Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/148

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
140
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

taken, though maple is cut for rims and handles. In the salt marshes sweet grass is found, which when dry gives out a fragrant odor. Alder is steeped for pale red, white-birch bark for bright red, cedar boughs for green, and sumac for yellow. Black comes from white-maple bark. A light solution of maple, however, shows purple instead of black. Lazy Indians buy logwood for black, redwood for red, and fustic for yellow. A family of four basket makers in Oldtown cleared one thousand dollars last year, in addition to the household expenses. In the same house where the baskets were made are a four-hundred-dollar piano, a Brussels carpet, lace curtains, plush furniture, a picture of a priest and one of the Virgin Mary, a Catholic epitome, a set of Cooper's novels a stuffed owl, and a peacock, also stuffed. Two canary birds sang in a cage hanging in the room, and on a mat a tired foxhound snored.

 

Ancient Beginnings of Chemistry.—In a paper presenting evidences of careful study, Prof. H. Carrington Bolton has shown how the beginnings of chemistry were in the very earliest times, when already many arts were practiced involving chemical operations, such as working in metals, purification of natural salts for pharmacy, etc., dyeing of cloths and the preparation of pigments, brewing of fermented liquors, and others. Hence we find that long before chemistry became a science, even before it became inoculated with the virus of alchemy, furnaces and apparatus of earthenware, metal, and glass, adapted to special work, were in common use. The Egyptians attained great skill in industrial arts at a remote period, and have left records of a most enduring character, pictures cut in their granite tombs and temples. There we see the processes of gold washing and smelting; the use of blowpipes and double bellows for intensifying heat, various forms of furnaces, and crucibles having a shape quite similar to those of to-day. Some of these crucibles preserved in the Berlin Museum date from the fifteenth century b. c. The earliest chemical laboratories of which we have any knowledge are those connected with the Egyptian temples. Each temple had its library and its laboratory, commonly situated in a definite part of the huge structure. In these laboratories the priests prepared the incense, oils, and other substances used in the temple services, and on the granite walls were carved the recipes and processes. These are still to be seen by the archæologist. The Israelites carried with them from Egypt to the promised land knowledge of the technical and artistic skill of their contemporaries, and the Holy Bible contains frequent allusions to industrial arts. Cupellation is plainly described by Jeremiah; metallurgical operations are mentioned in Job, Ezekiel, and other books, and bellows by Jeremiah. Geber, the Arabian physician and chemist of the eighth century, wrote very plainly of chemical processes, describing minutely solution, filtration, crystallization, fusion, sublimation, distillation, cupellation, and various kinds of furnaces and apparatus employed in these operations. He describes in detail the aludel (or sublimatory of glass), the necessary apparatus for filtration, and the water-bath. The last piece (bain-marie in French) is said to have been invented by an alchemist named Mary, who is identified with Miriam, the sister of Moses. Perhaps the earliest drawings of strictly chemical apparatus are those in the so-called manuscript of St. Mark, which is a Greek papyrus on the "sacred art" preserved in Venice and recently edited by Berthelot.

 

Adaptability of the South to Cotton Manufacturing.—The feasibility of establishing profitable cotton manufactures in the Southern States was recently discussed in the Manufacturers' Record of Baltimore by D. A. Tompkins, of the Atherton Mills, Charlotte, N. C., and Henry G. Kittredge, editor of the Boston Journal of Commerce. Mr. Tompkins believes that the conditions at the South are more favorable to the manufacture of cotton than those of any other part of the world because no freight charges or only trifling ones have to be incurred; the profits of dealers in cotton are eliminated; labor and living are cheaper than in other parts of the United States; the cost of bagging and ties is almost entirely saved, because they can be sold back to the farmers; and the loss of cotton in transportation to other points is saved. Mr. Kittredge does not regard these advantages as