Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/298

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286
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

With this train and its eighteen passengers an effective force was gained equivalent to that of two horses. In the interior of the exposition building a force equivalent to that of three horses and a half was gained, and a speed of 7·8 miles an hour. Mr. Siemens, in giving an account of his invention to one of the societies a few months ago, did not seem to have much faith in its practicability, for he said he was afraid that "a great deal of water would run into the Spree before his dream would be realized," but his firm has since submitted to the city of Berlin a proposal for the construction of an elevated railway across a part of that capital, to be operated by his machines. A track is contemplated similar, in its elevation and relations to the street, to the tracks of the elevated railroads in this city. The carriages will be narrow and short, to contain ten sitting places and four standing-places. The machine to propel them will be placed under the floor of the carriage between the wheels, and a steam-engine with sixty-horse power, which will be employed in the production of the electricity, will be placed at the terminus. A speed of about twenty miles an hour is anticipated. The magistrates of Berlin have appointed a special commission of engineers and architects to examine into and report upon the proposal.

 

Insects in Libraries.—Dr. H. A. Hagen, of Harvard University, has given in the "Library Journal" some observations on "Insect Pests in Libraries." The principal insects which our libraries have to dread are the larvae of a beetle (Anobium), the same which is obnoxious to old furniture and picture-frames, which has been known for more than one hundred and fifty years, and the white ant. The beetle will eat through the thickest books, making a network of small passages, and, in some places, larger holes for its transformation. The white ants have been known for a long time in southern and western France, but did not appear especially injurious to books till about 1825, when they became very destructive. Some years later they did less damage, and at last disappeared without any apparent reason. These white ants exist in the United States, where instances of their destructiveness to books have been brought to notice in Springfield, Illinois, and in South Carolina. They are present at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in near neighborhood to buildings containing libraries. Mr. J. A. Lintner, of Albany, has noticed cases of cockroaches eating through the coating of the cloth binding of books stored in a basement; and the writer of this note has observed new books similarly injured by the common Croton-bug while they lay in a dry desk-drawer. The best remedy for insect depredations is constant use of the books. There are and must be in all complete libraries books which are used infrequently, and some which are very rarely used; and these afford good hiding places for the larvæ of the beetle. They may be killed without hurting the books, by putting the books under the glass bell of an air-pump and drawing out the air. After an hour the larvæ will be found to be dead. Constant attention is the only remedy against the white ants.

 

Relics of an Ancient Race in Eastern New York.—Mr. S. L. Frey describes, in the "American Naturalist," some relics of an ancient race which he has found at a place he does not name in eastern New York. A number of arrow-heads, and a small copper awl, square and of regular shape, which may have been used for a drill, had been found before at the same place. He discovered two tubes bored in cases of steatite, a sea-shell adapted to use as a drinking vessel, several bone awls, fragments of deer horn implements, a gouge made of bone, implements of horn stone, beautifully chipped and of perfect proportion, and other articles usual in such places. In another grave, what had apparently been a necklace or head-dress, composed of copper and shell beads, was found. The copper beads had been made of thin sheets of copper rolled into tubes; the shell beads, which were from half an inch to one inch and three quarters in length, and of an average diameter of about half an inch, were made from the columella; of large sea-shells rubbed and ground smooth, and drilled through their largest diameter. A similar necklace, but partly composed of small sea-shells, was found in another grave. The deepest grave