Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/393

This page has been validated.
379
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

something is taken from the preëminent dignity of man. The objection is well met by Mr. J. A. Allen, who writes as follows in the Canadian Monthly: "I should be satisfied to resign my free-will to do wrong for a nature so constituted that I must always love and do the right. What, by instinct? Yes, by instinct, or by anything else. I should like to be always instinctively inclined to good, as the bee to make honey. But if I am denied this—if our nature is not yet adjusted to the requirements of the golden age—it is something to possess an unchangeable instinct of right at the very core of our being, which can neither be plucked out nor enslaved by the will, nor silenced by terror or bribes or flattery. But instinct! How undignified to be forced to do right by compulsion! What? By the compulsion of our own nature, by the imperious and imperial sense of our obligations to our fellow-men? On the contrary, I think that we should be ennobled by the possession of such a moral force." Of the mode in which the principles of morality are propagated Mr. Allen writes: "The maxims of morality, more or less true, come down to us by tradition, and root themselves in our youthful minds; but the solidified moral sense is transmitted by heredity, and forms an integral part of our very selves. It is, so to speak, our experiences, not from but in our grandfathers; the result stereotyped in our constitutions of all the ictuses of the various forces in this direction which had affected the whole line of our ancestry from the very first—transmitted feelings in transmitted structures."

 

The Waste of Wire-Works.—We are indebted to the Polytechnic Review for an account of a process in use at Worcester, Massachusetts, for utilizing the waste of a great wire-working establishment. Formerly the dilute sulphuric acid used for cleaning the wire was allowed to run into the sewer when it had become so charged with iron scale as to cease to "bite," and large quantities of refuse wire were employed only to fill up hollows in grading, or thrown into a heap. All of this waste material is, however, now converted into articles of commercial value by simple and comparatively inexpensive processes. The diluted acid, charged with iron, is heated in lead-lined tanks by means of steam passing through coils of copper pipe, the waste wire being thrown in. In about five days the acid, under the influence of heat, has taken up a large proportion of iron and become liquid sulphate of iron, which is then evaporated until it deposits the crystals known in commerce as copperas. Three tons of this solid sulphate are made per day from about twelve tons of the waste acid. The remaining liquid is returned to the receiving-tank, to be mixed with more of the waste acid and refuse wire; and so the work goes on in a continuous round. Even the waste of this product from waste is utilized. The settlings of the boiling-tank—oxide of iron—together with the waste copperas, an alkali, and an inexpensive substance to give "body," are roasted, ground, and transformed into a pigment equal to imported Venetian red. Of this the company makes about 500 barrels per month.

 

Spongy Iron Filters.—Dr. Gustav Bischof, inventor of the method of purifying water by filtration through spongy iron, recently detailed to the London Royal Society the results of sundry experiments on this and other filtering media. In the experiments fresh meat was placed on the perforated bottom of a stone-ware vessel, which was then filled to about two-thirds with the materials to be experimented upon, and lastly with water, care being taken to prevent the access of bacteria to the meat from any source save the filtered water. In Experiment I., spongy iron was used as the filter: after a fortnight's steady percolation of the water, the meat was fresh. Experiment II. was with animal charcoal: after a fortnight the meat gave signs of incipient putrefaction. Experiment III. was with spongy iron again, the water being allowed to flow for four weeks: the meat was perfectly fresh. In Experiment IV., which reproduced Experiment II., with the exception that the length of time was doubled, the meat was found to be soft and putrid. In the foregoing two experiments with spongy iron, the fine dust of that material had not been separated: in Experiment V. this was done: after four weeks the meat, again, was fresh. To prove that iron in solution was