Page images

and we feel that we should not be doing justice to Mr. conquest; yet they singled out the egret, purely, I believe, Hudson if we did not quote for their benefit one speci- on account of its shining white conspicuous plumage." men of this naturalist's writing. He is describing the In his introduction Dr. Sclater gives a resume of the habits of the Carancho (Polyborus tharus) :

number of genera and species inhabiting the Argentine

Republic, and shows that the avifauna of that portion of “When several of these birds combine they are very South America belongs to the Patagonian sub-region. A bold. A friend told me that while voyaging on the little sketch-map would have been useful, to show the Paraná River a black-necked Swan flew past him hotly pursued by three Caranchos ; and I also witnessed an attack configuration of the country and the proportions of the by four birds on a widely different species. I was standing mountain-ranges, as it is evident that a district which can on the bank of a stream on the Pampas watching a great boast of a Dipper, and be at the same time the home of concourse of birds of several kinds on the opposite shore, two Cariamas, must possess elements of two very different where the carcass of a horse, from which the hide had avifaunæ. Some day, no doubt, an exact exploration, such been stripped, lay at the edge of the water. One or two as that now being undertaken in Mexico by Messrs. hundred Hooded Gulls and about a dozen Chimangos were gathered about the carcass, and close to them a very large Salvin and Godman, will trace the limits of the avifauna Rock of Glossy Ibises were wading about in the water, of the Pampas and the mountain regions. If Mr. Hudson while amongst these, standing motionless in the water, could only be induced to resume his work of exploration was one solitary white Egret. Presently four Caranchos and visit the interior of the Argentine Republic, the appeared, two adults and two young birds in brown results would be, we venture to say, of the first importance plumage, and alighted on the ground near the carcass. The young birds advanced at once and began tearing at to science. the flesh; while the two old birds stayed where they had

Dr. Sclater, we notice, draws his comparisons of the alighted, as if disinclined to feed on half-putrid meat. different orders of Argentine birds from the “ Nomenclator Presently one of them sprang into the air and made a Avium Neotropicalium " of 1873, which is rather ancient dash at the birds in the water, and instantly all the birds history. The statistics of American birds must hare in the place rose into the air screaming loudly, the two altered considerably since that date, if we may judge young brown Caranchos only remaining on the ground. For a few moments I was in ignorance of the meaning of from the Tanagers alone, which numbered 302 species in all this turmoil, when, suddenly, out of the confused black 1873, and in 1886 had reached 377 in number, according and white cloud of birds the Egret appeared, mounting to Dr. Sclater's own estimate. In dividing the Neotropical vertically upwards with vigorous measured strokes. A Region into the sub-regions he adopts the conclusions of moment later, and first one, then the other, Carancho also Prof. Newton in the “Encyclopædia Britannica," but the emerged from the cloud, evidently pursuing the Egret, and only then the two brown birds sprang into the air and joined names of one or two of them are changed. The boundin the chase. For some minutes I watched the four birds aries seem to be extremely natural, according to our toiling upwards with a wild zigzag flight, while the Egret, present state of knowledge, though we would scarcely still rising vertically, seemed to leave them hopelessly far consider the Central American sub-region (or the Transbehind. But before long they reached and passed it, and panamic sub-region, as Dr. Sclater renames it) to be each bird as he did so would turn and rush downwards, striking at the Egret with his claws, and while one descended the bounded on the north by Tehuantepec! The author others were rising, bird following bird with the greatest probably intended to give only a general outline, for the regularity. In this way they continued toiling upwards northern boundaries of the Central American sub-region until the egret appeared a mere white speck in the sky, are much more elaborately defined in fact. about which the four hateful black spots were still

R. BOWDIER SHARPE. revolving. I had watched them from the first with the greatest excitement, and now began to fear that they would pass from sight and leave me in ignorance of the result; but at length they began to descend, and then it

