Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/11

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.



NOVEMBER, 1882.




SEWER-GAS.

By FRANK HASTINGS HAMILTON, M.D.

ON the 2d of February last Mr. Charles F. Wingate, sanitary-engineer, read before the New York Academy of Medicine a paper entitled "Practical Points in Plumbing," etc. Before introducing Mr. Wingate, the president, Dr. Fordyce Barker, read a brief paper, relating his personal experience as to the dangerous nature of sewer-gas, and asking for the earnest attention of the Academy to this subject. The reading of Mr. Wingate's paper was followed by a series of experiments, made by Professor R. Ogden Doremus, intended to illustrate the difficulty of preventing the escape of these gases by either water-traps, lead, iron, or earthen pipes. A large number of physicians and surgeons were present, among whom were many who, on account of their practical experience in matters of hygiene, had been invited by the president to take part in the discussion.

Reflecting subsequently upon the great importance of the subject which had been under debate, I prepared and read before the Academy, on the evening of March 16th, a paper entitled "The Struggle for Life against Civilization and Æstheticism." The purpose of this paper was to furnish a resume of the papers, experiments, and discussions of the February meeting, and to suggest the conclusions which seemed to be authorized, but which the Academy had not attempted to formulate or declare.

Before closing my communication, attention was drawn by me to other matters than plumbing, such, for example, as house sanitation in general and physical hygiene; but which subjects, at my request, were not made matters of discussion on that occasion. My conclusions were given as follows: