Page images

907 there ad

to tuberimley is a very different thing from the treatment carried

per 1,000,000

all to continge

extinct distas

1 in the early days of sanatoria. Patients are no longer uffed and rested indiscriminately. They are given ork, rest, and food on a carefully graduated system;

too favour ey are taught how to treat themselves-what to do and hat to avoid. The sanatorium treatment, however, deals patients and ith but a small proportion of the cases; tuberculosis

re will al


antity in our

brought ab

London County Council, and on the eyesight of 500 Glasgow school children by Dr. Rowan. Throughout, the difficulty which specially besets such statistical investigations is present in the fact that all the material is intensely selected. There is no means of supplementing it by a knowledge of the distribution of astigmatism and other errors of refraction in the community at large. Thus, in dealing with percentage statistics of the heredity factor in myopia, the authors say that "the distribution of parents of the normal and the proportion of myopes to the normal in the general population (or at any rate in the universe under discussion') must be found before any appreciation of the effect of heredity can be made."

must be tackled on a much more extensive scale. Calmette Lille and Philip in Edinburgh, seeing the importance f bringing the treatment of tuberculosis to the working asses and even the very poor, have organised what is ow known as the dispensary system, in which are comined an intelligence department, an ambulance service, a aining school, an out-patient and in-patient hospital ervice, and a sanatorium department. In Edinburgh the esult has been a fall in the death-rate beyond that of ther cities equally or more favourably situated, except in hat they have not been provided with this well-organised ystem.

ras able to t tubercle be

those who

could be trace


ful centres ard, the fut

il Koch ga It is recognised that prevention of tuberculosis is

se of the the

ertainly more important than its cure, and all interested relation to 1 this question must realise what enormous impetus as been given to the whole movement by the energetic

this tuber

se of the dection taken by the President of the Local Government

The first moot point which arises in dealing with the inheritance of refraction concerns the determination of the unit to be used to obtain a quantitative scale. It is now customary to measure the refraction in terms of the efractive power of the correcting lens instead of, as formerly, in terms of its focal distance. When the variations of the mean values in the population are small compared with the mean value in the individuals under discussion, it matters little which unit is adopted. This is true of corneal refraction (3 per cent.), but untrue of corneal astigmatism (75 per cent.). The difficulty is overcome by using, whenever possible, the method of contingency, fundamentally, or for purposes of control.

Investigation of the inheritance of corneal astigmatism leads to the conclusion that it is certainly inherited, as evidenced by minimum limits of 0-3 to the parental and of 0-4 to the fraternal coefficients, but the material is neither sufficient nor sufficiently classified to determine with any degree of certainty the accurate value of the inheritance coefficients. The authors point out that "there is a splendid field for a man who will measure the corneal astigmatism in a non-selected population. As this would be an easy and accurate task with the ophthalmometer there ought to be no difficulty in getting it carried out. Investigation of corneal refraction shows that it is inherited at the same rate as other physical characters in man. In dealing with the inter-relations of refraction, keenness of vision, and age, the results show how much more influence myopia has on visual acuity than hypermetropia, and that refraction defects contribute more than half the abnormality of keenness of vision. They further show that there is not the least doubt of a sensible relationship of age to each of the several categories of eye defect. It is probable that a great deal of hypermetropia, hypermetropic and mixed astigmatism disappears, probably owing to growth, between six and ten, thus swelling the number of emmetropic eyes, but that after this age there is not sufficient evidence to say whether these categories vary or not. Myopia and myopic astigmatism increase throughout, but this increase does not balance the total gain due to rectification by growth; it may be caused by continued action of some environmental factor, or by a growth factor.

