Popular Science Monthly/Volume 1/June 1872/Notes


A remarkable case of reproduction of the elbow-joint after resection is given by the British Medical Journal. The subject was a weakly girl, aged 13, whose elbow had become fixed in a faulty position, after inflammation. On account of this, and of disease of the bone, resection or removal of the joint was performed. The piece of bone removed was one and a third inch long in front, and two and a half inches behind; the articular portions of the bones of both arm and forearm being thus taken away. The child recovered, with power of moving the elbow between the angles of 60 and 113 degrees; rotation, however, was impossible. Two and a half years after the operation, the child died, and, on examination, a new elbow-joint was found, having its articular surfaces covered with cartilage, and provided with a synovial membrane.

The Engineer says that the oxyhydric light has not proved a success in Paris, and it has been discontinued in the public lamps on the Boulevard des Italiens. It is not generally known that a carburating apparatus is always employed in conjunction with oxygen, which adds to the complication of the apparatus as well as the cost of the light. There are but few, remarks Le Gaz, who will consent to have installed in their houses two meters, two regulators, a carburator, and two distinct systems of pipes. For this reason alone the system was certain to fail, even if the alleged economy were proved which has never been the case.

A simple mode of distinguishing with certainty between apparent and real death is given by Dr. Ars-Drouet, of the Paris Academy of Medicine. It consists in fastening a bandage, handkerchief, or cravat, etc., around the forearm, just below the elbow, or around the leg below the knee. If the patient still lives, the subcutaneous veins become inflated, swollen, and bluish under the skin; but, if life is extinct, there will be no change in the appearance of these veins.

From a statement made by Dr. Günther, in the January number of the Magazine of Natural History, it would appeal that the national collection which in the year 1858 contained 480 species of snakes, represented by 3,990 examples, possesses now 920 species, represented by 5,500 examples. The number of typical specimens is 366, the total number of species of snakes known at present being calculated at about 1,100.

The perfect fossil skeleton of a man has just been discovered in a cavern near Meudon, France, by Dr. Rivière, who sends a communication on the subject to the French Geological Society. The skeleton was in an inclined position, and in the attitude of repose: the legs were partially bent, and the one rested on the other. A necklace made of shells and perforated teeth was found upon it.

Experiments with petroleum as a fuel in the puddling-furnace are said to have been attended with great success in France. The experiments were made under many varying conditions, and were conducted by practical and reliable men. It is asserted that, for convenience, efficiency, and, above all, for the superior quality of iron produced, there is nothing that equals petroleum in this manufacture.

In a paper read before the Iron and Steel Institute of England, Mr. J. Head states that, while there is as much heating-power in a pound of average coal as is necessary to produce 17 pounds of puddled bar-iron, there are few furnaces where more than one pound of iron is brought out to one pound of coal consumed.

If a sailing-ship be provided with a screw-propeller, the latter will revolve when the ship makes way; and it is proposed to apply the power thus obtained to operating a magnetic apparatus, which would furnish a far brighter signal-light than any oil-lamp.

The tannate of quinine has been substituted for the sulphate by Dr. Listach, of Bona, Algeria. Having employed the tannate in numerous cases, he found that it produced neither headache, nor deafness, nor singing in the ears, ordinarily produced by the sulphate. Unlike the latter, also, it possesses no bitter taste, nor does it cause over-excitement in nervous females.

M. Smith has written a paper, for the French Geological Society, on the carcasses of mammoths found in Siberia, with their flesh and integument preserved. He maintains that these animals were essentially arctic (like the musk-ox), that they found a grave in their native home, and that they were not drifted to Siberia by currents, as some have thought.

A new process for water-proofing leather consists in the exhaustion of the air from the pores of the leather, and then filling them up with a substance which unites with and adheres to the fibre, thereby strengthening without impairing the elasticity of the material, while at the same time it is rendered impervious to moisture.

In 1804, when Sir Humphrey Davy was but twenty-six years old, Dr. Dalton, the famed originator of the atomic theory, consulted him as to the best mode of preparing his lectures, and afterward described him as "a very agreeable and intelligent young man, the principal failing in whose character as a philosopher is that he does not smoke."

To distinguish benzole, which is made of coal-tar, from benzine, which is made from petroleum, Brandberg recommends that a small portion of the substance under examination be poured upon a little piece of pitch in a test-tube, when, if the liquid is benzole, it will immediately dissolve the pitch to a tar-like mass, while benzine will scarcely be colored.

A distinguished physiologist makes the assertion that about the heaviest tax on the memory is that imposed by the profession of the pianist. Rubenstein lately played by heart a piece which, according to actual count, contained but ten less than sixty-three thousand notes!

Bread made with sea-water is recommended for patients suffering from dyspepsia, phthisis, and scrofula. Those who have tried it testify that it is "extremely pleasant" to the taste.

The use of anaesthetics in veterinary practice is highly spoken of by an experienced veterinary surgeon of London.

An aching tooth has been extracted from the jaw of a member of the British Odontological Society, the dental canal cleansed, and the decayed portion cut away; and then the tooth was replaced in its socket, as in the case of artificial teeth. In two weeks, it is said, the tooth was serviceable.

M. Barety, member of the Biological Society of Paris, describes an interesting case of sweating, confined to the right side of the face. The curious phenomenon occurred at the outset of a fatal meningitis (inflammation of membranes covering brain and spinal cord), and lasted an hour.

During the last ten years, 2,778 photographs of the sun have been taken at the Kew Observatory. It is now announced that the almost continuous photographic record of the state of the sun's disk thus obtained is soon to be brought to a close.

Hallwachs has found that both green and red colored carpetings frequently contain arsenic. He asserts that the brilliant dark-red colors, now so popular, contain enormous quantities of this poisonous substance, burning with the blue flame of arsenic, and giving its characteristic garlic odor.

It has been found that the clothes fitted to new recruits in the English army soon become too small across the chest, and too tight around the neck, owing, it is stated, to the increased development given by gymnastic and military exercises.

Lithofracteur is rapidly replacing powder as a means of removing obstructing wrecks. Two charges of fifty pounds each recently accomplished on a sunken wreck what would have required tons of gunpowder, and much difficult labor.

In South America are found earthworms that oftentimes attain a length of 40 inches, and which have a circulatory system of great perfection. They are found to possess hearts composed, like those of the higher animals, of a soft auricle and of a very muscular ventricle.

The fossil horse is found among the tertiary and quaternary formations in Ecuador, showing that this continent possessed that animal previous to the Spanish settlement, though he became extinct.

At Chatham, England, there is a man who regularly refuses to have his children vaccinated, and will not pay the fines. The Anti-Vaccination Society support his wife and family while he is in prison.