.— A very interesting article on the determination of this hitherto uncertain factor.

II. BOTANY.—Hemlock and Parsley.—By W.W. BAILEY.—Economic botany of Umbelliferae.

Raphides—the Cause of the Acridity of Certain Plants.—By R.A. WEBER.—Effect of these crystals on the expressed juice from calla and Indian turnip and other plants.

The Eremuri.—A very attractive flower plant for gardens.—1 illustration.

III. DECORATIVE ART.—The Decorative Treatment of Natural Foliage.—By HUGH STANNUS. The first of a series of lectures before the London Society of Arts, giving an elaborate classification of the principles of the subject.—5 illustrations.

IV. ELECTRICITY.—The Independent—Storage or Primary Battery—System of Electric Motive Power.—By KNIGHT NEFTEL.—Abstract of a recent paper read before the American Street Railway Association on the present aspect of battery car traction.

V. GEOGRAPHY.—The Colorado Desert Lake.—A description of the new overflow into the Colorado Desert, with the prognosis of its future.

VI. GEOLOGY.—Animal Origin of Petroleum and Paraffine.—A plea for the animal origin of geological hydrocarbons based on chemical and geological reasons.

The Origin of Petroleum.—By O.C.D. Ross.—A further and more lengthy discussion in regard to petroleum and theory of its production by volcanic action.

VII. GUNNERY.—Weldon's Range Finder.—An instrument for determining distances, with description of its use.—3 illustrations.

VIII. MECHANICAL ENGINEERING.—Mercury Weighing Machine.—A type of weighing machine depending on the displacement of mercury.—1 illustration.

Wheels Linked with a Bell Crank.—Curious examples of mechanical constructions in the communication of motion between wheels.—3 illustrations.

IX. MEDICINE AND HYGIENE.—Cold and Mortality.—By Dr. B.W. RICHARDSON.—The effect of cold upon the operation of the animal system, with practical rules.

On the Occurrence of Tin in Canned Food.—By H.A. WEBER.—A very valuable and important series of analyses of American and other food products for tin and copper.

The Treatment of Glaucoma.—Note on the treatment of this disease fatal to vision.

X. METALLURGY.—On the Elimination of Sulphur from Pig Iron. By J. MASSENEZ.—The desulphurization of pig iron by treatment with manganese, with apparatus employed.—5 illustrations.

XI. MISCELLANEOUS.—The California Raisin Industry.—How raisins are grown and packed in California, with valuable figures and data.

The Recent Battles in Chile.—The recent battles of Concon and Vina del Mar.—2 illustrations.

XII. NATURAL HISTORY.—The Whale-headed Stork.—A curious bird, a habitant of Africa and of great rarity.—1 illustration.

XIII. NAVAL ENGINEERING.—A Twin Screw Launch Run by a Compound Engine.—The application of a single compound tandem engine to driving twin screws.—2 illustrations.

Improvements in the Construction of River and Canal Barges.—By M. RITTER.—A very peculiar and ingenious system of construction, enabling the same vessel to be used at greater or less draught according to the requirements and conditions of the water.—5 illustrations.

Reefing Sails from the Deck—An effective method of reefing, one which has been subjected to actual trial repeatedly in bad weather off Cape Horn.—3 illustrations.

XIV. PHYSICS.—The Cyclostat.—An apparatus for observing bodies in rapid rotary motion.—5 illustrations.

XV. TECHNOLOGY.—A New Process for the Bleaching of Jute.—By Messrs. LEYKAM and TOSEFOTHAL.—A method of rendering the fiber of jute perfectly white, with full details.

A Violet Coloring Matter from Morphine.—The first true coloring matter obtained from a natural alkaloid.

Liquid Blue for Dyeing.—Treatment of the "Dornemann" liquid blue.

New Process for the Manufacture of Chromates.—By J. MASSIGNON and E. VATEL.—Manufacture of chromates from chromic iron ore by a new process.

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THE RECENT BATTLES IN CHILE.

The battle of Concon took place Aug. 21, 1891. Nine thousand Congressional troops advancing toward Valparaiso from Quinteros Bay, where they had landed the day previous, were met by Balmaceda's troops on the other side of the river Aconcagua. The Esmeralda and the Magellanes, co-operating from the sea, made fearful havoc among the Balmacedists with their machine guns and shell. After a stubborn fight the Balmacedists were totally defeated, and were pursued by the victorious cavalry, losing 4,000 out of 12,000 in killed, wounded and deserters. All their field pieces were captured, and thus the road was left open for the Congressionalists to advance on Vina del Mar.

THE BATTLE OF VINA DEL MAR, CHILE.

A general engagement took place on Aug. 23, 1891, between divisions of Balmaceda's and the Congressional troops, with the Esmeralda and the Almirante Cochrane aiding the latter by firing at Fort Callao, endeavoring to silence the field batteries at the back. The Congressional troops failed to capture Vina del Mar, but eventually cut the railway line a few miles out, and crossed over to the back of Valparaiso, which was soon captured.—The Graphic.

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THE SUN'S MOTION IN SPACE.

By A.M. CLERKE.

Science needed two thousand years to disentangle the earth's orbital movement from the revolutions of the other planets, and the incomparably more arduous problem of distinguishing the solar share in the confused multitude of stellar displacements first presented itself as possibly tractable a little more than a century ago. In the lack for it as yet of a definite solution there is, then, no ground for surprise, but much for satisfaction in the large measure of success attending the strenuous attacks of which it has so often been made the object.

Approximately correct knowledge as to the direction and velocity of the sun's translation is indispensable to a profitable study of sidereal construction; but apart from some acquaintance with the nature of sidereal construction, it is difficult, if not impossible, of attainment. One, in fact, presupposes the other. To separate a common element of motion from the heterogeneous shiftings upon the sphere of three or four thousand stars is a task practicable only under certain conditions. To begin with, the proper motions investigated must be established with general exactitude. The errors inevitably affecting them must be such as pretty nearly, in the total upshot, to neutralize one another. For should they run mainly in one direction, the result will be falsified in a degree enormously disproportionate to their magnitude. The adoption, for instance, of system of declinations as much as 1" of arc astray might displace to the extent of 10 deg. north or south the point fixed upon as the apex of the sun's way (see L. Boss Astr. Jour., No. 213). Risks on this score, however, will become less formidable with the further advance of practical astronomy along a track definable as an asymptote of ideal perfection.

Besides this obstacle to be overcome, there is another which it will soon be possible to evade. Hitherto, inquiries into the solar movement have been hampered by the necessity for preliminary assumptions of some kind as to the relative distances of classes of stars. But all such assumptions, especially when applied to selected lists, are highly insecure; and any fabric reared upon them must be considered to stand upon treacherous ground. The spectrographic method, however, here fortunately comes into play. "Proper motions" are only angular velocities. They tell nothing as to the value of the perspective element they may be supposed to include, or as to the real rate of going of the bodies they are attributed to, until the size of the sphere upon which they are measured has been otherwise ascertained. But the displacement of lines in stellar spectra give directly the actual velocities relative to the earth of the observed stars. The question of their distances is, therefore, at once eliminated. Now the radial component of stellar motion is mixed up, precisely in the same way as the tangential component, with the solar movement; and since complete knowledge of it, in a sufficient number of cases, is rapidly becoming accessible, while knowledge of tangential velocity must for a long time remain partial or uncertain, the advantage of replacing the discussion of proper motions by that of motions in line of sight is obvious and immediate. And the admirable work carried on at Potsdam during the last three years will soon afford the means of doing so in the first, if only a preliminary investigation of the solar translation based upon measurements of photographed stellar spectra.

The difficulties, then, caused either by inaccuracies in star catalogues or by ignorance of star distances may be overcome; but there is a third, impossible at present to be surmounted, and not without misgiving to be passed by. All inquiries upon the subject of the advance of our system through space start with an hypothesis most unlikely to be true. The method uniformly adopted in them—and no other is available—is to treat the inherent motions of the stars (their so-called motus peculiares) as pursued indifferently in all directions. The steady drift extricable from them by rules founded upon the science of probabilities is presumed to be solar motion visually transferred to them in proportions varying with their remoteness in space, and their situations on the sphere. If this presumption be in any degree baseless, the result of the inquiry is pro tanto falsified. Unless the deviations from the parallactic line of the stellar motions balance one another on the whole, their discussion may easily be as fruitless as that of observations tainted with systematic errors. It is scarcely, however, doubtful that law, and not chance, governs the sidereal revolutions. The point open to question is whether the workings of law may not be so exceedingly intricate as to produce a grand sum total of results which, from the geometrical side, may justifiably be regarded as casual.

The search for evidence of a general plan in the wanderings of the stars over the face of the sky has so far proved fruitless. Local concert can be traced, but no widely diffused preference for one direction over any other makes itself definitely felt. Some regard, nevertheless, must be paid by them to the plane of the Milky Way; since it is altogether incredible that the actual construction of the heavens is without dependence upon the method of their revolutions.

