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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 37/July 1890/Obituary Notes

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 37‎ | July 1890


The death of the German Count Keyserling made a large breach in the little circle of working araneologists, or students of spiders. It was known that he had left a large amount of manuscript for the concluding parts of his work, Die Spinnen Amerikas, and this, it was feared, would be lost to science. But the publishers, with praiseworthy enterprise, have resolved to complete Keyserling's work as far as possible after his original plan. They failed, however, to find any one in Europe who would edit the finished manuscripts and complete the fourth volume, which treats of the Epeiridiæ. In this emergency they solicited the aid of Dr. George Marx, of Washington, D. C, who has at last consented to undertake the task. Being a thorough German scholar and a well-furnished araneologists, Dr. Marx is admirably equipped for this duty. A large part of Count Keyserling's manuscript, which was in a good degree of forwardness, has already been edited and will soon be ready to transmit to Germany. Dr. Marx will then edit the notes upon the Orbitelariæ and add descriptions of the species which Keyserling had not reached at the time of his death. He will thus contribute about one third of the matter in what will constitute Volume IV of Die Spinnen Amerikas.

Eugène Pelitot, an eminent French chemist, died April 8th, in the eightieth year of his age. He was most distinguished in the field of agricultural and economic chemistry. As a pupil of Dumas, he published his first paper in 1836, on wood-spirit and its derivatives, lie was Professor of Chemistry successively in the École Centrale and the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, and of Analytical Chemistry applied to Agriculture in the National Agronomic Institute; and for forty years held a responsible position at the Mint. He first isolated Uranium. He was author of eighty papers on subjects of mineral and organic chemistry that bore relation to pure science, industry, agriculture, and hygiene. The most important of these were on the sugars.

Sir John Henry Lefroy, a British officer distinguished in military life and in science, died in Lewarn, England, April 11th, in the seventy-ninth year of his age. He was Director of the Magnetical and Meteorological Observatory at St. Helena in 1840 and 1841, and removed to a similar position in Toronto in 1842. During the next year he made a magnetic survey of the interior of North America from Montreal to the Arctic Circle. In 1854 and 1855 he was scientific adviser to the Duke of Newcastle at the War Office on subjects of artillery and inventions. He has since held several high military appointments.

Among the deaths of scientific men since the beginning of the year, which have not been specially noticed here, are those of Dr. L. Taczanowski, of Warsaw, author of works or papers on the ornithology of Peru, Poland, Siberia, and Corea; Otto Rosenberger, of Halle, best known in connection with his work on Halley's comet; Prof. Neumayr, the geologist, of Vienna; Dr. Gulia, Professor of Botany, Hygiene, and Forensic Medicine in the Royal University of Valetta, Malta, and author of a flora of that island; Dr. F. Hauck, algologist, and author of the volume on marine algae in the new edition of Rabenhorst's Cryptogamic Flora of Germany; Lorenzo Respighi, of the Campidoglio Observatory, Rome; and Father Stephen Joseph Perry, of the Stonyhurst Observatory, England, who died in Demerara, where he had gone to observe the eclipse of December 22, 1889.

Mr. James Nasmyth, the eminent English mechanical engineer and inventor of the steam hammer, died in London, May 7th, aged eighty-two years. He was born in Edinburgh, the son of a distinguished artist. When a boy he made a small steam-engine for grinding his father's colors. In 1829 he became an assistant to Mr. Maudsley in his private workshop in London. After Mr. Maudsley's death he made himself a set of tools and began business, with a small capital, at Manchester. Besides the steam hammer he invented a safety-ladle for foundries, a ventilator for mines; a steam-engine for screw steamers, and a rolling-mill. He retired from business in 1857 and became an amateur astronomical observer, giving particular attention to the sun and the moon, and to astronomical photography. His monograph on the moon, prepared in conjunction with Dr. Carpenter, of Greenwich, is the most valuable English work on the subject.