Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/293

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281
LITERARY NOTICES.

years toward uniformity in the general outlines of the school systems of the different States, which seems remarkable in view of the diversity of educational conditions in the several States prior to 1870, the opposite theories which prevailed in different sections, and the great contrast between the newly settled States and older commonwealths in social conditions and available resources." Information concerning rural schools being given now fuller and in more explicit shape than formerly, their deficiencies and wants are in consequence more clearly perceived, and there is ground for belief that improvement in them will be steady and rapid. Women's opportunities to influence education as voters and school officers have been greatly enlarged in many States, but the commissioner regrets to say that the women have shown more indifference to them than he had expected. The usual annual review of the different classes and grades of schools in the United States is given, but, while it shows the general improvement in efficiency that was to be expected, reveals nothing new that calls for especial remark. Papers are appended on "Education in Foreign Countries," "Industrial Education," "Popular Science Teaching," "Evening, Army, and Summer Schools," "Myopia," the "Physiology of Reading and of Writing," and other topics bearing upon the advancement and improvement of education.

Manual of Blow-pipe Analysis, Qualitative and Quantitative, with a Complete System of Determinative Mineralogy. By H. B. Cornwall, Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Mineralogy in the John C. Green School of Science, Princeton, N. J. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1882. Pp. 308.

The title of the book before us very fully explains its nature and purpose. Professor Cornwall's skill as a chemist and experience as a teacher peculiarly fit him for the preparation of a manual that shall supply the student with all the needed information for pursuing a complete course in blow-pipe analysis.

The work is similar in plan, but wider even in scope, than Plattner's well-known manual, which was translated by Professor Cornwall in 1872, and has since been the standard text-book. In the present work, many details have been added which tend to lessen the labors of the instructor, and adapt the book to the use of students who are working alone, although it will be readily understood that few persons will be able to acquire skill in a branch requiring such delicacy of manipulation without personal instruction. The apparatus and operations are first fully described and carefully illustrated by numerous woodcuts; special tests are then given for each of the elements, including even the rare metals, for in blowpipe analysis it frequently happens that the presence of only one or two substances is to be sought, and it is then unnecessary to go through a complete analysis. The fourth chapter, however, contains special schemes for complex substances, and methods for the examination of metallurgical products and paints; also Professor Egleston's scheme for complete analysis, as it appeared in the author's translation of Plattner. The system has been devised with the view of employing the blow-pipe to the exclusion, as far as possible, of wet methods, but a few directions are given for the general operations in wet analysis, and a list of reagents both solid and liquid required for the latter. Mention is made of the use of citric acid, as recommended by Professor H. C. Bolton, for decomposing minerals; also of the glycerine test for boracic acid. We can not help feeling that the addition of a list of Bunsen's "flame reactions" would have added to the value and completeness of the book. The use of spectrum analysis is very briefly described, and an (uncolored) lithographic plate shows the position of the lines and bands which characterize the metals usually sought for in this way.

In the chapter on quantitative analysis, the method of assaying gold, silver, copper, lead, bismuth, tin, mercury, and cobalt and nickel ores is fully described, and the apparatus employed are illustrated. In this sort of work the automatic apparatus, described on pages 180, 181, are very convenient, as a long-continued and steady blast is essential. As the quantity of ore that can be assayed is very small, the operations of quantitative blow piping are very delicate, and an exceedingly accurate balance is an absolute necessity.