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Burroughs' Encyclopaedia of Astounding Facts and Useful Information, 1889
by Barkham Burroughs
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The Oldest Cities in the World.—They are the following:—Argos, Athens and Thebes, in Greece; Crotona and Rome, in Italy; Cadiz and Saguntum, in Spain; Constantinople, in Turkey, and Marseilles, in France, which was founded by a colony of Greeks 580 B.C. The age of these cities varies from twenty-four to twenty-seven centuries.

How to Manufacture Oil of Apple, or Essence of Apple.—The essence of apple is composed of aldehyde 2 parts; chloroform, acetic ether and nitrous ether and oxalic acid each 1 part; glycerin 4 parts; [Transcriber's note: the original text reads: "amyl valerianice ther10 parts"] amyl valerianic ether 10 parts.

A Formula for the Manufacture of Artificial Cider.—Imitation cider consists of 25 gallons soft water, 25 pounds New Orleans sugar; 1 pint yeast; two pounds tartaric acid. Put all the ingredients into a clean cask, and stir them up well after standing twenty-four hours with the bung out. Then bung the cask up tight, add 3 gallons spirits, and let it stand forty-eight hours, after which time it will be ready for use. Champagne cider can be prepared by taking 10 gallons of cider, old and clear. Put this in a strong, iron-bound cask pitched inside (like beer casks); add 2-1/2 pints clarified white plain syrup; then dissolve in it 5 ounces tartaric acid; keep the bung ready in hand, then add 7-1/2 ounces of potassium bicarbonate; bung it as quickly and as well as possible.

Recipe for Making Instantaneous Ink and Stain Extractor.—Take of chloride of lime 1 pound, thoroughly pulverized, and 4 quarts soft water. The foregoing must be thoroughly shaken when first put together. It is required to stand twenty-four hours to dissolve the chloride of lime; then strain through a cotton cloth, after which add a teaspoonful of acetic acid to every ounce of the chloride of lime water.

Wood, which is a more unyielding material, acts with tremendous force when wetted, and advantage has been taken of this fact in splitting blocks of granite. This process is largely adopted in Dartmoor. After a mass of granite has been rent from the mountain by blasting, it is measured in every direction to see how best to divide it into smaller blocks. These are traced out by straight lines on the surface, and a series of holes are drilled at short intervals along this line. Wedges of dry wood are then tightly driven into the holes and wetted, and the combined action of the swelling wood splits the block in the direction required, and without any destructive violence. The same process is then carried out upon the other faces, and the roughly-shapen block finished with the hammer and chisel.

The Weight and Value of a Cubic Foot of Solid Gold or Silver.—A cubic foot of gold weighs about 19,300 ounces, and gold is worth $20.67 per ounce. Silver is worth $1.29 per ounce, and a cubic foot weighs 10,500 ounces. Consequently the cubic foot of gold would be worth $398,931, and the silver $13,545.

To Remove Spots on Brass.—Sulphuric acid will remove spots from brass that will not yield to oxalic acid. It may be applied with a brush, but great care must be taken that no drop of the acid shall come in contact with the clothes or skin, as it is ruinous to garments and cuticle. Bath brick or rottenstone may be used for polishing.

A Formula to Make a Good Shoe Dressing.—Gum shellac, 1/2 pound; alcohol, 3 quarts; dissolve, and add camphor, 1-1/2 ounces; lampblack, 2 ounces. The foregoing will be found to give an excellent gloss, and is especially adapted to any leather, the surface of which is roughened by wear.

Receipts for Dyeing Cotton Fabric Red, Blue and Ecru.—Red: Muriate of tin, two-thirds cupful, add water to cover goods; raise to boiling heat; put in goods one hour; stir often; take out, empty kettle, put in clean water with Nicaragua wood one pound; steep one-half hour at hand heat, then put in goods and increase heat one hour, not boiling. Air goods, and dip one hour as before. Wash without soap. Blue: For three pounds goods, blue vitriol 4 ounces; boil few minutes, then dip goods three hours; then pass them through strong lime water. Ecru: Continue the foregoing operation for blue by passing the goods through a solution of prussiate of potash.