OUR BOOK SHELF. looked as if the Egret had lost all hope, for it was dropping very rapidly, while the four birds were all close to it The Chemistry of the Coal-tar Colours. From the Gerstriking at it every three or four seconds. The descent

man of Dr. R. Benedikt. Translated, with Additions, for the last half of the distance was exceedingly rapid,

by Dr. E. Knecht. Second Edition. (London: George and the birds would have come down almost at the very

Bell and Sons, 1889.) spot they started from, which was about forty yards from DR. BENEDIKT's little book is a standard treatise in where I stood, but the Egret was driven aside, and sloping Germany, where the literature of the coal-tar colours is rapidly down struck the earth at a distance of two fast becoming a most important branch of the general hundred and fifty yards from the starting point. Scarcely literature of applied chemistry; and Dr. Knecht has had it touched the ground before the hungry quartette done excellent service in making the work more gener were tearing it with their beaks. They were all equally ally known to English readers by means of his transla hungry no doubt, and perhaps the old birds were even tion. It is remarkable that, although England may be hungrier than their young; and I am quite sure that if said to have originated the coal-tar colour industry, she the Hesh of the dead horse had not been so far advanced has contributed comparatively little to the general litertowards putrefaction they would not have attempted the ature of the subject. Practically, all the systematized conquest of the Egret. I have so frequently seen a pure information we possess has come to us through the white bird singled out for attack in this way, that it has medium of French and German manuals. A number always been a great subject of wonder to me how the two of our chemists could be named who have communicated common species of snow-white Herons in South America original memoirs on the constitution of organic colouringare able to maintain their existence ; for their whiteness matters to the recognized organs of chemical research, exceeds that of other white waterfowl, while, compared but their work is very special in its character, and ap with Swans, Storks, and the Wood-ibis, they are small peals rather to the pure chemist than to the technologist and feeble. I am sure that if these four Caranchos bad and hence is seldom read by the latter. The want of a attacked a Glossy Ibis they would have found it an easier good, sound, and comprehensive treatise on the subject

of the coal-tar colour industry has, we think, not been with certainty, that the table is only a reprint, it is to be without its influence on the development of this branch regretted that Leslie did not say so explicitly. of applied organic chemistry in this country, Dr.

J. W. L. GLAISHER. Knecht's translation merits a place on the bookshelf of

Trinity College, Cambridge, October 26. every person engaged in the manufacture and use of the so-called coal-tar colours.

Darwinism. A Bibliography of Geodesy. By J. Howard Gore, B.S., MR. ROMANES states that it is “absurd” to call his essay on

Ph.D. (Washington : Government Printing Office, physiological selection an elaborate (I said "laborious") attack 1889.)

upon Mr. Darwin's theory of the origin of species. In that

essay I find these words (p. 345), " the theory of natural selection This valuable work forms Appendix No. 16 to the 1887 has been misnamed ; it is not strictly speaking a theory of the Report of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, origin of species "; and on p; 403, " the theory of physiological and is another example of the disinterested energy dis- selection (1.e. Dr. Romanes's theory) has this advantage over played by our Transatlantic cousins in scientific matters. every other theory that has ever been propounded on the origin With great perseverance, and at the cost of much time of species" ; and again, “the problem of the origin of species and trouble, Mr. Gore personally explored thirty-four of the which, as shown in the preceding paper (viz. the laborious essay], principal libraries of America and Europe, and numerous his {Mr. Darwin's! theory of natural selection serves only in

small part to explain." minor libraries by proxy; and, in addition, he checked and completed many of his references by correspondence Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the preserva

On the other hand, Mr. Darwin entitled his great work, “The with the living authors of both continents. The extent of tion of favoured races in the struggle for life.” He considered his labours is shown by the four hundred columns of his theory of natural selection to be a theory of the origin of references, and short remarks where the title alone is not species. Mr. Romanes says it is not. I say that this is an attack sufficiently explanatory. An alphabetical arrangement is on Mr. Darwin's theory, and about as simple and direct an attack adopted, and this includes authors, abbreviations, and as possible. Why Mr. Romanes wishes us to believe that he subjects.

did not attack Mr. Darwin's theory it is difficult to conceive. It is gratifying to note that our own country, besides That he should hope to persuade anyone that it is absurd to call the assistance rendered by its libraries, lends its aid to his essay an attack on Mr. Darwin's theory when this is what it such an important work in the shape of a manuscript an empty discussion on this matter, but leave it to your readers

distinctly professes to be is curious. I trust you will not permit supplement by Colonel Herschel to his pendulum bibliography, which was placed unreservedly

at Mr. Gore's to find out by reference to the Proc. Linn. Soc., vol. xix., where the absurdity exists.

