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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/64

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56
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

system of Pestalozzi had been taught and the practice of the art had been illustrated to thousands of students in the Normal Schools and teachers in the Teachers' Institutes in the State of Massachusetts.

Of the system of Pestalozzi everything was then known that is now known, although the application of the system may have been improved in these thirty years.

Much credit is due to Dr. Sheldon, the founder of the Oswego School, but it is manifest that in 1859 he was ignorant of the educational condition of the country, and consequently he sent across the Atlantic for information which he could have obtained in New England.

As to the system of Pestalozzi there was nothing new but the system. The mode of teaching had been exhibited occasionally and unsystematically through many long years. In my boyhood, in the thirties, the scholars in a country village school were trained in the science of astronomy by outdoor lessons in clear evenings and with the aid of a celestial globe. In Morse's Geography, published in the last century and prepared by the father of the inventor of the telegraph, physical geography is made the primary fact of the study, thus anticipating Guyot, whose system was based on the teachings of Pestalozzi.

The opening questions of Colburn's Mental Arithmetic, "How many thumbs have you on your right hand? How many on your left hand? How many on both hands together?" contain and express the rudimental truths of the Pestalozzian system.

In one particular Pestalozzi stands with Bacon: Pestalozzi did not discover a new method of teaching. Bacon did not discover a new method of reasoning. Each systematized a desultory but long-existing practice.

 


 
Great hopes are entertained bj manufacturers from M. Chardonnet's method of making silk from wood-pulp, which has been set in operation at Besançon, France. The pulp, having been carefully dried, is treated for transformation into collodion, similar to that which is used in photography. This collodion, which is sticky and viscous, is inclosed in a stiff receptacle, furnished with a filter in the lower end. An air-pump sends compressed air into the receptacle, by the pressure of which the collodion is passed through the filter into a horizontal tube furnished with three hundred cocks, the spouts of which are made of glass and pierced with a small hole of the diameter of the thread of a cocoon as it is spun by the silkworm. The collodion issues through these holes, when the cocks are opened, in threads of extreme delicacy, of which it takes six to make one of the consistence required in weaving. This thread is hardened, previous to winding, by water, which takes up the ether and alcohol of the collodion, when it becomes as resisting and brilliant as ordinary silk. It is made slow of combustion by treating with ammonia.