e history Board. progress His keen interest in the Milk Bill, in the Washngton Congress on Tuberculosis, and in the Whitechapel ausal agxhibition, his grasp of principles and the wealth of e disease dave evidence of complete conviction and determination to been reati etail contained in his opening address at that exhibition, ive. la act up to his conviction. All this marks a great advance elivered an the public treatment of the question in this country. is a possMedical men have long suspected that tuberculous milk at the c was a prolific cause of abdominal consumption amongst ave set the heir little patients. They have known how readily delicate every quar hildren recovering from measles, whooping cough, infirst thing lammation of the lungs, and similar conditions, have immed been infected, sometimes from tuberculous patients, at the sp other times, however, under conditions where infecion from the human subject appeared to be impossible, Isolation, and they now welcome with enthusiasm any legisquestion, bration that will render impossible the spread of from his tuberculosis by the milk from infected cattle. Medical wise ari officers of health, aware of the insanitary conditions under to isclate which a large proportion of the population, not only urban, ned, by but rural, live, hail with satisfaction the idea that in tod mate any well-considered action they may take they will now, More is not only be commended, but helped. The National the bar Association for the Prevention of Consumption has done tmus well, not only to follow Ireland and America, but to improve upon the methods adopted in those two countries. Nothing but good can be the outcome of this movement, and we hope that the seventy thousand visitors to the Whitechapel Art Gallery will be followed by hundreds of thousands, who will have the opportunity of seeing this or a similar exhibition at the "White City " or on its tour through the large and populous centres of England, and perhaps even of Scotland.



on terms




has a bat bad time

e that t patien elate


and othe fective


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


The general conclusions derived from the slender data of this first study are as follows:-There is no evidence whatever that overcrowded, poverty-stricken homes, or physically ill-conditioned or immoral parentages are markedly detrimental to the children's eyesight. There is



sufficient evidence that school environment has a deleterious effect on the eyesight of children. Though changes of vision occur during school years, they are phases of one law of growth, a passage from hypermetropia emmetropia and myopia of the eyes of "unstable stocks." There is ample evidence that refraction and keenness of vision are inherited characters, and that the degree of correlation between the eyesight of pairs of relatives is of a wholly different order to the correlation of eyesight with home environment. Intelligence as judged by the teacher is correlated with vision in only a moderate manner (p. 16). We scarcely think that the data justify so strongly worded an ex cathedra statement as that made by the authors in conclusion :-" The first thing is good stock, and the second thing is good stock, and the third thing is good stock, and when you have paid attention to these three things fit environment will keep your material in good condition. No environmental or educational grindstone is of service unless the tool to be ground is of genuine steel-of tough race and tempered stock."

THE Francis Galton Eugenics Laboratory at University College, London, has already done much valuable in the work in many directions under the supervision of Prof. Karl Pearson. With the assistance of Miss Barrington, a useful inquiry has been made into the question of the inheritance of vision and the relative influence of heredity and environment on sight. The paper is a mathematical of the investigation of statistics culled from a variety of sources. yeas Of these, two communications by Dr. Adolf Steiger, of Zürich, on the corneal curvature, and the report on 1400 school children issued by the Edinburgh Charity Organisatration Society, afford the best material. Other contributory material of less value is taken from reports on the refraction of London elementary-school children by Dr. A. Hugh Thompson and the Education Committee of the 1 University of London. Francis Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics. Eugenics Laboratory Memoirs. V. A First Study of the Inheritance of Vision and of the Relative Influence of Heredity and Environment on Sight. By Amy Barrington and Karl Pearson, F.R.S. Pp. 61. (London: Dulau and Co., 1909.) Price 45.

[ocr errors]



ANOTHER appendix volume, No. 20, to the report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress has been published (Cd. 4632), and incidentally indicates the directions which educational effort should take in this country in order to ensure the provision in future years of better educated workmen in the various industries on which the success of this country depends.

The report is by Mr. Cyril Jackson, chairman of the Education Committee of the London County Council, who acted for the commission as a special investigator to inquire and report on the main occupations followed by boys on leaving public elementary schools in certain typical towns; the opportunities of promotion in such occupations or of training for other occupations; and the extent to which such boys subsequently obtain regular employment (skilled or unskilled) as adults. Mr. Jackson was given power to make any feasible suggestions of a remedial character indicated by the facts, and he limited his investigations to a consideration of the prospects of permanence and educative value for adult industry of the occupations entered upon by the boys with whom he was concerned.