E. RAY LANKESTER. disposal, through the courtesy of the Royal Society. 42 Half-moon Street, November 1. After the offers of publication made by various institutions, including the International Geodetic Association at Berlin, no further testimony to Mr. Gore's fitness for the

Record of British Earthquakes. work is needed, and the compiler is justly proud " to see WILL you allow me to ask your readers to help me in comthe results of his labours issuing from an institution of his piling notes of the earthquakes felt in this country during the own country, which throughout the world is the recognized present and following years? advance guard in geodetic science."

Mr. Mallet's great Catalogue of all recorded earthquakes ends, as is well known, with the year 1842. Previously to this, Mr. David Milne had published a series of papers on the earthquakes

of Great Britain in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

(vols. xxxi. to xxxvi. for the years 1841-44). These papers,

which are of very great value, bring down our record to the end [The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions ex. of August 1843. In recent years we have had the Catalogues

pressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake of Prof. J. P. O'Reilly (Trans. Roy. Irish Acad., vol. xxviii. to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected pp. 285–316 and 489-708) and the late Mr.

W. Roper (published manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE, by T. Bell, Observer Office, Lancaster). The latter is a useful No notice is taken of anonymous communications. ]

chronological list of shocks felt during the Christian era, down

to February 10, 1889; but, except in a few cases, it is little The Method of Quarter Squares.

more than a list. Prof. O'Reilly's important catalogues are

arranged alphabetically according to the localities affected, and I OMitred any reference to Leslie in my review of Mr. do not pretend to give detailed information with reference to the Blater's table (NATURE, vol. xl. p. 573), as I have never sup

shocks themselves. posed that he was an independent discoverer of the method, or

To make our seismic record more complete, I propose, therean independent calculator of a table, of quarter squares. I have fore, to compile a descriptive list of British shocks noticed in eferred to his table in my Report on Mathematical Tables newspapers and scientific journals from the time at which Mr. Brit. Assoc. Report, 1873, p. 23); and the passage quoted by Milne's Catalogue closes down to the end of the year 1888; and Prof. Carey Foster (p. 593) is given in full in the preface to Mr. I should be very grateful if your readers can in any way help Blater's table. It seems to me that the words in question, me in this work. * This application of a table of quarter squares, as it is derived

What I wish particularly to ask for, however, is information from the simplest principles, might have readily occurred to a relating to the shocks of the present and future years. For our mathematician ; yet I have nowhere seen it brought into prac knowledge of British earthquakes we must at present rely to a tical use till, last summer, I met with, at Paris, a small book by great extent on newspaper accounts; and these accounts, which Antoine Voisin, printed in 1817"--do not indicate an inde for some points are fairly trustworthy, become difficult of access pendent discovery; and this view is confirmed by the fact that, in after years. If any of your readers are willing to assist me in the first edition of the “ Philosophy of Arithmetic" (1817), in preserving these notices in a convenient and systematic form, Leslie makes no mention of quarter squares. It was only in may I ask if they would be good enough to send, to the address the second edition (1820), after having seen Voisin's work in the below, the names and dates of newspapers, and more especially previous year, that he added, at the end of the volume, an ac local ones, in which any descriptions, however short, are given of count of the method, and a table extending to 2000. The table British shocks? It is hardly necessary to say that any other notes, was copied, I presume, from Voisin, as Leslie does not claim it communicated by those who have felt the shocks or observed as the result of his own calculation. In the British Association their effects, would be of great value, and would be most thankReport I have described it as "reprinted from Voisin," and fully received. have pointed out that it did not appear in the first edition. In The days are past for compiling earthquake catalogues for the the preface to Mr. Blater's letter it is described as “an extract 1 After quoting the full title of Voisin's table, Leslie refers to his own from Voisin's table." Although we may, I think, infer, almost table as “the specimen which I have given."


