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COMB—COMBE, G.

by the Spanish government to find a site for a city midway between the two oceans, Valladolid la Nueva, as the town was first named, soon became the capital of Honduras. It received the privileges of a city in 1557, and was made an episcopal see in 1561. Its decline dates from 1827, when it was burned by revolutionaries; and in 1854 its population had dwindled to 2000. It afterwards suffered through war and rebellion, notably in 1872 and 1873, when it was besieged by the Guatemalans. In 1880 Tegucigalpa (q.v.), a city 37 m. east-south-east, superseded it as the capital of Honduras.


COMB (a word common in various forms to Teut. languages, cf. Ger. Kamm, the Indo-Europ. origin of which is seen in γόμφος, a peg or pin, and Sanskrit, gambhas, a tooth), a toothed article of the toilet used for cleaning and arranging the hair, and also for holding it in place after it has been arranged; the word is also applied, from resemblance in form or in use, to various appliances employed for dressing wool and other fibrous substances, to the indented fleshy crest of a cock, and to the ridged series of cells of wax filled with honey in a beehive. Hair combs are of great antiquity, and specimens made of wood, bone and horn have been found in Swiss lake-dwellings. Among the Greeks and Romans they were made of boxwood, and in Egypt also of ivory. For modern combs the same materials are used, together with others such as tortoise-shell, metal, india-rubber and celluloid. There are two chief methods of manufacture. A plate of the selected material is taken of the size and thickness required for the comb, and on one side of it, occasionally on both sides, a series of fine slits are cut with a circular saw. This method involves the loss of the material cut out between the teeth. The second method, known as “twinning” or “parting,” avoids this loss and is also more rapid. The plate of material is rather wider than before, and is formed into two combs simultaneously, by the aid of a twinning machine. Two pairs of chisels, the cutting edges of which are as long as the teeth are required to be and are set at an angle converging towards the sides of the plate, are brought down alternately in such a way that the wedges removed from one comb form the teeth of the other, and that when the cutting is complete the plate presents the appearance of two combs with their teeth exactly inosculating or dovetailing into each other. In india-rubber combs the teeth are moulded to shape and the whole hardened by vulcanization.


COMBACONUM, or Kumbakonam, a city of British India, in the Tanjore district of Madras, in the delta of the Cauvery, on the South Indian railway, 194 m. from Madras. Pop. (1901) 59,623, showing an increase of 10% in the decade. It is a large town with wide and airy streets, and is adorned with pagodas, gateways and other buildings of considerable pretension. The great gopuram, or gate-pyramid, is one of the most imposing buildings of the kind, rising in twelve stories to a height of upwards of 100 ft., and ornamented with a profusion of figures of men and animals formed in stucco. One of the water-tanks in the town is popularly reputed to be filled with water admitted from the Ganges every twelve years by a subterranean passage 1200 m. long; and it consequently forms a centre of attraction for large numbers of devotees. The city is historically interesting as the capital of the Chola race, one of the oldest Hindu dynasties of which any traces remain, and from which the whole coast of Coromandel, or more properly Cholamandal, derives its name. It contains a government college. Brass and other metal wares, silk and cotton cloth and sugar are among the manufactures.


COMBE, ANDREW (1797–1847), Scottish physiologist, was born in Edinburgh on the 27th of October 1797, and was a younger brother of George Combe. He served an apprenticeship in a surgery, and in 1817 passed at Surgeons’ Hall. He proceeded to Paris to complete his medical studies, and whilst there he investigated phrenology on anatomical principles. He became convinced of the truth of the new science, and, as he acquired much skill in the dissection of the brain, he subsequently gave additional interest to the lectures of his brother George, by his practical demonstrations of the convolutions. He returned to Edinburgh in 1819 with the intention of beginning practice; but being attacked by the first symptoms of pulmonary disease, he was obliged to seek health in the south of France and in Italy during the two following winters. He began to practise in 1823, and by careful adherence to the laws of health he was enabled to fulfil the duties of his profession for nine years. During that period he assisted in editing the Phrenological Journal and contributed a number of articles to it, defended phrenology before the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh, published his Observations on Mental Derangement (1831), and prepared the greater portion of his Principles of Physiology Applied to Health and Education, which was issued in 1834, and immediately obtained extensive public favour. In 1836 he was appointed physician to Leopold I., king of the Belgians, and removed to Brussels, but he speedily found the climate unsuitable and returned to Edinburgh, where he resumed his practice. In 1836 he published his Physiology of Digestion, and in 1838 he was appointed one of the physicians extraordinary to the queen in Scotland. Two years later he completed his Physiological and Moral Management of Infancy, which he believed to be his best work and it was his last. His latter years were mostly occupied in seeking at various health resorts some alleviation of his disease; he spent two winters in Madeira, and tried a voyage to the United States, but was compelled to return within a few weeks of the date of his landing at New York. He died at Gorgie, near Edinburgh, on the 9th of August 1847.

His biography, written by George Combe, was published in 1850.


COMBE, GEORGE, (1788–1858), Scottish phrenologist, elder brother of the above, was born in Edinburgh on the 21st of October 1788. After attending Edinburgh high school and university he entered a lawyer’s office in 1804, and in 1812 began to practise on his own account. In 1815 the Edinburgh Review contained an article on the system of “craniology” of F. J. Gall and K. Spurzheim, which was denounced as “a piece of thorough quackery from beginning to end.” Combe laughed like others at the absurdities of this so-called new theory of the brain, and thought that it must be finally exploded after such an exposure; and when Spurzheim delivered lectures in Edinburgh, in refutation of the statements of his critic, Combe considered the subject unworthy of serious attention. He was, however, invited to a friend’s house where he saw Spurzheim dissect the brain, and he was so far impressed by the demonstration that he attended the second course of lectures. Investigating the subject for himself, he became satisfied that the fundamental principles of phrenology were true—namely “that the brain is the organ of mind; that the brain is an aggregate of several parts, each subserving a distinct mental faculty; and that the size of the cerebral organ is, caeteris paribus, an index of power or energy of function.” In 1817 his first essay on phrenology was published in the Scots Magazine; and a series of papers on the same subject appeared soon afterwards in the Literary and Statistical Magazine; these were collected and published in 1819 in book form as Essays on Phrenology, which in later editions became A System of Phrenology. In 1820 he helped to found the Phrenological Society, which in 1823 began to publish a Phrenological Journal. By his lectures and writings he attracted public attention to the subject on the continent of Europe and in America, as well as at home; and a long discussion with Sir William Hamilton in 1827–1828 excited general interest.

His most popular work, The Constitution of Man, was published in 1828, and in some quarters brought upon him denunciations as a materialist and atheist. From that time he saw everything by the light of phrenology. He gave time, labour and money to help forward the education of the poorer classes; he established the first infant school in Edinburgh; and he originated a series of evening lectures on chemistry, physiology, history and moral philosophy. He studied the criminal classes, and tried to solve the problem how to reform as well as to punish them; and he strove to introduce into lunatic asylums a humane system of treatment. In 1836 he offered himself as a candidate for the chair of logic at Edinburgh, but was rejected in favour of Sir William Hamilton. In 1838 he visited America and spent about two years lecturing on phrenology, education and the