The apparent anomaly vanishes upon the consideration of the profundities of space and time in which the fundamental design of the sidereal universe lies buried. Its composition out of an indefinite number of partial systems is more than probable; but the inconceivable leisureliness with which their mutual relations develop renders the harmony of those relations inappreciable by short-lived terrestrial denizens. "Proper motions," if this be so, are of a subordinate kind; they are indexes simply to the mechanism of particular aggregations, and have no definable connection with the mechanism of the whole. No considerable error may then be involved in treating them, for purposes of calculation, as indifferently directed, and the elicited solar movement may genuinely represent the displacement of our system relative to its more immediate stellar environment. This is perhaps the utmost to be hoped for until sidereal astronomy has reached another stadium of progress.

Unless, indeed, effect should be given to Clerk Maxwell's suggestion for deriving the absolute longitude of the solar apex from observations of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites (Proc. Roy. Soc., vol. xxx., p. 109). But this is far from likely. In the first place, the revolutions of the Jovian system cannot be predicted with anything like the required accuracy. In the second place, there is no certainty that the postulated phenomena have any real existence. If, however, it be safe to assume that the solar system, cutting its way through space, virtually raises an ethereal counter-current, and if it be further granted that light travels less with than against such a current, then indeed it becomes speculatively possible, through slight alternate accelerations and retardations of eclipses taking place respectively ahead of and in the wake of the sun, to determine his absolute path in space as projected upon the ecliptic. That is to say, the longitude of the apex could be deduced together with the resolved part of the solar velocity; the latitude of the apex, as well as the component of velocity perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic, remaining, however, unknown.

The beaten track, meanwhile, has conducted two recent inquirers to results of some interest. The chief aim of each was the detection of systematic peculiarities in the motions of stellar assemblages after the subtraction from them of their common perspective element. By varying the materials and method of analysis, Prof. Lewis Boss, Director of the Albany Observatory, hopes that corresponding variations in the upshot may betray a significant character. Thus, if stars selected on different principles give notably and consistently different results, the cause of the difference may with some show of reason be supposed to reside in specialties of movement appertaining to the several groups. Prof. Boss broke ground in this direction by investigating 284 proper motions, few of which had been similarly employed before (Astr. Jour., No. 213). They were all taken from an equatorial zone 4 deg. 20' in breadth, with a mean declination of +3 deg., observed at Albany for the catalogue of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, and furnished data accordingly for a virtually independent research of a somewhat distinctive kind. It was carried out to three separate conclusions. Setting aside five stars with secular movements ranging above 100", Prof. Boss divided the 279 left available into two sets—one of 185 stars brighter, the other of 144 stars fainter than the eighth magnitude. The first collection gave for the goal of solar translation a point about 4 deg. north of [alpha] Lyrae, in R.A. 280 deg., Decl. +43 deg.; the second, one some thirty-seven minutes of time to the west of [delta] Cygni, in R.A. 286 deg., Decl. +45 deg.. For a third and final solution, twenty-six stars moving 40"-100" were rejected, and the remaining 253 classed in a single series. The upshot of their discussion was to shift the apex of movement to R.A. 289 deg., Decl. +51 deg.. So far as the difference from the previous pair of results is capable of interpretation, it would seem to imply a predominant set toward the northeast of the twenty-six swifter motions subsequently dismissed as prejudicial, but in truth the data employed were not accurate enough to warrant so definite an inference. The Albany proper motions, as Prof. Boss was careful to explain, depend for the most part upon the right ascensions of Bessel's and Lalande's zones, and are hence subject to large errors. Their study must be regarded as suggestive rather than decisive.

A better quality and a larger quantity of material was disposed of by the latest and perhaps the most laborious investigator of this intricate problem. M. Oscar Stumpe, of Bonn (Astr. Nach., Nos. 2,999, 3,000), took his stars, to the number of 1,054, from various quarters, if chiefly from Auwers' and Argelander's lists, critically testing, however, the movement attributed to each of not less than 16" a century. This he fixed as the limit of secure determination, unless for stars observed with exceptional constancy and care. His discussion of them is instructive in more ways than one. Adopting, the additional computative burden imposed by it notwithstanding, Schonfeld's modification of Airy's formulae, he introduced into his equations a fifth unknown quantity expressive of a possible stellar drift in galactic longitude. A negative result was obtained. No symptom came to light of "rotation" in the plane of the Milky Way.

M. Stumpe's intrepid industry was further shown in disregard of customary "scamping" subterfuges. Expedients for abbreviation vainly spread their allurements; every one of his 2,108 equations was separately and resolutely solved. A more important innovation was his substitution of proper motion for magnitude as a criterion of remoteness. Dividing his stars on this principle into four groups, he obtained an apex for the sun's translation corresponding to each as follows:

Number of Proper motion. Apex. Group included stars. " " deg. deg. I. 551 0.16 to 0.32 R.A. 287.4 Decl. +42. II. 340 0.32 to 0.64 " 279.7 " 40.5 III. 105 0.64 to 1.28 " 287.9 " 32.1 IV. 58 1.28 and upward " 285.2 " 30.4

Here again we find a marked and progressive descent of the apex toward the equator with the increasing swiftness of the objects serving for its determination, leading to the suspicion that the most northerly may be the most genuine position, because the one least affected by stellar individualities of movement.

By nearly all recent investigations, moreover, the solar point de mire has been placed considerably further to the east and nearer to the Milky Way than seemed admissible to their predecessors; so that the constellation Lyra may now be said to have a stronger claim than Hercules to include it; and the necessity has almost disappeared for attributing to the solar orbit a high inclination to the medial galactic plane.

From both the Albany and the Bonn discussions there emerged with singular clearness a highly significant relation. The mean magnitudes of the two groups into which Prof. Boss divided his 279 stars were respectively 6.6 and 8.6, the corresponding mean proper motions 21".9 and 20".9. In other words, a set of stars on the whole six times brighter than another set owned a scarcely larger sum total of apparent displacement. And that this approximate equality of movement really denoted approximate equality of mean distance was made manifest by the further circumstance that the secular journey of the sun proved to subtend nearly the same angle whichever of the groups was made the standpoint for its survey. Indeed, the fainter collection actually gave the larger angle (13".73 as against 12".39), and so far an indication that the stars composing it were, on an average, nearer to the earth than the much brighter ones considered apart.

A result similar in character was reached by M. Stumpe. Between the mobility of his star groups, and the values derived from them for the angular movement of the sun, the conformity proved so close as materially to strengthen the inference that apparent movement measures real distance. The mean brilliancy of his classified stars seemed, on the contrary, quite independent of their mobility. Indeed, its changes tended in an opposite direction. The mean magnitude of the slowest group was 6.0, of the swiftest 6.5, of the intermediate pair 6.7 and 6.1. And these are not isolated facts. Comparisons of the same kind, and leading to identical conclusions, were made by Prof. Eastman at Washington in 1889 (Phil. Society Bulletin, vol. xii, p. 143; Proceedings Amer. Association, 1889, p. 71).

What meaning can we attribute to them? Uncritically considered, they seem to assert two things, one reasonable, the other palpably absurd. The first—that the average angular velocity of the stars varies inversely with their distance from ourselves—few will be disposed to doubt; the second—that their average apparent luster has nothing to do with greater or less remoteness—few will be disposed to admit. But, in order to interpret truly, well ascertained if unexpected relationships, we must remember that the sensibly moving stars used to determine the solar translation are chosen from a multitude sensibly fixed; and that the proportion of stationary to traveling stars rises rapidly with descent down the scale of magnitude. Hence a mean struck in disregard of the zeros is totally misleading; while the account is no sooner made exhaustive than its anomalous character becomes largely modified. Yet it does not wholly disappear. There is some warrant for it in nature. And its warrant may perhaps consist in a preponderance, among suns endowed with high physical speed, of small or slightly luminous over powerfully radiative bodies. Why this should be so, it would be futile, even by conjecture, to attempt to explain.—Nature.

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ANIMAL ORIGIN OF PETROLEUM AND PARAFFIN.

R. Zaloziecki, in Dingl. Polyt. Jour., gives a lengthy physical and chemical argument in favor of the modern view that petroleum and paraffin owe their origin to animal sources; that they are formed from animal remains in a manner strictly analogous to that of the formation of ordinary coal from wood and other vegetable debris. For geological as well as chemical reasons, the author holds that Mendeleeff's theory of their igneous origin is untenable, pointing out that the hydrocarbons could not have been formed by the action of water percolating through clefts in the gradually solidifying crust until it reached the molten metallic carbides, as these clefts could only occur where complete solidification had taken place, and between this point and the metallic stratum a considerable space would be taken up by semi-solid, slag-like material which would be quite impervious to water. Under the conditions, too, existing beneath the surface of the earth, such polymerization as is necessary to account for the presence of the different classes of hydrocarbons found in petroleum is scarcely credible.

On the other hand it is to be specially noticed that, with a few unimportant exceptions, all bituminous deposits are found in the sedimentary rocks, and that just as these are constantly changing in composition, so the organic matter present changes, there being a definite relationship between the chemical constitution of the petroleum and the age of the strata in which it is found. It is almost certain that in the most recent alluvial formations no oil is ever found, its latest appearance being in the rocks of the tertiary period, the place where the solid paraffin is almost exclusively met with; thus helping to show that the latter has been formed from the decomposition of the oil, and is not a residue remaining after the oil has been distilled off. To this conclusion the fact also strongly points, that the paraffin is much simpler in constitution, purer, and often of far lighter color than the crude oil, which could not be the case if it were the original substance.

On examining by the aid of a map the position of the chief oil-bearing localities it will be noticed that the most prolific spots follow fairly accurately the contour lines of the country, so that at one time they formed in all probability a coast line whereon would be concentrated for climatic reasons most of the animal life both of the land and sea. During succeeding generations their dead bodies would accumulate in enormous quantities and be buried in the slowly depositing sand and mud, till, owing to the gradual alterations of level, the sea no longer reached the same point. This theory is borne out by the fact that oil deposits are usually found in marine sediments, sea fossils being frequently met with. The first process of the decomposition of the animal remains would consist in the formation of ammonia and nitrogenous bases, the action being aided by the presence of air, moisture, and micro-organisms, at the same time, owing to the well known antiseptic properties of salt, the decomposition would go on slowly, allowing time for more sand and inorganic matter to be deposited. In this way the decomposing matter would be gradually protected from the action of the air, and finally the various fatty substances would be found mixed with large amounts of salt, under considerable pressure, and at a somewhat high temperature. From this adipocere, fatty acids would be gradually formed, the glycerol being washed away, and finally the acids would be decomposed by the pressure into hydrocarbons and free carbonic acid gas. That many of these hydrocarbons would be solid at ordinary temperatures, forming the so-called mineral wax, which exists in many places in large quantities, is much easier to imagine, in the light of modern chemical knowledge, than that the fatty acids were at once split up into the simpler liquid hydrocarbons, to be afterward condensed into the more complex molecular forms of the solid substance.

In this way from animal matter are in all probability formed the vast petroleum deposits, the three substances, adipocere, ozokerite, and petroleum oil being produced in chronological order, just as lignite, brown coal and coal are formed by the gradual decomposition of vegetable remains.

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THE ORIGIN OF PETROLEUM.[1]

[Footnote 1: Abstract of a paper read before the British Association, Cardiff meeting, 1891, Section G.]

By O.C.D. Ross, M.Inst.C.E.

Petroleum is one of the most widely distributed substances in nature, but the question how it was originally produced has never yet been satisfactorily determined, and continues a problem for philosophers. In 1889 the total production exceeded 2,600,000,000 gallons, or about 10,000,000 tons, and, at fourpence per gallon, was worth about L44,000,000, while the recognition of its superior utility as an economical source of light, heat, and power steadily increases; but, notwithstanding its importance in industry, the increasing abundance of the foreign supply, and the ever-widening area of production, practical men in England continue to distrust its permanence, and owing to the mystery surrounding its origin, and the paucity of indications where and how to undertake the boring of wells, they hesitate to seek for it in this country, or even to extend the use of it whenever that would involve alterations of existing machinery. The object of this paper is to suggest an explanation of the mystery which seems calculated to dissipate that distrust, since it points to very abundant stores, both native and foreign, yet undiscovered, and even in some localities to daily renovated provisions of this remarkable oil.

The theories of its origin suggested by Reichenbach, Berthelot, Mendeleeff, Peckham, and others, made no attempt to account for the exceeding variety in its chemical composition, in its specific gravity, its boiling points, etc., and are all founded on some hypothetical process which differs from any with which we are acquainted; but modern geologists are agreed that, as a rule, the records of the earth's history should be read in accordance with those laws of nature which continue in force at the present day, e.g., the decomposition of fish and cetaceous animals could not now produce oil containing paraffin. Hence we can hardly believe it was possible thousands or millions of years ago, if it can be proved that any of the processes of nature with which we are familiar is calculated to produce it.

The chief characteristics of petroleum strata are enumerated as:

I. The existence of adjoining beds of limestone, gypsum, etc.

II. The evidence of volcanic action in close proximity to them.

III. The presence of salt water in the wells.

I. All writers have noticed the presence of limestone close to petroleum fields in the United States and Canada, in the Caucasus, in Burma, etc., but they have been most impressed by its being "fossiliferous," or shell limestone, and have drawn the erroneous inference that the animal matter once contained in those shells originated petroleum; but no fish oil ever contained paraffin. On the other hand, the fossil shells are carbonate of lime, and, as such, capable of producing petroleum under conditions such as many limestone beds have been subjected to in all ages of the earth's history. All limestone rocks were formed under water, and are mainly composed of calcareous shells, corals, encrinites, and foraminfera—the latter similar to the foraminfera of "Atlantic ooze" and of English chalk beds. Everywhere, under the microscope, the original connection of limestone with organic matter—its organic parentage, so to speak, and cousinship with the animal and vegetable kingdoms—is conspicuous. When pure it contains 12 per cent. of carbon.

Now petroleum consists largely of carbon, its average composition being 85 per cent. of carbon and 15 per cent. of hydrogen, and in the limestone rocks of the United Kingdom alone there is a far larger accumulation of carbon than in all the coal measures the world contains. A range of limestone rock 100 miles in length by 10 miles in width, and 1,000 yards in depth, would contain 743,000 million tons of carbon, or sufficient to provide carbon for 875,000 million tons of petroleum. Deposits of oil-bearing shale have also limestone close at hand; e.g., coral rag underlies Kimmeridge clay, as it also underlies the famous black shale in Kentucky, which is extraordinarily rich in oil.

II. As evidence of volcanic action in close proximity to petroleum strata, the mud volcanoes at Baku and in Burma are described, and a sulphur mine in Spain is mentioned (with which the writer is well acquainted), situated near an extinct volcano, where a perpetual gas flame in a neighboring chapel and other symptoms indicate that petroleum is not far off. While engaged in studying the geological conditions of this mine, the author observed that Dr. Christoff Bischoff records in his writings that he had produced sulphur in his own laboratory by passing hot volcanic gases through chalk, which, when expressed in a chemical formula, leads at once to the postulate that, in addition to sulphur, ethylene, and all its homologues (C{n}H{2n}), which are the oils predominating at Baku, would be produced by treating:

2, 3, 4, 5 equivs. of carbonate of lime (limestone) with 2, 3, 4, 5 " sulphurous acid (SO{2}) and 4, 6, 8, 10 " sulphureted hydrogen (H{2}S);

and that marsh gas and its homologues, which are the oils predominating in Pennsylvania, would be produced by treating:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 equivs. of carbonate of lime with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 " sulphurous acid and 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 " sulphureted hydrogen.

Thus we find that:

Carbonate of lime, 2CaCO{3}, } { 2(CaSO.H{2}O) (gypsum), Sulphurous acid, 2SO{2}, and } yield { 4S (sulphur), and Sulphureted hydrogen, 4H{2}S, } { C{2}H{4}, which is { ethylene.

And that:

Carbonate of lime, CaCO_{3} } { (CaSO_{4}.H_{2}O) (gypsum), Sulphurous acid, SO_{2}, and } yield { 3S (sulphur) and Sulphureted hydrogen, 3H_{2}S, } { CH4, which is marsh gas.

So that these and all their homologues, in fact petroleum in all its varieties, would be produced in nature by the action of volcanic gases on limestone.

But much the most abundant of the volcanic gases appear at the surface as steam, and petroleum seems to have been more usually produced without sulphurous acid, and with part of the sulphureted hydrogen (H{2}S) replaced by H{2}O (steam) or H{2}O{2} (peroxide of hydrogen), which is the product that results from the combination of sulphureted hydrogen and sulphurous acid:

(H{2}S + SO{2} == H{2}O{2} + 2S).

It is a powerful oxidizing agent, and it converts sulphurous into sulphuric acid. Thus:

CaCO{3} } { CaSO{4}.H{2}O (gypsum) H{2}S, } yield { and 2H{2}O, } { CH{4}, which is marsh gas.

And

2CaCO{3}, } { 2CaSO{4}.H{2}O 2H{2}S, } yield { and 2H{2}O{2}, } { C{2}H{4}, which is ethylene.

Tables are given showing the formulae for the homologues of ethylene and marsh gas resulting from the increase in regular gradation of the same constituents.

_Formulae Showing how Ethylene and its Homologues (C_{n}H_{2}{n}) are Produced by the Action of the Volcanic Gases H_{2}S and H_{2}O_{2} on Limestone._

Carbonate Sulphureted Peroxide of Ethylene and of lime. hydrogen. hydrogen. Gypsum. its homologues.

