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Dr. T. H. MONTGOMERY, in the Proceedings of the are liable to suffer from the ravages of a parasitic fungus, American Philosophical Society for the last quarter of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, which attacks the leaves, 1904, runs a tilt at the generally accepted view as to the causes spot or canker on the fruit, or brings about morphological superiority of the male sex in animals. abscission of the inflorescence. The fungus has been reAmong invertebrates, he urges, it is always the male which ported from various orange-growing countries, and on is of inferior size and development, while as regards verte- account of its partiality for limes, planters in the West brates, although the males have in many cases secured Indies will do well to consult the account by Mr. P. H. superiority in the matter of bodily size and secondary Rolfs which is published in the Bulletin, vol. iii., part ii. sexual characters, yet, as regards the generative organs

of the Department of Agriculture, Jamaica. (notably the suppression in certain instances of one ovary), the advantage, from the point of view of specialisa

The publication of pamphlets dealing with the cultivation and development, is largely on the side of the female.

tion, varieties, and market requirements of well known While admitting that different morphologists might esti

commercial plant products, as instituted by the director mate the value of these characters differently, the author

of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Ceylon, is a practical and is inclined to give the greatest morphological value to the

important phase in the development of economic botany. higher development of the reproductive organs.

In vol. ii., Nos. 23 and 25, of the Circulars of the garders.

Mr. H. Wright takes up the subjects of ground outs and In discussing in the same issue the origin of the mark- castor oil plants. The best quality of ground nuts, and ings of organisms, the late Prof. Packard arrived at the these can be grown in Ceylon, are bought for eating, but conclusion that these are dependent on the physical rather

the demand is limited; on the other hand, the require than on the biological environment. The alleged instances ment of the nuts for oil-crushing, although the price is of “Müllerian mimicry he explained, for example, less remunerative, is practically unlimited, and the cake by convergence due to the action of similar physical and furnishes an excellent cattle food. In the castor seed trade climatic causes, since he regarded the attacks of birds as a it does not appear that Ceylon will become a formidable negligible factor. Again, the frequent instances of colour

rival to India. and pattern resemblance between different animals he attributed to pigmentation caused by exposure to

THE Cerro de Pasco silver mines are the most remarklight and shade, due to the repetition of fundamental

able in Peru, having been worked since the year 1630. At colours. “To claim that Müllerian mimicry,” he added,

the present day operations are chiefly confined to the re“ is due to the attacks of birds, is to overlook the fact of

working of old slags and waste heaps. On March 21. the existence of stripes, bars, and spots on the wings of

1902, a Government Commission was appointed to make palæozoic insects which flourished before the appearance

a survey of these mines, and the report of the commission of birds, and even of modern types of lizards."

has now been published in the form of a Boletin issued

by the Peruvian Corps of Mining Engineers. Illustrations THE Report on the third outbreak of plague at Sydney and descriptions of the smelting works are given, and it in 1903 by Dr. Ashburton Thompson is interesting is noted that the output in 1903 amounted to 7213 tons of showing how an epizootic of plague among the rats pre- matte containing 4071 tons of copper. It is curious that ceded the two cases of human plague. From July 15, 1902, these ancient silver mines should develop as copper mines to April 30, 1903. 31,075 rats were caught, of which 17,160 in depth. were examined and found to be free from plague. On May 12 a rat was found on certain premises which on

A NOTE in NATURE for January 26 (p. 305) referred to examination proved to be infected with plague, and up to

Adelaide, in South Australia, and Coolgardie, Western

Australia, as August 15 14,671 rats and mice were caught, of which

the places having the highest maximum u rats and 50 mice were ascertained to be infected with

temperatures recorded in the British Empire. Mr W. E plague. From then until December, 1903, 13,389 rats and

Cooke, Government astronomer of Western Australia, vrite

to say that Marble Bar, in the north-west division of that mice were captured of which none was infected. The two human cases occurred on June 20 and July 4, i.e. during

State, is very much hotter than Coolgardie. The mean the period when the epizootic existed among the rodents.

of the daily maximum temperatures for January, 1905, was

109°.8, and the highest reading 120°5. He adds that at The February number of Indian Public Health (i., No. 7) Jacobabad, in India, the average daily maximum temperacontains several papers of interest, notably one criticising

ture is mno.6 in May, 112° in June, and 1070.8 in July the plague policy of the Indian Government, in which it

and at Duem, in the Egyptian Soudan, the mean maximum is concluded that the only way to grapple with the plague

for March, 1902, was 114°4, and the absolute masimum problem is the formation of a properly organised and

127°.4. equipped permanent public health service for the country.

