Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/267

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except perhaps as it might be supplemented by the shock of an excessive terror; but that it would be dangerous I think highly probable. As an experiment, I confined two of them in a small box with a large bat. The next morning the bat was dead, having been killed by them during the night, when it is supposed to be most agile and wary. I placed another unsavory specimen in a large bottle, in company with a large wasp and a tarantula. The vinagrone killed and devoured them both in short order."

In a later number of the same journal Dr. H. C. Yarrow writes that the vinagrone is quite well known to entomologists under the name of Thelyphonus giganteus, and that it is common in New Mexico and Arizona.

 

The Scandal of the Seal-Fishery.—Unless the governments of the countries which send out ships to the seal-fishery grounds speedily put some restrictions on the method now pursued, there will before long be no seals. In 1868 Dr. Robert Brown expressed his belief that, "supposing the sealing prosecuted with the same vigor as at present, before thirty years shall have passed away the seal-fishery, as a source of commercial revenue, will have come to a close." The Greenland seal-fishery is already "practically used up" and the sealers are now turning their attention to the coast of Newfoundland. A writer in Nature cites the London Daily News, to show what slaughter is made of the Newfoundland seals, and we learn that in one season four vessels secured 89,000 seals. To this add a like number of young ones left to die of starvation, and twenty per cent, as many mortally wounded and lost, and the aggregate amounts to over 200,000 seals! The writer in Nature suggests this subject of the destruction of the seal as a fitting one to occupy the minds of the advocates of the anti-vivisection laws, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

 

The Building-Stones of St. Lawrence County, New York.—From a statement by Mr. D. Minthorn, published in the Engineering and Mining Journal, it appears that in the northern portion of the State of New York may be found in abundance all the choicest varieties of marbles, granites, and other building-stones. Besides the common gray gneiss, he enumerates among the building-stones of St. Lawrence County several varieties, such as syenitic granite, many New England granites, a deep-green granite "mottled like the pedestals of Cheops." Then there are various pink, green, and dark-red porphyritic granites; and finally there are large masses of very compact gray and green granite, studded with garnets about half an inch apart. The varieties of marbles are very numerous, ranging from white limestone and dolomite and statuary marble to straw-colored, blue, drab, brown, black, yellow, and red variegated marbles; verd-antique also is represented; indeed, Mr. Minthorn is prepared to match any of the antique marbles with the products of the St. Lawrence County quarries. Adjoining the statuary-marble quarry is a deposit consisting partly of pagodite or Chinese figure-stone, and possessing sufficient hardness to take a polish, while at the same time it does not "chip out" when chiseled in sharp lines.

 


NOTES.

We have received from Conrad Meyer & Sons, of Philadelphia, a correction of the statement made by Mr. S. Austen Pierce, in our October number, that Jonas Chickering in 1837 "conceived the bold idea of constructing a [pianoforte] frame entirely of iron." The Messrs. Meyer now cite the official "report" of the jury of the Franklin Institute Exhibition of 1883, which mentions "an iron-framed square piano" exhibited by Conrad Meyer. Other testimony to the same effect is quoted by the Messrs. Meyer, who appear to make out a clear case of priority of invention. Having admitted this correction, we can afford no more space in the columns of the Monthly for the piano-frame controversy.

We have received from Mr. E. Berliner, Washington, a circular, with drawings, giving an account of certain of the author's discoveries and inventions in electricity. These are a contact telephone, an electric-spark telephone, and a method of telephonic transfer.

At New Cumberland, West Virginia, a fountain of natural gas is utilized for manufacturing fire-brick. This, says the American Manufacturer, is the first fire-brick ever burned without wood or coal. Fifty-five thousand bricks are made daily in nine