Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/594

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asked his teacher to look at a molding board he had made. "The old spirit seemed to be gone as he showed me the result of his handiwork; unconsciously he had found the secret of power." Another boy, regarded as hardly more than an idiot, had been gaining in his shop work, with his eye taking new brightness and his face clearing; and his school work showed the effect of the shop training. Another boy, a persistent offender in shop and school, expressed a desire, when decorating was introduced, to do work of that kind. The request was granted, and "his first effort showed his ability, and a new manhood asserted itself within him."

Beginnings of Mountain Climbing.—The glaciers of the Alps began to attract the attention of scientific men toward the end of the seventeenth century, but travelers making the grand tour considered mountains hideous. It was not, says Mr. W. M. Conway, till the dawn of romanticism, a hundred years later, that the beauty of mountains began to be recognized. The first snow mountains to be climbed were the Titlis in 1739. Pococke and Windham's visit to the Chamounix followed in 1741, and with that the modern epoch of Alpine exploration may be said to have begun. In 1775 an attempt was made to reach the summit of Mont Blanc. This was repeated in several subsequent years, till in 1786 Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard were successful. De Saussure's famous ascent was made in 1787. During the next half century the prejudice against mountains and dread of them were gradually dissolved. The Jungfrau was climbed in 1811, the Finsteraarhorn in 1812, and other peaks followed. It was not till after 1850 that systematic Alpine climbing could be said to have been introduced. The present Mr. Justice Willis's ascent of the Wetterhorn in 1854 was usually recognized as the first important "sporting" climb. Prom that time forward the exploration of the Alps advanced rapidly. Monte Rosa was climbed in 1855, Mont Blanc without guides and by a new road in 1856. In 1859 the Alpine Club was founded in London, and the example thus set was shortly afterward followed by foreign mountaineers. Thenceforward the exploration of the Alps advanced rapidly, and it might now be regarded as fairly complete, so far as the main groups are concerned.


The summer meeting of the Northwestern Electrical Association was to be held in St. Paul, Minn., July 18th, 19th, and 20th. A larger number of attendants was expected than were present at the last meeting, including representatives from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. An excellent programme was prepared, and speakers were invited from among the most expert representatives of the profession.

The essential oils were held in high esteem by the ancients, but lately seem to have been forgotten in the multitude of new discoveries. The power of many of them to destroy bacteria has, however, been demonstrated anew by M. Chamberland, M. Cadéac, and M. Meunier, and M. Blaizot and M. Caldagues have found in them bactericidal powers even greater than they had been supposed to possess. The essences found by these gentlemen to be most active are those of cinnamon, lavender, marjoram, cloves, geranium, vervain, and tuberose. The simple exposition of their vapors is sufficient to destroy in an hour such microbes as those of pus and cholera, and six minutes' exposure effects a manifest attenuation of their activity.

The method of purification by distillation in a vacuum, which has hitherto been little employed, except with mercury, has been applied by Prof. G. W. Kahlbaum, of Basle, with great success to potassium, sodium, selenium, tellurium, cadmium, magnesium, bismuth, and thallium, while the experiments with zinc and manganese have so far been unsatisfactory. Judging by spectrum analysis, an extreme degree of purity was obtained. Thus, thirty-five ines disappeared from the spectrum of tellurium, showing, the author believes, the absence of substances which modify the spectrum of the purest metal obtainable by other processes.

Two living German princes have distinguished themselves by becoming practicing physicians—Duke Karl Theodor, of the royal house of Bavaria, having completed ii course of study, has made a specialty of eye diseases as they occur among the poor, and in April, 1893, successfully performed his two thousandth operation for cataract. Prince Louis Ferdinand, his cousin, besides being engaged in practice, works in the laboratory, and has recently made the etiology and pathology of pleurisy objects of special clinical and bacteriological studies. He has lately published a monograph concerning twenty-three patients suffering from pleuritis who came under his observation.