We have received from Mr. J. van Breda de Haan a In the course of a report on the characters and analyses

copy of a valuable series of meteorological observations of sweet potatoes cultivated in Jamaica, Mr. H. H. made during the year 1901 at the State Botanical Garders: Cousins, writing in the West Indian Bulletin (vol. v.,

at Buitenzorg. Java. The observations are made with the No. 3), records the fact that the process of cooking in

view of explaining certain problems connected with vege creases the sugar content of sweet potatoes very consider- table physiology, and consequently special attention is given ably. Further experiments are being undertaken to ascer- to air and underground temperature, humidity and subtain the exact chemical nature of the change. A com

shine, and more particularly to the intensity of rainiai parison of tubers freshly dug with others that had been showers. Observations and monthly means are given for stored for some weeks indicated that during storage there several hours of each day, in addition to daily means. is also a development of sugars at the expense of other substances in the tubers.

The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological

Society for January last contains an interesting paper Various kinds of citrus fruits, including oranges, pome- the decrease of fog in London during recent years. Te loes, grapefruit, and more particularly lemons and limes, results are given for months and for seasons for each a

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the thirty-three years 1871 to 1903, based upon the observ- Mr. R. Monti on the new find." This water mite was ations for London (Brixton) published in the daily weather obtained in cold springs on the right bank of the Anza, report of the Meteorological Office. The mean annual near Ceppomorelli, and has been named Polyxo placophora. number of foggy days is 55, of which 45 occurred in the The same writer in another number of the same journal winter half of the year. Dividing the thirty-three years discusses the horizontal migrations of lacustrine plankton, into three equal periods, the result is, for the first period, and finds in mountain lakes that, in addition to the known a mean of 55, for the second 69, for the third only 41. vertical movements, there are well-marked diurnal migraSince the year 1888 a steady and uninterrupted decrease tions of the small crustacea to different parts of the lake is shown in the mean annual number of fogs. Among the depending on sunshine and shade. principal agencies which may have conduced to this desir

In the March number of the American Journal of Science able result must be mentioned the efforts of the Coal Smoke Abatement Society and the London County Council,

Mr. Charles S. Hastings utilises some observations of the also the use of incandescent gas light and electricity;

power of accommodation of the eye for light of different but, as pointed out by Captain A. Carpenter and Mr. C.

wave-lengths to make a complete determination of the Harding, the increase of wind in recent winters prob

optical constants of the eye for all conditions of accomably chiefly responsible for the decrease of fog. As we

modation and for all colours. The results are given in have remarked before, the geographical situation of

two tables, by the use of which all problems connected London is, from a purely meteorological point of view,

with the purely optical properties of the schematic eye eminently favourable to the development of fog, and the

may be solved. only permanent improvement we can hope for is an abate

In the course of an investigation of radio-active muds ment of its more injurious effects caused by the imperfect

which is published by Prof. G. Vicentini in the Atti of consumption of coal and gas.

the Royal Venetian Institute (vol. Ixiv., ii., 535), the conWe have received a copy of part i. of the “

nection existing between the ionisation produced by the Katalog

mud and the quantity of material used is experimentally der Bibliothek der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in

ascertained. When the mud is spread uniformly over Danzig," published at Danzig in 1904. Although the

definite area, the intensity of the radiation increases as list of books included is not completely representative, this the thickness of the layer is increased, but a direct propublication, containing the sections mathematics and

portionality does not exist between them. After a certain astronomy, may be found useful to those desiring to refer

point, moreover, the radio-activity is not increased by to the works of certain authors on these two subjects. adding fresh material. Mr. H. S. Allen, in a paper read The range of subjects is a wide one, and the books are

before the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow on entered under the names of the authors.

