Popular Science Monthly/Volume 4/December 1873/Notes

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More than a thousand lives are lost each year in England from accidents in coal-mining.

According to a writer in Iron, peals of bells were in use in England in the tenth century.

An Aged Grape-vine.—At the September meeting of the Royal Horticultural Society, a bunch of grapes was exhibited, taken from the parent plant of the Hampton Court vine. This vine dates from 1761.

F. V. Kallab states, as the result of numerous experiments, that the dyes fixed on animal textile fabrics are in general more permanent than those on vegetable tissues.

A new currency is soon to be issued in the German Empire. Twelve different kinds of coins will represent all the variations of value, and four metals, gold, silver, nickel, and copper, will be used for the purpose. The system will be decimal throughout, but not uniform in values with any existing system.

Nobbe maintains that potash-salts in soils are necessary in order to enable the chlorophyl-grains of the leaves to form starch. Sodium and lithium are unable to replace potassium in this function, and the latter is even positively hurtful. The chloride of potassium is the most effective form in which this element can be supplied to the soil.

Dr. Adam Smith, in a paper read before the London Society of Arts, recommends the use of tea in the following cases: After a full meal, when the system is oppressed; for the corpulent and the old; for hot climates, and especially for those who, living there, eat freely, or drink milk or alcohol; in cases of suspended animation; for soldiers who, in time of peace, take too much food in relation to the waste proceeding in the body; for soldiers and others marching in hot climates, for then, by promoting evaporation and cooling the body, it obviates, in a degree, the effects of too much food, as of too great heat

A general meeting of Italian savants was to open at Rome on the 20th of October, to remain in session for two weeks. An invitation was extended to scientific men of foreign countries to attend the session. The committee of arrangements say that "this is the first time in many centuries that reason and science could freely and thoroughly make their voices heard in the city of Rome."

Dr. C. Purdon, of Belfast, reports that lung-diseases are far more fatal to the flax-operatives of that town (in number 25,000) than to the artisans and laboring-classes. The most unwholesome branch of the flax industry is the work of the "preparing-room," which carries off annually 31 per thousand of the workers. Dr. Purdon asserts that this great mortality is chiefly due to these three causes: Putting children to work at too early an age; neglect of sanitary law; and defective food and clothing. He insists that the wearing of the Baker respirator should be made compulsory on the operatives.

In the printing-office of the Cleveland Ledger a gas-pipe had been plugged with a hard-wood stopper, at a point several feet from any burner. About six inches below it passed a belt, running from one pulley to another, and in operation during the day. About four days after the plug had been driven into the pipe it was noticed to be on fire, and a bright jet of light, as if from a burner, burst forth from the side of the plug, which was already charred, and being rapidly burned up. The question now was, how the flame had originated. It was certain that no one had lighted it, nor had any fire come near it. The only conclusion possible was, that it was caused by electricity from the belt, and a full investigation confirmed this conclusion. Had it happened in the night-time, it might have enkindled an extensive conflagration, and its origin would never have been known.

According to official reports, there were consumed in Paris, during the first half of 1867, 893 horses, asses, and mules, which supplied about 255,000 lbs. of meat. During the first half of 1870, 1,992 of these animals were slaughtered, giving about 980,000 lbs. of meat. For the first half of the present year the figures amounted respectively to 5,186 animals, and 2,368,000 pounds; and the same progress is shown by the provinces. Horses slaughtered for consumption fetch, on an average, from 125 to 150 francs per head—adding thus 100 francs per head to the value of worn-out horses. According to the reports, the public wealth of France is increased, by the eating of horse-beef, to the extent of 480,000,000 francs.