Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/903

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879
STENOU—STEPHAN

fused with the later Saxons, although the Platea Slavonica, mentioned in 1475, was still distinguished as the Wenden Stfasse in 1567. The population still exhibits a marked Slavonic element.

See Gotze, Urkundliche Geschichte der Stadt SUndal (Stendal, 1873).


STENO, NICOLAUS (1631-1686), Danish naturalist, was born at Copenhagen in 1631, and studied medicine and anatomy in that city and in Paris. After a period of travel he settled in Italy (1666) at first as professor of anatomy at Padua, and then in Florence as house-physician to the grand-duke 'Ferdinand II. of Tuscany. He returned to his native city in 1672 to become professor of anatomy, but, having become a Roman Catholic, he found it expedient to return to Florence, and was ultimately made apostolic vicar of Lower Saxony. He died at Schwerin in Mecklenburg, on the 25th of November 1686. His fame rests on De solido intra solidum naturaliter conlento, published at Florence in 1669. In this notable work Steno described various gems, minerals and petrifactions (fossils) enclosed within solid rocks. He compared the fossil with the living organisms, and distinguished marine and fluviatile formations. He argued also in favour of the original horizontality of sedimentary deposits.

See Di Nicola Stenone e dei suoi studii geologici in Italia, by G. Capellini (1870) ; K. A. von Zittel's History of Geology and Palaeontology (Eng. ed., 1901) ; and W. J. Sollas, in Science Progress for Jan. 1898.


STENOGRAPHY (from Gr. crevos, close, narrow, and ypacpHv, to write), the system or art of writing by signs re- presenting single sounds or groups of sounds, single words or groups of words, sometimes also styled " brachygraphy " (Gr. /3paxw, short); it is a general term including all the various systems of shorthand writing (see Shorthand).


STENTOR, one of the Greeks before Troy (Iliad, v. 783), whose voice was as loud as that of fifty men. It is said that he came by his death as the result of challenging Hermes, the crier of the gods, to a contest. Possibly, like Hermes himself, Stentor is a personification of the wind. The name is used in modern times of any one possessing a particularly loud voice (stentorian).


STENTOR, a genus of heterotrichous ciliate Infusoria (<7.*>.), so named by R. Oken. It possesses a large moniliform meganu- cleus, accompanied by numerous micronuclei, and has a trumpet shape, when at rest, anchored by pseudopodial outgrowths from the narrow end. It is relatively large, and is much utilized to demonstrate myonemes, and had been also the object of interesting studies on regeneration, any piece, containing with a fragment of the meganucleus at least one micronucleus, regenerating the whole animal (see Regeneration). S. poly- morphs often inhabits a gelatinous sheath and may be green with zoochlorella; it attains a length of -fo in. 5V caeruleus and igneus are coloured blue and scarlet respectively by pigment granules in the ectosarc: E. R. Lankester made a study of the pigment of the former (blue stentorin).


STEPHAN, HEINRICH VON (1831-1897), German statesman, was born at Stolp, in Pomerania, on the 7th of January 1831. From his earliest years he showed that talent for languages to which he owed so much of his success in life, and before he went to school had acquired a considerable knowledge of Italian, Spanish and English. He was educated at the grammar school of his native town, and at the age of sixteen entered the service of the Prussian post office. His promotion was rapid; he was transferred to East Prussia, and thence to Cologne. Here he added to his salary by writing dramatic criticism, and here he obtained his first acquaintance with the system, or rather lack of system, which with its complication of charges made all international postal correspondence so expensive and uncertain — a system which he was in later years to revolutionize. After passing the examinations which admitted him to the higher branches of the service he was transferred to Frankfort-on-the-Oder, and in 1856 to Berlin. Many different stories are told of the manner in which his exceptional knowledge of European languages was brought to the knowledge of the postmaster-general, who at once saw that capacity and attainments of the kind could best be used at headquarters. During the next few years he was entrusted with very important duties; he was chosen as Prussian representative when a postal treaty was arranged with Spain and Portugal. In 1864 he was given the task of reorganizing the postal service in the conquered duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, and in 1866 it fell to his lot to extend the Prussian system to the newly annexed provinces; he had to take over and replace the system by which for three hundred years the family of Thurn and Taxis had conducted the postal service of central Germany. He also found time to write works on the history of postal matters, viz. & History of the Prussian Post Office (1859), and articles on the means of communication in ancient and medieval times, which appeared in Raumer's Historisches Taschenbuch (1868). He was one of the invited guests at the opening of the Suez Canal, and in 1872 published a work on modern Egypt.

In 1870, at the early age of thirty-nine, Stephan was made postmaster-general of the North German confederation, and in the next year of the newly founded empire; in 1878, at the general reorganization of the imperial administration (see article Germany) the post office was made a separate department, and his title was altered to that of secretary of state. His great powers of organization were at once shown in the arrangement of the admirable Feld Post, which during the war with France maintained communication with the army in the field. In eight months 89,000,000 letters, 2,500,000 post-cards, and £10,000,000 in money passed through the department, and it was his boast that letters were delivered to and collected from the soldiers with almost unfailing regularity, sometimes even on the field : of battle. In this way he began what was the great work of his life, that of making the post office in the truest sense of the word popular, and henceforth he was unremittingly occupied in devising and adopting new contrivances for the convenience and use of the people. The introduction of post-cards was his first innovation. In this he had been anticipated by Austria, but the idea was his own, and had been adopted by the Austrians in consequence of a suggestion made by him at a postal conference in 1865. The development of the parcel post and of the system of money orders was his next work, and in this he was so successful that in 1883 the German post office dealt with 79,000,000 parcels, while in all the other countries of the world together only 52,000,000 went through the post. While in this and other ways he extended the use of the post office at home, he gained a wider celebrity in being the chief promoter of the International Postal Union. He presided at the first conference, which met at Bern in 1874.

The alacrity of Stephan's intelligence and his enthusiasm for the institution over which he presided were shown by the readiness with which he applied or took over all new inventions which might be of public service, such as .telegraphs, telephones and pneumatic tubes. His pride in the post office showed itself in the immediate interest which he took in the design and plan of the new offices which were erected in all parts of Germany; it was always his ambition that the post office in each town should be the most conspicuous and the handsomest of public buildings; even at the sacrifice of economy. He warmly supported Bismarck in his policy of extending and promoting national industry and foreign trade, and arranged the subsidies by which a direct postal service was established between Germany and China and Australia. His national feeling also- showed itself in the support which he gave to the movement for purifying the German language of foreign words— but he did not always succeed in avoiding the exaggeration verging on the ridiculous into which this movement so easily degenerates. While he stood aloof from ordinary party politics^ he was a frequent speaker in the Reichstag on the affairs of his own department, and was a member of the Bundesrat. Though never on terms of intimate friendship with Bismarck, his mastery in his own department won for him the appreciation of the chancellor, and he was allowed more independence than most