As regards the methods of inquiry adopted, it may be said that Mr. Jackson was able, from the sources of statistical information he found available, to obtain an idea of the various occupations in which there was an apparent excess of boys who could not when adults be absorbed in the same branch of industry. He afterwards, by interviews and by the distribution among employers of special forms to be filled up, obtained some further information as to these occupations; but he met with many difficulties, and only a small proportion of the forms were returned to him. In addition, a form of industrial biography for young men was issued to obtain direct evidence of the length of time boys remain in particular occupations and the age at which they were displaced if they have been in boys' work which does not lead to permanent employment as adults; but a third only of the forms circulated were filled up and returned—“ Lads are always suspicious of anything which they think is prying into their affairs, and they believe there must be something behind,'" says Mr. Jackson.

There has been a steady diminution in the number of boys employed under fifteen during the last quarter of a century. With the recent stimulus given to secondary education, and counting on the zeal of new education authorities, there is reason to believe the decrease may be even more marked in the next census return. There are. however, exceptions to this decrease. The census general report of 1901 states, "while owing to the restriction of child labour, the total number of boys under fifteen years, returned as employed, showed a decrease of 12.9 per cent. on the numbers enumerated in 1891, the number of messenger boys at the same ages declined by only 5.1 per cent." It is, however, satisfactory to note how few are the trades in which an actual or a proportional increase in the number of boys is shown. As Mr. Jackson says, messenger boys have a very short life as such, and this form of occupation ceases as soon as the boys begin to require higher wages. It is unfortunate, therefore, that it should be just in this class that the decrease in boy employment is least marked.

The problem presented by the results of Mr. Jackson's inquiry is very grave in character, and the various statements of it collected in the present volume may be commended to the careful consideration of those who administer our educational affairs. Similarly, the opinions here collated of schoolmasters, of men working in boys' clubs, &c., of trades unionists, of distress committees, and others, deserve earnest study.

The analysis of the numerous forms received by Mr. Jackson proved a long and difficult task, and he is to be congratulated upon the important facts he has been able to gather together. The information respecting the capacity of boys, the wages they are able to earn, and the precise conditions regulating boy labour in specially selected industries, will repay careful deliberation, and may

with advantage occupy the time and immediate atter: of the members of education committees throughout country.

Of especial interest are the conclusions arrived at the suggestions which Mr. Jackson makes at the end his report. The following excerpts will serve to sh the vital importance of early legislation to ensure an efficient system of further education for all boys and g during their adolescent years, whether they thems desire it or not.

The evidence as to the difficulty boys find in gett into permanent work of a satisfactory kind seems a whelming. Every inquirer gives the same impression.

The work of an errand boy or a telegraph messeng is bad for the boy, so is the work of a boy in a w house or factory who is employed to fasten labels bottles, to fill packets of tea, or the like. It is not much a question of a skilled trade not being taught of work which is deteriorating, absorbing the years of boy's life when he most needs educational expansion in widest sense.

Mere skill of hand or eye is not everything. 1: character and sense of responsibility which requires to fostered, and "not only morals, but grit, stamina, met energy, steadiness, toughness of fibre, endurance, IC be trained and developed. Work which is monoten Kills development, and work which is intermittent destr perseverance and power of concentration. The waste boys' brains, character, and strength is ultimately only destructive of the individual, but a serious ecoñe loss to the community. It is probable that boy labour not really cheap at all, owing to the undeveloped s sponsibility and carelessness of the young, but if the skilled men who spring from them have been mental and physically stunted, the loss to the employers enormous, for they cannot earn a sufficient wage to properly, and their output is below that required from adult citizen.


In the large industries there should be a readjustme of conditions, but probably the initiative must come f an extension of State regulation of boy labour. be most easily effected by further raising the age of sch. attendance, or by a system of compulsory continua: schools. It must be recognised that much boys' work wholly uneducative, and deteriorates instead of developi the man, and that this must be prevented. One of the largest industries-the textile-is still partly based on ha time child labour. It is probable that the operatives really more to blame for this than the employers, maTM of whom are not very satisfied as to the advantages child labour. The old contention that the manipulati skill required compelled the employment of children twelve, because after that age their fingers lose supple ness, is not now heard so frequently.

