1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sieve

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SIEVE (O.E. sife, older sibi, cf. Dutch zeef, Ger. Sieb; from the subst. comes O.E. siftan, to sift), an instrument or apparatus for separating finer particles from coarser. The common sieve is a net of wires or other material stretched across a framework with raised edges; the material to be sifted is then shaken or pressed upon the net so that the finer particles pass through the mesh and the coarser remain. The word "screen" is usually applied to such instruments with large mesh for coarse work, and “strainer” for those used in the separation of liquids or semi-liquids from solid matter. In the separation of meal from bran “bolting-clothes” are used. There was an early form of divination known as coscinomancy (Gr. κόσκινον, sieve, μαντεία, divination), where a sieve was hung or attached to a pair of shears, whence the name sometimes given to it of “sieve and shears”; the turning or movement of the sieve at the naming of a person suspected of a crime or other act, coupled with the repetition of an incantation or other magic formula, decided the guilt or innocence of the person.