2CaCO3 + 2H2S + 2H2O2 yield 2(CaSO4.H2O) + C2H4 ethylene (gaseous). 3CaCO3 + 3H2S + 3H2O2 " 3(CaSO4.H2O) + C3H6 4CaCO3 + 4H2S + 4H2O2 " 4(CaSO4.H2O) + C4H8 5CaCO3 + 5H2S + 5H2O2 " 5(CaSO4.H2O) + C5H10 6CaCO3 + 6H2S + 6H2O2 " 6(CaSO4.H2O) + C6H12 Boiling point. 7CaCO3 + 7H2S + 7H2O2 " 7(CaSO4.H2O) + C7H14 — 8CaCO3 + 8H2S + 8H2O2 " 8(CaSO4.H2O) + C8H16 189 deg.C. 9CaCO3 + 9H2S + 9H2O2 " 9(CaSO4.H2O) + C9H18 136 deg.C. 10CaCO3 + 10H2S + 10H2O2 " 10(CaSO4.H2O) + C10H20 160 deg.C. 11CaCO3 + 11H2S + 11H2O2 " 11(CaSO4.H2O) + C11H22 180 deg.C. 12CaCO3 + 12H2S + 12H2O2 " 12(CaSO4.H2O) + C12H24 196 deg.C. 13CaCO3 + 13H2S + 13H2O2 " 13(CaSO4.H2O) + C13H26 240 deg.C. 14CaCO3 + 14H2S + 14H2O2 " 14(CaSO4.H2O) + C14H28 247 deg.C. 15CaCO3 + 15H2S + 15H2O2 " 15(CaSO4.H2O) + C15H30 —

It is explained that these effects must have occurred, not at periods of acute volcanic eruptions, but in conditions which maybe, and have been, observed at the present time, wherever there are active solfataras or mud volcanoes at work. Descriptions of the action of solfataras by the late Sir Richard Burton and by a British consul in Iceland are quoted, and also a paragraph from Lyall's "Principles of Geology," in which he remarks of the mud volcanoes at Girgenti (Sicily) that carbureted hydrogen is discharged from them, sometimes with great violence, and that they are known to have been casting out water, mixed with mud and bitumen, with the same activity as now for the last fifteen centuries. Probably at all these solfataras, if the gases traverse limestone, fresh deposits of oil-bearing strata are accumulating, and the same volcanic action has been occurring during many successive geological periods and millions of years; so that it is difficult to conceive limits to the magnitude of the stores of petroleum which may be awaiting discovery in the subterranean depths.[2]

[Footnote 2: Professor J. Le Conte, when presiding recently at the International Geological Congress at Washington, mentioned that in the United States extensive lava floods have been observed, covering areas from 10,000 to 100,000 square miles in extent and from 2,000 to 4,000 feet deep. We have similar lava flows and ashes in the North of England, in Scotland, and in Ireland, varying from 3,000 to 6,000 feet in depth. In the Lake District they are nearly 12,000 feet deep. Solfataras are active during the intermediate, or so-called "dormant," periods which occur between acute volcanic eruptions.]

Gypsum may also be an indication of oil-bearing strata, for the substitution in limestone of sulphuric for carbonic acid can only be accounted for by the action of these hot sulphurous gases. Gypsum is found extensively in the petroleum districts of the United States, and it underlies the rock salt beds at Middlesboro, where, on being pierced, it has given passage to oil gas, which issues abundantly, mixed with brine, from a great depth.

III. Besides the space occupied by "natural gas," which is very extensive, 17,000 million gallons of petroleum have been raised in America since 1860, and that quantity must have occupied more than 100,000,000 cubic yards, a space equal to a subterranean cavern 100 yards wide by 20 feet deep, and 82 miles in length, and it is suggested that beds of "porous sandstone" could hardly have contained so much; while vast receptacles may exist, carved by volcanic water out of former beds of rock salt adjoining the limestone, which would account for the brine that usually accompanies petroleum. It is further suggested that when no such vacant spaces were available, the hydrocarbon vapors would be absorbed into, and condensed in, contiguous clays and shales, and perhaps also in beds of coal, only partially consolidated at the time.

There is an extensive bituminous limestone formation in Persia, containing 20 per cent. of bitumen, and the theory elaborated in the paper would account for bitumen and oil having been found in Canada and Tennessee embedded in limestone, which fact is cited by Mr. Peckham as favoring his belief that some petroleums are a "product of the decomposition of animal remains."

Above all, this theory accounts for the many varieties in the chemical composition of paraffin oils in accordance with ordinary operations of nature during successive geological periods.—Chem. News.

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THE COLORADO DESERT LAKE.

Mr. J.J. Mcgillivray, who has been for many years in the United States mineral survey service, has some interesting things to say about the overflow of the Colorado desert, which has excited so much comment, and about which so many different stories have been told:

"None of the papers, so far as I know," said Mr. McGillivray, "have described with much accuracy or detail the interesting thing which has happened in the Colorado desert or have stated how it happened. The Colorado desert lies a short distance northwest of the upper end of the Gulf of California, and contains not far from 2,500 square miles. The Colorado River, which has now flooded it, has been flowing along to the east of it, emptying into the Gulf of California. The surface of the desert is almost all level and low, some of it below the sea level. Some few hundreds of years ago it was a bay making in from the Gulf of California, and then served as the outlet of the Colorado River. But the river carried a good deal of sediment, and in time made a bar, which slowly and surely shut off the sea on the south, leaving only a narrow channel for the escape of the river, which cut its way out, probably at some time when it was not carrying much sediment. Then the current became more rapid and cut its way back into the land, and, in doing this, did not necessarily choose the lowest place, but rather the place where the formation of the land was soft and easily cut away by the action of the water.

"While the river was cutting its way back it was, of course, carrying more or less sediment, and this was left along the banks, building them all the time higher, and confining the river more securely in its bounds. That is the Colorado River as we have known it ever since its discovery. Meantime, the water left in the shallow lake, cut off from the flow of the river, gradually evaporated—a thing that would take but a few years in that country, where the heat is intense and the humidity very low. That left somewhere about 2,000 miles of desert land, covered with a deposit of salt from the sea water which had evaporated, and most of it below the level of the sea. That is the Colorado desert as it has been known since its discovery.

"Then, last spring, came the overflow which has brought about the present state of affairs. The river was high and carrying an enormous amount of sediment in proportion to the quantity of water. This gradually filled up the bed of the stream and caused it to overflow its banks, breaking through into the dry lake where it had formerly flowed. The fact that the water is salt, which excited much comment at the time the overflow was first discovered, is, of course, due to the fact that the salt in the sea water which evaporated hundreds of years ago has remained there all the time, and is now once more in solution.

"The desert will, no doubt, continue to be a lake and the outlet of the river unless the breaks in the banks of the river are dammed by artificial means, which seems hardly possible, as the river has been flowing through the break in the stream 200 feet wide, four feet deep, and flowing at a velocity of five feet a second.

"It is an interesting fact to note that the military survey made in 1853 went over this ground and predicted the very thing which has now happened. The flooding of the desert will be a good thing for the surrounding country, for it does away with a large tract of absolutely useless land, so barren that it is impossible to raise there what the man in Texas said they mostly raised in his town, and it will increase the humidity of the surrounding territory. Nature has done with this piece of waste land what it has often been proposed to do by private enterprise or by public appropriation. Congress has often been asked to make an appropriation for that purpose."

Mr. McGillivray had also some interesting things to say about Death Valley, which he surveyed.

"It has been called a terra incognita and a place where no human being could live. Well, it is bad enough, but perhaps not quite so bad as that. The great trouble is the scarcity of water and the intense heat. But many prospecting parties go there looking for veins of ore and to take out borax. The richest borax mines in the world are found there. The valley is about 75 miles long by 10 miles wide. The lowest point is near the center, where it is about 150 ft. below the level of the sea. Just 15 miles west of this central point is Telescope peak, 11,000 ft. above the sea, and 15 miles east is Mt. Le Count, in the Funeral mountains, 8,000 ft. high. The valley runs almost due north and south, which is one reason for the extreme heat. The only stream of water in or near the valley flows into its upper end and forms a marsh in the bed of the valley. This marsh gives out a horrible odor of sulphureted hydrogen, the gas which makes a rotten egg so offensive. Where the water of this stream comes from is not very definitely known, but in my opinion it comes from Owen's lake, beyond the Telescope mountains to the west, flowing down into the valley by some subterranean passage. The same impurities found in the stream are also found in the lake, where the water is so saturated with salt, boracic acid, etc., that one can no more sink in it than in the water of the Great Salt lake; and I found it so saturated that after swimming in it a little while the skin all over my body was gnawed and made very sore by the acids. Another reason why I think the water of the stream enters the valley by some fixed subterranean source is the fact that, no matter what the season, the flow from the springs that feed the marsh is always exactly the same.