MOTION OF WAVES.—The progressive motion of a wave on the water exactly corresponds in speed with that of a pendulum whose length is equal to the breadth of the wave; the same law, gravity, governs both.

LIGHT OF THE SUN.—A photometric experiment of Huygens, resumed by Wollaston, a short time before his death, teaches us that 20,000 stars the same size as Sirius, the most brilliant in the firmament, would need to be agglomerated to shed upon our globe a light equal to that of the sun.

Land Cultivation in Japan.—The entire arable land of the Japanese empire is officially put at only 11,215,000 acres; but it is so fertile and thoroughly cultivated that it feeds a population of 37,000,000, about that of France. Rice is one of the principal crops, and of this some 200,000,000 bushels are raised annually.

Old London Bridge.—As early as the year 978 there was a wooden bridge where London bridge now stands. This was replaced by another in 1014, and another in 1209. The present London bridge was erected in 1831, and may be considered the oldest existing bridge over the river.

The Shortest Method of Removing Silver from Plated Ware Before Replating.—Dip the article in nitric acid; this will remove the silver.

A Formula for White Metal.—Copper, 69.8 parts; nickel, 19.8 parts; zinc, 5.5 parts; cadmium, 4.7 parts. It takes a fine polish.

Curiosities of Metal Working.—At a recent meeting of scientific men, a speaker produced an anklet worn by East Indian women. This is a flat curb chain about one inch broad, with the links very close, and weighing about ten or twelve ounces. It is composed of a species of brass composed of copper and lead, without any trace of silver, zinc, or tin. Such anklets are sold for a few pence, and they are cast all at once, complete as an endless chain. The links show no sign of having been united in any way. How it was possible to produce such a casting as this passed his comprehension, and he hoped that some one who had seen them made would explain the nature of the process. From the East much that was curious in metallurgical art came. Cast-iron was, he believed, first made purposely in China. It was, however, frequently produced unintentionally, when wrought-iron was made direct from the ore in little furnaces about as big as a chimney-pot. It was found among the cinders and ash of the [Transcriber's Note: The original text reads 'coarcoal'] charcoal-fire in grains or globules, which were not only like shot, but were actually used as shot by the natives. He showed what he believed was the only specimen in England of this cast-iron, in a bottle. He next referred to the celebrated Damascene blades of Indian swords, and explained that these blades were an intimate mixture of wrought-iron and hard steel, which must have required great skill, time and patience for its production. One [Transcriber's Note: The original text reads 'patern'] pattern, in particular, known as "Mary's Ladder," showed wonderful finish and accuracy. Concerning the tempering of these blades little was known; but it was stated that it was affected by a long-continued hammering, or rather tapping, of the blade while cold.

How Many Tons of Coal a Large Steamship Consumes in a Day.—"Ocean steamers are large consumers of coal. The Orient line, with their fleet of ships running to Australia every two weeks, may be mentioned. The steamship Austral went from London to Sydney in thirty-five days, and consumed on the voyage 3,641 tons of coal; Her coal bunkers hold 2,750 tons. The steamship Oregon consumes over 330 tons per day on her passage from Liverpool to New York; her bunkers will hold nearly 4,000 tons. The Stirling Castle last year brought home in one cargo 2,200 tons of tea, and consumed 2,800 tons of coal in doing so. Immense stocks of coal are kept at various coaling stations. St. Vincent, Madeira, Port Said, Singapore and others; the reserve at the latter place is about 20,000 tons. It is remarkable with what rapidity these steamers are coaled; for instance, the Orient steamship last year took in over 1,100 tons at Port Said in five hours."

What a Man Eats.—A French statistician has just ascertained that a human being of either sex who is a moderate eater and who lives to be 70 years old consumes during his life a quantity of food which would fill twenty ordinary railway baggage cars. A "good eater," however, may require as many as thirty.

An Australian Railway Viaduct.—The Werribee Viaduct, in the colony of Victoria, is the longest work of the kind in Australia. The structure consists of lattice-girder work. It is 1,290 feet in length, and runs to a height of 125 feet above the level of the Werribee river. The viaduct has fifteen spans each of 60 feet, and thirteen spans of 30 feet. The total cost of the bridge was L600,000.

