Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/298

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286
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of beings. Paleontological discoveries on the one side, and those which submarine explorations promise us on the other, will gradually rill these voids, and will, perhaps, some day permit naturalists to grasp the relations which exist between animals."

 

Images of the American Stone Age.—Among all the relics of the stone age, said Mr. William McAdams, in his paper on the subject, read at the Cincinnati meeting of the American Association, none are of more interest to the student of ethnology than the sculptured forms of men and animals found on some of the stone objects taken from the mounds. These objects might be divided into four classes: 1. The mound-pipes, with a curved or crescent-shaped base forming the stem, the bowl of the pipe representing some animal. These pipes are not made of very hard stone, as has generally been supposed. They are quite small and delicate, many of them showing both taste and skill in manufacture. 2. A class consisting of much larger and somewhat exaggerated representations of men and animals, many of them having a crouching, sphinx-like form, strongly resembling the ancient forms from the Nile. Some of them have no perforation, but the majority of them have two funnel shaped perforations, and were probably used as pipes on occasions of great ceremony. Some of these images, from mounds in Illinois, weighing ten or twenty pounds or more, are sculptured from hard stone, and are among the finest works of the stone age. 3. A class of singular mask-like figures, in which the human face alone is represented presumably of the natural size. The fourth class consists of representations of the human form which may have been real idols. One from Union County, Illinois, cut from quartzite, the most refractory material known, represents the body in a Pitting posture, with the hands on the knees, has a face with features not those of a modern Indian, is smooth and highly polished, and is, perhaps, the finest piece of aboriginal sculpture that has been found in the United States. Mr. McAdams thought these objects were used in religious observances, and believed that the evidence showed that the mound-builders were fire-worshippers. Professor Putnam, who is one of the unbelievers in a distinct race of mound-builders, remarked that many of the supposed idols, pipes, etc., may have been toys for children.

 

The Telelogue.—The visibility of signals designed to be seen at a distance depends upon the contrast between the light given by the signals and that of the ground against which they are seen. The contrast has commonly been obtained in aerial telegraphy by exhibiting dark bodies against the light of the sky. To make this effective, it is necessary to raise the dark bodies to some height, and this involves the use of apparatus which must be more or less cumbrous. In the telelogue of Captain Gaumet, the difference in brilliancy required to give distinctness to the signal is gained by employing a silver surface designed upon a dark ground. A slight inclination of the apparatus is enough to cause the silver to shine very brightly, and in strong contrast with the dark ground, by the reflection of the diffused light which it receives from the! sky. For signals, Captain Gaumet employs the letters of the alphabet and the numerals, remembering that we most readily recognize those forms with which we are familiar. The telelogue consists of two essential parts: the telegraph-album, or book of signals, and a telescope. The telegraph album is a collection of forty leaves of coarse black cloth on which the silver signals, including the letters of the alphabet, the numerals, and a few conventional signals, are fixed. To secure economy of bulk while the letters shall be as large as possible, each signal occupies the reverse of one leaf and the front of the leaf behind it, as is shown in the figure, where the leaf that is turned down bears the lower part of the T on its back, and the upper part of the letter is exposed on the leaf behind it. Each leaf is marked with an index to enable the operator to find it quickly. The cover of the album is made of stiff leaves, which put together form a table or a rigid back, and one of which is furnished with feet, to which a third foot is added, constituting a tripod when the apparatus is used. The telescope should be strong and very clear. The dimensions, both of the album and telescope, will depend on the