January 25, also deals with radio-active water and mud,

the material in this case being derived from the springs Having occasion recently to devise a short-focus spectro

of Bath and Buxton. An interesting point which is graph, Prof. Wood, of the Johns Hopkins University,

established incidentally is that the fluorescence excited in found it necessary to make a study of the distribution of

a sensitive plate by the radium rays plays only a very light (monochromatic) in the different orders of a typical minor part in the production by these rays of a photograting. His method, a beautifully simple one, is de

graphic effect. scribed and illustrated in No. 2, vol. xxi., of the Astrophysical Journal. The result showed that, in the typical An interesting investigation of the secondary radiation grating experimented with, half the reflected light was produced when the B and q rays of radium impinge on concentrated in one spectrum, and as the grating re- metallic plates is published by Prof. J. A. McClelland in flected about 76 per cent. of the total incident light, this the Transactions of the Royal Dublin Society (vol. viii., means that about one-third of this total was found in the No. 14). It is shown that the secondary rays are not proone spectrum, which was one of the two first orders. It duced merely at the surface of the plate struck by the was also found that the ruling makes little or no difference primary rays, but that they come from all parts of a layer to the total reflecting power of the speculum. Two flint of considerable depth. Apparently the less penetrating prisms of 60° would give about the same average dis- B rays are more efficient in producing a secondary radipersion as that produced, and, according to Pickering's ation than the y or highly penetrating rays. The nature table in Kayser's “ Handbuch," they would transmit a of the secondary radiation depends largely on the character little more than twice the light reflected, in the first order of the metal employed ; the greater the atomic weight of of the grating used.

the latter the greater is the amount of the secondary radi

ation produced by it. Of all the substances experimented The Psychological Bulletin, ii., 2, contains reports of with, lead gives rise to the greatest effect, both as the proceedings of the thirteenth annual meeting of the

gards the quantity of the secondary radiation and its peneAmerican Psychological Association and of the fourth

trating power.

The secondary radiation consists, apparannual meeting of the American Philosophical Association, ently entirely, of a species of B rays, that is, of negatively which were both held at Philadelphia on December 28-30. charged particles capable of deflection in a magnetic field. Abstracts of the papers are given. Invitations on behalf of Perhaps the most important feature of the paper lies in its Harvard University to hold the next annual meeting in directing attention to the necessity of considering secondary Cambridge, Mass., to signalise the opening of the Emer- radiations in all measurements of the absorptive power of son Hall of Philosophy were accepted by both associations, substances with regard to the rays produced by radioand it is proposed that the Western Philosophical Associ

1

active bodies. ation and the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology shall also meet at the same time and place.

1 We have received a copy of a memorandum on the con

struction and verification of a new copy of the imperial A COLOURED plate of a new species belonging to a new standard yard, by Mr. H. J. Chaney, superintendent of genus of Hydrachnidae is given in the Rendiconti of the the Standards Department of the Board of Trade. Since Lombardy Institution, xxxviii., 3, in illustration of a note by the original standard yard of bronze was made some sixty

recon

new

years ago, it has been found that bars which are ductors, these facts being in contra
structed of copper alloys do not retain their original length heory. On the other hand, the
with that degree of accuracy now demanded for scientific salts in hydrocyanic acid were found
purposes. The new copy (1.P.) is made of an alloy con- better conductors than aqueous solut
taining 89.81 per cent. of platinum and 10:10 per cent. of centration, and this agrees with
iridium, such an alloy being little affected by changes of according to which the two salts
temperature and not at all by oxidation; as the alloy dissociated into their ions in prussic aci
admits of a high specular polish, the fine lines marking
the extremities of the yard can be traced directly on the

MR. W. Woops Smyril will give a bar without the intervention of gold plugs or pins as in

Bible in the Light of Modern Science" at the older type. Instead of using the old solid 1-inch Tichborne Street, Edgware Road, to-moi, section, for the purpose of lightness the so-called

at 5 p.m. “ Tresca " section has been adopted. The memorandum gives full details of the verification of the length and a

Messrs. WATTS AND Co. will shortly publ description of the apparatus used, including the thermo

Rationalist Press Association, Prof. Haeckel's meters by which temperature was measured and a

of Man," being a translation of the recently microscopic comparator similar to that used at Paris

edition of Anthropogenie.” by the Comité international des Poids et Mesures. This instrument has been purchased by the Board of Trade and mounted in a special chamber at Old Palace Yard, West

OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUM minster.