whole surface of the earth, and the value of an attemp' at such P.S.—The appearance was not unlike the illustrations of a task would now be extremely doubtful. Bat for limited dis "water-spouts" that I have seen, but there was no whirling triets, like this country, the case is very different. It would motion such as is always described as accompanying these, nor, Indeed be difficult to over-estimate the value of a seismic record indeed, was there any evidence of violent disturbance of any which can claim any approach to completeness for a definite kind at all. earthquake area, however feeble the shocks which visit it may be.

I may add that I hope shortly to publish some notes or directions for the study of earthquakes, with special reference to those

The Use of the Word Antiparallel. which occur in this country.

CHARLES DAvisox. The following note on the use of the word antiparallel may 38 Charlotte Road, Birmingham, October 10.

prove of interest to the readers of NATURE,

In the second edition of "A New Mathematical Dictionary"

by E. Stone, F.R.S. (London, 1743), appears a short article on Effects of Lightning.

antiparallels, the whole of which I will quote : I have known of the following case since July last, but owing

"Antiparallels, are those lines, as FE, BC, that make the to absence from this place have only been able to get particulars same angles AFE, ACB, with the two lines AB, AC, cutting during the last few days.

them, but contrary ways, as parallel lines that cut them. But During the terrific storm of the 12th of July last, a labourer's Mr. Leibnitz, in the Acta Erudit.. An. 1691, p. 279, calls cottage was struck by lightning at Leagrave, near here. The antiparallels those lines (see Fig. 2) as EF, GH, which cut two lightning descended, according to an eye-witness's report, like a parallels AB, CD; so that the outward angle AIF, together

spout of fire," and struck and descended the chimney, which it with the inward one AKII, is equal to a right angle. When destroyed. In the room below there was an old shepherd, an invalid woman, a child, and a shepherd's dog. The shepherd was sitting in a chair leaning on a stick, a kettle was boiling on the fire, and the door was open. The lightning entered the room simultaneously by the chimney and an adjoining window. The




R B window was utterly destroyed, and the kettle was thrown from the fire across the room, the stick on which the shepherd was


с leaning was torn from his hand and also thrown across the room,

1 the lightning entered a cupboard containing glass and crockery and destroyed every article, and plaster was torn from the walls. The man and woman remained unhurt, but the child was thrown B

'I down and its knees stiffened. The dog was struck perfectly stiff, “like a log of wood," and was considered dead. The room the sides AB, AC, of a triangle, as ABC (Fig. 1), are cat by seemed full of fire, water, and sulphur, and the occupants said a line EF antiparallel to the base BC, the said sides are the smell of sulphur was so strong that they would certainly have cut reciprocally proportional by the said line EF; that is, been suffocated had it not been for the open door. After the AF: BF :: EC: AE, the triangles AFE, ABC being similar or storm had abated, the dog, with all its limbs stiff, was laid in a equiangular." barn, where it very slowly and partially recovered. It long re The error in regard to the ratios of the segments of the mained both deaf and blind, an I was entirely dependent upon sides is the same as the one noted in Hatton's " Miscellanea smell for its recognition of persons and things. To the present Mathematica," as quoted by Mr. Langley, I have no doubt that day it has not entirely recovered its injured senses.

earlier instances of the use of this word can be found, and I Dunstable.

W. G. S. would like to know whether the word is used in the first edition of “Stone's Dictionary."

W. J. JAMES. Electrical Cloud Phenomenon.

Wesleyan University, Middletown,

Conn. U.S.A., October 15. A SHORT description of a curious cloud appearance observed by me this summer may be of interest to your readers. It was noticed in Kiushu, the southernmost of the three great islands of

Fossil Rhizocarps. Japan, early in July, at a distance of ten or twelve miles from IN Bennet and Murray's "Cryptogamic Botany," at p. 115, the sea.

