Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/271

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257
NICKEL AND ITS USES.

interest in industrial circles, as it was thought cheap nickel was thereby assured. Of late, however, the center of interest has moved from nickel silicate and New Caledonia to nickeliferous pyrrhotite and to the Sudbury District in the Canadian province of Ontario. The interest attaching to this district is due, not to the discovery of a new mineral or of nickel in a new association, if we except the occurrence of small quantities of platinum arsenide in the Sudbury ore; it is due to the richness of the ore and to the vast extent of the deposits.

Attention was first attracted to these by reason of the considerable masses of rich copper pyrite found close to the surface, and it was as a region of copper ore that Sudbury first became famous. At the depth of a few feet, however, the rich copper ores were found to be underlaid by pyrrhotite, which occurs in large lens-shaped deposits in an extensive belt of diorite. Scattered through the pyrrhotite is copper pyrite in threads, in mere specks, and in masses from the size of a pea to pockets containing several tons. The nickel contents of this pyrrhotite vary considerably. Scarcely any of it is entirely free from nickel, but the percentage varies from a trace to as much as eight or nine per cent.

An idea of the average value of the ore, and of the amount of nickel the district is capable of affording, may be gained from the particulars of the smelting operations of one of the companies that are working in this district to the end of December, 1889. One furnace ran 259 days and produced 3,849 tons of matte, said to average thirteen per cent of nickel and eighteen per cent of copper. A second furnace in 73 days produced 1,210 tons of matte of equal richness. In other words, 41,000 tons of ore produced matte containing 650 tons of nickel, and which was associated with 910 tons of copper, thus showing that the ore smelted averaged about one and a half per cent of nickel together with two and a quarter per cent of copper. All the nickel produced in this district finds a ready market, being used principally in the manufacture of guns and armor plate. It thus appears that the discoveries of the extensive Canadian deposits of nickel, and of the valuable qualities of nickel steel, are complementary one to the other.

 


 
Prof. Max Müller, in his address before the International Congress of Orientalists, expressed his objections to the word "prehistoric" as a vague term, that almost withdraws itself from definition. "If real history," he said, "begins only with the events of which we possess contemporaneous witnesses, then, no doubt, the whole period of which we are now speaking, and many later periods also, would have to be called prehistoric. But if history means, as it did originally, research, and knowledge of real events based on such research, then the events of which we are going to speak are as real and as truly historical as the battle of "Waterloo."