The Sharpening of Tools.—Instead of oil, which thickens and smears the stone, a mixture of glycerine and spirit is recommended. The proportions of the composition vary according to the class of tool to be sharpened. One with a relatively large surface is best sharpened with a clear fluid, three parts of glycerine being mixed with one part of spirit. A graver having a small cutting surface only requires a small pressure on the stone, and in such cases the glycerine should be mixed with only two or three drops of spirit.

Recipes for Plumbers.—Chloride of zinc, so much used in soldering iron, has, besides its corrosive qualities, the drawback of being unwholesome when used for soldering the iron tins employed to can fruit, vegetables and other foods. A soldering mixture has been found which is free from these defects. It is made by mixing one pound of lactic acid with one pound of glycerine and eight pounds of water. A wooden tank may be rendered capable of withstanding the effects of nitric or sulphuric acids by the following methods:—Cover the inside with paraffin; go over the inside with a sadiron heated to the temperature used in ironing clothes. Melt the paraffin under the iron so as to drive it into the wood as much as possible, then with a cooler iron melt on a coat thick enough to completely cover the wood. For brassing small articles: To one quart water add half an ounce each of sulphate copper and protochloride of tin. Stir the articles in the solution until the desired color is obtained. Use the sulphate of copper alone for a copper color. A good cement for celluloid is made from one part shellac dissolved in one part of spirit of camphor and three to four parts of ninety per cent. alcohol. The cement should be applied warm, and the broken parts securely held together until the solvent has entirely evaporated. Tin and tin alloys, after careful cleansing from oxide and grease, are handsomely and permanently bronzed if brushed over with a solution of one part of sulphate of copper (bluestone) and one part of sulphate of iron (copperas) in twenty parts of water. When this has dried, the surface should be brushed with a solution of one part of acetate of copper (verdigris) in acetic acid. After several applications and dryings of the last named, the surface is polished with a soft brush and bloodstone powder. The raised portions are then rubbed off with soft leather moistened with wax in turpentine, followed by a rubbing with dry leather.

Protecting Water-Pipes Against Frost.—A device has been brought forward for protecting water-pipes against freezing, the arrangement being based upon the fact that water in motion will remain liquid at a lower temperature than water at rest. One end of a copper rod, placed outside the building, is secured to a bracket, and the other end is attached to one arm of a weighted elbow lever; to the other arm of the lever is secured a rod which passes into the building and operates a valve in the water-pipe. By means of turn buckles the length of the copper rod can be adjusted so that before the temperature reaches the point at which there would be danger of the water in the pipes freezing the valve will be opened to allow a flow of water; beyond this point the valve opening will increase and the flow become more rapid as the cold becomes more intense, and as the temperature rises the valve is closed. This plan sets up a current in the pipes, which replaces the water as it grows cold by the warmer water from the main.

Destructive Work of Barnacles.—Unless some paint can be found which is proof against barnacles, it may be necessary to sheath steel vessels with an alloy of copper. An attempt has been made to cover the hulls with anti-corrosive paint and cover this with an outside coat which should resist the attack of barnacles. Somehow the barnacles eat their way through the paint and attach themselves to the hull. The vast item of expense attached to the dry-docking of steel ships makes this matter a not unimportant one. The barnacles interfere greatly with the speed of a vessel, and in a cruiser speed is of prime importance. They attach themselves in an incredibly short time to a steel hull, and it is not long before their effect can be noted by a comparison of the reading of the log.

How to Frost Glass.—Two ounces of spirits of salts, two ounces of oil of vitriol, one ounce of sulphate of copper, one ounce of gum arabic, mixed together and dabbed on with a brush; or this:—Dab your squares regularly over with putty; when dry go over them again—the imitation will be executed. Or this:—Mix Epsom salts with porter and apply it with a brush. Or this one:—Grind and mix white lead in three-fourths of boiled oil, and one-fourth of spirits of turpentine, and, to give the mixture a very drying quality, add sufficient quantities of burnt white vitriol and sugar of lead. The color must be made exceedingly thin, and put on the panes of glass with a large painting-brush in as even a manner as possible. When a number of the panes are thus painted take a dry duster, quite new, dab the ends of the bristles on the glass in quick succession till you give it a uniform appearance; repeat this operation till the work appears very soft, and it will then appear like ground glass. When the windows require fresh painting, get the old coat off first by using strong pearlash water.

