Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/543

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thousands of hands. Slag taken from the refuse-heaps around these works contains as much as 53 per cent, of iron. The whole surrounding district is well worthy of being thoroughly explored by the antiquary, as it contains many hieroglyphic inscriptions which would doubtless throw much light upon the early history of metallurgy.

The Sack-Tree.—A notable tree is the Antiaris saccidora, or sack-tree, of Western India, the inner bark of which forms a very good material for sacking, and also for cordage. It often attains a height of 100 feet, with a diameter of six. The native method of making sacks of this material is very simple. Usually a tree about one foot in diameter is chosen, and from this a section of the length desired for the sack is cut. This log is steeped for some time in water, in order to soften the bark, and is then beaten all round with clubs. In this way the outer bark is removed, and the inner detached from the wood and rendered soft and pliable. Next it is folded over on itself at one end, after the manner of skinning a squirrel, and so turned inside out. All that is now required to complete the sack is, that one of the ends be sewed up, which is readily done. But a sack may be made without stitch or seam. This is done by arresting the process of skinning some two or three inches above the farther end of the log, and then sawing off the latter at that point. The sack has then a solid wooden bottom.

These sacks are extensively used in Western India and Ceylon, and serve their purpose very well. The same material is sometimes employed in the manufacture of clothing, and for paper-making. To prepare it for the former purpose, the bark is stripped off in pieces, which are then thoroughly soaked and beaten out till the texture becomes white and rough like fur. It is then cut according to the required shapes, and stitched together.

Substitute for Quinine.—The employment of carbazotate of ammonia (ammonia combined with carbazotic, picric, or trinitrophenic acid) has been suggested as a substitute for sulphate of quinine, and Dr. Beaumetz, of the Société Thérapeutique de Paris, gives the following as the result of his employment of this salt: Case 1, quotidian ague. Daily dose one to two centigrammes in pills. Recovery in 4 days. Case 2, quotidian ague. Complete recovery in 5 days—five pills used. Here sulphate of quinine had been used without effect. Case 3, tertian. Recovery after 8 days—two pills a day. Case 4, quotidian. Recovery after 8 days. Case 5, facial neuralgia. Speedy recovery. Case 6, tertian, recovery in 2 days. Dose about one grain (6 centigrammes). Sulphate of quinine had been given for 17 days, without effect. Dr. Beaumetz hence draws these conclusions: the carbazotate is very efficacious in intermittent fever, and the paroxysms may be suppressed by the use of 2 to 4 centigrammes (⅓ to ⅔ grain) daily. In these doses the drug appears to be innocuous. Its physiological action resembles that of sulphate of quinine.


There is in Cayenne a fly, called the Lucilia hominivorax (man-eater), which commits great havoc among the convicts sent out to that colony by the French Government. M. Charles Coquerel says that this fly lays its eggs in the mouth or nostrils of a sleeping convict, especially a drunken one, and that the offspring in their larval state usually bring about the death of their victim.

The following curious statement comes to us on reliable authority: A vicious horse (gelding) that had the singular habit of striking violently with his fore-feet, especially when being shod, was for several years worked with a mare that during the time bore a colt. This colt, when quite young, developed the habit peculiar to its mother's mate, becoming violent when any attempt was made to handle its fore-limbs. The habit increased with the colt's age, and, on being shod the first time, its manner of striking was observed to be precisely like that of the horse. The mother of the colt was unusually kind and gentle.

A statement of some interest occurs in Scribner's Monthly, showing the increasing demand, among the reading-classes of New York, for works of a scientific character. The writer compares the number of books called for at the Astor Library, in the literary and scientific departments respectively, during the three years 1865, 1871, and 1872. In the first of these years, 18,896 scientific works were called for by readers, and 26,070 literary; in the second, 33,428 scientific, 58,595 literary; in the third, 55,660 scientific, 55,657 literary.