Popular Science Monthly/Volume 49/October 1896/Notes


It is stated that in Como, Italy, arrangements are being made for the holding in 1899 of an electrical exhibition and congress, to commemorate the centenary of the invention of the voltaic battery. Alessandro Volta was born in Como in 1745, but it was while Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Pavia that he made the discoveries that have immortalized his name.

The result of an inquiry made by the directors of the German telegraphs into the effect of the network of telephone wires in the large cities has been, according to Das Wetter, to show that the presence of the wires tends to reduce the violence of thunder and to diminish the dangers from lightning.

Probably the earliest known example of piece-molding among European bronze foundries is a mold for a spear head which was found at Thonon, France, among the relics of the lake dwellers. It is described by Mr. George Simonds as having been composed of two slabs of stone, on each of which a spear head was cut out to a proper depth. The two stones, being placed face to face and bound together, would form a very simple but close mold from which many casts could be taken without injury to the mold itself.

It is stated by Mr. F. T. R. Carulla (England) that no effective remedy has yet been found for preventing the rusting of outdoor iron and steel work, and that in new railway lines iron and steel bridges are excluded wherever practicable. He stated, for instance, that over twenty tons of rust were taken from the Britannia Bridge during the first sixteen years after its completion.

A trial for larceny is mentioned in the Green Bag as having recently taken place in Ohio, in which the detective work of a dog was put in evidence. Some of the stolen property was found near the scene of the theft and was shown to the dog; he was then shown footprints close to it. Then, being put on the trail, he followed it unhesitatingly about two hundred feet to a gate, then inside the gate up to two front outside doors, of which he chose the left-hand one, and inside to the prisoner's door. He had been trained to this business, and could trail a culprit thus even along a track twenty or forty hours' old. The evidence was admitted,

The special commission appointed by the International Meteorological Congress in Munich in 1891 for the organization of observations on the direction of movement and the height of clouds having completed its work, observations were to be begun in all parts of the world on the 1st of May last, and are to be continued one year. The classification of clouds proposed by Hildebrandsson and Abercromby will be used as far as possible.

The death is announced, June 17th, of Lord Lilford (Thomas Lyttleton Powys), an eminent English ornithologist, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. He had a famous collection of wild animals, particularly full in the group of cranes, at his estate of Lilford Hall, and in knowledge of the habits of wild creatures, especially of birds, "had few equals." He was President of the British Ornithologists' Union, was a frequent contributor to The Zoölogist and The Ibis, was author of the Birds of Northamptonshire, and had nearly completed a book of Colored Figures of the Birds of the British Islands.

Dr. Heinrich Ernst Beyrich, Professor of Geology in the University and Director of the Natural History Museum in Berlin, recently died there, in his eighty-first year. He was a younger brother of the famous chemist, Ferdinand Beyrich, who died in 1869, and "was a most inspiring academical teacher, and gave a lively impulse to geological research." He published many papers on geology and paleontology, and was chief in making the geological map of Prussia and the Thuringian states.

Sir William Grove, an eminent lawyer, but most eminent as a man of science, died in London. August 1st. He was born at Swansea in 1811; was graduated from Oxford in 1830; was called to the bar in 1835, but, being in ill health, devoted himself to electrical researches, and in 1839 contrived the powerful battery that bears his name. By this and his researches on the conservation and transformation of energy he was best known. He was one of the original members of the Chemical Society, and was President of the British Association at the Nottingham meeting in 1866. A sketch of him, with portrait, was given in the Popular Science Monthly for July, 1876 (vol. iii, p. 363).