"The heat there is intense. A man cannot go an hour without water without becoming insane. While we were surveying there, we had the same wooden cased thermometer that is used by the signal service. It was hung in the shade on the side of our shed, with the only stream in the country flowing directly under it, and it repeatedly registered 130 deg.; and for 48 hours in 1883, when I was surveying there, the thermometer never once went below 104 deg.."—Boston Herald.

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HEMLOCK AND PARSLEY.

By W.W. BAILEY.

The study of the order Umbelliferae presents peculiar difficulties to the beginner, for the flowers are uniformly small and strikingly similar throughout the large and very natural group. The family distinctions or features are quite pronounced and unmistakable, and it is the determination of the genera which presents obstacles—serious, indeed, but not insurmountable. "By their fruits shall ye know them."

The Umbelliferae, as we see them here, are herbaceous, with hollow, often striated stems, usually more or less divided leaves, and no stipules. Occasionally we meet a genus, like Eryngium or Hydrocotyle, with leaves merely toothed or lobed. The petioles are expanded into sheaths; hence the leaves wither on the stem. The flowers are usually arranged in simple or compound umbels, and the main and subordinate clusters may or may not be provided with involucres and involucels. To this mode of arrangement there are exceptions. In marsh-penny-wort (Hydrocotyle) the umbels are in the axils of the leaves, and scarcely noticeable; in Eryngium and Sanicula they are in heads. The calyx is coherent with the two-celled ovary, and the border is either obsolete or much reduced. There are five petals inserted on the ovary, and external to a fleshy disk. Each petal has its tip inflexed, giving it an obcordate appearance. The common colors of the corolla are white, yellow, or some shade of blue. Alternating with the petals, and inserted with them, are the five stamens.

The fruit, upon which so much stress is laid in the study of the family, is compound, of two similar parts or carpels, each of which contains a seed. In ripening the parts separate, and hang divergent from a hair-like prolongation of the receptacle known as the gynophore. Each half fruit (mericarp) is tipped by a persistent style, and marked by vertical ribs, between or under which lie, in many genera, the oil tubes or vittae. These are channels containing aromatic and volatile oil. In examination the botanist makes delicate cross sections of these fruits under a dissecting microscope, and by the shape of the fruit and seed within, and by the number and position of the ribs and oil tubes, is able to locate the genus. It, of course, requires skill and experience to do this, but any commonly intelligent class can learn the process. It goes without saying, and as a corollary to what has already been stated, that these plants should always be collected in full fruit; the flowers are comparatively unimportant. Any botanist would be justified in declining to name one of the family not in fruit. An attempt would often be mere guesswork.

In this family is found the poison hemlock (Conium) used by the ancient Greeks for the elimination of politicians. It is a powerful poison. The whole plant has a curious mousy odor. It is of European origin. Our water hemlock is equally poisonous, and much more common. It is the Cicuta maculata of the swamps—a tall, coarse plant which has given rise to many sad accidents. AEthusa cynapium, another poisonous plant, known as "fool's parsley," is not uncommon, and certainly looks much like parsley. This only goes to show how difficult it is for any but the trained botanist to detect differences in this group of plants. Side by side may be growing two specimens, to the ordinary eye precisely alike, yet the one will be innocent and the other poisonous.

The drug asafetida is a product of this order. All the plants appear to "form three different principles: the first, a watery acid matter; the second, a gum-resinous milky substance; and the third, an aromatic, oily secretion. When the first of these predominates they are poisonous; the second in excess converts them into stimulants; the absence of the two renders them useful as esculents; the third causes them to be pleasant condiments." So that besides the noxious plants there is a long range of useful vegetables, as parsnips, parsley, carrots, fennel, dill, anise, caraway, cummin, coriander, and celery. The last, in its wild state, is said to be pernicious, but etiolation changes the products and renders them harmless. The flowers of all are too minute to be individually pretty, but every one knows how charming are the umbels of our wild carrot, resembling as they do the choicest old lace. Frequently the carrot has one central maroon colored floret.

Though most of the plants are herbs, Dr. Welwitsch found in Africa a tree-like one, with a stem one to two feet thick, much prized by the natives for its medicinal properties, and also valuable for its timber. In Kamschatka also they assume a sub-arboreous type, as well as on the steppes of Afghanistan.

As mistakes often occur by confounding the roots of Umbelliferae with those of horse radish or other esculents, it is well, when in doubt, to send the plants, always in fruit, if possible, for identification. None of them are poisonous to the touch—at least to ordinary people. Cases of rather doubtful authenticity are reported from time to time of injury from the handling of wild carrot. We have always suspected the proximity of poison ivy; still, it is unwise to dogmatize on such matters. Some people cannot eat strawberries—more's the pity!—while the rest of us get along with them very happily. Lately the Primula obconica has acquired an evil reputation as an irritant, so there is no telling what may not happen with certain constitutions.

Difficult as is the study of Umbelliferae, it becomes fascinating on acquaintance. To hunt up a plant and name it by so scientific a process brings to the student a sufficient reward.—American Naturalist.

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THE EREMURI.



It has often been a matter of astonishment to me that eremuri are not more frequently seen in our gardens. There are certainly very few plants which have a statelier or more handsome appearance during the summer months. Both in point of brightness of color and their general habit and manner of growth they are very much to be recommended. For some reason or other they have the character of being difficult plants, but they do not deserve it at all, and a very slight attention to their requirements is enough to ensure success. They can stand a good many degrees of frost, and they ask for little more than a soil which has been deeply worked and well enriched with old rotten manure. Give them this, and they are certain to be contented with it, and the cultivator will be well rewarded for his pains. Only one thing should perhaps be added by way of precaution. If an eremurus appears too soon above ground, it is well just to cover it over with loose litter of some sort, so that it may not be nipped by spring frosts; and one experienced grower has said that it answers to lift them after blossoming, and to keep them out of the ground for a few weeks, so that they may be sufficiently retarded. But I have not yet been able to try this plan myself, and I do not speak from experience about it. My favorite is Eremurus Bungei, which I think is one of the handsomest plants I have in my garden. The clear yellow color of the blossom is so very good, and I like the foliage also; but of course it is not the most imposing by any means and if height and stateliness are especially regarded, E. robustus or E. robustus nobilis would carry off the palm. This commonly rises to the height of eight or nine feet above the ground, and on one occasion I have known it to be greatly in excess even of that; but such an elevation cannot be attained for more than a single year, and it afterward is contented with more moderate efforts. E. Himalaicus is of the purest possible white, and the spike is very much to be admired when it is seen at its best. It can be very easily raised from seed, but a good deal of patience is needed before its full glory has come. E. Olgae is the last of all, and it shows by its arrival that summer is hastening on. It is of a peach-colored hue, and very pretty indeed. Altogether it is a pity that eremuri are not more commonly grown. I think they are certain to give great satisfaction, if only a moderate degree of attention and care be bestowed upon them.—H. Ewbank, in The Gardeners' Magazine.

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RAPHIDES, THE CAUSE OF THE ACRIDITY OF CERTAIN PLANTS.

By R.A. WEBER, Ph.D.

At the last meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Prof. W.R. Lazenby reported his studies on the occurrence of crystals in plants. In this report he expressed the opinion that the acridity of the Indian turnip was due to the presence of these crystals or raphides. This opinion was opposed by Prof. Burrill and other eminent botanists, who claimed that other plants, as the fuchsia, are not at all acrid, although they contain raphides as plentifully as the Indian turnip. Here the matter was allowed to rest.

The United States Dispensatory and other works on pharmacy ascribe the acridity of the Indian turnip to an acrid, extremely volatile principle insoluble in water, and alcohol, but soluble in ether. Heating and drying the bulbs dissipates the volatiles principle, and the acridity is destroyed.

At a recent meeting of Ohio State Microscopical Society this subject was again brought up for discussion. It was thought by some that the raphides in the different plants might vary in chemical composition, and thus the difference in their action be accounted for. This question the writer volunteered to answer.

Accordingly, four plants containing raphides were selected, two of which, the Calla cassia and Indian turnip, were highly acrid, and two, the Fuchsia and Tradescantia, or Wandering Jew, were perfectly bland to the taste.

A portion of each plant was crushed in a mortar, water or dilute alcohol was added, the mixture was stirred thoroughly and thrown upon a fine sieve. By repeated washing with water and decanting a sufficient amount of the crystals was obtained for examination. From the calla the crystals were readily secured by this means in a comparatively pure state. In the case of the Indian turnip the crystals were contaminated with starch, while the crystals from the fuschia and tradescantia were embedded in an insoluble mucilage from which it was found impossible to separate them. The crystals were all found to be calcium oxalate.

