Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/654

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

a perch well up in the largest trees in his range, and as he grows older he is disposed to roost higher and higher, till he is frequently found at the very apex of the tallest tree. This habit is scarcely impaired by domestication in the second and third generations, but after that the birds grow less and less ambitious of high places, till at last they come down to about the level of the domestic turkey. The timidity characteristic of the wild-turkey is eradicated very slowly. When the wild-turkey in the forest voluntarily leaves her nest, she always covers it carefully with leaves. This is done with less care by the first descendants of the wild hen, and each succeeding generation becomes more careless in this respect.

 

Prof. Thurston on our Domestic Metals.—The statement is made by Prof. Robert H. Thurston that this country has for years been importing cast-iron, while domestic products of equal and even greater intrinsic value sell at lower price. Other similar instances of unwisdom are cited by Prof. Thurston, as, for example, the fact that we are importing boiler-plate at eleven cents a pound, when we can purchase American steel, vastly superior in all respects for the special purposes to which the former article is applied, at eight cents. Again, we import vast quantities of foreign steel tools, when at Pittsburg and elsewhere we make steel fully its equal. In New England and Pennsylvania we have ores from which is made the finest cast-iron ordnance in the world. In Ohio we make a metal for car-wheels such as is never seen in Europe, and of such tenacity and elasticity that foreign engineers listen incredulously when it is described. Our Lake Champlain ores make an iron fully equal to Swedish for conversion into steel; and around Lake Superior and in Missouri we have deposits from which comes Bessemer metal far superior to the phosphorus-charged metal we import. New Jersey supplies us with zinc which meets with no competition as a pure metal, and which can be used without purification even for chemical purposes; and our native copper is absolutely free from admixture with injurious elements. It is time that these facts should be known, and that the people should disabuse their minds of the idea that. because a commodity is "imported," it is therefore of greater intrinsic value than a domestic product.

 

The Deterioration of Silk Fabrics.—The complaint is frequently heard that the silk fabrics now manufactured are by no means as lasting as similar fabrics manufactured twenty or thirty years ago. That this complaint is justified, the Warehouseman and Draper admits, and then points out the causes of the deterioration. Adulteration of silk on a large scale, and systematically, began about eighteen years ago, soon after the Bilk-worm disease had made its appearance in the silk-producing countries of Europe, when raw silk rose from twenty-one and twenty-two shillings sterling per pound to as much as sixty shillings. In order to keep down the price of the manufactured goods, foreign materials were introduced, and these were often in excess of the silk. "It would be curious," says a writer on the subject of "weighting" silks "to follow one pound of China or Italian silk through its various processes in reaching a silk dress. The silk is sent to the dyers, and the first process is boiling off. All silk in its natural state has a certain amount of gum in it; this must be boiled off, and, when this is done, sixteen ounces are reduced to twelve. It is then dyed black, and the process of weighting commences. The twelve ounces is sent to the manufacturer, varying from twenty-four to fifty-two ounces. I have to-day seen silk dyed and weighted in Lyons up to fifty-two ounces. Very large dye-works exist in Lyons for the purpose of doing this business; and it is done to perfection."

 

Fatality of Inebriety.—In an article on the "Duration, Mortality, and Prognosis of Inebriety," by Dr. T. D. Crothers, published in the Quarterly Journal of Inebriety, we are informed that the mortality of this disease has been estimated at from 96 to 98 per cent., or less than four per cent of recoveries. Under treatment in asylums the lowest estimate has been placed at 33 per cent., and from that up to 62 per cent. This excessive mortality is due, according to Dr. Crothers, to profound degenerations, produced by alcohol, and the peculiar conditions of low vitality, impaired and per-