How to Preserve Posts.—Wood can be made to last longer than iron in the ground, if prepared according to the following recipe:—Take boiled linseed oil and stir in pulverized coal to the consistency of paint. Put a coat of this over the timber, and there is not a man that will live to see it rot.

What Diamond Dyes and Paints Are Made of.—Solutions of the aniline colors.

What the Ingredients Are of Soapine and Pearline.—They consist of partly effloresced sal soda mixed with half its weight of soda ash. Some makers add a little yellow soap, coarsely powdered, to disguise the appearance, and others a little carbonate of ammonium or borax.

How Many Thousand Feet of Natural Gas are Equal in Heat-Creating Power to One Ton Anthracite Coal.—About 40,000 cubic feet.

SUSTAINING POWER OF ICE.

The sustaining power of ice at various degrees of thickness is given in the following paragraphs:

At a thickness of two inches, will support a man.

At a thickness of four inches, will support man on horseback.

At a thickness of six inches, will support teams with moderate loads.

At a thickness of eight inches, will support heavy loads.

At a thickness of ten inches, will support 1,000 pounds to the square foot.

THE EXPANSIVE POWER OF WATER.

It is a well known, but not less remarkable fact, that if the tip of an exceedingly small tube be dipped into water, the water will rise spontaneously in the tube throughout its whole length. This may be shown in a variety of ways; for instance, when a piece of sponge, or sugar, or cotton is just allowed to touch water, these substances being all composed of numberless little tubes, draw up the water, and the whole of the piece becomes wet. It is said to suck up or imbibe the moisture. We see the same wonderful action going on in nature in the rising of the sap through the small tubes or pores of the wood, whereby the leaves and upper portions of the plant derive nourishment from the ground.

This strange action is called "capillary," from the resemblance the minute tubes bear to a hair, the Latin of which is capillus. It is, moreover, singular that the absorption of the water takes place with great force. If a dry sponge be enclosed tightly in a vessel, it will expand when wetted, with sufficient force to burst it, unless very strong.

London Water Supply.—The quantity of water consumed in London amounts to about 145,000,000 gallons a day. If this quantity could be collected together, it would form a lake 700 yards long, 200 wide, and with a uniform depth of 20 feet.

A Protection for Embankments.—Engineers often have considerable trouble with the loose soil of newly-made embankments, so apt to slip or be washed away before they are covered with vegetation. According to a French railway engineer, the best plan is to sow the banks with the double poppy. Several months elapse before grasses and clovers develop their feeble roots, but the double poppy germinates in a few days, and in a fortnight has grown sufficiently to afford some protection to the slope, while at the end of three or four months the roots, which are ten or twelve inches in length, are found to have interlaced so as to retain the earth far more firmly than those of any grass or grain. Although the double poppy is an annual, it sows itself after the first year.

A Cheap Concrete.—A kind of concrete made without cement is composed of 8 parts of sand, gravel and pebbles, 1 part of burnt and powdered common earth, 1 part of pulverized clinkers and cinders, and 1-1/2 parts of unslacked hydraulic lime. These materials are thoroughly incorporated while dry into a homogeneous mixture, which is then wetted up and well beaten. The result of this is a hard and solid mass, which sets almost immediately, becoming exceedingly strong after a few days. It may be made still stronger by the addition of a small proportion—say 1 part—of cement.

Marking Tools.—To mark tools, first coyer the article to be marked with a thin coating of tallow or beeswax, and with a sharp instrument write the name in the tallow. Clear with a feather, fill the letters with nitric acid, let it remain from one to ten minutes, then dip in water and run off, and the marks will be etched into the steel or iron.