Having determined the identity in chemical composition of the crystals, it was thought that there might be a difference of form of the crystals in the various plants, from the fact that calcium oxalate crystallizes both in the tetragonal and the monoclinic systems. A laborious microscopic examination, however, showed that this theory also had to be abandoned. The fuchsia and tradescantia contained bundles of raphides of the same form and equally as fine as those of the acrid plants. At this point in the investigation the writer was inclined to the opinion that the acridity of the Indian turnip and calla was due to the presence of an acrid principle.

Since the works on pharmacy claimed that the active principle of the Indian turnip was soluble in ether, the investigation was continued in this direction. A large stem of the calla was cut into slices, and the juice expressed by means of a tincture press. The expressed juice was limpid and filled with raphides. A portion of the juice was placed into a cylinder and violently shaken with an equal volume of ether. When the ether had separated a drop was placed upon the tongue. As soon as the effects of the ether had passed away, the same painful acridity was experienced as is produced when the plant itself is tasted. This experiment seemed to corroborate the assumption of an acrid principle soluble in ether. The supernatant ether, however, was slightly turbid in appearance, a fact which was at first ignored. Wishing to learn the cause of this turbidity, a drop of the ether was allowed to evaporate on a glass slide. Under the microscope the slide was found to be covered with a mass of raphides. A portion of the ether was run through a Munktell filter. The filtered ether was clear, entirely free from raphides, and had also lost every trace of its acridity.

The same operations were repeated upon the Indian turnip with exactly similar results.

These experiments show conclusively that the acridity of the Indian turnip and calla is due to the raphides of calcium oxalate only.

The question of the absence of acridity in the other two plants still remained to be settled. For this purpose some recent twigs and leaves of the fuchsia were subjected to pressure in a tincture press. The expressed juice was not limpid, but thick, mucilaginous and ropy. Under the microscope the raphides seemed as plentiful as in the case of the two acrid plants. When diluted with water and shaken with ether, there was no visible turbidity in the supernatant ether, and when a drop of the ether was allowed to evaporate on a glass slide, only a few isolated crystals could be seen. From this it will be seen that in this case the raphides did not separate from the mucilaginous juice to be held in suspension in the ether. A great deal of time and labor were spent in endeavoring to separate the crystals completely from this insoluble mucilage, but without avail. With the tradescantia similar results were obtained.

From these experiments the absence of acridity in these two plants, in spite of the abundance of raphides, may readily be explained by the fact that the minute crystals are surrounded with and embedded in an insoluble mucilage, which prevents their free movement into the tongue and surface of the mouth, when portions of the plants are tasted.

The reason why the Indian turnip loses its acridity on being heated can be explained by the production of starch paste from the abundance of starch present in the bulbs. This starch paste would evidently act in a manner similar to the insoluble mucilage of the other two plants.

So also it can readily be seen that when the bulbs of the Indian turnip have been dried, the crystals can no longer separate from the hard mass which surrounds them, and consequently can exert no irritant action when the dried bulbs are placed against the tongue.—Jour. Am. Chem. Soc.

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THE WHALE-HEADED STORK.



Of all the wonders that inhabit the vast continent of Africa, the most singular one is undoubtedly the Balaeniceps, or whale-headed stork. It is of relatively recent discovery, and the first description of it was given by Gould in the early part of 1851. It is at present still extremely rare. The Paris Museum possesses three specimens of it, and the Boulogne Museum possesses one. These birds always excite the curiosity of the public by their strange aspect. At first sight, says W.P. Parker, in his notes upon the osteology of the balaeniceps, this bird recalls the boatbill, the heron, and the adjutant. Other birds, too, suggest themselves to the mind, such as the pelican, the toucan, the hornbills, and the podarges. The curious form of the bill, in fact, explains this comparison with birds belonging to so different groups, and the balaeniceps would merit the name of boatbill equally well with the bird so called, since its bill recalls the small fishing boats that we observe keel upward high and dry on our seashores. This bill is ten inches in length, and four inches in breadth at the base. The upper mandible, which is strongly convex, exhibits upon its median line a slight ridge, which is quite wide at its origin, and then continues to decrease and becomes sensibly depressed as far as to the center of its length, and afterward rises on approaching the anterior extremity, where it terminates in a powerful hook, which seems to form a separate part, as in the albatrosses. Throughout its whole extent, up to the beginning of the hook, this mandible presents a strong convexity over its edge, which is turned slightly inward. The lower mandible, which is powerful, and is indented at its point to receive the hook, has a very sharp edge, which, with that of the upper mandible, constitutes a pair of formidable shears. The color of the bill is pale yellow, passing to horn color toward the median ridge, and the whole surface is sprinkled with dark brown blotches. The nostrils are scarcely visible, and are situated in a narrow cleft at the base of the bill, and against the median ridge. The tongue is very small and entirely out of proportion to the vast buccal capacity. This is a character that might assimilate the balaeniceps to the pelican. The robust head, the neck, and the throat, are covered with slate-colored feathers verging on green, and not presenting the repulsive aspect of the naked skin of the adjutant. As in the latter, the skin of the throat is capable of being dilated so as to form a voluminous pouch. Upon the occiput the feathers are elongated and form a small crest. The body is robust and covered upon the back with slate-colored feathers bordered with ashen gray. Upon the breast the feathers are lanceolate, and marked with a dark median stripe. Finally, the lower parts, abdomen, sides, and thighs, are pale gray, and the remiges and retrices are black. According to Verreaux, the feathers of the under side of the tail are soft and decompounded, but at a distance they only recall the beautiful plumes of the adjutant. The well-developed wings indicate a bird of lofty flight, yet of all the bones of the limbs, anterior as well as posterior, the humerus alone is pneumatized. The strong feet terminate in four very long toes deprived at the interdigital membrane observed in most of the Ciconidae. The claws are powerful and but slightly curved, and that of the median toe is not pectinated as in the herons.

The balaeniceps is met with only in or near water, but it prefers marshes to rivers. It is abundant upon the banks of the Nile only during the hot season which precedes the rains and when the entire interior is dried up. During the rest of the year it inhabits natural ponds and swamps, where the shallow water covers vast areas and presents numerous small islands, of easier access than the banks of the Nile, which always slope more or less abruptly into deep water. In such localities it is met with in pairs or in flocks of a hundred or more, seeking its food with tireless energy, or else standing immovable upon one leg, the neck curved and the head resting upon the shoulder. When disturbed, the birds fly just above the surface of the water and stop at a short distance. But when they are startled by the firing of a gun, they ascend to a great height, fly around in a circle and hover for a short time, and then descend upon the loftiest trees, where they remain until the enemy has gone.

Water turtles, fish, frogs and lizards form the basis of their food. According to Petherick, they do not disdain dead animals, whose carcasses they disembowel with their powerful hooked beak. They pass the night upon the ground, upon trees and upon high rocks. As regards nest-making and egg-laying, opinions are most contradictory. According to Verreaux, the balaeniceps builds its nest of earth, vegetable debris, reeds, grass, etc., upon large trees. The female lays two eggs similar to those of the adjutant. It is quite difficult to reconcile this opinion with that of Petherick, who expresses himself as follows: "The balaeniceps lays in July and August, and chooses for that purpose the tall reeds or grasses that border the water or some small and slightly elevated island. They dig a hole in the ground, and the female deposits her eggs therein. I have found as many as twelve eggs in the same nest."

The whale-headed stork is still so little known that there is nothing in these contradictions that ought to surprise us. Authors are no more in accord on the subject of the affinities of this strange bird. Gould claims that it presents the closest affinities with the pelican and is the wading type of the Pelicanidae. Verreaux believes that its nearest relative is the adjutant, whose ways it has, and that it represents in this group what the boatbill represents in the heron genus. Bonaparte regards it as intermediate between the pelican and the boatbill. If we listen to Reinhurdt, we must place it, not alongside of the boatbill, but alongside of the African genus Scopus. The boatbill, says he, is merely a heron provided with a singular bill, which has but little analogy with that of the balaeniceps, and not a true resemblance. The nostrils differ in form and position in those two birds, and in the boatbill there exists beneath the lower mandible a dilatable pouch that we do not find in the balaeniceps. An osteological examination leads Parker to place the balaeniceps near the boatbill, and the present classification is based upon that opinion. The family of Ardeidae is, therefore, divided into five sub-families, the three last of which each comprises a single genus.

Ardeidae.—Ardeineae (herons). Botaurineae (bitterns). Scopineae (ombrette). Cancomineae (boatbill). Balaenicepineae (whale-headed stork).

All the whale-headed storks that have been received up to the present have come from the region of the White Nile; but Mr. H. Johnston, who traveled in Congo in 1882, asserts that he met with the bird on the River Cunene between Benguela and Angola, where it was even very common. Mr. Johnston's assertion has been confirmed by other travelers worthy of credence, but, unfortunately, the best of all confirmations is wanting, and that is a skin of this magnificent wader. We can, therefore, only make a note of Mr. Johnston's statement, and hope that some traveler may one day enrich our museums with some balaeniceps from these regions. The presence of this bird in the southwest of Africa is, after all, not impossible; yet there is one question that arises: Was the balaeniceps observed by Mr. Johnston of the same species as that of the White Nile, or was it a new type that will increase this family, which as yet comprises but one genus and one species—the Balaeniceps rex?—Le Naturaliste.

