Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/149

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

ous. Tobaccos are also generally adulterated, and, if the adulterating matter be woody, the smoke will be of high temperature, and liable to cause inflammation of the tongue.

Antipathies.—Some strange cases of antipathy are recorded in the lives of eminent men. Erasmus was made feverish by the smell of fish. Ambroise Parr had a patient who would faint at the sight of an eel, and another who was convulsed on seeing a carp. Gardan was disgusted at the sight of eggs. A king of Poland and a secretary of France bled at the nose when offered apples. A huntsman in Hanover, who would attack a wild-boar valiantly, ran away or fainted whenever roast pig was presented to his view. A person is told of who fainted whenever he saw a rose, and similar stories are told of antipathies to lilies and honey. Tycho Brahe abhorred foxes, Henry III. of France cats, mice, spiders, etc., and Marshal d'Albret pigs. There was "once upon a time" a lady who could not endure the sight of silk or satin. The man who would faint whenever he heard a servant sweeping is not so much of a stranger, and the one who was similarly affected by the sound of a bagpipe invites universal sympathy. Boyle was overcome at hearing the splashing of water.

Coinage Alloys. According to Professor W. Chandler Roberts, of the Royal Mint, the term alloy is usually applied in ordinary language to the mass formed by mixing a base metal with a precious one, while in scientific language it indicates the base metal which is added. Alloys are used in preference to pure precious metals for various reasons, chief among which is the fact that they are harder and more durable. The fact that their substitution for pure gold or silver may be a valuable source of revenue is a less commendable reason, but has not been without force. When a base metal is to be chosen for mixture with a precious one, it should be borne in mind that the resulting alloy must have the qualities of good color, ductility, and freedom from brittleness. Silver forms a very ductile alloy with gold, but lowers the color, while copper forms a durable as well as a ductile alloy and heightens the color. A triple alloy of gold, silver, and copper may be made of delicate tints; but it is difficult to assay and causes complications in the keeping of the accounts, and for those reasons the simple copper alloy is now almost universally used. At the mint, the qualities sought as most desirable in an alloy are: 1. Ductility; 2. Durability; and, 3. Uniformity of composition. The alloy is, besides, expected to be sonorous, or to impart the true "ring" to the coins struck from it, and to possess the degree of viscosity which will enable it to flow under pressure into all the fine lines of an engraved die, while at the same time the metal must be rigid enough to retain its impression when submitted to rough usage. A great variety of alloys have been used for coinage in the world's history, from pure precious metal down to base metal with only a trace of precious metal in it. Those now in use arc not very numerous. The fineness of alloys of silver is computed with reference to the troy pound. The computation in the case of gold alloys is based on the singular "carat" system, the name of which is probably derived from the κερἁτιον a small Greek weight. This has within two years given way at the British Mint to a decimal system.

Making Champagne.—The making of champagne is a process requiring extreme care and attention at every stage for at least two years. The grapes are picked with especial pains to keep any of them from falling or receiving bruises. Only the juice of the first pressing is made into high-class wine, and the quantity of this that shall be drawn is regulated by weight. Four hundred kilogrammes arc allowed for every forty gallons of wine, and when the desired quantity has been obtained the pressing is stopped. The protruding edges of the mass which have escaped the heavier pressure are cut off and subjected to a second pressure, the juice from which is called the first taille. A third pressure gives the second taille, and a fourth the redéche, juices that are considered fit only for the workmen. When the scum has risen in the wine-tubs it is taken off, and the casks are filled and fumigated with sulphur and put away, not quite full, in the cellar, for fermentation.