One thing which appears likely to be of far-reach benefit to the boy is increased education. Thus M Kittermaster gives as his remedies :

(1) Boys should be kept at school until the age fifteen instead of fourteen.

(2) Exemption below this age should only be grant for boys leaving to learn a skilled trade.

(3) There should be school supervision until sixteen, ar replacement in school if not properly employed.

Prof. Sadler and the Rev. Spencer Gibb suggest com pulsory half-time schools, or, at any rate, some compuls school until sixteen or seventeen. Mr. Gibb would to see further amendments of the Shop Hours Acts so 25 to avoid the possibility of excessive hours of labour certain days of the week. He points out, also, that th present Acts need to be more thoroughly enforced.

This inquiry seems to show that these reforms ar necessary. The raising of the age of exemption was' strengthen the boy, and he would be kept longer unde discipline, and would become both steadier in charac and more intelligent. It can hardly be seriously contend that the boy of the working man is really more fit f life than the public-school boy at the age of fourteen wh is admittedly unready at that age.

It must not, however, be supposed that the preser education given in the schools is all that can be desired

te time and

In any case, it must aim

tion comme here is a widespread feeling that it is too academic, and the concat developing character and intelligence rather than merely



must be made more practical.

nparting book knowledge.

rly legs hercially impossible, it must be remembered that our education for reat trade rivals, the Germans and the United States,

If it is urged that further time for schooling is com



[ocr errors]

ave compulsory continuation schools or a higher exempion age. In Germany it is the custom for parents to put heir boys to a skilled trade, and apprenticeship is as difficulty lourishing there as ever it was. "The Imperial Law on satisfactors he Regulation of Industry' of 1891 decreed that the

fives the

boy or a


nasters in any branch of industry were bound to allow heir workers under the age of eighteen to attend an ework of officially recognised continuation school for the time mploved ixed as necessary by the authorities." The local council 3, or the night make such attendance obligatory for all male workers inder the age of eighteen. Every raising of the school ge or Factory Act limiting child labour has been in turn objected to as fatal to industry, but the community has very quickly adapted itself to the new conditions.

i trade



[ocr errors]


is not g

sibility is, but of fibre

many, whose scientific results are like the grains of sand, the importance of which lies in their aggregation.

But a chemist, to be worthy of the name, should also be able to step forth from his own small sphere of activity and to look upon his science and allied domains of human thought as a whole, to contemplate its history and its future, its aims and progress, and to glean a few useful truths from such considerations. This is what I shall try to do.

The simple daily wants of mankind in a primitive condition are all supplied by nature. It is the progress of civilisation which led to the necessity of transforming her gifts, and thus created a chemical industry. Human chemical work supplements the chemical work of nature, and is therefore subject to the same governing laws. It is strange that no attempt has yet been made to trace the many coordinated points which exist between biology, the science of life, and chemistry, the science of molecular changes, without which life is an impossibility.

The removal of the supply of cheap boy labour under ifteen would probably lead to very useful readjustments of ndustry and to the substitution of mechanical labour for some of their work and for a greater employment of adult abour. It is, of course, true that to start boys at fifteen nstead of thirteen or fourteen will not prevent a period is of transition from boys' to men's jobs, but it will give a better chance of skill to the boy. A better and longer education should give the boys firmer and more disciplined

Work what

[blocks in formation]

The subject is extensive enough for a book. I cannot hope to do justice to it in a short lecture, but I shall try to point out some of the relations existing between the results of biology and applied chemistry.

