Popular Science Monthly/Volume 2/December 1872/Notes

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Non-inflammable Fabrics.—Cotton or linen goods may be rendered non-inflammable by being dipped in a solution of equal parts of acetate of lime and chloride of calcium dissolved in twice their weight of water.

Taper Lamp-Shades.—Dr. Minis mentions two cases in Jena and one in Frankfort where persons using green glazed paper lamp-shades were poisoned by the arsenic of the coloring matter. The heat of the lamp volatilized the arsenic, and rendered the small quantity present very dangerous.

Progress of Chemistry.—One by one the organic products are being copied in the laboratory. The last triumph in this direction which has come to our notice is the production of glycerine by Friedel and Silva. If the vapor of fusel-oil be passed through a red-hot tube, propylen is formed, which readily combines with chlorine, and from this chloride of propylen glycerine is produced by a process in which no glycerine is employed. As glycerine is the base of all true fats, this is an important step in the direction of oil-making.

An officer connected with the Geological Survey of Ireland, Mr. Hull, states the net available tonnage of coal in that country as 182,280,000 tons. Of this amount, Antrim has 16,000 tons; Tyrone, 32,900,000; Queens, Kilkenny, and Carlow, 77,580,000; Tipperary, 25,000,000; Clare, Limerick, and Cork, 20,000,000. Connaught has 10,800,000.

According to J. Ballynski, if the motion of a leaden bullet were all converted into heat, it would amount to three times as much as would be sufficient to melt the quantity of lead found to be melted by actual experiment. This he explains as having been expended in denting the iron plates of the target. By using a hard stone target, he was able to completely melt the bullets fired against it.

An improvement has been made in the process for extracting sugar from the beet by maceration, by adding lime to the liquor and precipitating the lime by a current of carbonic-acid gas. This has the effect of rapidly purifying the liquor and of displacing the remaining air, which would otherwise promote fermentation.

Mr. Wideman states that, by the contact of ozone for twenty minutes with whiskey, the fusel-oil was removed, and the whiskey mellowed as much as if it had been kept for ten years. Further, by adding to whiskey of proof strength seven times its weight, of water, the introduction of ozone speedily transformed the mixture into marketable vinegar. In Russia good brandy is said to be made from mosses and lichens.

Paper from Wood.—A letter from Berlin, in the Elberfeld Gazette, represents Prince Bismarck in a new light—that of a paper-maker. The paper-manufactory established by the Imperial Chancellor on his estate at Varzin has proved so successful, says the writer, that it is impossible to meet the large orders which come from England. This paper is made of chips of fir—that, at least, is the chief element.

An instance of supposed mimicry in insects is given in Science Gossip. The carpet-moth hides in some obscure place during the day, holding the upper wings outspread. When it thus rests on a greenish or obscure ground, it might easily pass for a smaller whitish moth. Is it by mere accident that the upper rather than the lower wings of the insect are spread out, or have we here a provision made to guard against the assaults of its enemies?

The French are making preparations for meteorological observations at elevated points. An observatory is now in course of construction at the summit of Puy-de-Dome, which will be connected by a telegraphic wire with another in a pavilion of the faculty at Clermont. The difference in height between the two is about 3,800 feet, and, by means of the telegraphic wire, the difference of meteorological conditions between the plain and the upper regions of the atmosphere can be shown at any moment.

The opium-poppy in Bengal is suffering serious damage from a fungoid growth which develops itself on the leaves. Sulphur is suggested as a remedy, it having proved useful in a similar disease which attacks the vine.

Timber-Planting in Hall County, Nebraska, has become quite popular. It is predicted that within twenty years the "Great American Desert" will be far better timbered than the Eastern States.

Hops in England.—Says the Mark Lane Express, 65,600 acres are devoted to the culture of hops in England, and the area is gradually increasing. Kent, the largest hop-growing county, had 32,000 acres in this crop last season, the early grounds averaging 1,400 to 1,600 pounds per acre; Sussex, next in importance, 14,500 acres, averaging 1,800 to 2,200 pounds per acre. Surrey is noted for a choice quality of hops of bright color and superior aroma.

A correspondent calls attention to a discrepancy of statement occurring in the article entitled "Coal as a Reservoir of Power," published in No. 6 of The Popular Science Monthly. It is there affirmed that a pound of coal in burning yields an energy equal to the power of lifting 10,808,000 pounds one foot; and this is followed by the statement that a cubic yard of coal, 2,240 pounds, possesses a reserve of energy equal to lifting 1,729,200 pounds one foot high: 2,240 pounds (an English ton) would of course yield 2,240 times as much energy as one pound, and consequently would raise 10,808,000 tons one foot high.

The extraction of sulphur and the manufacture of sulphuric acid from iron pyrites were first successfully accomplished on the large scale, under the stress of a tyrannical proceeding on the part of the King of the Two Sicilies. At the time, the island of Sicily was the principal source of the sulphur consumed in Europe, and the trade in the article brought an immense revenue to the government. A corrupt administration and a bankrupt treasury led the king to grant a monopoly of the business to a single firm in France, he expecting thereby to secure a large increase of funds. His action had exactly the opposite effect. The price of sulphur was doubled, its extraction from pyrites followed, and the sulphur mines of Sicily have since been of comparatively little consequence.