Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/294

This page has been validated.



legislation, commercial geography, and one of the modern languages. Careful attention is paid to design.

Embroidering by Machinery.—The recent invention, at Arbon, of a new steam machine for making embroideries threatens, says Consul Byers, of St. Gall, to revolutionize some of the most important manufacturing interests of the Swiss Republic. Eastern Switzerland, with St. Gall as a center, has been for a hundred years the headquarters of the embroidery industry of the world. Embroidery by hand alone had been practiced when the present hand-machine was brought into use in 1827. Under the former system the technical skill and readiness of hand of the Appenzell women were marvelous, and the embroidery made by them became famous all over the world. At the present day possibly not five per cent of the embroideries are made exclusively by hand. The Schiffli steam machine, invented about fifteen years ago, produces a low class of goods of inferior quality. For the more recently invented Arbon machine its owners claim that it will at least triple the product of the hand-machine, that it can produce goods cheaper, and can turn them out of better quality than the old method, and do it without so much wear and tear to the muscles of men and women.

The Puma.—The puma (Felis concolor of Linnæus), known also as the panther, painter, cougar, American lion, and by several other names, is, according to Mrs. Frederick W. True, the only large, unspotted native American cat. It varies much in color, and is from five to seven feet long. The area over which it ranges extends from New England and British Columbia to the straits of Magellan. On the Atlantic coast the species has apparently not been found in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or Delaware. No mention appears of its having been found in Michigan or Indiana. It was extirpated in Ohio before 1838, and probably more recently in Indiana and Illinois. With these exceptions, and Nevada, there are recorded instances, more or less numerous, of the occurrence of the puma, since the beginning of the century, in every State and Territory of the Union. Regarded as a species, the puma possesses in a remarkable degree the power of adapting itself to varied surroundings. It endures severe cold during the winter in the Adirondack Mountains and other parts of our northern frontier, and hunts its prey in the snow. It is equally at home in the hot swamps and canebrakes and along the river-courses in our Southern States. In South America it inhabits the treeless, grass-covered pampas, as well as the forests. In the Rocky Mountains it ascends to the great altitudes at which the mountain sheep are found; and it is also met with high up on other ranges. It selects for its abode such spots as afford some shelter, but is found in the thickets and copses rather than in the great forests. It seeks its prey chiefly at dawn and twilight and under cover of night, but sometimes also hunts by day. Deer are its principal quarry, but it also preys upon the smaller mammals and on wild turkeys. Of the larger domestic animals, such as the horse and cow, it attacks only the young, but it will carry away a full-grown sheep from the fold, and in South America often preys upon the llama. It does not ordinarily attack men, but is disposed to flee from them when surprised; but such attacks have been known. Like the cat, it scratches the bark of trees, purrs when satisfied, and has been heard to mew.

Influence of the Indian Trade.—As to the effect of the Indian trading post, Mr. Frederick J. Turner says, in a paper on The Character and Influence of the Indian Trade in Wisconsin, of the Johns Hopkins Historical and Political Science Series, that, giving him iron and guns and a market for furs, it tended to prolong the hunter stage; leaving the unarmed Indian at the mercy of those who had bought firearms, it caused a relocation of tribes and a demand for the trader by remote and unvisited Indians, made the savage dependent on the white man's supplies, and gave the Indians means of resistance to agricultural settlement. On the side of the white man, the Indian trade gave both French and English a footing in America, invited exploration, and fostered the advancement of settlements as long as they were in extension of trade. In Wisconsin the sites of the principal cities are the sites of the old trading posts, and those earliest fur-trading set-