Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/437

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

carried in the car. The invention was crude and of little practical value, "but the idea was there." Three years later, Robert Davidson, of Aberdeen, Scotland, began experiments in order to supplant the steam railway locomotive by the electric locomotive. He constructed a powerful electric motor which was run successfully on several railways in Scotland, attaining a speed of four miles an hour. In 1849 Moses Farmer exhibited an electric engine which drew a small car containing two persons. In 1851 Dr. C. G. Page, of Salem, Mass., constructed an electric engine of considerable power, which drew a car on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, between Washington and Bladensburg, with a highest speed attained of nineteen miles an hour. In the same year Thomas Hall, of Boston, built an electric locomotive in which the current was conducted from a stationary source through the rails and the wheels to the motor. Dr. Joseph R. Finney, of Pittsburg, about this time devised a trolley apparatus. In 1879 Messrs. Siemens and Halske exhibited their electric railway at Berlin. The car carried about twenty passengers at about eight miles an hour. In 1880 Mr. Edison worked an experimental road at Menlo Park, N. J. The first commercial electric railway was constructed at Lichterfeld, Germany, in 1881. It is operated by the third rail system. Since then the development of the electric railway has been rapid.

 

An Indian Girl's Life.—Prayed over at birth, Dr. Shufeldt says, the pueblo girl of Wolpai (Moquis) must have her delicate baby skin well rubbed with fine wood ashes, or else her bones might become loose as she grows older. Very soon she is strapped in her portable cradle and toted about upon her mother's back, but while in the house must, in the same apparatus, be either stood up against the wall or even hung up, where for an hour or more together, in either situation, her sole amusement consists in peering about the "living-room." As soon as she is able to walk she is permitted to toddle about everywhere, and to ascend and descend the house ladder before the second summer has passed over her head. She has no end of toys and playthings to amuse her. Till about seven years old "her days are spent mostly in romping and playing with the numerous children in the pueblo. Innocent of all clothing, and possessing a wholesome dread of water for any other purpose than to drink, she is at this age as wild as a mountain sheep, and can with almost equal celerity run up and down the steep, rocky crags that so abruptly slope down from the pueblo on all sides save one." After her tenth year she assumes the costume of her elder sisters and her girl companions, and is instructed in the duties that pertain to the kitchen, and in pottery and basket-work; and as she grows stronger, in carding and dyeing wool and weaving blankets, mantles, petticoats, garters, and sashes of cotton or wool. At or a little before fifteen she is considered nubile. "She can bake, sew, dye, card, weave, and spin; her nimble fingers fashion the plastic clays into every shape needed for use or ornament; the tender shoots of the willow or the pliable roots of the grasses respond to her fairy touch and round themselves into beautiful baskets, vivid with coloring and repeating the sacred emblems of the butterfly, deer, or thunder-bird. In the number of stews, ragouts, and broths which she knows how to compound of the flesh of the kid or sheep, and such vegetables as the onion, bean, and the aromatic chile, or in the endless diversity of hominy mush, popcorn, and piki bread, she will hold her own with the most ingenious American housewife."

 

The Eskimo Woman's Knife.—The ulu, or woman's knife of the Eskimo, as described in Mr. Otis T. Masons's paper on the subject, finds its modern representative in the saddler's and shoemaker's knives, the tailor's shears, the butcher's and fishmonger's knives, and the kitchen chopping knife. The last presents a curious survival of form with change of function. There are a great many examples of the ulu in the National Museum, and there are thousands of pieces of slate, shell, quartzite, and other stone which correspond exactly with the blades of the Eskimo woman's knife. They have been gathered in countless numbers from the places where relics are found; for every woman and every girl among the American aborigines had one or more of these indispensable implements. While some of the number are of a very primitive character, the ulu as it now exists is a complex affair,