Biology as a science is of very recent date. The manner in which our forefathers tried to gain an insight into the overwhelming variety of the vegetable and animal kingdoms was purely systematic. Linnæus, de Candolle, Cuvier, and others, enabled us by their systems to classify nature, but they did not teach us to understand it. Hardly a century ago the dawn of a deeper insight began to rise on the horizon of science, and just fifty years have elapsed since that memorable meeting of the Linnean Society in which the flaming truth of evolution was given to humanity by one of the greatest minds that ever stood up amongst Botany and zoology, the pedantic histories of plants and animals, became suddenly united in biology, the great science of life, itself a living thing, capable of development and evolution.

a suff Again, in skilled trades proper there is little doubt that w that there is room for more boys, and they are not supplied now with the best material available. It is probable hould that labour exchanges for boys leaving school would be itiative of very great value in securing that all the more intelligent of boy and able boys had a chance of securing good openings. raising. It is the ignorance of the boy which so often leads him Comp into employment which is not suited to him.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


Evolution is no longer a working hypothesis of natural science; it has become a new way of thinking, a method of harvesting everlasting truth from the fleeting changes of passing life. It is not applicable to living plants and animals only, but to everything that is capable of growth, alteration and improvement. Why should this method not be extended to the study of human achievements, of science as a whole? Why not to applied chemistry, which is so full of changes, and more vigorous in its growth and development than many another discipline?

Further, some better grading of wages is most desirable. siste At present, comparatively high initial wages are often preven paid to tempt boys into an unprogressive occupation. The par value of the old apprenticeship scales lay in their attempt that to make the wage increase with the capacity, but the low initial earnings have been the reason of the unpopularity to of apprenticeship with the more needy and less far-sighted. It is quite possible that the boy leaving school at fifteen will still not earn more than he now does at fourteen. There is little doubt that in that case the employer would gain, because he would get a better article, but the boy would also gain, because he would be a better article and more fit to develop into a still higher efficiency, commanding better wages later. It is better that he should be paid less in his early years and be worth more as an adult. Under existing conditions he is bribed by large wages to spend his time on uneducative work which gives him no opportunity afterwards, and he is unfit to spend wisely the large wages which he receives. The present system demoralises the boy. The temptation to leave one job to get higher wages in another is almost irresistible, and the resulting instability is detrimental to himself and not economical to his employer, who is perpetually trying to train new boys.


It seems to me that England, the country which has given to all the other nations the invaluable gift of evolution, is the classical soil on which an attempt might be made to apply it in a new manner. It may help us to understand, and therefore to forgive, the struggle for existence, which in chemistry and its applications is as rife as amongst the organisms of the deep sea or the tropical forest. Looking at that struggle with the calm soul of the man of science, we shall easily recognise the underlying promise of the survival of the fittest and of certain progress in coming days.

EVERY chemist, to be worthy of the name, should in

As a rule, one takes it for granted that anything applied must have existed before its applications. It is not so with applied chemistry. Chemistry as a science is, as we all know, a comparatively new creation. Its applications, on the other hand, have existed since times immemorial, and traced back to may be the very beginnings of human civilisation. The men who in the past devoted their thought and energy to problems which we now call chemical had to reach their ends with the help of sound empiricism. Though their progress was slow it was sure, so that to this day we have sometimes

his own work be a specialist; but there are few amongst us to whom it has been given to produce in their own particular line of research results of deep general interest. Our distinguished president, Sir William Ramsay, is one of the privileged few; I am one of the 1 Address to the combined sections of the Seventh International Congress of Applied Chemistry on Monday, May 31, by Prof. Otto N. Witt, of Berlin.

occasion to marvel at their successes. More than that, we may safely say that some of our best industrial methods would never have been discovered if we had had chemical theory only to guide us. Science itself stands on an empirical basis-we cannot draw general conclusions unless we have well-established observations to start from.

It is perhaps not superfluous to remember these facts at the present time, when the brilliant success of theoretical chemistry is apt to make us forgetful of the services derived from purely empirical methods of research. Empiricism investigates without foregone conclusions,

whilst theoretical science verifies logical deductions. Science forces nature to divulge its secrets; empiricism is quite content to pick up the treasures it may come across in its ramblings through unexplored regions. Nature is still full of unknown treasures. Why should we cease to search for them? Why should we expect success only from logical deduction?

