Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/199

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.

fast as the opposite effect from meteoric dust. In fact, if the average mass of meteorites is no greater than one gram, it will require a million million years, at the present rate of influx, to lengthen the day by so much as a quarter of a second.

It is clear, therefore, that, if the regularity of the earth as a timekeeper during historic times is to be questioned, one must look to other causes than secular cooling and meteoric dust.

ENGLAND'S CHEMICAL INDUSTRY.

There has been much agitation in England during the last few years over the fact that Germany is steadily forging ahead in all lines of chemical industry. As long ago as 1886, Professor Mendola, in a paper read before the Society of Arts, reviewed the English color industry, and sounded a warning note regarding its future progress. English manufacturers have, however, manfully stood by their old methods, and are seeing their trade gradually, but surely slipping from their grasp.

At the Glasgow meeting of the British Association, Arthur C. Green, who is well qualified to speak on the subject, read a paper on the relative progress of the coal-tar industry in England and Germany during the last fifteen years, in which he handles the matter with almost brutal frankness. After sketching the wonderful advancement which has been made in the development of the industry during the period covered by his paper, the discovery of thousands of new dyestuffs, the introduction of hundreds of new synthetic pharmaceutical products and the great advances in the production and design of chemical plant, occasioned by the vast requirements of the industry, he brings out the comparative statistics of the industry in the two countries. Among them the following are worthy of reproduction. The exports of coal-tar colors, exclusive of alizarin, from Germany have increased from 4,646 tons in 1885 to 17,639 tons in 1899; those of anilin oil and salt from 1,713 tons in 1885 to 7,135 in 1895, and of alizarin colors from 4,284 to 8,927 tons in the same period. The values of the coal-tar colors exported increased from 2,600,000 pounds sterling in 1894 to 3,500,000 pounds in 1898. In fifteen years the imports of coal-tar dyestuffs into England have increased fifty per cent., while the exports from England have decreased over thirty per cent. The Bradford Dyers' Association uses at present 80% German coloring-matters and only 10% English. The British Cotton and Wool Dyers' Association imports 78 % of its anilin colors and over 98% of its alizarin colors. The English Sewing Cotton Company used, out of a total of sixty tons of coloring-matters, only 9% of English manufacture. In addition to this, the indigo industry, which now yields to India an income of three million pounds sterling a year, is seriously threatened by the synthetic indigo from Germany, and its days are in all probability numbered.

The cause of this state of affairs Mr. Green finds in the almost utter in appreciation of science on the part of the English Government, manufacturers and people. As he says, 'it is not so much the education of our chemists which is at fault as the scientific education of the public as a whole.'

This theme has more than an indirect bearing upon American industries. We are just beginning to reap the harvest which awaits us in the application of scientific principles to our industries. Until recently we have been following the English 'rule o' thumb' method, but along many lines there has now been a radical change, and in these England is finding her commercial supremacy threatened from this side of the water. There are yet enormous fields for us to conquer, in which we have a great advantage over Germany in the natural resources of the country. The enormous industrial strides which this country is taking,