Comet 1905 a (GIACOBINI).-A second telegi

the Kiel Centralstelle announces that comet to Vessels of fused quartz can now be obtained com

observed by Prof. Aitken at Lick on March mercially, and on account of the remarkable properties of position at March 27d. 7h. 57.1m. (Lick MT this substance, a wide field of research at high temperatures R.A. = 5h. 48m. 55s., dec. = +12° 35' 43". would appear to be opened up by their use. In high

Apparently, then, the northern declination is inc temperature gas thermometry, for example, where glass is

and not decreasing as previously stated. An erros excluded on account of its comparatively low melting point, declination for N.P.D., so that the daily move

key by which the code telegrams are translated su and platinum on account of its permeability to hydrogen, declination should be read as plus 1° 15'. fused quartz promised to be an ideal envelope. Unfortunately, The following elements have been computed buyers Villard has found that fused quartz is also permeable to

Strömgren from observations made on March 20, hydrogen at high temperatures, well below its melting

30, and are given in Circular No. 76 of the Kiel point, and Jacquerod and Perrot have proved that helium

stelle, together with a bi-daily ephemeris extendin

March 30 to April 23 :resembles hydrogen in this respect. In the current number of the Comptes rendus (March 27) M. Berthelot shows that

Elements. the use of quartz vessels is still further limited, as both

T = 1905 April 3'2098 (M. T. Berlin). oxygen and nitrogen can penetrate into hermetically sealed

00 = 357° 9:49 quartz bulbs at 1300° C. Thus carbon, heated in sealed

38 = 156° 7'94 19050 vacuous quartz tubes for half an hour at 1300° C., gave

i = 41° 37':48 a mixture of nitrogen and carbon monoxide on cooling

log 9 = 0'05232 the tube and extracting the gases. Experiments were made on other substances, and all the facts pointed to the

Ephemeris 12h. (M.T. Berlin). conclusion that at a high temperature fused silica behaves

log towards gases like an animal membrane, susceptible of April 7

6 31 16 +25 26'9 9-8661 endosmosis and exosmosis, the phenomenon depending

6 40 5 + 27 39'9 partly on the thickness of the wall. It is clear, therefore,

6 49 13

+29 48:1 9.8745 093 that before this substance can be used with confidence in

13
6 58 39

+31 50'9

15 high temperature work, a further study will have to be

+ 33 479 9:8855 ot; made of its defects in this direction.

Brightness on March 26 = 1.0. The Comptes rendus for March 27 contain an interest

PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE CORONA WITHOUT A TOTAL ECLIPSE

--According to note communicated ing paper on the cryoscopic behaviour of hydrocyanic Academy of Sciences, and in the opinion of M. J. Jansert

to the Fren acid, by M. Lespieau. According to the views of Nernst M. A. Hansky has succeeded in photographing the corona and Thomson on the relation between the dielectric capacity

of the uneclipsed sun. The photographs were taken with and the power of electrolytic dissociation, the fact that the

a 12-inch telescope in the exceptionally transparent atmodielectric constant of prussic acid is higher than that of sphere which obtains at the observatory situated

summit of Mont Blanc. water should give the acid a higher dissociating power. After a number of preliminary experiments on M. Lespieau has accordingly carried out a series of ex- selective absorption of screens dyed with various anilise periments on the lowering of the freezing point of this colours, M. Hansky obtained a combination which absorbent substance by the addition of alcohol, chloroform, benzene,

all radiations more refrangible than 660 Mult, and, as to water, trichloracetic acid, sulphuric acid, potassium iodide

red radiations of the corona are very intense and done

suffer absorption or dispersion in passing through and nitrate, and has found that for the first six substances terrestrial atmosphere, he used this screen in obtaints the cryoscopic constant is between 19 and 20, whilst for twelve negatives. The individual screens were prepan the two latter it is approximately double. Hence the two by soaking a fixed undeveloped Lumière film in each acids, which are strongly dissociated in water, are not

the suitable dyes, and, bei ween each exposure, they *** sensibly dissociated in prussic acid solutions of the same

re-arranged inter se so that no false effect due to an strength, and this is in accord with the experiments of resulting picture.