How to Prevent Chisel Handles Splitting.—All carpenters know how soon the butt-end of chisel handles split when daily exposed to the blow of a mallet or hammer. A remedy suggested by a Brooklyn man consists simply of sawing or cutting off the round end of the handle so as to make it flat, and attaching by a few nails on the top of it two discs of sole leather, so that the end becomes similar to the heel of the boot. The two thicknesses of leather will prevent all further splitting, and if, in the course of time, they expand and overlap the wood of the handle, they are simply trimmed off all around.

The Largest Wheel of Its Kind Ever Made in the World.—The greatest wheel of its kind in the world, a very wonder in mechanism, was built for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company of Lake Superior, Mich., for the purpose of lifting and discharging the "tailings," a waste from the copper mines, into the lake. Its diameter is 54 feet; weight in active operation, 200 tons. Its extreme dimensions are 54 feet in diameter. Some idea of its enormous capacity can be formed from the fact that it receives and elevates sufficient sand every twenty-four hours to cover an acre of ground a foot deep. It is armed on its outer edge with 432 teeth, 4.71 inches pitch and 18 inches face. The gear segments, eighteen in number, are made of gun iron, and the teeth are machine-cut, epicycloidal in form. It took two of the most perfect machines in the world 100 days and nights to cut the teeth alone, and the finish is as smooth as glass. The wheel is driven by a pinion of gun iron containing 33 teeth of equal pitch and face and runs at a speed of 6OO feet per minute at the inner edge, where it is equipped with 448 steel buckets that lift the "tailings" as the machine revolves and discharges them into launders that carry them into the lake. The shaft of the wheel is of gun iron, and its journals are 22 inches in diameter by 3 feet 4 inches long. The shaft is made in three sections and is 30 inches in diameter in the center. At a first glance the great wheel looks like an exaggerated bicycle wheel, and it is constructed much on the same principle, with straining rods that run to centers cast on the outer sections of the shaft. The steel buckets on either side of the gear are each 4 feet 5-1/2 inches long and 21 inches deep, and the combined lifting capacity of the 448, running at a speed of 600 feet per minute, will be 3,000,000 gallons of water and 2,000 tons of sand every twenty-four hours. The mammoth wheel is supported on two massive adjustable pedestals of cast iron weighing twelve tons each, and its cost at the copper mines before making a single revolution, $100,000.

Strength of Brick Walls.—The question of strength of brick walls is often discussed, and differences of opinion expressed. The following is one of the rules given:—For first-class buildings, with good workmanship, the general average should not exceed a greater number of feet in height than three times its thickness of wall in inches, and the length not to exceed double the height, without lateral supports of walls, buttresses, etc., as follows for safety:

THICKNESS; SAFE HEIGHT; LENGTH.

8-1/2 inch walls; 25 feet; 50 feet. 13 inch walls; 40 feet; 80 feet. 17 inch walls; 55 feet; 110 feet. 22 inch walls; 66 feet; 130 feet. 26 inch walls; 78 feet; 150 feet.

Where the lengths must exceed these proportions, as in depots, warehouses, etc., the thickness should be increased, or lateral braces instituted as frequently as practicable.

Qualities of Building Stone.—The principal qualities of a good building stone are—(1) Strength, (2) hardness, (3) durability, (4) appearance, (5) facility for working. There are also other minor points; but stone possessing one or more of the above qualities, according to the purpose for which it is required, may be regarded as good for that purpose.

Strength of Stone.—Stone should only be subjected to a compressive strain. It is occasionally subject to a cross strain, as in lintels over doors and windows; these are, however, contrary to the true principles of construction, and should not be allowed except a strong relieving arch is turned over them. The strength of stone in compression is about 120 tons per square foot for the weakest stones, and about 750 tons per square foot for the strongest. No stones are, however, subjected to anything like this amount of compressive force; in the largest buildings it does not amount to more than twelve or fourteen tons per square foot.

