Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/443

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FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

of that experience. They had gone too early. If they had started at the end of August instead of the end of June, the snow would have been melted, and they would have made better headway. Eventually they got some distance inland, and then they turned southeast in the direction of Advent Bay. On their way they found a peak near them, which they climbed. The rock was rotten, there were large holes through it, and the whole seemed to tremble with the weight of a single man. On reaching the top they found that the white plains they had seen on landing consisted of a number of plateaus, and that valleys of much greater extent lay between. Descending, they entered a large valley which was enveloped in cloud, and for five or six hours were passing, sometimes up to their knees, sometimes up to their waists, through some exceedingly soft slush. In time they reached the foot of a very remarkable glacier which afforded some valuable observations on the nature of glacier advance. Returning from Advent Bay the way they came, they next made a journey eastward across the island. They encountered the same conditions till they came to a wall of ice, which proved to be the side of a glacier. Crossing this the next day, they reached the sea, thus completing the passage across the island. The main geographical point to be noticed in connection with their journey was that while both in the north and the south of the island there was a complete ice sheet, the central region consisted of a great bog—"a mere pudding of ice and stones."

 

Evolution of the Bicycle.—"At the end of the seventeenth century, in 1693," says M. Baudry de Saunier, who is quoted by M. Gaston Tissandier in La Nature, "Ozanam, a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences spoke of a mechanical vehicle in the possession of a friend of his, a doctor in La Rochelle. A servant, mounted behind, made it go, resting on two pieces of wood which communicated with two wheels working the axle." In 1796, M. de Sivrae, realizing that the simplest construction was the most efficient, devised a machine of three wooden parts a solid beam and two wheels. The beam was furnished in front and back with two forks, between the branches of which the wheels turned; to these were added a seat and a cushion. This vehicle was called the celérifère, or carry-fast (Latin, celer, fast, and ferre, to bear). In 1818, M. le Baron de Drais de Sauerbon, farmer and engineer, modified the celériffère by cutting the front away from the beam on which the rider was supported, and reattaching it with a pivot, which permitted it to be turned to the right or the left. Henceforth it was not necessary, as it had been before, to knock the front wheel of the machine with the hand to the right or left, whenever the rider wished to turn it, but the wheel itself became a readily acting rudder. Baron Drais rejoiced much in the contemplation of his carriage, and giving it his name, called it the Draisienne, or Draisian, and ordered his servant to exhibit it and display its methods of working before the sightseers in the Tivoli Garden. The servant proved awkward at the business, and only succeeded in giving himself many knocks and having the children run and shout after him. Discouraged and annoyed by the caricatures of his experiment which were published. Baron Drais went to live in a convent at Carlsruhe, where he died in 1851. The English modified his idea, and, substituting iron for wood, which had the faults of swelling and shrinking and cracking, made of the Draisian the pedestrian-horse, or hobby-horse, which was much in vogue for a considerable time. None of these machines were really ridden; they were simply contrivances to expedite walking. They were propelled by kicking, and the riders seldom let both their feet leave the ground at once, or, if they did, only for a very short time; but with their aid every step became considerably more than a pace, and the ground was got over much more rapidly.

 

American Women's Art.—Artistic wood carving, according to Mr. Benn Pitman, secured its first distinct recognition as woman's work in 1872, when examples of carved furniture, doors, and baseboards executed by women of the author's family were shown at an exhibition in Cincinnati. Much interest was aroused by the display, and a general desire was created in other women to do similar work. In 1873 a practical art department was established in connection with the Art Academy, to which Mr. Pitman and