It is true that the scientific method of invention is a quicker road to success. Rapidity is everything in our times. Whirling along in a motor carriage to a wellknown destination is distinctly more agreeable than tramping on foot in the glaring sun of a summer's day; but you cannot pick the flowers blooming by the roadside or stumble over hidden treasures at the rate of sixty miles an hour. The two methods of progress have both their own peculiar advantages, and should both be followed. Now and then they will meet, and make success doubly certain.

One of the best combinations of empiricism and theory is the examination of old empirical industrial processes by the methods and in the light of modern chemical science. A great deal of valuable information has been obtained in this way; much more remains to be discovered. It is this conviction which led me to propose to the last congress at Rome that a special section should be established in these congresses for the history of applied chemistry. The history of chemical science, as it exists now, is almost entirely devoted to theoretical systems and to the life of those who created them. The history of industrial methods is not so complete as one might wish it to be.

So far as the history of our nineteenth-century chemical industry goes, the materials for studying it are not wanting. The patent literature of the various countries is in itself an inexhaustible source of information, which can be largely supplemented from text-books and endless files of periodicals; but it is not so if we begin to inquire into the applied chemistry of previous centuries. The mysterious communications of the mediaval alchemists have been frequently examined; but Pliny remains our almost exclusive source of information about the chemical arts of the antique world. Yet these arts were many and highly developed, and Pliny's information was distinctly superficial.

How much more might be gathered about the chemistry of past times has been shown by the researches of such men as Berthelot and Edmund von Lippmann, who combined the accomplishments of distinguished chemists with those of the Orientalist in the study of Arabic and Hebrew authors. Who knows what a host of information may yet be lying dormant in unread Egyptian papyri and palympsests?

But the sovereign means of discovering these lost secrets is in the careful study and analysis of the products which ancient times have fortunately left us as proofs of their skill and knowledge. How much has been done in that respect by that one great master, Marcellin Berthelot, who found in such work the recreation of the later years of his life? How much more remains still to be done?

Thus we may hope to know at some future time more of the accomplishments of past generations than we do at present; and we may also hope that some of the methods thus re-discovered will awake to fresh life like mummy wheat, which is said to take root and grow if you plant it in fresh soil. Have we not greeted with delight the terra sigillata of the Romans, when the process for its manufacture was re-discovered by Fischer, a Bavarian potter, and has not a considerable industry sprung from the resurrected use of lanolin, or woolfat, which was a panacea of the Greeks two thousand years ago?

Yet such discoveries will remain inheritances from the dead, and the cases of their resurrection to life will not be numerous; but we have living empiricism at our doors, which we allow to die and to sink into oblivion, without attempting to study it and to learn the lesson it has to teach a treasure of information of incalculable magnitude hoarded up in the course of centuries by the skill and patience of countless millions of men who were, and are, as keen in the study of nature as they are reluctant to draw general conclusions from their observations.

This great treasure is the industrial experience of the

Eastern nations. It is an undoubted fact, and if it not, a single visit to the South Kensington Museum a prove it, that the people of Persia, India, China, J::. the inhabitants of Burma, Siam, Cambodja, and the numerable islands of the Pacific, are possessed of my for the treatment and utilisation of the products of an which are in many cases equal, if not superior, to own. These methods must be to a large extent upon chemical principles. Is it not strange that we c so little about them, and that little generally only indire through the accounts of travellers who were not cher. If all these peculiar methods were fully known described by persons who have seen them applied a watched their application with the eyes of a chem would certainly be, not only of interest, but also of greatest utility to our own industry; for it is the el tion of empirical methods which, in the new light science sheds upon them, leads to new departures and progress. Who can deny the advantage which the try of cotton dyeing and calico printing derived from study of the Turkey-red process, which a century ago t bought as an Eastern trade secret by the French Gove ment and generously placed at the disposal of Eur dyers? Would the making of porcelain have been inv in Europe if the impulse for it had not come from East? Is there no connection between the introductie Chinese porcelain and the invention of Delft, the cur observations of Réaumur on devitrification, and even work of that great and original genius, Josiah Wedgw And would that supreme triumph of the application pure chemical science to industry, the synthesis of indo ever have been accomplished if indigo, as a natural c stuff, and its extraordinary method of application by v dyeing, had not come to us from the East? What a has been created, even in these very latest days, by · extension of this ancient Eastern method of dyeing other shades than those of indigo!