particular disposition of the "grain " might after

The direct photospheric and chrow Kahlenberg, who found that these solutions were bad con- spheric rays were prevented from reaching the place to

1905

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the interposition of a blackened brass disc slightly larger within the above limits. A further result obtained was than the solar disc.

that the analogous wave-lengths in the arc and the spark The resulting negatives showed distinct halos around spectra of the same elements are not measurably different. the disc, and, notwithstanding the fact that some time elapsed between the successive exposures, these halos ex

STATISTICS OF VARIATION. hibited the same form, thus testifying to their solar origin. Some of the negatives were photographically A PAPER consisting mainly of a large number of intensified by repeated copying, and reproductions of them

elaborate records bearing on the important subject were submitted to the academy. In presenting the com

of variation has recently been issued by the Washington munication M. Janssen—to whom M. Hansky acknow- | Academy of Sciences. The data, which have been collected ledges his obligations for assistance and advice-stated with much care and industry, cannot fail to be of high that the photographs actually show the solar corona

interest to all students of evolution. They afford an with an intensity and a perfection only known on the excellent example of the peculiar value of insect studies in photographs obtained during total eclipses” (Comptes reference to many difficult problems in biology-a point rendus, No. 12).

which has lately received fresh emphasis from Prof. SEARCH-EPHEMERIS For TEMPEL's First Periodic Comet

Poulton's valedictory address as President of the Entomo(1867 11).-Although Tempel's first comet has not been

logica. Society of London.

The auuers start with an · Introduction," in which seen during its last three perihelion passages, i.e. since

they declare incir "belief in the marked betterment and 1879, M. A. Gautier, of the Geneva Observatory, thinks that the probability of its re-discovery this year is great

effectiveness of practically all variation study when pursued enough to justify a careful search. For this reason he

from the point of view of the biometrician”; adding, howre-publishes, in No. 4008 of the Astronomische Nach

ever, that “ from the writers' point of view the study of richten, the elements he prepared for the 1898 apparition,

variation is a phase of biology, and not of mathematics.' reduced to the mean equinox of 1905-0. As the probable Dealing with the special advantages presented by insect time of perihelion is somewhat uncertain, he gives three

data in this inquiry, they assert that the phenomena of Ephemerides, extending from March 31 to July 13, in

complete metamorphosis assord i hudy means of distinwhich this time is reckoned as May 2.5, April 20.5, and

guishing “ variations which are strictly blastogenic from

others which may be in large part acquired. This, it April 8.5 respectively, the mean date being the most probable. The declination varies from – 16° to -31°, so that

may be remarked, is only true under certain limitations. the more southerly observatories are more likely to be

It is not the case, for instance, as the authors appear to successful in the research.

think, that the imaginal colour-patterns of lepidoptera are

uninfluenced by the conditions obtaining during individual Right ASCENSIONS OF 2120 SOUTHERN STARS.-In an development. appendix to Observations made at the Hong Kong Coming now to the main substance of the paper, we Observatory during 1903," Prof. W. Doberck, the director, find a series of short articles or sections giving statistics of publishes the right ascensions of 2120 southern stars for variation in some two dozen species of insects. Among the the epoch 1900, as determined from observations made by structures thus dealt with are the venation and costal Mr. j. I. Plummer and himself during the years 1898 to wing hooks in bees and ants, the venation in gnats, the 1904.

colour-patterns of sundry beetles, wasps and bugs, the The observations were made with a 3-inch Simms semi- eye-spots of certain butterflies, the tibial spines, tarsal and portable transit instrument, which, together with the antennal segments, tactile hairs and elytral striæ of other method of reduction and the comparisons with other cata- insects of various orders. In the case of the hive bee it logues, is briefly discussed in the director's preface.