I am surprised to find in a reference to my paper on * Fossil The season had been, and was, after the time of the observa- Rhizocarps" (in Bull, ds. Sciences, Chicago) the statement, with tion, an exceptionally rainy one, severe floods being produced in reference to the macrospores of Protos ulvinia, that "inasmuch almost all parts of the country, but it was not raining in the place as they are

borne on Lepidoden Iron scales this reference is inwhere I made the observation at that particular time. Time shortly admissible.” Now no such fact has come to my kaowledge, after midday, thermometer about 8)F.

and on the contrary these bodies are found inclosed in cellular The sky was clear overhead, but there was a great bank of sporocarps like those of Salviaia, and are so described in the heavy “thunderous” looking clouds to the south. It is most paper in question. If anyone has found them on "scales of difficult to judge even approximately of the distance of clouds, Lepidodendron,” the authority should have been stated. but these might be from one to two miles off; the lower edge Montreal, October 15.

J. Wm. Dawson. was represented by a very nearly straight line, and there was an amount of blue sky visible under the clouds that would perhaps subtend from Ico to 15o.

Specific Inductive Capacity. My attention was attracted to a sort of "tail" of cloud Ox p. 669 of Ganot's " Physics" (eleventh edition) the stretching itself downwards from the s'raight under side of the following statement is found :-- At a fixed distance above a cloud-bank. It gradually extended till it reached some two- gold-leat electroscope, let an electrified sphere be placed, by thirds of the distance from the cloud to the earth. It remained which a certain divergence of the leaves is produced. If now, of about constant length for a little over ten minutes, the lower the charges remaining the same, a disk of sulphur or of shellac end continually waving about in a most curious way, giving the be interposed, the divergence increases, showing that inductive impression almost that it was feeling for something.

action takes place through the sulphur to a greater extent than Quite suddenly the filament of cloud straightened itself out, through a layer of air of the same thickness." and extended itself towards the earth. The lower end became so If this statement were correct, there should be less electric very thin that, from the distance, it was impossible to see whether action on the side of the ball furthest from the electroscope when it actually made contact with the earth or not, but I have not the the dielectric is interposed. To test this I arranged an experismallest doubt that it did, and that a silent discharge took place ment as follows: at the time. There was certainly no sound heard. Immediately The knob of a charged Leyden jar was placed snidway after the contact the filament rapidly drew itself up to the cloud, between two insulated plates of metal, each plate being in and was incorporated with it. ' Almost immediately after this, connection with an electroscope. The leaves of each electrowhether as a mere coincidence or not I cannot tell, the cloud scope now diverged to an equal extent. discharged a great amount of rain.

W. K. Burton, A plate of ebonite was now placed between the knob of the Imperial University, Tokio, Japan.

jar and one of the plates. If the statement above quoted is

correct, the leaves of the electroscope in connection with this that the details of the process, which is practised daily in plate should show an increased divergence, but the reverse effect thousands of workshops, are so well known that it is unwas observed. The leaves partially collapsed. In all experi necessary to devote a lecture to the subject. It seemed menis that I have made by inserting dielectrics between a charged to me that the entire question was the most important I body and an electroscope, less electric action has been the result. could choose, partly because it will enable a large number If while the charged ball be near the electroscope the plate of of people who are engaged in industrial work, and who it be touched with the finger, the leaves collapse, and on removing are not expected to think about it in a scientific way, to

Now let a dielectric be placed between the ball and the know how such facts as we shall have to examine have electroscope, touch the latter, and remove the finger and ball as been dealt with by scientific investigators; while those of before, and much greater divergence will be produced. In both our members who do not consider that their thoughts or cases the electroscope is charged by induction. Without putting work are scientific in its strictest sense, may perhaps be the electroscope to earth, lo fail to see theoretically why any interested to see how absolutely industrial progress degreater divergence should occur. I suppose someone must have pends upon the advancement of science. This considermade the experiment as quoted, but if a greater effect was ation has led me to deal with the subject in a somewhat produced it must have been caused by the substance used for a comprehensive way. The treatment of iron in its several dielectric being charged itself. I have found very great difficulty forms is the thing that we as a nation do well. If it be in preventing plates of ebonite, paraffin, sulphur, &c., becoming true that national virtues are manifestly expressed in the electrified when placed near a charged body.