Hardness of Stone.—This is of more importance than its strength, especially in pavements or steps, where it is subject to great wear; also in plinths and quoins of buildings where it is desired to preserve a good face and sharp arris. The order of strength and hardness of stone is—(1) Basalt, (2) granite, (3) limestone, (4) sandstone. Granite, seinite, and gneiss take the first, place for strength, hardness and durability, but they will not stand a high temperature. "Stones which are of a fine, uniform grain, compact texture and deep color are the strongest; and when the grain, color, and texture are the same, those are the stongest which are the heaviest; but otherwise the strength does not increase with the specific gravity." Great hardness is objectionable when the stone has to be worked with a chisel, owing to the labor required to work it. Hard stones, also, generally wear smooth, and become polished, which makes them unsuitable for some purposes. Brittleness is a defect which frequently accompanies hardness, particularly in coarse-grained stones; it prevents them from being worked to a true surface, and from receiving a smooth edge at the angles. Workmen call those hard stones which can only be sawn into slabs by the grit saw, and those soft which can be separated by a common saw.

Expansion of Stone by Heat.—Rocks are expanded by heat and contracted by cooling. Variation in temperature thus causes some building stones to alternately expand and contract, and this prevents the joints of masonry from remaining close and tight. In the United States with an annual thermometric range of more than 90 deg. Fah., this difficulty led to some experiments on the amount of expansion and contraction in different kinds of building stones. It was found that in fine-grained granite the rate of expansion was .000004825 for every degree Fah., of increment of heat; in white crystalline marble it was .000005668; and in red sandstone .000009532, or about twice as much as in granite. In Western America, where the climate is remarkably dry and clear, the thermometer often gives a range of more than 80 deg. in twenty-four hours. This great difference of temperature produces a strain so great that it causes rocks to crack or peel off in skins or irregular pieces, or in some cases, it disintegrates them into sand. Dr. Livingstone found in Africa (12 deg. S. lat., 34 deg. E. long.) that surfaces of rock which during the day were heated up to 137 deg. Fah. cooled so rapidly by radiation at night that unable to stand the strain of contraction, they split and threw off sharp angular fragments from a few ounces to 100 lbs. or 200 lbs. in weight. According to data obtained from Adie "Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin.," xiii., p. 366, and Totten the expansion of ordinary rocks ranges from about 2.47 to 9.63 millionths for 1 deg. Fah.

BLUNDERS AND ABSURDITIES IN ART.

In looking over some collections of old pictures, it is surprising what extraordinary [Transcriber's Note: The original text reads 'anachornisms'] anachronisms, blunders, and absurdities are often discoverable.

In the gallery of the convent of Jesuits at Lisbon, there is a picture representing Adam in paradise, dressed in blue breeches with silver buckles, and Eve with a striped petticoat. In the distance appears a procession of Capuchin monks bearing the cross.

In a country church in Holland there is a painting representing the sacrifice of Isaac, in which the painter has depicted Abraham with a blunderbus in his hand, ready to shoot his son. A similar edifice in Spain has a picture of the same incident, in which the patriarch is armed with a pistol.

At Windsor there is a painting by Antonio Verrio, in which the artist has introduced the portraits of himself, Sir Godfrey Kneller, and May, the surveyor of the works of that period, all in long periwigs, as spectators of Christ healing the sick.

A painter of Toledo, having to represent the three wise men of the East coming to worship on the nativity of Christ, depicted three Arabian or Indian kings, two of them white and one black, and all of them in the posture of kneeling. The position of the legs of each figure not being very distinct, he inadvertently painted three black feet for the negro king, and three also between the two white kings; and he did not discover his error until the picture was hung up in the cathedral.

In another picture of the Adoration of the Magi, which was in the Houghton Hall collection, the painter, Brughel, had introduced a multitude of little figures, finished off with true Dutch exactitude, but one was accoutred in boots and spurs, and another was handing in, as a present, a little model of a Dutch ship.

The same collection contained a painting of the stoning of Stephen, the martyr, by Le Soeur, in which the saint was attired in the habit of a Roman Catholic priest at high mass.

A picture by Rubens, in the Luxembourg, represents the Virgin Mary in council, with two cardinals and the god Mercury assisting in her deliberations.

A STOPPAGE OF THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.