We live in a period when the intellectual nations the East wake up from their political sleep of centur when they issue from their seclusion and demand th share of Atlantic civilisation; but their awakening my going to sleep for their industrial methods. Th methods, ingenious as they undoubtedly are, cannot G pete with ours in being applicable on a manufact scale. So our processes are transferred to the coasts the Pacific, and their own methods are abandoned a forgotten. The Eastern industries cannot keep pace w ours, not because they are inferior in their results, because they, toil on foot whilst ours are motoring. this struggle for existence the fittest means the quickand the cheapest.


Yet I am certain that many a new and good res might be obtained from the combination of Eastern z Atlantic achievements. Examples of such happy blend not missing. See what that great and orig English inventor, Lord Masham, the very type of Atlantic genius, has made of the wild silks of India! It seems to me that these international congresses oug to make it one of their important duties to watch c the intellectual wealth of the past and to collect it bein it disappears for ever. Let the chemists of all countri who flock together in these gatherings entrust to th keeping the old indigenous industrial methods of the nations; let the reports of these congresses, which distributed over all the world, become a treasure-trove c ancient motives for new development!

If we consider how our present chemical industry h been evolved from empirical processes such as C. ancestors practised them, and as they still exist in r countries of the East, and even in some parts of Euro we can easily observe a gradual transformation simi in many respects to the one that living nature had to through in evolving the present types of plant and anim It is here that the parallels between biology a chemistry offer themselves. They are interesting, and useless to consider. It would be strange indeed if could not gather some acceptable hints from surver: the broad expanse of the human toil and thought centuries.


One of the most characteristic changes that have take place is the transformation of handicraft into manufactur


[blocks in formation]

fic, are

on of the

al, if

Ve have replaced personal skill by division of labour in hemical work just as much as in all the other branches f human industry. In so doing we have certainly unonsciously copied nature. Do not her earliest creations, he unicellular organisms, in which one cell is made to ulfil all the functions of life, resemble the patient craftsnan, who works at the object that he wants to turn out rom the beginning to the end, and then, with a last loving glance, hands it over to his client? And are not actories of the present day comparable to the complicated organisms of the later epochs of creation, with their many coordinated and subordinated organs that work in unison, and in their joint activity are much more powerful than heir tiny unicellular ancestors?

e 10 a.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


One of the most interesting chapters in the evolution

[blocks in formation]

Another example. Just at the present time country is about to join the concert of industrial nations. Norway, in the rocky solitudes of which the bear. was wont to ramble and the elk and the reindeer to graze, the blue fjords of which knew no other craft than fishing smacks and occasional pleasure yachts, is beginning to develop a chemical industry of vast dimensions. Will that industry be similar to the one existing in this country or in Certainly not. Its factories will have no

h, in of animated life is the gradual transformation of aquatic Germany?

to organisms into those living in the air and on solid ground chimneys, no fires. They will be activated by the "white

stry; fe


-a tremendous change, and one which could only be effected

printing by many and varied attempts and by means of the most which marvellous adaptations. Right into the midst of our et by epoch, when the conquest of land as a permanent dwellingplace for plants and animals is practically accomplished, elaireaches the perpetuation of intermediate forms, which can had adapt themselves to land or water, as the circumstances We may require.


on of C

coal," the force of roaring torrents. Our engineers have pondered over the problem of economically transforming heat into electricity; the task of the Norwegian manufacturer is just the reverse. One of the fundamental problems of our German chemical industry is the utilisation of our overwhelming wealth of sodium and potassium salts; the Norwegians neutralise their synthetic nitric acid with limestone, because they have no cheap alkali. Many other points of the same kind might be mentioned, but I think these are sufficient to show that, whatever that new Norwegian industry may prove to be, when fully developed it must be different from what the world has seen so far. The first activity which the human race develops in taking possession of wild districts is agriculture, and we know full well that no two countries are alike in their agricultural methods and results. An agricultural country has to develop a dense population, and, in its work, the peculiarities due to its soil and its climate, before it can attempt to create an industry. The blending of the old agricultural interests with the newly acquired industrial ones means in itself a convulsion. Is it then probable that so fundamental a change may be brought about by the mere importation of a miserable copy of what has been born and nurtured to maturity on other soil and under another sun?