I should like to know if anyone has experimented in this industrial art of a people, we may recall the sentence in direction, because either the text-books or myself must be wrong.

Mr. Ruskin's " Crown of Wild Olive” in which he says, In Guthrie's book (p. 101) there is a siatement similar io “You have at present in England only one art of any conGanot's.

W, A. RUDGE. sequence-that is, iron-working," adding, with reference

to the manufacture of armour-plate, “Do you think, on Who discovered the Teeth in Ornithorhynchus ?

those iron plates your courage and endurance are not

written for ever, not merely with an iron pen, but on iron On returning from Central Arizona, where I have been engaged parchment?" It may be well, therefore, to consider what in biological explorations, I find upon my desk an important properties iron possesses which entitle its application to paper entitled "On the Dentition of Ornithorhynchus,” by my industrial use to specially represent the skill and patience friend Mr. Oldfield Thomas, Curator of Mammals in the British Museum (see Proc. Royal Soc., vol. xlvi , 1889, 126-131,

of the nation. pl. 2).

In 1863, Lord Armstrong, in his address as President The opening sentence of this paper is as follows: “At the of this Association, expressed the hope " that when the meeting of the 9th of February, 1888, Mr. E. B. Poulton com- time again comes round to receive the British Association municated to this Society the first discovery of the presence of in this town, its members will find the interval to have teeth in Ornithor hynchus, a discovery which naturally awakened been as fruitful as the corresponding period," since the extreme interest throughout the scientific world." A few lines previous meeting in 1838, " on which they were then further on Mr. Thomas continues : " The grand fact of the pre looking back.” In one way at least this hope has been sence of teeth in Monotremes, and their mammalian nature, are realized, for the efforts of the last twenty years have rediscoveries on which Mr. Poulton may well be congratulated.". sulted in the development of an “age of steel.” When

From the above I infer that considerable stir has been made the Association last met here, steel was still an expensive by the assumed new " discovery" that the young Ornithorhynchus material, although Bessemer had, seven years before, has teeth.

If my British colleagues will turn to the masterly work of communicated his great invention to the world through their illustrious countryman, Sir Everard Home, they will find the British Association at its Cheltenham meeting. The in the second volume of his " I ectures on Comparative great future in store for Siemens's regenerative furnace, Anatomy", (published in 1814), no less than three beautifully which plays so important a part in the manufacture of engraved plates, containing eight figures, of the skull and mouth steel, was confidently predicted in his Presidential address parts of Omnithorhynchus. Four of these figures show the teeth by Lord Armstrong, than whom no one was better able to - wo on each side of each jaw. The explanation accompany; judge, for no one had done more to develop the use of ing Fig. 1, Tab. lix., is as follows: "A view of the upper jaw and steel of all kinds. palate, to show that there are two grinding teeth on each side." Steel, we shall see, is modified iron. The name iron is Fig. 2 is "a similar view of the under jaw. Washington, D.C., October 12. C. HART MERRIAM.

in fact a comprehensive one, for the mechanical behaviour of the metal is so singularly changed by influences acting from within and without its mass, as to lead many to

think, with Paracelsus, that iron and steel must be two ON THE HARDENING AND TEMPERING OF distinct metals, their properties being so different. Pure STEEL

iron may be prepared in a form as pliable and soft as copper, 1.