The following remarkable account of the stoppage of Niagara Falls, appeared in the Niagara Mail at the time of the occurrence: "That mysterious personage, the oldest inhabitant, has no recollection of so singular an occurrence as took place at the Falls on the 30th of March, 1847. The 'six hundred and twenty thousand tons of water each minute' nearly ceased to flow, and dwindled away into the appearance of a mere milldam. The rapids above the falls disappeared, leaving scarcely enough on the American side to turn a grindstone. Ladies and gentlemen rode in carriages one-third of the way across the river towards the Canada shore, over solid rock as smooth as a kitchen floor. The Iris says: 'Table Rock, with some two hundred yards more, was left dry; islands and places where the foot of man never dared to tread have been visited, flags placed upon come, and mementoes brought away. This unexpected event is attempted to be accounted for by an accumulation of ice at the lower extremity of Fort Erie, which formed a sort of dam between Fort Erie and Buffalo.'"

WONDERS OF MINUTE WORKMANSHIP.

In the twentieth year of Queen Elizabeth, a blacksmith named Mark Scaliot, made a lock consisting of eleven pieces of iron, steel and brass, all which, together with a key to it, weighed but one grain of gold. He also made a chain of gold, consisting of forty-three links, and, having fastened this to the before-mentioned lock and key, he put the chain about the neck of a flea, which drew them all with ease. All these together, lock and key, chain and flea, weighed only one grain and a half.

Oswaldus Norhingerus, who was more famous even than Scaliot for his minute contrivances, is said to have made 1,600 dishes of turned ivory, all perfect and complete in every part, yet so small, thin and

slender, that all of them were included at once in a cup turned out of a pepper-corn of the common size. Johannes Shad, of Mitelbrach, carried this wonderful work with him to Rome, and showed it to Pope Paul V., who saw and counted them all by the help of a pair of spectacles. They were so little as to be almost invisible to the eye.

Johannes Ferrarius, a Jesuit, had in his posession cannons of wood, with their carriages, wheels, and all other military furniture, all of which were also contained in a pepper-corn of the ordinary size.

An artist, named Claudius Callus, made for Hippolytus d'Este, Cardinal of Ferrara, representations of sundry birds setting on the tops of trees, which, by hydraulic art and secret conveyance of water through the trunks and branches of the trees, were made to sing and clap their wings; but, at the sudden appearance of an owl out of a bush of the same artifice, they immediately became all mute and silent.

CURIOUS DISSECTION OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS.

SHOWING THE NUMBER OF BOOKS, CHAPTERS, VERSES, WORDS, LETTERS, ETC.

In the Old Testament. In the New Testament. Total.

Books 39 Books 27 66 Chapters 929 Chapters 260 1,189 Verses 23,814 Verses 7,959 81,178 Words 692,489 Words 281,258 773,697 Letters 2,728,100 Letters 838,880 3,566,480

Apocrypha—chapters, 183; verses, 6,081; words, 152,185.

The middle chapter and the least in the Bible is Psalm cxvii.

The middle verse is the 8th of Psalm cxviii.

The middle line is in 16th verse, 4th chapter, 2 Chronicles. The word and occurs in the Old Testament 35,543 times; in the New Testament, 10,684 times.

The word Jehovah occurs 6,855 times.

OLD TESTAMENT.

The middle book is Proverbs.

The middle chapter is Job xxix.

The middle verse would be in the 2d of Chronicles, 20th chapter, between the 17th and 18th verses.

The least verse is the 1st of Chronicles, 1st chapter, and 1st verse.

NEW TESTAMENT.

The middle book is 2 Thessalonians.

The middle chapter is between the 13th and 14th of Romans.

The middle verse is the 17th of Acts xvii.

The shortest verse is the 35th of John xi.

The 21st verse of the 7th chapter of Ezra contains all the letters of the alphabet.

The 19th chapter of 2 Kings, and the 37th of Isaiah, are alike.

It is stated that the above calculation took three years to complete.

REMARKABLE INSCRIPTION.

The following singular inscription is to be seen carved on a tomb situated at the entrance of the church of San Salvador, in the city of Oviedo. The explanation is that the tomb was erected by a king named Silo, and the inscription is so written that it can be read 270 ways by beginning with the large S in the center. The words are Latin, "Silo princeps fecit."