Now what is the lesson we can learn from the study trict of this wonderful development in comparing it to what us, has happened in our own industry? I think it is obvious 1 and of the greatest importance. It is this, that no industry, and especially no chemical industry, can be transdig, planted, such as it is, from the place in which it has been successfully developed, into any other without having to the E undergo a complete change, which taxes to the utmost the organising and inventive power of those who make the attempt.




heir a

00 2

This is a truth too often forgotten in our times, when int the keenest struggle for success is rife everywhere, and people who have to suffer from the competition of factories established in other countries are apt to vent their grief in uncharitable accusations. Yet how frequent are the examples, when manufacturers, who have risen to great prosperity, suffer tremendously by transferring their own business into some new locality. In many cases it is merely a move in their own country, yet it means, generally, a far-reaching adaptation to altered conditions; but if it becomes a question of transplanting a manufacture from one country into another, it must be quite a new creation if it is to be a success. As a new creation it should command our respect, and though it may be inconvenient it should not be disparaged. It was the destiny of aquatic organisms to conquer land as a dwelling-place, and it is the destiny of the industrial countries of the present day to carry industry to the nations that are ready to receive it.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

If we study the life of plants and animals we are struck by the marvellous economy reigning everywhere. There can be called few physiological processes which wasteful. Every bye-product of the more important chemical reactions that take place in the organisms of plants and animals is utilised and made to purpose. In plants, for instance, the refuse of the chemical work of the protoplasm seems to be deposited as encrusting material in the enclosing cellulose. The encrusted cell is then made to serve as a mechanical support for the body of the plant, whilst new and more vigorous cells are formed to fulfil the functions of life. Some of the bye-products of the chemical work of the plant are transformed into dye-stuffs, others into perfumes, both with the object of attracting the insects which are necessary for fertilisation. Everywhere in animated nature we see the principle of storing up food, either to serve in cases of need or to provide for a future generation. Even in those cases where nature seems to be wasteful, as, for instance, in producing germs and seeds in far greater numbers than seem to be required for the continuation of the species, the seeming superabundance is merely a wise calculation of the probabilities for the development of the germs. More marvellous, perhaps, than any of these examples is the economical use of the energy required for sustaining the functions of life. So far as I am aware, there is not a single engine of human invention which can utilise the energy supplied to it in so perfect a way as, for instance, a horse utilises the calories contained in its food for the of the production and mechanical power: though mechanical equivalent of light as a form of energy is, so far as I am aware, yet an unknown constant, we may safely say that the perfection with which living plants utilise the energy of sunlight for carrying out the endothermic reactions upon which their nutrition and growth depends is far superior to the methods which we have so far discovered for similar purposes.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The Germany than it had to be materially transformed, not in its principle, but in the constructive details and the dimensions of the necessary plant. Our coal was different from yours, our fire-clay had to be prepared and worked differently for the production of the necessary retorts, our condensers and gas-holders had to be altered and encased to withstand the sudden and wide changes of temperature of a Continental climate, our yields proved lower, and the economy of the process was materially different. Still greater changes awaited the gas industry on the other pa side of the Atlantic. Though the United States are nossessed of good gas-coal, the freights for it to the New England States proved to be too high. On the other hand, anthracite was incomparably cheaper there than it is with us, and the same was the case with mineral oils of a high boiling point. All this led to the successful substitution of carburetted water-gas for the illuminating gas of Europe. At present we try hard to acclimatise this American adaptation of the gas industry both in England

Are not these principles of economy which so universally pervade living nature also the very essence of all indus

« PreviousContinue »