steel can readily be made sufficiently hard to cut glass,

and notwithstanding this extraordinary variance in the THE fact that the British Association meets this year physical properties of iron and certain kinds of steel, the that it would be well to provide, for the first time since small, and would hardly secure attention if it were not for 1848, a lecture on a metallurgical subject. In that year the importance of the results to which it gives rise. We a discourse was delivered at Swansea by Dr. Percy, one have to consider the nature of the transformations which of the most learned metallurgists of our time, who has iron can sustain, and to see how it differs from steel, of recently passed away, after having almost created an which an old writer has said, " Its most useful and adEnglish literature of metallurgy by the publication of his well-known treatises, without which it would have been vantageous property is that of becoming extremely hard comparatively barren. It was to him that the country produced being greater in proportion as the steel is hotter

when ignited and plunged into cold water, the hardness turned in 1851 when it became evident that our metal and the water colder. The colours which appear on the Jurgists must receive scientific training. I know that it has occurred to many that the various ing or reducing the hardness of steel to any determinate

surface of steel slowly heated direct the artist in temperproblems involved in the "hardening and tempering of standard." There is still so much confusion between the steel" must be incapable of adequate treatment in the words "temper," " tempering,” and “ hardening,” in the brief limits of a discourse like this, while others will think writings of even very eminent authorities, that it is well

" A Lecture delivered on Septemher 13, by Prof. W.C. Roberts-Austen, “The First Principles of Chemistry,” ły W. Nicholson, p. 312 (London, F.R.S., before the members of the British Association.


to keep these old definitions carefully in mind. I shall speare suggests that thello's sword "of Spain " had been employ the word tempering in the sense of softening, as hardened in a cold stream for he says it had Falstaff uses it when he says of Shallow :

"the ice brook's temper"; "I have him already tempering between my finger and my but cold water was far too simple a material for many a thumb, and shortly will I seal with him." 1

sixteenth century artificer to employ, as is shown by the

quaint recipes contained in one of the earliest books softening, that is, as brittle wax does by the application of trade secrets, which, by its title, showed the existence of gentle heat. Hardening, then, is the result of rapidly of the belief that the "right use of alchemy was to bring cooling a strongly heated mass of steel. Tempering con- chemical knowledge to bear upon industry. The earliest sists in re-heating the hardened steel to a temperature far edition was published in 1531, and the first English short of that to which it was raised before hardening: this translation in 1583, from which the following extracts heating may or may not be followed by rapid cooling. may be of interest. " Take snayles, and first drawne water Annealing consists in heating the mass to a temperature of a red die of which water being taken in the two firste higher than that used for tempering, and allowing it to moneths of haruest when it raynes," boil it with the cool slowly.

snails," then heate your iron red hote and quench it therein First, let the prominent facts be demonstrated experi- and it shall be hard as steele." " Ye may do the like with mentally.

the blood of a man of xxx yeres of age, and of sanguine [Three sword-blades of identical quality, made by an complexion, being of a merry nature and pleasatint. eminent sword-smith, Mr. Wilkinson, were taken. It distilled in the middst of May." This may seem trivial was shown by bending one that it was soft ; this was enough, but the belief in the efficacy of such solutions heated to 'redness and plunged into cold water, when it survived into the present century, for I find in a work became so hard that it broke on the attempt to bend it. published in 1810 that the artist is prettily directed 3 " to Another was bent into a bow, the arc of which was four take the root of blue lilies, infuse it in wine and quench inches shorter than the sword itself, a common test for the steel in it," and the steel will be hard ; on the other “temper," and it sprang back to a straight line when the hand, he is told that if he "takes the juice or water of bending force was removed ; this had been tempered. A common beans and quenches iron or steel in it, it will be third, which had been softened by being cooled slowly, i soft as lead.” I am at a loss to explain the confusion bent easily and remained distorted ]