is incidentally shown that the parthenogenetically proIn the catalogue itself, the number of the star as given duced drones are as subject to variation in their wings as in Lacaille, or Stone, or both, the R.A., epoch and magni- are the workers of biparental ancestry. The results are tude, the variation of the R.. from Stone's correspond- in many cases graphically summarised in the form of the ing value, the proper motion, and several other particulars frequency polygon; and the mode, standard deviaare given for each star.

tion,' index of variability,” and “coefficient of variaTuF IRIS DIAPHRAGM IN ASTRONOMY.-In a communi

tion are duly reckoned and recorded in accordance with cation to the French Academy of Sciences, M. Salet states

approved biometrical methods. It is interesting but not that he has recently and usefully adapted the iris

surprising to observe that the frequency curve is usually diaphragm to a telescope in which the magnification em

in fair correspondence with the law of error. ploved is 500. The diaphragm is placed very near to the

The paper ends with a section devoted to general plane of the micrometer wires in front of the field lens,

results. Here we think that too much is made of the and its raison d'étre is to prevent the light from the sky,

difficulty of distinguishing between congenital variation and from the illumination of the wires, from reaching the

and acquired modification. For practical purposes the pve when feeble objects are being observed, the diaphragm

distinction is usually obvious enough. A little later the being closed by an external cylinder when the object has

authors observe, • The most satisfactory answer to the been brought to the centre of the field. By reducing the

question of the hereditary transmission of acquired charextent of the micrometer wires, the diaphragm also re

acters will come as the result of a quantitative (statistical) duces, or eliminates the effect of astigmatism when

study of variations known to be blastogenic compared with observations of double stars are being made (Comptes

a similar study of variations known to be acquired, both rendus, No. 9).

studies to be made on complete series of individuals bred

This CONSTANCY OF

under quantitatively determined life conditions." SPARK' WAVE-LENGTUS.-A question seems to us somewhat like using a steam-hammer to crack which is of first importance to those observers engaged in stellar line-of-sight work, viz. that of the constancy of

an egg. It is not astonishing to find that there is little

or no evidence of differing selection-value in the variable wale-lengths in spark spectra taken under various con- number of spots on the elytra of a ladybird ; but it hardly ditions of discharge, has recently been re-investigated by seems clear that the authors are justified in claiming this Mr. G. W. Middlekauff at the Johns Hopkins University. fact, together with apparent change of “ mode A detailed description of the apparatus and methods emploved, together with the results obtained, appear in No. 2,

between the years 1895 and 1901, as evidence in favour

of “determinate variation.'' Before any such inference vol. w., of the Istrophysical Journal. Mr. Viddlekauff used a

can properly be drawn, the question of possible correlation concave Rowland grating of ought at least to be considered. The authors, however, 20,000 lines to the inch and a focal length of 21.5 feet.

arrive on the whole subject at the satisfactory conclusion The self-induction in the spark circuit could be varied from that natural selection “is after all a logical necessity and 0-00007 to 0.0012 of a henry, and the capacity from 0.0085 to 0.0739 of a microfarad, and the results obtained afford

undoubtedly an actual actively-regulative factor " in the formation of species.

F. A. D. strong evidence that in the case of a spark discharge in air, at atmospheric pressure, no shift" in wave-length

1 "Studies of Variation in Insects." By Vernon L. Kellogg and Ruby

G. Bell, of Leland Stanford Junior University. From the Proceedings of in produced by variations of self-induction or capacity the Washington Academy of Sciences, vol. vi. (Washington, D.C., 1904)

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INTERRUPTERS FOR INDUCTION COILS. any considerable wear are the slate distance-pieces IT has been thought that an account of the more im

rim of the fly-wheel may occasionally require truing portant forms of interrupter would not be unwelcome It is important to keep the edges of the brass cont to readers of NATURE.

segments and the surfaces of the slate distance-pieces A rotating air-break interrupter is shown in Fig. 1.

by the occasional application of fine sand-paper, An accurately balanced brass fly-wheel, FW, driven