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THE CALIFORNIA RAISIN INDUSTRY.

Fresno County, for ten miles about Fresno, furnishes the best example of the enormous increase in values which follows the conversion of wheat fields and grazing land into vineyards and orchards. Not even Riverside can compare with it in the rapid evolution of a great source of wealth which ten years ago was almost unknown. What has transformed Fresno from a shambling, dirty resort of cowboys and wheat ranchers into one of the prettiest cities in California is the raisin grape. Though nearly all fruits may be grown here, yet this is pre-eminently the home of the raisin industry, and it is the raisin which in a single decade has converted 50,000 acres of wheat fields into vineyards. No other crop in California promises such speedy returns or such large profits as the raisin grape, and as the work on the vineyards is not heavy, the result has been a remarkable growth of the infant industry. It is estimated that in this county, which contains 5,000,000 acres and is nearly as large as Massachusetts, there are 400,000 acres that may be irrigated and are specially adapted to the grape. As the present crop on about 25,000 acres in full bearing is valued at $6,000,000, some idea may be formed of the revenue that will come to the Fresno vineyardists when all this choice valley land is planted and in full bearing. And what makes the prospect of permanent prosperity surer is the fact that nine out of ten new settlers are content with twenty-acre tracts, as one of these is all which a man can well care for, while the income from this little vineyard will average $4,000 above all expenses, a larger income than is enjoyed by three-quarters of the professional men throughout the country.

The raisin industry in California is very young. To be sure, dried grapes have been known since the time of the Mission Fathers, but the dried mission grape is not a raisin. The men who thirty years ago sent over to Europe for the choicest varieties of wine grapes imported among other cuttings the Muscatel, the Muscat of Alexandria, and the Feher Zagos; the three finest raisin grapes of Spain. But the raisin, like the fig, requires skillful treatment, and for years the California grower made no headway. He read all that had been written on the curing of the raisin; several enterprising men went to Spain to study the subject at first hand; but despite all this no progress was made. Finally several of the pioneer raisin men of Fresno cut loose from all precedent, dried their grapes in the simple and natural manner and made a success of it. From that time, not over ten years ago, the growth of the industry has eclipsed that of every other branch of horticulture in the State, and the total value of the product promises soon to exceed the value of the orange crop or the yield of wine and brandy.

It required a good deal of nerve for the pioneers of Fresno County to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in bringing water upon what the old settlers regarded as a desert, fit only to grow wheat in a very wet season. In other parts of the State the Mission Fathers had dug ditches and built aqueducts, so that the settlers who came after them found a well devised water system, which they merely followed. But in Fresno no one had ever tried to grow crops by irrigation. When Fremont came through there from the mountains he found many wild cattle feeding on the rank grass that grew as high as the head of a man on horseback. The herds of the native Californians were almost equally wild. The country was one vast plain which in summer glowed under a sun that was tropical in its intensity. As late as 1860 one could travel for a day without seeing a house or any sign of habitation. The country was owned by great cattle growers, who seldom rode over their immense ranches, except at the time of the annual "round-up" of stock. About thirty years ago a number of large wheat growers secured big tracts of land around Fresno. At their head was Isaac Friedlander, known as the wheat king of the Pacific Coast. Friedlander would have transformed this country had not financial ruin overcome him. His place was taken by others, like Chapman, Easterby, Eisen and Hughes—men who believed in fruit growing and who had the courage to carry on their operations in the face of repeated failures.

The great development of Fresno has been due entirely to the colony system, which has also built up most of the flourishing cities of Southern California. In 1874 the first Fresno colony was started by W.S. Chapman. He cut up six sections of land into 20-acre tracts, and brought water from King's River. The colonists represented all classes of people, and though they made many disastrous experiments, with poor varieties of grapes and fruit, still there is no instance of failure recorded, and all who have held on to their land are now in comfortable circumstances. Some of the settlers in this colony were San Francisco school teachers. They obtained their 20-acre tracts for $400, and many of them retired on their little vineyards at the end of five or six years. One lady, named Miss Austen, had the foresight to plant all her property in the best raisin grapes, and for many years drew a larger annual revenue from the property than the whole place cost her. The central colony now has an old established look. The broad avenues are lined with enormous trees; many of the houses are exceedingly beautiful country villas. What a transformation has been wrought here may be appreciated when it is said that 150 families now produce $400,000 a year on the same land which twenty years ago supported but one family, which had a return of only $35,000 from wheat. The history of this one colony of six sections of old wheat land is the key to Fresno's prosperity. It proves better than columns of argument, or facts or figures, the immense return that careful, patient cultivation may command in this home of the grape. Near this colony are a half-dozen others which were established on the same general plan. The most noteworthy is the Malaga colony, founded by G.G. Briggs, to whom belongs the credit of introducing the raisin grape into Fresno.

Fresno City is the center from which one may drive in three directions and pass through mile after mile of these colonies, all showing signs of the wealth and comfort that raisin making has brought. Only toward the west is the land still undeveloped, but another five years promise to see this great tract, stretching away for twenty miles, also laid out in small vineyards and fruit farms. Fresno is the natural railroad center of the great San Joaquin Valley. It is on the main line of the Southern Pacific and is the most important shipping point between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The new line of the Santa Fe, which has been surveyed from Mojave up through the valley, passes through Fresno. Then there are three local lines that have the place for a terminus, notably the mountain railway, which climbs into the Sierra, and which it is expected will one day connect with the Rio Grande system and give a new transcontinental line. Here are also building round houses and machine shops of the Southern Pacific Company. These, with new factories, packing houses, and other improvements, go far to justify the sanguine expectations of the residents. There has never been a boom in Fresno, but a high railroad official recently, in speaking of the growth of the city, said: "Fresno in five years will be the second city in California." This prediction he based on the wonderful expansion of its resources in the last decade and the substantial character of all the improvements made. It is a pretty town, with wide, well-paved streets, handsome modern business blocks, and residence avenues that would do credit to any old-settled town of the East. The favorite shade tree is the umbrella tree, which has the graceful, rounded form of the horse chestnut, but with so thick a foliage that its shadow is not dappled with sunlight. Above it is an intensely dark green, while viewed from below it is the most delicate shade of pea green. Rivaling this in popularity is the pepper tree, also an evergreen, and the magnolia, fan palm, eucalyptus, or Australian blue gum, and the poplar. All these trees grow luxuriantly. It has also become the custom in planting a vineyard to put a row of the white Adriatic fig trees around the place, and to mark off ten or twenty acre tracts in the same way. The dark green foliage of the fig is a great relief to the eye when the sun beats down on the sandy soil. Leading out of Fresno are five driveways. The soil makes a natural macadam, which dries in a few hours. Throughout the year these roads are in good condition for trotting, and nearly every raisin grower is also an expert in horseflesh, and has a team that will do a mile in less than 2:30. The new race course is one of the finest in the State. Toward the west from Fresno has recently been opened a magnificent driveway, which promises in a few years to rival the Magnolia ave. of Riverside. This is called Chateau Fresno ave. It has two driveways separated by fan palms and magnolias, while along the outer borders are the same trees with other choice tropical growths, that will one day make this avenue well worth traveling many miles to see. This is the private enterprise of Mr. Theodore Kearney, who made a fortune in real estate, and it is noteworthy as an illustration of the large way in which the rich Californian goes about any work in which he takes an interest. Probably the finest avenue in Fresno is the poplar-lined main driveway through the Barton vineyard. It is a mile in length, and the trees, fully fifty feet high, stand so thickly together that when in full leaf they form a solid wall of green. The vineyard, which is a mile square, is also surrounded by a single row of these superb poplars.

A visit to one of the great raisin vineyards near Fresno is a revelation in regard to the system that is necessary in handling large quantities of grapes. The largest raisin vineyard in the State, if not in the world, is that of A.B. Butler. It comprises 640 acres, of which a trifle over 600 acres is planted to the best raisin grapes. Butler was a Texas cowboy, and came to Fresno with very little capital. He secured possession of a section of land, planted it to grapes; he read everything he could buy on raisin making, but found little in the books that was of any value. So he made a trip to Spain, and inspected all the processes in the Malaga district. He gathered many new ideas. One of the most valuable suggestions was in regard to prunings and keeping the vine free from the suckers that sap its vitality. When he returned from this trip and passed through Los Angeles County he saw that the strange disease which was killing many hundred acres of vines was nothing else than the result of faulty prunings—the retention of suckers until they gained such lusty growth that their removal proved fatal to the vine. His vineyard is as free from weeds and grass as a corner of a well kept kitchen garden. The vine leaves have that deep glossy look which betrays perfect health. When my visit was made the whole crop was on trays spread out in the vineyard. These trays had been piled up in layers of a dozen—what is technically known as boxed—as a shower had fallen the previous night, and Mr. Butler was uncertain whether he would have a crop of the choicest raisins or whether he would have to put his dried grapes in bags, and sell them for one-third of the top price. Fortunately the rain clouds cleared away. The crop was saved and the extreme hot weather that followed made the second crop almost as valuable as the first.