which has arisen from this source. As must always be The metal has been singularly altered in its properties the case when the practice of an art is purely empirical, by comparatively simple treatment, and all these changes such procedure was often fantastic, but it is by no means it must be remembered have been produced in a solid | obsolete, for probably at the present day there is hardly a metal to which nothing has been added, and from which workshop in which some artificer could not be found with nothing material has been taken. The theory of this a claim to possess a quaint nostrum for hardening steel. operation which I have just conducted has been' Even the use of absurdly compounded baths, to which I laboriously built up, and its consideration introduces have referred, was supported by theoretical views. Otto many questions of great interest both in the history of Tachen, for instance, writing of steel in about the year science, and in our knowledge of molecular physics. 1666, says that steel when it is "quenched in water First as regards the history of the subject. The know- ' acquires strength because the light alcaly in the water is ledge that steel might be hardened must have come to us ' a true comforter of the light acid in the iron, and cutlers from remote antiquity. Copper hardened with tin was its , do strengthen it with the alcaly of animals," hence the only predecessor, and it continued to be used very long use of snails. Again, Lemery s explains in much the same after it was known that steel might be hardened. It way the production of steel by heating iron in the presence would, moreover, appear that a desire to appreciate the of horns of animals. difficulties of a people to whom cutting instruments of I have dwelt so long on these points in order to bring hard steel were unknown, seems to have induced out clearly the fact that the early workers attached grear experimenters in quite recent times to fashion imple importance to the nature of the fluid in which bot steel ments of bronze, and a trustworthy authority tells us that was quenched, and they were right, though their theories "Sir Francis Chantry formed an alloy containing about may have been wrong. The degree of rapidity with 16 parts of copper, 2 of zinc, and 25 of tin, of which whích heat is abstracted from the steel during the operahe had a razor made, and I believe even shaved with it.'? tion of hardening is as important at the present day as it The Greek alchemical manuscripts which have been so ever was. Roughly speaking, if steel has to be made carefully examined by M. Berthelot give various receipts glass-hard, ice-cold water, brine, or mercury, is used ; if it from which it is evident that in the early days the nature has only to be made slightly hard, hot water or oil may be of the quenching fluid was considered to be all-important. employed ; while, as Thomas Gill suggested in 1818, There were certain rivers the waters of which were both" hardening" and "tempering ” may be united in a supposed to be specially efficacious. Pliny, who says single operation by plunging the hot metal in a bath of that the difference between waters of various rivers can molten lead or other suitable metal, which will of course be recognized by workers in steel, also knew that oil might abstract the heat more slowly. be used with advantage for hardening certain varieties We must now trace the development of theories relating of the metal. It is sad to think how many of the old to the internal constitution of steel

. The advent of the receipts for hardening and tempering have been lost. phlogistic school with the teaching of Becher and Stahl What would we not give, for instance, for the records of led to the view that iron gained pblogiston during its conthe Gallic prototype of our Iron and Steel Institute, the version into steel. By phlogiston we know that the early Collegium Fabrorum Ferrariorum,"3 a guild with similar chemists really meant energy, but to them phlogiston was aims, formed in the time of the Roman Republic, for the represented to be a kind of soul possessed by all metals, advancement of knowledge, for the good of the State, and

! "Rechter Gebrauch d. Alchimei," 7531. There were many English not for that of its individual members ? The belief, how editions. ever, in the efficacy of curious nostrums and solutions for "A profitable boke declaring dyuers approoned remedies," &c. (London, hardening steel could hardly have been firmer at any technological Chemistry," Phil. Soc., Glasgow, January 1886.

1583). See Prof. Fergus n's learned paper "On some Early Treatises on period than in the sixteenth century of our era. Shake 3* The Laboratory or School of Arts, " 6th edition, 1799, p. 228. There

is a later edition of 1810. King Henry IV, Part II., Act iv., Scene 3.

* " His Key to the Ancient Hippocratical Learning," p. 68 (London,

1бро). 3 * Engines of War," by H. Wilkinson, P. 194 (1841).

5 A Course of Chemistry," and edition, 1686, p. 131. 3 “ La Ferronnerie,” par F. Liger, t. ii. p. 147 (Paris, 1875).

6 Thomson's Annals of Philo ophy, xii., 1818, p. 58.

« PreviousContinue »