In Fig. 3 are shown the essential parts of the mechan by a small motor, is fitted with two insulating segments,

double-dipper " interrupter. The double mon is, let into its periphery. Bearing on the fly-wheel are two

driven crank, c, carries two connecting-rods, CR, each copper gauze brushes, B, and B,; the circuit is interrupted which is attached to a cross-head, ch. Each cross-hea as each brush slips over from the brass to the insulating fixed to the top of a stiff rod, r, which passes between

guide-springs, Gs, and through the guide-block, GB. latter is supported by a strong bracket, B, screwed to

stand supporting the motor. Each reciprocating rod Fw

in an amalgamated copper wire, cw, which dips into mercury. It will be readily seen that by the adoption of two-crank arrangement the frequency is doubled for a g. speed as compared with the single-crank interrupter

while with the latter there is only a single break per revo B

tion, the former gives two breaks per revolution, one of
contact-rods or “ dippers" entering the mer-
cury shortly after the other has left it. The
mercury cup itself is made adjustable in a
vertical direction, and is, as usual, immersed

in alcohol.
HIS

The curve marked “ double dipper" in Fig. 4 gives the results of a test with this form of interrupter. The frequency of interruption was 22. The results correspond fairly well with those plotted in Fig. 2. for the rotary air-break interrupter at a frequency

This type of interrupter is comparatively

cheap and simple, and works very steadily. portion of the rim. It is evident that the arcing which There is no complicated mechanism to get occurs at the break necessitates the use of a fire-proof in

out of order, and only a small quantity of sulator. A small piece of slate (s in Fig. 1) is fitted imme

mercury is required (about 21b.). diately behind each brass segment, and this takes the spark; One of the most successful types of rotary it is easily renewed, the remainder of each insulating interrupter is the mercury jet interrupter. segment consisting of vulcanised fibre.

Several varieties of this have been used. One So far as the writer is aware, this type of interrupter of the best known is shown in Fig. 5. The GB was first described by Wadsworth in 1894, and was used vertical motor-driven shaft, s, carries by Prof. Michelson in some Geissler-tube experiments cylinder, c, the lower portion of which is cut (American Journal of Science, pp. 496-501, December, 1894). up into a number of teeth, I. The shafts As might be expected, the suddenness of the break depends is continued downwards, and passes through

the mercury pump casing. The mercury
pump is of very simple construction, and is
shown in Fig. 5 (b). Inside a flat oval box,
which forms the pump casing, are arranged
two thick toothed wheels. One of these is
mounted on the lower end of the shafts,
which carries the toothed cylinder, Fig. 5 (a),
and drives the other. The wheels fit the
inside of the casing very closely, and are
arranged to rotate as indicated by the arrows

3
in Fig. 5 (b). The mercury imprisoned
between the teeth of the wheels and the
casing is consequently carried round and
forced through the nozzle. The issuing fine
jet of mercury, M ]—Fig. 5 (a)—is directed

Fig. against the rotating teeth, the break taking place at the vertical edge of a tooth. The height of the nozzle N is adjustable, and by this means the magnitude the current may be regulated, as by raising the nozzle the jet will be directed against a tooth for a longer period, and the current will attain a larger value before the teak takes place. The entire mechanism of this interrupter 5 contained in a strong cylindrical glass vessel, the lowa

portion of which contains mercury, in which the pump s Fig. 2.

immersed, and with which the pump chamber freely con

municates by means of a suction orifice, while abore ebe on the speed of the motor (or frequency of interruption). In mercury is the usual alcohol fillin the bulk of the vesel Fig. 2 are plotted the results of some experiments bearing If in good working order, the mercury jet interrupper on this point. It will be seen that for a given value (root-gives excellent results, as may be seen by referring to the mean-square) of the primary current, an enormously greater curve marked "mercury jet " in Fig. 4, which corresmode spark-length-especially with the larger

the larger currents--is to a frequency of interruption=40. A comparison of this obtained at the higher speed.

curve with that given in Fig. 2 for the rotating air-besk This form of interrupter is not very expensive, and works interrupter at once shows the superiority of the jet inte very satisfactorily so long as the primary current does not rupter.' The mercury jet interrupter is much more expensi exceed about 5 amperes. It shares with the platinum in- and complicated than the "double-dipper" type, and requira terrupter the advantage of cleanliness. Renewals and repairs a larger amount of mercury; but it yields somewhat better cost very little, as the only parts which are subjected to

results.

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