The method of drying and packing the raisin is peculiar and well worth a brief description. When the grape reaches a certain degree of ripeness and develops the requisite amount of saccharine matter a large force is put into the vineyard and the picking begins. The bunches of ripe grapes are placed carefully on wooden trays and are left in the field to cure. The process requires from seven days to three weeks, according to the amount of sunshine. This climate is so entirely free from dew at night that there is no danger of must. The grape cures perfectly in this way and makes a far sweeter raisin than when dried by artificial heat. When the grapes are dried sufficiently the trays are gathered and stacked in piles about as high as a man's waist. Then begins the tedious but necessary process of sorting into the sweat boxes. These boxes are about eight inches deep and hold 125 pounds of grapes. Around the sorter are three sweat boxes for the three grades of grapes. In each box are three layers of manila paper which are used at equal intervals to prevent the stems of the grapes from becoming entangled, thus breaking the fine large bunches when removed. The sorter must be an expert. He takes the bunches by the stem, placing the largest and finest in the first grade box, those which are medium sized in the second grade, and all broken and ragged bunches in the third class. When the boxes are filled they are hauled to the brick building known as the equalizer. This is constructed so as to permit ventilation at the top, but to exclude light and air as much as possible from the grapes. The boxes are piled in tiers in this house and allowed to remain in darkness for from ten to twenty days. Here they undergo a sweating process, which diffuses moisture equally throughout the contents of each box. This prevents some grapes from retaining undue moisture, and it also softens the stems and makes them pliable.

From the equalizing room the sweat boxes are taken to the packing room. Here they are first weighed. The first and second grades are passed to the sorter, while the third grade raisins are placed in a big machine that strips off the stems and grades the loose raisins in three or four sizes. These are placed in sacks and sold as loose raisins. The higher grades are carefully sorted into first and second class clusters. After this sorting the boxes are passed to women and girls, who arrange the clusters neatly in small five pound boxes with movable bottoms. These boxes are placed under slight pressure, and four of them fill one of the regular twenty pound boxes of commerce. The work of placing the raisins in the small boxes requires much practice, but women are found to be much swifter than men at this labor, and, as they are paid by the box, the more skillful earn from $2 to $3 a day. It is light, pleasant work, as the room is large, cool and well ventilated, and there is no mixing of the sexes, such as may be found in many of the San Francisco canneries. For this reason the work attracts nice girls, and one may see many attractive faces in a trip through a large packing house. One heavy shouldered, masculine-looking German woman, who, however, had long, slender fingers, was pointed out as the swiftest sorter in the room. She made regularly $3 a day. The assurance of steady work of this kind for three months draws many people to Fresno, and the regular disbursement of a large sum as wages every week goes far to explain the thrift and comfort seen on every hand.

The five pound boxes of grapes are passed to the pressing machine, where four of them are deftly transferred to a twenty pound box. The two highest grades of raisins are the Dehesa and the London layers. It has always been the ambition of California's raisin makers to produce the Dehesa brand. They know that their best raisins are equal in size and quality to the best Spanish raisins, but heretofore they have found the cost of preparing the top layer in the Spanish style very costly, as the raisins had to be flattened out (or thumbed, as it is technically called) by hand. In Spain, where women work for 20 cents a day, this hand labor cuts no figure in the cost of production, but here, with the cheapest labor at $1.50 a day, it has proved a bar to competition. American ingenuity, however, is likely to overcome this handicap of high wages. T.C. White, an old raisin grower, has invented a packing plate of metal, with depressions at regular intervals just the size of a big raisin. This plate is put at the bottom of the preliminary packing box, and when the work of packing is complete the box is reversed and the top layer, pressed into the depressions of the plate, bears every mark of the most careful hand manipulation. Mr. Butler used this plate for the first time this season, and found it a success, and there is no question of its general adoption. Every year sees more attention paid to the careful grading of raisins, as upon this depends much of their marketable value. The large packing houses have done good work in enforcing this rule, and the chief sinners who still indulge in careless packing are small growers with poor facilities. Probably the next few years will see a great increase in the number and size of the packing houses which will prepare and market most of Fresno's raisin crop. The growers also will avail themselves of the co-operative plan, for which the colony system offers peculiar advantages.

Geometrical progression is the only thing which equals the increase of Fresno's raisin product. Eighteen years ago it was less than 3,000 boxes. Last year it amounted to 1,050,000 boxes, while this year the product cannot fall below 1,250,000 boxes. New vineyards are coming into bearing every year, and this season has seen a larger planting of new vineyards than ever before. This was due mainly to the stimulus and encouragement of the McKinley bill, which was worth an incalculable sum to those who are developing the raisin industry in California. Besides raisins, Fresno produced last year 2,500,000 gallons of wine, a large part of which was shipped to the East. The railroad figures show the wealth that is produced here every year from these old wheat fields. The dried fruit crop last year was valued at $1,123,520; raisins, $1,245,768; and the total exports were $8,957,899.

The largest bearing raisin vineyard in Fresno is that of A.B. Butler, who has over 600 acres in eight year-old vines. The pack this year will be fully 120,000 boxes. As each box sells for an average of $1.75, the revenue from this vineyard will not fall far below a quarter of a million. One of the finest places in the county is Colonel Forsythe's 160-acre vineyard, from which 40,000 boxes are packed. Forsythe has paid so much attention to the packing of his raisins that his output commands a fancy price. This year he wanted to go to Europe, so he sold his crop on the vines to a packing house, receiving a check for $20,000. These, of course, are the great successes, but nearly every small raisin grower has made money, for it costs not over 11/2 cents per pound to produce the raisin, and the price seldom falls below 6 cents per pound. Good land can be secured in Fresno at from $50 to $200 per acre. The average is $75 an acre for first-class raisin land that is within ten miles of any large place. It costs $75 an acre to get a raisin vineyard into bearing. In the third year the vines pay for cultivation, and from that time on the ratio of increase is very large. Much of the work of pruning, picking, and curing grapes is light, and may be done by women and children. The only heavy labor about the vineyard is the plowing and cultivating. Fresno is a hot place in the summer, the mercury running up to 110 degrees in the shade, but this is a dry heat, which does not enervate, and, with proper protection for the head, one may work in the sun all day, without any danger of sunstroke.

The colony system, which has been brought to great perfection around Fresno, permits a family of small means to secure a good home without much capital to start with. Where no money is paid for labor, a vineyard may be brought to productiveness with very small outlay. At the same time there is so great a demand for labor in the large vineyards, that the man who has a five or ten acre tract may be sure of work nearly all the year. In some places special inducements have been held out to people of small means to secure a five-acre vineyard while they are at work in other business. One colony of this sort was started eighteen months ago near Madera, in Fresno County. A tract of 3,000 acres was planted to Muscat grapes, and then sold out in five and ten acre vineyards, on five years' time, the purchaser paying only one-fifth cash. The price of the land was $75 an acre, and it was estimated that an equal sum per acre would put the vineyard into full bearing. Thus, for $750, or, with interest, for $1,000, a man working on a small salary in San Francisco will have in five years a vineyard which should yield him a yearly revenue of $500. From the present outlook there can be no danger of over-production of raisins, any more than of California wine or dried fruits. The grower is assured of a good market for every pound of raisins he produces, and the more care he puts into the growing and packing of his crop, the larger his returns will be. For those who love life in the open air, there is nothing in California with greater attractions than raisin growing in Fresno County.—N.Y. Tribune.

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COLD AND MORTALITY.

By Dr. B.W. RICHARDSON.

During the seven weeks of extreme atmospheric cold in which the last year ended and with which the present year opened, every one has been startled by the mortality that has prevailed among the enfeebled and aged population. Friends have been swept away in a manner most painful to recall, under the influence of an external agency, as natural as it is fatal in its course, and over which science, as yet, holds the most limited control.

In the presence of these facts questions occur to the mind which have the most practical bearing. Why should a community wake up one day with catarrh or with the back of the throat unduly red and the tonsils large? Why, in a particular village or town, shall the medical men be summoned on some particular day to a number of places to visit children with croup? What is the reason that cases of sudden death, by so-called "apoplexy," crowd together into a few hours? Why, in a given day or week, are shoals of the aged swept away, while the young live as before? These are questions which curative and preventive medicine have not yet mastered as might be desired. Curative medicine, at the name of them, too often stands abashed, if her interpreter be honest; and preventive medicine says, if her interpreter be honest, "The questions wait as yet for full interpretation."

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