T I C E F S P E C N C E P S F E C I T I C E F S P E C N I N C E P S F E C I C E F S P E C N I R I N C E P S F E C E F S P E C N I R P R I N C E P S F E F S P E C N I R P O P R I N C E P S F S P E C N I R P O L O P R I N C E P S P C C N I R P O L I L O P R I N C E P E E N I R P O L I S I L O P R I N C E P E C N I R P O L I L O P R I N C E P S P E C N I R P O L O P R I N C E P S F S P E C N I R P O P R I N C E P S F E F S P E C N I R P R I N C E P S F E C E F S P E C N I R I N C E P S P E C I C E F S P E C N I N C E P S F E C I T I C E F S P E C N C E P S F E C I T

Besides this singular inscription, the letters H. S. E. S. S. T. T. L. are also carved on the tomb, but of these no explanation is given. Silo, Prince of Oviedo, or King of the Asturias, succeeded Aurelius in 774, and died in 785. He was, therefore, a contemporary of Charlemagne. No doubt the above inscription was the composition of some ingenious and learned Spanish monk.

CURIOUS CALCULATIONS.

CONSUMPTION OF AIR IN ACTIVITY AND REPOSE.

Dr. Radclyffe Hall makes the following interesting statement with regard to the amount of air we consume in repose, and at different degrees of activity: When still, we use 500 cubic inches of air in a minute; if we walk at the rate of one mile an hour, we use 800; two miles, 1,000; three miles an hour, 1,600; four miles an hour, 2,300. If we run at six miles an hour, we use 3,000 cubic inches; trotting a horse, 1,750; cantering, 1,500.

THE VALUE OF LABOR.

Cast iron of the value of L1 sterling is worth, converted into ordinary machinery, L4; in larger ornamented work, L45; in buckles and similar kinds of fancy work, L600; in neck chains, L1,300. Bar iron of the value of L1 sterling is worth, in the form of knives, L36; needles, L70; penknife blades, L950; polished [Transcriber's Note: The original text reads 'bottons'] buttons and buckles, L890; balance springs of watches, L5,000.

INTEREST OF MONEY.

Dr. Price, in the second edition of his "Observations on Reversionary Payments," says: "It is well known to what prodigious sums money improved for some time at compound interest will increase. A penny so improved from our Saviour's birth, as to double itself every fourteen years—or, what is nearly the same, put out at five per cent. compound interest at our Saviour's birth—would by this time have increased to more money than could be contained in 150 millions of globes, each equal to the earth in magnitude, and all solid gold. A shilling, put out at six per cent. compound interest would, in the same time, have increased to a greater sum in gold than the whole solar system could hold, supposing it a sphere equal in diameter to the diameter of Saturn's orbit. And the earth is to such a sphere as half a square foot, or a quarto page, to the whole surface of the earth."

WONDERS OF SCIENCE.

A grain of gold has been found by Muncke to admit of being divided into ninety-fire thousand millions of visible parts; that is, by the aid of a microscope magnifying one thousand times. A sovereign is thus capable of division into ten millions of millions of visible particles, being ten thousand times as many such particles as there are men, women and children in all the world.

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION.—Liebig, in his "Familiar Letters on Chemistry," has proved the unsoundness of spontaneous combustion. Yet Dr. Lindley gives nineteen instances of something akin, or the rapid ignition of the human body by contact with flame as a consequence of the saturation of its tissues by alcohol.

VIBRATIONS OF THE AIR.—If a person stand beneath a railway girder-bridge with an open umbrella over his head, when a train is passing, the vibration of the air will be distinctly felt in the hand which grasps the umbrella, because the outspread surface collects and concentrates the waves into the focus of the handle.

THE EARTH'S CENTER.—All bodies weigh less the further removed they are from the center of the earth. A block of stone weighing 700 pounds upon the sea-shore, will weigh only 699 pounds if carried up a mountain three miles high. A pendulum oscillates more quickly at the poles than at the equator, because the earth is flatter by twenty-six miles at the poles—that is, the "bob" of the pendulum is that much nearer the earth's center, and therefore heavier, and so swings more quickly.

THE END

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